« July 2012 | Main | September 2012 »

285 posts from August 2012

August 30, 2012

Purge-snagged non-citizen voter faces five years in prison

As the debate continues over whether or not to purge Florida's voting rolls of potential non-citizens before the November elections, at least one person will be going to jail for voting illegally in 2008.

Josef Sever, who was born in Austria, pleaded guilty Thursday to voting in the November 4, 2008 presidential election even though he is not a U.S. citizen, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He lives in Plantation.

Sever, who also received a concealed firearms license and bought nine guns under the pretense that he was U.S. citizen, faces up to five years in prison for the voting and gun-related charges.

According to court records, Sever's illegal voting was discovered during Gov. Rick Scott's controversial push to identify potential non-citizens on voting rolls using information from the state motor vehicle agency. 

Sever, 52, moved from Austria to Canada as a child, and became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1979. He came to the U.S., and registered to vote in 2008, claiming he was a U.S. citizen on his Broward County voter registration application. He then voted in the 2008 presidential election. Sever also bought several firearms in Hialeah, stating that he was a U.S. citizen. It's not clear if he registered with any particular party.

Continue reading "Purge-snagged non-citizen voter faces five years in prison" »

House candidate uses hurricane Isaac to stir up support, raise money

Jeff Solomon is hoping a little hurricane humor can help him blow past his incumbent challenger for a seat in the Florida Legislature.

Solomon, a Pinecrest Democrat who is challenging Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami, sent out an email to supporters referring to Tropical Storm Isaac's impact on his campaign yard signs.

Solomon wrote "Isaac has helpfully removed many of our signs. While I appreciate the storm’s help, the election is not over – I will be on the ballot this November."

Bileca, an incumbent, has raised nearly 10 times as much money as Solomon, who is a chiropractor. 

Solomon's email, which asks supports for a "good final gust of financial support," is below:

Continue reading "House candidate uses hurricane Isaac to stir up support, raise money" »

PolitiFact checks claims by Paul Ryan, Pam Bondi and John Thune

On the second night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, speakers kept up a drumbeat of outrage about excessive government regulation. The most outrageous example came from South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who said the Obama administration "proposed banning farm kids from doing basic chores!"

Say what?

We explored Thune's claim and found that the truth wasn't close to what he said. The Labor Department proposed a rule tightening safety rules for minors working on farms. What it specifically did not do: disallow kids from doing basic jobs on their parents' farms.

The ruling: Pants On Fire.

Wednesday's theme at the convention was "We can change it," with a full lineup of speakers imploring the need for a new direction in the White House.

PolitiFact also rated claims by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul  Ryan.

Chris Christie tells the party faithful to focus on 'big things'

PALM HARBOR _ Maybe the spicy chorizo sausage woke up Florida's delegates, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie brought them to their feet Thursday morning as he delighted the crowd with his comical story-telling and blunt-talking admonitions.

“I don’t think our convention needs to be about making the case for Barack Obama. The case has been made against Barack Obama,” he said. Republicans must persuade voters they are '"the party of big ideas," and can-do leaders, he said, and counter the people who have become cynical and say "it doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same.’’

Christie repeated many of the themes of his Prime Time convention speech from Tuesday night and urged the party faithful to "do the big things," "tell the truth" and communicate a broad message.

That message, he said, should not sugar coat. "We can’t any longer just whistle a happy tune to folks because the public is a lot smarter than the politicians give them credit for.”

He listed the GOP state leaders who have made a difference, Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Susana Martinez of New Mexico. (Notably absent from his list was Gov. Rick Scott of Florida.)

By contrast, he said, Obama doesn't know how to lead and instead comes across "like a guys walking around in a dark room searching for the light switch of leadership."

He drew peels of laughter from the crowd when he described how Mitt and Ann Romney came to visit on short notice last October, in search of Christie's endorsement. The couple scrambled to clean the house and "have the talk" with their four kids. When the Romney's arrived, their middle child, 12-year-old Patrick, greeted them on roller blades, practically careening into Mitt while their 9-year-old daughter, Bridget, competed for attention by showing off her gymnastics in the year.

Romney engaged the kids, spoke to them with sincerity and won Christie over with his heart. "He's characterized so unfairly as a CEO, reserved, a person who doesn't show his heart,'' he said. "My kids were drawn to him and if I had any doubt in my mind who I was going to endorse after his interaction with my two children I had no doubt left."

"The one thing you can’t get on a resume is what’s in here,’’ he said, patting his heart.

The crowd loved it and, as Christie left, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam had to pause the morning program as people rushed to the stage to shake Christie's hand and get a photo. "The Boss is in the house," Putnam joked. "But he has to leave to get to the South Carolina delegation,'' he said, referring to New Jersey's other famous son, Bruce Springsteen.

Christie's remarks were preceded by speeches from U.S. Rep. Allan West, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and followed by Republican Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and Newt Gingrich.

The vagina-logues: feminist disrupts Paul Ryan's speech

Midway through Ryan's speech, Laura Mills, 21, of Washington, D.C., began shouting in an attempt to disrupt Ryan's speech.
A member of the abortion rights group Code Pink, Mills walked through the upper reaches of the Forum carrying a bright pink banner that said, "Vagina - Can't Say it, Don't Legislate it."
Paul Ryan opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and I do not stand for that," Mills said. She said "an angry Ron Paul person" gave her credentials that enabled her to get inside the arena.   
That was a minor blip, though. Ryan's speech energized the crowd. Story here
-- Steve Bousquet

Which Mitt Romney will speak tonight?

TAMPA -- When Mitt Romney stands before the Republican National Convention and the nation Thursday night, he has to come across as both old Mitt and new Mitt.

Before he started his presidential journey five years ago, Romney was regarded as an easy conversationalist and collegial guy. Since then, he has come off as cautious, perfectly pressed, and prepared, a man who can make even a moment such as his “surprise” embrace of his wife on the convention stage after her speech Tuesday seem cold and scripted.

Romney’s mission is to appear as warm as his wife painted him in her address that evening. He needs to slay the image that Democrats have been crafting for months — and he has inadvertently helped along — that he’s an insensitive, out-of-touch business executive with little feel for the plight of those who aren’t in his economic or social class.

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/29/2975759/convention-question-will-they.html#storylink=cpy

Dave Barry on the RNC sweat-fest

TAMPA -- The official theme of day three of the Republican National Convention was “We Can Change It.” I believe this is a reference to our underwear. It’s hot here, and the humidity is 19 jillion percent, and most of us have to do a lot of walking outside, because the convention zone is surrounded by a vast security perimeter guarded by police, soldiers, Secret Service and — the outermost line of defense — angry shouting men brandishing RON PAUL signs.

Here’s something that bothers me: The Secret Service people wear vests that say, in large letters: “SECRET SERVICE.” Doesn’t that pretty much defeat the whole purpose? Shouldn’t they be more clandestine? At very least, the vests could say “NOT SECRET SERVICE.”

But getting back to the state of our underwear after we finally make it past the security perimeter: Yuck. When you watch the convention on TV, and the camera shows the delegates sitting in their chairs and frowning thoughtfully during a speech, it may appear as though they’re thinking, “This speaker is certainly making a good point about the national debt.” But what they’re actually thinking is, “It feels like frogs are spawning in my drawers.”

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/29/2974516/dave-barry-gop-conventioneers.html#storylink=cpy

NY Post: Connie Mack sponsored bill to help donor get $2b from Argentina

New York Post:

Hedge-fund heavyweight Paul Singer... and his employees have been a top contributor to 23 Republicans running for Congress, but few received more money than Rep. Connie Mack.

Elliott Management employees are Mack’s top financial backer, giving a total of $38,413, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mack is close to Singer in another way. Several months before he announced his Senate candidacy, Mack was the leading sponsor of a bill designed to pressure Argentina to pay Elliott $2 billion that the hedge fund claims it is owed.

More here

Miami-Dade elections chief defends department in wake of poll worker's arrest

Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said she does not believe last week’s revelation that a Hialeah man accused of ballot fraud has been a poll worker in recent years is indicative of a pervasive problem in her department.

The case involving poll worker Sergio Robaina, arrested on Aug. 10 on ballot-tampering charges, is the first of its kind anyone in her department can remember, she added.

“I wouldn’t want the public or voters to feel that we have somehow been infiltrated with these people that have ulterior motives because, for the most part, our poll workers are very committed and dedicated individuals who are doing what they do because of pride and wanting to do their civic duty,” Townsley said.

On Friday, El Nuevo Herald learned that Robaina, 74, has been a poll worker in Hialeah for the past four years. Dozens of voters say that for years Robaina has collected their ballots, as he did in the weeks prior to the Aug. 14 elections.

Robaina is one of about 13,000 individuals who are properly trained to work the polls in Miami-Dade County. Before each election, these workers take oaths that they will prevent fraud and affirm that they haven’t been paid to support a candidate or issue that’s on the ballot.

Townsley couldn’t recall another case in the department’s history where a poll worker was found in violation of the oath, which would be a misdemeanor.

The only other requirements for poll workers is to be a U.S. citizen and literate, Townsley said.

More from Melissa Sanchez and Enrique Flor here.

August 29, 2012

Ron Paul supporters walk out of RNC in protest: 'we've put up with enough'

Ron Paul supporters walked out en masse from the Republican National Convention late Wednesday in protest of a rule change by Republican officials that removed some of Maine’s delegates in an attempt to suppress the group’s movement.

Chanting, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation,’’ about 200 delegates and supporters marched around the perimeter of the Tampa Bay Times Forum and out the door as U.S. Sen. John McCain gave his prepared remarks to the convention.

“We aren’t coming back,’’ said Brandon Wilkerson of Virginia. “We are trying to show the audience and rule committee that mitt Romney eliminating duly elected delegates does not win the nomination and will not win the November election.’’

The protest was barely noticed inside the convention hall as the party faithful continued a well-scripted night aimed at attacking President Barack Obama,that was to culminate in a speech by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Continue reading "Ron Paul supporters walk out of RNC in protest: 'we've put up with enough'" »