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241 posts from September 2012

September 26, 2012

Scott temporarily stays execution of 6-time murderer to allow for psych evaluation

From The Associated Press:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is asking a panel of psychiatrists to determine whether a convicted murderer is insane.

Scott on Wednesday agreed to temporarily stay the pending execution of John Errol Ferguson in order to let doctors decide whether or not he understands the death penalty and why he is about to be executed.

The governor in an executive order called for the examination to take place on Oct. 1. Scott says if Ferguson is competent he will proceed with the already-scheduled execution on Oct. 16.

Sixty-four-year-old Ferguson was convicted of murdering six people execution-style in a drug-related crime. Ferguson was also convicted for the murders of two Hialeah teenagers.

Ferguson's attorneys say that he has long exhibited symptoms of schizophrenia and has been plagued by hallucinations and delusions.

Read here

Ferguson has been on death row for 34 years, far longer than the average stay of about 12 years. Defense attorneys are arguing before the Supreme Court that to execute Ferguson now, after more than three decades, would be cruel and unusual, a violation of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. Ferguson also is described by his defense attorneys as an "untreated paranoid schizophrenic" who "hallucinates that snakes come out of his cell walls to torment him."

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for Thursday, October 4. 

See our story on Ferguson's execution order and grisly crimes, here.


Democrats call for Rep. David Rivera to 'come clean,' cancel TV ad buy

The Florida Democratic Party issued a statement Wednesday calling for U.S. Rep. David Rivera to explain any involvement he may have had in the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, who ran in the Democratic primary against eventual nominee Joe Garcia.

Sternad told the FBI that Rivera was secretly behind his run, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad also said his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, served as a conduit to Rivera. Alliegro, according to what Sternad told the feds, called Rivera "D.R." or "The Gangster."

"It is past time for Representative David Rivera to come clean about his involvement in this notorious and likely illegal shadow campaign," the party's executive director, Scott Arceneaux, said in a statement. "Each day seems to bring more news about Rivera and his cronies' scandalous activities, leaving little doubt that the congressman is more concerned with saving his own political life than looking out for his constituents' interests in Washington."

Meantime, the House Majority PAC, a Washington D.C.-based Democratic superPAC, has canceled its planned TV ad buy to back Garcia in the race. The group had planned to spend some $500,000 advertising in the Kendall-to-Key West district.

Continue reading "Democrats call for Rep. David Rivera to 'come clean,' cancel TV ad buy" »

RPOF's ACORN moment: GOP-paid registrars file 106 'questionable' voter-registration forms

The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month.

Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms.

The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August.

“When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida,” said RPOF Executive Director Mike Grissom late Tuesday.

The full story is here

Note: Voter-registration fraud is rare and the fact that it was caught is a sign that it's tough to get phony voters on the rolls at all, let alone get them to vote. It's even tougher to do en masse. This is probably some rogue folks.

That was the explanation given over and over again in 2008, when the liberal group ACORN was signing up voters and employed some people who submitted false registrations. Back then, though, Republicans howled that it was all proof of a widespread scheme to defraud the electorate. There wasn't much real evidence for that. And there isn't here, either. But the irony isn't going away.

Note: The Republican Party of Florida has signed up about 44,000 new voters statewide this election. The Florida Democrats: 200,000

Connie Mack camp: Yeah, we're losing (but not by 9-14 points)

Memo from Connie Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen, who raises some good and some dubious points about ALL of the major public polling that shows the Republican Congressman trailing Bill Nelson:

A variety of polls commissioned by the media have attempted to paint the Florida Senate race in a light that is simply not accurate.

As numerous respected outside pollsters and objective members of the media have noted, many public polls have been constructed using voter turnout projections that simply do not match, or even attempt to match, the realities and trends of this election cycle. Virtually no objective pollster or pundit expects 2012 turnout to even closely reflect 2008’s aberration.

For instance, highly-regarded pollster John McLaughlin was recently quoted in National Review saying media pollsters are being lobbied by Democrats to, ‘weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models.’ McLaughlin added that, ‘the intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias.’

Nevertheless some media outlets and Democrat-affiliated pollsters have released polls based on highly questionable Party Identification models that can serve no other purpose than to attempt to sway public opinion and voter enthusiasm. For instance over the last two days alone:

This morning’s Quinnipiac Poll (Commissioned by CBS News / New York Times) survey showing Nelson beating Mack 53-39 was comprised of:

                  27% Republicans

                  36% Democrats

                  33% Independents

The Washington Post Poll (released 9/25/12) showing Nelson beating Mack 54-40 was comprised of:

                  32% Republicans

                  33% Democrats

                  31% Independents

The demographic makeup of these and other polls contrast sharply with the Mack campaign’s model of voter performance. Our latest internal poll, conducted 9/23 was comprised of:

                  39.5% Republican

                  43% Democrat

                  16.7% Independent

Our poll, which sampled 600 likely voters and had a margin of error of +/- 4%, had several key findings that stand in contrast to public polls:

Continue reading "Connie Mack camp: Yeah, we're losing (but not by 9-14 points)" »

Obama campaign rolls out education-focused Spanish-language ads in Florida

The Obama campaign this morning announced new Spanish-language TV and radio ads in Florida and other key states. The TV ad begins with a shot of Mitt Romney accepting the nomination in Tampa then a narrator asks, “President Romney ... What would that mean?” The ad claims Romney would cut Pell grants and federal work study funding.

The education claims are not clear-cut, however and are based on assumptions that Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan would enact deep across the board cuts. More here from PolitiFact.


Opponents to anti-abortion amendment release ads linking campaign to Gov. Scott

Progress Florida is circulating the first round of ads linked to the  "Vote No on 6" campaign that urges voters to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate privacy rights that protect a woman's right to chose to abort a fetus.

Two of the four ads that surfaced today either mention or depict Gov. Rick Scott and characterize him as trying to interfere in a woman's health.

644716_10152128737520710_247642411_nOne of the ads shows a picture of a woman's legs with the text: "Does Rick Scott belong here?" Another shows three pictures: one of a female doctor, one of Scott, one of a kitten. "Who do you trust with your most personal health care decisions?" Scott ad

Both of the ads also say "click to stop Rick Scott." Progress Florida says the online banner ads have already gone up, starting in South Florida.

Continue reading "Opponents to anti-abortion amendment release ads linking campaign to Gov. Scott" »

Obama-love, Romney-hate dominates Miami's political music scene

With just six weeks left before the presidential election, Miami's music scene has suddenly gone all political.

Two political songs released this week come from Miami artists, and they're decidedly pro-Obama.

One, a song modeled after the 1960 JFK jingle, comes from the Miami-outfit Write Me A Jingle. It's called the Barack Obama 2012 Jingle.

The sing-songy jingle has lyrics like "Do you want a man for president who's seasoned through and through / But not so doggone seasoned that he won't try something new?"

The jingle, which was featured on Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday, is below:


The second song is decidedly anti-Mitt Romney. Written by Miami-based rapper Rube, the song, titled 'Hold On,' paints Romney as a wealthy corporate raider trying to suppress voters. Lyrics include:

You got the Koch brothers, Donald Trump, but it's not enough / Do everything you can to make sure we not showing up / Governor's across the country, try to resuscitate you,and force strict voter ID laws in Florida and Pennsylvania.

The video, which was shot in downtown Miami, is below:


Note: Anyone with any pro-Romney, Miami-based music, feel free to send them along to @ToluseO and we'll post them here. While Nicki Minaj, a rap artist with Miami ties, said "I'm a Republican voting for Mitt Romney" in a recent song, she later explained that she was actually an Obama supporter.



Utility watchdog prez: Florida PSC is 'most dysfunctional' in the South

The executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a non-profit, nonpartisan energy watchdog group based in the Southeastern U.S., spoke out about Gov. Rick Scott's recent reappointment of Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar today at a meeting with The Miami Herald editorial board. He had some harsh criticism.

Edgar's reappointment was "very disappointing,'' said Stephen Smith, the group's director. Of the seven Southeastern states the group works with, he said, "the Florida PSC is the most dysfunctional."

He said that Florida's PSC operates "in lockstep with the companies they are supposed to regulate. We have not seen the Florida PSC this bad in the years I have been involved. I think that is an area where consumers are being poorly served by the appointments on the commission now.

"I think they are largely uninformed about many positions, and they are way too cozy with the companies they are supposed to regulate.''

Smith's organization is suing the state for what it calls the unconstitutional statute passed in 2006 that has allowed Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to collect millions from customers to build nuclear power plants that may never be constructed. SACE argues that the PSC has allowed the utilities to shift the definition of what is allowed under the law so that they can continue to collect money from customers when the need for nuclear power plants has diminished.

The Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the case Oct. 4.


Mitt Romney ad on welfare, foodstamps and how to "measure compassion."

Mitt Romney's camp says this ad is playing in FL:


Joe Biden in Boca, Tamarac, Fort Myers starting Friday

From a press release:

On Friday, September 28—11 days before the October 9th Florida voter registration deadline—Vice President Biden will kick-off his two-day tour through Florida with grassroots events in Boca Raton and Tamarac.  On Saturday, the Vice President will attend a grassroots event in Fort Myers.