« July 28, 2014 | Main | July 30, 2014 »

8 posts from July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014

South Florida reps meet with wife of prominent Cuban dissident who describes beatings, arrests

@CAdamsMcClatchy

Five members of the U.S. House of Representatives, -- including four from Florida – met with the wife of Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez, who described the ongoing, systemic repression she and her husband have suffered.

Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera is a human rights activist who has suffered threats, beatings and harassment at the hands of Cuban authorities because of her efforts, according to Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat from Miami who said he was “truly inspired by this couple’s untiring commitment to the Cuban people and their courage and bravery in the face of continuing abuses by the Cuban regime.”

Also at the meeting late Tuesday afternoon: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R, Miami), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, Miami), Curt Clawson (R, Bonita Springs) and Rep. Albio Sires, a Democrat from New Jersey.

In a meeting with the House members and a short talk with reporters afterward, Pérez Aguilera described the arrests and ransacking of their home earlier this year. They took everything –- “They even took our family pictures,” she said through a translator.

She plans to meet with Senate officials on Wednesday.

The Herald recently described the couple’s story and the U.S. State Department’s reaction to it.

Charlie Crist unveils Day 1 plan, Rick Scott asks 'where are the jobs?'

Democratic Charlie Crist today announced his "First Day of Fairness'' plan in his hometown of St. Petersburg today, outlining what he'd do Day One as governor.

* Faster, more affordable access to public records from agencies run by the governor's office.

* Raising the minimum wage for contractors doing business with agencies reporting to the governor's office

* Issuing an executive order requiring equal pay for women employed by companies doing business with agencies reporting to the governor's office.

* Ordering executive agencies to grant contract work to in-state "whenever possible and legal.''

* Protecting the rights of LGBT workers through an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity within agencies reporting to the governor's office and their contractors.

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign chairman, state Sen. John Thrasher, promptly blasted the plan for not creating jobs:

"Charlie Crist thinks he can win this election by doing his best Barack Obama impersonation – all talk and no action. And it’s telling that his new proposal includes no plans for job creation or education. Crist’s record speaks louder than any of his words: billions in tax hikes and double-digit tuition increases – as Florida was losing 832,000 jobs and 28,000 small businesses – was anything but ‘fair’ to the middle class.”

Historical context: those tax hikes and tuition increases were voted for by Scott's running mate, Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Thrasher only began denouncing Crist's job record after he left the GOP.

-- with Charlotte Sutton

Haiti's PM, Laurent Lamothe, is pulling a Hillary Clinton

@Jacquiecharles

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- For a man who says he’s not a presidential candidate, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is campaigning like one.

From visiting a remote central Haiti village with United Nations head Ban Ki-moon to stumping at a Haitian diaspora town hall in North Miami, Lamothe last week was everywhere a candidate needs to be — although the start of the 2015 Haitian presidential race is more than a year away.

“That is how prime ministers run,” said Robert Fatton, a University of Virginia politics professor and Haiti expert. “That is not a Haitian thing. This is politics.”

Lamothe, 41, the tech savvy businessman-turned-politician, insists that he’s not a candidate.

“This is part of my job; what I am doing as prime minister, it is to govern; it is to manage,” Lamothe said before joining more than a dozen flown-in members of his cabinet in front an overflow crowd for his televised town hall in North Miami. “I am prime minister today, and I am focusing on that.”

But Lamothe’s schedule reflects a Hillary Clinton-like method of raising a future candidate’s profile without officially announcing for office. And that is prompting concern and panic in Haiti where observers say the presidential posturing is intensifying a crisis prompted by legislative and local elections that are three years behind schedule.

More here

 

Plaintiffs want expert to redraw congressional map before November election

Responding to a Tallahassee court judge's skepticism that he could craft a new congressional map in time for the November elections, the voters group is now asking the court to appoint a redistricting expert to do it.

The plaintiffs, a group of voters groups led by the League of Women Voters, successfully sued the state to throw out the congressional map. But Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis said at a hearing last week that he was unsure he could order a special election or revise the map.

In an amended response brief filed Tuesday, the plaintiffs now ask Lewis to appoint a special master and have both sides submit proposals so that the state does not conduct an election using an unconstitutional map. They have not indicated if they intend to appeal Lewis' ruling if he does not agree.

Click here to download the plaintiffs' latest brief.

Marco Rubio's Half True claim about dads from his values speech at Catholic University

In defending traditional marriage, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a speech about values at Catholic University that fathers play a vital role in their children’s success.

Rubio cited statistics about the number of children born to unwed mothers and what that means for their chances to climb out of poverty and go to college.

After getting an education, finding a good job and getting married, "The final element of the success sequence is raising children in a married, two-parent home," Rubio said July 23, 2014. "Even in my own family, of course, I have examples of children raised by one parent who have gone on to successful lives. But we also know that having an active father makes children 98 percent more likely to graduate from college and complete the first step of the success sequence."

We decided to fact-check the 98 percent statistic.

Jeb Bush's Mostly True claim about border kids

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of the Republican Party’s most vocal advocates of federal action on immigration policy, recently re-entered the immigration debate with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal regarding the thousands of undocumented Central American minors flocking to the United States border.

Bush, a potential 2016 candidate, co-authored the op-ed with Clint Bolick, the vice president for litigation at the libertarian Goldwater Institute (the two also teamed up for a book on immigration in 2013). Before laying out their suggested course of action, Bush and Bolick explain the problem.

"Currently the vast number of children is overwhelming the process," they wrote. "Roughly half do not show up for their hearings. As a result, judging by Homeland Security figures, only a fraction of the approximately 20,000 Central American children who entered the country illegally in 2013 were repatriated. By some estimates, as few as 2 percent of the 50,000 children who have crossed the border illegally this year have been sent home."

We’ve already looked at the number of minors who report for their hearings. (Bush's description of it as "roughly half" is not far off from what we found.) But what about the number of children that the government has returned this year? We decided to look into the stat.

The fact-check was written by Steve Contorno of PolitiFact.

Gov. Rick Scott agrees to 3 debates

@tbtia

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign announced today that he agreed to appear in three debates against the Democratic nominee, either former Gov. Charlie Crist or Nan Rich. The debates are all within four weeks of the Nov. 4 general election:

The governor declined to participate in a planned Oct. 7 debate sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, WTSP-10 News and the University of South Florida, which would have been the first of the season. Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said three is enough.

"Three statewide debates will give voters ample opportunity to hear from Gov. Scott and his challenger,' she wrote in an email. "He will be spending the rest of his time traveling the state and meeting with voters."

By signing on to dates later in the election season, many voters many have already made up their minds by the time the two gubernatorial nominees square off.

Continue reading "Gov. Rick Scott agrees to 3 debates" »

Crist and Scott least popular gov candidates in decade

@AdamSmithTimes

From our friends at 538.com:

....Iin Florida, home to one of the nation’s marquee gubernatorial races, Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican incumbent Rick Scott are teetering on becoming the least-liked pair of candidates for any governor’s race in the past 10 years....

...Both Crist and Scott hold negative net favorable ratings (the percentage of people with a favorable view minus the percentage with a negative view). No other gubernatorial campaign in the country currently features such bipartisan disdain. Thirteen races for governor have had at least one live interview poll that asked about candidate images since the beginning of May. Among the candidates in those races, the average net favorable rating is just over +10 percentage points, compared to the -4 points in Florida. (I limited my search to live interview polling because it is thought that favorable ratings are systematically lower across alternative polling technologies.)

More here