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213 posts from July 2008

July 31, 2008

Hastings defends Rangel against censure

The New York Times is reporting that the House today tabled, "by a vote of 254 to 138, a Republican resolution to censure Representative Charles B. Rangel, the powerful New York Democrat who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, for 'dishonoring himself and bringing discredit to the House..' "

The motion, made by House GOP leader John Boehner came in the wake of a Times story that Rangel has four rent-controlled apartments. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, moved to table the resolution.

Rangel, the Times says, "in a forceful address to his colleagues, said he had done nothing wrong, urging lawmakers to reject the censure motion. He said he would welcome a review by the House ethics committee into his housing arrangements."

Congressmen detail worries with Crist's Everglades plan

Members of Congress are putting their worries about Gov. Charlie Crist's big dollar purchase of US Sugar into writing, asking his administration to answer a series of questions about the pending deal.

Florida's delegation Wednesday grilled DEP Secretary Michael Sole and others about the deal, saying they were worried about the cost of the super secret deal as well as the effect of losing a major employer in the area.

Here's what Reps. Alcee Hastings and Allen Boyd Download want to know.

More on Lieberman visit

Before Sen. Joe Lieberman visits Temple Solel in Hollywood on Aug. 7 as reported here, he will campaign on behalf of Republican John McCain at the Palm Beach Synagogue, as well as in Tampa.

State Rep. Adam Hasner, who is leading McCain's Jewish outreach, called this blogger to emphasize that the campaign has nothing to do with the smears tying Obama to Islamic terrorists.

"Our message is completely positive,'' he said. "It's not about scare tactics and fearmongering."

The Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Obama leading among Jewish voters in Florida, 65 to 29 percent. In comparison, John Kerry got about 75 percent of the Jewish vote, compared to President Bush with 25 percent.

"Sen. Lieberman is expanding the base of Jewish voters that have never considered voting for a Republican presidential nomninee,'' Hasner said.

But at least one congregant at Temple Solel is not happy about the visit from the former Democratic nominee for vice president-turned Republican groupie. Democratic State Rep. Elaine Schwartz said in an e-mail to the rabbi that Lieberman's visit should be put on hold until a Jewish surrogate for Obama is also scheduled to speak.

Nelson and Obama at odds on NASA?

So suggests Washington D.C.'s The Examiner.

"When the Democratic National Convention rolls into the Mile-High City," the Examiner writes, "Two leaders with widely-varying views on space will symbolize a potential fracture in the Democratic party over space.

"On the one hand, there's senior party member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, not only a space booster but a veteran space flier himself. On the other hand, there's the presumptive nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, who's widely regarded as anti-space...."

The paper goes on to say that "six months ago, Obama said that he would chop a third of  NASA's budget and move it into education." But with the advent of NASA's 50th anniversary, his office "launched a pro-space statement.

"I believe we need to revitalize NASA’s mission to maintain America’s leadership, and recommit our nation to the space program, and as President I intend to do just that," he said.

Poll: Floridians say let's drill; McCain/Obama neck and neck in Florida

With gas prices hovering at $4 a gallon, a majority of Floridians now support drilling for oil in protected areas offshore, according to a new poll.

The survey found 60 percent of respondents support drilling, with 10 percent telling pollsters they opposed offshore drilling in the past. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they remain opposed to offshore drilling.

The poll of 1,248 likely Florida voters was conducted July 23-29 by Quinnipiac University and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

The same poll also shows John McCain narrowing Barack Obama's advantage in the state. Obama has a 46 percent lead to McCain's 44 percent, compared to a 47 to 43 percent lead for Obama in June - a shift within the poll's 2.8 percentage point margin of error.

"While Obama was on tour, trying to show voters he could handle world affairs, voters were home trying to fill their gas tanks," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the school's polling institute.

Read more here.

July 30, 2008

Whatever happened to the Ron Paul 'money bombs'?

Remember Trevor Lyman, the former South Beach music promoter who helped drop two multi-million dollar "money bombs" for presidential candidate Ron Paul?

Now he's trying to raise money for a new political action committee opposed to warrantless surveillance by the federal government. The deadline is Aug. 8, the same day Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office.

More here.

Prez and Co. up the drilling pressure on Congress

President Bush and his administration pressed Democrats to take up offshore oil drilling, but it doesn't look like it will be happening anytime soon.

Bush, after meeting with his Cabinet, noted that he called on Congress last month to lift the offshore drilling ban, but that Democrats are poised to leave Washington for the summer "without taking any action on this vital priority for the American people."

Bush noted he's lifted the presidential ban: "I've done my part. And that means the only thing now standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is the United States Congress...The sooner Congress lifts the ban, the sooner we can get this oil from the ocean floor to your gas tank."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave no indication she'll bring a drilling bill up for a vote. She has said oil companies already hold acres and acres of unused leases.

"The president has failed in his economic policy and now he wants to say 'But for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower,' " Pelosi said. "That hoax is  unworthy of the serious debate we must have to relieve the pain of consumers at the pump and to promote energy independence."

Continue reading "Prez and Co. up the drilling pressure on Congress " »

Army doc says McCain ad is fair hit

He cares about his quads more than wounded veterans. He's culpable for the energy crisis. He's just another pretty face. These are the messages Republican John McCain's ads transmit about his Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

Questioning whether the negative ads could hurt more than they help, a story in The New York Times quotes a former Jeb Bush strategist, Todd Harris: "The McCain campaign, I think, is being pulled in two directions. On the one hand, this race is largely a referendum on Obama, and whether or not he's going to pass the leadership threshold in the eyes of voters. So being aggressive against Obama on questions of leadership and trust and risk are important, but at the same time I think they need to be very careful because McCain is not at his best when he is being overly partisan and negative."

But one McCain supporter in Florida who used to work in the German military hospital that Obama skipped last week said the ad on that point was fair game. Danny Jazarevic, who lives on Hutchison Island, was the chief surgeon at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center from 2004 to 2006.

"The bottom line is this: You are a U.S. senator and you were in Germany and you chose not to go to our flagship hospital where every wounded solider lays at a time of war,'' said Jazarevic, a candidate for the Florida House, in a telephone interview. "Whoever advised him not to go was dead wrong. This is where the wounded heros are, and by God, you visit them."

See the ad below and read Factcheck.org's critique here.

Lieberman should reconsider South Florida condo

Just two weeks after addressing a synagogue in Surfside, Sen. Joe Lieberman will be back in South Florida campaining for Republican John McCain.

The former Democratic nominee for vice president is scheduled to speak at Temple Solel in Hollywood on Aug. 7. His frequent presence in South Florida during the 2000 campaign triggered jokes about him being Florida's third senator and scouring local real estate listings.

Lieberman's return trip reflects a big push by the McCain campaign to make inroads in the Jewish community, which has been awash in false rumors that Democrat Barack Obama has ties to Islamic terrorists.

Martinez: "I'm not going to talk about Sen. Stevens"

The Associated Press is reporting that "several GOP colleagues of indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens distanced themselves politically on Wednesday by donating campaign contributions from him to charity, while other Republicans declined to comment on whether they support his decision to remain in office.

"Stevens, meanwhile, returned to work in the Senate, actively participating in a committee bill drafting session and casting votes on the floor, where he received warm embraces and gestures of personal support from several colleagues.

" 'Hey Ted ... say it ain't so,' said longtime Democratic colleague and friend Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

"But several GOP colleagues, when asked whether Stevens should remain in office despite accusations that he took more than a quarter-million dollars' worth of unreported gifts, offered no encouragement other than to say he is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

" 'I'm not going to talk about Sen. Stevens, OK?,' " said Mel Martinez, R-Fla. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., also declined to comment, while Sam Brownback, R-Kan., declared, 'He's innocent until proven guilty.' "