Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year (Part 2)

From Rick Kriseman:


The start of a new year and a new decade is the best time for us to reexamine our goals and to make new resolutions. As you know, the last decade wasn’t Florida’s best. We continue to face numerous challenges and complex problems. One of my resolutions is to make 2010 the year that we begin to finally fix Florida. Since the answers to many of our problems will only be found outside the walls of government in Tallahassee, I need your help. Visit 53 Fixes and tell me what you’d like to see fixed. What are your goals for Florida? What are your ideas? I value your feedback and assure you that I will take it to Tallahassee and work with my colleagues and Leadership to fix our state. It is my hope that 2010 is a prosperous one for you and your family!


Link

Happy New Year!

From Doug Tudor:


The Tudor Family and all of TeamTudor thank you for all you have done for our progressive, grassroots campaign over the past year.

We look forward to working even harder with you in 2010 as we turn Florida’s 12th Congressional District blue.

Please consider making a contribution to help us close out 2009.

Every dollar is appreciated, and every dollar helps to bring us closer to achieving the true change needed by the young, the working families, and the elderly in our district.

Please Contribute Now!

Tomorrow night, I hope you celebrate the many accomplishments we achieved together in this past year.

There’s more work to do, but that can wait for a few days.

Please Contribute Now!

Be safe, don’t drink and drive, and I’ll see you on the other side of the celebration.

Your Brother, Doug


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Statement by Dan Gelber in response to Attorney General Bill McCollum's Wish to Block Health Insurance Reform


MIAMI--- "General McCollum's decision to use his office to investigate ways to block health insurance reform is exactly why we need new leadership in the Attorney General's office. There are four million Floridians without health care including 800,000 children. Only one state has a higher percentage of uninsured. I wish McCollum was as concerned about solving Florida's health care crisis as he was about stopping the solving of the health care crisis. This is just another example of why we need fundamental change in Tallahassee."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

From Doug Tudor:


Friends,

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season,
please accept my most sincere gratitude for all you have done and all you will do for our progressive grassroots campaign.

May you and yours be blessed by the peace of the season, and may you and yours have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas,

The Tudor Family
and all of TeamTudor

Sarah Palin Wants You to Sit This One Out


At just before 2 am on Monday morning, the Senate finally overcame months upon months of GOP roadblocks on healthcare reform, and we will pass a bill in the next couple of days.

You and I have traveled some rocky roads together the years when we were buried in the minority -- you know that vote would've been impossible two years ago and unthinkable four years ago. Now, the GOP is so desperate to stop our progress, before that vote Republican Senator Tom Coburn literally called on supporters to pray for some Democratic Senator not to be able to make it to the Capitol for the vote.

And already, Newt Gingrich proclaimed, "When we get a majority, we're repealing the whole thing."

Sarah Palin is out raising money for Republican Senate candidates, and Glenn Beck is still twisting the facts to try to whip people up.

We can't let them do this. We need to not only keep the gains we've made, but expand them.
Can you contribute to three great progressives to make that happen?

Kendrick Meek in Florida, Paul Hodes in New Hampshire, and Lee Fisher in Ohio all stood with us in 2004, and they are fighting for us now. They all supported a strong public option in the health care fight, and all stand up for real clean energy reform.

And they're all running in seats currently held by Republicans. Just imagine the change that will bring to the Senate, replacing three Republicans with three great progressives.

They all can win, but it won't be easy. Sarah Palin is already helping Lee Fisher's opponent, former Bush aide Rob Portman. And she'll surely be working hard against Kendrick and Paul, as well. These are tough battlegrounds, but they are all in states that voted for Barack Obama, so with your help, we can win them.

So please contribute $25, $50, or $100 right now and keep fighting for progressive values.

We're changing things in Washington, and we need to keep it up. Thanks for all you've done to get us this far.

Sincerely,

John Kerry


Link

Best wishes

From FDP:


Dear Friend,

On behalf of all of us at the Florida Democratic Party I wanted to share our best wishes for you and your family this holiday season.

We are all very thankful for all your support you've shown this past year. I am hopeful that it will be a happy and successful 2010 for you and our fellow Floridians.

And during this holiday season, we must think of those who can't be with their families because they are serving our country. Please extend your holiday wishes to the troops overseas and their families here at home.

Sincerely,

Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman
Chair, Florida Democratic Party

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Proposed Dec. 24 Holiday For State Employees --- Letter to Governor Crist from Rep. Alan B. Williams


Dear Governor Crist:

Florida is blessed to have a vital corps of state government employees who, with care and skill, provide crucial services to Floridians throughout the year.

As we celebrate this holiday season, I urge you to join me in sending a special message of appreciation to these state workers, whose accomplishments often go unnoticed or without praise.

To deliver a much-needed “thank you” to our state employees, I write to encourage you to issue a Proclamation or an Executive Order, or take other necessary action, to declare Thursday, December 24, 2009 a paid holiday for state workers.

I am sure that such a declaration will give these employees special time with their families and allow them to prepare for holiday celebrations at home, as well as opportunities to shop and travel. It also may provide a helpful boost to our state’s retailers. Such a morale-boosting step will surely provide a great opportunity to tell our state employees and their families how much you value their efforts.

I wish you and your family a warm and joyous Holiday Season.

Sincerely,
Alan B. Williams, Representative

Florida House District 8

REALITY CHECK: Is McCollum McKidding?

From FDP:


On Radio Call-In Show, McCollum Continues Attempted Rewrite of His Congressional Record on Banking Deregulation

For the second time in just one week, former Congressman Bill McCollum struggled to rewrite his own record Monday when answering a caller's question on WGUF radio.

McCollum again falsely denied his role in creating the current economic crisis when he co-sponsored and passed banking legislation that most experts and policymakers agree played a major role in causing today's financial mess.

The caller asked if McCollum "had it to do all over again," would he still co-sponsor the legislation that repealed the too-big-to-fail safeguards that once regulated the nation's financial industry?

McCollum jaw-droppingly fictitious answer: "Well, I would still pass the Graham bill, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill if that's what you are referring to, which undid the separation between commercial banking and banking for federal banking and [inaudible] things of that nature. ...But what we did in 1999 has little or nothing to do with the crisis we found 10 years later." [WGUF's "The Dave Elliott Show," 12/21/09]

Come on, Congressman McCollum...

Economic Experts" Said The 1999 Legislation "Helped to Create The Current Economic Crisis." "Economic experts say that Gramm and others are to blame for the current crisis that is shaking Wall Street. Gramm's successful effort to pass banking reform laws in 1999, which reduced decades-old regulations separating banking, insurance and brokerage activities, helped to create the current economic crisis. 'As a result, the culture of investment banks was conveyed to commercial banks and everyone got involved in the high-risk gambling mentality. That mentality was core to the problem that we're facing now,'" Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist said. (ABC News, 09/19/08)

McCain believes the best way to prevent another economic crisis is to undo what McCollum did. "But on Wednesday, Republican Sen. John McCain proposed reining in Wall Street by resurrecting the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking - the same law McCollum favored repealing as a congressman in 1999. ... As a member of Congress from 1980 to 2000, McCollum served on the committee overseeing financial services and co-sponsored 1999 legislation that tore down the Depression-era firewall between investment banks and commercial banks." (St. Petersburg Times, 12/17/09)

Obama Argued That the 1999 Legislation Led to Deregulation That Helped Caused the Economic Crisis: The Wall Street Journal reported that "President Barack Obama argued on the campaign trail that one bill - the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 - led to deregulation that helped cause the crisis. Among other things, that law allowed for the creation of giant financial supermarkets that could own investment banks, commercial banks and insurance firms, something banned since the Great Depression. Its passage, critics say, cleared the way for companies that were too big and intertwined to fail." (The Wall Street Journal, 03/10/09)

Former Federal Reserve Chairman and Current Head of the U.S. Economic Recovery Advisory Board Paul Volcker Supports Reintroducing Aspects of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. Supporters of reintroducing aspects of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that would split commercial and investment banking include: "Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, now head of the U.S. Economic Recovery Advisory Board". (Bloomberg, 12/14/09)

Hoyer Says McCollum's Policy, 'Maybe That Was a Mistake.' "As someone who voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, maybe that was a mistake," U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. (BusinessWeek, 12/15/09)

Co-Director Of The Center for Economic & Policy Research Said Resurrecting Glass-Steagall Would Reduce The Need For The Taxpayer Bailouts. Resurrecting Glass-Steagall would reduce the need for the taxpayer bailouts that added between 9 percent and 49 percent to the profits of the 18 biggest U.S. banks in 2009, according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic & Policy Research in Washington." (Bloomberg, 12/15/09)

Even those in the who advocated for and profited from the repeal now recant it. "Former Citibank Chairman John S. Reed apologized in a Nov. 6 interview for helping engineer the bank's merger with Travelers and for his role in building a company that took $45 billion in U.S. assistance. Reed also recanted his advocacy of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The 1998 merger depended on Congress repealing Glass- Steagall before a five-year deadline that otherwise would have required Travelers to sell its insurance underwriting business. "We learn from our mistakes," Reed said in the interview. (BusinessWeek 12/15/2009)

President of the Community Bankers of America Supports Reinstating Glass-Steagall. "President of the Community Bankers of America, Camden Fine, was strongly behind the idea of reinstating of Glass-Steagall, saying it wasn't an accident that less than ten years after repealing Glass-Steagall that we're facing the economic and banking crisis we are." (American Banking News, 12/17/09)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sen. LeMieux (R-Crist) Joins GOP In Opposing Health Insurance Reform

From FDP:


LeMieux Puts Crist's Political Ambition Above Florida By Following Through On GOP Pledge To Try To Kill Health Reform And Break The President, Will Pay a Political Price for Standing with Insurance Companies and Against Reform

Tallahassee, FL - While putting Charlie Crist's political ambitions above Florida and delivering on the GOP's pledge to try to kill health reform to break the President, last night Sen. George LeMieux (R-Crist) voted against health insurance reform. In the first of several votes in the Senate, LeMieux voted against advancing legislation that would rein in unfair insurance company practices, expand coverage to more than 30 million Americans and reduce costs for families, businesses and the country as a whole.

With this latest vote, Sen. LeMieux has proven once again that he is willing to do anything to further Charlie Crist's political ambition and protect health insurance companies at the expense of health care for his constituents. Clearly, he is more interested in playing politics and looking out for the special interests than in fixing our broken health insurance system and ensuring Floridians have access to quality, affordable care.

"Last night, in a historic vote on health insurance reform, Sen. LeMieux chose once again to only look out for Charlie Crist's political ambitions, as Crist lurches to the right in an attempt to appease Republican primary voters. In doing so, LeMieux fell in line with the GOP, health insurance company executives and lobbyists in their effort to kill health insurance reform and break the President," said Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff. "While the Republican leadership may be pleased, Sen. LeMieux is going to have to figure out how to explain his vote to those people in Florida who lose their coverage each month or those denied coverage by an insurance company for a pre-existing condition or clerical error on their application."

"It's clear George LeMieux and Charlie Crist are more interested in protecting insurance companies than ensuring Floridians have access to quality, affordable health care - and for that they are going to pay a political price," Jotkoff added.

McCrisis: The Financial Industry Meltdown and Congressman Bill McCollum

From FDP:


As Bill McCollum Falsely Denies His Own Record in Washington,

John McCain Introduces Legislation to Fix the "Too Big To Fail" Banking Mess

Congressman McCollum Helped Create

The same day former Congressman Bill McCollum falsely claimed that specific financial-services industry legislation he cosponsored and pushed through Congress had nothing to do with the current national economic crisis, U.S. Senator John McCain not only disagreed, but filed his own legislation to reverse McCollum's.

"Either Bill McCollum is deliberately misleading Floridians about his record in Congress, or he's saying that Senator John McCain isn't telling the truth," Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.

In 1999, Congressman McCollum cosponsored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act that prevented banks from taking on riskier investments that could lead to a national financial crisis.

"Even the former chairman of Citibank has recanted his support for McCollum's 1999 law allowing banks and financial institutions to assume enormous financial risks and become 'too-big-to-fail.' Why can't McCollum admit his grave mistake and just apologize for his role in creating today's financial crisis?" Jotkoff asked.

McCollum Falsely Denies His Record
But McCain Calls Him Out While Trying to Fix McCollum's Mess

Former Congressman Bill McCollum defended cosponsoring and eventually pushing the repeal through Congress, Wednesday.

"McCollum says the banker-friendly policies he backed on [the] banking and housing committee in congress contributed in no way to the economic collapse." (St. Petersburg Times/TampaBay.com, The Buzz Political Blog, 12/16/09)

"'I don't believe when I was there that we created the foundation in those years for the problems that came after I left in 2000,' he [McCollum] said. ... But on Wednesday, Republican Sen. John McCain proposed reining in Wall Street by resurrecting the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking - the same law McCollum favored repealing as a congressman in 1999. ... As a member of Congress from 1980 to 2000, McCollum served on the committee overseeing financial services and co-sponsored 1999 legislation that tore down the Depression-era firewall between investment banks and commercial banks." (St. Petersburg Times, 12/17/09)

Before this week's animosity, McCollum campaigned for McCain, appearing on stage with the former GOP Presidential nominee in Jacksonville and Orlando. (Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/08)

McCollum Didn't Stop Unraveling Our Economy After He Left Congress

McCollum cashed in on his time in Washington to become a lobbyist and lobby for mortgage policies eventually outlawed as scams.

"After he left Congress, McCollum lobbied for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and for a nonprofit with a downpayment assistance program that was later outlawed by Congress after the Internal Revenue Service dubbed it a 'scam.'" Even still, "At a Tampa fundraiser Wednesday, McCollum defended his lobbying and record in Congress" (St. Petersburg Times, 12/17/09)

A former chairman of one of the same financial institutions that McCollum lobbied for after leaving Congress now recants his advocacy for the legislation McCollum cosponsored and called it a "mistake" for America.

"Former Citibank Chairman John S. Reed apologized in a Nov. 6 interview for helping engineer the bank's merger with Travelers and for his role in building a company that took $45 billion in U.S. assistance. Reed also recanted his advocacy of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The 1998 merger depended on Congress repealing Glass- Steagall before a five-year deadline that otherwise would have required Travelers to sell its insurance underwriting business. "We learn from our mistakes," Reed said in the interview. [BusinessWeek 12/15/2009]

McCollum Denies He Pushed Policies That Led to the Economic Collapse, The Record Proves Otherwise

From FDP:


In a striking denial of the facts, Attorney General Bill McCollum today denied he voted for and sponsored legislation and policies that led to the economic collapse.

"McCollum says the banker-friendly policies he backed on banking and housing committee in congress contributed in no way to the economic collapse," McCollum was quoted as saying at a Republican Party breakfast at a Tampa area Perkins. (St. Petersburg Times/TampaBay.com, The Buzz Political Blog, 12/16/09)

"Bill McCollum is a career politician trying to run away from his Washington record, but you can't argue with the facts. McCollum pushed the policies widely recognized as leading to the economic meltdown," Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman, said. "The record shows that McCollum not only voted for, but sponsored policies leading to the economic crisis despite being warned, as Vice Chairman of the House Banking Committee, of the danger. And after leaving Congress, McCollum took a turn through Washington's revolving door to make a fortune as a D.C. lobbyist for the same policies and special interest groups he served in Congress."

McCollum Helped Push The Controversial 1999 Legislation That Many Experts Say Helped To Create The Subprime Mortgage And Economic Crisis

McCollum Pushed For Laws That Allowed Banks to Take Riskier Investments in Mortgages. "Significant legislation in the early 1980s, which McCollum and most members of Congress supported, loosened rules on mortgages so banks could sell exotic versions, such as interest-only and adjustable rate loans. ... Over the years, McCollum collected hundreds of thousands in campaign donations from financial institutions. In the 1998 cycle, his top contributor was Bank of America with $18,000. In 1999, McCollum cosponsored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which undid a Depression-era law and allowed holding companies of commercial banks to own investment firms. That and a subsequent law in 2000 changed investment rules to allow banks to take on riskier investments in mortgages." (The Palm Beach Post, 05/25/09)

The Financial Services Act of 1999 Has Been Cited As An Underlying Cause Of The Subprime Mortgage Crisis And Economic Meltdown: The Financial Services Act of 1999 is often cited as an underlying cause of the subprime mortgage crisis and economic meltdown. The act knocked down the walls between banks that offered safe, run-of-the-mill loans and investment vehicles and banks that engaged in risky ventures. When combined, they exposed everyone in the marketplace to risk. "What you've got," said Robert Barbera, a Wall Street economist, "is a system that has gone wildly beyond the safety nets that were in place." (The New York Times, 09/26/08)

McCollum Sponsored The House Portion Of The 1999 Financial Services Act: Bill McCollum co-sponsored House legislation that, along with S 900, created the Financial Services Act of 1999. A significant portion of the Financial Services Act was the repeal of portions of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that knocked down barriers between banking, securities, and insurance companies. Many have cited the repeal of Glass-Steagall as a factor in the mortgage and financial services meltdown. (1999 CQ Almanac 5-22-23; Roll Call 276, HR 10, Jul 1, 1999)

McCollum Voted To Repeal Legislation Meant To Curb Financial Failures: Bill McCollum voted for an overhaul of banking and financial services regulations, repealing depression-era legislation meant to curb financial failures. The legislation, S 900, eliminated barriers to affiliations between banking, securities, insurance and other firms. The legislation enabled financial companies to offer corporate clients a full range of services, from traditional loans to investment banking services, like public stock offerings. It also paved the way for financial supermarkets, which could offer one-stop shopping for an array of services, all under one roof. The measure also encouraged corporate mergers. (The New York Times, October 23, 1999; Roll Call 570, S 900, Nov 4, 1999)

President Obama and Economic Experts Said The 1999 Legislation Helped to Create the Current Economic Crisis

"Economic Experts" Said The 1999 Legislation "Helped to Create The Current Economic Crisis." "Economic experts say that Gramm and others are to blame for the current crisis that is shaking Wall Street. Gramm's successful effort to pass banking reform laws in 1999, which reduced decades-old regulations separating banking, insurance and brokerage activities, helped to create the current economic crisis. 'As a result, the culture of investment banks was conveyed to commercial banks and everyone got involved in the high-risk gambling mentality. That mentality was core to the problem that we're facing now,'" Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist said. (ABC News, 09/19/08)

Obama Argued That the 1999 Legislation Led to Deregulation That Helped Caused the Economic Crisis: The Wall Street Journal reported that "President Barack Obama argued on the campaign trail that one bill - the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 - led to deregulation that helped cause the crisis. Among other things, that law allowed for the creation of giant financial supermarkets that could own investment banks, commercial banks and insurance firms, something banned since the Great Depression. Its passage, critics say, cleared the way for companies that were too big and intertwined to fail." (The Wall Street Journal, 03/10/09)

McCollum Was Warned of the Dangers of His Actions

On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Byron Dorgan warned, "I believe fervently that 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now, we will look back at this moment and say: We modernized the financial services industry because the industry did it itself and we needed to move head and draw a ring around it and provide some guidance, some rules and regulations. I also think we will, in 10 years time, look back and say: We should not have done that because we forgot the lessons of the past; those lessons represent timeless truths that were as true in the year 2000 or 2010 as they were in the year 1930 or 1935. ... The point I want to make in the context of bank mergers is that the failure of a large, merged banking organization could be very costly to resolve. Additionally, the existence of such organizations could exacerbate the so-called too-big-to-fail problem and the risks it prevents." (Congressional Record, November 04, 1999)

As vice chairman of the Congressional Banking Committee in Washington, McCollum held daylong hearings into mortgage issues, including rising default rates and sub-prime lending practices. The St, Petersburg Times reported, "But hours of testimony resulted in little action. 'It was very hard to convince anyone it was epidemic,' said Cathy Lesser Mansfield, a Drake University law professor who testified before the committee." (St. Petersburg Times, 5/24/09)

McCollum Cashed-In On His Political Insider Status As a Lobbyist For the Same Special Interests Whose Bidding He Did In Congress

McCollum Lobbied On Behalf Of Mortgage Bankers Association Of America: From 2001-2003, McCollum lobbied on behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. During that time the Mortgage Bankers Association of America paid Baker & Hostetler $110,000. (House and Senate Lobbying Reports 2001-2007)

Education Reform for 2010 Session

From the House Dems:


With a focus on children instead of high-stakes tests, Florida House Democrats are proposing bold initiatives to increase public school accountability and prepare every student to compete in the global economy.

House Bill 473 by Rep. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) calls for comprehensive end-of-course exams in a wide variety of subjects to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) as the nearly exclusive tool to determine student and school performance.

The bill expands the way school accountability is determined by focusing on the entirety of students’ work throughout the year in addition to their end-of-course exam scores. The ability for schools to prepare students for promotion and their successful use of innovation and technology in teaching would be taken into account in the new accountability formula.

In most grades, accountability is currently entirely based on the FCAT, a standardized test that offers only a snapshot of students’ performance. The FCAT covers core-curriculum subjects such as reading, math, and, to a lesser extent, science and writing, but ignores important subjects such as civics, geography, world history, humanities and the arts.

The specifics of implementing these reforms would be developed over the next three years by a panel of education professionals, parents, teachers, community leaders and research experts. All of the reforms would take effect in the 2014-2015 school year. That will give the state and school districts adequate time to train classroom teachers on the new standards before they are put into practice.

“Our bill puts children first by giving parents, school professionals and the education community the power to work out a plan that everyone can buy into,” said Representative Bullard, the House Democratic Ranking Member on K-12 education policy matters. “The problem with education reforms of the past decade is that ideas were dreamed up in Tallahassee then hammered into the schools, teachers and children whether or not those ideas made sense.

“This plan will help bring Florida’s public school system into the 21st Century.”

Elementary schools would also see the FCAT phased out in the 2014-2015 school year and replaced with subject area assessment tests under the plan. Like middle and high schools, elementary schools would also be assessed on the entirety of students’ work throughout the year.

Realizing that students must reach higher to compete in the new global economy, the plan requires students to pass Geometry, Algebra II, Biology I and an additional high-level physical science to graduate. To help students who will struggle to meet these standards, the bill uses diagnostic tests to assess students in the sixth, eighth and tenth grades. Those who are not on track to meet the standards would be directed toward intervention programs to help them succeed.

Intervention services will be paid for by redirecting money now used to reward high performing schools toward programs to help all struggling students. High-performing schools would continue to be rewarded for excellence by being liberated from certain state mandates and would get more flexibility to develop and fund innovative education programs.

Republicans and Democrats united in 2008 to create a new grading formula for high schools that deemphasized the FCAT and placed more focus on graduation rates, success in advance placement programs and success in preparing students for college. This bill builds on the spirit of those reforms.

“Expanding accountability needs to go beyond high schools,” said Rep. Martin Kiar (D-Davie), the House Democratic Ranking Member on education funding issues. "It’s time to begin assessing elementary and middle schools on everything students are doing, which would provide our children with a better and well rounded education.
“Lawmakers may not agree on everything. But I believe this plan opens the door again for bipartisan education reform,” said Kiar.

State Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Florida Senate.

· Details of HB 473 are provided in an accompanying document.

· Press interviews of Representatives Bullard, Kiar and other members of the Florida House Democratic Caucus are available.

U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek Endorses Amy Mercado for Florida House District 35


Amy Mercado, Democratic candidate for Florida House District 35, today received the endorsement of Miami Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek.

"Amy is part of a new generation of Florida leaders working to get our state moving again. She is a leader in Orange County who will restore accountability in Tallahassee. I am proud to support her campaign," said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Mercado states she will campaign tirelessly to combat the “culture of corruption” in state government as she moves forward with her campaign.

“It is with great honor that I accept Congressman Meek’s endorsement of my candidacy as we each share a passion for our communities and the working families of our state. Throughout our careers, we each have been in the service of those around us. I look forward to strengthening those bonds in the work that I will accomplish for the people of District 35 and all Floridians. When I am elected to the Florida House, I will strive to improve the public’s confidence in their lawmakers and take action to remove the stain of corruption that Republican leadership has brought to Tallahassee.” said Mercado.

Amy Mercado is the daughter of a New York City police officer and a New York City Transit Police detective. She is of Puerto Rican descent. She is a graduate of American Intercontinental University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Amy and her family have resided in House District 35 since 1997, two years after moving to Florida. She has built a strong reputation as a dependable and diplomatic political activist in community organizations throughout Florida.

Amy is the current president of the Orange County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, interim secretary of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement’s Central Florida Chapter, and secretary of the Florida Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens. She also is a member of the Orange County Chapter of the Florida Voters League, the Florida Democratic Party’s Central/State Executive Committee and its Affirmative Action Committee.

Amy and Wilfredo “Fred” Mercado were married in 1997. Their children attend Orange County public schools. The Mercados are members of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Winter Park.

Not worth the risk

From Scott Maddox:


Over the past few weeks of the campaign, I have taken a strong stand against offshore oil drilling in Florida. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was the right one to make. That is why my campaign launched the petition, “No, Baby, No”, so that we could get Floridians from around the state to send a message that they will not stand for drilling off our coast. Here is what a few of you have said:
“No to oil drilling. As a 3rd Generation Floridian, I say leave the coast alone. We need different forms of energy. Don't ruin the Florida economy. It’s not worth the risk.”
- Michael from Tampa

“Spill, Baby, Spill. Let’s stop this disaster in the making.”
- Amy from Rockledge

“Drilling for oil off the coast of Florida is an abomination! We say no to offshore drilling.”
- Cheryl from Homosassa
These are just a few of the many comments we have received from Floridians concerned about the prospect of oil drilling. I’m so glad to have folks like you supporting my campaign. Many of you have contributed, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

When it comes to near shore oil drilling, you and I both know it was the right direction to take, but there are still many Floridians who don't have all the facts. I will work tirelessly to inform voters about the perils of oil drilling, but I will need your help. Can you contribute $10, $15, $25 or any other amount to help us get the message out?

Our state needs sensible energy policies. I simply can't see a good reason to support allowing dangerous oil rigs within swimming distance of Florida's coastline. The proposition is all risk and no reward. Not only will it put our environment at great risk, it will put our economy in grave peril and could hamstring our state's budget for generations to come.

The debate over oil drilling should be about more than saving a few dollars at the gas pump each year. Instead, it should be about our environment, our way of life, and our economy here at home.

Help me say no to offshore oil drilling in Florida by joining me in the fight against it!

By giving us a contribution, you will be helping educate voters from across Florida about the perils of oil drilling. Whether it’s $10, $15, $25 or any other amount, you will be contributing to a campaign that will work to defend Florida. Help me say NO to offshore drilling:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/entity/22866

Thank you so much for your support, now and always!

I wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Scott Maddox

PS: Have you signed our petition against oil drilling yet? Click here to do so!


Link: http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=2786945&msgid=146217&act=D729&c=565460&admin=0&destination=http://www.scottmaddox.com/no-baby-no/

Jobs Leave Florida, Unemployment Rises

From FDP:


Crist, McCollum Offer More of the Same

New unemployment numbers released today pose bad news for Florida, but Gov. Charlie Crist and the Republican who wants to replace him, Attorney General and former Congressman Bill McCollum, promise more of the same.

"After this November, Charlie Crist wants to continue his failures of leadership in Washington and Bill McCollum wants to continue business as usual in Tallahassee. Today's numbers prove the people of Florida can't afford either option," Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.

Despite the news today that Florida's unemployment rate continued to rise, reaching 11.5 percent (AP, 12-18-09), Crist and McCollum have not been deterred from offering more of the same failed politics-as-usual approach.

Even Charlie Crist's own administration officials admit that because of the Crist-McCollum failed economic policies Florida is recovering slower than the nation.

As AP reported, Agency for Workforce Innovation economist Rebecca Rust admitted, "The nation does seem to be recovering at a faster pace than what we're seeing in Florida."

"This stunning admission by the Crist Administration, just once again reinforces why Florida needs to end the status quo in Tallahassee," Jotkoff added.

Statement by Senator Charlie Justice on Florida's Tax System: 2nd Worst in U.S.


Senator Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg) on Friday released the following statement regarding Florida’s tax system:

“In a November 2009 report by the Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, it was revealed that Florida's tax system ranked 49th out of 50th for tax burden on low to middle income families. This ranking comes on the heels of the 2009 Session where the Florida Legislature raised taxes and fees by almost $2 billion dollars, and true tax reform took a back seat to massive fee increases.

“When families in the lowest income bracket are paying over 13% of their income, and people in the wealthiest bracket are only paying about 2% of their income, there is a problem. The solutions will no doubt be challenging, but as Vice Chair of the Senate Finance and Tax Committee, I believe the State of Florida can and must do better.

“Major tax reform in our state is long overdue, but with unemployment over 10%, and families struggling to get by, we cannot wait for tax reform to just happen, we must make it happen. Not diversifying our revenue streams to become less reliant on the Sales Tax, and not closing Sales and Corporate Income Tax exemptions that cater to corporate special interests will only continue the pattern of hardworking families bearing the burden of a poor economy. The stakes could not be higher for Florida’s families, and I urge my colleagues to make true tax reform a top priority.”

Read the issue brief here:

http://www.fcfep.org/images/20091118--Florida%20Taxes%20ITEP.pdf

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) To Dick Cheney: 'STFU'

is Grayson the first to say this?:

New Website & New Team Members

From Jim Piccolo:


We have launched our new website and I am hoping you’ll click here to check it out!

You’ll find a lot of new information including my position on important issues, have the ability to volunteer online and even make secure contributions. Since we need your help getting the word out, we’re also hoping you’ll forward this email to your friends and encourage them to check out our new site as well.

I’m also pleased to announce new additions to my campaign team.

Read more about the national talent my campaign has attracted:

Strategist & Media Consultant, Chao Strategy Message & Media, Inc.

Ben Chao has served as a hard-nosed strategist, media consultant and Democratic evangelist for over 300 races in 38 different states from California to New York since 1992. In that time he has earned a reputation for taking on the toughest fights … and winning. Campaigns & Elections Magazine named him one of their "Rising Stars of Politics" in 1998. One statewide Democratic official in South Carolina called him “our Lee Atwater”. Conservative FoxNews Host Laura Ingraham said of Chao, “he’s like James Carville with hair”.

Fundraising Consultant, Bulldog Finance Group

Scott Dworkin has raised money for non-profits, also in support of candidates at the state and federal level in more than twenty-five states. In 2006, Scott worked on multiple campaigns, closing out the cycle as the Chief Fundraiser on the Christine Jennings for Congress campaign in Sarasota, FL. The Jennings campaign raised $1.9 million dollars in fewer than 60 days, in one of the most expensive House races ever.

As you can see we’ve made a lot of progress in this campaign in the last couple of months, but we still have a long way to go. Anything you can do to help us, between now and the end of year fundraising deadline, would be a tremendous help. So please consider contributing $25, $50, $100, $250 or more online today by clicking here.

Sincerely,

Jim Piccillo
Democrat for Congress
Florida’s 5th District


Link

Changing

From FDP:


A couple days ago, the Associated Press observed:

A sure sign that an election is a year away: Gov. Charlie Crist is changing again. The populist Republican governor is trying to convince people he's a conservative now ...

When Florida needs a full-time Governor, Charlie Crist has chosen to spend all his time furthering his political ambition as he lurches to the right so he has a chance of winning his Republican Primary. Just this week he spent much of his time on raising money and attacking his opponents instead of working to help create jobs and keep Floridians in their homes.

Last week, we set a goal to raise $10,000 in 10 days, in order to send a message to Charlie Crist in the way he understands: fundraising. I know with your help we can reach our goal by Friday, and not only send Crist a message but also build our party to help win next November:

http://www.fladems.com/messagetocrist

We agree with Charlie Crist that part of the change we need in Tallahassee is for him to be out of the Governor's Office, but Crist is wrong to think he never has to show up to work as long as his name is still on the door. In times like these we need leaders, not politicians. Unless Crist is going to follow Sarah Palin's lead and resign so he can spend all his time promoting himself without hurting Florida, Charlie Crist should be working everyday for the people of Florida.

But Crist has proven time and time again that he is just another typical politician who only cares about himself. In fact, the only time Crist is focused on his priorities is when he is looking in the mirror.

That's why the change we need in Tallahassee is a Governor who is focused on rebuilding Florida's economy for the future, putting people back to work, and helping keep people in their homes. CFO Alex Sink has the experience to make that happen and, with your help, we can bring real change to the Governor's office.

But, we also don't need another conservative Republican saying no to health care reform, no to the President's Recovery Act, and no to the change we voted for last November, which is why we need to send Crist into retirement in 2010 by electing a Senator like Kendrick Meek.

We have great candidates that will help us continue to bring change in 2010, and the staff at the Florida Democratic Party is working everyday to build the infrastructure to win next November - with your help we can bring the right kind of change.

Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 by Friday and show Charlie Crist what kind of change we want.

http://www.fladems.com/messagetocrist

Thank you for standing up to Charlie Crist and helping us reach our goal by tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Scott Arceneaux
Executive Director
Florida Democratic Party

Statement By House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands Regarding Chanukah


“As Florida’s Jewish Community begins its annual celebration of Chanukah, the eight-day festival of light that begins tonight and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and of spirituality over materialism, I send greetings on behalf of House Democratic Caucus members.

“If there’s a lesson to be learned from Chanukah, a word that literally means dedication, is that from the worst of times people of character and valor survive and thrive and share their triumph with those less fortunate.

“I wish you and your family a peaceful Chanukah. As menorahs glow with light throughout our state, may all eight days of the holiday be warm and bright and bring you happiness.

“Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays to Everyone!”

McCollum Once Again Cashing In On His Political Insider Status to White-Wash Record

From FDP:


After leaving Congress, Attorney General Bill McCollum cashed in on his support of the financial industry to become a high-paid lobbyist for the industry. Just recently, he sent a letter to bank executives asking them to address the housing crisis in Florida? Bill McCollum is trying to cash in again, but this time for help in white-washing his own record. Will Bill McCollum finally take responsibility for his use of Washington's revolving door, even at the expense of Florida home-owners?

McCollum Cashed in on His Political Insider Status

McCollum Went To Work For a Law And Lobbying Firm, Specifically to Lobby for Clients on ‘Congressional’ Action. After serving as a member of Congress, Bill McCollum went to work in the Orlando offices of Cleveland, Ohio based Baker & Hostetler. McCollum joined the firm as a partner and worked in the federal policy group. In 2006 he reported a salary of $300,000. McCollum’s job was to represent clients who “seek to resolve or avert federal policy-related concerns through Congressional or administration action,” according to a press release. “Bill McCollum knows the legislative process and the people who shape our nation’s policy,” said Tom Ball, managing partner of the law practice’s Orlando office. “From keeping clients abreast of pending legislation to ensuring their views are known in Washington, Bill is ideally qualified to represent the interests of our clients.” (Associated Press, April 17, 2001; Florida Department of State, Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests; Roll Call, 4/23/01)

McCollum Lobbied On Behalf Of Mortgage Bankers Association Of America: From 2001-2003, McCollum lobbied on behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. During that time the Mortgage Bankers Association of America paid Baker & Hostetler $110,000. (House and Senate Lobbying Reports 2001-2007)

Mortgage Bankers Association Of America Opposed Consumer Protections: In 2009, Representative Barney Frank planned to introduce and pass the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as the Obama administration had proposed in June. The agency would have broad authority to set rules and regulate products such as mortgage loans and credit cards. However, industry groups including the Mortgage Bankers Association have opposed the effort, arguing that it would restrict the flow of credit and hurt consumers. They have mobilized a lobbying and advocacy campaign against the proposal and spent the Congressional recess hearing PR pitches from at least four firms. (The Hill, 7/6/09)

Mortgage Bankers Association Admitted Role In Financial Crisis: Steve O'Connor, government affairs representative for the Mortgage Bankers Association confirmed that the MBA, whose members are chartered by state authorities and only indirectly scrutinized at the federal level, had started talking with Office of Thrift Supervision officials about federal regulation to prevent a recurrence. “Our industry has acknowledged that we have had a role in the problems that are confronting the housing and financial sectors,” O'Connor said. (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11/08)

Democratic Leader Sands: Credit Goes to President Obama and Congress for Florida's Rail Transit Prospects


Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to the Legislature’s passage today of rail transit legislation:

“I congratulate my colleagues in the Florida Legislature for creating a policy foundation from which rail transit can become a viable transportation alternative for Florida’s citizens, tourists, and businesses throughout the state.

“Thanks foremost to the economic recovery funding made available by President Barack Obama and Congress, today’s action means Florida is now poised to receive substantial funding for an array of transportation-modernization strategies.

“Significant questions remain about details of the legislation, including whether all contracts will be competitively bid, the number of jobs that will be created for Floridians, and the long-term financial consequences for the state. But with hard-negotiated assurances in place to ensure that existing workers’ jobs can be preserved now and in the future with the development of SunRail, the Central Florida commuter rail, today’s passage of rail transit legislation marks an important stage of progress for our state.

“In the months ahead, Florida House Democrats vow to be vigilant in monitoring rail transit contracts and other developments to ensure that the promised creation of new construction and permanent jobs will be available foremost to Floridians, and that contracts for rail-related projects go to Florida-based businesses.

“Sadly, there are more than 1 million Floridians out of work today. It is crucial that Florida’s new rail-transit ambitions become real jobs of tomorrow for the people of our state.”

Will Crist Back New GOP Statement on Stimulus, Shun Florida Jobs It Created and Saved?

From FDP:


New criticisms of the federal stimulus program by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele leave Gov. Charlie Crist, to answer if he agrees with Steele's statements and how he reconciles them with his own varying positions on the stimulus.

"Does Charlie Crist agree with statements by the leader of his Party that the stimulus is 'an indisputable failure' or does he think the 30,000 jobs its kept in Florida have helped our state in the midst of an economic catastrophe?" Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff asked. "Charlie Crist changes positions on the stimulus as often as most people change socks. Does Crist stand with his national Party bosses or with the working people of Florida? Was he threatened with political retribution for his stimulus endorsement?"

Steele referred to "the indisputable failure of" the federal stimulus program, calling it "reckless" in an opinion editorial, published Monday, in Politico. Yet, the federal stimulus has so far saved or created 29,322 jobs in Florida, according to federal reports. [Politico, Op-Ed by Michael Steele, 12/7/09; Recovery.gov, 12/7/09, http://www.recovery.gov/transparency/pages/home.aspx?State=FL&datasource=recipient]

Asked in February why he'd "broken with some in [his] own party to back this stimulus," Crist affirmed his endorsement of the stimulus saying, "Because Florida needs it frankly." But earlier this month, when asked about his support of the stimulus, Crist said, "I didn't endorse it." [The Weekly Standard, Online Blog, 11/5/09,http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/11/charlie_crist_on_the_stimulus_1.asp]

Steele had previously warned of RNC retribution for GOP candidates who supported President Obama's stimulus plan saying, "We'll come after you." [ABC News, The Note, 11/5/09 http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/11/steele-to-republicans-who-support-obama-well-come-after-you.html]

Questions loom:

Does Gov. Crist back RNC Chairman Michael Steele's latest statements on the stimulus, and if so, does he consider the 29,322 Florida jobs it saved or created each "indisputable failures"?

Was Gov. Crist given advance warning of Steele's op-ed, and did Steele or other Republican Party leaders intimating potential retribution for his previous support of the stimulus ever approach Crist or his staff?

If Gov. Crist continues to retract his previous endorsement of the stimulus program, why does he believe Florida would be better served without those 30,000 jobs?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Letter to Governor Crist & Florida Cabinet from Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda


December 3, 2009





The Honorable Charlie Crist

Governor

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399



Dear Governor Crist:

Congratulations on the success of the Florida Small Business Summit recognizing the many contributions of Florida’s small business owners and the important impact they make to our state’s economy. I was impressed with the broad diversity of businesses represented by those invited to participate in the summit and congratulate you for your leadership in advancing innovation and excellence in Florida.

I am writing to also encourage that future state-sponsored events promoting and recognizing Florida’s small businesses are more inclusive of representatives from two important industries in Florida: the renewable energy and the film, entertainment and television industries. These two industries hold great promise for the future of our state, compliment the strengths we already have, and help lead the nation on several levels.

As you probably already know, Florida’s film, entertainment and television industry is strong and has tremendous potential. Florida’s tourism and the film, entertainment and television industry go hand-in-hand and complement each other. Tourism, however, is vulnerable to the recession, while the film, entertainment and television industry is almost recession-proof.

According to a study on Florida’s Film and Entertainment Industry Economic Impact Analysis in 2007, film and entertainment-related spending accounted for:

• $17.9 billion in GSP (Florida’s Gross State Product)
• $8.5 billion in personal income
• $498 million in tax revenue to Florida
• 207,800 jobs

In 2008, every dollar of film incentives provided by the State is associated with $22 in additional gross state product and $1.44 in additional tax revenue. The study shows that over 68,000 jobs were created in 2007 directly in arts, entertainment and recreation services.

Additionally, due to spending in the industry supply chain and industry payrolls, jobs were created in other parts of the Florida economy. These spinoff jobs included:

· 28,620 jobs in professional and technical services
· 26,520 jobs in information services
· 11,870 jobs in construction
· 10,810 jobs in retail trade

Florida’s renewable energy businesses also play a pivotal role in transforming our economy and way of life. Although one small business (Hypower Inc.) in this area was included among the summit participants, I think we can and should do better at including more in future state-sponsored events. The American Solar Energy Society’s recent report forecasts nearly 37 million green-collar jobs by 2030 in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry. Florida’s green-collar workforce can only grow if we invest to build and strengthen our renewable energy businesses.

In his book Hot, Flat and Crowded, Thomas Friedman writes “We are not going to regulate our way out of the problems of the energy-climate era. We can only innovate our way out, and the only way to do that is to mobilize the most effective and prolific system for transformational innovation and commercialization of new products ever created on the face of the earth – the U.S. marketplace.” We must do a better job to build and strengthen Florida’s renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiencies businesses, which contribute to Florida’s innovation and excellence. Florida must do a better job to create the environment for what Friedman describes as the spurring of “massive, no-holds-barred-everybody-in-their-garage-or-laboratory innovation,” which will lead us to new sources of clean energy.

Once again, thank you for your vision and leadership in recognizing Florida’s small businesses. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my request. Clean, green industries such as the renewable energy and the film, entertainment and television industries are on the cusp of the seismic paradigm shift we face and can help spark a healthy economic and cultural rebirth in Florida.

Sincerely,
Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

Representative Michael Scionti Accepts Presidential Appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

From the House Dems:


State Representative Michael Scionti will not seek reelection to a third term in the Florida House of Representatives for Legislative District 58 and announces that he has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intergovernmental Affairs and Homeland Defense. Representative Scionti’s resignation takes effect at midnight on December 13, 2009. Representative Scionti has requested that the Speaker of the House maintain the District 58 office, until such time that a special election can be held to finish the current term.



As a native of Tampa, Representative Scionti was first elected to the Florida House in 2006 and reelected without opposition to a second term in 2008. Representative Scionti proudly represents District 58, which encompasses historic West Tampa, as well as neighboring communities like Northeast MacFarlane, Riverside Heights, Seminole Heights, Wellswood, and unincorporated areas of Town & Country. “It has been a distinct privilege and honor to have served my community in the Florida Legislature, and I am grateful beyond words to all those who have entrusted me with their confidence and support.”

“Over the course of my professional career, I have served the greater public fighting to protect the rights of others in and out of the courtroom, on and off the battlefield, and throughout the halls of the legislature. With the pride and honor that accompanies such service comes the duty and responsibility of representing the public’s interest to the best of one’s ability and in the most effective manner,” said Representative Scionti. “As much as I have enjoyed serving as a forceful advocate in the Florida Legislature for small businesses, working families, and our children and seniors, I am now compelled to serve my Commander-in-Chief in the defense of our great nation.” As an officer in the United States Army Reserve and combat veteran of both the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Representative Scionti said, “Our country has called upon my service and I will once again answer the call.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grayson: "The Constitution Didn't Contemplate a Standing Army, Much Less an Army Standing in Kabul"

Rep. Hazelle Rogers' Inquiry About Census Outreach


November 23, 2009

The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor, State of Florida
Office of the Governor
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Dear Governor Crist:

At no time in our state’s history has an accurate census count meant so much. I am keenly interested in making certain that all of Florida’s hard-to-count populations are counted, including the minority populations, immigrants and people with disabilities.

Obtaining an accurate count of Florida’s population is crucial for many matters, including the planning of Florida’s schools, highways, roads and other vital public projects. I consider these funds monies in reserve as we plan ahead in these fiscally challenging years.

As a legislative delegate to the 2010 Sunshine Census’ Statewide Complete Count Committee, I have several urgent questions to bring to your attention.

Of the funds appropriated by the federal government for this important effort, how much money is Florida expected to receive and how will these funds be distributed and utilized?

Of the funds appropriated by the State of Florida, how much will each county, municipality or other local entity receive, and how will those funds be utilized?

Does your office maintain a database of how state and federal funds for census initiatives are being spent throughout the state, and can you provide descriptions of the projects being funded?

I am certain that there is an economic impact to our local communities through state and federal spending on census outreach efforts. It is not clear if funds can be used to supplement someone who is getting unemployment benefits.

Governor, your rapid response to these questions will be warmly welcomed, and your continued interest in this important matter is deeply appreciated.

Sincerely,

Hazelle Rogers
Representative, Florida House District 94

Rep. Adam Fetterman Files Restore Trust In Government Act

From the House Dems:


State Representative Adam Fetterman (D-Port St. Lucie) filed House Joint Resolution 389 (HJR 389) today that would make it more difficult for lawmakers to raid state trust funds.

“For too long, Florida lawmakers have used bait-and-switch tactics when setting aside taxpayer dollars for specific purposes,” said Representative Fetterman. “My measure would amend the state constitution to make it much harder for the Legislature to raid state trust funds. In essence, we need to put the ‘trust’ back in ‘trust fund,’ and my measure will do just that.”

In recent years, budget watchers have become increasingly alarmed that lawmakers are using designated trust funds for other purposes.

These funds are initially set aside for important projects or programs with the promise that the designated money would only be used for that purpose.

In 2009 alone, over $500 million in trust fund monies were diverted to balance the state budget. One notable example is a trust fund established to clean underwater contamination. In previous years, gasoline taxes funded the cleanup of underground and outdated storage tanks with the promise that monies would help offset the cost of cleanup. But in 2009, more than $140 million was taken from the trust fund to pay for general government purposes.

“My idea is simple in that it says when we make a promise to taxpayers, we keep that promise,” said Representative Fetterman. “Is it any wonder that the public has lost faith in state government when lawmakers can’t even keep a simple promise? My bill will help force future legislatures to keep their word.”

Representative Fetterman’s proposal is being submitted as a Joint Resolution, which requires a three-fifths majority vote of support in both chambers for it to be approved. If the measure passes both chambers, voters will then have the opportunity to consider it on the November 2010 general election ballot as an amendment to the Florida Constitution.

'Call On Crist to End His Culture of Corrupt Cronyism' Urges New Facebook Group

From FDP:


Florida voters were urged to "Ask Gov. Crist to end the 'culture-of-corruption'-cronyism" by joining a new social networking group, "Stop Crist Now" in an online video launched by the Florida Democratic Party, today.

The video can be viewed online at http://www.FlaDems.com/CristVideo.

"Last week, when George LeMieux (R-Crist) derided Florida's 'culture of corruption,' he conveniently left out his and Charlie Crist's starring role in so many of the recent corruption scandals. That's why today we have formed the Stop Crist group to end Crist and LeMieux's corrupt cronyism," Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said. "Floridians are fed up with Gov. Crist's lack of leadership and his repeatedly putting his own political ambitions ahead of our state's people."

"'[P]olitical scandals have uncovered 'a culture of corruption' that must be stamped
out,' freshman Florida Sen. George LeMieux said." LeMieux's statement is particularly hypocritical given the fact he was appointed by his former boss Charlie Crist to hold the same vacant U.S. Senate seat Crist is now seeking. Since then, LeMeiux has come under scrutiny for exploiting his new found position to aid Crist and his political ambition. [Miami Herald, 12/1/09; Miami Herald, 11/27/09]

The Facebook group, "Stop Crist Now" is open to the public and can be found online at www.Facebook.com or through the FDP Web site, www.FlaDems.com/StopCrist. The social networking group features news updates on Crist's failure to provide leadership as Governor and ways to join online events.

"People are fed up with Charlie Crist and online organizing is another way Floridians are calling for a change for the better in the Sunshine State," Arceneaux added.

Sunshine: Watch the video




Since over 4,500 of you stood up and asked Governor Crist to put his job as Governor over his personal ambition he's shown no sign of heading our call. In fact he joined his handpicked political crony Senator George LeMieux for a fundraiser in Washington D.C.

Earlier this week, we asked you to help us combat their collusion with the only thing Governor Crist does these days - raising money. But to win next November we need to go one step further: We need to get organized and spread the message.

We need your help to bring what Crist is doing into the light of day and bring it to the attention of every Floridian. Take a minute and watch this video, that every Floridian needs to see, about the relationship between Governor Crist and Senator LeMeiux:

http://www.fladems.com/cristvideo

The best way to combat the culture of cronyism and corruption displayed by Crist and LeMeiux to make sure that people know it and aren't fooled by their recent lip service about "stopping" corruption. Together we can Stop Crist by making sure that he can't get away with using his office to further his own political fortunes anymore.

As the old saying goes, "Sunshine is the most powerful of disinfectants," so with your help we can bring their tactics into the light of day. Please help us by watching this video about Crist and LeMeiux, and then forward it on to all you friends:

http://www.fladems.com/cristvideo

After you watch the video, please join our Stop Crist group on Facebook. With this group we hope to reach out to thousands of voters that may not know about the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee - and show them what their Governor is doing.

If we work together we can bring Crist and LeMeiux's dealings in to the light of day and put a stop to them once and for all next November.

Sincerely,

Scott Arceneaux
Executive Director
Florida Democratic Party

Alan Grayson: Drop Cloture to 55 Votes

President Obama's Weekly Address: Pushing Forward on Jobs

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jobless Figures Highlight Need for Bipartisan Action

From the House Dems:


House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement about October employment figures:

“Families across Florida are devastated by the reality of a 34-year-high unemployment rate. It is hard to find a friend or neighbor who isn’t touched by today’s news that Florida’s unemployment rate is 11.2 percent.

“The challenges facing our families and small businesses are obvious to anyone paying attention. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Florida House has turned its back on countless citizens who see the need for helping jobless Floridians with a fairer Unemployment Compensation system.

“Florida House Democrats remain hopeful that Republican leaders will drop their opposition to modernizing Florida’s Unemployment Compensation system and will join Governor Charlie Crist in approving the use of $444 million in federal stimulus to assist the growing-number of jobless Floridians.

“These dollars will be spent helping families buy food, pay rent and will generally boost economic activity and retail business throughout the state. Additionally, as Governor Crist has asserted, jobless benefits approved by President Barack Obama and Congress would allow Florida to help individuals who lose their jobs due to family circumstances, such as domestic violence, family illness or the relocation of a spouse.

“It is time that Republican leaders begin working on bipartisan solutions that will put Florida back to work.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman Applauds Release of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act


Yesterday, the Senate released the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years while extending health insurance to 31 million Americans. In response, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement:

"Yesterday, we moved another step closer to passing historic health insurance reform legislation with the release of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this bill will extend health insurance coverage to 31 million Americans while reducing the national deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years.

"This bill does just what the President has talked about for months - it offers stability and security for Floridians who have insurance, provides quality, affordable coverage for the uninsured and lowers costs for families, businesses and governments.

"Florida's families can no longer bear the burden of skyrocketing premiums, out-of-pocket expenses and unfair insurance company practices. On behalf of all Floridians struggling with our broken health care system, I thank President Obama and Senate Democrats for their commitment to passing reform now."

Letter from Congressman Meek to Governor Crist Regarding Reports that Unemployment Compensation Taxes Paid by Florida Businesses May Skyrocket Next Ye


U.S. Representative Kendrick B. Meek today wrote a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist and state leaders on averting a rise in Florida’s unemployment compensation taxes. A copy of the letter appears below:

November 18, 2009
The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor, State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Fl 32399-0001

Dear Governor Crist:

This is the second letter that I have written you concerning Florida’s non-compliance with the Unemployment Insurance (UI) modernization provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The consequences of Florida’s failure to comply are now fully known as today’s news reports indicate that unemployment compensation taxes paid by Florida businesses will skyrocket next year.

What is your position on this critical legislation? Are you for the stimulus or are you against it? Is the position of your administration to tax small businesses or not? If the answer is the latter, the Legislature must move under your direction to pass necessary legislative fixes to ensure that Florida receives the $444 million in stimulus funds our state is due to help fund unemployment insurance coverage.

In voting for the Economic Recovery Act, I hoped that Florida would be able to maximize every federal dollar our state is due through the passage of this Act. That, however, has not occurred. By helping pass this federal legislation, Florida would have received $444 million in funds to provide a needed cushion for the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund that is quickly depleting because of the demands placed on the system by Florida’s unemployed, which swelled to 11-plus percent in September.

To take advantage of these federal dollars flowing into our state, the Legislature was required to pass a legislative fix to state law to comply with federal guidelines and receive these funds. I wrote last asking that you play a leadership role with the Florida legislature to pass this critical legislative fix, and if necessary, call that body into a special session in May to ensure passage. Our neighbor Georgia, a state led by Republican Governor Sonny Perdue and a Republican-controlled legislature, passed the necessary legislation, yet Florida did not even allow this issue to move forward in the legislative process.

Your leadership is needed as the Chief Executive of our state to ensure that Florida’s legislature takes up and passes this critical issue, and I urge you to call a Special Session and to have this matter added to the call.

Florida’s unemployed families are disadvantaged because of this inaction in Tallahassee, and next year, Florida’s businesses will be unfairly taxed to pay for these delays. My vote to help pass the Economic Recovery Act was a vote for Florida’s future, and these investment dollars needed throughout the state are being held up in Tallahassee.

Faced with an incredibly challenging economic crisis, Florida cannot delay – we have dragged our feet for too long, and the consequences of this failure are now realized. Our families and businesses deserve better from their elected leaders in Tallahassee.

Enclosed is the letter I sent you on May 1, 2009 first addressing this issue.
Sincerely,

/s/

KENDRICK B. MEEK
Member of Congress

Florida House Democrats Say: Don't Refuse Federal Economic Recovery Funds for Unemployed Families

From the House Dems:


Florida House Democrats today urged House Speaker Larry Cretul and other House Republicans to take immediate action to ensure that Florida doesn’t reject more than $1 billion in federal stimulus aid for out-of-work Floridians.

With the unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, Florida is under extreme economic duress due to the slowdown of the real estate market and the global economic recession. In the midst of this crisis, Florida’s unemployment trust fund is being drained.

Concerned about the thousands of hard working, middle-class Florida families who will suffer due to unexpected job loss, House Democrats are urging immediate legislative approval of two major actions before the end of the 2009 lawmaking session. Democrats are seeking:

· Approval of legislation that would allow the state to use $777 million in federal Recovery Act money for the rest of the year for an estimated 250,000 people whose benefits would otherwise expire.

· Passage of legislation that would implement the Unemployment Compensation Modernization Incentive program that would provide an additional $444 million for unemployed Floridians. This program would offer benefits to individuals who lose their jobs for certain family circumstances, such as the relocation of a spouse, family illness, or domestic violence.

Measures that would implement these changes have been authored by state senators and have been subject to modest review in the Florida House of Representatives. The House should take immediate steps to pass these bills, including CS/SB 810, CS SB 516, and House Bill 1333 by Representative J.G. Rader (D-Delray Beach).

Florida House Democrats appreciate concerns that have been raised about potential future-year expenses associated with adoption of these changes. However, Florida House Democrats have repeatedly noted that the economic recovery dollars that have been provided by Congress and approved by President Barack Obama are urgently needed to help Florida’s economy recover and for families to be able to avoid crushing financial crises due to unemployment during this recession.

Additionally, U.S. Department of Labor officials have again confirmed in a recent correspondence with Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) that “there is no requirement that the state return any money it if later repeals the provisions” of the Unemployment Compensation Modernization Incentive program.

Representative Skidmore offered these remarks:

“Florida’s unemployed and hard-working families should not be denied their full and fair share of economic recovery funds. The Legislature should not penalize people who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. These dollars will make a real difference to people who are hungry and need rent money. This money can keep a roof over someone’s head and stimulate Florida’s economy.”

U.S. Representative Kendrick B. Meek on Looming Rise in Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Taxes


In response to news reports that unemployment compensation taxes paid by Florida businesses will skyrocket next year, U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek today reiterated his call for state officials to put Florida in compliance with unemployment benefits provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 so unemployed Floridians can receive full unemployment benefits and businesses can avoid a crippling rise in unemployment compensation taxes.

"Our state has left critical stimulus dollars on the table in Washington, DC and these hard to come by funds are desperately needed to help Florida’s families,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek, who in May urged Governor Charlie Crist to call the Legislature into a special session so that legislation could be passed for Florida to receive $444 million in recovery dollars for unemployment insurance. “Officials in Tallahassee are not in a position to deny Florida’s families and businesses economic relief because of legislative inaction.”

In April, Congressman Meek urged the Florida Legislature to enact legislation necessary to put Florida in compliance with the Unemployment Insurance modernization provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In May, Congressman Meek called on the Legislature to return for a Special Session to take advantage of $444 million in federal stimulus dollars meant to fund Unemployment Insurance (UI) to help unemployed Floridians and their families.

To date, the Legislature has failed to act and comply with federal guidelines, thus forgoing over $444 million in recovery dollars for unemployment insurance.

This inaction is particularly troubling given that states like Georgia were able to pass legislation to enact the necessary reforms, with Republican Governor Sonny Perdue and the Republican-controlled Legislature working across party lines to receive its share of UI stimulus dollars by legislatively working together to be compliant with the guidelines set forth in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Will Tim Pawlenty Endorse in Florida?

From FDP:


As Minn. Gov. and Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty prepares to visit Naples Friday, Floridians will be asking, which candidate will Pawlenty endorse in the Florida Republican Senate primary?

Following his endorsement of the Sarah Palin- and Glenn Beck-backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd Congressional district, will Pawlenty choose to endorse his fellow Governor Charlie Crist, or will he endorse the Club for Growth-backed Marc Rubio? Or maybe he will simply wait until a week after Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck make an endorsement to decide, like he did in New York? In his own words, Tim Pawlenty says the purpose of his Freedom First PAC is to help Republicans win elections, and having failed to help his candidate win in New York, who will he endorse in Florida?

"After the GOP ate its own in New York's 23rd Congressional District, the far-right wing of the Republican Party has turned its attention to Florida's Senate race, unleashing its furor on Gov. Charlie Crist, promising a GOP civil war in our state. Tim Pawlenty is traveling across the country for what he claims is to raise money to 'help Republicans win elections' - well Governor, there is no more contentious Republican primary than in Florida, and it will be interesting to see who Pawlenty gives his money to. From looking at his record of pandering to the radical right in recent months, you might think Rubio has the upper-hand, but Pawlenty may have learned his lesson from endorsing the far-right candidate in New York. Then again, Pawlenty's pandering to the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks of the world could be too important to his national ambitions," said Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman.

Response To Governor Charlie Crist's Remarks--Florida Education Reform

From the House Dems:


Response To Governor Charlie Crist’s Remarks
At Joint Meeting Of State Board of Education and Board of Governors
-Florida House Democrats Call For Expanding Accountability Measures-

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to remarks made today by Governor Charlie Crist at a joint meeting of the State Board of Education and Board of Governors:

“Governor Crist appears to be slowly recognizing that public education in Florida has suffered for more than a decade because of a misguided education accountability system that focuses too greatly on how students perform on a single-day standardized test.

“Today, the governor acknowledged certain shortcomings of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and by his remarks, seems to be signaling support for significant portions of the education reforms recently proposed by Florida House Democrats.

“A strong but fair accountability system is needed for Florida’s students, educators and schools. My colleagues and I in the 44-member Florida House Democratic Caucus are offering a new strategy for how schools can be assessed and graded. These changes are outlined in a formal comment to the state Department of Education pertaining to Florida’s application for federal Race to the Top Initiative grants.

“The current accountability system is shortsighted because it is based almost exclusively on how well students score on the FCAT. Our plan improves the system by phasing in a combination of end-of-course assessment exams.

“For too long, our children have only been taught to pass the FCAT instead of allowing teachers to concentrate on a variety of curriculum. Our suggestions would measure each student’s academic progress from the beginning to the end of a school year rather than a one-day snapshot of their learning.

“Much more must be done to improve Florida, its economy and our system of public education. Florida House Democrats are pleased to bring ideas for making our state better.”

Creative excuses

From Kendrick Meek (via FDP):


I have been a public servant my entire adult life -- first as a state trooper, then in the State Senate, and now as a United States Congressman. I can tell you: representing Floridians means always listening to the people, taking the tough questions, and standing behind your record. If you are going to serve the people of Florida, it is real work.

But Governor Crist seems to think that representing Floridians means making excuses.

Recently, Governor Crist said that the reason a majority of Floridians think our state is on the wrong track and hold him responsible is because Floridians have a "desire to blame someone."

Then, under pressure from the conservative wing of the Republican party, Governor Crist said that his standing with President Obama to sell the stimulus package should not be counted as an endorsement since he did not get to vote on it.

I believe the people of Florida deserve better than excuses and flip-flopping positions. We need a straight answer about Governor Crist's record on the economy and we should not rest until we get it. Will you stand with me today and ask him?

Join me in asking Governor Crist: Will you stick with the people of Florida or turn your back on creating jobs?

As a United States Senate candidate and Congressman, I talk everyday with Floridians that are struggling - struggling to find a job, struggling to keep their home and provide for their family. Like you, they are looking for our next Senator to hit the ground running fighting for Floridians and helping create jobs.

As a state legislator and a congressman, I have always fought for jobs, health care, and education every day, and I don't let anything stop me. In 2002, I led a drive to reduce class sizes. Despite tough opposition, I fought hard for my own children and for their classmates so that every child in Florida would get a good start. And, on Election Day, the measure was approved by over 2.5 million Florida citizens.

Being a Senator is about waking up everyday focused on doing what you can for all Floridians. Taking a position on an issue is just the first step - and we don't even know where Governor Crist stands on a major piece of legislation. Florida doesn't need a Senator that checks special interests and fringe party elements before taking a stand for Floridians.

Will you take a second to join me, and ask Governor Crist: Will you stick with the people of Florida or turn your back on creating jobs?

And if Governor Crist thinks he can avoid us -- I remind him that I played Defensive End for the FAMU Rattlers - and a lot of quarterbacks made the same mistake against me before. As Senator, I'll be on the offense for the people of Florida and getting the job done. Not being defensive when questioned by a vocal minority.

Thank you for standing up with me to hold Governor Crist accountable and helping support Democrats across Florida. With your help I know we can win next November.

Sincerely,

Congressman Kendrick Meek


KendrickMeek.com

Hit the Blue Dogs!

From the PCCC:


This week, "Blue Dogs" and other bad Democrats voted to kill health care reform. They betrayed us on this core Democratic issue.

It's payback time.

Can you chip in $25 to help run online ads in the districts of 10 bad Democrats?

Together, we can hold them accountable to Democratic voters back home who trusted them with their time, money, and votes. You can see all 10 targets at the above link.

Poll after poll in "conservative" states shows that voters want health care reform -- and yes, they want the public option. Yet these bad Democrats put their corporate contributors ahead of their constituents.

Here are some of our targets:

Scott Murphy (D-NY). Murphy won a special election in April with ads featuring President Obama in a district Obama won. He told voters "the United States is facing a health care crisis." Yet Murphy voted against Obama's #1 domestic priority: health care.

Heath Shuler (D-NC). In 2006, Democrats spent millions helping Shuler win what is now a safe seat. As chief "whip" for the Blue Dogs, Shuler recruited other Democrats to vote against health care reform.

John Barrow (D-GA). Barrow won his 2008 Democratic primary solely because Obama endorsed him in a highly African-American district -- a district that Obama won by double digits.

Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL). Kosmas represents a district near Rep. Alan Grayson, but is the polar opposite of Grayson. Instead of being bold and having a people-powered campaign, she is corporate-funded and consistently votes against the people.

Mike Ross (D-AR). Ross is a top Blue Dog who Keith Olbermann featured for selling out to his insurance contributors. Our PCCC poll showed that Arkansas voters want a public option by 56% to 37%.

Fortunately, health care reform squeaked by without their votes. But If we don't hold bad Democrats accountable when they betray us on core Democratic issues, they will do it over and over again.

Can you chip in $25 to hold them accountable?

Then, please forward this to others. Thanks for being a bold progressive.

--Aaron Swartz, Stephanie Taylor, Adam Green, Andrew Perez, and the PCCC team

"Poll after poll shows that even voters in conservative areas want health care reform and demand the public option. Blue Dog Democrats like Suzanne Kosmas are wholly owed subsidiaries of corporate America, and they will pay a political price back home for putting their corporate contributors ahead of their constituents who want reform."

-- Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a 250,000 member progressive activist organization dedicated to electing bold progressives to Congress.

Recent polls:
NBC/WSJ Poll Shows 76% Support For Choice Of Public Plan
September New York Times poll: 65% overall, 47% of Republicans, 61% of Independents, 81% of Democrats support public option.
October CNN poll: 61% to 38% support public option.
Arkansas Oct 2009, Research 2000: 56% to 37% support public option.
Indiana Oct 2009, Research 2000: 52% to 42% support public option.
Nebraska Oct 2009, Research 2000: 46% to 44% support public option
Nevada Oct 2009, Research 2000: 54% to 39% support public option
Connecticut Sept 2009, Research 2000: 68% to 21% support public option.
Maine Oct 2009, Research 2000: 61% to 28% support public option.

Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Calls for a Full Curb on Unfair and Excessive Bank Overdraft Fees


In response to today’s news that the Federal Reserve will take the initial step of instituting new rules restricting overdraft fees on debit cards, U.S. Representative Kendrick B. Meek today called for a full curb on excessive and unfair bank overdraft fees.

“This is a great first step to ensure consumer protection, but Congress can move further on this pocketbook issue,” said Congressman Meek.

In 2005, Meek took the lead on this issue by introducing the Overdraft Fee Notification Act, which would have prohibited financial institutions from imposing fees or charges for consumer overdrafts without prior notification and consumer consent at the time of the transaction, much in the same way as non-institution ATM fees are accepted or declined by users. The bill required such notification for all in-person, automated, telephonic, and internet-based financial transactions.

“For too long, banks have been permitted to levy exorbitant charges on the backs of everyday customers by quietly enrolling them in so-called ‘overdraft protection programs’ that fall outside of notification requirements in current law,” said Meek.

“Consumers need to have all the information available to them so they can make educated financial decisions. This includes being allowed to opt-in to such a service as well as being able to decline it at any time. This legislation will push back against these fees and put the interests of the American people before the priorities of the powerful banking lobby.”

Currently, a growing number of banks levy unfair fees on their customers by allowing overdrafts on accounts without alerting the customer. Current law requires that banks gain affirmative approval from consumers to enroll them into overdraft programs that draw funds from lines of credit or from their savings accounts. These disclosures must include a statement of associated fees and charges for overdrafts whether or not the consumer is enrolled in such a program. However, after enrolling, many banks automatically give their customers a “gratuity”, or other short-term line of credit without notifying the customer, to cover account shortfalls and, in some cases, actually show the “phantom” money as available funds when customers ask for an ATM balance. Failing to alert consumers at the point of sale that they are triggering the overdraft protection is particularly frustrating for consumers whose shortfalls from ATM withdrawals, debit card purchases, or electronic transfers are often far less than the associated overdraft fees they receive.

The most recent legislation currently being considered before Congress, H.R. 3904, the Overdraft Protection Act, includes many of the same provisions from Rep. Meek’s original bill.

To read the full text of the current bill, please see the following website:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3904ih.txt.pdf

Honoring Florida's Veterans

From FDP:


In honor of Veterans Day, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement:

"Across the country, Americans are honoring our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for the cause of freedom and democracy. The brave men and women of our armed forces have created the strongest military in the world. They have sacrificed more than most of us can comprehend - leaving behind their family, friends and loved ones and putting themselves in harm's way to defend this country and our allies.

"Today we salute their heroic contributions with ceremonies and celebrations, but are also reminded that we must follow these gestures with actions.

"Our veterans have never wavered in their commitment to their country, and it is our duty as a nation to ensure that when they come back from battle, they are getting the care and support they have earned. Throughout the last year, President Obama, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki and our Democrats in Congress have worked to do just that.

"President Obama has called for the largest increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the last 30 years while Secretary Shinseki has worked to create a more modern, effective and efficient VA.

"Though we have made progress, there is still much work to be done. While our servicemen and women are fighting for us, we must continue to fight for them - we must ensure that every Veteran gets the care, educational and economic opportunity they fought so hard to preserve."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

President Obama on the Texas Shootings

Weekly address:



Memorial speech, part 1:



Memorial speech, part 2:

This Modern World

This Modern World

(Click to enlarge)

Conniving and Sinister

From Shakesville:

Conniving and Sinister