03 June 2005

Pentagon flushes previous denials regarding the Koran

BREAKING NEWS at AmericanpolitiX.com

Read about the Pentagon's shocking admission regarding mishandling of the Koran by visiting http://americanpolitix.blogspot.com/2005/06/pentagon-flushes-previous-denials.html

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01 June 2005

Bush wants special session to clean up GOP mess on slots

Last month, Florida legislators departed Tallahassee with a great deal of the people's work left undone. One issue that was derailed during the annual GOP legislative train wreck was new regulations on slot machines in South Florida, which were required to be passed by the state constitution. Now, Governor Jeb Bush wants state legislators to return to Tallahassee to handle the slots issue. Whether this will happen is unknown at this time.

Last November, voters narrowly passed a constitutional amendment that allows voters in two South Florida counties to decide if their pari-mutuels may install slot machines. Amendment Four was billed as the knight in shining armor for education, with proponents claiming that Florida's public schools would gain hundreds of millions of new dollars per year. The governor, the religious right, and anti-gambling groups opposed the initiative, but it eventually passed with 50.8% of the vote. The amendment then required that the two affected counties hold separate referenda to decide whether the slots could be installed. Governor Bush again campaigned heavily against the issue. Broward County approved the installation of slot machines, but Miami-Dade voted against. The next step was for the Florida Legislature to create necessary regulations for slot machines, but intra-party bickering within the GOP prevented anything from passing.

Following his efforts during the session to obstruct any meaningful slots legislation, Governor Bush is now calling for a special session so that the Florida Legislature can meet their constitutional requirement by setting standards for slots in pari-mutuels in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Section 23 of Article X of the state constitution requires that the Legislature pass implementing legislation "no later" than July 1, 2005. Since the Republicans in Tallahassee dropped the ball last month, pandemonium is now breaking out in South Florida.

First in order to pander to religious conservatives, Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) called for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to revoke the license of any pari-mutuels who installs slot machines before implementing legislation is passed by politicians in Tallahassee. Then three pari-mutuels from Broward County have gone to court in order to get the green light on slots, while opponents have also filed lawsuits.

Florida Republicans have caused a mess in the Sunshine State, and as usual, it will be the state's citizens who pay for it. Special sessions have been estimated to cost $40,000 per day, so a week in Tallahassee could cost Florida's taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars. This fiscal irresponsibility is the result of special interest groups gaining too much control in the capitol. The religious right, who has become the tail that wags the GOP dog, strongly opposes gambling, even when it would benefit education. This extreme wing of the party has forced the Grand Ole Party to abandon the principles of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and instead embrace big government solutions for social problems. It's a shame for the Republicans, but more importantly, it's a shame for Florida. Let's just hope that if Governor Bush does call a special session, he can get his party to do the right thing this time.

30 May 2005

Senator Katherine Harris? It's very possible!

Republicans are waiting. Democrats are waiting. Will Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R-Sarasota) challenge Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) for his seat next year? Republicans appears to be discouraging her from running, likely out of fear that her candidacy would be too polarizing and could hurt GOP candidates down the ballot. Democrats are salivating at the thought she will run, hoping to retaliate against the former state secretary of state who they feel handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000. A Harris campaign appears to be a lose-lose situation for everyone. So, will she run? Conventional wisdom says that she won't, but conventional wisdom may just be wrong. Don't be surprised if Katherine Harris is the next junior senator from the Sunshine State.

Harris has positioned herself well. She brings a lot to the table, and many of her liabilities are greatly outweighed by her assets. First, she comes from one of the most famous families in Florida. Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., the citrus and cattle magnate and former Democratic state senator, is Harris' grandfather, therefore the name itself is a hot commodity.

Harris also has incredible access to GOP contributors. After the 2000 election debacle, she was vilified by those on the left, but the right-wing base of the Republican Party still consider her a hero. Many on the right credit her with the Bush victory, and they will not forget her when it comes time to run. Harris herself says that she would have no problem raising the necessary $25 million to beat Nelson.

The Democrats are already starting to label Harris as an ultraconservative Republican who is out of step with average Floridians, but that accusation may not stick. Harris has quite successfully taken a page from Senator Hillary Clinton's (D-New York) playbook on moving to the middle. Just as Senator Clinton is one of the more conservative Democrats in the Senate, Harris has adopted some liberal and centrist positions which would help her tremendously along the I-4 corridor and with swing voters in general. Two weeks ago, Harris hosted a Summit on Pornography: Obscenity Enforcement, Corporate Participation and Violence Against Women and Children. This role allows Harris to position herself on the side of soccer moms and all parents who are starting to wonder why Florida has seen so many sex crimes against children recently.

Harris also lists her priority issues, which include Homeland Security and the War on Terror, Honoring our Veterans, Housing, Liberty in Iraq, Medicare and Prescription Drugs, Protecting our Children, Retirement Security, and Revitalizing our Economy. Harris' list is very similar to that on Senator Clinton's web page.

Perhaps Harris' greatest strength is not of her doing, but rather that of the Democrats. When you mention Harris' name to a hardcore Democrat, they take it very seriously - often too seriously. There are still Democrats in Florida who honestly believe the 2000 election was stolen, and they hold Harris directly responsible.

Senator Nelson should be concerned by a Harris candidacy, because it would surely draw out the looniest of all the left-wing groups. MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, and similar groups funded by George Soros would be moving to the Sunshine State just to attack Harris fulltime. Just like in 2004, the Republicans would be able to flip the table and turn the discussion away from the attacks and toward the attackers. The Bush campaign did this beautifully, and I would expect a similar tactic in Florida next year.