Mark LaFontaine discusses Religious Funding Constitutional Amendment

Mark discusses TRBC Constitutional Amendment

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Senator Gwen Margolis Spearheads Drive For Equal Rights

Legislation Ratifying Equal Rights Amendment Will Be Heard In Committee Tomorrow
TALLAHASSEEIn 1776, Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband, John, wrote: "In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands." Yet more than two hundred years after the colonists declared their independence from King George, women in the United States are still attempting to encode in the Constitution their own guarantee of sovereignty.
"It is vital that Florida join the majority of states and send a message to the rest of the world that female citizens should be constitutionally guaranteed equality," said State Senator Gwen Margolis ( D-Sunny Isles Beach ), who is once again at the forefront of legislative attempts to have Florida ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. "How do we explain to the rest of the world that should a woman win the U.S. Presidency – the top job in this country - we could arguably get away with paying her only 77 cents on the dollar compared to her male predecessor?"
The Equal Rights Amendment, which affirms that both women and men hold equally all of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, has remained unchanged since 1943:  "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
The amendment, for first time, would guarantee that sex discrimination be subject to the same judicial standards as race discrimination. The ERA has been ratified by thirty-five states thus far; endorsement by thirty-eight states is needed in order to amend the Constitution.
SJR 362- Equal Rights for Men & Women would add Florida to the list of states backing the constitutional amendment. The legislation will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, April 1st, 2008; at 1:00pm in room 110, Senate Office Building .
Senator Margolis, who previously served as the first female Senate President and as Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman, has worked tirelessly for the ERA's passage since her return to the upper chamber in 2002. 
Contact: Zack Kobrin 850-487-5121

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Florida ’s inconsistent patchwork of sex offender and predator residency restrictions

TALLAHASSEEIn an effort to remedy Florida 's inconsistent patchwork of sex offender and predator residency restrictions, State Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) on Tuesday will present to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee legislation offering common-sense alternatives. 
SB 1430, which is scheduled to be heard Tuesday, April 1, 2008, would better protect public safety by creating a uniform statewide standard to prevent sex offenders and predators from living 1,500 feet from places children frequent.  The legislation would also create 24-hour child safety zones that would prevent offenders and predators from loitering around parks, playgrounds and other places where children congregate during the day
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will meet from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in the Senate Office Building , Room 401.
CONTACT:   Kristen Pesicek

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Jeb Bush: Gone But Not Forgotten

 Gone, But Not Forgotten MIAMI (CBS4) ¯ Since leaving the Governor's Mansion a little more than a year ago, Jeb Bush has maintained a very low profile. He has granted few interviews with the press and made even fewer public appearances. He did recently speak to the Florida Baptist Witness which, according to its website "publishes Good News about God's work that edifies, educates, exhorts and empowers Florida Baptists to exalt God and extend His Kingdom."

Bush told the newspaper it was "important" for him to "get out of the way" of his successor, Charlie Crist, so the new governor could "create his own path."

Bush said he needed to simply "let go."

Yet as we saw on March 26th, Bush may be gone, but he has never really let go. Bush has always maintained a presence in Tallahassee – if not physically, then certainly philosophically. Many of his former top aides went to work for House Speaker Marco Rubio, and the conservative Rubio himself told me recently he consults with Bush – usually through email – on a regular basis.

But the decision this week by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC) to propose an amendment to the state constitution, obliterating the line between Church and State, and opening the door for taxpayer money to be funneled directly to religious institutions, is entirely the handiwork of Jeb Bush. The members of the TBRC who drove that proposal all had ties to Jeb Bush when he was governor.

It was as if Bush, in Freddy Krueger-like fashion, returned from the politically dead, to wreak just a little more havoc.

The change to the Constitution is something Bush has wanted since a state appeals court struck down part of his vaunted voucher program because the judges found it violated the "no aid" provision of the state constitution. The "no aid" language has been a hallmark of Florida's constitution for more than 120 years.

The constitutional amendment, which will now appear on the November ballot, and will need 60 percent approval to be adopted, was introduced to the TBRC by Commissioner Patricia Levesque, a former Bush aide who now heads his foundation, the Foundation for Florida's Future. She was joined by other Bush appointees on the TBRC in passing the measure.
Bush has not commented on the plan, but it is widely expected that he will emerge from his self-imposed political hiatus to campaign aggressively for the amendment.

State Rep. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat, told me he believes Bush will raise millions in the coming months to mount a campaign across the state in support of the amendment.

Passage of the amendment alone will not resurrect Bush's voucher program, known as Opportunity Scholarships and offered to children from "failing schools." The state Supreme Court struck down Bush's voucher program on other grounds, as well. The justices argued the state Constitution does not allow the state to fund dueling school systems and therefore state resources can not be diverted to private schools. But the constitutional amendment proposed Wednesday by the TBRC will certainly re-ignite the debate over vouchers. And it comes at a time when funding for public education is already in jeopardy.

Indeed, a second constitutional amendment by the TBRC will also have a dramatic effect on the state's school system. The plan to eliminate that portion of your property tax bill that goes toward education will also be on the ballot in November.

Currently $9 billion is raised through property taxes for local school districts. Under the proposal, which would also need 60 percent approval from voters, the property tax that goes toward education would be replaced by a one cent increase to the sales tax. But a penny increase would only raise approximately $3.2 billion.

State lawmakers would have to come up with another $5.8 billion from somewhere – budget cuts, other tax increases – to make up the difference. If they don't, the state's school system, which is already one of the poorest funded in the country, will be in even worse shape.

A third assault on public schools is also looming by the TBRC, a little known entity that meets every 20 years to review the state's budget and tax systems. The TBRC is also debating whether to make changes to the class-size amendment voters approved several years ago. Bush fought hard to defeat the class-size amendment when it was first introduced, and he appears to be trying to undo its effect through the TBRC.

As of right now, however, it appears those efforts will fall short and no change to the class-size amendment will make it onto the November ballot.

A rare defeat for a former Governor who can't just seem to let go.

Watch This Video To Learn More... CLICK HERE

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc..)

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Why Obama Should Not Drop Out Of The Race

. Not all the votes have been counted yet, he should wait for Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina and Kentucky to vote, millions of votes have not been counted yet.  
.The vote will all be counted when Puerto Rico and Montana and South Dakota  has voted after June 3rd.
. Obama should not let the Media decide when this race is over
. 22 Percent of Democrats think Obama should drop out, just like 22 percent think Hillary should drop out
. Every state that has a PRIMARY, interest in the race increases and voter rolls swell, This  process has been good for the Democratic Party  
Right now, nobody has enough votes to claim the nomination. That's just a fact. Read Marc Ambinder's piece if you want to know just how close this race really is.

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Make Florida Count

Grassroots Dems are on the job.
It originates from a Facebook group.

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Obama Shill Ed Shultz Gets The Axe At WINZ

"Big Head Ed" Schultz has been canceled from Miami/Fort Lauderdale
radio. Miami, one of radio's largest media markets has seen the slipping ratings of the Ed Schultz show for months and replacing him with a Live show of Thom Hartmann.
Maybe the other Obama shills, on progressive radio, better watch their backs.

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Action Alet on on a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would allow the government to fund religious proselytizing activities and discriminate among religious groups

The Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is scheduled to vote this Wednesday on a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would allow the government to fund religious proselytizing activities and discriminate among religious groups.

The proposed amendment would remove the prohibition on using tax dollars to fund religious activities and allow government to earmark your tax dollars to sponsor government-funded religion.

On Wednesday, March 26 the Commission will vote on Proposal CP0020. The measure, if approved, would place on the ballot a devastating constitutional amendment that remove the prohibition on using monies from the public treasury to aid any church, sect or sectarian institution.  The measure would also "prohibit individuals and entities from being barred from participating in public programs because of their religion."

This amendment would allow government to fund religious proselytizing activities and show preference for one religion over another. It would also open the floodgates for discrimination by permitting government-funded religious organizations to discriminate in who they serve.

Your voice is urgently needed. Click here to take action or copy and paste the URL below into your browser.  Tell the Commission that you do not agree with proposal CP0020 and strongly urge them to vote against it. (Feel free to copy and paste the e-mail below into the comments section on the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission's web site):

Dear members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission:

As a concerned Florida citizen, I am writing today to strongly urge you to VOTE NO ON CP0020 - a proposal that will allow the State to use my tax dollars to bankroll government-funded religion. Voting for this proposal will remove the constitutional prohibition - part of our State's Constitution for 140 years - that prevents government from favoring one particular religious group by funding it. This will chip away at my and all Floridians' basic constitutional rights to practice religion and be free from government-sponsored and funded proselytizing.

We deserve "government-free" religion. Government-funded religion only ensures religious discrimination, strife and controversy. This is a dangerous proposal with far-reaching implications for many Floridians. Government funded religion squelches religious liberty - a core American value; it does not encourage religious liberty.
I urge you not to allow religious discrimination to be enshrined in Florida's Constitution.



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Gov. Crist of Florida likes women, A LOT, I mean it, stop laughing

by John Aravosis (DC) 

For some reason, the Florida press is pushing several stories feeding the notion that Republican Governor Charlie Crist really likes women. Could this have something to do with rumors that the very-single and always-tan Mr. Crist is being considered as a VP choice for John McCain? (There are other rumors too.) There's this, which is embarrassing enough ("chick magnet"? Yeah, right), and then there's this from his dad, regarding his son's "fondness" for women:
"Always! I mean, I can't keep up with him. And they like him, too."
Yeah, they like me a lot too.

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4,000... and counting


Nobody has done enough to stop this war.
A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. The grim milestone came on the same day that rockets and mortars pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone, underscoring the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups despite an overall lull in violence. ... - MSNBC

Young John McSame

At this rate, Cranky McSame will be back in the Boy Scouts by November. Coming to a town near you, no doubt.

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Shame to Sen Ronda Storms And Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff

Seantor Ronda Storms and Rep. Ellyn Bogodanoff
Need to hang their heads in shame. This is a story that happens everday in Florida. Their cold hearts stop them from helping Florida's Children. 
A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up, Repeatedly
All lank and bone, the boy stands at the corner with his younger sister, waiting for the yellow bus that takes them to their respective schools. He is Billy Wolfe, high school sophomore, struggling.
Moments earlier he left the sanctuary that is his home, passing those framed photographs of himself as a carefree child, back when he was 5. And now he is at the bus stop, wearing a baseball cap, vulnerable at 15.
A car the color of a school bus pulls up with a boy who tells his brother beside him that he's going to beat up Billy Wolfe. While one records the assault with a cellphone camera, the other walks up to the oblivious Billy and punches him hard enough to leave a fist-size welt on his forehead.
The video shows Billy staggering, then dropping his book bag to fight back, lanky arms flailing. But the screams of his sister stop things cold.
The aggressor heads to school, to show friends the video of his Billy moment, while Billy heads home, again. It's not yet 8 in the morning.
Bullying is everywhere, including here in Fayetteville, a city of 60,000 with one of the country's better school systems. A decade ago a Fayetteville student was mercilessly harassed and beaten for being gay. After a complaint was filed with the Office of Civil Rights, the district adopted procedures to promote tolerance and respect — none of which seems to have been of much comfort to Billy Wolfe.
It remains unclear why Billy became a target at age 12; schoolyard anthropology can be so nuanced. Maybe because he was so tall, or wore glasses then, or has a learning disability that affects his reading comprehension. Or maybe some kids were just bored. Or angry.
Whatever the reason, addressing the bullying of Billy has become a second job for his parents: Curt, a senior data analyst, and Penney, the owner of an office-supply company. They have binders of school records and police reports, along with photos documenting the bruises and black eyes. They are well known to school officials, perhaps even too well known, but they make no apologies for being vigilant. They also reject any suggestion that they should move out of the district because of this.
The many incidents seem to blur together into one protracted assault. When Billy attaches a bully's name to one beating, his mother corrects him. "That was Benny, sweetie," she says. "That was in the eighth grade."
It began years ago when a boy called the house and asked Billy if he wanted to buy a certain sex toy, heh-heh. Billy told his mother, who informed the boy's mother. The next day the boy showed Billy a list with the names of 20 boys who wanted to beat Billy up.
Ms. Wolfe says she and her husband knew it was coming. She says they tried to warn school officials — and then bam: the prank caller beat up Billy in the bathroom of McNair Middle School.
Not long after, a boy on the school bus pummeled Billy, but somehow Billy was the one suspended, despite his pleas that the bus's security camera would prove his innocence. Days later, Ms. Wolfe recalls, the principal summoned her, presented a box of tissues, and played the bus video that clearly showed Billy was telling the truth.
Things got worse. At Woodland Junior High School, some boys in a wood shop class goaded a bigger boy into believing that Billy had been talking trash about his mother. Billy, busy building a miniature house, didn't see it coming: the boy hit him so hard in the left cheek that he briefly lost consciousness.
Ms. Wolfe remembers the family dentist sewing up the inside of Billy's cheek, and a school official refusing to call the police, saying it looked like Billy got what he deserved. Most of all, she remembers the sight of her son.
"He kept spitting blood out," she says, the memory strong enough still to break her voice.
By now Billy feared school. Sometimes he was doubled over with stress, asking his parents why. But it kept on coming.
In ninth grade, a couple of the same boys started a Facebook page called "Every One That Hates Billy Wolfe." It featured a photograph of Billy's face superimposed over a likeness of Peter Pan, and provided this description of its purpose: "There is no reason anyone should like billy he's a little bitch. And a homosexual that NO ONE LIKES."
According to Alan Wilbourn, a spokesman for the school district, the principal notified the parents of the students involved after Ms. Wolfe complained, and the parents — whom he described as "horrified" — took steps to have the page taken down.
Not long afterward, a student in Spanish class punched Billy so hard that when he came to, his braces were caught on the inside of his cheek.
So who is Billy Wolfe? Now 16, he likes the outdoors, racquetball and girls. For whatever reason — bullying, learning disabilities or lack of interest — his grades are poor. Some teachers think he's a sweet kid; others think he is easily distracted, occasionally disruptive, even disrespectful. He has received a few suspensions for misbehavior, though none for bullying.
Judging by school records, at least one official seems to think Billy contributes to the trouble that swirls around him. For example, Billy and the boy who punched him at the bus stop had exchanged words and shoves a few days earlier.
But Ms. Wolfe scoffs at the notion that her son causes or deserves the beatings he receives. She wonders why Billy is the only one getting beaten up, and why school officials are so reluctant to punish bullies and report assaults to the police.
Mr. Wilbourn said federal law protected the privacy of students, so parents of a bullied child should not assume that disciplinary action had not been taken. He also said it was left to the discretion of staff members to determine if an incident required police notification.
The Wolfes are not satisfied. This month they sued one of the bullies "and other John Does," and are considering another lawsuit against the Fayetteville School District. Their lawyer, D. Westbrook Doss Jr., said there was neither glee nor much monetary reward in suing teenagers, but a point had to be made: schoolchildren deserve to feel safe.
Billy Wolfe, for example, deserves to open his American history textbook and not find anti-Billy sentiments scrawled across the pages. But there they were, words so hurtful and foul.
The boy did what he could. "I'd put white-out on them," he says. "And if the page didn't have stuff to learn, I'd rip it out."
Online: A slide show of Billy Wolfe at
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Happy Easter

. Light a candle. Say a prayer or have a meditation. ...or simply relax.

Just The Facts

Q: Did 10 percent of Hillary's votes come from "Limbaugh Democrats" in the Ohio and Texas primaries?
A: According to exit polls, she didn't get that many of her votes from Republicans, and it's hard to know how many of those she did get were the result of Rush Limbaugh's exhortations.

Q: Was Obama correct to say 90% of his money comes from donors giving $50 or less?

A: No. He gets more from small donors than either Clinton or McCain, but two-thirds of his money still comes from those giving $200 or more.

Are Barack Obama and Dick Cheney cousins?
A: Yep. But they are quite distant relatives.

Is Obama right to say some CEOs make more in 10 minutes than an average worker does in a year?
A: By our calculations only Steve Jobs did so in 2006.

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FW: Weekly Florida AIDS Walk Update


To my friends and associates,


American Veterans for Equal Rights is putting together a team to participate in this years Florida AIDS Walk. Most everyone I know has been affected by this horrible disease and the veterans want to walk to show solidarity in the fight to find a cure to end this most egregious affliction.


This week we added two new walkers to our team and raised our total to $375 (25% of our goal).  There is still pleanty of time to either join us on the walk, Sunday, April 27th; or to donate to the team.  For more information please visit the Team AVER website at Florida AIDS Walk - Team AVER or contact me.


Please get involved.


Thank you,


Mark LaFontaine

Obama's Minister Problem Part III

Speechs, myths and the mess

"They would do anything to win, and that means anything," David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, told me Monday. "There is a frenetic energy around them to commandeer this election in any way they can."
Axelrod went on: "She is the ultimate Washington inside player. She is always asking, `How do we wire the vote? How do we wire the system to get the results we want?'"
Ah, the smell of Unity in the morning air. Axelrod should just shut up and go write the speech.
Anyway, the new wrinkle around this whole Wright fiasco is how rapidly its thrown the Obama camp off their game. Fineman gives a run-down to the official responses that have come out of Obama's camp since this story began raging:
So what do Obama and his surrogates say?
*David Axelrod, Obama's media adviser and close friend, said with what I assume was a straight face (it was a conference call) that a main reason why Wright did not give the invocation in Springfield was that the temperature outside was too cold.
*Obama very carefully says that he never heard any of Wright's incendiary preachments while he, Obama, was "in the pews" in the church.
*Obama says he never heard them "directly" from Wright in "private conversations."
*Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, one of Obama's closest political allies, said many of Wright's most inflammatory remarks were made BEFORE Obama joined the church.
*The new pastor of the church (the Obamas still belong to it) in essence is threatening to brand as racist anyone who questions the statements and record of the Rev. Wright.
*Obama has said that he repudiates all of the nasty Wright statements that are circulating as audio and video files on the net (including the "God Damn America" and "U.S. of KKK A" ones) and that he "probably" would have walked out of the church and had words with Wright if he had heard them in the pews.
*At other times, Obama has dropped the "probably."
Now I'm told that Durbin was winging it, and the campaign did not mean to defend Obama by claiming that Wright's controversial remarks were more than 20 years old.
This kind of thing cannot go on, which is why Obama and his brain trust wisely decided that he would have to give a speech to put the entire thing into a new and wider context.
That's some pretty wild swinging. I know there are avid Obama supporters that, like the freepers, blame all things on Clinton. Yes, Clinton has gone dark on the matter for an obvious reason, but there's little doubt to anyone that's watched this develop that it is a Republican hit-job on Obama. This is due to "a Republican opposition eager to rough up the man they expect to face in the general election":
But there is no mistaking that the Wright association gives Republicans a vulnerability they will pound on relentlessly in a general election.
The GOP has proven skilled at questioning the patriotism of Democratic candidates. Just ask John F. Kerry, defeated presidential candidate, and Max Cleland, defeated senator, if such attacks work in the post-Sept. 11 political environment.
They will blend together Wright's fulminations with quotes of Michelle Obama saying her husband's candidacy has made her finally proud of America with pictures of Obama himself sans the American flag on his lapel (the latter a point that has thrived in conservative precincts of the Web and talk radio).
Do the mis-steps of the Obama camp that Fineman notes above have to do with the fact that the attacks are coming from Republicans instead of a Democrat? The post-partisan myth that Obama has believed is possible at the Presidential level is getting a dose of reality.
It'd be tough to find a conservative writing about how scared they are of Obama in the GE lately, Andrew Sullivan hedged his bet over the weekend by saying he's now undecided in the GE of McCain vs Obama. I don't think Clinton supporters have won anything by this whole fiasco, its just a great big mess.

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Writers Strike at DailyKos

Writers Strike at DailyKos
Guest Post by Alegre

This is an open letter to the progressive blogosphere...
Marc Ambinder picks up story.
I've been posting at DailyKos for nearly 4 years now and started writing diaries in support of Hillary Clinton back in June of last year. Over the past few months I've noticed that things have become progressively more abusive toward my candidate and her supporters.
I've put up with the abuse and anger because I've always believed in what our on-line community has tried to accomplish in this world. No more. DailyKos is not the site it once was thanks to the abusive nature of certain members of our community.
I've decided to go on "strike" and will refrain from posting here as long as the administrators allow the more disruptive members of our community to trash Hillary Clinton and distort her record without any fear of consequence or retribution. I will not be posting at DailyKos effective immediately. I will not help drive up traffic or page-hits as long as my candidate – a good and fine DEMOCRAT - is attacked in such a horrid and sexist manner not only by other diarists, but by several of those posting to the front page.
Instead, I will put my energy into posting at sites where my efforts aren't routinely trashed, spammed and ridiculed by a handful of angry, petty and spiteful folks who clearly have too much time on their hands.
This is a strike - a walkout over unfair writing conditions at DailyKos. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won't "work" at DailyKos again. As a regular contributor to the discourse in our community, I would certainly hope to take part in the conversation at DailyKos again some day if we ever get to the point where we're engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches. But not now. Writers need a safe place to reach out and exchange ideas, to communicate and challenge one another. DailyKos should be that place, but its tone, its essence has evolved into something ugly and destructive. Good writers can't survive in that kind of atmosphere. Democrats shouldn't have to put up with that from fellow Democrats.
Sadly, the majority of the administrators have allowed this hostile environment to develop in our online community for anyone who isn't planted firmly in the Obama camp. They've routinely ignored personal attacks and allowed disruptive, spam-like posts to go unchecked whenever anyone expresses support for Hillary or challenges something their candidate has said or done. There are however several front-pagers who have managed to avoid taking part in the attacks on Hillary and for that I'm grateful. But the site has grown to the point where they simply can't – or won't monitor it.
As a result, our community has become little more than an echo chamber with an attitude that harkens back to the early days of Dubbya's administration - yer either with us or yer a'gin us, heh! The attackers and disrupters are no better than Chris Matthews with their sexism, hate, lies, and obsession with bashing - all – things – Hillary.
No, I won't post specific attacks here. That would just be repeating the lies and the hate, but I will note that one of my fellow Kossaks (someone with whom I thought I could agree to disagree) went so far as to suggest that others try to dig up real life information on the pro-Hillary members of our community. To what end? Was his aim to find enough information on us to try to get us fired from our jobs and leave our families homeless – or worse? Suggesting that they dig up real life information on us is the lowest form of intimidation and goes way beyond the limits of all things civil and reasonable. It's nothing more than the worst form of thuggish, hateful and intimidating behavior toward other members of our community.
Now in all fairness, that diarist saw just how far over the line he went with that post and eventually took it down. But the fact that he posted it in the first place shows us the kind of mob mentality that has been allowed to develop, grow and fester at DailyKos.
Either way, is that the kind of behavior that Obama would be proud of? Do the venomous attacks and lies about fellow Democrats represent him and all he stands for in an accurate and fair manner? Does this spiteful and vindictive behavior reunite our party? Would outing this working mother represent hope? Would it bring about change? Would Obama encourage that sort of anger, bullying, intimidation and hate from his followers toward another Democrat and her supporters? Do those followers of his help his cause at the end of the day?
I have been working for decades to get countless good Democrats elected – going back to the early '70s when I stuffed envelopes and walked precincts for George McGovern (ok so I was 10 back then but I still helped and gladly – Nixon sent several of my uncles to Vietnam). The causes I've worked for are those which Obama's followers at DailyKos claim to care about. As a Yellow-Dog-Democrat and a progressive, I am deeply saddened to see what's happened to our community.
I've also been a posting to discussion boards and blogs since the mid-90s, and have worked for and written about a wide range of causes from: women's rights; the environment; an end to the genocide in Darfur; benefits and decent equipment for our troops; an end to domestic violence; the protection of children; education; strengthening our economy; healthcare; impeachment; alleviating poverty; peace... the list goes on and on and on. Many of those diaries have generated hundreds and hundreds of comments – several having topped the thousand comments mark (take THAT Keith Olbermann!).
But let me make one thing crystal clear here - this is not a GBCW post. If and when the community I once respected and of which I considered myself a valued member returns to its roots and stops attacking and maligning Hillary and other good Democrats in such a hateful and destructive manner, I'll be happy to return as an active member of what used to be the online community of progressive activists. It is my hope that the day will come sooner rather than later.
Until that day, I'll participate in other sites such as MyDD & Talk Left etc., and focus my energy on building them up to help fill the void that DailyKos has left in the progressive blogosphere.
Until then, I'll take up the WGA strike motto: "We write. You wrong." when it comes to DailyKos, and say the following to anyone reading this diary right now...
If you're sick of the way Hillary – a good and decent Democrat - has been vilified and attacked... if you've EVER recommended one of my dairies on this or any other site then please join me in this effort. Let's take a stand here and now and tell the world we will no longer remain silent in the face of the sexism, anger, irrational hate, lies and attacks against Hillary. Nor will we add to the bottom line of a site that continues to lead the charge in fueling it.
The double standards, the distortions, the hateful, irrational, personal attacks, and the lies about Hillary and her long and distinguished record of public service stop here – and they stop now.
So I hereby announce the formation of a new labor union...
The American Federation of Concerned Bloggers (AFCB).
This is a writer's strike - who'll join me on the picket line?
By the way...
Pony-up folks.
posted at

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Fla. presidential primary re-do unlikely

Fla. presidential primary re-do unlikely

State chairwoman to make a decision by Monday on whether to proceed

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The head of Florida's Democratic Party said Thursday the proposed vote-by-mail presidential primary is unlikely to go forward because of strong opposition and concerns about conducting the vote.
Karen Thurman said she is asking Democratic leaders, the national party and presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to consider the option as the best way to resolve the delegate dispute. Florida had all 210 of its delegates to the national convention stripped after it violated national party rules by moving up its primary to January.
Update: Party Leaders are confirming Obama will not accept a Do-Over

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Florida May Do A Vote BY Mail Primary Do-Over

Your Party Wants to Hear From YOU About the Primary Please read the memo from Chairwoman Thurman about a suggested solution, and submit your input by Friday, 3/15/08, at 6:00 PM EST. No decision will be made until they hear from Florida Democrats.
Read the Full Story

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2008Contact: Mark Bubriski or Alejandro Miyar 850.222.3411Party Puts Offer on the Table TALLAHASSEE -
Last night, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman sent a memo to the Presidential candidates, DNC Chairman Howard Dean, and Florida Democratic leaders, urging them to consider a combined vote-by-mail/in-person election."Democrats are passionate, and Democrats are energized. We can capture this enthusiasm if we come together around a solution that offers the people of Florida a voice in the nominating process," Thurman said. "If this proposal isn't what the people want, that's okay. We're putting something on the table, but it's by no means a done deal.""The Florida Democratic Party welcomes any and all suggestions about how to move forward. However, at this point, the Party has not been offered any other option that would allow all of Florida Democratic voters - whether they're fighting in Iraq, retiring in Boca, raising horses in Ocala, or entertaining families at Disney - the opportunity to participate, other than the January 29th primary that the DNC will not recognize."Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:Q. Does Florida Law allow for this type of election?A. State law does not apply to this election, which would be run by the state party, managed by experienced election management companies and overseen by a reputable accounting firm. Media reports on this subject have been inaccurate. State law does not allow for a state-run mail-in election with candidates on the ballot, but this election would not be run by the state.Q. How can the Party pull off this election in such a short period of time?A. Two main reasons: The Florida Democratic Party has researched this process for the past year, and the election would actually be run by election management companies experienced in these type of special elections. When the Republican Legislature moved up the state's primary and put it out of compliance with DNC and RNC Rules, we began looking at all of our possible options. Last summer, we proposed a vote-by-mail election to the DNC, and Rules & Bylaws Committee members were very interested in the idea. Unfortunately, there was no funding at the time. Recently, public and private commitments have been made to assist in raising the $10-12 million it would take to run the election. Additionally, the Florida Democratic Party has accomplished numerous feats in the past three years that no one thought was possible, including paying off an inherited $1 million in debt; building county parties into functional, vote-building organizations; holding a successful state convention that raised nearly $750,000 despite no major presidential candidates in attendance; and picked up a Cabinet seat for the first time since 1998, nine State House seats and two congressional seats all previously held by Republicans (no net loss at any level of government).Q. Why would you have private companies run the election?A. Florida Law does not allow for a state-run election under the current circumstances. Nevertheless, the process would be transparent and accessible to the public, as required by DNC Rules and in the spirit of Florida's Sunshine-in-the-Government law.
Q. Can you pay for the election with soft (non-federal) money?
A. Yes. The DNC's legal counsel informed the Party that this election could be paid for with non-federal or soft money. Florida law places no limits on contributions given to political parties.
Q. Would you have enough time for overseas and military voters to get ballots and send them back?
A. Yes. Like the state of Florida does with absentee ballots for military and overseas voters, the Party would mail ballots to these voters 45 days prior to the election.
Q. What is the last day the election can be held?
A. We have until June 10, according to DNC rules. Delegate selection must be completed by June 21.
Q.Does the U.S. Justice Department have any involvement in this?
A. Florida has five counties that require "preclearance" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Fortunately, this is a very inclusive process, and we will file the appropriate paperwork. Also, per Section 2, ballots would be printed in English, Spanish and Creole.
Q. How long a lead time will be needed to allow for voter registration?
A. Generally, 30-45 days are needed. There is ample time for independents to join the Democratic Party and participate if they wish.
Q. Will Republicans and independents who already voted in the January 29th Republican primary be allowed to switch their registration and vote in the new contest?A. No one who voted in the Republican primary on Jan. 29 will be eligible to vote in the Democratic primary, even if they switch parties. Our voter file enables us to easily identify these voters.


Congratulations Barry Dockswell

Congratulations Barry Dockswell
12 of 12 Precincts Reporting
    Percent Votes
Barry "Doc" Dockswell
49.11% 1,620
Kathleen "Kay" McGinn
32.46% 1,071
Travis R. Williamson
18.43% 608

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Bret Berlin New Miami Democrats Party chair



CONTACT:Andrew Feirstein, Communications & Media Relations
       The School Board of Broward County, Florida
       754-321-2300 or 754-321-2001
Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 6:00-9:00 P.M.
Nova High School Auditorium
(754-323-1650 for directions)
Broward County-- "Florida is truly at a crossroads in its budget crisis, and with this Town Hall meeting our community will get involved in the decision-making process" said School Board Member and former State Representative Eleanor Sobel. "This is a tremendous opportunity for the people of Broward County to ask tough questions." 
Please join us to hear a panel of experts, including but not limited to members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, Florida Tax Watch Executive Leaders and others to discuss potential solutions to Florida's fiscal crisis, such as: additional and expanded property tax reform proposals; reviewing the sales tax exemptions and exclusions; and further participation of Florida in the Streamlined Sales Tax Initiative.
You will hear first-hand about Florida's fiscal problems. Become part of the solution by getting involved in the process and letting your voices be heard. By working together, we will make Florida the best it can possibly be.
Please RSVP by e-mail to or call 754-321-2193 or or 754-321-2001

Silent Protest at Mayor's Prayer Breakfast

March 10, 2008
For Immediate Release
Scott Hall

Gay American Heroes Foundation
Silent Protest
at Mayor's Prayer Breakfast
"All people who live honestly about their sexual orientation or gender identity are heroic, as it takes great strength and courage to face the daily struggles for personal freedom in the face of enormous opposition; to utimately give their life for said freedom makes them...HEROES. "
The Gay American Heroes Foundation and Fight OUT Loud are organizing a silent protest at the Fort Lauderdale Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, March13.  Mayor Naugle has invited to be key-note speaker Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, a right-wing religious group who has a history of attacking the LGBT community.  It seems the Mayor is again looking to incite an atmosphere of hate and violence in Fort Lauderdale
We are asking for other organizations and residents to come to the Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL) at 6:30am to stand in solidarity against the hate speech being spewed by Naugle and his supporters. 
We realize this is short notice, but are hoping for a strong, small contingent of LGBT people and allies to show up and picket.
We will have pictures of Simmie Williams and other hate crimes victims to hold, as well as signs with family oriented messages, like "Stop murdering our families", "Hate Speech = Violence", "Protect ALL Children", "Stop the Hate", "Naugle's Words Incite Violence" etc...  Feel free to make and bring your own signs with these types of messages on them. Please no profanity
We also ask that the protest stay EXTREMELY non-confrontational with the attendees.  We have to come out taking the high road, much like the rally this summer.  That is why it will be a silent protest, just a presence to let our view be known and not stoop to Naugle's tactics.  We can no longer afford to be silent.

Time for Gov. Dean To Sh*t Or Get Off The Pot

I am sorry, but I supported Howard Dean since he was Governor of Vermont. I first met Gov. Dean when he first spoke to my Democratic Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, The Dolphin Democrats. I was one of the first ones to sign on his presidential bid in 2002, first as a meetup organizer when there were only 8 meetups nationwide, then as a State co-chair the as chair of Broward County For Dean. Now I am very disappointed in the manor he has led the Primary debacle, that the DNC rules committee, including Donna Brazil Alexis Herman Mark Brewer of Michigan all responsible for the total cluster f#$% they have made of this nonsense. Then rules committee could has just stripped Florida of the Super delegates or by the rules just half of the delegates. Mark Brewer, ironically the Chair of Michigan Democrats, threw Florida under the bus for their own agenda. Now Howard Dean must step in and make our party whole again. You can say rules, rules, rules, all you want, if we tear our party apart and get 8 more years of Bush v5 this will be on Howard's head for not leading us out of the mess. Leaders lead, sometimes the rules be damned, and we just stand up for what is right. I am calling on everyone to call on Gov. Dean to lead.
Mailing Address:
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Main Phone Number:

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If Florida Had A Do-Over Today

  According to a Rasmussen Poll taken yesterday, if Florida has what is being suggested by very ill advised people, a January 29th Do-Over. Clinton would win in a landslide with 1 percent less of the vote that she got in January

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Victory in Fort Lauderdale! Your Voice Made a Difference!

ACTION ALERT!     Please Read and Act! Forward to as many as possible!   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Victory in Fort Lauderdale!  Your Voice Made a Difference!   
Message from Fight OUT Loud:   
After much outcry from around the country, the City of Fort Lauderdale has removed the "Focus on Fort Lauderdale" newsletter with Mayor Jim Naugle's bigoted message against the LGBT community from the city's website.  The city also decided that the mayor's column in Fort Lauderdale's bi-monthly publication will be permanently removed, giving Naugle one less platform from which to spew hate.  A special thanks to Commissioners Hutchinson and Moore for standing up for the respect and equality of all residents.   This shows the power and influence of a united LGBT community.
Fight OUT Loud thanks its over 20,000 members, many who have written in to express their outrage over this.  Within 1 day, the offensive language was removed from the city website and Naugle's message was removed from future publications.  
Thank you to everyone who wrote, called, and stood up against the spread of anti-gay rhetoric at the expense of Fort Lauderdale tax-payers. 
Your voice was heard.  Never again will our community sit by and let dangerous, violence inducing language go unanswered.   We continue to call on Mayor Naugle and the entire City Commission to speak out and denounce the outbreak of violence against the LGBT community.  The South Florida LGBT Community demands that its leaders step forward and diffuse the atmosphere of hate and intolerance that is brewing.
  A heartfelt thanks to the members of Fight OUT Loud who once again stood in solidarity against the bigotry and hatred of Mayor Naugle.   We are standing up, being heard, and making a difference!          
To contribute to Fight OUT Loud and help fight discrimination and hate, click here.      
Fight OUT Loud is a national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering GLBT individuals and their allies to fight discrimination and hate.  Fight OUT Loud, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organization.  

The Come Back Kid

The latest tracking polls, which suggest that HRC has momentum in both OH and TX:
Open Left's Chris Bowers: "Seems as though there might be new life for the Clinton campaign. She looks good in Ohio, and Texas is now razor-thin, but with slight Clinton momentum. [...] Obama's pledged delegate advantage is unassailable. For Clinton, the goal is to use a win in the Texas primary in order to change the narrative and improve her standing in post-March 4th states. [...] I still think we are headed to Pennsylvania. Clinton will win Ohio, and probably Rhode Island. She also should come close in Texas, and probably declare some sort of victory as a result. I'm getting antsy to take on [John] McCain, but Obama's fundraising doesn't seem to be a problem, and setting up a massive Pennsylvania operation wouldn't hurt, either."
Open Left's Matt Stoller also thinks we are headed to PA: "I have no idea what is going to happen, but my general rule of thumb is that the most annoying scenario is also the most likely scenario simply because I enjoy feeling sorry for myself. So Clinton wins Ohio 54-46 and Texas by 51-49, though Obama will take more delegates in Texas because that system is crazy. And then the campaign goes to Pennsylvania."
TPM's Josh Marshall: "If the polls bear out, we seem set for a result that will lead to minor
or major crowing from the Clinton camp, with a victory in Ohio seeming very likely and at a least a primary popular vote victory in Texas looking like a distinct possibility. [...] The upshot is that the Clinton campaign may come out of tonight with a major shot in the arm and a round of good press and yet still be in no more realistic a position to win the nomination based on the stubborn tally of delegates."

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Ron Klein, Lois Frankel Address GLBT Dem Caucus Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              CONTACT:  Stephen Gaskill
March 4, 2008                                                                                     202/257-9298 cell
2008 Winter Conference Features Local, National Speakers
Including Mayor Lois Frankel, Rep. Ron Klein, FloridaĆ¢€™s GLBT Candidates
Fort Lauderdale Ć¢€"West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Rep. Ron Klein (FL-22) are among the speakers at the 2008 Winter Conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, being held this Friday through Sunday, March 7, 8 and 9.  The conference will bring together local and national speakers and elected officials who will discuss the current political climate and prepare for the crucial and pivotal election later this year. 
To register for the conference or for more information, check out

Friday, March 7

WHAT:          Welcoming cocktail reception
WHEN:          Friday, March 7
                       7:30pm to 9:30pm
WHERE:       The Mad Hatter Lounge
                        1532 N. Dixie Hwy.
                        Lake Worth

Saturday, March 8

WHAT:          Winter conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus
WHEN:          Saturday, March 8
                        9:00am to 5:00pm
WHERE:       Marriott West Palm Beach
1001 Okeechobee Boulevard
Palm Beach
PRESS:          The conference is open press
Schedule for the day:
8:00am            Registration and continental breakfast
9:00am            Welcome from Caucus president Michael Albetta
                       Palm Beach Democratic Party chair Wahid Mahmood
9:30am            West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel
                       Scott Fox, executive director, COMPASS
                       Morning business
10:00am          Scott Hall, Gay American Heroes
10:30am          Rand Hoch, Palm Beach Human Rights Council
11:00am          Jeffrey Garcia, partner, Rindy Miller Garcia, on South Florida US House candidate recruiting
Noon               Lunch speakers:
Nadine Smith, Equality Florida, on the state legislative outlook
                        Toby Quarenta, Human Rights Campaign, on organizing around the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment
1:00pm            Ben Fractenberg, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), message training session on the Marriage Amendment
2:00pm            GLBT elected officials panel: Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl; Wilton Manors Commissioner Joe Angelo; former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis
2:45pm            Phillip Perry, Florida Democratic Party, presentation on My Campaign, a volunteer management tool used by candidates and DECs
3:30pm            Jon Hoadley, executive director, National Stonewall Democrats
4:00pm            Mark Perriello, Director of Strategy and Planning, Victory Fund
5:00pm            Adjourn
NOTE:           The speaking time for Rep. Ron Klein has not yet been confirmed; an
update will be provided.
In addition, the following openly-gay candidates are scheduled to address the conference at various times throughout the day: Hillsborough County Commission candidate Kevin Beckner; Broward County Commission candidate Bryan Caletka; Wilton Manors Commission candidate Justin Flippen; State House District 92 candidate Mark LaFontaine; Oakland Park Commission candidate Anthony Niedwiecki; and Broward Supervisor of Elections candidate Adriane Reesey.
Saturday, March 8
WHAT:          Cocktail reception hosted by the Palm Beach Human Rights Council
WHEN:          Saturday, March 8
                        7:00pm to 8:30pm
WHERE:       The home of Deidre Newton and Kerry Gallagher
                        736 Sunset Rd.
                        West Palm Beach
Sunday, March 9
WHAT:          Farewell brunch
WHEN:          Sunday, March 9
11:00am to 1:00pm
WHERE:       The Cottage
                        522 Lucerne Ave.
                        Lake Worth
INFO:             Suggested contribution is $10 to help cover staff costs.  Cash bar will open at noon.
The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender communities for the Florida Democratic Party.  With 15 chapters across the
state, the Caucus played a major role in Democratic victories in 2006 and is actively
preparing for 2008.
CONTACT:  Stephen Gaskill, Communications Director, 202/257-9298 (cell)
# # #

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