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Saturday, August 20, 2005

HST WMD?

Considering all that he injested in his life, this might be considered a chemical weapons attack.

His Jokes Are Improving

Rod Smith on his name recognition: "When I first got into this race, nobody knew my name. I saw one poll that had me with 4 percent. The problem was, the poll had a 5 percent margin of error."

Sounds about right.

And I am glad he said this:

"We know we have a class size problem, but we can't have a second class education system," Smith said. "Folks, we know we can do better."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Oy . . .

Bush shatters record for vacation by a US president.

Bush won't interrupt his current vacation to meet with the mother of a fallen soldier (citing a need for balance in his life) but he interrupted a previous vacation to fly to D.C., to sign special legislation to help Terri Schiavo.

. . . vey.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jeff Foxworthy He's Not

State Sen. Rod Smith said this about his hometown of Alachua Thursday, when speaking to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club:

"It's hardly a great base to run from politically, but then again neither was Pensacola (which produced Gov. Reubin Askew) years ago or Lakeland before Lawton Chiles walked out of it. The town of Alachua is so small that I tell folks all the time that we have a weekly newspaper and it's readership is always greatest when we have a divorce notice involving the sale of a bass boat.''

Unfortunately, the Alachua he describes is somewhat a thing of the past. City officials have sold the farm, literally, to a group that wants to transform Alachua into the state's largest truck stop – home to literally thousands of semis that travel in and out every day. The town's political and business leaders have refocused the attention from Main Street to the newer retail businesses close to the interstate. The city has annexed so much land that it is the size of Gainesville, with a fraction of the population. City leaders are all too willing to rural lands for commercial and industrial development, and to spend tax revenues making development cheaper for the developer.

The city is heavily in debt, for a city its size. Taxes are above average, and utilities are expensive. The city resells electricity from GRU, at a higher price.

The city commission, financially supported in their campaigns by people who make money from real estate development, promises that these new businesses will add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the annual tax revenues, which would mean tax relief for the citizens.

The problem is, the city has never truly estimated the costs of this growth, on top of the money already spent on it. There's reason to believe that the costs will outstrip the revenue -- every city in Florida is that has a lot of growth has higher rates of taxes, crime, poverty and pollution than Alachua. You want cheap taxes? Move to Gilchrist County.

Of course there is also the promise of jobs, and that is certainly true. You can debate about the quality of those jobs, but they're better than shoveling fast food. However, the vast majority of those jobs are going to people who not only live outside of Alachua, they live in other counties. Counties where the taxes are cheaper.

Alachua residents are paying higher taxes and utilities to ensure these warehouse distribution centers are built, yet a small percentage of them work there, loading and unloading 80-pound pallets of Chinese-made goods bound for Wal-Mart or Dollar General.

The town is already dangerous. Each of these warehouses will have several hundred trucks entering and leaving daily. The I-75 interchange at US 441 is already choked at critical hours, and trucks are routinely seen using County Road 235 as a detour, right through the heart of town, right past the elementary school and high school.

Already, a group of Alachua moms has complained to the Alachua County School Board because kids who live within two miles of the schools don't get bus service.

It'll only get worse. Another warehouse is moving in. More will follow. The best situation is for the I-75 interchange to be rebuilt to accommodate the truck traffic, or for a new one to be built on County Road 235. Each project would cost millions of dollars. Factor that in and the cost to the taxpayers far exceeds the new tax revenues.

Smith has been supportive of this change, and as governor he would be in a great position to use his influence with the feds, who would have to build the interchange.

He probably shouldn't act so small town.

The Baghdad Tea Party

Does anyone else see the irony in this?

The Washington Post:
The vice president cited the darkest days of the American Revolution, when the war was going badly and ragtag rebels were ready to go home until George Washington rallied them. "They stayed in the fight, and America won the war," he said. "From that day to this, our country has always counted on the bravest among us to answer the call of duty."

So, to justify keeping US soldiers in Iraq fighting against rebellion that wants to oust a foreign occupier, Cheney points to the American revolution – in which we were the insurgents fighting an occupying force – as the reason to stay.

He's got gigantic balls, that's for sure. Well, that, or he's insane.

Turn A Blind Eye, Then Poke It Out

Thank goodness we got rid of Saddam. Without that, we wouldn't be hearing this kind of good news:
(From the Times UK) IRAQI security forces, set up by American and British troops, torture detainees by pulling out their fingernails, burning them with hot irons or giving them electric shocks, Iraqi officials say. Cases have also been recorded of bound prisoners being beaten to death by police.

In their haste to put police on the streets to counter the brutal insurgency, Iraqi and US authorities have enlisted men trained under Saddam Hussein’s regime and versed in torture and abuse, the officials told The Times. They said that recruits were also being drawn from the ranks of outlawed Shia militias.

Counter-insurgencies are rarely clean fights, but Iraq’s dirty war is being waged under the noses of US and British troops whose mission is to end the abuses of the former dictatorship. Instead, they appear to have turned a blind eye to the constant reports of torture from Iraq’s prisons.

Thanks to Occupation Watch for this -- yet another story destined for the dustbin of history, I suppose.

If This Had Been Bill Clinton, Entry . . . Hey Wait, This Was Clinton

I always like to remind Bush supporters that they defend Dubya for acts that, had President Clinton committed them, would have sent them into a shirt-biting rage.

Well, it seems like the GOP leadership was against war before they were for it.

Nod to the Daily Kos blog for collecting these quotes, regarding President Clinton's decision to send troops to Bosnia:
"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's Been a Fabulous Year

I think one reason Bush is losing the PR battle with Cindy Sheehan—other than her being right about the war and Dubya being a lying weasel—is that she's a mom. If Bush is Mr. All American, as he claims, then how can he butt heads with a mother? He can't. He'll lose no matter what.

Come to think of it, Bush has a mixed record when it comes to all three pillars of Americanism: mom (described above), baseball and apple pie.

Bush vs. Baseball—When he was part owner of the Texas Rangers, he made a lot of money for not doing much work. He was the ownership's public face, and the notice helped propel him to governor. You might be surprised that there are financial scandals associated with these events, too boring to mention here. In the end, he certainly got the best of baseball.

Bush vs. Apple Pie—Physically, the pie's no match, although Dubya did get his ass whupped by a bag of pretzels. Mentally, that’s another story. For example, I've never heard of an apple pie saying this:

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

Or this:

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

Or, of course, three months after the Sept. 11 attacks, this:

"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me."

I bet it was.

I Love It When Politicians Make Sense

I'd like state Sen. Rod Smith for governor a lot more if he'd admit that the Florida Legislature is "desperately in need of adult supervision."

US Rep. Jim Davis, Smith's main obstacle to securing the Democrat's gubernatorial nomination in 2006, said exactly that, and of course he's correct. In a story by The St. Augustine Record's Peter Guinta, Davis said many encouraging things, including: "What's my toughest job? Keeping (Rep.) Tom Delay from imposing his family values on your family."

Haven't heard anything remotely like this from Smith. He likes to mention that he's "tired of watching Democratic candidates go down in defeat," as well as his "pro-gun position and a tough-on-crime, pro-death penalty stance." His campaign web site also gives considerable space to articles about his campaign fundraising prowess.

Yikes.

Thanks to the Florida Politics blog for pointing this one out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Shoulda Thought Different

Being a long-time Mac user, I completely understand this.

Mac users are often nuts about their computers – I know one dude who admitted that, after receiving a new Mac via postal delivery, he sat in his living room for hours staring at the box, without opening it, just to admire its packaging.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Does This Mean Smith is Roadkill?

Wausau's annual Possum Festival (unofficial motto: It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken) has become a rite of passage for gubernatorial candidates, with possum cooked many ways, arts and crafts, games and music.

Noticeably absent this year was state Sen. Rod Smith, of Alachua, one of the three main Dems running to fill the seat Jebbo will vacate next year.

Come on, Rod, you gotta eat some possum to get Panhandle residents to vote for you. This is a crucial issue to them, right behind gay marriage and raising Terri Schiavo from the dead.

You have one more chance before the 2006 primary. Don't screw it up.

On the Left End of the Dial

Gainesville's Civic Media Center received approval recently for a low power broadcasting license, on 94.7 FM.

The non-profit group is trying to raise money for a studio and an upgrade to its transmitter. Considering that Gainesville's radio market is otherwise dominated by corporate giants that care only about profits, anything we can do to foster more independent voices is needed.

This is especially true when it comes to talk radio in Gainesville, which now has only right-wing nutjobs (or is it nutbags?) like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.

The CMC is an independent library and reading room, and its goal with the radio station is to provide independent news and commentary about the world. The group also wants to broadcast a wide variety of music.

You can read more about it here and here.