September 10, 2008

YES 2 MARRIAGE

I want to encourage readers to visit YES2MARRIAGE.ORG the main site for the Florida Marriage Amendment.  In particular the "Commonly Asked Questions" page which provides a great summary of the arguments for the amendment and addresses the claims by the opponents.

If you have questions or arguments for me, Mr. G, feel free to comment here.

Is the Florida Marriage Amendment a Presidential Election Political Ploy?

I've heard a number of democrats argue that the only reason we have the Florida Marriage Amendment on the ballot this year is because we're in a presidential election and Republicans want to get the base out to vote for John McCain. The argument doesn't make sense as the supporters of the Florida Marriage Amendment originally targeted the 2006 election.

Remember, the Marriage Amendment fell 150,000 signatures short of the 611,000 required to put the amendment on the ballot in 2006.  Supporters were doing what they could to ensure the amendment made the ballot, especially since in 2006 we passed an amendment which now requires 60% to pass an amendment; a fact which presents the biggest hurdle for the amendment.

The truth is that the Marriage Amendment isn't a political ploy for 2008.  The 2008 election only came into the picture when we didn't get enough signatures to meet the signature goal in 2006.

The Florida Marriage Amendment is the fruit of years of labor by Conservatives in this state and it has nothing to do with who is running for president.  Support for traditional marriage is an issue that crosses party lines.  So regardless of who you are voting for in November, cast your vote for those traditional family values which have served as the building block for our great nation, and will provide the same support for our future.  Vote YES ON 2.

Activist Judge Spits in Face of Standing Law, Orders Adoption by Homosexual

Judge David Audlin of the Monroe County Circuit Cort has decided that a openly homosexual man may adopt a child for whom he has served as a foster parent.  In doing so, the Judge ruled that Florida's Adoption Statute, which prohibits adoption by homosexuals, is unconstitutional.  The order has not yet been released, but when it is you can be sure we'll have an analysis of it here.

The ruling is in complete contradiction to standing law.  Obviously, the ruling attempts to strike down a state law, created and passed by the legislature, the body we actually elect to make and redesign law.  However, the ruling also flies in the face of a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (which includes Florida) holding that the restriction against adoption by homosexuals in Florida's Adoption Statute is, in fact, constitutional.  The 11th Circuit's decision in  Lofton v. Secretary of the Dept. of Children and Family Service was handed down in 2004.  Clearly, this judge has a political agenda which he is advancing as his ruling flies in the face of well established law in our state.  Yet another judge who fancies himself as King.

(PEER Review tackled the issue of adoption by homosexuals in 2006)

The ruling also provides yet another example of the need for the Marriage Amendment.  The truth is that there is an activist agenda to force both homosexual adoption and homosexual marriage into law in this state.  The activists are acutely aware that it would be near impossible to force this change through the legislature, so they turn to their only available resource, activist judges.  Rather than allowing YOU to have a role in the democratic process by electing legislators with whom you agree, they seek to circumvent that process, eliminating the voice of the citizens of Florida completely.  By seeking such ruling through an activist judiciary they attempt to force a change in the law which is would not be passed otherwise.

That is their plan, again, for both adoption and marriage by homosexuals.  With a constitutional amendment solidifying marriage as one man and one woman we will eliminate this avenue of forcing law on our state by circumventing the democratic process.

The ruling also exposes one of the principle arguments of the opponents of the Marriage Amendment; that the amendment is unecessary as we already have a state statute which prohibits homosexual marriage.  The Florida statute prohibiting adoption by homosexuals didn't stop judge Audlin's ruling attempting to strike down the statute.  I guarantee that Florida's Defense of Marriage Act will face the same fate without the Florida Marriage Amendment.

I can predict that Judge Audlin's decision will be appealled to the Florida Appellate Courts, and probably to the Florida Supreme Court over the next couple years.  How those courts will rule, I can't even guess.  But if it is in line with standing law, they will uphold the statute.

In the meantime, each of us can do our party to preserve the traditional family by voting YES on the Amendment 2, the Florida Marriage Amendment, in November.

September 08, 2008

Stop Global Warming: Global Meat Month

Back in December PEER Review reported to you that the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation released a report identifying the Livestock industry as accounting for a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions; more than all forms of transportation combined.  Journalists have struggled to find a gentle way to state the findings of the report, which are essentially that cow farts are killing the planet.

This week, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggested that people commit to one meat-free day a week to lessen the impact of the livestock industry on the environment.  But it could take years of me eating one less hamburger a week to impact the livestock industry and decrease the amount of livestock roaming the earth and merrily farting us into extinction.  So, I propose another plan which we can all get behind: Global Meat Month.

When is Global Meat Month?
Global Meat Month will take place during the month of October. 

What is Global Meat Month?
During Global Meat Month participants across the globe will commit to eating as much meat as they possibly can.  The goal of gorging ourselves on meat will be to end the lives of as much livestock as possible thereby reducing the number of livestock.  If we can produce a sharp enough rise in consumption for just one month, we can outpace the global livestock industry, decimate their resources and the total number of livestock available.  The livestock industry will have to spend years rebuilding its livestock pools and in the meantime, we will eliminate up to one fifth of all greenhouse gases.  No other evironmental conservation plan offers the dramatic results embodied by Global Meat Month.

The Global Meat Month Formula
More hamburgers and chicken sandwhiches equals less livestock.  Less livestock equals less livestock flatulence.  Less livestock flatulence equals less global warming.  Everybody wins... except the cows.

But why do we have to wait until October?
You don't have to!  You can start doing your part today by enjoying a thick juicy steak.  The thicker the better.  In fact, have two!  But Global Meat Month is a commitment, and a serious one at that.  After all, the fate of the planet may very well rest on its success.  As a result, we cannot rush into Global Meat Month without planning and pratice.  By allowing the month of September for preparations, spreading the word and we can maximize the effect of Global Meat Month.  People will need a few weeks to adapt to a meat heavy diet.  Once Global Meat Month begins it will not be the time for acclimating your body to surviving on only hamburgers and steaks.  Begin preparing you mind, body and soul now.

PEER Review will feature suggestions, practice routines and tips for preparing for Global Meat Month in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.

Will Global Meat Month be hazardous to my health?

Absolutely.  Participation in Global Meat Month may/can/will result in obesity and life-long and possibly life ending medical conditions.  Consult with your doctor before committing to Global Meat Month.  But bear in mind that our lives are the least we can give to save the environment.  My only regret is that I only have one life, one mouth and one heart to give to Global Meat Month.

You can make a difference for the environment.  You can participate in Global Meat Month.

Liberals on the Attack; Who is Smarter, McCain or Obama?

With Mr. G posting again, it didn't take long for Mr. Hussey over at Pushing Rope to go on the attack.  You can read the substance of the argument at his site if you wish, but I wanted to share a comedic moment:

"The difference between me and you is I can step outside my political bias and honesty assess the political landscape."

A few sentences later...

"No astute political observer can look at John McCain and say he is a better candidate than Barack Obama."

How could I possibly question the idea that Mr. Hussey is a paragon of objectivity even in the face of his despite his dogmatic support for Senator Obama.  Certainly, such is beyond my station.

But let's do it anyway.  Mr. Hussey backs up his argument:

"What person would say that McCain is a better speaker, campaigner, fundraiser or smarter. Anyone that says otherwise is full of ****."

Despite the eloquence of Mr. Hussey's argument, most of these are characterizations are, of course, highly subjective.  How does one judge the better speaker?  Is it passion alone?  Is it the ability to stir a crowd?  Or is it content?  Maybe we could look at how many people tuned into the speeches?  McCain got as many or more viewers as Obama, and the speech was available on fewer channels.  Oh, and the Republican convention had an average of 4.2 million more viewers than the democrat convention.

What defines the better campaigner?  Who decides which candidate is smarter?

We could say that Obama is the better fundraiser as his campaign has raised far more than McCain's.  But then again... it appears that McCain and the RNC have the money advantage going into the final stretch than Obama and the DNC AND McCain is leading in the polls.

Can you say Obama is the better campaigner when he has dramatically outspent McCain but lags in the polls and can't get as many people to watch his convention?  I'd suggest the true test of Obama's fundraising will come in the next few weeks as with they way they are spending, they'll be broke in a few weeks if they don't make some miracles happen.

The campaigns really present a great comparison of the candidates, especially since Obama has been touting that one of his qualifications for president is his ability to run such a massive campaign.  Obama has spent far more and employed a much bigger campaign and, as of today, has gotten less results that McCain as he leads in the polls by as much as 10 points.  McCain is doing more with less.  Who is smarter now?

September 05, 2008

Amendments 5, 7 and 9 Cut by Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court has removed from the upcoming election Amendments 5, 7 and 9.  Only the orders have been issued, no opinion as of yet, so I'll reserve judgment on whether the basis for the removal was good.

What I do want to point out is that the decision on all 3 of these amendments was 7-0, meaning all the justices agreed.  The amendments cut include the voucher amendment, a property tax cut amendment, and an amendment allowing state funding to aid religious groups.  Remember Justice Bell and Cantero, the much lamented Jeb Bush appointees to the Florida Supreme Court?  The Conservative plants who would do anything to support Republican or Conservative ideology?  Both of them voted to remove the amendments from the ballot despite the fact that all three play a major role in the Republican policy efforts for our state.  I'll have more to say when the opinions come out, but what I anticipate they will show is that a good judge, as opposed to an activist judge, is willing to rule in line with the law every time, rather than attempting to uphold a political agenda by judicial mandate.

Country First

I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about McCain's campaign slogan of "Country First" when I first started to notice it plastered around the site of the Republican Convention.  I felt that way until McCain's speech this evening.  Senator McCain really brought together all the pieces of his life and platform to tell the story of a man who, through tests and trials most of us cannot even begin to imagine, developed an incredible conviction that for him, Country comes first.    After describing his POW experience and how the ideals of our great nation pulled him through he said "I wasn't my own man anymore, I was my country's... my country saved me.  My country saved me and I will fight for her as long as I draw breath."  What a powerful statement and what a promise to put country first.

His speech wasn't flashy.  It wasn't the most eloquent.  He didn't give it with the passion some other may have.  But it was inspiring.  It was moving.  It was energizing.  And it was just what this party needed to hear.

After all of the incredible speeches by Thompson, Giuliani, Romney, Palin and McCain I've come away with a conviction of my own:

The United States of America can trust John McCain.

I've not always agreed with McCain.  In fact, he was one of my last choices from the nominees.  But I do not doubt his passion for our nation.  I trust that he wants only the best for our country.  Not what is best for his party, his campaign, his political allies or even himself.  Country First.

Now, I have to admit, I fall in love easily and I've been burned before.  I trusted President Bush.  I trusted that he was going to be a champion for Conservatism and Family values; especially in his second term.   I was let down.  I am under no illusions that McCain will be that champion either or that I'll agree with McCain on every decision.  But in his choice of Palin, McCain has given his campaign and his coming administration an incredible balance and he has given the Conservative movement a bright hope for the future.  The convictions of McCain and the principles of Palin make for a ticket that I can get excited about.

John McCain challenged us tonight to fight with him and stand up for our beliefs and our nation.  I accept that challenge and I will fight with John McCain and I will stand up with Governor Palin for the true change and and hope for the future of our country which only Conservative ideals can bring.

September 03, 2008

A Note on Palin's Readiness to Lead and a Mr. G Announcement

I can't tell you how tired I am of the democrat talking points about Palin being a "hail mary" or "act of desperation" or about how she'd be a "heartbeat away" from the Presidency.  It has only been a week and I've heard them at least 109 times.  When I've heard these lines from a democrat in person, I usually just speak the name of "Ann Coulter" to get them to leave.  It is like a crucifix to vampires.  Seriously.  Try it sometime; most democrats will literally hiss at you and run away into a dark corner.

For those occasions where I've engaged in the discussion, however, I've used this response:

"As the husband of a pregnant wife, I can tell you that a woman who can run a state while pregnant is a woman who is ready for anything."

For those of you who didn't catch it, Mrs. G is with child.

Continue reading "A Note on Palin's Readiness to Lead and a Mr. G Announcement" »

Palin Predictions: The Effect of the Media Smear

The sputtering reaction by the media/democrats/liberals to the selection of Governor Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain has been nothing short of comical.  Suddenly, the democrats and the media are highly concerned with the experience level of the potential candidates.  Suddenly, the democrats seem to be arguing that the only plausible reason for having a woman on the ticket is pandering and being a mother and wife is a major no-no for a candidate.  None of it is surprising.

While ignoring questions about Barak Obama's history and relationship with individuals like William Ayers, Tony Rezko or Nadhmi Auchi the media has become fixated on Governor Palin's daughter in one of the most disgusting smear campaigns of our time.

The subtext of that attack, I must admit, has intrigued me.  The message we're getting is that we, as Conservatives, Evangelicals, Values Voters, etc., should be so horrified by Governor Palin's family situation that we should stay home.

I'll make a prediction, this media smear effort will have the opposite effect of the one intended.

Conservatives, myself included, have fallen head over heels for the babe from Alaska.  Speaking personally, I've not been very excited about the election since Mitt Romney conceded. Certainly, I've been slowly warming to McCain as many Conservatives have been, but Governor Palin has given me, and so many Conservatives reason to be passionate again about the election and the future of our party and nation. 

As a result, Conservatives are going to be very, very protective of the prospect for the future that she represents. 

We hurt for her family and the struggles they are facing, but we also celebrate the courage, wisdom and character that the Palin family is showing through these circumstances.  The birth of baby Trigg, the upcomming marriage of Palin's daughter as well as the birth of Palin's grandchild are a testimony to the convictions of that family.  The resolve that the Palin family is demonstrating to not only do the right thing but to stand up to the prying eye of the media without backing down speaks volumes about the character of Governor Palin.

So every time the media and the democrats insinuate that I should be repulsed by the struggles of the Palin family, it really just makes me like her a little bit more.  It makes me want to cheer for her just a little bit lounder because it reminds me of all that Governor Palin is facing and the strength she demonstrates by pressing on.  That is the kind of leader I want.  You go girl. 

I'm also not alone in this opinion.  The more the media attempts to drive a wedge between Palin and Conservatives, the more Conservatives are going to fight for her.  Count on it.

July 08, 2008

Rasmussen Reports: Congressional Approval at All Time Low

Today Rasmussen released its report that the Congressional approval rating has fallen to an all time low.  Just 9% of Americans say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. 

Remember all the talk of change and hope when the democrats won control of Congress?  Remember all the promises of ushering us into a new era of enlightened politics?  Just 2 years later only 9% of this country believes the ones who made those promises are doing a good job.

At least two years later we have a new democrat promising change and hope and a new era of enlightened politics.  I wonder how that one will turn out.

February 15, 2008

Et Tu, Romney?

By now you have probably observed that I am a big Mitt Romney fan.  There are few things Romney could do to damage my faith in him, but he managed to find one of them; Romney endorsed John McCain.

Now, to be fair, I understand the politics of it all.  I understand that Mitt wants to preserve his political future and as a party leader he is expected to fall in line with the party politics now that the nomination is all but wrapped up.  I understand that Romney is committed to party unity and whether we like it or not, McCain is our guy.

Having said that, I still don't like it.  I'm not a fan of John McCain.  I cheered Mitt on when he fired off his attacks on McCain's leftward tendencies.  I was with him completely when he argued that we need a Conservative in the White House and that McCain is no Conservative.  I can't help but feel a little betrayed.

Look, I'm gonna vote for John McCain if he is our nominee; I won't deny that.  But I also don't want to shove the last year and a half under the rug.  I don't want to ignore the fact that our party and the Conservative movement has a major problem in John McCain.  I had hoped that the man who is in the best position to really become the next big Conservative leader, Mitt Romney would have taken a bit more of a stand on this.

Wishful thinking I suppose.

I'm writing angry, never a good idea.  I'll stop now.

February 11, 2008

Picking Through the Leftovers: McCain or Huckabee

With Romney out of the race and a few days to ponder the remaining options, I've come to a decision on whether to cheer for Huckabee or McCain.  Neither of them were my first choice, but after spending some time evaluating what I like and don't like about both candidates, I've settled on a number of things I like about each, but alot more that I don't like about McCain than Huckabee.

I've noticed a trend during the candidacy of John McCain; that he seems to think that if he says something enough, that it is true.

I first noticed it in the back-and-forth between McCain and Romney when McCain took attempted to twist a Romney quote to allege that Romney supported a timeline to withdraw from Iraq.  When it was clearly showed that Romney never said nor meant such a thing, and McCain was confronted about the attack not being "straight talk" McCain simply held to his position that the attack was true and repeated multiple times that he was just giving "straight talk."

In recent months I've become confused about the definition of "straight talk" because I'm learning that it has less and less to do with the truth.

We've heard over and over from McCain that he doesn't support amnesty for illegal immigrants, when Kennedy-McCain clearly does. 

We've heard that he is pro-life, when he supports the expansion and federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and opposes the human life amendment. 

We've heard that he supports traditional marriage when he staunchly opposed the federal marriage amendment.

We've heard that he will nominate strong judges, but not judges like Justice Alito who wear their Conservatism "on their sleeve."  (brief aside, in my opinion, Justice Alito is the best appointment to the Court since Justice Scalia.)

He tells us he is a fiscal Conservative but he opposed President Bush's tax cuts.  And while he says that he would not raise taxes publicly, there are reports that he has said the opposite privately.  Take that for what it is worth and a totally unconfirmed rumor.

Certainly, there are areas for debate and excuses that could be made for some of these, but when I find myself questioning the sincerity of a man over and over, it really makes it difficult to support his candidacy for the presidency.

Add to that the fact that he almost seems to relish crossing over the isle to not just work with Democrats, but advance their causes rather than those of the Republican Party, leaving us with gems like McCain-Finegold, and I've got some real concerns.

On the other hand, Huckabee is no knight in shining armor either.  His history of tax increases in Arkansas, his very recent conversion to strong immigration proponent and his "big government" approach on a number of issues leave me with many of the same questions.  But what I don't question is his position on social issues.  I don't question that he will nominate textualist judges.  I don't question that he will be a strong advocate for life and traditional marriage. 

I'm not totally sold on the Fair Tax idea, but I'd take almost anything as opposed to the IRS.  Though I'm also not convinced that we could get it passed.

I'm not sold on Huckabee's foreign policy credentials either, but this is an area that I see as being heavily influenced by advisors and military insiders as opposed to many of these social issues we face being a matter of personal conviction.  I believe Huckabee will stay the course in Iraq and while he doesn't have the same exposure to foreign policy that McCain does, I can't anticipate any tangible difference in the way they would handle foreign affairs.

At the end of the day, as a Conservative, I find myself with an easy choice between McCain and Huckabee; Welcome to the Huckabee wagon.  I question his history, but I don't question that he will at least attempt to do the things he says he will.  I can't say the same for McCain.

Let us not forget the "is he electable" factor, however.  I know many have gone the way of McCain based solely on the idea that he is the only one who stands a chance against Hilary or Obama.  I'm an optimist though, and I truly believe that both McCain and Huckabee could beat either of the Democrats through their respective playing to the middle (as McCain is currently doing) or playing to Conservatives (as Huckabee is doing and Bush did in 2004).  Though Huckabee also has a tough road ahead to even secure the nomination, I also believe it is still a possibility.

Though as a Floridian I'm really just on the sideline as our primary has come and gone, I still encourage those of you out there who live in, or have friends and family in states with primaries yet to pass, hop on the Huckabee wagon with me.

February 08, 2008

Thank You Mitt Romney

Though I'm disheartened by the end of Romney's campaign, he's left me several things to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that Romney reminded me what it feels like to really be excited about a candidate.  Its been quite sometime since I've seen a candidate that was the "total package" that Romney was.  In a time when we are so critical of all of our candidates and it is easier than ever to find and broadcast their faults (and certainly Romney had faults of his own) it is easy to become disenchanted with candidates and the process.  But Romney brought me out of that at least for the span of his campaign.  I'm thankful for the reminder that it is possible.

I'm thankful that Romney forced me and so many other Evangelicals to evaluate whether our faith was going to be a defining factor in our vote, over policy issues.  The decision on this wasn't unified by any means, but I believe it was important for us to be faced with that decision.

I'm thankful that he was willing to step down.  Calculations of the chance he had at winning were most definitely the driving factor here, but I'm thankful for a candidate that is not too prideful to step down before the last glimmer of possibility is gone in the name of allowing our party to go into the election stronger and unified.

I hope that this is not the last Presidential race we see Romney in.  Who knows what the future holds, but if there is a future Romney campaign, count me in.

February 02, 2008

Another Victory for Traditional Marriage

I have to be honest, when I heard that due to a reporting error tens of thousands of petitions in support of the Florida Marriage Amendment left the measure over 21,000 petitions short of the required 611,000 with less than two weeks before the deadline, I wasn't positive the amendment would be on our ballot.  I am so glad I was wrong. 

All the required signatures are in and he State Division of Elections has certified the Amendment for inclusion on the November 2008 ballot.  Now the real work begins.

January 31, 2008

Mr. Excitement McCain?

I normally really enjoy columns by Ben Shaprio; the young upstart Conservative columnist who offers a fresh perspective on politics.  But I have to say his most recent column makes me ask whether he has been paying attention to the primaries at all:

McCain won because Romney's Boring

Huh?  I'll admit, it takes a certain kind of sick person to get into politics like some of us do.  To the average person watching a concession speech by a primary candidate lands just above watching paint dry.  However, ever on the "normie" scale, I can't fathom how one would say that McCain is more energizing than a 72 year old tree stump, let alone Mitt Romney.

As I concluded in my post on the Florida primary:

"I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory."

As one observer noted, the only possible way to enjoy watching John McCain anymore is to play a drinking game where you take a swig every time he uses the phrase "No, that is straight talk.  No, that is straight talk.  No, that is straight talk."  Other might say the fun in watching him is waiting to see if he is going to actually try and choke a journalist

If I have to hear the term "straight talk" ten times a day for the next for years I can't promise that I won't resort to violence.

I would almost rather listen to Al Gore speak than John McCain.  At least Al Gore is hilarious.

I've sold several folks on Romney just by directing them to clips of his speeches at CPAC and the like.  It has been my experience that those folks who have actually sat down and taken the time to look at Romney's record, to hear him speak, and really look past the media hype almost without fail come out excited about his candidacy.

Let's be clear about what McCain is not: young, stylish, energizing, fair-tempered, Conservative, right on immigration, right on stem cell research, right on protecting traditional marriage, or a "straight talker."

January 30, 2008

Amendment 1 Aftermath

The Property Tax Amendment decisively made it through the voting yesterday.  We've had a bit of a debate here at PEER about what the effect will be.  Many worried that this would squelch any chance of getting any further tax relief any time soon.  I was thrilled to hear quotes from both Crist and Marco Rubio before the end of the night saying that this is just the beginning and we've got to continue to push to drive down tax rates.  Rubio is apparently already suggesting plans for the next step.

Folks, don't worry, this issue is not going away.  The only thing we need be concerned with are the democrats who are already saying that we've gotten enough tax relief.

Let's move onto the next stage of this battle.

Florida Primary Aftermath

Last night, for the first time, I was glad that only half of Florida's delegates will count.  With McCain's win he picks up not just 57 delegates, but he also now has the momentum required to win the Republican primary. 

I will try not to dwell too much on Romney's loss, but there was much screaming at the Mr. G house last night.

So where does this leave us?  There are a few things we learned on the Republican side last night:

1.  McCain can win without appealing to Conservatives.  The conventional political wisdom for a while has been that Republicans don't have to run Conservative candidates because Conservatives if pitted with the choice of voting for a non-conservative Republican vs. a democrat will normally pick the Republican.  This political strategy hasn't been put into practice often because Conservatives energize the party and make the race that much easier.  But for whatever reason, whether it is because some Conservatives are believe McCain is the most electable or because Romney and Huckabee are splitting votes, or that Conservatives just aren't energize, McCain is showing that he can get along just fine without really targeting Conservatives.

This is a pretty significant shift in Republican politics.  If McCain is able to win because of his broad appeal, it will set the standard for Republican candidates to come.  I've heard many argue that McCain is a good candidate because he will set the stage for a Conservative candidate, but I don't see that happening.  Once the party begins to go down the road towards solidifying in the middle it is going to be a tough task to get back to the right.

2.  The only chance for a Conservative to beat McCain is for Huckabee to drop out.  With Giuliani's impending endorsement of McCain, Huckabee and Romney can no longer afford to split votes.  As last night's results showed, Romney has a much broader base than Huckabee and is in a better position to win.  Huckabee has been sold as the strong pro-life and pro-family candidate.  Folks have joined him because of belief in those causes.  But it is now time for Huckabee to put those causes before his campaign.  The longer Huckabee stays in the race, the less chance a Conservative has of winning the primary.  It is time for Huckabee to take one for the team and do what is best for the causes we believe in; drop out and endorse Romney.  An exit by Huckabee after Super Tuesday may be too late.

I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory.



January 28, 2008

Crist Endorses McCain, America Yawns

So Charlie Crist and Mel Martinez have jumped on board with McCain.  Neither of these come as any real shock, though I'm a little disappointed.  Unlike many of my fellow bloggers and the media however, I do not expect this will have any huge effect on the Florida primary.  While both of these men are skilled politicians, I don't see them as wielding a huge amount of public influence.  With Crist, in fact, I would argue just the opposite, public opinion and polls likely have more effect on him than the other way around. 

Let me ask you this, knowing what you know about Charlie Crist, if Giuliani had remained the front funner, do you think he would still be endorsing McCain?  I digress...

As for Mel Martinez, his approval ratings will tell you how much support will come with his endorsement... not much... and this is coming from someone who approves of Martinez.

Both of these guys have performed well in their respective roles and I respect both of them for it, but let's be honest the person is few and far between who is going to be tipped in one direction or the other by a politician's endorsement unless that politician has a devoted following.  Folks like Daniel Webster may garner that kind of following, but I don't see that with either Crist or Martinez.  A Jeb endorsement would have carried some weight, though he's probably angling for a VP spot.

Yes, yes, I know, Crist has ridiculously high approval ratings, but let's be honest, the reason for this is that he has managed to to completely tick anyone off yet.  Thats what makes him a great politician, but its that same mushy middle position that will prevent his endorsement from carrying much weight.

The media and bloggers are making this into a much bigger issue than it really is.  Perhaps if the endorsement had come a month ago and Crist went stomping around Florida stumping for McCain he could have swayed some folks for McCain with some passionate speeches, but a mere endorsement won't cut it.

If John McCain pulls off the victory it will be because of John McCain, not because of Charlie Crist.

But all of this is a moot point because all of you Republicans out there are going to vote for Mitt Romney... right?   Right?

January 25, 2008

The State of Sunshine Breaks My Heart

I really want to head over to Tampa to give Jim Johnson of The State of Sunshine a hug.  He seems a little discouraged over the candidates and the state of the party as a whole.  Just a little bit.

"The Republican Party is doomed, my friends."

He is also frustrated that the candidates all seem the same.

I'll have to disagree.  First, one of the candidates has been endorsed by the New York Times.  That's a pretty significant difference which closed any possibility there was of him getting my vote.

Second, we certainly have differences among the candidates on social issues, that being Romney and Huckabee versus McCain and Giuliani.  An example of application is federal funding of embryonic stem cell research which President Bush took a strong stand on and will require further strength from our next President.  For social Conservatives like me, that is a huge issue that will have very different result based on the candidate that wins.  Tell a social Conservative that the differences on this issue are "shades of gray" and you'll get to see them do a back flip, pull all their hair out, and breathe fire.  I know, I've done it twice this week.

I understand that Jim is certainly not alone in his feelings.  But honestly, I have a hard time remembering an election where we had more qualified candidates on the Republican side.  Really, if you think about it, we have a line up of heroes.  Whether it be 9/11, Vietnam, faith, Conservatism, they've all got good qualities.  Even Ron Paul is a hero those few Republicans who have difficulty understanding the world around them.  Good for him.

Cheer up Jim, we'll make it through this together.  And come Tuesday, if you still don't know who to vote for, vote for Romney, for Mr. G.

That goes for the rest of you too.

And as for Hillary?  I'm an optimist, and honestly, I think she is very, very beatable.

Mr. G's Thoughts on the Republican Debate in Florida

I managed to catch the midnight rerun of the Republican debate in Florida on MSNBC last night.  Allow me to give you might thoughts on the performances and even a little on the status of the campaigns.  Start with the best performance of the night and move down.

1.  Mitt Romney

Even right out of the gate I thought Romney gave a dominating performance.  The commentators last night, and many in the papers today are attributing this to the fact that the candidates didn't go after each other like the democrats have been doing.  We can speculate, but it doesn't really matter.  The fact is that Romney, as has become his style, looked presidential, sounded presidential and had all the right answers.

But hey, I'm biased.

Regardless of who you believe "won" the debate, there must at least be a consensus that Romney had the line of the night when asked by Tim Russert whether he is ready to face a campaign against both Hillary and Bill Clinton stating that he "can't imagine Bill Clinton in the White House again with nothing to do..."

Romney, in my mind really established himself as the guy to beat once again, in not just Florida, but the national race as well.

Romney really got put on the spot by Russert when he was asked is he would share with Florida how much of his own money he has spent on his campaign here.  Romney explained that he wouldn't for strategy reasons as he didn't want to reveal that to his opponents just yet but would when the law requires.  I think that was a fair answer.  But then he really hit it out of the park by explaining that:
1.  He has raised more money than any of his opponents,
2.  He couldn't ask his others to donate to his campaign if he was not willing to make a substantial contribution himself, and
3.  The fact that he is his own biggest contributor means that when elected he won't owe anyone anything.

Well said.

2.  Mike Huckabee

Huckabee really gave a fantastic performance.  He was certainly the most likable of all the candidates.  He also managed to stay relevant in the debate which is important for a guy that is going to have a hard time remaining relevant in the upcoming primaries.  A few things he said concerned me though.  Huckabee really pushed the idea of the Fair Tax, which I'm not opposed to, but he made it seem like that was the end all solution to all our financial woes.  I'm sure that is not what he believes, but lets look at an example.

Huckabee was asked about problems with social security.  His solution?  The Fair Tax.  Why? because that would allow a more stable source of funding for the program.  That is not what I want to hear from a Conservative candidate.  The answer is, social security is broken and we need to find ways to begin moving away from it and replacing it with a financially stable system.  Romney was hit with a similar question right after Huckabee and responded with three viable solutions.  He also explained that these options would have to be explored with the democrats to reach an agreement on the best solution.  Romney sounded realistic.  I don't want to say Huckabee is dreaming because I think the Fair Tax is certainly a possibility, though it may be a good distance off.  Romney has solutions for us now.

Another thing that concerned me was when Huckabee was asked about whether he agreed with Chuck Norris, who endorsed him, that John McCain is too old to be president.  Huckabee responded that he was with Norris when the comment was made and that he didn't say anything because he was standing next to Chuck Norris who "can put this foot on that side of my face and there is nothing I can do about it."  He went on to explain that later he made clear that he doesn't think that McCain lacks the capacity to be president.

It was a cute answer, but the fact of the matter is that Huckabee stayed silent after the comment was made not because he was afraid of getting kicked in the face.  I realize that it was one of those in the moment experiences and he may have said something if he could go back.  However, it bothers me a little that the guy that is most vocal about other candidates changing with the polls stays silent when the comment is made, but then reveals this strong conviction about it mostly likely after a strategy meeting on how to handle it.  I'm probably making something out of nothing, but something just didn't sit right with me.

I like Huckabee, but he didn't do anything to resolve my fears about his domestic policy positions.

3.  Ron Paul
Confession: I love making Ron Paul out to be the crazy of the group, but I have to admit he is a sharp guy.  Not all of his ideas are that bad.  I thought his performance last was the best I've seen so far from him.  But his question to McCain about whether he would abolish the President's Working Group on Financial Markets confused me.  Most Americans don't know or care about the PWG and Paul wastes his one chance to really distinguish himself on trying to pin McCain to a position that no one cares about.  Paul is playing to a fringe audience in this primary, and that is why he will remain a fringe candidate. 

4.  John McCain
McCain looked comfortable, as well he should given his current poll numbers. I was a little confused by his presentation however, as he kept claiming that he is a Conservative but every chance he got he touted when he broke away from Republicans and Conservatives.  Let me assure you, McCain is no Conservative.  That said, he didn't do anything to really hurt himself last night, sat back a little, and tried to demonstrate that he's not as old as he may appear to be.  Exactly what the old guy in the lead needs to be doing.

If nothing else, the fact that the New York Times just endorsed McCain proves that McCain is no Conservative. 

5.  Rudy Giuliani
As the guy who is betting everything on Florida, Giuliani needed to have his best performance.  Instead, he looked like a man on the run.  His campaign is watching this focus on Florida strategy fail miserably as he has absolutely no momentum.  My guess is that this will be the last time we see this strategy employed.  Giuliani made the comment during the debate that he had lulled the competition into a false sense of security, which was cute. But the fact is that he doesn't decide the result of the election.  We do.  And  it is the voters have been lulled into the impression that his campaign in about to collapse.

After the race, Giuliani's campaign manager was asked about the dropping poll numbers and he responded that people are most concerned about the "issues" that the "horse race."  It is not that simple.  Voters are concerned with both.  The truth is that front-runners are attractive because people don't want to feel like they are throwing their vote away.  I was at dinner with an Evangelical family last night who asked who I though they should vote for.  They like Huckabee, but wanted to vote for someone who was electable as well to help the cause of the best candidate with the best chance.  For the Huckabee supporters out there, I didn't tell them that a vote for Huckabee was a wasted vote.  I did sell them on Romney, however...

Giuliani looked like Giuliani last night.  Great guy, great leader, but nothing to pull himself out in front of the other candidates.

January 24, 2008

Another NYT Hit on Romney

It is like clockwork, whenever there is something embarrassing going on among Democrats the media instantly starts to pump out stories trying to put Republicans in the same light.  We've spent the last couple of days waiting to see if Hillary and Bill are going to get into a fist fight with Obama and wondering why John Edwards is still hanging around.  Then today, we get this piece from the New York Times telling us that the real action is among Republicans.  Specifically, that everyone is ganging up on Romney.

The article focuses on a quote from McCain referring to mud-slinging.  But I'm trying to figure out who McCain hasn't said something nasty about at this point.  It used to be cute because I thought he was really standing up to for himself.  Now I'm realizing that he's really just a cranky old man.  Remember that old neighbor who used to sit on his porch solely so he could yell at you if you stepped on the grass or "dawdled" too long on the sidewalk?  Yeah, that's old-man McCain.

The article also references some quotes from McCain and Huckabee staff. 

NEWSFLASH:   Huckabee and McCain staff are not fans of other candidates.

So what we are left with is one candidate who is crabby to everyone making crabby comments to Romney, and then paid staff of that candidate and one other making snarky statements as well.

How is this news?  It isn't.  It is a diversion from the bickering among Democrats and just another pathetic attempt to try and break down the unstoppable Romney machine.

All you need to know is this; Mr. G likes Romney.

Now let's get back to seeing which Democrat throws the first punch.  My bet is Hillary, she's more of a man than the other two put together.

FL Conservative Pro-Family Endorse Huckabee - Mr. G is Unmoved

I received via email today this press release concerning a number of Florida's Conservative and Pro-Family Leaders who have hopped on the Huckabee Wagon.  I'm told it is because Churck Norris threatened to round-house kick the roofs off their houses.

There are a good number of people on this list who I have great respect for.  These are some sharp folks and seeing their endorsement really made me question my Romney support for a moment.  But after some thought, I found myself right back where I started impressed by the family value convictions of Mike Huckabee, but afraid of his positions on domestic issues, particularly immigration, the economy, taxes and spending.  Again, I'd happily vote for Huckabee if he ends up being the nominee (which I don't think he will), but as far as being the total package, Mitt Romney is our man.

I do have to say that I've been impressed both impressed and depressed by the conversations I've had with the Evangelicals in my life who are Huckabee supporters.

I'm impressed that so many are excited about him, especially given the lack of campaigning he's been able to do in our state. 

I'm depressed that so many have jumped to a quick decision based solely on his stances on family values issues and have not done the research on the other candidates.

If you're touting yourself as a "big Huckabee supporter" when I ask you what you think about his immigration positions or his economic positions the answer should not be "I don't know."  Take the time to learn about the candidates, folks.

I'll give you the same challenge that I've given to these folks:  I challenge you to find a candidate in this race who has reacted more consistently on major family values issues such as marriage and life than Mitt Romney. 

The truth is that Romney has had more of an opportunity to stand for major family values issues than the others.  Perhaps they would do so if the opportunity comes up.  But Romney has proven himself willing and capable to stand up to a liberal legislature for what is right, even if it means he has no chance of being able to run for a second term.  In Massachusetts of all places Romney has vetoed legislation related to the morning after pill, embryonic stem cell research, massive minimum wage hikes, state benefits for illegal immigrants, and fought in both his capacity as governor and as a private citizen for traditional marriage.  Add to that his consistent policies on the economy and his creative solutions to the near unresolvable health care crisis and you have a candidate that I'm really looking forward to voting for.

That is, unless you can convince me otherwise.  You have 5 days.

January 22, 2008

Thompson Exit May Define Florida Primary

Word on the street is that after reading here at PEER Review that his candidacy was all but over, Fred Thompson saw the writing on the wall and dropped out of the race for the Presidency today.  This will have some rather strong effects on the race nationally, but particularly in Florida.

Thompson's campaign has, in my opinion, been the defining campaign of the race.  Virtually drafted by Conservative's unhappy with the then standing options, many anticipated that Thompson would bring an energy and boldness that would excited the Republican base.  Unfortunately, that energy never really came.  When Conservatives observed that Thompson was not necessarily going to be a candidate they could get excited about, they began looking elsewhere... enter the Huckabee surge.

At first glance, it may not appear that Thompson's exit will have any huge effect on the race in Florida; he has been polling at about 8% over the last few weeks.  But that 8% could make a huge difference when there is only a combined difference of 4% between Giuliani, McCain and Romney.

The logical landing point for Thompson supporters are with the other two Conservatives in the race, Romney and Huckabee; but there are two caveats.

(1) Since Thompson entered the race long after Romney, Thompson supporters have inherently decided that there was something they didn't like about Romney.  Many will be hesitant to go back to a candidate they weren't happy with in the first place.  As a result, many will likely lean towards Huckabee.  However (2), Huckabee's strong stance on domestic issues such as the economy was a tremendous selling point.  It is here that Huckabee has, as of yet, succeeded in completely winning over Conservatives.  Add to that the fact that Huckabee is far behind the other three top candidates in campaigning in Florida and you have Romney picking up some votes. 

The key here is that Romney needs less votes than Huckabee.  With Huckabee polling at about 16% and Romney at 19.3% a split with less than half of Thompson's support going to Romney keeps Romney in the lead over Huckabee and may hand the Florida primary as a whole to Romney on a silver platter.  Especially with the hint of a Romney surge that we see in the latest Rasmussen Poll showing Romney at 25% in Florida followed by Giuliani at 20%.

All in all, Thompson's exit may (and if I had to guess, will) give Romney the push he needs to win Florida and give him the momentum required to succeed beyond Florida.  Thompson's exit will also be great for Huckabee, but likely won't be enough to solidify Florida, or any other state.

Now, this could all totally change, of course, if Thompson pulls a Sam Brownback and endorses his fellow Senator, John McCain.  I anticipate that a Thompson endorsement of Romney or Huckabee will have the impact as no Thompson endorsement at all, at least in Florida.

January 21, 2008

Mr. G Says Vote "Yes" on Amendment 1

In the upcoming primaries Floridians will be asked to not only select a candidate for the Presidential election, they will also be asked if they want to lower property taxes through Amendment 1 which, among other things, allows for the portability of accrued tax benefits from home to home.  I encourage you to take the time to study the finer points of the Amendment (as with most thing from the legislature on both the state and national level, it is complicated).  I also encourage you to vote in favor of it.

Understand that this falls far short of the tax reform which Florida desperately needs.  Our tax system which relies so heavily on property taxes is bound to be unstable and will be subject to constant change.  We need an overhaul.  As I've suggested for some time, a sales tax would be far more equitable and easy to manage, but I digress.  In the meantime while we are waiting for said tax reform, Amendment 1 puts more money back in the pockets of Floridians and that is a good thing.

As a rule of thumb I will always support tax cuts and government spending cuts.  I've not seen anything to indicate that if we pass the Amendment that counties, as the left is claiming, won't be able to provide police officers, firefighters and teachers. 

This isn't the solution we need, but in the meantime there is no sense in not voting for an amendment that will save Floridians their hard earned money.

Mr. G says Vote Yes on 1.

November 14, 2007

Why the Sales Tax Idea Won't Go Away

When the Florida House of Representatives Sales Tax idea failed to make it out of the Legislature alive most of us promptly put the concept of axing property taxes out of mind.  I mentioned at toward the end of the discussion on the issue that this was not something that was going to disappear and we would be talking about again as a viable option. 

With news like this, it may be sooner than even I expected:

Report:  Orlando foreclosure filings up 184%

The Orlando Business Journal explains that even with this tremendous increase Orlando is still only 28th out of the top 100 areas as far as foreclosures.  Ft. Lauderdale came in at 4th, and Miami at 8th.

The legislature will only be able to tinker with band-aid solutions to the mortal economic wound which Florida's property tax scheme presents.  As the unstable real estate market continues to crush Florida families we must pursue options to provide relief, while allowing for the collection of a taxes at a fair rate.  I continue to propose that a statewide sales tax rather than our current property tax provides such a solution and if news like this continues to hit the papers, expect that I won't be the only one calling the legislature back to the table to discuss the idea.

November 08, 2007

Sarkozy Loves America, and Mr. G Loves Him Right Back

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and all those who voted him into office are radically changing the way I view the French.  Yesterday, Sarkozy spoke before Congress and summed up the American Spirit better than I've heard it from most of our own political leaders.  It does make me sad, however, to realize that this foreign dignitary understands what makes our nation great better than the liberals and democrats who actually live here.  This is a must read speech.  But here is my favorite part:

"America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who--with their hands, their intelligence and their heart--built the greatest nation in the world: "Come, and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it."

At several points throughout the speech President Sarkozy was met with applause.  It struck me as odd that we had democrats applauding for Sarkozy preaching principles which they adamantly oppose.

Throughout the speech Sarkozy explained his love for America.  I gotta say, I'm impressed with his positions and his boldness, and I'm lovin him right back.

Finally, for 8 years we have heard about how President Bush has totally destroyed American goodwill abroad.  But doesn't it say something the France, of all places, has its president buddying up with Bush and spouting off how much he loves America to Congress?
 

 

Mr. G falls for it...

I, along with a number of other bloggers, and even Rush Limbaugh, apparently, fell for what has turned out to be a complete hoax.  A made up abstract published at the website of a fake science journal purports to explain global warming by monitoring bacteria emissions.  As I stated in the post, I can't claim to understand the research which formed the basis of the argument in the paper, which is now obvious as it was totally made up. It struck me as interesting and I brought it to you.

Did I quickly post a link to a site that seemed to agree with my own suspicions regarding global warming.  Yep.  Honestly, I can't guarantee it will be the last time.  With with literally thousands of outgoing links on this site, I can't promise that all of the information I link to will be correct.  So as always, I encourage you look at the research and make up your own mind.  We'll both come across bad info now and again, but together, hopefully we can make out what is true and what is not.  Thank you to those who informed me of that I had been mislead. 

I'll conclude with this, however.  The heart of my previous post dealt with the hostile environment surrounding the global warming debate.  Despite the the fact that the paper I used as the lead-in was false, it remains true that global warming advocates have a religious zeal about defending their beliefs on the subject and those who dare disagree are scorned (though, certainly, I or anyone else publishing made up research on purpose or accident should be scorned!).  As I've stated in the past, I claim no expertise on the science behind the debate, but when the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation announces, just a few months back, that livestock flatulence accounts for close to one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, I suggest there is room for doubt that we've got it all figured out.

I've left the original post below, feel free to read it for a laugh at my expense!

Continue reading "Mr. G falls for it..." »

October 04, 2007

More Research Showing Abortion Causes Cancer

Yet another study showing there is a clear link between having an abortion and the development of breast cancer was released this week by a research institute in London.  You can read all the info here.

The first argument that the left turns to in the debate over abortion is that banning abortion will threaten the health of women, especially those whom would seek back alley abortions.  At the same time, they continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that abortions injure women physically and mentally.  Further, they fight against any legal efforts whatsoever to increase the monitoring and standards at abortion clinics.

This weeks study is simply further proof of the fact that abortion hurts women.

For more information on the link between abortion and breast cancer, visit the Coalition on Abortion / Breast Cancer.

This is why democrats scare me...

On a casual stroll through the Florida blogosphere I found this gem over at the Florida Progressive Coalition:

Earth to Florida:  You Need an Income Tax

Unreal.  Absolutely unreal.

Oh, and if you're making over $100k per year, the author suggests a 9% tax on you.  From there it goes up to 15% if you make $300k per year.  Just tack that extra amount on top of your federal taxes.  And don't fuss at me about it, mister, because having Florida adopt an income tax is "not debatable."

In fairness, the author is suggesting that this replace the property tax system, so you've at least got that going for you.  However, I'd take our defunct property tax set up over an income tax any day.  Oh, the proposed income tax would also "fund high quality socialized early education for all two, three and four year olds, class size reductions and parent training courses for all high school students and all other imminent parents."

I'm speechless...

At least we can be thankful that this guy is not Governor, as he states that, "If I were Governor, I’d go all out to enact an income tax and this week I’d be proposing a budget that increases state spending by a billion dollars, not slashing it one billion."

Where do these people come from?

At first I just wrote this off as one of the many far left moonbats out there peddling half-brained tax hikes and massive government spending increases.  But then I remembered that we're not just hearing proposals like this from the liberal fringes.  In fact, we have a democrat presidential candidates, including the front runner, pushing and promising programs which will result in massive increases in government spending.  How do we pay for it?  Massive tax hikes!

Despite the fact that it has been this way for as long as I can remember, I'm still confounded by the way democrats on all levels consistently demonstrate a complete lack of restraint in taking and spending my money.

September 17, 2007

Alan Keyes for President, Again... The Benefit and the Burden

On Friday Alan Keyes filed papers with the FEC to begin his candidacy for President and made an official announcement the same day.  This will be his third go at the presidency following his 1996 and 2000 campaigns.  As we've seen in his previous campaigns, there is a tangible benefit to his candidacy as seen through the positions he relentlessly advocates.  At the same time, his candidacies, which are inevitably doomed from the beginning, present a burden for Conservatives during the election.  Let's look at both:

The Burden

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions before, I am a HUGE Keyes fan.  There is currently no other candidate I would rather vote for than Alan Keyes.  He is a man of character, conviction and brilliance as well as a tremendous communicator.  That said, I won't vote for Alan Keyes, he won't win the primary (obviously) and I don't see any time in the foreseeable future in which Keyes will be in a position to win the White House.  As in the previous 8 years, he is simply not electable and because Conservatives are already fractured over who to vote for his candidacy creates a burden for Conservatives this cycle. 

Romney, Thompson, Huckabee, Brownback are all appealing options and no one has a lock on the Conservative base.  This causes a dire problem as it is and will continue to allow a more left leaning candidate such as Giuliani to win the primary.  I am a believer in the concept that Conservatives win elections with the 2004 election being the shining example of the theory.  This is not because Conservatives necessarily vote in larger masses than others, but because Conservatives energize the Republican party and candidates.  But this cannot happen when Conservatives are divided as they are now.  The Keyes candidacy will further fracture that base.  In all probability the level of support Keyes will gather will be negligible, but with as divided as Conservatives are now that little bit of support drawn away from another candidate will become critical.

But Keyes' candidacy is not all bad...

The Benefit

Keyes campaigns are always used a platform to encourage Conservatives and our nation as a whole to draw closer towards those principles our nation is founded on.  As an incredible mind and communicator Keyes is quickly able to cut to the core of the issues and focus our attentions on what is truly important.

For example, during his announcement Keyes explained that:

"he's "unmoved" by the lack of moral courage shown by the other candidates, among whom he sees no standout who articulates the "key kernel of truth that must, with courage, be presented to our people."

He added, "The one thing I've always been called to do is to raise the standard . . . of our allegiance to God and His authority that has been the foundation stone of our nation's life"--and he decried the lack of "forthright, clear, and clarion declaration" from the other candidates concerning this issue."

He's right on the money.  While so many of the candidates are attempting to tackle the surface of the problems our nation faces, Keyes cuts to the quick an erosion of our nation's allegiance to God and His authority.  But he can articulate these hard-line positions where others cannot or will not because Keyes doesn't have a chance at winning the election.  So expect a number of rousing speeches and articles from the Keyes campaign.  Listen to them.  Read them.  I guarantee they will be inspiring and influential on your views of this election.

So what do we do with all of this?  Does the benefit of Keyes' campaign outweigh the burden?  I'll let you decide, but I implore you to do two things:

1.  Listen to Alan Keyes as he uses his campaign to lay out a vision for the future of our nation because it will be both convicting and inspiring.  Start with an incredible series of articles he has prepared for this election cycle called The Crisis of the Republic.

2.  Don't vote for Alan Keyes.  He will not win the primary, or the election and a vote for him will only serve to further the chances of Giluiani during the primary.

September 11, 2007

Thoughts on 9/11 and 9/10

My coworkers and I gathered this morning to reflect on the events of 9/11 and say a word of prayer for those families who lost loved ones, for our troops and for our country.  It was a moving time of reflection and introspection.  However, as I continued about my day that somber feeling was intruded upon by irritation, then frustration, then outright anger over what took place yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Today as our nation remembers those lost on 9/11 and redoubles its prayers for our troops our country's spirit is tainted by those who have invested themselves in defeat.  What a shame to observe that just yesterday, on the eve of the this day when our nation remembers those we lost to the madness of Islamic extremists, elected Senators in our own Congress stood before a Senate committee and called one of our most decorated soldiers a liar before the man even said a word.  How dreadful that just yesterday an organization of our own citizens would pay to run an add in an American newspaper calling  our General on the front line  between us and those who wish to destroy us, a traitor.

While I can certainly understand the criticism of the War on Terror both in Iraq and elsewhere it is baffling to see these elected leaders so dedicated our defeat and willingness to campaign against, attack and disparage those who believe we can achieve victory in Iraq and that we can defeat terrorism.

As we recall today those emotions we felt years ago when the towers fell, let us not forget those who continue to stand between us and those who would destroy us.  Let us honor them, their selflessness and their mission.  And on this day of remembrance, let us trust in those whom we have charged with our defense when they tell us that we can win if we will maintain our determination and resolve.

September 10, 2007

Mr. G Returns

It has been far, far too long since I've posted here at PEER.  I offer my most sincere apologies for the unexplained absence.  My excuses for being away from you include, but are not limited to:

1.  The all consuming practice of law
2.  Church related activities
3.  Fantasy Sports
4.  The all consuming practice of law

I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of you who still come by on a regular basis without regular posting.  Thanks to Bob, Mr. GOP and Mr. C for keeping up on the posts and keeping our traffic up.

So where do we go from here?  Well, I have no intention of trying to recap lost time.  Instead, let's just pick up with the hot button issues facing our state, nation and world and put this whole nasty separation behind us, shall we?

It is good to be back.

July 18, 2007

Sayfie Goes National

If you don't frequent Sayfie Review, you should.  You can get all the Florida newspapers stories you need to know in one spot.  Now, you can do the same on a national scale at Sayfie News.  Same set up, but national scope.  My life just got that much easier.  Thank you, Justin Sayfie.

July 11, 2007

Babies, Babies Everywhere: The Solution to Frozen Embryos

I encourage you to read this fantastic article from the Action Institute by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D, outlining the advantages, both ethical and economic of pursuing stem cell research using umbilical cord blood rather than embryonic stem cells.  While much of the information is not new to those who follow the stem cell debate closely, the final paragraph of the article has me considering a new position in that debate which I've not seen advocated before.

"This is the ultimate irony of the conflict over stem cells. Umbilical cord blood produces cells that are more practical than those obtained from embryo destruction. If we would allow the embryos to be born, we would have a ready supply of something more therapeutic and less costly. And, we get a free prize: a cute baby, as a by-product. A win-win situation all around.'

As the author points out earlier in the article, the proponents of stem cell research often argue that there are banks of frozen human embryos out there and that those embryos will go to waste if we don't use them for research.  This is an argument that has convinced even a number of Republicans and Conservatives to begrudgingly assent to the use of those embryos for research purposes leading to their destruction.  After all, what on earth would we do with those embryos other than just let them die?

As Dr. Morse seems to suggest, why don't we let them do what embryos do?  Why don't we let them grow and be born?

I am sure this argument has been made by many before, I've just never seen it, and never considered the idea myself.  Probably because though the idea is morally correct, it would face nearly insurmountable opposition.

I realize that I'm living in my Conservative fantasy world when I make the suggestion that we should have a national initiative to require all viable frozen embryos be implanted into volunteer host mothers and essentially adopted.  Aside from the fuss that would be raised over suggesting that we bring 400,000 frozen embryos to birth (not necessarily all at once, mind you) when we still have children languishing in the adoption system, there are the legal issues over the ownership of the embryos.  A study from the RAND Corporation which Dr. Morse cites shows that over 88% of all harvested embryos are stored for "Future Family Building" meaning that the parents maintain "ownership."  Only 11,000, or about 2.8% have been donated for research.

Regardless of the opposition, I've found my answer to those who argue that frozen embryos would simply go to waste if not used for research; let them be born.  If we truly believe that these embryos are human life, we can advance no other position.  As Dr. Morse writes, not only do we get a great new source of umbilical cord blood for research, but we get babies as well.  Lots of babies.  And who doesn't like babies?  I mean, besides liberals...

June 25, 2007

Florida Marriage Amendment

The 2008 election cycle promises to be nothing short of electric in Florida.  With the presidential election as well as, as of last week, a vote on a Florida constitutional amendment to give even more tax relief the political machine will be firing on all cylinders.  Add to that yet another vote which promises to be one of, if not the most hotly contested issue; the Florida Marriage Amendment. 

The amendment needs only 21,000 more signatures before February 1, 2008 and it will be on the November 2008 ballot.  Easy.

Anticipating the battle to come, the opposition is already gearing up and Equality Florida is calling on bloggers to enter the fray.  As is typical of the enemies of traditional marriage, even this initial call to arms ignores the truth in an effort to paint a picture of a nation moving towards the warm embrace of same sex marriage.  This is, of course, does not accurately reflect reality.

For regulars here at PEER Review, much of this will be a review.  We've covered this topic in detail, but Florida's liberals obviously need a refresher course.

Continue reading "Florida Marriage Amendment" »

June 13, 2007

Florida democrats Voicing Opposition to Property Tax Reform, Lower Foreclosure Rates and Voter Involvement

Democrats in the Florida legislature now seem poised to fight the property tax reform measures proposed by Republicans.  In all likelihood this is nothing more than political posturing since democrats know that Republicans have put all their eggs in one basket on this issue.  Prediction: the reform measures pass.

In the meantime, let's take a moment to examine the position the democrats have put themselves in with their opposition.

First, a report released yesterday shows that for the month of May, Florida has one of the top ten highest foreclosure rates in the country.  Miami is in the list of top ten cities.  Reducing property taxes can only help those facing foreclosure as it will reduce housing payments.  Democrats are opposed.

Second, one of the larger concerns democrats have is with the second half of the tax cut plan which requires an amendment to the Florida Constitution.  It would cut about 16 billion in property taxes.  democrats say it is too much and that the people of Florida don't want it.  Remember that this amendment will require a vote in November 2008.  So if you are opposed, vote against it.  Perhaps the democrats are be right.  Maybe the people are opposed, but the Republicans are advancing a way to find out.  I suspect that the democrats are dead wrong on this one and the amendment will have a good chance of passing.  There is only one way to find out; let the people vote.

I don't suggest that state-wide votes are the solution to every issue.  However, it does seem silly that democrats are parading about with their rhetoric about the will of the people when the Republicans have proposed a measure to allow voters to voice their will.

Fred Under Attack

One dynamic to the Fred Thompson campaign I hadn't thought about until today is the fact that his opposition is already well organized.  As Thompson prepares to declare the other candidates have already developed expansive support networks.  This means that as the Thompson campaign gets rolling, he's an easy target.  The Politico has the story today.  Thompson is being questioned on everything from surveys in 1994 and 1996 in which he indicated support for abortion for any reason through the first trimester and opposition to "criminalizing" abortion.  His extensive lobbying career and work as counsel on Capitol Hill has many questioning whether the portrayal of Thompson as a D.C. outsider is accurate.  Even I was a little surprised to learn that Thompson was a paid lobbyist for deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man who many consider nothing more than a dictator.

Thompson's campaign will, of course, have a response to all of this.  But it will be interesting to see if any of it is able to cool the blazing popularity Thompson is currently enjoying.

I really just have one question.  Would Thompson today support federal action to end abortion?

June 12, 2007

Lindsay Lohan Viewed More Favorably Than democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid

What do Harry Reid, the ranking democrat leader in the US Senate and Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie have in common?

1.  All of them are on TV far too often.

2.  All of them are viewed favorably by less than 20% of the American public.

In a poll released by Rasmussen this past week we learned that Harry Reid is viewed favorably by only 19% of the American public.  That is half as much as Vice President Dick Cheney's 38% received in the same poll.  Few politicos have as low a favorable opinion rating as Reid.  Well, there is one other with the exact same rating as Reid; Scooter Libby.

Reid does have more company, just not in the political sphere.  A separate Rasmussen poll on favorable opinion ratings showed that Britney Spears came in at 13%,  Paris Hilton at 12%, Nicole Richie at 14% and Courtney love just 3 points shy of Senator Reid at 16%.  At least Reid is not alone in the "under 20% club."

What about rehab princess Lindsay Lohan?  Well, she actually beat Reid with a 20% favorable opinion rating.  This gives Reid something to shoot for, being liked by more people than Lindsey Lohan.

So why, seeing as most people don't care for Reid, should we pay attention to these numbers?  Because it is yet further evidence that the "Mandate" democrats have been claiming they have from the American people to push their agenda is bologna.  These numbers are, of course, easily manipulated.  We could use the "unfavorable opinion percentages" from the polls (Reid's is at 45%) to draw some different conclusions.  However,  what we can see is a trend in how  the average American views democrat leaders.

The current approval ratings for the "most open and honest congress ever" is hovering around 32% (thoughtthe LA Times just put it at a whopping 27%).  This is, on average, lower than President Bush's 33 % approval rating which we are reminded on a daily basis by the main stream media is really low.  The current Congress has approval ratings as low as the previous Republican Congress did just before the democrat victory in 2006.

For all the talk of their "mandate" and all of the talk of disapproval of Republicans by democrats it is nothing but entertaining to watch  as more and more Americans realize that democrats do not have the solutions to the problems our country faces today.  Maybe they should give Lindsay Lohan a shot at Reid's job?  More people like her anyways.

June 11, 2007

Beyond the Hype: The Campaign of Fred Thompson

It has been rather impressive to watch Fred Thomspon surge.  A candidate who hasn't announced, and until a few weeks ago didn't even hint that he would run has somehow managed to gain a loyal following of almost 15 percentage points in the polls; better poll numbers than the candidate who has been one of the most successful as far as fundraising and network building (Romney).  I've found myself in an ever decreasing group of Conservatives who just doesn't see the tremendous appeal that so many others obviously do.  Don't get me wrong, I like Fred, I just don't think he's the best candidate we've got. 

Moreover, I predict that as the campaigns roll on many are going to realize that, perhaps, Fred isn't the incredible communicator they thought he was or that his record isn't as impressive as they thought or that he's not as compelling on the issues as they hoped he would be.  I'm not alone in that opinion; George Will seems to agree in a new article on the same subject.   What Mr. Will hits right on the head is the  observation that Thompson is the Republican Rorschach test and that Republicans are seeing in him what they want to see.  George Will and I just don't see the substance. 

I do understand the appeal.  Thompson comes across as a guy who will be willing to take liberals and democrats on, which is something that Republicans have desperately longed for over the last 8 years.  But I'm not convinced that Thompson will be that either.  Thompson may be played off as the outsider who won't get tangled up in the political game, but remember, Thompson was called in to "guide" Justice Roberts through the nomination process.  Why?  Because Thompson understand the political game and plays it well.  He understand appearances.  He understands the process.

The fact is that Thompson has gotten a ton of hype, but there has not been much discussion on substance and there has not been the opportunity for him to present it.  And when the hype fades and folks are forced to examine the Thompson candidacy for what it really is many are going to have to face the harsh reality that Thompson isn't the super-candidate they dreamed he would be.

Editorial Note and shameless campaign plug:  Mr. G is an unashamed evangelical fan of the Romney campaign who believes that Romney has faced and stood strong in tougher battles for the cause of Conservatism than Thompson could even dream of, so take the above with a grain of salt.

The Tax Cut Man Cometh

Florida House and Senate leadership unveiled today the property tax cut plan which they've been able to agree upon.  The plan includes $15.6 million in statutory tax cuts that will apply this year and an additional 16 million in tax cuts which will be the subject of a January referendum.  The broad strokes of the plan are detailed by a release from House Speaker Rubio and are as follows (found here):

$15.6 billion in Immediate Tax Relief and Reform (Statutory Changes)

  • Beginning this year, every category of property taxpayer will benefit from the cut and the cap that the statute imposes.
  • All cities and counties will be required to cut taxes in the upcoming 2007-2008 fiscal year to the 2006-2007 revenue levels. These local governments will then be required to make an additional cut of 3%, 5%, 7% or 9%. The level of cuts will be determined by a formula that analyzes their taxing performance over the past 5 years, measured against a statewide average.
  • Special taxing districts and fiscally limited cities and counties will be required to cut taxes to the 2006-2007 revenue levels and make an additional cut of 3%.
  • A cap on future property tax revenues (based on the rate of personal income growth and new construction) will be imposed to ensure that government cannot grow faster than personal income.
  • Local governments may override the cut and the cap. The method for the override will vary based on the magnitude of the local government's action (escalating from a supermajority vote of the local governing body, to a unanimous vote of the local governing body, to a referendum).

$16 billion in Further Tax Relief and Reform (Constitutional Amendment)

  • The estimated average savings for a homestead property (combining statutory and constitutional changes) will be $1,300 in 2008-2009. This average savings represents a 44% reduction.
  • "Save our Homes" is replaced with a new "super exemption". An estimated 73% of homesteaded properties will receive a greater benefit under this new exemption.
  • The      new "super exemption" will be as follows:
    • Level 1: Homestead Property will receive an exemption of 75% of the first $200,000 in value of the home. The minimum exemption is $50,000 per homestead.
    • Level 2: In addition to Level 1, homestead property will       obtain another 15% exemption for the next $300,000 in value.
  • We will grandfather the tax savings and assessment cap for the minority of property owners who have greater benefits under the current "Save our Homes" plan.
  • We will preserve all existing constitutional exemptions based on special circumstances, including those now provided to disabled veterans, low income seniors and agricultural lands.
  • Because the tax base for all taxing authorities will decline under the constitutional amendment, the fiscal analyses reflects a reduction in school funding. We intend to hold schools harmless from these cuts.

Other Constitutional Changes

There has been agreement to address remaining issues such as additional relief to low income elderly taxpayers, offering incentives for affordable housing and providing tax reform for "working waterfronts" and small businesses. Small businesses will receive a $25,000 tangible personal property tax (TPP) exemption resulting in a total exemption for $1 million of the 1.3 million businesses who must pay this tax. Furthermore, those who receive a total exemption on their TPP will never have to file the burdensome paperwork associated with the tax again.

More details are found in the presentation materials for the plan which can be accessed here.  Also, the Sun-Sentinel has a good quick review of the cuts and where they will apply here.

What everyone really wants to know is how much of a cut they can expect.  That will differ from county to county, but on average we'll see a cut of about $174 this year, and $1,306 next year, if the referendum passes.  Over five years the savings are expected to be about $6,159, on average.  The plan is pretty impressive in the way it attempts to limit the impact on smaller counties and counties which have done well in keeping taxes lower.  But it is complicated and I still maintain that a simple sales tax is the way to go.  But I digress.

This plan is a start, but let's look ahead.  Expect counties and cities to be out in force trying to defeat the additional $16 million via referendum.  All the rhetoric about the shame of cutting "vital" county services will only increase over the next few months.  Also expect voices from the opposite end; people who don't think the tax cuts are enough.  This plan is certainly enough for the legislature and Governor Crist to declare "victory" over property taxes, but my prediction is that this is a temporary fix.  New problems will emerge, as will old ones, and we'll be back to the drawing board within the next 5 years.

Welcome Real Clear Politics Visitors

Some of the recent coverage of the Fred Thompson surge by Bob here at PEER Review has gotten a nod from political megasite Real Clear Politics.   For those of you visiting from Real Clear Politics, we welcome you to PEER Review Florida.

June 04, 2007

Counties the Cause of Tax Crisis

I always hesitate to argue with another Conservative because Conservatives draw their strength from their shared ideas.  But it is always entertaining to see Conservatives argue.  In that spirit, I take aim at a post by my friend Jim Johnson over at the State of Sunshine in which he comes to the defense of Florida counties in the battle over property tax reform.   

Continue reading "Counties the Cause of Tax Crisis" »

Program Note

A few quick items:

First, apologies for the tremendous lack of posts lately.  As happens so often, life lately has conflicted with blogging and life almost always wins that battle.

Second, we've been hit with a recent wave of spam comments and as a result we're going to have to beef up commenting requirements temporarily.  You may get an authentication query when commenting for a time.

Third, if you have not been reading the State of Sunshine regularly, you should be.  With the addition of 2 new contributors and great new content State of Sunshine is one of the best Florida blogs out there and one of my personal favorites.

Fourth, after dealing with a major issue regarding travel arrangements for my one year wedding anniversary to the lovely Mrs. G, I proclaim that I will never, ever, ever use Orbitz again for anything and encourage you to do the same. 

May 23, 2007

Florida Turkey and Federal Pork

The Florida newspapers today are buzzing today about a Florida Tax Watch report on the 507 pet projects included in the budget passed by the Florida Legislature this year.  These pet projects account for$267.3 million in spending and have been labeled "turkeys" by the group.  Many have been quick to point out the significance of the Legislature's demand that counties reduce their budgets, while the Legislature goes on a spending spree.  democrats in particular have gleefully noted the hypocrisy.  Honestly, I don't disagree.  I hope Governor Crist makes full use of his line-item veto power to trim the turkey.  In fact, cut it out altogether.

However, while I agree with my democrat friends on the spending in Tallahassee, I cannot help but wonder why there has not been a similar reaction on the spending in Washington, D.C.  Let us not forget the $21 billion worth of pork that democrats slipped into their initial Iraq spending bill and rammed through Congress.  I hope that my democrat friends here in Florida who are outraged at the spending by Republicans in the Florida Legislature will begin to apply the same standard to their own leadership in the Federal Legislature.  We should demand fiscal responsibility and spending restraint and we should demand it at every level of government, local, state and federal.  We should cut both the Florida turkey and the federal pork.

May 22, 2007

Why We Haven't Seen the Last of the Sales Tax

Much to my frustration the reports coming out of the pre-special session negotiations between the Florida House and Senate indicate that the sales tax idea is off the table.  Depending on who you ask, there are 3 or 4 current proposals, all centered on issuing a reduction on property taxes but differing on how and who to give those cuts to.  Any of the ideas is going to lead to cries of inequity from some group, and none of them will effectively and permanently end the property tax problem.  It may quell some of the discontent for now, but any of the current proposals will be a band-aid on a mortal wound.

And that is why we have not heard the end of the sales tax idea.

My guess is that within the next five years max, we are going to have another serious discussion about axing property taxes and moving to a sales tax because people will still be dissatisfied with the property tax system.  In fact, the push will be even stronger because we'll be able to see that the cut backs won't work on a permanent basis and more will realize that we need a fundamental change in our state tax structure.

So if you are like me, and are disappointed to see the discussions on the sales tax idea end in Tallahassee, fear not, because we'll be having them again soon.

May 21, 2007

Polls, Polls, Polls and Romney

New polling data on the presidential campaigns is coming out on an almost daily basis already.  Of particular interest is that Romney is gaining traction.  In fact, the recent poll averages now have Romney in the lead in New Hampshire and two-tenths of a point behind McCain for the top spot in Iowa.

As for Florida?  Giuliani retains a commanding lead; an average of 15.5 points.

I'm also keeping a close eye on the Fred Thompson and Gingrich numbers who, combined, continue to hold onto about 17 points.  While Romney remains behind Giuliani and McCain in national averages by 17 and 10 points respectively, those leads will likely drastically dwindle if and when Fred and Newt announce that they are not running.  Those holding out for these two are likely mostly Conservatives.  And when given the choice between the top three candidates many, if not most, will side with Romney.

Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback

This weekend Mrs. G and I attended the Florida Family Policy Council Annual Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida.  It was a great event that featured two presidential hopefuls; Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Sam Brownback, Senator from Kansas.  Mel Martinez, Bill McCullom, Ken Conner and a number of others added to the star power at the event, but what was most exciting for me was the hundreds of grassroots leaders in attendance.   While I was excited to get to hear from Governor Huckabee and Senator Brownback, I didn't expect to be swayed by them.  I've heard them both speak before and even though I admire them I wasn't anticipating anything that would make me jump on their 1% of the polls band-wagon.  I was wrong.

Continue reading "Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback" »

May 18, 2007

Special Interest Group Paid Signature Gatherers

Attached to the opposition to the Hometown Democracy idea, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has launched a public awareness campaign about paid petition signature gathers from outside the state.  While the the ability to amend the Florida Constitution provides for an unmatched opportunity for the people to direct government, it also provides an opportunity of out-of-state interests to push policy in Florida as a testing ground and for others to profit from the signature gathering process.  It is in these situations where the amendments become more about special interest groups, out of state interest groups none-the-less. 

The point of all this?  Don't sign a petition unless you have taken to time to research what the amendment would actually do.  Sadly, the statement that with two million dollars, you can buy an amendment to the Florida Constitution is true.  That needs to change.

The Chamber has put together a brief PSA with a great summary of what is going on and how to respond.

Yet Another Dumb Ballot Initiative

As always, there is yet another bad idea floating around the state in the form of a petition for a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution.  This one would require local governments to hold election for the approval of comprehensive land use plans.  It is called "Hometown Democracy" and it is, to get to the point, dumb.

I support giving the little guy a voice.  On major issues like the marriage amendment or the sales tax proposal I like the idea of having an election to determine what policy stance the state will take.  But I also recognize that we have a Republican Democracy which places the responsibility of policy decisions in the hands of our elected government.  The reason for this?  Most of us don't want to go to the polls every time the Government wants to change something.

I can understand the desire to preserve as much of the natural state of Florida as we can.  I can understand some being upset about the ever increasing development of our state.  I can understand folks wanting to restrict development in some areas.  These positions should certainly be open for discussion and we have local government avenues to address these concerns.  However, an election over every major change is only going to complicate the process beyond repair.

Can you imagine the burden of having campaigns and elections over land use proposals?  It is a logistical nightmare that can only, and will cripple Florida's growth and business.

The idea is still in the petition stages, so if you are approached by an individual looking for your signature, feel free to use my description of the idea; dumb.

In Life News: Human/Animal Hybrids and Planned Parenthood Hides the Sexual Abuse of Children

Two big stories on the Sanctity of Life front:

Human-Animal Hybrids

The UK government has overturned a ban on the creation of animal-human hybrids  and are pushing forward a law to permit the limited use of the same for medical research.  Article here.  The hybrids could not be grown for more than 3 weeks or implanted under the proposed policy.

When Conservatives made the slippery slope argument on issues like cloning and argue that our unwillingness to protect the sanctity of life will eventually lead to exactly what is being proposed we were called "alarmists."  Yet, here we are.

I'll take the argument to the next level.  If unchecked, the three week limit and limit on implantation in the UK will ultimately be done away with as well.

Planned Parenthood Hides the Sexual Abuse of Children

State laws requires the reporting of statutory rape by doctors and counselors.  This poses a problem for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood whose clients, if under the legal age, are de facto victims of statutory rape.  It has long been argued that these abortion providers, rather than consistently reporting look the other way and encourage the concealment of statutory rape.  One young woman in California had the boldness to go direct direct proof of this.  Lila Rose of The Advocate, a student newspaper at UCLA secretly video taped a consult with Planner Parenthood employees where she pretended to be a 15 year old girl.  How can one get around those pesky child abuse reporting laws?  One Planned Parenthood employee has the answer:

"You could say 16…well, just figure out a birth           date that works. And I don’t know anything."

Lila put the videos on Youtube and Planned Parenthood threatened to sue.  Lila took the videos down, but you know how these things spread online.

Ann and Mr. G on Rev. Falwell

With the passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell I've been dismayed to watch so many Conservative Christians attempt to "honor" him without doing something to indicate they agreed with Falwell on anything.  Meanwhile on the left, many are celebrating Falwell's passing and others, while not so quick to celebrate a man's death simply mock him.  That is why I'm thankful for folks like Ann Coulter who has the courage to say what so many others are afraid to say directly, or at all; Jerry Falwell was a great man.  As usual, Ann even takes it to the max:

"Let me be the first to say: I ALWAYS agreed with the Rev. Falwell."

Dr. Falwell has had a tremendous impact on not just our nation, but the globe through his help in reinvigorating the influence of evangelicals and Conservatives in the political sphere as well as through the impact of his biblical teachings and foundation of Liberty University.  While I never had the privilege of meeting the man in person, but I know many who have and have been forever bettered by the experience.

While the left continues to spew venom about how Falwell "hated this" and "hated that" I encourage you to remember the example he st for us in his relationship with sex industry mogul Larry Flynt.  Here was a man that had wronged Falwell to a degree that most of us will never experience.  Between the public humiliation Flynt doled out and the resulting multi-million dollar lawsuit if Falwell had reason to "hate" anyone, it was Larry Flynt.  But instead, Falwell made a friend from an enemy.  Here's what Flynt said upon Falwell's passing:

"I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling."

I hope that we can all learn from the example that Falwell lived out; standing by principal, living out our convictions and doing so in love.  I'm with Ann and I mourn the passing of a man of incredible conviction and impact.

May 14, 2007

Surprise! I Like the 1/2 Hour News Hour

Apparently the Conservative attempt to respond to the Daily Show has been picked up for a full season by Fox News.  I had no idea the show had been picked up and just happened to stumble across the first new episode last night.  It is still not the funniest thing I've ever seen, but it had it's moments.  Mrs. G even laughed several times.  If nothing else, it is a refreshing change from the normal fare.  They even have a live audience now, which means no laugh track; a great improvement.  That said, I hope you'll check out the 1/2 Hour New Hour, Sundays on Fox News at 10 pm.

Hey Newt, You are Hurting America

In an ABC interview with Diane Sawyer, the inevitable question was asked, will Newt Gingrich be running for President?  Newt responded that there is a "great possibility" but when probed further about it he declined and added "I want to focus on what we have to do to make America successsful."

I argue that this attitude is doing great harm to America as we speak.

For the purposes of this argument we'll assume that having a Republican elected to the Presidency is good for America, or at least better than having a democrat elected.  With Newt out there as a continuing possibility it keeps attention on him.  This is, of course, a great business move because while everyone is wondering if he will run he gets time to promote his books and his columns and gets invitations to speak everywhere.  However, while he remains in the spotlight, he takes attention away from others.  Others who will need all the support and momentum they can get to beat Hillary or Obama.  This problem is furthered by the repeated disparaging remarks Newt is making about the current candidates. 

Newt, if you really want to "help America" make an announcement so we can either stop wasting our time, energy and money on other candidates or focus in on someone who is actually running.  Stop insulting the candidates that are in the race.  You hold a ton of influence in our party and, if you are not going to run, your attacks only lessen the chance of them gaining support.

Fred Thompson, I'm looking at you, too.

Follow Rudy's Example; No Compromise

I must say that I do admire Rudy Giuliani's "no compromise" stance on abortion, even though it has taken him months to actually acknowledge it.  On Friday Rudy made his position clear, abortion is ok.  Sure he sugar coated it the way every pro-death republican does with 'I'm personally against it,' and 'I want to see the number of abortions reduced,' and 'we should support adoption,' and 'It is not my place to make that decision for others.'  The move is a real gamble for Giuliani as he's betting that Life won't be the issue that wins the day in the primary.  We could say that recent discoveries have forced him into solidifying this position, but regardless, I am glad to see him being forthright on the issue, unlike some others in previous campaigns.

So what can we take from all of this?  I suggest that Rudy has given us an example that we should follow.  Abortion is a position that Rudy has strong enough convictions about that he is unwilling to compromise.  I challenge you to do the same.  If you are pro-life, don't put that conviction for anybody, not even Rudy himself.  Life is an issue of quintessential importance to the soul of our nation and a victory for life will require our unbending resolve.  Rudy has set a great example, this is an issue that we should not be willing to compromise on.

Now, I've already heard from the apologists who argue that Rudy says he will appoint "strict constructionalist" judges.  While I can take some solace in that, he has also said that he will not have a litmus test, which scares me, and that he won't pick judges based on their views of Roe v. Wade, which scares me even more.  Why?  Because a judges position on Roe v. Wade and it ilk will necessarily define them as a "strict constuctionalist" or not.  If a judge can in any way justify a case which relies on "penumbras and eminations" from the constitution, they are not a strict constructionalist.  I will have a hard time believing that Rudy, with as resolute as he is on abortion, and with as wishy-washy as his standard for judges seems to be, will affirmatively appoint strict constructionalists.  This is simply not a risk I am willing to take.

So follow Rudy's example, stand strong by your convictions.  Vote for a candidate who stands by you.  Pro-Lifers, vote against Rudy.

Reader Submission: It's Still the Death of Innocents, Stupid!

This reader submission comes to us from recycleroy and hits upon the core of what will undoubtedly become the hotly contested center-piece of the Republican primary; the candidates positions on life issues.

I would like a clear answer from Rudi and the rest of the presidential contenders from both sides to explain, simply what the difference between pulling the plug on Terri Schiaevo and aborting a presumed healthy baby in the womb is.  The intentional death of an innocent, is still just that. Because of our shift in language I must ask, does a brain damaged adult have the same value as a baby with a defect in the womb, by the way called a potentially unviable tissue mass?  Until these basic questions can be answered, again, simply and loudly, the murder goes on.  As Rome falls this basic cheapening of life continues with loud voices from the MSM and it's small ( < 29 % based on new polling data) pro-choice contingent.  I would suppose we need to first look at the medical community for some of this callousness. 

I can speak to both of these from personal experience. In 1986 my wife became pregnant with our 3rd child. After the normal tests and doctor visits we were notified that my son, who by the way is a healthy 20 year old, had spina bifida and should be aborted without delay at about 3 months along in her pregnancy.  Fast forward 14 years. My wife has diabetes and started having epileptic siezures. Again the good old doctors say you'll only live 5 years or less so get a DNR (Do Not Resesitate) order and load up the drugs waiting for the end. Even after a massive heart attack she's no worse for the wear, she fully recovered and that was in large part to ignoring the doctors and forcing medication changes.
 
So where does this leave us?

A trusting and mostly ignorant population, led down the garden path to our demise on this earth by societal and medical malpractice......
 

recycleroy

May 10, 2007

Does God Exist?

ABC Nightline last night featured a debate over the existence of God.  The sides were represented by two each from the Christian Ministry "The Way of the Master" (including Kirk Cameron, formerly of Growing Pains) and from the Rational Response Squad.  While the Nightline special focused mainly on the fact that the debate occurred the website contains clips of what appears to be most of the debate.   Though the format of the debate kept the topic bouncing around from evolution to Christian theology, etc., it is really a fascinating discussion.  I encourage you to scope it out.

On Youtube as well.

May 08, 2007

Giuliani Misses, Thompson Misses, Romney Scores

If you checked the Drudge Report today you likely saw a group of three articles concerning some recent discoveries on the past positions on abortion of Rudy Giluliani and Fred Thompson.

Giuliani Financially Supported Planned Parenthood

Some are already hailing this discovery as the beginning of the end for the Giuliani campaign.  I don't think it is going to do that much damage.  The fact of the matter is that if you are a adamant pro-life supporter, Rudy is not your candidate to begin with.  The folks that are siding with Rudy have already made the decision that Giuliani's ability to get elected or position on other issues outweigh his undefined stance on abortion.  Sure, this will cost him a few votes, but I doubt this will be the nail in the coffin of his campaign.

What it will do is strengthen the candidacies of Romney and the other strong pro-life candidates as their supporters will see this as making the primary that much more important.

Fred Thompson Supported First Trimester Abortion

A survey completed during Thompson's 1994 Senate campaign indicated that he supported abortions for any reason during the first trimester.  Unlike the discovery about Giluliani, this one could hurt.  I'm sure there will be an explanation about his change of heart coming soon, however, the big critique of the Conservative front-runner, Romney, is that he flip-flopped on abortion.  Should Thompson declare, he won't be able to draw much of a distinction between himself and Romney on this issue; they both changed positions.

All in all, the news today on these two candidates is bound to have a good effect on support for my man Mitt Romney.

May 07, 2007

Romney Scores, Thompson Misses

Two quick items on the Republican candidate for president front:

Romney beats everyone in New Hampshire primary poll

These poll results are certainly the exception to the rule compared to every other poll out there which has Romney at about 10%.  However, this SurveyUSA poll showing Romney at 32% is New Hampshire may be the first of many polls indicating a jump in Romney's numbers.  Romney has gotten a ton of press from his performance in the first Republican debate and this can only result in good things happening to his poll numbers.

On a side note, I will be curious to see what will happen if Thompson and Gingrich don't jump into the race.  Between the two of them they are carrying about 20% in the polls.  My guess is that much of their base, Conservatives, will shift to Romney which could automatically place Romney over McCain and neck and neck with Guiliani.  That is, of course, assuming Thompson and Gingrich don't jump in.

Thompson Speech a Yawner

Thompson gave a speech in California that I caught on C-SPAN yesterday.  The thought I had was that for all the hype he's generating, Thompson sure can be boring.  I was delighted to see that Robert Novak agrees with me.  In the speech Thompson sure did not appear to be a guy running for president, strengthening my hunch that he is not going to get into the race at all.  Again, this could only mean good things for Romney.

May 04, 2007

What Florida's New Primary Date Means for Newt and Fred

Yesterday the Florida Legislature has passed a bill to move the Florida primary to the last Tuesday in January; this much you probably already know.

What you have not heard, or heard much about, is the huge implications this bill has for two men; Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson.

We know an average of 10% to 15% of of Republicans polled, whatever that means, are holding out waiting for Fred Thompson to jump into the race and about 8%to 9% are waiting for Gingrich.  Should either of them declare, many more supporting other campaigns would likely jump on board.  After last night's Republican debate many are claiming the winner was Fred Thompson as it only proved he needs to get into the race.  It seems like they could enter the race and quickly gather the support needed for a successful campaign.  However, campaigns, especially national campaigns take time to develop, and time just became a bigger issue than before.  I've been one of the few arguing that time is running out for these two, and that if they are going to get into the race, they need to get in now.  My case just got stronger because as soon as Governor Crist signs the bill their time table is getting much shorter. 

Campaigning in Florida is expensive.  While running a nickel and dime campaign operation in Iowa and New Hampshire for the primaries might work, it won't in Florida.  Moving the primary is going to require campaigns to spend much more money up front and have state campaigns in place much sooner than normal, obviously.  But raising money and developing campaign networks take time.  Florida's primary, once the bill is signed, will be nine months away.  Nine months is a lot of time, except for a guy who has, to date, no campaign staff, no campaign structure, raised no money and wants to run a successful primary in one of the most populous states in the Union. 

Many seem to think that Gingrich or Thompson entering the race is inevitable, but unless we have a declaration from them by the end of the month, I would be surprised to see them jump in.  Volunteers, staff and money are already being quickly dedicated to other candidates and Gingrich and Thompson, should they decide to run now have less time to pick up the scraps than they had before.

On a side note, on other individual who may be dramatically impacted by this bill is Governor Crist.  The bill would allow him to run as a VP candidate without leaving office, which makes him a much more plausible option for the front-runners.  Maybe we'll see Charlie in D.C. sooner than we thought?

May 02, 2007

Mr. G on the Candidates

Apologies of the lack of posts as of late.  The contributors have all been incredibly busy as I am sure many of you have been in preparing for the summer months.  But, at least for me, the woods are clearing and I can return to these special moments with you which I cherish oh so much.

As my coming home gift to you I present my recent thoughts on the big candidates for President:

dEMOCRATICS

Clinton:  The question is quickly becoming whether anyone on the democrat side, and the Republican side for that matter, can beat Hill-Dog.  Some are even suggesting that the smart move for Conservatives is to start examining how to benefit from a Hilary win.  I say it is madness.  It is impressive to watch scandal and attack roll off her like water off a duck's back.  If there was a hermit in Alaska who even hinted that one of the Republican candidates was guilty of some wrong doing, it would be headline news.  Yet, Clinton, despite allegations by a former donor, who apparently has video tape of federal felonies in action, remains unmoved.  What, you didn't hear about this on on your MSM news station of choice?  What a shocker.  Clinton continues to hold a steady and commanding lead in just about every poll and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

I am of the opinion that Republicans can beat Clinton, but that right now, no one on the democrat side can.  The real question in my mind is how long Clinton, Inc. is going to wait before taking the legs out from under Obama.

Obama:  Despite all the initial buzz, I've heard much criticism that Obama has leveled out too much; that he's not as compelling as he was just a few months ago.  Obama really frightened me at the outset.  Here you had a very charismatic and compelling candidate with so short of a political career that there isn't much to fodder for criticism.  I met a number of Republicans that were drawn to him just because he seemed different.  Fortunately, as Obama has moved, just a little, from all the rhetoric folks, even democrats are realizing that there is no substance.  I hope this is a trend that continues.  One recent poll had Obama at 2 points higher than Clinton giving Obama supporters hope.  But like I said before, it is only a matter of time. 

When I think of the two candidates one image comes to mind, one from the Discovery channel where they show the zebra trying to cross the river with the crocodile in it.  Well, in this match-up Obama is the one wearing the stripes and the crocodile is the one that looks like Hillary Clinton.

Edwards:  Of all the democrat candidates Edwards has surprised me the most.  Despite the fact that he really doesn't have much of a chance, he has consistently stayed in public view and continues to generate a startling amount of support.  Though Edwards won't be the party choice himself, he may very well be the defining voice once he abandons his own campaign and decides to throw his weight behind another candidate.

The other six:  Let's be honest, who really cares?

REPUBLICANS

Giuliani:  It breaks my heart that so many good Republicans, and even Conservatives have resigned themselves to the fact that Giuliani is our last best hope.  A recent article on his solid stance in opposition to Conservatives on social issues sums up pretty well how I feel about the man; he doesn't support us so I'm going to have a really hard time supporting him.  If he is the man the party picks, I'll pick him over Hilary any day of the week, but until that day, I'm holding fast to the opinion that we MUST pick someone stronger on social issues not just because they are important, but because they will be a key to victory.

McCain:  Despite the fact that McCain's campaign has pretty much lamed out, he's come out strong in a few recent polls, though the overall trend shows quick decline.  McCain will carry this on as long as he can, but I don't see him beating Giuliani.

Romney:  In my humble opinion, this is the last great hope for Republicans and Conservatives.  I know, I know, the polling is not what we want it to be, but trust me, the more people who have a chance to hear him speak, the more who are exposed to him, the more support he will have.  There are few candidates I've seen that can strike at the heart of Conservatives and re-ignite the passion of our beliefs like Mitt Romney.  Now, I'm still open to the idea of another candidate winning my heart but right now it looks like Mitt is our man.  On top of that he has demonstrated that he can raise lots of money quickly and doesn't show any sign of slowing.

Gingrich and Thompson: They're polling well, even better than my man Mitt, but they're not in the race, and with each day that passes it seems like their entrance is less and less likely.  Primaries could be starting in about 8 months and there is a lot of support and funding that has already gone to the guys who got in early.  My prediction is that neither of them get into the race, which is fine by me because their entrance would simply do more harm than good for the cause of Conservatism.  We need to begin rallying to one candidate soon  if we are going to beat Giuliani, not splitting the Conservative vote even more.

Brownback and Huckabee:  While I am thrilled that these two are coming to Orlando to speak, the question I want to ask them is when they are going to end their campaigns and hop on board with Romney.  I like these two, but neither of them have the political savvy to beat Giuliani or Clinton.  It is time to move on boys.

The others: Don't care, don't care, don't care.

April 26, 2007

Crist's Property Tax Proposal and Stalemate in Tallahassee

With the potential stalemate between the House and Senate tax plans, Governor Crist ran to the mushy middle with his own.  Shocking, I know.  Crist's proposal looks like the Senate plan.  It features a roll back of rates, a special election for doubling the homestead exemption, an exemption for first time home buyers, and a formula restricting future increases.  My complaint, as I said about the democrat plan as well as the Senate plan; it doesn't fix the property tax problem, it just prolongs it.

But the reality is that we are more likely to end up with a plan that looks like Crist's proposal than anything else.  The plan is close enough to the Senate plan that they will likely come out to meet Crist's structure.  The interesting thing to watch will be how the House handles this. 

House negotiator Dean Cannon's, R-Winter Park, stance of "This issue is not about splitting the difference," has made it clear that the House is not interested in meeting in the middle.  The House recognizes that this effort is not just about immediate tax relief, it is about fixing a broken system.  However, with both the Senate and the Governor putting their foot down on the sales tax, it will be almost impossible for the plan to get through.  The problem the three face is that someone has got to give.  There will be a riot if no tax plan is passed by the end of a special session which now almost seems to be inevitable.  Whoever finally breaks is going to be seen as the weaker party.  None of the three want that.  So who is going to take the fall?  Personally, I hope the House stands strong and does not give any ground on the sales tax.

Instead, my hope is that the House and Senate realize that there is a way to resolve this with everyone as a winner; structure a special election to give the people the option of choosing which tax structure to take.  Sure, it seems unlikely based on current polling that the sales tax plan would pass, but it would let the House leadership get out of this without mud on their face from having to back down due to pressure from the Senate and Governor.

Either someone will have to break, or the choice will have to go to the people.  I say let the people decide and in the process, everybody wins.

April 19, 2007

Gonzalez v. Carhart: What Did We Win Anyway?

Most Conservatives will tell you that partial birth abortion is a bad thing.  The name gives us a glimpse of what the procedure is actually like.  However, it doesn't even begin to grasp the terrifying nature of the details of the procedure. 

Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in yesterday's decision quotes a section of testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee about what the procedure is like.

"Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .“‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and un-clasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. “‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . . “‘He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the pla-centa. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’”

Of course, the other method of partial birth abortion skips the whole sucking the baby's brains out through a tube part and has the doctor simply crush the baby's head.

This is what we won against yesterday, and what liberals, on and off the Court have been and continue to defend.

Silence On The Court: Why Justices Roberts and Alito Should Worry Conservatives

Score one for the good guys.  The US Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning partial birth abortion.  The opinion is an compelling read for anyone interesting in the subject, on either side of the issue.  The most intriguing part of the decision, however, is in what is not said.  And it is what is not said that could have major ramifications on the abortion debate in the near future.

Hopefully, I've gotten your attention.

Continue reading "Silence On The Court: Why Justices Roberts and Alito Should Worry Conservatives" »

April 12, 2007

The Senate Property Tax Plan and Mr. G's Ultimate Resolution to the Debate

The Florida Senate rolled out today their proposal for fixing the property tax problem.  Senate President Pruitt calls it a "thoughtful, responsible, and bold plan."  I call it the "Why fix it now when we can deal with it later?" plan.  There has got to be a better way to deal with property taxes than this plan; and I have it.  I warn you, this is a plan that will rock your world and blow your mind.  If you work in Rubio's office or another legislator's office, and I know you're reading this, please take the time to read my recommendation below and pass this idea up the chain. But first...

THE SENATE PROPOSAL

Similar to the House democrat proposal, the Senate plan, rather than fixing the property tax problem simply rolls back rates to 2004/2005 rates It also somehow changes the assessment formula tax collectors use (though I can't find the details just yet), and allow portability of Save Our Homes.

What is most telling to me is this line from the Tallahassee Democrat:

"Senate leaders have said they wanted to target property owners who have borne the largest share of the shifting tax burden since Save Our Homes took effect in 1995: commercial property owners, or those who don't claim homestead exemptions on their Florida homes."

If you're not claiming a homestead exemption it is likely because you are either a non-resident or this is your second home in Florida.  Essentially, this plan would diminish the benefits of the Save Our Home Act by portioning benefits to commercial property and second homes at a greater rate than homestead property.  If democrats are crying about how the sales tax would allegedly hurt the poor, there should be weeping and gnashing of teeth over this plan.

Ultimately, though, the biggest problem is that is plan does nothing to solve the underlying problem; a tax system which bases revenue on a revenue source that fluctuates greatly and is increasing in Florida at a rate greater than most of the rest of the country; that being real property.

Mark my words, if the Senate plan gains traction we will be at this same place again within 10 years, trying to figure out what to do about an unmanageable property tax system.  This plan is a loser.

The sad reality is that this plan is probably closer to the one that we will actually end up with than the sales tax plan.  The sales tax is going to face huge battles in the House, the Senate, and then at general election.  Instead we will likely end up with some bastardized version of the Senate plan, agree to meet up on this issue in 5 to 10 years, and call it a day.

I have a better idea though...

MR. G'S RECOMMENDATION:  PASS BOTH PLANS

Stay with me.  The smart move on Rubio's part here is to negotiate a deal with the Florida Senate; the House will pass the Senate plan if the Senate will pass Rubio's plan and allow special election to allow the people to vote on whether or not to take out portions of property taxes in exchange for a sales tax increase.  It seems Rubio will be able to get his plan though the House, but not the Senate. And the House leadership will fight the Senate plan, but we can actually pass both.  If the sales tax doesn't pass the election, everyone wins.  The Senate plan remains in effect and Rubio and others like me can know that the state is not ready for such a change and move on.  If the sales tax passes election, the Senate can know that the state did indeed what such a change and the Senate plan would be overridden by the House plan which is a Constitutional amendment.

Let the people vote.  We can argue all day about the merits or each plan, about polls, about what the people want.  I say let the people decide.  Pass both plans and let us choose which one we will keep.

April 11, 2007

Another Triumph for Adult Stem Cell Research

Just nine days ago a research team announced it was able to successfully grow a human heart valve using adult stem cells.

Today we find out that another research team has possibly discovered a cure to diabetes using adult stem cells.

Yet another example of the tremendous strides being made in the area of adult stem cell research while embryonic stem cell research time and time again proves to be a hollow promise.  I said it before and I'll say it again:

"If the government is going to fund medical research let's support research that not only avoids the great moral implications that comes with the destruction of human embryos but also has a firm foundation of proven success and potential.  Let's support adult stem cell research and leave embryonic stem cell research in the trash bin of history where it belongs."

To bring things home to Florida, the Florida Legislature has just axed legislative provisions to provide state funding for embryonic stem cell research, but rather focus efforts on the proven potential of adult stem cell research.  Bill sponsor, Anitere Flores of Miami said, "This bill funds scientific results, not promise."  I applaud this action by our representatives.

April 10, 2007

The Coming of the Crist v. Conservatives Civil War?

Recently there have been a number articles in Florida papers and posts on Florida blogs describing numerous differing opinions between some state Republican leaders and Governor Crist.  The most recent include the coverage of Attorney General Bill McCollum's strong position against Crist's effort to lower the bar for the restoration of the rights of felons.  To read the media that has been out there on this subject you would think there is a coming civil war between Crist and Conservatives such as Bill McCollum.  However, if you're one of those Florida liberals dreaming about the day when the Republican Party suddenly turns on Crist for wandering too far from the Florida base, you're wasting your time.  Below are the three reasons why.

Continue reading "The Coming of the Crist v. Conservatives Civil War?" »

Reader Recommended Florida Hot Spots: Romantic Beach Getaway Edition

Mrs. G and I are planning some summer weekend excursions around our beautiful state and want to enlist your help.  One of the biggest advantages to living in the great state of Florida is that we have an almost endless supply  of vacation and getaway hot spots within driving distance.  Beaches, theme parks, incredible restaurants, beautiful state parks and other amazing natural areas, we've got it all.  So where does one go?

I'm hoping this will be the first of several discussions over the summer months where both contributors and readers can share what we believe to be the best places in Florida for to visit for various family configurations and in various areas.  This week we begin with romantic coastal getaways.

So, what are your recommendations for a romantic beach getaways in Florida?

There are few people more romantic than Bob and Mr. C (as I'm sure you can tell from their posts that they simply radiate passion), so I look forward to their thoughts.  I'll give three of my own below...

Continue reading "Reader Recommended Florida Hot Spots: Romantic Beach Getaway Edition" »

April 09, 2007

Easter Over

Now that Easter is over, the Easter Bunny can go back to doing what he does during the rest of the year.  Hope you have a great Monday.

April 08, 2007

Resurrection Sunday

The entry today from My Utmost for His Highest:

His Resurrection Destiny

"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Luke 24:26

Our Lord's Cross is the gateway into His life: His Resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me. When I am born again from above, I receive from the Risen Lord His very life.

Our Lord's Resurrection destiny is to bring "many sons unto glory." The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We are never in the relationship to God that the Son of God is in; but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When Our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life, to a life He did not live before He was incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before; and His resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we shall have a body like unto His glorious body, but we can know now the efficacy of His resurrection and walk in newness of life. "I would know Him in the power of His resurrection."

"As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." "Holy Spirit" is the experimental name for Eternal Life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the Deity in proceeding power Who applies the Atonement to our experience. Thank God it is gloriously and majestically true that the Holy Ghost can work in us the very nature of Jesus if we will obey Him.

April 07, 2007

Cutting Through the Hype on Mandatory HPV Vaccination

It is beginning to look like the legislation requiring all young girls in the state to be vaccinated against HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.  Conservatives are taking heat on the issue because many are opposed to the legislation for concern with the message it sends to young women about sexual activity.  Agree with that position or not, one thing remains true:

You are free at anytime to get vaccinated against HPV.

It is not like Tallahassee is outlawing the HPV vaccine.  It is simply not mandating it.  Worried about HPV?  Fine, go get vaccinated.  The end.

April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Blessings on you and your family today as we reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice and victory of Christ Jesus on the cross at Calvary.

The following is the passage from My Utmost for His Highest for April 6.

     

The Collision of God and Sin

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God's judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened - but the crash is on the heart of God.



Will Florida Felon Voting Restoration Stick?

Last night during a discussion of yesterday's post on the side-stepping of the Florida Constitution by Crist, Sink and Bronson, I made a realization; this system of automatic restoration is not permanent.

As we discussed yesterday, the Governor has used his discretionary ability under the Florida Constitution to grant restorations of rights to set up a system of automatic restoration for felons in certain categories.  However, this new system does not change the structure of the law.  The Florida Constitution and Statutes remain the same... and yesterday's decision is not binding on future governors.

As a result, the next governor, any governor in the future, or Crist himself, at any time can cease this automatic restoration.  In fact, my understanding of the language of the Florida Constitution and Statutes leads me to believe that even Sink or Bronson can stop the automatic restoration at any time should they recant their vote.

I'm not arguing that this should be done, however, it is good for us to be mindful of the fact that this hailed change could evaporate as quickly as it appeared. 

April 05, 2007

Tommy Thompson to Save the Day

Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor, former Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services announced his campaign for President this week.  I know, you probably missed it, so did I.  In fact, there is a good chance that this post will be the last thing you read about Thompson until he drops out of the campaign.  In the meantime, I'm adding him to the list of candidates we have, though I expect him to have a short stay on that list.

Now my only question is, when is Mr. C going to announce?

Giuliani on Publicly Funded Abortions

It has been interesting to watch so many Conservatives falling all over themselves to hop on the Giuliani train.  Yes, I know he's electable.  I know he's strong on the war and national security.  I know he's a fiscal Conservative (what I call a "half breed").

Giuliani is going to be tough to beat, and that goes for the democrat candidates as well.  But while we march towards what many Conservatives are calling inevitable let's not fool ourselves about what we are getting.

On his stop here in Florida this week he reiterated his support for publicly funded abortions.  If that doesn't make a Conservative stop in their tracks I don't know what will.

"Ultimately, it's a constitutional right, and therefore if it's a constitutional right, ultimately, even if you do it on a state by state basis, you have to make sure people are protected,"

I'll hand it to him, he is consistent if nothing else.  Here's what he said in 1989. 

"There must be public funding for abortions for poor women," and "We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decisions about abortion."

I can't blame folks for wanting to support Giuliani given the opposition we face on the other side.  But as for me, I can't get excited about a guy who has this position on what I consider to be the most important issue we face today.

Crist, Bronson, Sink Sidestep Constitution to Automatically Restore Rights of Felons

This morning the Florida Clemency Board, comprised of the Governor, Attorney General, CFO and Agriculture Commissioner approved 3 to 1 a new structure for the restoration of voting rights for a majority of Florida's convicted felons.  Attorney General Bill McCollum was the lone dissenter in the vote.  This issue has presented somewhat of a dilemma for myself and many other Conservatives.  The reason being that we aren't thrilled with the idea of those who commit major violations of the law being automatically able to participate in the government process.  However, at the same time, we recognize that these folks have served their time.  However, regardless of your stance on the core issue, there are some significant Constitutional issues that have been raised.  Namely, today's vote uses a loophole to completely bypass the language and intent of the Florida Constitution.

Continue reading "Crist, Bronson, Sink Sidestep Constitution to Automatically Restore Rights of Felons" »

April 02, 2007

*UPDATED* Liberal Blog on the Attack on Property Taxes

I'm Mr. Hussey over at Pushing Rope got a little wound up over my last post on the mindless defense of the property tax system by democrats.  In recent months I've just ignored Mr. Hussey's attacks, but this is an important issue and Mr. Hussey's arguments are typical of what the democrats are saying about the Republican and democrat tax proposals.  Like other democrats arguments on the issue, I found his post amusing as Mr. Hussey out of one side of his mouth blasts the problems of property taxes, but out of the other side pays his required support for the proposed democrat tax scheme which prolongs the property tax structure.  To quote:

"Property taxes need to be dealt with. The state's growth will suffer if it doesn't."

I agree with you Mr. Hussey, the property tax structure is terrible.  So let's get rid of it.

Continue reading "*UPDATED* Liberal Blog on the Attack on Property Taxes" »

More Success for Adult Stem Cell Research

As the State Legislature gears up for debate over two bills, one which authorizes state funding for stem cell research and one which does not researchers in the field of adult stem cell research continue to make huge strides.  This article today in the Guardian describes the success of a British research team which has grown a human heart valve from adult stem cells.

Despite the repeated claims of embryonic stem cell advocates that embryonic stem cell research holds more potential than adult stem cell research the latter continues to have breakthrough success across the globe while the former consistently yields cancer and death in test animals.

If the government is going to fund medical research let's support research that not only avoids the great moral implications that comes with the destruction of human embryos also has a firm foundation of proven success and potential.  Let's support adult stem cell research and leave embryonic stem cell research in the trash bin of history where it belongs.

March 28, 2007

democrats ♥ Property Taxes

I really can't figure out why democrats are so emotionally attached to property taxes.  Republicans suggest eliminating the property tax structure and democrats are screaming and crying like the world is coming to an end.

We've seen multiple proposals by various democrats to replace the Republican sales tax idea.  All of the democrat plans have included saving the property tax structure.  The new Senate democrat proposal is no different.  In fact, the Senate democrats even took it to the next level; they've proposed an increase in property taxes.

Only in the mind of a democrat is the solution to a property tax problem raising property taxes.

The new plan provides for an increase in the save our homes cap which, ultimately, will result in higher property taxes for some.  Granted, the plan offers trimming and rollbacks in some areas for some, and a few for all, but in the end the democrat plan will bring us right back to the same problem we're facing now in a few years.

Democrats are missing a key component of the discussion; the fact that the property tax system is broken.  Why?  Because for whatever reason they are convinced that property taxes are the ultimate form of taxation.  Look, I'm not totally sold on the sales tax idea, either.  But it is better than a property tax scheme.  Think we can do better?  Fine, let's look at other options, but attempting to prolong the failing property tax schedule is not an option.  Maybe it would be in states where property values are not an volatile as Florida, but property in our state is always going to be expensive and will continue to grow in value.  Florida is awesome.  People want to be here.  People want a piece of the action.  We need a tax structure that doesn't slam residents because we live in such a desirable state.

Democrats, it is time to let this one go, it's no good for you.  I know you love property taxes.  I know you've been together for a long time and it is a comfortable relationship.  I know the idea of putting yourself back out on the market for new tax structure is a scary thought, but it is ok, we'll be right here with you.  And who knows, maybe you'll meet a nice sales tax or flat tax that you really get along well with, that can really make you happy.  One that you won't be ashamed to take home to introduce to your mother.  I'll even help you write the Dear John letter.

March 23, 2007

KILLER BEES!!!

Some of you have been rather irritated by the lack of posts this week.  I apologize but things have been a little crazy at Mr. G's office.  Among other things, a swarm of killer bees have been moving through the roof of our office building into a partner's office.  From there they have been expanding outward.  We've had several visits from various private and public agencies to address the problem, and pushed them back a few times.  We thought we were winning the battle until we discovered that over a hundred have moved into one of our corner offices.

I know your reaction is probably the same one I had when we were first told these are killer bees; "Killer bees?  Yeah right..."  But it has been confirmed by every bee expert we've had visit.  Killer bees in Central Florida... who knew?

But fear not for Mr. G, as we have learned, killer bees are not any more venomous than regular bees.  They are just much more aggressive.  Fortunately we've been able to keep the bulk of them contained to this partner's office.  Know what is almost as scary as killer bees?  An attorney who is told he can't go into his office because he might be killed.

I'll try to put some of our pictures or video this weekend.

The whole event has given me a chance to make some comparisons between killer bees and liberals.

Similarities Between Liberals and Killer Bees

-  The worst one alone can do alone is sting you a little.
-  Hundreds together however, can result in tragedy.
-  If you listen closely to either, all you hear is mindless buzzing.
-  Both follow orders from a Queen Bee.
-  Both rarely deviate from the mandate of Queen Bee.
-  When they show up, if you leave them unchecked, they will make it impossible to continue your successful business.
-  Both are quickly agitated.
-  It is funny to watch them run into walls.
-  There are more of them out there than you like to admit.
-  Most of the time they fly around without direction.
-  They creep me out.

Mr. C wanted me to add that that the females of both are rather unattractive, but I thought that was going a little too far.  Just kidding.  Mr. C didn't say that..............

County Budget Cuts are Coming, No Matter How Much You Whine.

Despite the modification to the sales tax plan, Florida Counties are still in opposition because of the effect on their budgets.  Their opposition is understandable, nobody likes having their budget cut.  At the same time, they need to realize that a budget cut is coming, period.

Even if the sales tax idea falls completely flat the legislature is going to pass some sort of cut so that they can declare victory, whether that victory is real or not.  With that in mind, it seems to me that the better approach for the Counties is not stomping their feet about the proposal.  Rather, the counties should be helping to develop an alternative that they can live with.

And has anyone heard of any counties that have announced that under the sales tax they would have to lay off police officers, firefighters or teachers?  Until that happens I'm still not going to cringe at the idea of cutting county budgets.

Bad Move on the Sales Tax Plan

As the State of Sunshine notes, the budget and policy council of the Florida House will be considering the property tax reform plan. 

The process so far has been interesting to watch, and we are already seeing the first in a series of compromises on the proposed tax plan.  The plan now requires counties to hold a referendum to determine how much of the plan to adopt.  Under the new version there will be 1% sales tax increase statewide, with a matching reduction in property taxes.  Then the counties will hold a referendum vote on whether to adopt a further 1% sales tax increase as well as an additional 1/2% increase each with further property tax relief.

I'm not a fan of the new structure.  While it is still better than what the democrats are pushing in the Florida Senate, which is nothing, and what they are pushing in the house, which is a logistical nightmare, the idea that were could have drastically differing tax schemes from county to county unecessarily complicates our tax structure.  Further, the plan seems to leave open the possibility of future increases of property taxes that remain, putting us right back where we started, but with a higher sales tax.  Let's just cut all property taxes and move on.

That said, I understand that the political process requires compromise, and there will likely be further compromise on the plan before we have anything that both houses of the legislature can agree upon.  But this feels like a move in the wrong direction.

March 21, 2007

A Great Film and a Challenge

We rarely make movie recommendations here at PEER Review, so when one of takes the time to do so, you know it has to be good.  This is one of those instances.

You must see Amazing Grace

Unfortunately I just recently saw the film and I know it is cycling out of the theaters right about now, but if it is still playing near you, you must go.  If not, you must rent it, or better yet, buy it when it comes out on DVD.

So what is so fantastic about this film?  I can't tell you about the scenery or costumes or directing or lighting... all that is typically lost on me in films.  What I can tell you is that the story is incredibly compelling.

The story follows the life of William Wilberforce, a British politician who spearheaded the end of slavery in Britain, and ultimately the world.  Wilberforce spent decades advocating in parliament for the abolition of slavery despite constant and overwhelming opposition.  You will enjoy the story if you have never heard of Wilberforce or even if you are like me and already know the tale.

For me, the most powerful part of the film was the portrayal of Wilberforce's ceaseless passion on the issue of abolition.  I was reminded of just how desperate I am, and I believe many others are, to see a politician who isn't concerned with image, isn't concerned with the odds of passage of his measure, but simply tirelessly advocates what is right.  Watching the battle between Wilberforce and the great evil of his day, slavery, I could only wish that we had such a champion in the battle against the greatest evil of our day, abortion.

Wilberforce understood the reality of the cruelty of slavery and it was that understanding that kept him constantly pitched in an uphill battle to see abolition become a reality.  I know many of you share with me the understanding of the cruelty of abortion, but where is our passion?  Where is our champion?  Where are our leaders that are willing to risk everything to stand for what is right? 

I challenge you to see the film and then ask these same questions.  And then ask one more; would I be willing to risk everything and take a stand against the great evil of our day if called upon to do so?

March 18, 2007

New Florida "Centrist" Group Not So Centrist?

CIVIC Concern was launched this past week proclaiming itself as a "source for innovative, centrist ideas and accessible political information."  Of course, I had to question that self-proclaimed "centrist" label as I have yet to meet a true "centrist."  The investigation started over at FLA Politics, but I'll finish it here.  Will the new CIVIC Concern be a "centrist" group?  Based on my research I discovered that not only is CIVIC not new, but based on the folks involved, it is anything but centrist.

Continue reading "New Florida "Centrist" Group Not So Centrist?" »

March 14, 2007

General Pace and the Thought Police

I had planned to write a post about General Peter Pace's statement in an interview that he believes homosexuality to be immoral and the reaction to the statement, but Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily has a great article on the subject.

"Had Gen. Pace said he thinks it is time for the military's ban on open homosexual activity to go, that it is immoral to keep it in place, I dare suggest Warner and Pelosi and the rest of the thought police would not have been condemning him for speaking from his own moral convictions. In fact, they would have praised him and used what he had to say as evidence for legislation to do just that."

Make no mistake, the liberal/homosexual agenda on this issue is not to just seek "equality" (read "special rights") for homosexuals, it is to achieve "tolerance" (read "admiration"), it is to silence all opposition.  Their goal is not that homosexuals be free from "oppression" of those of us advancing moral standards.  Their goal is to end any voice against their lifestyle.

Does anyone find it odd that the same liberals who always tout the first amendment as their license to do and say anything they want are the first to condemn any type of expression by those who disagree with them on any issue?

UNBELIEVABLE

Illinois High School requires students to attend an in-school seminar on homosexuality and forces the students to sign confidentiality agreements promising not to tell their parents.

Again, private schooling and homeschooling sound better and better.

Charlotte County School District Standing For Morals

As you've probably already read in one of the state papers a Charlotte County High School Teacher was asked to resign over his participation in a local performance of "The Full Monty" in which he disrobes for the final scene.  Private schools and homeschooling sounds better and better everyday.

The media buzz has apparently lead the school district to reconsider its options as they have offered the teacher paid leave until the details can be sorted out.

In the meantime, the scenario has brought about much discussion over whether a teacher's actions outside of school should affect their employment.

Eric Ernst of the Herald Tribune laments that the school districts decision to ask the teacher to resign makes our state look like "backwater hicks."

While he pays lip service to the position advance by the school district, that teachers are held to a higher moral standard than others because they influence children, he doesn't believe getting nude in front of a theater full of people rises to the level necessary to warrant a firing because this stems from the teacher's "private" life.

Since when did disrobing for an audience at a performance open to the public become a "private" affair?

I'll be the last person to say that we need to monitor teachers at home, but the fact of the matter is that teachers, to varying degrees, help define for their students what is, and is not, acceptable behavior.  When an issue like this from a teacher's "private" life becomes a matter of public recognition we must ask what the effect will be on the children.

Certainly, many parents simply won't care whether or not a teacher strips their clothes off for an audience after school hours.  But others of us would like to see strong moral values instilled in our children and the presence of such a teacher is counter-productive to those efforts.  When a teacher allows a "private" issue which to become public works against our efforts to raise children of character a stand must be taken.

I realize that moral standards are quickly going out of style.  I realize that there are those among us whose views of the world around us are so twisted as to label those of us defending a moral code as "backwater hicks.  But I'm thankful to know that there are at least a few out there in our public education system still willing to stand for morals and stand for our children.

March 13, 2007

Florida Legislature Top Ten

Jim Johnson at the State of Sunshine has the definitive Top Ten Amusing Bills for the 2007 Session.

March 12, 2007

Please, PLEASE Don't, Fred

So Fred Thompson is muttering about how he might run.  You know, the guy from Law and Order... no, the other guy... no, not that Law and Order, the other one... yeah, thats the one.  Did you know he used to be a Senator?  Yeah, he was also in Die Hard 2 and Baby's Day Out.

Though I would have entertained the idea 6 months ago, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask that Mr. Thompson just stop considering the idea, and stop talking about it as well.

Despite the fact that Conservatives, on the whole, are not wildly excited about the Conservative candidate field, the last thing we need is another mediocre candidate.  Don't get me wrong, I like Fred, but all his candidacy would do is further divide an already fractured Conservative base.  And he is not a candidate that Conservatives would automatically switch to in mass.  So, please Fred... please stop... just stop.

I honestly can't think of many people that I would consider it a good thing for them to jump into the race at this point.  Except for my old friend J.C. Watts from Oklahoma.  He can jump in at any time.

I'm even of the opinion that Gingrich jumping in would be a bad thing.  Again, I really like Newt.  Alot.  I think he's brilliant, but I don't see him winning the election or doing anything in the primary other than ensuring that no Conservative has a chance.  Sure, he could rally the support that Fred could not, but I doubt he can win.  Fortunately, I also highly doubt that Gingrich will run.

It is time for Conservatives to move past feeling sorry for ourselves that we don't have a perfect candidate and wishing there was someone else.  It is time to start really giving some thought to each of the candidates out there already and asking yourself who would be the better president balanced by who can actually win.

Let me assure you that neither of those questions should be answered with "Fred Thompson."

March 07, 2007

Democrat Response to the State of the State

Mr. C hit the nail right on the head with his brief review of Governor Crist's State of the State:  "Money, money, money.  This guy wants to spend."

With that said, I didn't have anything to add.

But I just had the chance to read the democrat response to the State of the State by Bill Heller of Pinellas County.

I have three thoughts, which you will find below...

Continue reading "Democrat Response to the State of the State" »

March 06, 2007

First Glance at the democrat Tax Cut

So the democrats are rolling out their own tax plan.  While I'm thrilled to see any democrat support a tax cut, I can't say I like their proposition.

One of the aspects of the sales tax that I like is that it is streamlined.  We've already got the sales tax system in place and it removes the bulky property tax system.  Less government is a good thing here.

But the democrat plan, well, can anyone guess how much government effort will need to be expended to make this plan work?

Granted, I've not seen the proposal, I've only read the Florida Newspaper's articles on the plan.  But let's be honest, most of those papers are under contract with the Florida democrat party to give beaming reviews of anything the party does.

Regardless, the very concepts being advanced by the democrats seem cumbersome.  For example, the idea that government will provide a subsidy for renters.  Not a bad idea in and of itself.  But are you telling me that Florida will now monitor all citizen's in the that are renting?  Likely, the plan would require renters to submit a form verifying that they rent their residence, but how large of a government department will we have to create to review and verify the submissions of every renter in the state?

It seems like a ton of extra government and red tape for minimal relief.

At first glance, to me, the plan looks like an attempt to put a band-aid on a mortal wound.  Rather than providing real relief it gives some folks enough money to feel like somebody in government cares and doesn't solve the growing property tax problem.

I have my concerns with the sales tax as well, but I'll take a fair distribution tax cut like the sales tax over the targeted, short-sighted plan put out by the democrats any day.

March 05, 2007

Big Week for Romney

Last week was a big week for Mitt Romney.  At the American Conservative Union's (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. Romney and just about every other Republican primary candidate (except McCain showed up).  Two big wins for Romney:

1.  Romney won the CPAC Straw Poll.

CPAC is recognized as one of the premier Conservative gatherings in the country.  Ronald Reagan made it a point to attend every year when he was President, and all of the Republican candidates (except McCain) knew that an appearance here was critical to winning Conservative support.  Romney's win of the straw poll at this event says much about whether Conservatives are willing to put their faith in him.

Giuliani came in 2nd. 

Brownback 3rd.

2.  Romney's Speech Made Waves

Romney gave a powerful speech that, as Erick of Redstate put it "It was an excellent speech that should resolve all fears conservatives have about Romney."

For many, Romney is just a name on a page.  People are learning who he is, about his record, about the cause for concern on his past positions on issues.  But as the campaign goes on, and Romney makes more and more appearances and people are able to actually see and hear him, the conclusion is almost unanimous, the guy looks presidential.  More to the point, for Conservatives, when you hear him speak, you want to believe him and you want to vote for him.

 

The speech has generated a ton of discussion online and seems to be swaying some who didn't think Romney was the best candidate.

Take a look for yourself, here is the conclusion of his speech at CPAC (You can watch the whole speech here or read it here).

The Missing Links in the Sales Tax Proposal

As I've said before, what I have seen so far of the sales tax, I like, though I am not completely sold.  Most of the arguments against the sales tax are sheer rhetoric and lack any real analysis of the effect of the plan.  But the plan is certainly not without flaws.  The result is that both the democrat and Republican advocates on either side of this issue are missing a key element in their support or opposition to the sales tax concept:

What the democrats are Missing: The Numbers
While the democrats stepped up their whining this week about how apartment dwellers will not enjoy the fruits of the sales tax proposal, I've not heard a single one acknowledge the fact that apartment complexes pay property taxes and a cut can be passed on to renters resulting in lower rent.  Still think that renters will get hurt despite this fact?  Fine, show us the numbers.  Show us the average a renter pays towards the property taxes of their complex.  Show us how that number is lower than what those people would pay under the sales tax increase.  From the numbers I've seen, it looks like renters (except those spending so much they could not possibly be considered "poor") will ultimately be able to keep more of their money as well.  But the numbers I've seen may be wrong.  If that is the case, show us.

In the meantime, the accusations that the tax will hurt renters doesn't hold water as the numbers Republicans have published show that renters stand to benefit just like everyone else. 

As a renter myself, I appreciate the sentiment that you are trying to look out for me, but the sheer speculation on your side of this issue is not helping anyone.  And if you are able to shoot down a proposal that could have allowed me to keep more of my money it will be you that is hurting renters like me.

What Republicans are Missing:  Guarantee of Lower Rent
I believe in the market just as much as the next guy.  I believe that if property taxes are reduced and apartment complexes are able to offer rent at a lower rate they will do so to remain competitive.  However, I also understand that this will likely take time.  The result is that some landlords might not cut rent at all at first, or might cut at a lower rate than they could.  This means that there could be a period where the democrats are right, renters would get hit hard.  You know how much I hate democrats being right (though it is so infrequent I rarely have to worry about it) so we need a strategy.  We need a way to guarantee that under the sales tax plan the savings on property taxes enjoyed by landlords would be passed down to renters.  This could be done through a system which requires landlords, in order to receive the tax break, must demonstrate that they are reducing their rent at a rate equivalent to the reduction in property taxes.  Apartment complexes will necessarily follow through with this because it will allow lower rent, keeping them competitive, while not affecting their profit margin.

The Republican leadership needs a mechanism like this in their plan to neutralize the argument that renters will suffer under the sales tax.  So far, this is the one hole I've seen in the plan.  Fortunately, it is one which can be easily plugged.

There are many people out there, like me, who still have not made up their mind about the sales tax idea.  Either side has the opportunity to win us over by providing the missing link in their argument, but I have a feeling that if the Republican leadership is able to fix their side of the issue, the democrat opposition will be left without a leg to stand on.

February 26, 2007

Why I'm Not Sad About Cutting County Tax Revenue

While liberals all around the state are crying over the very thought of cutting county budgets, Blog-Stew addresses the very reason I'm not terribly torn up over the idea; silly, unnecessary spending.

When it comes down to a question of whether we can pay firefighters and police officers I'll start worrying.  But when we're looking at cutting tax breaks on $25,000 bird statues in downtown Orlando I have a hard time getting worked up.

Any other Orlando residents remember the frustration over the "tower of light" going up in front of city hall several years back?

February 25, 2007

Sales Tax - First Round of Numbers

Speaker Rubio's office sent us the numbers on the sales tax proposals. They got lost in our email for a few days, so I know the numbers are out there already, but it's nice to feel the love.  We share that love with you.

The top half includes the averages.  For county specific amounts, take a gander at the full release here:

Download Property-Tax-Plan.pdf

Statewide Savings for Property Owners Under House Property Tax Relief Plan

Statewide Savings This Year

$5.77 Billion Total                                                     19% Total Savings

Average Taxpayer Savings
Homestead Property Owner:                                         $433
Non-Homestead Residential Property Owner:                 $767
Commercial Property Owner:                                         $3,353

Statewide Savings Upon Passage of Constitutional Amendment

$13.55 Billion Total Property Tax Reduction
$7.78 Billion in Sales Tax Replacement
$5.77 Billion in Total Tax Savings

Average Taxpayer Savings
Homestead Property Owner:                                         $2,283
Non-Homestead Residential Property Owner:                 $767
Commercial Property Owner:                                         $3,353

February 23, 2007

The Sales Tax is Coming! We're Doomed! DOOMED!

I've rather enjoyed the debate over replacing the state property tax with the sales tax.  On the one hand, it has been refreshing to hear some new ideas on taxes in Florida.  On the other hand it has been amusing to watch the reaction by those opposing the sales tax; from timid objection to doomsday style calls for repentance.  The fact of the matter is, the sales tax idea has a long way to go, and in order for it to go through just about everybody is going to have to agree with the idea.  As has been pointed out in the comments on this site, in order for the sales tax to go through it will require a two-thirds majority vote of support.  That is going to be a tall order to fill and for that to happen, Republicans and democrats, business groups, consumer advocacy groups, state and local government advocates are going to have to be united on the idea to a certain degree.  That is going to be next to impossible unless... well... unless the sales tax turns out to be a really good idea.

So for all of you out there preaching that the end of government as we know it is coming unless we stop this sales tax idea, calm down.  We have much more time to discuss the idea and work out any of the kinks.

Thus far, however, I have been unimpressed by the arguments against it.

The strongest argument against the sales tax has been that it will hurt the poor.  The problem with this argument is that we really don't have the numbers to prove the point either way right now.  I understand the argument that renters will be asked to shoulder the sales tax that were not previously asked to pay property taxes.  Believe me, as a renter myself this was my first question.  However, what many are missing is that apartment renters already pay property taxes, just indirectly.  Those big complexes we live in, guess what they have to pay?  Property taxes.  Guess how they pay for those taxes?  It is part of our monthly rent. 

The Speaker's office is anticipating an average $767 annual difference for tenants.  Regardless, that would require $30,000 in annual spending on taxable goods for it to result in higher taxes for renters.  Does anyone who fits that description qualify as poor?

Furthermore, I had a friend send me a 2005 review of the national differential between property taxes levied on apartment complexes and single family residences from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.  The paper reviews the data from the 2001 Residential Finance Survey by the Census Bureau and found that apartments are actually taxed at a higher rate than single family residences.  In fact, Florida is in the top three states with the largest disparity in the tax rate between private residences and apartment complexes.

Thus, those advocating that the sales tax will unfairly burden renters must acknowledge that our current system already unfairly burdens renters and the changes won't burden those classified as "poop."

Few would argue that we do not have a tax crisis in our state and we need a solution.  I certainly do not want a system that would unfairly burden the poor.  But unfairly burdening others doesn't seem to be a reasonable solution either.  From what I have seen thus far, the sales tax seems to by a solid solution.  But again, we will certainly have reports and reviews by numerous consulting and polling firms paid tens of thousands of dollars to analyze the numbers before we have to make a decision.

The second argument against the sales tax has been that the resulting 5 billion dollar total cut to county budgets is a bad thing.  While certainly don't want crucial county services cut, I'd be shocked if there were not at 5 billion dollars in non-necessary government programs throughout or state.  Again, I'm sure we'll hear about all of it soon.

From where I stand now, I like the sales tax idea.  But if it turns out to be a bad plan, I'll be the first to switch sides.  I hope you will join me, even those opposed to the tax, in hearing out the arguments of both sides before making a concrete decision. After all, for this solution, or any solution to pass, just about all of us are going to have to agree.  There is no need to feel like the sky is falling with the debate over a sales tax, we have plenty of time to think this one through.

*Updated with correct numbers from the Speaker's office.

February 21, 2007

Religious Freedom Under Attack in Florida

Two examples of religious freedom being quashed in our own state:

Case 1:  International Outreach Center and Worldwide Agape Ministries v. Miami-Dade County

The International Outreach Center (IOC) and Worldwide Agape Ministries (WAM) are small religious organizations which hold services for their members in Miami-Dade County.  Both groups are being told by the county that in order to continue meeting, they must procure 2.5 acres within designated areas of the county on which to hold their services pursuant to Code Section 33-18(d).  Yes, all churches in Miami-Dade County are required to have a property of at least 2.5 acres on which they meet.  This presents a problem to groups like WAM which only has 10 members and meets in the home of one of their members.  It also poses a problem for groups like IOC which have been on their current property for over 10 years.

Now, I you can have 20 people over to your house to watch the Miami Hurricanes get trounced by the Seminoles in College Football in Miami-Dade County, but if it is a religious group that wants to meet, the county requires them to have special property.  In fact, according to the county, even if the group has only 2-3 members, they must still have 2.5 acres of property to meet on.  Oh, and that property can only be in certain zones.

The county's zoning code on this matter is not only just plain ridiculous, but also discriminatory.  Church groups should be free to meet in private residences, and should not be subject to arbitrary acreage and location requirements not imposed upon any other civic group.

You can see the Complaint filed against the County on behalf of IOC and WAM here.

Case 2:  State of Florida v. Simpson and State of Florida v. Mirto

These cases involve to delinquents who had the audacity to hand out bibles on a public sidewalk near a school in Plantation Key, Florida.  The principal of the school called the police who came and instructed the men to leave.  Simpson and Mirto began to comply, packing their things to leave.  The officer on the scene then decided to arrest the men before they could leave for a violation of Florida Statutes Section 810.097 which prohibits trespassing on school property.  Apparently, the police report states that the men were on school property, rather than the sidewalk.

Isn't it good to know that government is out there protecting us from churches with less than 2.5 acres of property and men handing out bibles?

February 20, 2007

Fresh Ideas on Property Taxes

Earlier this month I suggested that rather than discussing changes to property taxes that we needed to discuss getting rid of the property tax scheme altogether.  Rep. Daniel Webster agrees.

"The idea of having no property tax is pretty awesome, in my mind."

I have to agree and I must say that I am thrilled... thrilled, to hear that Republicans in Tallahassee are leading the discussion on replacing Florida's property tax system.  The Orlando Sentinel has an article covering the issue today, in specific, the idea of using an increased sales tax to replace the property taxes. 

Today on the Bud Hedinger radio show in Central Florida Rep. Frank Atkinson of Kissimmee discussed the possibility of a tax that would not be levied on goods such as food or medicine and would also replace those taxes paid by renters as well.   He's hosting a series  of townhall meetings across the state to take suggestions from citizens.

Sure, this would require a pretty major sales tax increase on many items, but would it reach the almost $200 most renters and many homeowners are paying in taxes each month?

It is all just discussion right now, but I am excited to hear that it is taking place and it sounds like we may have a solid solution right in front of us.

Survival of Florida Baby Shows Need For Change in Abortion Laws

On October 24, 2006 Amillia Sonja Taylor was born in Miami, Florida.  Born only 21 weeks after conception she was 9.5 inches and 10 ounces.   She is the world's most premature baby to survive outside of the womb.  Today she is going home with her parents.  (articles here and here)

It is a wonderful story and gives reason to celebrate, and also to consider the scope of abortion laws in our country.  It is estimated that 18,000 babies over 21 weeks into the gestational period are aborted (statistics here and here).   The central argument of abortion advocates, and the current status of the law, is that unborn children are not alive, or human, until a certain point at which we can determine that they can survive outside of the womb.

We now have proof that babies at only 21 weeks can survive outside of the womb indefinitely.  They are alive.  They are human.  There is no plausible argument to suggest that the law should not be modified to reflect this fact.  Abortions past 21 weeks gestation should be made illegal.

February 18, 2007

Mr. G on Ric Keller on Iraq Surge

The House passed it's resolution against the surge in Iraq this passed week and 17 House Republicans joined in sliding the knife into the backs of our troops; including our own Ric Keller.  He gave a speech prior to the vote, the text of which can be found here.  His suggestion for the war is essentially that we follow the Iraq Study Group's report and get everyone else to do everything.  If I thought that would work, I would support it, too.

I have to say, this one completely baffles me.  Consider me baffled.  I can understand the frustration with the war.  I can understand that many Republicans oppose the surge, even my friend over at Blog-Stew.  I can understand Keller wanting to send a message to the administration on the issue.  But he could have expressed all of those things outside of the resolution.  His vote almost certainly guarantees that he will have a well supported opponent in the next primary for his seat (Blog-Stew has already brought up Daniel Webster, good choice).

The fact is the surge is happening and the resolution will not change anything.  All Keller's vote has done is given democrats a new talking point, and I hate democrat talking points.

On a side note, the vote has now officially pigeon-holed the democrats on the surge.  Any success that comes from the surge democrats can receive no credit for.  As a result, despite democrat promises not to try to undermine the military effort, expect them to come.  Politically, democrats need the surge to fail and will begin making efforts to ensure that this happens.

I don't doubt Keller's sincerity, but if he had really thought about it, there were much more effective ways to voice his position to the administration without damaging his party, troop morale, and his own political career.  Central Florida needs a Representative that is going to make better decisions than this.  Oh, his vote in favor of the minimum wage increase didn't help my opinion of him either.

Mr. G supports the administration, supports the troops, supports the surge and now, doesn't support Ric Keller.  I'm with Blog-Stew, let's get Webster into the ring.

1/2 Hour News Hour Pilot

Just finished watching the "1/2 News Hour" pilot, the Right's attempted answer to the "Daily Show."  I'm gonna say it, I enjoyed it.  Was it the funniest thing I've ever seen?  No.  Were there some stale moments?  Yes.  But it was a pilot and I wasn't expecting pure gold the first time around.  There is definite potential and I'm looking forward to see where it goes from here.

It has been funny to watch the liberal reaction to the concept and the previews that have been released.  "It's not funny," "it was mean," "it causes global warming."  None of the responses have been a surprise, but I still have to wonder... what the heck do you care?  Liberals don't watch Fox News anyway because it doesn't feed them their talking points on their pet issues.  And even if it was on another channel, they are not going to watch.  So what do you care?

My advice to liberals is, don't bother watching, it will only annoy you.  As for Conservatives, and even folks towards the center who are looking for a bit of a change from the usual... check it out next Sunday at 10 pm on Fox News Channel.  You might find it refreshing.

February 16, 2007

UPDATED: Is Marriage a Fringe Issue?

As we get closer to the 2008 election one issue that is going to take the spotlight in Florida is same-sex marriage.  The Florida Marriage Amendment is almost guaranteed to be on the ballot and the debate over the issue will be heated. 

In anticipation of this fight liberals on the blogosphere and in the mainstream media in our state are already gearing up.  The tactic thus far has been to paint the issue as a fringe issue.  Examples abounded this week with numerous articles on Governor Crist's statement that the state GOP should put its priorities elsewhere.  The tone of the articles and blog posts covering Crist's statements was that the marriage amendment was an issue that only appealed to the right of the Republican party.

Even today the Miami Herald released an editorial comparing those in our party that support the amendment to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, asserting that same-sex marriage would have no ill effect on our state, and arguing that involvement in this edge issue would hurt Governor Crist's poll ratings and eliminate any hopes he might have of running for Vice President in 2008.

Reading this garbage gives you the impression that only a handful on the far right support the Florida Marriage Amendment.  I only wish that sentiment were true, because if it was it would mean that the majority of Floridians belong to the right wing of the Republican party. 

I'm sure that some of you reading this very post don't consider yourself Conservatives, but would vote for a marriage amendment.  Guess what, you're not alone.

Every poll I've seen on the concept of a marriage amendment in our state has shown a majority of the state supports the idea.  I can give you Strategic Vision polls but liberals in our state just blow those off.  I can also give you Equality Florida's (our own homegrown homosexual lobby) own poll from just over a year ago showing that 55% of Floridians  support the idea of a marriage amendment, with an anticipated additional margin of 5 to 8% who would support the amendment over what the poll indicated.

The truth is that marriage is not a fringe issue.  It is an issue that voters all across the spectrum are passionate about and poll after poll confirms that the majority of Floridians support traditional marriage and want to protect it with an amendment to our state constitution.

The strategy over the next year and a half by liberals and the media will be to be to make supporters of traditional marriage feel as though they are on the fringe, that they are extremists with outdated views.  Don't let the rhetoric get to you because your support of traditional marriage is the majority view, both nationally and in our own state.

UPDATE: Over at Pushing Rope Mr. Hussey takes his shot at me.  A few thoughts...

"The amendment would do what is already on the Florida law books. Make marriage between same sex couples illegal."

Wrong.  The amendment will protect marriage in our state from activist judges.  We've seen all to often that judges across the country are far to willing to throw state statutes in the trash to advance a political agenda.  Marriage is under attack and the homosexual lobby has learned that the easiest place for them to push their agenda is in the Courts.  We've seen this in our own state as they have fought vigorously to repeal the state's homosexual adoption ban.  It is only a matter of time until they take aim at marriage in Florida, as they have already done in other states.  The Florida Marriage Amendment puts marriage completely outside of the reach of the judiciary, thereby preserving traditional marriage in Florida.

"Just because the polls are tipped to a certain side doesn't make it legal or morally right."

Correct, and I've not argued that the polls make anything right.  But on this issue, it just so happens that most people are right.

"Eventually, gay marriage will be legal in America."

Wrong.  As long as we are willing to stand for our convictions we will prevail and preserve marriage in our state, and nationwide.

"The harder the Christian Right pushes the issue the more the American public will get used to the idea of same sex marriages."

Wrong.  As I noted above, Mr. Hussey, like the media, presents the issue as though the Christian Right is in the fringe on this issue.  The Christian Right need not push the issue because most people agree with us on this issue.  It is the left that is pushing their agenda upon the majority.

In conclusion, I always find these situations entertaining.  The left constantly berates the right for pushing its morality on the majority.  But Mr. Hussey, like the rest of the left, has no qualms pushing arguing that the majority is wrong when the majority disagrees with them. 

Over the next year as the left berates you for your values, attempts to marginalize you, and compares your views to racism as Mr. Hussey does I encourage you to stand by your convictions and what is right.

 

February 15, 2007

A Guy Can Dream, Can't He?

So you've probably heard about the upcoming pilot of "The 1/2 Hour News Hour," a right leaning answer to the Daily Show.  I'm holding my tongue on it until I see the pilot (This Sunday night at 10 pm on Fox News).    There are a couple previews and a promotional making their way around Youtube, including one today that depicts a dream come true:

President Rush Limbaugh and Vice President... well, you'll just have to watch.


 

Also, the promo is here, and a brief snippet of the show here.

February 14, 2007

Crist to Prevent Funding of Florida Marriage Amendment?

Most of the big Florida papers had an article today about Governor Crist's statements yesterday about the idea of the state Republican Party continuing to give funding to the effort to pass the Florida Marriage Amendment.  Most of the articles made it seem as if Crist was ready to single-handedly pull the plug on the amendment. Of course, the statements Crist made and the portrayal of the statements don't match up.  I'd give you the analysis, but someone beat me to it.

Now, pay attention, because I rarely, if ever say this... Florida Politics got this one right.  Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day  (I smirk as I type this because Florida Politics is one of the sharpest democrat bloggers in Florida).

In his daily review of the news today he explains that Crist has not said he would not allow the state GOP to fund the marriage amendment this year and, based on his past statements and actions, it seems unlikely that he would prevent such funding.  And he's right.

It is yet another example of a prediction on Crist that I made during the campaigns, that while Crist would not be an advocate for the causes of Conservatives, he would not stand in our way.  We saw this on embryonic stem cell research recently, and we will see it again here.  Crist might not be excited about the marriage amendment, but he is certainly not going to try and impede the efforts of Conservatives in

Florida.  Especially on this issue because Crist realizes this amendment will bring out Conservatives to vote and get them active in the election and campaigns.

Regardless, my prediction on the amendment is that it will pass with or without GOP money.  The amendment is just 28,000 signatures short of the 611,000 needed to get on the ballot.  We have about a year to get those remaining signatures.  The amendment has made it this far with less than a fourth of the funding that most successful ballot measures require ($400k as compared to $2+ million).  The polling data I've seen has shown support around 61 and 65% for the amendment in

Florida, with suggestion that these percentages might actually be low.  This is going to be very difficult for the anti-marriage lobby to stop.

Of course, it is far from a done deal.  One major problem might be that Conservatives may have shot themselves in the foot by pushing the amendment requiring all future amendments to pass by 60% rather than a simply majority.

But for the time being, Conservatives have little to worry about.  Crist is not going to prevent funding for the effort, and even if he directs that funding should be decreased the Conservative leadership in this state will see the effort through with your help.

February 13, 2007

2008 GOP Straw Poll: February 2007

February 12, 2007

Karen Thurman Tries to Mislead Floridians, Again.

When Karen Thurman says anything my gag reflex usually starts to act up.  Her podcast and press release today on the Florida democrat website had its usual effect.

On the stalled resolutions on the war in Congress:

"It is the troops and their families that truly have to pay the price for failed policies, but George W. Bush and a stubborn Republican minority in Congress don't even want to talk about it."

Nothing could be father from the truth.  The strongest Republican opposition arose only after the democrat leadership rescinded its promise to allow a comparable Republican resolution supporting the war to be debated.  Further, during debate on the democrat bill this week, no Republican amendments will be permitted.  Sure, democrats are willing to discuss the war, just on their terms with major limits on debate by the opposition.  Heaven forbid anything interrupt their grandstanding.

That said, I understand the motivation.  Disapproval of the war was a big selling point for democrats in 2006 and they want to demonstrate resolve on the issue now that they are in power.  Disgusting as it is the resolution in and of itself is not surprising.  What is surprising is the complete lock-down of debate on the subject by the party which promised the most open and ethical Congress ever followed by accusations that Republicans are the ones limiting debate... wait... we're talking about democrats, so even that is not surprising at all.

"Worse yet, our Republican Senator, Mel Martinez, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, was apparently too busy to even show up to the procedural vote.  "This war is the most important issue facing our country, and Mel Martinez can't even show up? The Republican Party of Florida slammed Jim Davis again and again for missing votes on inconsequential things such as naming post offices. What do they have to say now about their Senator missing these crucial votes?"

Please, Republicans slammed Davis for having the second worst voting record in Congress.  I'm not excusing Martinez for missing any votes, but I understand that it happens.  When Mel misses 300 more votes to match Davis' 301 missed votes you will have a valid talking point comparison between the two.  Last year Martinez missed 3.4% of all votes.  Davis missed 24.8%.

In fact, every single democrat from Florida in the House of Representatives missed more votes than Senator Martinez and had a higher percentage of missed votes in the 109th Congress.  Only seven Florida Congressmen had better voting attendance percentages than Martinez; all of them were Republicans.  The only democrat in Congress with a better voting attendance record than Martinez last year was Senator Nelson with 1.6% of votes missed (12 less than Martinez).

Thurman closes by urging democrats to call Senator Martinez and "tell him to stop missing votes and most importantly ignoring the people of Florida."  While I won't discourage you from making that call, if missing votes is your concern, you should call every Florida democrat in the House first.

As for "ignoring the people of Florida," democrats only cry about the people being "ignored" when the polls go their way.  On issues such as the federal and state marriage amendments which polls show the national majority and state majority both favor they certainly don't call it "ignoring the people" when they oppose the amendments.  When Senator Graham and Senator Nelson voted against the federal marriage amendment in 2004 despite the fact that the Senate offices on Capitol Hill received one of the largest, if not the largest, totals of constituent contacts within a single week (with the vast majority in favor of the amendment) democrats certainly didn't categorize it as "ignoring the people."  When democrats go against the polls we get a lecture about Congressmen being elected to "exercise their judgment."  When Republicans go against the polls they call it "ignoring the people."

Thurman's message today was typical of democrat attacks; filled with half-truths and ultimately lacking any real substance.  No wonder most Florida voters aren't willing to trust the democrat leadership in positions of power.

2008 Presidential Primary Polls

One of the most interesting political blogs out there is Political Arithmetik by Charles Franklin, a professor of polling data at the University Wisconsin.  At Political Arithmetik he gatherings data from numerous polls and puts them into easy to read graphs and breaks down the data.  How reliable is is?  I don't know, you'll have to ask Mr. C, but for the common folk like me it is at least interesting enough to spend a few minutes pondering.

He's keeping running tabs on the presidential primary polls.  Here's how the top contenders play out:

Topreps_2

Topdems_1

Again, don't hold me to the accuracy, but I think this probably gives a fair assessment of where everyone stands in the recent polls and also shows how erratic the results from those polls can be.

There are also summaries of the candidate vs. candidate polls.

February 07, 2007

Time for Fresh Ideas on State Taxes

If you took the articles in the major state papers today about the debate over cutting property taxes at face value you would think that Governor Crist was attempting to eliminate all funding for police, firefighters and schools.  Everyone was real excited about the idea of cutting property taxes, but now that we're examining the logistics, well, it seems it might be more difficult than originally anticipated.  True to style, at the first sign of some difficult decisions many of the major Florida papers and democrats are ready to let the accusations fly that the Governor is going to ruin the state.

Unfortunately, the reality is simply that cutting property taxes directly affects county budgets.  While this discussion provides a perfect opportunity to examine county budgets and consider trimming the fat where fat exists I anticipate that the Governors office will find that many counties simply don't have much to trim.  As many county officials are already arguing, a cut in property taxes will likely result in a tax increase to make up the difference.

So where do we go from here?  While I'm not opposed to the idea of continuing to examine a property tax cut and I loom forward to hearing the ideas that come from the Governor's office on the issue I hope that the debate will evolve into a discussion of alternatives to the property tax system.

The fact is that we have a crisis with our property taxes in our state and if the Counties and Cities are not able to reduce their budgets to manage a property tax cut, then we need to consider replacing the property tax system altogether.  I am a supporter of flat tax and sales tax concepts, so personally, I would like to see discussion drift to the possibility of an expansion of locality sales taxes.

We cannot afford to allow the debate to end at whether or not the Counties can afford a property tax cut.  We have an opportunity to simply the Florida tax system and ease the tax burden on a class of tax payers that have been targeted for dramatic increases.   Whether or not a property tax cut is feasible or effective, it is time for fresh ideas on the system of taxation in Florida.

February 06, 2007

Hey democrats, Stop Whining!

I'm always a little torn when I see  liberals and democrats squandering political opportunities.  Part of me wants to point out the chance they are missing because this part still somehow believes that there is some good that comes from a political system with two strong parties.  The other part of me just wants  to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the show as the left continues to alienate itself more and more from the mainstream public.

In the end, however, I know anything I say will likely have no effect as it will either be ignored by democrats and I doubt many democrat party executives are regular readers of PEER Review.  Regardless, I submit the following for your consideration:

Hey democrats, stop whining, Governor Crist gives you a tremendous opportunity to build political capital.

Continue reading "Hey democrats, Stop Whining!" »

January 26, 2007

Abortion Clinic Throws Away Live Baby In Miami-Dade County

"The staff began screaming that the baby was alive; at which time [name redacted*] cut the umbilical cord, threw it into a red bag with black printing. [Name redacted*] then swept the baby, with her hands, into the same red bag along with the gauze used during the procedure."

This was the scene at an abortion clinic in Miami-Dade County on July 20, 2006 when a young lady awaiting an abortion procedure gave birth before the “physician” administering the procedure arrived. Witnesses at the clinic, including the mother saw the baby breathing and moving before it was shoveled into what is essentially a trash bag and carried away. The autopsy report with the details can be viewed here.

This story is getting some fresh air this week as a funeral which was planned for the baby has been pushed back while the State continues to hold the body during the investigation against the clinic.

Continue reading "Abortion Clinic Throws Away Live Baby In Miami-Dade County" »

PEER Praise for The State of Sunshine

I wanted to take a moment and praise a fellow Conservative Florida Blog, The State of Sunshine.  If you've not made a habit of reading The State of Sunshine on a daily basis I encourage you to do so.  Blogger Jim Johnson, who also frequently comments here, has recently been on fire.  His reviews of the legislation on the Florida insurance crisis and review of property tax legislation have been the best that you can find anywhere.  His post to how our state can answer President Bush's call on our nation to reduce our dependence on gas was also excellent.  Plus, The State of Sunshine has a fancy new look.

There are few Florida blogs I enjoy as much as The State of Sunshine and if you take a moment to check it out, I'm sure you will understand why.

January 24, 2007

Crist Sticks to His Word and Supports Funding For Embryonic Stem Cell Research

During the gubernatorial primaries this past year Conservatives were torn between two candidates; Tom Gallagher, a man with a moderate background who pushed the Conservative agenda in the primary, and Charlie Crist, a self proclaimed Conservative with moderate views on most social issues.  Ultimately, the conventional wisdom that Crist was the better candidate because he was more "electable" won out in Conservative circles.  All the while, many Conservatives understood their values would later pay a price because of that choice. 

It is time to pay the piper.

Governor Crist recently announced his support of a new stem cell research bill that would provide state funding for embryonic stem cell research (story here and here).

Continue reading "Crist Sticks to His Word and Supports Funding For Embryonic Stem Cell Research" »

January 23, 2007

Cruelty Cloaked In Compassion

I noticed today how many blogs, even blogs in our little Florida circle were involved in the "Blogs for Choice" campaign (I noticed it first over at Pushing Rope).  Mr. Hussey joined many others in blogging about "choice" and/or telling their stories touching on the "compassion" of "choice."  I find it interesting that the pro-death/anti-life movement has been so effective in cloaking what is quintessential cruelty, the invasion of death into the sacred peace of the womb, in "compassion."  The arguments they use, health of the mother, preventing deaths from back alley abortion, preventing the "tragedy" of disabled children, rape, and incest all carry with them the guise of compassion.  But underneath it all lays the harsh truth of death.

George Will takes on one facet of the campaign against life in yet another must read examining the advancement of aborting disabled children in:  Golly, What Did Jon Do?

"What did Jon Will and the more than 350,000 American citizens like him do to tick off the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists? It seems to want to help eliminate from America almost all of a category of citizens, a category that includes Jon."

Continue reading "Cruelty Cloaked In Compassion" »

January 22, 2007

Florida NOWCelebrates Death

Florida NOW recently revealed their design for a proposed license plate in the state of Florida.  Take a moment to ponder the message that this imagery presents.

United_for_choice_1

John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council has a great analysis of the proposed plate titled "A Pro-Abortion License Plate: The First Really Bad Idea of 2007."

"The "award winning" license plate design is a half way honest but creepy depiction of a blood-red mother star with her patriotic blue star baby apparently floating upward into the sky after being aborted-- all against a pure snow white background. I supposed you have to think long and hard about how to come up with a user friendly way to depict the grizzly surgical procedure of an abortion."

This celebration of death by Florida Now is nothing short of disgusting.  As are the many celebrations by liberals today of the 34th "anniversary" of Roe v. Wade, marking the death of more than 48 million unborn babies.

Meanwhile, millions joined together yesterday and celebrated life on National Sanctity of Human Life Day and many will gather today to participate in the 34th annual March for Life in Washington D.C..  These are folks that are rallied by images such as this depicting a twin kissing her sister on the cheek in the womb.

Twinkisswomb_228x237_1

Image from the Daily Mail's article A Crowded Womb by Natasha Pearlman discussing advances in ultrasound technology.  The image caption reads: "Womb for love: A twin kisses the cheek of her sister. Such affection, believed to help foetuses develop, may be mirrored in how the twins interact once they are born.

Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses

Brownback, Obama, Clinton... it has been a busy week and the presidential candidates list continues to grow.  All the candidates are quickly moving to secure all the support they can from other local and national leaders.  In the wake of all of the excitement that the week has brought I received an email from a Conservative leader here in our own state with what is probably the best advice on the 2008 election that I've seen so far; wait.

Continue reading "Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses" »

January 18, 2007

Rep. Feeney Leads Charge Against Social Security for Illegal Aliens

Our own Rep. Tom Feeney from Florida's 24th District is leading the charge against the US-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement.  The Agreement, which does not require any support from Congress as a treaty, would provide full social security benefits to immigrants currently in the country illegally should they later receive legal status.  The new burdens this places on the already dying social security system will only serve to usher the program to bankruptcy faster than it is already.

Today Human Events released an article by Rep. Feeney addressing the agreement.  It gives you all the details you need to know and the way it can be stopped.

January 16, 2007

Religious Freedom: Stay Informed

We've talked about two of the largest categories of religious freedom cases that are currently hotly contested in our country.  Sadly, there are many, many more, including the frequent fights over property rights and taxes between the government and religious groups.

So what can we do?  The first step is to stay informed.  Sadly, these religious freedom issues rarely get any airtime with the MSM, and are overlooked by even the blogosphere.  But I have a resource to suggest, the Alliance Alert from the Alliance Defense Fund.  This site frequently updates almost daily on ongoing religious liberty issues as well as issues related to life and traditional family values.  You can even sign up for the updates to be emailed to you.

Once you are following the state of religious freedom you can chose when to get involved.  Obviously, as a Florida resident there will be little you can do as to an issue in California.  But as we discussed today, there are issues cropping up closer to home, like in Ocala.

Stay vigilant and ready to help in the fight to defend religious freedom for all of us.

In closing, I leave you with an excellent article reviewing religious liberty losses over the past year.  Religious Freedom Day will end with the change in the date, but let's not allow our attention on religious freedom to end as well.  It is time for us to begin protect our religious freedom with the fervor it deserves and to do that we have to stay aware of the state of the battle.   Stay vigilant.

Religious Freedom: Public Square

The next area in the battle for religious freedom we will examine are what I term "Public Square" cases.  These are cases which involve the display of religious items of symbols as well as cases involving religious speech.

A_soledadcross_1 The biggest battle recently has been over this little guy.  This is the centerpiece of a Korean War Memorial in San Diego, CA.  The ACLU has been going batty over it and have been attempting for some time now to have it removed.  Again, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Liberty Legal Institute has flown into the rescue.  It seemed as though the ACLU was going to succeed in their effort until the monument was transfered to federal control.  The 9th Circuit Court ruled last week that as a result of the change in control the case brought by the ACLU is moot.  This will also make it more difficult to bring future actions against the memorial.

This case is but the tip of the iceberg in a long series of cases to remove any type of religious symbol from any displays or monuments remotely connected with any level of government. 

The US Supreme Court has handed down a number of decisions related to religious displays addressing everything from the ten commandments to holiday displays.  The result is a complex web of court decisions which allow religious displays in some contexts but not others.

Continue reading "Religious Freedom: Public Square" »

Religious Freedom: Equal Access

The first area we will examine in the battle over religious freedom center around what are called "Equal Access cases."  These cases are derived from situation where a public facility such as a school or a library provides for the opportunity for outside groups to rent or use meeting space free of charge, but does not permit religious groups from participating.  These cases have become critical for many churches and religious groups in metropolitan such areas where the ability to buy land to build a meeting place or rent private meeting space is not feasible because of price.  But large metropolitan areas are not the only place where religious groups are being prohibited from having the same opportunity to use public space as other groups.

Continue reading "Religious Freedom: Equal Access" »

January 16, 2007: Religious Freedom Day

" NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2007, as Religious Freedom Day. I call on all Americans to reflect on the great blessing of religious liberty, endeavor to preserve this freedom for future generations, and commemorate this day with appropriate events and activities in their schools, places of worship, neighborhoods, and homes."

The proclamation of this "Religious Freedom Day" will go largely unnoticed and unheeded today.  The truth is that religious freedom is something that most of us take for granted.  We may give an occasional thought to what a great treasure it is to have this freedom, but rarely will any of us feel the need to make efforts to "preserve this freedom for future generations.  We're blessed, most of us have never encountered a situation where we realized our religious freedom is being invaded.  However, make no mistake, there is a battle being waged in this country over the extent our our religious freedom and the expression of religion.  It is a battle that is being fought in courtrooms throughout the country from county courts all the way through the US Supreme Court.  Today we will highlight some recent developments in that battle, both good and bad.  We will also draw attention to a few who are fighting for the good guys.

Take a moment today to reflect on the critical part that of freedom of faith plays in not only our individual lives, but the life of our nation.   Ponder how the expression of our core beliefs contributes to the soul and culture of our country.  Consider what our nation would be like without these blessings, and be thankful, and vigilant.

January 15, 2007

Romney Winning GOP Bloggers Poll

Last week Bob posted the GOP Bloggers 2008 Presidential candidate survey here at PEER Review along with his own encouragement to vote for Romney or Brownback.  With over 12,000 votes tallied, GOP Bloggers is reporting that Romney is winning in both the "first choice for nominee" and "acceptable nominee" categories.  McCain and Giuliani are close behind.

The poll, of course, doesn't tell us much, except for the fact that Romney is getting his message and image out and people are liking what they see.

Welcome Florida Family Policy Council and GOP Bloggers

This weekend PEER Review Florida was graced with links from two notable sites; the Florida Family Policy Council and GOP Bloggers.

I encourage you to take a moment and familiarize yourself with the resources available at the Florida Family Policy Council website.  The site is fantastic tool especially during elections as they provide voters guides and other materials to help inform voters on the issues. 

GOP Bloggers is one of the best Conservative Blogs out there and is one of the few national blogs that I visit on a daily basis.  We're now in a long list of Florida blogs, but to be included at all is certainly an honor.

To those of you visiting PEER Review Florida for the first time allow me to be the first to welcome you .

Continue reading "Welcome Florida Family Policy Council and GOP Bloggers" »

January 12, 2007

democrat Exceptions to the Minimum Wage Bill

I'm starting to wonder if the democrats are going to break every campaign promise they made within the "first hundred hours."  There is a great article in the Washington Times today about the democrat hypocrisy on the minimum wage bill.

The story is this:  democrats campaign on the promise of open and honest government.  democrats pass a minimum wage bill.  Republicans are now finding out that the minimum wage requirement will not apply to a major company in Speaker Pelosi's on district.  How convenient.

The bill will also not apply to American Samoa.  Now, I'm not really wound up about this exception.  What bothers me though is that Republicans, even those who voted in favor of the bill appear to have not been aware of the exceptions.  This is the result of the democrats new closed door drafting and no debate policy on legislation; we have legislators voting on legislation when they don't understand the full extent of that legislation.  Doesn't that make you feel secure about what's going on in D.C.?

It is a disgrace.  It is a disgrace that democrats push this national minimum wage increase and then companies in the democrat Speaker's own district are exempted.  It is a disgrace that democrat leadership is forcing votes on legislation that has not been fully discussed.  It is a disgrace that representatives, both democrat and Republican, are voting on legislation when they don't understand the full application of the bills.  It is a disgrace that Republican leadership is not fighting the new foolish method of governing in the house.  And it is a disgrace that the main stream media isn't picking up on any of this.

UPDATED: Update on the 2008 Republican Candidates

News on the 2008 campaigns.  Here's what you need to know (Romney section updated with comments from Bob):

Brownback
Senator Brownback announced his opposition to the troop surge yesterday.  He is advocating that Iraq needs a "political" solution.  Brownback has argued that Iraq should be split up into 3 states between the Kurds, Shi'as and Sunnis under the umbrella of a national government.  He's also given his support for much of the Iraq Study Group Report.  These positions are going to give many Conservatives major cause for pause in supporting Brownback.  This issue could actually prevent the Brownback candidacy from ever actually taking off.  Also, I keep noticing that Brownback always looks sleepy.  When I picture him as president I always think about him taking a nap in the oval office.

Romney
Governor Romney has Iraq troubles of his own.  He released a statement on Iraq policy, and many Conservatives don't think it has enough substance.  His bigger problem though is this YouTube video with clips from his 1994 debate against Ted Kennedy and his statements about abortion, gay marriage, and other issues.  But the Romney camp is reacting very well with an immediate statement a taped appearance addressing the issues.  Discussions about Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts are also picking up steam.  So are discussions about his underwear.

From Bob:

Mitt Romney was very impressive in person. Not yet Presidential, but very impressive. He comes across as very smart, very Republican, and very likable. He was funny and personable and he did a great job espousing conservative principles and values and incorporating them into his thoughts about terrorism, immigration, education, technology and healthcare. He is doing a great job positioning himself as more conservative than McCain and Guiliani, yet he seems (to me) to maintain the cross-over appeal needed for the general election. He also has done a great job assembling a top-notch team, especially in Florida, a key state for 2008. I think his biggest threat is not the two aforementioned candidates, but others from the far right (Gingrich, Brownback.) Romney's chances will depend on how long those candidates stay in the field. But my bottom line impression is that he would be a great GOP candidate and President.

McCain
Despite numerous television appearances and an op-ed in the Washington Post on increasing troop levels I've found it interesting that McCain is not getting more time on the blogs.  Many if not most put him as the front runner, but he is getting no love from Conservatives and it seems everyone is paying attention to the other candidates.  Personally, as I've watched him there has been one thought that keeps coming to mind; McCain is really old.  I mean really, when you look at the guy do you think "presidential material" or do you think "wow... old" and "comb-over"?

Rudy
Mayor Giluliani got a bit of a press buzz when the press got their hands on a copy of his campaign strategy.  But it is not all bad news, Rudy has a supporter over at RedState, a Conservative to boot who makes a good argument.  Other than that, the general consensus seems to be that he is going to have a really hard time winning the primary with his social views and social life past.

January 11, 2007

Religious Freedom Day

Today President Bush by proclamation declared January 16, 2007 Religious Freedom Day.  What does that mean?  It means the President has called on you to "reflect on the great blessing of religious liberty, endeavor to preserve this freedom for future generations, and commemorate this day with appropriate events and activities in their schools, places of worship, neighborhoods, and homes."

I think we can all agree that religious freedom is one of those foundational rights that makes this nation great.  I hope you will join with me on the 16th and reflect on the many blessings that stem from the protection of our faith that this country offers.  On the 16th PEER Review Florida will also feature a special set of posts examining the current state of religious freedom in America.

VETO ALERT: House Passes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

President Bush will have the chance to veto his first bill from the democrat House very soon.  This afternoon the House of Representatives passed HR 3 which directs that the federal government should "conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells" (regardless of the date  in which the cells were derived from a human embryo).    It is discouraging that anyone would support such an abomination that destroys human life at the very earliest of stages.  It is even more troubling that 37 Republicans voted in favor of the bill.  The list is here.  The legislation is here.

Today the president promised to veto the bill when it hits his desk.  This will be the second time he has done so.  A similar bill passed in the House last year and was vetoed by the President.

While the bill could surmount a presidential veto it would require a two-thirds vote in the House, more than 290 votes.  As the bill passed with only 253 votes it is unlikely that such a veto will be overridden. 

Republicans and Minimum Wage

I try not to let myself be surprised by democrats anymore.  But I find myself being shocked by Republicans more and more as of late.  For example, we all heard about the democrat minimum wage increase being passed.  No surprise there.  However, I was floored to learn that 82 House Republicans voted for the measure as well, including a good number from our own state.  See the full list here.

It is going to be a really long two years if we have that many Republicans in the House that are willing to go along with the half-brained economic agenda the democrats are pushing.

January 10, 2007

democrats Refuse Republican Imput, Then Cry About Not Having Influence On Republican Policy

Let's review:

democrats campaign on the idea that they will run the most open, ethical government ever and promise that they wil work with Republicans to achieve a new age of bipartisanship. 

THEN

democrats proceed to immediately break those promises.  The first thing they do is lock down the legislative process, draft and pass legislation without any Republican input.

Fine, fine.  I expected as much.  It is not a surprise that they went back on their pledge, or even how fast they took to abandoning it.

But today... I almost blew a gasket.

I watched as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi came out of a meeting with the President this afternoon and proceeded to complain and whine about how they haven't been brought in to consult.  They cried that they were just given notice and don't have any imput.

To begin, where they the only people in the country thatn didn't know this was coming?  Is the troop surge idea really a shock to these two?  And who are they to whine about being locked out of a decision that they have no authority to make?  They close down legislative debate and then fuss about not being able to influence President Bush's decisions.

You know, I try to give the democrat leadership the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that they really are trying to do what they thing is right and that from some other perspective their words and actions might look correct, I really do.  But on days like today I have to wonder if they go back to their closed door meetings and laugh about the fact that people actually buy the balogna they are selling.

January 09, 2007

Pelosi: For The Troop Surge, Then Opposed

Democrats everywhere are screaming about the proposed increase in troops in Iraq.  Pelosi is even barking that House democrats might try to prevent funding of the proposed surge.  I swear, if democrats had a longer memory span they would never listen to these jokers.  In typical democrat style, Pelosi was for the troop increase before she was against it.  From NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert, May 30, 2004 (emphasis mine):

MR. RUSSERT:  What would you do in Iraq today right now?

REP. PELOSI:  What I would do and what I think our country must do in Iraq is take an assessment of where we are.  And there has to be a leveling with the American people and with the Congress of the United States as to what is really actually happening there.  It's very hard to say what you would do. We need more troops on the ground.  General...

MR. RUSSERT:  American troops if necessary?

REP. PELOSI:  ...Shinseki said this from the start, when you make an appraisal about whether you're going to war, you have to know what you need.

MR. RUSSERT:  So you would put more American troops on the ground?

REP. PELOSI:  What I'm saying to you, that we need more troops on the ground. I think it would be better if we could get them to be not American, that we could appeal to our European allies, NATO. I agree with Senator Kerry in that respect to come...

MR. RUSSERT:  But if they say no, would you put more American troops on the ground?

REP. PELOSI:  Clear and present danger facing the United States is terrorism. We have to solidify, we have to stabilize the situation in Iraq.  As secretary of state has said, "You break it, you own it."  We have a responsibility now in Iraq there.  And we have to get more troops on the ground.  But when General Shinseki said we need 300,000 troops, Secretary Wolfowitz said "wildly off the mark," because they knew a commitment of 300,000 troops would not be acceptable to the American people.  So they went in with false assumptions about rose petals, not rocket-propelled grenades, and we're in this fix that we're in now.

MR. RUSSERT:  Well, let's assume all that is wrong.  In order to stabilize the situation, NATO has said they have no troops for Iraq, the French, the Germans and Russians saying no.

REP. PELOSI:  We have to send...

MR. RUSSERT:  Would you send more American troops in order to stabilize the situation?

REP. PELOSI:  Yes.

The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Conservatives are buzzing about the new development in stem cell research; it seems stem cells taken from amniotic fluid, rather than live embryos, may have much of the same alleged potential as embryonic stem cells (I say "alleged" because based on what I've read I'm not convinced that embryonic stem cell research has the potential many advocate it does).  The excitement comes from the idea that we might have source of stem cells that doesn't kill babies.  But before you get too jazzed about this, I'd like to post an adaptation of what was my first post here at PEER Review on this very subject.  My first post came on the heels of a study from the University of Louisville which found that adult stem cells could be manipulated into other stem cells thereby negating the need for embryonic stem cells.  I gave a word of caution to Conservatives then that I give now:  Even if there is a breakthrough that conclusively negates the need for experiment on embryonic stem cells, there will still be a push by the left to continue down that path.  I base this on the world-view that we take from biblical scripture.

I try not to get too preachy here at PEER Review, and normally I try to leave my religious beliefs out of political discussions because religious arguments don't fly with non-religious people.  But this one is for all of you Bible-thumpin' believers out there.  So at the risk of alienating many of our liberal readers, I present my "One True Conspiracy" theory.

Continue reading "The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?" »

Romney Establishes a Dominating Fundraising Lead

2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a fundraiser today.  It was called the "National Call Day."  I'd expect a few more of these, from Romney and the other candidates because Romney raised over 6.5 MILLION dollars.  Unbelievable.  Estimates have McCain at 2 million and Giuliani at 1 million.  The "frontrunners" now have much work to do to show that they can keep up.

Continue reading "Romney Establishes a Dominating Fundraising Lead" »

January 05, 2007

Republicans Can Win by Losing

What is a Republican minority that will be unable to advance any real reforms against a democrat majority supposed to do for the next 2 years?  Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform says there is only one thing they can do; lose.  But don't fret, because losing is a winning strategy.  From NRO:

For the next two years conservatives will not be able to pass any useful legislation through the House of Representatives. Memorize that sentence. Place it on your PC screensaver. Use it as your message on your answering machine. A discreet but easily accessed tattoo would be helpful.

All temptations to actually pass something lead to a conversation where the hard left of the Democrat party — the old bulls who are the Democrat leadership and committee chairmen — has a veto over anything. You can label the bottle. They will fill it.

Republicans in Congress need to use the first 100 days and the next two years to lose. Propose House rules that keep the present GOP requirement for a 3/5 vote to raise taxes. And lose. Propose House rules that term limit committee chairmen — the old GOP rule only applied to Republicans. And lose. Propose a tax cut. And lose. Heck, get denied an actual vote. Have a procedural vote. And lose. Propose an end to earmarks. And lose. Write welfare reform part three. And lose.

In November 2006 not enough voters saw a Republican congressional leadership they wanted to vote for and too few saw Democrat party leadership that scared them. The next two years is about changing both of those perceptions.

January 04, 2007

Feeney Pays Treasury for Trip and Liberal Sharks Come Out to Feed

Even a the possibility of impropriety by a Republican and the liberal sharks come out to feed; St. Pete Times:  Feeney's Scotland jaunt broke rules; Miami Herald:  Lobbyist's largesse costs congressman.

The short story is that Rep. Tom Feeney has agree to pay $5,643 to the US Treasury for a trip he took to Scotland which Feeney believed was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research but may have been paid for by Jack Abramoff.  If you read the review at FLA Politics, you'd think Rep. Tom Feeney had gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  But if you take the time to read the statement by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the House you'll notice that there is much more to the story.

Continue reading "Feeney Pays Treasury for Trip and Liberal Sharks Come Out to Feed" »

A Thought on democrat Take Over

Today in  media outlets from the blogosphere to AM radio to television conservatives are mourning the loss of the Congress to the democrats as the new leadership is sworn in.

I submit the following for your consideration.

The day we should mourn is the day that our Republican leadership stepped away from Conservative principles of government, not the day in which we realize the consequences of such action.

January 03, 2007

A Disenfranchised Republican's Reaction to President Bush's Op-Ed Piece

Whenever I express my frustrations with the Bush administration here I almost always get yelled at as a result.  Normally in email form, often in person.

So let me start my tirade with this:  I like President Bush.  I admire many of his accomplishments while in office.  I admire his character.  If I could go back in time knowing what I know now, given all the options available at the time, I still would have voted for him.  However, his time in office has been far less productive than I hoped or expected.  I've been continually aggravated as his has passed opportunity after opportunity to advance the cause of Conservatism, both fiscal and social.

Which is why his article in the Wall Street Journal today just mad me mad.  Here we have a man calling on democrats to adhere to those theories of government which he has been unwilling to stand for himself over the last six years.

Continue reading "A Disenfranchised Republican's Reaction to President Bush's Op-Ed Piece" »

January 02, 2007

Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman "Accepts Responsibility" for Ethics Violations

Three years after the initial allegations came forward, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) has finally "accepted responsibility" for his actions which constituted a violation of House ethics rules.  The most interesting part of the whole story, though, is the fact that this has gotten next to no attention in the MSM.  It is not really surprising, but as always I must point out that if and when a Republican essentially admitted to ethics violations this would be front page news.  If it was the incoming chair of the most powerful committee in the house, we would hear about it for weeks on end and there would be a call for the Representative to resign, to apologize and a demand that the entire administration resign.  But this is a democrat, so it has gone unnoticed.

Now I don't suggest that this should have gotten that much attention or that it should have been met with more scorn from Republicans.  Conyers was accused to requiring his government staff to work on his campaign, babysit his children and run personal errands.  It is an abuse of government resources, and certainly unethical but it doesn't merit massive action.  It probably wasn't pursued more because I'm sure this occurs frequently on both sides of the isle.

But some attention would have been nice.  As democrats get ready to "clear the swamp" in the House with what they claim will be the most ethical Congress ever, it seems to me to be a newsworthy story that one of their leading members who will control the house agenda just "accepted responsibility" for ethics violations.

You can read the House ethics report here.

Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?

A WorldNetDaily article today has drawn attention to a group of Massachusetts activists that have claimed that Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate (as of tomorrow), Mitt Romney, actually created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

The argument is essentially that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health which held that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution is, in fact, unconstitutional.  Supporters of this view have taken the Court's recent decision in Doyle v. Secretary of the Commonwealth holding that it does not have the power to force the state legislature to take a constitutionally required vote on the state's marriage amendment confirms this view that the Court cannot impose same-sex marriage on the state.  As a result, they claim, Romney effectuated an unconstitutional order of the court and Romney in fact created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

I begin by saying that technically, I agree.  But the reality of our current system of jurisprudence prevents the application of such a textualist view and binds those with executive authority to carry out the will of the court.   

Continue reading "Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?" »

December 29, 2006

Does Brownback Have What It Takes to Win the White House?

In the past week the has been a buzz over Senator Sam Brownback's decision to begin his presidential bid by spending a night in a prison in Louisiana to draw attention to the need for prison reform. Over at Red State there is a front page article on the subject where the author concludes that he must support Brownback because of his strong ideals. He ends with the statement that "politics divorced from ideals is just a really expensive game." (Note: I can't give you the link becuase I'm typing this from my phone in the Atlanta airport.)

With Brownback's entrance into the race for president I've seen a rise in this type of talk; that Brownback should be the Conservative candidate of choice becuase of his ideals. I think it is mostly a bunch of bunk.

I hate to break it to you if you feel the same as the Red State writer, but politics is a game. Yes, an expensive game. Those who suceed are the ones who learn how to play the game well. I know many really bright folks who would make great elected officials but will never be elected because they can't or won't play the game; they are not electable.

Don't get me wrong, I almost always vote for the idealist, and there is a good chance I'll vote for Brownback. After all, I was the lone ranger here pushing for Gallagher in the gubernatorial race becuase of his Conservative platform. But all of this idealist talk is a distraction from the fact that Brownback needs a major spike of charisma before he has a shot at the White House.

Brownback supporters are going to rave over his Conservative ideology. That is all well and good, but don't forget the all important electability factor. If ideology is the sole determining factor Alan Keyes would have been the Republican nominee six times by now.

Facts is facts, and Brownback just isn't the most exciting political figure. He can be right all day long, but if he can't inspire people to join his cause, he loses.

We've talked about Romney's flaws and the concerns with him. This is Brownback's biggest short-coming. Fix this and you have a stellar candidate.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Brownback. In fact, on my old blog I used to dream about having him in the White House. It would be fantastic. The problem is getting him there. I'm just not sure it can happen, especially with the characters running on the other side. But we have a long way to go, maybe we can spice him up over the next year.

We know Brownback is Conservative. We know he takes a stand on issues many others never recognize. Now we need to see if he has what it takes to win a national election over some of the toughest democrat competition we've seen in a long time at a point where many Americans are disenfranchised with Republican leadership. Right now, I'm not sure he does.

December 28, 2006

Massachusetts Legislature Continues to Violate Massachusetts Constitution

Here's the background story:

The people of Massachusetts start an initiative for an amendment to their state constitution.  They secure the required number of signatures to submit the amendment, but the amendment never makes it to the ballot.  Why? Because in Massachusetts before the amendment is placed on the ballot it must be approved by the legislature.  But the amendment doesn't make it to the ballot because the legislature voted against the amendment, it fails to proceed because the legislature simply refuses to acknowledge that the amendment even exists.  This is the current status of the Marriage Amendment in Massachusetts where the state legislature, in direct violation of their duties under the state constitution, are refusing to call a vote on whether the amendment should proceed to the ballot.

Frustrated with the legislatures failure to perform their job, a lawsuit was filed by several individuals, including Governor Mitt Romney, requesting that a court order be issued requiring the legislature to take a vote on the matter before the end of session on January 2, as required by the Constitution.

Yesterday the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts released their opinion in Doyle v. Secretary of the Commonwealth addressing this matter.

The opinion, which I agree with, ultimately concludes that the Court has no power to order the legislature to abide by the requirements of the state constitution.  If only we saw such textualist opinions out of Massachusetts courts more often.

However, the Court does note that under the requirements of the state constitution that the legislators should vote, and if they do not, they should be held accountable by the electorate.

"The members of the General Court [the legislature] are the people's elected representatives, and each one of them has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote by yeas and nays on the merits of the initiative amendment (or by other procedural vote of similar consequence), ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them."

Does anyone else find it odd that those supporting same-sex marriage, a movement which claims it only seeks to provide equal rights to all, resort to tactics such as this which clearly violate the law and rights of individuals under the Massachusetts Constitution to seek a constitutional amendment through an initiative process?

Romney's Response to Questions on His Past Positions

Last week I observed that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney needed a strong response to the many questions about his past positions on abortion and same-sex marriage or he would already begin to lose Conservative support.  Not that I had anything to do with it, but the Romney camp appears to have crafted just such a response, which is essentially, "Look at my record."

In a Human Events Online interview released today, Romney is questioned on these two issues.  He of course explained his change of heart on abortion, but ultimately said his record speaks for itself.

On abortion:

"As governor, I’ve had several pieces of legislation reach my desk, which would have expanded abortion rights in Massachusetts. Each of those I vetoed. Every action I’ve taken as the governor that relates to the sanctity of human life, I have stood on the side of life.

  So talk is cheap, but action is real. And people can now look at my record."

On same-sex marriage:

"...I am adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage.

I’ve been to Washington to testify in favor of traditional marriage. I’ve written a letter to every U.S. senator on the topic. I’ve fought same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in every way I could within the bounds of the law."

It is an effective response and I predict it will be enough to sway many Conservatives who are typically impressed by action rather than talk.  We've learned the hard way that too many supposed Conservatives will give lip service to the issues and then do nothing to advance the cause of Conservatism once in office...  I won't name names.

The interview also addresses Romney's view of Ronald Reagan, his position on the flat tax and Fair Tax, and his thoughts on the possibility of expanding the Massachusetts health care system nation-wide.  What the interview reveals, more than anything, is Romney's sensitivity to the political pulse of the country, and his desire to fully analyze the nations problems before prescribing ill-conceived solutions.  It is this combination of political aptitude and  business-like evaluation of the issues that allowed him to achieve such success as a Conservative Republican in one of the most liberal states in the country.  Those same qualities will provide the basis for his appeal to moderates while standing firm on Conservative principles.

But there remain questions.  The most complete collection of allegations against Romney's Conservatism have been collected by Mass Resistance in The Mitt Romney Deception.  It is enough to keep Conservatives, including myself wary of Romney's past, but when you look at his record, it is tough not to like him as a candidate.

 

December 27, 2006

Hot Topic: Florida's Ban on Adoption By Homosexuals

The recent announcement of Mary Cheney's (daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney) pregnancy has once again ignited the debate over parenting by same sex couples.  Florida, with our statutory ban on adoption by homosexuals is on the front lines of that debate.  Illustrating that point liberals over at FLA Politics are calling for Governor-elect Charlie Crist to repeal the ban as a demonstration that Crist is committed to his recent pledge to support and expand adoption in our state. 

This is an issue that has been driving liberals bonkers for some time now.  They are further ignited by the fact that while Florida bans adoption by homosexuals, it allows homosexuals to serve as foster parents.  They claim this is a discrepancy that must be resolved, and one that should be resolved in favor of the rights of homosexuals.  The argument fails for the following reasons:

1.  There is no discrepancy.  As the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals explained in a very well reasoned and well written opinion in Lofton v. Secretary of the Dept. of Children and Family Services (via Findlaw), it is reasonable to expect different standards for foster parents and adopting parents because, guess what, foster care and adoption are two different things.  One is meant to be temporary and one is meant to be permanent.  Of course, the proponents of adoption by homosexuals argue that while foster care is meant to be temporary, in some cases it is not.  As in the case of Lofton, the foster parent had custody of foster children for many years.  So what is the solution here?  Ensuring that the foster care system functions as it should and that temporary placements of children are just that, temporary.  Advocates of adoption by homosexuals argue that opening adoption to homosexuals will help achieve that goal.  Certainly, allowing more people to adopt would mean more adoptions.  But this ignores the fact that...

2.  The purpose of adoption is to advance the best interest of children, not the rights of adults.  Florida law requires that adoptions meet the "best interest of the child" standard.  This is why not just anyone can adopt, and as the Court explained in Lofton, why homosexuals cannot adopt.  Like it or not, the foundation our state's adoption program is that there are some family structures which provide for a superior upbringing than others.  Until there is undeniable proof that homosexuals are able to provide the same stable environment with consistency that is offered by the traditional family, the state cannot allow children to be adopted by homosexuals.  Now you can cite all kinds of studies and examples saying just that, but the fact is that there are just as many studies and arguments on the other side, and until it is conclusive that the state's presumption is wrong, the standard must stay.  To allow anything else is tantamount to subjecting Florida's children to a social experiment to determine if  anti-traditional homes cause harm.

3.  As a result, the solution to any alleged discrepancy between the foster care system and the adoption system in Florida is to ban homosexuals from serving as foster parents as well.  The best interest of the child standard must be the centerpiece to this system and because we cannot deviate from that standard the only reasonable way to bring the foster care system and adoption system into uniformity on the issue of homosexual parents is prevent homosexuals from becoming foster parents.

This isn't about your rights.  This isn't about what the government will or won't allow you to do.  This is strictly about what is in the best interest of the child. 

Opponents react that Florida law allows unmarried individuals to adopt, and because of this exception to the target of the traditional family that other exceptions must be allowed.  This is silly, of course.  The Legislature has deemed it necessary to make an exception, one that, granted, is not optimal for the child.  This is where we see the balance of practicality and idealism in the system.  With so many children up for adoption and not enough traditional families adopting other alternatives must be pursued.  However, a line must be drawn.  As the Court in Lofton observed, adoption by a single heterosexual still provides the opportunity for the child to end up in a traditional family setting.  Adoption by homosexuals almost necessarily bars that opportunity.  So the exception is made, and the line is drawn, with a focus on what best serves the interest of the child.

I can do nothing but completely support Governor-elect Crist's new campaign to bring a renewed effort to providing good homes for Florida's many children in need of adoption and his dedication to uphold the current standards in our adoption system.  I hope that you too will stand by our state's commitment to seek out the best interest of every unadopted child and will also consider participating in that system and dedicating yourself to provide not only a good home, but a positive, traditional and moral upbringing for a child in need.  As an individual who's life and family have been touched and forever changed for good by adoption I can attest that there are few more honorable causes in our world today and even fewer with such long-lasting results.

December 22, 2006

Democrats Raise Money For Convicted Felon

Time for a pop-quiz.  It will be self-graded, so you are on the honor system (which works with Conservatives).

1.  If a Republican government official is convicted of a felony, democrats respond by:

A.  Looking the other way.
B.  Gathering their top leadership together to host a fundraiser for his next election campaign.
C.  Stomping, screaming, shouting and demanding that this corrupt official step-down or be removed from office.

Answer:  C

2.  If a democrat government official is convicted of a felony, democrats respond by:

A.  Looking the other way.
B.  Gathering their top leadership together to host a fundraiser for his next election campaign.
C.  Stomping, screaming, shouting and demanding that this corrupt official step-down or be removed from office.

(Hint: Read the post title)

Answer: B

The invitations have been sent out for a fundraiser to help Siplin in his 2008 reelection to the Florida Senate with minority leader Steve Geller as one of the hosts.

Now, I understand that Siplin's conviction is pending appeal, and the Senate is waiting on that ruling before deciding whether to allow him to stay and so he is allowed to stay in the Senate.  But you have to wonder if a Republican would be given the same grace.  If there is any doubt, let me assure you, the answer is no.

With as much as they talk about the "culture of corruption" on the Republican side, it always amazes me that democrats are completely unwilling to hold any of their own accountable for their actions.

December 21, 2006

Romney v. Brownback

All the action in speculating who will be the 2008 Republican candidate for president seems to be swirling around Governor Mitt Romney.  I hope you, the reader, won't interpret the attention I've given him as some sort of endorsement, though I believe he is probably the best hope for Conservatives, and as I've said before, I like him as a candidate.  I like to go where the action is, and the action right now in the 2008 guessing game is on Romney's doorstep.

While the Boston Globe and others in the drive-by media have taken some weak and ineffective shots at Romney, there is a ton of substantive criticism already lining up against Romney in Conservative circles.  Over at Redstate and eyeon08.com there has been much discussion of Romney's past positions on Conservative issues; abortion in particular.  Today eyeon08.com presents that Romney was opposed to the Contract With AmericaHuman Events has an article today on Romney's criticisms of Jesse Helms in 1994.  The conclusion by many is simply that Romney is a liar and will do whatever it takes to get elected.  On top of that, the Human Events guide to the 2008 candidates explains that Romney has appointed liberals to the judiciary in his state.  That scares me.

If Romney wants to be the Conservative candidate of choice, he is going to have to do alot of explaining.  That could simply involve an "I was really wrong, but look at my recent record," but whatever it is, he needs an official statement about these issues, and fast.  These issues wouldn't be so pressing if Brownback hadn't already announced his exploratory committee, but since he has Conservatives are already choosing sides.  And we Conservatives are incredibly loyal.

Romney's past positions are going to haunt him throughout the primary, and candidates like Brownback are going to take full advantage of it.  But Romney has a perfect opportunity to address the quandary with his anticipated January announcement of his exploratory committee.  He has the chance to come out of the gates by confronting those concerns, admitting he was on the wrong side of the issues in the past, and committing himself to the core principles of Conservatives.

On the other side, Brownback needs to demonstrate that he has the energy and the passion to inspire the Republican base.  I really like Brownback, and I'm with him on most issues, but I'm just not sure he has the personality to win even the primary.  Further, put him up against Hillary and/or Obama and you've got a major problem.  His support of campaign finance reform and McCain's immigration bill will also be points of contention.

My guess at this point is that Conservatives are going to have to pick between Brownback and Romney as far as serious, legitimate candidates.  And many Conservatives are likely to make that choice in the next several months and stick to it.

As a side note, to those readers wondering about potential candidates like Tancredo and Huckabee, they have much to prove before they even have a prayer, and I just don't see them as legitimate possibilities.  Gingrich is waiting in the wings, and should he decide to run, he has the potential to give everyone a run for their money.

UPDATE:  Romney has picked up Conservative hot shot George Marx who will be a tremendous asset in selling Romney to Conservatives.

Mr. G says, "Go see Rocky Balboa"

I'll admit, when I first saw the preview for the new Rocky Balboa movie I thought, "You have got to be kidding me.  Is this a joke?"  There was absolutely no way I was going to waste my time on this one.

Then last week, Rush Limbaugh explained that he had been given a private screening of the film at his home.  He had the same hesitations and expectations that I did; this was going to be a bomb.  But Limbaugh raved about it. He even had Sylvester Stalone on last week to talk about the movie.  What impressed me more than Limbaugh's ringing endorsement was what Stalone said was the impetus for the film; the loss of male masculinity in our society.  This is a movie with a message and that message is that life is not about how hard you can hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep on going.  Cowards are the ones who take a hit and rather than staying on the course for their dream sit down and start pointing their finger and blaming everybody else.

So I saw the movie, and I highly recommend it.  At several points throughout the movie the audience erupted into applause.  It is PG and completely clean, which I appreciated and is a great movie for dads and sons to go see together.

Mr. G says "Go see Rocky Balboa."

December 20, 2006

Christmas Thoughts on Conservatism

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in the coming days, it is an excellent time to examine our hearts, what we believe in, what we desire to be and the ways we can carry that out in our daily lives.  In that spirit Terence Jeffrey, editor of Human Events has compiled 10 Principles of Conservatism for us to ponder.  It is one of the most succinct, yet complete explanation of the core beliefs of a Conservative that I have ever seen.  You can click the link above for th full article or see the list by clicking the continue link below.  Enjoy!

Continue reading "Christmas Thoughts on Conservatism" »

December 19, 2006

More on Mitt

A little under one month ago in my first evaluation of possible Republican candidates for President in 2008 I shared my  thoughts on why Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney might be the best possible option.  It has been intriguing to watch the reaction of both Republicans and the media as the Mitt pre-campaign gains momentum. 

There have been many questions about Romney's apparent change of positions on various issues over the course of his political career.  As you know, for Republicans, being labeled a "flip-flopper" is the kiss of death.  The major newspapers in Boston even seem to have stepped up their normal share of anti-Romney stories, even writing a hit piece on the lawn care company which tended to Romney's home and had illegal immigrants on its staff.  Romney hired the company, the company hired illegals, therefore Romney opposes halting illegal immigration regardless of whether he knew of the illegals or not; this is the conclusion the media has tried to lead you to.  It makes perfect sense in the liberal mind where reason and logic have long been stamped out.  Sidenote: Romney recently met this criticism with a new state program to step up enforcement of immigration laws.

Some Republicans have even jumped on board.  Over on the front page of RedState there is a post calling Romney a clown, despite the fact that the author, Mark Kilmer, claims he's not a "Mitt-Basher."

It is all politics as usual and none of it is really surprising, except for the amount of attention, whether good or bad, that is being drawn to Romney.  McCain and Giuliani definitely started the process with the most name recognition, but Romney has quickly become the leading Conservative candidate, and if you've been listening to talk radio at all lately, you've probably heard him referenced as the candidate to beat.

As we begin to move into the first leg of the campaign of 2008 in January, I think you are going to find more and more conversation about Romney.  And as that conversation takes places, Conservatives are going to be excited about Romney's record on Conservative issues, and moderates impressed with his leadership ability.  Can he win?  It is too early to tell, but barring any campaign disaster it seems that Romney will be the most difficult obstacle for McCain or Giuliani. 

December 15, 2006

Florida Senator Tries to Make Nice With Syria

By this point most of you have probably read or heard about our very own Senator Nelson's trip to Syria to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad.  This is the first of many mixed signals that Syria and Iran will be receiving from our government as a result of the Iraq Study Group Report's insane recommendation that we make nice with the two nations and encourage their influence in Iraq.  The State Departments has essentially refused to engage with Syria until there is a demonstrated effort to cease  attempts to throw the Middle East into chaos through the support and harboring of terrorists.

But Senator Nelson just wants to make nice. 

Continue reading "Florida Senator Tries to Make Nice With Syria" »

December 11, 2006

Hamburgers More Environmentally Harmful than SUV's

As is required of any good Conservative worth their salt, Mrs. G and I recently treated ourselves to a brand new SUV.  The purchase was met with scorn from many of my liberal friends.  Comments ranged from "You would get an SUV, why am I not surprised," to "Is having an SUV a requirement for voting in the Republican primary?"

Th e disdain is nothing new.  For years the liberal collective conscience has purported that SUV's pose one of the single greatest threats to the balance of the global environment.  But the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation has identified a new threat.  This threat, it seems, is more even dangerous than the evil SUV.  That threat is... Cows.

Continue reading "Hamburgers More Environmentally Harmful than SUV's" »

December 01, 2006

A Trap for Bloggers

In the continuing saga over at Pushing Rope, started by my linking to Billogblog's postings on his medical opinion on the Martin Anderson death, Liberal Mike Hussey and Billo exchange barbs and wow, Mr. Hussey really gets taken to task.  Its a great read.

But it brings up a trap I've seen many a blogger fall into.  In the Florida arena, I've seen it mostly in liberal blogs, though I am sure many Conservative bloggers are guilty of it as well, and too be fair, the Florida blog arena is mostly liberal to begin with.

The trap is when bloggers, wanting to argue a point, dive into concepts that they really don't understand.  Most issues that are discussed on blogs can be easily researched and fact checked, but every now and again there is a topic that requires a little more than a google search or reading a wikipedia article to grasp,  But all too often a blogger will take on a topic that puts him way in over his head.  The discussion between Mr. Hussey and Billoblog is a great example.  Not to pick on Mr. Hussey, but you will notice that he argues against the conclusion Billoblog reaches, but doesn't provide any really argument against the science Billo addresses.  I don't understand the medicine involved, so I can't really argue it either way, which is why I've stayed out of the debate.  But, Billo presents a scientific argument, Mr. Hussey responds with you're a racist and really isn't able to argue the science against someone who seems to really know his stuff.

Now I'm not saying people aren't entitled to their opinions without a detailed understanding of any given subject; but I think the blogosphere as a whole is strengthen when individual bloggers contribute based on their areas of understanding rather than attempting to be a Jack of all trades.  This is the reason I've pretty much stayed out of the Global Warming discussion, because I honestly don't understand the science enough and there is so much argument on either side that seems credible that I've not got anything to contribute to the conversation.  I'm often very tempted to join in the melee, and probably overstretch my own bounds more than I should, but this is a lesson we would all benefit from

Most political topics we can all contribute to, but when we begin to enter into those areas that require a special expertise to debate no one benefits from the mere personal insults that are almost always boiled down to when one without understanding of a subject attempts to attack one who does.

But hey, thats just my opinion.  You do what you want on your site, but be ready for Billo, the PEER Review Team and others to come down on you like fire from the sky when you demonstrate that you don't know what you are talking about.

Note:  This is not meant to be an attack on Mr. Hussey, whose blog I personally enjoy.  Honestly, he is guilty of this far, far, far less than other bloggers in the Florida arena but he provided the most recent example.  And I've said it before and I'll say it again, I visit his site daily and encourage you to do the same.

November 30, 2006

New Florida Blogs - Covering Florida and Space Coast Rising

The list just keeps on growing.  Covering Florida and Space Coat Rising.  Both added to the list on the right.  Hat tip to Pushing Rope for the Space Coast Rising link.  Space Coast Rising is a liberal college student.  He gets a a few days grace period before we start shredding the liberal jive he's posting.

And why can't we get some more Conservative bloggers in Florida?  I keep asking several of my Conservative friends why they don't get online and join the good fight.  They almost respond with "Because I have a life."  That always hurts a little bit inside, but I never let it show.

Lunch with Senator Martinez

Seantor Mel Martinez was back home in Orlando today and I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a luncheon this afternoon.  Everyone I spoke to, regardless of political persuasion, was impressed.  I really think he will serve us well as the RNC General Chair.

It was also a special time as Senator Martinez was honored by Liz Foshee, an attorney in Orlando, for the critical role Senator Martinez played in helping bring her mother, Cuc Foshee, home after she was arrested and imprisoned for 13 months without charges after speaking out against the Vietnamese government.

The Senator reiterated his positions on the war, immigration, judicial nominees and also mentioned his nomination to become the General Chair of the Republican Party.  He said being offer the Chairmanship of the RNC is like being offered the offensive coordinator position with his beloved Florida State Seminoles.  He added "There is nowhere to go but up."  On that note, he shared with us a promise he made upon accepting the nomination, that although he is excited about the chairmanship, Florida will always be first on his list of priorities.

I don't agree with the Senator on all of his political views, immigration in particular, but there is no doubt in my mind that he loves our state and our nation and will work relentlessly to improve both.  I think everyone in attendance today could agree on at least that much.  With his presentation abilities he will be an effective general chair for the Republican Party and with his Conservative values and his heart for the people of this state and this nation he will continue to serve us well in the Senate.

November 29, 2006

The Unpopular Position on the Martin Anderson Case - Updated

By now you've likely heard of the Martin Anderson case who died at a juvenile boot camp.  We've all heard of the guards who manhandled the boy and the outcry for justice.  Yesterday, those camp guards and others involved were charged with manslaughter.  But there are some advocating that the case is not as clear as the activists involved want to make it out to be.  In fact, there are some arguing the unpopular position taken by the original medical examiner: that the evidence shows that Martin Anderson indeed died from "complications of the sickle cell trait."

I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you what the evidence does or doesn't say, and even if I could I've not followed the details of the story close enough to reach a conclusion.

That's where Billoblog comes in.  Apparently, Billo is a medical examiner and he provides a pretty detailed review of the facts of the case which he claims support the finding of the initial medical examiner.  He has two article on the subject; one examining the death of Martin Anderson and the next exploring the attacks on the original medical examiner.  His arguments are compelling.

We'll of course hear more about this evidence as the trial of those accused of manslaughter gets underway.

Big Hat Tip to A Cool Change

UPDATE:  Pushing Rope jumps in with his analysis, which is almost exclusively an accusation that Billoblog is racist.

November 25, 2006

States with Marriage Protections Amendments

Marriageamendment1_4

States that have passed a constitutional amendment protecting marriage:

Alabama
Alaska
Arkansas
Georgia
Hawaii
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Texas
Utah
Idaho
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Virginia
Wisconsin
Colorado

States that have rejected a constitutional amendment protecting marriage:

Arizona

States with Statutes Protecting Marriage

Stateswithstatutes1_1


States with Statutes Protecting Marriage

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland*
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

*In January 2006, a state judge found the Maryland statute unconstitutional but it remains in effect pending appeal.

November 22, 2006

This is Not an Elephant

Womb4_468x328_2 It may look like an elephant.  It may behave like an elephant.  But as any "enlightened" member of the Pro-choice/Pro-death movement will tell you, it can't be an elephant. 

Why?

Because it is inside of another elephant, of course.

A series of images have been prepared for an upcoming Discovery Channel program exploring the development of various animals in the womb, and their behavior in the womb.  Baby dolphins apparently swim in the womb.  Baby dogs pant in the womb.  At just 63 days, an unborn puppy can both smell and hear. Incredible.  It reminds me of some other ultrasound pictures I've seen.

Test_040126_ultrasound_3d_250

The pro-death movement wants you to believe that this is not a human, and the above picture is not an elephant.  And if you follow the link above, the pictures you will find, as they will tell you, are not of a dolphin, or a dog.  Why?  Because they are inside of another.

Oh, that and their definition makes it easier to  throw babies away.

November 21, 2006

First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated

This past week on FOX News I caught the end of a brief interview with Representative "Bring Back the Draft" Rangel.  The last question he was asked concerned whether he thought Senator Hillary Clinton is definitely going to run for President in 2008.  He responded how everyone, including Senator Clinton has responded to the question; with some half hearted line about being focused on the present rather than the next presidential election.  This is, of course, disingenuous at best and a bold faced lie at worst.  I don't care which side of the isle you hear it from, if a politician on the national level tells you that he's not thinking about 2008 yet, I'd be willing to bet they are lying.  I refuse to believe that our political leadership is that short-sighted.

With that said, I'm not going to lie to you.  I've been doing some serious thinking about the 2008 presidential election.  I know it is premature, and I know the field of potential candidates could change drastically within the next year.  But I can't help thinking about it, and I'll bet neither can you.  And I can practically guarantee that even though he says he is not, Representative Rangel is as well.

Read on to find out more...

Continue reading "First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated" »

November 17, 2006

Introducing Mr. W

PEER Review Florida was created to allow analysis and discussion on Politics, Education, Entertainment and Religion.  As you may notice, we're normally very heavy on the politics and light on the other subjects.  While I can't say that will ever change, I can say that we are working to provide more content on the other three; starting with entertainment.

As any educated person will tell you, the highest level of entertainment is sports, and as any Floridian will tell you, the highest level of sports is Football.  That is where Mr. W comes in.

Mr. W has been a PEER Review reader for quite some time, but when he is not reading PEER Review, he is studying sports; commiting every record, every stat, every play and every player to memory.  This enables him to provide deep and profound analysis on every sport from hop-scotch to professional football.   Mr. W has agreed to provide content regarding Florida's many sports teams, coaches, players and fans, and even some national review.  Please join me in welcoming Mr. W to the PEER Review Army

RedState has RedState Sports.  We now have Mr. W,nd I have a feeling that he may cause more debate and stirred emotions than Mr. C, Bob, Mr. GOP, Mr. H and I combined.

See his first contribution below.

FACT: Religious Conservatives Help the Needy More Than Secular Liberals

We've all heard the accusations that Conservatives don't care about the poor.  They want to cut welfare and leave people out on the streets right?  It is the heart of liberals that reaches out to the impoverished and seek to aid them in their plight, right? 

A new study to be published in the book Who Really Cares; The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism says that is not the case.

In fact, author, Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks, demonstrates that religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

It seems that when it comes down to it, despite the constant allegations that Conservatives don't want to help the needy, it is the Conservatives who put their money where their mouth is in seeking to assist those less fortunate.  This won't come as a surprise to Conservative who understand the principles of personal responsibility that should be advanced by our system of government, but also advocate personal generosity.  But, I can imagine that this will shock some liberals who have convinced themselves that Conservatives are simply about amassing wealth for themselves.

Actually, I take that back.  I'm sure most, if not all liberals out there will find some way to completely write off the evidence as some sort of attack piece on their ideology and completely ignore it, then go about their lives calling us greedy, while refusing to give themselves.  Liberals and reason are like oil and water.

November 14, 2006

BREAKING: Jeff Bowden Resigns

I have to admit, I didn't think there was any way Jeff Bowden was going to leave FSU while Bobby is still there, but today the FSU Athletic Director announced that Jeff Bowden will finish the season and then be gone.  We'll see if all the critics were right and that will fix the problem, but we will have to wait until next year.

New Conservative Florida Blog - The Tallahassee Sentinel

I just discovered The Tallahassee Sentinel, a week old blog self-described as "A Conservative View From Florida's Capital."  The blog was born last week on "Black Tuesday."  The goal?

"The Tallahassee Sentinel will work over the next two years to expose traitors to the cause. It's time to force the moral compass back into the hands of Republicans - drag the GOP back to the ideas of the Contract. We will serve as a conduit between you and those working to restore the revolution."

Sounds like a good plan to me.  On behalf of PEER Review, I welcome The Tallahassee Sentinel to the Florida blogosphere and encourage you to scope it out.

Advice to Conservatives on Mel Martinez RNC Chairmanship: Chill Out

In the wake of the news that Mel Martinez will likely become the general chair of the Republican National Committee the Conservative blogosphere has exploded.  Conservatives are angry that Michael Steele or just about anyone else was not chosen.  I have to admit, that even I was frustrated at first by the choice.  But let's all calm down, take a breath and look at the facts before we make any decisions about abandoning the party, as many Conservative bloggers are threatening to do. 

Read the rest...

Continue reading "Advice to Conservatives on Mel Martinez RNC Chairmanship: Chill Out" »

November 13, 2006

The End of Conservatism?

In the aftermath of the loss of both Houses of Congress, Republicans are busy trying to understand what went wrong.  Most of the conclusions I have read have centered on the idea of Conservatism; that these losses were due to either too much or too little Conservatism.  Many fiscal Republicans have alleged that the losses were due to the failure of a platform based on Conservative principles and have called for the party to move towards the center.  Most of the Republican analysis on the losses, however, has concluded that it was the failure of Republican politicos to live and govern by those principles that caused the loss.  It seems to me that the most plausible explanation is the latter for reasons I've stated numerous times before; Americans are by far a traditional people who support traditional notions of family and government and country and when Republicans advocate for those values they win.  Republicans failed, not Conservatism.  With that in mind I've looked past the fiscal Republican and liberal and drive-by-media claims of the failure of Conservatism.

However, there is a new line of criticism against Conservatism which has many Republicans questioning whether Conservative ideology is what loses elections.  An example is seen in the scathing attack on Conservatism as an ideology that was published today by Joseph Farah of Worldnetdaily.com.  In his article "Conservatism's Death Throes?" Farah argues that Conservatism as an ideology is doomed.  I've heard more and more discussion of this idea in recent days, but allow me to assure you, as long as the heart of the American people continue to defend traditional values Conservatism will continue to hold massive influence over American politics.

Read on...

Continue reading "The End of Conservatism?" »

November 10, 2006

What Liberals and the Media Aren't Telling You About the Arizona Marriage Protection Vote

If you've followed the media's coverage of the state ballot initiatives nation-wide you would think that Conservatives lost on every measure.  We've discussed the spin on the South Dakota abortion ban vote below.  We've also discussed the huge victory for marriage protection amendments but rather than acknowledge this success the media and liberals have focused on the rejection of the ban in Arizona; the first loss by such an amendment.

But you've not been told the full story.

First, there has not been much discussion of the margin.  The current margin stands at 51.4% against and 48.6% in favor; a difference of 32,226 votes.  Thats alot of votes right?

Second, we also have not heard about the fact that the driving force behind the amendment, the Center for Arizona Policy, has not acknowledged the loss.  Why?  Because as the Arizona Secretary of State estimated, there are about 350,000 ballots that have not yet been counted.

The margin will be close, but this could go either way.  It is expected that it will take about 2 weeks to finish counting the ballots.  If about 60% of those ballots are in favor of the amendment, Arizona will be State number 28 to pass a marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  But liberals and the drive-by-media are too busy hailing this as a milestone defeat against the pro-marriage movement to be bothered by the facts.

November 09, 2006

What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote

(Note:  This post began as a comment to a posting by Mr. Hussey over at Pushing Rope.  As an aside, I think Mr. Hussey is probably the sharpest democrat on the Florida blogosphere.)

If you have been paying attention to the MSM and liberal blogs on the rejection of the South Dakota abortion ban by voters you've probably been left with the impression that this was a huge, shocking defeat for the Pro-Life movement.  After all, if the measure failed in such a staunch Conservative state as South Dakota, a state that any liberal will tell you is the toughest place in the country to get an abortion (they have one abortion clinic), how could they expect the rest of the country to support banning abortion?

As usual, the MSM and liberal gloss over the issue doesn't paint a fair picture of reality.  I submit for your consideration three factors which you likely won't hear many other places:

You know you want to read more...

Continue reading "What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote" »

November 08, 2006

Republicans Come Running Back to Conservatives

After last night's losses the Republican leadership is doing exactly what they always do in the face of loss; running back to Conservatives.  The big headline on the main GOP site today reads "Recommitting Our Party to Conservative Reform."  Chairman Ken Mehlman making the rounds on the morning news promoted his list of three post-election priorities for the party; "first and foremost" was rededicating the party to Conservative principles.  The other two were finding bipartisan common ground with democrats and clearing the taint of corruption. 

The renewed dedication to Conservatives is not a shocking move, but it is one which will be criticized by pundits of every stripe.  Conservatives have reason to be upset and to question the depth of this revitalized dedication.  "Oh, so now you come crawling back after 6 years of feeding us scraps from the table?"  There has been a renewed discussion recently about how the Republican party simply "uses" Conservatives; Evangelicals in particular.  I expect that conversation will expand even more and the common opinion will be that Republicans again just want to use Conservatives to regain control.  But before my fellow Conservatives begin to scorn this idea I'd like to ask the following question:

So what?

Read on...

Continue reading "Republicans Come Running Back to Conservatives" »

Mr. G's Election Reaction

Congratulations to the democrats on their success in gaining support of the House.  It looks like it will be a few days until we know which way the Senate goes because it will require a Virginia recount.  There ave not been any real surprises other than the fact that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline filed for divorce. Speaking of Marriage:

Get more goodness after the jump...

Continue reading "Mr. G's Election Reaction" »

November 02, 2006

democrat Gains Not so Impressive?

You know those big, impressive, potential democrat gains everyone is talking about?  Chairman Ann argues that in the light of history, those predicted gains really aren't very impressive at all.  In fact, she argues that the current numbers are further proof that the democrat party is on its way out.  Definitely a must read.

October 30, 2006

democrats Change Their Tune on Negron/Foley Notices

On Friday the First District Court of Appeal reversed the decision by a Circuit Court Judge to prohibit signs in polling placing informing voters of the Negron/Foley change.  The notices proposed by the Division of Elections may go up.  The well reasoned opinion by my friend Judge Wolf provided the comprehensive review of the Florida Election Code which the Circuit Court lacked.  But the decision isn't what I have found interesting, it has been the response by democrats.

On the Florida democratic Party website you will find this release:

"The Florida Democratic Party accepts the court's ruling, which distinguishes between the wrongful partisanship of the Secretary of State and the nonpartisan recommendation of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

"We thank the court for ruling on the case expediently.  We will not appeal."

The impression that democrats are now trying to leave you with is that they weren't opposed to the idea of the notices, just the first notice proposed by the Secretary of State which would only have Negron and Foley's names listed, and not the other candidates in the race.  But that simply isn't true.

The original pleading filed by the Florida democratic Party and Karen Thurman as the chair was filed two days after the Division of Elections clarified that the notices should include all of the candidates names.  Further, in the actual pleading itself they specifically cite the revised notice, including the names of all of the candidates, and claim that it is a violation of the Florida Election Code.  The first attack they made was not against the initial proposition by the Secretary of State, it was against the very notice that the First District ruled was valid.  They weren't opposed to only the proposed notice with only the Republican names, they were opposed to any notice which would allow voters to make an informed decision.

Joe Negron's opponent, Tim Mahoney now says:

"I want to have an uncontested election." and "I'm fine with the court's decision."

Really?  This is the same guy who called the Circuit Court decision a "victory for Florida voters."  Wouldn't a reversal of that "victory" be a loss for voters?

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric, the democrat party was completely opposed to those efforts aimed at informing voters of the Negron/Foley change because the status quo presented them with an advantage.  Despite the change in tune, this was never about preventing bias as Thurman claims, or protecting voters as Mahoney claimed, this was strictly about preventing people from voting for a Republican candidate.

October 28, 2006

Florida Supreme Court Justices Once Again Trample On Florida Constitution

In an opinion released yesterday Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince once again demonstrated that they are willing to side-step that pesky Florida Constitution whenever it stands in the way of an opinion they want to release.  As I said last week, these three Justice have earned your vote against their retention on the Supreme Court.

Like the other two branches of government, the judiciary has checks on its power.  Under the Florida Constitution one of the major checks on the Florida Supreme Court's powers is that it can only review certain cases.  This prevents the Court from simply deciding whatever issue it feels like addressing on a particular day.  In fact, our state constitution is very specific in listing the types of cases the Supreme Court can review.  One type of case the Court can review is when one District Court of Appeals (the level of courts below the Florida Supreme Court) releases an opinion in conflict with another District Court or a Florida Supreme Court decision.  The case may then be appealled to the Florida Supreme Court to resolve the discrepancy.

Which leads us to the Court's decision in American Wall System, Inc. v. Madison International Group, Inc. released yesterday.  This case was appealled from the Fifth District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court wanted to reverse the lower court's decision.  There was only one problem, the case did not conflict with another District Court or Supreme Court decision and as a result, the Florida Supreme Court did not have the jurisdiction necessary to review the case.  But the Florida Constitution never stopped these judges before, so why should it now?  In order to review the case, the majority (Anstead, Lewis, Pariente and Quince) sat on the appeal for more than a half of a year until they finally released another opinion which did conflict with the case.  Suddenly, they had a conflict, created by them, which provided technical grounds for an appeal.

As Justice Cantero explains in his dissent (signed onto by Justices Bell and Wells), the majority simply manipulated the system, and as usual, ignored the language of the Florida Constitution, so that they could release the opinion they wanted to release.

Folks, this a quintessential activist judge maneuver.  A tactic that demonstrates that these judges have no respect for the role of the Courts, no respect for the sanctity of the judicial system, no respect for the limitations on their roles under the Florida Constitution and no respect for the people whose rights that Constitution was designed to protect.

Justices Anstead, Lewis, Pariente and Quince sent a clear message this week; they intend to hand down whatever opinion they want to and they are not going to let any pesky constitutional framework stand in the way of that goal.

Tell Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince that our Constitution is too important to be trampled by activist judges who have an agenda.  Floridians deserve better. Vote No on the retention of Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince.

October 24, 2006

Mr. G's Ballot Recommendations - Part 3 - Amendments 1, 6 and 7

Amendment 1:

The State of Sunshine has the analysis you need on Amendment 1 which revises the State planning and budget process.

I'll add to their commentary that this amendment does nothing that cannot be accomplished by the legislature without a constitutional amendment.  Further, it creates yet another government agency to perform the job of what an already existing agency (Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability - OPPAGA) should be doing.  I'm glad to see that there is an effort to get the state's finances in order and to do some long term budget planning, but more government and restricting the Legislature's ability to adapt the system in the future seems both unwise and unnecessary.

Mr. G agrees with The State of Sunshine, vote NO on Amendment 1.

And lest you think I'm lazy for simply signing onto The State of Sunshine's analysis of the amendments, I'll finish out the remaining amendments.

Amendment 4:
Amendment 4 would require 15% of Florida's Tobacco Settlement money each year to go to programs and advertising aimed at educating kids on the hazards of tobacco use.  This will be approximately $57 million dollars per year, adjusted annually for inflation.  The amendment stems from a broken promise made by legislators to provide funding for these programs, which now receive about $1 million per year.  I can understand the frustration of the anti-smoking groups and why they resorted to the amendment.  However, I also understand that government is most effective when it serves a limited role.  This amendment not only requires government to step into a role that they need not fill,  but also means that $57 million will be diverted from elsewhere in the budget.  That money should be spent on necessary government services or put towards lowering taxes.  Further, while it is certainly understandable why the anti-smoking groups would resort to a constitutional amendment to force the legislature into action, I can't support the way this measure would permanently bind the legislature to this expenditure.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no as well.  The Palm Beach Post argues that the which would be funded are effective and would save lives.

Mr. G says vote NO on Amendment 4 and instead tell your kids they are grounded if they start smoking cigarettes.

Amendments 6 and 7:
These two amendments reduce property taxes for disabled veterans and the low-income elderly.  Amendment 6 increases the homestead exemption $50,000 for a total of $75,000 for those over 65 with a household income under $20,000.  Amendment 7 provides a property tax discount to veterans, over the age of 65, who were permanently disabled in combat and honorably discharged.  The amount of the discount would be the same percentage as the percentage of total disability of the veteran.  Amendment 6 is projected to cost local governments $36 million per year, but also requires the approval of the local government to implement.  Amendment 7 is projected to cost local governments $20 million per year and is self implementing.   

I was a little torn over these two.  I love tax cuts, but we can do better than this.  We have a major crisis with property taxes in our state right now.  Cutting taxes for select groups will mean a raise in property taxes on others.  We need a viable solution to the crisis that provides relief to the entire state.  We can begin by weeding out programs like the one proposed in Amendment 4.

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission will review Florida's tax system within the next year, and will hopefully provide some real solutions.  Everyone needs property tax relief right now, so let's fix the bigger problem rather than trying to put a band-aid on a major wound.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no on Amendment 6.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no on Amendment 7.

Mr. G agrees, vote NO on Amendments 6 and 7.

For those of you keeping score at home, Mr. G recommends that you vote NO on every amendment.

October 23, 2006

Post Senate Debate Analysis

My first thought at the end of the debate was that there were no real surprises.  But then I remembered all of the media exposure Katherine Harris has gotten over the last several months.  If you've been reading the papers and the blogs the impression that we've been left with is that Harris is unhinged; that she could snap at any moment.  Those of us who have had the opportunity to meet her or see her speak know that she is articulate, collected and well presented.  And that is exactly what we saw tonight.  She was confident and composed despite tha fact that it would take a miracle for her to actually win the race.  The debate was boring, but I was impressed with the way Harris carried herself.

Mrs. G also made me promise that I would share with you my first comment at the end of Senator Nelson's closing statement:

"We really need to send that guy back into space."

Mr. G says, vote for Katherine Harris.

Mr. G's Ballot Recommendations - Part 2 - Amendments 3 and 8

In this next installment of my recommendations for your vote I was going to begin addressing the six proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, but The State of Sunshine beat me to it.  They have done an excellent job and their analysis is a must read.  So far I agree with them:

No on Amendment 3 - Requiring Broader Support for Constitutional Amendments or Revisions.

No on Amendment 8 - Revising Eminent Domain Takings Requirements

Additionally, I recommend to you Vote Smart Florida which provides an unbiased review of each of the proposed amendments.

Chuck Norris Facts

Time for a break from politics.  If you spend much time surfing the internet you have probably run across a set of "Chuck Norris Facts" at some point.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"FACT:  Chuck Norris counted to infinity... twice."

"FACT:  Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas."

"FACT:  Chuck Norris has two speeds:  Walk and Kill."

"FACT:  Oxygen requires Chuck Norris to live."

These and tens of thousands more have been making their way around the internet for a few years and yesterday a new article addressed the craze.

The article is by Chuck Norris.

In the article, Mr. Norris reveals a few of his favorite "Facts" and also discusses the real power behind Chuck Norris.  It made my day.

October 20, 2006

Mr. G's Ballot Recommendations - Part 1

This will be the first of a series of posts with my recommendations for your vote in the upcoming state election.  Those of you who have already done your research, or have already received your absentee ballot know that there is much more on the ballot than the high profile races we see on TV.  All to often I hear from folks that they were surprised by something on the ballot and didn't know how to vote.  I want to help you avoid that experience. 

For the first installment I'd like to address an issue which will be on everyone's ballot throughout the state, but few people will think about before they get into the voting booth:  Supreme Court Justice Retention.

How does judicial retention work?
Under the Florida Constitution (Article V, Section 10), every 6 years Supreme Court Judges and District Court of Appeal judges are put on the ballot with the following question:

"Shall Justice (or Judge) (name of justice or judge) of the (name of the court) be retained in office?"

If a majority says yes, they stay.  If a a majority says no, they vacate their seat on the Court.

Who will be on the ballot?
This year, three Justices will be up for a retention voe.  Justice Barbara Pariente, Justice R. Fred Lewis, and Justice Peggy Quince.

Mr. G's Recommendations:

Allow me to preface my recommendation with the fact that I have a great deal of respect and admiration for each of these three individuals.  I've had the chance to meet each of them and they are as impressive in person as their individual resumes describe.  However, being an impressive person does not guarantee that someone will be a good judge.

With that said, I recommend that you vote not to retain any of the three.  The fact of the matter is that these three are judicial activists with no clear method of decision-making.  I won't bore you with the details as I have before (here and here). 

Now, am I saying every opinion they write or sign on to is bad?  Not at all.  Many, if not most of their decisions I agree with.  However, when the big cases hit the steps of the Florida Supreme Court I always cringe because the Court, and these three in particular, have such a high likelihood of screwing things up.  Two examples:

Gore v. Harris - Remember that little case over the recount in the 2000 election?  The decision in that case was 4 in favor, three against.  The United States Supreme Court reviewed the decision commented numerous times on the Florida Supreme Court's inability to read and apply the Florida Election Code and ultimately overturned the decision.  The Florida Supreme Court's decision was a disgrace, not because of the result of their decision, but because of the terrible manner in which the majority reached their conclusion.  Out of that majority of 4, three were Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince.

Bush v. Holmes - This was the recent high profile case over school vouchers.  Again, the decision is terrible, not because of the result, but because of the awful jurisprudence used in coming to a conclusion.  In essence, they fabricated new constitutional language to support their decision.  This 5-2 decision was written by Justice Pariente, and signed onto by both Justices Lewis and Quince.  I explain it in more detail here.

Just shortly after Holmes was released I pointed out a clear example of Justices Pariente and Quince demonstrating that they have no coherent way of making judicial decisions.

I once asked a judge who follows the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court very closely if he was able to discern any consistent system of decision-making from these three and Justice Anstead.  He laughed and told me that my guess was as good as his.

For far too long these Justices have stomped all over the Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes.  Again, this is not something they do in every decision.  But in those big cases, you can predict with shocking accuracy that they will side with the left and concoct some crazy legal theory to support their decision.  Florida deserves better.  We deserve Justices who will respect the law and our Constitution and recognize the proper role of the judiciary like Justice Bell and Cantero (and sometimes Wells).

 

We deserve better.  Vote no on the retention of Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince.

 

October 19, 2006

Foley/Negron Ballot Decision

Today a Leon County judge ordered that a notice could not be put up in the 16th Congressional District informing voters that a vote for Mark Foley on the ballot would be construed as a vote for Joe Negron.

After reading the submissions to the Judge Janet Ferris and her ultimate ruling in the case I have collected some thoughts on the decision, and the intriguing timing of the democrat conviction about the "sanctity of the voting booth."  If you find the review of the opinion boring, skip on down to the "democrats" section

The Decision
Honestly, after my initial review of the decision I thought it was pretty well reasoned.  The strongest argument against the posting of the notice, as Judge Ferris points out is the fact that the legislature has not specifically authorized such a posting.  On the contrary, it directs that if there is a change in candidates after a specific time, the ballots are not to be changed.  Sounds reasonable, and it even a textualist argument.  But even under textualism, the answer is not always clear. 

The question is whether or the legislature has authorized the Supervisors of Elections to post such notices.  Judge Ferris says not because it is not explicitly expressed, but I think that it just might be.

Under the Florida Statutes, the Supervisors of Elections are given the responsibility of educating the public on how to vote.  Specifically, they are directed on providing instructions on the voting system.  Certainly, a change in the person a vote will be going to in a voting system without a change in the name on the ballot falls under the jurisdiction of a facet of the voting system.  But an argument can be made, and a reasonable one at that, that the candidate change does not effect the manner of voting.

The key is found in Section 101.031 of the Florida Statues, under the "Voter's Bill of Rights."  Here it says voter are entitled to "Written instructions to use when voting, and upon request, oral instructions on voting from election officials."  So oral instructions may be supplied when requested.  And written instructions do not need to be requested.  There is our answer. 

A voter can ask an poll worker, "Hey, I though Mark Foley was out of the race.  Why is his name still on the ballot?" and the poll worker can explain that the vote goes to Joe Negron.  That same instruction, under the Voter's Bill of Rights should be available, without instruction, in writing.

There are good arguments either way, but in making her decision, Judge Ferris seems to have relied upon one section of statute to the exclusion of all others.

And to be fair, some of the arguments submitted on the side of the notice were terrible as well.  But ultimately, the best argument supports the posting of the notice. 

Regardless, the decision is being appealed, so we can expect a 1st DCA decision, and possibly a Florida Supreme Court decision as well.  I'll be very interested in Justice Bell and Justice Cantero's view on the matter.

Democrats
What is even more interesting than the decision has been the democrat reaction.  The main claim in the media they have made is that posting the notice is showing favoritism to Republicans, and they have been vocal and adamant about it.  This is interesting for two reasons.

First, the notice lists the name of the democrat candidate as well.  Here is what the proposed notice looks like:

Notice_3










I didn't think the notice favored Republicans when I thought it would only have Foley and Negron's names on it.  But with this notice, how on earth does it favor anyone?  The Republican is listed first, so it is biased?  It is a silly argument from silly people.

Second, the timing is oh so intriguing.  The fact is, this is not a unique circumstance.  Pasco county is considering a similar notice because a candidate dropped out.  A South Florida Circuit Court Judge ordered that a similar notice be put up in a polling place informing voters not to vote for a candidate who was disqualified and listing the names of the other candidates.

Today, Negron's opponent Tim Mahoney called the ruling a "victory for Florida voters."  If the notice would be a loss for voters where was the statewide, loud democrat outcry we on these other two notice issues?  No, for the democrat leadership this isn't about winning for Florida's voters, this is about them winning.  And if confusion at the polls will give them an edge, they will defend it to the death.

You can find the text of the decision and other submissions to the Court here.

You can find the Florida Election Code here.

We've Missed You

Apologies for the long absence of posts.  The PEER Review family has all been very busy.  But don't give up hope, we're still here. 

In the meantime, here's something for you to chew on.  I've been having what I think has been a pretty amusing discussion with Kenneth Quinnell over at his blog.  It gives a pretty good look into the liberal way of thinking.  Plus, it is fun to get him worked up.

Side Note:  I'm always hesitant to link to liberal blogs, because so many of them refuse to link to Conservative sites.  But in the end, we'd rather you get both sides and make up your own decision.

October 11, 2006

David Zucker Campaign Ad

This morning Drudge is reporting that Hollywoof producer David Zucker has made a campain ad about the democrats and North Korea.  Whether Zucker actually created the ad, I don't know.  Regardless, it is a great ad.

"...making nice to our enemies will not make them nice to us."

How true it is.

October 10, 2006

No Surpise on North Korea

North Korea is the big news item this week.  A mad man who imprisons and slaughters his own people now possibly has nuclear weapons.  It is not a very comforting thought, but not really a surprise.  Anyone who has been paying attention to North Korea over the last few years could have seen this coming.  Kim Jong Il is a brutal dictator obsessed with his own power who is constantly attempting to make himself relevant in global politics.

What has been a surprise has been the reaction by democrats and liberals, despite the fact that I told myself that I would never be surprised by democrats or liberals again.  Apparently, they believe it is Bush's fault that North Korea has made these weapons, not Kim Jong Il who directed that the weapons be made.  Democrat leaders have been coming out of the wood-work to condemn the Bush Administration's foreign policy on North Korea.  I've yet to see them pose any reasonable alternative to the diplomatic channels the administration has attempted to use over the last 6 years, (typical of democrats, no substance) but they allege Bush's failed policies allowed North Korea to gain WMD's.  Some, like our own Kenneth Quinnell here in Florida advocate Bush was the impetus for the creation of the weapons as well.  In fact, he advocates that it is 100% Bush's fault that North Korea has WMD's.

Really?  It is all Bush's fault?  It seems to me that Kim Jong Il might need to share some of the blame.  Maybe just a little?

It is amazing, after years of screaming that America cannot "police the world" that is exactly what they now ask for.  Diplomatic relations with North Korea have time after time proven impossible.  But of course, they would have opposed military intervention as well.  What we are left with is the observation that democrats offer no solutions to real world problems and that no matter what happens anywhere in the world, it is President Bush's fault.

Now, I'll be the first to agree that North Korea definitely could have and should have been handled better.  And that could have and should have been accomplished through military intervention into North Korea years ago.  This is, after all, a country that today has thousands of it's own citizens in forced labor camps.  Remember when you learned about the concentration camps of the holocaust in school and asked, "How could we have let that happen?"  Guess what, we're letting it happen again.  The liberation of the persecuted of North Korea from torture and dictatorship is long overdue.

Many liberals are claiming that Bush's policies backed North Korea into a corner and forced them into a nuclear program.  But the fact is that Bush said exactly what needed to be said.  What is going on in North Korea is evil, and the leadership of the country poses a threat to all nations.  And if you believe that absent North Korea's inclusion on Bush's Axis of Evil list that they would not have continued to pursue nuclear weapons you are deceiving yourself.

I understand that the timing of all of this is inconvenient with our armed forces dedicated in Iraq, but that is the way of the world.  North Korea must be dealt with and I would be shocked if anything other than military force, or at least the threat of military force, will get Kim Jong Il to back down.

As Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said, North Korea "can have a future, or it can have these weapons.  It cannot have both."  I couldn't agree more.

For more information on the atrocities committed within North Korea I recommend anything by or about the journeys of Norbert Vollersten, including his book Inside North Korea.  When I had a chance to spend some time with Vollersten in DC over two years ago he predicted that North Korea would refuse to negotiate with the global community, including refusal to rejoin the 6-party talks hoped that it would not take the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea for the world to do something about the  atrocities being committed there. 

I also highly recommend Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025 by Mark Palmer, former ambassador to Hungary during communist occupation.  The book details a comprehensive plan for the non-violent overthrow of the world's dictators.  Had this plan been implemented years ago when it was first proposed I believe we could have prevented this scenario with North Korea.  Sections of Palmer's recommendations have been implemented in current foreign policy.

October 09, 2006

Treasure Hunt

PEER Review just might make your day today with the following public service announcement.

Many of you may not have ever heard of the Bureau of Unclaimed Property of the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Allow me to introduce you.

The Bureau keeps track of unclaimed property and monies which belong to Florida residents.  Dormant financial accounts often end up here.  Currently, there is over 1 BILLION dollars worth of unclaimed property tracked by the Bureau.

Some of it might be yours.

To find out go to fltreasurehunt.org and run a search for unclaimed property.  If you find something you believe you have a right to, follow the links and instructions on submitting a claim.

PEER Review - doing everything we can to reconnect people with their hard earned money.

October 05, 2006

Democrats Oppose Informed Vote

Once again, the party of "choice" is attempting to prevent voters from being able to make an informed decision.  The Florida Division of Elections has announced that it will place signs in voting booths informing voters that a vote for "Mark Foley" on the ballot will be counted as a vote for "Joe Negron."

Democrats are convinced that this is "favoritism" towards Negron and Republicans and constitutes campaigning in the voting booth.

...Seriously?

Folks, we have a problem.  The ballot says one name but the vote goes to another.  The Division of Elections has a responsibility to ensure that voters understand who they are voting for.  There will be no encouraging voters to vote one way or the other.  Rather, this clarification will help voters make an informed decision.

Now, I understand their frustration.  This helps eliminate the only real advantage they have in the race, voter confusion  Yet, isn't it ironic that the same group which was up in arms about "confusing ballots" in 2000 now seem to think that a confusing ballot is mandated by law.

The democrats in Florida have been running under a "putting Floridians first" banner.  But positions like this make it clear that the Florida democrat party is focused on putting democrats first.  They don't want the clarification because they know that if the people are able to make an informed vote, they will lose.

The democrats have said they will fight this effort and I'm sure the law suits will be filed by the end of the week.

October 04, 2006

Ongoing Victory for Traditional Marriage

A quick update on the status of the effort to preserve traditional marriage.

The great overall success in defending marriage has been largely ignored by the MSM, but take heart, this is a winning effort.

At this time there are twenty states which have adopted constitutional amendments defining and defending marriage:

Alabama
Alaska
Arkansas
Georgia
Hawaii
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma

There are six states with amendments on the ballot for the 2006 election:

Idaho
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Virginia
Wisconsin

This means that as of November, there is a good chance that over half of the states will have passed state constitutional amendments.

There are 41 States with statutory law defining or defending marriage.

There are only 6 states with no statutory or constitutional provisions protecting marriage.

See the breakdown here.

As for our own state, the Florida Supreme Court has already approved the language of a constitutional amendment and it is expected to be on the 2008 ballot.  Polling shows a majority of the state will support the amendment.  For information on how to support the amendment in our own state visit Florida 4 Marriage.

I haven't double checked his numbers, but Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council announced stated at the Value Voters Summit in D.C. a few weeks ago that in the states where constitutional amendments have been presented, on average, they are supported by 71% of voters.  The trend so far has been that when people are given the opportunity to vote, they have overwhelmingly stood with traditional marriage.

The harshest opposition to these amendments has been in the courts.  Isn't it odd that those who claim to be the defenders of freedom of choice are the ones fighting the hardest to keep these amendments from being voted on? 

Regardless, even in the courts, we are having great success.  Since this past July, the Alliance Defense Fund has been involved in 8 dealing with state marriage laws.  They have had success in all eight.

Ultimately, the highest goal is the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment which becomes more and more likely with each passing vote demonstrating that America stands by the principles of traditional marriage.

The Scandal Double Standard

Many commentators on the Foley scandal have observed the sharp difference between the impact of personal scandals on Republicans as opposed to democrats.  It has been noted that it seems Republicans often meet the end of their political careers over scandals, while democrats often live to govern another day.  Even the Washington Post noted this difference in the article The Redder They Are, the Harder They Fall.  The story of Representatives Studds from Massachusetts and Crane from Illinois has been the most pertinent example.  As the Post explains:

"The clearest illustration may be in the divergent outcomes of the cases against Crane (R) and Studds (D) in 1983. Both men were censured by the House for having sex with underage congressional pages -- Crane with a 17-year-old girl in 1980, Studds with a 17-year-old boy in 1973. Crane, of Illinois, apologized for his actions, while Studds, who declared he was gay, refused. Crane lost his reelection bid the next year; Studds, of Massachusetts, kept winning his seat until he retired in 1996."

Here Foley is caught in a similar scandal, though there has been no evidence of any actual sexual acts, and his political career is at an end.

The double standard has been criticized by many Republicans and Conservatives over the last few days, but honestly, I'm not disturbed by it one bit.

Fact is, as Republicans, we center our message on Family Values.  As Conservatives where derive our positions from strong moral convictions.  So when there is a violation of those values and convictions by one of our own leaders we should be the first in line to correct.  I'm not saying there is no room for forgiveness or that we shouldn't allow a leader who has stumbled the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and make amends.  However, we should expect our leaders to be held to a higher standard than the party of moral-relativity holds theirs.

Certainly, democrats and liberals take advantage.  When a Conservative or Republican stumbles they are labeled and hypocrite and democrats demand that they, the leadership above them, the staffers below them, and everyone they have ever encountered should apologize and pay for the mistake.  Of course, we should point out the double standard they apply, but we should not seek to lower our own standards or excuse bad behavior by our leadership simply because they do it, too.  We expect such behavior from their side.  And we should expect our leaders to strive for excellence and a political life that is above reproach. 

When we apply a stricter standard of conduct to our own leadership than the liberals apply to theirs, it tells me we are doing something right.

UPDATE:  As always, fantastic analysis and sarcasm from our beloved Ann.

"The Democrats say the Republicans should have done all the things Democrats won't let us do to al Qaida — solely because Foley was rumored to be gay. Maybe we could get Democrats to support the NSA wiretapping program if we tell them the terrorists are gay."

October 03, 2006

Conservatives in the Foley Aftermath

I the wake of the Foley scandal we've seen just about every possible reaction.  Everyone is trying to determine whether this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back for Republicans in the next election and liberals and democrats are trying their hardest to turn the issue into an indictment for the whole Republican Party.

But the harshest criticism, in my opinion, is coming not from liberals, but from Conservatives.  Yesterday, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.com released an article titled GOP Unworthy of Governing.   In the article Farah concludes that the handling of Foley by Republican leadership has demonstrated that they are unfit to lead the country.  But even before the Foley story broke, others Conservatives were considering the idea that Republicans losing might not be such a bad idea after all.  Jonah Goldberg wrote an article several weeks back hinting at the idea that maybe, just maybe, Republicans need to lose so that they can get their act together.  Farah and Goldberg are not alone.  Honestly, I've found myself seriously considering their position.

 

But, let me be clear.  At this point I don't agree with Farah and the liberals screaming that the Republican leadership positively knew what was going on with Foley and were just holding out until after the election.  I haven't seen anything that damning just yet, but I'll be just as upset as everyone else if it comes out that they did actually know.  I think there was definitely break down of communication and probably some staff knew more than they disclosed, but I don't know that this rises to the level of indicting the actual party leadership.

I also predict that this issue is not going to have much effect on a nation-wide scale.  It is going to hurt the chances of Republicans keeping Foley's seat, but keeping the seat is not out of the question depending on how the leadership handles itself over the next few months.

The biggest fall-out, I think is, and will continue to be, with Conservatives.  Conservatives who feel the opportunities our party has had over the last few years has been squandered.  Conservatives who have found themselves consistently questioning and at odds with party leadership.  Conservatives who are tired of seeing our party, and us along with them, dragged through the mud over a string of scandals.  Goldberg thinks change might not be so bad.  Farah thinks they've shown their inability to lead.  I was ready to sign on myself.

But yesterday I caught a portion of the Values Voters Summit on C-SPAN.  The segment I watched was a briefing on the national political scene led by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and my man Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund.  At one point Dr. Dobson talked about the short comings of our party leadership.  About how even though "Value Voters" won the day in 2000 and 2004, the party has failed to adopt a Conservative agenda.  Despite all of the effort put in by Conservatives in the 2004 election, the party hadn't supported our mission.  He explained that because of these failures he didn't think he was going to make supporting Republicans a priority in upcoming elections.

But he then described a 2 week period he recently spent in Washington D.C. meeting with party and government leaders that changed his mind.  After meeting with these leaders he realized that even though our own party is in desperate need of some changes, the alternative to our party is so terrible that we have to fight for Republicans.

And he's right.

I know many of us Conservatives are unhappy with the state of our party, and we should work to improve it and put true Conservatives into positions of influence.  But in the meantime, we must realize that even thought our party has its flaws the alternative that the democrats present is far worse than our party on its worst day.

Don't lose heart.  There are some tough days ahead and it is tempting to just sit back and let the election take its course, but there is a real need, now more than ever, for Conservatives to stand by those who support us, and the party that presents the opportunity for the only opportunity for the defense and spread of Conservative ideals.  It may not be deserved, but the Republican party needs the renewed vigor of a Conservative base and I'll be the first to say that I stand with my party, the GOP.

September 27, 2006

Welcome Bob!

It is with much excitement that we welcome Bob of O'Blog as a new contributor to PEER Review Florida.  Bob is one of the best and brightest bloggers in the state, right up there with Mr. C and the masterminds of The State of Sunshine.

If there was any doubt that PEER Review is THE place for Conservative analysis of Politics, Education, Entertainment, and Religion in the great State of Florida, that has been put to rest today by the addition of Bob!

September 26, 2006

Constitutionally Correct

I've neglected to put up the link to this site for a long time:  Constitutionally Correct.  This blog is the ongoing project of some of the smartest guys I know.  If you read one other blog, besides PEER Review, of course, this is it.  And on days we don't post, go there.  It addresses a variety of issues centered on the various battlefields of the culture war.

For an introduction I recommend the post by Mike Manno,  Are Liberals the Only People Who Have Choice?

September 25, 2006

Battle in the Marketplace of Ideas

My favorite liberal blogger in Florida is Kenneth Quinnel.  He's a liberal, he is unashamed about it, and it shows in just about everything he writes.  He's so far to the left that I don't know that we will ever agree on anything except FSU Football.  But, I enjoy his posts because he epitomizes the liberal world view and normally gets a "I can't believe he actually wrote that" reaction from me.

On Friday, Mr. Quinnel put up a post, part of a continuing series of posts on democrat strategy for Florida, which gives a wish list of new strategy initiatives for Florida democrats.  There's alot to address here, but for now I'd like to touch on one point he makes which perfectly illustrates a major problem with democrat strategy and a strength of the Republican party. 

Mr. Quinnel begins his list with the idea of a "Progressive Think Tank" for Florida.  One of the reasons he wants this is:

"We need to counter the right-wing idea machine.  Their ideas aren't very good, but they do a great job of selling them to the voters and that's why they win. "

This is exactly where democrats so often go wrong; trying to sell their ideas. 

Now, I agree that there needs to be debate on the issues, and the parties need to communicate a message and a vision and how they intend to achieve their goals.  But, in my humble opinion, the strength of the Republican party is that it builds itself from commonly held standards of the electorate.  While democrats busy themselves trying to tell people what to think, the core of the Republican party is based on the values voters already hold.  Tax reform, national security, family values, etc.  These are the areas Republicans have drawn their strength from and success has come not from "selling" these principles to the nation, but because the Republican party has sided with the nation on the values we hold dear.

Granted, this is not always the case and there are many areas of policy where there are no commonly held values.  But those issues don't win elections.

What the democrat party really needs is not a better machine to sell ideas.  They need a change in leadership and platform that demonstrates to the American people and to Floridians that they side with the values we hold rather than asking us to side with theirs.

I understand the thought that "if we can just tell them they will understand."  And I've told people how to think in any number of posts.  But I doubt I've changed many minds other than helped some better understand a position they already held to be true. 

Republicans win not because we are more effective at getting people to agree with us.  We win because those people that vote already agree with us on the issues most important to them.

September 14, 2006

Thoughts: Davis picks Jones

Today, liberals all over Florida are heralding what a great pick Jones is for the Davis campaign.  I'll even admit, there is some well thought out strategy to the choice; damage control over one of Davis' big problems (the Lee/Pitts issue), race becomes an issue... well, more of an issue, he endorsed Rod Smith in the primary, showing Davis is "reaching out," and Jones seems to be an articulate fellow.

But despite these highlights, most Floridians will be left with the same response to Jones as they had to Kottkamp; "Who is this guy?"

Many are touting that he held down almost 12% of the primary vote for governor in 2002.  Big deal.  I could have gotten 12% of the democrat primary vote against McBride and Reno.  The fact of the matter is that the Davis camp is going to have to spend some time introducing Jones to much of the state.  Just as Crist will has to do with Kottkamp.  The difference is that Jones has a history that could cause some problems.  Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, expect there to be much discussion about Jones' military history, the reasons he wasn't appointed secretary of the Air Force, etc.  Kottkamp is not the most dynamic pick for Crist, but I don't anticipate that he's going to rock the campaign boat at all. 

But let's suppose Jones is as fantastic of a pick as all the liberals say he is.  I'm sorry to tell my democrat friends that it still won't matter.  LG's don't win governors races.  Besides, who wants a governor that wins not because of who he is, but because of who his LG is?

September 13, 2006

Quote of the Week

Former Congresswoman Carrie Meek at Davis' apology rally:

"I know about these white folks. I know how they operate. I've been there. I've been in their smoke-filled rooms. And I know how they turn when they have to."

Can you imagine the fall-out if a white Republican made a similar comment?

Note:  Carrie Meeks is a Vice Chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

Crist Picks Kottkamp

Soon-to-be Governor Crist just announced his running mate; State Representative Jeff Kottkamp from Cape Coral.  The choice honestly surprised me because I'm not sure that it adds much to Crist's campaign.  Sure, Kottkamp is a Conservative and this will help shore up the Conservative base, but Conservatives would have voted for Crist anyways.  He adds little name recognition and he comes from an area Crist would likely win anyways.  Politically, I think there were better choices, but I'm just one man and Crist has had a whole team analyzing this for months.  But realistically, the LG pick, regardless of who it was, probably was not going to be determinative of the overall race anyways.

That said, I'm glad to see another Conservative in the mix.  Personally, the Kottkamp addition gets me a little more excited about the Crist campaign, so maybe there is something to this pick after all?

September 11, 2006

Pushing Rope Advocates Bad History

Mr. Hussey at Pushing Rope attempted yesterday to refute my observation that allegations that Thomas Jefferson sired a child with slave Sally Hemmings are based on scant, if any historical evidence.  Due to the renewed call for the rebuke of bad history made by the democrats via their outrage over ABC's 9/11 series, it was important for me to do the same.  Simply put, Mr. Hussey is wrong.  Take the jump to find out why.

Continue reading "Pushing Rope Advocates Bad History" »

September 10, 2006

PEERReviewFlorida.com

Several times in the last few months I have found myself inviting someone to visit PEER Review but thought to myself "They will never remember this" when I told them the web address.

As a result, we have procured the domain name www.PEERReviewFlorida.com

 

Easier to remember web address, same great content, all free, all the time.

So tell your friends to visit PEERReviewFlorida.com

Note:  The previous web address peerreview.blogs.com or peerreview.blogs.com/fl will still bring you to the site as well.

September 08, 2006

For democrats, Image is Everything

Today word got out that ABC is "altering" the upcoming mini-series "The Path to 9/11" due to criticisms of inaccuracy which centered around former Clinton administration officials.

Bruce Lindsey, head of the Clinton Foundation claimed that "The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely."  He also accused ABC of bias and "fictitious rewriting of history that will be misinterpreted by millions of Americans."

Now, people who believe everything they see on TV as true are typically liberals and therefore, already confused and misinformed about the world around them, so I'm not sure how much damage could actually be done here.  However, if ABC is trying to make a series more true to life, rather than simply bending to Lindsey and Madeline Albright's complaints, I say good for them.

But I can't help but wonder, where did this outrage suddenly come from?

For the last few years there have been trumped up allegations by professors and academics at a number of universities  that 9/11 was an inside job, that Bush coordinated the or allowed the attack to happen.  There are published books arguing the same.  Where was the outrage then?  If those teaching or publishing historical accounts have a "duty," according to Lindsey, to discuss only that which is absolutely based on fact and misleading in no way, why did liberals and democrats not call for these books to be pulled off the shelves and burned and the universities to fire these professors?  Why was there no fear that these teachers and writings would be misinterpreted by millions of students and readers?

I'll tell you why, because for liberals this is not about maintaining the sanctity of true history, it is about maintaining image.  There have been all kinds of quirky claims based on faulty history in recent years, that Abraham Lincoln was a homosexual, that Jefferson had children with his slaves, and on and on.  But there was no great public outcry from liberals that these claims were based on scant, if any, historical evidence.

But a line of dialog in  TV show that makes Clinton administration officials look like they missed the chance to prevent 9/11... well, that has to be untrue and anyone who support such an idea is irresponsible and should be censured by Congress.  Right?  Let the false allegations against Bush fly, but just don't speak ill of Bill and his posse.

Truth be told, if there really was a genuine concern for preserving history by liberals, we would have heard much, much more from them by now.  But, it is no surprise to this observer that democrats are more concerned with image than truth, which is why they will allow inaccurate history to taint our schools.

But let's assume that democrats have suddenly awakened to reason.  If that is the case, I'll join Lindsey in denouncing those who teach inaccurate history as fact.  I'll will stand beside him as he calls for universities to remove professors advocating the fact-less theory that Bush knew of, allowed, or caused 9/11.  I'll support him as he proclaims that evolution, a theory taught consistently in public schools should be removed from curriculum because of the danger that millions of students might misinterpret the theory as absolute fact.  Maybe this is the beginning of a liberal enlightenment I thought would never come.  But I won't hold my breath.

UPDATE:

Read Harry Reid's veiled threat to ABC.

Mary Katherine Ham has more examples of the ongoing liberal hypocrisy.

And excellence from Hugh Hewitt:

'I suspect the extreme reaction of the Senate Democrats is based on the sudden recogntion that the fall campaign will be waged on the single issue of which party is serious about national security.  The president's demand for action on key fronts yesterday has clearly thrown the Dems into disarray as they realize that the American electorate will not reward more fecklessness on the part of Democrats. Now arrives a major television event that exposes the specifics of Democrtaic-era "stewardship" of national security, and they are in a frenzy to do whatever it takes to keep that memory down the memory hole.

The trouble for them is that they more they struggle the more attention they call to the very record they wish to have remain obscure and distant."

August 31, 2006

FL Conservatives at a Crossroads

Townhall.com has a thought provoking article today on the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary.  In the article, Matt Towery opines that next Tuesday will yield a very, very low voter turn-out; and as a result all those polls we've been watching will be almost meaningless.  The result?  The election could go to either of the Republican candidates, and Gallagher has a real chance of pulling a win if the "religious right" gets motivated. 

But I will agree with the Orlando Sentinel that Evangelical Conservatives are having a hard time getting fired up over this election.  But it does give us an opportunity, as Towery points out.  Should Gallagher win, the sole reason will be because of his platform and commitment to Conservative values.  And while he may not have a particularly Conservative record, I suggest that the commitments to our values which he has made during his campaign will keep him an ally to Conservatives during office.

Voting for Crist is the easy thing to do.  I know there is an appeal in voting for the front-runner, and the guy every poll and every pundit suggests will win.  He's a savvy, smooth politician, and he could definitely beat either of the two democrat candidates, right?  But we're Conservatives because we don't believe that the easy choice is always the best choice.  We understand that values are paramount.  Next week we have an opportunity to support a candidate that has committed himself to those values we hold so dear.  Make no mistake, Gallagher could win this primary.  Especially if Towery is right.  But it will require Conservatives to take a stand for the principles they believe in, and to side with the candidate that has sided with us.  Tell your friends, get out to the polls, and vote Tom Gallagher on Sept. 5.

August 25, 2006

Mr. G's Primary Candidate Picks

Mr. G picks:

US Senator
Will McBride

US House
District 8:  Ric Keller

Dist. 9:  Gus Bilirakis

Dist 13:  Mark Flanagan

Governor
Tom Gallagher

Chief Financial Officer
Randy Johnson

Florida Senate
Dist. 8:  Randall Terry

Dist. 10:  Sandra Murman

Florida House
Dist. 41: Steve Precourt

Dist. 34:  David Mealor

Dist 49:  John Quinones 

For primaries not listed, you are on your own.

Mr. G also weeps over O'Blog's endorsement of Charlie Crist.
 

August 24, 2006

Mr. G's Florida Football Predictions

With Republican domination of the election in Florida practically inevitable, we all know that going through the motions of primaries is really, at this point, just a distraction until college football season starts.  Can you feel it in the air?

Florida is far and away the biggest and best state for college football.  As proof we had five teams in  bowl games last year, we have three heated in-state rivalries (FSU v. UF, FSU v. Miami, UCF v. USF),  two teams ranked in the top 10 in most of the pre-season polls (FSU and UF), 3 in the top 15 (add Miami) and to top it off we have what, seven Division I-A teams?

Yes, football is the life-blood of our great state.  In that spirit, I present Mr. G's predictions/wish list for the upcoming season.  You know you want it  Take the jump.

Mr.G

Continue reading "Mr. G's Florida Football Predictions" »

Bush Goes to Plan B

While watching the democrats wistfully discuss how to spend all my money last night was frustrating, it didn't make me as angry as Bush completely rolling over on Plan B this week. 

For those who are unfamiliar, Plan B is known as the morning after pill which prevents fertilization and implantation of an egg.  Now, we can debate when life begins until the cows come home, and most liberals will instantly write me off if I took the stand that maybe, just to err on the side of caution, we should draw the line before fertilization (after all, we can be 100% sure that before that point, its not a baby).  I would be written off by liberals if I argued that the pill can cause early term abortions.  But, I would expect to be written off by liberals on those points.  What I didn't expect was to be written off by my President who was elected in a wave of traditional moral values fervor.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Plan B for over the counter sales today, and Conservatives should be hopping mad for several reasons.  First, as Jane Chastain points out, there are still many health concerns with the pill, and to make it over the counter as opposed to prescription is just nuts.   But more than that, we should be angry that this move was engineered by Andrew Von Eschenbach, acting head of the FDA, and nominated by our President.

I understand that the President is fiercely loyal; we saw that with Harriet Miers.  I understand that he wants to stand by the guy, from Texas, that he nominated.  But I am really starting to wish that Bush would demonstrate the same loyalty to the Conservatives that elected him.  In a press conference on Monday, Bush was asked about the nominee and his support of making Plan B over the counter.  His response?

"I believe that Plan B ought to be -- ought to require a prescription for minors, is what I believe.  And I support Andy's decision."

Mr. President, wasn't expecting you to go on a one-man rampage against Plan B.  But I also wasn't expecting you to just completely roll-over.  You let us down, yet again.  And with elections close at hand, it may be the Republicans who need to start looking towards a "plan b" because disenfranchised Conservatives start rolling over, too.

For more on the FDA's decision, click here.

Mr. G

Post-dem Debate Analysis: KA-CHING!

When I missed the democrat gubernatorial primary debate this evening due to a late client conference, I should have counted my blessings.  But my curiosity got the best of me and I ended up listening to it on-line.  I should have know it was only going to make me angry that I wasted the time.  In many ways I felt like I was back watching the debates in 2002 between Bill McBride an Jeb.  The only difference was the endless list of democrat spending proposals wasn't checked by Bush's constant question "how are you going to pay for that?"  I'd like to go back through the video of tonight's debate and put in the sound effect of a cash register ringing with every new spending plan. KA-CHING!

Education was one of the bigger, if not the biggest topic of the night.  Universities in particular came up and class size.  They want to pump more money into both.  Fascinating, since when the class size amendment passed, one of the first areas put under the microscope for cuts was the higher education system.  Higher teacher pay, something to replace FCAT, all kinds of great new plans both in and out of the education system, but no idea on where the money would come from.

Oh, wait, we did hear that Davis would veto any tax breaks.  It is enough to make a grown man cry.  Fortunately, the knowledge that neither of them stands a chance against either of the Republican candidates keeps me from getting too worked up.

All in all, I was impressed by how both candidates presented themselves well and how they both ripped into each other pretty effectively.  Davis seemed a little more polished, but not by much.

I won't label either one the winner, as there is rarely ever a winner in political debate, but I hope Davis wins the primary, just because I can't get enough of that "He never goes to work" attack.

Mr.G

August 22, 2006

Post-Debate Analysis: A Difficult Choice for Conservatives?

As I sat down to watch the Republican Gubernatorial Primary debate this evening, I anticipated that it would simplify my decision on who to vote for. I hoped that Gallagher was going to appear as the Conservative Avatar, well poised, polished, and prove to Republicans that he is ready to assume the mantle of leadership for our State, and our state party.  I the alternative, I hoped that Crist was going to have a strong rebuttal to Gallagher's persistent attacks with the pledge that he is, in fact, a true Conservative with Conservative positions on critical social issues and will advance our cause.

I didn't get either. 

Tonight, Charlie Crist looked like the next governor of Florida.  Gallagher's attacks didn't stick, and Crist was all too effective at shrugging them off as the desperation of the guy who is losing.  His performance, from a political standpoint, was phenomenal.  Gallagher tried to come out of the gate strong claiming Crist is a liberal and keep the debate on that point.  But he fumbled far too much and allowed himself to get tied up in his attacks rather than his positions.  Look, I don't really think Crist is a true social Conservative, but you would be hard pressed to convince me that he is a liberal, and I don't think many Republicans are buying the argument either despite the fact that Crist may have some differences from Gallagher on social issues.

So what is a Conservative to do?  They both present fiscally conservative platforms through various suggested tax cuts or maintaining current cuts.  On the social points, Crist gave lip service.  "I'm pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family, and pro-business."  But what he didn't say was, "I would sign a bill to end abortion in Florida."  He acknowledged support for civil unions.  He supports a form, though he won't call it that, of amnesty.  As a word-smith, he performed well tonight, but he didn't give the answers a true social Conservative would.

On the other side, Gallagher had all the right answers, but just couldn't get any traction against the would-be, and at this point, probably will-be Governor.

So what is a true Conservative to do?  Though the decision, especially after tonight, seems difficult, I encourage my Conservative brethren to vote for the true social Conservative; Tom Gallagher.

Charlie Crist is an amazing politician.  And honestly, I don't foresee him actively opposing Conservatives on any of the above mentioned social issues.  Mark my words, Charlie Crist will not be done with politics after this election, he has his sights set on higher goals and this is a step in the process.  When the critical social issues come up, if governor, I anticipate that he will do the same thing he did during Terry Schiavo's last days on earth and completely disappear.  Only to return all is calm, with no position on the matter so that he can't be stuck to it later.

But just because he won't oppose Conservative causes, I didn't hear much tonight to support the idea that he would be an active ally in advancing them.  And that is exactly what we need.

Gallagher may not have the political smoothness of Crist, but if we take him at his word, he is a true Conservative and he will fight for our cause.  We cannot afford a four, possibly eight, year pause on support of Conservative positions from the seat of Governor.  There is too much at stake, and shame on us if we don't try.

As it turns out, the choice for Conservatives really isn't that difficult at all.

Conservatives,  I encourage you to join with me and make a stand; vote for the stand-out social Conservative  -  Tom Gallagher.  But more than that, encourage our Conservative brothers and sisters to do the same.



Common Sense on Will McBride

As I watch the Senate race I get the same feeling as the rest of you, that we have just resigned ourselves to the idea that Katherine Harris will win the primary and then go on to lose the election.  But today I recieved an email from one of the smartest guys I know, I'll call him Mr. T with a common sense perspective on the matter:

I sat with Will McBride and I was skeptical.  From what I have heard he doesn't stand a chance... but that was before I was able to talk with the man face to face.  Now, I find myself saying, “this just has to be.”  With everyone just waiting for Katherine Harris to spontaneously ignite and go away, why not just vote for the better candidate? I watch as all the candidates tell me how “conservative” they are, but then their history proves anything but. McBride is the real deal.  On the headline issues of the borders, immigration, the war, abortion, stem cell, national debt and others I found McBride to be thoughtful, and thoroughly a compassionate conservative.  No clichés to get votes, but well thought out responses.  Being a Christian (not the media's equivalent of the Taliban, but the Jesus loving, Nation Founding, hospital building, starving child feeding good neighbor kind) I am glad that he attends a local congregation and actually believes it helps him be a good leader.  In fact, he was once a youth group leader so he will be familiar with the adolescent behavior in the Senate!  Perhaps this experience is his best qualifier.  It sure helped JC Watts!

No, I am not a consultant, and I am not a paid politico. I am just a good old conservative Christian who wants to support a good man who believes like I do that our society is on the slide and good men need to do something so that evil does not prevail.

Mr.T

Wow.  Why not just vote for the better candidate?  A week ago the Orlando Sentinel ran an article explaining how the Republican "Base" of Christians was just not motivated about this upcoming election.  I was mildly irritated by the article, but honestly, there was some truth to it.  With two gubernatorial candidates that we're not too sure of, and the front runner in the Senate primary can't even keep a staff, it seems like a mediocre cycle for believers. 

But Will McBride gives us something we can and should be excited about, and not just Christians, but true Conservatives of any stripe.  So why don't we just vote for the better candidate?  And why don't we encourage our friends and family to do the same?  Consider this my call for all of our Republican and Conservative readers to join the Will McBride campaign.  I also echo Bob's sentiment that Collins and Monroe should drop out and endorse McBride  Yes, it is an uphill battle, but shame on us if we don't even try.  There is far too much at stake.

Will McBride for Senate

 

Mr. G

August 16, 2006

Siplin Cries Racism

When State Senator and convicted felon Gary Siplin decided not to show up for his own press conference today, he sent his pastor, Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., instead.  In that conference, the reason for Siplin's conviction was explained...

Racism.

Of course.  Who didn't see that one coming?

WFTV reports that a statement read by the pastor alleged

"the trial was not fair, largely because Siplin is black. He said there is reason to question whether the judicial system is "unjust and unfair to black men who speak for the downtrodden, disinherited and dispossessed."

As one who is part of the judicial system, I can tell you I have not seen any evidence of a coordinated  effort by prosecutors, juries, and judges to stick it to black politicians.  In fact, as the discussion on the last post revealed, it seems it is the white politician who is more likely to get caught up in a judicial proceeding.

No, Gary, the reason you were convicted is because you broke the law.  It has nothing to do with the color of your skin and it has nothing to do with the positions you take.  It was not racism, in fact, there were two black jury members in your trial.

As a white male, I know it isn't PC for me to criticize black leaders.  Normally I leave that work to Rev. Jesse Peterson and his compatriots, but the constant cry from black politicians who don't get their way that racism prevented them from succeeding has gotten to be too much.

Another example:  Yesterday Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, who just lost her primary, announced that the black community should oppose electronic voting machines because they can be used to steal elections.  Cynthia, you lost to a black man, not some white computer geek who rigged the election to stick it to the black man.  The reason you lost is because your behavior over the last few months has been enough to embarrass even democrats.

I won't deny that there are racists of every shade still lurking today.  But the assertion that anytime a black politician injures themselves it is actually due to a racist conspiracy is silly.  It is time to grow up, Gary, and accept responsibility for your actions.

August 08, 2006

6 Jewish Women shot in Seattle, but the left focuses on Mel

Absolutely fantastic article by Dennis Prager at Townhall.com.  Here's a taste:

On July 28, 2006, a Muslim entered the building of the Seattle Jewish Federation and shot every Jew he saw, murdering one woman and wounding five others.

On the same day, Mel Gibson was arrested on DUI charges and while intoxicated let loose with anti-Semitic invective at the Jewish police officer who arrested him.

Question: Which story has most troubled the Left?

* * *

We should be worried about this: The liberal world fears -- and much of it loathes -- fundamentalist Christians considerably more than it does fundamentalist Muslims.

* * *


This is one more example of the greatest flaw of contemporary liberalism -- its inability to recognize and confront the greatest evils.

August 05, 2006

Conservative Orlando Political Blogs

It seems that Orlando is becoming a power house of Conservative political blogs.  The mighty O'Blog, Jen Wakefield, and of course your own Mr. G.

Add to that list, Blog-Stew recently created by an old friend of mine with an incredible mind for all things political and a finger on the pulse of Central Florida.  He's a navy vet, was the first President of the Florida Federation of College Republicans to be elected from the University of Central Florida, and a current Orlando resident who is active in local politics.  A frequent view of his new blog will be time well spent.  That's a Mr. G guarantee.

July 04, 2006

democrat Ignorance Isn't Bliss

The topic we hammer more than anything here at PEER Review is the idea that democrats just don't get it when it comes to why they continue to lose elections (see about half of the posts below).

But it is hard not to continue talking about it when they continue to live in denial.

Two examples recent examples.

First, Senator Biden of Delaware speaking at a democrat fundraiser in New Hampshire last month explained that democrats are losing elections because middle class Americans do not believe that democrats respect people of faith.  It is probably the closest I've heard a democrat get to the right answer.  His solution?  Show America that democrats respect people of faith and then do the same song and dance with the same lack of any real platform or stance on the issues that they have done for the past six years.  Sorry, Senator, you lost it.  Americans don't want your feigned respect, they want substantive policy and position on the issues.  You're right about one thing though, many of us don't believe you respect us.  But we won't until believe you respect us until you find the spine you lost so long ago start taking a stand on real issues and setting an agenda that relates to people of faith and middle class America.  For the record, this requires a platform that is more than the current lone democrat position of "Bush sucks."

Next, Kenneth Quinnell, an avid blogger and community college professor, posted today "The Plan, Part 1" at 50 different blogs.  In this piece, he attempts to explain the first of many reasons democrats are not winning elections.  The first problem?  They are not organized enough.

It has been my observation that democrats and liberals over the last few years have been more united  in their voice than any time in recent memory.  The unified chant of "Bush sucks" has been unwavering.  The problem is not unity.  It is not a lack of organization, as we have recently seen noticeable success by the party in their fund-raising as well as liberal use of media and groups such as the thousands of liberal 527's.  No, democrats can unite, communicate, and organize as much as they want, but until the party is able to demonstrate that they have a vision for the country and the state, they will continue to lose.  No position on the issues, this is the reason McBride lost, the reason Gore lost, the reason Kerry lost.  This is a failure, not in the grass roots, or the organization of a movement, but a failure by the leadership of the state and the national party to set a course.  There must be a change of heart in the leadership, or a change of leadership for democrats to succeed.

But for now, democrats will continue to live in ignorance of the real reasons they are at odds with Middle America, unwilling to accept the truth.

On another note, Quinnell also posted today a piece titled "Conservatives are F'n Nuts" on his blog.  Turn-about being fair play, please follow this link to a poem he wrote about aliens.

June 30, 2006

Donations for Nelson

This is the prepaid Priority Mail envelope I recieved from Bill Nelson's Campaign along with a letter asking me to send money to defeat Katherine Harris.

Pict0103_3

Now the question is should I send the envelope back filled with sand, a brick, or a granite book end?

Or maybe just a note.  One friend suggested:  "I have enclosed nothing, because that is exactly what you have done for this State. "

Any ideas?

Mr. G

June 22, 2006

The "30 Something" democrats Crying Hour

Sometimes my obsession with C-SPAN pays off when I catch a rousing session of British Parliament.  Other times I stumble into a live broadcast of the House democrat's "30 Something" Working Group hour, which features a handful of democrats ranting about Republicans in an empty Chamber of Congress.  Such was my fate last night.  As usual, the stars of the hour were Florida's own Rep. Wasserman-Shultz and Rep. Meek.  Watching for five minutes is enough to prevent me from sleeping for days.

But at the same time, I enjoy watching 3 or 4 democrats yelling into an empty room about Republicans and continuously thanking each other for their "eloquent words".  Complaint after complaint with no answers of their own, and no one to listen.  I could not conjure up a better picture of the modern democrat party than the "30 Something" democrats crying hour if I tried.

Mr. G

June 14, 2006

No Recovery for Sullied, Former Palm Beach County Deputies

In sifting through the news items and judicial decisions from the past few weeks, a set of two Florida cases, caught my attention that didn't seem to get much by the media: Thaeter v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Maxwell v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (The two cases were decided in one trial as they dealt with the same circumstances).

The case involves three Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (PBCSO) deputies; Ronald Thaeter, Timothy Moran, and Jack Maxwell who were invited by the wife of deputy Maxwell to join her, along with their own wives, in the photographing and filming of group sex acts for display on the internet.  The shoot also included a PBSCO police car.  The three officers participated and got caught.  Maxwell resigned when the internal investigation began.  Thaeter and Moran brought a lawsuit when they were fired. 

The decision on the case turned on the issues of whether the deputies properly reported their outside "employment" pursuant to regulations governing the Sheriff's office, and whether the deputies acts were protected by free speech.  The trial judge in the case and the 11th Circuit panel handled the issues well and concluded that the firing was valid as it followed the regulations guiding the PBCSO and was not impermissibly restrictive of the officers' right to free speech.

But that's not what caught my attention, rather, it was the discussion in this article about the violation of the officers' pledge, including the line, "I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all."  One attorney involved with the case, Richard Rosenbaum of Fort Lauderdale admitted "I've tried as best as I can to figure what [unsullied] means, and if I don't know, I don't know how a regular police officer can be put on notice about what he can and can't do." 

Honesty, I'd have a hard time giving you a legal definition of "sullied" as well, but I would not hesitate to say that three police officers participating in group sex acts for distribution over the internet falls well within the borders of leading a "sullied" private life as well as substantially short of serving as an "example to all."

June 06, 2006

Mrs. G

Adding to the ever increasing Peer Review FL family I am excited to announce the new Mrs. G.  Hopefully, that should explain my recent absence.  If not, ask your parents.  Our Mississippi wedding and the first week of married life have been wonderful and I'm looking forward to returning to regular contributions with renewed vigor, just as soon as I am able to sort through the two weeks of events I have missed.

I will leave you with this though, from Why I Am A Democrat at the FDP.

"I am a Democrat because I believe in order to be a true christian you must be a wise stewerd of the earth which is why I ride a bicycle and a vespa and vote for people who care about the future of this planet. Animal rights for every creature on the face of the earth must occure immediately - and I hate Republican evangelical's with a passion because of their hypocritical views."  -  Diane Lamont, winter park, florida   (05-26-2006)

Let's review:
Driving a SUV and not a vespa? Unforgivable sin.
Animal rights for bugs?  Inherent.
Hating others with a passion?  That's OK, as long as they are Republicans.

Mr. G

May 22, 2006

The 2006 Election - The Democrat Death Knell

Townhall features a great article today by Dustin Hawkins which wonders what it will mean for democrats when they still lose overall in the 2006 election despite the fact that Republicans are at such a weak and vulnerable point.

The Democrats are acting like it is going to be their version of 1994: Then, Republicans made a 54-seat gain in the House and netted 8-seats in the Senate to take control of Congress. But their confidence is also their error. If the Democrats fail to recapture either chamber, which is the most likely scenario, then what does that say about the future of a party that cannot win when its opponent is at its worst? If Democrats manage to stay in minority status after November it says far more about Democrats than it does about Republicans. If they manage to take control it’s no big deal; after all, they are supposed to win, right?

Hawkins hits it right on the head when he explains that even though Republicans have made a number of critical errors in the last few years democrats offer no real alternatives, so they will continue to lose, and they will lose in the next election.  So what does this mean for democrats?  I'll answer, it means the beginning of the end.  At the end of this year's elections, democrat leadership will be faced with some hard decisions.  In the face of a loss where they had every advantage they could hope for, they will be forced to reexamine the very foundations of their party and the party will either have to divide or die.

The same is true of Florida democrats.  I noticed today at Florida Moonbat Central, FLA Politics, that one reader has added Election day as "Death Blow to Republican Nomination Day" to the site calendar.  But it is almost considered a given that Republicans will win every state wide seat with one possible exception on that day.   We keep hearing from the dems about how horrible the Jeb Bush administration has been, but polls continue to show strong support for Jeb Bush.  I submit that the elections later this year will signal the tolling of the death knell for the democrat party.  If they can't win this year, they just can't win.  And when they lose, it will be time for some major changes that will fundamentally alter the democrat party.

- Mr. G

May 19, 2006

Florida Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Sunday May 21 through Thursday June 1.

Time to start hoarding supplies on preparation for hurricane season.

For a list of qualifying items click here.

When first saw "bungee cords" on the list, my first thought was...

Bungee_2  

...yeah... it's Friday...

Mr. G

May 18, 2006

Democrats say the Dumbest Things

Today at FLA Politics:

"...it must be true because the MSM is picking up on it." [emphasis mine]

If that is your standard for determining what you believe to be true, then you are hopelessly lost.


- Mr. G

Randall Terry Goes Catholic

Not much more to say.  Story here.

So my question is, Catholic or not, does he stand a chance against Jim King?

May 17, 2006

GA Judge Tosses Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

Interesting news from the north.  Yesterday, Judge Constance Russell, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge ruled that a Georgia Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional as it violated the state's single subject rule.  The amendment itself was approved by 76% of voters in November of 2004.  What the  debacle reveals is some major flaws in the amendment process in Georgia.  When an amendment can be repealed for being unconstitutional by a lone Superior Court judge almost 2 years after it is ratified, there is a problem.  And I thought Florida's amendment process was a mess...

The state intends to appeal the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, and if that fails, there will likely be a new amendment.  Regardless, it will provide fodder to Conservatives in Georgia to activate the base and turn out voters in their 2006 and possibly 2008 elections.

UPDATE:  FULL DECISION

Thanks to the good folks at the Alliance Defense Fund I can provide the link to the full decision by Judge Russell.  It seems to be a misuse of the single subject rule under GA law, but the GA Supreme Court will decide that issue.  The decision can be read here.

May 10, 2006

Dems & Special Interest Groups 4 EVER

A few years ago while working in Washington D.C., I had a conversation with a lobbyist about the influence of special interest groups on Capitol Hill. 

"You know how you always hear that special interest groups control the Republicans in D.C.?" he asked.  "We, it is exactly the opposite.  It is the democrats that are always tap-dancing
to the tune of special interest groups."

I was reminded of that conversation today when I ran across list of the Top All-Time Donors from Opensecrets.org (run by the Center for Responsive Politics).

You'll note on the list that of the top 10 donors (including the National Education Association, the Association of  Trial Lawyers of America, the Teamsters and Laborers Unions) that their contributions went decidedly to democrats.  9 out of the top 10 donating organizations gave to democrats overwhelmingly, with the one holdout (the National Association of Realtors) giving evenly to both parties.

Scroll down the list of the top 100 donors comparing red to blue, donkeys to elephants.  The study found that over 60% goes to democrats.

So which party is influenced more by special interest groups?

May 04, 2006

US Government: More trusted than Media

I normally don't put much faith in polls, but Globescan, a London-based research firm released a poll yesterday shows that Americans trust the US Government more than it does the media.  The poll, surveying 10,230 people in 10 countries found that 67% of Americans trust the government while only 59% trust the media. 

Isn't it fascinating that while the MSM continues to tell us that nobody likes the President and that you can't trust this administration on anything that the majority still has faith in our government, more-so than the sources telling them not to?  Make of it what you will.

The US and the UK were the only countries surveyed where the government was viewed as more trustworthy than the media.

The poll also showed that one in four (28%) reported abandoning a news source over the last year after losing trust in its content.

The most trusted specific news sources mentioned without prompting were FOX News (mentioned by 11%) and CNN (11%).

Also, blogs are the least trusted news source (25% vs 23%) – with one in two unable to say whether they trusted them.   Understandable, there are alot of crazies out there on the Interweb.  But know, you skeptics, that there is at least one safe-haven for truth, right here at Peer Review, where we are unashamed to call it like it is.

Oh yeah, Michelle Malkin is pretty good too.

May 02, 2006

Coulter on Democrat Gas

Ann Coulter's most recent article compares the history of democrat efforts to raise gas prices to their current complaining about raised gas prices.

"When the free market does the exact thing liberals have been itching to do through taxation, they pretend to be appalled by high gas prices, hoping the public will forget that high gas prices are part of their agenda."

April 23, 2006

All Eyes on the House

The good folks at Human Events Online make a convincing argument for fighting for a continued Republican majority in the House of Representatives and Robert Bluey outlines the top ten accomplishments of the 109th Congress.

Both are a worth a read during the commercials of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, or Grey's Anatomy (pick your poison).

April 19, 2006

White House Face Lift

I thought I would switch things up with some national politics today. 

While I was a little broken hearted over the resignation of the immovable mountain called Scott McClellan,  I was very excited to see that Tony Snow, a Fox News Radio host (The Tony Snow Show) is a possible option for replacement.

So it looks like the administration is going for a face lift after all.  But does it matter?  I suggest that it really will not.  While those who follow politics will note the change in faces, I don't think it is a stretch to say that most Americans really won't be that interested in the change up.  Further, I highly doubt that this will have any real effect on the administration's policy positions, and that's what counts.  While this may be the "new, friendlier" White House, it will still be hard on Iran, it will still push the same agenda, with perhaps even more vigor than before.

Replace the entire cabinet, all of the arguments against the previous cabinet will still be there.

April 13, 2006

Pro-Death Movement Again Opposes Common Sense Regulation

I'm about a week behind on this story due to some time spent in Mississippi without access to Sayfie Review, but the implications are important enough to dredge it back up. 

Last week the Florida Supreme Court upheld the core of the "Women's Right to Know Act" which requires "physicians" performing abortions to inform patients of "The nature and risks of undergoing or not undergoing the proposed procedure that a reasonable patient would consider material to making a knowing and willful decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy."  Isn't that crazy?  Requiring that a woman be informed of the health risks of having an abortion before the procedure is done?  Of course not, it is common sense.  But the ilk of the pro-death movement continue to oppose common sense at every turn. 

I won't get into the legalities of the case (discussions of privacy rights and constitutional construction of statutes), but I do want to highlight the continuing trend this case exposes.  The pro-death movement wants, well, death; abortion on demand, no questions asked.  They will fight tooth and nail against any common sense measures which restrict immediate access to abortion or even require a discussion of the possible harms of having an abortion.  They know that someone who is reasonably informed of the dangers and side-effects of abortion will think twice about having the procedure done, so they oppose it.  Despite the fact that in most states abortion recieves less regulation than other medical services, they want less restriction on the ability to destroy life.

With this new light shed on the Women's Right to Know Act and the reaffirmation of its validity, it is time that we begin to require full compliance with it.  We must require abortion clinics to disclose the full range of physical and psychological harms caused by abortion.  We must begin  to require the same common sense regulation for abortion clinics that we require for other medical services.  It is, afterall, simple common sense.

March 23, 2006

Yes to Marriage, No to Redistricting

Today the Florida Supreme Court released a flurry of opinions including their decisions on two hotly debated constitutional amendments; the Marriage Amendment and the Redistricting Amendment. It may surprise readers to find out that Mr. G actually agrees with the Court’s decision on both of them.

Yes to Marriage

The Court’s opinion put to end a debate at Florida News between Mr. G and Mike and some of his readers. While they argued the term “protection” is “fraught with ambiguity” and the amendment violated the single subject rule, I explained that the amendment is clear to anyone with an 8th grade reading level. The Court agrees with yours truly. They even used one of my favorite judicial tools, the dictionary:

“the common definition of the term “protect” is “to maintain the status or integrity of.” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 938 (10th ed. 1998). This common definition, when read in context and conjunction with the rest of the language contained in the ballot title and summary accurately portrays the chief purpose of the amendment––preserving the current concept of marriage in Florida

as the legal union of one man and one woman. Based on the foregoing, we hold that the ballot summary and title in the instant proposal are not impermissibly misleading, nor are they ‘clearly and conclusively defective.’”

Beautiful. I love it when the Court uses common sense and restricts itself to simply applying the law that is before them. The Court earned back a bit of trust from Mr. G today.

So what does this mean? Well, you will remember that the amendment was about 150,000 signatures short at the February 1 deadline for the 2006 ballot. So we won’t be seeing the amendment in November. However, with the Supreme Court’s approval, I can practically guarantee that those signatures will be picked up in the next two years and we will see the measure on the ballot in 2008. At that election the 61% of Floridians who want a constitutional amendment protecting Marriage will be heard.

No to Redistricting

The Redistricting Amendment on the other hand, failed to make it over the single subject hurdle.

“Not only would the proposed amendment create a new redistricting commission, but it would also change the standards applicable to the districts that are created by the commission… A voter who advocates apportionment by a redistricting commission may not necessarily agree with the change in the standards for drawing the legislative and congressional districts. Conversely, a voter who approves the change in district standards may not want to change from the legislative apportionment process currently in place. Thus, a voter would be forced to vote in the “all or nothing” fashion that the single subject requirement safeguards against.” 

Well said. This was a distinction which, honestly, I had not yet considered, but in reading the Court’s explanation, I completely agree.

The Court also disagreed with Mike, finding a problem with the Amendment’s ballot summary due to the use of the terms “independent” and “non partisan” in describing the method of selecting the redistricting commission created by the amendment. As the Court astutely observes, of the fifteen commission members, twelve would be appointed by partisan members of the Florida legislature. Thus, the use of “independent” and “nonpartisan” to describe the appointment method is misleading.  The Amendment has been struck from the 2006 ballot.

Three Justices (Wells, Cantero, Bell), in a concurring opinion, also correctly added that an amendment combining Congressional and Legislative redistricting violates the single subject rule.

All in all, I found the opinions entertaining. All of our liberal friends, hoping so desperately that the single subject and ballot summary review by the Court would be used to prevent the Marriage Amendment from advancing watched today as those tools torched their Redistricting Amendment. Meanwhile, the Marriage Amendment sailed through unscathed.

Mr. G

February 21, 2006

Mike, democrats and the Ideological Void

Mr. C and I have have had a recent focus on the ideological void represented by the democrat party.  No real platforms, only complaints.  Today I discovered yet another example from my misguided friend Mike at Florida News.

In Mike's "Vision for Florida Democrats" he makes the following statement:

"Forget ideology. Embrace partisanship. Yes, I said it. Voting for me is simple. I simply look for the D's and vote accordingly..."

"I want a Democratic majority. Period. We get a Democratic majority and we get to set the agenda. We get to control the committees. That's power, and it's power in the hands of a party that I believe will do what's best for this state and this country..."


The concept boils down to this: democrats, don't think, don't question, just vote democrat.  We'll do the thinking for you later.

Now, I like Mike.  I like Mike because he is one of the few democrats I know that are willing to just come out and say that he is more concerned with having officials with a D next to their name in office than actually working for a platform he actually agrees with. 

I also like Mike because it is really easy to make him mad, which is always entertaining, but I digress.

With this strategy democrats will continue lose.  As 2004 demonstrated, values affect voting.  So while democrats continue to run from taking a stand on the issues, Republicans continue to demonstrate that our party is relevant to the causes of the individual, the family, and the community.

Mr. G

February 10, 2006

Abortion Prohibition Heating Up

This has nothing to do with FL, but is too good to pass up. 

Yesterday, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortion.  Amendments to the bill to allow exemptions for rape, incest and "health" reasons were rejected, but it does include a provision allowing the procedure if the mother is in danger of dying.  The measure now goes to the State Senate.

Apparently this is an effort to spark a case to get the matter to the US Supreme Court.  Great idea, bad timing.  As I've discussed before, despite the Roberts and Alito confirmations, the majority of the Court is still in favor of the fictitional right to abortion (Ginsberg, Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Breyer).

While I don't see this effort going anywhere productive, it does show that we are ready.  All we need is one more textualist on the Supreme Court.

What would this mean for Florida?  Find out here.

February 08, 2006

Props to O'Blog from Mr. G

O'BlogFunny, Funny Blog.

FL Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Marriage Amendment

This may come as a surprise to those who thought the marriage amendment was dead after it failed to pick up the required 611,000 certified signatures by the February 1st deadline in order to be placed on the 2006 ballot. Instead, the movement has simply set its sights on 2008.

There are several steps required to place a citizen initiative on the ballot, the big two are certification by the Secretary of State of 611,000 signatures and approval by the FL Supreme Court that the amendment satisfies some specific criterion. On this amendment the big question has been the single-subject rule (a citizen initiative amendment can only encompass one issue). These two steps are independent from each other. In order to qualify for review by the Court, only 10% of the total number of certified signatures required by the Secretary of State is needed. Since 61,000 signatures have been certified, the Court was still able to consider the matter. If given favorable review, the amendment will be placed on the ballot in 2008 if the missing signatures are gained by February 1, 2008.

Arguing on behalf of the Marriage Amendment this morning was Mat Staver, Founder and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel. On the other side was Leslie Cooper from the ACLU. Transcripts and video of the arguments can be viewed here.

The Court, during arguments, acknowledged the limited scope of review it has in this case. With that said, it is going to take some semantics games for them to find reason to strike the amendment down. Sadly, I wouldn’t put it past this Court to do so. This one could be anyone’s game. To those of us with at least and 8th grade reading level, the issue is clear and the Amendment should pass this level of review. But we will have to wait 2 months to find out. 

On a related note, even though the petition didn’t receive the number of votes required to make the ballot this next election, supporters should be encouraged by the numbers so far. At this point about $200,000 has been spent on gathering signatures for the amendment. Compare that to the +$2 million spent on the Apportion Districts, Redistricting, and Tobacco Education amendments. With about 10% of the funding the Marriage Amendment has gained more signatures than the Redistricting Amendment and about 70% of the number of signatures for the Apportion Districts and Tobacco Education Amendments. With this type of support, two years will certainly be enough time to get another 150,000 signatures.

For more information on the Marriage Amendment or to sign the petition visit Florida4Marriage.org

- Mr. G

January 24, 2006

Truth or Death

Scientists made a breakthrough discovery this week which could literally alter the course and future of medical science and bring to a close one of the nation’s most heated political and philosophical debates. But, it is the prediction of this humble observer that despite the new possibility of a viable scientific alternative to the destruction of newly formed children there is a grand, subversive conspiracy against life itself (coined the “Culture of Death”) which will strain and fight for the continued slaughter of the innocent.

Scientific Breakthrough:
Researchers at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, under the direction of Dr. Mariusz Z. Ratajczak were able to manipulate stem cells from adult mice into brain, nerve, heart muscle and pancreatic cells. Literally, this discovery could bring to a halt the experimentation on and destruction of embryonic stem cells. Everyone who watches the political landscape likely has a base understanding of the debate over stem cell research. However, the distinction between the two types of stem cell research are frequently lost in the shuffle, so I present a brief a crash course on concepts.

Background on Embryonic Stem Cell Research v. Adult Stem Cell Research:
Stem cells are cells which have not yet developed into specialized cells such as a muscle or nerve cell. Because of these cells contain the ability to develop into any number of specialized cells they hold great promise for treatment and therapy of currently incurable conditions. Two styles of stem cell research have branched off of this promise; what are called “embryonic stem cell research” and “adult stem cell research,” respectively coined for the source of the stem cells used. Embryonic stem cell research has drawn heavy opposition from the Pro-Life movement as the removal of stem cells from an embryo ultimately destroys the embryo. As a result, a national ban has been placed on the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines for research. Meanwhile, adult stem cells research has drawn criticism as, until today, stem cells drawn from an area of a developed body could only be manipulated into certain cells. It was thought, though not proven, that they would therefore not have the same potential as embryonic stem cells.

Today’s discovery, if researchers are able to repeat the process with human cell should spell the end of embryonic stem cell research as adult stem cells would now hold the same potential as it is claimed embryonic cells do. All of the promise of cure and scientific advancement with none of the messy massacre of newly conceived children; everyone is happy right? Wrong.

Prediction by Mr. G:
Even if the process is repeated with human cells and the use of embryo’s in stem cell research becomes obsolete, there will still be a support for the continuation of embryonic stem cell research. The reason is spelled out in Proverbs 8:35-36; “For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death." There are factions of our culture which relish, savor, celebrate and simply love death. It is seen in the push for the expansion of the euthanasia of the elderly and disabled. It is seen the immediate and passionate response by Planned Parenthood to provide free abortions and “reproductive services” for areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. It is seen in the pro-death movement as a whole in its push for abortion on demand, at any time, under all circumstances. Their love for death is even demonstrated in stem cell research by the continued obstinacy of many researchers to even consider the alternative of adult stem cells present coupled with their clamoring to destroy embryos and even create new embryos to destroy. This thirst for death will lead many to strain against the idea of ending stem cell research even if an alternative becomes available. It will defy logic. It will defy reason. They simply love death.

Unknowing Accomplices:
I do not contend that this is a conscious purpose by the advocates of death. I doubt that any supporters of the efforts above would openly proclaim a love of death and a desire for the destruction of children and the innocent. They rationalize, justify, and explain away the consequences of their position, as seen constantly in the debate over abortion and euthanasia. They have completely bought into the lie. In the depth this deception, they are somehow able to separate in their minds their actions from their evil consequences and irrationality. At some point they begin to equate death with virtue. Proverbs rings true and in the end their pursuits place death, a "right to die", and a right to kill above all other values, sacrificing the innocent at whatever altar they can find, embryonic stem cell research being no exception. They love death.

Anticipate and Preempt the Opposition's Movement:
This becomes an important concept for those seeking Truth and justice first because it enables us to anticipate and preempt the opposition's movement. Because we know of this death love, and we can see the trend in the positions they support, we can predict the positions they will take. This enables us to begin to form a proactive strategy which will meet their efforts before they are able to build any momentum. In this case, as we know there will be unconditional support for embryonic stem cell research by the extreme left we can begin to build a unified front now. We must encourage Conservative leaders, such as Senator Frist, who have begrudgingly supported embryonic stem cell research to rejoin us as the destruction of embryos would no longer be necessary for full stem cell research and treatment. We redouble efforts on state bans of embryonic stem cell research in light of new science. The goal is that by the time the opposition begins to even attempt to voice continued support for embryonic stem cell research there is a juggernaut of Conservatives ten steps ahead of them. Reactionary efforts are necessarily handicapped as opposed to proactive measures. We want to be proactive

Strike at the Heart:
The understanding of this death love also allows us to focus on the heart of the debate, rather than the surface issues. Knowing this subconscious urge to advance death lurks within the heart of the opposition we know that is where the battle must be fought and won. The arguments presented by the Culture of Death are merely a distraction for their true motivation and we must strike at that heart with the Truth rather than a focus on an attack of only the philosophy presented. There will always be counter-arguments and rationalizations which mask their deception. If we desire true change, rather than a surface political change of guard which may be tenuous at best, we must actively seek and destroy the deception buried in the hearts of those unknowing accomplices of death who we encounter in our daily lives. Let us never forget the personal nature of the struggle and that our struggle is not against the people who line the ranks of the opposition, but rather the lie and the love of death within them. The announcement from University of Louisville gives cause for celebration because it can and should lead to an advancement of the support of life, but we know that a battle will be fought between Life, Science and Truth against the Culture of Death. Armed with this foreknowledge, however, we have the opportunity to anticipate and preempt the opposition and strike at the heart of the debate with the Truth.

- Mr. G

January 23, 2006

Florida Supreme Court Flip-Flop

The Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court can’t seem to make up her mind about how to make decisions as a judge. In the span of just one week, Justice Pariente  demonstrated the problem with the judiciary today and arbitrariness of her decisions in a massive jurisprudential flip-flop. 

Two weeks ago the Florida Supreme Court released its decision in Bush v. Holmes, where Pariente, writing the majority opinion, fabricated an imaginary clause in the Florida Constitution in order to reach the outcome they desired. In Holmes, Pariente took the clause “Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools...” and essentially added the phrase “and this shall be the only provision made to supply said education.” Flip. Just one week later, the Court released its opinion in Maddox v. Florida and Justice Pariente signed on to an opinion written by Justice Cantero which vehemently advocates that judges should apply the plain meaning of the law rather than fabricating text which doesn’t exist. Flop.

Pariente, who just a week before found it necessary to make up new parts of the Florida Constitution, now agrees with the following statements from Cantero’s opinion:

“As we have long held, ‘[w]hen the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous and conveys a clear and definite meaning, there is no occasion for resorting to the rules of statutory interpretation and construction; the statute must be given its plain and obvious meaning.’”

and

“‘[e]ven where a court is convinced that the legislature really meant and intended something not expressed in the phraseology of the act, it will not deem itself authorized to depart from the plain meaning of the language which is free from ambiguity.’”

This sudden change of heart can be explained in ways:

  1. Pariente      has changed her method of jurisprudence and is now a textualist.
  2. Pariente      doesn’t have a set method of jurisprudence and will use whatever theory of      decision-making necessary to get to the result she desires.

Even though I desperately wish the first explanation could be true, the reality is that given Pariente’s decision-making history, the second explanation is correct.

Why does this matter? Because this demonstrates that the law is nothing more than a mere formality to Justice Pariente and her ilk (Justice Quince did the same flip-flop between Holmes and Maddox). The law is whatever they want it to be and if they don’t like the law created by the people, they change it, and they will flip-flop between whatever method or reasoning that will get them there. The law has no meaning, the law has no solid substance, the law is whatever we say it is.

On a related note I will point out that I think Justice Pariente is an amazing woman. She is a strong, intelligent woman, a cancer survivor and a real pleasure to spend time with. However, she is a bad judge. Until we begin selecting judges based upon their demonstrated ability to read and apply the law flip-flops such as these will continue and none of us can be confident of where the law really stands.

Mr. G

*** Mr. G apologies for the recent absence.  He spent the week in Miami at the annual meeting of the Trial Lawyers section of the Florida Bar complaining about incapable judges.

January 12, 2006

A Rare Occurrence, Mr. G Disagrees with Ann Coulter

Believe it or not, every now and again Mr. G actually disagrees with Ann Coulter on something. Today is one example. Lest you think I just nod my head to everything she says, it seems important to point out any difference of opinion

I do agree with most of Coulter’s column today which argues that the democrat party’s rock solid support of abortion boils down to the idea that one of the party’s core value’s is ‘the right of women to have sex with men they don’t want to have children with.’ True.

However, she then makes this statement: 

The Federalists drafted the greatest political philosophy ever written by man and created the first constitutional republic. The anti-Federalists – or "pre-Democrats, as I call them – were formed to oppose the Constitution, which, to a great extent, remains their position today.”

As I discussed in July, the anti-federalist papers were prophetic about many of the problems which would arise from the federalist constitution. I won’t say the anti-federalists were completely correct; some of them had some wacky positions like the idea that the nation shouldn’t have a standing army. Yet, the insight offered by much of the anti-federalist papers into the effect law the Constitution was simply brilliant. To suggest that such was the work of democrats is, well, laughable at best. 

- Mr. G

January 08, 2006

The 2000 Election: Five Years Later Liberals Still Don't Know What They Are Talking About

For all the complaining they do about Conservatives being stuck in the past, liberals seem unable to get out of 2000. What is worse is they demonstrate over and over again that even years later they haven’t taken the time to actually educate themselves on what happened.

A posting today over at FLA Politics directs readers to a Daily Kos directing readers to a study released by a professor at Florida State University. The study claims that a large number of “overvotes” were not counted in the 2000 election. The overvotes in question are those where an elector marked a candidate for president, and then also wrote in the candidate's name in the write-in blank as well. These were regarded as overvotes and invalidated. If these had been considered, the above sources claim, Gore would have won.

Once again liberals demonstrate that they do not know what they are talking about.

Guess what, kids, this isn’t news. If you think overvotes were not considered in the 2000 election, you’re wrong, they were. I direct your attention to the much criticized, but rarely read US Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 109-110 (2000). In Bush, the Court specifically addressed the disregarded overvotes. The Court even noted the fact that the Florida Supreme Court’s proposed recount plan ignored these overvotes. “The State has not shown that its procedures include the necessary safeguards. The problem, for instance, of the estimated 110,000 overvotes has not been addressed, although Chief Justice Wells called attention to the concern in his dissenting opinion.”  Bush, 531 U.S. at 109-110. Even if the US Supreme Court decision hadn’t overturned the Florida Supreme Court’s decision, the overvotes still would not have been counted, thus eliminating any claim that there was some sort of conspiracy by Harris, Bush, or the Supreme Court to exclude overvotes.  That is, unless liberals now want to claim that the Florida Supreme Court was in on it, too.

The US Supreme Court identified that a massive effort, requiring a great deal of time would be required to set up a process to count all of the questionable overvotes and undervotes. So much so, that pursuing that option simply was not feasible given the election deadlines the State had to meet. Was this ideal? Of course not, but placing blame on the Court, or government organs because they had to make a decision to ensure the continuity of the election as well as meet the requisite deadlines to provide that the State would be able to participate in the electoral college at all demonstrates a complete ignorance of the process involved. There was simply not a system, or the resources, or the time available to convene a Grand Jury over every questionable ballot. Voters have to assume at least a minimal degree of responsibility for their ballot.

These overvotes were not something that just slipped under the radar, while noone had the exact numbers (or the time or system in place to figure them out) in 2000, they were considered and it was decided that it would have been next to impossible to include them. Additionally, as the Court concluded in Bush, even if we could, to do so would violate the Equal Protection principles as it would give unfair consideration to one type of voter error, and not others. Bush, 531 U.S. at 109.  It is not fair to give an advantage to one voter because they made a mistake and not all others.

Further, liberals are so quick to cast blame upon former Secretary of State Harris, Governor Bush, and the Supreme Court for ballots which were thrown out. Again, this is the result of ignorance. If you look to the Florida Election Code (Title IX) of the Florida Statutes you will notice that a great deal of autonomy is given to the counties in elections. A decision of whether or not to count a vote, while certain guidelines are given to the election commissioners, rests initially with (with great deference to) each county. Harris, Bush, and Scalia were not in Palm Beach throwing away ballots.

The election code which governed in 2000 directed under section 101.5614(6) that “If an elector marks more names than there are persons to be elected to an office… the elector's ballot shall not be counted for that office, but the ballot shall not be invalidated as to those names which are properly marked.” Sure it is open to interpretation. Does the same name indicated twice qualify as more than one name? Guess who makes the initial determination? That’s right, the county.

I won’t speak to the study done by Professor Dehaven-Smith as there were no conclusive numeric results. But regardless of the actual numbers, ultimately it doesn’t matter. The election was over 5 years ago and overvotes were considered.

Heaven help the Republicans if liberals ever start looking to the future and actually planning rather than complaining about the past.

- Mr. G

January 06, 2006

FL Supreme Court Justices Need Private Education Due to Lack of Reading Comprehension Skills

The FL Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Holmes (striking down the state's Opportunity Scholarship Program) provided a wonderful example for why such a non-traditional approach to education is necessary; 5 of 7 justices are unable to read.  Well, maybe they can read, but at a minimum they demonstrated a lack of reading comprehension skills.

There has been a great deal of commentary as to the ultimate conclusion of the Court, which honestly, shouldn't surprise anyone who has been following the Court's decisions for longer than a month.  However, what is particularly striking is the manner in which they reach that conclusion.  The Majority of the Court focuses on this provision from Article IX, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution: "Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools..."

In a stunning assault on logic and reason the they conclude that this statement means two things:
First, that the Florida Legislature must provide for a uniform free education system.  No problems there.  Any fourth grader from any one of Florida's A, B, and possibly C schools could figure that out. Second, this provision also means that the Florida Legislature is specifically bound to this method alone in providing an education and cannot pursue other options. 

...huh?

The Court attempts to justify its reading through a manipulation of the maxims of statutory interpretation and in doing so, as Justices Bell and Cantero point out in their dissenting opinion, they ignore decades of jurisprudence on the reading of statutes and the reading of the Florida Constitution.  The Florida Constitution, and statues are designed for the purpose of informing citizens and the government of the extent of their rights and responsibilities.  But what good is it if it doesn't mean what it says?  If the Court is able to twist and manipulate legal provisions or, as in this case, completely make up provisions which are not there, why have laws at all?

We teach elementary, middle, and high school students a concept called reading comprehension.  We even evaluate that skill in standardized testing. We require students at A, B, and possibly even C schools to learn to read a passage and explain its meaning.  Unfortunately, our own Florida Supreme Court is unable to do the same without imaginatively creating meanings which are not there.  What's worse is that until they finally master this basic reading skill none of us can be sure of the existence or extent of our rights, or the responsibilities and restrictions of our government under Florida law.

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