Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bridge of Lions Reopens, Now We Can Get Our Public Forum Back

In 2005, United States District Court Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. ruled that our Bridge of Lions is a public forum and that the City of St. Augustine cannot discriminate against GLBTQ people. He ordered Rainbow flags to fly from June 7-13, 2005 in honor of St. Augustine GLBTQ Pride Week, recognizing 11,000 years of G/L history here.

Now that our Bridge of Lions has been rebuilt, it's time for human rights to be respected here.

Our City claimed the right to regulate flags on a state-owned bridge -- an issue that was not known to the Federal Court.

The Lighthouse Festival, 40th Accord and other community groups were historically allowed to fly their flags from our Bridge (as well as the Broward Yacht Company and Flagler College).

After the Rainbow Flags flew in 2005, City Commissioners ERROL JONES, DONALD CRICHLOW and GEORGE GARDNER voted to ban all but government flags from our Bridge. That would include the Confederate, US, UN, Spanish, French, British, South African, Florida and Micronesian flags, but not the Rainbow flag.

This resolution must is a mockery of the First Amendment. It must be undone.

Then-Commissioner, now-Mayor JOSEPH BOLES, was the lone dissenter who voted against the government flags resolution. BOLES was the only one to vote correctly twice -- BOLES also voted (with SUSAN BURK) against the three-vote majority that the Federal Court found violated our First Amendment.

We look for moral leadership on this important First Amendment issue to Mayor BOLES -- who has twice spoken to Gay Pride audiences in recent years, and who gave two outstanding speeches on civil rights on the occasion of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday (at the Slave Market Square and World Golf Village), again at Rev. Andrew Young's presentation of "Crossing in St. Augustine" at Flagler College, also lighting a Menorah on Hannukah at the Plaza.

The Lighthouse, 40th Accord, Gay Pride and other community groups must again be empowered to fly their flags on our Bridge of Lions.

It's our town and it's our public forum.

What do you reckon?

American Bar Association: Fifth Circuit, En Banc, Upholds Kidnapping Conviction of Alleged KKK Member

Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals

Case Name: U.S. v. Seale

Headline: Fifth Circuit Upholds Kidnapping Conviction of Alleged KKK Member

Area of Law: Criminal

Issue(s) Presented: (1) Whether the Government's forty-year delay in bringing an indictment was done in bad faith. (2) Whether the defendant's statement to the FBI should be suppressed for failure to provide a Miranda warning. (3) Whether the evidence was relevant and sufficient to support conviction.

Brief Summary: James Ford Seale was convicted of a 1964 kidnapping associated with his alleged membership in the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). A prior Fifth Circuit panel reversed his conviction as time barred, but the en banc court reinstated the conviction. Hearing the remaining issues of Seale's appeal, the Fifth Circuit rejected all of his challenges to the lower court proceedings and affirmed his conviction.

Extended Summary (if applicable): The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld James Ford Seale’s kidnapping conviction by a 2-1 vote. Seale, allegedly a member of the KKK, was charged with conspiring with fellow KKK members to kidnap and murder two African-American men in 1964. Believing the victims to be Black Panthers who were stockpiling guns and planning an insurrection, Seale and his co-conspirators allegedly beat the victims and then dumped their bodies into the Mississippi River. The Government lacked the evidence necessary to prove the elements of the crime until 2007, when Charles Edwards, one of the alleged coconspirators, provided enough information for the Government to obtain an indictment against Seale. Seale was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a jury in 2007. In 2008, a Fifth Circuit panel unanimously reversed his conviction, concluding that Seale’s prosecution was time barred. However, the full Fifth Circuit disagreed with the panel decision, reinstating Seale’s conviction by an equally divided 8-8 vote. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and the Fifth Circuit was asked to decide the remaining issues of Seale’s appeal. Although the court had already rejected the argument that Seale’s conviction was time barred, he raised the argument that the indictment was brought after unfair delay. He claimed that the Government intentionally delayed the indictment in bad faith in order to seek some tactical advantage. The court rejected this argument, noting that the primary reason for the delay was a lack of evidence. A prosecutor has a duty not to bring an indictment until he has sufficient evidence to prove each element of the underlying crime. In this case, the Government did not have enough evidence until Edwards came forward. Although the Government did not bring charges for more than forty years after the crime, there was a reasonable basis to justify the long delay. Seale also argued that statements he made to the FBI when he was first arrested in 1964 should not have been admitted at trial. He claimed that he was not given a Miranda warning and was coerced into providing a statement. The court acknowledged that Seale should have been given a Miranda warning but declined to reverse his conviction on this basis because he failed to raise the proper challenge at his trial. Seale raised several other arguments regarding the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence introduced at trial. The court held that the trial judge and jury had opportunities to consider these issues and were better-suited to evaluate issues of relevance and credibility of witnesses during the trial. Judge Harold DeMoss, who authored the original Fifth Circuit panel opinion that had reversed Seale’s conviction, dissented from the majority opinion, again stating his view that Seale’s conviction should have been reversed. He first reiterated his position that the entire prosecution was time barred by law. He also opined that Seale had raised the Miranda issue at trial indirectly, and thus that the conviction should have been reversed because Seale was not read a Miranda warning prior to his statement to the FBI in 1964. The full opinion may be downloaded here:

Panel (if known): Davis, Smith, DeMoss

Argument Date:

Argument Location:

Date of Issued Opinion: 03/12/2010

Docket Number: 07-60732

Decided: Affirmed

Counsel: Tovah R. Calderon and Jessica Dunsay Silver for the United States; Kathryn Neal Nester and George Lowrey Lucas for James Ford Seale

Author: Davis

Circuit: 5th Circuit

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



MARCH 24, 2010 (Wednesday)

10 AM to 6 PM


Corner of King and Riberia Streets

Sponsored by Unitarian Universalist Church


First Coast Slow Food Movement

The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks involved in a recent slavery operation (U.S. v. Navarrete, 2008), accompanied by displays on the history and evolution of slavery in Florida.

The museum's central focus is on the phenomenon of modern-day slavery – its roots, the reasons it persists, and its solutions. The exhibits were developed in consultation with workers who have escaped from forced labor operations as well as leading academic authorities on slavery and labor history in Florida.

The museum will be in the back parking lot - off Riberia St. - look for signs.

CNN Hires Racist, Misogynist Homophobe ERICK ERICKSON to Appear Regularly On-Air

Dear Mr. Feist:
1. Erick Erickson is a homophobe, a racist, a misogynist and a potty-mouth, who has no business appearing on CNN as a regular.
2. Please explain your actions in hiring him in order that I might learn about the psychopathology of a “news” organization that just hired someone who compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
3. My father machine-gunned Nazis for the 82nd Airborne, jumping out of airplanes to do so. My father was wounded in Normandy and wore pieces of Nazi shrapnel in his knee from 1944-2003, when he died. Comparing our President to Nazis is offensive to every person who lost kinfolk in the Holocaust and sequelae, including the families of some 300,000 Americans who gave their lives fighting fascism.
4. CNN’s hiring of Mr. Erickson is morally offensive and shows a lack of appreciation for the public interest.
5. CNN is biased, pro-Big Business, and lacks journalistic integrity. As a former newspaper editor recommended for a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Oak Ridge mercury pollution, I find your coverage of environmental racism lacking. Ever since the CNN investigative unit was disbanded and reporters like Steve Singer and David Lewis were discharged, CNN has been mediocre, at best.
6. FAIR reports that Erickson stated that President Obama won the Nobel Prize because of "affirmative action quotas" (Think Progress, 10/9/09). He's a misogynist who suggested that "feminazis were enraged" by an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad because "that's what being too ugly to get a date does to your brain." He urged that "ugly feminists return to their kitchens" (Media Matters, 2/8/10) . He's a homophobe who asserted that "the full gay rights agenda" means that "men and boys can have sexual relationships free of prudish moral people frowning" (Media Matters, 10/9/09). As a Gay man I find this to be blood libel, the sort of thing that encourages hate crimes, including murder. Erickson is an all-around hater who, upon Justice David Souter's retirement, called him "the only goat-fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court" (Crooks and Liars, 5/1/09). He declared that White House spokesperson Linda Douglass "really is the Joseph Goebbels of the White House healthcare shop" (TPM, 10/12/09). Meanwhile, he suggested that Obama might be worse than Hitler, writing, "Does it say more about the IOC or Obama that the IOC gave Hitler the Olympics, but not Obama?" As if that weren't enough, he's also an advocate of political violence (Yglesias, 4/1/09): “At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to Hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot? At some point soon, it will happen. It'll be over an innocuous issue. But the rage is building. It's not a partisan issue.... Were I in Washington state, I'd be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation.” (The “tyranny” against which he was calling for armed resistance involved regulation of dishwashing soap.)
7. I look forward to your explanation and apology for hiring Erickson. You should cancel his contract for good cause.

Ed Slavin
Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tunnel Funding Surprise to City

Tunnel funding surprise to city

Staff Writer
Publication Date: 03/08/05

The U.S. House Transportation Committee bill that includes $1.6 million funding for a pedestrian underpass from A1A to Castillo de San Marcos surprised many St. Augustine officials.

"I don't know who asked for the money, but it may be a good idea," Bill Harriss, city manager said Monday. "We all have to admit it's a little tricky crossing A1A there ... but (city staff) has never analyzed it."

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, said he put the provision in the bill to fund an underpass tunnel from A1A to Castillo de San Marcos.

"I used my seniority in the transportation committee to put this (pedestrian walkway) in the bill," he said. "No one at the city was aware I was going to get money for this."

The idea for the walkway spawned from a bill he sponsored last fall authorizing funding for a new visitor center for the historic Castillo fort, he said.

But funding for the pedestrian pathway might come before money to build the new Castillo visitor center does.

"There has been no subsequent legislative action to fund the project," said Gordy Wilson, Castillo de San Marcos superintendent. "We don't know how much (the visitor center) would cost. We've only looked at conceptual designs."

There are five other transportation projects for St. Johns County in the bill, totaling $21.8 million. The measure goes to the full House on Wednesday, and it will also have to gain approval from the Senate in coming weeks.

The other projects in the bill include easing congestion in the northwestern part of the county, paying for design of a beltway around St. Augustine, and helping pay for a parking garage near downtown St. Augustine.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record

New York Times: House Bans Earmarks for Profit-making Corporations

March 10, 2010
Leaders in House Block Earmarks to Corporations

WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders on Wednesday banned budget earmarks to private industry, ending a practice that has steered billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to companies and set off corruption scandals.

The ban is the most forceful step yet in a three-year effort in Congress to curb abuses in the use of earmarks, which allow individual lawmakers to award financing for pet projects to groups and businesses, many of them campaign donors.

But House Republicans, in a quick round of political one-upmanship, tried to outmaneuver Democrats by calling for a ban on earmarks across the board, not just to for-profit companies. Republicans, who expect an intra-party vote on the issue Thursday, called earmarks “a symbol of a broken Washington.”

Both parties are seeking to claim the ethical high ground on the issue by racing to rein in a budgeting practice that has become rife with political influence peddling. So far, though, the Senate is not joining in. House Democrats had tried to reach an agreement with their counterparts to ban for-profit earmarks, but the senators balked, Congressional officials said.

Had the ban on for-profit earmarks been in place last year, it would have meant the elimination of about 1,000 awards worth a total of about $1.7 billion, leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said in announcing that, as a matter of policy, they will no longer approve requests for awards to for-profit groups. Many of those earmarks went to military contractors for projects in lawmakers’ home districts.

Under the new restrictions, not-for-profit institutions like schools and colleges, state and local governments, research groups, social service centers and others are still free to receive earmarks. The new restrictions, for example, would still allow the type of award to local governmental agencies that became infamous in 2005 with Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere.”

Representative David R. Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who leads the Appropriations Committee, said a series of criminal investigations, ethics inquiries and political embarrassments had prompted him to take stronger steps.

“The political reality right now is that the public has lost some confidence in this institution, and one of the reasons is the past abuses of the earmark process,” Mr. Obey said. Earmarks for profit-making companies are “the most vulnerable place” for abuse in the system, he added.

If the Senate does not follow the House’s lead, that would set up a confrontation between the two chambers, with the Senate including for-profit earmarks in its budget bills and the House excluding them. Negotiators from each body would then have to determine which earmarks, if any, would make it into a final bill sent to the White House for approval.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the Democrat of Hawaii who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday that current restrictions were already working and that “it does not make sense to discriminate against for-profit organizations” by banning earmarks to them. He noted that many nonprofits had powerful lobbying operations to secure earmarks as well.

The House ban came less than two weeks after the public release of an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics laid bare the pay-to-play culture on Capitol Hill, particularly on the defense appropriations subcommittee. The report found that there was a “widespread perception” among the private-sector recipients of earmarks that giving political contributions to lawmakers on the panel helped secure the grants.

Even so, the House ethics committee on Feb. 26 cleared seven members of the defense panel — five Democrats and two Republicans — of accusations that they had improperly tied earmarks to contributions. The decision prompted protests from government watchdog groups, who said the standard the committee had set for ethical wrongdoing would open the way to further abuse of the earmark process.

The practice of inserting earmarks into spending bills, once used fairly sparingly by Congress as a way of imposing its budget priorities on the executive branch, has mushroomed, with lobbyists competing for the attention of committee members who control the money. Congress, which can award no-bid contracts at its discretion, doled out nearly $16 billion in awards last fiscal year.

House Democrats said the new restrictions, in addition to banning for-profit earmarks, would include greater public disclosure of other earmark requests, audits of 5 percent of nonprofit earmarks, and the establishment of a program directly financed by the Pentagon to promote awards for small, start-up military projects.

“This ban will ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars by the federal government across all agencies,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Mr. Obey announced the new restrictions in tandem with Representative Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat who leads the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee.

Mr. Dicks’s predecessor on the panel, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, who died in February, was renowned for his use of earmarks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the work of the lobbying firm known as P.M.A., which was run by a former aide to Mr. Murtha and helped secure numerous earmarks for its clients.

One of P.M.A.’s clients, a software intelligence company called 21st Century Systems, got several million dollars in earmarks requested by Representative Peter J. Visclosky, an Indiana Democrat now under investigation by the F.B.I., and executives at the firm credited their political contributions to the congressman in earning his favor.

Some analysts questioned whether the change in leadership on the committee after the death of Mr. Murtha, who had resisted past reforms, had led to the new restrictions.

Asked about the issue, Mr. Obey said: “I’m not going to comment on someone who’s gone. All I will say is that Norm Dicks understands the process.”

House Democrats in particular have been battered by accusations of earmark abuses, with ethics scandals undercutting their pledges to end a “culture of corruption” in Washington after they took over Congress in 2007.

In the last three years, Congressional Democrats have taken actions that they say helped bring more transparency and competition to the earmark process, though outside critics did not always agree. But the ban drew quick praise Wednesday from both conservative and liberal groups.

“I think it’s a pretty big deal,” said Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who has studied earmarks. “That was always the most questionable and problematic aspect of the whole process,” he said of the for-profit earmarks.

Stephen Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit group, said that while he would prefer an all-out ban, “for-profit earmarks are ground zero for pay-to-play, and it makes sense to rein them in.”

Mr. Obey said that banning all earmarks would make Congress “a rubber stamp” of the executive branch.

“Where I come from, the Congress has a perfect right, in fact an obligation, to participate in the budget process, but we’ve got to try to do it in a way that protects the integrity of the system,” he said. “This strikes a reasonable balance.”

Washington Post: All Earmarks Should Be Banned in House and Senate

All earmarks should be banned in the House and Senate

Friday, March 12, 2010; A18

SEVEN HOUSE members, including Northern Virginia Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D), collected more than $840,000 in political contributions from employees and clients of a lobbying firm, Paul Magliocchetti and Associates Group (PMA), during a two-year span. In that same period, the lawmakers, strategically situated on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, directed more than $245 million in earmarks to clients of PMA.

If you think those two facts are unrelated, you are qualified to be on the House ethics committee. The panel recently found that "simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor does not, on these two facts alone, support a claim that a member's actions are being influenced by campaign contributions."

The ethics committee acknowledged that "there is a widespread perception among corporations and lobbyists that campaign contributions provide enhanced access to members or a greater chance of obtaining earmarks." Gee, how could anyone have gotten that impression? Maybe because the lawmakers targeted those seeking earmarks for campaign contributions? Sent their key appropriations staffers to fundraisers?

For instance, in 2008, the appropriations director for Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) told corporations interested in obtaining earmarks that they needed to submit requests by Feb. 15. On Feb. 27, Mr. Visclosky's campaign manager sent a letter to companies that had sought his help on defense matters inviting them to a fundraiser on March 12. Mr. Visclosky's political committees received $35,300 from clients of PMA that month, plus another $12,000 from the lobbying firm and its employees. A week after the fundraiser, which was focused on defense contractors and attended by his chief of staff and appropriations director, Mr. Visclosky requested earmarks for six PMA clients, totaling more than $14 million.

House leaders understand that voters may not be quite as obtuse as the ethics committee seems to assume, and their extreme embarrassment -- over this and other scandals -- may lead to useful action. The House is right to ban lawmakers from earmarking government funds for for-profit companies. It should go further, and extend the prohibition to nonprofit and educational institutions as well. Some nonprofit institutions spend enormous sums on lobbyists, who dispense campaign donations in hope of obtaining earmarks. More important, the Senate must follow suit, as much as it appears disinclined to do so. A system that aligns campaign cash and earmarks is inherently unseemly, if not outright corrupt, and the Senate is tainted by this setup as well.

We say this fully aware that the Constitution grants Congress the power of the purse and that earmarks are not close to the biggest reason for out-of-control spending. And that lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to reduce the number of earmarks and make the process more open. And that eliminating earmarks would not end every instance in which private interests lobby for -- and make campaign contributions in hope of obtaining -- particular favors.

It would, however, eliminate the worst such abuse. The House Ethics Manual cautions members "to avoid even the appearance that solicitations of campaign contributions are connected in any way with an action taken or to be taken in an official capacity." The ethics committee, dismissing that caution and a recommendation by the newly created independent Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate two of the seven representatives, decided there was nothing to worry about in the PMA case. With standards this lax, the only reasonable choice is to end the earmarks that fuel this sleazy process.

New York Times: Energy and Water Earmarks Flow to Campaign Donors

March 12, 2010
Energy and Water Earmarks Flow to Campaign Donors
By ANNE C. MULKERN of Greenwire

In the new political era, House members consider earmarks fraught with peril. But before House Republicans voted to stop asking for them, before Democrats vowed to limit where the money goes, lawmakers from both parties sought federal funding for profit-making companies.

The bill that funds the Energy Department and water projects for this year contains at least six earmarks giving grants to for-profit companies. And in at least two cases, lawmakers obtained earmarks for companies that had given those same House members campaign contributions.

Rep Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) secured a $750,000 earmark for a company that has given him $14,250 this election cycle. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) won a $300,000 earmark for a company that has contributed $3,000 to his re-election campaign.

Those are the kind of earmarks that have prompted calls to eliminate special project funding, government watchdogs and outside analysts said.

"Obviously, we can't prove a quid pro quo, but certainly looking at this, we see that a few thousand dollars in campaign contributions netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers money," said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group.

"These companies they're not making contributions out of altruism," Ellis added. "They see this as an investment, as something that's going to help their bottom line."

House Republicans yesterday voted to eschew all earmark requests this year, a day after House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) announced that he would ban earmarks aimed at for-profit corporations. The Senate so far has declined to go along, meaning many earmarks still could go forward if they have Senate sponsors.

While the bill funding the Defense Department is the place where lawmakers pile in the most earmarks for private companies, the Energy and Water Development bill also is a popular spot because there is funding for research and development efforts, Ellis said. The companies that made campaign contributions to Dent and LaTourette and received earmarks each are involved in efforts to turn coal and other fossil fuels into a gaseous form.

Dent obtained the $750,000 earmark for Pennsylvania-based Air Products & Chemicals Inc., money that is intended for development of ceramic membranes "which can be integrated into a state-of-the-art gasification system," Dent said in his earmark request letter.

"This versatile technology also enables the capture of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and can be applied in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner to a broad list of energy sources, including coal, natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons, biomaterials, and waste materials," Dent wrote.

The $14,250 in contributions that Air Products & Chemicals Inc. has given Dent through its political action committee make it his top contributor this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Dent has supported many projects involving companies that are not campaign contributors, said Dent spokesman Gregg Bortz.

"If you look at the majority of what's on there, the requests that he's made, there's not a correlation between contributions and what he's supporting," Bortz said.

"Should he not help a company who is one of our area's largest employers?" Bortz added. If Dent helps other companies "that have legitimate business with the federal government, should he cut one out?"

Air Products & Chemicals has been a federal contractor for decades, Bortz said, adding, "what the congressionally directed funding does it helps them move forward on a project quicker. It helps them make sure a project is definitely going to be funded one year to the next." Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also signed on to the Air Products & Chemicals earmark.

A spokeswoman at Air Products & Chemicals did not respond to a request for comment on the earmark or the campaign contributions.

Dent voted for the one-year moratorium on earmarks that House GOP members approved yesterday, Bortz said. Dent has previously advocated a moratorium, he said.

"Congressman Dent acknowledges there's clearly something wrong with the system as it's been done," Bortz said. "Have there been abuses? Yes, there have been."

Asked why Dent still asked for earmarks while backing a moratorium, Bortz said that "money's going to be spent so you're basically cutting your district out of the loop."

LaTourette received a $300,000 earmark for Parker Hannifin Corp., an Ohio manufacturer with more than $10 billion in annual sales. In his request letter for the earmark for Parker Hannifin, LaTourette said that the money would be used for "hydrogen and coal-derived syngas fuel injection technologies for power generation project."

LaTourette's office and Parker Hannifin's spokesman did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Other earmarks

The fiscal 2010 spending bill for energy and water had requests for earmarks that would have directed money to seven total for-profit companies, including Parker Hannifin and Air Products & Chemicals Inc. It was not clear how many of those made it in to the final bill because once they are in the bill the name of the company often is not included.

There are at least six that made it into the bill that became law, however. One of the biggest earmarks secured was $1 million for Trenton Fuel Works, won by Reps. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Steve Rothman (D-N.J.). The funding would go toward a project that would construct a biofuel plant in Trenton, N.J. Specifically, it was for a "detailed engineering design for the reconstruction of an existing but unused sludge dehydration plant into a biofuels manufacturing plant," Holt said in his request letter.

"Mr. Holt is a huge believer in trying to find alternative sources of energy," said Patrick Eddington, Holt's senior policy adviser. "One of the technologies that's being investigated is ... biomass. This was money to help Trenton Fuel Works see if they could get a functioning biorefinery up and running in Trenton."

Holt believes government has "a role to play" in helping new businesses. There are limits on how much money is available through the government's small business development program, Eddington said, and "an awful lot of these requests come from companies desperate for research and development dollars.

"Companies to complete a project they require some additional funding ... to have a project have a chance of reaching the market," Eddington said.

Eddington said he had not had an opportunity to talk to Holt about his reaction to Democratic leadership's ban on earmarks to private companies.

In addition to the Air Products & Chemicals earmark, Dent and Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) secured a $500,000 earmark for East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc., a funding that "would be used to design, test, fabricate and implement new advanced battery energy storage technology that would be used to balance the fluctuating generation of electricity in wind systems and improve the efficiency of the current electricity grid," Dent said in his earmark request letter.

"The company basically said that this was a program that we're looking to work with" at the Department of Energy, Dent spokesman Bortz said. "Companies are constituents. They employ a lot of people."

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) backed the earmark in the Senate.

Holden's office did not respond to requests for comment.

LaTourette and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) obtained a $500,000 earmark for Cleveland-based Technology Management Inc. "to engineer prototypes for fuel cell systems manufacturing and planning a pilot manufacturing facility," Kucinich said in his request letter. Kucinich's office did not respond to requests for comment on the earmark or the new ban on directing funding to for-profit companies.

Lobbying efforts

In addition to the campaign contributions, many of the companies that received earmarks paid lobbyists, who among other things lobbied for earmarks.

Air Products & Chemicals spent $1.8 million on lobbying last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company sought earmarks in the Defense Department and transportation spending bills as well as the Energy and Water appropriations bill. The company also lobbied on energy and climate legislation and a number of other energy measures.

Parker Hannifin paid $486,000 for lobbying efforts last year. Its lobbyists sought federal earmarks and also lobbied on cap-and-trade legislation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' records.

It is a circular process companies use to get federal money, Ellis said.

"That's the way the game has been played," Ellis said. "Private companies are hiring K Street lobbyists to try to get taxpayers' money."

If the projects lawmakers seek earmarks for are worthwhile, businesses should compete for federal funding in an open bidding process, said Kenneth Green, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

"No bid contracts are generally considered to be economically bad and politically corrupting, not to mention distorting of the market," Green said, because lawmakers are "picking and choosing winners and losers."

While there is gnashing of teeth over earmarks, they are small in the overall economic picture compared to the energy policies Congress sets, said Adele Morris, policy director for climate and energy economics at the Brookings Institution. A climate bill essentially gives earmarks to certain industries, Morris said, if it gives free pollution permits under a cap-and-trade program. The Senate bill under development from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has not settled on how it will handle allowances.

"If they start giving these allowances away, they're going to make some of these earmarks look like small potatoes," Morris said.

Copyright 2010 E&E Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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Mica's Earmarks -- St. Augustine Record Reports Mica Earmarks Go to Campaign Contributors

Mica's Earmarks

Publication Date: 03/16/08

The U.S. Senate in a 71-29 vote last week rejected a proposal that would have ended the congressional tradition of asking for earmarks, a custom that critics say can lead to abuse and public outrage.

Remember the 2005 "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska? U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, wanted $200 million to build a bridge to an island with 50 inhabitants.

The project was canceled in 2007.

Despite the occasional kerfuffle, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, said Friday that he's a "strong supporter" of congressional earmarks, also called pork-barrel spending, because legislators know what projects should be funded in their district.

"You have to make your case," Mica said about earmarks. "The money doesn't just appear."

Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and his district covers St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, Putnam, Orange and Seminole counties.

In 2007, he requested $27.35 million in earmarks for six different companies in District 7. Of that, $11.3 million was ultimately appropriated.

Raydon Corporation of Daytona Beach, which manufactures up-armored Humvees, electronic tabletop trainers, mobile medical units and complex military communications equipment, among many other defense-oriented products, received the highest earmark request of $18.8 million.

Of the nine earmarks he requested, Raydon was for five of them.

But Raydon received considerably less, although Mica didn't know the precise figure.

"Raydon is the biggest manufacturer and employer in Volusia County, similar to what Northrop Grumman is to St. Johns," he said.

The second largest earmark was for Mathews Associates Inc. of Sanford, Fla. This battery-manufacturing company, joined with STIDD Systems Inc., of Greenport, N.Y., got an earmark request of $4.5 million to manufacture a diver propulsion device. STIDD makes submersible boats.

The other three earmark requests, for Electronic Warfare Associates Inc. of Lake Mary, which makes communications and counter-terrorism equipment, Cubic Corp. of San Diego, Calif., which makes instrumented training systems for military forces and virtual training devices, and Ocean Design Inc. of Daytona shared requests of $4.15 million among them.

Final figures, though, are not available for each company.

Campaign contributions to Mica from 2001 to 2007 were a total of $158,375.

The largest contributor in 2007 was Harris Corp. of Melbourne, which makes secure wireless communications networks, and has offices worldwide, 16,000 employees and annual revenues of $5 billion. The company contributed $30,500, even though it received no earmarks that year. The company is building Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles and has been awarded a $42 million contract to build state-of-the-art radios for the Air Force.

Electronic Warfare Associates Inc, gave $19,250, Cubic Corp. gave $825 and Ocean Design gave nothing.

Northrop-Grumman, which has a manufacturing and repair plant in St. Augustine, donated $20,500, even though it received no earmarks from Mica in 2007.

'Biggest red flag'

David Williams, vice president for policy for Washington, D.C., based Citizens Against Government Waste, said his organization supported the failed earmark amendment, which would have imposed a one-year moratorium on congressional earmarks.

"We're not opposed to government spending," Williams said. "But earmarks are passed with no competitive bidding and no oversight. That's the biggest red flag we have."

An earmark, Williams explained, locks a legislator's vote to the bill that it's on.

He said the Pentagon doesn't request these funds. The money comes out of the Pentagon's budget.

Mica said the decision to place an earmark on a bill is made by "a collage" of the administration, members of Congress and agency representatives.

"We can't force the Defense Department to take any products it doesn't want," he said. "Many of these requests are for training equipment or to protect our men and women in the military and to save money."

For example, a virtual firing range can save millions of dollars a year in bullets.

Still, abuses occur with regularity.

A Michigan legislator wanted a $1 million earmark to build a water-free urinal. The only company in the country that makes that particular item was in his district. Another legislator wanted a $500,000 earmark to build a teapot museum in his district. And former California Rep. Duke Cunningham was convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks for supporting earmarks to a company that promised to digitize Department of Defense manuals.

Williams said, "A lot of people in Congress are good people who think they're doing the right thing. They don't see earmarks as a corrupting influence. Others issue a press release and pose for a ground-breaking photo. They never answer the question, 'Do we really need this?'"

Creating jobs laudable, but ...

Beth Rosenson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Florida, teaches political ethics and said there is nothing in the ethics code against earmarks.

"But there's an ethical cloud that hangs over it," Rosenson said. "There must be a legitimate reason why this money is being spent. You have to look at specifics. Is the earmark for a company or individual? Is it tied to a public good, like a hospital? Also the question should be asked: Why isn't this being put in the budget?"

Legislators should follow the "appearance standard," avoiding behavior reflecting unfavorably on them, she said.

"Creating jobs is a laudable achievement. But the question is the manner in which it's being done."

Mica said Friday that in January he instituted new and more stringent earmark rules to the Republicans serving on the Transportation Committee. These include full disclosure of Republican (earmarks) at least 24 hours before it is considered.

"I've tried to clear it up and introduce more transparency," he said.

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record


In "It's A Wonderful Life," an angel shows George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) the dystopia his town would be if he'd never been born. In it, a banker thug (Lionel Barrymore) has taken over the town and everything trashy and tawdry prevails.

That's how St. Augustine will be if CONGRESSMAN JOHN MICA is re-elected. MICA would ruin our beaches with offshore oil drilling. MICA would ruin the view of the Castillo de San Marco with a brand-new $10 million building across the street. MICA has had nothing to say about the City's pornography zone. MICA claims he helped get the city get $1.1 million for its money-losing $25 million White Elephant Parking Garage. We don't need JOHN MICA in Congress any more --- no 10th term!

Vote Democratic -- vote against MICAVILLE!

American Bar Association Journal: N.J. Judge Reprimanded for Rant About Undocumented Aliens, O.J. Remark

By Debra Cassens Weiss

Two New Jersey judges have been reprimanded for making remarks in the courtroom that touched on race, ethnicity or physical disabilities.

One of the judges, James Citta of Ocean County, ridiculed a defendant’s English-speaking skills and compared another to O.J. Simpson, according to the New Jersey Law Journal, and the Associated Press reports.

The other judge, James Convery of Essex County, asked a Hispanic lawyer when she became an illegal alien, according to the New Jersey Law Journal and He also joked about a litigant’s hearing aid and "Bionic" hip and knee replacements, the stories say.

Both waived a hearing and accepted a reprimand by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.

Citta’s remarks about English were made after a defense lawyer said his client violated parole partly because he had problems communicating with his parole officer, who did not speak Spanish. The New Jersey Law Journal published Citta’s response:

"Not only do we have to let him come into the country illegally and stay here, not only do we have to provide him with public assistance, not only do we have to provide him with free health care, not only do we have to provide him with a free attorney when he gets in trouble, now he wants a bilingual probation officer, because otherwise it's inconvenient for him,” Citta said.

Addressing the defendant, Citta said that, if it were up to him, "I'd take you just as you're dressed and bound right now and have you escorted back to Mexico forthwith and forget the prison term."

Citta told another defendant his picture should be next to the words “domestic violence” in the dictionary, the New Jersey Law Journal story says. He said the defendant was the same as O.J. Simpson, except that Simpson "got off for some reason in a land of fruits and nuts.”

Citta, who was moved to the civil division in 2008, said being a criminal court judge had "exacted a toll which, on occasion, has led me to say things better left unsaid."

Bigots fraudfease together -- clicking their heels, cluck-clucking and "clicking" on ads to generate revenue for Reichwinger MICHAEL GOLD, et al hate website uses the same Google Adsense account as Historic City Media and Historic City News. In apparent violation of Google's Adsense terms, MICHAEL GOLD has invited his reader(s) to "click" on ads to generate revenue. This is apparently how MICHAEL GOLD makes money -- urging the booboisie to "click" on ads. How gauche.

Google knows. Google has copies of the relevant thread ("Have You Clicked Today"), with MICHAEL GOLD stating inter alia, "Please support our advertisers, All it takes is for everyone (registered or not) to click on an ad when they take their daily stroll through plazabum. No credit card required LOL!"

Of course, if the apparent fraud by the hate websites rises to the level of a state crime, they'd have a hard time getting SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR to investigate his campaign fundraiser, MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN." Since State's Attorney R.J. LARIZZA's office refuses to prosecute white collar crime and corruption, they'd probably have to prosecute federally.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Father Martin's Riposte Goes Double for Local Hate Websites that Began on Christmas Eve 2006 Preaching Hatred of the Homeless in St. Augustine, Fla.


See below. You know who you are. You should be ashamed of yourselves. SHERIFF SHOAR, who proclaims himself a Christian, is actually a Pharisee.

MICHAEL GOLD and DAVID SHOAR are "Shameful people" indeed -- that would be the "Anonymice" on, hating the homeless on the St. Augustine Record Talk of the Town website anonymously for years, then transferring their aggression to their own KKK-style hate websites, and

Father Martin has your number -- and the other right-wing screamers too.

As Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Rev. James Martin, S.J. (America): Glenn Beck to Jesus -- Drop Dead

Glenn Beck said last week on his eponymous show that Christians should leave churches that preach "social justice." Mr. Beck equated the desire for a just society with--wait for it--Nazism and Communism.

I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes.

This means that you would have to leave the Catholic Church, which has long championed that aspect of the Gospel. The term "social justice" originated way back in the 1800s (and probably predates even that), and has been underlined by the Magisterium and popes since Leo XIII, who began the modern tradition of Catholic social teaching with his encyclical on capital and labor, Rerum Novarum in 1891. Subsequent popes have built on Leo's work, continuing the church's meditation on a variety of issues of social justice in such landmark documents as Pope Pius XI's encyclical on "the reconstruction of the social order," Quadregismo Anno (1931), Paul VI's encyclical "on the development of peoples," Populorum Progressio (1967) and John Paul II's encyclical "on the social concerns of the church" Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987).

The Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church, published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says this:

The Church's social Magisterium constantly calls for the most classical forms of justice to be respected: commutative, distributive and legal justice. Ever greater importance has been given to social justice., which represents a real development in general justice, the justice that regulates social relationships according to the criterion of observance of the law. Social justice, a requirement related to the social question which today is worldwide in scope, concerns the social, political and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions....

Social justice is not just some silly foreign idea. American Catholics know that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have an Office of Justice, Peace and Human Development. On that website the U.S. bishops say: "At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict."

Get it? Social justice is an essential part of Catholic teaching. It's part of being a Catholic. So Glenn Beck is, in essence, saying "Leave the Catholic church."

But Glenn Beck is saying something else: "Leave Christianity." Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus mentions our responsibility to care for the poor, to work on their behalf, to stand with them. In fact, when asked how his followers would be judged he doesn't say that it will be based on where you worship, or how you pray, or how often you go to church, or even what political party you believe in. He says something quite different: It depends on how you treat the poor.

In the Gospel of Matthew (25) he tells his surprised disciples, that when you are meeting the poor, you are meeting him. They protest. "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."

But our responsibility to care for "the least of these" does not end with simple charity. Giving someone a handout is an important part of the Christian message. But so is advocating for them. It is not enough simply to help the poor, one must address the structures that keep them that way. Standing up for the rights of the poor is not being a Nazi, it's being Christian. And Communist, as Mr. Beck suggests? It's hard not to think of the retort of the great apostle of social justice, Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

The attack on social justice is the tack of those who wish to ignore the concerns the poor and ignore the social structures that foster poverty. It's not hard to see why people are tempted to do so. How much easier it would be if we didn't have to worry about the poor!

But ignoring the poor, and ignoring what keeps them poor, is, quite simply, unchristian. For the poor are the church in many ways. When St. Lawrence, in the fourth century, was ordered by the prefect of Rome to turn over the wealth of the church, he presented to him the poor.

Glenn Beck's desire to detach social justice from the Gospel is a move to detach care for the poor from the Gospel. But a church without the poor, and a church without a desire for a just social world for all, is not the church.

At least not the church of Jesus Christ. Who was, by the way, poor.

The Rev. James Martin, SJ is the author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. A longer version of this post can be found at America magazine's blog "In All Things."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Letter: City needs greater protection of resources and a national historical park, seashore and scenic coastal parkway: check out

Letter: City needs greater protection of resources

Judith Seraphin
St. Augustine
Publication Date: 02/11/07

Editor: Let's adopt a moratorium on development of our local St. Augustine area and the history, wetlands, forests, seashores and wildlife, at least until our 110th Congress holds hearings about preservation.

The alternative is developers who propose to develop housing on arsenic-contaminated lands, sewage-polluted lands and pesticide-contaminated lands that is undisclosed to buyers. The alternative to what should be a National Seashore, is daily turned into a "national sacrifice area" for developers, who systematically destroy all the reasons so many of us chose to move here in the first place.

The "alternative" is rubberstamping the short-sighted plans of those who are euchred to sell their generations-old birthright to foreign developers, destroying our region's nature for short-term profits, while refusing to disclose the owners of the sell-out organizations.

Let's follow the examples of my native Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, and of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and our nation's other national parks and national seashores.

Let's just say "no" to the secretive, other-directed, undisclosed, environmentally-insensitive (and foreign-funded) developers and investors who have no respect for our history, culture, wildlife and experience.

What's good enough for Boston, Philadelphia, New Bedford, Cape Cod, Washington, D.C., Guam, San Francisco and other national parklands is good enough for St. Augustine, Florida. Working with city, county and state elected representatives, the people of St. Augustine and St. Johns County must work to preserve our local/regional history and wildlife habitats inviolate, forever. I strongly support Ed Slavin's proposal for a "St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore," now.

Who among us could possibly disagree?

Click here to return to story:

© The St. Augustine Record


You want environmental racism? We got it, right here in our Nation's Oldest City.

You want corruption? We got it right here in St. Augustine and St. Johns County.

You want excessive use of deadly force, with people disabled and dead because of it? We got it.

You want wildly excessive "development" ruining our marshes, land and water? Yes. One of the fastest-growing areas in Florida.

You want taste? No way. Local developers' taste is in their mouths.

You want fiscal conservativism? Nope. The local machine consists of wastrels.

You want honesty? No way. The local newspaper is in bed with the crooks.

You want sanctimonious, back-slappin', Gay-bashin', race-baiting, corporation-coddling Reichwing scoundrels? Yes.

You want to see an election year campaign where real issues are raised?

Stay tuned. The ancien regime in City Hall and the Courthouse is under siege.

WILLIAM B. HARRISS and his empty-headed boy-toy, Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, are under scrutiny.

Foreign-funded "developers" are in bankruptcy court and cutting loose their tired retainers.

Admiral Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor he was afraid that all he had done was to "awake a sleeping giant." The vicious varmints who stole Florida's election in 2000 and stole our democracy from us here in St. Johns County are being held accountable.


FALSE STATEMENTS AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: St. Johns County, Florida Sheriff DAVID SHOAR (Zero): "No corruption" in St. Johns County, Florida

FICTION: Colonel Klink (TV's "Hogan's Heroes"): "No one ever escapes from Stalag XIII."

What courses in epistemology did DAVID SHOAR ever take that lead him to believe that there is "no corruption" here in St. Johns County, Florida? St. Johns County is widely regarded as among the most corrupt counties in Florida (perhaps the most corrupt state of the Union). SHOAR and his predecessor spent more than $606,000 on no-bid contracts for the family uniform company of his bagman, MICHAEL GOLD.

This is a place where our City of St. Augustine put 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste in our Old City Reservoir, a coquina pit lake that is an "open sore going straight down into the aquifer and the groundwater," as former EPA Regional Administrator John Henry Hankinson, Jr. told me five years ago.

This is a place where the City and State sought to bring the contaminated solid waste back to the African-American community of Lincolnville. We stopped them.

This is a place where our City dumped 611,294 gallons of sewage in our San Sebastian River and is fined next to nothing by our corrupt State.

This is a place where our County Commissioners approved most rezonings by developers, while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from them.

This is a place where a County Commission candidate took free rent for his campaign headquarters from a developer.

This is a place where Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and State's Attorney R.J. LARIZZZ (and predecessor JOHN TANNER) don't give a fig about white collar crime or government waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, Sunshine violations, Open Records violations, or any other type of "crime in the suites."

Possibly Sheriff DAVID SHOAR Is laboring under a delusion of adequacy. How can someone in a county this corrupt reckon there is no corruption? Reckon that he is one of the corrupt?

Anti-Gay Republican California legislator busted for DUI leaving Sacramento gay nightclub (Faces)

Police in California report State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Calif.) was arrested early Wednesday morning for drunk driving. Cops say Ashburn was pulled over after leaving the popular Sacramento gay nightclub, Faces.

A police report also indicates Ashburn, a fierce competitor of gay rights who stands staunchly against gay marriage, was stopped with an unidentified man in the passenger seat of his state-issued car. While some of the details of the arrest are not known, Ashburn did release a statement after a host of reporters gained access Wednesday's arrest report.

"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," Ashburn said. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me - my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."

Sources say Wednesday was not the first time Ashburn has been at the nightclub.

Ashburn graduated from California State University-Bakersfield in 1983. He is a divorced father of four daughters. Ashburn hosted a political radio talk show on KERN 1180 AM, which aired Saturdays.


Uniform salesman, private investigator, bagman and hate site operator MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" and SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR"

Duet for Sheriff DAVID SHOAR and his Campaign Manager and St. Johns County Uniform Supplier MICHAEL GOLD (proprietor of hate websites and Historic City Media, in honor of more than $606,000 in no-bid contracts for uniforms for JR UNIFORM COMPANY, 2001-2009 (including Cardigan sweaters and Pith helmets). Sung to Madonna’s “DRESS YOU UP” Label: Sire, Warner Bros. Records

GOLD You've got cops,
and I’ve got threads to sell you
uniforms with embroidery so fine (oh yeah)
cut a check made out to me and my business
and don’t go shopping
for something better priced (woo).

SHERIFF Gonna dress you up, you’re my cops
pull over, pull over,
gonna dress’m up, they're my cops
pull over you’re guilty.

GOLD Six hundred thousand reasons why I love you
no other bids will keep you as my boo,
I’ll campaign for you as my Sheriff
and there’s no telling what we both can do (ahh).

SHERIFF Gonna dress you up, you’re my cops,
pull over, pull over,
gonna dress’m up, they’re my cops,
pull over, you’re guilty,
gonna dress you up, you’re my cops,
on my watch,
pull over you’re guilty, pull over you’re guilty
on my watch
pull over, pull over,
from Duval down to Flagler.


Sheriff whose campaign manager runs hate websites, collected $250,000 developer money, claims there's no corruption here.

Developer-directed Sheriff who leaked an FBI undercover sting and then told his fellow lugubrious goobers there's no corruption here!




What Exactly Are Florida Republican Family Values?

What do they mean by "family values" and since when do we let Republicans make movies? What classic films would Florida Republicans have considered worthy of receiving "family values" tax credits? See articles below.

1. Patton? Great film. Great victories over the Nazis. But Republicans resemble Nazis in their intolerance. Republicans love war and want to kill foreigners' families. Could be a tossup.

2. Dr. Zhivago? It's about love, poetry and war, and it has adultery. Probably no.

3. Man for All Seasons? It has a Catholic dissenter (St. Thomas More) as the protagonist and we know North Florida redneck peckerwood Republicans don't like Catholics or dissenters.

4. Gone with the Wind? It has Catholics in it, it has adultery too. It makes the Confederacy look romantic -- of course, Florida Republicans would approve.

5. To Kill A Mockingbird? Father is a widower -- not traditional family. He also represents an unpopular defendant in a racist community. Definitely not for Repugs.

6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? No way. Snow White lives with seven dwarfs.

7. Sunrise at Campobello? It's about FDR's family and his surviving polio, but Republicans have always hated FDR (and the New Deal). Probably no.

8. All the President's Men? It's about two cool journalists' triumph over wicked evil President Richard Nixon & his band of crooks. The two journalists aren't married to anyone (not even each other). President Richard Nixon is a Repug. No chance.

9. Love Story? No way. They're not married. One is Catholic. Eric Segal may have based one of the characters on Al Gore (or his roommate at Harvard, Tommy Lee Jones).

10. Birth of a Nation? It makes the KKK look heroic -- Florida Repugss would love it. That's what they need to do -- fund moviemaking about the KKK families in Florida, perhaps providing the racist rabid reactionary rebuttal to Rosewood.

NY TIMES: March 9, 2010 Florida Ponders Tax as Tool to Aid Family-Values Films

March 9, 2010
Florida Ponders Tax as Tool to Aid Family-Values Films

MIAMI — The movie “Bait Shop” had too much boozing to earn the extra rebate from Florida’s “family friendly” program of incentives for film production. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” was, well, just too violent.

“There’s a scene where the woman is fighting over shoes and she is beating another woman with a shoe,” said Lucia Fishburne, the state’s film commissioner, adding: “We err on the side of conservative.”

But for Florida’s Republican leaders, that is apparently not enough. A bill that aims to expand the state’s film incentive program — an effort to attract jobs, which is likely to pass — would add language limiting a proposed 5 percent tax credit to productions that do not exhibit or imply “nontraditional family values.”

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Stephen L. Precourt, an Orlando Republican, told The Palm Beach Post that he wanted to encourage filmmaking akin to “The Andy Griffith Show.” On Tuesday, after declining requests to clarify what he meant, he released a statement denying that the new requirement for the tax break was in any way discriminatory.

It was an effort to manage a sudden controversy. State lawmakers had promoted the bill as Florida’s best bet for job creation, but this week three words left undefined started spinning through the blogosphere with the definition “nothing homosexual allowed.” One Democratic co-sponsor pulled his name from the bill, while a post on the liberal Daily Kos blog suggested Monday that Hollywood boycott the state “to give Florida exactly what they want.”

In an interview, Gov. Charlie Crist would not say whether he supported the bill’s new family friendly definition, but Ms. Fishburne said she was worried that the program was being misunderstood. She emphasized that the family friendly credit is a bonus, not a requirement: of 81 productions that received state rebates since 2007, only 8 have applied for what is now an extra 2 percent on top of the standard 15 percent. Six, including the Disney movie “Old Dogs,” have received it.

The new bill would increase all the incentives, creating a minimum tax credit of 20 percent for eligible productions with a budget of $625,000 or more. The family friendly bonus would go up to 5 percent, but the program would still be optional.

Right now the bonus can go only to movies suitable for a 5-year-old, with “cross-generational appeal” and “a responsible resolution of issues.”

Ms. Fishburne said the new bill’s language was more confusing.

“ ‘Nontraditional family values,’ we will have to be told what that is,” she said. “I’m not going to define it; there are a lot of different traditional values out there.”

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative group that supports the bill, said that “traditional” means marriage between a man and a woman. He called the proposal “a brilliant idea” that was pro-family, not anti-gay.

But Brian Winfield, a spokesman for Equality Florida, said it was not just gay people who would be left out.

“There are millions of families led by single parents, there are millions of families led by gay couples, or families with children being raised by an aunt or uncle or grandparent,” Mr. Winfield said. “Every one of these fits into what has been offered as a possible definition of ‘nontraditional family values.’ Who knows who it would discriminate against?”

Gary Fineout contributed reporting from Tallahassee, Fla.

No Gays in movies and TVs subsidized with tax dollars, Republican lawmaker demands

Reprobate STEPHEN PRECOURT (R-Cro Magnon)

TALLAHASSEE (AP) - Movie and TV productions with gay characters could be ineligible for a tax credit being considered in the state House.Current state law grants tax credits on productions considered "family friendly" — with no smoking, sex, nudity or profane language.The proposal by Republican Rep. Stephen Precourt of Orlando would increase the credit and expand the field of disqualified productions as those that include any "exhibit or implied act" of nontraditional family values and gratuitous violence.Precourt says he's not targeting the gay community but that shows with gay characters would not be something he'd want "to invest public dollars in."Florida Together director Ted Howard says "instituting 1950s-style movie censorship does nothing to support real-life families."


Please do your civic duty. Report corruption to the FBI:
Honorable James Casey,
Special Agent in Charge (SAC)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
6061 Gate Parkway
Jacksonville, Florida 32256
Phone (904) 248-7000
Fax: (904) 248-7404

You will be glad that you did. Your community thanks you.

Ponte Vedra Recorder cartoon

Sheriff DAVID SHOAR claims "no corruption" in St. Johns County -- his credibility gap is deeper than the Grand Canyon!

Hate Website misleads readers, commits torts, while receiving ad revenue from Google

GOLD now gets Google advertising money and his site is therefore "commercial"

Dear Mr. Gold:
1. Kindly remove the photograph of me from every single post that is made under your "Ed McCarthy" NIC on your website,
2., This is an illegal misappropriation of likeness, defamatory and an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
3. Your tortious actions falsely give the impression that I post on your website.
4. It is wrong -- and actionable -- to mislead people to believe that I post on your hate website.
5. This is defamatory, misleading and untrue. I have never posted on your hate website.
6. From this day forward, cease and desist from all misappropriation of license, libel and unfair trade practices, which are remediable in federal, state and administrative law fora. See, e.g., F.S. 540.08.
7. Since receives ad revenue from Google, this is commercial use of my likeness, and it is illegal. F.S. 540.08. Do see that you comply with this Cease and Desist letter immediately.
Herein faileth not.
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084
904-829-3877 (direct)

Times-Union: In railing against Klan and supporting social causes, Jacksonville native honored

In railing against Klan and supporting social causes, Jacksonville native honored

By David Hunt

Stetson Kennedy, a Jacksonville native whose name has become synonymous with human rights, is on the short list for an award from the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

The foundation Tuesday released its list of finalists for the Citizen Service Above Self Honors. The foundation credited Kennedy, 93, a historian who’d years ago infiltrated groups like the Ku Klux Klan, for remaining active in human rights causes while building up a lifetime of achievement. In 2009, he participated in a march to protest physical mistreatment and the economic plight of migrant workers.

The nomination says:

“For more than three quarters of a century, Kennedy has taken part in struggles against war, totalitarianism, peonage, disfranchisement, chain gangs, infant mortality, unattended illness, homelessness, unemployment, and denial of educational opportunity. Kennedy continues to actively stump for freedom. Stetson Kennedy’s lifetime of advocacy on behalf of those who have been denied basic human rights continues to be an inspiration and credit to the state of Florida and to his fellow Americans.”

An awards committee is reviewing the finalists before a ceremony scheduled for March 25.

WRecKord Refused to Cover Contretemps At St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee, Though the Police Were Called

You've got to hand it to the St. Augustine WRecKord. Its MORRIS PUBLISHING owners paid 36 cents on the dollar, escaping hundreds of millions of dollars of bondholder debt. The WRecKOrd's Reichwing Republican owners don't feel particularly obligated to cover the news, having lost money for years on coverup-prone newspapers that are lickspittles and toadies for Republicans. They print Ann Coulter every week and refused to bring us the news that Barack Obama was President on their front page in 2008. They refused to report the four year prison sentence of Republican Bernard Kerik (at all).

So, mirabile dictu, when the Police were called to a contretemps at a Republican Executive Committee meeting, the WRecKord (Peter Guinta) was called too. Not one word about the event was ever published in the St. Augustine Record.

If you're looking for the news, you'll have to read the Liberty Caucus report, below, because Republicans don't let non-Republicans attend their meetings.

What do you reckon?

Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida: No Dissent Allowed: St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee

No Dissent Allowed: St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee

Sun, Jan 24, 2010

Latest Press Releases, News
No Dissent Allowed: St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee


No Dissent Allowed: St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee

St. Johns County, January, 21, 2010 — The leadership of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee (SJCREC) dealt a blow to the grassroots and derailed recent attempts to reconcile long standing differences with the Republican Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida (RLCNEF) Thursday night when it refused to allow RLCNEF members access to a meeting where State Committeeman Jon Woodard stepped down and State Senator John Thrasher was elected to Woodard’s position. The election of Thrasher to Woodard’s State Committeeman post clears the way for Thrasher to run for the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chair position to be vacated on February 20th by Jim Greer. There is a level of excitement within the party that has not been seen in a long time surrounding the race to succeed Jim Greer. Greer’s re-election a year ago has resulted in a leadership implosion within the RPOF. Thrasher, a sitting Republican State Senator, is seeking to lead the Republican Party out of its doldrums. Unfortunately for Thrasher, the SJCREC appears to have added fuel to an internal firestorm.

The latest in an unfortunate series of events occurred when the majority of the SJCREC members were not given notice the meeting would be closed in Executive Session, and only received the news upon their arrival at the meeting that night. To further exacerbate matters, SJCREC officials – allegedly in preparation for the vote on Senator Thrasher – performed a “purge” of the membership list for the stated purpose of removing members who had missed three consecutive meetings pursuant to state bylaws.

The purpose and accuracy of the list purge is in question, however, as RLCNEF member Cliff Johnson who is also a sworn member of the SJCREC and who had not missed three consecutive meetings, was told that he was not eligible to attend the Executive Session or vote in the Special Election.

While SJCREC leadership claimed that access to the Executive Session was limited only to SJCREC members, at least four members of the Duval County Republican Executive Committee who support Thrasher were allowed inside while known opponents of Thrasher and supporters of Sharon Day – also a candidate for State Chair – were told they must stay outside.

In a protest against the double standard and blatant cronyism on display, RLCNEF Chair John Stevens entered the meeting despite being told not to do so. Stevens was then asked to leave and refused. SJCREC officials called police and Stevens was escorted from the meeting. No charges were filed.

Chairman Stevens desired to attend the meeting to ask Thrasher what position he would be taking on Orange and St. Johns County REC members removed by Greer through the never-before-used grievance process last year. Stevens commented regarding the incident, “It was unfortunate that it had to come that. The RLC is working for accountability within the Party and we would prefer to do so quietly from within; but if members are being locked out and denied an opportunity to be heard then we are left with no option but to make our voices heard publicly.”

This incident in St. Johns is eerily similar to a situation that occurred last year in Orange County where Orange County Republican Executive Committee (OCREC) Chair Lew Oliver prevented members of the OCREC from voting in the election for Oliver’s seat; the people barred from voting were supporters of his opponent, Deon Long, who is now running for the 24th District of the U.S. Congress.

Many of the registered voters of Florida agree with the message of the Republican Liberty Caucus. The

RLC’s message has begun attracting large numbers of people statewide. Support has poured out from around the state as this struggle with the corruption within the party has continued. Many of the recent changes in the RPOF leadership started at the grassroots level with large groups of dissenters, such as the RLC, calling for honesty and transparency in our elected leaders.

About The Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida:

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida is a coalition of traditional conservatives and liberty minded Republicans working within the Republican Party to promote individual liberty, smaller government, state and national sovereignty and the Constitution. The caucus advocates the return of our nation to the values and intentions of the Constitution and our founders.



Frank Zilaitis
Phone: (321) 480-7597