Florida GOP says Dems ‘grandstanding’ over Medicaid expansion

Representative Dennis K. Baxley, FL District 23

Joe Saunders of BizPac Review reports, “Point made. Now, let’s get this session over with. That was the message Tuesday from two key Republicans about House Democrats’ decision to slow down business in protest over the GOP’s refusal to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Slowing floor action to a crawl, House Democrats under Minority Leader Perry Thurston invoked the state Constitution Tuesday to force line-by-line readings of bills before they could be discussed on the House floor.”

“By purposefully slowing deliberations at this critical juncture, I and other House Democratic Caucus members seek to bring greater public attention to our desire for legislative passage of the health coverage expansion plan that the Florida Senate approved [Tuesday,]” Thurston said in a statement.

“The maneuver marred what had so far been a reasonably congenial session, said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, a veteran legislator and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,” notes Saunders. Read more.

Avik Roy from Forbes reports, “On April 11, the GOP-controlled Florida House of Representatives passed an innovative, consumer-driven replacement for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, one that could be a national template for free-market health reform. But Republicans in the state Senate rejected the House plan, electing instead to expand Medicaid, as Obamacare prescribes. Senate Republicans’ inexplicable decision makes it likely that free-market reform will fail in Florida, an outcome that could easily have been avoided.”

“The House, led by Speaker Will Weatherford and PPACA Committee Chairman Richard Corcoran, passed a bill in which uninsured adults with children would receive $2,000 a year—plus their own contribution of $300—to fund a health savings account called a CARE account, which recipients could use for any health expense of their choice. They could use it to buy catastrophic coverage, or a high-end concierge primary care physician, or anything in between. In order to benefit from the subsidy, recipients would have to meet work requirements similar to those in the landmark, bipartisan 1996 welfare-reform law,” notes Roy.

Army officers career ruined in the name of Islam

In light of the recent terrorist bombing in Boston, national attention is refocused on the case of Thomas More Law Center client, Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley (pictured above).  In 2012, LTC Dooley was fired from the National Defense University’s Joint Forces Staff College for teaching an elective course on Radical Islam because it was offensive to Muslims.

LTC Dooley was reassigned to a weapons integration unit at Fort Eustis, VA.  In this new position, Dooley again received an outstanding Officer Evaluation Report (OER).  Click here to read LTC Dooley’s most recent OER.

Moreover, LTC Dooley’s case went before the Army Command Selection Board comprised of three generals and two colonels.  The board recommended he be retained on the Battalion Command selection list.

However, political correctness again ruled the day.  Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, ordered Lt. Col. Dooley’s name removed from the command list.

In the Sunday April 28th article, Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough reported on these latest developments.   Click here to read the entire article.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

Thomas More Law Center is renowned as a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center’s mission is to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America.  In courtrooms throughout our Nation, Law Center lawyers fight for the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, the sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense. The Law Center does not charge for its legal services, and relies on tax-deductible donations from concerned patriotic Americans and charitable foundations. To learn more click here.

Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education? (+ video)

Karen Bracken ( http://tnacc.weebly.com ) presented Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education on 18 April 2013 at the Chattanooga TEA Party meeting. Introduction is by Mark West, President of the Chattanooga TEA Party.

Bracken states, “Jeb Bush is deeply embedded in this [Common Core] process”.

Karen Bracken with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

ABOUT KAREN BRACKEN:

I am almost 64 years old and the grandmother of 4 almost grown grandchildren.  Gladly I won’t have to worry about Common Core affecting them.  But lord knows the indoctrination of our children has been going on in our public school system for many years.  But at least I won’t have to worry about my grandchildren getting sucked up in to Common Core.  BUT they will have children someday and I just felt I had to do something.  I am already very active in my community.  I have a national Agenda 21 coalition, a Tennessee Legislative Team, speaking engagements on Agenda 21 and Common Core, local and state politics and just day to day life.  My goal is to educate people about what is happening in our country.  What shocks me most is how many people refuse to admit or to see what is taking place.  It is a true indication that our public school system has been failing students for many years.  I learned about Communism in school.  I learned what it was and how it destroys free will, free thinking and freedom in general.   Whether we want to admit it or not Communism is what we are fighting in our country right now.  It might have names like Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, Smart Growth, Biodiversity, Common Core but at the end of the day it is Communism just dressed up in a new wrapping.  They keep changing the names when people start to catch on.  Think about it.  We had Global Warming and when it was exposed for the lie it is they changed the name to Climate Change in order to keep the hoax alive.  I pray ever day that people get their heads out of the sand and stand up for our country because once freedom is lost it can never be regained.  Our children are what they want.  They know that in one generation they can brainwash enough children to finally get what they want.  The total destruction of America and freedom.  Remember “Freedom is never more that one generation away from extinction.”  Ronald Reagan.

To learn more about Karen Bracken visit her website by clicking here.

Southern Poverty Law Center Exposed!

Joel Gehrke from the Washington Examiner reports:

Family Research Council (FRC) officials released [the below] video of federal investigators questioning convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II, who explained that he attacked the group’s headquarters because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified them as a “hate group” due to their traditional marriage views.

“Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups,” Corkins tells interrogators in the video, which FRC obtained from the FBI. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.”

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported that Corkins, who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, said in court that he hoped to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” As Bedard explained, “the shooting occurred after an executive with Chick-Fil-A announced his support for traditional marriage, angering same-sex marriage proponents.”

Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch states, “The SPLC, the well-heeled propaganda machine that smears conservatives for cash, is an integral part of the ongoing Leftist effort to demonize and destroy legitimate conservative voices — like our American Freedom Defense Initiative, which they also classify as a “hate group” — by lumping them in with the likes of the KKK. The SPLC turns a blind eye to the real hate that comes from the Left and Islamic supremacists, and offers with its hate group listings not only an incitement to violence, but a handy tool that lazy Leftist mainstream media journalists use to try to intimidate people away from supporting our message of human rights. The SPLC richly deserves its place on AFDI’s Threats to Freedom Index.”

Tom Trento, well known SE Florida radio talk show host, did a five part series on the SPLC. Trento states, “The TrentoVision Team launches an investigation into the so-called, Southern “Poverty” Law Center to find out why the Obama Administration works so closely with this “filthy rich” front group for the radical left! Our special guest is Tony Perkins, President of the prestigious Family Research Council. August 2012, Tony was the target of a radical homosexual activist who wanted to kill him and 14 others at FRC. Throughout this five-part series we will look at the finances, pro-gay agenda, pro-Islamic jihad agenda and the all around anti-American activities of the SPLC.”

Below is part one with special guest Tony Perkins, Executive Director of the Family Research Council, of a five part series on the SPLC:

Watch the other four parts of the series:

Monday April 22 – SPLC overview, with Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-Z1Y4G88Y

Tuesday, April 23 – Peter Sprigg, Homosexual Activism at the SPLC, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_gHRA_0EwU

Wednesday April 24 – Gen. General Boykin, SPLC & the Muslim Brotherhood, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6eI5kC6Y8E

Thursday April 25 – Charlotte Allen – SPLC finances – The Weekly Standard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eniTNIVlkTo

Friday April 26 – Ken Klukowski, FRC and Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition, TOPIC?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9iOrvwzzqk

Florida legislature passes ethics and campaign finance reform bills

Dan Krassner, executive director of the independent government watchdog group Integrity Florida issued the below statement on the passage of historic ethics reform and campaign finance reform bills by the Florida Legislature:

“Lawmakers are beginning the process of cleaning up the government and restoring trust with Floridians. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford promised sweeping ethics and campaign finance reform and they have delivered. After a 36-year drought, Florida lawmakers should be commended for advancing good government reforms in our state Capitol. Integrity Florida is grateful to see most of our research recommendations included in the ethics and campaign finance legislation that has been passed. While there is still more work to do to make ethics laws stronger and to fix a broken campaign finance system, Florida is finally moving in the right direction on these issues.”

Integrity Florida wishes to thank Phil Claypool, the retried executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics for his contributions to our research and expert legal analysis throughout the legislative process. We greatly appreciate our ethics reform coalition partners, including Progress Florida, The Tea Party Network and Common Cause Florida for their great work to improve the ethics reform bill. Former State Senator Paula Dockery paved the wave for ethics reform to be realized by advocating for the issue for many years and we are honored for her guidance and contributions to the cause,” stated Krassner.

Highlights of the ethics reform legislation (SB 2 and SB 4):

  • The public would have four new ways to start ethics complaints through U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Governor’s Office. Those four entities could refer credible complaints to the Florida Commission on Ethics. While not the full self-initiation of investigations that the ethics commission should have, this process is a good step to fight corruption and reduce frivolous complaints since these agencies would provide an additional vetting process for higher quality complaints to reach the ethics commission. Integrity Florida encourages U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, FDLE and the Governor to create “report corruption hotlines” via phone, web and email to collect anonymous tips from the public to address public corruption.
  • Financial disclosure forms will be posted online in a searchable database for the public to access.
  • The Florida Commission on Ethics will begin moving towards an electronic filing system for financial disclosure to make the process smoother for filers and to provide better quality information for the public to access in an easier to read format.
  • More ethics training for public officials will be required.
  • Fine enforcement will be enhanced by allowing the ethics commission to garnish wages of officials owing fines to the commission and it extends the collection period from five to twenty years.
  • Voting conflict standards and disclosures have been strengthened.
  • Expands ethics code restrictions on gifts from vendors to state officials.
  • Strengthens revolving door rules to limit legislators from lobbying for two years after they leave office.
  • Creates new restrictions to prohibit officials from obtaining crony jobs based on their public office.

Highlights of the campaign finance legislation (HB 569):  

  • Raises contribution limits to $3,000 for statewide candidates and $1,000 for legislative and local candidates.
  • Requires 24-hour disclosure of contributions and expenditures in the final days of state-level campaigns and a more rapid filing schedule for campaign reports year-round for candidates and committees.
  • Streamlines independent committees by eliminating committees of continuous existence.
  • Directs the Florida Division of Elections towards creation of an enhanced statewide campaign finance database. 

Related Integrity Florida research:

Corruption Risk Report: Florida Ethics Laws
June 6, 2012

Corruption Risk Report: Financial Disclosure
July 30, 2012

Florida’s Broken Campaign Finance System – Integrity Florida Report to the Florida House of Representatives Ethics & Elections Subcommittee
January 16, 2013

Florida’s Senators far apart on recent gun legislation

According to Congress.org Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) are polar opposites when it comes to votes on gun legislation. The following is a list of bills recently considered in the US Senate and how Florida’s Senators voted on each.

Legislation – Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Amendment – Vote Rejected (57-43)

This proposal from Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas would allow someone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon the right to carry it in any state which has a concealed-carry law. The amendment states that permit holders from other states must abide by the laws of states in which they are located, though it would prohibit states from placing restrictions on individuals with out-of-state permits, treating such individuals as if they carried an “unrestricted” permit. The remainder of the failed amendments included proposals to reinstate and expand a ban on so-called assault weapons; to ban ammunition magazines holding more than ten rounds; and to prevent veter ans from being deemed “mental defectives” – thus losing their ability to own firearms – without a court decision. Two amendments did pass muster. The first, offered by Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, would penalize states and localities for publicizing gun ownership data. The second, from HELP committee leaders Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., would overhaul the nation’s mental health system. (Roll Calls 100-105)

Sen. Bill Nelson voted NO
Sen. Marco Rubio voted YES


Firearms Legislation – Background Checks Amendment – Vote Rejected (54-46)

The Senate voted on a flurry of amendments to the first major legislative response to last December’s massacre in Newtown, CT. In a sign of the difficulty facing proponents of stronger gun laws, most of the amendments were defeated, beginning with a proposal by pro-gun senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. to strengthen background checks. The Toomey-Manchin amendment would have expanded the current system to include all sales at gun shows and on the Internet. Though initially hailed as a critical breakthrough, the amendment’s prospects died a slow death in the days leading up to the actual vote, as fence-sitting senators from both parties declared their oppos ition one by one. Ultimately five Democrats opposed the amendment – Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. (Reid voted “no” for procedural reasons which would allow him to call up the amendment for a vote at a later date.) Baucus, Begich and Pryor all face difficult re-elections next year in states that favored Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential contest. Four Republicans supported the amendment – Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, and co-sponsor Toomey.

Sen. Bill Nelson voted YES
Sen. Marco Rubio voted NO


Firearms Legislation – Republican Substitute Amendment – Vote Rejected (52-48)

The second failed amendment was a Republican substitute offered by Judiciary committee ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Most Republicans have decried Democratic proposals for reducing gun violence as threatening to Americans’ Second Amendment rights and have emphasized in their own proposals a “law and order” approach. This is reflected in the Republican alternative, which would make it a federal crime to purchase guns on behalf of those legally barred from owning them; expand the scope of mental illnesses barring some individuals from owning firearms; and create a special task force focused on attempted firearms purchases by felons and fugitives. Nine Democ rats supported the Republican proposal, while two Republicans opposed it.

Sen. Bill Nelson voted NO
Sen. Marco Rubio voted YES


Firearms Legislation – Straw Purchases Amendment – Vote Rejected (58-42)

Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt. co-sponsored an amendment that would make it a federal crime to buy guns on behalf of someone legally barred from possessing them, a practice called straw purchasing. The amendment fell just two votes short of adoption. (In a concession to the reality of a likely Republican filibuster, Majority Leader Reid agreed to raise the threshold for adoption of all amendments to 60 votes instead of the usual 51.)

Sen. Bill Nelson voted YES
Sen. Marco Rubio voted NO

Senator Nelson has a mixed record in support of the Second Amendment. The Political Guide reports:

In 2004, Senator Nelson supported the Assault Weapons Ban and stated that AK-47s and assault rifles are for killing, not for hunting. He asserted that law enforcement at every level of government is against terminating the assault weapons ban. He also stated that he was a defender of the constitutional right to bear arms and a defender of the right to have guns of all kinds except when getting to the common sense that it is not worth it in our society to be able to purchase AK-47s. In addition to supporting the Assault Weapons Ban, Senator Nelson voted in favor of the Protection in Lawful Commerce Act.”

This issue is not going away according to President Obama. Let us see how Florida’s Senators vote on future Second Amendment related legislation.

Pinellas County politicians wasting money defending themselves in lawsuit to limit their terms

Philip Blumel from Florida Term Limits Blog reports:

May 2nd is approaching and four Pinellas County commissioners are worried. In December, a circuit court judge refused to dismiss the suit against them for violating their legal term limits. Now they face a judge again on May 2 in the final hearing of the case.

In 1996, 73% of Pinellas voters passed 8-year term limits but these renegade commissioners refused to insert the term limits amendment language into the charter as required by law. Then when term limits went into effect 8 years later, they refused to step down.  After all, the language isn’t in the charter!

Citizens were outraged and, after friendly court decisions around the state including a unanimous Florida Supreme Court decision that term limits are constitutional, they filed suit. The three plaintiffs on the people’s side represent diverse political, ethnic, professional and geographical faces of Pinellas County. This is appropriate as term limits are not a Republican versus Democrat issue but one of the people versus unchecked political power.

Shortly after the adverse decision in December, the commissioners doubled their legal team adding four additional lawyers. Yes, that’s right, they spending an enormous amount of the people’s money to fight the clearly expressed will of the people. And why? To directly benefit themselves.

In addition to lawyering up, commissioner Ken Welch publicly declared in February that he is seeking another position in local government and may not serve his full term. One of the reasons, he said, is that the judge may decide he cannot serve his full term. The plaintiffs hope part of the reason also is that he knows resigning is the right thing to do. Fellow scofflaws Karen Seel, John Morroni and Susan Latvala should follow Welch’s lead.

Citizens may attend the hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2nd at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Courtroom C, Clearwater.For more detail on the case, go here.

Of Florida’s 20 charter, or “home rule” counties, 12 have term limits. Miami-Dade voters just approved 8-year limits last November. In all but one of the dozen, the popular term limits laws are respected and enforced. It is hoped that on May 2 the citizens will triumph and a decade of political corruption in this beautiful county will be swept away.

(Pictured, the three plaintiffs Maria Scruggs, H. Patrick Wheeler and Beverley Billiris.)

City of Sarasota: No to new businesses, yes to panhandling

Sarasota City Commissioners

The City of Sarasota Commission voted to impose a moratorium on new bars, taverns and nightclubs. This action led City Attorney Robert M. Fornier to write a letter (below left) to the Commission to “determine if there is legally sufficient justification to impose a moratorium”. For many residents this moratorium is looked upon as a back door way of imposing a noise ordinance within the city limits.

Click on image for a larger view.

There is a City Commission election on May 14th and one of the hot button issues is a noise ordinance. After a March runoff there are three candidate vying for two city commission seats. Two of the candidates, Richard Dorfman and Susanne Atwell have said they will vote against the noise ordinance. Susan Chapman favors the noise ordinance. The City Commission postponed a vote on the noise ordinance until after the election. This moratorium will only add to the controversy.

Sarasota artists have created a Facebook page and Noise Ordinance website allowing citizens to post comments about the proposed ordinance.

Photo courtesy of Channel !0 News Tampa, FL.

The City Commission in February allowed panhandling. 

Lee Williams from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported, “The City of Sarasota and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed a consent decree that stops police from ‘interfering with the exercise of First Amendment rights’ when dealing with the homeless. The decree, a 60-day injunction, prohibits police from interfering with panhandlers — someone standing on a sidewalk soliciting assistance — unless they impede traffic, pedestrians or create an unsafe situation.”

Panhandlers are becoming more visable and aggressive within the City of Sarasota. Citizens have complained and yet the current City Commissioners have decided that panhandling is a free speech right.

This consent decree with the ACLU led to multiple panhandlers showing up at major intersections and soliciting handouts from passers by and those in cars at stop lights. According to Linda Hersey from Sarasota Patch, “Most of the Patch readers who responded to a post about panhandling on city streets are frustrated by the numbers of people with a hand out, asking for money. Sarasota city commissioners plan to fast track a proposed ordinance that would curb panhandling on Sarasota streets.”

Currently in the City of Sarasota a select group of businesses are being targeted, while panhandlers are welcomed. At least until the Commission meets again?

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men

Not every election that is important is held in November of each year. There are many local races for public office and referendums that are voted on in out-of-cycle elections. There is a growing  concern that out-of-cycle elections ultimately suppress the vote. Cases in point are two elections being held in May 2013. One is in Sarasota, Florida and the other in Los Angeles, California.

PRNewswire reports, “Entravision Communications Corporation (NYSE: EVC), a diversified Spanish-language media company, today announced a multi-platform campaign to encourage Los Angeles Latino voters to participate in the upcoming runoff election for Mayor, being held May 21, 2013. With only 16% of registered voters turning out for the Primary Nominating Election that was held in March, Entravision is committed to using its radio and digital assets in Los Angeles to raise awareness of the upcoming election and instill the importance of participating in the democratic election process.” [My emphasis]

Sarasota Today, in an Editorial titled “Why I vote (even though I am apathetic)“, notes, “Ap·a·thy. lack of interest of concern. P·a·rty. a large group of people. This is the reason some people believe causes such a low turnout in our City Elections (which are held in March and May). Apathy is what takes us from a 75% voter turnout in November to a 17% voter turnout  four months later in March. Although I disagree with the premise, I am going to accept that this must be true (mostly because I am sick of fighting about it – and I just want to find a solution).” [My emphasis]

It appears citizens from Sarasota to Los Angeles are taking an interest.

PRNewswire reports:

“At Entravision, we believe that the Los Angeles Mayoral election is extremely important to the future of the city. As an active member of the community, it is our civic duty to encourage as many citizens as possible to exercise their right to vote,” said Walter F. Ulloa, Entravision’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With this election being only the third time in the last 75 years that an incumbent mayoral candidate has not been on the ballot in Los Angeles, this election offers a unique opportunity for citizens to vote with their voice and help shape the future for the city. By leveraging Entravision’s multiple media properties in Los Angeles, we will provide a valuable service to the community and help encourage voter participation for this special election.”

Sarasota Today coined the phrase “Apathy Party”. The Sarasota Today editorial analyzes the impact of the Apathy Party:

So here is my attempt at giving specific examples of why you (assuming you don’t vote) should consider leaving the Apathy Party.

Reason 1: You are more likely to lose your job due a decision made by a City Commission, than by the President of the United States.

Here is my reasoning. If you are young and live in Sarasota most likely you are in the “service” industry. You probably work in hospitality, retail or the restaurant business. All three of these industries (which are the largest in the City) depend HEAVILY on tourism. So, if the City Commission votes to install parking meters or by chance bans live music – then the tourists will probably not come downtown anymore. So when tourists leave, revenue leaves – and businesses suffer. When business suffers – people lose jobs. The City Commission makes decisions each month that effect local businesses short term and long term. If you think voting in the national elections will change your life – you should really pay attention to local elections.

It’s math.

City makes “anti-business” decisions = Businesses fail = Jobs Lost = Bad Tourism Experience = Bad Economy.

City makes “smart business” decisions = Businesses grow = More Jobs = Good Tourism Experience = Healthy and Diverse Economy

Reason 2: Your wallet will be more effected by the policies supported by the City, than by the Federal Government.

I always hear that people “vote with their wallet”. If that is true, than you definitely want to reconsider voting in local elections. Everyone’s income has taken a hit due to a horrible economy. Although things are improving, we still need to find ways to save money month-to-month. Tax Loop Holes don’t help anyone except big corporations. So how does the local government help us save money? Let’s start with the big one – rent. If you are like most people, rent is your biggest expense (or if you are a home owner – you property taxes and loan payment). The City of Sarasota has had a “no-growth” policy that has back-fired on our economy and it is lowering property values and raising taxes – and thus it is making your rent higher. For example, our zoning code only allows a developer to build 50 units per acre for a 10-story building. If you do the math – you can quickly see that these are BIG EXPENSIVE units – which means BIG rent. These restrictions are everywhere throughout the city – even in deprived neighborhoods like Rosemary District.  Since it is close to impossible to build a 10-story building with 50 unites and make it financially work – nobody builds. When nobody builds – there is less taxes going into the City’s revenue base. So, the City has to raise taxes and the buildings that exist in downtown raise rent (because they can due to lack of inventory).

It’s math.

It is math. Historically, off-cycle elections have lower voter turnout. Lower voter turnout leads to the few dictating to the many. It is not time for the many to be heard?

Rubio: Leaving immigration the way it is, it’s amnesty (+ video)

Senator Marco Rubio’s comments on the US Senate floor:

Excerpts from Senator Rubio’s floor speech: “As far as the economy of the United States, a couple points. First of all, you can’t compare this bill to nothing, you have to compare it to what we have now. And what we have now is worse. What we have now is costing our economy. You have people in this country illegally, they get sick, they go to the emergency room, and the tax payer pays for it. You have people in this country that are having children, who are U.S. citizens and they go to our schools. They are driving in our streets without a driver’s license, which means they have no car insurance – which means all of us have to pay more in car insurance as a result. This is not good for us, it’s obviously not good for them, but it’s not good for us. What we have today is devastating and horrible for our economy. We can’t continue to have this, we have to fix this problem, and we have to fix it in a way that is fair to the people that have done it the right way, and fix it in a way that makes sure that this never ever happens again. And I believe that the bill we are working on does that. And I look forward to the input that my colleagues have.

“One more criticism I hear, ‘It’s being rushed through.’ That’s just not true. Just yesterday we voted on a series of amendments that I had less than twelve hours to review. And these amendments dealt with a fundamental right, the Second Amendment constitutional right. This bill has been online already for 48 hours. The Committee on Judiciary won’t even begin to consider amendments to this bill until next month. People are going to have three to four weeks to review it. It’s posted on my website, people can go on there now and see it. And beyond that, it will be available all these weeks, then it is going to go through an extensive committee process, then it will be brought here – hopefully to the floor – where we can debate it openly as well. Look, I am not claiming the bill is perfect – I am sure it can be improved. And I hope my 92 other colleagues will work hard to improve it, because we have an opportunity to do something important.

“My last point I address to many of my fellow Americans who share my deep commitment to upholding the Constitution of the United States, to limiting the size and scope of government, to encouraging the free enterprise system as the best way to create economic opportunity. America is a nation of immigrants, but both Republicans and Democrats have failed to enforce our immigration laws, and as a result we have millions of people here illegally. We are not going to deport them. So let’s secure the border, and let’s identify these people – let’s undergo a background check, get in the back of the line, pay a fine, pay taxes, no federal benefits. We all wish we didn’t have this problem, but leaving it the way it is, it’s amnesty. We have to solve this problem, and I hope we will.”

Sen. Diaz de la Portilla preparing dual attack on Florida’s American Laws for American Courts legislation

Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

Florida Family Association reports it, “Has learned from several sources that Republican Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is planning two attacks to derail SB 58 Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla plans to offer a hostile amendment when the bill is heard in the Florida Senate Committee on Rules AND when the legislation is considered on the floor by the full senate.”

Senator Diaz de la Portilla pushed the same hostile amendment in the 2012 Florida Legislative Session.  The senator also voted against SB 58 during the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs meeting on April 8, 2013.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla is the only Florida Republican that has voted against the legislation which is intended to prohibit Florida courts from considering certain provisions of foreign laws including Islamic Sharia law.

Ahmed Bedier, former CAIR Tampa Executive Director who now heads The United Voices for America, sent an email dated April 12, 2013 to supporters, which praised their group’s influence on Senator Diaz de la Portilla’s vote “1. This week, Florida Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla became the first Republican lawmaker to vote against the bill. Which tells us our campaign, the emails, phone calls and lobbying, is making a difference.” 

Bedier defended former University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian, who was indicted and pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to provide funding to the terrorist organization the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).  He also defended two University of South Florida students who were arrested for allegedly carrying explosives near the Goose Creek, S.C naval base.

FFC asks, “Is it possible the most ardent adversary of SB 58 in the Florida Legislature, Senator Diaz de la Portilla, is waging battle against Florida’s American Laws for American Courts legislation without communicating or corroborating with the most fervent Islamic activist and adversary of SB 58 in Florida, Ahmed Bedier?”

Bedier sits on the Tampa human rights council.

Here is an investigative video done by The United West on Bedier at the Muslim Capitol Day 2012:

Rubio sends letter to Florida TEA Party Patriots

Senator Marco Rubio has been in the lead on “immigration reform”. The contents of the US Senate bill on immigration reform is still unknown. This has led many of his TEA party supporters to question his involvement in furthering such a bill. The pressure has caused him to respond.

J.R. Sanchez, Director of Outreach, emailed a letter signed by Senator Rubio to his Florida constituents. The letter states in part:

“Over the years, the Patriot movement and l have worked together on many causes and I want to respond personally to correct some misinformation regarding my involvement in the work to reform our country’s broken immigration system – misinformation that has prompted visits by some of you to my offices across Florida and in Washington.

First, there is absolutely no truth to the idea that l will support any immigration legislation that is rushed through Congress in typical Washington fashion. Already, l have fought and continue to tight to secure commitments for greater transparency through committee hearings and mark-up sessions that will allow senators on the Judiciary Committee ample opportunities to review and amend any immigration legislation before it is considered by the full Senate for additional debate and scrutiny. As a result, not only has the Judiciary Committee agreed to delay its first hearing, on this issue, it has agreed to add an additional one next week.

l will not relent from the ongoing fight to ensure the American people’s voices are heard before any votes are cast on this important government reform, but one fact is true: no bill will be rushed through the Senate as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.”

Senator Rubio states his goals are “simply”:

l. I want to participate in the debate and help influence any immigration reform legislation in order to ensure that common sense limited government principles are applied.

2. I will not support anything that makes our immigration system worse, that does not truly and illegitimately secure our borders, or that leads to further immigration in the future.

WDW will continue to monitor and inform our readers on the progress of this bill and its impact on the state of Florida.

HuB Sarasota asks: Do you Y.O.V.O.? Well you should!

The HuB located in Sarasota, FL has launched a new Vote Sarasota website. The website is unique in that it allows those who sign up to become “virtual volunteers” in any local election.

Here is the video introducing Vote Sarasota:

The City of Sarasota will hold elections for two city commission seats on May 14th. What data shows is off cycle elections suppress the vote. Getting out voters is difficult as they tend to miss key elections like this one. City government can and in many cases does have a greater impact on local taxpayers and businesses than what happens in Washington, D.C.

So what is Y.O.V.O.? Y.O.V.O stands for You Only Vote Once. According to the Vote Sarasota website:

We created this website to motivate residents to vote in City elections in Sarasota on May 14th. Our voter turnout is 17% in City elections (versus 75% in November elections). Joining Y.O.V.O. is simple. You register on our website, and then you can search for friends or neighbors and remind them to vote via email.

Also, we have opened up our entire platform for anyone to build an application to help get out the vote. View our OPEN API.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where did you get the data?

The Supervisor of Elections office provides Voter data to anyone who requests. We built this website to make it easy for anyone to search and use this data to improve voter turnout.

Why should I take the time to look-up friends and remind them via email?

It is important to us and the City for everyone to vote. Unfortunately, with an off-cycle election most people simply forget to vote. A reminder from a friend or neighbor can improve voter turnout drastically.

Why do we need to email them, why not call them?

Unfortunately calling people is difficult, and most people don’t want to make the calls and they certainly don’t want to receive them. We also don’t want to just have random people calling people asking for their vote. It has proven ineffective. The only option left is to have volunteers contact people they KNOW and send them a nice email reminding them to vote.

This application has great potential. According to the developers they plan on making it commercially available to others. This is the new wave of GOTV. No more annoying robo calls and people knocking on your door. Just sign up, point and click to become a virtual volunteer.  It is that easy.

To learn more visit The HuB Sarasota.

Tim Tebow first athlete presented “Great Floridian” award

Governor Rick Scott today presented one of the first “Great Floridian” awards to football legend Tim Tebow. The “Great Floridian” designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.

Governor Rick Scott said, “It is an honor to present one of our first of 2013 ‘Great Floridian’ awards to football legend and Florida native Tim Tebow. Tim is a great role model for young athletes, and throughout his career, he has proven to be a true competitor and humanitarian. Tim is not just an athlete, he is a true example of someone who lives to serve others.  It is my distinct honor to recognize football legend, proud University of Florida Gator and humanitarian Tim Tebow with the ‘Great Floridian’ Award.”

Tim Tebow said, “I am so honored to be selected by Governor Scott for the Great Floridian award. It has always been wonderful to call Florida home.”

Only 66 individuals since 1981 have been given this distinct honor, and those honorees represent former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes, Florida Supreme Court Justices and others.

The Christian Science Monitor notes, “Tim Tebow joins a distinguished group of ‘Great Floridians,’ including Thomas Edison and Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez, but, until now, no athletes. Could it be a calculated political move by an unpopular governor in an election year?”

Tebow has become a target both on and off the football field for those who disagree with his strong moral stances on social issues.

On February 21st CNN reported, “NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled an appearance at a controversial Dallas-area church. The outspoken Christian quarterback was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church on April 28. The church is led by Robert Jeffress, who has been widely criticized for views against homosexuality, Islam and Mormonism. Tebow, announcing his decision Thursday on Twitter, said that he was canceling his appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

Sally Quinn of the Washington Post wrote in January 2012:

There was also something really annoying about how people made fun of him for being a person of faith. I can see that for some, the kneeling or “Tebowing” on the field might seem a little much. But then you see players cross themselves all the time and nobody seems to have a problem with that. If Tebow didn’t live his faith it would be another story. But he does.

Because I couldn’t watch, I picked up a book I was reading, “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God” (with David Javerbaum.) Yes, it’s a satire. I thumbed through the book and found a chapter titled “Games On Sports.” Now, before Tebow I would never have read that chapter. But I was thinking, maybe there will be something revealing in here about this Tim Tebow phenomenon.

And here I quote “God” from his memoir, 1:6. “Sport is mythic; sport is epic: sport is a condensation of all human activity; it is often said that sport is a metaphor for life; it would be more accurate to say that life is a metaphor for sports.”

This definitely got my attention so I kept on reading, even though I was still listening to the roar of the crowds as the Patriots scored another touchdown.

“As a sports fan,” continues “God” in 1:18, “ I understand how much the games mean to both other fans and the athletes: the passions they stir, the tempests they roil, the loyalties they build, and above all the rivalry, violence, and rioting they so justifiably evoke.”

What drives a lot of people crazy is the fact that so many fans (43 percent in a recent survey) actually believe that Tebow is being helped by God, that God has overseen his fabulous six game winning streak and his overtime shocker over the Steelers. Some even called that a “miracle.”

Tim Tebow is a role model in the most important way possible. He understands that what he is can only be a gift from God. Congratulations Tim! Well deserved.

Media Ignoring Gosnell Trial Because It Puts Abortion Issue ‘Starkly Into Relief’

Family Security Matters posted this video of Charles Krauthammer stating that the media is ignoring the Dr. Kermit Gosnell (pictured above) trial because it puts the abortion issue ‘Starkly Into Relief’.

PHILADELPHIA (TheBlaze/AP) — An unlicensed doctor fled out the back the night the FBI raided a Philadelphia medical clinic in 2010, a witness testified Thursday as a murder trial centered on the unorthodox facility. It is just the latest horrific revelation to surface in the trial.”

Abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing a woman patient and seven babies allegedly born alive, and with performing illegal, late-term abortions at his thriving inner-city clinic. Co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, is charged with billing as a doctor and participating in a corrupt organization.”

Eight former employees have pleaded guilty, some to third-degree murder, and have testified this month about nightmarish, often-chaotic practices at the clinic.”

Ashley Baldwin spoke Thursday of starting there at age 15 through a high school training program, and soon assisting with abortions and administering intravenous drugs. Baldwin, now 22, said she worked nearly 50-hour weeks, often well past midnight, when abortions were routinely performed.”

At least twice, she saw aborted babies move after the procedure, only to have Gosnell explain that it an involuntary response. In one case, she said, “the chest was moving.””>At least twice, she saw aborted babies move after the procedure, only to have Gosnell explain that it an involuntary response. In one case, she said, “the chest was moving.”

Her mother, Tina Baldwin, had started at the clinic in 2002, referred by a business school where she had studied to be a medical assistant. She mostly worked at the front desk, where her duties included giving patients medicine to start their contractions.”

Her mother, Tina Baldwin, had started at the clinic in 2002, referred by a business school where she had studied to be a medical assistant. She mostly worked at the front desk, where her duties included giving patients medicine to start their contractions.”

Read more.

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