Monday, December 10, 2007

Florida refuses to let Texas lead Nation in Assholeity

Creationism in the Classroom: Florida and Texas, Then the Nation

Polk County Unhappy with Darwin:


The Ledger: A majority of Polk County School Board members say they support teaching intelligent design in addition to evolution in public schools.

Board members Tim Harris, Margaret Lofton and Hazel Sellers said they oppose proposed science standards for Florida schools that lists evolution and biological diversity as one of the "big ideas" that students need to know for a well-grounded science education.

Board member Kay Fields said last week she wants intelligent design, which is promoted by some Christian groups, taught in science classes in addition to evolution.

"If it ever comes to the board for a vote, I will vote against the teaching of evolution as part of the science curriculum," Lofton said. "If (evolution) is taught, I would want to balance it with the fact that we may live in a universe created by a supreme being as well."

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like exodus

Investors withdraw $1.2 bln from Florida fund: WSJ

(Reuters) - Investors promptly withdrew $1.2 billion in funds from Florida's local government investment pool after the fund had halted withdrawals for a week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The investment pool, hit by subprime mortgage-related investments, now has about $10.8 billion in its main operating fund, compared with $27 billion in September, the Journal reported.

Like similar funds run by other states, the Florida Local Government Investment Pool was a short-term fund, similar to a money market fund, for school districts and other local governments to earn interest on cash holdings.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"He never knew what hit him"


Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Florida's pension fund owns more than $1 billion of the same downgraded and defaulted debt that sparked a run on a state investment pool for local governments and led officials to freeze withdrawals, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News through an open records request.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yakuza into mortgage fraud?


This is strong stuff -- have we proof?

Mortgage fraud has turned entire city neighborhoods and suburban developments into vagrant-riddled ghost towns. Block after block in many cities are vacant, due to real estate crime, sub-prime foreclosure and abandonment. As banks foreclose on many of these over-priced homes, the homes remain vacant because the phony appraisal don’t reflect their actual value and no one is going to buy a house encumbered with a loan, which exceeds its worth.



The government has active investigations on several high profile banking, mortgage and real estate organizations, and has set hundreds of crooked insiders to prison. According to a compilation of press releases from the United States Department of Justice and industry sources, the cases involve everything from phony title insurance to assigning phony ratings to shaky investment bonds, including an Indiana couple’s charge that a bank failed to follow specific Truth in Lending regulations.



Mortgage fraud is big business, especially for organized crime. Analysts claim that in Japan, the Yakuza is responsible for at least ten per cent of the nation’s mortgage fraud. Drug rings and organized crime have become so involved in mortgage fraud, that police officers in many metro areas are now concentrating on mortgage fraud and money laundering.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy


You sly little spender, you:

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.
Sample Amex Bill

Somehow this didn't get into the Repbulicanned debate in St. Petersgurgle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov 28 (Reuters) - If nothing is done to combat global warming, two of Florida's nuclear power plants, three of its prisons and 1,362 hotels, motels and inns will be under water by 2100, a study released on Wednesday said. Reuters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rudy Giuliani, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race in Florida, is viewed by his party's primary voters there as the best candidate to lead the fight against terrorism, a survey released Wednesday says. CNN


To all you poor, terrorized Floridians back in the Heimat:


Check it out. Listen to Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. Find out how you, ignorant of history, are determined to repeat it.



Monday, November 26, 2007

Florida Land of Murphy's Law


Good heavens, wasn't Yanni – Yanni! arrested in Manalapan last year following an alleged domestic dispute? Celebrities + Florida = trouble

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We are shocked. shocked.

Giuliani's business ties create challenge

. . .drew Giuliani into a complex partnership with the family of a controversial Hong Kong billionaire who has ties to the regime of North Korea's Kim Jong Il and has been linked to international organized crime. . .
add to the list of clients a Las Vegas development firm looking to build a casino in Singapore. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the firm has ties to a Hong Kong firm run by the son of a Chinese gambling magnate.

This revelation comes two weeks after the Wall Street Journal revealed another heretofore undisclosed client of Giuliani's firm: the government of Qatar, a Persian Gulf state. . . WaPo

But Kerik's indictment last Thursday indicates that the White House was dealing with bigger problems: Kerik's ties to the mob. TPM
So far, the New York Times has nothing to say. UPDATE! On Nov. 24, the New York Times grasped the idea of the Kerik story, essentially by cloning its competitors' accounts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Floridians Consistent in Political Moronicity

CAMPAIGN 2008

Poll shows Rudy Giuliani is most popular with Florida voters (with poll)

TALLAHASSEE - Rudy Giuliani is the most popular presidential contender among Florida voters, outpacing rival Republicans and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, according to an Orlando Sentinel poll released Monday.

With the election less than a year away, the former New York mayor leads Clinton 50 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided, in a head-to-head matchup. . . .

She fares particularly poorly among male voters. Sixty-two percent of men said they would not support the New York senator, who in a recent speech denounced the "all-boys' club of presidential politics."

If Giuliani fails to win the Republican nomination, the survey showed the race more of a tossup, within the poll's margin of error, with Clinton narrowly trailing Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney.

Thompson would defeat Clinton 48 percent to 44 percent, while Romney edges Clinton 46 percent to 45 percent, according to the survey.
(*&(*


Any fascist DICKtator in a storm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Pleasures of Polk County

Polk Authorities Finding More Marijuana Grow Houses

Published: November 19, 2007

LAKELAND - The numbers are striking.

Deputies and police in Polk County say they have raided and dismantled 34 marijuana "grow houses" in the county through the first 10 months of 2007.

In all of 2006, that number was three.

Who wants Rudy?


People who hate women, for one:

"Put me down as anybody but Hillary," said Jeff Carroll, 51, a band director at a private school in Fort Lauderdale. "Giuliani could be the president."

"Every woman in the country is going to vote for Hillary," scoffed Brian Landis, 43, a tree surgeon from Deerfield Beach, shaking his head in disgust. "They're just going to vote for her. I like Giuliani. It's who I know. It's who I trust." Rudy Giuliani A NASCAR Fan?

People who admire someone who will say anything to get elected, for another:

Now, Rudolph W. Giuliani says, he "really" is a NASCAR fan.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Guess Who?

He goes around the country on abortion saying, “Well, I reduced -- or abortions came down in the City of New York while I was mayor.” Well, they declined everywhere in America. The one place they did not decline was in the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation that he ran. The number of abortions increased during the course of his mayoralty in the hospitals he ran. Now, not only did the number of abortions increase, but late-term abortions, what the mayor and others like to call partial-birth abortions -- we became a magnet for late-term abortions. In New York City Health and Hospitals Corporations, we had some of the best doctors in the country performing late-term abortions in New York City facilities under Mayor Giuliani. So it isn’t just a matter of he was pro-choice; he implemented that in concrete policy. The City of New York is one of the very few places -- now, this started before Giuliani, but he continued -- that will pay for the abortion of any woman who’s not covered by Medicaid, where it’s not a medically necessary decision. Rudy Giuliani paid for thousands of those abortions with city funds, when Medicaid wouldn’t. Wayne Barrett


Wingnut Penilians, Know Thy Leaders and Your Bloody Selves

AMY GOODMAN: You talk, Craig Unger, about American evangelism in this book. You talk about George Bush’s religion. And you talk about Tim LeHay, as well as the new right’s multibillion-dollar effort bankrolled by billionaire philanthropists to completely reframe the national debate. Talk about -- begin with George W. Bush and his religion and his story of his conversion with Billy Graham, which he says isn’t true.

CRAIG UNGER: Right. Well, the widespread story -- and he wrote about it, or at least it was ghostwritten, in his campaign autobiography for 2000, A Charge to Keep -- it’s a story George Bush has told again and again, that in 1985 Billy Graham was in Kennebunkport, Maine with him and his parents, and the two men went for a long walk, and it was at that moment that he began to accept Christ.

Well, Billy Graham himself says he has absolutely no memory of it. But more than that, I talked to Mickey Herskowitz, who’s a Houston sportswriter and a close friend of Bush Sr., and he was hired to ghostwrite that campaign autobiography, A Charge to Keep. And as he was ghostwriting it, during that process, he had about twenty sit-down interviews with George W. Bush in Austin, and he very specifically asked Bush what conversation took place with Billy Graham. At the time, Bush had absolutely no memory of the conversation himself. So Herskowitz sort of prodded him, and he said, “Well, would he have said something like, ‘Are you right with Jesus?’” And Bush said, “No, he wouldn’t have said that.” Well, at a certain point, Herskowitz gave the tapes to Karen Hughes, who was Bush’s communications director, and in the course of finishing the book, Herskowitz's words were put in Billy Graham's mouth.

Now, I later went back, and I found a guy named Arthur Blessitt. And it turns out that even earlier, it was Blessitt who really converted Bush to Jesus. In 1984, he had made a trip to Midland, Texas and then met at a Holiday Inn. There were three people present at the meeting: Bush, a member of his Bible studies group named Jim Sale -- I talked to Jim Sale -- and Arthur Blessitt himself, who I also interviewed.

And Blessitt is most famous for carrying a twelve-foot cross of Jesus around the world. He’s been to more than 300 countries, walked 30,000 miles. And he had a Jesus Coffee House in Los Angeles, where he was most famous for what was called the toilet baptism.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Delray Beach finally good for something, sez NY Times

Delray Beach, a funky outpost of sobriety between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, is the epicenter of the country’s largest and most vibrant recovery community, with scores of halfway houses, more than 5,000 people at 12-step meetings each week, recovery radio shows, a recovery motorcycle club and a coffeehouse that boasts its own therapy group. %^*&^*&^*

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A warm Florida welcome for Pat Robertson's scrotal sacmate

Seminoles assume responsibility for further infantalizing of Florida

Florida reaches gambling deal with Seminole Tribe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov 14 (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday announced a 25-year compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to offer Las Vegas-style gambling on tribal lands across the state.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Florida has the most peculiar accidents

Woman's body is discovered in a trash can

STAFF REPORT

SARASOTA COUNTY -- An 87-year-old woman was found dead inside a trash can on Sunday at her home in the 5300 block of Anthony Lane.

According to a preliminary report, there were no signs of foul play, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Chuck Lesaltato.

Lesaltato said the death was accidental.

Deputies went to the home to check on Margaret Hutchinson after her daughter called to say she had not heard from her, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.

A woman who answered the phone at a relative's house said that she had no idea what happened.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rudy, they barely knew ye

Client base


Giuliani Partners has been categorized by various media outlets as a lobbying entity capitalizing on Giuliani's name recognition.[10][11] Clients of Giuliani Partners are required to sign confidentiality agreements, so they do not comment about the work they get done or the amount that thay have paid for it.[1] Giuliani himself has refused to talk about his clients, the work he did for them, the compensation he received from them, or any details about the company.[1]

One of Giuliani Partners' clients during this time included an admitted drug smuggler and millionaire founder of companies that perform electronic information gathering (datamining) on individuals, Hank Asher, who according to a shareholder in the company, hired Giuliani for his "influence with the federal government to enable Mr. Asher to take an active role in Seisint as a chief executive officer despite the allegations about his drug dealing." Giuliani helped Asher's company get $12 million in government grants.[1] After Asher's past was publicly revealed, he resigned from the company; Giuliani defended him to newspapers without mentioning that Asher was a paying client.[1] After Asher's resignation, investors in the company, Seisint, looked into how much Giuliani Partners had been paid: $2 million a year in fees, a commission on sales of Seisint products, and 800,000 warrants for Seisint stock, which would prove valuable when Seisent was sold to Lexis Nexis for $775 million. One investor sued the board, claiming that Giuliani's contributions had not been worth the large amount paid.[1][12]

In representing a pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, in a case against the Drug Enforcement Administration, Giuliani Partners negotiated a $2 million fine and no further penalty for what the DEA called "lax security" at plants that produced OxyContin, which the DEA said was being used as a recreational drug. The lead DEA investigator later said that Purdue Pharma got off easily in the case because of Giuliani's connections to government officials.[1] Giuliani later represented Purdue Pharma in a recently settled case in which the DEA accused the company of marketing OxyContin by playing down its level of addictive properties. Giuliani met with government lawyers six times to help negotiate a settlement in the case.[1]

Forbes reported in November 2006 that Giuliani Partners accepted fees from penny stock firms, made alliances that have gone nowhere and formed pacts with businesses and individuals that have come under scrutiny by regulators and law enforcement officers.[13] For instance, Giuliani Capital Advisors accepted 1.6 million warrants from Lighting Science Group at 60 cents, a fee of $150,000 and a promise to raise cash. The company went bankrupt, losing $412,000 on sales of $137,000 in the first part of 2006. Another venture CamelBak, started out under Giuliani's consulting arrangement with $31 million in sales, but was run into the ground with various missteps, including having the disgraced Bernard Kerik sit on its board. Forbes said Giuliani's most controversial deal was throwing in with a 2004 project with Applied DNA Sciences. Its backer, Richard Langley Jr. had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and commercial bribery in another penny stock scam.[14][15]

Mexico City hired Giuliani Partners to consult on its crime rate, hoping for a drop in crime like that New York City had experienced in the 1990s. Giuliani toured the city for a day and Giuliani Partners produced a report analyzing ways in which crime could be reduced. However, in the year after the plan was implemented, crime dropped 1% and some city officials expressed regret at hiring Giuliani for a $4.3 million fee. Some called it a "$4 million publicity stunt".[1] Some of the recommendations that were put into place included using Breathalyzers on drunk drivers and targeting "squeegee men".[16]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fab Florida Reading for your Christmas List!



Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy


Florida Feature: Read about how some of the largest agri-bizzes in the Penile State -- Tropicana, Lykes Bros., e.g. -- profited off the backs of slave laborers in Immokalee and Lake Placid.




The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Florida Feature: See how Florida became the laboratory for disaster capitalism after the hurricanes that FEMA failed to do much of anything about. Read about how some Penile geniuses saw an opportunity for Rapture Escapist Riches and formed Emergency Concierge Helpjet -- when disaster strikes, they'll evacuate you in style -- and give you the VIP treatment in the Shangri-La of your choosing.

Penile State mourns loss of Conradic social vivacity


[Convicted tax evader Conrad] Black is free on $21 million (£10 million) bail and, barred from returning to his native Canada, awaiting sentencing at his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

In e-mails to Men’s Vogue magazine published recently, he said that he had been reading “apposite passages from ecclesiastical authors, especially Cardinal Newman” and trying to spend an hour each day drinking a “good French white wine” on his terrace.

“This experience tends to reduce social activity, not so much because of fewer invitations, though there is some of that, but because it has been such an ordeal anyone would naturally be less sociable. The subject of these travails becomes an 800lb gorilla nobody mentions.
Timesonline

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Does Florida Print Licenses to Defraud Its Weakest?


Over 600 companies operating in Miami alone are under investigation for defrauding Medicare - that's six hundred - about one-third of those operating in the area, according to NPR.

The dollar totals are staggering: Law enforcement officials say they've uncovered more than a half-billion dollars in fraudulent claims this year in South Florida alone.
One has to wonder about a state that freely enables so many people to prey upon the sick and elderly under the auspices of the Division of Corporations.

"For example," Lopez says, "you have patients receiving two artificial legs in a year … when they never had … an amputation from a hospital."

Yes, you read it correctly: Six hundred companies - many of them allegedly scamming on medical equipment like this piece of choice Penilian shite --

MIAMI (Reuters) - One Miami-area medical equipment supplier managed to bill the U.S. government so often for a wheelchair it ended up costing $5 million.

Last year south Florida accounted for 80 percent of the drugs billed across the entire United States for Medicare beneficiaries with HIV/AIDS, even though the region only had about one in 10 of eligible HIV/AIDS patients.

Fraud against Medicare, the federal health insurer for America's 43 million elderly and disabled, has become so prevalent that it may rival the illegal drug trade as a crime of choice in a state long renowned for cocaine cartels, political shenanigans and swampland real estate scams.

In one case, said Alex Acosta, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, a company had billed Medicare for millions of dollars worth of specially formulated asthma medication prepared at what the owner claimed to be his own local pharmacy.

"The person wasn't a pharmacist, he was an air conditioner repairman. When we raided the so-called pharmacy where he mixed all these aerosols it was nothing more than a broom closet where all we found was a can of tar," Acosta told Reuters.

Fraud targeting health-care programs for seniors is not unique to south Florida, where many elderly Americans have retired to end their days in the sunshine.

But the authorities say it's become a huge and growing industry here.

"If you're a criminal and your sole goal is to make money, health-care fraud looks increasingly attractive," said Acosta.

"You can make several million dollars from health-care fraud and the penalties are much less severe than they are for narcotics trafficking," he added.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees hundreds of billions of dollars in annual Medicare spending, reported last month that south Florida seemed to be playing an unusually large role in the provision of infusion drug therapy -- medicines delivered intravenously outside a hospital or nursing home -- to Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with HIV or

AIDS.

'A SMALL DENT"

In the second half of last year just three counties -- Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach -- accounted for half the total infusion drug therapy charges nationwide, and nearly 80 percent of the amount of drugs, billed across the entire United States for HIV/AIDS patients on Medicare, the report said.

It said the disparity was even greater before, most notably in the first half of 2005.

At the same time, only about 10 percent of national Medicare beneficiaries with HIV/AIDS lived in the three south Florida counties between July and December 2006.

There was no clinical explanation for the high level of billing in south Florida, according to the report.

In some cases, it said claims submitted by south Florida Medicare providers billing for HIV/AIDS services in the last half of 2006 totaled more than $1 million for each patient.

Local prosecutors have decided to go after the crooks.

Acosta said there was a dedicated team of about 60 people set up to combat Medicare fraud in south Florida, including about two-dozen FBI agents.

He added that his office was prosecuting about one in four health-care fraud cases nationally but complained that more resources were needed for prevention and enforcement.

His own budget for the fight totals less than $1 million per year, Acosta said.

"We could triple the number of cases prosecuted, yet again, but that's only going to make a small dent," he said.

Malcolm Sparrow, a fraud expert at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, said Florida had long been identified as "a hotbed of criminal entrepreneurship."

Medicare fraud in the state, as elsewhere in the U.S. health-care system, is pervasive, he said, but the U.S. government needed to invest more time and money to discover its real extent.

"The rule with any white-collar crime is the well perpetrated cases are not detected. The ones we catch are the stupid, foolish and outrageous," said Sparrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Florida Justice

A friend who was in an auto accident writes:

I was advised to talk with a lawyer, who started a lawsuit against the other guy's insurer. It had prospects, since he was charged with causing the accident, and I had injuries.

The guy's insurance company offered $2,600 to settle. For medical expenses, what can that do, and it's before my lawyer takes his cut.

My lawyer sketched out the options. One was to go to trial against the other guy's insurance company. But, he noted, jury trials of this kind are, by Florida law, a charade. I.e., even though this whole matter now is between me and the other guy's insurance company, if we went to trial, the insurance company would not be visible in the courtroom. Instead, the jury would only see me and the other driver. It would seem like I'm suing him, and that he personally would have to pay any monetary award.

The fact that he even has insurance would not be allowed in court.

When in fact, he's just a legal prop. His lawyer is hired and paid by his insurer, any settlement would be paid by them. If I lose, his insurer, a billion dollar corporation, will go after me for costs and attorney's fees. But the jury would not be allowed to know this. They'd be tricked into thinking the "cause of action" is a matter between two individuals, when in fact that's the last thing it is.
I'll bet your media never told you that. How do you like your Florida corporate "fuck you" law now?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The drama pricing


The median price for a home in the Sarasota-Bradenton market has dropped $109,200 since the beginning of 2006, based on the September sales report by the Florida Association of Realtors. Back in January 2006, the median was $353,500. Now it is 31 percent less.

"The sellers have reduced their pricing; they've done the drama pricing." says Nancy Riley, this year's president of the Florida Association of Realtors.

SH-T

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not to bee


Mystery bee-killing disease returns to Florida


Cox News Service
Published on: 10/25/07

WASHINGTON — Unexplained honeybee deaths have recently started showing up in Florida, the same state where the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder was first discovered a year ago, the Agriculture Department's top bee scientist said Thursday.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blows for "blowjob"

It's ok to Tase:


"In short, the FDLE determined that our officers acted well within state guidelines," university President Bernie Machen said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Two officers who were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation were reinstated Wednesday, Machen said.

But don't use the phrase:

Meyer then began giving a speech that used a crass term for oral sex

Naughty boy


Atop his list of favorite donees: the family-values-focused Heritage Foundation, which has published papers with titles such as "Restoring a Culture of Marriage."

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Quorum of Pantywastes



"Mommy mommy, I didn't do it, I didn't poop in my pants - he did, and he did, and he did"

Friday, October 19, 2007

State of De Nial

Florida is now scrambling to reduce property taxes and the cost of homeowner's insurance. Over the summer, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill to roll back property taxes to last year's level. Next year, Floridians could vote on a constitutional amendment that would lower property taxes by increasing the tax exemption given to permanent residents. "Is Florida Over?" WSJ

So the counties, in a panic, are making sure property values go ever higher to offset any reductions.

Mysterious spread of good sense


"Instead of everyone making the assumption that they're going to move to Florida, now it's more of an open playing field," says Dave Schreiner, national vice president at Pulte Homes' Del Webb communities. "Is Florida Over?" WSJ

Thursday, October 11, 2007

External Costs


A 2006 study called “The External Costs of Foreclosure” by Dan Immergluck of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Geoff Smith of the Woodstock Institute showed that “each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a single-family home results in a 0.9 percent decline in value.” Stephen Frater, SH_T

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

not a fire sale

“St. Joe Co., Florida’s largest private landowner, plans to eliminate more than 75 percent of its workforce, sell about 100,000 acres of land and scrap its dividend to contend with the worst housing slump in 16 years. ‘This is not a fire sale,’ CEO Peter Rummell said today on a conference call. ‘We are not dumping stuff on the market and we are not going to make stupid decisions but there are things that we believe have reached their height in pricing.’” Bloomberg, via the Housing Bubble Blog.

The family that Tases together stayses together


Walk into Sam's Club and it's already Christmas! Here's an EZ gift idea for all your loved ones:


Maxpedition Hook & Loop Modular 3-Clip Holster:


Brought to you by:

Sunday, October 7, 2007

We the People

Mike Gravel speaks a language that is not Democrat, not Republican. It's oddly like a language of the people:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Media Reform Conference Sat. Oct. 6

The Florida Media Project is holding a Media Reform Conference on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Sarasota.

Somehow not all the traditional media managed to mention it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Make your political points, but with decorum

We Penilestatians, cheered by the mild sun, the happy waves, the cooling Trade Winds, always speak with respect of public figures, no matter what reservations we might have of them in private. But just look if you can bear it at this:

On the off-chance that anyone thought I was overstating the pure, malignant evil of corpse-humping Republican rent-boy Rudy Giuliani, I thought I'd take a look at his recent pronouncements.

Continuing his scab-scratching exploitation of the 9/11 attacks, the hideous Draculoid slaphead stated that, for him, "every day is an anniversary of September 11th."
Language, TUT TUT! and for no other reason -- certainly not because we disagree one whit with the actual thought of this post -- we emit our Tuts to Mr. Between the Hammer and the Anvil.

We trust this will put him so securely in his place that his future posts will show some manners. If not, we'll never link to him again.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Send in the anti-clowns

According to this site, the story of Kamel Zaki -- the guy whose Homeowners Association is trying to suppress him -- is going national:

This HOA looks like a bunch of clowns across the United States and probably beyond. Treat your homeowners fairly and do what is best for your neighborhood, even if it is not what you might personally want.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Amerikan nightmares

via The Housing Bubble Blog:

The Associated Press. “Sherrill Zenie said all she wanted was a piece of the American Dream, but what she got was ‘a kick in the rear.’”

“Zenie is one of a legion of a relatively new type of homeowner, a ‘flipper,’ who sought fast money by rapidly buying and selling homes to capture a profit on each as prices soared. Speculators who bought multiple homes like Zenie were once a boon to the U.S. economy when they pushed home prices to record levels over a five-year period. Now their unsold homes are the bane of a sickly housing market.”

“‘Nobody is looking, either to rent or to buy,’ says Sherrill Zenie, of Delray Beach, Florida, who is stuck with two unsold condominiums there after profitably selling two others.”

“She owns the condos outright, as well as her own home, part of a vacation home in Vermont. But taxes, maintenance and a home equity credit line cost over $2,000 a month for the two condos alone, a stretch for Zenie, who is out of work on disability.”

“‘I wanted to follow the American Dream,’ she says. ‘I wanted to be an entrepreneur and make some money — not a killing, but some money. Instead, I got a kick in the rear.’”

“Her husband has found a job in another state to help pay the bills. ‘Am I panicking? I would be hysterical if my husband weren’t in Mississippi working.’”

“‘People were buying a condo in Florida, or five condos in Florida before they even broke ground, and before they even had the condo half-way built they would sell them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits,’ notes Jim Gillespie, CEO at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.”

“‘The big lesson is that even during hot times, if you’re going to invest in real estate or stocks or bonds, gold or silver, or anything, and you try to time the market and invest with the intent of flipping in a very short period of time, eventually you are going to get burned,’ Gillespie said.”


Does it occur to someone like this that "the American Dream" is perhaps not truly traceable to some hogwild crapshoot that has little to do with reality and less connection to common sense?

On NPR today: why a guy works for Blackwater: So he and his wife can go on a real vacation, to a biker convention, in style:
Patty Herbert shows me their new air-conditioned trailer. They paid cash for it recently. And they'll use it to tow their two Harley Davidsons behind their Ford F350, to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. link

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maybe

“For the first time in more than a decade, Palm Beach County’s taxable value is expected to drop next year by 5.4 percent, according to preliminary estimates. But Mayor Lois Frankel said she saw a silver lining.”

“‘I think that it’s better to have more realistic prices,’ she said. ‘The cost of housing has been too high. Maybe we’ll get some reality here.’” HBB

Don't Panic: It just eats your brain

Something your Tourist Development Authority will probably not be marketing:

(we don't see any Florida media carrying this story)

6 die from brain-eating amoeba in lakes

PHOENIX - It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases." According to the CDC, the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL'-erh-eye) killed 23 people in the United States, from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials noticed a spike with six cases — three in Florida, two in Texas and one in Arizona.

In central Florida, authorities started an amoeba phone hot line advising people to avoid warm, standing water and areas with algae blooms. via

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Never mind that, let's authorize $200 billion more for Iraq....

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- In a sign that the housing slump is far from over, home resales slipped for the sixth month in a row in August as the credit squeeze forced many sales to fall through, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

With sales of existing homes falling 4.3% to a five-year low seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.50 million in August, inventories of unsold single-family homes rose to an 18-year high.

Prices are lower in 15 of the 20 cities compared with a year ago, according to Case-Shiller. The worst declines are the Rust Belt and in the formerly boom towns along the coasts. Prices are holding up in the Pacific Northwest and in areas of the South.

Prices are down 9.7% in Detroit, 8.8% in Tampa, 7.8% in San Diego, 7.3% in Phoenix, 7.2% in Washington and 6.4% in Miami. Prices are up 6.9% in Seattle, 6% in Charlotte and 3.8% in Portland.

There are few signs of a bottom in the market. The home builders' confidence matched its lowest level ever in September. Housing starts fell to a 12-year low in August, an indication that builders are pulling back. However, foreclosures are rising, bringing even more must-sell supply on the market.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rocketing to 32nd

[Florida's] Eighth grade readers jumped from 41st to 32nd in national ranking. WUSF

Defying crude correlations of wealth and educational attainment, the Penile State ranks 9th nationwide in number of places with per capita incomes above the national average.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fingering the waters


Rising Seas Likely to Flood U.S. History

Ultimately, rising seas will likely swamp the first American settlement in Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting.

In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased.

. . .

Sea level rise is "the thing that I'm most concerned about as a scientist," says Benjamin Santer, a climate physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"We're going to get a meter and there's nothing we can do about it," said University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the February report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris. "It's going to happen no matter what — the question is when."

. . .

The change will be a gradual process, one that is so slow it will be easy to ignore for a while.

"It's like sticking your finger in a pot of water on a burner and you turn the heat on, Williams said. "You kind of get used to it." AP

Friday, September 21, 2007

"This is Florida. . .you never know"

Web dispute rages in Sarasota

What he calls liberty, they call a breach of community rules

By BILL HUTCHINSON

SARASOTA COUNTY -- Kamel Zaki has lived in nearly a dozen countries and found something to disagree with, he admits, in every one of them.

But the first place he has been officially threatened for expressing an opinion is Palmer Ranch.

Zaki is at odds with the homeowners association in his 254-home community called The Hamptons, which wants to prevent him from sponsoring a Web site he calls HamptonsNBC.

As suggested by what those initials stand for -- Neighbors for a Better Community -- Zaki, a former president of the homeowners association, has some issues with how The Hamptons is being run these days.

"Grievances and propaganda" is how the association's attorney described the Web site's content, in a certified letter Aug. 9 demanding that Zaki cease any use therein of the trademarked name The Hamptons.

Zaki is willing to gamble as much as $10,000 on hiring legal representation to contest the fine and the Web site ban, but his wife, Eugenia, is nervous, because, as she says, "this is Florida," and "you never know." SH_T

Letter to Zaki from the lawyers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sell risk to yourself, and pocket the savings

Bob Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, had calculated in March that homeowners could save an average 24 percent on their premiums, based on special session legislation passed in January.

[Property Insurers] "made $150-billion over the last three years," he said. "That's $525 for every man, woman and child in America."

Hunter outlined several reasons why insurance companies weren't lowering their rates more than expected: some companies use affiliates that sell reinsurance essentially to themselves. . .

Not only are the actual savings closer to 12 percent, they do not include numbers from the state's biggest carriers.
St. Pete Times

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Incredible shrinking home equity

Money talks:


Many of the worst hit cities are in Sun Belt areas that experienced outsized home-price growth during the real estate bubble, according to Arnold Slesers, an associate economist at Moody's. The home price correction in many of these cities will be severe as unsold new homes and leaps in foreclosures add to already big inventories.

The Stockton, Calif., metro area, where Moody's predicts a 25 percent price drop, will be the hardest hit among the 100 most populated cities surveyed.

. . .

Just a tick or two behind Stockton in the Moody's survey were two Florida metro areas, Palm Bay/Melbourne (down 24.9 percent) and Sarasota/Bradenton (down 24.8 percent). All three markets are on almost the same peak-to-trough schedule, with Moody's forecasting that Sarasota will bottom out in the third quarter of 2008, a quarter sooner than the other two.

Florida will continue to experience Hurricane Bush for some time

Two Florida tales from NPR (click to get full stories):

Morning Edition, September 19, 2007 · Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, who chairs a subcommittee overseeing U.N. activities, wants to know why Florida's Everglades National Park was taken off a U.N. list of World Heritage sites considered "in danger." Environmental groups say the decision reflects not progress, but politics. [Buuuuuusssshhh administration fuckup, of course]

Morning Edition, September 19, 2007 · The real estate market around Miami is one of many areas where housing prices have plummeted. Realtor John Paul Rosser sells plots of land to condo developers. But even he doesn't understand why some builders are still in the Miami market.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movin' on up


Just another day in the sinkhole economy:

New information just released about home foreclosures shows Florida is near the top of the list. More than 30,000 homeowners faced foreclosure in August.

That number moved the state from number seven to number three in the country when it comes to foreclosures. WFTV

You're a UF Student: Stop asking questions


A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested after trying to ask U.S. Senator John Kerry about the 2004 election and other subjects during a campus forum. ABC


Friday, September 14, 2007

Found and Lost

Found Money

What is Miami-Dade getting in return for public-money incentives to private businesses? Very little, according to a report by Florida International University.

Based on data from the Office of Community and Economic Development, FIU researchers studied the “number and quality” of jobs created through incentive programs. The study found that 41% of the jobs created in Enterprise Zones paid less than $25,200 annually. What’s more, over the past 10 years, companies that received a portion of the tax rebates in Enterprise Zones were not even required to hire residents from those low-income communities.

“A lot of businesses treat these incentives like found money,” says Bruce Nissen.
Florida Trend
Lost Jobs

South Florida has slipped out of the top 10 in a ranking of the nation's hottest job markets.

The region ranked 10th in an analysis by Bizjournals.com in mid-2006, but dropped to 16th in the latest analysis of mid-year 2007 employment statistics.
South Florida Business Journal
It's not even about jobs

Getting back to those "EZ Subsidies," here's an interesting finding:

"the Targeted Jobs Incentive Fund (TJIF) is not sharply targeted on jobs, but is at least as much focused on real estate investment."
That's on p. 23 of the full FIU report here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Funnier than the Joker



Mr. Greenspan said while he knew about the questionable subprime lending tactics, he did "had no notion of how significant they had become until very late," the show quotes him as telling Ms. Stahl. "I really didn't get it until very late in 2005 and 2006." WSJ

North Port Shocker

In August, North Port issued permits for 12 new homes -- the lowest monthly total in five years. The city issued more than that in a day back in 2005 and 2006, when North Port led the region in new home construction. SH_T

Yes. But the rumor is that North Port has seen 1,100 foreclosures during the same period. Perhaps people are simply finding free houses to live in without going through the tedium of actually building them.

Then there's this.

And this:

Lee County thinks more than 2,000 residents have filed petitions arguing their property isn’t worth what the county estimates.

They have an ally in Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. He’s one of them.

Kottkamp filed a petition indicating his home in North Fort Myers is overvalued by 38 percent. The appraiser’s office estimated the home value at $1,382,920. News Press.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Walking Talking Spanglish down the hall

Some in Florida opposed the Spanish-language event. "This is a very, very bad precedent," said David Caulkett, vice president of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement.

"It's already difficult to keep track of politicians in English," he said, adding that English "is the official language of Florida and the de facto language of our country."

The Floridians for Immigration Enforcement. . .FLIMEN. . .The geniuses that want you to boycott Budweiser.

Politicians need to be issued GPS ankle bracelets and English Dictionaries, pronto.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Penile State gets mention in Artsy Article

Styles come and go, movements briefly coalesce (or fail to, more likely), but there has been one huge and dominant reality overshadowing Anglo-Euro-American art in the past 25 years, and The Shock of the New came out too early to take account of its full effects. This is the growing and tyrannous power of the market itself, which has its ups and downs but has so hugely distorted nearly everyone's relationship with aesthetics. That's why we decided to put Jeff Koons in the new programme: not because his work is beautiful or means anything much, but because it is such an extreme and self-satisfied manifestation of the sanctimony that attaches to big bucks. Koons really does think he's Michelangelo and is not shy to say so. The significant thing is that there are collectors, especially in America, who believe it. He has the slimy assurance, the gross patter about transcendence through art, of a blow-dried Baptist selling swamp acres in Florida. And the result is that you can't imagine America's singularly depraved culture without him.. . .Koons is the perfect product of an art system in which the market controls nearly everything, including much of what gets said about art. Robert Hughes.

In Florida: Nuttin'

Information

Group Info
Name:
9/11/07 General Strike
Type:
Description:
Endless War. Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Iraqis. Torture. Surveillance. Civil Rights and Habeas Corpus: Gone. Executive Privilege: No Accountability.

Join us on 9/11/07

GENERAL STRIKE
No Work. No School. No Shopping. Hit the streets.


http://www.strike911.org/

Members:
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2000 - 8/11/2007
10,000 - 8/26/2007
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1) Click "Invite People to Join"
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-- Join the Official Event on Facebook --
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-- Get the Facebook Application --
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GET INVOLVED - find your city

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We Penilestatians are busy with our foreclosures --

From My Fox Tampa Bay in Florida. “Gone in 60 seconds. That’s how quickly homes in foreclosure sell on the auction block at Hillsborough’s Courthouse. ‘We’ve got about a 60 percent increase in mortgage foreclosures, and of course we didn’t anticipate that,’ said Clerk Pat Frank.”


if not that, then we're beating the crap out of our property appraisers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

911 means $9.2 million jackpot for Giuliani

Click to enlarge, or go here for how Rudy turned 911 into his personal pot of gold, not to speak of certain larger political ambitions. $9.2 million will seem like chickenfeed after he starts his interminable fearmongering in The Penile State.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nationwide to Florida: Drop fucking dead



Of course, it's not just Nationwide. It's State Farm, Allstate, etc., etc. And, it's not just Florida, it's Lousiana, California, elsewhere.

The regulators have baby gums where they need teeth: Gummos.



During the hurricanes of 2004 in Florida, at least on the West Coast, two insurers stood out for fast, hardworking, even compassionate adjusting with reasonable compensation to policyholders: Nationwide and State Farm. The rest belonged in a movie like Sicko for the homeowners insurance industry. Sucko.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Filet of Chad, anyone?

One of the main reasons Florida wanted to move its primary up in the first place was to get ahead of the chaos that already exists. Third World countries like Mexico today hold more modern and truly democratic primaries than America's . . . Time

It's a long shot, but Mr. Stone might be socially rehabilitated by then.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Florida on the. . . on the . . . anybody home up there?


Florida public radio:

Capital Report: A web site you can trust - to be months behind and seriously lame.

Virtually indistinguishable:

Florida on the line: Another web site you can take to the bank for timeliness and taste.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Florida Republican Abandons his beloved flock



Mysterious Florida Deaths maybe not so mysterious




Crime Blog delves

More Gayness among FL pols courtesy of Wonkette


Update: Breaking news, another Republican joins the washroom distended society.

Are there any straight Republicans out there who can help us understand what's going on????



Some alleged slimy tendrils of Bush Florida operative Roger Stone

The Republican dirty tricks operative and alleged swinger credited with blocking the presidential election recount in Florida in 2000 has just been booted out of a Republican political operation in New York . . .

The New York Times offers a feckless comment and this rundown on the diverse careers of Roger J. Stone Jr.:

Aside from some notable political victories, Mr. Stone has left behind a trail of short-lived campaigns, feuds with former friends and clients, and, above all, rumors of dirty tricks. As he once put it in an interview, “if it rains, it was Stone.”

He oversaw Ronald Reagan’s campaign operations in New York but was on the outs in some Republican circles after backing the upstate billionaire Tom Golisano’s third-party bid against Gov. George E. Pataki in 2002. A dossier about Mr. Stone’s past exploits prepared by a former opponent and still circulating among New York Republicans runs to 74 pages.

During the Florida recount in 2000, George W. Bush’s campaign enlisted Mr. Stone and his wife, Nydia, who is of Cuban ancestry, to rally support among Cuban exiles in Miami, according to Jeffrey Toobin’s “Too Close to Call,” a book about the recount battle. Mr. Stone was also instrumental in organizing the so-called Brooks Brothers Riot, the book said, when hundreds of Republican activists stormed a county election office in Miami and demanded that workers there cease recounting presidential ballots.

But the alleged activities of Mr. Stone, who is affiliated with a Florida law firm and has apparently been deeply connected through his wife, Nydia Stone, with the right-wing Cuban commmunity in Miami, go well beyond such tame stuff.

Among his alleged activities:

Stone gets credit, along with wife, for working with White House insider and poster boy Jeff Gannon in passing forged Bush Nat'l Guard records to media.

Stone works to defeat Democrat Supreme Ct. justices in Florida

Stone has been credited in television and book accounts with putting together the mixed mob of Cuban and congressional-aide protesters who prevented the count in Miami—universally seen as the turning point in the battle that made Bush president. Village Voice

Roger J. Stone Jr :

Indian Fighter
Old Campaigner
Champion of the Oppressed
Pornstar
Swinger
Golem

Both The Star and The National Enquirer reported that Roger and his wife, Nydia, had placed ads on the Internet and in Swing Fever magazine to attract couples and single men interested in joining them for group sex.

Stone in NY state politics

Stone and Al Sharpton

Stone, Rove, Roy Cohn, Jeff Gannon

Stone, Lee Atwater, Scaife, Rove

Stone's blogged response to latest allegations.

Stone believes Rudy can win.