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

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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Car dump 1000 miles long

NPR does Florida:

More than 1,000 miles of canals snake through South Florida — from the Everglades to the Keys. And love them or hate them, the area can't do without them. They're crucial for flood control and serve as, among other things, habitat for alligators and a dump for stolen cars. More than a few of the underwater cars have drivers at their wheels, according to this report.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Academic Distinction for UF

University Of Florida Ranked Among Top Party Schools

POSTED: 7:11 am EDT August 21, 2007

The University of Florida is ranked among the top of The Princeton's Review's annual list of top 20 party schools this year.West Virginia University claimed the top spot on the list. Last year, WVU was Number three.Number two on the party list is the University of Mississippi, followed by the UT-Austin. Those schools are followed by the University of Florida and the University of Georgia. At the other end of the spectrum is Brigham Young University, claiming the top spot in the "Stone Cold Sober" category for the 10th straight year.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

(The above is virtually an almost generic public service image invoked solely for edification. Any resemblance to Bush DNA is nearly 100% random.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


An opportunity for the penile state to show its thinking, the substance of that deep reflection of its alleged mind, upon the adventures brought to us by the Katrinaesque Bush Admin - to show, in short, its colors.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Curtis speaks out on voting software

Clint Curtis on Kos, via fpc:

. . . by chance I was put to work designing prototype software for electronic voting machines for a local company called Yang Enterprises. An upcoming diary will detail my suspicions of just how open to manipulation the code which I helped put into place running touch screen voting machines really is -- in the hands of conservatives without a conscience.

I can't say I know for a fact that the prototype designed to flip votes was implemented. It's a serious charge to make. And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. I have worked very hard with the help of election integrity activists since 2004 to document flaws in our voting system. I testified under oath before the Conyer’ s Commission and passed a polygraph as to my knowledge of the attempt to develop fraudulent voting machines. But going forward, there's a simple way to be certain it doesn't happen, and that's to use methods which produce a paper trail in the event a recount is needed and to audit that paper so that any tabulation errors can be discovered and corrected. That's a no-brainer, common sense solution. And yet it seems that that simple idea is opposed virtually exclusively by GOP lawmakers.

Greetings from the North Pole

Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low

The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced today that Arctic sea ice has just surpassed the previous single-day (absolute minimum) record for the lowest extent ever measured by satellite. Satellite measurements began in 1979. Sea ice extent has fallen below the 2005 record low absolute minimum and is still melting. Sea ice extent is currently tracking at 5.26 million square kilometers (2.02 million square miles), just below the 2005 record absolute minimum of 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles). This new record was set a full five weeks before the usual late September minima in ice extent, so truly unprecedented melting is occurring in the Arctic. The most recent images from the North Pole webcam show plenty of open water and rainy conditions at the Pole. From the Wunder Blog. See also.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What (the f**K) happened in Sarasota County?

On November 7, 2006, there was an electoral disaster in Sarasota County, Florida. Almost 18,000 people, about one in seven of the people who voted electronically, left the polls without recording a vote in the congressional race, the hottest race on the ballot. Most observers agree that few of these voters deliberately skipped voting in that race. Instead, they were either misled into not seeing that race or the voting machines somehow failed to record their votes. There is consensus on one point, however. Although Republican Vern Buchanan was certified the winner by only 369 out of more than 238,000 votes and is now representing the 13th Congressional District of Florida (CD13) in the U.S. House of Representatives, if the “missing” votes had been recorded, Democrat Christine Jennings would almost certainly have been elected (Stewart, 2006).

See David Jefferson's account of his findings here. Jefferson is a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and chair of the California Secretary of State Voting Systems Technology Assessment and Advisory Board.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fort Myers rockets to top of housing pyramid

There was a nearly 27-month supply of existing single-family homes on the Fort Myers market last month compared to a three-month supply at the height of the local boom in housing in August 2005, according to Denny Grimes, a top real estate agent in Fort Myers.

At the same time, more than 40 percent of single-family homes were listed at prices below $250,000 versus just 18 percent at the market peak.

"There's a lot of blood in the water and there's a lot more to come," Grimes said.

Fort Myers "is by far the worst housing market that we're in," J. Larry Sorsby, executive vice president and chief financial officer of home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., told Reuters.

This just in:
a task force working with the Drug Enforcement Administration has raided 25 grow houses in Lee County so far this year.

Warm weather reading

Greenland contains about 9 percent of all ice on Earth—also enough water to raise sea level by 5 meters. Should either West Antarctica or Greenland surrender its ice sheet to the ocean, much of the southern half of Florida would be under water.

the most recent scientific projections show that unchecked global warming will be a disaster for the US, inflicting enormous damage to our costal areas, burying much of Louisiana, Florida and other parts of the US under water. . .

Romm brings quite a bit of expertise and gravitas to his arguments. Arguably in the know about government policy practices Romm lays out both a convincing scenario about global climate modification...and a set of coherent policy solutions to prevent the worst of the problem. Unfortunately, I agree that while a solution is "doable" it won't get done. Goodbye Florida, goodbye Louisiana!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bits of Florida history

What people have done when they come to this state, I think, they came with their own dreams, their own agenda and have done their own thing, and so there isn't a powerful set of symbols that pull people together," Foster said. "Searching for the soul of Florida"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

we're all real-estate speculators. . ..

For the moment, what we are stuck with is a system that relies on astuteness and judgment on the part of all making speculative decisions. In the current case of the housing and mortgage industries, such reliance has proved to be, literally and figuratively, a bad bet.

A month has passed since Washington introduced licensing exams for some aspiring new mortgage brokers, and more than half of those taking one of the key tests have flunked. Puget Sound Business Journal

Culled from The Housing Bubble Blog

Here's looking at you, Epicenter

The Financial Times pinpoints the center of the worldwide housing bubble, and finds, mirabile dictu, it can be pinpointed in Sarasota:

'Canary in the cage' tells of housing woes

By Eoin Callan in Sarasota County, Florida

Published: August 10 2007 03:00 | Last updated: August 10 2007 03:00

The seizure that gripped European financial markets yesterday can be partly traced to an unlikely place. Like the proverbial butterfly that flaps its wings and sets off a tidal wave on the other side of the world, Sarasota, Florida is at the centre of the US housing bust that sent shockwaves through global markets.

Mr. Callan goes on to make clear that Sarasota is by no means atypical of the 16-year threshing turbine known as Florida real estate:

The Sarasota district has experienced the biggest drop in house prices in the country, with foreclosures spiking after a drop of almost 15 per cent in the year to March.

Florida is the "canary in the cage", according to Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

The precedent has alarmed Wall Street economists tracking the worst US housing slump in 16 years, as price falls in Sarasota have spread across the state and threaten to drag Florida into recession.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune hastily rushes to correct the FT:

The Financial Times was wrong to single out Sarasota as the epicenter of the global financial crisis . . . said Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach-based real estate analyst.

"Naples, Fort Myers, the Cape Coral market has experienced the largest price drop in the U.S.,"
before acknowledging that it's a minor blemish in a bang-on portrait of a market:
"Florida is where the boom started and ended, and where the bust started," McCabe said. "Previous boom-and-bust cycles have started in California. This time, Florida is the state that experienced the height of speculative activity that drove the boom."

There were obviously other areas of the country that also experienced high levels of speculation -- Southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Washington, D.C. -- but Florida was undoubtedly the epicenter, McCabe maintains.
After some lipflapping from experts, the FT finds the standard Florida apologist for shite business sighting the mandatory lining of silver:

But Joe Hembree, president of the Sarasota Realtors Association, says the local market will recover as flippers cut their losses. "There are great bargains to be had throughout the community as asking prices have dropped," he says.

And is soon outdone by the SH-T:
Kerry Kirschner, executive director of the Argus Foundation, agreed.

"I think this is positive for Sarasota," Kirschner said. "This will impress on people that they ought to look in Sarasota if they want waterfront property."

Lenders to your posts: a whole new round of sub-prime lending awaits.

More kudos for the SH-T. not.

How not to do it:

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune carries lots of video news clips these days, but it's all just like TV news, because that's what is is: pickups from the associated (Comcast cable) SSN6 news channel. Most of their video clips are anchor-read items, very short, with 10-second pre-roll ads and post-roll ads that are often longer than the news items themselves.

Experienced H-T site users soon learn to close their video pages as soon as the actual stories are over to avoid the overly long post-roll ads, so they probably don't do much good for the businesses that pay for them. Worse, they are repeated endlessly; the same old ads run over and over instead of fresh ones constantly being plugged into the rotation.

It's almost as if someone in an executive capacity at the Herald-Tribune took a course in how to deliver TV-style news as badly as possible, then came home and put everything he or she learned into practice on the paper's website.

- Online Journalism Review, Robin Miller, Editor in Chief for OSTG, owner of Slashdot, NewsForge, freshmeat,,, and the ecommerce site ThinkGeek.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Land of YesNoWhatever

A long while back, the Brad Blog noticed what most media apparently did not - the final audit of the bogus 2006 election in Sarasota made no sense whatsoever.

That was the election wherein:

An extraordinarily high undervote rate, some 18,000 votes (nearly 15%), was registered by the touch-screen voting machines --- only in Sarasota County --- in the hotly contested election to fill the seat of departing former FL SoS Rep. Katherine Harris (R). The final certified result of last November's election favored Buchanan by just 369 votes. The election is also being contested in the U.S. Congress under the Federal Contested Elections Act.
So what did election officials conclude?
The one page official statement issued by Browning --- a former state election official and admitted "ardent supporter of touch screen voting systems" (see video here) --- misleadingly states that "the audit team concluded that there is no evidence that suggests the official results are in error."

In fact, the "independent" study commissioned by the state from Florida State University (FSU) seems to indicate otherwise in the panel's report today [PDF]: "There is no dispute that this undervote is abnormal and unexpected and that it cannot be explained solely by intentional undervoting," the report reads.
Public integrity, thy name is Florida.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Milking it at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

On Monday the pages of the New York Times got smaller, and today one of its major regional news organizations laid off more editorial staff. Only a month after offering a cheapskate buyout of employees 50 and older (and chickenshittedly fessing up), the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is once again announcing that it's "trimming" staff.

Although the article says the number reporters laid off is "unspecified," the bloodletting was in fact quite specific, according to sources within the newsroom. The-about-to-be-trimmed staff was hastily summoned to suspenseful, must-attend meetings in each of the paper's newsrooms, and those being laid off were given their walking papers in front of the entire assemblages.

There's an as yet unconfirmed report that in some bureaus, the assemblies were, Last Judgment-like, divided into two groups. One group was then informed it was saved, the other advised of its damnation.

The Sarasota paper may be the flagship of regional Times rags, but this manner of treating its employees bespeaks a thuggish, mandarin culture that demeans the profession.

The paper is also bagging its tedious "Florida West" section (but rescuing its most tedious features: food, wine, health and fitness,) and closing certain of its bureaus to the public. Ironically, the paper that once feared to attach its name to its online site (it called it for over a year) now claims it will create "interactive web sites" -- that give citizens the right to post vanity pictures -- to placate residents in the areas where many of the cuts were made.

"Because our customers increasingly interact with us by phone or e-mail, the North Port and Englewood offices will be closed to the public," [Sarasota Herald-Tribune Publisher Diane McFarlin] said. "Customers who prefer to visit us in person can do so at our Venice and Port Charlotte locations."
Virtual readership indeed. Perhaps if the paper actually covered events, realities, hard news with something resembling integrity, it would have fewer revenue concerns.

Then again, it likes to remind its employees that it's a cash cow for the New York Times, which is said to milk all its regionals to buttress its sagging butt. With Rupert Murdock now assuming control of Dow Jones, the Times corporate leeches must be yanking those lugs like they're going out of style. Which it seems they are.

Update: McFarland's memo to staff during the last buyout offer, via Romanesko, via Fading to Black.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Trinity saves Holy Land

Trinity Broadcasting Network, a California-based Christian empire with 12,500 worldwide TV and cable affiliates, took over Holy Land and its estimated $8 million (€5.8 million) mortgage. International Herald Tribune

Friday, August 3, 2007

Penilestatians more desperate than last year

Florida Lottery sales top $4B

Orlando Business Journal - 1:37 PM EDT Thursday, August 2, 2007

Floridians and tourists are playing the lottery in record numbers, according to the Florida Lottery's most recent fiscal report.

During fiscal 2007, the Lottery recorded more than $4 billion in sales, resulting in more than $1.26 billion contributed to Florida's education system, the fifth consecutive year of more than $1 billion contributed, a release says.
They're said to be praying more too.

Ann Coulter for Ms. Stupidette of Florida

It's not over for Coulter

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

When it comes to GOP twig Ann Coulter and her Palm Beach voting snafu, the fat lady has yet to sing.

While most expected the conservative pundit to be off the hook for good when the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office punted a voting fraud probe in April, the Florida Elections Commission now is investigating.

Coulter, a constitutional lawyer, voted in the wrong precinct in a Palm Beach town election in February 2006 after registering at an address that wasn't hers.

The Coulter voting saga is now known as FEC Case No. 07-211.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Florida produces new $wampland at astonishing rate

SARASOTA -- A downtown Sarasota firm is at the center of an investment scheme that state and federal investigators say bilked at least 380 mostly elderly Southwest Florida investors out of at least $35 million.

Secured Capital Investments, which did some of its business out of a small Main Street office as Capital 1st Financial, has been shut down by a 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge and placed in receivership.

Investigators with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation say the business advertised high-interest, FDIC-backed certificates of deposit, then persuaded many customers to sink thousands of dollars into high-risk, unsecured debt obligations and unregistered securities. SH_T

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tallahassee Shocker: Diebold Machines Flawed!!

Tallahassee (FL) - Following an alarming report about the security of California's electronic voting machines, a new study shows Florida's systems still need some work too.

Yesterday, reports shined light on California's voting machines and a bevy of mechanical and electronic design flaws that could compromise election results.

The Florida study, performed by Florida State University's information technology lab, showed that there was potential for memory card fraud. An external memory card, which is the only method of keeping track of the votes, is easily accessible and could be swapped out with one that gives an artificial vote count boost to a losing candidate.

Though the report about Florida's voting machines don't show as many potential areas for tampering as California's report does, it's still a concern for the Secretary of State Kurt Browning. The Associated Press reports Browning has asked the manufacturer of the machines, Diebold, to fix these problems before next year's presidential primary election.