Monday, February 15, 2010

Marco Rubio to be teabagger confernece headliner

Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

February 18-20, 2010 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. The Marriott Wardman Park is located at 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008

Senate candidate and tea party movement star Marco Rubio (Fla.) will be the first of many featured speakers in the main ballroom at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), chairman of FreedomWorks — a major financial engine of the tea party movement — will also address the meeting on Thursday.

Even though the 2010 event falls during a recess week when Members are traditionally out of town, several Members of Congress are scheduled to attend the conference.

Republican House Members slated to give keynote addresses or lead seminars throughout the event include Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio); Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.); Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.); Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.); Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.); and Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and former presidential candidate Ron Paul (Texas).

Only two members of the Senate — Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and David Vitter (La.) — are expected at CPAC, according to a copy of the event schedule.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine's For Bill McCollum

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010



Greenacres Democrat teams with Rep. Soto in homeowners' defense bill

As Florida continues to lead in the nation's housing meltdown crisis, few advocates have emerged to protect homeowners from rapacious Wall Street lending institutions attempting to seize distressed homes under the legal radar screen.

That uneven playing field may soon level, however, under legislation filed this week by state Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) . Senate Bill 1778 is aimed at protecting a homeowner's access to court while providing powerful new legal tools to ward off imminent eviction.

Similar legislation has been filed in the House of Representatives by Rep. Darren Soto (D-Orlando).

"Homeowners have seen their property values plummet thanks in large part to risky Wall Street behavior," said Aronberg, a passionate crusader for consumers' rights. "Meanwhile, the same institutions doling out big bonuses are now seeking to evict residents from their own homes without giving them their day in court. This bill gives Florida homeowners an equal footing and the legal means to defend their own property."

"There are two vastly different approaches emerging to handle our foreclosure crisis," noted Soto. "As the banks seek to avoid the judicial process altogether and foreclose upon over a half-million Floridians putting our economy in further tailspin, this bill provides a basic set of rights to assure Floridians are not kicked out on the street unnecessarily, and stabilizes property values."

The state of Florida has the second highest foreclosure rate, with an estimated 500,000 property owners currently in or having faced such legal action. In these high stakes battles, strapped homeowners are frequently at a distinct legal disadvantage when fending off deep-pocketed

banks unwilling to renegotiate mortgage loan terms, including interest rates and the reasonableness of the original conditions of the loan.

Under the Aronberg/Soto measure, the "Foreclosure Bill of Rights" would preclude banks or other mortgage brokers from foreclosing on homesteaded properties outside of judicial scrutiny. The measure would require court-ordered mediation and add stipulations that a lending institution would have to follow in order to foreclose, including an examination of whether any fraud had occurred in the issuance of a loan, such as inflated appraisals.

Other requirements include a "good faith effort" on the part of the lending institution to "renegotiate the loan at a principal equivalent to the actual market value" determined by a new appraisal accurately reflecting current market values, and assistance from circuit courts to defendants representing themselves in supplying legal forms and instructions at no cost.

"Despite some assistance from the federal government and an administrative order from the state Supreme Court, too many homeowners have been left to the mercy of the financial Goliaths of the banking and mortgage loan industries," said Aronberg. "This legislation gives Florida's 'Davids' a legal slingshot to even the odds."

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Will McCollum Condone or Condemn Cronyism With Campaign Cash At Stake?

Despite the scandals of cronyism-at-all-cost that some critics would say cost Rudy Giuliani the Republican Presidential nomination in 2007 and early 2008, the Florida GOP gubernatorial hopeful and long-time Giuliani ally Bill McCollum made the former Presidential hopeful star of his campaign, Saturday in Orlando.

"Rudy Giuliani became the poster-boy for political cronyism during the Bernard Kerick scandal, and despite recent revelations of the level of corruption, Bill McCollum is still using his connections with Giuliani to raise money for his campaign," Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff said. "Does Bill McCollum condone or condemn the kind of political cronyism Giuliani's promotion of Kerick embodied?"

Newly Released Legal Papers Showed "Hints Of The Lumps" That Giuliani's Reputation Would Have Taken In The Kerik Trial. Last month, The Village Voice reported that "buried in court legal papers that were not released until weeks after Kerik's guilty plea [in November 2009] are some strong hints of the lumps that the reputation of New York's legendary former chief executive might have taken had the Kerik case gone to trial."

* Village Voice: Giuliani "Has Always Been Fuzzy About His Own Knowledge Of Kerik's Ties." "Giuliani, who started out as a rackets-busting prosecutor, has always been fuzzy about his own knowledge of Kerik's ties to Interstate Industrial Corp. The contractors were desperately trying to convince city regulators that their business dealings with organized-crime figures were incidental, and that they should not be denied lucrative city contracts worth some $30 million. The city's concerns had been sparked after Interstate bought a large waste-transfer station on Staten Island from a Gambino crime family soldier named Edward 'Cousin Eddie' Garafola, and then kept the gangster's wife and sons on the payroll as mob-owned trucks rolled through the gates. Kerik helped contractors Frank and Peter DiTommaso relay their side of the story to city officials. The grateful builders in turn secretly funded a quarter-million-dollar renovation of Kerik's new Bronx apartment."

* Kerik's Law Breaking Happened "Even As Giuliani Was Promoting" Kerik For Police Commissioner Job. "All of this happened even as Giuliani was promoting his former driver and bodyguard from head of the city's Corrections Department to police commissioner. When Kerik's Homeland Security nomination blew up in a tempest of scandal in 2004, the ex-mayor insisted that he knew nothing about his top cop ever going to bat for the mob-tainted contractors. But back in 2007, the Times' William Rashbaum got hold of a transcript of Giuliani's April 2006 testimony before a Bronx grand jury that was the first to probe the episode. Giuliani, the transcript showed, admitted that he was briefed more than once by his own top investigations chief-but then forgot all about it. It took a lot of forgetting."

* Prosecutors Were Prepared To Introduce Never Released Notes That Kerik Typed Out To The Commissioner Who Briefed Giuliani About The Related Agency Activities. Among the exhibits that prosecutors were prepared to introduce as evidence in the federal case were three pages of never-released notes that Kerik typed out in March 2000 regarding his involvement with Interstate. The memo-in detective-style jargon of initials and free-form punctuation-was written, prosecutors explained, for then city investigations commissioner Edward Kuriansky, who was regularly briefing Giuliani about his agency's activities." (The Village Voice, 01/19/10)
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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Gov. Charlie Christ (R)- FL Supports Don't Ask Don't Tell

Crist opposes changing 'don't ask, don't tell'

Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, does not support abolishing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affecting gays and lesbians in the military. The 1993 policy was intended to be a political compromise that let gay men and women serve so long as they stayed silent about their sexuality. But President Obama and military brass say it is time to end the discrimination all together.

Crist disagrees. "We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes," campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.
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