Earlier this week Florida Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum said in a conference call with reporters that he had serious constitutional issues with the provision in the recently passed Senate health care bill that would mandate that everyone in the country buy into the program, or face a fine.
The AG's office today says now that McCollum joined up with a dozen other of his colleagues across the country in writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on another bone of contention. That being the provision in the Senate bill that provides Nebraska with full and permanent funding to extend Medicaid eligibility to everyone below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill actually requires all states to do so, but Nebraska alone would not be required to pay a portion of the additional cost after 2016.
Read the press release from McCollum's spokeswoman, Sandi Copes
Looking for something green-related to do this weekend? Look no further than our own Green Community Calendar.
Ellenton Farmers Market- Saturdays; 8 am 1 pm (year-round). Ellenton Farmers Market will be the largest year-round market in florida that specializes in green natural, organic and environmentally friendly products that makes for a healthier lifestyle and a better environment. Located just North of the Prime Outlet Mall in Ellenton, Florida (exit 224, Old Exit 43, off I 75).
St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market- Every Saturday; 9 am to 2 pm (through May). Featuring locally grown fresh produce, prepared foods, tempting baked goods, plants, flowers, herbs, handcrafted gifts, live music, and more! Downtown St. Petersburg in the Al Lang Stadium parking lot: 1st Ave. S and 1st St. Open October 3 through May 29.
Ybor Saturday Market- Every Saturday; 9 am-3 pm (year-round). Youll be sure to find great produce at great prices, gourmet foods and sauces, fresh baked breads, fresh eggs, prepared foods, orchids, herbs and plants, pet treats, honey, unique gifts, photography, artwork, jewelry, woodworking, bath and body products, candles, and so much more. Centennial Park at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 19th Street, Ybor.
Just because the latest season of Top Chef is over doesn't mean we here at the Top Chef Podcast are ready to give up doing what we do every week. That's why we'll be around for a few more weeks analyzing and kvetching about Top Chef Las Vegas, but with an extra surprise - interviews with cheftestants!
For this special podcast, we've saved the best for last: Jeff and I interviewed the winner of Top Chef season 6, Michael Voltaggio. He dishes on the surprise of his win, Padma's slip-ups, his other creative passions, and how he's dealing with being the winner of Top Chef.
After the interview, I give my review of the newly released Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook.
Enjoy! (Follow Michael on Twitter: @MVoltaggio)
Hear the podcast after the jump:
Jay Leno: New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive.
W.H. Auden: The only way to spend New Years Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears.
Mark Twain: New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.
Can we talk about something ?
I think you use ellipses too much
Really. This nation is experiencing a pandemic of poly-periods. It doesnt matter where it came from, and it doesnt matter how long its been happening. All that matters is that we understand something, as a nation, as English-writers, as a people:
Kick off this new year starting from the inside out - the inside of your house, that is. While you're at it, why not incorporate your resolution to be greener as well?
Regular household cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment by polluting the water and the air we breathe. They also can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. Green cleaning products are the other alternative, being free of the aforementioned negative side effects, but they can be quite pricey.
Here's a green cleaning tip that will kill two birds with one stone: Save you money on cleaning products and prevent you from putting those toxic chemicals down the drain and into your body. How? By making your own cleaning products from items you probably already have on hand.
Okay, so maybe this wasn't exactly one of the staple positions in the authentic Kama Sutra writings, but if you're looking for something different, this position is for you.
The position begins with the man seated on a chair twisted to the side so that he's resting on one butt cheek or hip. He then spreads his legs in a scissor-like fashion. The woman then comes in and straddles the lower leg, while he wraps his other leg around her waist.
In other words, if he's positioned on his right hip, she should be straddling his right leg. He should then be using his left leg to wrap it around the left side of her waist or hip. If you angle the manhood just right, you can actually achieve penetration this way.
The interregnum between Christmas and New Years is considered to be a virtual dead zone for local news, but luckily, there are always people who think they can make a difference in our communities. Several stepped up over the past week to announce their goals, and provide needed fodder for political reporters in town.
Though I'm late to the news, in the past 10 days we've had Linda Saul-Sena announce her candidacy for Hillsborough County Commission (against Republican Ken Hagan), Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Pat Kemp challenge Janet Cruz-Rifkin for the Florida House District 58 seat special election, and former state legislator Sara Romeo announce she'll run for City Council next year in the state that will be vacated by term-limited Gwen Miller in the city wide District 1 seat.
We'll have stories on Saul-Sena and Kemp's campaigns next week, but first, Sara Romeo.
She served in the Florida House for one term(2000 thru 2002) representing parts of Tampa and Hillsborough County, but can hardly be accused of being a career politician.
She's the former head of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, and currently is the Executive Director of Tampa Crossroads, a non profit social service agency that provides counseling for those who have substance abuse or traumatic issues confronting them. "We help men and women get their lives back in order," is how she describes it.
The organization has been working recently with homeless female veterans on a program called The Athena Project.
On the issue of homelessness, Romeo thinks the city of Tampa can do better. "I think we have a long way to go," she says. "We have one of the largest homeless populations in the state of Florida. It's growing daily. "
Another part of local government that she says can be improved is on the permitting process. Romeo lives in the Lowry Park Zoo area of Tampa, somewhat north of Seminole Heights, but is sympathetic to such complaints in that neighborhood, saying addressing those issues would be a "huge focus" for her.
She says a key question is "how we can redevelop in a sustainable way in the future? It's very stressful and very difficult to walk through a permitting process. We need to make that friendlier and simplify that."
Another issue that is big for Romeo is mass transit, and how Tampa connects to other parts of the Bay area. She notes how the Tampa/St. Pete area consistently ranks among the worst areas in the country when it comes to pedestrian safety, saying, "I've traveled to other cities, and notice how nice it is to walk around, and and we dont do that very well here in Tampa."
We'll have sometime before we have to contend with Romeo's chances in the City Council race. It won't take place until March of 2011.
With this being the last day of the year and the decade, print and Internet publications have been flooding the zone in recent days with their retrospective looks back.
I've not done such a review of 2009, but as I look back on some of the biggest stories I covered for WMNF radio and Creative Loafing this year politically, it was undoubtedly easy to label this The Year of the Angry Voter.
Tea parties were all the rage, weren't they? I covered several this year. The first one was in Tampa's Lykes Gaslight Square Park on tax day, April 15th. There were several hundred in attendance. What I recall more than anything else from that event was one woman who almost mechanically was denouncing one of the right's favorite targets in recent years, ACORN. She was insisting to me that the community activist group was getting millions from the recently signed stimulus bill.
I argued that was not specified in the legislation. As PoliFact reported, ACORN was theoretically able to compete for funds in the bill. Of course, that was before Congress passed legislation making sure that the group would not get any federal money. (Legislation that a federal judge recently ruled was a "bill of attainder" and thus unconstitutional).
Anyway, getting back to the April 15th rally, I questioned the woman about the voracity of her comment. That's when a fellow Tea Bagger came to her rescue, angrily saying that she was right, and if I didn't believe her, we could go across the street and into his office off Ashley Drive, and he would show me his copy of the bill stating that.
Obviously, I wasn't about to leave the rally to do so, which is what I told him. He then told me off, saying I was scared to learn the truth. I'd seen glimpses of this kind of fervor on the right at rallies in late 2008 for instance, people handing out badges at a Sarah Palin event in Clearwater comparing Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden but it was clear that with the election of Obama, the passions were even higher.
I went to similar rallies in Brandon and Lakeland. But none of those events carried the intensity of probably the political event of the year in Tampa Bay, the town hall meeting featuring Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor last August at the Children's Board in Ybor City.
Here is the radio story I produced for WMNF on the event. Part of the problem that led to it being almost destined to blow up was a simple supply and demand issue over 500 people attended the event held in a room that could barely contain over 200. Although the anti-health care reform citizens were already angry, that anger was exacerbated by the fact that members of the SEIU, who were organizing the event with Democratic State Representative Betty Reed, as well as some others associated with the Hillsborough Democratic Party , were allowed early entrance into the room, while others stood outside, baking in the unforgiving Florida summer heat and humidity.
The meeting quickly devolved into chaos, and at times there was some serious tension in the air. There was pushing and shoving, and nasty pejorative comments uttered by people sitting right next to each other.
There was only one uniformed Tampa police officer inside the room (though I was told there were others in plainclothes). Whatever. It certainly didn't seem that there was adequate security.
Castor ended up leaving the meeting early, angering some of the health care critics even further.
Her next and only other town hall meeting during the August break was done by conference call.
Similar chaotic events happened throughout the summer as well, which is a strong reason why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played all the parliamentary tricks that he could this past month to get a bill passed before the Christmas holiday break.
(Although South Florida Democrat Ron Klein apparently was grilled on health care earlier this week at a forum, showing that the intensity hasn't gone away.)
The evolution of this anger at the federal government really began, of course, in September of 2008, when the entire political establishment embraced the $700 billion Wall Street bailout (well, that's not fair, as a number of members of Congress, such as Castor and Brooksville's Ginny Brown-Waite, voted against the legislation).
Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus was (and remains) extremely controversial. Then there was his administration saving two of the big auto companies. Then came a $410 billion omnibus spending bill in March that critics insisted that he veto.
Couple that with the ongoing recession and unemployment problems and the lack of access to credit, and it isn't hard to figure out the country's anger at the federal government. Even though some commentators (including myself) have written that it's extremely hypocritical to claim that it's Obama who is bankrupting the country when still the huge majority of the federal deficit can be traced to the administration of George W. Bush, Obama has done nothing in his first year to curb that debt. But his administration knows this is a growing problem, which is why they say they will begin addressing the issue in 2010.
With all of this negativity, Florida Governor Charlie Crist should be pleased with his poll ratings (at 58% according to the last Quinnipiac survey), which, though not nearly as huge as they were back in 2007, stack up well compared to several other governors from big states (check out Arnold Schwarzenegger's in California or David Paterson's in New York for example).
Although politicians are rightly criticized for their lack of courage, give Washington Democrats this: most polls show the country against the health care reform bills that Congress has passed. Yet the Dems know that if one of the things people are unhappy about is the lack of results for the citizenry, then perhaps passing a health care bill that nobody really loves but contains important measures to address the 40-something million who lack insurance, is ultimately worth it.
Of course, whether it truly will be or not is a different story. The Democrats could suffer greatly because of this issue in 2010 and maybe beyond, since currently the legislation won't even kick in until 2014.
But the Tea Party movement hasn't just been a stalking horse for Republicans. My encounters with many people at such events (or similar ones, like the Glenn Beck book signing in Tampa in November) is that they want to "throw all the bums out." As we head into 2010, that anger shows no signs of dissipating.
Welcome to On the Radar, where we preview up-and-coming arts events to mark your calendar for. Traditional college student dances include booty shaking, bumping, grinding and generally getting jiggy to the tune of Autotune-enhanced hit singles. Not so for The Tamburitzans, a company of full-time Duquesne University students who keep Europe's folk traditions alive and (literally) kicking this weekend at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.
You wont hear the bassy boom of the Black Eyed Peas, either; instead, delight in centuries-long musical traditions that employ the lute-like tambura; the gadulka, played with a bow; and the cimbalom, a kind of hammered dulcimer. Performers sing in a plethora of languages and dialects representing countries like Armenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. The troupe is lauded for its attention to authentic details, from its folk dances to the more than 400 historically accurate stage costumes. Jan. 2-3, 7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St., Tarpon Springs, $23-$26, tarponarts.org.