Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ileana Hates America, Florida, Loves Eternal War

Ileana has endorsed John McCain, the man who opposes a national cat fund and said that he had no problem staying in Iraq for 100 years. Thanks, Ileana, for advocating a president who, while not as bad as the other Republicans, would be horrible for America (and Florida).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Overheard: Raul Martinez announcing candidacy Tuesday in Hialeah

Keep those ears open, folks. I heard today that Raul Martinez will announce his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday morning in Hialeah. Venue: city hall.

This will start a heavy ball rolling in Florida politics, like the powerful inevitability in those Indiana Jones movies when the huge rock starts rolling down the chute. Look out, Republicans! It’s the time of the new broom.

The first to be swept will be Lincoln Diaz-Balart, currently misrepresenting Congressional District 21. The wave will rise out of Hialeah, where Raul Martinez was mayor for many terms – a Democrat beloved by Republican voters – and Lincoln will be sent to retirement.

Then, soon but I don’t know when, Joe Garcia, chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, will announce for Congressional District 25, and incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart will hear the knell of electoral doom.

And then, I don’t know when and haven’t heard who, someone with a lady’s name and a Latino background will announce for District 18, and we’ll see the end of too many terms in Congress for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

This will be South Florida’s contribution to the landslide in Congress that will support the Democrat who will be elected president in November. We can look forward to – well, I’d like to say it will be Paradise, but I’m afraid it will be Hell for a couple years trying to unstick us from the war in Iraq, to reapply for honorable membership in the world community and to wrench the economy over onto a track that benefits all while cleaning up the environment.

There’s a mission statement.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Herald: Diaz-Balart may face challenger

It's tempting to rip into the Miami Herald for the headline above. Hey, that's perceptive. But no, let's look at the content.

There’s a sophomoric debating tactic called “the straw man.” The debater attempts to destroy the opponent’s argument by describing it as something different from what it really is, and defeating that (the fallacious straw man) rather than what the opponent actually argues.

We see this in Wednesday’s Miami Herald, back in the local section, where U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) declares that the Democrats want to defeat him and his two cohorts in order to “improve relations with Cuba,” especially to get rid of the embargo.

Oh yeah? What about torture? The war in Iraq? SCHIP? We want someone with political courage to represent us in Washington, not a rubber-stamp. Someone intelligent and wise and future-oriented, not stuck in the past. Someone with true compassion, not the conservative lip-serving compassion. Someone who would complain about “signing statements” that eviscerate legislation. Someone who would save our environment, not pave it over. Yes, let’s have a reasonable Cuba policy, but that’s somewhere down in the lower half of our long list of complaints.

So, Mr. Congressman, your straw man is laid bare. And by the way, you confirmed our suspicions as to how you will campaign: with sophomoric debating tactics. Thank you for telegraphing your punch, which is a sophomoric boxing tactic.

We’ll assume that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) and your brother Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) will be using the same tactics.

Why we need new members of Congress

Traveling lets you learn stuff. One way I try to accomplish that is by buying the local newspaper when I’m on the road and stopping for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes I get hit by a stab of envy when I see that the other town has a better deal going than my town.

This happened the other day when I pulled off I-65 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, found a motel and a restaurant, and I perused the Louisville Courier-Journal over a meal.

Front-page headline: “Bridges’ finance plan OK’d.”
First paragraph: “The federal government has approved a plan to pay for the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, clearing the way for Kentucky and Indiana to start construction this year.”

Stab of envy arose: I have closely followed the Everglades Skyway Project to build one measly bridge on a part of the Tamiami Trail and thereby help restore natural water flow in the Everglades. This eminently fine idea is going nowhere because there’s supposedly no money in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget to build it.

So, I ask, how is it that Kentucky and Indiana raise a ton of federal money for their dang bridges? When they seem to have little plan for how to raise their share? And how is it that we here in South Florida, with the only Everglades in the known universe, have spent a lot of state money on restoring the Everglades but can’t get federal money?

Answer: We have feeble members of Congress, who may say they love the Everglades, but they’re not delivering. I’m referring, of course, to the infamous Republican trio of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FK-25), who were in the majority in the U.S. House from 1994 until recently but haven’t done jack when it comes down to important stuff for the ages.

Solution: New members of Congress. Brilliant.

Here are links to the Courier-Journal's articles of last Friday Jan 4 and Sunday Jan 6. For good measure, here's one on Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign treasury of $11 million. Finally, here's one on a Democrat announcing to run against an incumbent Republican member of Congress -- in Kentucky, unfortunately.