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Monday, March 17, 2014

YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: enthusiasm gaps, transparency and the slow death of evil

Posted on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM


MORE POST MORTEMS ON SINK BEING SUNK: DEMOCRATIC ENTHUSIASM DEFICIT, SAYS PLOUFFE: “A former top political adviser to President Barack Obama called the Democratic loss in Florida’s special congressional race “a screaming siren,” warning that the party needs to do more to motivate supporters in November’s nationwide elections.  David Plouffe, a onetime White House senior adviser and strategist for both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, rejected the idea that the March 11 contest in Florida was a referendum on the president’s health-care law, instead arguing that the results expose an enthusiasm deficit among Democrats. ‘We have a turnout issue,’ Plouffe said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Political Capital with Al Hunt,’ airing this weekend. ‘This is a screaming siren that the same problems that afflicted us’ in 2010 when Democrats lost control of the House ‘could face us again.’” (via Bloomberg)



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NOTHING TO SEE HERE: “In Florida, unfortunately, there’s more to lament than to celebrate. Now that the Legislature is in session, even more could be kept from public scrutiny — legally — if good-government advocates don’t kick and scream: Current law, for instance, provides an exemption for portions of meetings of child-abuse death review committees at which exempt information is discussed, requiring that those closed portions of meetings be recorded. Senate Bill 370, however, would eliminate the recording requirement. Then this: As the business-indebted legislators insist on shoveling mountains of public funds into private schools, prisons and hospitals, that money too often goes undercover and unaccounted for because there are few reporting mandates. While state lawmakers are exempting their friends — and major campaign funding sources — some lawmakers on the federal level are exempting themselves having to operate in the open. Unlike candidates for most city councils, state legislatures, the U.S. House of Representatives — and even U.S. president — the vast majority of U.S. senators do not file their campaign-finance reports online. They don’t have to. Florida’s senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, are among them. That’s a disappointment. At last count, 20 senators gave their constituents almost-immediate online access to the reports, the better to see who’s providing financial support — and to whom lawmakers might be beholden.” (via Miami Herald) 


BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NON-PARTISAN: “The Orange County mayor's race between incumbent Teresa Jacobs and Val Demings is officially nonpartisan, but Demings is having none of that. Demings, a Democrat, has enlisted a Washington, D.C., firm with White House ties — a firm thatrecently flooded Orange County government with record requests seeking travel, phone, email and budget records related to Jacobs. That move came not long after the Florida Democratic Party gave $50,000 to the Demings campaign, which still lags far behind the more than $540,000 that Jacobs has raised. For her part, Jacobs has enlisted again for her mayoral campaign, John Dowless, a longtime Republican consultant. Dowless sought opposition research on Demings even before the former Orlando police chief entered the race in January, soliciting the information from someone on the 2012 campaign team of Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, who defeated Demings. Dowless said Webster's camp shared nothing of note, though he plans to make a few targeted public-records requests on Demings soon. At the same time, he slammed the sweeping search that Demings' team has made, dubbing it a ‘dumpster dive.’ ‘It's Val Demings dragging in all the D.C. money and political hacks,’ Dowless said. ‘It's a fishing expedition.’” (via Orlando Sentinel)


NOT TO SPEAK ILL OF THE DEAD, BUT ONLY BECAUSE HE’S NOT QUITE DEAD YET: “Drain said Phelps had done "his bit" in talking to reporters in earlier years and had passed the torch to younger church members. After Phelps was voted out of Westboro Baptist Church this past summer, he was moved out of the church and into a house, where he was watched to ensure he wouldn’t harm himself, a son estranged from the church said Sunday. Phelps eventually stopped eating and drinking, and on Sunday, he was near death, son Nate Phelps said in a Facebook posting. The information also is based on an email sent by Nate Phelps to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter. ‘(Fred) is at Midland Hospice House where, as of yesterday (Friday), he is comfortable without the respiratory difficulty that he was having the day before and is unresponsive,’ Nate Phelps wrote, quoting a message sent to him.” (via Topeka Capital-Journal)



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