Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'll take "Rising Conservative Political Stars for $2,000," Alex

 I had a great time at the Miami-Dade Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner last night...will share some photos and stories some other exciting news...stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's something fun. Our Senator, Marco Rubio, has officially hit the big time...he was an answer on Jeopardy last week:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meet Ted Cruz a.k.a. The Marco Rubio of Texas

Earlier this month at CPAC, I had the privilege of meeting Ted Cruz, a 2012 Republican candidate for Senate in Texas. He attended several of the events, including the Blogger Bash on Thursday night, where I had the opportunity to talk at length with him about his background and why he's running for Senate.

Cruz has been getting a lot of favorable comparisons to Florida's own Marco Rubio, and for good reason. Beyond their shared Cuban heritage, Cruz is also dedicated to fiscal conservatism and respect for our Constitution. He's an attorney (just like Rubio and yours truly) and actually worked on Bush v. Gore. As an election law attorney, it was a real thrill to hear some first-hand stories from him about that famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion of the ruling, ha!) case.

I found Cruz to be sincere and thoughtful. This is a candidate who is a Republican not because he checked a box at some point, but because he has seriously and carefully considered the issues and truly believes that the conservative position is the best solution for preserving what makes America great. He carries his conservatism deep in his heart and discusses the issues with a calm intelligence. In my opinion, he would be an asset for our party in the U.S. Senate, and a true advocate for conservative principles.

I'm not the only one to make the comparison between Rubio and Cruz. From The Shark Tank:

Cruz’s background is similar to another young Cuban-American Senator, one Marco Rubio, recently elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Marco Rubio. Cruz’s father escaped Cuba at the age of 18 and came to the U.S. where he like many other immigrants struggled but was able to provide for his family and successfully assimilate into the American society. Cruz’s father instilled in him the value of education and hard work, and he stressed the importance of an environment that allows every American the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Cruz clearly appreciates and understands the true meaning of Conservative principles and values, and he could very well be the next Rubio-esque candidate elected to the U.S. Senate.
Shark Tank blogger Javier Manjarres conducted a great interview with Cruz at CPAC. Here's the video:

RedState has also taken notice of Cruz. Moe Lane put up a post about Cruz yesterday, along with this video:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yeah, Scott still doesn't like high speed rail

Posted on Governor Scott's Facebook page at 4:59 pm today (link to message here):

My position on High Speed Rail remains unchanged.  I believe High Speed Rail is a federal boondoggle, as I said more than a week ago.  This morning I communicated to Secretary LaHood that as long as Florida remains on the hook for cost overruns, operating costs and paybacks in the case of default, I will vigorously oppose this project.

Since that time, Secretary LaHood has extended his own deadline for coming up with a way to alleviate Florida’s risk on High Speed Rail.  While I appreciate his continued efforts to keep the project alive in Florida, it is important to note that I have yet to see any proposal that accomplishes my goal of eliminating risk to Florida’s taxpayers.
Yep. He still doesn't like the train. Guess our Governor isn't scared of Senator Nelson

I continue to be amused by this story. The fact that politicians - both at the state and federal level - think they can bully or intimidate Rick Scott (who, as we all know, does not need this job) into changing his mind, is one of the more hysterical things I've seen in awhile.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama's White House: Can't Spell, Can't Lead

Today, the White House posted this on their official twitter account:

Nice job. They had to write one sentence and screwed it up. It's not like they had to spell "Kyrgyzstan" or anything.

They were at least smart enough to send out a new tweet with the country properly spelled "Libya" a little while later.

On a fun side note, apparently the "Lybia" is a type of itty-bitty crabs, also known as "boxer crabs" or "pom-pom crabs," that are known for having sea anemones grow on their claws, which the tiny crab will use as a weapon.

Awww. That's kinda cute.
Anyway, back to Obama...far more important than the spelling errors, was anyone actually impressed with his speech today (link at CNN's YouTube channel here)? Hundreds, if not thousands of protesting Libyans have been brutally gunned down in the streets by the Qaddafi regime, and not only does Obama take days to respond to the well-documented violence, when he finally got around to saying something today, his words were as sharp as a wet cotton ball.

Obama promised to send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva to "hold consultations" with the U.N. Human Rights Council.  Ooh! The UNITED NATIONS! Clinton's gonna "consult" with them! I bet Qaddafi is just quivering in that weird terracotta orange toga suit. Well, at least he can sleep easy until Monday...because Obama's not sending Clinton anywhere for five more days...sigh...

Well, let's be fair...Obama also said after the UN, he'd send Clinton to the actual Middle East and "intensify our consultations." Wow! INTENSIFIED consultations! What is that exactly? Consultations where Clinton wrinkles her eyebrows and looks stern? Is Obama gonna make a frowny-face at Qaddafi and not let him have a cookie?

How many Middle Eastern countries have to erupt in violence, how many thousands of people have to be killed by dictatorial regimes in front of TV cameras, before the White House considers taking action other than promising to "monitor" the situation and, ughhh, "consult"?

Let's remember that these brutal dictators have been committing crimes against their own people and sponsoring terrorism for years, if not decades. It's not like there is any reason to trust them or give them any benefit of the doubt.

We can all get a good chuckle at the White House communication team's spelling errors. But this repeated failure of leadership by our Commander-in-Chief Chicken-in-Chief is no laughing matter.


"Schadenfreude" is a German word that has been adopted into English, and is defined as "taking pleasure or satisfaction at someone else's misfortune." ("Schaden" means injury or disadvantage, "Freude" means joy or delight.)

So, here's your Schadenfreude moment of the day:

Orlando Sentinel | Jury in defamation case finds against Doug Guetzloe for a total of $1.61 million

Wow. $1.61 million dollars is a LOT of money. As expected, Guetzloe is showing no remorse and vowing to appeal, but still, this verdict shows that not only did the jury think he was liable, but the large punitive damages component shows they found his conduct especially malicious and reprehensible.

"One meeeee-lion another six hundred and ten thousand!"

Howard Marks, the attorney for the successful plaintiffs said, "This was never, to begin with, a case about money. It was a case to stand up against a bully, to stand up against someone who has intimidated people for years with lawsuits."

Job well done, Mr. Marks. Free speech does not include the right to falsely call someone a pedophile...oh, excuse me, insinuate that someone "might" be a pedophile, or whatever Guetzloe was trying to argue he meant by saying that Richard Mask was "trolling for young boys," etc.

As someone who has also been a target of Guetzloe's fantastical lies and malicious attacks, I am greatly cheered by today's verdict and commend Richard Mask for his bravery and commitment to see this case through to the end.

Guetzloe has never called me a pedophile (golly gee whiz, thanks for that, Dougie), but he's used every word in the thesaurus to call me corrupt and unethical, attempts to attack my reputation every chance he gets, and keeps calling me a Democrat.  (If I'm a Democrat, I'm doing a reeeeeeeally bad job at it.) Entertainingly, during last year's  election he even tried to claim I was a double agent for the Alex Sink campaign. Thanks Dougie, we all got a good laugh over that.

Guetzloe also hasn't sued me in court yet, although he's certainly made the threat several times, but he has filed several complaints against me with the Florida Elections Commission. I just got word from them earlier this month that they had dismissed the latest case against me entirely. Ol' Dougie is now 0-for-3 against me with the FEC: he filed a complaint against me in 2008 which was immediately dismissed, I filed one against him in 2008 which settled with a consent order and a fine earlier this month, and then he filed this one against me in 2010, which was dismissed entirely.

I'm just waiting to get my copy of the written order (I called and checked and the orders were mailed yesterday) and then I'll share the fun little story with all of you. Doug Guetzloe is a bully and a jerk (that's my opinion, Dougie, go ahead and try to sue me for that), but the Florida Statutes and the administrative procedures of the FEC have some major areas that are ripe for improvement.

Stay tuned...

Another side to the high speed rail debate

Rick Geller, a local attorney who is on the Orange County Planning and Zoning Board and has local government blog, emailed me a response to my blog post last week on Governor Scott's rejection of the high speed rail money. He's given me permission to reprint it:
Hi, Sarah - I enjoyed reading your recent post, but please consider my thoughts on the Governor's high speed rail decision:

There's no indication the Governor considered a report estimating a return on investment for the Orlando area at well over $2 billion annually. These systems produce operator profits all over the world.  Links are at my blog.

The Governor's decision will not reduce the Federal deficit. His alternative--expanding highways--is billions more costly. Florida taxpayers would bear at least 10 percent of the cost, even assuming DOT would fund such a proposal after this high profile snub. The reality is that shifting dedicated rail funds to highways is unlawful.

I've rarely seen more public criticism of a sitting Republican governor by members of our own party.  Florida taxpayer out-of-pocket exposure was close to zero, with private industry bearing the risk of cost overruns, as well as operations and maintenance. Governor Scott apparently is unfamiliar with performance bonds in public contracts, given his reliance on a worst case scenario operator default, unprecedented among high speed rail systems worldwide, to my knowledge. 
I hope the Governor gives Congressman Mica's latest proposal--a shortened airport to Disney World line--the consideration it warrants.  We have close to 50 million tourists annually to sustain such a line.  That's double the population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston combined.  John Mica has studied rail for years and would not lead us in a fiscally risky direction. 

What do you think? Geller presents some interesting numbers and issues to debate. This is a highly complicated topic, and anyone who presents a simplistic answer is not being honest. Building a high speed rail system is neither the solution to all our problems nor the worst thing that could ever happen to us.

I don't consider myself necessarily "anti-rail," but I'm not really "pro-rail" either. As I said last week, building a hundred lanes on I-4 won't solve our traffic problems, and I also believe that increasing density in certain metropolitan cores is the only way to preserve as much of our green spaces as possible. Strip malls and other sprawling developments threaten our  state's water table, indigenous plant and animal species, and the natural beauty that not only draws millions of tourists here every year, but also makes Florida a wonderful place to live.

An honest discussion about how our state should grow should include a frank and open discussion about mass transit at some point. Maybe high speed rail will be a part of the solution, maybe not. But even if rail is the right solution, maybe now isn't the time. I must say that I am skeptical of the promised job numbers associated with the rail projects.
It really bugs the heck out of me how the White House has decided that now - during the worst economy since the Great Depression and the highest levels our national debt has ever reached - is the time to build a lot of high speed rail systems all over the country. You and I would never buy a new car or build an addition on our house if we had just lost our job, so why is this government so obsessed with finding new and exciting ways to spend a crapload of money?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Have you listened to a darn word that Rick Scott has said?

...because if you had, Governor Scott's announcement that Florida would forgo the federal high speed rail funds would not have been so shocking.

Rick Scott promised during his entire campaign that he would do things differently, look at government with a new eye, run the state like a business, "Let's get to work," etc. He's got the courage and confidence that comes with complete financial independence: not only is Scott voluntarily only taking a penny salary, but we all know that he doesn't "need" this job.

Let's face it: there are much easier projects that Scott could have tackled than Florida's budget problems. I can only assume that he's truly, deeply motivated by this challenge and views righting Florida's economic ship as some sort of personal holy mission.

If Governor Scott starts wearing sunglasses all the time and
driving a classic Cadillac, we'll know for sure.
And let's look at how Scott has approached the entire budgetary process. From the beginning, his transition team has allowed no "sacred cows," attacking the budget with not a scalpel, but a chainsaw and a blowtorch. Entire agencies and departments have been slated for demolition. He released his budget, not in Tallahassee, but in sleepy little Eustis, and caused an amusing level of panic as people realized their pet projects had been killed. So I find it hysterical that anyone pretends to be shocked that Scott is rejecting the high speed rail money.

Personally, I've honestly had mixed feelings about the rail issue. Florida has beautiful weather and no state income tax; as the economy recovers, our growth challenges will return. Building a hundred lanes on I-4 is not the answer and at some point I hope we can have an honest discussion about mass transit and building for density in our metropolitan cores so we can preserve as much of our green spaces as possible.

I've also been annoyed at what seems to me to be intellectual dishonesty from some of the rail opponents, especially the argument that a rail project will "lose money." Well, duh. Government infrastructure is not meant to be profitable. Does the interstate highway system turn a profit? How about your local elementary school? Of course not. The real question for a government-funded project is not whether it will be profitable, but whether the project is a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer funds.

Clearly, here, Governor Scott has looked at the facts and figures for the high speed rail proposal and decided that Florida taxpayers' funds are better spent elsewhere right now. The benefits of improved transportation infrastructure and construction jobs are, in the Governor's view, not justified by the extremely large price tag for this project. Let's also keep in mind that there's no such thing as "free money" - the promised federal funds are our taxpayer funds too, and federal money always comes with a lot of strings attached.

Well, Scott's announcement was predictably met with a lot of screeching and wailing and rending of garments. A group of Florida State Senators, led by one of the biggest hypocrites on the rail issue ever, Paula Dockery (aka, "Little Miss I-don't-like-rail-projects-unless-my-husband-gets-a-share-of-the-profits!"), reacted by throwing a public temper tantrum. They sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, asking him to circumvent Governor Scott and send the high speed rail funds to a state commission.

Apryl Marie Fogel, the Florida state director for Americans for Prosperity, issued the following statement and action alert:
Members of Florida's Congressional Delegation and the Florida Legislature are plotting to circumvent Governor Scott's decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a high speed rail from Orlando to Tampa.  Unlikely bedfellows were made today when a group of 26 State Senators, including ten democrats and led by high speed rail supporter Paula Dockery, sent a letter to Obama’s Transportation Secretary asking him to circumvent Gov. Scott and send the dollars directly to a state commission created in 2009. They noted that politics should have no place in the future of Florida’s transportation, but they are doing exactly that with this political power play to quiet your voice and that of your elected Governor.
Governor Scott's decision to reject the federal stimulus dollars is backed by sound economic policy and represents the voice of fiscal conservatives - he doesn't think it is in the best interest of the state to commit to a project we can't afford down the road.  The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed a plan for Florida that will cost an estimated $11 billion to build, and it is projected that along with SunRail and Tri-Rail it will cost $100 million per year to operate once completed.  With unknown ridership numbers and a budget shortfall of $3.5 billion and growing, the state of Florida simply can't afford Obama and Dockery's High Speed Rail plan.
For Prosperity,
Apryl Marie Fogel
State Director
Americans for Prosperity - Florida
UPDATE: Here's a link to some additional commentary by Javier Manjarres at The Shark Tank:

The Shark Tank | Governor Scott Kills High-Speed Rail, Takes Heat From Senate Republicans
It’s not often that common sense and fiscal discipline wins the day at any level of government, but Governor Rick Scott deserves big kudos from you (and your kids if you have them) for doing the right thing for Florida and its long-term fiscal health, as he effectively killed the so-called High-Speed Rail (HSR) project which was planned to connect Tampa to Orlando.  Governor Scott, like most other clear thinking people who understand the value of a dollar and what a cost/benefit analysis is, looked over the horizon and saw that Florida would have been saddled with an enormous long term fiscal loser in exchange for what?- maybe 20,000 jobs over the next five years, many of them temporary, that would be paid for with more borrowed federal money.  Consider it yet another “stimulus” project that wouldn’t stimulate anything but our debt and the growth of government.
It’s a pretty good bet that either a Governor McCollum or a Governor Sink would have approved the HSR project regardless of its bleak long term fiscal projections, as that’s the very short-term thinking we’ve come to expect from politicians of all stripes.  But as is typically the case in government, no good deed goes unpunished, and Scott is getting blowback from every direction, including a somewhat unexpected source, as a veto-proof group of State Senators have issued a public rebuke of Scott’s decision to kill HSR.
It’s almost embarrassing to read the letter this group of 26 State Senators sent to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood practically begging him not to give these rejected federal monies to another state as if it were somehow their birthright.  Their letter deadpans that "Politics should have no place in the future of Florida’s transportation, as evidenced by this letter of bipartisan support."

Come again, Senators?  Governor Scott’s decision to kill HSR is based on his very sober cost/benefit analysis of the project.  You can agree or disagree with Governor Scott’s decision, but your support of HSR is as every bit “political” as his decision was to kill the project.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie! OMG OMG OMG

One of my favorite experiences of CPAC was attending the "BlogBash" on Thursday night and seeing the world premiere of the trailer for the new Atlas Shrugged movie.
Official movie poster. The movie premieres on April 15th, an appropriate date!
I've loved Ayn Rand's book for a long time, and often said that it should be required reading for elected officials. (Apparently FreedomWorks agrees with me, but Congressman Keith Ellison does not.) It has puzzled me that no one had adapted this great book to film before now, but I can see how it might be challenging, especially today.

In 1949, Hollywood managed to get Ayn Rand right, with the film version of The Fountainhead. However, Rand herself wrote the screenplay, King Vidor was the director, and Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal excelled in the starring roles. I highly recommend adding it to your Netflix queue or catching it the next time it's shown on Turner Classic Movies.

Atlas Shrugged is admittedly a denser and more complicated book than The Fountainhead.  It's Rand's longest book and the last one she published, with, let's face it, a theme that is a bit more complicated than the standard "boy meets girl" schlock that Hollywood is accustomed to producing now. Without Rand to guide the screenwriting and production, I honestly did not have very high expectations for this new movie.

Well, my pessimism was misplaced. The people responsible for bringing this film to the big screen have created a wonderful, amazing, and powerful work. This is a top-quality, lush, visually-stunning production. Judge for yourself, and view the trailer here:

YouTube| AtlasShruggedPart1 | Atlas Shrugged Trailer

We were also shown a few selected scenes from the movie. The actors appear very well suited for their roles, even the minor characters...I was a huge fan of the TV show Friends and the casting of Christina Pickles (she played Ross and Rachel's mother) as Mother Rearden, was spot-on. I have to admit getting slight chills upon hearing certain lines brought to life ("Who is John Galt?") and seeing Dagny Taggart wearing a bracelet of Rearden metal.

The movie is currently planned to be a trilogy. Part 1 premieres on April 15th, 2011.

For more information about the Atlas Shrugged Movie:

Official Movie Website

Atlas Shrugged Movie on Facebook

@_AtlasShrugged on Twitter

Atlas Shrugged Part 1 YouTube Channel

About CPAC last week...yes, I have some thoughts

Last week I had an absolute blast attending CPAC, met a lot of dedicated and passionate conservatives, learned a lot, and had a whole lotta fun.  Believe me, I have some opinions on what happened at CPAC (as well as some fun pictures), and I'm working on getting notes together. 

While I was in Washington, I was working on a hand-me-down netbook that unfortunately has the processing power of a stapler.  Blogging from that computer quickly became an exercise in frustration, so I just put my notes into a little notebook, took photos and posted on my Twitter account throughout the CPAC experience. Would anyone like to sponsor an iPad for me to take to CPAC next year? Yeah, well, I'll keep my fingers crossed...

Anyway, I'm breaking my thoughts into smaller posts by topic and will be uploading them over the next few days. I've also got some interesting information about a free speech battle I won last week that I'll publish after that.

Stay tuned...updates coming today and the rest of the week...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meghan McCain sticks her foot in her mouth for the millionth time

Oh, Meghan McCain...just when we are starting to forget about you, you do something so brilliantly obnoxious and boneheaded, you guarantee that dear sweet Meggie Mac will never fade from our minds...

As you should know, CPAC is going on in Washington, D.C. this week.  All day long, there are conservative activists, organizations, elected officials, and candidates to meet and listen to their presentations, in dozens of ballrooms, conference rooms, and convention halls at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  There are over 12,000 (!) people attending CPAC this year, the largest ever attendance. If you have conservative political beliefs on even one issue, there is someone here that you would enjoy meeting.

Well, apparently dear sweet Meggie felt left out of all the CPAC festivities and she posted this little gem on her twitter account late last night:
@McCainBlogette: I'm not at CPAC - girls like me only get invited to things like that if we are or have been impregnated. #imarepublicannotaconservative
As you'd expect, the reaction from the twitterverse was swift and severe.  Sweet Meggie deleted the original tweet just a few minutes later, but I had already taken a screenshot:

I hardly know where to begin here...

This is my first CPAC, and I am in amazement at the wonderful, smart, feisty conservative women I've met in only two days. Not sure what lil' Meggie means by "girls like me," but she clearly cannot mean the awesome ladies who I've met at CPAC. 

Actually, her whole statement is just beyond silly.  Anyone, anyone, can go to CPAC.  You just have to get a credentialed pass - either by buying one, which she could have easily done, or by pre-registering as media or a blogger (like I did).  Heck, Maureen Dowd was at CPAC yesterday (and trying unsuccessfully to crash the Bloggers' Lounge, haha!) so Meggie certainly could have gotten in.

But, wait, Meggie wanted to be "invited." Ah. I think  see the real issue now. She wanted to be "invited." She wanted to feel special. Well, tough cookies, sweetheart. To get to be an "invited" guest or speaker at CPAC, you have to have actually accomplished something that benefits the conservative movement. 

And what has Meghan McCain done for conservative politics? Well, she's related to someone who lost a Presidential race and she pops up on the news every now and then to toss insults at Republicans. It almost seems like the left wing media keeps Meggie in a cage and then every few months, trots her out, shows her a picture of a currently popular Republican, and then demands that she say the most creatively nasty and petty thing she can about that person.

Personally, I plan on encouraging my fellow CPAC Ladies to post their own responses to dear Meggie.  My suggestion is tweeting or blogging photos of us blowing kisses at her. It's at least nicer than flipping her off. No need to be nasty about it, just give a big grin and blow her a nice kiss. If you'd like to be in my tweets to Meggie, come track me down at CPAC today.

...Actually, if you're reading this, just try and say hi to me anyway. I'm having a blast meeting so many kick-*** conservatives.  I want to meet as many of you as possible in the next few days. Meghan McCain really is missing out on meeting some phenomenal people. It's pretty sad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CPAC! (Wednesday daytime notes)

I’m in Washington this week for the Conservative Political Action Conference ( It’s my first time at CPAC and so far I’m really enjoying my time here.

I received Official Blogger Credentials for CPAC, and I’m very excited about that. Met some really great people already.

The wireless internet connection is a little spotty in the “Blogger’s Lounge” but seems to be working now, so hopefully this will post ok.  I'm a little behind in getting this updated but will try to post as much as I can this afternoon.  Having trouble uploading pictures so I'm just posting links to my twitter pictures for now.  For more up-to-date info, check my twitter feed @rumpfshaker.

FYI, anyone interested in CPAC can watch live at

Some notes on my adventures from yesterday…

Yesterday, I spent some time on Capitol Hill with some other friends from Florida (Jason Hoyt and Kelly Kraiss). We visited the House and Senate office buildings and had the opportunity to speak with some great people.

Stopped by Daniel Webster's office in the Longworth Building to get House Gallery passes.  Got there in time to see Florida Congressional Members Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,Connie Mack, and David Rivera speak in favor of HR 519, a bill related to funding for the United Nations.  It's a somewhat complicated issue, but apparently we overpaid about $179 million in dues to the UN (huh? how does this happen?) and this was a bill to demand that back but it would have somehow affected funding dedicated to NYPD and Homeland Security efforts around the UN building.  The bill failed to pass.

It was very interesting to have a bird's eye view when the full House came in for the vote.  (The gallery seats are in a balcony that rings the room.) It's a sea of black and grey suits, so the women really stand out.  It was very easy to pick out Sandy Adams with her blond hair and red jacket.  If I were in Congress, I would definitely wear bright colors every day. The part in Paul Ryan's hair is easily visible from the gallery...maybe from space.  I don't know what products he uses in his hair, but it's pretty awesome.  Nancy Pelosi seems to be doing a little better at looking like a human being (better haircut) but she still looks like a Muppet to me (apologies to Jim Henson).  Webster was easy to pick out of the crowd too because he's so tall.  (Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to have a human being as a Congressman again?)

We then went back to the Congressional offices again and met with some of Marco Rubio's staffers in the Dirksen Senate building.  Rubio has really hired some sharp, top-notch people and they are clearly proud to be working for him.  They are stuck in a cramped little basement office for now until Rubio's official Senate office is finished. 

I asked about Rubio's plans for higher office, and his staffers confirmed, Rubio wants to finish out this Senate term and does not intend to run for the White House in 2012 (as either President or Vice President).

I was glad to hear that.  I've been a supporter of Marco's for a very long time and I'd love to see him in the White day.  Not yet. Remember he will be in his early 40s in 2012.  He has plenty of time. Let's not let the Democrats throw the experience issue back at us. Yes, I know Rubio was Speaker of the House and his resume far outweighs Obama's when he ran in 2008, but when was the Left ever honest in their attacks on Republican candidates?

We saw Allen West in the elevator in the Rayburn building.  There is so much excitement around him.  Everyone perks up when they see him.  If you didn't see the news already, he's been selected to give the keynote address at CPAC this year.  Rubio did it last year and was extremely well-received.  I'm glad to see Florida continuing to have a prominent place in the conservative political scene.  The Sunshine State has really produced some top-notch politicians lately, haven't we?

We also ran into Steve King (R-Iowa) in the hallway in Longworth on the way to meet with Webster.  He is very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY enthusiastic about his budget proposals, specifically an amendment that defunds Obamacare.  We told him we were meeting with Webster later and he asked us to encourage Webster to support his amendment. 

Photo at Steve King's office: he has a "Don't Tread on Me" flag along with the United States and Iowa flags. I heard he's the only Member of Congress with the Gadsen flag outside his office (haven't walked through to verify this).

Congressman King didn't need to worry about Webster.  He's definitely on board with King's amendment.  Webster also expressed frustration with the budget issues.  The Republican House - especially the freshmen - is committed to using the continuing resolution (needed because the goofball Democrats failed to pass a budget last year) and the debt ceiling issue as bargaining chips.  Their goal is to use these votes as leverage to either get a repeal of ObamaCare, a balanced budget amendment, major spending cuts, etc. The Republicans promised $100 billion in non-defense budget cuts and the current proposal is only about $58 billion in cuts.  Webster repeatedly stated his commitment to cutting the promised $100 billion, pointing out that there is clearly still a lot of waste so there are plenty of things to cut!

Photo at Daniel Webster's office with Jason Hoyt, Kelly Kraiss, and his Executive Assistant, Elizabeth Tyrell

OK, I'll post more updates later...I've been meeting so many great conservative leaders and activists, it's been a little overwhelming.  Remember to follow me on twitter! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

ICYMI - Reagan Super Bowl XLV Tribute

In case you missed it...

Here is the video that was shown before the Super Bowl to honor Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday:

"The National Football League salutes this great American, who played the game with honor and courage, and played to win, not just for America, but for free people everywhere.

Happy 100th birthday, Mr. President."
Nicely done.

Sunshine State Sarah on "Flashpoint"

I had the honor of being invited to participate in Lauren Rowe's great political roundtable show, "Flashpoint," this past weekend. Also appearing with us was former Democratic Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (elected from Colorado but lives in Orlando now).

Here's a link to the video:

(Mental note: those dangly earrings are super-cute in person but ummm, not so great on TV.  Not sure if that saying about "TV adds 15 pounds" is always true, but, yeah, my earrings look about 15 lbs. each on this video.  Oh well.)

We discussed Obama's State of the Union speech, specifically his comments on health care and the economy, and Rick Scott's relationship with the media.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday President Reagan!

Ronald Reagan was the President of my childhood.  (I was born during Carter's term but fortunately too young to remember any of it.)  I remember seeing Reagan on TV and hearing his strong, sincere voice.  Partly because he is the first President I remember, and partly because he was such an inspirational leader, but he was and always has been my model for what a leader is supposed to be.

My grandfather was a staunch Republican, and donated to the GOP for years.  He gave me this button when I was a little girl:

Yes, I've been a Republican for a looooooong time :)
My all-time favorite Reagan speech is the one he gave on June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.  This is the day when he made the famous demand, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  It is important to remember that Reagan's speechwriters and advisers did not want him to be so aggressive and direct, and kept deleting these words from drafts of the speech, wanting him to instead offer more conciliatory words merely hoping for a peaceful resolution.  Wisely, Reagan rejected their advice and insisted that his words stay in the speech.  Today, more than thirty years later, those six words remain the most memorable he spoke that day.

Here is the speech, in its entirety, posted by the Reagan Foundation:

YouTube | ReaganFoundation | President Reagan's Address at the Brandenburg Gate - 6/12/87

The section where he requests that Gorbachev tear down the Wall starts at the 11 minute mark.  Note also the very next section of the speech, where he discusses how America's strong and unyielding stance forced the Soviets back to the negotiating table.  (Ahem...ahem...the current occupant of the White House would be well-advised to learn from this example.)

For more on Ronald Reagan, check out this excellent two part story from the L.A. Times (yes, really) with some great photos and video:

L.A. Times | Ronald Reagan's birth centennial, Part I: Politics came late in his life

L.A. Times | Ronald Reagan's centennial, Part II: An All-American American

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

High Five to @citybeautiful

Yesterday I went to dinner with my parents and two of our neighbors to Scruffy Murphy's in College Park.  I love that place...lots of great beers on tap, good food, decent prices.  I highly recommend the Shepherd's Pie.  Yum.

Very appropriate slogan!
...but I digress...anyway, Dad parked the truck and we walked down Edgewater Drive to Scruffy's and I noticed that one of the trees had been removed and there was a hole left in its place with some stakes. It wasn't very well marked and there was no barrier around the spot.  Maybe because I'm an attorney, or more likely because I can be a total klutz sometimes, I tend to notice things like this:

Yeah, I almost tripped over this.  Ack.
I posted the photo on twitter with a comment to @citybeautiful (the official City of Orlando twitter account) and that the photo was a removed tree on Edgewater and Winter Park Street and that it needed to be fixed.  I had just been talking with my parents about how Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker is active on twitter and very responsive to his citizens' requests, and thought it might be worth a try to see if anyone in Orlando was really monitoring these accounts.

Well, this morning, @citybeautiful sent me a reply:
@ @ Thanks! Have forwarded photo and address to appropriate dept.. Re:Removed tree on Edgewater/Winter Park.
Then, this afternoon I got an email from Michael McCarthy, who is the "Interactive Programs Supervisor" in the city's Office of Communications and Neighborhood Relations:
Dear Ms. Rumpf,

Good afternoon.  I need to ask a little more information than I can ask in 140 characters about the picture you posted on Twitter.   I am going to assume that you want a new tree to go in, but let me know for sure. The other alternative is covering and resurfacing the hole.  Our Parks section handles replanting trees, but Public Works handles the sidewalk repairs - so they asked me for a little more information so they could assign the task to the right crew.

Again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.  Have a great day.


Wow.  What a great, quick response.  I sent a reply back that I was mainly concerned about someone tripping and falling on the hole, and I like the trees but if filling in the sidewalk is cheaper, let's do that.

Next time I'm in that area of College Park, I'll have to check and see what they did there.  Regardless, it's nice to know that someone's actually paying attention.

FYI, Orlando residents should check out this list of official City of Orlando social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS Feeds, and a Flickr photo account:

City of Orlando Social Media Accounts
My hometown.  It really is beautiful here :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dear America, You're Welcome. Sincerely, Florida

In case you were locked in the trunk of a car yesterday, Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that Obamacare is a big ol' pile of unconstitutional mess.

The Court ruled that the part of the bill that mandates that individuals purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, because it is beyond the scope of Congress' regulatory authority under the Commerce Clause.  Basically, because the individual mandate applied even if you did not do anything other than continue to breathe, you were not "engaging in commerce," and Congress overstepped their bounds.  Contrary to what many Democrats seem to argue, the power of the federal government is not without limit...and the Constitution is that limit.

The Democrats responsible for this monstrosity of a bill got smacked in the face by two of their own decisions.  First, the bill did not have what's called a "severability clause," or language that provides that if any part of the legislation is found unconstitutional or otherwise unenforceable, that the rest of the bill would still have legal effect.  Ironically, the original version of the bill did include a severability clause.  If you remember back to when the Democrats passed this bill (again, without a single Republican vote), they had to engage in serious negotiations to buy, I mean obtain, the votes they needed (see, e.g., Cornhusker Kickback, etc.).  The negotiations were so tight that no one was willing to risk any of the provisions for which they had so carefully bargained, so the severability clause was deleted.

Without a severability clause, if one part of a bill is killed, especially a part as major as the individual mandate is for the health care bill, the whole entire bill must die with it.

(Keep reading after the jump, including link to view the Court's entire opinion and video interviews of Pam Bondi and Bill McCollum.)

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