Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to think about those who sacrificed so that you and I may continue to enjoy living in freedom.

God Bless our military and their families. For anyone who has lost someone, I hope that the prayers of a grateful nation may be a comfort to you.

Arlington National Cemetery. All over the country, volunteers placed flags on the graves
of our veterans to honor their memories this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Year Later...

Happy 1st Birthday to my Blog :)
One year ago today, I published my very first blog post, appropriately titled, "Some thoughts on the First Amendment."

It's appropriate that I started this blog with a discussion of the First Amendment, because I've had to rely on my constitutional right to free speech a few times to defend myself (here, here, and here).

I draw inspiration from the motto of RedState's Erick Erickson to "fight the left and clean up the right."  Anyone who thinks that harassing or threatening me will shut me up is sorely mistaken, and the attacks have only furthered my resolve to continue criticizing those who deserve it.

It's hasn't been all fights and challenges. There's been a lot of fun in the past year. Some highlights:

  • Being invited to be a guest on Flashpoint, local talk radio, conservative podcasts, and other media appearances. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a little (OK, very) opinionated and getting to share my thoughts and debate political topics is always a lot of fun.
  • Getting to meet so many conservative leaders and politicians over the past year, too many to list. There's really no substitute for getting to hear a candidate speak in person, unabridged and uncensored. A few minute clip of a TV interview is not the same, never mind an over-produced 30 second ad. That's why I won't ever endorse a candidate unless I've met him or her in person.
  • What I've enjoyed most of all is hearing from all of you. It's been fun getting feedback from friends or meeting new people who read the blog or follow me on twitter. I really do appreciate all your support and encouragement, and thank you for your continued interest in my little corner of the internet.

A few semi-interesting statistics about this blog...

Most viewed posts:
Top traffic sources/referring sites:
Visitors - Top Countries:
  • United States (94% of traffic is from the U.S., all other countries are <1%)
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • India
  • France
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Israel
Visitors - Top States
  • Florida (60%)
  • New York (6%)
  • District of Columbia (4%)
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
Browsers used to access this site:
  • Internet explorer - 46%
  • Firefox - 28%
  • Safari - 9%
  • Chrome - 8%
  • Mobile - 4%
Operating Systems:
  • Windows - 77%
  • Macintosh - 12%
  • iPhone - 3%
  • BlackBerry - 1%
  • Other Unix - 1%
  • Linux - 1%
  • Android - 1%
To all of you who have been there for the entire year, those of you who found me along the way, or those of you who are new readers, THANK YOU. I'm looking forward to sharing the years to come with you.

FYI - you can join the Sunshine State Sarah Facebook page, follow me on Twitter @rumpfshaker, and sign up for "A Daily Dose of Sunshine," a free email subscription to this blog.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Marco Rubio

Marco is celebrating a very good year.
Florida's Senator and tea party favorite Marco Rubio celebrates his 40th birthday today.

It's been a great year politically for Rubio, from defeating both a Democrat and Democrat-in-disguise Governor Oompa Loompa to getting included on nearly every Republican's wish lists for 2012 presidential or vice-presidential candidates.

Part of the reason for Rubio's ongoing popularity is his willingness to speak directly and confidently on the issues, no matter how difficult.

Case in point: this op-ed written by Rubio for the Miami Herald, on the topic of Medicare reform:

Miami Herald | Looking for Medicare solutions, not politics as usual
...Rep. Paul Ryan has offered a plan that would make no changes whatsoever for anyone age 55 and older. I support it because, right now, it is the only plan out there that helps save Medicare. Democrats oppose it. Fine. But, if they have a better way to save Medicare, what are they waiting for to show us? What is their plan to save Medicare? 

Either show us how Medicare survives without any changes or show us what changes you propose we make. Anyone who supports doing nothing is a supporter of bankrupting Medicare. 

Where is the House Democrat plan to save Medicare?

Where is the Senate Democrat plan to save Medicare?

Where is President Obama’s plan to save Medicare?

They have no plan to save it, and they do not plan to offer one. They have decided that winning their next election is more important than saving Medicare for my mother and retirees like her...
Here's a YouTube video of Rubio with further discussion of the need to reform Medicare:

YouTube | SenatorMarcoRubio |  Sen. Rubio: "Why We Must Save Medicare"

 Happy Birthday, Senator Rubio!

Thanks for all you do to represent Floridians. Keep up the great work.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tweet of the Day

Yesterday morning, I wrote a post declaring that it was unfair and inaccurate to call Tim Pawlenty boring. A few hours later, he proved me right by sending out this tweet:

@BarackObama sorry to interrupt the European pub crawl, but what was your Medicare plan?Thu May 26 21:06:40 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Awesome. I like the feisty side that Pawlenty has been showing lately.

For far too long, Republicans have indulged a tendency to be polite and not fight back, no matter how outrageous and malicious the Democrats' lies were. Just last week, the DCCC released a web ad with a Paul Ryan look-alike shoving an old lady in a wheelchair off a cliff. The insinuation was that Congressman Ryan's budget plan would end Medicare and kill senior citizens, perhaps echoing former (I love writing that) Congressman Alan Grayson's silly temper tantrum on the House floor that "Republicans want you to Die Quickly!"

So, yes, I definitely like this side of Tim Pawlenty.

You can follow him on Twitter at @timpawlenty.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pawlenty = Boring? Not this week!

Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has been getting slammed for being "boring." In my opinion, this is unfair for two reasons.

First of all, flashiness and soaring rhetoric and a deliriously excited media got us Barack Obama. We've had immature comments slandering Cambridge police officers followed by a silly little "beer summit," an endless series of self-aggrandizing speeches, unconstitutional expansions of executive power (ceding control to appointed czars, increased efforts to bypass Congress through regulatory power grabs, violation of the War Powers Act regarding U.S. military action in Libya, etc.), and his recent short-sighted comments that Israel should return to the 1967 borders. In contrast to all of that nonsense, I really like the idea of putting a stable adult in charge, someone who will act out of logic and rational strategy, not emotion and ego.

Second, Pawlenty has been anything but boring this week. After weeks of painfully awkward and embarrassing campaign launches like Newt Gingrich's backstabbing comments about Paul Ryan to Mitt Romney's blindness to the weaknesses of Romneycare, it was refreshing to see Pawlenty come out of the gate looking strong and confident.

Here's the official campaign announcement video. It's a solid message:

YouTube | GovernorTimPawlenty | Tim Pawlenty - A Time for Truth

These campaign videos are always at least a little schlocky but Pawlenty sounds strong and confident here. I like the message. One of my favorite lines:
I know the American Dream, because I've lived it. And I know for it to be there for the next generation, we're gonna have to do more than give fancy speeches. We've had three years of that, and it's not working.
Pawlenty made his official campaign announcement on Monday in Iowa, where he boldly told the audience that ethanol subsidies needed to be phased out. Ethanol subsidies are a big flippin' deal in corn-field-covered Iowa, so saying something like that to Iowan voters took a giant pair of you-know-whats.
Some people will be upset by what I'm saying.
Conventional wisdom says you can't talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street.
But someone has to say it.  Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people.  Someone has to lead.
When times get tough, there's always a temptation among politicians to try to turn the American people against one-another.  Some try to fan the flames of envy and resentment as a way to deflect attention from their own responsibilities.
But that's not good enough.  Our problems demand - and our children deserve - much more from us this time.
I am still making up my mind about the Presidential race, but Pawlenty's earned a place on my short list. What do you think about him?

[Cross-posted at The Minority Report and Red County]

Morning Coffee Reading for May 26, 2011

Here's your morning coffee reading for today:
  • David Limbaugh's column from Monday makes some excellent points about how Republicans should remember that "the liberal media do not have the best interests of Reagan conservatives in mind" in their coverage of our current and potential 2012 Presidential candidates. A must-read: | New Column: Don't Let Liberal Establishment Choose Our Candidates
  • Ashley Sewell, who blogs at TX Trendy Chick, invited me on her radio program to discuss my post about Israel. Bethany Shondark was also a guest on the show. I met both Ashley and Bethany at CPAC this year: two awesome and feisty ladies who you should be following on Twitter if you aren't already (@TXTrendyChick and @bethanyshondark)
TX Trendy Chick | Podcast 17: I <3 Bibi

  • I'm not sure whether this is what the White House meant by "leading from behind," or if the President is just nostalgic for a time when his poll numbers were better, but on a Tuesday visit to London's Westminster Abbey, President Obama signed the guest book with the date "24 May 2008." On the O'Reilly Factor last night, Dennis Miller had a humorous comment: "He signed 2008 but everything he signs leads to inflation. By the time he gets back to D.C., it'll read 2011."
There was also this great tweet from @esqcapades:

Can you blame Obama for wishing it's 2008, when Michelle was finally proud of her country? Instead it's 2011 & we're proud of Bibi.Wed May 25 06:38:10 via web
Legal Insurrection | Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody care, about time?
  • Tim Pawlenty made a campaign stop in Tampa earlier this week. From what I hear from friends who attended, it was a great event and he made a very favorable impression.
St. Petersburg Times | Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty makes Tampa a first campaign stop
  • Governor Rick Scott is signing the budget today at 1:00 pm at The Villages. You can watch it online here:
  • An ABC News camera caught an interesting conversation between Congressman Paul Ryan and former President Bill Clinton regarding the recent New York special election and the current budget debate in Congress (hat tip: @kesgardner and Legal Insurrection):

Monday, May 23, 2011

A historical perspective on why Obama is wrong about Israel

President Obama made a very controversial statement in a speech last Thursday: that Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

To be fair, the President did qualify that statement by mentioning that  "land swaps" would have to be part of the deal, and he seemed to take a somewhat less aggressive stance in his speech to AIPAC yesterday, but still mentioned the 1967 borders as his reference point.

Not an effective foreign
policy strategy.
President Obama is engaging in a dangerous little dance as he attempts to shape world policy while simultaneously pretending the history of that same world didn't happen.

In my opinion, openly suggesting that Israel go back to the 1967 borders is, at best, dangerously naïve, does nothing to advance the goal of obtaining realistic peace for the region, and only emboldens Israel's enemies who would seek to push the borders further and further back until Israel disappeared from the map altogether.

Let's remember why Israel's borders changed in 1967: the Six-Day War.

Israel, at that time not even two decades into its modern existence, was facing increasing aggression from its Arab neighbors. In just six days in early June 1967, the tiny nation successfully defeated Egypt, Jordan, and Syria (along with numerous other allies who were fighting with them). Israel's victory was decisive, shocking the Middle East, and as a result, Israel gained control over an increased territory. Israel officially expanded its borders eastward, and retained control over a larger area that would provide a valuable buffer zone to its residents.

Israel, pre-1967, was less than nine miles wide. To retreat back to the pre-1967 borders would create additional and unnecessary military vulnerabilities, including leaving the entire land area of Israel vulnerable to the Hamas rockets, which have a range of about 10 miles.

Another noteworthy development happened last month, when Fatah, one of the major Palestinian political parties announced it had made an alliance to join with Hamas to form a government.

Hamas is, plain and simple, a terrorist organization. They do not bother to play  semantic games like the Irish Republican Army did with the Sinn Féin political party. Hamas issues their death threats against the people of Israel in their own name, they launch rockets at schoolyards in their own name, they send suicide bombers to shopping centers in their own name. 

There is no room for confusion. This is a black-and-white issue. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has declared war on Israel and is actively engaged in violence and bloodshed as I type this post here today.

In the context of this history, Obama's Thursday speech seemed to oversimplify the situation and he was accused of being out of touch with reality.  One notable critic was   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had a visit with the President the next day. Netanyahu strongly rebuked Obama, saying that the 1967 lines were "indefensible" and did not take into consideration the situation on the ground.

Here's the video of Netanyahu's meeting with Obama. There's a line he says near the end that is especially chilling:
We don't have a lot of margin for error. And...Mr. President, history will not give the Jewish people another chance.

Netanyahu is correct. What Obama is asking is for him to risk the survival of his entire nation, and he's right to take what some are calling a "defiant" tone here.

It is almost unprecedented to expect the victor of a war to return territories won in the conflict, especially when such lands are obtained from an aggressor and viewed as strategically essential territories for future defense.

In the entire history of human civilization on this planet, I'm aware of one country, just one, that was victorious in war and then voluntarily gave up conquered territory: The United States. 

After World War II, America not only agreed to allow Germany and Japan to retain their independence, but also supported a significant portion of their rebuilding through the Marshall Plan and related programs.

Note, however, that we didn't call up Hitler in 1943 and try to "negotiate" peace.  We fought on land, sea, and air until the German military could take no more. We did not stop fighting until Hitler had committed suicide and the Germans had officially and formally surrendered.

We carpet-bombed German cities - including civilian areas. In this modern age where we send attorneys to the front lines and futilely attempt to fight politically correct wars, it can be difficult to appreciate what this really means. Photographs can only capture a small piece:

Berlin, May 1945 - View of Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg Gate
Film gives a fuller perspective. There's a great movie with Jean Arthur,  Marlene Dietrich, and John Lund called A Foreign Affair that takes place in Berlin right after World War II. The opening scenes include several aerial shots taken from airplanes flying over the city, showing a Berlin that had nearly been leveled by Allied bombs.

Here's a clip from the beginning of the movie. Note especially the sections at 1:40 and 3:35.

YouTube | A Foreign Affair 1/12 (!948)

Likewise, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, we didn't sit down at a table with Emperor Hirohito and try to draw up a contract for peace. We didn't whine and wish upon a star for them to not bomb us any more. We flew across the Pacific Ocean and bombed them. A lot.

Of course, the circumstances under which we obtained Japan's surrender are well-known. What is less remembered is that, before we dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the United States had intensely firebombed sixty-seven Japanese cites for six months. resulting in an estimated 500,000 Japanese deaths (the two nuclear attacks killed less than half that).

Appeasement doesn't work. This does.
We did not back down until the Japanese agreed to unconditionally surrender  on our terms.

After the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, President Truman gave a radio address in which he announced that America had used this weapon for the first time in world history, and vowed that we would "continue to use [the bomb] until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war."  We even had plans to drop another atomic bomb on a Japanese city in August 1945, and then three more per month after that, until they surrendered.

My point is that, regarding this unprecedented and historically unique voluntary grant of territory by a victor after a war, the United States ceded control only after a complete and total defeat and surrender of Germany and Japan's fighting forces, and not a minute before. 

Today, Israel is being asked to negotiate with a Palestinian government that has openly and proudly allied itself with Hamas, which, I repeat again for emphasis, is a terrorist organization.

Israel is being asked to retreat to indefensible borders without any real reassurances that the attacks will cease. Worse, Israel is being asked to make this retreat while the violence is still happening.

Israel is being asked to surrender territory that it rightfully won in war, in the hope that it will appease the bloodthirsty killers who deny Israel even has a right to exist.

Appeasement didn't work when Neville Chamberlin tried it with Adolf Hitler. It won't work with Hamas either. The only way to "appease" Hamas would be for the people of Israel to stand at the border and slit their own throats. That's a brutally graphic metaphor, I know, but we're talking about a group that believes bombing school buses full of children is a valid negotiating tactic. 

I am thankful that the people of Israel have a leader like Netanyahu who is grounded in reality and fully dedicated to the preservation of their nation. It breaks my heart to say that I fear our President does not share his views.
Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.
- Golda Meir
If Palestine were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no Israel.
- Benjamin Netanyahu

[Cross-posted at RedState, RedCounty, and The Minority Report]

Morning Coffee Reading for May 23, 2011

Here's your morning coffee reading for today:
  • Abel Harding at the Florida Times-Union had an interesting blog post yesterday about the spread of fake Twitter accounts parodying political figures, notably in the Florida Republican Senate primary. IMHO, several of these accounts cross the line from being funny to being ugly and abusive. There's no way to completely prevent someone from creating one of these accounts, so I guess the next best thing is to spread the word and hopefully people become aware the fake accounts are out there, and know not to attribute any of the nonsense to the real candidates. | PolitiJax Blog | Fake Twitter accounts raise eyebrows, create confusion in Florida Senate primary
  • The St. Petersburg Times and POLITICO are teaming up to cover the 2012 elections. They'll be sharing content in both their respective print and online editions. This new arrangement is partially due to the 2012 Republican Convention being in Tampa.
St. Petersburg Times | The Buzz Blog | Times, POLITICO team up for 2012 coverage
  • Gene Simmons from the band KISS had some harsh words for President Obama over the weekend. Simmons, whose real name is Chaim Witz, was born in Israel and let's just say he strongly disagrees with Obama's suggestion that Israel go back to its 1967 borders. Added bonus: he discusses the United Nations as well (Spoiler: he doesn't like them, either). Video of Simmons' interview is included with the article (warning - NSFW language):
Real Clear Politics | KISS' Gene Simmons: Obama "Has No F***ing Idea What The World Is Like"
  • Here's Erick Erickson, making a lot of sense, as usual, in a brief post about the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates: "I can live with the field and I hope you can too."
RedState | Off to the races with the horses we have
  •  George Soros-funded Media Matters apparently started a campaign to target companies that advertise on the Fox News Channel (keeping with their usual theme of "free speech for me but not for thee"). One thing they didn't count on was a corporation that had a backbone. Travel website Orbitz responded to the call for a boycott from "" with force and confidence. Well done, Orbitz. The boundaries of free speech should not be set by bullies.
Big Journalism | Travel Giant Orbitz Stands Up To Soros "Smear Campaign"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Give 'em an inch, they'll take a trillion

I saw this frightening graphic of our national debt at the Washington Post (click to enlarge or go here for the original post):

Note the red line - that's the debt ceiling. See how every single time it gets raised, our national debt grows to match it? We've created the financial equivalent of a goldfish growing to fit its tank.

Let's keep you in that little bowl, OK, Mr. Fish?
This is why we need to stop raising the flippin' debt ceiling. If the Republicans in Congress vote to raise it one more time to give them time to work out some longer term solutions, I can grudgingly accept that, but they had darn well better play some serious hardball with that vote and wrangle some real and significant spending cuts and reforms from the Democrats.

We can't afford to wait much longer.

[Cross-posted at The Minority Report, RedState, and RedCounty]

Democrats continue to be enemies of American energy independence

President Barack Obama, Senator Bill Nelson, and many of their Democratic colleagues are making a terrifying habit of being enemies of any efforts to make America energy independent. Considering the economic and national security implications of their actions, I would hope they could see past their party's rhetoric and put America first, but I see little hope of that happening.

All Americans are feeling the pain at the pump, but Senator Nelson recently Senators Harry Reid and Max Baucus were both recently quoted as saying that gas prices "weren't the issue." And of course, there's Obama's infamous statement during the campaign that under his plan, energy prices "would necessarily skyrocket."

The folks at RightChange put together this humorous little video about the Obama administration's preference to lecture us rather than actually take steps to solve the problem:

Gassing Up with Obama from RightChange on Vimeo.

As mentioned in the RightChange video above, the Obama Administration has unnecessarily shut down a large portion of our domestic oil wells, as well as continuing to refuse to drill in ANWR or explore other potential sources of domestic energy. The Democrats in Congress have also rejected many opportunities to do the right thing. Sadly - and predictably - Senator Bill Nelson just voted in favor of raising taxes on American energy companies, and followed that vote by rejecting the opportunity to increase domestic energy production.

Senate candidate Adam Hasner released the following statement today in response to Senator Nelson's votes:

May 18, 2011
Contact: Rick Wilson
Adam Hasner Comments On Senator Bill Nelson's Votes Against American Energy Independence
Ocala, FL - While campaigning in Ocala, Florida today, Adam Hasner released the following statement in response to Senator Bill Nelson's vote to increase taxes on domestic producers of energy, and his vote against increased domestic energy production.

"With gas prices climbing and continued instability in the Middle East, it is difficult to comprehend why Senator Bill Nelson would vote to raise taxes on energy producers one day, then vote against expanded domestic energy production the next. Today's bill to expand domestic energy production wasn't perfect, and I would push for a bill that goes farther to expand energy exploration and production in America. But the fact that Senator Nelson had no problem voting for increased energy taxes at a time when Floridians are paying some of the highest gas prices in the country makes no sense.

"Encouraging increased domestic production of energy should be a part of an overall strategy to create more economic prosperity and security in America. The more energy we create at home, the less we have to pay for it from other countries, the more Americans we employ in an industry that helps drive America's economy. American energy independence is also a national security issue. The more energy we produce here at home, the less hard-earned American money will be sent overseas to hostile nations who don't share our values or our best interests. Florida needs a Senator that will fight for American energy independence, not election year gimmicks that will do nothing to lower the price of gas."

Working to make American more energy independent is number 5 on Adam's pledge to Floridians.

Copyright (C) 2011 Adam Hasner for US Senate All rights reserved.

Allen West "Disappointed" in Senate's Failure to Pass E-Verify

Javier Manjarres, CPAC 2011 Blogger of the Year and Editor of The Shark Tank, interviewed Congressman Allen West after a recent town hall meeting and discussed the Florida Legislature's failure to include an E-Verify measure in this year's immigration bill.

West joined Rick Scott and many other Floridians in being disappointed in the failure of the Legislature to pass the tough immigration reform that was promised at the start of session.
Among other politicos that have expressed concern and disappointment of this failed measure is Congressman Allen West. West has long been a supporter of ‘legal immigration’, [supports the] movement to secure the nation’s borders, has expressed his concerns over the threat of illegal immigration and the criminal element that comes with this threat.
At his townhall meeting in Pompano Beach, Florida, West expressed to the 200+ attendees that he felt that the Legislature let down Floridians, and later lamented on this very issue after the townhall ended...

Let's be clear about what happened with the immigration bill. 

By "legislature" he really means "Florida Senate." RT @THESHARKTANK
Allen West Disappointed in FL Legislature E-Verify May 18 01:13:53 via web

Senate President Mike Haridopolos promised E-Verify would be a part of the bill at the beginning of session, the House's version of the bill included E-Verify. but the Senate was unable to get their act together. The blame for the failure of this important immigration reform lies with the Senate, and nowhere else.

He ain't the only one. RT @THESHARKTANK1: Allen West Disappointed in FL Legislature over E-Verify #sayfieWed May 18 00:47:12 via ÜberSocial

Congressman West, I share your disappointment that E-Verify failed this year. It's sad and pathetic that so many promises were made and now we're left with, well,  nothing but more promises about what the Senate plans to pass "next year."

Yeah. I'll believe it when I see it. Fool me once...

[Cross-posted at RedCounty]

Discussing the Senate race on yesterday's Ed Dean Radio program

Yesterday I was a guest on the Ed Dean Radio show to discuss the  Florida Republican primary candidates for the 2012 Senate race. You can listen to the show here (I'm on at the top of the second hour):

Ed Dean Radio | May 17, 2011

Matthew Falconer appeared at the beginning of the program. Yes, that Matt Falconer.

Falconer attempts to defend an article he wrote defending Senate President Haridopolos' management of the Senate this year, an article for which he is rightfully getting shredded.

Falconer gets confused several times about what he's trying to say, flip-flopping from his  article's "most conservative Senate" statement to whine that Haridopolos' failures were due to the Senate being filled with liberals. Ummm, can't have it both ways, Matt. Either it's the "most conservative" Senate or they're a bunch of Lefties.

He also laughably claims he is not defending Haridopolos but then turns around and attacks anyone who would criticize Haridopolos, saying that it risks muddying up the eventual Republican nominee and making them vulnerable against a Democrat opponent.

What. A. Hypocrite.

This is the same Matthew Falconer who lied so much during his failed Orange County mayoral campaign, I'm surprised his pants didn't spontaneously combust.

He lied in his attacks on Teresa Jacobs, most egregiously sending out mailers and robocalls falsely claiming Jacobs was pro-abortion. Gosh, Matt, if the rule is "don't criticize Republicans," I'm fairly sure that covers making up complete and total lies to attack a Republican.

But Falconer has a long history of making up figures when it suits him and telling blatant lies, getting caught, and almost always refusing to apologize or issue a correction.

So, yeah, if Matthew Falconer wants to be the champion for Mike Haridopolos, I think that's perfect...

...because only someone with a history of being a blatant and unapologetic liar, only someone who is very talented at sticking his head in the sand and ignoring obvious facts, only someone whose political ambitions lack an anchor in reality, could look at Mike Haridopolos' disastrous legislative session, failure on the immigration issue, and rude dismissal of the tea party and still call him a great, conservative, tea party candidate.

Make sure to tune in to my part of the program too (starts at the top of the second hour), where we debunk Haridopolos' attempts to dodge blame for the crash-and-burn of E-Verify, have a good laugh at Charlie Crist's expense, and discuss other factors that may impact the 2012 Senate race.

UPDATE: Matthew Falconer sent me an email this morning, saying that he apologized to Teresa Jacobs for lying and saying that she was pro-choice. I checked with someone with Jacobs' campaign and verified that, yes, Falconer did apologize after the primary. So I've corrected the statement above that "Falconer has a long history...of refusing to ever apologize or issue a correction" to "Falconer has a long history of...almost always refusing to apologize or issue a correction."

But the larger point is that he shouldn't have said it in the first place. To make the accusation that someone is pro-abortion in a Republican primary when the candidate has never, ever made a statement to that effect, and your source is just some person passing on unfounded hearsay ("I heard she was pro-choice...") is outrageous. Falconer admits this in his email, stating that, "with that issue I should have heard it directly from the candidate."

My point exactly. Falconer has an ugly habit of creating out of thin air an attack to throw at an opponent and his excitement for the battle leaves him no time for fact checking.

UPDATE #2: Falconer also posted his email as a comment to this post, which you can see below. I don't have time to go line-by-line through all of it, but there are a few points I'd like to make.

Falconer repeats Doug Guetzloe's lie that I made "vile attacks" on Rick Scott. I endorsed Bill McCollum in the primary and did write some posts supportive of McCollum and critical of Scott but also wrote a lot of favorable things about Scott after he was our nominee and I had a chance to meet him (see here, here, and here). I thought it would be dishonest and hypocritical to go back and purge this blog of the posts I wrote in favor of McCollum, so I left them as is. The Rick Scott campaign clearly thought I was on their team, as they invited me to be listed on the blogroll on their campaign website, and I also did a lot of volunteer work for the campaign.

Falconer slams me for using the "politics of personal destruction" and suggests that it's not acceptable to criticize other Republicans. Again, I say: what a hypocrite. Falconer is absolutely lousy at practicing what he preaches. The Orange County Mayor's race was just last year - we all remember the attacks he waged on Teresa Jacobs, and can easily do a Google search to refresh our memories.

More recently, Falconer accused any legislator who performs consulting work as being corrupt per se. "Per se" is a Latin phrase meaning "by itself," meaning that the accusation stands on its own without any further proof needed. In other words, Falconer is suggesting that the mere fact that some elected officials who work as consultants or in the business sector is automatic, irrefutable proof that they are corrupt. One legislator that Falconer singles out is State Senator Mike Fasano, a Republican. As usual, Falconer's rule that no one is allowed to criticize Republicans must not apply to him.

There are many, many other examples of Falconer attacking Republicans, usually with little merit behind the attacks. Back in March, he wrote a post viciously attacking Congressman John Mica, claiming that Mica had awarded two $1.6 million earmarks to two companies that contributed $500.00 and $1,250.00 to his campaign fund. Seriously? Look, special interests' influence on elected officials is a legitimate topic of concern, but accusing a Republican Congressman of selling his vote for $500.00 is just plain ridiculous.

I also find it interesting that Falconer goes after me for criticizing Haridopolos, saying "Instead of tearing down Mike I plan to continue to influence him to get more conservative legislation accomplished," but apparently that same standard does not apply to Congressman Mica. If Falconer is going to write the rulebook for how conservatives are allowed to act, then maybe he should figure out how to agree with himself on what those rules are first.

Falconer also directs me to "try outlining policy differences." That's funny, that's exactly what I am doing when I point out issues with legislation and how this year's session went. If a Republican is doing something that in my opinion is unethical or not true to conservative principles, I'm going to criticize them.

Erick Erickson, the Editor of RedState, has stated that RedState's mission is "to fight the left and clean up the right," and that their philosophy is to be "conservatives in primaries and Republicans in general elections." I couldn't agree more with both of those statements, and I will continue to exercise my First Amendment rights to point out when Republicans are failing to "walk the walk."

Endeavour STS-134

Just wanted to share with you some of the photos and videos from my Monday morning trip to Titusville to watch the final launch of the shuttle Endeavour:

Also, ICYMI, check out the great photos and video of Endeavour taken by Stefanie Gordon, who was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time - an early morning Delta flight from New York to West Palm Beach the same time as the launch.

She snapped the photos and video on her iPhone and posted them on her Twitter account when her plane landed. They quickly went viral and she enjoyed a little bit of celebrity on Monday.

A powerful tribute to our Navy SEALs

A graphic design company called the Stoneridge Group created this poster as a tribute to our Navy SEALs and their heroism on May 1, 2011.

(Hat tip: RedState)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monica Crowley Stands With Adam Hasner

Former Foreign Policy Advisor to President Nixon and current Fox News contributor Monica Crowley recently announced she was endorsing Adam Hasner on her radio program.

This endorsement follows those from other conservative heavyweights such as Erick Erickson and Mark Levin (and yours truly, haha). Hasner was honored to receive Crowley's support, stating:
We're honored to have Monica Crowley's support. Monica is a no-nonsense conservative who understands the challenges facing our country. Just like many of the Floridians I talk to each day, Monica understands the need to send principled conservatives to Washington who’ll have the courage to stand up to Democrats and Republicans responsible for out of control spending and our rising debt.

YouTube | Monica Crowley Stands With Adam Hasner
It’s never too early to start thinking about 2012. There are already a few other Republicans in this race, but Adam Hasner is the true conservative. He needs our support and he needs it now. That's why it's so important to get Adam Hasner not just the Republican nomination, but to get him elected to the United States Senate...he's the only true conservative on the Republican side in this race.
Adam Hasner on Facebook
Twitter: @AdamHasner

Recipes from the Sunshine State

Florida's Department of Agriculture has posted on its website a huge list of great recipes using "Fresh From Florida" ingredients.

There's an entire section devoted to seafood, and also a list of the recipes organized by species of fish. Other pages offer recipes and cooking tips for meat, poultry, pork, fruit, vegetables, and desserts, along with special Hispanic and Kosher sections.

Here are a few of my own Sunshine State recipes. Let me know if you try any of them and what you think! I'm a big fan of simple, fresh ingredients, olive oil, and using as few dishes as possible.

Snapper with Citrus Salsa

Here's a great one-dish recipe. I used snapper, but you could substitute any light fish you prefer.

Get frozen snapper fillets, however many you want to cook.

Lightly coat snapper with extra virgin olive oil. Rub in several pinches of cilantro and fresh ground pepper.

Place snapper in an oven safe dish. Cover with your favorite brand of citrus flavored salsa. Cover dish and put in refrigerator overnight to defrost. While it's defrosting, take it out of the fridge at least once or twice to flip the snapper and spoon the salsa over the top of the fish again. (If using fresh snapper, just marinate with the seasonings and the citrus salsa in the fridge for an hour or two before cooking.)

Preheat oven. Spoon salsa over top of snapper, making sure it's well coated. Slice up several grape tomatoes and add to dish. Cook according to directions on package (mine said 10 - 15 minutes at 400 degrees). Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with salad, rice, or pasta, whatever you prefer.

The Best Tuna Salad Recipe Ever 

This is actually a recipe I picked up during a weekend trip to Paris when I studied abroad in Germany in college, but it's a great way to use the excellent tomatoes grown in Florida, and fresh basil that you can easily grow in your backyard.

This recipe is a lot healthier than traditional tuna salad because it uses olive oil and a little bit of butter instead of mayonnaise.  I have an intense hatred of mayonnaise because it tried to kill me once (food poisoning 2004), so I always make my tuna salad this way. You can also substitute low-fat feta cheese if you prefer.

The recipe says to remove skin, seeds and pulp from the tomatoes, and the easiest way to do this is to drop them in boiling water for a few seconds. The skin will slide right off. Basically, you want the "meat" of the tomatoes without all the seeds and juice so you don't dilute the salad mixture.

Serve warm or cold. Makes great leftovers for lunches. 

1 pkg. farfalle or rotini pasta
3 cans tuna fish
8 oz. feta cheese

5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

3 large or 6 small tomatoes with the skin, seeds, and pulp removed (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
About 1 or 2T butter
Spices: about 1/4 to 1/2 T fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, a little less salt. Adjust to your taste.

Cook pasta until al dente (I always add a splash of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking). While pasta is cooking, crumble tuna and feta in a large bowl.

Add tomatoes and basil to bowl. Add 2T olive oil. Add spices. Mix thoroughly.

After pasta is cooked, drain and add an additional 2T olive oil and butter. Mix with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl while pasta is still warm.

Orange Salsa Mahi Mahi 

Thaw mahi mahi overnight in fridge. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat oven-safe dish with extra virgin olive oil. Coat fish with olive oil and put in pan.

Sprinkle fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, and cilantro on the fish.

Cut up one orange. Squeeze juice over fish. Place slices around and on top of fish. Add a few spoonfuls of fresh salsa.

Cook for 15-20 minutes until fish is opaque white and easily flakes with a fork.

Hope you enjoy :)

Morning Coffee Reading for May 17, 2011

Here's your morning coffee reading for today:
  • George LeMieux gets caught being a hypocrite regarding earmarks and spending, speaking out against the stimulus bill then writing letters supporting hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars for projects in Florida. 
St. Petersburg Times | George LeMieux sends mixed messages on spending, earmarks
  • Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign may be over before it even began. A voter in Iowa had some harsh words for him at a campaign stop, calling him "an embarrassment to our party," and telling him to "get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself."   
 Michelle Malkin | The Rebuke in Dubuque: Gingrich's Rocky Campaign Start Somehow Gets Even Rockier
  • A new evolution in federal campaign finance law: "Super PACs" now offering contributors the ability to channel their donations to specific candidates.
Wall Street Journal | Super PAC or Pack of Trouble?
  • RedState's Erick Erickson analyzes the potential Republican Presidential candidates.
RedState | Natural Constituencies
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott's mom Esther is in a new web ad produced by RPOF, saying she's still proud of her son.
Orlando Sentinel | Central Florida Political Pulse | Esther Scott gives son a pat on the back
  • Some background on the Herman Cain phenomenon.
Wall Street Journal | Republicans Buzzing About The 'Herman-ator'
  • File this under "It's About Dang Time:" Pakistan is going to return the wreckage from the helicopter damaged during the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.
The Hot Joints | Pakistan to return Osama bin Laden helicopter wreckage to US
  • Here's a great heartwarming story: Florida's Department of Children and Families is using technology like twitter to help find homes for foster children.
Palm Beach Post | State agency uses Twitter postings to help find adoptive parents for foster children

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