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Well folks, here in Florida we're witnessing quite a sight: the last, desperate gasps of the anti-gay bigots. Now that the courts have declared, once and for all, that Florida can no longer treat LGBT Floridians like second-class citizens and must grant them the same right to marriage as everyone else (so just stop it, Pam Bondi!), the gay haters are scrambling around like cockroaches exposed to the light trying to figure out what to do. The state's county clerks in particular are in a tizzy, so many clerks have decided that if they aren't allowed to officiate just straight weddings they'll stop officiating weddings altogether. That'll show them! As the Tampa Bay Times has reported, the clerks of court in much of North Florida have decided to opt out of performing all marriages, but here in the Tampa Bay region, only the clerk in Pasco County (north of Tampa) has decided to put her bigotry on full display and cancel all civil marriage ceremonies in her office. "The problem is we can't discriminate," said Pasco County Clerk of Court Paula O'Neil in explaining her decision.  

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I was in the Boy Scouts for many years and have fond memories of my experience. I had a lot of fun learning about camping, tying knots and all the rest, and also learned a lot of great life lessons - like leaving a campsite in the same or better shape than when you left it.  Now that I am an openly gay man, the whole Boy Scout/anti-gay debate has been a deeply personal one for me - as I'm sure it is for any other gay man who served in a Boy Scout troop.  Anyway, there's a heartwarming story from here in Tampa that gives me hope and shows who will be on the right side of history on this matter.
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Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 06:54 PM PDT

Cory Booker Wins US Senate Seat!!

by davidkc

Congratulations Senator Booker! I don't always agree with you, but mostly I do and I'm proud to have you as the next Dem in the US Senate!

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The Allen West-Patrick Murphy saga just grows more twisted and bizarre. On Friday night the St. Lucie County canvassing board voted to recount all early votes for the West-Murphy race, the Palm Beach Post reports. Let's see, what else? Technically it is not a "recount" but a "retabulation." They discovered 306 uncounted ballots. Governor Scott has now inserted himself in the recount/retabulation mess. West is still demanding a full recount in all three counties. Protestors for both sides are causing a scene in front of the elections office. And oh yes, the county's elections chief has been hospitalized.

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In-person early voting ended on Saturday in Florida, but what many people don't know is that you can still vote early in many counties on Sunday and/or Monday by picking up a vote-by-mail ballot in person at your nearest elections office, completing it on the spot and handing it in at the office.  Please spread the word about this important aspect of early voting in Florida that seems to have gotten lost amid the focus on the long early voting lines in many parts of Florida.  Click below for a partial list of elections offices in Florida that are open today - Sunday, November 4 - and.or Monday, November 5 where you can pick up and complete your vote-by-mail ballot!

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docstymie has a great diary on the rec list right now showing one sure sign that the Romney campaign is unraveling: confidential campaign insiders pointing out that Romney really wanted Chris Christie - not Paul Ryan - to be his running mate. On her show last night, Rachel Maddow pointed out another sure sign that the Romney death stench is growing: confidential campaign insiders - you gotta love those confidential campaign insiders! - are openly speculating to the AP about Paul Ryan's plans when - oops IF - Romney loses. Rachel pointed out that this AP story is eerily similar to stories that started coming out about Sarah Palin around this time in the McCain campaign's final death spiral four years ago. Tick tick tick.

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In yet another stunning display of the Romney campaign betting on the stupidity of the American people, today Paul Ryan steadfastly refused to offer any specifics on Romney's tax plan in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace. His reason? "It would take me too long to go through all the math." Yes, he actually said that. We're just supposed to trust him.

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Well that didn't take long. Conservative columnist and pundit David Frum has a new opinion piece up at CNN that is highly critical of Romney's decision to pick Paul Ryan as his running mate. His reasoning is similar with what many of us have been saying around here: It turns the presidential election into a highly ideological battle and weighs down Romney with the mess that is the Ryan budget. "The least ideological Republican candidate since 1968 has committed himself to the most ideological Republican program since 1964," Frum writes. "Democrats must be stunned."

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Did you watch Rev. Al Sharpton's Politics Nation show on MSNBC tonight? If not, all I can say is "Wow." I wrote in a recent dkos diary about how, in a recent court deposition, former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer denounced state officials in his party as liars and "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies" and accused them of scheming on ways to suppress black votes. Some on here questioned Greer's sincerity, since he is, after all, charged with six felony counts and trying to save his own behind. But if you watch him talking with Shaprton tonight, I think you'll agree with me that he's totally sincere in his disgust of the Republican Party's current focus on voter suppression, and he had an inside view of these efforts that stunned me, jaded as I am.

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Lost amid the Olympics and Romney's gaffe-a-thon is some stunning Republican Party in-fighting here in Florida - just in time for the RNC Convention in Tampa! In a stunning deposition that just become public a few days ago, former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer denounced state officials in his party as liars and "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies" (!!!) and accused them of scheming on ways to suppress black votes, an accusation with great relevance given Gov. Rick Scott's current efforts to suppress the vote in Florida.

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There's a must-read diary by News Corpse which details Steve Benen's list of the top ten lies told repeatedly by Mitt Romney - among the many, many, many lies he tells all the time. Over at the Guardian, Michael Cohen has written an excellent piece - "Mendacious Mitt: Romney's bid to become liar-in-chief" - that helps explain why Mitt Romney seems to be getting away with being the biggest liar we've ever witnessed in a presidential candidate.

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The tragic, racially motivated shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the continued refusal of the city's judicial system to charge his shooter after more than a month, is less surprising when you look at the city's history and recent past. The city claims that it is "no Selma," but Trayvon's shooting has brought to light a troubling pattern of racial injustice and prejudice.

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