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I loved the duet by Blake Shelton and Usher singing "Home" at the fundraiser for the Oklahoma tornado victims. This is what we do for each other as Americans (well, except for Katrina): everyone from first responders to the Red Cross, FEMA and neighbohood volunteers showed up after the storm was over to help rescue and clean up.  But what if America showed up before the storm to prevent the catastrophic injuries and loss of life?

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My family and I just got back from early voting. Some of the early voting lines are long but other places have almost no waiting.

The following are my personal recommendations:

We went to to find wait times and found there was almost no wait at the Flagler branch library nearby.  We were in and out in less than half an hour.

For early voting you can vote at any of the locations in the County

The address on your I.D. does not have to match the address on the voter rolls.  It may not be used to challenge or confirm a voter's legal residence.  Section 101.043(1), Florida Statutes.

If you have moved, you may change your address on election day and still vote a regular ballot if you are still in the same county  If you are in a different county, you must vote a provisional ballot.

The website for wait times is updated regularly.

Vote early

If you have trouble at the polls, if you run into any problems, if they try to get you to vote a provisional ballot when you want to vote a regular one, if someone questions your right to vote, there should be a volunteer from the Obama campaign there.  Ask for help. the volunteer inside the polls isn't allowed to talk to you but there should also be a volunteer outside with a button that says "Voting rights questions?  Ask Me" -- that person is from the Obama campaign and can help you.  they should be in contact with the person inside.

I'm not speaking for the campaign, but for myself personally:

Vote YES for Justice Lewis
Vote YES for Justice Pariente
Vote YES for Justice Quince

Vote NO ON ALL THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS, even the ones that look like they might be good.  they aren't.  The one that says it's about religious freedom isn't really.  It's about giving money to churches.

Acceptable photo IDs:  Fla Driver license, Fla ID card issued by Dept of Motor Vehicles, US passport, debit or credit card with picture, military ID, Student ID, Retirement center ID, Neighborhood association ID, Public Assistance ID.


Phantomlib posted about the attack by the Koch Brothers on the Florida Supreme Court.

I'm posting a new diary on it to give y'all links where you can help.

On facebook:

Even if you can't give money, at least please link to them on your Facebook page.

These justices have fairly and impartially dispensed justice in Florida for many years.  As an attorney who represents "underdogs," I know that when I bring a case to them, my clients will get a fair hearing.

That won't happen any more if the Koch Brothers get their way.

For decades, these have been nonpartisan appointments (in fact, Justice Quince was a bipartisan appointment by Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush, when a vacancy came up at the end of Gov.Chiles' term).  The Republican Party and the Koch Brothers want to change that and let Rick Scott appoint partisans who will dance to their tune.  It will be much worse than the NFL's substitute Refs.  

Help keep justice in Florida fair and impartial.

On facebook:


Florida Senator Marco Rubio is under consideration by Mitt Romney for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination.  So far, he has successfully ducked discussion of  his role,as Speaker of the Florida House, in the waste of taxpayer money that has come to be known as the Taj Mahal Courthouse.

Any vetting of Marco Rubio has got to look carefully at his role in the construction of this monstrous $48 million edifice and the  huge expenditures for things like flat screen televisions in all the judges' chambers, and yards and yards of imported African Mahogany in a time of budget austerity that saw court funding slashed and court personnel laid off by the hundreds.

Of course, it's perfectly consistent with Mitt Romney's career of using taxpayer money to advance his own goals, and laying off public employees so someone else can have luxuries.

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Rick Scott is trying to use the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a political weapon to bludgeon the justices of the Florida Supreme Court into submission.  Yes, in our through-the-looking-glass state, it's not our governor, who openly flouts election laws, who is being investigated.  Scott wants criminal charges against three Florida Supreme Court justices because, in our "merit retention" system, the justice who are up for retention in this cycle had their applications notarized by court employees.  

This is just one part of the attack on fairness in Florida courts.

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The health care act will provide important free access to contraception for women. This is crucial to women's health. The policy is now under attack. There is a petition on the website to suport the new policy. Please go there and sign it to show your support

There's another petition on that page that is against the policy. It falsely states that the policy will require churches to provide birth control, in violation of their beliefs. In fact, churches and church schools are exempt, and many Catholic universities and hospitals already provide this kind of coverage.

Please make sure you sign the right petition.

A federal judge today rejected a challenge to the Fair Districts amendment to the Florida Constitution voted in by the citizens of Florida in the 2010 election.

The Fair Districts Amendment prevents the use of redistricting for political or discriminatory purposes.  It states:

In establishing congressional district boundaries:
(1) No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the
intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts
shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the
equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the
political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of
their choice; and districts shall consist of contiguous territory.
(2) Unless compliance with the standards in this subsection conflicts with
the standards in subsection (1) or with federal law, districts shall be as
nearly equal in population as is practicable; districts shall be compact;
and districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and
geographical boundaries.
(3) The order in which the standards within subsections (1) and (2) of this
section are set forth shall not be read to establish any priority of one
standard over the other within that subsection.
Doesn't get much fairer than that, does it?  That's why Republicans hate it.
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The Florida Supreme Court, demonstrating fearlessness and commitment to the constitution even though the members know they will be attacked in the next election, have invalidated Rick Scott's attempted power grab.  They have ruled that the Florida Constitutional principle of separation of powers prohibits Scott from issuing executive orders requiring independent agency heads to suspend all rulemaking and to pass all proposed rules through his office before submitting them for public comment.

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I know, it shouldn't be news that the courts are supposed to be open to the public.

Justice Louis Brandeis once said "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Which is probably why some Florida judges were trying to conduct foreclosure hearings behind closed doors. Matt Taibbi documented it in his recent article in Rolling Stone.

A Legal Aid attorney brought Mr. Taibbi to a foreclosure hearing and, as a result, was threatened by the judge with a citation for contempt of court.

Ordinary citizens also were being kept out.  This included homeowners who couldn't afford lawyers and wanted to watch hearings to learn as much as they could about how they were done before they had to handle their own hearing.

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Sun Oct 31, 2010 at 05:56 PM PDT

I feel dirty

by webacknow

I voted yesterday, and then I came home and took a shower.  
But I still feel dirty.
I voted for Charlie Crist for senate.


Is it better to vote for Crist or for Meek?

21%22 votes
2%3 votes
0%0 votes
75%77 votes

| 102 votes | Vote | Results

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Four of Florida's seven Supreme Court Justices are on the ballot for a merit retention (up or down) vote.  All were appointed by Charlie Crist when he was a Republican.  Two of the justices in particular, Justice James Perry and Justice Jorge LaBarga, are under attack by the right wing because they voted to remove an initiative from the ballot.  

The initiative was a referendum on limiting Florida's participation in health care reform, placed on the ballot by the legislature.  In Florida, the entire proposal does not go on the ballot, just a summary.  The summary language the legislature tried to put on the ballot was misleading.  It did not accurately describe what the initiative would do if enacted.  

The proponents of the initiative conceded that the ballot language was inaccurate, but they wanted the justices to rewrite it.  Because these justices are not judicial activists, they followed Florida law and refused to rewrite the summary, instead striking the initiative from the ballot.  Now they are being targeted for removal by the right wing.

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The Florida Third District Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court judge's decision that the state ban on adoption by gay parents is unconstitutional

The court affirmed Judge Cindy Lederman's careful, well-supported decision, ruling that two little boys, who were abused or neglected by their birth parents but have flourished with their gay foster parents, can stay with them permanently.

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