Voting 12-0, the Legislative Council has decided to release the Branchflower report.
I haven't read it yet, but if you want to beat me to it, here it is. I'll update the post after I do.
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The disintegration of the current Republican presidential campaign into personal innuendo and the stoking of partisan fury (call it the Straight Hate Express) has provoked a great deal of serious, valuable commentary. But it's also provided an[...]
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In the current economic environment, this is only photo blog that matters.[...]
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That's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen making out with Bush.
Here's Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the incumbent in Florida 21, trying to give Mr. 22% a terrorist fist bump:
Lincoln's brother Mario, who holds the 25th, has somehow lucked out. I couldn't find any pictures of him and Bush. And there won't be one today, either, when Bush is down in South Florida raising money for Ileana, Mario, and Lincoln. They've got a busy schedule to keep, like getting their hair done, and ... umn ... those other things that they'd rather do than be seen with the President of the United States.
But they are all good pals. So here's what we want to do. Check it out (click on the "+" sign to zoom in tighter):
That big red district in the southern tip of Florida is FL-25. That's the one O2B candidate Joe Garcia will win. To the east of that district are two slivers of districts, FL-25 (which is not even contiguous, which includes South Beach and extends all the way down to the Keys), and Fl-21, which hugs the northeast corner of FL-25.
Won't it look nice to have most of Florida's southern half in Blue? Bush doesn't want to see that happen, which is why he's down there raising the big bucks. But we do want to see that. We want to break the GOP, and there's no better way to break the Florida Republican Party than to strip them of these three seats.
I'm a little late with this because we put so many videos up Tuesday and Wednesday, but Frank Luntz on the FOX News post debate show ran another one of his focus groups with swing voters in Arlington VA, and they resoundingly picked Obama.
He communicated his message and he got to me.
He spoke to the person, the voter, myself instead of the intangible things he actually said this is how I'm going to help you and this is how much it's going to cost.
He wasn't snide, he answered his questions. There was seven different times where McCain just didn't answer the question, but when a head and answered something else. And McCain kept making snide comments about Obama himself.
When Luntz said that the group thought McCain was better on the economy, Brit Hume was flabbergasted.
Hume: But they agree that McCain did better on the economy?
Luntz takes another hand count.
Frank: Half of them...
Unfortunately, it's not obvious that they get it yet. Some idiot - in the highest levels of AIG - even wanted to run advertisements explaining why the junkets made sense. Uh huh. I've been on my fair share of these junkets thanks to business success and yes, they're great fun and great rewards, but when the ship is sinking you have the common sense. Most Americans could care less if AIG fires everyone without severance or bonuses or free trips and starts over from scratch. Until AIG starts to understand that the people who are funding their business lifeline are angry and struggling themselves, they will continue to have problems.
AIG's decision Thursday followed rebukes from Congress, the White House and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus demanded more details from the Federal Reserve on the canceled Ritz-Carlton event, saying he wanted to know "who we can fire."Gee, ya think? It's also a pretty bad idea to let the former CEO sell off $1 billion in deflated stock while this bailout is underway so perhaps someone can step in there as well.
"This kind of behavior is an insult to taxpayers," the Montana Democrat wrote in a letter to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. Baucus asked for a response by Oct. 23.
"I cannot fathom how in the same day -- the very same day -- that AIG asked the government for another $37.8-billion loan, the company would even consider moving forward with plans to host another large conference at another luxury resort," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat.
The event next week aimed to "motivate and educate" about 150 independent agents who sell AIG coverage to high-end clients, AIG spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said Wednesday.
AIG decided against it a day after striking an agreement that would enable it to access an additional $37.8 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Liddy, the CEO, told Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson on Wednesday that the company would rethink expenses.
AIG considered buying advertisements to explain its position, only to be told by its public relations consultant, George Sard, that it would be "a really bad idea."
For years, the Bush administration has incessantly claimed that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror. “Iraq is the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign,” the White House claims. But a draft of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week concludes that Afghanistan is in a ?downward spiral.”
After the new NIE draft, however, Bush administration officials are revising their stance. CBS’s Katie Couric reported yesterday that administration officials are now “privately” saying that Afghanistan is the primary national security threat to the U.S.:
A draft of the latest National Intelligence Estimate says conditions are worst now since the 2001 U.S. invasion. Bush administrations officials said privately today that Afghanistan is now the single most pressing security threat in the war on terror.
The Center for American Progress and other institutions have warned for years about the growing threat in Afghanistan. On Wednesday, however, the same day as the New York Times reported the details of the NIE, Gov. Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity that Iraq is “the central front there” in the war on terror:
You don’t have to believe me, the hockey mom from Alaska, proclaiming that the war on terror, central front there, has been Iraq. Please, believe Gen. Petraeus, an American hero. Unfortunately, you gotta believe even bin Laden.
Similarly, McCain has long insisted that Iraq is the “central front,” saying so as late as last week’s presidential debate. “General David Petraeus believes Iraq is the central front in the war on terror,” an aide said approvingly in July. His campaign website also trumpets the same claim.
The Bush administration seems to be accepting what the intelligence community and progressives have been saying for years. Will McCain and Palin continue to have their sights set on Iraq in light of the new NIE?
As state officials scramble to rebut claims of voter purging and blocked registrations made in a recent report, they're also revealing their missteps. Officials in two swing states have admitted that they are double -- and sometimes triple -- checking new voter registrations, which could lead to eligible voters voters being turned away from polls.
In North Carolina, one of the states fingered in the New York Times investigation published yesterday, Gary Bartlett, director of the Board of Elections defended his state's handling of new voter registrations, claiming the BOE was verifying both drivers license numbers and social security numbers if new voters provide both on their application.
In Indiana, a swing state that has also had a large uptick in requests to the SSA for voter registration verifications, Matt Tusing, the deputy secretary of state and a Republican, told the Indianapolis Star that Indiana officials have been verifying the Social Security number on every card, as wells as running checks with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Correction and death records.
"Some states don't check against all those sources," he told the paper.
In both cases, that's far more verification than is required under federal law, and the superfluous checking of both numbers could lead to eligible vote registrations not being verified -- something that could disproportionately affect Democrats, who have registered in higher numbers this year.
According to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, states must exhaust checks in their own identification databases -- like drivers licenses and ID cards -- before turning to the often unreliable federal database with the Social Security Administration. Yesterday's Times report alleges that states like Colorado have been improperly relying on the SSA to verify voter registrations.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Michael Winship
And so it has begun. The final month of the presidential race, the campaign that feels as if it commenced some time during the Coolidge Administration. And as we slide into these last weeks, what we all feared is coming true. Just when you thought the bottom of the swamp had been scraped, sludge gurgles up from the primordial ooze.
This is the endgame, the ugly stuff, meant to assassinate character and distract the electorate with foolishness as our financial house of cards flutters away into the uncertain winds of whatever's left of the global economy. "It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice," a "top McCain strategist" told the New York Daily News. "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose." Another GOP operative was quoted by The Washington Post: "There's no question we have to change the subject here."
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