Kick Assiest Blog
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
CBS Mulls New Evening News Format... Explores Storytelling
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
CBS News explores storytelling
The project is one of the first indications of how CBS might restructure the evening news.
NEW YORK - Faced with a mandate to remake the network's nightly news broadcast, CBS News President Andrew Heyward has commissioned staffers to come up with specific approaches that would favor more of a storytelling style over the traditional format that generally recaps the news of the day.
Heyward told correspondents and producers, whom he's pulled in to help develop the project, about the new concept for the "CBS Evening News" in a meeting held at the network's West 57th Street headquarters Thursday and again in a smaller gathering Tuesday, a CBS News executive confirmed.
"We're experimenting this summer with new, interesting ideas for how to tell stories in a more interesting and compelling way," said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president for news gathering, who declined to give further details about the meetings.
According to two editorial employees who were at the meetings, the news president asked the staff to gather additional material as part of their current assignments that can be used to experiment with various styles of storytelling. He plans to present the sample idea to CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves in the coming months, with the hope that details about the revamped nightly news broadcast could be announced by the fall.
Heyward's project is one of the first indications of how CBS might restructure the evening news, which has long lagged behind NBC and ABC in the ratings and has been under even more scrutiny since veteran anchor Dan Rather stepped down in March, following a much-criticized report he did last year on President Bush's National Guard service for "60 Minutes Wednesday."
The network has used Bob Schieffer, another veteran staffer, to temporarily fill the anchor spot while it ponders a new format for the program.
Moonves has made it clear that he wants CBS to rethink the approach of the broadcast, which, like other network news programs, has steadily lost viewers in the last decade.
Thus far, news executives have been vague about their plans. At a CBS affiliates meeting in Las Vegas last month, Heyward told station representatives that the broadcast was in a "process of evolution."
He told them that the revamped newscast will rely heavily on a team of correspondents and put less emphasis on "a dominant anchor surrounded by a bunch of people you don't know and don't care about."
In the meetings with the staff, Heyward said that he hopes to develop a new version of the show that plays to the network's strengths — an experienced team of correspondents and its ability to do "great storytelling."
"What people walked away with was that we still have a commitment to news — we just have to package it differently," said one of the employees, who did not want to be named discussing internal conversations.
The new broadcast Heyward proposed would dispense quickly with the news of the day and focus on deeper investigative and feature stories, modeled after the kind of storytelling done on "60 Minutes," arguably CBS' most successful news program.
He also said the newscast could provide a measure of "transparency" by providing viewers a glimpse behind the scenes. An assistant producer could use a hand-held camera to film a correspondent making calls, for example.
The new "Evening News" could also include more on-screen graphics to give viewers a quick sampling of facts about a subject, Heyward suggested.
LA Times ~ Matea Gold ** CBS News explores storytelling
Posted by uhyw
at 1:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2005 1:40 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Pelosi Turns In Delinquent Reports for 3 Sponsor-Funded Trips
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
Pelosi Turns In Delinquent Reports for 3 Sponsor-Funded Trips
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents.
The filing is among hundreds of revisions from members of both parties who have amended missing or incomplete reports as scrutiny of lawmaker travel has intensified.
The most expensive trip was not reported on Pelosi's annual financial disclosure statement or on the travel disclosure form that is required within 30 days of a trip.
A more common violation among members filing corrections was to list a trip on the annual statement but not file the more detailed form about a specific trip. The House ethics committee plans to examine the tardy disclosures after being stalled since January in partisan disputes.
Committee members have shown no appetite for taking up all those cases and are considering an amnesty for reporting violations, although not for serious matters such as accepting a trip from a lobbyist, which House rules forbid. The data firm PoliticalMoneyLine calculates that members of Congress have received more than $18 million in travel from private organizations in the past five years, with Democrats taking 3,458 trips and Republicans taking 2,666.
Pelosi, who was elected House Democratic leader in November 2002, said in a letter to the ethics committee: "Although the current travel issue has focused on trips that have taken place since 2000, I have further reviewed my record of privately funded travel prior to becoming part of the Democratic Leadership." She said that "as a result," she was filing three forms, two for trips that she had reported on her annual statements.
The unreported trip was a week-long 1999 visit to Taiwan, paid for by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, for "meetings with government, military and business officials," according to a filing Pelosi signed June 30. The flights cost $3,400 each for Pelosi and her husband. The hotel cost was $940. The sponsor, which has picked up trips for leaders of both parties, paid $300 for meals.
Pelosi said she had provided "a good faith estimate" of the cost of the other two trips, since her "office records for that period do not indicate the costs." In 1998, NBC paid for a $200 trip to New York for a "Meet the Press" appearance, according to the filing. In 1999, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee paid $300 for transportation to Delray Beach, Fla., and $40 for meals for Pelosi to appear at a reception and briefing.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, said the filing is new evidence that the focus on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has been disproportionate. "Democrats have just as many substantive questions," Kingston said.
Washington Post ~ Mike Allen ** Pelosi Turns In Delinquent Reports for 3 Sponsor-Funded Trips
Posted by uhyw
at 3:46 PM EDT
Monday, July 4, 2005
Canada Declares War on Fox News
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
Canada's Ambassador Declares War on Fox News
Canada's ambassador to the United States has launched an all-out war on Fox News Channel.
Ambassador Frank McKenna has undertaken a public relations effort to reach the more than 1 million Canadians living in the United States, a group he calls the "Canadian diaspora."
McKenna says the effort is to boost support for Canada here, and to counter what he says is the "Fox factor," referring to the Fox News Channel, America's most popular cable news network, and its most highly rated show, "The O'Reilly Factor."
McKenna told the Toronto Star that he wants to arm Canadians with facts that will enable them to debate Americans and to lobby when Washington makes decisions that can hurt Canadians.
But most importantly, he says, Canadians in the U.S. should counteract Fox News, alleging that the network often spreads disinformation and creates a false picture of his homeland.
"We know we're a bit of prey for the Fox News type of shows," he told the Star.
The ambassador said he has sent out 6,000 pieces of literature to Canadians in his battle with Fox, and plans to mail to some 100,000 Canadians in the weeks ahead.
McKenna said he launched this campaign because "having dinner every month or two with some interesting people is not enough to move" Washington.
The ambassador hopes that his new network of Canadians "will be in the millions."
"Then all of a sudden we've multiplied our efforts exponentially and we have a lot more people out there armed with information," he said.
Calling on Canadians wintering in Florida, retirees in Arizona, Hollywood comedians and actors, investment bankers in New York and professors and students at universities across the United States, McKenna said they should carry these messages to Americans:
♣ Canada is the largest source of imported crude oil in the U.S., bigger than Saudi Arabia or the yet untested reserves of Iraq.
♣ Canada has rotated 13,500 troops in the war on terror, has committed $300 million to rebuilding Iraq and is about to deploy a reconstruction team to Afghanistan.
♣ None of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists entered the U.S. from Canada.
♣ Canada-U.S. trade supports more than 5 million American jobs.
Said McKenna: "We have to be very careful about overblown rhetoric. We don't get a lot of attention here, but we can get attention here for the wrong reasons.
"We have to be careful that we're not sanctimonious. We have to recognize the United States has assumed a different role in the world than us and it's a role we're not prepared to play.
"So we shouldn't be so judgmental about a country that has chosen to play that role."
But as far as Fox News is concerned, that seems to be a different story.
NewsMax.com ~ Carl Limbacher ** Canada's Ambassador Declares War on Fox News
Posted by uhyw
at 5:55 PM EDT
Father of Earth Day, who turned on his family?s Republican roots to become a liberal leader... died
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
Former Dem Wisconsin Senator and Governor Gaylord Nelson turned on his family’s Republican roots to become a liberal leader. In addition to being the father of the Earth Day observance, he played a role in other environmental and liberal causes.
GAYLORD NELSON: 1916-2005 / 3-term U.S. senator founded Earth Day / Liberal Democrat also served as Wisconsin governor
Gaylord Nelson. Associated Press photo by Mark Hoffman \/
Gaylord A. Nelson, Founder of Earth Day, Is Dead at 89
Gaylord A. Nelson, a former senator from Wisconsin who was one of the architects of America's modern environmental movement and the founder of Earth Day, died yesterday in Kensington, Md. He was 89.
The cause was cardiovascular failure, Bill Christofferson, a family spokesman, told The Associated Press.
A liberal Democrat who also served as governor of Wisconsin, Mr. Nelson was known for his candor and independence. He was one of only three senators who voted against the $700 million appropriation that began the nation's expanded involvement in the Vietnam War.
But Mr. Nelson was most distinguished on Capitol Hill as an early and ardent environmental leader. On March 25, 1963, in his first Senate speech, he framed the declining condition of the nation's air and water as a national issue. "We need a comprehensive and nationwide program to save the national resources of America," he said. "Our soil, our water and our air are becoming more polluted every day. Our most priceless natural resources - trees, lakes, rivers, wildlife habitats, scenic landscapes - are being destroyed."
The speech coincided with Mr. Nelson's successful private effort to lobby President John F. Kennedy to embrace environmental protection as a priority. In September 1963, President Kennedy embarked on a five-day, 11-state tour to talk about conservation.
The president's attention stirred political interest. In 1964, Mr. Nelson was part of the group of lawmakers who sponsored the Wilderness Act, which permanently safeguarded millions of acres of federal land. He worked with the Johnson administration to pass the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. Among the first eight rivers protected by the law were the St. Croix and the Namekagon in Wisconsin. He also helped the Interior Department establish national scenic seashores and lakeshores, including the Apostle Island National Lakeshore in Wisconsin along Lake Superior.
Still, Mr. Nelson was unsatisfied. "All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment," he said years later.
On a speaking tour of the West in 1969, Mr. Nelson came up with an idea for what he called "a huge grass roots protest" modeled after that era's campus "teach-ins" to oppose the Vietnam War. At a conference in Seattle in September, he announced that the protest would take place the following spring. The date chosen was April 22, 1970, a Wednesday.
More than 20 million Americans marked the first Earth Day in ways as varied as the dragging of tires and old appliances out of the Bronx River in White Plains and campus demonstrations in Oregon. Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York closed Fifth Avenue to vehicles. Congress shut its doors so lawmakers could participate in local events. Legislatures from 42 states passed Earth Day resolutions to commemorate the date.
"The reason Earth Day worked," Mr. Nelson said, "is that it organized itself. The idea was out there and everybody grabbed it. I wanted a demonstration by so many people that politicians would say, 'Holy cow, people care about this.'"
Months later, President Richard M. Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1970's, Mr. Nelson was at the center of legislative activity that resulted in the 1970 Clean Air Act, revisions in 1972 to the Clean Water Act, and passage of the Endangered Species Act. Mr. Nelson was a principal sponsor of laws that preserved the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, established fuel efficiency standards in automobiles, sought to control damage from strip mining and led to a ban on the insecticide DDT.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. "As the father of Earth Day, he is the grandfather of all that grew out of that event," President Clinton said. "He inspired us to remember that the stewardship of our natural resources is the stewardship of the American dream."
Mr. Nelson was defeated in 1980 in the race for his fourth Senate term. He joined the Wilderness Society as a counselor, where he worked until his death.
Gaylord Anton Nelson was born on June 4, 1916, in Clear Lake, Wis. His father was a physician and his mother was active in civic life. His great-grandfather was a founder of the state Republican Party. When Mr. Nelson was a boy, his father took him to hear Robert M. LaFollette, the leader of the Progressive Party, deliver a speech from the back of a train, an event that the future senator said inspired his interest in politics. After graduating from San Jose State College and the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Nelson served about four years in the Army and saw action as a first lieutenant on Okinawa.
Mr. Nelson's political career began in 1946 when he ran as a Republican for a State House seat and lost. Two years later, after changing parties, he won a State Senate seat and served 10 years. In 1958 he was elected governor. Among his most notable achievements was enacting the Outdoor Recreation Acquisition Program, a $50 million state land preservation program financed by a 1-cent per pack tax on cigarettes that was the first conservation program of its kind in the nation. In 1962 Mr. Nelson defeated a four-term Republican senator, Alexander Wiley, to win his first Senate term.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carrie Lee Nelson; two sons, Gaylord Jr. and Jeffrey; a daughter, Tia; and three grandchildren.
NY Times ~ Keith Schneider ** Gaylord A. Nelson, Founder of Earth Day, Is Dead at 89
San Francisco Chronicle ~ NY Times - Keith Schneider ** GAYLORD NELSON: 1916-2005
Posted by uhyw
at 1:15 PM EDT
Sunday, July 3, 2005
NY Times propaganda caused Cuban Revolution
Now Playing: HOODWINKED
A new book charges that if it were not for a single, liberal New York Times reporter then Fidel Castro may not have been able to seize power in Cuba. The reporter, the book says, claimed that Castro was anti-Communist democrat saying; "He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution."
Fidel Castro's friendly New York Times
Editor's note: The following commentary is excerpted from Jack Cashill's eye-opening new book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture," where he shows how, over the last century, "progressive" writers and producers have been using falsehood and fraud as their primary weapons in their attack on America.
As young editor of the National Review, William Buckley ran a cartoon showing Communist dictator Fidel Castro sitting pretty on the island of Cuba and waving a gun. Underneath ran a caption made famous by an ad campaign for the paper's classified section, "I got my job through the New York Times."
New York Times correspondent Herbert Matthews may not have thought the cartoon fair or funny, but he got the joke. As he well understood, he was almost single-handedly responsible for securing Castro his lifetime gig as el Presidente de la Rep?blica de Cuba. "I discovered," writes Matthews in his 1971 book, "A World in Revolution," "that a journalist can make history."
In February 1957, only two months after landing a small force on Cuba, the beleaguered young rebel leader Fidel Castro had sent for a foreign journalist, any journalist, to counter the rumor that he had been killed upon landing. As the story goes, one almost too fortuitous to be believed, his men stumbled upon Matthews, a veteran Times reporter.
Castro biographer Georgie Ann Geyer calls Matthews "the right person at the right moment." A hopeless romantic and a committed "liberal" – by his own description – Matthews was looking to rekindle the revolutionary spirit that seemed so much alive in the world of his youth. In Castro, he found that spirit's embodiment. "Taking him, as one would at first, by physique and personality," wrote Matthews in that critical first article, "this was quite a man – a powerful six-footer, olive-skinned, full-faced, with a straggly beard."
Although he would never admit it, Matthews was serving as an audience of one in an absurdist guerilla theater. Castro had fully stage-managed this meeting. He circulated his men throughout the camp and took "reports" from other distant "columns" in Matthews's presence. As a result, Matthews convinced himself that there were at least 40 fighters in this camp and many more deep in the mountains – "the most dangerous enemy General Batista has yet faced."
In fact, Castro had no more than 20 fighters in his ragtag band, but not for long. His force would start growing when he made his heroic debut a week later on the front page of the New York Times. "Matthews thought he was in a jungle," writes Geyer, "and in truth he was: a jungle of obfuscation and deliberate deceit."
For Castro, deceiving Matthews about the scope of his ambitions proved even easier than deceiving him about the size and strength of his force. His Feb. 24, 1957, report in the Times was all Castro could hope for and more.
After much breast beating about how he alone has gotten to see this "flaming symbol" of the revolution, Matthews addresses the critical question of Castro's intentions. "The program is vague and couched in generalities," writes Matthews, "but it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist."
His claim that Castro was "anti-Communist" suggests that, at best, Matthews had been hoaxed. Castro's two closest confidantes, his brother Raul and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, were Communists from the beginning. In 1957, the same year as the Matthews interview, Guevara wrote to a friend, "My ideological training means that I am one of those people who believe that the solution to the world's problems is to be found behind the Iron Curtain." There could be no greater proof of Che's love for Lenin than the fact that he named his son "Vladimir."
It is impossible to believe that Raul Castro and Guevara did not influence Fidel in both style and substance. Guevara had been with Castro since 1955. As a commander of a detachment, he had a reputation for ruthlessness. On one occasion, he had a child shot to death without trial for stealing a little food. He was captured and executed during his futile effort to spread the Marxist-Leninist gospel to an unappreciative Bolivia. Matthews missed all of this, and not just in 1957. "Che Guevara," he would write four years after Che's death, "was one of those people who bolster a man's faith in the human race."
As Castro began his two-year march on Havana, the favored Matthews saw no sign of the Marxist revolution to come. "He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution," Matthews wrote of Castro in that pivotal 1957 article. Disarmed by Matthews' authoritative reports, the CIA and the U.S. State Department offered no resistance.
When Castro and his men did arrive, they wasted little time disabusing their supporters of any hopes they might have had for a constitutional democracy. They summarily executed 600 Batista supporters within the first five months, often after carnival-like show trials in an open-air stadium. They radicalized the agrarian reform program and started seizing estates. They shut down the independent newspapers. They organized an extensive intelligence service with watches in every neighborhood. They savagely oppressed homosexuals. And, of course, they indefinitely canceled elections – all of this within two years of taking power.
By the end of decade, the Castro government had executed between 7,000 and 10,000 political opponents, imprisoned 30,000 more, and driven several hundred thousands into exile, many of whom drowned at sea. Regardless of these abuses, Matthews, writing at the end of that same decade, remained convinced that Castro's "solid virtues and ideals far outweigh the weaknesses."
In his 1964 book, "Cuba," something of a primer on the island's history, Matthews acknowledges that Castro may have used the "wrong means." He balances that, however, by speaking of Castro's eagerness "to do what is best for Cuba and the Cuban people." Castro has, after all, made life for Cuba's children "more exciting" and the distribution of wealth "more equal." If his government has gone wrong, it is largely a matter of "youthful inexperience and amateurishness." In Matthews's eyes, when all is said and done, Castro stands as "one of the most extraordinary men of our times."
Even the disgraced Times' con artist Jayson Blair recognized that Matthews had dramatically misreported this story. "I was now in the same category as Herbert Matthews," Blair laments, "the reporter who described Fidel Castro in the Times' pages as an 'agrarian reformer' who supported democracy while ignoring evidence that he was torturing and murdering his own people."
To no one's surprise but Matthews', the New York Times eventually yielded to public outrage and "muzzled" its ace Cuba beat reporter. "Cuba was an open book to me," protested Matthews. If so, he fatally misread it.
World Net Daily ~ Jack Cashill ** Fidel Castro's friendly New York Times
Posted by uhyw
at 1:44 PM EDT
Saturday, July 2, 2005
Waffles, milk cartons and duck costumes; lacking ideas, Dems turn to props
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
The Democrats are growing weary from trying to block initiatives from the President and the GOP controlled House and Senate. So, out of desperation, they are launching a series of PR campaigns with sad puns and gimmicky props more akin to a "Carrot Top" comedy routine than a party of political leadership.
Democratic group plans quirky campaigns
WASHINGTON - Rep. Bob Beauprez of Colorado will be confronted by waffles, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut will see her face plastered on an oversize milk carton. When Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois marches in a parade, he'll be tailed by someone in a duck costume.
As House Republicans move ahead with plans to vote on Social Security changes this summer, a Democratic opposition group will use the July Fourth recess to pressure GOP lawmakers it believes are undecided about the legislation or susceptible to criticism from their constituents.
The tactics will be far removed from the customs and decorum normally observed on the House floor.
"Beauprez is planning to run for governor; he cares about people all over the state. ... Bring waffles to all events," reads a plan drafted by Americans United to Protect Social Security, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
"Johnson is missing when it comes to defending Social Security. She refuses to take a stand. ... Major tactics: milk carton - 'Where is Johnson?' 'Johnson Missing,'" it also says.
The plan adds: "July 2-4, tailing Weller with duck costume (as in, stop 'ducking' the issue) at public events/parades."
The congressmen targeted are all members of the House Ways and Means Committee, which will be the first panel in the House to review the legislation. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., the committee's chairman, expects a vote before Congress takes its summer recess at the end of the month.
While the panel is split 24-17 in favor of the GOP, and Thomas is known to rule it with an iron fist, even some of his fellow Republicans have been slow to embrace the changes proposed by President Bush, or outlined in recent weeks by four Republican committee members, Reps. Jim McCrery of Louisiana, Clay Shaw of Florida, Sam Johnson of Texas and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
"The Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee, many of whom have straddled the fence, waffled or flip-flopped on the issue of privatization, are having their arms twisted nearly off by Thomas and the House Republican leadership to support this new privatization bill," Americans United writes in its battle plan.
The group proposes to fight back by picketing Shaw's congressional office with signs accusing him of forgetting about less-wealthy constituents. It also focuses on a fellow Florida Republican on the committee, Rep. Mark Foley, with unusually brusque language.
"Foley is not as concerned (as Shaw) about an electoral challenge, but has many seniors," it reads. "Thin-skinned squealer."
The congressman, who is undecided about any of the plans, said during an interview the campaign smacks of desperation by Democrats and their allies.
Democrats have pointedly refused to offer an alternative until the president drops his accounts proposal. They argue that establishing the accounts is part of an overall effort to transform the program from one providing a guaranteed benefit check to one that provides benefits subject to the ups and downs of the stock market.
"If you're describing a program that has such an impact on seniors, which Social Security is, and your rallying cry is to make such pejorative statements about members, I think you're starting off on the wrong foot," Foley said. "It's so juvenile that they're engaging in a debate without an option, an answer, but they're using a vernacular that indicates they're nothing more than a ragtag group of rebels."
Jordan Stoick, spokesman for Beauprez, said he expects his boss to chuckle when he sees the waffles.
"He's not politically naive and will take this for what it's worth: a ploy by liberal Washington, D.C., special-interest groups," Stoick said.
ON THE NET: Americans United to Protect Social Security
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer ~ Associated Press - Glen Johnson ** Democratic group plans quirky campaigns
Posted by uhyw
at 7:54 AM EDT
Dem in over her head caused IRS to seize Florida Dem Party accounts
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
Can you run a state if you cannot balance your own books? The Florida Dem party has become a national laughing stock. Its failures at the polls are only the tip pf the iceberg as the state party organization has seen an IRS lien, seizure of their accounts and a humiliating audit that revealed not theft, but ordinary, sad incompetence. The party, which hopes to win back the governor’s mansion next year, has only 2% of the cash that the Florida GOP has.
Democrats Say No Money Is Missing
Audit also revealed no intentional tax fraud for the party.
TALLAHASSEE - With a hopeful tone that it finally had hit bottom, the Florida Democratic Party said Thursday that an audit showed no money missing and also showed no intentional fraud in the nonpayment of federal taxes in 2003. The audit also said former party chairman Scott Maddox had no knowledge of the myriad accounting woes that happened on his watch.
However, the audit concluded that his hiring of a woman he worked with while mayor of Tallahassee was a mistake that led to last week's run-in with the Internal Revenue Service over unpaid taxes.
"It is clear that the problems occurred because of a poor hiring decision, a lack of internal controls and a lack of strong oversight," said Melanie Hines, the former statewide prosecutor who oversaw the weeklong audit.
Party chairwoman Karen Thurman, on the job for less than two months, said Thursday she has spent most of her time cleaning up what she called "a mess" left by Maddox. Maddox resigned his post in May to run for governor after more than two years in the job.
"By now, I thought and expected that most of my time would have been focused on the future," Thurman said at a press conference in the party's headquarters Thursday. "It is clear we have to do things differently, and so we shall. This begins a new day for the Florida Democratic Party."
Thurman launched the audit by outside experts last week after the Internal Revenue Service placed a lien on the party's holdings, saying it was owed nearly $200,000 in unpaid taxes from late 2003 when Maddox headed the party.
Thurman used the $98,000 the party had on hand and secured a loan from the national Democratic Party to pay the taxes and penalties.
Hines' audit echoed Maddox's contention that the mistakes were largely caused and hidden by Debbie Griffin-Bruton, the party's comptroller whom Maddox hired.
In a letter earlier this week, Griffin-Bruton said the demands of the job were more than she expected and that she concealed the problems from Maddox. The former city of Tallahassee worker resigned her job as party comptroller on Thursday.
Hines said Thursday that Griffin-Bruton was "in over her head" and possessed only "rudimentary" skills for the job.
Maddox said he thought Griffin-Bruton could handle the work and hired other outside accountants to help her. Asked at a separate press conference why the problems lingered after GriffinBruton expressed a need for help, Maddox said "I was only at the party for two years.
"Had I had knowledge of it, I would have fixed it," Maddox said.
Hines' audit also reconciled discrepancies that led to the appearance that $900,000 was missing from the party. She said dataentry errors made by party workers led to the mistake and that no money was missing.
Hines and Thurman said numerous interviews with current and former employees showed Maddox had no knowledge of the problems, though an outside audit last year of the party's finances cited "significant deficiencies" in the party's system.
While Thurman, a former U.S. congresswoman from Dunnellon, was careful to avoid any direct criticism of Maddox, the message of the day was that a muchneeded change was coming to a party largely crippled in recent years.
"To quote a great Democrat, Harry Truman, from this point on, `The buck stops here,' " Thurman said, promising to hire "competent professionals" to prevent money-related woes in the future.
Maddox struck a defensive and vindicated tone Thursday, blaming his Democratic opponents for a "political chess game that insiders are playing" to discredit his candidacy.
Maddox didn't name his Democratic opponents -- U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua. He did rip Gov. Jeb Bush, who called the state Democratic Party's condition "pathetic" last week.
"For a week now, the Democratic party and I have been subjected to a multitude of false reports and sometimes personal attacks from Jeb Bush and others which today have proven false, inaccurate or overblown," Maddox said.
Thurman's promise for a "new day" is dawning under ominously dark clouds, however.
Thursday, she said the party had about $80,000 on hand. That's less than 2 percent of the $7 million-plus raised by the Republican Party of Florida this year.
Republicans dominate the Florida House and Senate by 2-to-1 margins and hold the four statewide elected seats, including governor.
The dark clouds also are hovering over Maddox. Long considered the party's shining star for the future, Democrats have wondered aloud whether he should drop out of the race because of the likely vicious attacks from Republicans if he should win the Democratic nomination next year.
Lakeland, Florida - The Ledger ~ Joe Follick ** Democrats Say No Money Is Missing
Posted by uhyw
at 7:47 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 2, 2005 7:57 AM EDT
Friday, July 1, 2005
Democrats' own mood poll scares them
Topic: Lib Loser Stories
Democrats' own mood poll scares them
A poll on the political mood in the United States conducted by the Democratic Party has alarmed the party at its own loss of popularity.
Conducted by the party-affiliated Democracy Corps, the poll indicated 43 percent of voters favored the Republican Party, while 38 percent had positive feelings about Democrats.
"Republicans weakened in this poll ... but it shows Democrats weakening more," said Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster.
Greenberg told the Christian Science Monitor he attributes the slippage to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view."
Fellow strategist James Carville said the war in Iraq and rising fuel prices are affecting party loyalty as well.
"The country is just in a foul mood," Carville said. He noted within the same poll, 56 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
The poll was conducted June 20-26 and queried 1,078 likely voters. The margin of error was pegged at 3 points.
Washington Times ~ United Press International ** Democrats' own mood poll scares them
Posted by uhyw
at 2:43 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 1, 2005 2:56 PM EDT
Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement Friday
LOL, soooo - it's moderate O'CONNER taking her leave from the Supreme Court, instead of conservative Rehnquist... the libtard's worst nightmare just came true! So at the very outset of this battle, I'd like to speak in words i know the left will understand... BRING IT ON, LIB LOSERS!!!
O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court
WASHINGTON - Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court and a swing vote on abortion as well as other contentious issues, announced her retirement Friday. A bruising Senate confirmation struggle loomed as President Bush pledged to name a successor quickly.
"It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms," the 75-year-old justice wrote Bush in a one-paragraph resignation letter. "I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the court and its role under our constitutional structure."
Little more than an hour later, Bush praised O'Connor as "a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity." He said he would recommend a replacement who will "faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country."
O'Connor's decision _ so closely held that a son did not know in advance _ marked the first retirement in 11 years on an aging court. It came as a modest surprise, particularly since Chief Justice William Rehnquist has been the subject of retirement rumors for months. Rehnquist, 80 and ailing with thyroid cancer, has offered no hint as to his future plans.
O'Connor's decision capped a pioneer's career. President Reagan broke nearly 200 years of tradition when he tapped her _ a top-ranked graduate of Stanford law school _ for the high court.
Over time, she evolved into a moderate conservative, but more importantly, a majority maker.
She voted with a 5-4 majority, for example, on the case that effectively awarded the disputed 2000 presidential election to Bush. She was on the winning side again when the court upheld the right of women to have an abortion if their health were in danger.
She expressed her views pungently at times. Last week, in a dissent in a 5-4 ruling that let local governments take personal property to build malls and other businesses, she wrote that the majority had unwisely handed more power to the powerful.
"The specter of condemnation hangs over all property," O'Connor wrote. "Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing ... any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."
Bush pledged to send a nomination to the Senate in time for a vote by the time the court begins its new term in October, but aides said it would not be before he returns from a scheduled trip to Europe on July 8. He said he and his administration would consult with lawmakers, and said "the nation deserves a dignified" confirmation debate.
Officials said the president did not know until around 9 a.m. Friday that O'Connor was stepping down, although his top lawyer, Harriet Miers, was alerted on Thursday to expect news of some sort from the court.
O'Connor's retirement leaves Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only woman among eight remaining justices. One official said Bush's "short list" had included only men, and suggested a quick move to expand the roster of contenders.
O'Connor, in a separate one-sentence statement, cited her age and said she "needs to spend time" with family. She and her husband, John, a former classmate at Stanford, have three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay. She had breast cancer in 1988. Her resignation takes effect when a successor is confirmed.
Already, battle lines were forming in anticipation of a summer confirmation struggle in the Senate _ judicial philosophy, not gender, the key factor among outside groups as well as lawmakers.
"We'll look back on Justice O'Connor as someone who put reason ahead of ideological fervor, which stands her in stark contrast to many of the judges who might replace her if the radical right gets its way," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Progress for America, a conservative group, instantly launched a humorous Web-based advertisement meant to anticipate attacks on Bush's as-yet-unknown choice and mock them at the same time.
"The president nominated George Washington for the Supreme Court. Democrats immediately attacked Washington for his environmental record of chopping down cherry trees," it said.
Nowhere was O'Connor's judicial reasoning more widely studied than when it related to abortion _ an issue that divides the court as it does the country.
She distanced herself both from her three colleagues who say there is no constitutional underpinning for a right to abortion and also from others who argue the right is a given.
O'Connor initially balked at letting states outlaw most abortions, refusing in 1989 to join four other justices who were ready to reverse the landmark 1973 decision that said women have a constitutional right to abortion.
Then in 1992, she helped forge and lead a five-justice majority that reaffirmed the core holding of the 1973 ruling. Subsequent appointments secured the abortion right. Commentators called O'Connor the nation's most powerful woman, but O'Connor poo-poohed the thought.
"I don't think it's accurate," she said in an Associated Press interview.
The enormity of the reaction to O'Connor's appointment had surprised her. She received more than 60,000 letters in her first year, more than any one member in the court's history.
"I had no idea when I was appointed how much it would mean to many people around the country," she once said. "It affected them in a very personal way. People saw it as a signal that there are virtually unlimited opportunities for women. It's important to parents for their daughters, and to daughters for themselves."
At times, the constant publicity was almost unbearable. "I had never expected or aspired to be a Supreme Court justice. My first year on the court made me long at times for obscurity," she once said.
On the court, O'Connor generally favored states in disputes with the federal government and for enhanced police powers challenged as violative of asserted individual rights.
In 1985, she wrote for the court as it ruled that the confession of a criminal suspect first warned about his rights may be used as trial evidence even if police violated a suspect's rights in obtaining an earlier confession.
O'Connor wrote the 1989 decision that struck down as an unconstitutional form of affirmative action a minority set-aside program for construction projects in Richmond, Va.
In 1991, she led the court as it ruled in its first-ever decision on rape-shield laws that states may under some circumstances bar evidence that a defendant and his alleged victim previously had consensual sex.
O'Connor once described herself and her eight fellow justices as nine fire fighters.
"When (someone) lights a fire, we invariably are asked to attend to the blaze. We may arrive at the scene a few years later," she said.
O'Connor was 51 when she joined the court to replace the retired Potter Stewart. A virtual unknown on the national scene until her appointment, she had served as an Arizona state judge, and before that as a member of her state's Legislature.
A fourth-generation Arizonan, she had grown up on a sprawling family ranch.
The woman who climbed higher in the legal profession than had any other member of her sex did not begin her career auspiciously. As a top-ranked graduate of Stanford's prestigious law school, class of 1952, O'Connor discovered that most large law firms did not hire women.
One offered her a job as a secretary. Perhaps it was that early experience that shaped O'Connor's professional tenacity. She once recalled a comment by an Arizona colleague: "With Sandra O'Connor, there ain't no Miller time."
"I think that's true," confessed the justice whose work week most often extended beyond 60 hours.
But she played tennis and golf well, danced expertly with her husband, and made frequent appearances on the Washington party circuit.
O'Connor was embarrassed in 1989 after conservative Republicans in Arizona used a letter she had sent to support their claim that the United States is a "Christian nation."
O'Connor said she regretted the letter's use in a political debate. "It was not my intention to express a personal view on the subject of the inquiry," she said.
Washington Post ~ Associated Press - Gina Holland ** O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court
My Way News ~ Associated Press - Gina Holland ** O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court
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at 2:31 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 1, 2005 2:37 PM EDT
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