Quote of the Day

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Santorum: God's Holy Douchebag

Rick Santorum is not alone in his assault on women's rights. He is the standard-bearer among the Republican primary candidates. In Santorum's world, government has an obligation to dictate what goes on behind closed doors in America. Were he to become the overseer of American morals, Santorum would ban all forms of birth control, outlaw abortions for any reason, and define marriage according to the Holy Gospel of Santorum.

What I have never heard him address are his plans for taking care of all of those children that would be forthcoming because of his policies. Would he allocate public funds to take care of all the children born into poverty? What about the parents who are forced to deliver a severely deformed child without the capability of caring for this child? Would Santorum provide for these children? Not everyone is rich enough or strong enough to take on this responsibility. Santorum and his wife are to be admired for taking care of their own. Not everyone is that lucky.

America and the world are already over populated. Birth control and education can keep the world's population at manageable levels, and abortion should not be taken off the table.

Here's why:  



Monday, January 30, 2012

You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Pollsters here in Florida have released new figures that show Chief Executive Orifice Scott (R - damnyankee carpetbagger) climbing in popularity. This begs the question, who the hell did the pollsters ask? They sure didn't ask me.

Did they ask any Floridians who fall in the categories below?

Unemployment:
  • 10.0 percent in November, above national rate of 8.6 percent, sixth-highest rate in the nation. 926,000 unemployed; 41,000 fewer in the labor force than a year earlier, due to discouraged workers.
Poverty:
  • 16.5 percent, or 3,047,343 Floridians, lived below the federal poverty level in 2010 ($17,374 for a family of three). 1,356,324 lived at 50 percent of the poverty level or less. Among children under 18, 23.5 percent lived in poverty.
  • Only fifteen states plus D.C. had higher overall rates of poverty.
  • Florida’s child poverty rate is 16th.
Income Inequality:
  • Florida ranked as the fifth-worst state in 2010 on the GINI Index, a measure of income inequality used by economists to measure the gap between those making most of the income and those making the least.
No Health Insurance:
  • 21.3 percent, third-highest in the U.S.
  • 12.7 percent of children under 18 have no insurance coverage, fourth-highest.
Food Stamps:
  • 3,311,095 food stamp clients in December.
  • 3,187,157 in September 2010 was the third-highest total in the nation.
Medicaid:
  • 2,652,651 clients in December.
Distressed Homeowners:
  • Florida had the second-highest number of foreclosure filings among the states in 2010 and in October 2011.
  • Highest of all the states in noncurrent mortgages.
Fairness of Tax System:
  • Second-worst in the nation.
State Tax Revenue:
  • Florida ranked 42nd in state tax revenue per capita and 46th in state tax revenue as a percentage of the state’s total income in 2010 (as measured by the Federation of Tax Administrators).
  • Tax Foundation ranked Florida 44th in state tax collections per capita, 2009, and 50th in state tax revenue per capita (using a different methodology).
State Employees:
  • Lowest number of state employees per 10,000 population.
  • Lowest payroll costs per resident.
Unemployment Insurance:
  • Despite having the third-largest number of unemployed workers of any state, Florida paid out the seventh-highest total of benefits paid in the year ending in the third quarter of 2011. 
  •  59.3 percent of those who received UI benefits exhausted their benefits in that 12 months, third-highest rate in the nation. 
  •  The average weekly payment was $229.90, 48th in the nation. 
  •  The average weekly payment replaced 28.8 percent of the state’s average weekly wage, 43rd in the nation. 
  •  Of the unemployed, only 18 percent received regular unemployment insurance, 51st in the nation.
Education Expenditures:
  • Over the last five years (Fiscal Years 2007-08 and 2011-12), total annual funding for public education declined by $4.4 billion, or 18.4 percent. General revenue funding by the state fell by $3.0 billion, or 20 percent.
  • In the last year (between 2010-11 and 2011-12), total public education funding was cut by $2.7 billion, or 11.9 percent. General revenue funding declined by $609 million, or 4.9 percent.
  • Even in 2007-08, before five years of cuts, Florida ranked at the bottom of the state in expenditures for education:
    • 50th in per capita state government expenditures for all education
    • 50th in state government expenditures for all education per $1,000 of personal income
    • 47th in per capita state and local government expenditures for all education
    • 47th in state and local government expenditures for all education per $1,000 of personal income
    • 50th in per capita state and local expenditures for higher education
Homeless: 
  • 55,000 Floridians were homeless in 2009.
  • One-third of the homeless without any shelter in the U.S. were in Florida.
Again I ask, who are these pollsters polling? Maybe just the "I've got mine, so F**K you" inmates of The Villages of the Demented Republicans in central Florida?

One poll suggested that by ditching his dark business suits in favor of khakis and casual button-down shirts that Scott's image has improved. Well, you can't prove that by me. He still looks like a prick with ears that is intent on destroying the poor and middle class in favor of the rich - just like the rest of the GOP.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ain't It The Truth!

A Sunday Concert 4U From H4H

Readers of the Oracle should not be surprised to know that one of our favorite musical duos is the extremely talented Hymn For Her.

We just received an email from H4H and it is our pleasure to share some of it with you:

"Here's a live performance from Lowebow Fest 2011 at Will's Pub in Orlando. These 2 tracks will probably be on our next album. We will be at Lowebow Fest 2012 in March."



"Lucy and Wayne" are heading overseas this Tuesday to play Belgium and the Netherlands! Click Here for tourdates both at home and abroad.

Bon voyage, y'all!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Assault On Women's Right To Decide

Warning: this post contains some graphic material.

Conservative Florida anti-abortion lawmakers are pushing to go further in 2012. This latest assault on Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to decide includes an outright ban on some second-trimester abortions in the state, a 24-hour waiting period for abortions and a measure that forces doctors to sign affidavits saying an abortion is not being sought because of the race or the gender of the fetus.

The ultimate goal of these so-called Christian conservative Republicans in Florida and elsewhere around the country is to take women back to the good old days of "barefoot and pregnant":

not dying of a back alley abortion
  • Abortion was not a crime and was quite common in the U.S. during the 1700s and early 1800s. During this period, primitive methods such as physically striking a pregnant woman's abdomen or introducing foreign objects into the uterus were used to induce abortion, frequently killing or injuring the woman.
  • The mid-1800s campaign to criminalize abortion stemmed from the medical profession's desire to establish the supremacy of physicians over midwives and homeopaths and an increasing resentment towards the growing women's rights movement.
  • Laws passed across the country between 1860 and 1880 prohibited abortion at any point during pregnancy. However, illegal (back-alley) abortion remained widely available throughout the next century.
  • Approximately 50% of all maternal deaths resulted from illegal abortion during the first half of the 20th century.
  • Estimates of the annual number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and 60s range from 200,000 to 1.2 million, even though abortion procedures were unsafe and often life-threatening, in addition to being illegal.
            Gerri Santoro  August 16, 1935 - June 8, 1964
  • During the 1950s and 60s, each year an estimated 160 to 260 women died from illegal abortions, while thousands more were seriously injured.
The name of the woman in the photo is Gerri Twerdy Santoro. She was just 28 years old. She was a sister, a daughter, and she was the mother of two daughters when she died a very painful and frightening death.

The Supreme Court's historic Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 secured the right to safe and legal abortion in the U.S. Although the legalization of abortion has led to many important improvements in the lives of women and families, this right remains vulnerable.

Legal abortion is credited with decreasing both maternal and infant mortality. Today, abortion is 11 times safer than childbirth and less than 1% of those who undergo abortion procedures experience major complications.

The political party of "Less Government is Good Government" seems obsessed with subjecting not only women but all Americans to their interpretation of how life in this country should be lived. Apparently, to them anyway, life was better for all back in the good old days of mid 19th century America.


Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Gasparilla Weekend In Tampa

Stock up at the ABC likker store, come home, bolt the doors, and party like grandma:


Woo-hoo, pump it up, pump it up!

Friday In Pictures

I've got a bit of a brain freeze going on, so I am going to let the pictures do the talking.

Let's start with Senator Bernie Sanders:


That is an interesting question tossed out by Sanders. Here is George Carlin to answer it:


Moving on to Mr. Mittens and the banks:


Speaking of which:


In closing, the Oracle suggests that doing nothing looks like a dandy idea:


Happy Friday, y'all!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Politics: A Cat's Perspective

The Republican Primaries

Florida’s Voter Suppression Act

The elections bill passed by extremists in the Florida Legislature and signed by [Florida CEO] Rick Scott in 2011 is a voter suppression trifecta, making it harder to register to vote, harder to cast a vote, and harder to have your vote counted. This threatens the fairness of elections, the very foundation of our democracy.

Fortunately, key leaders in the federal government, including our own Senator Bill Nelson, are taking voter suppression in Florida seriously. They’ve scheduled a U.S. Senate field hearing in Tampa this Friday. It’s important that we fill the room with concerned Floridians.

Please join Progress Florida in Tampa this Friday for the federal hearing on Florida’s Voter Suppression Act. Here are the details:

Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Hearing on Florida’s New Elections Law

Friday, January 27, 2012 @ 1:00 PM
Hillsborough County Courthouse
800 Twiggs Street
Tampa, FL 33602

If the courthouse docket isn't too full there may be on-street metered parking available. Otherwise, the Twiggs Street Parking Garage is almost catty cornered to the courthouse.

When entering the courthouse be prepared to remove your belt and anything in your pockets. These people at the door are serious about security. I wouldn't be too concerned about strip or body cavity searches. If you are that worrisome you will be turned away. I think.

Rick Scott: F**k The Poor!

Florida's Chief Executive Orifice Rick Scott (R - prick with ears) has rejected millions of federal dollars to provide health care for retirees, seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Florida Republicans have even turned down money to fight child abuse and neglect.

Cancer patients make up another group to suffer from Republicans’ political games and unwillingness to accept federal grants. Among the long list of federal health grants the state has shunned in the last year was a small award that would have “reduced the burden of cancer.”

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health stated that budget authority was denied for a competitive grant “awarded to Florida beginning October 2010 for $175,000 yearly.” That grant did not require any contributions from the state.

According to a recent report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Florida is among many states that have “missed opportunities to enact laws and policies that could not only save money and generate revenue, but also save lives.”

Local officials throughout the state have voiced their frustration at Scott for turning away money they desperately need simply to grandstand against health care reform. Scott’s claim to be standing on principle by vetoing health care money is especially disingenuous given that last year he signed a budget that uses $370 million of federal stimulus money after he vowed to “fight all stimulus money.”

Now Scott is at it again. He now plans to cut about $2 billion in public funding to hospitals that care for the poor. Tampa General is looking at a $70 million budget cut. Surprisingly enough some of Scott's fellow Republicans say they don't like his plan, since the hospitals — which took a beating last year — will face another Scott bitch-slap.

Just to bring the delusional Florida voters who put this clown into office up to speed - Scott is the former private health industry executive who made his fortune downsizing hospitals for profit. His partisan demagoguery on health reform and other issues has helped make him the least popular governor in the entire country, excluding The Villages (Florida asylum for old Republicans). It should also be noted that Scott's former (wink, wink) employer, Hospital Corporation of America stands to get addition monies from this plan.

Scott wants to cut Medicaid spending by nearly 10 percent to make up for gutting education last year. He says health spending is a fair target because it has grown far more rapidly than other government spending. "We need to fund education; it's the right thing to do," he said last week while ruminating in his ivory tower.

Yes, but if it is the right thing to do, why was education gutted in the first place? And now, why try to undo the damage by placing a burden on hospitals and the poor? Simply put, because he can, that and because the poor, and the elderly, and the sick are of no use to him - plus, they can't fight back. Sadly, there appears to be no one in Tallahassee willing or able to fight for these people either.

The Republicans all across America keep screaming that they need to take this country back - presumably to the glory days of the 18th and 19th centuries. Those were the days alright; no bothersome equal rights issues, Trump's "the blacks" knew their place was in the cotton fields and not the White House, the women knew their place was in the home barefoot and pregnant, and damnyankee carpetbaggers could be tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

Rick Scott should probably thank the Republican gods that Florida no longer allows the same kind of "recall" it had back in the 1800s. Although, with a coating of tar and feathers, Scott might not look like such a prick.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

America Really Needs Elizabeth Warren

If you watched The Daily Show on the 24th you saw this video interview with Elizabeth Warren:

Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 1

In this unedited, extended interview, Elizabeth Warren considers cuts in education and research spending detrimental and calls on America to invest in its middle class.



What you may have missed was this next part of the interview only available on the Internet:

Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 2

Elizabeth Warren describes the role that she thinks the government should play in regulating America's private sector, in this unedited, extended interview.



Gabrielle Giffords's Letter Of Resignation

A very tearful and moving reading of Gabrielle Giffords's letter of resignation was delivered by her dear friend and a Florida treasure, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. A copy of the letter appears below.



Federal Wall Street Investigation

From MoveOn.org
   
During his State of the Union address last night President Obama did exactly what hundreds of thousands of us have been calling on him to do - he announced a federal investigation into Wall Street. Here's what he said:

"I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans."

The best part is, progressive champion New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is co-chairing the investigation and will make sure it stays on track.

Just weeks ago, this investigation wasn't even on the table, and the big banks were pushing for a broad settlement that would have made it impossible. Your work changed all that.

This is truly a huge victory for the 99% movement. Hundreds of thousands of us signed petitions, made calls, and held signs outside in the cold to make this issue something that President Obama couldn't ignore. Here's some of what MoveOn members and our allies did to bring about this victory:
  • Over 360,000 of us signed a petition calling on President Obama to fully investigate the banks. 
  • We delivered that petition at over 150 events last Thursday around the country at Obama for America campaign offices. 
  • Our pressure on state attorneys general stopped the rush to a sweetheart deal that would have precluded this investigation. 
  • And we've called, Facebooked, and tweeted at the White House repeatedly to ask the president to launch this investigation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Tails And Shrimp

Two items on my short term bucket list got crossed off this past Saturday. Ever since the trailers for Red Tails began showing on the tube I have been gung-ho to go, and my taste buds have been demanding to be taken to Shrimp & Co. in Ybor City.

My bride and I did both this past weekend and enjoyed the movie and Shrimp & Co. immensely. Truthfully, I think she indulged me on the movie since she has subjected me to copious amounts of post-season football, but we both were very pleased with the food and service at the restaurant.

Since we were having a late lunch or maybe an early dinner we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We were invited to sit where we pleased, so we chose a window booth looking out at 7th Avenue.

Our server quickly appeared with menus and took our drink orders - suggesting a few beers that might titillate our taste buds. We chose a Shock Top for her and an Ybor Gold for me. Both were excellent choices to accompany our food.





We were impressed with the decor - reminiscent of some places we have visited in New Orleans. The Mardi Gras music station playing in the background provided a perfect ambiance to our visit.





The Belle of Ballast Point ordered the Fried Chicken Strips Basket with a very tasty side of coleslaw.



I chose the grilled Florida Rock Lobster, while a bit pricey, it was perfectly grilled and delicious. For my sides, I chose the Maduros, a sauteed plantain dish, and the Aranitas, again plantains, but shredded and deep fried. Those were two delightful choices, both reminded me of foods we have enjoyed while on vacation in the Caribbean.

For dessert we shared an order of Gasparilla Delight - warm chocolate empanadas served with vanilla ice cream and adorned with hazelnuts and caramel.

So good!

I am anxious to return to try the Louisiana and Florida Steam Pots, the Shrimp Stuffed Mofongo, and the Ceviche. Shrimp & Co. has so many exciting menu items and I have but one stomach.

The Oracle highly recommends Shrimp & Co.

Food and several beers (never you mind how many) came to $78 and that includes a 20% tip that we tacked on.

Shrimp & Co on Urbanspoon 

Shrimp and Co Restaurant on Foodio54

My Day In Court

Surprise! Surprise! The Oracle is back already. I had jury duty yesterday which was reminiscent of the military policy of  - Hurry up, and wait!

I sat through two voir dire sessions. One was to pick jurors for a misdemeanor trial (driving without a license) and the other a felony trial (battery on a police officer). I really wanted to get on the jury for the battery trial. I didn't get picked for either one - dammit!

The defense attorneys in both cases homed in on my paralegal training and experience, and I think that and the fact that I did not quiver and quake while being questioned kept me off both juries. The people who were picked, for the most part, were the ones who were the least informed and the most incoherent in the jury pools.

This should not necessarily be taken as an indictment of the accused, but it appears the attorneys were very much interested in seating a jury of peers. If I were the accused I would prefer to have me in the jury as opposed to those who could barely form a complete sentence. Of course, if I were on the jury at my own trial, I think I would be voting for acquittal whether or not I was innocent or guilty.

Speaking of which, the defense attorney at the misdemeanor voir dire seemed to get her shorts in a wad over my response to her demand that we each answer her question on the term "innocent until proven guilty". My argument was that in our judicial system there is a "presumption of innocence" until the facts of the case prove otherwise which hadn't been done yet. If a person has committed the crime, then they are guilty from the git-go. We are just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The defense attorney hammered us right up front to say we believed her client was innocent. Without hearing the facts of the case, I was not prepared to render a verdict one way or another, and I told her so. I was sent back to the jury auditorium.

One of the attorneys I saw during the day asked, "Who is happy to be here today?" Out of a room of thirty, I was the only one who raised my hand. The prosecution, defense, judge, and court reporter all seemed surprised, but to me this was like a post-graduate class on our judicial system - almost as good as watching My Cousin Vinny for the umpteenth time. And let's not forget the money. I pulled in a tad over $1.87 per hour for a grand total of fifteen bucks. Woo-hoo! That's enough for a 12 pack of suds.

Life is good!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The 13th Circuit Court Of Hillsborough County Has Called

I've got jury duty this week so the Oracle will be on hiatus. I know your lives will be incomplete and for that you should complain to Pat Frank the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

To prepare for another possible venture into a courtroom I have pulled out my criminal law and tort law text books. I want to be prepared should Judge Elizabeth Rice need to consult with me on legal issues. Although, after reviewing her judicial biography, Judge Rice may not need my help. Oh well!

In my absence I suggest that you Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll. Trust me, you'll feel better.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Debaptise Yourself - For Free

Once upon a time a long time ago, before you were able to walk, talk, or even wipe your own butt were you subjected to some sort of pagan ritual where you were either spritzed with or dunked in water?

Now that you have reached the age of consent and can, presumably, wipe your own butt would you like to undo that which was done without your consent?

Well, now you can. Just visit the web site Debaptized.com, fill out the required paperwork and just like "that" you can be debaptised.

Debaptisms are all the rage in Europe, and now you can debaptise yourself right in the comfort of your own home here in America - and it's free!

You can even debaptise others, but I think you will immediately be whisked off to Hell if you do it without their consent. I didn't try it, so I don't know for sure.

Just visit the web site and after entering the requisite data, voilĂ  you are debaptised! You even get an official certificate to hang on your wall.

Is the Internet not a thing of wonderment?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline On Hold - For Now

The Keystone XL pipeline is not dead, it's just on hold. We can thank President Obama for at least delaying this disastrous project, but it needs to be killed off before it kills us.

Robert Samuelson, a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, recently posited that rejecting the pipeline was an act of national insanity. Among other things, Samuelson claims that the oil produced will reduce America's dependency on foreign oil and create jobs. Will it? Let's take a look at an opposing analysis of the pipeline.
  • An Oil Change International Briefing September 2011 stated: The Keystone XL pipeline is an export pipeline. The Gulf Coast refiners at the end of the pipeline’s route are focused on expanding exports, and the nature of the tar sands crude Keystone XL delivers enhances their capacity to do so.
  • Very little of the tar sands crude will find it's way into American gas tanks.
  • By draining Midwestern refineries of cheap Canadian crude into export-oriented refineries in the Gulf Coast, Keystone XL will increase the cost of gas for Americans, especially farmers. If their costs increase, guess what happens to food prices.
  • In 2008, TransCanada’s Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL to the State Department indicated “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” to build the pipeline.
  • TransCanada estimates 20,000 “person-years” (the amount of work equal to the output of one person working for 1 year) of employment based on a non-public forecast model using undisclosed inputs provided by TransCanada.
  • As a part of the permitting process for Keystone XL, the Department of State (DOS) did an analysis of the jobs that would be created by building the pipeline. Based on information provided by TransCanada it would generate 3-year, temporary jobs for 1,668 people, with only 167 jobs going to local workers.
  • Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) both oppose the pipeline:  "We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation - jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency." 
In his article, Samuelson barely touched on safety or the environmental impact, two major concerns that must be addressed.
  • A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland, over the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people. 
  • NASA’s top climate scientist says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would mean “essentially game over” for the climate.
  • In a study funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a group of retired four-star generals and admirals concluded that climate change, if not addressed, will be the greatest threat to national security. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Financial Martial Law




Michigan Main Street Movement Protesters March Against Gov. Snyder's "Financial Martial Law" Bill








Here is a Friday blast from the past...

Two Wins For America

The results are in:

The citizens of America - 2          The Republicans - 0
                                                                                                                     (and a few Demo-duds)

Two bad Republican ideas have been derailed, at least for the time being. One being the Internet censorship proposals of SOPA/PIPA and the other being the Keystone XL pipeline.

One of the big problems with both of these ideas is the Republican penchant of ramming legislation through Congress without due diligence or even a basic understanding of the issue. However, I can understand the Republican need for action since the party has done little or nothing in the last several years that didn't involve discrediting or destroying the Obama presidency - the only action item on their agenda.

As the 2012 elections draw near it would seem that the GOP, the party of 'NO', is getting desperate. And why not? Under the Obama administration the economy is improving: 
  • Companies added 1.64 million employees in 2011, the best year for the American worker since 2006, after a 940,000 increase in 2010. 
  • Payrolls rose 200,000 in December, double the gain in November, according to a recent Labor Department report.
  • The December payrolls report capped four months of declines in the unemployment rate and six consecutive months of jobs gains of at least 100,000, indicating the labor market is gaining momentum.
  • After a near collapse at the height of the Great Recession, the streamlined U.S. auto industry defied the odds and outperformed the greater economy in 2011 with solid sales increases, job growth and product innovations.
  • Analysts and executives expect 2012 U.S. auto sales to grow 4 percent to 9 percent, the third consecutive annual gain.
  • U.S. and foreign automakers are poised to add nearly 167,000 U.S. jobs by the end of 2015, according to the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • It is predicted that U.S. stocks will return at least 10 percent in 2012, beating foreign markets for a third year, as the nation’s gross domestic product expands by as much as 2.5 percent. 
  • GDP grew 1.8 percent last year, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News last month. 
  • U.S. export orders rose in December to the highest level in three months, according to manufacturer reports compiled by the Institute for Supply Management in Tempe, Arizona. 
  • Consumers have increased their borrowing in six of the past nine months. Americans are taking on more debt after seeing the unemployment rate drop and the economy improve.
  • Since health insurance reform was signed into law this reform is already delivering real benefits to millions of Americans who otherwise would be left out in the cold by the "I've got mine, so screw you" Republicans and their Christian (?) conservative followers.
And, finally:
  • TARP probably saved the world from a pre-Obama financial meltdown and did so in a manner that may cost the taxpayer less than $50 billion (as opposed to $475 billion), but may wind up costing the taxpayer nothing.
Here in Florida:
  • The worst may be over for Tampa Bay's housing market. According to a recent article in the Tampa Bay Times, "The median price of a single-family home fell to $110,000 in January 2011, climbed steadily to $130,000 in August and has not dropped below $120,000 since."
  • Unemployment is dropping, slowly and steadily, no thanks to Pink Slip Rick and his lackeys in Tallahassee.
  • While the national jobless rate has now dropped to 8.5 percent, nearly a three-year low, Florida is enjoying some of the same uptick in job growth coming out of the Great Recession.
In the last three years the Republicans have accomplished...................................?


    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    I Stand Corrected

    In a piece I wrote the other day I compared the machinations of Michigan governor Snyder to the ideology of Soviet Communists and suggested that with total Republican control of our government that the entire United States could revert to a communist form of government.

    That could still be a possibility, but a more accurate scenario would suggest an oligarchy instead of communist rule.

    Watch the following video and decide for yourself as we move from a republic, to a democracy, to anarchy, and finally to an oligarchy:


    After watching this video, on the issue of communism, I stand corrected.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Thank You President Obama

    On the State Department's recommendation, President Obama rejected TransCanada's plans to extend the Keystone XL pipeline.

    The environment has won!
    For now anyway.

    Cut Children's Health Care?

    Cut children's health care to replace a fraction of his cuts to public schools while not making wealthy corporations pay their fair share? That's Rick Scott's budget plan, and we need to stop it right now.

    Join me and sign this petition to the Florida Legislature demanding a fair budget that doesn't cut children's health care: http://www.progressflorida.org/fairbudget

    After proposing to cut more than three billion dollars from our public schools, laying off teachers, and stuffing more students into crowded classrooms in 2011, Chief Executive Orifice Scott now says he wants to increase funding for public education. If you're suspicious, you should be. Not only would Scott's proposal not replace all of the funding he cut last year, he's cutting health care for children to get this "new" funding, and letting special interests off the hook in the process.

    When billions in special interest tax loopholes exist, it's unconscionable to cut children's health care or public education. Join me and demand a fair budget from the Florida Legislature: http://www.progressflorida.org/fairbudget


    Another Republican Assault On The Constitution

    Take action!Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds. They preach the "less government, is the best government" sermon over and over, but they continually try to insert themselves into every facet of our lives. Within the next two weeks, the Senate may vote on a bill that would end the Internet as we know it.

    If it passes, the "Protect IP Act" would give corporate copyright holders the authority to demand that the government shut down any website without a court order. All they would need is to allege that the website contains copyrighted material. 

    This bill has been rushed through Congress because big corporate interests like Comcast, Pfizer, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent millions of dollars lobbying for this censoring legislation.

    This bill is an outright attack on our free Internet. If it passes, the government could shut down a website like YouTube if a member does something like post a video of themselves singing a copyrighted song. The government could shut down The SOG City Oracle, Finding Tampa, The Ybor City Stogie, Whatever Works, The Liberal Curmudgeon, Beach Peanuts, Re/Creating TampaAmerica's Voice, and even Notyourmomma'skitchen under the pretext of copyright infringement simply because they take offense at something we post on our blogs.

    This gives corporations and the government the ability to determine what information you can consume on the Internet — a dangerous practice which, when committed by the Chinese and Iranian governments, is denounced by the American people and almost all of our elected representatives.

    Internet companies including Google, Mozilla, Facebook, and Twitter, say that "the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites."

    Right now, only a small number of Democratic senators are standing up to corporate interests and voicing opposition to the bill. And the only way we can stop this outright attack on the free Internet is to have more senators commit to vote against the legislation. No matter whether your senators are Republicans or Democrats, it is important that you urge them to take a stand for Internet freedom.

    We need Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to come out in opposition to this bill and vote against Internet censorship.

    Call Sens. Nelson and Rubio and tell them to protect our free and open Internet and oppose the Protect IP Act. Click here for a sample script and the number to call.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Michigan: The First Communist State Of America?

    With the Republican circus visiting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and eventually Florida we don't hear too much about the goings on in Michigan. So what is going on in Michigan that we should care about?

    Republican governor, Rick Snyder (another Rick with a P - joining Santorum, Perry, and Scott), has approved and has implemented one of the most sweeping, anti-democratic pieces of legislation in the country.

    Snyder’s law has given the state government the power not only to break up unions, but to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed “Emergency Managers” in their stead. Whole cities could be eliminated if Emergency Managers and the governor choose to do so. And Snyder can fire elected officials unilaterally, without any input from voters.

    The governor simply has to declare a financial emergency to invoke these powers – or he can hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city. A private corporation can declare your city in a state of financial emergency and send in its Emergency Manager, fire your elected officials, and reap the benefits of the ensuing state contracts. (Information based on a Forbes report)

    Don't bother asking the question, "Will he do this?" Snyder has already done it! Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Hamtramck, Encorse, and Three Oaks have already fallen into the hands of the vanguard party* led by Snyder. Detroit and Inkster are now in the cross-hairs.

    If you live in any of these Michigan cities you can vote yourselves into a stupor, but your vote doesn't count because Comrade Emergency Manager is the one with all the power. You are irrelevant. This government takeover is especially egregious to African-Americans in Michigan. Approximately 50% would be living under the authority of these unelected managers.

    You might be asking yourself how this decidedly un-American, anti-democratic action could happen. For the answer, look to the Michigan voters. They were the ones who put a Republican governor in office with a Republican legislature to back him up.

    I am surprised that we haven't seen the same thing happen to us here in Florida. Maybe the prick with ears in Tallahassee hasn't thought of it yet? He still has three more years, so we will have to wait and see.

    American voters all across the country need to be mindful of what a single party system is capable of doing. We need to look at Michigan as an example of what a Republican president and a 100% Republican congress have the power to accomplish.

    Are we ready for the United Communist States of America?

    *A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The concept is most well known for being put into practice by the Bolshevik Party in Russia.

    In modern usage, the word "communism" is still often used to refer to the policies of self-declared governments comprising one-party states which were single legal political party systems operating under centrally planned economies and a state ownership of the means of production, with the state, in turn, claiming that it represented the interests of the working classes.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    On This Day...


    "We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

    Can you name the person who uttered those words?

    Was it Voldemort, the Chief Executive Orifice of Tallahassee?

    Let's ask the Florida Lieutenant Chief Executive Orifice. What say you Jennifer the Abysmally Clueless?

    "[Today] we're going to be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday and I can't think of anybody currently in my life right now that more epitomizes the values and the vision of Dr. King than Gov. Rick Scott," she said.

    Obviously, the quote at the beginning of this piece did not come from Scott, whom has not shown thinking Floridians any worthy values or visions. Jennifer Carroll owes the memory of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. a sincere and heartfelt apology for saying something as idiotic and insulting.

    Dr. King would probably forgive her remarks and just consider the source, but Florida is already getting the reputation as the land of the loonies. As a side note, I understand that "Sunshine State" is going to be removed from our car tags and replaced with "Crazy State", but that is just a rumor for now. 

    As a tribute to Dr. King's legacy, would someone in Tallahassee PLEASE shove a sock or something in this woman's mouth to shut her up.

    Now, here is an American treasure:

    America Needs Elizabeth Warren

    Last week The Daily KOS reported that the Wall Street lobbyists were going into overdrive to keep Elizabeth Warren out of the U.S. Senate. This week, Warren's opponent, Sen. Scott Brown, revealed the efforts of those lobbyists had paid off:

    Senator Scott Brown raised $3.2 million in the last three months of the year, boosting his campaign war chest to $12.8 million, the most that any Massachusetts candidate has accumulated at this stage of a statewide race.

    That was some bad news, but the very next day Elizabeth Warren reported that nearly 100,000 of her small donors had crushed Wall Street's record-setting efforts:

    Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate whose US Senate candidacy has fired up Democrats across the nation, raised $5.7 million in the last three months of 2011.

    Now the forces of greed have responded to Warren's continued ascent by calling in more backup. On Thursday, the Chamber of Commerce vowed to become "significantly involved" in Wall Street's campaign to defeat Warren.

    The Chamber of Commerce has deep pockets, but we can kick their butts, too. Please, chip in $6 to Elizabeth Warren on Orange to Blue.


    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    A Sunday Reminder

    Our Florida Republican dominated Legislature would like to see your tax dollars be made available to the Church of Scientology, Muslims, Mormons, the God Hates Fags Baptist Church of Westboro, and maybe even the Caton Temple of Self Abuse.

    The Florida Religious Freedom Amendment 7 will appear on the November 6, 2012 state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Essentially, the measure moves to repeal the state's ban of public dollars for religious funding. The measure requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

    This is just a reminder that the Religious Freedom wording is misleading. You are not voting for religious freedom, you are voting to give your tax dollars to any religious organization that lays claim to your tax dollars.

    If the amendment passes, this is what Section 3 of Article I of the Florida Constitution will look like:

    There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. No individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

    Please, think before you vote, and spread the word to others.

    If this thing passes you may start referring to me as the Right Reverend Jon the Properly Pious of the Holy Oracle Church of SOG City. I will be applying for some of those holy dollars. My congregation will be sharing in the loot...I mean Holy Bounty.

    Let's hear a Holy Crapola and Amen, brothers and sisters, for the manna from Heaven or Tallahassee...wherever. 

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    The Football Blackouts

    Status report: As of today, 1/14/2012, a total of nine responses to the FCC review of the petition to end football blackouts have been received and posted. That's nine for the entire country. Nine! And not all of them are against the blackout.

    Either people don't know that they can let the FCC know how they feel about the blackouts or they just don't care. We can make a difference, but only if we make an effort.

    As a side note, I find it somewhat amusing that two of the responses came from Tampa and one each came from Lakeland and Nokomis. Three other responses came from the same person in Yuma, AZ - the one who is not in favor of eliminating the blackout. The remainder were from the petitioners who started this effort.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    The Sports Blackout Rule

    As you may have heard the FCC is considering a petition from fan interest groups to rescind the NFL television blackout rules. They are accepting comments on the petition in an effort to determine whether to change the 35-year old rules.

    The rule is now under its most significant attack to date and may not be long for this world. The FCC has officially begun the process of considering a new rule that would rescind the television blackout rule. In November 2011, five public interest groups submitted to the FCC a petition for rulemaking that would eliminate the sports blackout rule (PDF). On Thursday, the FCC submitted a public notice calling for comments about the petition (PDF). These are the first two steps in a lengthy process.

    The FCC will consider new rules either through statutory mandate, agency identification of a problem, or a public petition. In this case, five groups submitted a public petition. The groups include Sports Fans Coalition, Inc., Public Knowledge, National Consumers League, League of Fans and Media Access Project.

    The FCC has reviewed the petition and is now providing an opportunity for interested parties to submit comments on the matter. The FCC will accept responses to the petition until February 13, 2012. Replies to those responses will be allowed until February 28, 2012. This potential change in rules will receive comments from across the sports world, and not just from the NFL. Although the rule-change is aimed at the NFL, this has the possibility of impacting all four major sports.
    ___________________________

    Now then, with that information being plopped on the table what does all of this mean? Well, if you are interested in reading the petition submitted to the FCC then click on the petition link above. That is a long legal document that you may find interesting - or not.

    The second link is the FCC public notice. This tells interested parties how they can submit a comment to the FCC on the NFL blackouts. Comments may be submitted by USPS mail or electronically.

    Here comes the tricky part: are you an interested party and would you like to weigh in on this issue? If you like football and the NFL blackouts piss you off, then you are an interested party and the FCC wants to hear from you. The FCC doesn't make that a particularly easy task, but the Oracle is here to help.

    First off, whether submitting your comment by USPS mail or electronically you need to compose your comment separately as a MS Word document or a PDF. If you chose the postal service then you will need to print that document and send it to: 

    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street, SW 
    Washington DC  20554

    If you chose to send electronically you will have to upload your document as a PDF (wouldn't accept Word) at this web address:


    This page looks more intimidating than it really is, and after speaking with the FCC Media Information Group in Washington I discovered that this process is so easy even a caveman (see: Perry, Rick) could do it. Mouse over question marks for details.
    1. Proceeding Number: this is the docket number listed on the Public Notice 12-3.
    2. Contact Info: Just enter your name and ignore the rest.
    3. Details: accept the defaults, making sure that the Type of Filing is COMMENTS. If not, change it.
    4. Address: you are a filer and your address is required. I don't know why.
    5. Documents: click on Choose File to upload your pre-written document.
    6. Click Continue to continue.
    7. This takes you to a page that asks you to Confirm or Modify your Submission.
    8. Click Confirm.
    This takes you to a page with the following information:

    This confirmation verifies that ECFS has received and accepted your filing. However, your filing will be rejected by ECFS if it contains macros, passwords, redlining, read-only formatting, a virus, or automated links to other documents.

    Filings are generally processed and made available for online viewing within one business day of receipt. You may use the link below to check on the status of your filing:

    http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/confirm?confirmation=201XXXXXXXXXX

    For any problems please contact the Help Desk at 202-418-0193.

    There now, that wasn't so hard - just a colossal pain in the ass.

    Here is the comment I submitted. Feel free to use it if you wish. I would enter your name and address at the bottom:

    In the Matter of
     
    Petition for Rulemaking to Eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule

    I am in complete agreement with the PETITION FOR RULEMAKING submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, which states in part:

    “At a time of persistently high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and consumer
    uncertainty, the Sports Blackout Rule supports blatantly anti-fan, anti-consumer behavior by
    professional sports leagues. 

    The leagues often require a game to be blacked out from broadcast television if tickets to the game have not sold out.  The Commission then perpetuates the problem by requiring other TV distributors also to black out the game. 

    The leagues are at the root of the problem because they currently charge exorbitant prices
    for tickets, which in turn results in lower attendance.  The leagues then punish fans by blacking
    out games from television because a few seats remain unsold. 

    The Commission should not be propping up this anti-consumer behavior through the Sports Blackout Rule, particularly in such difficult economic times.”

    **********************************
    Editor's addendum at 5:50 PM: I checked on-line and my comment has been posted. My opinion is now a matter of public record and is taken seriously by the FCC.




    Friday Blues

    What is it about these Texan women and the blues?


    Click HERE to read about Carolyn Wonderland.

    Primary Elections Explained

    In the unlikely event that you were confused:


    The Florida closed primary is scheduled for Tuesday January 31, 2012. A panel of state leaders voted to advance Florida's primary despite last-minute efforts from the Republican National Committee to lobby the state to remain in compliance of party rules that say most states must wait until March.

    In most of the Republican contests, the candidate who wins the most votes in that state's primary wins all the party's delegates for that state - a system known as 'winner takes all'. Florida is a 'winner takes all' state.

    Republican superdelegates are officially known as Automatic Delegates. Each state is allowed three superdelegates. In Florida they are Lenny Curry, Sharon Day, and Paul Senft, Jr. These three are bound by the primary results.

    And now you know.

    Update 1/15/2012: Peter Feamon of Palm Beach County has replaced longtime national committeeman Paul Senft of Haines City.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Elvis Didn't Like Tampa

    One of my favorite local bloggers, Finding Tampa, has a post today featuring some more of his fantastic photography. Brad mentioned that Elvis Presley had stayed at the Floridan Hotel when he was in town.

    That reminded me of a song that goes like this here*:


    *That there was cracker speak for you out-of-towners. Don't know why it is, but sometimes I can't help but slip back to my native language. Guess it's because of my Florida Panhandle upbringing - y'all.


    A Letter To American Haters

    From The Daily KOS:

    "You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else."

    Click below to read the entire letter:


    This is some good stuff! I wish that I had written this letter.

     

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Florida Public Employees Partnership

    Florida Chief Executive Orifice had this to say during his recent state of the state address:

    “WHEN IT COMES TO JOBS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMIND OURSELVES THAT PRIVATE BUSINESSES CREATE PRODUCTIVE AND ENDURING JOBS, NOT GOVERNMENT.”


    Oh yeah, well let's hear what Robert Asencio thinks of that Scott pronouncement:

    Corporations Are Not People!

    The Daily KOS recently published a letter attributed to Senator Bernie Sanders. The Oracle strongly believes that this letter deserves the attention of every American who feels that our political system has run amok:

    I know that many of you are deeply concerned about the economy, health care, education, global warming and the environment, Social Security and Medicare, civil liberties, war and peace and the national debt. But here’s an issue that’s even more important because it encompasses all of these issues – and much more.

    Will the United States survive, in any significant way, as a democracy in which ordinary people can control their future? Or, will "democracy" simply become another commodity owned and controlled by billionaires and corporations in order to serve their own purposes?

    Today, as a result of the absurd Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations and billionaires can spend unlimited sums of money, without disclosure, in political campaigns. And that is exactly what they’re doing.

    Karl Rove’s American Crossroads has already pledged to spend at least $240 million in the elections of 2012. The extreme right-wing billionaire Koch brothers may be spending even more. And then there is Wall Street, the oil and coal corporations, the insurance and drug companies and the military-industrial-complex with all of their money.

    The goal of the top 1 percent is simple. They will spend as much as it takes to elect candidates who support a right-wing corporate agenda. They will spend as much as it takes to defeat those candidates who are fighting for working families. And that’s about it!

    Our strategy must be equally simple. Short-term, we must do everything we can to support those progressive candidates in 2012 who are fighting for the middle class and the values we believe in. Long-term, we must overturnCitizens United and fight for real campaign finance reform which limits the power of big money.

    Last month, I introduced a constitutional amendment, the Saving American Democracy bill, to overturn Citizens United. This amendment states that:

    —Corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as human beings.
    —The people have the right to regulate corporations.
    —Corporations are prohibited from making campaign contributions.
    —Congress and states shall have the power to set reasonable limits on election spending.

    As we approach the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision, please join me, Daily Kos and Democracy for America in pledging to fight to overturn Citizens United and to counter the unlimited resources of the right-wing in 2012.

    Your pledge of support today will show the Big Money interests that while they may have unlimited sums of money, we have something more important - the power of the people. Your support could mean volunteering on local, state or national elections, organizing against Citizens United, donating to progressive candidates or running for office yourself.

    Please pledge your support today. Please stand with us so that, together, we can transform American politics.

    Sincerely,

    Senator Bernie Sanders

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Florida: The State Of Our State

    Florida's Chief Executive Orifice Scott and Florida's legislative leaders will open the annual legislative session today and lay out a bare bones agenda. Said Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis, "We're all in survival mode. We've been in survival mode for about five sessions in a row. We're just trying to get through this very difficult patch."

    House Speaker Dean Cannon said that with yearly budget cuts, "there's almost a fatigue factor,'' that is now going to impair the lawmakers ability to do the job they were elected to do. Or, to put it another way, they are just too pooped to pop, so don't expect much from them. Maybe during the next session, but not right now.

    Working to fix the worst economic crisis Florida has faced in over ten years, addressing the issue of 926,000 unemployed Floridians, 60,000 homeless adults and 50,000 homeless children, the nation's second highest foreclosure rate, and the nation's third highest number of people and fourth highest number of children who have no health insurance - well, our Republican dominated legislature is just too tired to deal with these hardly worth mentioning little problems. 

    Karen Woodall, of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, recently stated that there will be bills to address many of these issues, but these bills are proposed by Democrats, and they comprise a minority so small in each chamber that they can barely stop even a procedural vote.

    Today the carpetbagger who bought Florida will give his state of the state address. If you bother tuning in, then compare Scott's remarks to this report on the state of our state.

    Floridians who have an ounce of caring for anybody other than themselves need to keep this day in mind come the 2012 elections. For the sake of our state, don't you be too tired to vote! 


    Birth Control - To Have Or To Have Not

    CREDO Action has started a new campaign asking supporters to demand that Mr. Mittens of Romneyland state one way or another whether he will push for a constitutional ban on birth control should the unthinkable happen and he becomes the Chief Executive Orifice of the United States.

    I am flabbergasted that we would even be having such a discussion much less demanding to know where these Republican buffoons stand on the issue. How is birth control even remotely related to job creation, unemployment, the faltering economy, homelessness, health care, and a myriad of other problems facing this country?

    How is abolishing Roe v. Wade, attacking women's rights, reinstating DADT, and banning same sex marriage going to help the economy and put people back to work? And speaking of women - where the hell are you ladies? These Republican neanderthals are trying to push you back into the stone age. Why am I not hearing women's voices screaming at the top of their lungs at these pigs?

    John Lennon penned a song that should be on the lips of every woman in this country who values her freedom, "Woman Is The Nigger Of The World". That is apparently what the Republican presidential candidates think of you. "Woman is a slave to the slaves" goes another verse.

    Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat the rhetoric spewing from these Republican debates and caucuses should be repulsive to any thinking human being, male or female. And, for the women who are cheering for these GOP dopes, do you really hate Obama enough to give up your freedom to choose - anything - just to get him out of office?

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    A Big 'F' For Scott

    From the www.ratingrick.com web site:

    Documento sin titulo

    South Tampa Chicken Feet

    While the Oracle didn't start out as being a food blog, I had to admit that we do live to eat and it gives me a thrill to be able to report on dining venues we discover - especially near our home in South Tampa. That leads me to chicken feet.

    We have visited Tampa Buffet in Britton Plaza on several occasions and have always left this South Tampa eatery stuffed, but with bucks still left in our pockets. Last Friday was no exception.

    Tampa Buffet brags (and rightly so) that they are the largest international seafood buffet, sushi bar and open grill in Hillsborough County. Featuring Chinese, American, Italian, Mongolian, Korean & Japanese Cuisine. Over 12 Buffet bars with over 150 items.

    My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, usually starts at the salad bar, then gravitates to the American and Italian sections. I start with the raw bar and then graze around the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean bars. This last visit I found myself wandering toward one of the farthermost bars with various soups when to my complete surprise I spied a selection entitled "Chicken Feet".

    I looked inside this serving container and there to my delight were chicken feet in a delightful red sauce. I helped myself to a good half dozen. For the uninformed, chicken feet do not have a lot of meat. They are more gelatinous with cartilage and while that may not sound too appealing I can only say that this is a Chinese delicacy that must be tried. Chicken feet go extremely well with a Tsingtao.

    To see chicken feet as a selection just cemented my thought that Tampa Buffet serves truly authentic ethnic foods. The salt and pepper shrimp were superb - don't peel them, you eat head and all. But for those whose taste buds might not be so adventurous, you will find a myriad of tasty selections that we are more accustomed to seeing in buffet restaurants - fried chicken, pizza, to mention but two.

    Another plus for us is that Tampa Buffet is only minutes away from the paradise that is SOG City. Dinner for the two of us with several American and Chinese beers came to $34.75. We always leave a 20% gratuity because the waitstaff is very attentive in removing used plates and bringing fresh beer.

    Tampa Buffet isn't fancy, but the food is good, plentiful, and doesn't break the bank.

    Tampa Buffet on Urbanspoon 

    Tampa Buffet on Foodio54

    Food: Dining In Wimauma

    Editor's update 9/21/2013: Another one bites the dust it seems. Chef Gary Moran and his wife Amy are no longer a part of the ownership of Wimauma restaurant on South MacDill Avenue in Tampa.

    Amy Moran says a dispute with a major investor led to the couple to sell their stake in the restaurant. The couple, she says, own 83 percent of the business. The choice was to either buy out the investor or take their money out and move to a new project, she says.

    “It was time to go in a new direction,” she said this afternoon. “We had a disagreement with our investors, a difference of opinion on where to go with the restaurant.”


    So, so much for Wimauma.
    __________________________________

    I told my bride the other evening, "I don't feel like cooking, let's go out." She asked, "Where to?" My reply, "Wimauma." Said she, "Wimauma? Are you out of your mind? Wimauma is on the other side of the universe (from SOG City)." Wimauma, the town, is actually on the other side of the bay, but I got the point.

    Wimauma, the town, I am sure is a garden spot with a plethora of fine dining establishments, but that was not my intended destination. I had just read the review of a fellow Urbanspoon blogger, Tasting Tampa, and was delighted to discover a new restaurant in South Tampa named, of all things, Wimauma. And, if you are a true Florida cracker, the proper pronunciation is why - mama.

    The Belle of Ballast Point and I climbed into Gus (my pick 'em up truck) and headed off on what she thought was going to be a long, arduous journey. Five minutes from our SOG City ranchero I pulled into the parking lot of Wimauma at 4205 South MacDill Avenue.

    Was my Baby ever surprised!

    We wandered in to a bright, freshly painted dining room and were promptly seated. Johnny, our server brought menus and took our drink orders, and then told us the day's specials. While we were deciding, Amy the owner and wife of the chef, came over and introduced herself. At our request, Amy described the Wimauma concept of fresh foods daily, their plans for the future, and how the restaurant came to be named Wimauma.

    I'll not share this information. It will sound better coming from Amy herself when you stop in for lunch or dinner, and I would encourage you to do just that. The food is superb!

    My dining partner chose wine by the glass - I believe this Cabernet was a Pessimist (interesting name). I requested a New Orleans brew, the Abita. The Wimauma dinner menu is divided into Small Plates and Big Plates. We chose one of each.

    My bride's small plate was the Buttermilk Hoe Cake with House Smoked Trout, Caramel Butter and Flying Fish Caviar. I was surprised at her choices because she is not an aficianado of finny things or fish eggs, but she raved over this small plate. Mine was the Crispy Fried Florida Oysters with Guacamole and Smoked Tomato Jam. I quiver at the mere thought. The first bite of this crispy delight flooded the mouth with a subtle smokiness before exploding into plump, juicy oyster goodness. Holy, moly was that ever good!

    For our big plates we ordered the House Smoked Pulled Pork with Grits and Collard Greens for her, and the Pork Two ways for me. The pork consisted of  two slices of perfectly cooked (not dry and tough) pork loin and a slab of braised pork belly (again, I swoon) over a bed of White Beans with a side of collards. Both of the Big Plate choices were excellent and abundant. I could barely finish mine and my bride had to request a to-go box.

    Dessert? Forget about it! On second thought - we requested a Chocolate Bacon Brownie to go. That brownie later in the evening was like heaven to our taste buds.

    Our bill for the evening with food and adult beverages came to $82.39 and we added a 20% gratuity. When, not if, you go keep in mind that what you see on the on-line Urbanspoon menu and what I have described may not be available since the menu can change daily depending on what is fresh and locally available.

    Wimauma on Urbanspoon

    Mo' Better In SOG City

    Editor's Update: Big Mo's is no mo ... they've closed and in Mo's place is a place called Buckets.

    Back in 1969 the Army PCSed me from Ft. Monmouth (the country club of the Army) to MacDill AFB (no more coal furnaces and open bay barracks). Life was good!

    One of the first dining establishments I visited was a little family owned business located on Bayshore Boulevard at the foot of Gandy. Falge's had pretty good food at prices an Army Spec 4 could afford.

    Eventually Falge's closed its doors and moved. When I say moved, I really mean moved. The entire building was uprooted and driven to a new location. There is some debate as to whether the building was moved once or twice, but the old Falge's was re-incarnated as a Pizza Hut before it finally closed its doors for good. Well, not quite for good.

    The building, located in SOG City (South of Gandy), has found new life as Big Mo's Sports Bar at 6231 South Dale Mabry.

    Feeling the need of some nourishment for the mind and body, my bride and I decided to pay Big Mo and Mrs. Mo a visit yesterday.

    Big Mo's is a friendly neighborhood sports bar that serves up some tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. We were too hungry yesterday to wait for the Beer Can Chicken, with German Potato Salad, and a Bowl of Rich Onion Soup. Instead, we opted for the Grilled Cheese BLT and the 'Mo Better Blues Burger. Both sandwiches hit the proverbial spot so we were able to sit back and enjoy the game on several of Big Mo's big screen TVs without hearing our stomachs grumble.

    Besides ice cold beer and really good pub grub, one of the things that impressed us the most was the friendly staff and management at Big Mo's. Lise, behind the bar, greeted us as we walked in and Mrs. Mo also gave us a warm welcome. Big Mo was working his magic in the kitchen.

    Even though this was our first visit to Big Mo's we didn't feel like we were intruding on someone's private party. Big Mo's has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, and as they say, "You are only a stranger once". Like Arnie, we'll be back!

    Big Mo's Sports Bar on Urbanspoon

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Scott: New Image, New Agenda

    In the paper this morning I was surprised to see an article stating that Florida's Chief Executive Orifice has decided that he needs to change his image and agenda going into his second year of trashing the state. Wow! How nice, how very nice I thought.

    I was excited! I looked at his image in the paper, and then I pulled up his image on the Internet. Nope, no change there. He still looks like a prick with ears.

    I couldn't find an agenda change either. Scott says he is still going to pursue the mandate given to him by the delusional voters of Florida who bought into his business acumen line of mierda del toro.

    Mandate, my ass! He just barely squeaked out a victory over Alex Sink, and if she had tried harder and some South Florida voters had gotten off their dead asses, Scott could be a distant memory by now.

    Oh well, only three more years of this clown, and with the Florida Legislature and the court system bitch-slapping him from time to time, maybe Florida won't be totally destroyed.

    As they say, hope springs eternal, y'all.