The Ledes

Thursday, May 21, 2015.

New York Times: "John F. Nash Jr., a mathematician who shared a Nobel Prize in 1994 for work that greatly extended the reach and power of modern economic theory and whose long descent into severe mental illness and eventual recovery were the subject of a book and a film, both titled 'A Beautiful Mind,' was killed, along with his wife [Alicia], in a car crash on Saturday in New Jersey. He was 86."

New York Times: "Anne Meara, who became famous as half of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time and went on to enjoy a long and diverse career as an actress and, late in life, a playwright, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85. Her death was confirmed by her husband and longtime comedy partner, Jerry Stiller, and her son, the actor and director Ben Stiller."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country":

The Ledes

Saturday, May 23, 2015.

New York Times: "The United States and China on Friday escalated their dispute over contested territory in the South China Sea, after the Chinese repeatedly ordered an American military surveillance plane to abandon flights over areas where China has been building artificial islands.The continued American surveillance flights in areas where China is creating new islands in the South China Sea are intended to challenge the Chinese government’s claims of expanded territorial sovereignty. Further raising the challenge, Pentagon officials said they were discussing sending warships into waters that the United States asserts are international and open to passage, but that China says are within its zone of control."

Guardian: "An inflatable dam in drought-stricken California was damaged on Thursday, causing the loss of nearly 50,000,000 gallons (190m litres) of water. Police said vandals caused 'irreversible damage' to the inflatable dam in Fremont, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The vandalism caused water meant for local residents to instead flow into San Francisco bay."

Washington Post: "The man convicted in the 2001 killing of federal intern Chandra Levy is likely to get a new trial after prosecutors on Friday dropped their long-standing opposition to defense efforts to have a new jury hear the case. Since 2013, attorneys for Ingmar Guandique, 34, have argued that a key witness in the 2010 trial had lied when he testified that Guandique, his onetime cellmate, confessed to him that he killed Levy."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 25

11:20 am ET: President Obama speaks at Arlington National Cemetery

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

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Florida

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Miami Herald: "... with thousands of votes in Democrat-heavy South Florida uncounted, [Republican Rick] Scott couldn't declare an outright win late Tuesday over Democrat Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer. Sink held out hope that she could close the gap and at least trigger a recount as votes slowly broke her way." ...

     ... St. Pete Times Update: Sink concedes. CW: we now have a governor-elect who defrauded the taxpayers of at least $1.7 billion. He should be in jail, not in the statehouse.

NBC News projects Florida 8th District Republican Daniel Webster will win the House Seat held by Alan Grayson. Orlando Sentinel story here.

NBC News projects Republican Marco Rubio will win the Senate seat in Florida. 8:01 pm ET. Miami Herald report here.

Intrigue! Maggie Haberman & Jonathan Allen of Politico: "Bill Clinton’s recent attempts to suggest struggling Democrat Kendrick Meek should opt out of the Florida Senate race ... [were] only the culmination of a long, delicate, and occasionally testy string of stop-and-start talks that began months ago involving the Florida candidates [Meek & Charlie Crist], the former president, and political aides in the Obama White House, who sought Clinton's intervention as long ago as early spring."

Constant Weader News Flash. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (the real guy, not a recording) just called (10:20 am ET) & urged me to vote for Alex Sink for governor & Rod Smith for lieutenant governor. Not a word about Senate candidate Kendrick Meek or any other Democratic candidates. ...

       ... Update: not as big a deal as I thought. Ben Smith of Politico checked it out & told me Nelson was working for the state party, which is prohibited from spending their money specifically mentioning candidates for federal offices...

AP: "Florida's three-way Senate race grew testier Friday as the last-place Democratic candidate [Kendrick Meeks] denied claims that former President Bill Clinton had advised him to drop out, saying the idea came instead from his independent rival, Gov. Charlie Crist."

Wall Street Journal: "Florida independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist personally lobbied Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to exit the race this week, offering him a cross that had been a gift from his sister, Mr. Meek said Friday." The story gets weirder from there.

New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton’s political bank shot appears to have hit its mark with many black Democrats who were lined up at the polls here Friday. They were not voting for the Democratic congressman and neighbor they had long supported — Representative Kendrick B. Meek — but rather for Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running for the Senate as an independent."

** Wall Street Journal: "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would caucus with Senate Democrats if he wins Florida’s three-way U.S. Senate contest on Tuesday, a close advisor told Washington Wire Friday.... Crist spokesman Danny Kanner has denied that Mr. Crist had agreed to caucus with Senate Democrats as part of any deal with Mr. Clinton or Mr. Meek."

CW:  I got a recorded robo-call this afternoon from President Clinton urging me to vote for Alex Sink, the gubernatorial candidate. Not a word about Meek or any of the other Democratic candidates.

Here's part of the letter I just got (October 29, 9:30 am ET) from Kendrick Meek:

Dear Marie,

In the past 12 hours, you've probably heard a lot about Charlie Crist's latest attempt to push me out of this race.

Let me be clear -- I'm in this race until 7 p.m CT/8 p.m ET on Election Night.

President Clinton never asked me to drop out. Since the first day after my primary victory, Crist has been dead set on trying to push me out of this race because he only cares about advancing his own political career.

Instead of simply writing a $10,000 check, I was the first statewide candidate to qualify for the ballot by petition. Over 140,000 Floridians added their names to our cause. For me, this race is about taking a stand for the middle class.

Help me fight back by rushing $35, $50, or more to my campaign....

** New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to convince Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, to drop out of the race – but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening. Matt McKenna, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, said the former president believed that Mr. Meek would not win on Tuesday and was urging him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist...." Here's Ben Smith's scoop for Politico.

     Here's an updated & expanded NYT story. ...

     ... Washington Post: "Charlie Crist personally called a top adviser to Bill Clinton and asked if the former president would discuss with Kendrick Meek the possibility of dropping out of the Florida Senate race, according to a source close to Clinton." ...

     ... CNN: Charlie Crist said he spoke with Rep. Kendrick Meek and 'several people' at the White House about having Meek step out of the race. Crist would not specify to whom he spoke at the White House, but he did say he spoke to Meek about the possible shift and that Meek was 'considering it.'"

          ... Update. BUT Ben Smith of Politico says Crist did not ask the White House for help.

Kendrick Meek issues what Ben Smith aptly calls "a calibrated denial":

New York Times: "Politics is bloodsport in the heavily Cuban [25th] congressional district that includes Miami, and Republican David Rivera is looking pretty banged up." The media & his Democratic opponent Joe Garcia have raised multiple questions about his dodgy financial history & inadequate reporting. "Then there were the accusations from ... Garcia that he ran a mail truck off the road in 2002 to stop an opponent’s political mailing from being delivered." Democrats think they might be able to pick up the seat.

Politico: Alex Sink tells Chris Matthews that the only reason she looked at the message her makeup artist showed her during the debate was that she thought it might be about her daughter who was traveling in Europe. Really? ...

... CNN: "Alex Sink’s campaign violated rules Monday evening at the CNN/St. Petersburg Times Florida gubernatorial debate when her make-up artist delivered a message during a television break. Sink, the Democratic nominee, was shown a two-sentence message on a cell phone that offered her advice during the debate. Republican nominee Rick Scott ... noticed the violation and notified a CNN official, who approached the make-up artist and Sink and confiscated the cell phone." Sink later fired the advisor who sent her the message. CNN identified him as Brian May. With video that shows Sink reading May's message.

David Catanese of Politico reports on the Meek, Crist, Rubio debate of October 24. A more extensive Miami Herald report here. Here's a clip:

Miami Herald, October 20: "Alex Sink and Rick Scott ... spent most of Wednesday's hourlong, televised debate bashing their rivals platforms, experience and character in an effort to break the the logjam that remains with less than two." With video clips. You can watch the full debate on C-SPAN.

St. Pete Times/Miami Herald staff writers on the fourth debate among Senate candidates Meeks, Crist & Rubio.

Here's a screenshot of the text of a huge graphic that appeared on the front page of the St. Petersburg Times, October 19:

     ... Here's the related story by Marc Caputo that excerpts portions of Scott's infamous deposition re: his stewardship of Columbia/HCA, a company that had to pay $1.7 billion in fines for defrauding Medicare. AND this is Caputo's overview of the deposition testimony: "In a series of sworn depositions he gave in lawsuits against his former hospital company, Scott appears to be the polar opposite of the straight-talking Republican candidate for governor in his television ads."

Markos Moulitsas: the reason Kendrick Meek is staying in the Senate race is to help get out the vote for gubenatorial candidate Alex Sink.

New York Times: Schwarzenegger endorses Crist, via Twitter:

I endorse Gov @charliecristfl for Senate. Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now.

"Fraud Files." Meet Rick Scott:

McClatchy News: "Rick Scott blames President Barack Obama for the nation's economic woes, but Florida's Republican nominee for governor is doing far better now than he did under the last year of George W. Bush's presidency."

"Double-Crist?" Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, October 8: "Republican leaders in [Florida] ... are fretting that a deal may be in the works to get Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek out of the Florida Senate race in order to boost Charlie Crist's flagging chances of beating Republican Marco Rubio. Across the state, groups such as Palm Beach Democrats for Crist and Tampa Democrats for Crist are emerging. Republican fears are further stoked by the almost universal acknowledgment that Mr. Meek has almost no chance to win." CW: if Crist would pledge to caucus with Democrats, this might be okay-ish.

Miami Herald: "Marco Rubio got the frontrunner treatment in a combative U.S. Senate debate Wednesday night, with both his rivals attacking him as an extremist out of step with Florida."

Here's one effective ad against Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott:

"Taliban Dan." Rep. Alan Grayson is running an ad against the extremist views of his Republican opponent. As Ryan Grim reports, a local news report backed up Grayson's assertions:

Miami Herald, September 17: "a stinging internal investigation into the scandal-rocked Florida GOP under the chairmanship of the now-indicted [party chairman Jim] Greer ... focuses on [Charlie] Crist and Greer -- enemies of the current party leadership -- it portrays the party of fiscal responsibility as having lacked basic financial controls and accountability.... It also absolves free-spending Republican politicians who only reimbursed the party for personal expenses after the media started asking questions." ...

     ... St. Pete Times Update: "Charlie Crist held a hastily called press conference Saturday afternoon at his St. Petersburg campaign headquarters to denounce the Florida GOP's internal investigative report that suggested party donors spent more than $13,400 on a Disney vacation for Crist, his wife, her two daughters and former GOP chairman Jim Greer and his family. He released a Disney bill to Carole Crist showing she paid for $4,712.82 in expenses.... Crist called the party audit report 'literally a sham.'"

So Charlie Crist cut this ad:

... XNCreative produced a revision to make the ad more accurate:

CW: want to know what a rich asshole does when his big investment in his own hubris doesn't pay off? He blames somebody else & sues 'em. New York Times, August 31: "Jeff Greene, a Florida real estate developer who lost one of the year’s most bitter and closely watched primary elections, is preparing to sue The St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald for libel, claiming that articles they published cost him his bid for the United States Senate.... Even with an admission of error, a libel case can be hard to prove. [Legal expert] Sandra S. Baron ... said, 'Jeff Greene is going to have to prove that the articles were published with actual malice.'"

Palm Beach Post: "Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene lost his precinct 2-to-1 to Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Senate primary. That’s not a ratio of 2-to-1. It was literally 2 votes for Meek and one for Greene, presumably his own. Greene’s wife isn’t registered in Palm Beach County." Via Ben Smith.

Time's Mark Halperin talks to Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times about the upcoming general election races in Florida:

Naftali Bendavid of the Wall Street Journal: "independent" candidate Charlie Crist won't say with which party he would caucus should he win the Senate race. The last sentence of Bendavid's post is the kicker. Crist ain't gonna say.

CW: CNN publishes Bill McCollum's concession statement, if that's what it is. Ever gracious, McCollum leads off by slamming Rick Scott one last time in this nastiest-of-primary battles:

No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multi-millionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.

St. Petersburg Times: "Rick Scott launched a one-man political revolution Tuesday night, defeating Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary for governor. Scott overcame the might of the Republican establishment, the special interests who dominate the Capitol and a longtime politician determined to tar his character.... Scott will face Democrat Alex Sink and independent Lawton 'Bud' Chiles in November. Sink easily defeated little-known challenger Brian Moore in the Democratic primary."

Miami Herald, August 24: "Rep. Kendrick Meek is the Democratic nominee for Senate, overcoming billionaire Jeff Greene's massive television and mail onslaught to win a bitter primary.... Meek will now face Republican Marco Rubio and independent Gov. Charlie Crist in the general election. The New York Times has a more extended story on Meek's win.

Jonathan Martin of Politico: "... the Republican gubernatorial and Democratic Senate primaries Tuesday offer test cases on the limits of TV commercials and, more broadly, what exactly money can buy in a campaign. Rick Scott ... and Jeff Greene ... have together plowed more than $60 million from their personal fortunes into ads.... Yet ... their baggage-laden backgrounds, lack of identity in the state, rookie mistakes on the stump, establishment opposition and Florida’s ferocious press corps have together proved as important as what the pros call 'paid media' — and rendered them likely losers to opponents with traditional political backgrounds who spent far less money."

Orlando Sentinel: "in Florida, the electorate seems to view most everyone in the political arena with a healthy dose of disdain."

Miami Herald: "Candidates in the homestretch of tumultuous races for governor and U.S. Senate fanned out Saturday across Florida, with once-vulnerable political insiders surging in the polls and mega-rich outsiders struggling to regain momentum before Tuesday's election.

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times:  "facing intense competition for the moderate Republicans and independents who could be the keys to victory in one of the nation’s most closely divided states, [Republican Senatorial candidate Marco] Rubio is seeking to show that he is more than just an insurgent protest candidate – and is breaking with some Tea Party orthodoxy in the process."

Orlando Sentinel: Rick "Scott has taken flak for two weeks from Bill McCollum supporters for not releasing a deposition he gave six days before getting in the governor’s race, in a lawsuit against a current health-care company he founded called Solantic. But Scott did apparently get put under oath before about his past company’s behaviour." In a 2000 deposition, he asserted his Fifth Amendment right to testify against himself.

Maggie Haberman of Politico: the St. Pete Times & the Miami Herald publish front-page corrections on a story about Jeff Greene in response to further reporting & threatening letters from Greene's attorney.

St. Pete Times: "In his campaign to be Florida's next senator, [Jeff] Greene stresses his business expertise and ability to create jobs. But in [a] Tennessee court case, Greene's company is being held accountable for late rent, unpaid taxes and poor maintenance. About 50 people are out of work as a result."

Gail Collins introduces you to Florida Senate Democratic candidate Jeff Greene. And his 145-foot yacht.

"Freakin' Weirdos!" Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times has a fun post about fun Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene; it's full of Tales of the Trader like this one: "Aug 14, 06 Sag Harbour NY: 'Last night's party was interesting to say the least! ... Naked, drunken people everywhere! Freakin' weirdo's, bumping & grinding all over the place.'"

La Mirage. Kris Hundley & Caryn Baird of the Saint Petersburg Times (August 8) detail one of Jeff Greene's shady real estate deals. "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene says he had nothing to do with creating the subprime mortgage mess that made him fabulously wealthy.... But he wasn't just a spectator to the housing collapse. Four years ago, Greene was party to precisely the kind of deal that decimated the market." ...

... Maggie Haberman of Politico: "Billionaire self-funding Senate hopeful Jeff Greene ... is vowing to sue the St. Petersburg Times if they don't print a retraction this Sunday."

... The Saint Pete Times editorial that Haberman cites:

Jeff Greene, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, says he made hundreds of millions by betting the housing market would decline and denies he helped create the economic implosion. The facts paint a different picture. The billionaire participated in a California real estate deal featuring the conversion of old apartments to condos, inflated sales prices to straw buyers and defaults that cost banks and taxpayers millions. The FBI is investigating, and it should talk to Greene. 

This is one effective ad for Kendrick Meek:

The State Column, August 12: "Florida Governor Charlie Crist said on Wednesday that he does not support the Arizona immigration law."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum slings mud at his opponent Rick Scott:

...Then complains about Scott's mudslinging, & adds a few more cowpies to the pile:

As Tampa Times commenter "Moderate Republican" remarks, "Sad thing is, they're both telling the truth about each other."

Gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott & Charles Montgomery Burns. Jim Stratton of the Tampa Tribune realizes he's seen the Rick Scott campaign for governor before -- on "The Simpsons," in the antics of Charles Montgomery Burns (no relation to the Constant Weader, a/k/a Marie Burns) who also ran for governor: "They’re both crazy wealthy. They’re both conservative. They’re both political outsiders. They both have — or had — businesses that ran afoul of the law. And, let’s be honest, they kind of look alike."

St. Petersburg Times, August 2: "... Bill McCollum desperately needed a game-changing moment in Monday's debate with his rival for governor, Rick Scott. It never came, though McCollum delivered a steadier performance in the first of only two matchups between the leading Republican candidates."

Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times of Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene: "Behind the bio soundbites and chipper TV ads lies a man widely disparaged by current and former employees, former tenants and political consultants as a self-absorbed cheapskate. A lawsuit accuses him of being cruel and verbally abusive to his former chef. A deckhand shocked on Greene's Summerwind yacht had to fight eight months to get his medical bills paid after Greene denied knowing him."

Michael Scherer of Time thinks Florida has "perhaps the best Senate race in America."

Keepin' It Classy in Florida. Pensacola News-Journal: Republican state house candidate Greg Brown & his wife Jennifer are caught on an infra-red camera stealing the campaign signs of his opponent. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department is investigating. Thanks to Politico's Jonathan Martin:

Democratic Senatorial candidate Kendrick Meek goes on-air swinging at his primary opponent Jeff Greene:

... AND Greene swings back:

St. Petersburg Times: "... Gov. Charlie Crist has one place left to raise big money in his race for the U.S. Senate: Democrats. A governor who once courted conservatives by calling himself a 'Jeb Bush Republican' is getting help from liberal trial lawyers, union activists and even elected Democrats, who are shunning their party's Senate hopefuls, wealthy Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami."

Politico: "Black lawmakers are prodding the White House to get more involved in Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek's campaign amid growing concern that less-than-robust backing from President Barack Obama will signal to Democrats that it’s all right to help independent Charlie Crist."

Damien Cave & Michael Luo of the New York Times on self-financed "populist" candidates for high office -- both funny & disturbiing. The article makes Democratic Senatorial candidate Jeff Greene an exemplar & does a good job of demonstrating what a total phony he is.

Rachel Maddow is awfully pleased that Marco Rubio is promoting her show. And she does a little rewrite of his ad:

Miami Herald, July 18: Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek sends out a mailer dissing his primary opponent Jeff Greene, which reads, in part:

A former California Republican, billionaire Jeff Greene made his money on Wall Street rooting against middle-class homeowners hoping their mortgages would collapse.... It's hard to be the worst of Wall Street, but Jeff Greene found a way.

St. Pete Times: "Jeff Greene is spending millions on TV and campaign mailers casting himself the 'proven job creator...,[but he] is best known for having made hundreds of millions of dollars with arcane and controversial investments where he effectively bet on widespread mortgage foreclosures — not exactly a big job generator. He also has delayed filing a required financial disclosure report, so it's impossible to know his current business interests."

Miami Herald, July 14: Jeff Greene's campaign manager, Josh Morrow, has quit the campaign after two months. Greene will replace her with Jessica Vanden Berg.

St. Petersburg Times Editorial Board: "Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott's latest effort to burnish his credentials as a 'pro-life leader'' are deceitful and lack any sense of decency. The hospital executive is shamelessly exploiting the tragedy of a family of a severely disabled young woman, marking the second time he has placed his selfish interests over theirs." CW: read the whole editorial.

The crazy bald-headed Rick Scott runs a hair-raising ad:

Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald, July 7: "Even by the standards of wacky Florida politics, there was something surreal in the sight of [Democratic senatorial candidate Jeff] Greene, a Palm Beach billionaire, driving through Liberty City in a Cadillac Escalade -- the same kind of car he has criticized [rival Kendrick] Meek's mother for accepting from [crooked developer Dennis] Stackhouse. His brazen attack on Meek's home turf reflected the audacity -- critics would say arrogance -- of a real estate mogul bankrolling his own campaign and making his first trip to Liberty City. Greene has lived in Florida full-time only since 2008."

Think Progress: Florida Republican Senate candidate & brilliant economist Marco Rubio advocates cutting the deficit & reinstating Bush tax cuts for the rich. That'll work.

John Frank of the St. Pete Times: "A clearly frustrated and angry [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Rick Scott lashed out at a Republican activist who called him an 'unindicted co-conspirator' and asked him to explain the $1.7 billion health care fraud at his former hospital chain during a Q&A session at a GOP breakfast in Tampa."

Tim Padgett of Time: (horrible) outsiders Rick Scott & Jeff Greene are poised to win two of Florida's primaries.

Jonathan Martin of Politico: "The emergence of a politically unknown billionaire self-funder in the Florida Senate race is prompting top Democrats in the state to say publicly what some have been whispering for weeks: If Jeff Greene, who got rich betting on the collapse of the housing market, becomes their nominee, many in the party will have the cover they need to get behind Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist."

Real Clear Politics: "Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek has some magic on his campaign's side in the form of Earvin Magic Johnson. The former Lakers great will be on ABC's telecast of the NBA Finals tonight, but today he's also featured in a fundraising solicitation from Meek."

Yahoo News: Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida says he had no idea Jim Greer, his hand-pick state Repubican party chairman, was an (alleged) crook. even tho a Greer attorney said Crist "signed off on a questionable fund-raising scheme that landed Greer in jail...." Per the Miami Herald: "Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party -- according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he 'didn't know anything' about the deal now part of a criminal investigation."

Jim Greer, mugshot courtesy of the Seminole County (Florida) jail.St. Pete Times: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer "on unknown charges." The FDLE has been investigating his possible misuse of party funds. CW: too bad one of the charges won't be for accusing President Obama of "indoctrinating" schoolchildren, at taxpayer expense, with "socialist ideology.' ...

... Orlando Sun-Sentinel Update: "A statewide grand jury indicted Greer, 47, of Oviedo, on four counts of grand theft and one count each of money laundering and running an organized scheme to defraud. All are felonies." ...

... In a statement, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek slams opponents Charlie Crist for "handpicking" Greer as state party chair & Mario Rubio for "benefiting from Greer's excess."

Every Senate Candidate in Florida Is a Crook. Miami Herald: "As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project's developer.... The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million... from the... failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.... In addition..., Stackhouse hired Meek's mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, paying her $90,000 in consulting fees and paying for a Cadillac Escalade for her."

Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times interviews Gov. Charlie Crist.

Sorry, Charlie Says. St. Pete Times: Charlie Crist will not be returning contributions made to his Senate campaign before he turned independent. A spokesperson said, "They donated to the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign, and it's still the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign."

Alex Pareene of Salon: Marco Rubio returns to his tea party roots, endorses Arizona anti-immigration law. Rubio's parents are Hispanic immigrants.

St. Pete Times: Sen. George LeMieux, who got that "Senator" in front of his name because Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him, turns on Crist. CW: at least he's "saddened" about being such a little shit. Me too.

Democrat Kendrick Meek makes a strong, effective response to his new rival for the Senate seat, Jeff Greene, who is one huge jerk.

Horror of Horrors. Politico: "Billionaire Jeff Greene, a Florida businessman who made his fortune in the real estate and credit default swap markets, plans to jump into his state's Senate race on the Democratic side. CW: at least he'll make Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek look really good.

St. Petersburg Times: "Declaring the political system 'broken,' Gov. Charlie Crist made his long-awaited announcement Thursday that he will run for the U.S. Senate as an independent." ...

... AP: "Crist's move does pose some tougher long-term questions for today's GOP."