WBEZ | Marco Rubio http://www.wbez.org/tags/marco-rubio Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rubio vs. Cruz on immigration http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubio-vs-cruz-immigration-106765 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP593789138172.jpg" style="float: right; height: 190px; width: 300px;" title="Ted Cruz may have end up being a determining factor on immigration reform. (AP/File)" />The Boston bombing is casting a long shadow over the immigration bill penned by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, but that &mdash; the idea that border procedures need to be tightened to keep out the likes of the immigrant bombers (who were 8 and 15 when they arrived here) &mdash; is the least of the bill&rsquo;s problems.<br /><br />The first is that the only political team that needs this bill is the GOP. And because the Republicans have such a nasty recent history on immigration (self-deportation, anyone?) and are so split on the issue, the Democrats don&rsquo;t really have to do much of anything to benefit. When it comes to the largest voter bloc invested in the immigration bill &mdash; Latinos &mdash; there are so many other issues that push them away from the GOP (the umpteenth attempt to repeal Obamacare, positions on education and taxes), that Democrats can just stand by and whistle. If the bill passes, it will be a victory for them and the crossover Republicans, but if it dies, it&rsquo;ll be the Republicans&rsquo; fault. So no need to break a sweat.<br /><br />(And anyone who thinks President Barack Obama is going to ride to the rescue need only look at what just happened with the gun control bill: No one in Congress, GOP or Dem, gives a crap what he thinks; the man has no leverage. Moreover, this is a last minute leftover from his last term, when he <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/22/us/politics/growth-in-deportations.html?_r=0">deported more Latinos</a> than any other president and completely ignored the southern half of the hemisphere in foreign policy.)<br /><br />For the GOP, the immigration bill was originally the band-aid to cover up the bruising they got at the presidential polls from Latinos last November. For a minute, it looked like the very ambitious Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) was going to be the Moses figure to deliver. You see, Rubio wants to run for president, and the best argument for his candidacy &mdash; because he has no legislative accomplishments &mdash; is that he, unlike other Republicans, will connect with the illusive Latino community. Unfortunately for him, most non-Cuban Latinos (and quite a few Cubans) despise him for his Tea Party allegiance and extreme right wing positions. The immigration bill, though not without its perils, seemed perfect for him: An opportunity to author a major piece of legislation while simultaneously neutralizing some of the antipathy toward him and the GOP among Latinos, giving him a chance to reshape the relationship in time for 2016.<br /><br />But a number of things have happened since November to cool the GOP on immigration reform. For starters, while Rubio &mdash;Tea Party-affiliated, conservative, Latino -- gave cover to Republicans who might want to crossover and vote for immigration reform, the rise of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/ted-cruz-marco-rubio-immigration-90395.html?hp=f2">another 2016 presidential aspirant</a>, gives them another kind of cover. Cruz is also Tea-Party-affiliated, also ultra-conservative, also Latino (even also Cuban), and he absolutely hates the idea of immigration reform. In other words, Cruz serves as a shield for anyone who wants to vote against it and beat accusations of racism and the like. How can it be racist, after all, if a Latino like Cruz is also against it &mdash; and not just against it but vehemently, ferociously against it?<br /><br />Cruz&rsquo;s opposition &mdash; because Cruz doesn&rsquo;t care about protocol or tradition &mdash; means he&rsquo;ll nitpick his way through hearings (as he did with the Chuck Hagel confirmation), dragging matters out for months, so that the chances of the deal dying even before it leaves the Senate increase. (This may not be so bad for Rubio, even if the bill dies, if he can make the case that he really, really, really tried.)<br /><br />And if it makes it out, it&rsquo;ll then go to the House, where opposition is even more vocal, where the GOP has control and the our lame duck president has even less influence.<br /><br />The sad fact is that many, if not most, of the GOP senators and reps calling for a slowed legislative process on immigration reform aren&rsquo;t for immigration reform at all. What they want is to stop or dramatically slow immigration, especially from non-European countries. Cruz, in fact, goes so far as to consider undocumented immigrants subject to criminal prosecution on their status alone. And he isn&rsquo;t above piling on: he authored a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lopez_v._Gonzales">Lopez v. Gonzales</a>), urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally.<br /><br />If Cruz takes the reins on this issue from Rubio, the immigration bill is dead on arrival. And when you consider that Rubio might be the best bet for this bill, you know something has gone really, really wrong.</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 08:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubio-vs-cruz-immigration-106765 Rubio's cowardice and ambition could kill immigration bill http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7176_AP382044843446-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Sen. Marco Rubio, the GOP's immigration point man. (AP)" /></div><p>You might have thought that after the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-afl-cio-us-chamber-commerce-come-meeting-minds-guest-workers-1161805">came to an agreement</a> over the weekend on guest workers &ndash; historically the trickiest part of immigration reform for unions &ndash; that the immigration bill the senatorial Gang of Eight has been working on would find the road a little smoother.&nbsp;Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) even went on the Sunday shows this week and crowed about a &ldquo;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/schumer-gang-of-8-has-substantive-agreement-on-immigration-issues/">substantial&rdquo; agreement </a>moving forward with both Democratic and Republican support.<br /><br />Except that the Republican most identified with the bill put the brakes on it. On Saturday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) fired off a <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/291099-rubio-warns-leahy-against-rush-to-legislate-on-immigration#ixzz2PPpyMHhB">letter</a>&nbsp;to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asking him to slow down the possible legislation.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am aware that the Judiciary Committee, both under your leadership and under the leadership of your predecessors, has conducted a number of hearings related to immigration reform,&rdquo; wrote Rubio. &ldquo;But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation.&rdquo;</p><p>A letter like that from most senators wouldn&#39;t make much of a ripple, but because Rubio is the GOP&#39;s point man (however reluctantly) on immigration, and because of his national profile, he&#39;s not that easy to dismiss. Rubio can kill the bill, and everybody knows that.<br /><br />Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma is not actually based on immigration concerns, or even party concerns. While he was busy trying to get the Senate to slow down, fellow senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was busy touting the bill on the news shows.<br /><br />&ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t signed off. There are a few details yet,&rdquo; Graham said. &ldquo;But conceptually, we have an agreement between business and labor, between ourselves, that has to be drafted. It will be rolled out next week. Yes, I believe it will pass the House because it secures our borders, it controls who gets a job.&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Next week!</em><br /><br />What&rsquo;s the difference between Rubio and Graham? Besides, of course, that Graham comes from a state much less likely to be open to immigration than Rubio&rsquo;s Florida, or that Graham is up for re-election in 2014 and Rubio not until 2016? Why, exactly, is the white dude from the South so much more optimistic than the Son of Immigrants?<br /><br />In a word: cowardice.<br /><br />In another word: ambition.<br /><br />Graham isn&rsquo;t going anywhere but the senate seat for South Carolina, but Rubio&rsquo;s every move these days is calculated with a shot at the White House.<br /><br />And here&rsquo;s Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma: The country seems to be moving in favor of immigration reform, but the hardcore Tea Partiers &ndash; his core constituency, the people who elected him &ndash; are still staunchly against anything that smells of a path to citizenship. They&#39;re just not too excited about immigration in general, reformed or otherwise.<br /><br />But that&rsquo;s not all. The Republican Party desperately needs&nbsp;to attract, or at least neutralize, the Latino vote &ndash; the ever growing Latino vote, especially in the South, in places like, say, South Carolina, where the <a href="http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2011-03-24/number-hispanics-skyrockets-south-carolina">Latino population grew 148 percent</a> in the last ten years compared to about 13 percent for the general population.</p><p>That should make Rubio, the senior Latino in the GOP ranks, a Very Important Guy.&nbsp;Rubio, the thinking goes, should be able to talk to his people, explain the goodness of the GOP, and bring them over. He&rsquo;s good looking, bilingual, and his family has experienced immigration up close and personal.<br /><br />The problem is that Rubio, not unlike the GOP&rsquo;s other Latino star, Ted Cruz, has never been on the compassionate side of immigration. He&rsquo;s not as much of an extremist as Cruz, who uses the term &quot;<a href="http://www.ontheissues.org/international/Ted_Cruz_Immigration.htm">illegals</a>,&quot; and&nbsp;who&rsquo;d like a bigger fence, more boots on the ground, and absolutely zero chance at citizenship. Truth is, Rubio wants all that, too, except for maybe the path to citizenship, which he&#39;s surrendered to.<br /><br />Sure, Rubio could walk away. But if he wants to run for president in 2016 (which he very clearly does), he needs to show some balls somewhere, sometime, and pass a bill of some sort. (So far, the only senate bill he&rsquo;s sponsored on his own was a resolution to honor Vaclav Havel.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?sponsor=412491#current_status=5">I kid you not</a>.)<br /><br />But what if Rubio passes the wrong bill? A bill that pisses off the Tea Party, or one that alienates Latinos even more, could mean that even if Rubio gets on the GOP ticket, Latinos may reject him with even greater vitriol for being a traitor than they would some meaningless non-Latino.<br /><br />Actually, I&rsquo;m probably getting ahead of myself here. I don&rsquo;t think Rubio actually gives a crap what other Latinos think of him, just so long as there are enough votes from wherever to keep him in power. And if he has to kill this once in a lifetime chance at immigration reform to keep his sure Tea Party votes in line, then so be it.</p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448 Rubio and Obama are in a fake immigration fight http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/rubio-and-obama-are-fake-immigration-fight-105674 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS4285_Election%202010_22.jpg" style="float: left; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="GOP Senator Marco Rubio (AP)" />The last time Sen. Marco Rubio and President Barack Obama squared off over immigration, Obama swept the floor with the junior senator from Florida.</div><p>Which explains, at least in part, Rubio&rsquo;s evolution on immigration. And explains too why, though Rubio and Obama&rsquo;s immigration proposals are practically identical, Rubio will not only distance himself from the president because of internal GOP politics but also because the man is rightfully wary.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m referring, of course, to the fight over the DREAM Act, which the president supported, Rubio opposed, and Congress rejected -- setting Obama up to use executive power to suspend enforcement of deportation rules and allow millions of young people from all over the world to legalize their status.<br /><br />Obama&rsquo;s move came not in the wake of congressional action but just as Rubio -- who had been hounded by Latino activists for his anti-immigration positions -- announced that he was going to propose his own DREAM Act, one that did not include amnesty or a path to citizenship but would &ldquo;accommodate&rdquo; these undocumented young people.<br /><br />Of course, Rubio never got a chance. Obama&rsquo;s announcement made any proposal from the young Cuban-American a moot point.<br /><br />As a Florida state legislator, Rubio had exhibited zero interest in immigration matters (in spite of the fact that Miami is one of the country&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2009/08/02/top-u-s-ports-of-entry/">top three ports of entry</a> for immigrants). Once elevated to the U.S. Senate after a quixotic campaign fueled by the Tea Party, Rubio adopted most of the movement&rsquo;s <a href="http://univisionnews.tumblr.com/post/25446741345/marco-rubio-jorge-ramos-spar-immigration-first-interview">immigration platform</a>: No to the DREAM Act, no to legalization of any kind for the undocumented, yes to Arizona&rsquo;s SB1070, yes to E-verify, yes to English as an official language, and yes to increased border security.<br /><br />But Rubio, like so many Republicans, has had a what <em>appears </em>to be massive change of heart since the election -- when Latinos overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party at every level.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a funny place for Rubio. I don&rsquo;t think he wants to be a champion for Latinos, but suddenly his party needs one, and just as suddenly, though he claims not to have particular presidential ambitions, riding the Latino pony (i.e., immigration) could take him all the way to the White House. I don&rsquo;t think he really cares one way or the other how the party does with Latinos or about immigration (which is totally absent from his <a href="http://www.rubio.senate.gov/">Senate website</a>), but if the party thinks it needs Latinos, and if he could be perceived as the guy who brought them over ...<br /><br />Anyway, he&rsquo;s still saying no to the DREAM Act and yes to Arizona&rsquo;s SB1070 (though he&rsquo;s not talking about it much these days) and yes to E-Verify and to English as an official language and, God, a big, big <em>yes</em> to increased border security, but there&rsquo;s been one significant flip: Rubio is now onboard, as one of the Senate&rsquo;s Gang of Eight, with finding a way to legalize the status of the 11 million undocumented people in his country.<br /><br />And he has <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/02/rubio-immigration-strategy.php">a plan</a>. It&rsquo;s a plan &quot;totally different&quot; from the president&rsquo;s with nearly the same wording: an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (after they jump through a few hoops), a crackdown on employers who hire future undocumented workers, and a fix to allow for future worker programs.<br /><br />But Rubio and the few Republicans onboard have made the citizenship path contingent on a favorite GOP bugaboo: Increased border security.<br /><br />There are just a few hitches here: 1) Immigration from Mexico is down to net zero; 2) arrests at the border have dropped by nearly a half million in the last five years to 357,000 in 2012; 3) and Obama -- whom Rubio and the GOP accuse of being weak on the border -- has poured more than $73 million into border reinforcement, resulting in the largest number of deportations in U.S. history.<br /><br />As <em>Bloomberg Business Week</em> put it, &ldquo;that&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-21/the-u-dot-s-dot-mexico-border-got-secured-dot-problem-solved#p1">more than the budgets of all other federal law enforcement agencies</a>&mdash;the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service&mdash;combined.&quot; (For comparison, Bush spent $37.4&nbsp;billion on immigration enforcement in his first term and $60&nbsp;billion in his second.)&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Bloomberg</em> continues: &ldquo;Rubio acknowledges the border is more secure than it was a few years ago, but says it&rsquo;s not enough. &lsquo;We need to achieve control of our borders,&rsquo; he wrote in a Jan. 30 op-ed on the conservative website <em>RedState</em>. &lsquo;This is not just an immigration issue; this is a national security and sovereignty issue.&rsquo; Yet Rubio&rsquo;s office won&rsquo;t specify what he&rsquo;d do differently.&rdquo;<br /><br />(Never mind that between 33 and 50 percent of undocumented people in the U.S. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_to_the_United_States">come in with legal visas</a> and overstay -- a matter that no amount of border security short of sealing can prevent.)<br /><br />In truth, immigration has become a performative issue. Understanding that he can&rsquo;t actually agree with the current Democratic president if he wants to be a future Republican president, Rubio will now press for an even greater waste of money at the borders, which Obama, to prove just how bipartisan he can be, will probably agree to. Both will immediately declare victory.<br /><br />Or not.<br /><br />The problem with Rubio&rsquo;s theatrics is that while Obama will likely play along, there&rsquo;s a chance his GOP cohorts won&rsquo;t think any concession by the president is enough.<br /><br />And Rubio will always side with his party over his people.<br /><br />Meaning that the first chance for immigration reform in a generation could go straight to hell.</p><p><em>Follow Achy on Twitter @achylandia.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 05:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/rubio-and-obama-are-fake-immigration-fight-105674 Burger King twit-hacked; Wendy's: 'We have an alibi' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/burger-king-twit-hacked-wendys-we-have-alibi-105596 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-02-19%20at%2012.17.55%20AM.png" style="float: right; height: 56px; width: 294px; border-width: 3px; border-style: solid; margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px;" title="" /><strong>WENDY&#39;S: &#39;WE HAVE AN ALIBI.&#39;&nbsp;</strong>That was&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/02/18/burger-kings-twitter-account-hacked/" target="_blank">just one rival&#39;s response</a>&nbsp;to the hacking of Burger King&#39;s Twitter account, beginning with a fake tweet that read&nbsp;&quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-burger-king-twitter-hack-0219-20130218,0,477071.story" target="_blank">We just got sold to McDonalds!</a>&quot;<br />* Bogus tweets deleted by day&#39;s end, followed by &quot;<a href="https://twitter.com/BurgerKing/status/303700327037816832" target="_blank">Interesting day here at BURGER KING ...</a>&quot;<br />* No prank:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-officemax-office-depot-said-to-be-close-to-merger-20130218,0,7359927.story" target="_blank">OfficeMax, Office Depot could merge</a>.</p><p><strong>&#39;I&#39;VE HEARD ALL KINDS OF CRITICS SAYING THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS IS WHINING ABOUT A GOLF GAME AND VIOLATING THE PRESIDENT&#39;S PRIVACY.&#39;&nbsp;</strong>But the president of the White House Correspondents Association says &quot;nothing could be further from the truth&quot; in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/02/ed-henry-this-isnt-about-a-golf-game-157258.html" target="_blank">complaints over reporters&#39; lack of access to the president during his golf outing with Tiger Woods</a>.<br />* Indication the president&nbsp;<a href="http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/18/17004589-obamas-secret-round-with-tiger-woods-prompts-press-complaint?lite" target="_blank">just doesn&#39;t care so much about his image</a>&nbsp;in this second term?<br />* Big tobacco and anti-cancer activists agree:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/18/big-tobacco-and-anti-cancer-activists-agree-health-provision-goes-too-far/" target="_blank">One part of Obama&#39;s Affordable Health Care Act is not a good idea</a>.</p><p><img alt="Marco Rubio's rebuttal speech" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-02-13%20at%205.56.47%20AM.png" style="height: 202px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Marco Rubio's fateful sip of water" /><strong>BOTTLED LIGHTNING.&nbsp;</strong>Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s capitalizing bigtime on <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/marco-rubio-state-union-response-drink-gifs/62084/"><strong>that awkward water break</strong></a> during his State of the Union response last week. <em>Slate</em> reports <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/02/18/marco_rubio_water_bottles_reclaim_america_pac_raises_100_000.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content" target="_blank">his political action committee has raised $100,000</a> by selling Rubio-branded water bottles.<br />* Hillary Clinton now available to speak at your next birthday party or bar mitzvah -- for &quot;<a href="http://www.politico.com/playbook/0213/playbook10052.html?hp=l6" target="_blank">fees well into the six figures</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Chicago</em> magazine&#39;s Carol Felsenthal: Late jockeying could tilt race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/February-2013/Could-Alderman-Beale-Be-the-Last-Man-Standing-in-the-2nd-District-Race/" target="_blank">toward Ald. Anthony Beale</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18316806-761/halvorson-blasts-nyc-mayor-bloomberg-says-hes-trying-to-buy-this-district.html" target="_blank">Halvorsen accuses NYC Mayor Bloomberg</a> of trying to buy race.</p><p><strong>SURE, NOW.</strong> NASA and other organizations are <a href="http://www.rappler.com/science-nature/22083-nasa-scrambles-for-better-asteroid-detection" target="_blank">scrambling for better ways to detect incoming space-borne objects</a>&nbsp;like the meteorite that hit Russia last week -- reportedly <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/18/4003224/russian-meteor-was-biggest-in-100-years" target="_blank">the biggest to enter Earth&#39;s atmosphere in more than 100 years</a>.<br />* <em>Wall Street Journal:&nbsp;</em>Fireball unleashed <a href="http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323764804578312264130040432.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories&amp;mg=reno64-wsj" target="_blank">more than 30 times Hiroshima atomic bomb&#39;s energy</a>.</p><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" longdesc="&quot;Cabin in the Woods&quot;: The elevator scene" name="&quot;Cabin in the Woods&quot;" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aOAmRxvPXLE?rel=0" width="300"></iframe></p><div><strong>IF YOU LOVED &#39;BUFFY,&#39; &#39;AVENGERS,&#39; &#39;FIREFLY&#39; ...&nbsp;</strong> Then be excited. Be very excited. <a href="http://tvline.com/2013/02/18/shield-tv-series-spoilers-joss-whedon-maria-hill/" target="_blank">Joss Whedon is bringing Marvel Comics&#39; super-spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. to television</a>.<br />* Whedon previously explored <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOAmRxvPXLE">high-tech government agency milieu with &quot;<strong>Cabin in the Woods</strong>.&quot;</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>ON THE BRINK OF HISTORY.</strong> <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1533518-red-hot-chicago-blackhawks-on-the-brink-of-history-after-lasted-win-vs-kings" target="_blank">The Blackhawks could make the NHL record books tonight</a>.<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nfl-player-accused-having-gun-ny-airport" target="_blank">NFL player arrested</a>&nbsp;on charges of carrying a handgun in luggage at NYC airport.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>HOW ARE <em>YOU</em> WIRED?</strong><br />* <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324432004578304250252788528.html" target="_blank">To hate exercise</a>?<br />* <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/srinivasan-pillay/psychopaths-attachment-sex_b_2679411.html" target="_blank">To engage in sex with psychopaths</a>?</div><hr /><p><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.<br />* Looking for the most recent WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz? <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/are-you-news-quiz-whiz-105548" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.<br />* And if you missed the on-air quiz experience during yesterday&#39;s &quot;Morning Shift&quot; on WBEZ, <a href="http://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/130218-morning-shift-seg-e" target="_blank">here it is</a>. (Quiz fun begins around 2:55 in.)</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/burger-king-twit-hacked-wendys-we-have-alibi-105596 Mr. Rubio, that was no rebuttal http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/mr-rubio-was-no-rebuttal-105509 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7011_AP313871457342-scr.jpg" style="float: right; height: 182px; width: 300px;" title="Senator Marco Rubio" />Everybody&rsquo;s having fun with Sen. Marco Rubio&rsquo;s big gulp, even <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/02/13/rubio-water-obama-sotu-response/1915955/">Rubio himself</a>, during the Republican rebuttal to President Barack Obama&rsquo;s State of the Union. And perhaps it&rsquo;s moments like that parched, wild-eyed lunge of Rubio&rsquo;s for the Poland Springs that will justify keeping the circus going but, honestly, can we just cut the crap?</div><p>The State of the Union is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_Union_address#Opposition_response">constitutionally mandated</a>, no matter who the president is: a war criminal like George W. Bush or a socialist fool like Obama.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s right there in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution: &ldquo;He shall from time to time give Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.&rdquo;<br /><br />But here&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s not constitutionally mandated: the opposition response. In fact, it&rsquo;s only been a real thing since the 1966, when Republicans decided to talk back to Lyndon B. Johnson on TV.<br /><br />But that relatively young tradition has now gone from rebuttal to nothing even close to a rebuttal, to free air time for the opposition party to try out, &ldquo;American Idol&rdquo;-style, potential presidential candidates. Before Rubio, the parade included Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels.<br /><br />Just consider Rubio&rsquo;s response last night. First and foremost, it wasn&rsquo;t a rebuttal &ndash; the reason the GOP got the air time in the first place. Rubio&rsquo;s speech was a stump <a href="http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/rubios-rebuttal/?hp">written long before the president even delivered the State of the Union</a>, simple as that.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s say it&rsquo;s fair that the Repubs have a speech ready, then adjust it to actually contest the President&rsquo;s proposals. I&rsquo;d be for that. Except that&rsquo;s not what happened.<br /><br />What we got instead was Obama saying, yup, we need to deal with Medicare with &ldquo;modest reforms&rdquo; &ndash; a huge admission on the part of this president &ndash; and Rubio, as if he hadn&rsquo;t heard a thing, saying, &ldquo;Anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.&rdquo;<br /><br />Or this: The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/politics/obamas-2013-state-of-the-union-address.html?_r=0">president saying</a>, &ldquo;It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.&rdquo;</p><p>And Rubio&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/13/full-text-and-video-of-marco-rubio-s-state-of-the-union-response.html">ridiculous response</a>: &ldquo;Presidents in both parties &ndash; from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan &ndash; have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it&rsquo;s the cause of our problems.&rdquo;<br /><br />Who was Rubio talking to? The choir, the same Republican echo chamber that convinced millions of people that Mitt Romney wasn&rsquo;t just going to win but to whomp Obama and then got up on a Wednesday in November and wondered who betrayed them. (A few, apparently, have continued their wake state and walked away from Fox, <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/republicans-still-trust-fox-news-conservatives-not-so-much-1069926">giving the channel its lowest numbers in years</a>, both in actual ratings and in credibility.)<br /><br />As a result, Rubio saddled forth with matters that are standard GOP talking points &ndash; facts be damned -- but weren&rsquo;t even vaguely hinted at in Obama&rsquo;s speech, like this <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/13/full-text-and-video-of-marco-rubio-s-state-of-the-union-response.html">gem</a> of a paragraph:</p><p>&quot;For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren&rsquo;t hiring. Not only that; they&rsquo;re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.&rdquo;<br /><br />This morning Rubio finally addressed a specific in the president&rsquo;s speech. Responding to Obama&rsquo;s call for a higher minimum wage, from $7.25 to $9, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/marco-rubio-minimum-wage_n_2676570.html">Rubio said</a>, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think minimum wage laws work.&rdquo;</p><p>Instead, he&rsquo;d like to foster an environment for &ldquo;good paying jobs&rdquo; &ndash; but how he&rsquo;s gonna do that, and encourage employers to pay a decent wage based on the goodness of their hearts (as thousands of years of human history have shown of man just doing right by man over and over &hellip; ), well, that&rsquo;s still up in the air.<br /><br />And by the way, that working class neighborhood Rubio talked about, the place where he lives? His <a href="http://current.com/community/94048401_marco-rubio-puts-miami-house-for-sale-for-675-000-to-move-family-to-dc-photos.htm">house there is up for sale</a>&ndash; for $675,000. Either he&rsquo;s an ostentatious bastard in his working-class neighborhood, or that&rsquo;s no working class neighborhood.<br /><br />And, no, in spite of Rubio&rsquo;s office&rsquo;s best efforts to make us believe otherwise, last night was not the first time the SOTU rebuttal has been bilingual, not even bilingually by the same guy: That tradition began in 2004 with then New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Rubio&rsquo;s not even the first Republican or even the first Cuban-American to give it: fellow Cuban-American, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, gave the Spanish-language rebuttal for the GOP in 2011.<br /><br />Of course, it wasn&rsquo;t just Rubio who attempted to rebutt last night. Sen. Rand Paul stepped up for the Tea Party, with a speech that was not much more rebuttal than Rubio&rsquo;s, but which at least endorsed some <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/tea-party-rebuttal-text-of-rand-paul-response-87557.html">ideas worth discussing</a>: the president&rsquo;s kill list, cutting military spending, education reform.<br /><br />I realize the news outlets can&rsquo;t help themselves. They&rsquo;re like a junkie who&rsquo;s just been handed the last heroin baggie and will lick at any last possibility to get their high.<br /><br />But it makes me wonder: When the GOP takes the White House again &ndash; God help us &ndash; will the networks let the Dems and, say, the Greens, respond to the State of the Union?</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 13:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/mr-rubio-was-no-rebuttal-105509 Marco Rubio's sip of water sets Twitter afire http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/marco-rubios-sip-water-sets-twitter-afire-105493 <p><p><a href="http://youtu.be/NLmZbBh83-I" target="_blank"><img alt="Marco Rubio's rebuttal speech" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-02-13%20at%205.56.47%20AM.png" style="height: 202px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Marco Rubio's furtive sip of water" /></a></p><p><strong>AN UNBOTTLED REBUTTAL.</strong> If you went to bed right after President Obama&#39;s State of the Union address last night, you missed one of the night&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.twitter.com/2013/02/2013-state-of-union.html" target="_blank">most tweetable moments</a>: Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s furtive sip of water during his rebuttal on behalf of the Republican Party. <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/marco-rubio-state-union-response-drink-gifs/62084/" target="_blank"><em>The Atlantic</em> deconstructs it, frame by frame.</a><br />* Rubio followed up on Twitter with <a href="https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/301541052949614593" target="_blank">this</a>.<br />* ... But&nbsp;<a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57569101-93/poland-spring-blows-rubio-watergate-moment-fails-twitter-101/" target="_blank">Poland Spring blew its moment in the Twitter spotlight</a>.</p><p><strong>OBAMA&#39;S &#39;MOST IMPORTANT PROPOSAL&#39;?</strong>&nbsp;<em>New Republic</em>&#39;s Jonathan Cohn says it&#39;s the call for <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112403/state-union-2013-obamas-universal-pre-kindergarten-plan#" target="_blank">universal pre-kindergarten</a>.<br />* Worth noting:&nbsp;<em>Tea Party Nation</em> blogger predicted beforehand Obama speech would be &quot;<a href="http://www.teapartynation.net/state_of_the_union_liberals_are_the_new_nazis" target="_blank">a Hitlerian screed</a>.&quot;</p><p><strong>HOW COPS CRACKED THE HADIYA CASE. </strong>A source tells the <em>Tribune</em> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-hadiya-pendleton-investigation-20130213,0,6296139.story" target="_blank">the break in the murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton</a> came Saturday, from a Cook County Jail inmate.<br />* Obama&#39;s emotional finish: <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/9866814/State-of-the-Union-2013-President-Obama-makes-emotional-gun-control-pledge.html" target="_blank">Gun violence victims &quot;deserve a vote&quot; on legislation</a>.</p><p><strong>CHARTER SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL.</strong> A little more than a week after the <em>Sun-Times</em> revealed charter school operator United Neighborhood Organization paid state money to companies owned by two of his brothers, UNO senior vice president <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18187719-761/uno-exec-quits-after-grant-payments-to-relatives-revealed.html" target="_blank">Miguel d&#39;Escoto is quitting</a>.<br />* School-closings panel faces <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18181397-761/school-closings-panel-has-conflicts-of-interest-group-charges.html" target="_blank">conflict-of-interest charge</a>.</p><p><strong>NICE WORK IF YOU CAN COMMIT PLAGIARISM TO GET IT.</strong> The Knight Foundation <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/204005/jonah-lehrer-talks-about-plagiarism-at-knight-lunch/" target="_blank">paid disgraced reporter Jonah Lehrer $20,000</a>,&nbsp;presumably in non-counterfeit money, to discuss his journalistic sins.<br />* And he did it as <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/02/jonah-lehrer-apologizes-surrounded-tweets-still-calling-him-plagiarist/62055/" target="_blank">critical tweets appeared on a screen behind him</a>.<br />* Parody website <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/02/12/sarah-palins-when-politics-and-celebrity-meet/?wprss=rss_she-the-people" target="_blank">fools <em>Washington Post</em></a> into <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/parody-website-fools-the-washington-post-into-thinking-sarah-palin-heading-to-al-jazeera/" target="_blank">reporting Sarah Palin joining Al Jazeera</a>.</p><p><strong>DEAD AIR. </strong>Someone hacked into TV stations&#39; Emergency Alert System to issue <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-zombie-montanabre91b1ia-20130212,0,5723490.story" target="_blank">a bogus warning of a zombie apocalypse</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130212/BLOGS08/130219926/comcast-to-buy-remainder-of-nbcuniversal-report" target="_blank">Comcast gobbling up rest of NBCUniversal</a>.</p><p><strong>&#39;MEET ME HALFWAY. <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=745p7-X1WtQC&amp;pg=PA21&amp;dq=%22meet+me+halfway.+buy+a+ticket%22+benkin&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=KQgbUc--IIaOyAH1-YAg&amp;ved=0CDoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q=%22meet%20me%20halfway.%20buy%20a%20ticket%22%20benkin&amp;f=false" target="_blank">BUY A TICKET</a>.&#39; </strong>An Off-Broadway hit, &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-old-jews-to-tell-jokes-in-chicago-20130212,0,5450195.column" target="_blank">Old Jews Telling Jokes</a>,&quot; is headed to Chicago. Guess what <a href="http://oldjewstellingjokesonstage.com/chicago/home/" target="_blank">it&#39;s about</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130212/NEWS07/130219931/steppenwolf-theatre-moving-ahead-with-expansion-plan" target="_blank">Steppenwolf Theatre expanding</a>.</p><p><strong>&#39;PRIDE AND CONNECTIONS AND WE&#39;RE NEVER CHANGING THE NAME SO GO F--- YOURSELF.&#39;&nbsp;</strong>That&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Deadspin</em>&#39;s translation of the Washington Redskins&#39; defense of the team nickname &quot;<a href="http://deadspin.com/5983475/washington-redskins-proudly-defend-their-name-in-the-dumbest-way-possible?tag=Media-Meltdowns" target="_blank">in the dumbest way possible</a>.&quot;<br />* <strong>[CORRECTED] </strong>Blackhawks suffer &quot;heartbreaking&quot; <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/18194215-419/ducks-tie-late-and-top-blackhawks-in-shootout-3-2.html" target="_blank"><strike>end to</strike>&nbsp;loss as streak without regulation losses reaches 13 games</a>.<br />* Bears <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/18188354-419/bears-cut-rehabbing-receiver-johnny-knox-after-lost-season.html" target="_blank">cut Johnny Knox</a>.</p><hr /><p><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong><br />* Get this blog by email. Sign up, free, <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">here</a>.<br />* Next WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz: Friday morning. Try your hand at previous quizzes <a href="http://www.wbez.org/results?s=%22meyerson%20WBEZ%20news%20quiz%22" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/marco-rubios-sip-water-sets-twitter-afire-105493 Updates: Cuban dissident released, Payá accident verdict, Rivera loses http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/updates-cuban-dissident-released-pay%C3%A1-accident-verdict-rivera-loses-104098 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/antoniorodiles.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Antonio Rodiles, founder of Cuba's Estado de SATS" /></div><p><strong>Rodiles released&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Antonio Rodiles is an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Rodilesis">odd bird</a>. He&rsquo;s mild-mannered, soft-spoken and nerdy. He wears little John Lennon glasses and looks pained when he speaks. Recently released after 19 days in Cuban detention for &ldquo;resisting arrest,&rdquo; Rodiles said he doesn&rsquo;t know what he was arrested for when he resisted &mdash; because he hasn&rsquo;t bothered <a href="http://babalublog.com/2012/11/cuba-antonio-rodiles-released-by-castro-regime/">to read the complaint</a>.</p><p>So what <em>was</em> Rodiles actually doing when he was arested? He and a few others had gone to Section 21, headquarters for Cuba&rsquo;s fearsome state security, to protest the arrest of a human rights lawyer.</p><p>Like many Cubans, Rodiles once emigrated to the U.S. He studied for a master&rsquo;s degree in mathematics to go with his doctorate in physics, and even taught for a bit at Florida State University.<br /><br />But a few years later, Rodiles did what&rsquo;s rarely done. He went back to Cuba, with a purpose:&nbsp;to promote democratic change. These days, Rodiles is the founder and director of <a href="http://www.estadodesats.com/">Estado de SATS</a>, a group that presents&nbsp;public conversations on a variety of topics affecting civic society. The talks are as public as they can be in Cuba given they lack government affiliation or approval. They&rsquo;re videotaped and passed around hand to hand on memory sticks.&nbsp;<br /><br />For this, Rodiles and his supporters get harassed to no end, and they&rsquo;re not the only ones. According to the Cuban Commission for <a href="http://babalublog.com/2012/11/political-arrests-in-cuba-surpass-5000/">Human Rights and National Reconciliation</a>, a dissident group on the island, there have been more than 5,600 arrests so far this year, 520 in October alone.&nbsp;Most of the detentions are short-term, violent and public;&nbsp;many are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/what-happened-cubas-oswaldo-pay%C3%A1-101228">caught on video</a>, as I&rsquo;ve detailed before.</p><p><strong>Verdict deliverd in&nbsp;Payá crash&nbsp;</strong><br /><br />Last July, I wrote about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/what-happened-cubas-oswaldo-pay%C3%A1-101228">the death of Oswaldo Payá</a>, one of Cuba&rsquo;s most important dissidents, in what appeared to be a suspicious car crash.<br /><br />Payá&rsquo;s wife, Ofelia Acevedo, maintains that the state is responsible for his death. Meanwhile, the Cuban legal system has <a href="http://www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-av-cuba-condena-cuatro-anos-prision-angel-carromero-20121015170436.html">condemned Ángel Carromero</a>, a Spanish native, for manslaughter. Carromero, a youth leader for Spain&rsquo;s conservative Popular Party, was at the wheel when the accident occurred. Though Acevedo said she knows of texts sent by Carromero and a second foreigner in the car alleging that they were being bumped by another vehicle just before the crash, Carromero &mdash; whose Spanish driving record was atrocious &mdash; has insisted in all his media appearances that there was no second car and that he sent no such texts.<br /><br />We&rsquo;ll check back when he gets released, which could be well short of four years, and see if the story changes.<br /><br /><strong>Rivera loses Florida seat&nbsp;</strong><br /><br />God knows there was probably <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/latest-senate-races-romneys-jeep-ad-and-crazy-david-rivera-103613">no crazier congressional race </a>in the whole country this month than in South Florida, where Democrat Joe Garcia took on Republican incumbent David Rivera, Sen. Marco Rubio&rsquo;s best friend. (I&rsquo;m not being hyperbolic &mdash; they&rsquo;re close enough to co-own property.)<br /><br />Garcia finally won, beating Rivera by a comfortable ten-point margin. By the time voters had their say, Rivera was under two different federal investigations and had been slapped for 11 ethics violations during his time in the Florida state legislature. Rivera lost party support and barely had enough cash to finish out the race.<br /><br />But to hear Rivera tell it, none of that mattered. The problem was mostly demographics and a strong showing by the president.</p><p>&quot;I think an analysis of the results demonstrates that the presidential election had a significant impact on several congressional races, including my own,&rdquo; Rivera told the <em>Miami Herald</em>. &ldquo;It makes it <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/07/3086820/changes-in-district-helped-lead.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy">tough for Republicans</a> down ballot to be successful.&rdquo;<br /><br />Though there&rsquo;s already talk of Jeb Bush Jr. running against Garcia in 2014, Rivera isn&rsquo;t going away. There are still those two investigations to be concluded. Ana Alliegro, his campaign manager and cash courier, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600">is still missing</a>.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/updates-cuban-dissident-released-pay%C3%A1-accident-verdict-rivera-loses-104098 Witness missing in case of Rubio's pal Rivera http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600 <p><p>Remember Florida Congressman David Rivera, Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s honest-to-God-no-hyperbole-best-friend? When I <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894">wrote about Rivera</a> last month, several different law enforcement agencies were looking at all sorts of allegations concerning what appears to be a shadow primary campaign that Rivera, a Republican, engineered against&nbsp;Joe Garcia,&nbsp;his Democratic rival in the November election.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP110224067931.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Rep. David Rivera's troubles get weirder. (AP)" />Since then &mdash; and I&#39;m not making this up &mdash; the shadow candidate&#39;s campaign manager, a woman whom Rivera claimed to not know but whose Facebook page was plastered with pictures of the two of them, <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/09/ana_alliegro_central_figure_in.php">has vanished</a>.<br /><br />Ana Alliegro, who ran shadow candidate Justin Sternad&#39;s failed campaign, dropped from sight June 5 after her computer was seized by the FBI. She disappeared on the way to meet investigators after her lawyer engineered a private meeting, to save her from having to testify to a grand jury.</p><p>I know, I know: It sounds crazy. A key witness in the investigation of a congressman is holding out somewhere for God knows what.<br /><br />We know she&#39;s holding out and not dead because she stays in touch with her family. The <em>Miami Herald</em> quotes Alliegro&#39;s mother as saying that she hasn&#39;t heard from her in two weeks. &quot;I know she is resting. We are praying for her.&quot; (The family <a href="http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2012/09/07/1295059/testigo-crucial-en-investigacion.html">has not filed</a> a missing persons report.)<br /><br />Alliegro is alleged to have delivered envelopes stuffed full of cash &mdash; about $40,000 worth&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;for Sternad mailers attacking Garcia (one actually blamed him for the BP oil spill). The investigation concerns whether Rivera was funneling that cash illegally.<br /><br />It now turns out that Alliegro left behind at least<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/21/3014731/fbi-checks-envelopes-used-in-probe.html"> four of the envelopes</a> in which the cash was delivered; the FBI is checking them for fingerprints and handwriting comparison.<br /><br />In the meantime, Rubio&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;who hosted a fundraiser in May for Rivera&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;has stepped back a bit.<br /><br />&quot;I only know what I&#39;ve read in the press. I haven&#39;t had a chance to speak with him since that all came out. I just hope none of it is true. I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt on all these things. I just hope none of it is true,&quot; <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/08/as-fbi-and-questions-swirl-marco-rubio-keeps-distance-from-nixonian-pal-david-rivera.html#storylink=cpy">Rubio said</a> during the Republican National Convention in Tampa last month.<br /><br />Rubio isn&#39;t the only keeping his distance. Mitt Romney ordered a Rivera-free zone during his interview with Univisión at the University of Miami campus last week. Rivera was the only Florida Republican elected official not invited to the studio&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;even though he has been one of Romney&#39;s biggest boosters in South Florida.<br /><br />The Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee is spending more than $1 million to help Garcia get on the air; the GOP equivalent has plans to hep Rivera with exactly <em>nada</em>.<br /><br />Still, you have to admire Rivera&#39;s resilience. Even after all these shenanigans, and in spite of the fact that Rivera was already under a cloud of suspicion when this campaign <em>began</em>, he still maintains <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/250841-garcia-leads-rivera-in-new-fl-26-poll">a six-point lead</a> over Garcia in the most recent polls.</p></p> Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600 The Florida winner? Barack. Here's why. http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-24/florida-winner-barack-heres-why-95761 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-24/AP110613051579.jpg" alt="" /><p><p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-24/AP110613051579.jpg" title="GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney debate in June, 2011. (AP/Jim Cole, file)" width="512" height="329"></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Every single time a Republican primary rolls around, it’s the real test. Remember Iowa? It was going to separate the wheat from the chaff. But all it really did was get rid of Michelle Bachmann (not a small thing, but no one believes that was all the chaff).&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Then came New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney -- under the illusion he’d won Iowa -- was going to make it two in a row, score a historic precedent, and prance to the nomination. New Hampshire was a test of money -- who had it, who didn’t. And all it really proved was that Jon Huntsman couldn’t get his dad to give him more of his millions to prop up his campaign (a campaign that was never, not once, about 2012).</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Then there was South Carolina, where the strong, evangelical Republican base was going to take every sinner to church. And what that proved was that Newt Gingrich may be a Catholic convert, but he’s probably got a really powerful babalao in Miami. Only black magic can explain Gingrich’s continued dark rising. (A little racist coding didn’t hurt either.)</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">And now there’s Florida, where the GOP presidential candidates are supposedly battling for the Latino vote and co-front runners Gingrich and Romney have hired<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/marco-rubio-the-big-get-i_n_1224646.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003"> former aides of Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio </a>to help with their campaigns.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Let us be clear: GOP wannabes are not really fighting for the Latino vote in Florida. They’re all trying to get the <em>Cuban</em> vote, which is a whole other kind of empanada. In other words, Florida is <em>suis generis</em>, the lessons here useless in every other state and -- you all can buy me drinks later -- the GOP is going to lose Florida in the general election anyway.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">I know, you’re saying, <em>Achita, you’ve gone loca</em>.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">But hear me out. Or more precisely, take a second listen to Romney and Gingrich at Monday night’s debate, in which they tried to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/mitt-romney-newt-gingrich_n_1225937.html%20">out-metaphorically-kill Fidel Castro</a>. Ask yourself: Who -- besides hardline Cubans -- gives a mambo about whether Fidel lands before his maker or in hell?&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Moreover, neither Romney nor Gingrich answered the question before them: What would they do if Fidel Castro died and thousands of Cubans began swarming toward Florida? The second half of that question is of actual concern to Floridians, who had their cities and budgets overwhelmed in 1980 and 1994 by thousands of unexpected Cuban refugees arriving en masse.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">But why should Republicans answer, really, when they know the hardcore Cuban vote will be satisfied with lots of red meat anti-Castro talk -- as they were with Reagan and both Bushes and every losing GOP nominee they gave their vote to -- and that action is unnecessary? So Gingrich blathered about standing with the dissidents while Romney talked about engaging with a post-Fidel government. (It might be nice if one of Rubio’s guys on Romney’s team would tell him that, er, there is, <em>right now</em>, a post -Fidel government in Cuba.)</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">None of this is going to help Romney or Gingrich with the two big Latino voting blocks: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, who make up the vast majority of the Latino vote across the country. That both GOP candidates support the Dream Act only for its military provision isn’t going to get them a big round of applause when the sitting president and a majority of Democrats support the provision in its totality.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">The Republicans might be stupid enough to put Rubio on the ticket with the hope of swinging, maybe, just Florida, but there’s already plenty of data that says Rubio brings <a href="http://%20http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70364.html%20">nada</a> to the national ticket.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">There are the two big reasons why the Florida GOP primary is an exercise is meaningless (and it's not just because Barack Obama won in 2008 with 54 percent of the Latino vote here), and they amount to this: The state is already in the Democratic column. </span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">1) Rubio and the GOP roster have already alienated Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the U.S., over a <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/01/2434296/the-inside-story-univisions-war.html">skirmish about a story</a> on <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/09/120109fa_fact_auletta">his brother-in-law, a former drug trafficker </a>who was implicated in the murder and dismemberment of a federal officer (Rubio apparently continues to surround himself with <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71836.html#ixzz1kJyYXFHt">shady characters</a>). Rubio personally asked the GOP presidential aspirants not to participate in a debate on Univision, which infuriated the network. </span>As a compromise of sorts, they’re doing a series of one-ones with Jorge Ramos, the channel’s signature anchor, before the elections. Now, does anyone think Univision is going to forget this in the general election?&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">2) The all-mighty Cuban-American vote is no longer king in Florida. Here’s why, from a story about <a href="http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/457554/abel-harding/2011-06-29/florida-morning-change-floridas-latino-population-could">population growth in the state</a>:&nbsp;</span><em>"There was little surprise when Census numbers came out earlier this year that Latinos had comprised most of the Florida’s explosive growth -- about 54.7 percent of the state’s 2.8 million new residents were Hispanic. But the numbers also contained a subtle shift in the Latino population. In 2000, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans accounted for a total of about 5.3 percent of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, putting them on equal footing with Cubans, who made up 5.2 percent of the people in Florida. A decade later, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans are 7.8 percent of the state’s residents, eclipsing the 6.4 percent that Cubans account for. And many of those new residents -- more than 365,000 of them -- are Puerto Ricans.”</em></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">In other words, the majority of Latinos in Florida now aren’t Cuban. Most of the new residents are Puerto Rican. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens at birth. And Puerto Ricans historically vote Democratic.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now remember that Rubio will be escorting whomever is the GOP nominee around in Florida in the generals, whether as VP or otherwise. Think about that and consider <a href=".http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/25788.html">Rubio’s opposition</a> to Sonia Sotomayor, the pride of Puerto Rico, for the Supreme Court.</span></p></p> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-24/florida-winner-barack-heres-why-95761