When any politician consistently uses overheated, and some would say irresponsible, rhetoric to make a point, the politician has to expect the media to scrutinize the difference between words and action.

State Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D- Boca Raton, has been quoted multiple times, in multiple publications, issuing dire, overly dramatic budget warnings like this one from a Nov. 30, 2008, story in the Sun Sentinel: “We will simply not have the resources available to meet the need. It sounds dramatic and theatrical, but people will die, based on the budget cuts we’ll make, if we do not open our minds to other sources of revenue.”

I will be sure, now that a budget was passed on Friday, to be careful when walking outside, lest I stumble over all the bodies left lying in the streets.

Skidmore, according to her statements, takes the budget process very seriously. So I was surprised when my phone started to ring from my Tallahassee tipsters with the news that Skidmore did not stay in the capital on Friday to vote on the budget. Florida’s $66.5 billion budget passed by a 75-43 party-line vote, with only two legislators missing the vote, and one of them was Skidmore.

When contacted, Skidmore said she had to leave early for a “personal family situation”, and that her “no” vote was recorded “after roll call,” which simply means she was out of the capital and missed the vote.

Skidmore went on to say that she was “fully involved in the budget process” and that her vote “would not have changed the outcome.”

Skidmore is right, her vote would not have changed the outcome, but after all of her extreme statements about the budget, Skidmore should have seen the budget process through to the end.

I’m sure the 118 legislators who stayed in the capital, and voted on the budget, had their own “personal family situations” that needed attending to.

It’s not the end of the world, but in the future, if Skidmore is going to talk the talk, she needs to walk the walk.

Jack Furnari

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Every conservative I speak to is getting sick and tired of liberal media pundits and moderate Republicans telling conservatives what we should believe in.

Conservatives welcome anyone who wants to join us in the Republican Party for any reason, but we will not change what we believe in just because a bunch of liberal progressive Republicans, without values or principles, think we should.

When the Republican Party acts like a conservative party, like they did in 1980,1984,1988, 2000 and 2004, they win presidential elections.

When the Republican Party turns its back on its conservative base, like it did in 1992, 1996 and 2008, it loses presidential elections. It’s that simple.

I’m a pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-family, pro-military, small government, low taxes, anti-socialist, Catholic, flag-loving, hard- working free American. I think global warming is a bunch of nonsense and that Western Civilization is locked in a life and death struggle with Radical Islam.

Without people like me, there is no Republican Party. We are the base, and any Republican who doesn’t like that can follow that old bag of dirt, Arlen Specter, out the door.

Almost every penny-loafer wearing Republican Party official in the country is running around talking about “outreach” and “twitter,” instead of working to repair the schism between the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

Conservatives are not going anywhere. Conservatives don’t quit. We’re not looking for a lobbying gig. This isn’t a career for us. It’s a calling. We’re trying to save our country. Not for ourselves, but for our children.

If weak-kneed, spineless jellyfish Republicans are afraid to fight Obama and the socialists, that’s their problem. Conservatives will stand and fight. Within the Republican Party, and with the Democrats, wherever and whenever we have to.

Conservatives are the shock troops of the Republican Party, we always have been, and we will fight to make our country better, with moderate Republicans, or without them.

Jack Furnari

On May 11th, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he was running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. On the same day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chaired by Senator Cornyn, endorsed Governor Crist. It is inappropriate for the NRSC to endorse a candidate in a primary race. There are two other candidates, Dr. Marion Thorpe (former Chief Medical Officer of Florida) and Marco Rubio (former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives).

The endorsement of Governor Crist is a symptom of two larger problems in the GOP. The first problem is that the Party’s elites have bought into the mainstream media’s contention that in order to win, Republicans need to nominate “moderate” candidates. I put the word moderate in quotes, because many within the Party believe that so-called moderates are actually not Republicans at all. Some call them R.I.N.O.s (Republican In Name Only). Some call them “Democrat-Light”. Still others call them the “right-wing of the Democratic Party”. Whatever you call them, these candidates either don’t win elections or they win but infuriate Republicans by supporting and enacting legislation and policies that are more like those put forth by Democrats and liberals, than Republicans and conservatives.

The other problem is that the GOP elites, whether they be in Washington, D.C., Tallahassee or any other state capitol believe that they know better than the grassroots, rank and file, members of the Party that actually campaign, fundraise and vote for candidates. After the Tea Parties in April many Republican “leaders” said they saw, heard and understood what the people were saying. They said they understood that the GOP had lost it’s way and had strayed away from the conservative principles that made us successful in the past. The fact that they’re recruiting and endorsing candidates like Charlie Crist, Tom Ridge and Carly Fiorina would have to lead a conservative to believe that they haven’t gotten the message at all.

 It is the opinion of some that winning an election with a candidate that has an “R” after their name is more important than electing candidates that actually embrace Republican/Conservative principles. That is not the opinion of the majority of the rank and file Republicans. We’re tired of the R.I.N.O. candidates that pay lip service to us to get elected and then betray us once they’re in power. The result of this disconnect between the elites and the grassroots will be nasty primary fights that may ultimately lead to general election defeats. It is almost an absolute certainty that the primary between Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio and Marion Thorpe will lead to a rift in the Florida Republican Party. But the fault lies squarely with the Governor and RPOF Chair Jim Greer. The people have spoken, but nobody in Washington or Tallahassee is listening.

Steven Rosenblum

Everyone knows that gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed over the last year. Thousands of “how dare they” editorials and columns have been written by the liberal-progressive wusses in the mainstream media on the topic.

The gun buying has prompted the Department of Homeland Security to issue the following warning to law enforcement: “Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement”

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s outrageous report titled, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, ignored the concerns of civil libertarians and her own Homeland Security lawyers, and labeled as potential terrorists pro-lifer’s, veterans, federalists and Americans who oppose illegal immigration.

Janet ­­­­­­­­“Reno” Napolitano seems to be preparing to immortalize herself with her very own Waco, except this time around, Napolitano wants to target law-abiding American citizens exercising their constitutional rights.

Last week, Lt. Col. Allen West answered Napolitano’s slur of veterans in an email sent to supporters, and posted on the Palin Drone blog.

The weenie Obamabots in the liberal press are trying to portray increased gun buying as some sort of anti-Obama revolutionary plot. It isn’t. I know some people that have recently armed themselves for the first time, and the election of President Obama had nothing to do with their decision to purchase a weapon. Sure, there are some gun enthusiasts buying weapons in anticipation of more draconian and unconstitutional gun laws.

So what?

When any country faces the possibility of economic collapse, the citizenry arms itself. Not to overthrow the government, but to protect themselves and their families from the rising crime and lawlessness that usually accompanies an economic depression. The lawlessness feared by many may or may not materialize, but a prudent person plans for even the remote possibility that things may not work out as well as we all hope.

Yesterday, a friend sent me a really cool, somewhat racy ad that illustrates my point. (Warning: This video may not be suitable viewing for weak pacifist males, hoplophobes, liberals, and wimpy “the police will protect me” progressives.)

Now that I’ve posted this video, I guess I’m going to end up on one of Napolitano’s watch lists. But rising crime is a real possibility and I tend to adhere to the old saying “ I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.”

Paul Valone, of the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner, says it even better in the closing of his excellent piece, Armed self-defense & ‘The Stopwatch of Death’, by quoting Clint Smith, founder of Thunder Ranch and one of the world’s foremost authorities on armed self-defense: “I may get killed with my own gun, but he’s gonna have to beat me to death with it, ’cause it’s going to be empty.”

Jack Furnari

Many conservatives like to believe that the rapidly fading fortunes of the liberal-dominated print media is in large part due to conservatives turning to the alternative media for unbiased reporting and/or reporting with a more conservative spin.

While there is some merit to the conservative claim, it isn’t the decisive factor that many of us would like to think.

In this case, the conservative theory on the downfall of the print media is more schadenfreude, directed at an age-old antagonist, than actual analysis.

That’s not to say the media isn’t biased, because it is, and the conservative spurning of traditional media is real, and has had an effect.

The popularity and ratings dominance of Fox News on cable TV speaks for itself.

But there are bigger and even more revolutionary forces at work in the world of print journalism, and anyone with an interest in politics needs to understand what is really going on.

In a lengthy and important piece titled, >Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, >Clay Shirky offers the best analysis of the Internet’s effect on the print media I’ve ever read.

I have been asked many times over the last few months why I’ve chosen to write a blog online for the Sun Sentinel instead of trying to get published in the print edition. The Shirky piece has the answer, and Shirky should be required reading for everyone in the media, and for those who regularly interact with the media.

According to Shirky: “ Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism,” and, “When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society,’ the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.”

So in my own small way, I’m trying to do “whatever works,” in service to conservatism, online, at the Sun Sentinel.

It is interesting to note that with only the rarest exception, everyone who has asked me the “why online instead of print” question has been over 50 years old. Hardly anyone under 40 has asked me that question. The under-40s don’t have to ask. They already know the answer.

Jack Furnari

Tea Parties

May 1, 2009

Editor’s Note: This blog was written prior to the Tax Day Tea Parties that took place all over the nation on April 15, 2009.  However, as the Tea Party movement continues and more tea parties are being planned for the near future, the thoughts of this blog are just a true today as they were prior to April 15, 2009.

Across the country, there are hundreds of Tea Parties being held this April 15th.  These Tea Parties are being held for a variety of reasons, many of which can be found at: http://taxdayteaparty.com.

The original Boston Tea Party was held in Boston Harbor in 1773 predominantly to protest the British Government’s exorbitant taxation on Tea, which the colonists had to buy from Great Britain, but it was a sign of larger things, including, but not limited to violation of the colonists’ right to be taxed by their own elected representatives.

In our current political situation, many people are angered because our government has routinely and continually disregarded what many people believe to be common sense decisions by obligating our national budget for projects and actions that we do not believe in, and where no amount of “creative accounting” can come up with money to pay for, without obligating our children and grand-children for humongous debts. 

Other people are angered and frustrated by politicians who seem to want to be politicians because of the power inherent in the position, although I think a greater number of our current crop of politicians want to be congressmen because of the awesome benefits, including but not limited to, medical care, retirement benefits, and the fact that they are members of a very select group of people – out of 300 million citizens, there are only 435 representatives and 100 senators in the entire country.

Many advocates of the Tea Parties suggest taking the day off – the problem for most of us is that we all have jobs – you know, someone has to work to pay for all these things the government is promising to everyone.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard a variety of suggestions about how to conduct one’s self at these Tea Parties.  I have to be honest – I haven’t heard anything from any of the mainstream media, but I don’t watch much of the “big 3 news channels” because I have become tired of their continual leftward-leaning portrayal of everything from the weather to traffic to immigration to the Global War on Terror (yes, I know that it is now called something else, but “a rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet”, so I will continue to call it what it is).

As angered and frustrated as many of us are, I think we need to be careful about how we show our anger and our frustration.  There are rumors of groups of far-left liberals planning to crash the various parties in an effort to portray conservatives as far right (which we are), as illogical (which we aren’t), as uncaring (which we aren’t), and as out-of-touch (this is open to debate). 

In all of this, I think that conservatives’ biggest issue is that we don’t talk about what we want – we expect that other people will see our side, based purely on logic and common sense, not realizing that many people deal with politics from a much more “emotional” aspect – now I may be blowing smoke here, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence to refute my beliefs.

Personally, I am going to the Tea Party in West Palm Beach, FL, to meet other people who are as frustrated as I am, and to show by my presence that I am angered and frustrated by my government’s refusal to look at the beliefs and knowledge of a large part of the country’s population.  I am not taking a sign.  I am not wearing a t-shirt with a logo about my lack of faith in my government. 

If asked why I am there, I will say “I want to show our elected officials that I am frustrated that they are not listening to me and to the hundreds of thousands of people nation-wide who believe as I do.”  I will continue with “I believe that people, and especially politicians, who do not know their history doom the entire country to repeat it – none of the situations we are currently facing are new – they have all been dealt with in the past, and from history we know what works and what doesn’t.  As long as we keep doing the same wrong things, we will continue to get the wrong results.”

 I might also add if it seems appropriate that I believe that each and every one of us has a God-given right to “… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”, but that comes with a couple caveats.  The first is that no one is guaranteed the right to be happy, only the right to pursue happiness.  The second is that someone else’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness MUST end when it starts infringing on my right to the same, and vice versa.

Happy Tea Party to everyone!

Charles Grett