Patience, please...    
I'm transitioning to new blogging software. I really don't like the sodftware I'm currently using. In the meantime, posts may be few for the next day or 2.

In the meantime, one column I'd like to note is Howard Troxler's. He mentions that the Times got some complaints about their story on overpriced apartments for the military. People said it was unpatriotic to question the gouging of taxpayers by private slumlords.

6/9/2003 10:08:42 AM

That's entertainment    
C-Span had a panel of authors on recently. Al Franken and Molly Ivans mix it up with Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly. This is a must watch video!

6/6/2003 10:43:13 AM

Fascism, or Weimar Whiners?    
Elaine Cassel has another thoughtful piece on our declining civil liberties. She writes good stuff on a daily basis. I Strongly recommend her blog as an everyday stop!

Cassel: I have been waiting since Bush stole the election for evidence that the nation is not drunk on Hostess Twinkies and ethanol fumes. The FCC can hand over the airwaves to Rupert Murdoch, Ashcroft can shred the constitution, and Americans are still watching Fox News and sticking flag decals on their SUVs.

6/6/2003 8:41:10 AM

Paul Krugman on the tax bill    
On dealing with the Bushies and their band of bastards:

Will "moderates" — the people formerly known as "conservatives" — ever learn? Today's "conservatives" — the people formerly known as the "radical right" — don't think of a deal as a deal; they think of it as an opportunity to pull yet another bait and switch.

Paul also mentions the SUV tax cut in this piece. If you buy a huge SUV (at least 6,000 lbs gvw) then you are eligible for a deduction of up to $100,000. This from an Atlanta TV station site:

The new tax provision means real estate agents, lawyers, doctors, anyone who files a Schedule "C" or corporate tax return, can write off the entire cost of virtually any big Sports utility vehicle.

The potential tax savings in the top bracket is $35,000.

So don't worry: all that extra money you'll be spending on gas in your 6 MPG behemoth is pretty much subsidized by the feds. And since we now control Iraq's oil, we should have no trouble keeping your tank filled!

Typical of the stories in most mainstream publications, this one fails to consider the environmental fallout that will result from all these extra gas guzzlers hitting the road. Think of it this way: someone who is inclined to buy a small SUV will be advised by his accountant to buy a huge one and take the tax break. It was sold as a help for construction and other small businesses, but as the quote above shows, it will mostly be used by rich white males to further their dominance over the planet.

6/6/2003 8:26:50 AM

Bush names panel to study needs of disabled adults    
So reads the headline from an AP story in the SP Times today. Here’s the whole story:

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush appointed a panel of 11 experts Thursday to study what needs to be done to protect mentally disabled adults from abuse.

The Joint Work Group on Guardianship and the Developmentally Disabled will be chaired by Jennifer Flynn, a Columbia County commissioner. It can hold hearings and has until the end of July to make recommendations.

Members include former Tampa Republican state Sen. John Grant, an attorney.

The question of guardians for people with development disabilities has arisen because of the case of a 22-year-old Orlando woman who is mentally disabled and is pregnant as a result of rape.

One question: if the state would live up to its obligation to appoint a legal guardian to those who need one when they turn 18, wouldn’t this panel be unnecessary? It looks to me like Jeb is just trying to distract us from the real issue here. Of course, with bleeding hearts like Tampa’s John Grant on the case, I have no doubts that our disabled population will now be well taken care of.

6/6/2003 7:44:27 AM

It’s OK... The Government is Paying!    
The SP Times reveals today that the US Military is paying 2.5 times market rent for units to house extera personnel stationed at MacDill. The apartment owners refused to answer questions. Gee, do you think they’re scared they might have to start competing in the open market again?

A MacDill spokesperson doesn’t seem to get it:

MacDill officials defend the rental payments, which are higher than market rates even after accounting for furnishings and maid service. They note military personnel are reimbursed by the government for their rental payments.

"They're not paying anything," said Capt. Derren Burrell of the 6th Comptroller Squadron. "The government's the one that's paying."

So, let me get this right: we are expected to be so compliantly “pro troop” that all we care about is whether or not a soldier is getting ripped off? As long as it’s the taxpayers that are being shafted, everything is fine?

There are plenty of people in this town who can not afford ANY decent housing. How is it that we can justify enriching wealthy slumlords while leaving thousands to sleep on the streets every night?

6/6/2003 7:37:52 AM

Thank God for Disney!    
I’m off to work in Whore-lando today. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to spot the missionaries attempting to enlighten. I guess if they had their way, all these boys in Orlando this weekend would don purple robes and take on the collective role of Sister Christian? Hmmmm... sounds kinda kinky!

6/5/2003 6:54:00 AM

WMNF Forum is Rockin'    
Come join the controversy over the "P" word: is it inherently sexist, or can it be used without all of its traditional baggage?

6/4/2003 6:50:04 PM

Ed Rosenthal Free!     Medical marijuana case sentencing details
From a NORML email sent out today:

Federal Judge Rejects Government's Anti-Medicinal Pot Stance
Sentences Noted Marijuana Cultivator To One Day In Prison For Medical
Marijuana Grow Operation

San Francisco, CA: A federal judge today sentenced noted marijuana author
and cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal to one day in prison with credit for
time served. Rosenthal could have faced as many as 60 years in prison
after being convicted in January on three counts related to marijuana
cultivation. Rosenthal grew marijuana to supply local patients who use it
in accordance with state law.

"This verdict is a marvelous victory for Ed Rosenthal, states' rights, and
for the medical use of marijuana," NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup
said. "It should send a strong message to the Bush Administration to stop
wasting federal resources arresting and prosecuting medicinal marijuana
patients and their caregivers, and to focus their efforts on serious crime
­especially anti-terrorism efforts."

Rosenthal maintained he had been deputized by the City of Oakland to
supply pot to local cooperatives that dispense it to state-qualified
patients. His trial gained international attention when jurors publicly
recanted their guilty verdict, and announced that they would have
acquitted Rosenthal had the judge allowed him to explain that he was
legally authorized to grow medical marijuana under state law. During
Rosenthal's trial, District Judge Charles Breyer forbade any testimony
pertaining to medical cannabis or California's Prop. 215 because federal
law doesn't acknowledge that pot has medical value. "[T]he purpose for
which the marijuana was grown is not a defense and is irrelevant," Breyer
ruled during the trial.

Jurors maintained that they were unaware of the context of Rosenthal's
activities until after the trial, at which time they spoke out against
their decision claiming they were "misled" by government prosecutors.

The prosecution of Rosenthal by the federal Justice Department is
indicative of the Bush Administration's crackdown on the use of marijuana
for medical purposes. Since the Administration took office, federal drug
enforcement officials have acted against more than 35 medicinal marijuana
patients, cooperatives and providers in California alone. (California is
one of eight states since 1996 that have legalized the use and cultivation
of medical marijuana under state law.) In addition, pending Congressional
legislation (H.R. 2086) contains language (Sec. 707) allowing the Office
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to reallocate as much as $60.5
million in federal funds from the "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas
Program" to target and prosecute medicinal marijuana patients and their
providers in states where the use of physician-approved pot is legal. A
separate provision in the bill would allow the ONDCP to use taxpayer
dollars to potentially fund partisan advertisements targeting proposed
state initiatives or laws seeking to legalize the medical use of

"The Bush Administration, especially Attorney General John Ashcroft and
Drug Czar John Walters, are extreme anti-marijuana zealots who are out of
touch with the American public ­ 80 percent of whom approve of the medical
use of marijuana," Stroup said. "It's time for the Administration to
respect the will of the voters, and stop needlessly targeting medicinal
marijuana patients and their providers. It is unconscionable to continue
to deny an effective medication to those seriously ill patients who need
it and have a legal right to use it under state law."

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive
Director, at (202) 483-5500.

NORML Media Watch
NORML was featured prominently in several media outlets this week,
including USA Today. To read these articles or about other NORML media
appearances, check out "NORML in the Media" at:

Donate to NORML's "Marijuana Truth Campaign"
If you have not already done so, please consider making a donation to
NORML's "Marijuana Truth" Campaign. To learn more about this campaign or
to read NORML's new report, "Your Government Is Lying to You (Again) About
Marijuana: A Refutation of the Drug Czar's 'Open Letter to America's
Prosecutors,'" please visit:

Please support NORML/NORML Foundation's efforts to change marijuana policy
and educate the public to alternatives to marijuana prohibition. You can
join, donate or purchase a NORML-related product online at:

6/4/2003 6:43:23 PM

Strange Days     Norwood's show lag
After getting up at 2am or staying up all night for my Tuesday morning show and then sleeping for much of the day afterward, Wednesdays are weird. Just not feeling quite myself today, but I do have one bleary eyed observation: we are living in a regressive county.

The Hillsborough County School board, in its infinite wisdom, just signed a deal with Pepsi to push sugar water on captive K-12 students. Schools get a cut of each soda sold, so you can bet that they will be pushing the bubbly stuff over those little cartons of milk.

There was only a glimmer of doubt from the school board:

The contract with Pepsi Bottling Group is the culmination of a year of negotiations. It was passed unanimously by the five members present at the meeting, although one expressed reservations about the message children would receive from the board's endorsement of soft drinks on campus.

Board member Jennifer Faliero said she was torn in approving sodas that ``my Grampa Faliero called `belly wash.' ''

``I don't let my kids have it because it's not healthy,'' she said during an interview. ``But I have to look at what's best for the district.''

During one of the most dismal years for education funding, such high-dollar deals are particularly enticing to school districts, even amid concerns about increasing childhood obesity and diabetes.

So, it's bad for the kids, but we'll sell it to the kids in order to skim some of the kids' allowances so that we can provide them withy a sub-par education. Oh, and when they start exhibiting "abnormal" behavior from the societally approved drugs (caffeine and sugar) that we are selling them, we'll diagnose them with ADD and calm them with some good prescriptions. Everybody wins: Pepsico sells sodas, doctors get theirs for pushing scripts, and our friends the drug companies happily provide an overpriced remedy that's as easy to swallow as sugar.

Hmmm... maybe I'm wrong about this one. I really can't see a down side...

6/4/2003 12:20:04 PM

Clear Channel Bites    
Does anyone else find it disturbing that the Hillsborough County Clear Channel Amphitheater was finalized on the same day the FCC voted to give huge media corporations anything they want?

It’s common knowledge that CC is a bully. This from

Accusations abound that Clear Channel illegally uses its dominance in radio to help secure control of the nation's live entertainment business. Several cities, including Denver and Cincinnati, have charged radio station managers with threatening to withdraw certain music from rotation if the artists do not perform at a Clear Channel venue. This tactic, known as "negative synergy," has allegedly been used to pressure record companies into buying radio-advertising spots in cities where they want to book concert venues.

With this anti-competitive tactic of leveraging airplay against concert performances, Clear Channel has firmly solidified its hold in both areas. As a result, Clear Channel now owns, operates, or exclusively books the vast majority of amphitheaters, arenas, and clubs in the country. It also controls the most powerful promoters, who last year sold 27 million concert tickets. That is 23 million more than the closest competitor.

Here is a good report on the effects of consolidation in the radio industry.

And an old article from Cincinnati explains simply what happens when a media conglomerate gobbles up previously locally owned stations:

It's shortly after 10 a.m. in Rochester, N.Y., and Randi West is explaining to her KISS106 listeners how they can win Ricky Martin concert tickets.

At the same time, she's telling listeners in Louisville how they can win Britney Spears tickets. She's chatting with a caller to her Toledo show, promoting a lunch giveaway on her Charleston, S.C., station and promoting a free “spring break” trip to her fans in Des Moines.

She does all this while hosting the mid-morning show on Cincinnati's WKFS-FM (107.1) from the KISS107 studios in Mount Auburn, thanks to a digital computer network linking the six Clear Channel stations.

At about the same time, listeners of Cincinnati's WVMX-FM (94.1) hear MIX94.1 host Lisa Thomas promote the station's “Wheels of Fortune” BMW giveaway, unaware that she's broadcasting digitally from Clear Channel's MIX102.9 in Dallas.

This article was written in 2000, and things have gotten steadily worse since then. Do a google search for Clear Channel monopoly and you’ll get tons of hits.

The only critics of our local deal are portrayed to be acting out of self interest. They’re worried about loss of business in and around our downtown arena. CC’s rep pooh-poohed the critics as histrionic naysayers:

“Clear Channel's Rogers compared the critics to a group of "chicken littles" crying that the sky is falling.”

The Tribune also ran a short article on the new venue.

6/3/2003 4:51:00 PM

Rich Athlete Beats Up On Wife and 2 Year Old Son     But he's such a regulear guy... shouldn't we make an exception for athletes?!
How surprising. A professional football player with a history of violence against women was caught doing it again. The Bucs say that his job is secure. Mary Jo Melone takes umbrage.

6/3/2003 4:23:11 PM

Link to Fourteen Principles of Fascism     per many requests
Here is a link to the list I was reading from on Morning Wood this morning.

Post your comments at!

6/3/2003 3:49:30 PM

More Later?    
Time for a little sleep after my 4am show. Back later this afternoon (maybe!) with more.

6/3/2003 7:39:27 AM

Pregnant incapable woman given guardian    
That's the headline in today's SP Times. No guardian has been appointed to the woman's fetus, despite Jeb's wishes. Jeb sez

An unborn child would normally have his or her rights defended by her mom. In this case, the mom needs a guardian herself," Bush said Monday in Jacksonville. "To me, this is about valuing life and we should do everything in our power to protect the mom and provide her a safe place. We also want to take into consideration the impact on this child, which could be brought to term.

Yeah... the child could be brought to term, especially if the state succeeds in delaying this case any further. Luckily, the judge in this case has decided to follow the law, and the guardian he has appointed to "JDS" as she is referred to in court papers is threatening to sue HHS for negligence. The Judge seems sympathetic, criticizing HHS in court for failure to appoint a guardian to JDS when she turned 18.

Couldn't find a mention of this story in today's Tribune, but I mighta missed it...

6/3/2003 7:01:15 AM

Morning Wood     featuring Madonna!
Tune in tonight (or tomorrow morning... whatever) at 4a for some fantastic remixes of Madonna's infamous "What the fuck..." cut that she posted to file sharing services to fuck with downloaders.

See, when she released her new album, she was worried that people would hear the songs before they bought them and decide that they sucked and then not buy them. So she posted fake songs on Kazaa and Morpheus and people downloaded them thinking they were real, but all they got was Madonna saying "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

So now lotsa people are openly mocking her with these way cool remixes.

For those of you who are completely lost right now, my name's Norwood, and I do a show on WMNF called Morning Wood. Check it out!

6/2/2003 3:00:18 PM

Alt Country Ranting    
Jack Sparks on Shania Twain:

Given the bad times we've seen recently around the world, we've become a nation looking for painkillers. That is to say, the majority of folks want fluffy entertainment, that doesn't preach, upset, anger, stir, or have any impact at all. And that's why this talentless moron in the pink cowboy hat fits in perfectly.

This is actually from a post that's a few days old. You'll have to scroll down, or just read from the beginning for some other entertaining insights.

6/2/2003 2:32:03 PM

The Rupublican Agenda    
Molly Ivans has a great column on Texas Republicans:

They are playing a different game. They are out to take government apart, and then they turn around and say, "See, I told you government doesn't work." And they believe in all this with a self-righteous certitude that has to be seen to be believed.

If you think about it, this is exactly what has been going on for years. With looming trillion dollar deficits, the we will never be able to fund Social Security or Medicare for much longer. In fact, everything not defense related is undoubtedly on the list for either "reform" or "privatization".

6/2/2003 1:46:15 PM

Breaking News:     FCC Votes
So, the biggest headline and most prominent article I've seen on the FCC issue is up on the NY Times site: "F.C.C. Votes to Relax Rules Limiting Media Ownership" is the headline. Now that teh NYT sees this as a done deal, I guess they feel it's safe to start talking about it.

Danny Schecter talks about the fact that the battle may have just begun. Let's hope so.

6/2/2003 1:00:57 PM

Christian Terrorist Sympathizers    
As is pointed out on This Modern World, we seem to have different judgmental values for different groups of people. Let’s see: if Eric Rudolph were a swarthy type planting bombs for Allah, wouldn’t there be cries of outrage at support such as this?

PEACHTREE, N.C., June 1 — Betty Howard made many people happy today, and it was not for her daily special. Around noon, Mrs. Howard walked outside, glanced up at the sign in front of her diner and decided to change the lettering on the marquee from "Roast Turkey Baked Ham" to "Pray for Eric Rudolph."

"Bless his heart," Mrs. Howard said. "Eric needs our help."

Mrs. Howard said she was going to start an Eric Rudolph legal defense fund. Many customers have already said they would chip in.

6/2/2003 12:53:52 PM

WMNF Community Forum Now Online!    
Stop by and read and post!

6/2/2003 9:37:13 AM

Rich White Men Beat Up on Mentally Disabled Rape Victim    
Jeb picks fights like his brother: find someone (or some country) that is unable to defend herself, come in an totally screw up her life, and then leave her to deal with the consequences.

The State of Florida is in court today seeking to have a legal guardian appoonted to look after the rights of a fetus. The fetus is being carried by a mentally disabled rape victim. Florida is required by law to appoint a Legal Guardian to people such as this pregnant woman as soon as they turn 18. The state failed in this case, and in many others, to appoint a legal guardian. The woman was raped while in a state supervised facility. Now, instead of concentrating on the health and welfare of the rape victim, our man Jeb is pandering to abortion rights opponents by seeking to have a guardian appointed for the fetus. Whether or not Jeb succeeds in his fetal guardianship, the delays caused by his meddling may well make an abortion impossible, as the pregnancy is approaching the third trimester.

6/2/2003 9:24:48 AM

Finally Talking FCC     Local Coverage
The St. Pete Times is finally acknowledging the upcoming (TODAY!!!) FCC rule changes. They put a local spin on things and reassuringly state that neither of the owners of our local papers plan any changes.

“The Times' editor says the paper has no plans to go into TV, for example, and Media General's top executives say the chain's controlling family won't sell.”

Uh, OK. I guess I don’t have to worry about this any more. I wonder why this is the first big article I’ve seen in either local paper regarding these changes. Actually, considering that the new rules will greatly benefit medial companies, I reckon I know exactly why I’ve seen next to nothing on this. See previous posts in this blog for more info.

Further down in the Times article, we learn that newspaper are drooling at the prospect of “convergence,” the term coined to describe how a newspaper and a TV station might team up and combine their news departments, A La The Tampa Tribune and WFLA Channel 8. So, maybe things will change in this area? According to the Times, you really have nothing to fear, since no concrete plan is in the works. Of course, they may well change their minds tomorrow and make a plan...

6/2/2003 9:23:46 AM

Insurance Reform?     OR Screwing the common man in the name of healthcare...
Our Florida Bushman has promised to cap jury awards for pain and suffering in malpractice suits at $250,000.

``I don't think any Floridian, no matter who they are, is worth only $250,000,'' said Senate Majority Leader Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island.

Hmmm... if members of Jeb's own party are against this plan, it must be even worse than it appears. Rest assured that there's nothing in this plan designed to help most people. Rich doctors and scummy insurance types are the only ones who will benefit.

Here's an idea: why don't mistake prone doctors get out of the business? Insurance rates would fall, patient carte would improve, and consumers could still get just compensation if a jury decided they deserved it. Unfortunately, doctors hate to lose potential golf buddies, so the AMA would rather put an arbitrarily low proce tag on a life than do the right thing.

The AMA started out in this county by fighting tooth and nail against a working model of collective medicine. In the erarly 1900's, and for many years afterward, immigrants and other citizens of Tampa could join one of many social organizations, such as The Cuban CLub or The Italian Club, and, for a very reasonable weekly sum, be assured of the finest health care in the state. The AMA rescinded the memberships of any doctors who agreed to work for these organizations because the AMA could not stand the thought of poor people getting good care for very little money. Check The Immigrant World of Ybor City by Marmino and Pozzetta (Univ. of Illinois Press) for more on the early history of socialized medicine in Hillsborough county.

5/30/2003 1:55:08 PM

Waggy Dog Stories    
Paul Krugman makes many of the same points I've been harping on, but much more eloquently, in today's >NY Times.

5/30/2003 1:40:33 PM

Excuses, excuses....     OR Poor White Man Earning the Rent
Scroll down: there're a few new posts. More later, but 1st I have to venture out and earn my keep. Very bizy morning ahead, but I'll be back and posting again this afternoon.

Lots of good comments in the email yesterday. Thanks to all who wrote, and for those who wish to write, use the link on this page. More later, time permitting.

5/30/2003 6:50:54 AM

Congratulations... It's another unwanted child    
Jeb wants to appoint a legal guardian (scroll down to article) to the fetus of a mentally disabled rape victim. Don’t be fooled: this is all about abortion. The Florida Supreme Court ruled years ago that a fetus could not be appointed a guardian. Jeb knows this and is apparently challenging that ruling. Or maybe he’s just buying time: the fetus is already dangerously close to the 3rd trimester, at which time abortion may not be an option.

So, everyone is talking about guardians for the fetus, but nobody is speaking about the fact that this woman was raped while in State care and that the State had thus far neglected to appoint a guardian for her, which the State was legally obligated to do as soon as she turned 18. HHS should be scrambling to explain this neglectful situation, but instead they are attempting to force a rape victim who may not even be aware of her pregnancy to bring a baby to term.

5/30/2003 6:41:45 AM

Light Up     Go ahead... you'll look cool!
So, the State comes up with a program designed to show kids how they’re being manipulated by big tobacco companies, and the program works! Teen smoking in Florida dropped significantly after the start of the program, funded by monies received in the Tobacco settlement.

The State gets over $400 million every year from the Tobacco settlement, and this program, held up as a national model, was costing $39 million. The Legislature cut it. $1 million is left in the program. It’s gone.

Hmmmm... the Tobacco companies must be happy.

Two questions: what were/are we doing with the other $361 million that came in every year from the tobacco companies? What’s it going to cost to carve tumors out of today’s kids 40 years form now?

5/30/2003 6:27:43 AM

WMDs     From
Check Who Said What and When...

5/29/2003 11:36:57 PM

More WMD Madness     OR Rich White Men Stealing Oil
Today's Washington Post has more on the Bush team's distancing themselves from the primary argument for invading Iraq. Bush said repeatedly that Iraq possessed WMDs and that said WMDs posed an immediate threat to America. Without that shaky justification, this war becomes completely illegal under international law, but we are expected to just sit back and trust our beloved leader as he tells us to just be patient? Why wasn't HE patient with the UN weapons inspectors? Why wont he let them back in to finish their job? Not even the International Atomic Energy Commission is being allowed to search for stolen radioactive substances, despite reports of radiation sickness is several communities. Secrecy and democracy do not mix well, but rule through fear and secrecy is right out of the fascist's play book...

5/29/2003 12:57:47 PM

Tax Cuts     OR Rich White Men Getting Richer
Tax cuts for our esteemed leaders, huge budget deficits, increased defense spending, fear mongering, smoke and mirrors....

Check out who got left out of the big tax cut:

A last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders in the tax bill that President Bush signed today will prevent millions of minimum-wage families from receiving the increased child credit that is in the measure, say Congressional officials and outside groups.

More on the big cut from Frank Herberts NY Times OpEd:

The president is not calling his tax package the "Windfall for the Wealthy" act, which is what it is. He calls it the "Jobs and Growth" act, which is what it's not.

5/29/2003 12:18:58 PM    
Update your bookmarks. is now online. If you start at, you'll be redirected here, so save a little time and bookmark this page now!

5/29/2003 11:27:58 AM

FCC Watch    
Elaine Cassel says it better than I:

The public outcry has been huge and disparate. Organizations from the ACLU to the National Rifle Association to Common Cause are protesting the plans that could render the First Amendment a ghost of times past (hell, it almost is, already). Howard Dean, the only democratic presidential hopeful to really stand for something, called yesterday for a delay in the vote and full congressional hearings.

Also on this subject, the following email was posted to the 'mnf everyone list by Nancy Creedon:

Frank Ahrens has had a series of good articles on the FCC deregulation decision. Here's a link to today's...

Common Cause was also interviewed this evening on MSNBC on this issue. Things are beginning to heat up a bit. Keep the flames fanned by writing to each of the 5 FCC Commissioners. Their email links are provided on their individual pages @

Nancy Creedon

This is must read stuff. Check the ACLU link on teh right side of this page. Get involved!

5/29/2003 11:05:04 AM

Nothing Like Diversity...     OR Rich White Men Getting Richer
Looks like the folks at Channelside, Tampa’s government subsidized boondoggle of a mall are expanding with brand new tenants, and a lot of them!

``We're very excited,'' said Denise Dasse, a senior real estate manager for CB Richard Ellis, which manages Channelside. ``It's going to be a whole different place to come visit.''

Well, it looks like that at 1st glance, anyway. When you read down to the middle of the article, it becomes clear that most of the new tenants are actually the same people that are already there. They are opening new restaurants to “compete” with the restaurants they already run at Channelside. Each restaurant has a different theme, of course, but all are run by the same group. How different are they going to be?

This doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, at 1st, until you think about the probability that rents are subsidized through tax breaks or deferred mortgage payments (the City of Tampa along with the Port Authority are deep in this deal, but I don’t have the details. Someone needs to look into this!) and that no matter if these ventures “lose” money, that the investor’s group who claims ownership of the restaurants will do just fine.

Of course, a generic tourist center might do well, with the semi-captive audience coming from the cruise ship terminal right next door. Channelside will look and feel just like the arcade area of the ship, and just like every shopping area at every port of call that the ship stops at. Familiarity may not be exciting, but when your MasterCard is burning a hole in your pocket, generic just-alike shops and restaurants are safe and good enough.

One of the new restaurants that is coming is a Hooters. (One of the members of the group that owns the other restaurants at this mall is a Hooter’s franchisee) The Tribune gushes over the potential for new sales that Hooter’s brings to Channelside.

Hooters, the chicken wing and beer restaurant featuring female servers in trademark orange nylon shorts and tight T-shirts, will occupy Channelside's northwest corner fronting Channelside Drive. It could open by the end of the year.

Ed Droste, a Clearwater businessman and one of the chain's original founders, said he sees Channelside getting a burst of energy from the Hooters restaurant. He said it did the same for similar facilities such as Bayside in Miami and The Landing in Jacksonville.

That’s fine. Nothing wrong with boosting the local economy. But how can the Tribune reconcile it’s historically aggressive stance against everything Joe Redner and Mons Venus with its cheerleading for Hooter’s, which is essentially a Mons Venus without public lap dancing?

5/29/2003 10:09:59 AM

May 28, 2003     Budgets and WMDs
Worker's non-Compensation Bill

The Tampa Tribune, defender of the working class, touts fish art and high school graduations above its rather weak story on Florida's worker's comp reform. The bill just passed by the legislature and soon to be signed by our own Bushman, leaves injured workers at the mercy of an already heartless system. Historically, getting injured on the job in Florida meant being sent to the company doctor, and being hounded to return to work within 2 weeks, even for light duty, no matter how severe the injury. Why 2 weeks? Well, workers comp benefits don't kick in unless you are off the job 2 consecutive weeks. So, if an employer can badger you into returning to your job, even for an hour or 2 to see if you are able to perform so-called light duty, the clock starts ticking all over again, and you may never receive compensation for the time lost.

Employers and insurers are infamously ruthless in their attempts to keep workers from enjoying what few rights they actually have under today's system. They have been trying for years to "reform" a system that already strongly favors them. Now that they've managed to buy a majority of the Legislature and the Governor in the same year, they are getting everything they want.

No worries, though. If you're a Florida worker and you get hurt on the job, you can have a nice escapist read with the Tribune every morning, and rest assured that there are no real problems worth writing about in our community.

Congratulations! It's a Budget...

The St. Pe te Times article on Florida's just passed budget bill tells us of Republican legislators who are giddy from their devious schemes to gut state government and to force those who have the least to pay the most into the state coffers. Florida has long been a regressive tax state, with no income tax, the state sales tax makes up the largest part of the state's revenue stream. In any sales tax system, poor people pay a much higher percentage of their income in sales tax than do rich people. In Florida, sales tax exemptions serve to help the wealthy even more. But back to this year's budget:

House Majority Leader Marco Rubio, R-Coral Gables, praised lawmakers for "resisting the short-term expediency of raising taxes."

Democrats assailed the GOP for raising college tuition, requiring low-income people to pay a greater share of their prescription drugs and raiding trust funds to avoid increasing taxes. One of the last bills that passed requires volunteers who work with children to pay $18 for a criminal background check if a law enforcement agency doesn't pay for it.

"This is a bad budget," said Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa.

Weapons of Mass Distraction

So, let me get this right: Rummy is now saying, with a straight face, that Saddam must have destroyed his WMDs before the war? Didn't we go to war because we claimed he did NOT destroy his WMDs?

Prior to this latest theory, Rummy's contention was that our teams just needed more time, that this was a complex undertaking and could not be rushed. Yet we refused to give the UN inspectors the time they said they needed, and ridiculed their efforts as they failed to find the WMDs that we insisted were there.

This related revelation (from Danny Schecter's great Media Blog)


"DEFENSE TECH - The Bush Administration is backtracking - hard - from their pre-war claims that Iraq had stockpiles of biological and chemical arms. It doesn't matter whether or not Iraq actually had any of the toxins in their possession, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton said today. What counts is that Iraq had the "intellectual capacity" to build these unconventional weapons."

Also from Danny:


Martin Luther King son Marty lll is launching a petition campaign on the web against the dangers of the rigging of new computer voting machines. I am getting lots of appeals that read like this:

"Today, there is a new and real threat to voters, this time coming from touchscreen voting machines with no paper trails and the computerized purges of voter rolls.

"I just joined Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King III and investigative reporter Greg Palast in signing a petition protesting the Florida-tion of the 2004 election.

"It only took me a few seconds to sign it and I'm hoping you'll sign it, too. Click here to sign the petition:"

That’s it for now. Maybe more later today, but now I have to do some work and pay the bills. Write with your comments using the link on this page, and check back often!

5/28/2003 10:20:14 AM

May 23, 2003     by norwood

Daily news update time. I’m gonna start with state news and move on to the national and international stuff. I’d love to have some truly local news to talk about, but both of our local papers (St. Petersburg Times, and Tampa Tribune) do a terrible job in covering their own neighborhoods. The Tribune is blatantly conservative, and religious news tends to dominate its local coverage when there is no sensational police chase or school bus crash to cover. The Times is downright liberal in comparison to the Trib, but they lack a strong Tampa presence.

Today's St. Pete. Times reminds us that in lean times it is usually the folks who can least afford it who are asked to sacrifice. Tax cuts on stocks and bonds survived the final budget sessions, but a sales tax break for back to school clothes is gone, and a hefty tuition increase lies ahead for state college students.

Budget deal full of bad news
For the second straight year, lawmakers skip a sales tax break on back-to-school shopping. Also, tuition will rise 8.5 percent.

The general mean spirit of the Florida lawmakers is summed up nicely by Howard Troxler:

No longer can a goof-off worker in Florida lose a mere eye, or a lone leg, hand, arm or foot, and still have a "catastrophic" injury for disability purposes.

No. The House and the Senate have voted for a "reform" bill that says that a Florida worker must lose BOTH eyes, or BOTH arms, or BOTH legs, or BOTH feet.

The Tampa Tribune ran a wire story about protests against the controversial FCAT exam. The Tribune cut up the story to the point that it is impossible to discern that racial issues are a big part of these protests. "Protesters say an unfair percentage of the failing grades go to minorities," as the St. Pete. Times tells us in a slightly longer version of the same article.

Remember that $320 million federal tax cut that was just passed? Well, the actual cost is more like $800 million, mostly going to well off people who really don't need the money. See today's NY Times for more.

Remember that we have enough wealth in this country to provide every citizen with free education, including advanced degrees for those who want to pursue them, free health care, and a safe and secure place to live. Instead of spending our money on our people, we have chosen to throw billions of dollars to the defense industry, enriching many wealthy investors, starting wars without end, and causing ill will throughout the world.

And now, with States cutting budgets to the bone, and often through the bone, President Bush is still only concerned with lining the pockets of his friends and family. Here's just one example of the profiteering that is going on as Dubya continues his compassionate colonialism...

Finally, put Danny Schecter’s daily blog on your must read list. Excellent media commentary and criticism will help you to see past the foggy lens through which most media outlets transmit their content.

More on Monday. Email your comments using the link provided, and tune in to Morning Wood either on the Internet or over the airwaves at 88.5 FM in Tampa Tuesdays 4a-6a Eastern time.

5/23/2003 9:24:29 AM

May 22, 2003: 1st Posting!     by norwood
Welcome to wmnf.NOT, a site that has absolutely no official connection to WMNF radio. My name's Norwood, and I happen to own this site. I'm also a volunteer at WMNF. I am the Parades Coordinator and I host a weekly show called Morning Wood from 4AM to 6AM every Tuesday. Check it out. It's a freeform free-for-all, often heavily political, and sometimes absolutely hilarious.
Proud leader of the 1st annual Tropical Feetwave Parade!

So, what's up with this blog? I dunno... just jumping on the bandwagon, mebbe. We'll see how it goes. Check in for lotsa links, opinionated rants, and possibly some UNofficial 'MNF news.

In the meantime, don't be fooled by the recently renamed Total Information Awareness System. Elaine Cassell writes a daily blog and is part of the excellent Twin Cities Babelogue Community.

That's all for tonight. Email through the link on this page, and bookmark this page for direct access to BlogWood without going through the introductory pages.

5/22/2003 10:35:34 PM

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