So the big local news is that Barack Obama was in Florida tonight, working on improving his numbers against John McCain for the general election.

And in case there's any doubt, yes, I'm working under the assumption that he is the presumptive nominee.

So anyway, Senator Obama was in Florida tonight, talking to a group of high rollers in Westin after having talked to the B'nai Torah congregation in Boca Raton, and there were some protesters there. I'll let the Sun-Sentinel pick it up from here.

Later in the day, all was fairly quiet for a fundraiser for Obama at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood where the high-rollers, those who've raised $10,000 or more, were expected around 8:45 p.m.

The first sign of the gathering outside the hotel was about a dozen protesters carrying homemade signs that read "Stop blocking our vote." They want Obama to intervene with the Democratic party over its decision to not count Florida's delegates to the national nominating convention. The national party took away the delegates because the state held it's primary before Feb. 5.

"We want Sen. Obama to count our vote," said Vanessa Alikahn, of Fort Lauderdale, and one of the organizers. "It's not about being for Hillary or for McCain or for Obama. It's about our constitutional right to have our votes counted."

It's unclear how nonpartisan the group was. Their intention to protest was first posted on Hillary Clinton's campaign Web site. The campaign took down the post shortly after a reporter called to ask about it.
I don't think it's unclear at all, but I suppose there's no harm in a little ass-covering on the part of the newspaper.

As far as the protesters are concerned, they're blaming the wrong person if they're mad about their votes not being counted. If they want to blame someone, how about starting with the Florida legislature and working their way up the chain through the DNC. Barack Obama didn't sanction the state, and contrary to the claims of many Clinton supporters, hasn't blocked the seating of Florida's delegates to the Democratic convention. He's said, time and again, that he's willing to let the process work itself out via the DNC's system for handling this sort of thing. Today, he ventured to say that he thought splitting the delegation in half would be a reasonable solution, a position which happens to agree with positions taken recently by former President Clinton and Clinton official Terry McAulife, and which is keeping with the standard punishment for this sort of offense.

Senator Clinton disagreed, saying "I think that is disingenuous but it's also insulting to the 1.7-million Floridians who actually turned out to vote." Well, Senator, you do know a little something about insulting Florida voters. You also might want to mention that most of that turnout was driven, not by the primary, but by the ruinous property tax cut measure that was on the ballot. The primary was an afterthought.

Anyway, my point is that the protesters, even if they're not connected either in spirit or in organization with Senator Clinton's campaign, are going after the wrong guy here. If you must have a scapegoat, go after Howard Dean, or the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC, or even the state legislators who got us into this situation in the first place.

Here's the Random Ten, fully randomized via the party shuffle on my iPod. I'm going iPod this week because there's a little less music on it and not as much of a chance for something like Howard Jones popping up. I'm trying to be cooler. I doubt it will work.
1. Soon--Squirrel Nut Zippers
2. Shadows In the Rain--Sting
3. Gloria--Patti Smith
4. Cross Road Blues--Robert Johnson
5. Love My Way--Psychedelic Furs
6. One Week--Barenaked Ladies
7. Been Caught Stealing--Jane's Addiction
8. Gone Daddy Gone--Violent Femmes
9. Mellow Doubt--Teenage Fanclub
10. Tainted Love--Soft Cell
Given that grouping, Howard Jones was almost inevitable. Glad I went with the iPod. That could have been (more) embarrassing.

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