Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Will Sunrail Block First Responders?

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm

So, I’m driving back home last night and join the other cars in line to wait as the train passes by. No big deal right? This is part of living downtown, part of living near the warehouse district in Longwood and pretty much everywhere in the Orlando Metropolitan area where these tracks run through.

Then an Ambulance crawls up, light on, sirens blaring, trying to get to the Orlando Regional Medical Center. For 4 minutes that Ambulance stands still in front of those tracks and I could only help the patient inside wasn’t in bad shape.

The train rolled by, the Ambulance sped over the tracks to it’s destination. As my car slowly moved through the line of cars, I asked myself.

When Sunrail arrives and traffic on these rails increase substantially, are these amublances going to experience more problems getting patients to hospitals?

With increased rail traffic, will first responders face challenges reaching residents?

ORMC isn’t the only hospital where this potential problem exists. You’ve got South Seminole Hospital in Longwood that could possibly be effected by the commuter rail that will extend from Deland to Poinciana.

Other growing cities face this problem, right? I mean, in Chicago, they’ve got the elevated trains. In other cities they’ve got overpasses that don’t cause back ups anywhere. While it’s exiting that we’ve got plans for more condominiums and more retail space, have we considered the aspects of the project that affect first responder services?

What about the police, the fire department? Are they going to face challenges getting to the scene of a crime?

It’s true, I wasn’t a fan of Sunrail when it got the green light but, it’s coming and I’m over it. Mass Transit is a necessary component for a major metropolitan area. If you commute through Sanford or Downtown Orlando on I4, you know that’s not the answer. But, when Sunrail gets here and we’ve got instant access to a Starbucks, or Taco Bell Express are the EMT’s and police officers going to have sufficient access to help those in need?

Condos? Check. Retail? Check. Efficiency?.........Hello?

Happy 2nd Birthday to FPFT!

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

It’s all because of you guys.

Here we are at two years. This blog and it’s readers have given me the privilege of providing political analysis, opinion, and humor to all of you and it’s been a great time. One on one with the Governor and other candidates for office. Debates on political races from the municipal level to the Presidency and the jokes we’ve gotten from them. An outlet to write about the things I can’t say on television, it’s all be great.

We’re just getting started.

Next year is going to be one of the biggest political years in United States history. You’re not going to be able to avoid it and this is ground zero. This is where it’s all going to go down. Orlando, the heart of the I4 corridor.

This blog will continue to grow and bring you content and opinion that you won’t find anywhere else. Expanding the conversation with more media. Video, audio, and photos that will put you in the middle of the action and provide a political experience that not only informs but entertains (heh) and inspires.

Two years and counting. Thanks guys!

Thanks Guys! It's been a terrific two years!

Newt Nabs New Hampshire Newspaper Nod.

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Newt Gingrich’s election cycle story has been pretty remarkable so far.

His campaign was in shambles just a few weeks back. His staff retreated from the scandal of his marital past, slipping further behind as the shiny new candidates jumped in the race. Michele Bachmann and Ames victory, Rick Perry and his Texas job creation. Political newcomers like Herman Cain scored victories in straw polls like Presidency V. Newt wasn’t trying to make any friends. He was picking fights with debate moderators and slamming the media for pitting the candidates against each other. Time passed and then the dominoes started to fall.

Bachmann’s message didn’t evolve and there were unreliable stories about vaccines, and 2.00 gas. Herman Cain’s past came into question when women from his days with the National Restaurant Association and Rick Perry? Well…you guys know what happened to him.

Well, here we are and now it’s Newt’s time to be the anti-Romney candidate and unlike his unfortunate frontrunner predecessors, Newt Gingrich has the knowledge to keep him afloat. Even his personality which if often brash and condescending has earned him a major endorsement.

The New Hampshire Union Leader, the conservative newspaper in the region chose to endorse Newt Ginrich over Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Romney and Huntsman have put some serious resources into the Granite state and can’t be too exited at the fact they didn’t get the nod. Instead, the write up actually rewarded Gingrich for being confrontational and truculent

“Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate,” the article stated. “But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running.”

No kidding.

Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate and if he gets the nomination he could very well say a few silly things before this is all over. But, he’s the a dictionary of political knowledge and has the experience in Washington that will keep him from having to “fake it before he makes it”.

Things are still cloudy moving into December and it’s still anyone’s guess on whats going to take place in Iowa in January but, the moment is Gingrich’s and we’ll see if he sticks around or fades like the others. After all, he wasn’t even suppose to be here.

His campaign was in shambles a few months back and now he's back.

Happy Thanksgiving from FPFT

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Happy Thanksgiving and wishing you a day full of reflection on your accomplishments and blessings. I’m thankful for family, friends, and of course you! Enjoy your holiday weekend and it’s business as usual on Monday….

President Obama's annual turkey pardon at the White House on Wednesday

Who Won the CNN GOP Foreign Policy Debate 11/22/11?

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

It had the mildest moderator and the tamest crowd so far. Everyone is already in the Thanksgiving Holiday mood and it sounded that way. I was watching the online stream and Wolf Blitzer’s pre-broadcast pep talk and it was exactly what it sounds like…a pep talk from Wolf Blitzer. Anyways, let’s break it down.


Winners:

Mitt Romney: Guys, there is a reason why this guy is a consistent frontrunner. He can debate. Flip Flopper? Perhaps but this guys doesn’t flub answers, he doesn’t back away from attack, and he does it while not alienating any smaller groups (Libertarians, social conservatives) within the Republican Party.

Newt Gingrich: Substance, Substance, Substance…brought up Einstein during Immigration. Who else does that? Romney jumped on his examples of qualified immigrants. Possibly the smartest candidate on stage. There has been some fallout over his stances on immigration and comparison to Rick Perry. Perry has a longer rap sheet on immigration than Gingrich, including in state tuition for the children of illegals. Some believe Gingrich is already in general election mode. Eh..maybe but Newt is way too up front to position his campaign that way.

Didn’t Win or Lose:

Michele Bachmann: Finally got the chance to flex that Sub-Committee intelligence muscle. You’ve got to wonder why she didn’t use this knowledge during the last dozen debates. It’s probably too late and she didn’t show enough savvy in other areas.

Jon Huntsman: Some of that Kermit the Frog Mojo must have rubbed off on him during his trip to New York to appear on Saturday Night Live. His answers were polished and he continues to get a lot of face time. He is still the longest of longshots and New Hampshire is his last stand.

Rick Perry: Hey, he didn’t meltdown at the podium and modified his plan for the border. He’s got the money. Is it too late?


Losers:

Herman Cain:A self admitted newbie in foreign policy. He still speaks with the same strong convictions that make him sound good. Not enough time. Have the allegations scared the networks away from him?

Ron Paul: Called the war on drugs a failure but doesn’t have a clear plan for the border. Wants to leave Israel behind and let the Middle East go it’s own way. The nation is ready to start building at home but putting on blinders to all other foreign affairs is dangerous.

Rick Santorum: No traction, linked on to Ron Paul’s foreign policy philosophy. He is who we believe he is. A Senate ceiling politician running for President.

How many debates have there been? No meltdowns or Kung Fu Grips on candidates. Tamer than most.

Who Won the GOP Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa 11/19/11?

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2011 at 1:20 am

Didn’t get a chance to watch the debate? It’s available in it’s entirety here. The debate itself starts around the 36 minute mark. Yes, you will see Michele Bachmann pour all of the other candidates a glass of water and set woman in politics back 50 years.

Instant Analysis:

This was a social policy debate in Iowa. A mind field of political risk that could scare away that the valuable social conservative base. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were not present, choosing instead to campaign in New Hampshire.

Winners:

Newt Gingrich: Newt is a pretty smart cat, guys. Gingrich flexed his brain power and managed to explain the background behind a lot of the questions, before he answered them.

Ron Paul: Okay, Okay don’t go overboard on me!. Paul spoke well tonight and he managed to explain his views clearly, without background noise and unorthodox foreign policy views.

Didn’t Win or Lose:

Herman Cain: Not thorough enough on the answers but still sounded good. Considering the streak of political pit falls he experience recently and those nasty allegations, he performed well tonight.

Rick Perry: The meltdown is still fresh on everyone’s memory. His performance wasn’t bad this evening but, not enough to clear his name as a terrible debater. He also didn’t back away from resetting Israel’s foreign aid to zero. He would have been better off, not mentioning it at all.

Rick Santorum: Spoke well but, too many references to his book. A strong policy of mine? Don’t refer to reading materials during your debates. If you wrote it, you should be able to explain it on stage. (I will never forget his daughter’s story}

Losers:

Michele Bachmann: She confessed to being a sinner and poured a round to every other candidate at the table. It was painful to watch. You can call it being motherly. I see a talented tax attorney, businesswoman, and representative regressing.

Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman: You don’t show up? Then it’s a forfeit. Call it strategy? Fine, but for this debate? Yeah you lost. UPDATE: Jon Huntsman appeared on Saturday Night Live last night. The video can be found here. That appearance was seen by more people and probably did more to help his campaign.

This was the lowest profile debate of the election cycle but, it was in Iowa and for some of the candidates possibly the most important. They need to win or show well to stay relevant.

US Senate Candidate Adam Hasner talks to Florida Bloggers

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2011 at 2:19 am

I’ve always thought the GOP primary to take on Bill Nelson next year, has been a two candidate race.

Former State Representative and Majority Leader Adam Hasner is one of those candidates.

He’s got the energy, the passion, and the votes of a lot of younger Republicans in the state. When he took the stage at CPAC Florida he got the crowd exited and he didn’t just win the straw poll, he marched into the Orange County Convention Center and took it.

This afternoon he took his campaign to the internet and engaged Florida political bloggers. Below is the conference, moderated by Sunshine State Sarah Rumpf.

Adam Hasner has been here, so has George Lemieux. Connie Mack, when you make it official give a blogger a call.

Till next time

Who Won the GOP CBS National Journal Debate 11/12/11?

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm

In what was a poorly produced debate last night, the GOP Presidential hopefuls were in South Carolina debating foreign policy. Dueling on television with a UFC prime time event and the Manny Pacquiao Pay Per View main event, there was conflict to entertain everyone last night. Let’s break it down.

This was a cake walk of a debate for the candidates. With only one subject to discuss, they could zero in on foreign policy and showcase their knowledge on affairs with China, Europe, and the Middle East. There was also no fighting among the candidates. The touchy subject matter lead to a strategy where they stuck with a simple debate plan and kept to themselves. It also helped that Scott Pelley moderated the debate with an iron fist. He held candidates down when limiting time for responses and wouldn’t let the crowd boo. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Scott Pelley is the “no fun moderator”

*This post only refers only to the televised portion. The stream on the CBS website was unwatchable.*

Who Won?:

Rick Perry: Well, his reputation is in shambles but the Texas Governor has tried to get back on the good side of the voters by having some fun with his debate meltdown from earlier this week. “You remembered that one?” Perry said to Scott Pelley, referring to one of the departments that he wanted dismantled but forgot at the CNBC debate. Pelley replied “I have had sometime to think about it” and Perry fired back “So have I”. That response got the biggest applause of the night. He goofed on providing foreign aid to Israel but, he’s walked that back since. The damage control he’s done after that fiasco on Thursday has been remarkable.

Jon Huntsman: Barring a miracle in New Hampshire, Huntsman is done. He does know foreign policy. During the little time he did have last night he flexed personal experience from his time as ambassador to China, and made a few good points.

Newt Gingrich:
Newt being Newt was once again, one of the brighter sides of the debates. He’ll keep climbing in the polls and will benefit if Romney or Cain falters.

Didn’t win or lose:

Herman Cain:
Cain is a self admitted, foreign policy “newbie”. He managed to side step the tough questions and not do any damage to his campaign. There is of course that other matter that needs to be attended to.

Mitt Romney: The reason he’s not a winner is because he didn’t get any opportunities to shine. He hung back during the entire debate. He’ll still be near or at the top of the polls and will be on cruise control until Iowa.

Ron Paul:
No mistakes, no points. Nothing lost, nothing gained. That’s Ron Paul.

Losers:

The Rest of the Field:
Bachmann didn’t gain any ground and isn’t trying anything new. Santorum makes points that appeal to some but, still can’t get any traction.

CBS: Wow, how bad was this broadcast? The set was ugly, the moderators grouchy and the crowd couldn’t express themselves. Then they invite all of the viewers to go online and watch the rest of it. The CBS website couldn’t handle the web traffic and voters are left out in the cold.

It’s one thing to have an awkward or disorganized moderator, it’s another thing to give the viewers at home a poor debate experience and that’s what happened last night.

Until next time…

The poor viewing experience subtracted from what could have been one of the better debates

Thanks, to all that have served on this Veterans Day:

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

The brave men and women who, have served this country inspire an overwhelming sense of pride to all Americans. Our volunteer military forces are the finest in the world and defend our freedom with their lives. We are the greatest country in the world because of them. Please, take a moment and thank them today, on their day. Veterans Day.

Thank you to all that have served.

Who Won CNBC GOP Debate from Michigan 11/9/11?

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 at 12:23 am

Who won might be a question up for debate but, after last night’s debate it’s clear Texas Governor Rick Perry didn’t do himself or his donors any favors. The guy lost. He lost bad and he lost painfully. We’ll get back to him. It’s still going to be the Mitt and Herman show for the next couple of weeks. How Cain handles these nasty allegations of sexual harassment will determine his future in this race. Let’s break it down piece by piece.

Winners:

Newt Gingrich: If Herman Cain falters, this guy won’t let Rick Perry slide into the number 2 slot that easily. Gingrich has that rare ability to make throw the moderator off and it makes for compelling theater. He’s been inching up the polls and I expect that to continue.

Mitt Romney: He wins by doing what he always does…Avoiding conflict and keeping the attackers at the gate. The guy appears to be straight teflon. His opponents throw things at him and nothing sticks.

*Jim Cramer: I wonder if someone decided to make tonight’s debate their first. Will they walk away thinking that moderators like Cramer are the norm? Was he loud? Of course. Was he funny? Yeah, I think so… *Jim Cramer is not running for President although he’s more electable than some of these guys

Didn’t Win or Lose:

Herman Cain: Princess Nancy (you know she’s way too old to be a princess)? Yeah, that was funny and with everything that’s going on, he did well tonight. Still, can you really say “Hey the Pizza CEO with the catchy economic plan and the nasty allegations of sexual harassment did alright”. Tomorrow morning he wakes up and will have two of his accusers trying to put a press conference together.

Ron Paul: You can’t really lose when you sound good and your base doesn’t shrink.

Losers:

Rick Perry: My man can’t remember his talking points. He is the worst possible thing that can happen to a podium. Last week, we thought this guy was drunk during a speech in New Hampshire and now this. I swear Bobcat Goldthwait can debate better than this guy.

The rest of the field: They didn’t do what they had to. Huntsman sounded like a Democrat. Santorum needed big plays and didn’t get them. Bachmann hasn’t modified her message. She’s still saying the same exact things in the same exact order, since she jumped in the campaign.

They didn’t get it done.

Maria Bartiromo: She got booed, she got frustrated, she pushed around by the candidates. While Cramer was an unorthodox and entertaining addition to the broadcast, Bartiromo just looked angry and overwhelmed.

The CNBC Moderator was frustrated, overwhelmed, and booed last night..

The debate started slowly but with Cain taking a shot at Nancy Pelosi, Gingrich owning the moderators and the latest Rick Perry meltdown…It was a pretty wild night in Michigan.