Hillsborough area tea party activists want to make it harder to pass local referenda, Bill Nelson NOT one of a handful of Senate Democrats voting for tax cuts for the wealthy, and will Don't Ask, Don't Tell not get a vote for a few more years? Mitch Perr

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Good Monday morning, Tampa Bay.

What's going on today? Sorry about your Bucs yesterday, to those who care.  Thanks to the NFL Channel's Red Zone, Buc fans at the local tavern I was at last night were able to catch significant moments of the blacked out affair against Atlanta, in which the locals played a spirited effort, before ultimately blowing a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter.  That may have been the end of any playoff hopes, but seriously Tampa, your team is far better than anybody expected it to be this year.  That's worthy of praise (meanwhile my favorite NFL club, the Oakland Raiders, continue to confound.  Right when you want to write them off, they stun the white-hot San Diego Chargers yesterday).

Anyway, what up in the news? Well, there's a Hillsborough County Charter Review Board meeting tonight, where that group will vote on a measure that would make it much harder to pass any local measures on the ballot (like last month's transit tax), moving the margin required from 50% + 1 to a much harder 60% (as it is state wide now).

We've set some low expectations for Senator Bill Nelson until his re-election in 2012, so we definitely noticed that he didn't stray on Saturday  from the party line in voting to end tax cuts for folks making more than $200,000, or a more conservative measure that would only re-instate the higher tax rate for those making more than a million dollars.

Although there's been lots of talk and action in terms of perhaps crossing off a campaign promise by Barack Obama: that is, to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell," policy regarding gays in the military, the fact of the matter is, not only may there not be a vote this month on the issue, it may not come up for a couple of years once the GOP adds many more of their members to Congress next month.

And International Human Rights Day takes place at the end of this week, and the occasion will be observed with a couple of events in St. Petersburg this Friday.

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