"Advocating tax cuts has driven Gov. Jeb Bush's popularity back to its first-term peak, although Florida voters are unsure about some of his education plans, a new poll indicated Wednesday." "Governor up in poll, thanks to tax-cut plan". See also "Governor Gets High Marks In Survey Of Florida Voters", "Governor receives top marks, poll shows" and "Bush popular but his ideas, not as much".
Indeed, "[o]nly about a third of those asked favor Gov. Bush's program using public money to send kids to private schools." "Poll: Majority oppose vouchers".
Crist Wakes Up
"State Attorney General Charlie Crist wants to know if the three companies authorized to sell voting machines in Florida have conspired to keep new machines out of the hands of a maverick elections supervisor in Tallahassee." "Crist goes after voting firms". See also "Attorney general subpoenas voting machine companies".
In the meantime, "Diebold to discuss selling needed voting equipment".
Is Anyone Surprised?
"Senate President Tom Lee, who last year twice started probes into questionable behavior by senators, has opted not to begin an inquiry into the home-purchase and consulting deal of his slated successor, Sen. Ken Pruitt." "Senate president holds off inquiry into Pruitt".
This From A Man Without Credibility ...
"As the Senate takes up immigration reform, Cuban-born Mel Martinez tries to serve as a broker to hammer out a compromise between the factions in his own party." "Sen. Martinez appeals to GOP hearts, minds".
"Out-of-touch state lawmakers"
"A measure that would strip local governments of their ability to protect wetlands reveals just how out-of-touch state lawmakers can be." "Bill Would Bulldoze Wetlands, Local Rules"
GOoPers To Florida?
"Boosters Woo GOP Convention".
Not Old Enough To Vote
"Lawmakers should find money for children". "Funding the future".
"In a session marked by sharp tongues, party line-jumping and political gamesmanship, backers of lawsuit reform scored a major victory Wednesday in the Florida Senate. The chamber refused by a 22-18 vote to soften a bill that would make it more difficult to collect damages from multiple defendants in negligence cases. " "Senators Block Amendments To Lawsuit Reform Legislation". See also "Lawsuit reform close to approval", "Senate debates limiting how much big business can be forced to pay in injury suits" and "Florida Senate begins debate on limiting liability in lawsuits".
"Oh, how the glamorous have fallen"
"Our Katherine of Arc: How far she has fallen":
After watching Katherine Harris in action lately, I don't think we should let her pick any more presidents.Check pit the rest of Mike Thomas' column here. And along these same lines, Bill Cotterell writes: "In baseball terms, Harris strikes out" ("U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris is the most snake-bit Republican to challenge an incumbent Florida senator since 1964, when Claude Kirk tried to convince us that Spessard Holland was insufficiently conservative.")
Oh, how the glamorous have fallen.
I recall the 2001 Florida inaugural ball, watching Republicans celebrate President Bush's 1-0 victory at the Florida Department of State.
Katherine was the star, radiant in her black gown, the object of a thousand whispers and turned heads.
This is how she was introduced: "In France, there was Joan of Arc; in Crimea, there was Florence Nightingale; in the Deep South, there was Rosa Parks; in India, there was Mother Teresa. In Florida, there was Katherine Harris!"
A lesser woman would have been embarrassed.
However, a little good news for Harris: "Rooney won't challenge Harris"; see also "Rooney's Flirtation Ends". But the bad news: "Nelson has big lead over Harris in poll" and "New Poll Finds Nelson Still Thrashing Harris".
"You can shuffle taxes, but there still is no free lunch".
- "A look at some of the things going on in and around the Capitol today" "Upcoming".
- "Legislature 2006: Developments from day 23, March 29".
"A Palm Beach County Republican activist filed a campaign-finance complaint Tuesday against six Democratic state legislators, including three from Broward." "Complaint filed over fundraiser".
"Republicans are nervous"
"If Democrats are enthused, Republicans are nervous. Many GOP insiders view Sink -- with her personable style and strong qualifications as a former Florida president of Bank of America -- as the Democrats' best chance to steal a statewide office this year." "Democratic women spice up politics".
"That should outrage the people of Florida"
"Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is supposed to be the insurer of last resort for Florida homeowners who can't find private carriers to provide windstorm coverage. But it turns out that homeowners with houses insured for more than $1 million have been turning to Citizens because they've been able to get better rates from the company than from private carriers willing to provide coverage. That should outrage the people of Florida." "Millionaires Should Not Bank On Citizens For Insurance Coverage".
"Good Ole Boys
"Justice demands that FDLE conduct itself with objectivity, regardless of whether the target of an investigation is a career criminal or wears a badge.". "No time for buddies". See also "E-mail impropriety" ("Guy Tunnell's flippant remarks and inability to distance himself from the boot-camp investigation raise serious questions about the FDLE chief.")
Just Trust Us
"First Amendment advocates were fuming Wednesday after the Republican-led House refused to give the public greater access to government records that detail how the state recruits big business, often with millions of dollars in taxpayer money." "Business records to stay private". See also "Open records backers lose twice" and "House advances renewing shields for deals".
"Virtually every parent in the state could receive a taxpayer-provided voucher to send their children to private school under a plan approved by a Senate committee Wednesday. The plan would also override the state constitutional ban on the use of public money for religious instruction. While Democrats howled that the proposal would kill the public school system and require the state to fund Taliban schools in Florida, the lukewarm endorsement from Republicans to Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal portends future failure for the effort." "Jeb plan: vouchers to nearly everyone But panel's tepid support signals trouble for his effort". See also "New school voucher amendment is unveiled" and "Senate panel approves voucher plan".
While Mel Is Washing Dubya's Car ...
Mark is cleaning his pool: "Democrats say Foley is Bush's yes-man".
"Seminole Democrats have a new face. Literally. It belongs to Carol Cox, who's emerging as a new spokeswoman for liberals throughout Central Florida. She has managed to break into Central Florida's well-worn punditry scene ... This weekend marks Cox's biggest coming out to date when she and her party host Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a possible presidential candidate. The event will certainly boost the party's bank account and profile. But as for translating that into votes for Democrats in a Republican county, Cox said, 'The good news is that the only way we can go is up.'" "Donkey in elephants' world".
"Why oppose oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico? Let us count the reasons. It would: (1) jeopardize Florida's environment and tourism industry; (2) produce relatively little energy; and (3) increase the threat of global warming. Still, if Congress doesn't stop it, the Bush administration plans to open the Gulf to drilling in an area a mere 100 miles from the Florida Panhandle." "Administration pushes Gulf drilling".
"Try again, for the voters"
"Florida needs [a redistricting] commission because now the Legislature draws the districts, meaning that politicians choose the voters they want. In addition, because Florida gains congressional seats every 10 years from population growth, influential legislators can draw a congressional district for themselves. That happened in 2001 with Tom Feeney, who was House speaker and now represents the Orlando-area seat he insisted on before the statewide map could be finished. Republicans crafted the other new seat in Miami-Dade County for then-state Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart." "Try again, for the voters".
Jebbie's "Privatization Disaster"
This may be "Jeb!"'s signature failure (although there are many to choose from):
"There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society," Gov. Bush said outside the Old Capitol in Tallahassee at his second inauguration in January 2003, "than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers.""Convergys top example of privatization disaster".
With 11,000 fewer state government workers than when he took office in 1999, Gov. Bush proclaims his private-is-always-better-than-public plan successful. In fact, his privatization scheme has rewarded campaign donors, reduced services and worsened quality.
The most expensive confirmation of the privatization disaster is Convergys, hired Sept. 10, 2001, to handle all personnel services that human resource departments historically have provided - payroll, benefits, job advertising, résumé-collecting. As a Convergys lobbyist steered nearly $1.2 million to the state GOP, the Cincinnati-based company was heralded as able to do with only 550 employees what 900 state employees had, saving the state $93 million in operating costs. In fact, Convergys' seven-year, $262million contract secretively grew to a nine-year, $350 million contract, while its projected savings shrank to $25 million. Worse, its service has been abominable.
GOoPers To Roll In PC Cash
"A House panel rejects the Democrats' demand for an outright ban on political committees exempt from the $500 contribution limit." "GOP takes hard line on soft money".
"It's not certain that Gov. Bush and Republican legislative leaders will be able to get class-size repeal and 'the 65 percent solution' on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment. It is certain that continuing to take school money from South Florida would make already dubious voters in the state's most populous region even less likely to back GOP-sponsored amendments that deal with education." "How not to win votes".