Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"She Loves Theatrics"

    Today's New York Times:
    "She's finished," said Jim Kane, the chief pollster for Florida Voter, a nonpartisan polling organization. "It's a matter of when, not if, she's going to do it."

    Ms. Harris was not granting interviews on Monday, and a spokeswoman, Morgan Dobbs, would not reveal when or what her announcement might be. But a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said the committee expected Ms. Harris to stay in the race, and some analysts who have followed her tumultuous political career said they would not bet on her withdrawing.

    "I have learned in watching Katherine Harris not to make predictions," said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for The Cook Political Report.

    Or, in the words of Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist in Tallahassee: "The God's truth is, it's impossible to know what's in her head."
    "Campaign Doubts Arise for a Divisive Candidate".

    Jeremy Wallace has this: "Harris keeps everyone guessing Political world awaits Wednesday statement" ("'She loves theatrics,' [Republican political consultant David E.] Johnson said.") See also "Harris mum about decision on Senate race", "Speculation Swirls Over Harris' Plans", "Is The End Near For Harris?" ("A strong signal of that came today when http://www.RedState.Com, a prominent conservative blog urged Harris to end her Senate campaign.") and "Harris considers next move, her usual coterie in the dark".


    "Local politics is more than rhetoric, it's about neighbors".

    Session Developments

    - "Today in and around the Florida Legislature".

    - "Legislature 2006: Developments from Monday, March 13".

    - "Two South Florida lawmakers killed their high-priority bill that would have made it tougher for juries to recommend the death penalty -- a decision rooted in election-year politics and a Republican Party struggle over the next leader of the Florida Senate." "Conservatives reject stricter sentencing rules".

    - "Two bills on bullies get legislators' attention". See also "Plans target bias, bullies".

    - "Lawmakers seek repeal of law allowing phone-rate hike". See also "Three legislators seek to limit law allowing record phone rate hikes" and "Consumer groups fighting phone rate increases".

    - "Legislature set to renew autopsy exemption".

    - "Panel: Remove spending caps on affordable housing".

    - "Joint committee blasts DJJ".

    - "Bill would limit eminent domain". See also "Bill severely limits developers access to seized land".

    - "Bills target public-records law".

    Leon County Standoff

    "Sancho and County Commission Chairman Bill Proctor met privately with Cobb and Division of Elections Director Dawn Roberts for two hours to discuss the long-running standoff between the supervisor's office and the three companies whose voting equipment is certified by the state." "Secretary, Sancho meet".

    Unfortunately, "Tallahassee Democrat Political Editor Bill Cotterell, Associated Press reporter Brent Kallestad and cameraman Dave Heller also were threatened with eviction from a hallway outside Cobb's closed conference room by Capitol Police for trying to attend the meeting". "Public meeting turns private when Cobb restricts access to reporters".

    "Charges of cronyism and bid-rigging"

    "The interim secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections told lawmakers Monday he was determined to fix the department's contracting system, which is under investigation by state and federal authorities amid charges of cronyism and bid-rigging." "Interim prisons chief probing no-bid deal". See also "No-bid prison medicine contracts were mismanaged, new boss says".

    Oh Yeah, It's Election Day

    Broward: "Apathy, high costs of March elections spur possible shift to November ballot".

    More From The "Values" Crowd

    "The head of Florida's healthcare agency says the state's Medicaid program will resume paying for the feeding supplements for disabled and seriously ill children and adults as officials sort through a growing controversy over alleged cutbacks in state funding." "Disabled funds cut in dispute".

    "School presidents fuming"

    "State education Commissioner John Winn wants to cut Florida's universities and community colleges out of their share of a $480 million budget surplus, dedicating the money instead solely to kindergarten through grade 12 schools. The unprecedented request, which was revealed Friday in a letter to University Chancellor Mark Rosenberg, has school presidents fuming and readying their lobbyists for a legislative assault." "Universities ready to fight for share of surplus money".

    Wingnut Party

    "Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in Tallahassee today to talk to House Republicans about health care policy. Republicans will be there. Democrats won't." "Newt's in the House".

    "Nelson right to threaten a Senate filibuster"

    "The timing of Ms. Norton's resignation could help Florida's cause. Sen. Nelson said he can block her replacement if the nominee also favors drilling too close to the beaches. Under Senate rules, only one member need object to prevent further consideration of a nominee. Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., used a similar technique on Ms. Norton, refusing to confirm her choices for key administrators until she explained why she transferred an Everglades restoration coordinator and closed an Everglades office in West Palm Beach." "Block the latest threat to the state's beaches?"

    "Rotten union thugs"

    Poor central Florida:

    Truth be told, though, even the most optimistic of Washington liberals don't consider Feeney vulnerable. While Democrats nationwide are expected to make gains, Feeney occupies a heavily Republican-drawn district (drawn that way by the Legislature when he was running it as speaker). And his two Democratic challengers, Andy Michaud and Clint Curtis, have little name recognition, money or even support from their party, at least so far.

    Still, the hyperbole and fear-mongering in Feeney's letter sounds a bit like a man on edge. A man usually known for proudly touting his beliefs is resorting to attacks on virtually everyone who has ever upset him, which is not the way confident incumbents usually play the campaign game.
    "Is Rep. Feeney running hard or running scared?"


    "Big money is at stake in a push to make exemptions portable from house to house." "Worrisome tax issue has lawmakers scrambling".

    Big of 'Em

    "A federal agency developing a plan for oil and natural-gas drilling off Florida's shores has agreed to hold a public hearing in Tallahassee on April 6 after initially snubbing the state, Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martinez said Monday." "Drilling hearing in April".

    Voucher Madness

    "Jeb Bush's blind spot on school vouchers is showing again. And it remains frustratingly difficult to understand why this self-described champion of accountability suddenly forgets the concept when it comes to public money flowing into private hands." "Blind spot".

    Good Luck

    "Women's rights advocates are once again uniting in hopes of persuading state lawmakers to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. But with opposition high, their chances of success appear slim." "Advocates renew call for ERA".

    Incompetence or Arrogance?

    Is it incompetence, arrogance, or a combination of the two?

    As the GOP senator, Martinez is expected to build support among House Republicans, who hold 18 of Florida's 25 congressional seats, but six weeks later none have endorsed the drilling plan he and Nelson introduced.

    One big reason is that many members are angry that Martinez didn't consult them.

    It was Nelson's staff who invited many of the Republicans to the oil-drilling meeting, which was held in Nelson's office. Some never heard from Martinez's staff at all. And at least one Republican House member was left completely out.

    Many Republican members and their staffs are upset by the lack of communication from Martinez's office in recent weeks, but they are not surprised.

    Complaints started immediately after Martinez was sworn into office a year ago and have not subsided.
    "Oil deal shows wide gulf between Martinez, House".

    "Maybe Republicans really do like Rod Smith. Smith, a state senator from Alachua and one of the two leading Democratic contenders for governor, has staked much of his campaign on the claim that he can appeal to independent and GOP voters. And it looks like he's already attracted one: Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, who gave Smith's campaign $500 last fall." "Crossover Cash".

    Did You Know ...


    Florida last fall received a waiver from traditional Medicaid, a waiver which allows the state to cut off health care benefits once an existing beneficiary receives a specified dollar amount of health care-- with even weaker standards for Floridians using Medicaid funds in conjunction with employer-paid health plans. Instead of providing a robust system of health care for the uninsured, many states such as Florida and Utah are on track to leaving many of those currently covered by Medicaid with worse benefits and at risk from financial ruin from any serious illness.
    "Eye on Health Care".

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