Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Thursday, March 23, 2006

Uninformed Crist Flip-Flops on Abortion

    This is unbelievable: "Attorney General Charlie Crist would sign an abortion ban similar to South Dakota's if he were elected governor".
    When asked by a Roman Catholic Priest whether he would sign a bill like South Dakota's abortion ban, which only allows the procedure to save a woman's life, Crist quickly answered "Yes I would."
    But Charlie was apparently unaware that the infamous South Dakota law forces victims of rape and incest to bear children. So, Charlie did what he does best, he, ahem ... "clarified" his statement:
    He later clarified that the South Dakota law, set to go into effect July 1, is too restrictive, and he would only sign a ban if it also allowed abortions for victims of rape and incest. Crist added, “Promoting a culture of life is preferable to me than passing laws."
    "Crist would sign abortion ban, discusses adoption proposal".

    Charlie's Turn ...

    to take a hit: "A scandal over the improper release of confidential state worker information is nagging at Attorney General Charlie Crist, who declined to investigate the case and now faces questions from political opponents." "Decision haunts attorney general". See also yesterday's "Crist criticized for handling of possible leak".

    Yesterday: "Dems: Cancel Convergys contract"..


    "Florida may require high school students to declare a major" See also "Plan Creates High School Majors".

    Session News

    - Today's agenda: "Upcoming"

    - "Legislature 2006: Developments from Wednesday, March 22". See also "Capitol Roundup", "Issues" and "Tallahassee Ticker".

    - "A sweeping restriction on civil lawsuits coveted by the state's business lobby survived its first and only Senate committee Wednesday, clearing the way for a final showdown." "Senate panel passes tort reform". See also "Panel Sets The Stage For Tort Reform", "Joint and several' bill moves on to full Senate" and "Lawsuit liability limit ready for Senate vote".

    - "The Florida House and Senate have unveiled substantially different school budgets for the coming year." "A clash of state priorities: tax cuts or school funding?" See also "House Differs With Senate Over Tax Cut".

    - "Panhandle builders may face stricter wind-protection rules".

    - "The bills (SB 1358 and HB1605) also would require hospitals to publicize their nurse turnover and vacancy rates. And they would seek to protect nurses who blow the whistle on hospitals that report incorrect statistics." "Nurses: Let patients know staff ratio levels".

    - "$2 rental-car surcharge no 'sure thing'".

    - "Senators quibble over length of Easter/Passover break".

    - "In the wake of reports that a private subcontractor released the personnel records of thousands of state employees to unauthorized individuals overseas, a Senate committee is taking another stab at limiting and having the legislature oversee the contracts that state government agencies can make with private vendors." "Bill calls for limits on state contracts".

    - "Bill to keep government e-mail addresses private weakened".

    - "Teens who want to avoid telling their parents about an abortion would have new requirements to face under a House bill." "Abortion rules challenged".

    "You simply cannot believe a single thing Katherine Harris says"

    "Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Harris' comments Tuesday were misleading."

    "Katherine Harris would have Florida voters believe she's on the verge of being destitute because, she claims, she has put all her inherited $10-million fortune on the line," McLaughlin said. "But public records put her remaining net worth at up to $39 million. You simply cannot believe a single thing Katherine Harris says, about this or anything else."
    "Harris to spend inheritance on Senate campaign". As the Orlando Sentinel noted yesterday,
    Last week, Harris announced she would finance her struggling campaign with an infusion of $10 million left to her by her late father. Since then, she has repeatedly said that will drain her personal fortune, but it's not entirely clear how.

    Financial-disclosure forms filed in August indicate Harris and her husband have assets worth at least $7.8 million, and could be worth up to $36.8 million. And those figures do not include the $10 million Harris said she will receive in inheritance.
    "After Senate race, Harris 'will not own anything'".


    We read that "Governor opposes Mississippi-to-Tampa oil pipeline". It isn't that Jebbie has had a green transformation; rather he's worried that

    in order for them to finance their pipeline, they would have had to take significant amounts of business away from barge traffic," Bush said at a Tallahassee news conference Tuesday.
    So, he is now "opposing a proposal for a petroleum pipeline through the Gulf of Mexico from Mississippi to Tampa, citing concerns about its economic affect on the shipping industry.".

    Buy A Legislator, "'Rent-a-cow'"

    "In areas of the state experiencing development booms, developers and land speculators take advantage the law's flaws in order to get six-figure tax reductions. They merely keep cows or crops on the land, in some cases receiving the agricultural deduction even after breaking ground for construction. A 2005 Miami Herald investigation found abuse of the greenbelt law especially prevalent in South Florida." "'Rent-a-cow' racket still alive and well".

    Just When You Thought It Was Safe ...

    to read the Tampa Trib, we get this: "Tax Cuts Vs. Investing In Schools: The Answer Is To Do Both". The editroial is actually a bit better than the headline, but not by much.


    "A judge has blocked permits for a limestone mining project bordering Everglades National Park, ruling that the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal law by ignoring the project’s environmental risks when they approved it in 2002, an environmental group’s attorney said Wednesday." "Federal judge blocks mining project near Everglades".


    "Misleading calls target Feeney: "U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney's office was flooded with calls from angry residents last week. The reason: Oodles of automated phone messages had implied Feeney sided with the big drug companies by voting for President Bush's new prescription-drug plan under Medicare. The problem: He didn't".

    "One of the biggest messes in Gov. Jeb Bush's tenure"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board wants to "Play hard ball" with prison reform; you know, "bid-rigging on contracts, misuse of convict labor and embezzlement" etc,. etc. Too bad the editorial board declines to "play hard ball" with the individual ultimately responsible for the mess: you, know, that fellow in the Governor's Mansion.

    And this isn't much better: "Cleaning up the Corrections Department".

    Let's just hope they are keeping their powder dry as the "news is likely to get worse as federal and state grand juries continue to scrutinize the department." One assumes that "Jeb!" will be called to account for "one of the biggest messes in Gov. Jeb Bush's tenure." Id.

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that the 65% gimmick (the proposal that requires each school district to spend at least 65% of all revenue "in the classroom") is part of a national right wing strategy? Go to "The 65% Distraction" and scroll down.

    Gallagher Rakes In Bushco Cash

    "So far, no clear consensus has emerged, but a St. Petersburg Times analysis shows Chief Financial Officer Gallagher has attracted twice as many of the big Bush rainmakers as his opponent." "Big GOP donors smile on Gallagher". See also "Gubernatorial Rangers".

    Those GOoPer Business Principles Again

    Those business types in the GOP - State Rep. Curtis

    Richardson recently brought to light a critical study of the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Program, issued in January by the Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Bottom line: OPPAGA found that the taxpayers have shelled out nearly $4.4 million in premiums for an insurance policy that has had only 39 claims since 2001 - and paid only three settlements, totaling $50,375.
    "Richardson: Get rid of teacher insurance".


    Drunk with power, and expecting 100% sycophancy from the Florida Republican Party, the Florida Chamber of Commerce's "Bash of lawmaker gets chamber bashed back".

    Wrong End

    "Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District Jan Schneider was inadvertently left off a list of parade participants last week. So Schneider, who entered later than some other candidates, appeared at the end of the parade." "Wrong end of the parade".

    Poor George

    Jeremy Wallace:

    It's no secret that George W. Bush's approval ratings have been suffering through the early part of 2006. And according to Survey USA, voters in Florida are among those who have turned on the President.

    Although Bush won Florida with 52 percent of the vote in 2004 against Democrat John Kerry, SurveyUSA says their poll shows only 37 percent of Floridians approve of the job he has done. About 59 percent say they disapprove of the job he is doing.

    It's among the highest disapproval ratings in the nation among states that voted for Bush in 2004.
    "George W. Bush's approval ratings falter in Florida".

    Adult Supervision

    Could it be that the Florida Senate might provide some adult supervision of the House party on vouchers:

    It has been slow going in the Florida Senate for two issues that are top priorities for Gov. Jeb Bush: reviving a school voucher program and revising classroom-size requirements.
    "Senate still looking for voucher, class-size agreement".

    Harris Gets a Pass

    Jeremy Wallace thinks "Nightline Gives Harris Pass on MZM".

    "Tax break is just for students"

    "[N]ow and then a really easy, obvious and upbeat decision falls in the laps of - yes, even - lawmakers whose days are more typically spent in mired in complexities and having their arms pulled violently in opposite directions." "Textbook holiday".

    A Wedge Issue For Dems

    "Democrats say the GOP, while appearing to oppose the issue, is tacitly endorsing it in an Alzheimer's measure." "Can state fund embryonic stem cell research?"

    "This reeks of presidential election bid"

    Jebbie's recent comments on illegal immigration caused VivirLatino to remark that "he sounds like Hillary Clinton. Apparently he's also too liberal for right wing crazies. This reeks of presidential election bid." "A kinder, gentler Jeb Bush?"

    "Thankfully, this is his last year in office"

    "Gov. Bush dubbed his 1999 education plan "A-Plus." So he had no choice but to call his current package "A-Plus-Plus." Thankfully, this is his last year in office. Public education can't stand many more of Gov. Bush's "reforms," and "A-Plus-Plus-Plus" would be so awkward." "Just Wait, Legislature!"

    "Hey Andy, did you hear about this one?" (Apologies to REM)

    This ought to outrage House Majority Leader Andy Gardiner who has "suggested to other GOP lawmakers that they not endorse the Democrats' bills." :

    Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami is the first Republican senator to back legislation that would prohibit lawmakers from soliciting soft-money donations for committees under their control. Villalobos signed his name to a Democrat-backed "pledge'' to support pending
    legislation that would outlaw funds controlled by senators, House members, statewide officeholders or statewide candidates.
    " Villalobos Backs Soft-Money Curb".

    Gambling Rules From "the losers in Tallahassee"

    The interim step between passing a law and enforcing it gives great power to little government gnomes who write the detailed rules that translate a legal concept into the real world of the people and institutions the law regulates.

    There are at least two types of rule-writing gnomes who can bend or thwart a law's intent: Nanny Gnomes and Drunken-Uncle Gnomes.

    It turns out that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation is staffed by Nanny Gnomes who have been writing very stringent rules to govern (and hinder) the expansion of casino gambling. ...

    The law says casinos can't give suckers free drinks. The Legislature, which is OK with gambling but draws the line at tipsy gambling, will allow that restriction. But there's an uproar because the Nannies also are trying to ban all freebies. Casino operators whine that without free rooms and meals, the high rollers will go elsewhere. And that would be a tragedy because the little schoolchildren of Florida are counting on those big losers - which, sad reality has shown, can be better than counting on the losers in Tallahassee.
    "High rollers will get a Pepsi?"

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