"McBride is the most talked about [challenger to Harris] among political watchers because of his personal wealth, his family connections to one of the biggest names in the conservative Christian movement and his access to top White House leaders." "Harris rival creates buzz".
Back at the ranch, "Harris donates money to offset meal with contractor": "The March 2004 dinner with Mitchell Wade, the former chief executive officer of MZM Inc., occurred at Citronelle, one of Washington's most expensive restaurants, and was not reported on Harris' financial disclosure records. Wade pleaded guilty earlier this year to bribing former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif. He stipulated that he gave Harris' 2004 congressional campaign $32,000 in illegal contributions.".
"The incoming Senate president and a House member are accused of misusing funds."
A Broward County Democratic activist has filed ethics complaints against incoming state Senate President Ken Pruitt and a House member from Fort Lauderdale, alleging various offenses, including misuse of charitable donations intended for educational scholarships."Two face ethics complaints". See also "Pruitt, ally draw ethics complaint".
Pruitt, through his lawyer, and state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff dismissed the complaints to the state Ethics Commission as "pure politics." Both are Republicans.
"A bitter internal dispute has caused the demise of one of Florida's most prominent Republican clubs. When the Florida Federation of Republican Women, led by longtime activist Anne Voss of Tampa, refused to let two members renew their membership, the organization's national office ordered it dissolved." "GOP women's group dissolved".
The Buzz can't figure out who was refused membership renewal ("Formerly Federated Women") or why.
Feisty CFO Debate
Alex Sink had to sit between Lee and Johnson, the poor thing:
For a race that’s not getting much attention, the candidates provided some excitement during the discussion hosted by the Orlando Tiger Bay Club. Johnson questioned Lee’s leadership in the Senate and said an insurance bill he worked on was “an embarrassment.” Lee said Johnson was simply making shallow, politically motivated remarks."CFO candidates have feisty debate on insurance, spending".
Then there was Sink, the former president of Bank of America’s Florida operations, who more or less was able to talk about her experience and positions without being challenged.
"Offensive" Republican Values
"The Florida League of Women Voters has faithfully helped register voters for 67 years, but Republican lawmakers now have put them out of business. Chalk it up to last year's election reform law, and call it a political disgrace." "Offensive voter registration rules" ("Florida ranks 39th in the percentage of voting-age residents who are registered, and any attempt to frustrate genuine, nonpartisan, volunteer efforts to improve that rate is offensive.")
"Insurance companies that use credit rating information when deciding whether to insure someone will have to prove that the use of the credit score doesn’t discriminate under a new state rule that the industry is challenging. State Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Tuesday that the Office of Insurance Regulation will begin enforcing the rule, despite the challenge." "State rules question credit scoring in insurance decisions".
"Nelson denies D.C. tree flap".
"So how does the state Legislature react? By making it easier to build in hazardous coastal areas." "Bill Puts Lives, Tax Dollars At Risk".
"The former lieutenant governor, who died Monday, was nearly impeached after winning office with Reubin Askew." "A political career, clouded by scandal". See also "Ex-Lt. Gov. Tom Adams, dead at 89, remembered for work, controversy" and "Rites Saturday for Adams, once a powerful politician".
More: "Tom Adams enlivened state history" "In memory of".
"The conscience of the House"
"James L. Redman, called the 'the conscience of the House' for his campaign against corruption during 12 years in the Florida Legislature, has died. He was 74." "Florida lawmaker became 'conscience of the House'".
Drinking the FCAT Kool Aid
Expect a spate of stories like this today: "FCAT reading scores improve".
In the meantime, the Dems will point out that "The real measure of Florida's public schools lies with independent research groups that show the state has the worst graduation rate in the nation, and Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, scores languish near the bottom, [House Democratic Leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale] said." "FCAT scores are up, Bush says".
"Bill protects billboards instead of trees"
"Unless Gov. Jeb Bush gets wise and vetoes a bill obsequiously endorsed by an overwhelming majority of tree-weary legislators, this state's cities and counties will have to remove vegetation on public lands that gets in the way of billboards on private lands. Should this measure become law, it would be forbidden to plant trees, bushes and even some flowering plants that might obscure a 500-foot clear view of roadside advertising on major highways. On less-important roads, a 350-foot clearing would be required." "Skewed view".
"The crack [by Dubya] reminded some of Castro's comments last November in which he called the governor 'the fat little brother in Florida,' then added, 'It is not a criticism, rather a suggestion that he do some exercises and go on a diet.'" "Jeb: I'll keep chompin'".
GOP Convention to Tampa?
"Tampa bids for 2008 Republican convention".
What's On Your iPod?
"Instead of listening to music while jogging, voters will be able to use their iPods or MP3 players to catch up on candidate positions on political issues next summer. Anyone with a phone can to listen, live, to a candidate forum on education, government efficiency and environmental impacts of growth. And if they miss the non-partisan discussion, they will be able to point and click their way through the candidates and the issues at www.ForThePublic.net." "Voters can dial, download info".
Raw Political Courage
"Bush ready to sign bill restricting Cuba travel".
Why Is This Even An Issue?
Playing politics with death:
[A]ccording to Jenny Greenberg, director of the Florida Innocence Initiative, the bill nearly didn't get through the Legislature. In the House, she said, it was amended so as to weaken it. In the Senate, it almost fell victim to the struggle over who will become the chamber's president in 2008."Sign DNA testing bill".
The Senate sponsor was Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, who has been right on this issue from the start. Sen. Villalobos had been set to succeed Ken Pruitt, the incoming president. But Sen. Pruitt is backing a switch in 2008 to Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach. "It should have been a cakewalk," Ms. Greenberg said, "but it almost didn't get heard." She credits Sen. Villalobos for getting the bill passed despite the irresponsible attempt to punish him by killing the bill, and she praises the Florida Bar for helping at the right moment.
"Laughably ineffective ex-Education Commissioner Jim Horne"
"Along comes the Legislature, however, trying to mess up a system that is working. House Bill 135, which is on its way to the governor's desk, would set up a new bureaucratic entity — the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission — to authorize and oversee charter schools in place of local school boards. Charter school companies paid Florida's laughably ineffective ex-Education Commissioner Jim Horne a lot of money to get HB 135 passed. And you can bet that they weren't seeking enhanced oversight." "Reject state commission to guide charter schools".
"Senator pleads not guilty to misusing public money charges".
"Homeowners across the state are banding together to protest Citizens and the high cost of property insurance." "State insurer has a fight on its hands".
Is the NFL Nuts?
"Could Gov. Jeb Bush's future be in football? While U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has publicly flirted with the idea of becoming the next commissioner of the National Football League, Bush has been privately approached to gauge his interest in the job and was reportedly receptive." "Are you ready for some football, Jeb?" See also "Jeb Bush: NFL boss? It's been discussed" and "Jeb approached about top NFL job".
Is the NFL nuts? Why would they flirt with incompetents like Rice (the "National Security Advisor" who presided over the biggest national security disaster in U.S. history) and Bush who has been largely a failure as Governor.
And why would the NFL want as a commissioner the one individual who probably has done more to harm race relations in Florida than any current elected official. Aside from the policies he has pushed, Jebbie can't keep his mouth shut. "Bush's history of politically unfortunate rhetoric goes back to 1994, when he famously answered a question on the campaign trail by saying he would do 'probably nothing' for blacks if elected governor." "When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe".
Air War begins
"Crist to begin TV campaign".
The writer of this piece, "Jeb Bush would be ideal U.S. envoy", is aparently unaware that a diplomat has to have diplomatic skills. Then again, Jebbie did participate in a few overseas trade missions (with GOoPer contributors tagging along), and he did sell water pumps in Africa while his daddy was president (see "Jeb Bush followed the family game plan: Earn your fortune, then run for public office. A vast network of deals made it possible" and "The Justice Department says a water pump company fraudulently helped Nigeria obtain $74-million in taxpayer-backed loans"), the latter should be particularly helpful in any diplomatic endeavor.