"Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist may not go to an Orlando fundraiser for a conservative Christian group whose leader endorsed his Republican opponent in the governor's race."
Nearly all of Florida's most powerful elected Republicans, including Gov. Jeb Bush, are slated to attend a major fundraiser Friday for a group that tried to ban same-sex marriage and keep Terri Schiavo alive."But, one statewide GOP official is notably absent from the guest list: Charlie Crist, the state attorney general and candidate for governor." And the wingers say they ain't happy:
The strong attendance by GOP leaders confers political clout upon the Florida Family Policy Council, an offshoot of James Dobson's national Christian conservative group Focus on the Family.
"That's saying something to us," said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council. "If I can't get Charlie Crist to come to an event when he's running for governor in a Republican primary, why should I think he'll sit down and talk to me after he's elected?"Of course, Stemberger has personally endorsed Gallagher, so he (and the Gallagher campaign) are enjoying Crist's refusal to attend as well as the Crist campaign's apparent bumbling of the issue:
Crist's campaign initially said Wednesday that he wasn't invited by Stemberger, who has personally endorsed his GOP rival for governor, state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher. But Stemberger released an April 5 letter from Crist to the council's chairman, Ray Berryman, in which Crist said he couldn't attend because of "previous commitments.""Event could put Crist in bind".
Late Wednesday, a Crist advisor said the campaign didn't know he was invited and that he would try to attend.
Expect Charlie to show up; and here's a hint Charlie, bring Representative B - you're a cute couple and the wingnuts love her.
Lee and "Jeb!"
"The governor, who usually refrains from choosing sides, endorsed the Senate president's bid for the Republican nomination for chief financial officer." "Bush backs Tom Lee in GOP primary". See also "Bush backs Lee in GOP race", "Gov. Bush backs Lee for state CFO", "Bush backs Lee for chief financial officer" and "Governor Endorses Lee In Chief Financial Officer Race".
Charlie Files Lawsuit
"One of the country's largest tobacco companies has cheated the state out of $17 million, according to Attorney General Charlie Crist, and on Wednesday the state filed a lawsuit seeking to get that amount." "State sues over cigarette contract".
Mel Keeping Money
"Martinez, who returned a $2,500 donation he believes was tied to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is not giving up $250,000 raised at an Abramoff-led event." Funds link Martinez, Abramoff"..
On Jebbie's Desk
"'Paternity bill' waits for the OK".
"oth Florida Power & Light and its customers were hit hard by last year's hurricanes, so it is only fair that the Public Service Commission take an even-handed approach in dealing with the utility's $1.7 billion request for storm-related costs." "PSC listening to FPL, customers".
Our Green Governor
There is "astonishing news the Florida Department of Environmental Protection plans to lower dissolved oxygen water quality standards in the lower St. Johns to allow polluters to discharge tons more nitrogen, the main cause of last year's algae bloom, into the river." "State about to give polluters a pass on lower St. Johns".
"A bid to end a 25-year ban on drilling off U.S. coastlines poses a new threat to Florida's beaches, environment and tourism economy. It comes in a measure passed by a key U.S. House committee last week that aims to open protected coastlines to drilling for natural gas as close as three miles to shore. Florida lawmakers are wisely uniting to block the measure if it comes before the full House as early as this week." "Protect Florida tourism, coastlines".
Well, not all of them are "wisely" protecting Florida: "In a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert, most U.S. House members from Florida on Tuesday said they would try to derail an attempt to allow drilling for natural gas within a few miles of the state's coastline. ... Along with Feeney and Putnam, three other members, all Republicans, had not signed the letter: Ginny Brown-Waite of Crystal River, Dave Weldon of Indialantic and John Mica of Winter Park." "Florida lawmakers join against drilling". See also "Block new drilling threat" and "Drilling foes gird for vote as public opinion shifts".
This is so obvious, that even "Jeb!" "joined members of Florida's congressional delegation Wednesday in opposing legislation that would allow drilling for natural gas within 3 miles of the nation's coastline." "Gov. Bush leads opposition force on drilling".
[note: The headline incorrectly says the Jebbie "leads" this latest anti-drilling effort; in fact, on this as most everything else associated with drilling he has been late to the game.]
Frivolous Arguments About "Frivolous Lawsuits"
"Rather than continuing to hype frivolous lawsuits, lawmakers should focus their attention on streamlining the legal process so that injured patients can be compensated quickly and good doctors who've made a mistake can quickly get back to business without distraction." "Frivolous Lawsuits Not To Blame For Malpractice Insurance Spikes".
From The "Education Governor"
"A panel of education experts from around the country rejected Florida's request to say students who are working below grade level in reading and math are passing those subjects, which was an attempt to ensure more schools would meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law." "State can't list students below grade level as passing".
Gallagher Admits "Jeb!" A Failure
OK, he didn't actually say Jebbie was a failure, but he did say Florida's graduation rates are abysmal (and hasn't "Jeb!" made "education" the centerpiece of his administration?)
Noting Florida’s poor high school graduation ranking nationally, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher pledged Wednesday to reinvent the state’s high schools to yield a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 if he’s elected. ..."CFO said he'd reinvent Florida high schools if elected".
Florida ranks 46th nationally, ahead only of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee in high school graduation, according to the Manhattan Institute. Florida’s 59 percent graduation rate is tied with Alaska.
And Jebbie? Well he "told reporters he thought highly of Tom Gallagher's education proposal, unveiled earlier at a Capitol news conference." " Jeb: Gallagher's Ed Proposal 'First-Rate'".
"Crist tours Lake Okeechobee dike, citing 'sense of urgency'".
How Long ...
before this privatization deal screws up?
State health officials awarded a $308 million contract to Electronic Data Systems to run the state's Medicaid computer system, the company announced Wednesday."State picks EDS to run Medicaid computers".
"You'd think the biggest change in Hillsborough politics in a quarter-century would get the undivided attention of, say, the county elections supervisor. But Buddy Johnson's focus is someplace else. His latest misstep, imperiling a vote on a countywide mayor, further calls his competence into question." "Let voters have their say".
"The head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said Wednesday that his wife will quit lobbying for six businesses that have contracts with, are regulated by or otherwise have ties to his agency." "State highway chief's wife to stop lobbying for contracted firms".
"Former USF St Pete Dean Bill Heller looks to many Democrats like a dream candidate for recapturing state House District 52, now held by Frank Farkas. But despite heavy recruting from Betty Castor and other, Heller has not yet decided to run" "Heller For HD 52?".
Remember how FEMA handed out cash right and left in vote rich Miami-Dade prior to the 2004 election?
Newly released e-mails of former FEMA Director Michael Brown show top federal officials scrambling to explain millions in disaster aid going to Miami-Dade County residents for a 2004 hurricane that missed the county and coaching Brown "not to appear defensive" in responding to "ridiculous questions" from the media.Of course it was all politics all the time:
"We need you calm cool and collected," former FEMA chief of staff Patrick Rhode wrote in 2004 after the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had awarded more than $21 million in Miami-Dade for Hurricane Frances, the Labor Day weekend storm that struck 100 miles away. "We need our best spokesperson ... to combat these issues in a diplomatic way to wave the flag for the admin -"
In another e-mail, McBride wrote Brown, "Be cautious not to appear defensive or show that the ridiculous questions get under your skin when you're at the press conf today Megan will show up. Just don't want your expressions to give away your exasperation with this non-issue the way that the President's did in the first debate.""E-mails show FEMA scrambling to combat criticism over Miami-Dade hurricane payouts".
"It didn't take long for Republican Mark Flanagan to change the dynamics of the race to replace Katherine Harris in Congress. Within two minutes of one of his first speeches in Sarasota since declaring his candidacy last week, the socially conservative Flanagan was emphasizing his religious schooling and paraphrasing almost reflexively from Scripture." "Flanagan refers to Bible on stump".
See also "Candidates For Congress Talk Immigration".
"Some 700 Walgreens stores across Florida are offering something new this month: a chance to register to vote. As part of a continuing voter registration effort by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, Walgreens stores will stock voter applications at the check-out and prescription counters. Voters can pick up an application, fill it out at home, and mail it to their county elections supervisor, according to Susan Gill, Citrus County elections chief and president of the state association." "Check It Out".