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 Monday, June 19, 2006

"Jeb!"'s Slush Fund

    "Bush started the foundation, a think tank that he calls a "do tank," after his 1994 gubernatorial loss to Lawton Chiles. He used the foundation as a platform to spread the message about his proposed reforms, including school vouchers, and to remain in the public spotlight until he revived his gubernatorial campaign and was elected governor in 1998. After becoming governor, Bush let the foundation blend into the conservative James Madison Institute, but he brought it back to life last year. The donations, ranging from $1 to $500,000, have come from around the state and country and include gifts from some of the Bush family's biggest sponsors. The top donation, $500,000, was given by Tampa-based Cast-Crete Corp., which makes building materials and is headed by conservative activist Ralph Hughes. The Geo Group, a Boca Raton-based company that runs private prisons, donated $100,000. Its major shareholder is George Zoley, a Florida Atlantic University graduate Bush appointed to the university's board of trustees." "Governor mum about intentions for $1.9 million in endowments".

    James Walker, Fighting Dem

    "He's a 33-year-old Democrat with no political experience, a Republican wife and a college sophomore running his campaign." "Soldiers' new battles: fighting for votes".

    Yard Signs

    "Looking for votes on street corners".

    Jennings Visits With Bill

    "Here's what $25,000 could buy you: front-row tickets to all Tampa Bay Devil Rays games for three years or a new custom Ford Mustang. In Democrat Christine Jennings' case, $25,000 was the price for just five minutes with former president Bill Clinton." "Congressional candidate gets time with Clinton".

    Drug Testing

    "[T]his week, the union representing most state employees really is standing on principle - an odd one, protection of its own legal turf - in a scheduled sit-down with the Department of Corrections. The topics don't involve money but are worthy of state employees' attention." "AFSCME wary of drug test ยป".

    FCAT Follies

    "Democrats hoping to become Gov. Jeb Bush's successor will face an uphill battle if they try to revamp Florida's testing program in public schools."

    The FCAT test, the centerpiece of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's A+ education program, is the favorite whipping boy for the Democrats who want his job.

    U.S. Rep. Jim Davis promises that if he is elected, the FCAT will be used simply as a "diagnostic tool." State Sen. Rod Smith also vows sweeping change in Bush's program, which bases school grades, student promotion and additional funding on test scores. "I will not use this test to grade schools for money,"

    Smith recently told Democratic activists in Miami, who hissed at the mere mention of the FCAT. "I will not use this test to pay schoolteachers. I will not use this test to keep students from advancing."
    "Candidates for governor eye FCAT changes".

    "What goes around in politics comes around"

    "What goes around in politics comes around. One year after Senate President Tom Lee dashed Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's dream of a new Florida Marlins baseball stadium, the mayor endorsed Lee's rival for state chief financial officer." "Touche: Miami's Diaz backs Lee's opponent".


    "Six years ago, as a member of the state House, Lois Frankel and her Democratic colleagues criticized what they called disenfranchisement of voters in the disputed 2000 election. Today, as mayor of West Palm Beach, Lois Frankel intends to disenfranchise her citizens by denying them the right to vote on the city's most controversial issue." "Go to voters, not courts".

    GOoPer Gimmick

    "Marco Rubio, the West Miami-Dade Republican state legislator, is looking for a few good ideas. Rubio, who is slated to be the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives next year, is traveling the state, holding what he calls ''idea-raiser'' meetings, and seeking the public's views on how Florida ought to be run through a website sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida, www.100ideas.org." "With GOP at 'crossroads moment,' Rubio looks to the public for new ideas".

    "Anti-GOP feelings"

    "Anti-Republican sentiment could be a reason it's been tough to recruit candidates for this year's local elections. County GOP leaders say they have struggled more this year than any other to persuade qualified residents to put their names on the ballot." "Anti-GOP feelings may be affecting local races".

    Double Whammy

    "Homeowners and business owners still reeling from soaring insurance premiums can expect to get socked again." "Palm Beach County governments getting socked by high insurance bills".

    New Rules

    The Miami Herald editorial board:

    Under the new rules, election supervisors would have to submit testing plans to the state election division and notify the machines' manufacturer and other supervisors with the same system. State officials and the manufacturer would have to be present during testing. Results would be shared with other supervisors. State officials say this will increase transparency, and they're right. Wisely, the state dropped a proposal that would have prohibited any testing without prior state approval.

    The bad provision would require security testers to be certified by one of only three specific entities. Computer science professor David L. Dill of Stanford University, a nationally recognized electronic-voting expert, wrote on the secretary of state's public comment website: "These qualifications are inappropriate because they would exclude the most competent evaluators, such as those who have found most of the reported security holes in existing voting systems. I have checked with several computer-security experts who . . . like me, have never heard of" the three state-specified qualifying entities.

    Mr. Dill goes on to say that he then checked the three entities' websites and "They don't seem to be relevant for voting-system evaluation in general, and they have little to do with system security." There's no good reason for the state to keep this provision.

    Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho and some watchdog groups believe the new rules are an attempt to stop all security testing -- a reaction to his tests of Diebold's touch-screen machines last year in which an expert was able to break the security system and change vote results.

    The tests embarrassed the secretary of state's office. Then a California panel of computer science experts that included Mr. Dill found the same flaws in Diebold's machines. Only then did Florida officials add new safety measures that prohibit one person from ever being alone with voting equipment.
    "Proposed testing rules need revisions".

    What is going on in Palm Beach County? "Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson and many of his colleagues support a proposal by the Florida Division of Elections to give the state a greater role in the testing of county voting equipment." "Elections chief welcomes greater state role" ("Critics say the proposed rule is merely an attempt to squelch the kind of embarrassment that occurred last year when maverick Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho quietly invited computer scientists to hack into his county's state-certified system.")

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