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 Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jebbie's Fortune

    Our lame duck Governor continues to waddle upon the national stage, feeding the rumors that his national political aspirations may rise to the surface sooner rather than later. Yesterday's U.S. News and World Report "Washington Whispers" column notes that, although "Jeb Bush has made it clear that he doesn't want to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, but that hasn't stopped friends from talking him up for vice president." "In Dad's Footsteps: a Bush for Veep?"

    Today we read that "Gov. Jeb Bush speaks out about [of all things] CEO pay in Fortune magazine." "Jeb and Fortune".

    That a handmaiden to the wealthy who himself was "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple" would pontificate on excessive CEO pay is of course laughable, but it does keep the rumor mill grinding about his future plans.

    In that regard, The Buzz asks: "If Jeb Bush has no interest in seeking office again, why is he chatting with Fortune magazine about excessive executive compensation? Hmmmm.". " Jeb on the threat to capitalism".

    And last week's news about Jebbie's apparent abuse of his self serving inter-elections prop, the misnamed "Foundation for Florida's Future", only fuels the fire:
    Jeb Bush has used his recently revived nonprofit foundation to pay a former campaign finance director and two former campaign aides.

    Although Bush has said his Foundation for Florida's Future is not a way of keeping his political machine intact after he leaves office early next year, recent disclosures on the foundation's Web site show that it paid:

    • Nearly $99,000 to Ann Herberger, Bush's campaign finance director during two campaign and a longtime political fund-raiser for his family.

    • Nearly $70,000 to Neil Newhouse of Washington-based GOP Public Opinion Strategies group for polling last October.

    • $48,000 for "management services" to a lobbying and public-affairs firm whose staff includes Mandy Clark and Mandy Fletcher. Both worked on Bush's reelection campaign and on his brother's presidential reelection campaign.

    • $23,500 for "legal services" from the Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs.

    • $20,000 in February to GOP political strategist Adam Goodman's The Victory Group Inc.

    The foundation has spent about $320,000 of the $1.9 million it has raised since Bush revived it in the fall, according to its Web site. Those contributions have come from friends, former colleagues and campaign contributors, and even the prime minister of Haiti.

    Bush also has tapped three "Rangers" — fund-raisers who brought in at least $200,000 for President Bush's 2004 campaign — to sit on the foundation's board: Zach Zachariah, a Fort Lauderdale cardiologist; Tom Petway, a Jacksonville businessman; and Sergio Pino, a Miami developer.
    "Governor's nonprofit foundation has paid pollster, former campaign finance chief".

    CD 9

    "With control of the U.S. House hanging on a razor edge between the two parties, the race between Busansky and Bilirakis is one of a number nationwide - and one of no more than two or three in Florida - that could change the agenda of the nation for the next few years." "Fight Is On For Legacy Seat". See also "District 9 shapes up as battleground".

    "Group shows how to steal an election"

    "In the nation's first 'methodical threat assessment' of an electronic voting system, the task force analyzed several different styles of electronic vote-counting equipment. Elections-security and computer experts were able to demonstrate that hackers could batter almost every door down. Most attacks took only one person, and would have been virtually undetectable under security measures in place across the nation."

    That's important, because any scam becomes easier to expose when large numbers of people are involved. Stealing an election that used paper ballots would require a minimum of seven people, the task force determined. Allowing a lone wolf to operate increases the chances that an election could be stolen undetectably.

    The most successful attacks, the Brennan Center found, were those that exploited security flaws in machines made by the nation's three largest voting-systems makers. Because these systems often use commonly available software, security vulnerabilities are well-known. (Advocates for other elections-security groups found that many states left default passwords active in their system, giving an open door to anyone who knew the defaults for those programs).

    Hackers could also find opportunities by breaking into wireless communications or corrupting memory cards used to transfer votes to a central tabulating computer-- or simply rig the tabulation process, perhaps the best way to tamper with an election.

    Some attacks would be inside jobs, involving trickery on the part of elections-department officials, the task force reported. It's not outside the realm of possibility that one elections clerk, somewhere, could get the few minutes needed to rig an election.
    "Risky business".

    Online Court Records

    "Floridians will have to continue going to their local courthouse to inspect most court records after the Florida Supreme Court decided Monday that further study is needed before putting that information online." "More study ordered before state court records go online". See also "State to try out Internet access of public records" ("The Florida Supreme Court on Monday continued a ban on Internet access to most court records but agreed to establish a pilot program to test such technology.")

    Good Luck

    "Group seeks state funds to free innocent inmates".

    Charter Schools

    "The danger with this new commission is that it was motivated primarily by a belief that county school boards have not been supportive enough [of charter schools]. Those boards do have a built-in conflict, approving and overseeing charter schools billed as filling a need the public schools don't. But the Constitution also says plainly that school boards 'shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district.'" "Serve children, not charter schools".


    "Republican candidate for governor Tom Gallagher owned stock in St. Joe Co. last year when he voted to rank some of the company's vast land holdings as a priority for state acquisition." "Gallagher voted despite share in firm".

    One Way To Look At It

    "Trailing by more than two-to-one to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Orlando lawyer Will McBride found a silver lining in a recent poll that shows him actually doing slightly better than widely-known Republican contender Katherine Harris in a similar matchup."

    "After years as a high profile figure in Florida politics, 24 percent of Republicans polled still say they `haven't heard enough' about Harris," said Jack St. Martin, McBride's campaign manager. "Because he has so recently entered politics, 77 percent haven't heard enough about Will McBride to have an opinion. That gives us huge room for growth between now and election day, Sept. 5."
    "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades Dept.".

    "Jane Fonda's love child"

    Ruth puts it bluntly: "Last week the U.S. Senate failed by one vote to approve a proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the flag.
    Jane's Love Child Even Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Yankee Doodle, who is leading his likely Republican opponent Katherine Harris by something like 127 percent to Hardy-Har-Har and wasn't willing to risk the accusation of being Jane Fonda's love child, voted for the measure." "Now There's A Profile In Courage".

    Leaving Children Behind

    "Delegates of the National Education Association [in Orlando] voted Monday in favor of lobbying Congress to reform the No Child Left Behind Act." "Union moves to lobby Congress for change".

    Pounding the Pavement

    "Wellington resident Siedlecki is a 37-year-old lawyer with his family's airport shuttle business who was a Bush administration appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services. He is trying to unseat Democratic state Rep. Shelley Vana, who won this mid-county seat by a slender 607 votes in 2002 and by 1,353 votes in 2004. Impressed by the close margins, Siedlecki spends a couple of hours most weekdays and long hours on weekends prospecting for votes by knocking on doors." "Political newcomer pounds the pavement".

    Whatever Works

    "To get on 'The Jerry Springer Show,' it helps to be a prostitute with a shocking story, a polygamist or someone committing simple adultery of some form. But next week all it will take is $50 and a belief in Democratic politics to see Jerry Springer address Sarasota Democrats at a major party fundraiser." "TV host Jerry Springer to talk to Democrats".


    "Revive Glades with road not taken".


    "Peter Schorsch was once one of the most promising young political consultants in the Tampa Bay area. Now he's facing three felony charges because authorities say he took money from political candidates or organizations but didn't provide the services he promised." "Political adviser's troubles escalate".

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