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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Dropout Rate Up, Grad Rate Down"

    Delightful news on Florida's education front: "Dropout rate up, grad rate down". See also "More teens drop out" ("High school students in Broward and Miami-Dade dropped out in larger-than- usual numbers last school year.")

    Depending on which figures you use, "Florida ranked 43rd among the states, with a 66.7 percent graduation rate during the 2002-03 year, according to the latest evaluation by the National Assessment of Educational Progress." "New task force will tackle rise in high-school-dropout rate".

    34 Minutes

    "Bush halted all Florida executions and ordered a special commission to review lethal-injection policies after a medical examiner Friday suggested Miami killer Angel Nieves Diaz's execution was botched. ... It took 34 minutes for him to die -- more than double the average time -- as he grimaced, flexed his jaw and opened his mouth. Diaz was the 21st person executed under Bush, a record high for Florida governors." "Gov. Bush orders hold on executions". See also "Gov. Bush halts executions", "Bush halts executions to review procedure", "Gov. Bush suspends all Florida executions", "Gov. Bush halts executions" and "State death penalty halted" ("a medical examiner said an inmate's prolonged execution was the result of lethal drugs injected into his flesh, instead of his veins.")

    "An execution Wednesday that required a rare second dose of the lethal cocktail and lasted an unusually long 34 minutes triggered an outcry Thursday among death-penalty opponents and led to a lawsuit that seeks to once again halt capital punishment in Florida." "Lengthy execution sparks protests from state death-penalty opponents".

    Wonder what Chain Gang Charlie, who has said "'I don't care if you fry them or inject them, as long as you kill them'", thinks about all the fuss?

    We highly recommend this post (with excellent links) on the Political Safari blog by the Tampa Trib's will Laura Fiorilli: "Grim Realities".

    Ros-Lehtinen Caught In Lie?

    Florida DFA seems to have nailed Miss "I didn't say it" Ros-Lehtinen in some serious dissembling: "It has just been confirmed that our Representative in Congressional District 18, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has been caught in the act of calling for assassinations of foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro. After denying that the video was authentic (you will note its choppy nature on YouTube), the videographer sent the raw footage to Florida's CBS 4 News, and it was not choppy, as you can see." "CD 18 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Calls for Assassination of Foreign Leaders - With a Poll". See also the Florida Progressive Coalition blog: "Florida Congesswoman Calls for Assasination of Foreign Leaders".

    What's A "Jeb!" Clone To Do?

    After Charlie spent the entire GOP primary claiming he was a "Jeb!" clone, will Charlie pander to the right wing base on stem cells

    Florida - which supposedly wants to become the next great biotechnology research state - is two years away from what could be two contradictory constitutional amendments. One would provide money for embryonic stem cell research, while the other would ban such research.

    One way to avoid such an embarrassing development would be for the Florida Legislature to approve money for research this year. President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, and Gov.-elect Charlie Crist are on record as favoring such research.
    "Get state in stem cell race".

    Property Tax "Reform" - A Higher Sales Tax?

    "Bush's Florida Property Tax Reform Committee issued its first report Friday, calling for 'comprehensive' steps to fix the property-tax system but stopping short of recommending detailed changes."

    Also Friday, a tax watchdog group made its recommendations, urging repeal of the 1992 Save Our Homes constitutional amendment in combination with steps such as limiting growth of local-government revenue.

    "Florida's property-tax system is in crisis," said Dominic Calabro, president and chief executive officer of Florida TaxWatch.
    "Committee considers options for property tax reform". See also "Dozens Of Solutions For Tax Crisis Posed By State Committee", "TaxWatch: Repeal 3 percent property tax cap" and "Group recommends repealing 3% homestead cap" ("State Rep. Murzin says replacing property tax with sales tax possible").

    Joni James peers into the minds of the wingnuts on Jebbie's Property Tax Reform Committee in an article today:
    The most radical fix proposed - doing away with all property taxes in favor of a bigger sales tax - was first advanced by House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, and trumpeted by one of Bush's closest advisers and Rubio's new budget consultant, Donna Arduin. She also serves on the reform committee.

    State economists predicted the sales tax would need to be about 13.5 percent to generate enough money to eliminate property taxes. Local option sales taxes would be on top of that.
    "Property tax fix? Double sales tax". The Buzz notes that "in a sign of how difficult it will be to change Florida's real-estate-based tax system, even some task force members warned that switching to a sales tax could spell doom for Florida's tourist-based economy.".

    From The "Values" Crowd

    "Catherine Harrold and her teddy bears prove there is something terribly wrong with a system that incarcerates the mentally ill because there is no room for them in state mental hospitals." "In need of emergency help".

    Giving Blogs A Bad Name

    "[Right Wing Howler blog] was shut down late Thursday for telling readers, ' ...we need to kill all Muslim kids. Starting now.'" "Blog pulled over call to kill Muslims".

    Cognitive Dissonance

    I have a hard time squaring this article by the St. Pete Times' Wes Allison, "Drilling foes have upper hand - for now" and the AIF's claim of "victory" on the issue, "Gulf of Mexico Oil Drilling Bill Scores Victory".

    "False Files"

    The Miami Herald editorial board "applaud[s] the decision by Miami-Dade prosecutors and judges to discontinue the practice of putting false files in court records to conceal the ongoing cooperation of a confidential informant. In truth, the practice of inserting a false file in place of a truthful one is extremely rare and, by most accounts, was used only in extraordinary circumstances." "Removing false files from court records".

    Paper Trail

    Steve Bousquet writes that "a paper trail"

    is coming to Florida because Democrats now control Congress. HR 550, a bill by Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, has broad support.

    That is why Ion Sancho, the maverick elections supervisor from Leon County who supports a paper trail, went to Capitol Hill last week. He met with Holt and congressional staffers to push for the change.

    "I'm done messing with the Florida Legislature," said Sancho, who uses optical scan ballots. "Congress is where I'm going to put my effort in."
    "Paper vote trail IS coming".

    Outsourcing Florida

    "Bush's ambition to have government more closely resemble the business world has been beset with painful stumbles - corruption investigations and complaints of lack of oversight." "Record is mixed on outsourcing state jobs".

    Oft-misspoken Sun-Sentinel Slams Nelson

    This is hardly a surprise, from the Bush league Sun-Sentinel editorial board:

    But in a time of war, when President Bush has just received a bipartisan report suggesting new directions in U.S. policy toward the Middle East, the timing couldn't be worse. Nelson is in effect pre-empting the president even as the president struggles to formulate a new policy.

    That's unfair and irresponsible.
    What is really "unfair and irresponsible", however, is this childish remark by the editorial board, which is of course merely a RNC talking point parroted by the corporate media:
    And get this: Nelson says he'll be followed by other members of Congress, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Can you imagine the oft-misspoken Kerry as a diplomat?
    "Diplomacy". Kerry is "oft-misspoken", unlike, say ... the eloquent Dubya. Or our grossly incompetent Secretary of State, she of the "'mushroom cloud' rhetoric". Talk about "oft-misspoken", and on matters of critical national issues, as opposed to silly "botched jokes".

    Yeah, the inarticulate John Kerry, who managed to stumble through verbiage like this:
    How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
    "Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations".

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