The wingnuts have a glimmer of hope as "Jeb!" proclaims to the faithful that "he is 'not ruling in or out' running for president or vice president in 2008." "Jeb Bush Won't Rule Out Presidency".
Run, "Jeb!", Run! Please do.
The Republican brain trust makes a prediction:
Add Florida's Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez to the list of Republicans predicting Democrats in Congress won't dare block Republican Vern Buchanan from taking a seat in Congress on Jan. 4."Blocking Buchanan could hurt Democrats".
As the Sarasota Herald Tribune noted yesterday in "Sample ballot was different from screen", "Cost cutting may have led to ballot mix-up".
"Florida's incoming governor says the state needs to build one or more new public universities to enroll an estimated 50,000 new students in the next six years, but he doesn't foresee a need to raise taxes -- or most student fees to cover costs." "Packed colleges concern Crist".
Tax Reform Panel
"Some of the best minds in the state have listened patiently to the complaints of Florida taxpayers for months and now have the tough duty of crafting a tax-reform package both the Legislature and the public will buy." "Reform Panel's Flawed Ideas Give Boost To Turner's Tax Plan".
"Spending in the contentious Ron Klein-Clay Shaw congressional contest this year reached stratospheric levels by Election Day. The total, which exceeds $13.5 million, works out to $63.51 for every vote cast in the Broward-Palm Beach county district." "Ron Klein-Clay Shaw race for U.S. seat: $63.51 per voter".
Dancing Fool No More
As widely reported yesterday: "Crist scraps plan for lavish inaugural ball funded partly by lobbyists".
Florida Department of Environmental Protection "is considering reclassifying the state's bodies of water. The result, among other things, could be a reduction in water-quality standards for Broward's 1,800-mile network of canals. Currently the standards are set at levels that, at least in theory, should make the canals fit for swimming and fishing." "Water Quality".
Republicans Cross Fingers
"Will the "Jeb" Burger stay at Andrew's Capital Grill & Bar? Or will newly-elected Florida Gov. Charlie Crist get a Monte Cristo sandwich named for him?" "Their menu is in your hands, voters".
"Southwest Florida property owners facing potential rate hikes of up to 600 percent won a temporary reprieve last week when the state-run insurer postponed approval of premiums lawmakers in May demanded to shore up the program." "Michael Peltier: Property owners win temporary reprieve".
"In the days before Florida voters passed a minimum wage amendment to the state constitution, business owners and their industry advocates were predicting doom." They were wrong. "Higher wage, minimum problem".
The Ros-Lehtinen Thing
"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, who was recently tapped to become the top Republican on the House International Relations Committee, appears in the 28-second clip being circulated on the Internet by the makers of a new British documentary, "638 Ways to Kill Castro." In it, she says: "I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people."" "Congresswoman says video calling for Castro killing is a fake". See also the Miami Herald story the other day: "Ros-Lehtinen: Kill-Castro video a trick".
"The film's director, Dolan Cannell, stood by the authenticity of the footage."
"I can assure you categorically and completely that there has been no distortion of what she said," Cannell told the Associated Press on Sunday."Director stands by video of lawmaker".
Ros-Lehtinen said she has seen the documentary and the final cut does not include that video clip. However, the documentary's Web site, www.638waystokillcastro.com, has a link to the clip.
"Florida homeowners fed up with soaring property insurance rates are signing petitions, brainstorming solutions and pressing lawmakers." "Homeowners demand action on soaring rates".
Here's a thought: folks might have considered not voting for the political party that is a wholly owned subsidary of the insurance industry. See "Objectivity at a premium". See
Republicans like to talk "open government", but they rearely walk the walk:
The first of several disputes started on Bush's first day in office, in 1999. He called meetings with the Senate president and House speaker - the two other most powerful leaders in state government - and refused to let reporters attend. Bush's general counsel claimed that "from a purely legal point of view, the press had no right to be there today," but Petersen and others strongly disagreed."Crist Expected To Ease Access To Public Records".
In 2000, the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida took note of another meeting with legislators where Bush barred the press. In 2001, he was criticized for giving notice of meetings with lawmakers via e-mail as the meetings were taking place. By the time reporters arrived, the meetings had already ended. And in 2005, Bush prevented reporters from attending a morning meeting where an overhaul of the public school system was being discussed, according to the center.
"DOT to be state's planner by default?".
In "less than a month after officially becoming one of the state's most powerful politicians, the 35-year-old from West Miami is defending a spending spree with taxpayers' money that includes a $1 million increase in staff salaries and a $600,000 renovation in the Capitol that includes a new dining room for lawmakers." "Speaker's spending is raising eyebrows". See also yesterday's, "".
Palm Beach County
Read Palm Beach County's political news, including this heartbreaker "Attorney Peter Sachs loses a rain-making partner when Ron Klein leaves Boca-based Sachs Sax Klein to be sworn in next month as a Democratic member of Congress. Managing director Sachs also is 'not thrilled' about losing the firm's SSK logo."House speaker's ideas cost bucks".
More From The "Values" Crowd
"An estimated 374,000 uninsured children who qualify for state-subsidized health insurance are not enrolled. Critics have blamed KidCare's low numbers on policy changes that have confused or discouraged would-be applicants. The Legislature eliminated the program's outreach budget in 2003. This year, lawmakers slashed KidCare funding by $170 million because of flagging enrollment but at the same time rededicated $1 million for outreach." "Fight For Child Health Care Heats Up".
Adam Smith: "Political blogs are changing the rules of engagement. As they are being rewritten, are we better or worse off? Or are things just different now?"
The Times started the Buzz blog 1 1/2 years ago as a way to provide political news nuggets that often don't get past the space constraints of the newspaper. It quickly took off, and now is regularly read by everyone from the governor to local political activists. All the big daily newspapers in Florida have since followed suit."Two really scary words: politics and the Internet". See also "Coming to grips with the Buzz blog".
At its best, the anonymous commenting we allow on the blog produces a witty, informed and free-wheeling conversation about Florida politics. At its worst, it's a vehicle for personal attacks and rumormongering that needs constant policing.
Watching Out for the Little Guy
So nice to have corporate America watching out for the little guy:
The St. Petersburg Times investigation last April, as well as an October report by the Democratic staff of the Senate Finance Committee, revealed how CAGW and other tax-exempt groups have been paid by corporations and trade associations to conduct lobbying and public relations campaigns."Groups hide behind tax code".
CAGW, which bills itself as "America's No. 1 taxpayer watchdog," is famous for its Pig Book, an annual publication that lists federal programs the group considers wasteful. CAGW officials are widely quoted in the news media and are portrayed as independent critics of government waste.
The Times reported that CAGW traded on its good name by taking money to lobby. The group received about $100,000 from Mexican avocado growers for a campaign urging the Department of Agriculture to allow more avocados imported from Mexico.
It also took at least $245,000 from tobacco companies while urging the government not to regulate tobacco. It received thousands from a health club association while promoting tax breaks for health club memberships.
The recent report from the Finance Committee, published by the Democratic staff but backed by the Republican chairman, provides a glimpse behind the scenes as lobbyist Abramoff enlisted tax-exempt groups. It documented how he got CAGW and Americans for Tax Reform to publish articles and news releases on behalf of his clients - and then directed tens of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer groups.