While the Tampa Trib and others can't get enough of Mario Rubio (see, e.g., today's "Speaker Rubio Invites Public To Help Shape His Agenda".), we were startled to read that Mario ain't so "innovatve" after all:
House Speaker Marco Rubio, whose new book faults government for spending too much money, has created new high-paying jobs for two Republican allies."New House speaker paying two new aides hefty wages". The article points out that Arduin (you remember her, she's the one with an aversion to libraries) "is one of about 20 former Bush staffers recruited by Rubio, who has positioned himself as the ideological heir to the governor."
Rubio hired Gov. Jeb Bush's former budget director, Donna Arduin, as a $10,000-a-month consultant. She starts work today.
A former House member, Republican Ken Sorensen of Key Largo, started three weeks ago at a salary of $100,008. ...
In other personnel moves, Rubio named Richard Corcoran, 41, as chief of staff. A former partner in a Crystal River law firm bearing his name, Corcoran had worked the past two years for the Republican Party of Florida.
Corcoran will earn $175,212 a year.
In the meantime, the Rubio-media love fest continues. Perhaps the media will hound him all the way to the Governor's mansion, the poor fellow.
Transition To "The New Darling of the Homosexual Extremists"
If you need to know who is on the transition team for, as the incoming RNC Chair calls him, "The New Darling of the Homosexual Extremists", see "McCollum's Transition".
CD 13 Developments
- The "Audit": "State elections officials concluded Thursday that human error caused discrepancies in a simulated election staged Tuesday, after viewing hours of videotapes of elections workers casting ballots." "State: Workers erred in testing". See also "Human errors found in vote test".
- Report - Reliable Audit An "Impossibility"?: In a related development, Division of Elections spokeswoman Jenny "Nash also took exception to doubts cast on the audit by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has ripped the reliability and security of electronic voting machines that lack voter-verified paper records."
The agency's preliminary report, which leaked to an Internet blog on Wednesday, does not specifically address the ES&S machines in Sarasota. Instead, it outlines problems with such "software-dependent" machines - in particular, the inability to guard sufficiently against error or fraud and the virtual impossibility of reliably auditing the results.The experts note "the virtual impossibility of reliably auditing the results", yet Floridians are supposed to defer instead to the promises of flacks like Jenny Nash?
The NIST experts said they have no idea how one could write "testable requirements" that could make such machines secure. From this point on, their report advises, states and counties should not purchase electronic voting machines lacking an independent paper trail or comparable independent recording system of votes.
Nash defended the reliability of the state's audit of Sarasota's machines, in which experts monitored videotapes of the votes that testers cast and compared them with the machine results. "If there is an error in any of the sets, that would be evident."
- Lawsuit Expanded: "Democrat Christine Jennings on Thursday assailed the state's audit of the Sarasota County election and sued the maker of its paperless electronic voting machines, which federal experts now say are vulnerable to undetected error and fraud."
Jennings added the Election Systems & Software company to her lawsuit against the state in an effort to gain access to the source code of the election machine computers. Examining the code "is necessary to determine conclusively the cause of the massive undervote in Sarasota County," according to her lawsuit."Jennings Expands Her Legal Battle". The Palm Beach Post argues that there is only one way to get to the bottom of this: "To ensure a complete investigation into why an abnormally high number of voters skipped the hyped District 13 congressional race, Leon County Circuit Judge William Gary must allow experts to review the machine's source code, its electronic brain." "Use touch-screen brain to solve election puzzle".
Coming To Theater's Soon - Stem Cells
"The Florida Supreme Court is already considering whether to approve the language of a proposed constitutional amendment to promote state-funded stem cell research; now it will also consider one banning stem cell research." "Court To Consider Anti-Stem Cell Research Amendment". See also "Justices get 2nd stem cell amendment".
The St Pete Times observes that "The state Supreme Court is weighing dueling constitutional initiatives for legal clarity. If both get on the ballot - well, you know Florida voters." "We could ban stem cell research - and require it".
What About Pruitt?
The editors over at the Orlando Sentinel, among others, have no problems chastizing the Speaker of the U.S. House: "Ms. Pelosi stumbled out of the gate when she endorsed her ethically challenged friend John Murtha of Pennsylvania to be the House's majority leader." "Hastings not right for post".
Yet, the Sentinel has been strangely silent about the ethically challenged politicos closer to home, say the problems of Senate President Pruitt (Today's Florida Political News - Pruitt Hides Behind Lawyer's Skirts). And you would think the Sentinel and other papers would be outraged at this: "Reporters not welcome at Pruitt deposition".
And Then There's Jim Davis
"It's only fitting, really, that outgoing Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa would spend his final days in Congress on this: Trying to stop off-shore oil drilling." "One More Time".
Class Size Working
As noted yesterday ("And We Can Still See The Sun"), more "than 90 percent of traditional public schools in Florida are meeting tougher new requirements to cap class sizes, but charter schools are lagging behind, a new state report shows." "Most schools hit class-size mark". I must have missed Jebbie's press conference on this.
"Crist says insurance companies should understand that he expects lower windstorm insurance rates, not just smaller increases, after Florida lawmakers complete a package of insurance reforms next year." "Crist: Lower windstorm rates, not just smaller hikes, is goal". See also "Special session to cover insurance". The Tallahassee Democrat urges "No Band-Aids" ("Crist presumably has already taken note of the dereliction of the 2006 Legislature, which passed an inadequate law before calling it quits earlier this year.")
McCain In Miami
"The Republican Governors Association is prime opportunity for chairman and likely '08 presidential candidate Mitt Romney to shine and schmooze influence GOP leaders. But Sen. John McCain isn't letting the opportunity pass either. He's hosting a reception for the GOP governors tonight in Miami Lakes. Charlie Crist will be there, Jeb Bush won't." "McCain courts Republicans in Miami".
"While Florida proceeds with its privatization experiment, a new report by a nonpartisan think tank suggests that handing off government health services to for-profit corporations results in higher costs." "Spending more through privatization". See also "Care and profit" ("The state's plan to hand off mental-health care to for-profit companies will soon take full effect in Volusia and Flagler counties, and many local leaders are worried. With good reason.")
Charlie The "Rock Star"
"Republican Charlie Crist flouted the national anti-GOP current that helped the Democratic Party pick up six governorships and gain its first majority in governors' offices since 1994. 'Everyone has been talking about him,' state Rep. David Rivera said of Crist. 'He's the rock star who bucked the national trend, and everyone wants to hear about the secret to his success.'" "Crist stands out at GOP governors' conference". See also "Bush hosts Republican Governors Association".
"Governor-elect Charlie Crist has been talking about bringing a commitment to open government to the governor's office, and he's making good on that pledge with one of his planned hires. Pat Gleason, currently general counsel in the attorney general's office and a renowned expert and advocate for public access to government records, will be working on cabinet affairs in the the governor's office, Crist said Thursday." "Pat Gleason going to governor's office".
"'Try not to date your aide'".
"Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus "
"The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus will hold its winter conference in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend _ which is conjunction with the winter board meeting of the National Stonewall Democrats _ and the group says the event will feature gay and gay-friendly winners of elections this year." "Gay and Gay Friendly Democrats to meet".
The Prez Thing
"Crist says he’s inclined in favor of moving Florida’s primary to an earlier date, but doesn’t have a position yet on whether the Republican Party should hold a presidential preference straw poll, as party officials have planned to do." "Crist Likes Earlier Primary, No Stand On Straw Poll".
"Watch The Dollars"
"During the last legislative session, a large warning sign flashed for those who were paying attention to Medicaid managed care, a sign that more tax dollars might be diverted into private pockets, rather than paying for needed care. Companies get paid a set rate for every patient they take responsibility for. And for patients who rely on Medicaid to cope with mental illness, Florida law requires that companies spend at least 80 percent of that money on actual services such as mental-health counseling, prescription drugs and case management." "Watch the dollars".
The Last Gasps of Bushco
"The governor has rounded up his dad, former President George H.W. Bush, to speak at the final forum he'll host before leaving office next month. Over six years, Gov. Bush has used his connections to put state workers and students in front of corporate CEOs, sports icons, celebrities and national political dignitaries with the intent of injecting new ideas into government." "Bush to host a family affair".
By the Way, Immigrant Bashing Tancredo's A Republican
Tampa Trib: "The city of Miami has its challenges, but it is hardly a "Third World country," as U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo labeled it the other day. The Colorado Republican is said to be planning a run for the presidency, but take away his xenophobic rhetoric and his cheap shots at immigrants and he has almost nothing to say." "Tancredo's Narrow View". Strange, the Trib failed to mention he was a Republican.
Remember Toni Jennings? To the extent you care what she has been up to: "'Florida has truly been blessed this year. It was our turn,' Jennings said at a press conference in a largely empty state Emergency Operations Center." "Jennings bids adieu to hurricane season".
Same Old, Same Old
"The first wave of would-be laws has been filed ahead of the Legislature's 2007 session, and there are plenty of familiar ideas." "What's Old is New Again".