Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Saturday, January 06, 2007

Whatever Dubya Wants

    "It's no suprise that"
    Mel Martinez ranked 9th among Republican senators in voting most often with President Bush in 2006. But Florida's other senator, Bill Nelson, wasn't too far down on the list either.

    Nelson ranked 7th among Democratic senators, according to Congressional Quarterly, our sister publication which compiles the annual list. He voted with Bush 60.3 percent of the time; Martinez voted with him 92.4 percent.
    "Support for W."

    CD 13 Developments

    - "A top House Democrat"

    Friday sent a letter to a Florida appeals court saying she is "concerned" that a lower court judge declined to give Democrats access to the software used in the contested voting machines.

    "This election contest, is, of course, a case of national importance," Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said in the letter addressed to the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

    In the second move in as many days to challenge Rep. Vern Buchanan's standing as a congressman, a top House Democrat Friday sent a letter to a Florida appeals court saying she is ''concerned'' that a lower court judge declined to give Democrats access to the software used in the contested voting machines.

    ''This election contest, is, of course, a case of national importance,'' Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said in the letter addressed to the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.
    Buchanan's camp accused congressional Democrats of improperly looking to influence the court. ... Buchanan's attorney, Hayden Dempsey, accused Democrats of trying to meddle in the courts.
    "House Democrats continue challenge of Fla. congressman's legitimacy". See also "House seeks evidence in election" ("The head of a congressional panel Friday urged a Florida appeals court to ensure that 'critical evidence' is made available so the U.S. House can decide who won the disputed 13th Congressional District election."). Excerpts from the letter: "Key House Democrat leans on Florida courts".

    Winning the appeal is critical to Jennings' effort to get the House to take action. CQ reports: "The House has the final say on any contested seat, but a Democratic leadership aide said that evaluation will be unlikely to overturn Buchanan’s victory unless the committee is granted unusual access to voting machine data, and that access leads to the discovery of uncounted votes for Jennings."

    More on Millender-McDonald: she who was selected by Pelosi "to serve as chairwoman of the House Administration Committee. According to her Web site, as a ranking member of the Committee Millender-McDonald 'has investigated widespread voting irregularities and voter disenfranchisement and called for a hearing in Ohio, the first election reform field hearing in Congressional history.'"

    - And check out this new wrinkle in the dispute. Although the "touch-screen machines at the center of this county's disputed District 13 congressional election were not reviewed and approved by a lab now under a federal ban [because of quality-control issues and a lack of testing documentation], ... it did test the centralized software that local elections offices employ to tabulate votes recorded by the touch-screens." "Ciber Inc. at center of District 13 controversy".

    - In Washington, "The House committee that would review the issue wants to give the courts in Florida every opportunity to sort out the issues before an investigation gets going on Capitol Hill, said Thomas Hicks, a top staffer with the Committee on House Administration." "House committee unlikely to rush District 13 voting inquiry"

    GOPer Preznit Wannabees Picking Teams


    Romney has enlisted several Florida big-name Republicans in record time. In addition to Herberger, Romney has hired Sally Bradshaw, Bush's former campaign manager and chief of staff. Former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Al Cárdenas and former state House Speaker Allan Bense are members of his steering committee.

    This week, Romney announced that two top Florida money men -- Mark Guzzetta and Mel Sembler -- would be national fundraisers.
    John McCain has signaled he will not let Romney run of the place. When Romney was in Miami-Dade recently for the Republican Governors Association meeting, the Arizona senator quietly swept participants away to his reception. He has hired Melissa Shuffield, a former spokeswoman for Sen. Mel Martinez, and Kathleen Shanahan, Jeb Bush's former chief of staff and campaign manager.
    The early starts makes sense; after all the "Presidential primaries are only one year away [and Florida may move its presidential primary to early February]. Republican activists in Florida may be casting votes as early as October 2007 if the party goes ahead with a non-binding but highly symbolic straw poll." "'08 hopefuls waste no time building teams".

    None of the Above

    "Voters would have the option of choosing ''none of the above'' under a bill proposed to avoid confusion over whether people mean to leave ballots blank, an issue at the center of a disputed congressional election. State Sen. Mike Bennett [R-Bradenton], the bill's sponsor, wants the additional option to prevent a repeat of the race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings." "Bill would give Fla. voters 'no choice' on ballots". William March: "Bill Would Allow Vote for ‘None of the Above’". See also "Bennett proposes 'no vote' option".


    "Towson Fraser, who spent the last two years as spokesman for former House Speaker Allan Bense, was hired this afternoon by Gov. Charlie Crist to be Crist's legislative affairs director. Fraser, a former spokesman for the Republican Party of Florida, initially stayed on in the Speaker's Office under Marco Rubio, though without a formal role." "Crist Hires Bense Spokesman". See also "Crist names former Bense aide as legislative director".


    "Florida House members will be expected to get right to work next week on some of the proposals from House Speaker Marco Rubio's '100 Ideas' book, according to a House Republican memo distributed this afternoon." "Florida House to Get to Work on Rubio's 'Ideas'".

    Will Charlie Buck Barney?

    "Crist’s campaign vow to lower property insurance rates ran smack into the real world of the insurance lobby."

    "If we create more regulations, more mandates, and rate rollbacks, then we will have even fewer companies willing to do business in Florida," said Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, an influential umbrella lobbying group that includes property insurers. ...

    "We believe rates have been suppressed," Bishop said. "And we believe that rates are going to have to rise to the current level to (give incentives to) insurance companies to be in Florida."

    Crist, who in his inaugural address Tuesday said that it was time "to rein in overreaching insurance companies," said he was astonished to hear Bishop’s assessment.
    "Fighting Against Lower Insurance Rates?".

    HD 3

    "Gov. Charlie Crist has ordered a special election to fill the House seat vacated by Holly Benson, who resigned to work in the new governor’s administration." "Crist orders special election".

    More Bipartisanship

    Notice how Charlie is kind enough to extend bipartisanship to appointments to the state's toughest jobs, first Butterworth at DCF and now this: "Crist's appointment Thursday of Democrat Walter McNeil to lead the state's poorly managed Department of Juvenile Justice signals another effort toward bipartisanship. More important, Mr. McNeil may be the person who can move DJJ from a focus on incarceration to a focus on prevention." "A better cop for DJJ?". In the meantime, "Barreiro: 'Disappointed' but moving on" ("former state Rep. Gus Barreiro ... badly wanted the DJJ secretary job".)

    Laff Riot

    This is off topic, but you really need to know that"Far-left political ideologies are being promulgated through ever-increasing mediums, and recently [name of wingnut deleted] noticed that a once-vaunted American television network, The Weather Channel, had succumbed to the cancerous spread of liberalism." "Con Job at the Weather Channel".

    Revolving Door

    "Former Department of Children & Families Secretary Lucy Hadi is a candidate for a new position being created in the Department of Education, a DOE spokeswoman said Friday." "Former DCF secretary a candidate for education job".

    New Abramoff Documents

    "One-time powerful lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave a $10,000 campaign bribe to an Ohio congressman for his public words of praise for Abramoff's business partner in the purchase of a South Florida fleet of gambling ships more than six years ago." "Documents give new details of SunCruz-linked bribe to ex-Ohio lawmaker".

    Miami-Dade Days

    "Miami-Dade Days, the annual, corporate-sponsored event aimed to showcase the county in Tallahassee, was canceled last year over concerns about the new ban on meals and gifts for legislators. But lobbyist Bob Levy said the event will be resuscitated "carefully'' on April 17 and 18 to comply with the one-year-old ethics law." "Miami-Dade Days is back".


    Daniel Ruth "It's Incumbent Upon Mayor To Talk Potholes".

    Dade DEC

    Beth Reinhard details the "Not-so musical chairs at the Miami-Dade Democratic Party".

    Giant Reptiles

    "Florida, which had no shortage of native reptiles, is now slithering with exotic ones, particularly giant snakes. They are killing native wildlife and altering natural ecosystems." "Trying To Collar Giant Serpents". I was going to say something about "Republican Party Reptile" or P J O'Rourke, but I won't.

    Florida Republicans Say "No" to Pay As You Go

    "Florida Republican Reps. Tom Feeney and Dave Weldon voted Friday against a measure that reforms House budget rules and requires more disclosure by lawmakers sponsoring special-interest projects."

    The pay-as-you-go budget rule - also known as pay-as-you-go - requires the House to offset tax cuts with corresponding reductions in government spending or with tax increases. Similarly, increases to government spending would have to be offset by equal cuts to other parts of the federal budget. ...

    The same measure, one of five separate proposals lawmakers voted on over the first two days of the new Congress, builds on changes enacted last year to force lawmakers to disclose more about their pet projects - also known as earmarks.
    "State Republicans oppose rule change; Pay-as-you-go passes in House".

    While Jebbie Cut Taxes on the Wealthy ...

    Florida's "Department of Children and Families is supposed to transfer [mentally disturbed inmates] to state mental hospitals within 15 days of an incompetency order. But the agency hasn't had the hospital space or funding to follow that law." Indeed, "DCF for years has been unable to follow the 15-day rule. But the problem has worsened greatly in the last two years. A waiting list for beds has grown at times to more than 300. The waiting period has spiked to an average of three months." "Behind bars, without treatment". See also "A legal labyrinth" ("Florida ranks 48th in the nation for its funding of mental health care, according to a report from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.")

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