"As the civil rights debate intensified Thursday, McCollum morphed into his former self, the Congressman."
He wagged his finger at attorney Rob Wheeler, the clemency expert in Crist's office. He shouted "Point of order!" after catching Crist on a parliamentary mistake. He "yielded myself back my time," the way they talk in Washington."McCollum takes on Crist at his own risk".
When McCollum accidentally referred to Crist as "Mister" (Mr. Chairman, presumably), Crist shot him an icy glare and said: "It's ... Governor."
There's more at work here than a clash of philosophies.
By taking a hard-line stand on this one issue, McCollum may have just inherited the mantle of the anti-Crists, conservatives who think Crist has moved too far to the left too fast.
Stem Cell Retreat
"Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, wants to turn scientists using federally approved embryonic stem-cell lines into criminals. Gov. Crist backed off campaign promises to support embryonic stem-cell research. Supporters and opponents have competing, longshot petitions to change the state constitution. Money for adult stem-cell research already is available. Approving more and nothing else would be a waste." "Non-debate on stem cells".
"The argument goes like this: Ex-felons who are denied their civil rights after completing their punishment are disproportionately black. In the general population, blacks generally vote Democratic. Therefore allowing ex-felons to vote means more votes for Democratic candidates such as Gore and MacKay."
As to whether restoration of voting rights would have helped Democrats, the Palm Beach Post's Brian E. Crowley reports that "Political expert Susan MacManus, who has studied Florida politics for decades scoffs at the idea that ex-felons will be flocking to the polls." For some reason, Crowley neglected to mention that MacManus, according to this Columbia Journalism Review piece, is a mere "Sunshine State educator posing as an objective source".
In addition to the Columbia Journalism Review piece on "Political expert Susan MacManus", "Not Enough Sunshine in the Sunshine State", you can read more about the MacManus' GOP connections at Media Matters, "Sign of the Times? NY Times, St. Petersburg Times misrepresented political ties of individuals praising Jeb Bush's handling of Schiavo case"; see also "GOPundit", and this blog post "Who is Susan Macmanus?"
Its no surprise, then, that MacManus would contend that the disenfranchisement of felons would have had no effect on recent close contests in which GOPers "prevailed", particularly the 2000 selection of Dubya; MacManus says:
"I don't think, for many people in that situation, there is going to be much interest in voting," said MacManus, a political science professor the University of South Florida.Actually, there is "empirical evidence about ex-felons' potential as voters". After quoting MacManus' uninformed remarks, Crowley directs readers to this:
MacManus said finding a job, a place to live and the other necessities of life will take precedence for ex-felons. And those who do register to vote may not be overwhelmingly Democratic.
"No one really knows," said MacManus. "There is an assumption that because many ex-felons are African-American, low-income, low education, they must be Democrats."
She said these are stereotypes about black voters that border on racism. And she said there is no empirical evidence about ex-felons' potential as voters.
One 2002 study done by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University concluded that Gore and MacKay both would have won if ex-felons had been allowed to vote."Study says votes of ex-felons could have changed outcomes".
In an article in American Sociological Review, Minnesota's Christopher Uggen and Northwestern's Jeff Manza, wrote, "If disenfranchised felons in Florida had been permitted to vote, Democrat Gore would certainly have carried the state and the election."
The researchers used a number of statistical variables to match ex-felons' characteristics with those of the rest of the population nationwide. Using this information, they arrived at conclusions about likely voter registration and voting habits.
They then examined the history of close presidential races and U.S. Senate races around the country. Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. Using their most conservative formula for the number of ex-felons who might have voted, the researchers said Gore would have won by more than 30,000 votes and, in a best-case, by as many as 80,000 votes.
In the 1988 MacKay race, he was "likely to have prevailed ... if felons had been allowed to vote," their article said. MacKay lost by nearly 34,000 votes. The researchers say with ex-felons voting he would have won by more than 11,000 votes.
"After years of prodding by South Florida's Haitian community and its advocates, Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes plans to provide Creole ballots by the 2008 general elections." "Elections officials aim to lure more Haitian-American voters to polls".
"Effervescent by nature, Gov. Charlie Crist has had plenty to smile about during his first 100 days in office, which will officially end Thursday." "Crist's first 100 days marked by victories".
"An initial state constitutional proposal from House Republican leaders to roll back and cap local government taxes and cap state revenue quickly drew fire from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." "What happens in Florida could come down to the Senate."
Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, said he thinks a rollback and cap is likely."Legislature at odds over capping local governments' taxing authority". See also "Lawmakers still wrangling over property taxes".
"The question I can't answer is, how far we'll roll it back," Baker said. Maybe two or three years, he said.
But Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said he would prefer to set public benchmarks so voters could judge local increases and act accordingly. He's reluctant to set caps.
"Though we may figure out a way to do it fairly," King said, "I, personally, am not that crazy about that idea."
"During Friday's hearing in a Senate committee chamber, Anderson and Jones frequently stepped outside as enhanced video of Martin's caught-on-tape beating and possible asphyxia at the hands of seven guards played over and over again. Department of Juvenile Justice lawyers said the agency wouldn't defend itself, allowing family attorney Benjamin Crump to call witnesses who portrayed the department and the boot camp as ineffective and cruel. A former inspector general for the department, Steve Meredith, said agency staffers kept use-of-force reports from him for years. Meredith is suing the agency, saying he was fired for speaking out about Martin's death." "Weeping parents testify in boot-camp case". See also "Officials hear testimony on $5M payout for boot camp family", "Boy's death warrants payout, officials say", "Boot camp video used in legislative hearing" and "State Hears From Family In Boot Camp Death".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board argues that "new DEP Secretary Michael Sole should end the department's old routine, so popular under Gov. Bush, of denial, delay and inaction on pollution problems." "Sewage problem blooms".
"Unabated Coastal Construction"
"Insurers envision disaster for state due to unabated coastal construction".
"Four years after Franklin Weekley vanished at a state institution for disabled people, his family has asked Gov. Charlie Crist to find out what happened." "Plea to Crist: Help us find our son".
Living Under a Bridge With State Approval
"Five convicted sex offenders are living under a noisy highway bridge with the state's grudging approval because an ordinance intended to keep predators away from children made it nearly impossible for them to find housing." "With no place else to go, Miami sex offenders live under bridge". See also "Law leaves nowhere to go but below bridge for sex offenders".
"Storm brews over large FAU severance for chief fundraiser".
"Presumed bogus: Job at law school".
"Rep. Alcee Hastings is asking federal officials to give Florida victims of Hurricane Wilma another three months to find housing before they have to vacate their FEMA-supplied trailers." "Reprieve sought for Wilma victims".
State Fights Judge's Order
"Prosecutors pursuing a network of steroid sellers will seek to reverse a judge's order that they notify tens of thousands of people whose medical records were seized from Orlando pharmacies as part of the nationwide investigation." "Florida fights to access Rx records".
"Former Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher's battle against ethics charges has yet to be resolved, but court filings show that Gallagher's legal team continues to negotiate a settlement with the Florida Commission on Ethics instead of fighting the charges in court." "Gallagher ethics battle still not settled".
"A federal judge on Friday ordered Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles set free on bail pending trial on charges he lied in a bid to become a U.S. citizen, and the government immediately asked that he remain jailed." "Government objects after bond granted to Cuban militant".
Okeechobee High School Gay Club
"A club that promotes tolerance of gays must be allowed to meet at Okeechobee High School while a lawsuit is pending, a federal judge ruled Friday." "Gay school group can meet". See also "Gay-Straight group can meet as lawsuit advances, judge rules" and "Gay-Straight Alliance can have club at school".
"This week's National Journal profiles female members of Congress with children, including Broward's very own, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat whom the publication calls a "political animal."'Member moms'".
Race for Argenziano's Seat
"The race for Nancy Argenziano's state Senate seat is revving up even before she officially quits the job for the Public Service Commission."
Republican Richard Corcoran, the former chief of staff to House Speaker Marco Rubio who quit last month to seek the seat, reported Friday raising $185,000 in 17 days before the end of the fundraising quarter last week. ..."Race heats up for Argenziano's seat". See also "Corcoran raises $185,000 for Senate bid" and "Friends in High Places" ("Corcoran, who last month stepped down as House Speaker Marco Rubio's top aide in order to run for a state Senate seat, said this afternoon he raised more than $185,000 in just 17 days of fundraising.")
If Argenziano does step aside, Corcoran will face at least two other Republicans he knows well – current House Speaker Pro Tem Dennis Baxley of Ocala and state Rep. Charles Dean of Inverness.
Both lawmakers are currently banned from raising money during the session, but Baxley claimed to be in "full campaign mode" this week.
Meanwhile, Baxley's son, Damon, was in Tallahassee this week to meet with future House speakers Ray Sansom, Dean Cannon and Will Weatherford to seek their blessing as he readies to run for his dad's House seat.
"Hulking, Menacing-looking" Republican
Daniel Ruth: "Imagine the stark raving fear the hulking, menacing-looking Pinellas County Republican Party Chairman Tony DiMatteo must instill as he bears down upon teenage boys and/or buffet tables." Ouch.
As luck would have it, DiMatteo was found after the Giuliani event at a buffet table backstage doing damage to a Cuban sandwich."Boys Bear Civics Lesson In Dissent".
The chairman defended taking time out from organizing a visit by a major presidential candidate to hassle three boys [holding signs "advocating such radical concepts as peace and family values" just before Giuliani spoke about "the need to respect contrary points of view"] by arguing the campaign rally was a private function, even though it was being held on public property, inviting anyone from the general public.
"Where in the world is Peter Deutsch?" "Israel, according to the National Journal. According to a story in the newsweekly, the former Broward congressman, his wife and two teenagers have settled in Israel, 'where they have repeatedly extended what they expected would be a stay of a few months.'"
Florida Taxwatch, a"budgetary watchdog group resumed its campaign Friday to collect billions of dollars of taxes on mail-order, Internet and other remote purchases Floridians make from out-of-state companies. Florida TaxWatch, which is largely supported by business interests, has campaigned for several years to get Florida to join the Streamlined Tax Project, a compact among 21 states and about 1,000 companies that have agreed to voluntarily collect tax on their behalf for out-of-state sales. Six more states are scheduled to join next year." "TaxWatch resumes push to tax Internet, catalog sales".