"What if Democratic voters turned out for a presidential primary in Florida and their vote didn't count?"
No, this isn't a Katherine Harris joke."Dems' primary may not count".
It's an option national Democratic leaders are seriously considering as they grapple with Florida's newly scheduled 2008 presidential primary date, which could upend the national primary process and produce yet another weird Florida election. Consider the scenario:
On Jan. 29, Florida Republicans and Democrats head to the polls to pick presidential nominees. Republican votes count, just as you would expect, but the results for Democrats would be nonbinding. No delegates would be awarded based upon the results and instead party activists and insiders would decide on some later date how to divvy up the state's more than 200 delegates to the Democratic national convention.
It's not so far-fetched.
SOEs will "have less than six months to adopt new machines, print ballots and train poll workers before Florida's primary election in August 2008." "Revamp Of Election System Challenges Officials". See also "Landslide of problems from new elections law".
What, No Amnesty?
We read late yesterday that "Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who backs stricter controls on illegal immigration, was to raise money Monday in Miami at the home of a Peruvian woman who pleaded guilty a decade ago to passport fraud and is fighting for the right to stay in the country."
The fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Ensign chairs, comes at a time when undocumented immigrants across the country live in fear of what they say are stepped-up orders to deport those here illegally."Democrats, though, scoffed at the event."
The hostess of the Coral Gables reception aimed at bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the GOP: Eve Rosen, who is awaiting an immigration judge's ruling as to whether the mother of two and wife of Wayne Rosen, a prominent Miami developer, can remain in the United States, where she has lived for more than a decade.
''We appreciate Sen. Ensign's attempts to emphasize the hard work undocumented aliens do in America, like throwing fundraisers for the GOP,'' Miami-Dade Democratic Party chairman Joe Garcia said."Gables fundraiser co-host fights deportation".
"From American Research Group May 4-8 poll of 600 likely Democratic primary voters and 600 likely Republican primary voters:" Rs: Rudy Giuliani 31%; John McCain 18%; Fred Thompson 13%; Mitt Romney 11%; Newt Gingrich 8%, undecided 13%. D's: Hillary Clinton 45%; Barack Obama 17%; John Edwards 15%; Joe Biden 3%; Bill Richardson 3%; undecided 14%" "Poll: Giuliani and Clinton lead FL".
"A Crumbling Conservative Christian Base"
"Coral Ridge Ministries' decision to disband its political arm has raised questions about how the conservative Christian movement will define its national agenda in the coming years."
When nearly 1,000 Christian activists gathered in Fort Lauderdale two years ago for the Center for Reclaiming America's annual political conference, the mood was triumphant. Speakers hailed President Bush's reelection and the leaders rolled out ambitious plans: launching a Capitol Hill lobbying arm, opening a dozen regional offices and recruiting activists in all 435 congressional districts."Religious right at political crossroads".
No more. The center -- one of the country's leading Christian grass-roots political organizations -- closed its Fort Lauderdale doors last month, sparking speculation about what its sudden demise means for the future of the religious right.
''It's a big loss,'' said the Florida Prayer Network's Pam Olsen, who led a prayer rally Thursday to mark the National Day of Prayer at the state Capitol. Olsen, who served as the state chairwoman for social conservative outreach for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, vowed a comeback: "You will see the Christian-values voters rise again.''
Others, however, see a crumbling conservative Christian base deflated by ethical scandals in the Republican Party, the Democratic victory in the 2006 congressional elections and -- perhaps most significantly -- a split between the old guard and new leaders over where to go from here. An increasingly vocal branch has called for expanding the platform to include global warming, HIV/AIDS and poverty.
"When property taxes came off the Legislature's regular session agenda last week, city and county governments were left dangling until next month, when lawmakers reconvene to seek the compromise that has eluded them so far." See also "Crist presses on with tax reform", "Avoid tax-cut hysteria", "Crist to keep calling legislators to press tax cut package" and "Homeowners ignore rhetoric; they want results".
"Florida legislators upended the practice of defending some poor people, after voting unanimously last week to establish five regional offices around the state to take cases public defenders cannot accept." "Bill would create offices to handle defender conflicts".
"If eliminating no-fault automobile insurance had the singular effect of putting ambulance-chasing pseudo-injury clinics out of business, Florida lawmakers could wash their hands and move on. But allowing the law to expire this fall would also, at a minimum, leave hospital emergency rooms stuck paying for uninsured crash victims, and that's irresponsible." "Letting no-fault lapse is no answer".
"The Ideologically and Bureaucratically Obese FCAT"
"Rather than reform the FCAT-obsessed system, lawmakers just ordered more education crammed into the sack. Expect art, music and other electives to take the hit. It's true that lots of kids could stand to lose a few pounds. But so could the ideologically and bureaucratically obese FCAT." "FCAT jumping jacks?".
"Thousands of jail inmates with severe mental illness will no longer have to wait months to get treatment at a psychiatric hospital -- a delay that led to a showdown between state mental health administrators and angry judges. Department of Children & Families Secretary Bob Butterworth will announce today at a hearing in Tampa Bay that his agency has eliminated a long-standing wait list for jail inmates who need psychiatric treatment in order to stand trial." "State pledges mental-health care for inmates". See also "DCF chief meets with judge over mentally ill suspects", "Butterworth says state's mentally ill inmates no longer languishing in jail" and "Official: Fla. mentally ill inmates no longer languishing in jail".
"Green group sues U.S. for tougher limits on pollution from cruise ships".
"Florida lawmakers budgeted nearly $475 million for Palm Beach County projects, more than double last year's $226 million allocation, despite an overall state budget that fell $1 billion short of what was expected." "PB County's haul grows to $475 million".
"Environmentalists are hailing a new bill to expand Everglades cleanup by extending it to the northern reaches of the ecosystem, where the water gets polluted in the first place." "Glades cleanup bill wins wide praise". See also "Bill expands Everglades cleanup".
"Senators who blocked the payment to Crotzer cited all sorts of excuses, including financial constraints. That's odd. Legislators had no such qualms about spending a similar amount of money for all sorts of projects they can brag about back home." "Millions spent; none for justice".
"Crist to survey wildfires".
"Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has launched an investigation into the student lending practices in the state, amid a national scandal over questionable relationships between many colleges and lenders that can drive up costs for students and taxpayers." "State schools asked about loan practices".
"Florida consumer groups Tuesday urged Gov. Charlie Crist to veto legislation that would allow phone companies to enter cable television markets by obtaining one statewide license." "Consumer Groups Want Plug Pulled on Cable Bill".
"Efforts to streamline and improve Florida's KidCare program should be included in the special session lawmakers plan to hold next month on property taxes, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday." "Kids' insurance could be part of session".
"The Florida Legislature has, since the 2000 election, gotten into the habit of rewriting the elections code on a regular basis. Not a bad thing in itself, but makes it hard to keep up with the rules." "Bill changing primary election date contains so much more".
"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who became the first candidate to advertise on television in Florida, has another new ad running on cable TV channels." "Romney Back On TV".
"NRA backs Baxley in SD 3" See also "Senate leaders back Corcoran" ("Ken Pruitt, Lisa Carlton and Daniel Webster - have endorsed Richard Corcoran"). More "Attack mailer heats up SD3" ("Richard Corcoran's 1998 bid for state House is being used against him in the current Senate District 3 contest.")
"The state Senate ended the annual legislative session last week without voting on a bill that would have increased criminal penalties for people who target homeless people for attacks. The House passed the measure. Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, said she expects supporters to pursue the issue again next year. " "Homeless hate crime bill dies before boy goes to court".
"Teachers spend too much time testing and not enough time teaching, turnover is high, pay is low and disabled students get lost in the system." "Governor hears teachers' complaints". See also "Teachers outline challenges in meeting with Crist".
While recommending dismissal of several challenges, the "House Administration Committee will continue to investigate the close race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings." "House likely to dismiss contested races".
"Rep. Ed Homan, after years of trying, finally convinced fellow lawmakers to create a physician database that will help identify which medical specialties are needed in which communities." "Documenting The Doctor Shortage".
"Republican presidential candidate John McCain has announced that County Commissioner Mark Sharpe and Sheriff David Gee will lead his campaign in Hillsborough County. The announcement could be seen as something of a coup. Hillsborough County Republican Party Chairman David Storck said as far as he knows, no other county commissioners or constitutional officers have taken sides in what promises to be a hard-fought presidential primary. " "Sharpe, Gee Head McCain Effort In Hillsborough".
Just Say No
"As Congress puts together another five-year farm-policy plan this year, the sugar industry will be at the table looking for another heaping helping of government goodies. Lawmakers need to say no. " "Sour on sugar".