Sure, "Mr. Cellophane" is a national embarrassment as Bushco's hood ornament, but his current level of hypocrisy is a bit much, even for Mel.
"Florida Republican Mel Martinez blasted fellow U.S. senators Friday for killing legislation that would have legalized millions of unlawful immigrants, but whose collapse was hailed by most of his party's presidential field."
Except for Senate sponsor John McCain, most of the GOP presidential field joined with conservative talk radio in fanning fierce opposition to the immigration bill. But Martinez, who doubles as his party's national chairman, sought to spread blame equally on both sides."Florida's Frankenstein" apparently can't count:
Senators voted 53 to 46 to reject a motion to end debate and move toward final passage. Thirty-seven Republicans voted to oppose the bill, while only 12 voted for it. By contrast, Democrats voted 33-to-15 in favor of the bill."Martinez rips those who voted to kill bill".
Mel has his head squarely in his derrière with remarks like this: "the Republican Party was not to blame for its failure, Martinez said." "Chairman slams immigration bill opponents, challenges them to act".
More: "The Republican-led defeat of immigration reform in the Senate Thursday is sounding political alarms as the Hispanic community gears up for the 2008 presidential election." "GOP faces tension with Hispanic vote".
"Wait till next year"
"Florida broke Democrats' hearts in 2000 and snubbed them four years later. Wait till next year, say love-struck Democrats -- and they could be right."
Democrats are optimistic about capturing Florida in 2008 due to President Bush's sagging popularity, the ongoing Iraq war and the demise of the immigration bill, in which the heated rhetoric from conservative quarters has alienated many in the state's large, fast-changing Hispanic population."Florida Again Poised to Play Kingmaker".
"Souring economic outlook"
If Florida's economy continues to "boom" like this ... . "A slack housing market, combined with a drop-off in new car sales, corporate income taxes and other levies are forcing the governor and legislators to draw up plans for even deeper spending cuts." "Budget officials: Let's cut deeper".
"Facing a souring economic outlook, Gov Charlie Crist on Friday ordered state government to trim up to $1 billion in spending for the budget year beginning next week." Back at the ranch. good-time Charlie sticks his head in the sand: "Crist confident promises can be kept".
"Spurred by fears that Florida's economy is slowing down, Gov. Charlie Crist and the GOP-controlled Legislature [asked Friday] that each state agency draw up plans to cut their budgets by as much as 10 percent." "Crist to ask for places to trim budget". See also "Crist’s order to state: Cut $1 billion in spending", "Budget officials: Let's cut deeper", "Crist advises agencies to tighten belts" and "Plunging revenues force search for cuts".
"Back to the barricade"
"Déjà vu? A year after resisting efforts to explore Florida waters for oil and gas, Florida's senators are back to the barricade." "Florida's senators fighting oil prospectors -- again".
How the mighty have fallen
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board ain't happy: "Now, when it's finally the day the public is waiting for, the man who so arrogantly stomped on the power entrusted him gets yet another reprieve.". See "Masilotti gets five years". See also "Corruption" ("Masilotti deserves 10 or 20 years in prison for so vastly abusing his office and the public trust by lining his pockets off secret land deals.").
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Crist did the right thing this week when he changed his mind and agreed to let Florida's top three research universities charge higher tuition than other state schools. Clearly this governor is willing to listen and, refreshingly, keep an open mind. " "Welcome change".
"Florida officials earned this one."
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Ultimatums typically aren't good, but Florida officials earned this one. The U.S. Department of the Interior has warned Gov. Charlie Crist to work out an agreement in 60 days to allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to have Las Vegas-style slots, or else. If Florida doesn't act, the feds will cut their own deal and the state could lose out on millions of dollars in new revenue." "Gaming".
"Rep. Luis Garcia, the Miami Beach Democrat who is among the seven House freshmen to win over Republican seats has also been targeted by the attack mailers this week sent by the Republican Party of Florida. ... The list of House freshmen under the attack also includes: Reps. Ron Saunders of Key West, Martin Kiar of Parkland, Debbie Boyd of High Springs, Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota, Bill Heller of St. Petersburg and Janet Long of St. Petersburg." "More Dems targeted by GOP prop tax ads".
"Crist today named Rep. Mark Mahon, a Jacksonville Republican, to a vacant judgeship on the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which covers Clay, Duval and Nassau counties. Mahon's term will start tomorrow." "Crist sends GOP lawmaker to bench".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "There's no question that city of Miami Community Development Director Barbara Gomez should be fired. But giving her a $1 million pension as a parting gift would be an insult to taxpayers. Her funding of agencies where an ex-husband and a son worked -- obvious conflicts of interest -- alone is reason for dismissal. She shouldn't be rewarded for running a housing program that awarded millions of dollars to developers for projects that were never built." "One more reason taxpayers are fed up".
"In a short speech to a crowd of a couple of hundred at Lowry Park Zoo, Edwards delivered his signature campaign lines: 'Eliminate the two Americas that still exist in this country and build one America that works for all of us … an America that is moral and just,' he exhorted them."
It was one of a series of rallies Edwards is holding called "Small Change for Big Change." They're low-priced fundraisers - $15 a head in Tampa - intended to attract as many people as possible and raise Edwards' profile outside the few states where he has concentrated his campaign so far."Edwards Emphasizes Iraq During 2 Tampa Fundraisers". See also "Edwards leaps to his wife's defense during Tampa fundraiser" ("Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards wasted no time Friday making hay of his wife's fight with conservative commentator Ann Coulter.")
Before that, however, Edwards went for bigger change in a fundraiser at a South Tampa home, hosted by two prominent local lawyers and long-standing supporters, Steve Yerrid and Jim Wilkes.
Like his rivals for the Democratic nomination for president, Edwards faces a command performance in Orlando today: an appearance before 1,000 Hispanic elected officials from across the nation attending a conference. The influential Latinos are a constituency no Democrat can ignore.
In the meantime, the right exhibits its intellectual heft yet again: "Edwards’ Critics Get Snippy".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board does its best to dumb down the electorate, arguing that its wonderful to slash public employee rolls because (as the Chamber of Commerce would have them believe)
most government workers also have been getting raises far more generous than typically available in the private sector."Smart Budget Cuts At City Hall Confirm Wisdom Of Tax Reform".
The Trib editors no doubt think stuff like this (see below) is malarkey generated by those powerful public employee unions to foster fat raises for lazy firefighters:
A week after the World Trade Center attack, then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Whitman reassured the public that "their air is safe to breathe." She was wrong. One recent study shows that 70 percent of Ground Zero workers suffer some respiratory illness, and another finds that rescue workers and firefighters have very high rates of a serious lung-scarring disease."Breathtaking mistake".
More on the need to rein in those overpaid public employees here: "Amid all the budget reductions considered by the Leon County Commission to accommodate a state mandate to ease property taxes, the reduction or elimination of the county's $600,000 mosquito control created an unexpected uproar." "Swat, swat".
"Mandy Dawson, who missed more sessions of the Florida Senate this year than any of her colleagues, seemed to have vanished from the public eye."
The Fort Lauderdale Democrat, whose district stretches from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach Gardens, was absent for more roll call votes this year than any of her fellow senators and skipped the entire three-day special session on property tax reform this month."Fort Lauderdale's state senate representative speaks out on her long record of absences".
But Friday evening, Dawson spoke by cell phone and e-mail with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She suffers from a degenerative spinal disease and has already had two operations to relieve the pain. Now, she said, she is worried she might also have cancer.
"A wink and a nod,"
"'I oppose the expansion of gambling,' Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said repeatedly during his campaign."
Granted, he said it with a wink and a nod, as casino boss Donald Trump hosted fundraisers for his campaign, and the gambling industry and the Indian tribes poured in millions of dollars. But he said it."By gambling, Crist means...".
"I oppose the expansion of gambling,'' he said.
Crist refused to elaborate. At one point, a campaign spokeswoman explained: "When [he] says he's against the expansion of gambling, that's just what he means.''
But by "expansion,'' apparently he didn't mean the gradual but unmistakable march toward more ways to gamble at more places for more hours with more money. Because that is what is happening.
Credit the The St. Petersburg Times editorial board for asking a
fundamental question: Why does the state and its stable of privately run providers keep making the same mistakes that have plagued the child welfare system for years?"Repeating mistakes".