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 Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

    It is no secret that Marco Rubio is not the sharpest knife in the drawer; he underscores just how dull he is with a guest piece in the Miami Herald today comparing clean energy initiatives to socialism; fortunately - and we're sure it was hard for him - Rubio managed to leave Fidel Castro out of his drivel.

    "House Speaker Marco Rubio lashed out at Gov. Charlie Crist's clean energy initiatives this week, calling them expensive 'European-style big government mandates'' that could have 'negative consequences' for Florida."
    In an opinion piece published in today's Miami Herald, the West Miami legislator exposed a growing rift with Crist over how to approach global warming. ...

    He said the state should pursue market-based solutions to foster clean energy technology.
    And where does (former?) media darling Rubio get these great "ideas"?
    Rubio's comments mirror an e-mail message sent Monday to supporters of the conservative think tank, Freedom Works, headed by former Congressional Republican leader Dick Armey.

    Armey accused Crist of ''pandering to radical enviromentalists'' and asked: ``What about hard-working Floridians whose family budgets are stretched to the limit because of high gasoline prices and skyrocketing home energy costs? For them, Crist's mandates will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.''
    "Rubio finds fault with Crist's environmental agenda". See also "Rubio clashes with Crist over climate change standards". For more on the wingnut attacks on Crist see "Tell Governor Crist To Stop Pandering to Radical Environmentalists!" (claiming that Crist folded to pressure from "Al Gore and his liberal buddies in Hollywood") and "Conservative group says Crist pandering to 'radicals'".

    This ought to send Rubio over the edge: "Report: Man responsible for warmer Florida" ("That's the conclusion of a report, 'Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States,' released Tuesday by the nonprofit, Environment Florida.") The report: "New Report: Temperatures in Cities Across Florida on the Rise".

    "The fast pace of the state's economic slowdown"

    "With the state's economy sagging, Florida legislators will return to the Capitol this fall to slash up to $1 billion from the state budget, a move that could force them to cut money for schools or healthcare. House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt said the special session to re-balance Florida's $71.5 billion budget will start Sept. 18 and could run until Oct. 5."

    Normally conservative state forecasters had already projected that taxes on real estate documents would decline this year but didn't seem to anticipate the fast pace of the state's economic slowdown, which is reflected in the low volume of sales statewide and declining corporate income taxes. ...
    Here's what's at stake:
    In anticipation of a special session, Crist and legislators already had asked state agencies, including those that pay for schools and healthcare, to recommend $3.4 billion worth of cuts by Aug. 8. Of that total, $1.4 billion would come from education and more than $900 million from healthcare.
    And how did Florida get into this fix?
    Rep. Dan Gelber, the House Democratic leader from Miami Beach, said the GOP-controlled Legislature cut so many taxes under former Gov. Jeb Bush that it's little surprise the state lacks the money to meet all its needs.

    ''The problem is the state cut all the wrong taxes,'' Gelber said, singling out the elimination of the stocks-and-bonds tax. ``We cut money for the very wealthy and special interests, not for property owners.''
    "Deeper budget cuts on the way". See also "Florida's third special session aims to balance budget", "Budget special session planned", "Budget cuts mean special session No. 3", "Back To Tallahassee", "As cash runs low, legislators will meet", "Tax cuts done, lawmakers headed back to cut spending", "September Special Session Slated to Revise State Budget" and "".

    Another Jebacy

    "Nearly one out of every five children in Florida is growing up in poverty, and the state has one of the highest rates in the nation of single-parent families, a report released [yesterday] says." "Many of state's kids in crisis, report finds".

    Well, at least the parents of these "one out of every five children in Florida" don't have to pay an intangibles tax on their stock portfolios.

    Oh yeah, the nonpartisan report also shows "a total of 659,000 Florida children with no health insurance." All-in-all, "when it comes to the well-being of children, Florida is worse than most other states in everything from having more children in foster care to lack of health insurance.". "Florida raises Kids Count rating".

    And Then There's Little Jebacy ...

    "Florida's effort to shift Medicaid patients into private and managed care plans may illegally deny benefits to some children and pregnant women, lawyers at the federal Government Accountability Office warned Tuesday." "Lawyers see problems with state's Medicaid shift effort".

    "The federal government may not have followed the law when it approved Florida's Medicaid reform. As a result, poor children and pregnant women are paying more for lower-quality health coverage, according to a legal opinion released Tuesday. Health advocates said the opinion from the Government Accountability Office is more evidence that the Florida Legislature shouldn't expand the pilot program, which Gov. Jeb Bush spearheaded in 2005 to end Medicaid entitlement and reduce skyrocketing costs." "Report slams Medicare pilot program".


    "Giuliani beefs up Florida organization". Meanwhile out on the hustings, Rudy utters this fine sound bite: "Giuliani says some judges hurt democracy".

    Charlie Practices His Salute

    "Crist, the commander in chief of the Florida National Guard, heads east today to review the troops." "Crist to review troops".

    Stupid Remark of the Day

    In "Obama Debate Comments Set Off Firestorm" we read these sage words:

    "Anything that looks like pandering to dictators is bad politics in South Florida," said Republican state Rep. David Rivera of Miami. He predicted Obama's comments [expressing a willingness to meet without precondition with leaders of renegade nations such as Cuba, North Korea and Iran] would come back to haunt him, particularly if he becomes the Democratic nominee.
    Yeah, ... I get it; Obama had a shot at the Cuban vote before he made this statement?


    Mark Lane on Soil & Water Conservation Districts. "Obscure agency faces fate".

    Legal Fees

    "The state asked two separate trial courts Tuesday to prevent lawyers from getting a larger share than the Legislature intended from an $8.5 million jury award that lawmakers approved for a paralyzed medical malpractice victim." "State seeks to block attorneys over fees in malpractice case".

    The Joys of "Merit" Pay

    "Hundreds of Orange County teachers who banked on a $2,000 bonus next month will get less than they expected. Others will get more than they hoped. That's because the county's public-school district used the wrong formula to calculate how much to reward nearly 4,000 top instructors under Florida's merit-pay plan." "Orange corrects teachers' merit pay". The Orlando Sentinel editors put it this way: "embarrassing; incompetent; infuriating." "More dysfunction".

    The Daily Naugle

    "Fort Lauderdale mayor criticized following 'apology'".

    Charlie Goes To War

    "Mandated by voters who passed a constitutional amendment in November, Gov. Charlie Crist ignites a $57 million anti-tobacco campaign today." "Crist wages war on tobacco".

    "Purge Jeb's ideology"

    "The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is under fire after a scoring mistake. The state faces a revenue shortfall that has educators scrambling to find places to cut without affecting the classroom. Still, 26 people have found the job appealing enough to apply to oversee the state's $23-billion education system. ... Some of the more notable applicants included K-12 chancellor Cheri Yecke, who also has run the education systems in Virginia and Minnesota; William Moloney, a retired Colorado education commissioner; Tom Watkins Jr., a former Michigan superintendent of public instruction; Earl Lennard, a retired Hillsborough superintendent; and Jim Warford, a former K-12 chancellor who heads the Florida Association of School Administrators." "26 seek job as Florida's school chief".

    The Palm Beach Post editors have this to say:

    According to Jeb Bush, every education program he undertook was "historic." So, why don't more qualified candidates want to be Florida's commissioner of education?

    The list of applicants by the July 13 deadline was so disappointing that the state extended the deadline 10 days. One reason for the weak response must be that former Gov. Bush built a department dedicated not to education but to himself and to his ideology that favored private schools over public schools, with vouchers and bogus school grades as the prime weapons.

    The requirement that everyone in the Department of Education genuflect to Jeb led to the sycophantic choices for commissioner of Jim Horne and John Winn - the first, after a 1998 constitutional change, to be appointed rather than elected. The seven Board of Education members, whom the governor appoints, choose the commissioner.
    "Pick education leader to purge Jeb's ideology".

    Laff Riot

    "Alexander, 20, was sitting on his bunk alone in his cell masturbating when a female deputy, monitoring his cell from a nearby control room, took offense. Today he's scheduled to go to trial to fight a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge and the maximum one-year jail sentence that would go with a conviction. ... Inmates indulge in masturbation for a variety of reasons, said Trudy Block-Garfield, a forensic psychologist." "Prisoner accused of indecent act alone in Broward jail".

    Whatever You Do ...

    ... Don't go on strike: "From snakes to mold, the nation's air traffic controllers— including those in South Florida — must work with a number of maladies stemming from aging facilities and poor maintenance, a congressional panel was told Tuesday." "Air controllers say substandard conditions threaten safety".

    Death Politics

    "Ocala judge's unexpected objection to Florida's recently updated execution procedures may send the state down a path that has left other states with executions on hold." "Ruling clouds death penalty cases".

    Round 3

    "Don’t rule out another battle between Jan Schneider and Christine Jennings for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress. Earlier this week [Jeremy Wallace] tried to reach Schneider to see if she had any thoughts of running for Congress again. [Yesterday, he] got an press release from the Sarasota attorney that states she’s not prepared to rule it out. Additionally, Schneider’s release states that she is “appalled” by comments Jennings made to me about the Iraq war in Monday’s Political Notebook." "Schneider vs. Jennings Part III?".

    That Didn't Take Long

    "Department of Children & Families Secretary Bob Butterworth was presented with a National Governor's Association public service award at the governor's mansion Tuesday." "Butterworth wins public service honor".

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