Bill March reports that
In an editorial headlined "Gambling expansion underway, thanks to Gov. Crist," the executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, James A. Smith Sr., blasted Gov. Charlie Crist today over what Smith called Crist’s hypocrisy on social issues including gambling."Florida Baptist Witness Editor Blasts Crist". The editorial: "Gambling expansion underway, thanks to Gov. Crist" ("Charlie Crist is no Jeb Bush—and his rolling out Florida's red carpet to the gambling industry is perhaps the most obvious way Crist is undoing one of Bush's most important legacies.")
"The evidence of Crist’s duplicity is now clearly before us," Smith wrote. He referred to Crist’s signing a bill allowing charitable bingo halls to selll scratch-off tickets like those sold by the Florida Lottery, and the governor’s failing to veto a bill allowing Broward County parimutuel sites to increase their offerings of slot machines.
Smith said he asked Crist about the issue last year, and Crist’s answer was, "I don’t think we should expand gambling."
"He said it with the same level of conviction as when he told me he was ‘pro-life,’ while also refusing to affirm even one public policy restriction to limit abortion," Smith wrote. "That is to say, he didn’t mean it."
I wonder if the "duplicitous" Crist will be barred from Baptist churches? Recall this: "Influential Bishop Denies Eucharist to Pro-Abortion New Jersey Governor".
"Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman makes $100,000 a year to build a political machine to compete with Republicans, and earns extra income working for a law firm headed by one of the state's leading Republicans, Al Cardenas."
As a former Democrat in Congress, Thurman is paid by the Tew Cardenas firm to build bridges with her former colleagues who now run Capitol Hill, on behalf of Miami-Dade County."Party chief's dual role draws fire". See also "Backlash brewing against Fla Dem chief?"
Cardenas was state GOP chairman during the tenure of Gov. Jeb Bush, a time in which Thurman lost her redrawn House seat to Republican Ginny Brown-Waite. ...
State records show that in November, Thurman opened a Florida lobbying firm, Karen Thurman LLC, in partnership with J. Eric Gould, a partner in Cardenas' firm.
Gould worked in the Clinton White House and served as counsel to Thurman when, as a member of Congress in the 1990s, she served on the House Ways and Means Committee.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "It shouldn't surprise anyone that the cost of restoring the Florida Everglades is going up. Inflation can quickly cripple a major public works project, especially when critical parts of the plan are years behind schedule. That's one conclusion in a recently released General Accounting Office report, which shows that the cost of the massive federal-state effort to clean up, re-plumb and retain water over 18,000-square miles of South Florida has gone from an estimated $15.4 billion to $19.7 billion, a 28 percent jump since 2000." "River of Grass".
The Profit Motive
"The credibility of Pinellas County government and one of the county's elected constitutional officers, Property Appraiser Jim Smith, has been seriously undermined by revelations about a land deal that smells rotten. St. Petersburg Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell revealed in a front-page story Wednesday that Smith sold a piece of undeveloped North Pinellas property to the county for $225, 000 - the same land to which Smith's own staff had assigned a just value of only $59, 400 last year." "Pinellas land sale smells rotten".
Young Wingnuts in Hollywood
"The convention will also feature a presidential straw poll, a night out on South Beach as well as "educational programming" on opposition research and ballot security." "Sun, sand, young Republicans and Crist". More here: "Young Republican National Convention".
One man's "ballot security" is another man's voter suppression, especially since the seminar is being taught by the delightful Republican National Lawyers Association; presumably "caging" will be on the agenda.
"A cash crunch has forced Republican John McCain to gut his presidential campaign in Florida, an early sign that only a few, extremely flush contenders will be able to compete in a state hosting one of the nation's first primaries. Supporters of moving Florida's primary from mid-March to Jan. 29 had argued the change would bring a presidential ground game to a state traditionally viewed as a stopover for raising money to be spent elsewhere. But McCain's retrenchment suggests most of the field will continue to focus on earlier, smaller states where their limited resources can go much farther." "McCain scales back Florida staff".
"Rep. Robert Wexler says President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence 'is nothing short of (a) political quid pro quo, and Congress must go on record in strong opposition.' Wexler has drafted a resolution to censure Bush and plans to introduce it when Congress returns next Tuesday. A censure is a rare public reprimand but does not carry any other penalty." "Wexler: Censure Bush Over Libby".
"The Florida Home Builders Association has issued a "sincere apology" after an earlier web site posting that threatened to withhold campaign donations to legislators in 2008 unless they sponsored the group's priority: a cap on impact fees on new homes. ... The builders' earlier stance smacked of a quid pro quo. It also was ironic." See why here: "From the builders, 'a sincere apology'".
He Said It
More raw political courage from Good Time Charlie: "I believe in freedom first." "Gov. Crist favors individual freedom over more driver safety laws".
Where Are the "Right-to-Lifers"?
The Palm Beach Post's Elisa Cramer:"Babies die in Florida before they turn 1 at a higher rate than throughout the nation. And due in part to Florida's health insurers, those who survive may find it harder to thrive."
The Florida Insurance Council this year, as in the past, successfully opposed several bills that would have improved health care for countless children. Their mantra: It's a mandate. Which means: Why should we have to cover this?"Insurers are preventing prevention".
The failed legislation would have required insurers to cover infant eye exams, treatment for autism and a pneumonia vaccine for children younger than 2. One bill would have assigned the state's Agency for Health Care Administration to review whether there are gaps in coverage for babies who need therapy and equipment for deformities at birth of their heads or facial bones. The council was equally against proposals that would have required coverage for adults, including prostate cancer and diabetes screening, and a shingles vaccine.
How can the council defend opposing Senate Bill 274, which would have required coverage to treat cystic fibrosis? Floridians with cystic fibrosis, the world's most common life-shortening genetic disorder among whites, have been denied coverage for medical equipment, brand-name medications, nutritional supplements and specialists. Some policies covered lung transplants but not the drugs needed after the surgery.
The bill made it through the various committees and amendments, and votes of both houses, only to die with the end of the legislative session May 4.
On The Cutting Edge
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Solar power hasn't yet captivated the Sunshine State's power producers, still balancing on the fence while other states and nations with skies cloudier than Florida's are providing customers renewable energy from the sun. Industrialized New Jersey is America's second-most aggressive user of solar power, just behind California, and cloudy Germany is the top market worldwide." "Solar could be stellar".
Peter Rebmann, a founding member and president of the Alachua County School Concurrency Project, writes in The Tallahassee Democrat today: "Dubbed the Developers' Relief Act by its critics, HB 7203 mostly prevents overcrowded roads from stopping development. But a little-noticed clause also helps prevent overcrowded schools from doing the same. School concurrency has two rules that threaten overcrowded schools. One says that schools can't take in more students than they have space for. The other says that school districts can't plan to build new schools unless they have the money to build them. HB 7203 softens these rules." "Overcrowded schools may be here to stay".
Terror Expert In Daytona
"Touting his executive experience as mayor of one of the largest governments in the country in the city of New York, especially during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Giuliani took an aggressive stance regarding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."
And try not to laugh too hard at this: "Joe Culotta, 23, of Orlando and Justin York, 19, of Lake Mary drove over to see Giuliani along with several other members of the University of Central Florida College Republicans. ... York likened Giuliani to Winston Churchill, England's leader during World War II." "Giuliani touts his experience at Daytona campaign stop". More: "AP: Giuliani visits Daytona Beach company to promote tax cuts".
"Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink this week ordered a 50 percent cut in the Workers' Compensation Administration Trust Fund assessment rate. The assessment is paid by workers' comp insurers into a state fund. ... Also, employers who do not comply with workers' comp laws now pay much more in fines than they did a few years ago, which has boosted the fund." "Sink: Workers' comp rates to be cut in half next year".
An Orlando Thing
"Campaigner dressed as George Washington nearly arrested".
Romney Dancing in the Streets
OK, we're kidding. But the less than influential conservative rag, the "New Smyrna Beach Observer" "although the Florida primary is more than six months away, we believe it is important to get behind the candidate we feel is best suited to be the next president of the United States: Mitt Romney." (Link via The Buzz's "Early newspaper endorsment for Romney").
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The state's 300 charter schools are in a kind of bureaucratic limbo between local districts that have limited powers to enforce rules and the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission, which has greater authority, but not the resources to keep close tabs on these schools." "Falling through the cracks".