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 Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Dumber than a storm drain of denseness"

    Daniel Ruth: "It only took Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio more than a month to figure out Rep. Bob Allen is a bigger political liability than Fidel Castro trying to get elected to lead Miami."
    So much for razor-sharp political instincts. Really now, if Rubio were any slower on the uptake, he'd make Elmer Fudd look like Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    Of course, with Allen added to the mix we're looking at a perfect storm of dumber than a storm drain of denseness.
    After savaging Rubio, Ruth turns his attention to Mr. Allen:
    It was bad enough that a public official had been popped on a charge of soliciting another man for prostitution. Well, there goes the family values plank.

    But Allen had to take an already nightmare of a public relations problem and make it even worse by claiming his fear of large black men forced him to offer to pay $20 to perform a sex act.

    What to call this declasse sleaziness? The "Mandingo" defense? Good grief!

    Surely Allen had noticed the presence of black men in the park while he was cruising through it. If he was so scared of large black men, why would Allen then have parked his car and made several visits in and out of the men's room?
    Ruth was only getting started on poor Rubio:
    Maybe the patently insane "The large black guy made me do it!" alibi was an effort by Allen to throw Rubio off the hunt. And maybe it worked, but only for a little while.

    Finally, more than a month after the arrest, Rubio stripped Allen of his post as chairman of the House Energy Committee and canned him from the Environment and Natural Resources Council. ...

    And it took Rubio more than a month to figure out Allen was more dead meat than Barbaro?

    It's altogether possible Rubio's assertion that his colleague now is less effective than the Roundheads in the Florida Legislature may be just a pinch too subtle for Allen to grasp.

    Perhaps it's time for more directness from Rubio, maybe something along the lines of, "We hate you. Go away. Never darken our door again."
    Read it all here: "Mr. Speaker, Don't Try To Be So Subtle". More from The Palm Beach Post editors: "Rubio's Rules of Order".

    A Fine Idea At The Time

    "There are a bunch of reports that Michigan is poised to set its primary for Jan. 15 - both D and R." "So much for Fl's status as first mega state primary".

    As Gary Siplin Looks On

    "Investigators say Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty used state resources for the political campaign of a friend, but they do not seek sanctions against him. Instead, Florida's top government watchdogs end a four-month inquiry of McCarty's involvement in a Leon County judicial campaign satisfied with his public apology and concluding there was no repeated wrongdoing. Chief Inspector Mark Perez noted that though state law provides criminal penalties for campaigning on government time, 'there was no clear, established pattern of misuse of state resources for political activities that warranted a criminal referral.'" "Slap on wrist for McCarty". See also "Investigation of insurance commissioner ends".

    Recall that "Last year, state Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, was convicted of grand theft for having legislative employees work on state time during his 2004 reelection campaign."

    "First-class ego, third-class brain"

    "He's seen as the fiscally conservative alternative to the Republican governor, a potential candidate for governor himself, a politician brimming with 'ideas,' not the least of which is eliminating property taxes. Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson sounds an awful lot like Marco Rubio (right down to the "tax swap") and as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, their brand of activism is part of a trend. Of course, like Rubio, Richardson has his critics. "First-class ego, third-class brain," reads the headline on a recent [Cynthia Tucker] AJC column. " "State speaker's agenda fuels his public profile".

    Another Special Election

    "Lake Mary state Rep. David Mealor said Monday that he is resigning his seat in October to pursue the vacant post of chancellor of the state's community-college system. The Republican lawmaker, who had one year left in his term, said he has not yet formally applied for the chancellor's position. Mealor said he thought it was important to announce his plans now to allow his successor to be chosen by voters in a special election that could coincide with Nov. 6 elections in Central Florida." "Lake Mary lawmaker will resign to seek community-colleges post".


    Alex Sink: "Crucial to act before PIP law sunsets".

    Good Luck

    "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is calling for 'unrestricted rights'' for Cuban Americans to visit and send money to family in Cuba, just days before his first pilgrimage to Little Havana as a presidential candidate. President Bush clamped down on family travel and remittances to Cuba in an effort to squeeze Fidel Castro. The policy has become a flash point in the Cuban-American community, which traditionally leans toward the GOP." "Obama to talk on Cuba issues". See also "".


    "Undecided voters keep GOP hopefuls coming to Florida".

    "Nothing to be proud of"

    The Sun-Sentinel editors assert that the latest measure of Florida's academic performance is "nothing to be proud of"

    "We're Number 48!"

    Not exactly an inspirational cheer. Instead, it means you have a long way to go to be successful. Which is the story of Florida's ACT scores.

    While scores on the ACT college entrance exam improved minimally on a national level, Florida's scores dropped slightly to 19.9. Only two states — Mississippi and South Carolina — and the District of Columbia scored lower. ...

    Florida may have to keep suffering the embarrassment of being two states from the bottom.
    "Not exactly a glorious achievement".

    A Quick Read

    Scott Maxwell: "Coming soon to a bookstore near you: A book written by one of Orlando's newest authors, Mel Martinez. Staff members in the U.S. senator's office confirm that the freshman Republican, Cuban refugee and chairman of the Republican National Committee is writing an autobiography.".

    Political Pressure?

    "A week before she is to preside over one of the most controversial child-custody trials held at Miami's juvenile court, the judge at the center of the dispute vehemently defended herself Monday against allegations she might be susceptible to political pressure."

    Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen, who has been on the bench since 1992 -- mostly in dependency court -- will decide whether a 4-year-old girl will return to Cuba to live with her birth father or be raised in the Coral Gables home of the foster parents who have cared for her the past 16 months.

    Reacting to an e-mail sent last week to the attorney for the girl's birth father, the judge insisted in a hearing Monday that she would hear the case impartially, and would rebound and find a new legal challenge if the outcome of the case proved unpopular. Cohen is up for reelection in 2008. ...

    In the e-mail to attorney Ira Kurzban, Andrew Lagomasino, the father's therapist, suggested the father's legal team consider finding someone to write a letter to the editor to ''generate community support'' for the father's side.

    ''I have thought of some creative things to see if we can show the judge that she won't be defeated in the election if she sends [the girl] back to Cuba,'' Lagomasino wrote in his e-mail.

    Jason Dimitris, the Department of Children & Families' chief of staff, who is spearheading the state's case against the father, gave Cohen a copy of the e-mail, calling it ''very disturbing to us.'' The DCF is seeking to prove the birth father is unfit to raise the girl.
    "Judge defends impartiality".

    Religious Schools

    "Central Florida's population is growing, but its parochial-school enrollment is not. Mirroring a trend in public schools, enrollment is decreasing at many religious-based private schools. And it's not just Roman Catholic schools that are struggling. Lutherans, the second-largest group educating parochial-school children, have seen declines as well. The reasons range from flights by families to suburbia, the rising costs of tuition and demographic shifts. For Catholic schools, the loss of nuns as teachers has added to the costs of education." "Enrollment drops at religious schools".


    "The governor's office and the Seminoles say they're making progress on talks to let the tribe offer higher-stakes games." "Still no deal on Seminole gambling". See also "Gaming talks to keep going".

    Running Government Like a Business

    "Two of Venice's top managers received pay raises while other employees lost their jobs and community groups lost their city funding during a budget session Monday." "Venice gives out raises and pink slips".

    "Time is of the essence"

    "Warning that 'time is of the essence' for state employees to make insurance choices, attorneys for the Department of Management Services asked an appeals court Monday to let the state change companies for vision coverage." "State, insurer wrangle over changes in vision-care contracts".

    "Merit" Pay

    "Despite legislative insistence that high-performing teachers will be rewarded for their efforts, like it or not, the education establishment - teachers, administrators and union representatives - sees it as divisive and a poor substitute for higher base salaries." "Educators wary of bonus plan".

    Meet The New Boss ...

    "Jeb Bush used to take flak for appointing folks to environmental boards whom critics said were no friends of the environment. Things like that tend to happen when you appoint developers to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- a group that's supposed to protect animals from development. But now comes Charlie Crist."

    Charlie is supposed to be Jeb-lite -- the softer side of Republicans; a guy who hugged as many trees as he did babies during the campaign.

    So, now that Crist has had a chance to fill a few posts on the wildlife commission, let's check in on the board's makeup. ...

    [I]t seems safe to say that, despite all the hype, Crist isn't undoing everything his predecessor put in motion.
    "Wildlife board's new members seem much like the old members". In addition to being more of the same, all three appointees just happen to be "active supporters of the Republican Party in general and Crist in particular. " "Wildlife appointees all Crist boosters"


    "Property taxes are sure to be on the agenda when Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio makes his first visit to the region since the state Legislature passed sweeping tax reforms. Rubio, R-Miami, considered a catalyst in the property tax crusade, is scheduled to speak to Sarasota Tiger Bay at noon on Thursday." "Bigwigs are set to talk in Sarasota".

    Well, Sometimes Florida is ... Painful

    "Drugs for pain surge in Florida".

    "We're cheap, and we're proud of it"

    "When Charlie Reed left as chancellor of Florida universities for a similar job in California a decade ago, he exited with his reputation for blunt talk firmly intact. Florida has a motto: 'We're cheap, and we're proud of it,' Reed said then. On Monday, Reed was back in the state where worked for 27 years. His long absence has not tempered his criticism of the system he once headed. He chastised state leaders for keeping tuition too low and for meddling in how universities are run, steps he said have consigned campuses in Florida to mediocrity." "Ex-chancellor Reed pulls no punches".

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