"Florida's top elections chief has found Diebold's voting machines could be compromised easily by hackers and is demanding a quick fix." "Florida voting chief aims to block hackers".
Florida's optical scan voting machines are still flawed,despite efforts to fix them, and they could allow poll workers to tamper with the election results, according to a government-ordered study obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. ... The lab found, for example, that someone with only brief access to a machine could replace a memory card with one preprogramed to read one candidate's votes as counting for another, essentially switching the candidates and showing the loser winning in that precinct."Study finds Florida optical scan voting machines still flawed". See also "Voting devices still not secure" and "Elections officials no longer in denial about 'ballot-stuffing' attack risks".
More from the Daytona Beach - News Journal editorial board, which argues that "It makes far more sense to push counties toward optical-scan now, with the understanding that in a disputed election, the paper ballots constitute the final say on voters' intent." "If you vote will it count? Can't tell without paper".
Here We Go Again
"A Republican lawmaker is planning a ballot proposal that could include a higher sales tax and other fees in an effort to do away with property taxes. Rep. Frank Attkisson, who played a key role in the Legislature's tax debate, is eyeing the November 2008 ballot and has secured a prominent public relations firm to sell the idea to Floridians." "State lawmaker pitches plan to eliminate property taxes". See also "Attkisson wants 'tax swap' on 2008 ballot".
"As if the Democratic candidates weren't already flummoxed over how to handle Florida's early presidential primary, now they could face another Florida curveball: thousands of Florida activists formally voting in October on their preferred nominee. State Democratic leaders on Saturday are scheduled to decide whether to hold a nonbinding straw poll at their state party convention. The unexpected move could force some campaigns to pump tens of thousands of dollars into campaigning for an officially meaningless event." "Straw poll idea pushed around".
"Crist signs hurricane preparedness bills".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "To understand the public frustration over how Florida's developers have bent growth rules to their advantage, take a look at the Rural Lands Stewardship Program. Passed by the Legislature in 2001 as a limited pilot project to protect farmland and wildlife areas, stewardship zones have become a shortcut for savvy landowners to build new cities in remote areas while protecting little or nothing." "Abuse Of Rural-Preservation Law Pushes Voters To Radical Remedy".
"On the heels of Monday's CNN-YouTube Democratic debate, nearly 75 [Tampa area] residents had their own public conversation on the possibility of electing the nation's first biracial president." "Obama's Candidacy Discussed".
"Prodded by a tough-talking Gov. Charlie Crist, state regulators said Tuesday that they have rejected a proposed 7 percent rate reduction by State Farm Insurance Co., insisting that Florida's largest private carrier of homeowners policies can do better." "Cut home premiums, state tells insurers". See also "Crist lashes out against insurers" and "Crist May Take Legal Action Against Property Insurers Who Fail To Lower Rates".
"Politically inept in Fort Lauderdale".
A Tampa Thing
"There's a dilemma wafting over Tampa Bay area members of Congress in the battle over expanding children's health care. To help pay for expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as S-CHIP, congressional committees are proposing jumps in the cigar tax from about a nickel a cigar to as much as $10 a stogie." "Lost In The Smoke".
Kevin McCarty, Florida's Insurance commissioner: "If insurers see a savings, then you should, too".
"Congress is expected to approve a water resources bill - the first in seven years - that would authorize $2 billion in Everglades restoration projects, including the long-awaited Indian River Lagoon Plan. Negotiators reached agreement Friday on the $20 billion spending legislation. " "Regain Everglades fervor".
"Returning college students used to paying discounted prices for birth control at campus health clinics will find that costs have more than doubled." "Birth control costs on campus increase".
"Rep. Tom Feeney got $33,500 worth of help with his legal bills, according to a report filed this week with the House."
One of Feeney’s benefactors for the legal defense fund said he had no comment on the congressman’s legal issues. John Kirtley of Tampa said he and his wife, Kimberly, gave the money because Feeney supports school choice."Legal Aid".
Kirtley, is a venture capitalist who has turned his attentions to providing vouchers and scholarships to give low-income families a choice of where they send their children to school. He heads the Florida Education Freedom Foundation and met Feeney when Feeney was Florida House Speaker. "I support him in all ways," said Kirtley, an independent voter. "Speaker Feeney has long been a great champion of parental choice for low-income families in education."
Kimberly Kirtley is a close family friend of Feeney and a former employee of his, according to Feeney’s staff.
Feeney also got $5,000 from Pyramid Technology, Inc. in Oviedo. And $18,500 from fellow Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and other political committees.
"GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will hold one of his 'Ask Mitt Anything' sessions Monday in Tampa at La Teresita restaurant on Columbus Drive." "Romney To Hold Tampa Town Hall Meeting".
Service Cut Suit
"A federal lawsuit seeks to stop a new state law that would limit services for disabled Floridians who cannot care for themselves." "Suit opposes service cuts". See also "Advocates sue to block cuts for developmentally disabled".
"Hillsborough County homeowners' bills will drop only slightly under current property-tax reform proposals. Our calculator shows how your home's value may change." "Tax Savings May Disappoint".
"Likely Republican candidate Fred Thompson may be attracting interest among Florida voters, but so far he's not bringing in loads of money here. Newly filed disclosure reports show that of the $3.46-million he raised nationally last month, just $150,000 came from Florida." "Thompson not raising much in Florida".
Gettin' desperate: "Fred Thompson's fundraising for his budding presidential bid garnered lackluster reviews Tuesday, but one little-known town in Central Florida emerged as a financial bedrock: Plant City, hometown of former state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd." "Byrd gives actor's campaign a boost"
"With just six months tenure, high approval ratings and rumors already circulating about his political future, the current governor, Charlie Crist, did his best Jeb impersonation during a recent appearance before the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board." "Gov. Charlie Crist does Jeb Bush.".
"Former Rep. Ralph Arza, R-Hialeah, used the N-word in a cellphone rant to a colleague last year and was almost immediately asked to leave the Legislature by his friend, incoming House Speaker Marco Rubio. Current Rep. Bob Allen, R-Merritt Island, allegedly offered to perform a sex act on a Titusville cop for $20 at a public restroom in early July, yet Rubio hasn't made a move to investigate him or remove him as chair of the energy committee. What gives?" "Arza vs. Allen. AKA: the 'N' word vs. a sex solicit".