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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 Saturday, September 29, 2007

FlaDems Let Deadline Pass

    "Florida Democrats plan to let a deadline pass today without making any changes to their Jan. 29 presidential primary. The decision probably will cost the state's party delegates their vote at the national convention next year, but Florida Democrats hope it will lead to a higher voter turnout in November and, perhaps, a successful fund-raising effort." "Medical schools' swelling budgets criticized".

    Update: "State Dems teleconference as deadline passes".

    Meanwhile, "Kendall Coffey, the former U.S. Attorney for South Florida known for high-profile, sometimes controversial cases, is preparing a lawsuit by Florida Democrats over the state’s primary date and the Democratic National Party sanctions." "Coffey To File Nelson’s Lawsuit Over Primary". More: "Primary vote now Nelson's primary quest".

    On top of that, "While many state Democrats on an ongoing conference call appear supportive of chairwoman Karen Thurman’s leadership in the squabble with the Democratic National Committee over the stripping of state delegates, not all of them are. George Maurer, a state Democratic committee member from Monroe County, said he wants to be put on the state executive committee’s Oct. 28 meeting to remove Thurman 'for malfeasance.'" "Monroe Dem wants Thurman out".

    "Cellophane Man" to Hit the Bricks?

    According to Robert Novak, Florida's own "reactionary ogre", Mel Martinez "who was named general chairman of the Republican Partyonly nine months ago, has advised associates that he will leave the post as soon as somebody clinches the party's presidential nomination ... Many Republicans now grumble that Martinez has been ineffective in that role, partly because he has been drowned out by the many presidential hopefuls." "Mel Martinez to call it quits as RNC chief?"

    On Second Thought

    "A revised ruling Friday from Florida's Supreme Court cleared the way for school districts to continue to borrow billions of dollars to build new schools."

    Districts across the state had been in a panic since the court declared three weeks ago that local governments must seek voter approval before they borrow money for construction projects and pay it back with future property taxes.

    That had put a giant question mark over more than $1 billion in planned school-construction projects in Central Florida alone.
    "Justices said the complex lease-purchase program that school districts have heavily relied on to build schools in Florida does not need the public's nod."
    The court issued its clarification in response to a flurry of requests from governments for a rehearing after its Sept. 6 ruling on an Escambia County case, a decision that prompted warning signals from bond-rating agencies. Building plans, including the Evans High replacement project in Orange County, were beginning to be put on hold.

    But on Friday, the justices essentially greenlighted plans by districts statewide to spend $8 billion during the next five years to build or repair schools.

    The court also clarified that bonds already issued do not now need voter approval. Credit agencies immediately began to lift their warnings.

    However, the future of other public projects remained cloudy.
    "Revised ruling calms schools". See also "Borrowing option for schools", "Supreme Court lifts cloud from billions in local borrowing" and "Borrowing option for schools".

    That's A Relief

    "'Mooning' won't be sex crime".

    "Cruel and unusual"?

    "Lethal injection was supposed to be the humane, enlightened way to execute inmates and avoid the pain and the gruesome spectacle of firing squads, the electric chair and the noose. But now it, too, is under legal attack as cruel and unusual, with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing this week to hear arguments that lethal injection can cause excruciating pain." "Lethal injection, once seen as more humane, comes under scrutiny".

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board:

    In one sense, it is good that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the method of lethal injection used in most states, including Florida, is constitutional. In another sense, it just bumps an insane question up to another level.

    The specific case the court will consider is out of Kentucky. But, as in so many other bizarre areas, Florida has been at the forefront of the "Is it painful?" argument. Last year, technicians trying to execute Angel Diaz incorrectly placed the needles and it took him 34 minutes to die. ...

    Lots of people, of course, don't care whether the method of execution is painful - a human failing that is precisely why the ban on cruelty is in the Constitution.

    The Supreme Court can't hear from those dead witnesses any more than lower court judges can. But at least the examination is likely to be as thorough as possible.

    Florida and other states using lethal injection obviously should halt executions until the Supreme Court rules. A stay most immediately would affect Mark Dean Schwab, a pedophile and child murderer scheduled to die Nov. 15.

    Even those convinced that Schwab should die should be worried by the number of inmates freed from Death Row because of court mistakes. Don't look for a way to kill Schwab and others "humanely." Look for a guarantee that the system won't kill an innocent person. Perhaps the right "cocktail" can be found. The guarantee can't.
    "A painful argument".

    Charlie's "heart bleeds for the Democrats"

    "Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday 'my heart bleeds for the Democrats in the state of Florida' because of the fight with their national leadership over the state's Jan. 29 presidential primary." "Crist sympathizes with Democrats in 2008 primary fight".


    "Allstate Floridian on Friday asked to raise premiums up to 42 percent, further challenging Florida's efforts to lower home insurance prices." "Allstate asks for rate increase".

    Well ... Which Is It?

    "The joint proclamation sent out by Senate President Ken Pruitt’s office makes it clear: No-fault insurance will not be discussed during the special legislative session that begins next Wednesday. The only subject, the proclamation says, is the state’s budget. But 30 minutes later, an email came from House Speaker Marco Rubio copying the letter Rubio wrote to Gov. Charlie Crist, indicating that maybe the two chambers’ leaders were not in agreement." "Coffey To File Nelson’s Lawsuit Over Primary". See also "Rubio wants property tax, car insurance on agenda" and "Special session addresses revenue".

    Not Ready for Prime Time

    "When Fred Thompson said it might be time to review the practice of granting citizenship to every child born on American soil, he didn't acknowledge the seismic shift such an idea represents."

    Citizenship by birth has been prescribed by the Constitution since 1868 -- and upheld for 109 years by the Supreme Court -- but the Republican presidential candidate made it sound anachronistic. ...

    Thompson's comments have angered Hispanic leaders -- many of them Republicans -- who say they are a crass attempt to court the GOP base.
    "Thompson angers state Hispanics".

    "Rubio is losing traction"

    "Desperate to fix a troubled property-tax plan that his Senate partner won't take up, House Speaker Marco Rubio all but begged the governor in an extraordinary letter Friday to force the issue onto the Legislature's agenda next week. The apparent end run around Senate President Ken Pruitt was the most open sign that Rubio is losing traction over an issue to which he tied his political fortunes." "Set up tax vote, Rubio urges".

    Stupid Is ...

    "After failing to land a job as a U.S. postmaster, Gerardo Boloy berated the post office's spokesman in an angry e-mail -- pretending to be a Florida congressman's aide, authorities say. That landed him in jail. He was charged this week in Miami-Dade for allegedly claiming to be the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, a Palm Beach Gardens Democrat." "A postmaster reject tied to fake e-mails".

    "Deserved drubbing"

    "The Department of Children & Families got a deserved drubbing in Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen's courtroom this week."

    The DCF went off course when it curiously switched gears in the wrenching custody case of a 5-year-old Cuban girl. The agency usually advocates for family unification, but in this case the DCF expended the bulk of its energy and resources attempting to prove that the biological father, Rafael Izquierdo, was unfit. With Thursday's ruling, Judge Cohen rejected the DCF's arguments and found that Mr. Izquierdo was a fit parent.
    "DCF changed its role in custody case".

    Who Knew?

    "Largely out of the public eye, Florida has spent millions in the past decade to settle lawsuits, many stemming from DCF child welfare cases." "Settlements set Florida taxpayers back $196M". See also "Abuse cases settled for $14 million".

    "Big bull's eye on Florida's most vulnerable"

    "It sounded good when lawmakers promised to set priorities and target their cuts during next week's special session aimed at erasing the state's budget deficit."

    Unfortunately, this Legislature believes targeting cuts means hanging a big bull's eye on Florida's most vulnerable: the poor, children and the elderly. What priority list were lawmakers working from when they decided to cut $185 million from health care and $286 million from schools?

    The public may never know because the Legislature's Republican leadership cooked this up in secret. It looks like House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt are prepared to ram this through the special session that starts Wednesday. ...

    When times are bad, the easy fix is to go after groups that can't afford to hire well-connected lobbyists.
    "Pull together". See also "Special session may be about more $1 billion in cuts" and "Lawmakers face unpleasant chore:Cut $800 million".

    "Plenty of fault"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "It is unfortunate that this unsatisfying situation has been allowed to linger on so long, and to the point that there will be no clear direction for consumers in the coming months - almost regardless of what happens next week. Unlike with PIP, there's plenty of fault to go around in the creation of this lawmaking mess." "Fault lines". The St. Pete Times editors: "A way forward on no-fault".

    "Snow job"

    "Members of Florida's university oversight board lashed out at two university presidents this week, calling their pleas for new medical schools a 'snow job' after budget requests approved last year grew by tens of millions of dollars." "Medical schools' swelling budgets criticized".

    Lake O

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The South Florida Water Management District must do better at living up to its mission of managing our water supplies, and the public has to accept its responsibility in supporting those efforts — with its pocketbook and conservation efforts at home. The long-term answer is two-pronged. The district has to build more reservoirs, outside of those already planned for Everglades restoration and future growth. And the region has to get serious about recycling wastewater into drinking and irrigation supplies — treating it, rather than dumping it into the ocean or injecting it deep underground — an expensive but essential proposition." "Deluge misses Lake O, underscores need for better water plan".

    "A good swift kick in the pants"

    The Orlando Sentinel editors:

    Set a goal in government, like having Florida's utilities generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable forms of energy, and chances are it will atrophy.

    But launch it with a good swift kick in the pants, and you might just reach it.

    FPL Group got the boot in June when the Public Service Commission denied its application for a 1,900-megawatt coal-burning plant near the Everglades.
    "Sunny comeback".

    Tuition Hike

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The state tuition hike approved by the Board of Governors this week was the correct, necessary decision for a couple of reasons. First, the 5 percent tuition increase for the spring semester is expected to generate $9.5 million for the financially-strapped university system. Gov. Crist had wrongly vetoed a 5 percent increase last May. Almost as important, the action by the Board of Governors should settle, finally, the question of who gets to set tuition in Florida's public universities." "Board right to raise college tuition".

    Thomas Loses It

    Delusional Bushco hood ornament Clarence Thomas "settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir, scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination and the 'mob' of liberal elites and activist groups who he says desecrated his life."

    In the book, Thomas writes that Hill was the tool of liberal activist groups "obsessed" with abortion and outraged because he did not fit their idea of what an African-American should believe.

    "The mob I now faced carried no ropes or guns," Thomas writes of his hearings. "Its weapons were smooth-tongued lies spoken into microphones and printed on the front pages of America's newspapers. ... But it was a mob all the same, and its purpose -- to keep the black man in his place -- was unchanged."
    "Justice Thomas rakes critics in memoir of his early years".

    Ironic, that the man who conducted hillbilly heroin addict, Rush [sic] Limbaugh's wedding would have the audacity to play the race card. Thomas attacks "liberals" while at the same time hanging out with racists like Limbaugh


    The Palm Beach Post editorial board:

    One day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report saying the Everglades remains sick, besieged with toxic mercury, phosphorus and other pollutants. The next, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, opened a hearing asking why the U.S. Interior Department removed Everglades National Park from a United Nations World Heritage Site list of endangered environmental sites. Good question. As Sen. Nelson's probe showed, however, Bush administration officials have no good answers. ...

    So how did the Interior Department decide that the Everglades has recovered enough to be taken off a prominent world "endangered" list? Sen. Nelson's inquiry showed that Todd Willens, a deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department, asked the U.N.'s World Heritage Committee to remove the Everglades from the endangered list at a July meeting in New Zealand. The National Park Service and the committee's own science advisers opposed removing it. A word in a document was changed from retain to remove and the U.N. committee followed Mr. Willens' recommendation. Before he joined the Interior Department, Mr. Willens worked for then-Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif. whose anti-environment staff lingers despite his defeat in the last election.
    "Decision on Everglades was polluted by politics".

    "Huckabee rolls on"

    "Huckabee, 52, attended a fundraiser in Ocala, then participated in the Values Voter debate in Fort Lauderdale, after which he overwhelmingly won a poll among viewers. In this month's Mason-Dixon poll, he was polling at 6 percent in Florida." "No heavyweight, Huckabee rolls on".

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