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, September 12, 2007

GOPers Cut and Run (From UM-Univisión Debate)

    "Univisión and the University of Miami are continuing to run potential debate dates by the GOP campaigns, said Rudy Fernandez, UM's vice president for government affairs. Fernandez said one of the challenges is coming up with a date that works for the candidates, Univisión and UM's BankUnited Center, the stage for Sunday's debate. 'It's our hope that the Republicans will see this as a great opportunity to reach out to the national Hispanic community,' Fernandez said." "UM, Univisión still trying for GOP debate".

    "Beyond ironic"

    "Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez apologized Tuesday for his profane rant against the state Republican Party after it bashed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for attending a fundraiser at his home."

    Martinez was infuriated by a Republican Party of Florida news release that described him as ''embattled.'' He was convicted on federal racketeering and extortion charges in 1991 but successfully appealed. Two subsequent trials ended in hung juries, and the case was dropped.

    ''I wanted to apologize to you and your readers,'' Martinez said of his obscenity-laced response to the news release. ``I was baited and I took it. There is no excuse for it. I should have known better.''
    "But as he was backing away from heated rhetoric, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party was cranking it up. The local party's entry into the fray is part of an effort to generate interest in Martinez's potential bid against Republican U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart."
    ''It is beyond ironic that the Republican Party, responsible for the most corrupt administration in the history of this country, would attempt to discredit a distinguished public servant like Mayor Martinez,'' Miami-Dade Democratic Chairman Joe Garcia said in a statement.
    "Martinez sorry for ripping state GOP".

    Goin' Down?

    "Florida voters are growing so distrustful of government and its promises to lower property taxes and insurance that support for a proposed constitutional amendment to create a supersized homestead exemption is dropping, a new poll shows."

    The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows that only 47 percent of Florida voters support the proposal, down from a 57 percent approval rating in July, and far below the 60 percent threshold needed to become law. Meanwhile, a growing number of voters oppose the measure -- 22 percent, up from the 17 percent opposed to it in July.
    "Poll: Voter support for tax-cut plan wanes". See also "Support declines for property tax measure, poll says", "Poll: Florida's 'super' homestead exemption won't get enough votes" and "Poll: Voters' support for tax cut waning". "Still, the vote is four and a half months away, and almost a third of the electorate remains undecided."

    "Meanwhile Tuesday, a judge heard competing arguments in a challenge to the legality of the amendment. The mayor of a small city in Broward County wants the referendum thrown out on the basis that the ballot language is misleading. The judge said he will issue a ruling within 10 days." "Support for plan to cut taxes erodes". See also "Judge hears Weston mayor's bid to stop property-tax ballot issue" and "Mayor: Ballot language for property-tax amendment unclear".

    "Crist, though, may be seeing signs of a public growing increasingly disappointed with the lackluster results of homeowners' insurance reforms, still-high property-tax bills and a sluggish economy.
    While 65 percent of Floridians give him high marks for his job performance, 23 percent are unhappy with Crist. That's a drop from Quinnipiac's earlier survey, when Crist drew a record 73-11 percent approval rating. 'The bad news for Gov. Crist is that his approval rating is below 70 percent for the first time in months,' [Peter] Brown said. 'The good news is he is still more popular than most governors in America and has a 64-23 percent rating from opposition Democrats.'"
    "Support Slides for Crist and Property Tax Overhaul". Nevertheless, "Crist's approval ratings may drop faster than taxes".

    "Slow down"

    "Wildlife officials should hold off before deciding whether to downgrade the manatee's status from endangered to threatened, Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday." "Governor: Slow down manatee decision".See also "Endangered or not? Delay vote, Crist says". More: "Manatees, tortoises may get a reprieve". The Palm Beach Post editors: "Delay vote on manatees".

    Off Topic

    "Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work."

    Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times more likely than conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts and were 2.2 times more likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

    Based on the results, [Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California at Berkeley] said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

    "There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.

    Lead author David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at NYU, cautioned that the study looked at a narrow range of human behavior, and it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said.
    "Brain Processes Reflect Politics".

    Uh ... Make that $2.5 billion next year

    Amy Baker, director of the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, "repeated her warnings that, if unaddressed, the state would face a $2.5 billion shortfall next year -- about 8 percent of the state's revenue." "State budget deficit may set record".

    "Not so fast"

    "Attorneys for a Death Row inmate asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to send a case back to a lower court because a judge discussed the case with the St. Petersburg Times." "Attorneys: Not so fast lifting stay".

    TV Marti Batista on the Ropes

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board:"Few people are watching TV Marti and fewer people seem to care. So it's time to shut down the expensive broadcaster and find fresh ways to reach Cubans with America's message of freedom." "Time To Pull Plug On TV Marti".

    Early Primary

    "Florida and Michigan Democratic congressmen asked national party Chairman Howard Dean on Tuesday why he has said nothing about punishing New Hampshire if it moves up its presidential primary while their states may lose all their delegates." "Fla., Mich. congressmen complain DNC is silent on N.H. primary".


    "Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony corruption charge that could send him to prison for up to five years." "Newell pleads, faces prison".


    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Crist's proposed budget cuts are well intentioned but misguided. "

    He is gambling that spending more money will spur the economy and generate enough state revenues to cover a $1 billion budget shortfall. But that bet is far from certain.

    Florida shouldn't stake its $71 billion budget on tax collections that may or may not materialize. Florida could be stuck with a bigger budget shortfall next year if revenues fail to rebound. Moreover, if the economy goes into a recession, as some economists predict, the odds of a rebound become worse.

    We know that cutting spending is a painful proposition. After months of wrangling, state House and Senate leaders haven't been able to agree on a basic approach.
    "Governor's budget would be hit or miss".

    Thompson Apparently Checking Out Retirement Options In Florida

    "Thompson hits Florida Thursday". Surely he will be considering a visit to one of Florida's premier "retirement communities", "The Villages".

    Meanwhile, "Thompson hires Coral Gables dynamic duo", a "political consulting firm to advise him on the Hispanic community". Perhaps they can advise sleepy on how to tactfully avoid the UM-Univisión Debate.


    Ric Keller seems to be burning the candle at both ends: : "In February, Keller joined 16 GOP peers in voting against the surge, saying it would endanger more troops without any guarantee that it would help the new Iraqi government stabilize the country. But he never strayed far from his party's line, ultimately voting to fund the surge and opposing Democratic efforts to set a timetable for troop withdrawals. After hearing Petraeus, he said, he still thinks he was right, but that circumstances in Iraq have changed." "Sentinel: Hearings sway Keller on troop buildup".

    "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, has put out a press release summarizing facts and figures to back up her assertion that the cost and sacrifice of the war in Iraq aren’t producing significant results. The seven-page packet of information Castor distributed in a news release all comes from non-partisan government sources including the Defense Department, Congressional Research Service and others, but the packet itself was assembled and distributed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office for Democratic members to use." "Castor Says Facts Show War Not Going Well". See also "Nelson pushes Crocker on Iran".

    The words of our U.S. Senators:

    "Nelson: “The situation in Iraq is still a mess, and neither Gen. Petraeus nor Ambassador Crocker could say how long they expect us to be there. I believe we need a gradual withdrawal to get our troops out of a civil war and redeploy them to go after al Qaida. That just might spur Iraq’s leaders and security forces to take more control of their own country.”

    Martinez: "I’m pleased with the report we heard from Gen. Petraeus this week... It is important that we recognize that we’ve made progress, that this progress on the ground is going to allow us to bring some troops home... Now is the time to continue the fight to the enemy so that we can defeat al Qaida in Iraq and as we do that, we can make America safer here at home.
    "You say tomato, I say tomahto". More: "Nelson, Martinez split on war".


    "How badly have private lenders been fleecing college students? It took 60 years for Congress to fully reform what became an $85 billion college loan industry." "It's student loan reform that will help students".


    "35% of Broward residents don't speak English at home, Census says".

    Charlie Wants to cut Alzheimer's research

    "The governor's office says caring for patients is more important than Alzheimer's research." "Byrd center faces cuts even before it opens".

    Good Luck

    "House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber wants Republicans to subpoena insurance companies to get them to explain why they haven’t delivered big premium breaks to homeowners.
    The Miami Beach lawmaker just sent a letter to House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, asking him to convene the chamber’s Insurance Committee while lawmakers are in town for other meetings next week." "House Democrats want to subpoena insurers".

    January 9

    "Although state and national Democrats are still at odds over Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary elections, the head of the state party says she's certain all of the Democrats running for president will be on the ballot that day. State chairwoman Karen Thurman told me Sunday night in Coral Gables that Democrats need to know they should be voting on Jan. 29 no matter what happens in the discussions with the national party." "Thurman: Democrats will vote on Jan. 29".

    "The 'gambling is the work of the devil' crew"

    The Sun-Sentinel editors: "The anti-gambling crusade is on again in Tallahassee. As usual, the crusaders are wrong — just as in the days when ex-Gov. Jeb Bush and his pals in the Legislature railed against the evils of gambling. This time, as Gov. Charlie Crist appeared on the verge of a deal with the Seminole Tribe on gambling at its casinos, we heard again from the 'gambling is the work of the devil' crew." "Time to get deal done with Tribe".

    Mitt Who?

    "The political chattering classes are starting to crackle [sic]: Mitt Romney could go up on TV soon in Florida. He might have to, now that Fred Thompson has entered the Republican race for president and is likely to pull in second to Rudy Giuliani. Despite the speculation that Romney, the former Mass. Gov., is planning a multi-market Florida TV ad buy soon, the campaign won't talk about it. Romney spokeswoman Kristi Campbell just acknowledges the obvious: "Our biggest obstacle is introducing the governor to Florida.'" "Romney's Florida campaign ad quandary".

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