Bill Cotterell: "You don't need to be a statistician to draw some interesting conclusions from the first annual report of the Council on Efficient Government. It provides some insights into the legacy of ex-Gov. Jeb Bush and his eight-year effort to privatize state government."
Actually, the report indicates that "outsourcing" progressed like a roller coaster - chugging upward in Bush's first term, then cresting the summit and plunging wildly ahead. It's been quite a ride.So, do Jebbie's privatization schemes achieve anything other than, as Paul Krugman puts it, spawning "a network of contractors who have given ... Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations"? Cotterell writes:
It also appears that Bush, who admitted being impatient once he got one of his big ideas, was not a stickler about looking before he leaped. Such was his faith in the private sector, combined with his disdain for most things governmental, that his administration didn't fret too much about cost-benefit ratios or performance measures when deciding whether to privatize something. ...
"Bush liked to say, in education, that "if you don't measure, you don't care." But apparently his commitment to standardized testing didn't apply to privatization contracts."
"A project cost-benefit analysis exercise is fundamental to the business case submissions process and essential to a sound financial evaluation of an outsourced project. Without valid cost-benefit calculations, it is difficult to access the true value and benefit of proposed outsourced projects," said the [legislatively created 'seven-member council last year after a series of spectacular flops in state contracting'] ..."Numbers show it's hard to rate privatization".
"Of the 226 outsourced projects submitting cost-benefit related data only 16, or 7 percent, reported complete cost-benefit analysis before project solicitation," it said. One other project had a cost-benefit analysis done after solicitation started. Ready, fire, aim.
"The remaining 209, or 92 percent of the projects, reported not completing a cost-benefit analysis at any time," said the council staff report. "Without a complete cost-benefit analysis, it will be difficult for the council to assess the feasibility of an outsourced project and the benefit provided to the agency and the public."
Charlie's New Prop: A "Voluptuous Vixen"
"At the governor's side was CBS-4 reporter Jennifer Santiago. ... a graduate of Villanova University law school, and a former Playboy model. At the time of her Playboy pictorials, such as Voluptuous Vixens and 1998 Nudes, she used the name Jennifer Klarman." "Crist brings newsy date to temple services".
The "Wide-Stanced" Effect
George Bennett asks whether "wide-stanced Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho be a factor in a 2008 Palm Beach County state House race? Republican Rob Siedlecki, who lost a challenge to state Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, for the District 85 seat last year, says his decision on whether to try again next year will be based in part on whether Craig and others have created a "negative climate" for the GOP. Siedlecki believes the Mark Foley scandal contributed to his 41.9 percent showing in 2006."
"Ending weeks of saber-rattling, Florida Democratic leaders on Sunday embraced the state's Jan. 29 presidential primary and said the early date will give the state an influence that outweighs candidate boycotts and threats by the national party to strip Florida of delegates." "Top Democrats in state endorse early primary".
"Once and for all to settle this, we will be voting on Jan. 29, with our presidential candidates on the ballot," state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman declared Sunday to cheers from Democratic activists in Broward County. "That's what the United States is about, making our voices heard.""Party gives pep talk". See also "Florida Democrats reaffirm Jan. 29 primary, despite sanctions".
Their voices will surely be heard. But in a twisted irony for Democrats in the recount and hanging chad state, their votes officially won't count in picking their presidential nominee.
That's because winning the presidential nomination is about winning delegates in primaries and caucuses. The Democratic National Committee intends to strip Florida of all its 210 delegates for scheduling its primary earlier than allowed.
"Striving to erase doubts about whether Democratic votes in Florida's presidential primary will matter, party leaders on Sunday launched a public relations campaign featuring a website and bumper stickers." "State Dems' cry: 'Make it count'". And, "Florida Democrats might sue own party over seating of delegates".
"Two studies starting in South Florida will, for the first time, test the long-dreamed vision that the body's own stem cells can be deployed to reverse the damage from heart disease." "South Florida studies aim to mend hearts with patients' stem cells".
"The compromise on no-fault auto insurance announced Friday won't make everyone happy, which is why the Legislature should pass it." "Grab chance to reform, renew PIP insurance".".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Thrasher's letter to thousands of Florida voters might be the most brazen use of double-talk in the history of pettifoggery." "Hometown Democracy Opponent Pens Dreadful Letter To Voters".
"Miami Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been named to an investigative subcommittee charged with reviewing a misdemeanor charge against Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., accused of assaulting an airline employee at a D.C.-area airport." "Diaz-Balart to probe D.C. assault charges".
"There have been so many dismissive or blistering articles about Fred Thompson in recent months, I half expected last weekend to see Larry, Curly or Moe lead a bumbling three-day bus tour through Florida."
But even after Thompson's weakest performances - in Cape Coral he breathed heavily into the microphone, lost his train of thought, and at one point under the sweltering sun, his hand started shaking ominously - people gushed with passion and constantly compared him to Ronald Reagan. ..."Where voters live, Thompson matters".
Despite his many years as a Washington lobbyist, Thompson is pitching himself as a folksy, outsider with a track record for stepping up for public service when his country needs him: as the 30-year-old minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee; as the lawyer in a Tennessee whistle-blower case that wound up leading to the imprisonment of a governor and Thompson playing himself in the movie; as part of the Republican Revolution in 1994.
If he can bump off Romney as the viable conservative alternative to Giuliani - thrice married, estranged from his own children, supports gay rights, abortion rights and gun control - the nomination may be Thompson's for the taking. It won't be easy, but there is a path for Thompson and Florida is a key part.
"The state's defense lawyer association has asked the Florida Supreme Court to block a new law that sets up a second tier of public attorneys to represent indigent criminal defendants. Lawyers working for the five appointed criminal conflict and civil regional counsels will replace private attorneys that courts appoint when elected public defenders have a conflict of interest. That typically happens when multiple defendants are charged in a single crime. The new offices also will provide legal representation in child dependency cases." "Defense lawyers challenge new public attorney law".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Beneath the surface, Mr. Paey's story is really about what happens when bad law and overzealous prosecutors combine to produce a disastrous outcome. Here's what can be learned from Mr. Paey's odyssey of pain:"
• Mandatory minimum sentences don't always work."Tough laws can go seriously awry".
• Police and prosecutors must understand that their job is not only to prosecute, but also to seek justice.
Five Gears In Reverse
Last week, Tom Blackburn "wrote that in 2000 the Florida Senate was set to follow the House by ignoring the voters and certifying the electors for George W. Bush. John McKay tells me that it was no sure thing." Today he writes:
Mr. McKay, who was Senate president then, reminds me that the state faced a reporting deadline for the Electoral College. He called the Senate session only to act if Florida's 25 electoral votes otherwise would be lost. He advised senators to keep quiet until they saw events shape up and didn't take a position himself. What the Senate might have done if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened is speculative, but it wasn't wired to follow the House.With all due respect, there was little doubt that the Florida Senate would have followed Feeney's lead. McKay understandably wants to distance himself and the Florida GOP from "the worst president in U.S. history."
Bill Maxwell: "Every Florida resident should be concerned that we are losing our precious environment. To see the damage being done and what is left to be saved, all of us should get in our cars and drive some of the back roads across and up and down the state." "Florida, you get uglier by the day".
"In the most hypocritical speech of any presidential candidate so far, Rudy Giuliani told a National Rifle Association audience he no longer supports the tough gun-controls laws he once fought for as mayor of New York. Apparently that shameless denial of his past even embarrassed Giuliani, who interrupted his speech Friday to take a personal cell phone call from his wife. It was a bizarre moment, though not nearly as unsettling as watching a man who had once prided himself on his tough stance against urban gun violence now kissing up to the NRA." "Giuliani kisses up to gun lobby".