Raw Political Courage
"Thompson stumps in Miami, rips Castro".
The boys are back in town:
Citing ''significant progress'' on spending cuts, House and Senate leaders Thursday rescheduled a special legislative session next month to plug a $1.1 billion hole that Florida's slumping economy has punched in the $71 billion state budget."Special session scheduled". See also "Special session to begin Oct. 3", "Lawmakers to cut Florida budget next month", "Budget session rises again", "Legislators reset special session to cut budget" and "Legislators Working On Budget" ("The Florida Legislature will meet in a rescheduled special session next month after its leadership announced Thursday it is close to an agreement that would eliminate a $1.5 billion shortfall in the state budget.")
"While the chances of voter approval seem to be fading by the day, less than half of Florida homeowners would take advantage of a 'super' homestead exemption that Republican lawmakers put on the Jan. 29 ballot." "Study: Super homestead exemption unlikely to pass".
Big Whup ... A Consultant
"After two-plus years of reform, the state-run property insurer [Citizens] is primed to hire a management consultant to scrutinize its internal structure and customer service levels." "Citizens nears hiring review consultant".
Empty Suit Courts Florida Wingers
"At each stop in the rock-ribbed Republican areas, Thompson won the biggest cheers when he stressed the need for tighter spending and better border security, and for supporting the Iraq War."
In The Villages, Thompson won thunderous applause for saying the Senate plan to grant a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants was not only wrong, it ''welshed'' on an understanding that Congress left with Americans in 1986, when it passed a plan to legalize the status of many immigrants who were here without permission. In the Disney-built town of Celebration, Thompson said immigration law should be changed to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining U.S. residency simply because their children were born here."GOP's Thompson shows his conservatism". "Welshed"? Freddie, you don't want to get into the same trouble Bill Clinton did. do you?
But as with his opposition to what he called ''this same-sex marriage business'' and his desire to lower taxes while prosecuting an expensive war, Thompson didn't elaborate on how he would accomplish his goals. He also ducked a question on whether Congress should have intervened in the 2005 controversy over whether to insert a feeding tube into a comatose Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, and said he didn't know enough about the widely publicized case.
Meanwhile, "Thompson's presidential campaign has hit a conservative bull's eye: The exclusive rights to advertise at some of Florida's largest gun shows." "Thompson gets access to Fla. gun shows". More Freddie: "Thompson pushes core conservatism in first Fla. stops", "Thompson courts Florida vote", "GOP hopeful Fred Thompson brings his story to the party faithful in Lake", "Thompson gives no opinion on Schiavo" and "Thompson Declines To Take A Stand On Cat Fund, Schiavo, 'Fair Tax'".
And this is a particularly brilliant move for the empty suit: "Thompson would oil-drill off Florida". More: "Thompson backs offshore oil drilling". See also Something fishy about Fred's interest in drilling?
And - as is typical for the "take responsibility for your own actions" crowd, Freddie hasd this to say: "While in Miami reaching out to Cuban Americans Friday, Fred Thompson couldn’t avoid being reminded of a faux pas he committed back in June, when he offended some Cubans by suggesting that Cuban refugees to the U.S. were likely to be terrorists. Thompson’s response: He blamed it on Hillary Clinton." "Thompson Blames Clinton For 'Suitcase Bomb' Gaffe".
"Florida's U.S. Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson have sent to the White House the names of three men as possible nominees to be the new U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida." "3 Nominated To Fill District Judge's Seat". The headline should actually read: U.S. attorney" rather than "District Judge".
"One of the few pieces of legislation produced by the 110th U.S. Congress is the College Cost Reduction and Access Act -- the largest overhaul of federal education funding in six decades. Since Florida ranks fourth in the number of students receiving Pell Grants, this bill couldn't be more welcome, especially considering state officials' talk of slashing higher-education spending in Florida." "Pell grants boosted".
"State wildlife officials postponed a vote today that would have taken the manatee off the state endangered-species list." "State officials postpone manatee vote". See also "Crist celebrates manatee reprieve".
"Setting the political table"
"Instead of Clinton fatigue, as some backers feared the former president would generate, Bill Clinton seems to set the political table for his wife in Florida." "One Clinton sets stage for another".
Probation for Nelson
"Son of Sen. Bill Nelson sentenced to probation, alcohol treatment".
"Presidential candidate Mitt Romney [whose Mormon church, 1978, 'prohibited blacks from becoming priests']. . . is reaching out to black movers and shakers to help boost his chances in the Jan. 29 primary."
The list includes several Jeb Bush devotees, including David Griffin, a former Florida Lottery secretary appointed by Bush."Jeb’s black backers aid Romney".
T. Willard Fair, a Miami-Dade County activist whom Bush appointed to the state Board of Education and who remains on the board today [and who has notoriously declared his "love" of Jebbie], is one of Romney’s state finance chairmen.
Joining him is former Orange County NAACP president Derrick Wallace, a longtime Democrat who switched parties after being courted by Republicans in 2005.
Also supporting Romney, who is vying for conservative voters against former U.S. senator and “Law and Order” celeb Fred Thompson, is Leslie Steele, a former Bush staffer who served in his communications office and also as the press secretary for the Florida Lottery.
"Democratic National Committee member Jon Ausman says that the Florida Democratic Party is going to go ahead and declare the Jan. 29th presidential primary meaningless and instead do a vote by mail process later. In a letter he sent out today, Ausman said that the party is ready to embrace a proposal that would cost $2.3 million to carry out, of which $880,000 would come from the national party." "Dems to announce vote by mail plan".
"Nearly half of Florida Democrats’ 30-day grace period to abandon the Jan. 29 presidential primary election is past with no resolution in sight, and it has the state’s sole member of the Democratic National Committee’s rules panel more than a little flustered." "Halfway to Dems primary deadline".
"Republican Party Reptile[s]"
"State wildlife commissioners agreed Thursday that owners of potentially dangerous wildlife do not have to inform their neighbors about what's lurking on the other side of the privacy fence." "Wildlife disclosure rule rejected".
Just Kill 'Em
"The Department of Corrections rejected advice by its own legal staff to use a machine that would determine if an inmate was fully unconscious during his execution."
On Aug. 15, 2006, assistant general counsel Sara Dyehouse wrote her boss about legal challenges that were delaying executions around the country. Death row inmates were alleging that the administration of the fatal chemicals "may cause 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' if the sodium pentothal anesthesia has failed to produce a sufficient level of unconsciousness."After rejecting this procedure, and being rebuffed by medical personnel (with "ethics"), the DOC concocted this insane procedure,which sounds like something from a bad movie:
Dyehouse said some courts were requiring an anesthesiologist at the execution to monitor the level of consciousness. However, because anesthesiologists have refused on ethical grounds to participate, the executions could not proceed.
To avoid a "similar situation," Dyehouse suggested that executioners use a "bispectral index monitor," which monitors brain waves to detect consciousness.
This new protocol requires a warden from another prison to attend the execution and check the consciousness of the inmate. "The warden will call out the name of the inmate, shake him and touch his eyelids, looking for reflexes," she said."Corrections bosses ignore new monitor in executions". Believe it or not.
Flip-Flop on Death
"Bizarre may be the best way to describe the 180-degree turn of Marion County Circuit Judge Carven Angel on the state's lethal injection protocols. "
In July, the judge had made it clear that he was very uncomfortable with Florida's updated execution procedures, worrying aloud over whether they comported with "evolving notions of decency." But in a ruling on Monday, he put his stamp of approval on those procedures and then went further by proclaiming that the execution of Angel Diaz was not botched."A disturbing reversal".
The change of heart is hard to fathom, since to suggest that Diaz's execution was not botched is an assertion unsupported by the facts.
It took Diaz 34 minutes to die, twice the normal time. The execution team had to inject the three-drug lethal chemical cocktail in both arms before Diaz died. Later, an autopsy confirmed that the executioner had torn through Diaz's veins and delivered the chemicals to his soft tissue instead.
Even the state's own expert said in the hearing before Angel that the people who did the Diaz execution were incompetent, according to Neal Dupree, an attorney for death row inmate Ian Deco Lightbourne, who is challenging the constitutionality of Florida's lethal injection procedure.
But Angel brushed all this aside. He found that Diaz suffered no pain because he didn't scream or yell during the injections.
The judge conveniently ignored the fact that the paralyzing agent could have made any such display impossible. Had the sodium pentothal, the drug that renders the inmate unconscious and pain-free, not been fully effective, Diaz could have been in excruciating pain but would have been paralyzed by the pancuronium bromide and unable to express it. ...
If Florida is not going to end the death penalty entirely, it should at least eliminate pancuronium bromide from the injection mix. Even veterinarians won't even use that drug to put down pets, and it is a continuing puzzle why the state insists on using such a controversial and potentially cruel drug.
Elisa Cramer: "It's been less than a year since Gov. Crist signaled that he was leaving behind the state's backward strategy of spending millions to warehouse kids who get into trouble instead of helping them stay out of trouble in the first place. But how he and state legislators handle the $1 billion budget shortage will prove whether Jeb Bush's counterproductive punishment-over-prevention legacy endures." "Sentencing the state to failure".