"Republican presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, whose past support for abortion rights and gay rights has drawn fire from some social conservatives, is viewed favorably by 57 percent of evangelical Christian voters in Florida and unfavorably by 26 percent, the latest Quinnipiac poll says. That’s down from a 64-to-15 favorable/unfavorable ratio in early August." "Evangelical voter trends…". More: "Undecided white evangelicals could hold key to state's vote".
Straddling "two worlds"
"A study released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center shows a wide range of attitudes about national loyalties and homeland ties among foreign-born Latinos." "Latinos straddle two worlds; study examines their links to homelands".
"Senators point to best solution by staying home"
The News-Journal editorial board:
It may not be the most imaginative solution. But by staying home until Monday -- the last day of the special session -- members of the Florida Senate may do the best thing that can be done to the misguided attempt at property-tax reform: kill it."Tax-reform impasse". The Tallahassee Democrat editors agree: "It's possible the legislative standoff can be resolved in a few hours on Monday, if both chambers show up - which is not certain. But the chances of a wise and, yes, marketable solution to Florida's tax conundrum now appears to be minimal, and that's not necessarily a bad thing." "Reform should be thoughtful, not rash".
The Senate's tax-reform package is focused on doubling the homestead exemption to $50,000 and allowing homeowners "portability" of their accrued benefits under the Save Our Homes assessment cap. (Homesteaded homeowners' increases in property valuations are capped at 3 percent a year. Under current law, they lose the cap's accrued benefits when they move.) The House's package is broader. It gives all homeowners a 40 percent exemption on the median value of homes (based on county-by-county calculations of median prices). It also caps assessment increases at 5 percent for all non-homesteaded properties.
The House and Senate are at an impasse over each other's approaches, for good reason. Neither proposal reforms Florida's property tax structure fairly.
All Marco all the time
"House Speaker Marco Rubio is not sitting idle during the property tax stalemate with the Senate. ... The appearances allow Rubio to talk about his signature issue and, perhaps just important, boost his statewide name ID." "Rubio plies the rubber chicken circuit". See also "A smiling Rubio tells Tiger Bay Club a property tax deal will get done".
A fine mess
"Attorneys for the state say that if legislators write a new ballot question, Secretary of State Kurt Browning could seek to drop his appeal of the Hersh lawsuit [which struck the original amendment]. But the high court could accept or reject that motion. Rejecting such a motion would send both the super homestead exemption and any new legislative tax cut plan to the same ballot." "'Super' property tax exemption could still be on ballot in January". See also "Today: Ballot could include two tax questions". More: "High court to hear exemption appeal".
Via Q, the new Q poll reports that Dem born-again "evangelicals [which apparently comprise 22.1 percent of Democratic primary voters] have a 2-to-1 negative opinion of Clinton, 63 percent to 30 percent. John Edwards is viewed favorably by 38 percent of evangelicals and unfavorably by 39 percent. Barack Obama is viewed favorably by 29 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent."
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
For decades, a federal program has protected the U.S. sugar industry by propping up its prices. The sugar program has been a sweet deal for the industry, and a rip-off for just about everyone else."Sugar shakedown".
Yet the farm bill that the U.S. House has passed, and another version the Senate is poised to approve, would pile even more government goodies on Big Sugar's plate. That would make a bad program even worse.
With an elaborate system that includes government-backed loans, production quotas and import tariffs, the sugar program has inflated prices for U.S. sugar to two or three times the world price. ...
The industry's pals in Congress, motivated by boatloads of campaign cash from the sugar barons, have a new giveaway. They've cleverly packaged it as promoting renewable energy.
"The volume of bloodshed"
"Ryder Trauma Center at downtown Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital is one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation. The Army sends 10 forward surgical teams a year to train at Ryder, selected six years ago because of the volume of bloodshed." "Miami: Good training for Iraq".
When "business lobbyists hail" anything ...
. . . you might oughta take a closer look: "As House and Senate leaders continued their standoff over property taxes Thursday, most business lobbyists say they support a 5 percent cap on property assessments for non-homestead property, although that appears to be the most contentious element in the negotiations over the tax cuts." "Business lobbyists hail cap for taxes House and Senate are split on measure".
"State cuts some services to people with disabilities".
"They'll get over it"
"The national Democratic Party decision to strip Florida of convention delegates because of the state's early presidential primary hurts independent voters, according to a new statewide poll. But state party Chairwoman Karen Thurman said Thursday they'll get over long before the November 2008 general election with Florida's 27 up for grabs." "Poll looks at DNC party candidates".
The monkey thing
"An Evolutionary Change In Curriculum".
Tuff talking hypocrite on Cuba
Credit the Orlando Sentinel's George Diaz for observing that "Bush's tough talk [on Cuba] also sounds like selective outrage. For all the deplorable abuses of human rights in Cuba, where is the visible anger about what's going on in China? Why does Mr. Bush not offer its children hope for a better future? Both are Communist countries, are they not?" "Bush's tough talk does nothing but embolden Castro".
Florida "a true microcosm of America"?
"Forget about the Democratic presidential candidates blowing off Florida's Jan. 29 primary. Florida is ground zero for the leading Republicans vying for the presidential nomination."
While some of the Republican contenders have been selective about which early primary states to focus on, every top candidate is trying hard to win Florida.Adam Smith thinks "We'll get the answer in Florida." He explains that
The big question thirteen weeks before Sunshine State Republicans make their choice boils down to this: Can anyone halt Rudy Giuliani's march to the nomination?
Florida will be the first presidential contest in a field that offers a true microcosm of America, a diverse, mega swing state where none of the Republicans will be able to say they didn't compete hard. What Florida voters say Jan. 29 is likely to dramatically influence what happens when two dozen states vote a week later, on "Tsunami Tuesday," Feb. 5, and probably decide the nomination."Open GOP contest may hinge on Fla.". Florida is a lot of things, but isn't it a bit much to suggest that it is "a true microcosm of America", particularly when it comes to politics?" For example, "in Quinnipiac’s latest poll, 26.6 percent of all Florida respondents ... identified themselves 'White born-again evangelical.'"
"A federal judge has shot down Ray Liberti's effort to get early release from the Miami prison where the former West Palm Beach commissioner is serving 18 months on corruption charges." "Ex-commissioner's request to leave prison turned down".
From the "values" crowd
"Stingy, except to the CEO".
"The New York Times gives details of what was reported to be a 'tense private meeting' between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen over the Bush administration’s pursuit of diplomacy with North Korea." "Capitol confrontation: Ros-Lehtinen v. Rice".
"Water managers and environmentalists gathered in southwestern Palm Beach County to celebrate the conversion of another 6,000 acres of former farmland into man-made wetlands." "Everglades gets another 6,000 acres of filter marshes".
"Crist also plans to attend the next day's Florida Classic football game between Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University at the Citrus Bowl." "Republican Outreach Is On".
Kingmaker trips up
"Sheriff Apologizes To Thompson, Says Romney Camp Jumped Gun On Endorsement".
Just do it
"James Klindt's appointment as acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida expires today, and members of Congress are calling on President Bush to select a permanent replacement." "Bush urged to pick U.S. attorney".