The Florida Progressive Coalition's "19 Stories to Read". Our review of today's Florida political news and punditry follows.
Poll: Clinton 9 points up on Giuliani
A CNN poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation shows that "Hillary Clinton would beat Giuliani 51 percent to 42 percent. ... The general election question was asked of 945 registered voters in Florida." "New poll shows Clinton beating Giuliani in Fla.".
Media debate frenzy
You'd think the GOPer debate was the Second Coming of Christ (pun intended) as opposed to a bunch of tired old white men trying to resuscitate and emulate an individual many recognize to be little more than a bamboozling racist. See also here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
In any event, Adam Smith has some debate tid bits here. See also "Who's Mr. Right?", "Republican candidates face video questioners" and "Peek inside CNN's inner sanctum".
Another brilliant mistake
"With the controversial 'The Rules are Different Here' campaign only a distant, painful memory, Florida tourism officials are about to take another risk as they reach out to minority travelers."
A national television campaign, set to launch in a few months, targets Hispanic and black vacationers with the one-word slogan, "Shine.""Slang dictionaries say the slur evolved either from "shoe shine," once a common occupation for urban blacks, or the sheen of black skin."
Charles Evans of Tallahassee, the 62-year-old president of the local chapter of the NAACP, knows the term all too well. "NAACP: Tourism slogan also racial slur".
"For many persons in the African-American community, that term definitely has a negative connotation," Evans said. "The younger people, younger than 30, might not be familiar with it, but we will educate them about it."
Webster hearts Huckabee
"GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee picked up the endorsement of one of Florida's most prominent conservative politicians Tuesday as he made his pitch to about 50 potential supporters on the eve of tonight's CNN/YouTube debate in St. Petersburg. State Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster [a conservative Baptist whose six children were home-schooled], known himself in Tallahassee for being a skilled negotiator, praised Huckabee's ability to bring together politicians on both sides of the aisle." "State GOP leader endorses Huckabee for president".
"At least 1,500 tickets have been sold for tonight's "Have Your Say in Tampa Bay" GOP straw poll and debate watch party at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park. The buzz is that two campaigns are working hardest to rack up a victory at that straw poll of Republicans in the biggest battleground region in America's biggest battleground state - Ron Paul and Mitt Romney." "Straw poll is shunned, embraced".
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday declared 58 Florida counties - including Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River - to be primary natural disaster areas because of the continued drought." "Drought disaster declared in Fla.".
Hometown Democracy takes a hit
"A circuit judge in Tallahassee upheld a new law that gives voters 150 days to revoke their signatures from the petition - a tool opponents are eagerly employing. Lawmakers, urged by business interests, said the change was to protect people who feel pressure to sign petitions." "Judge's decision deals a blow to Hometown Democracy". See also "Anti-sprawl petition loses court fight over signature".
"'Full of praise'" - not a good choice of words
"On the eve of Wednesday's CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused GOP rival Rudy Giuliani of making up facts about Romney's record and said the former New York mayor was 'full of praise' for Hillary Clinton's health care plan in 1994." "Romney rips Giuliani during Florida campaign stop". See also "Giuliani, Romney bicker over record".
More on ... the horror: "Romney: GOP rival Giuliani praised Clinton's health care plan".
As long as they vote GOPer ...
"Romney's desire for tougher immigration enforcement doesn't apply to Cubans, who he says should be welcomed with open arms." "Romney Supports Letting All Cubans Migrate To U.S.".
"Members of the Seminole Tribal Council have been involved in companies that received millions of dollars from the tribe and voted on business deals benefiting themselves and their immediate families, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation found." "Seminole Jackpot: Votes enrich some Tribal Council members and their relatives".
Another deep thinker
"Saying it is a 'frivolous' use of taxpayer money, a GOP legislator wants to end Florida's public financing of campaigns."
Florida taxpayers paid more than $11 million in 2006 to the campaigns of Gov. Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Attorney General Bill McCollum and other candidates seeking statewide office."Lawmaker: Scrap public financing".
But Rep. Alan Hays, a retired dentist from Umatilla, says during a time of budget shortfalls the state should be spending money on education, public safety and helping take care of children instead of bankrolling political campaigns.
''As far as I am concerned, we have no business using taxpayer dollars,'' said Hays, who wants the Legislature to place an amendment on the 2008 ballot that would repeal the current public financing system. ``Just think how much more good that $11 million could be used for if it was spent on education or rehabilitating prisoners or on foster care for children.''
Republicans, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, have derided Florida's public financing of campaigns as ''welfare for politicians.'' The proposal was first authorized in 1986, but it was rarely used because there wasn't enough money available.
"Democrats were all but invisible"
"The Republican political imprint was all over Florida on Tuesday. Candidate Mitt Romney touted health care plans in St. Petersburg. Gov. Charlie Crist was unveiling his YouTube question for tonight's Republican presidential candidate debate. And Florida GOP Party Chairman Jim Greer was fielding media inquiries from around the nation about the state's role in the election. The Democrats were all but invisible." "In Florida, GOP gets primary head start".
"To replace negotiation with intimidation"
The Palm Beach Post editors: "It took years for tomato pickers to negotiate a deal with Taco Bell and McDonald's for higher wages. Now, a growers group wants to replace negotiation with intimidation."
The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange is threatening members with $100,000 fines if they participate in the wage deals with pickers. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has agreements with McDonald's Corp. and Taco Bell parent company YUM Brands Inc. to pay a penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes, with suppliers passing on the extra cent to the farmworkers. Pickers can earn about 45 cents per 32-pound bucket.And this sounds suspiciously like one of them librul boycott things:
The growers exchange says the deals may violate antitrust laws but won't say why or how. Exchange spokesman Reggie Brown says that it's "un-American" to have wages influenced by a third party, such as the Immokalee coalition.
Consumers who take their business to Taco Bell and McDonald's are contributing to fair treatment of Florida's farmworkers. At Burger King, consumers are buying into intimidation and the continued exploitation of cheap labor."Penny for bad thought".
Ah, if only the traditional media could bring themselves to expand their focus a tiny bit, and editorialize that Florida's
Consumers who take their business to [insert name of employer paying "area standard" wages and benefits] are contributing to fair treatment of Florida's To quote Napoleon Dynamite, that would be "sweet". Then again, to paraphrase Dick Cavett, It's a rare person who wants to write what he doesn't want to read.
farmworkers. At [insert name of employer with subpar wages, and no health insurance or retirement benefits], consumers are buying into intimidation and the continued exploitation of cheap labor.
Off-topic: just when you thought things couldn't get nuttier ...
"The departure of Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott will cost Congress one of its premiere deal makers and opens the door to a further shift to the right by Senate Republicans." "Lott exit spurs GOP shift rightward".
Michael Mayo: "Here's the only way I'd be for a privatized Alligator Alley with $10 tolls each direction: If the ride came with a double-latte from Starbucks, a slots voucher for the Big Cypress Seminole gambling tent and a 90 mph speed limit. Otherwise, this sounds like a really bad idea." "Private Alligator Alley would be paved with fool's gold".
Mayo asks " asks about "if all it does is raise tolls and line private pockets for decades, what's the point?" Mr. Mayo, may we suggest you read this: "Jeb Bush ... has been an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, 'his bold experiment has been a success — at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations.'". Uh ... that's the point.
The Sun-Sentinel editors: "The scientists evaluating the district were correct in calling the lake and the Everglades ecosystem "a national, international treasure." Unfortunately, all signs point to a disturbing reality: It's being left to the state of Florida to figure out how to preserve it" "Peer review analysis of Lake O's cleanup helps, but federal dollars needed".
"Florida can't fix what it won't 'fess up to."
The Tampa Trib editorial board:""
Some Florida school officials have taken offense at a new report from Johns Hopkins University which slammed the state for the high number of high schools it calls "dropout factories," schools where no more than 60 percent of those who start as freshmen complete their senior years and graduate."Dropout Rate Might Improve If Schools Measured It Precisely".
The Florida school administrators blamed students moving from school to school for the state's dismal showing. Not unexpectedly, they failed to take any responsibility for the dismal state of Florida's high schools. They pointed to the state's own calculation of a high school graduation rate of 71 percent that things are better than they seem.
But Florida has been fooling itself, and it's time for the state to confront the dismal state of its high schools.
"The dismal state of its high schools"? Goodness gracious, I thought Jebbie fixed all that educashun stuff.
"How many angels could dance on the head of a pin"
Retired Sun-Sentinel Editorial Page Editor Kingsley Guy: "If people of a county want it, they should have it, with roulette, craps and other games, regardless of whether the casino is owned by the Seminoles or somebody else." He argues:
In the Middle Ages, learned men at great universities like those in Paris and Padua debated a vital question of the day: How many angels could dance on the head of a pin. In the current age, the debate over the angels seems ridiculous, but in the 13th century, the subject warranted the undivided attention of the doyens of ecclesiastical power.And here's a good point:
Today in Florida, the doyens of political power are engaged in a debate less metaphysical, but no less silly. To wit, where, how, and under what circumstances should a person be allowed to bet his or her hard earned money.
The debate even includes the linguistic issue of whether betting constitutes "gambling" or "gaming." Those who oppose casinos for Florida call it gambling, while those in the betting industry and their political allies insist on calling it gaming.
Attorney General Bill McCollum is troubled by the agreement. McCollum believes an expansion of casino gambling will tarnish Florida's family-friendly tourist image. McCollum spent two decades as a congressman representing the Orlando area, home of squeaky-clean Disney World, one of the biggest opponents of casino gambling."Debate turning nonsensical".
But South Florida never has had a clean-cut image. In fact, both Al Capone and Meyer Lansky, no strangers to gambling, conducted business down here. Full-fledged casinos in South Florida could draw tourists, and dollars, from the middle of the state, which no doubt concerns Disney.