Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
"every political insider should be reading right now."

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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 Saturday, December 01, 2007

Happy man ... Empty suit

    "Crist has kept a safe distance from the immigration debate, and every other social wedge issue, for that matter. "
    It's not his thing.His agenda is property taxes, property insurance, global warming, civil rights for ex-felons and openness in government.

    Crist had a few stumbles in his first year, but many governors would trade places with him.

    His trouble is that he may live for the moment too recklessly. He dramatically escalated the state's exposure in a catastrophic hurricane, but benefited from the quietest hurricane season in a long time.

    History tells you that kind of luck won't last forever.

    As Crist struggles with widespread public anger over taxes and insurance, and faces the prospect of another bleak budget year, he is to many simply a nice guy, with a smile and a pleasant outlook that has a way of keeping trouble at bay.
    "A tale of 2 governors provides lesson". Could it be that "Carole Rome, currently divorcing Bluestar Jets CEO Todd Rome, is dating our governor: 'They met about four months ago and have been together ever since,' spies said. 'Carole has been living on Fisher Island since she left Todd in July, and Charlie takes her to Miami Heat games.' Crist also rented an estate on Ox Pasture Road in Southampton last August so Carole could be closer to her kids.'" "Crist's new gal pal?" Let's hope Charlie isn't using the NYPD for security in Southampton.

    Cooking the books

    "Florida's high-school graduation rate is still on the rise" Sounds good? Not if they sate keeps cooking its numbers:

    The state's four-year graduation rate for public high schools was 72.4 percent in 2007, up from 71 percent in 2006 and a significant jump from the 60.2 percent rate posted in 1999, when the state started using its current formula for measuring graduation success. Its annual dropout rate for the 2006-07 school year decreased slightly, to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent the previous year. ...

    Nationally, Florida usually ranks poorly when it comes to graduation rates.

    A study by the National Education Association, for example, ranked Florida last among 50 states in 2006. That study estimated the state's graduation rate at 52.3 percent, with the national average at 69.8 percent.

    The state, however, pegged its 2006 graduation rate at 71 percent. In Friday's release, the state defended its calculations, saying it is the only state in the country to provide a "true, four-year graduation rate."
    This is bordering on the pathetic:
    The report also claimed a dropout rate of 3.3 percent, which is vastly different than national figures showing nearly half of Florida's high schools fail to graduate more than 60 percent of their students.

    "Nothing I've heard before was anything like 3 percent or 4 percent," said Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers' union. "I don't know how they measure that."

    Education Week magazine in June reported that Florida's graduation rate was 60.5 percent in 2003-04, which ranked 45th among the 50 states and District of Columbia.
    "State's graduation rates differ from national figures".

    "Teetering on disaster"

    "Local government officials statewide pressed the state Friday to guarantee protection for any potential losses in a state-run investment pool that appears to be teetering on disaster." "Local governments seek guarantee of investments". See also "Municipal investors trying to salvage $27 billion frozen investment fund" and "Depositors look for answers from SBA" (" Florida's local governments are struggling with a difficult choice — pull their billions out of a troubled state investment pool that could trigger losses or cross their fingers that the nation's mortgage crisis works itself out.")

    'Ya reckon?

    "Everglades Won't Be Saved If Scientists Are Muzzled".

    That's the ticket ...

    Ever wonder what's wrong with Florida schools? It sure ain't this: "Acknowledging extensive problems with how Florida regulates abusive teachers, the state Senate's education committee will consider sweeping new laws aimed at better protecting students." "Senate panel targets abusive teachers".

    Boycott? What boycott?

    "A group of Tampa Democratic stalwarts has formed a local grass-roots effort to organize for New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, independent of her national campaign." "Local Dems Evade Boycott".

    Top trooper

    "The Florida Highway Patrol has a new director. Lieutenant Colonel John T. Czernis will take over Saturday. Czernis currently serves as the interim director for FHP. He previously served as the Deputy Director of Special Operations and has been with the agency for 30 years." "New FHP director named".

    "'Exploitation King'"

    "Farmworkers, union members and activists marched through city streets to Burger King headquarters Friday to protest low wages for tomato pickers and alleged exploitation of field workers. About 300 to 400 protesters gathered under the skyscrapers of Miami's downtown, many wearing yellow T-shirts reading 'Exploitation King' and 'Burger King Exploits Farmworkers,' others holding signs saying 'Dignity' or 'Justice for Tomato Pickers.'" "Farmworkers protest Burger King over penny-a-pound tomato deal".

    "Clash of wills"

    "A clash of wills is intensifying between Florida's top prison official and a St. Petersburg-based firm that provides jobs for inmates, with the state demanding that the firm turn over $1.3-million it says belong to taxpayers." "State prison chief wants major changes in inmate work program".


    "Former DNC Chairman Don Fowler, a member of the rules panel, said stripping the delegates from Michigan and Florida — and prohibiting candidates from campaigning there during the primaries — will hurt party-building efforts in those states. Fowler also said that stripping the delegates was unnecessary, since many party insiders believe that the eventual nominee will have them restored at the convention." "Giuliani works to keep his lead in Florida".

    Stepping "gingerly"

    "The state Senate stepped gingerly Friday into the legal battle over Gov. Charlie Crist's gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe saying he acted in good faith but asking the Supreme Court to declare he overstepped his authority. The six-page Senate filing took a more measured tone than that of the House, which two weeks ago filed a petition accusing Crist of usurping the state constitution. But it reached the same conclusion: No governor can enter into a contract without Legislative approval." "Florida senators weigh in on Gov. Charlie Crist's gambling compact".

    Whoopee! Florida recognizes "evolution" as a "'big idea.'"

    "Two years ago, an influential national think tank concluded in a scathing report that Florida's science standards that outline what students need to know to be well-grounded in the subject were sprawling, superficial and deserving of a big, fat F."

    Amazingly, the Fordham Institute noted, the standards didn't even mention the word "evolution.''

    Fast-forward to now.

    Proposed standards are more focused and better organized. They not only mention evolution, they dub it a ''big idea.'' And this time, they get a thumbs-up from the chief author of the Fordham report.
    "Science standards reviewed".


    The St. Pete Times editors: "Conservation alone will not solve the drought-related problems facing Florida and the rest of the Southeast. " "Planning for a thirsty future".

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