Jebbie's dead hand from the grave: "A year and a half after the state Senate shot down former Gov. Jeb Bush's plan to enshrine school vouchers in the state constitution, his top education aide is trying again through the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission."
Patricia Levesque, a commission member who runs Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, is pushing two voucher-related proposals to undo court rulings that found vouchers unconstitutional. ... [She] is soliciting help from the same pro-voucher groups that helped create, run and defend Bush's vouchers during his two terms as governor. ..."A draft is complete for one of Levesque's proposals."
[T]he commission's chairman, former House Speaker Allan Bense, said he agrees with Levesque that a constitutional ban on sending money to religious institutions is within the commission's purview. "That deals with the budget," he said. "That deals with spending."
It would eliminate the state constitution's prohibition against sending state money to religious institutions and would instead explicitly permit the practice. In 2004, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Bush's signature Opportunity Scholarship Program for children at failing schools violated that ban because it specifically allowed religious schools to get vouchers.You read that right - the Jebbites want to use tax dollars to fund teaching that "Jews and other non-Christians were bound for hell".
About three-fourths of the schools in the remaining two voucher programs are religious. A 2003 survey of voucher-taking schools by The Palm Beach Post found that administrators at 60 percent of those responding believed that religion was as important as or more important than academics for their students' parents.
The majority of those schools were of evangelical Christian denominations. The Post found many where religious instruction permeated the curriculum - with some teaching that Jews and other non-Christians were bound for hell.
Levesque's second proposal would undo the Florida Supreme Court's ruling last year that ultimately struck down Opportunity Scholarship vouchers after finding that the legislature did not have the authority to set up a parallel system of funding private schools outside the public school system. The ruling did not address the appellate court decision regarding the religious language, meaning the appellate court ruling also remains the law.Oh yeah,
Levesque was appointed to the commission by House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, who worked with Levesque and Bush to hire in the House many in Bush's staff when he left office."Jeb Bush aide strives to get vouchers in constitution". That's our Marco, always shoring up his base.
And while they're at it ...
"Critics will try to weaken Florida's rules on limiting school-class sizes": "Key Republican state lawmakers -- among a group that was never a fan of the class-size amendment -- say they want to give schools more wiggle room. In short, they are looking to delete the strictest parts of the law."
Why is this still an issue?
The Miami Herald editors: "No one should be denied the right to vote because an elections clerk mistypes a name or gets the digits in a driver's license mixed up. Such mistakes are common, everyday occurrences and should not be an obstacle to anyone's ability to exercise their most basic right as a citizen -- voting."
Unfortunately, thousands of Florida residents have been denied a chance to vote because of errors like these since new procedures were adopted in 2006. ..."Errors in voter rolls a problem for Florida".
Florida has a duty to make sure that every name included on its rejection list is, in fact, an unqualified registrant. Doing anything less than that would disenfranchise qualified voters. Florida has gone a long way to implement reforms since the debacle of hanging, pregnant and dimpled chads of the 2000 election.
Now is the time to clean up the state voter-registration database, before voting begins in the 2008 presidential election.
Getting on the bandwagon
"In the two years since immigration reform legislation stalled in Congress, many states have passed their own laws targeting illegal immigrants. And soon Florida could join them." "Illegal workers on state agenda".
More "traditional values" from the Jebbites: "Traditional bigotry"
"A group anointing itself the Florida Coalition to Protect Marriage has gone to the considerable trouble and expense (about $443,000) to collect enough signatures to put on next year's ballot a measure that would amend Florida's Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. "
Last week, the group claimed success. Apparently, though, that group and others like it have failed to notice that, judging by rates of adultery and divorce, opposite-sex couples also pose a threat to traditional marriage. By the way, same-sex marriage already is illegal under Florida law."Traditional bigotry".
The real purpose of the campaign, which needs 60 percent to prevail, probably is to motivate like-minded voters to get to the polls, where presumably they will support Republican candidates. That's why the state Republican Party gave the group $300,000 of its total.
That was under Jeb Bush.
On a related note, Huffington Post blogger Chris Kelly writes that the amendment isn't particularly well written, and notes that
that's just because it was written by a lawyer [John Stemberger] whose field of expertise is suing the Orlando Hertz if you accidentally slam your dick in the door. Besides, it's not meant to be a practical. It's just a con. ..."Christ, Not Again. Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Puts Florida in Play".
[I]t's probably a little unfair to suggest that this whole thing is just a political loss leader for the Republican presidential candidate to get the hateful simpleton vote. I only think that because I'm an old cynic, and John Stemberger is the former political director of the state party, and the party provided the majority of the funding ($300,000) for Florida4Marriage.
"Open, honest answers ... might have averted the panic"
"The panic that led to a run on the Local Government Investment Pool wasn't caused by widespread losses -- the bulk of the state's investments are safe and sound. Cities and counties began pulling their investments because they couldn't get straight answers to basic questions about how the subprime-mortgage crisis was hurting the money they'd entrusted to the state's money managers. Open, honest answers from former State Board of Administration Executive Director Coleman Stipanovich might have averted the panic and saved his job. Reform No. 1 needs to be the addition of transparency, or there's no reason to expect local governments will return to this important investment fund." "Our position: Secrecy was big part of problem with state investment fund".
Shifting political winds
"A new generation of Americanized Cubans has grown up and registered to vote. More recent Cuban exiles are expressing more moderate views than those who fled during Fidel Castro's early years. Even some Cuban Americans who used to toe the hard line are having second thoughts about so many years of U.S. isolation that has yet to topple Castro's regime." "Little Havana's political winds are shifting".
"Six weeks from Florida's presidential primary, Republican voters are seeing that pattern played out. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found a wide open contest with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani leading at only 30 percent. Twenty percent of the respondents did not identify a favorite or don't plan to vote and 59 percent were 'very' or 'somewhat' likely to change their minds." "Swing voters still up for grabs".
"If voters approve a property-tax amendment Jan. 29, Maloney and other Florida homeowners could transport the tax savings they now get on their homes to their next address." "Keep tax break when moving to new home?".
"The endangered mussels are dying. Salt water parches the tupelo trees bees use to make honey. And the commercial shrimp harvest has faded along with many of the once-rich oyster banks where Bruce Rotella has scraped and scrapped a living for three decades. Video Available" "Water crisis threatens Apalachicola oysters".
"Fluff and spin"
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Nine days ago, The Post published a commentary by an assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Interior Department. Kameran Onley wanted to rebut a Nov. 30 editorial criticizing the Bush administration for its failure to keep the federal government's deal with Florida on Everglades restoration. But Ms. Onley offered fluff and spin, not answers." "Still no case that Bush is Everglades 'partner'".
"Cities near the Seminole reservation and casinos are worried that property will disappear from their tax rolls as the tribe, flush with cash, seeks to acquire more tracts and turn them into trust land." "Cities worry about losing land as Seminoles buy property".
"Lieberman Endorses McCain".
One man's terrorist ...
The Sun-Sentinel editors write that "the poor handling of the Luis Posada Carriles case makes America look like a country talking out of both sides of its mouth, and that looking the other way is counterproductive to the goal of a democratic Cuba."
Right now, Posada is walking freely in Miami. A federal judge released him from detention on immigration-related charges."Answers needed in Posada case".
What about the airliner bombing? Who knows?
Federal prosecutors don't appear to be building a case. In fact, the Bush administration has not shown much interest in the issue ... In not aggressively pursuing the truth in this case, the message sent is that it is only terrorism when people do bad things to governments we like.
"Crist turns diplomat today when he hosts the governors of Alabama and Georgia in hopes of putting an end to a tri-state water war." "Crist hopes to end stalemate in tri-state water war".
"Some involved in an international scandal live large in Florida." "Politically connected Venezuelans live high life".