"An ongoing federal review of Florida voting laws has forced the state's top election chief to tell supervisors to ignore a new law that takes effect on Jan. 1."
People who show up for early voting next month will be able to use an employee badge or buyers' club card as identification, despite new election laws taking effect Jan. 1 that eliminate their use."Federal authorities have questioned four small [sic] portions of a lengthy election law passed by lawmakers, including "
In the spring, the GOP-controlled Legislature tightened up the types of photo IDs that could be used by voters, but the new law has been put on hold because the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to sign off on the change.
Florida's top election officials this week told election supervisors to ignore a handful of voting law changes because federal authorities are still reviewing them to see if they would adversely affect minority voters.
Because of past discrimination in five Florida counties -- Monroe, Collier, Hillsborough, Hendry and Hardee -- the federal government must sign off on any changes before they take effect.
While the federal government can block the law from taking effect only in those five counties, Florida law requires voting standards to be uniform throughout the state.
 a decision to eliminate two forms of photo identification that can be used by voters -- a buyers' club card and employee badges -- at the polls. There are nine other types of photo ID, including a driver's license, student ID or U.S. passport, that can still be used at the polls."Florida's new voter ID law on hold".
 The Justice Department also asked why lawmakers decided to give voters two days instead of three to prove their identity if they vote by provisional ballot.
 Federal authorities also want to know the impact of imposing fines on groups that hold voter registration drives. A similar law imposing fines on groups was challenged by the League of Women Voters in federal court in 2006, so lawmakers went back and lowered the fines.
 Justice has also raised questions about the state's ''no match'' law that requires information on a voter registration application to match either driver's license numbers or Social Security numbers kept by state and federal governments.
This passage is extraordinary :"Nearly 16,000 contested Florida voters will be back on the rolls by the end of today now that Secretary of State Kurt Browning has lost his latest legal round in an Atlanta federal court." Stated differently, Florida (via Browning) lost in a legal fight to keep 16,000 voters on the rolls. When will we ever learn?
Incredibly, the legal fight continues: "The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday denied Browning's request to temporarily put on hold a ruling by a Gainesville federal judge." "Browning to 'regroup' over voter rights issue".
"The same bad news" courtesy of our "Education Governor"
As the Bushco sycophants continue to trumpet Jebbie's supposed "remarkable education gains" and "the most successful education reform in Florida history", the Palm Beach Post editors take a more sober look at Jebbie's mangling of Florida's public education system:
The fallout from former Gov. Jeb Bush's massive overhaul of Florida education continues to be the same bad news. The latest is that standardized tests show little change in the percentage of Florida students needing remedial reading, writing and math education before they will be ready for college-level work. ..."Another FCAT drag". More: "The little people just don't get it".
One remedy, suggested by a task force to the state Board of Education, is to require high school students to take more academically challenging classes. Another recommendation - to develop new high school tests to measure students' readiness for college - gets back to what the FCAT originally was supposed to provide: assessment to be coupled with addressing the deficiencies.
Gov. Bush instead hijacked the test to justify school labeling and the diverting of public education money to private school vouchers.
Huck flying high
"A wasp buzzing in Mike Huckabee's ear on the tarmac today symbolized the surprising surge in the GOP presidential candidate's popularity and the subsequent attacks lobbed by his opponents campaigns."
"That wasp is being sent by some of my opponents," Huckabee told a group of at least 100 supporters before boarding a charter plane for a fundraiser in the Panhandle. ..."GOP presidential hopeful Huckabee rising in popularity". See also "GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visits Orlando (with video)".
Fundraisers in Miami, the Orlando area and Destin gleaned a much-needed $350,000, campaign aides said.
The tour of the state comes as the former Arkansas governor's poll numbers are rising, with some polls showing him in first place or tied for first among the crowded GOP field that includes Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. ...
Huckabee picked up a surprise endorsement standing on podium at Orlando Executive Airport.
Former state senator Dick Langley, who had been a co-chair of Mitt Romney's Florida campaign, ripped a Romney sticker off his lapel and replaced it with one of Huckabee's.
The knuckle-draggers won't like this one bit: "Huckabee last year accepted $52,000 in speaking fees from a bio-tech giant that wants to research human embryonic stem cells, a non-profit working to expand access to the morning after pill and a group pushing to study whether tightening gun control laws will reduce violence." "Stem cell, contraception groups paid Huck".
Meanwhile, "Giuliani, Huckabee battle in Florida": "The race is a statistical dead heat in Florida, with Giuliani edging Huckabee by two percentage points in a compilation of polling by realclearpolitics.com. ... Huckabee has been closing in on Giuliani in Florida."
"Starting Tuesday, Florida drivers will be required to carry both personal injury and property damage liability insurance when the state's Personal Injury Protection law goes into effect." "Old car insurance rules return".
The St. Pete Times editorial board: "Floridians have spoken: Curb growth".
"Although attention on next month's tax relief referendum has focused on letting residents keep their tax breaks when they buy a new house, Broward County homeowners who have no plans to move would still save an average of $308." "Broward, cities weigh losses if voters OK property tax reform". See also "Breakdown of property tax amendment". More: "Governor vows to lower rates for homeowners and businesses".
From Orlando, no less ...
"Simmermaker, 43, lives in Orlando with his wife, and works in Cape Canaveral for a defense contractor. His buy-American effort is currently a serious hobby, but someday he expects it to become his day job. He has already become a national spokesman for his cause, appearing frequently on Your World With Neil Cavuto on Fox News, as well as on CNN and MSNBC, and he has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal."
He began reading about American commerce, looking for books that helped consumers buy American products. There weren't many. So he decided to write one: How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism was published in 1996. The 508-page third edition was released this month. The book lists thousands of American products and where to find them."Orlando man's message: Buy made-in-U.S. products".
His Web site went online in 1997: Howtobuyamerican.com contains Simmermaker's "Buy American Mention of the Week," archives of his monthly feature stories, news updates and links to Web sites for American-made products
One way to outrage a wingnut
"Free hybrid car parking. Cash rebates for solar panel installations. Low-interest loans for energy-efficient home renovations. Tearing up that water-thirsty lawn in the parched Southwest? The check's in the mail, courtesy of a city government. ... In Parkland, where the motto is 'Environmentally Proud,' the city plans next year to begin offering a package of cash rebates to its 25,000 residents for being more environmentally friendly." "Cities offer cash, perks to entice residents to go green".
"Abuse or neglect"
There has been "a spike in the number of children who died from abuse or neglect in Florida in 2006, according to a report released this week." "More Florida children die from abuse".
"Woman charged in theft of GPS-equipped Jesus".
Raw political courage
After announcing that global warming is really a swindle (no joke), in a rare display of political courage, Bill "McCollum reminds parents about dangers of teen drinking".
"The slickest advertising"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:
f you're a registered voter, you've probably already receiving mailers on the Jan. 29 statewide property-tax referendum. Whether you're for or against the amendment, or haven't made up your mind yet, it's important that your decision be as fully informed as possible."Point the way".
The ballot language alone is a challenge even for people who follow public policy closely. Moreover, an issue that's so central to citizens' pocketbooks and the quality, even availability, of certain public services should not be decided solely on which side can raise the most money to develop the slickest advertising, which most likely grossly oversimplifies the debate.
The Miami-Dade state attorney's office was in a Grinchy mood this holiday season, terminating the services of one
Daniel Zuniga, a legal intern who agreed to ''participate'' in a deal to have criminal cases dismissed in exchange for toys for a charity. The deal was set up by County Judge Karen Mills Francis."Herald: 4 quit or get fired at Dade state attorney's office".
Mills Francis put several cases on the calendar, making it clear she would dismiss the charges if the defendants brought in toys for the charity, Chavez said.
''Our office didn't want to go along with it, but [Zuniga] basically went along with the judge's decision,'' [spokeswoman Terry] Chavez said.
Disciplined in connection with the judge's request were assistant state attorneys Amanda Hemley and Thomas Haggerty, along with intern Roy Kirsh.
Each received one or two weeks' suspension without pay, according to documents released by the state attorney's office.
The late Sonny Bono's husband in law (?) weighs in on the tragedy in Pakistan. If you wish to read his sage word's, see "News-Press: Mack gives statement on Bhutto assassination".
"Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker says the female bears were shot. The animals' carcasses were left on the roadside near private hunting grounds. ... Black bears are listed as a threatened species in Florida, and hunting them is illegal." "2 black bears found dead in Gulf County".
The St. Pete Times editors: "Crist had an early New Year surprise for state residents who lack prescription drug coverage." "Welcome medicine: discounted drugs". See also "Gov. Crist's lead" ("Drug discount plan could help millions").
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must not be penny-wise and pound-foolish in implementing the massive Everglades restoration plan. Twenty years from now, Corps planners should be able to praise their predecessors rather than condemn them for being short-sighted." "Unclog Glades artery -- the Tamiami Trail".