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
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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 29, 2007

Siplin acquitted, Sentinel editors sulk

    "A state appeals court threw out the felony conviction of state Sen. Gary Siplin Friday, ruling that prosecutors' circumstantial evidence was too weak to convict the Orlando Democrat of grand theft. A three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal also set aside Siplin's conviction on a related misdemeanor for using state employees to work on his campaign." "Senator's conviction is overturned". See also "State senator's theft conviction thrown out by appeals court" and "Siplin's felony tossed out; state ponders next move". So, after savaging Siplin for what seems like years, will the Sentinel give Siplin an apology? Of course not - with the usual lack of class - we get this tripe from the Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
    Perhaps state Sen. Gary Siplin feels vindicated today, after an appeals court overturned a grand-theft conviction for using a state employee on his 2004 re-election campaign.
    Perhaps? He ought to "feel vindicated today", after all the conviction was overturned due to a lack of evidence. The better question is whether the editors are embarrassed for convicting Siplin in the press? The editors continue:
    He should use this opportunity for the good of his district. That would be a welcome change from his toxic presence in Tallahassee.
    "Toxic presence"? Goodness gracious, isn't that a classy thing to say. In support of this childish ad hominem attack, the Sentinel complains that Democrat Siplin has been unable to get substantive legislation through the Republican controlled Legislature. But this takes the cake - the editors close by disagreeing with the court's ruling and asserting that the Court's order that Sipilin cannot be retried on the felony charge isn't really "vindication":
    That said, we are disappointed with the ruling. The appeals court did not dispute the fact that Mr. Siplin allowed a state employee to work on his 2004 campaign while she was still drawing her state salary.

    A three-judge panel wrote that evidence was circumstantial, and that Mr. Siplin certainly could have researched the circumstances more carefully before making the hire.

    It's a far cry from vindication.
    "Siplin needs to work hard to win back public confidence after his acquittal". No class.

    That's a relief

    "Screenwriter says movie on 2000 election won't overlook South Florida".

    "Brace yourself" Florida

    Steve Bousquet today: "If you like craziness with your politics, you're probably going to like Florida more than ever in 2008." "Best brace yourself for politics in 2008".

    "Unprecedented drought"

    "Heading into 2008, South Florida continues to see unprecedented drought conditions like much of the Southeast. And the worst is yet to come as the state settles into a seven-month dry season after two years of below average rainfall." "Unprecedented drought expected to plague South Fla. into 2008".

    "Empty rhetoric"

    "The Bush administration made loud promises about cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, but new data suggest the promises were empty rhetoric. Fewer than 100 company owners or supervisors were arrested in fiscal 2007, according to a report in The Washington Post, and the Department of Homeland Security continued to focus mainly on arresting illegal workers. ... Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a member of the Senate's homeland security committee, has it right when she says the failure to prosecute employers for illegal hires is like punishing the under-age drinker but ignoring the tavern owner who rakes in all the profit." "Employers weak link in immigration battle".

    Was Rudy around to display his "leadership"?

    "Bomb scare has offices near Capitol evacuated".

    Sea cows and wolves

    See "Red wolf, once extinct in Florida wild, is coming back" and "6 more manatees die mysteriously". See also "Specialist tracks generations of manatees at Blue Spring State Park".

    Rudy: all terror all the time

    "Rudy Giuliani wrapped up a three-day swing through Florida on Friday by picking up the endorsement of a national association of state troopers, standing beside a memorial outside the Orange County courthouse honoring slain law enforcement personnel. The Republican presidential candidate, accompanied by National Troopers Coalition Chairman Dennis Hallion and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, spoke briefly to a few supporters almost exclusively about terrorism before signing autographs and heading back to Iowa in anticipation of next week's caucuses there." "Giuliani stresses his need to win Florida". See also "Terrorism, law enforcement are focus of Giuliani's Orlando visit".

    To the extent you care to watch this, here it is: "Rudy Giuliani sits down with Orlando Sentinel editorial board". More here.


    "A pair of developers who want to bring a quarter-horse racetrack to Jefferson County have been given the green light by the state, a spokesman for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation said Friday." "State puts stamp of approval on Jefferson racetrack".

    Nobody's perfect

    "In a 2004 interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Mrs. Tose'-Rigell defended the president's actions. 'I don't think anyone could have handled it better,' she said. "Principal of school Bush visited on 9-11 has passed away".


    "The Heartland Parkway has a pulse again. The state Department of Transportation recently committed $5.5 million to study one segment of the proposed toll highway -- the part running through Polk County." "Proposed toll road wins study money".

    Knuckle-draggers less than happy with this ...

    "The state did not execute any death-row inmates this year for the first time in 25 years, the result of legal and ethical challenges to lethal injection that have temporarily halted executions nationwide." "Challenges halt Florida executions for 2007".

    Where's the "transparency"?

    "Federal Medicaid officials released the names of the 52 worst nursing homes in America last month, then patted themselves on the back for a job well-done in protecting the nation's frail elderly."

    Florida has three homes on the list - St. Petersburg's Apollo Health and Rehab Center, Palm Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Lauderdale Lakes and Key West Convalescent Center. The homes were identified as persistently poor performers by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration.

    The list is helpful, no question. But it is not complete.

    The full list is reported to be much longer - some 128 homes with repeat problems. These homes have been given numerous chances to correct themselves, but yo-yo in and out of compliance with the federal government shielding their identity.

    A group of U.S. senators is demanding that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services release the full list. Surprisingly, neither of Florida's two senators - Bill Nelson or Mel Martinez - is backing the effort for greater transparency.
    "Medicaid Shields Nursing Home Reputations At Patients' Expense".


    "Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee tried to link the crisis in Pakistan to the hot-button issue of immigration in the U.S., as several presidential candidates pounced on the tragedy abroad in making their cases to Iowa voters." "Huckabee stirs immigration debate".

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