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 Thursday, January 03, 2008

The lights were blinking red

    The Orlando Sentinel posted this lengthy "exclusive" this morning: "An internal audit conducted by the State Board of Administration [SBA] last year red-flagged the agency for not adequately supervising risky investment decisions by its money managers."
    The audit said it was SBA practice to deal with a handful of firms -- and criticized those close-knit relationships.

    "Heavy concentration of trades with a few brokers may be exposing the SBA to unacceptable credit exposure," it said.
    "It added that 77 percent of all trades in 2003-04 were made with five brokers -- led by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers."
    Lehman has been a magnet for criticism largely because of the company's ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush. Lehman hired Bush in June as a consultant, although he and the company told the Orlando Sentinel last month that his services were unrelated to Lehman's sales to the state.
    "Exclusive: Audit flagged state fund's risks".

    A fly by night operation

    "He answers to the title of Senate president, but Ken Pruitt earned another one in 2007: frequent flier."

    As four special sessions tested the Legislature's part-time status, Pruitt led the pack of lawmakers who used the state's air fleet to avoid long drives or infrequent and expensive commercial flights.

    The Port St. Lucie Republican flew on state planes 111 times at a total cost of about $24,000, according to Bureau of Aircraft records.
    "Senate chief took wing 111 times on state fleet in '07".

    That icky "evolution" word

    Why are we still debating this? "Evolution is scientific theory. Creationism is religious belief. Only one of them should be taught in Florida's science classrooms."

    The state Department of Education holds hearings today in Jacksonville and Tuesday in Miramar on a proposal to explicitly acknowledge that Florida's public schools will teach evolution. That would be one change among many designed to improve science education.

    The curriculum already requires science teachers in the state's public schools to teach their students that forms of life change over time. That's evolution in all but name. Still, some groups object to specifying evolution. Inevitably, critics of the change will argue that students who learn about evolution also should study intelligent design, which is creationism that has been repackaged and rebranded. ...

    Florida hopes to become a leader in scientific discoveries. ... To have any chance of achieving those goals, Florida has to teach science in its science classrooms. The state Board of Education votes next month on whether to require students to be taught evolution. If Florida can't do that, the state has little hope of evolving into a world leader in science.
    "Evolution being taught, so call it 'evolution'".

    From the "values" crowd

    "The collision of a statewide campaign to cut property taxes with Florida's worst budget crunch in decades could give hospitals that treat the poor and uninsured a double dose of trouble next fiscal year. At risk is the state's Medicaid safety net, a $1.95 billion 'low-income pool' of local as well as state tax dollars that Florida uses to bring in federal matching funds. ... The problem: Of the more than $730 million that counties and other local taxing authorities pour into the pool, $526 million is ad valorem property tax revenue - the very taxes that lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist are pushing to cut this year." "Health Care Pool May Face Cuts".


    "US. approves expanded gambling at tribal casinos".

    But Saudi Arabia - where gang raped women are terrorized - is OK

    "Florida universities could again make academic field trips to Cuba if a federal judge agrees with a motion filed last month to partly overturn a state law banning school travel to 'terrorist states.' The Dec. 17 motion, made by the Florida Board of Governors, says schools should be free to use money obtained through federal grants or private donations for study in countries deemed sponsors of terrorism by the U.S. Department of State."

    A 2006 state law bans the use of taxpayer dollars and non-state money for travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. ...

    The federal government has a complex web of laws and regulations governing foreign policy and commercial relations with the listed countries, but it encourages and funds certain types of travel to Cuba.

    The University of Florida, Florida International University and the University of South Florida all hold institutional licenses issued by the federal government that specifically authorize travel to Cuba for educational and research purposes.
    "Colleges fight ban on trips to Cuba".

    Citrus cool

    "Florida's citrus growers reported only minor damage early Thursday as the state thawed out from an overnight cold snap." "Fla. citrus crops escape severe damage despite freezing weather".

    County appraisers

    "Across Florida, county appraisers are becoming symbols for what critics say is a broken tax system." "A tax meltdown, and him at the molten core".


    "AirTran Airways will keep its corporate headquarters in Florida and add jobs, the low-cost carrier and Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday." "AirTran Airways will remain in Orlando, add jobs".

    "Then, she moved to Iowa"

    "Iowa's importance and small size let one Floridian-turned-Iowan comparison shop among candidates who make many appearances."

    As a longtime Democratic activist, former Hollywood resident Cindy Sherr is accustomed to Florida elections decided by fundraisers, television advertisements and candidates' brief visits to South Florida's condo canyons.

    Then, she moved to Iowa
    "Ex-South Floridian can see many candidates in Iowa".

    Hillsborough County Dem shakeup

    "The top leaders of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party have resigned after an incident involving what the chairman and vice chairman called incorrect handling of party money by the treasurer. In a meeting Wednesday night, the remaining party officials scheduled an election to pick new party leaders for Jan. 22. Former state Rep. Bob Henriquez is considered likely to seek the chairman's post, and confirmed Wednesday that he would be interested." "Hillsborough Democratic Leaders Resign, But Treasurer Will Stay".

    Now, had this been white collar crime ... ?

    "In February, Berger sentenced Jimmie Gaines, 44, to 18 months in prison following his conviction on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a marked police car, possession of cocaine and habitual driving with a revoked license." "Ruling tosses man's light sentence".

    "Clear in contempt for Florida and 16 other states' environment"

    "California's clean-air standards have almost always been stronger than the federal government's. Because California's standards predate the federal government's, California has been granted more than 50 federal waivers since 1966 to go its own way. The Federal Clean Air Act also allowed other states to piggyback on California's standards as long as they exceeded the EPA's."

    In 2004, the waivers stopped. ...

    The Bush administration wasn't denying them. It just wasn't issuing them one way or the other. ...

    Last month, however, the Bush administration finally issued its ruling on the California waiver. It denied it and, with it, the 16 other states' planned standards. ... Schwarzenegger was right to sue the first time to compel the administration to rule on the waiver. Fourteen states joined that lawsuit, but not Florida. He filed suit again Wednesday to fight the denial. Florida should join the lawsuit this time and fight the most toxic element in America's environment today -- White House ideology."
    "Big-Government Bush".

    Wonder why Florida didn't participate in that lawsuit?

    Southern strategy

    "Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who is pinning his campaign on a big win in Florida's Jan. 29 primary, will make his 26th trip to the state." "Giuliani will be in Hialeah as others campaign in Iowa".

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