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 Friday, January 04, 2008

On Iowa, Florida, and Mister Three Percent

    Adam Smith writes that the Iowa results tell us three things:
    1. This race isn't ending any time soon.

    2. Democrats are much more energized than Republicans.

    3. Money isn't everything.
    "Three things we learned from Iowa". GOPer automaton Jim Greer didn't seem to learn much:
    Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer issued a statement late last night that predictably accused New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, considered the national front runner going into Iowa, of being a tax-and-spend liberal, weak on defense and a promoter of socialized medicine. ...

    Greer accused the entire Democratic slate of being "out of touch with Floridians." ...

    Greer couldn't ignore Obama's win and he couldn't resist taking a shot at him, as well.

    “Republican voters in Iowa, meanwhile, demonstrated their continued commitment to the core Republican principles of limited government, lower taxes, and personal responsibility. Floridians will embrace this Republican message, while rejecting rookie Democrat candidate Barack Obama’s alarming lack of executive experience," Greer said.
    "Fla. Republican party chairman lashes out at Obama after Iowa win" Jimmy sounds a little desperate, don't 'ya think?

    Meanwhile, on Thursday "a federal judge refused to delay Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary Thursday, ruling it's too late to move the election back because ballots have been printed, polling places arranged and poll workers scheduled for that date." "Judge refuses to delay Florida presidential primary". See also "Judge won't put off state's Jan. 29 primary".

    Back at the ranch, we get this from Mister Three Percent: with his embarrassing 3% showing in Iowa (less than a third of Ron Paul's total), Rudy boldly reminds us that "that Florida's Jan. 29 primary is a key to his White House hopes." "Giuliani hits Florida again, speaks to Cuban-Americans". See also "Giuliani appeals to Cuban-Americans in Hialeah", "Giuliani picks Hialeah over Iowa" and"Obama, Huckabee Sweep to Iowa Victories" ("Giuliani, fading in New Hampshire, was counting on Florida and big state contests on Feb. 5.")

    Another Jebacy

    Talbot D'Alemberte puts the blame for Florida's financial troubles precisely where it belongs:

    Jeb Bush left office proud that there had been $14-billion in tax cuts, mostly to the benefit of wealthy citizens and corporate interests. During this period, efforts to close tax exemptions and loopholes in the corporate income tax were blocked.

    These cuts in taxes and continued tolerance of exemptions and loopholes have left the Florida tax system a shambles.
    "Fla. tax system unprepared for crisis".

    Stop the presses!

    "Word 'evolution' may be added to Fla. curriculum": "Florida public school educators are considering revisions in state science standards that would substitute the word evolution for 'biological changes over time,' a subject sure to cause intense debate during the coming six weeks."

    Legislature wins round one

    "Florida lawmakers maintained authority to set tuition at state universities Thursday following a judge's ruling that bans the Board of Governors from suing for control of higher-education costs." "Legislature can set tuition, judge says". "The Florida Board of Governors and several private plaintiffs, led by former Gov. Bob Graham, indicated Thursday that they intend to refile their lawsuit." "State board dealt legal blow over setting tuition rates". See also "Judge backs Legislature in tuition-setting debate" and "Suit on Florida college tuition is dismissed".

    The News-Journal editorial board urges the plaintiffs to press on:

    The issue of constitutional authority badly needs to be clarified. Although the language of the amendment is ambiguous, the intent of the constitutional amendment was clear. Voters wanted a university governing board to insulate -- at least in part -- universities from harmful political meddling. ...

    As an example of legislative meddling, lawmakers in 2006 banned public universities from spending any money -- including private grants and federal dollars -- to travel to Cuba for any purpose. Legislators also banned travel to Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria -- but that was more or less for show. The apparent motive was to placate anti-Castro constituencies at the cost of academic freedom, not to mention common sense.
    "In challenge to meddling over tuition: Keep on going".

    "Come clean"

    "Come clean. Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan should have done that back in March when he gave the university's former chief fund-raiser almost $600,000 in severance. Instead, Mr. Brogan and FAU's trustees have tried to finesse any public accounting of the public money for Lawrence Davenport - who isn't eligible for it if, as the university says, he resigned on his own." "Time for Brogan's tell-all".

    There goes that "liberal media" again

    The Sun-Sentinel editors share their wisdom with us this morning:

    There are those who have moral qualms about the the death penalty. Others raise additional concerns, including fears it is applied to certain groups more frequently than others, and that there is always the risk of executing someone who is innocent.

    But what those concerns really point to is the frequency and conditions under which the death penalty is applied.

    Those qualms can be ameliorated by limiting the death penalty's application to instances where the crime is particularly heinous and the body of evidence is overwhelming.

    That's why the death penalty ought to remain on the punishment menu. The state and its citizens ought to have the right to institute it in those cases where they deem it is the punishment that best fits the crime.
    "Not time yet to end death penalty".

    Oh really? So long as the "the body of evidence is overwhelming" that a defendant engaged in a "particularly heinous" crime, the editors are OK with the death penalty. Please tell us what standard of proof - other than the current "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard - sufficient to satisfy the editors?

    No doubt the jurors in the following Texas case believed the "the body of evidence [was] overwhelming" against the defendant in this case: "Texas Man Freed After 26 Years in Prison".

    Susan Stanton f/k/a Steve Stanton

    "The former Largo city manager fired after his sex change plans were made public wants to be Islamorada's next village manager." "Fired transsexual city manager applies for Islamorada top job".

    Investment pool

    "Local government officials across Florida were told Thursday that by the end of the month they can expect to freely remove up to 21 percent of their balance from a state-run investment pool that is either frozen or subject to withdrawal penalties." "State to make more money in investment pool liquid". See also "Local governments could get access to $2.7B in investment pool".

    The Tampa Trib editors: "State Must Cover Local Losses To Restore Confidence In Risk Pool".

    AP follows up on yesterday's story, "The lights were blinking red", with this today: "Audit warned about investment risk; local govts still nervous".


    "Caucuses remind Brevard of reality" ("the Iowa caucuses could begin to focus more local attention on Florida's
    fast-approaching primaries.")

    You might think ...

    ... that this cleverly headlined Tampa Trib editorial might extend at least a little criticisim to Jebbie:"Boot Camp Bush Leaguers, Begone" You'd be wrong.

    Siplin bashing

    Sadly, the Palm Beach Post joins the Orlando Sentinel ("Siplin acquitted, Sentinel editors sulk") in Siplin bashing:

    A harsher but more realistic reading of the ruling is that Sen. Siplin didn't care enough to make sure that his staff members were following the rules. His campaign mattered more. In the clubby world of the Florida Senate, that may be good enough for vindication. But since, as the Orlando Sentinel noted, Sen. Siplin passed just two ceremonial bills last year, you wonder what he did to justify the time in office his colleagues gave him.
    "Senator's non-vindication". Surprisingly, it is Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas to put things in a proper perspective:
    The court has tossed out Siplin's grand-theft conviction, clearing the Orlando Democrat's record and making his persecutors look rather silly.

    Chief among them was Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar, whose crusade against public corruption continues to unravel. ...

    Following Lamar were those who demanded the state Senate expel Siplin. That group included our editorial board.

    They were wrong, and the Senate leaders who allowed Siplin to stay were right. Tossing out Siplin, only to have the charge that precipitated the action tossed out, would have been the real crime. ...

    How can you steal when there is no proof you had intent to steal and no proof you gained anything?

    And, legalities aside, politicians in Washington and Tallahassee spend millions of taxpayer dollars on staff salaries that serve no other purpose than getting them re-elected.

    But it was easy to overlook all this in going after Siplin. He is controversial, disliked and even despised. ...

    But what it did do was cause a lot of us to assume guilt, including me.

    That Siplin is black, while those who went after him are white, brought in the element of race.

    The Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., president of the Orange County NAACP, questioned "whether the judicial system is unjust and unfair to black men who speak for the downtrodden, disinherited and dispossessed."

    ... look at state Sen. Lee Constantine's two DUIs, Mayor Rich Crotty's lucrative dealings with a developer, Orange Sheriff Kevin Beary's lucrative dealings as a security consultant, U.S. Rep. Ric Keller's use of his office to promote his re-election and the sweetheart contracts paid out at the expressway authority.

    Look at all that and tell me Siplin's misdeeds stand out in this crowd.

    He may not be the most effective lawmaker. But he works his district hard, and his constituents apparently like what they see. And it's their call.
    "Court was right to throw out Siplin conviction".


    "Crist puts freeze on crop-shipping rules in response to cold weather".

    They said it

    "That could be good news for Romney, who has been counting on this being a primary that is dominated by base Republicans." "Obama, Huckabee Sweep to Iowa Victories".

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