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 Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Florida once again ... more backward than Dogpatch"

    "Florida officials are expected to decide today whether teaching evolution should be required in the state's public schools." "Florida to decide about teaching evolution".

    The Orlando Sentinel live blogs the embarrassing hearing: "Read updates about the evolution vote meeting now".

    Daniel Ruth puts it all in perspective:
    It is altogether possible that by the end of the day, Florida once again could be held up to the rest of the nation as more backward than Dogpatch, making even Mississippi look like a golden age of Enlightenment.

    Florida's Board of Education, a title treaded upon very cautiously here, is set to vote on adopting new science standards for public schools.

    But what should have been a relative no-brainer for the board to rationally acknowledge that evolution is the scientific cornerstone when it comes to the study of biology and its extended disciplines, instead has become a canonical kerfuffle among various Bible thumper groups who want to treat Charles Darwin's research with all the legitimacy of a race track tout sheet.

    This is 2008. Isn't it? Sigh.
    "By any coherent, established measure, evolution is the settled science of biology among the Bunsen burner, microscope, test tube crowd - otherwise known as the grown-up eggheads in the room who know about this stuff."
    Is it any wonder the United States runs the risk of being surpassed by Burkina Faso, the Bermuda Triangle and the Planet Zolton 7 when it comes to science instruction?
    "A Canonical Evolution Kerfuffle"

    To paraphrase the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, "this proposed change is a blatant attempt to inject politics into this decision" and kow tow to the RPOF constituency in the Florida "Panhandle" "Our position: Education board shouldn't compromise on evolution wording". The Palm Beach Post editors find it "sickening that so many education policymakers are afraid to stick up for evolution.". The Sun-Sentinel editors: "No doubt evolution should be taught".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board, which serves as a GOP house organ, breaks with the GOP's central constituencies "Stand Strong On Science Standards To Make Florida Kids Competitive" ("With Florida graduates trailing the nation in scientific achievement, the Board of Education should stand strong today and create a rigorous, world-class science curriculum.")

    See 'ya

    "Rubio's political future still in question".

    Ending private university subsidies

    "Not only are Florida universities cutting back on enrollment by about 17,000 students, but private colleges will lose $102 million in state grant money that used to help students pay for tuition. The grants averaged about $3,000 a year, and Gov. Charlie Crist recently eliminated them from his proposed budget." "Private colleges face tuition aid cuts".


    "After nearly half a century as Cuba's president, ailing leader Fidel Castro resigned the position early this morning, saying in a letter in online official media that he would not accept a new term when the newly elected parliament meets Sunday." "Castro resigns Cuban presidency". See also "Cautious optimism in Little Havana".

    Mike Thomas' enduring man crush

    Our monthly dose of Jeb-FCAT worship from Mike Thomas: Students excel on AP exams, thanks to FCAT - "The FCAT introduces critical thinking by requiring students to draw conclusions from what they have read, not just regurgitate facts from the text."

    Thomas overlooks his own newspaper's observation that "Half the high schools in Florida — including several in the Orlando area — are 'dropout factories,' with thousands of students disappearing before their senior year, according to a new report." He also neglects observations like these, again form his own paper:

    Florida, [Christopher Parkinson, a biology professor at University of Central Florida,] added, needs better science education because too many students arrive in college unprepared. "They don't understand science," Parkinson added. "They don't know how to think their way out of a paper bag."
    I believe Thaomas' position on this, and Jebbie generally, can be called a "man crush".

    Democracy 101

    "In 2007, special interests of all sorts spent more than $34 million lobbying Crist and his executive-branch agencies — and well over $63 million lobbying the Legislature, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of reports filed through last week shows."

    But while the companies and industry groups spending top dollar to influence the Legislature remained largely unchanged from the previous year, those with business before the Governor's Office looked much different.

    When Jeb Bush was governor in 2006, HMOs, the American Tort Reform Association and vendors vying for privatized state contracts were among the top spenders on executive-branch lobbying.

    But tort reform and privatization aren't Crist priorities. Instead, utilities were tripping over themselves to influence the governor's demands to start reining in greenhouse gases.
    "Lobbyists paid at least $97M for work in Tallahassee".


    "The more scrutiny the state's management of a local government investment fund receives, the more questions are raised about the handling of a crisis that could cost taxpayers millions. There is growing evidence that fund managers kept quiet about troubled investments last year and failed to follow their own guidelines for disclosing them. The state needs to keep digging." "Investment crisis needs digging".

    CD 13

    Democrat Jan Schneider "who has run three times before unsuccessfully, repeated that if she does jump in, she is leaning toward running as independent though she will maintain her Democratic Party registration." "The independence of Jan Schneider".


    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "CSX Transportation's demand that Florida assume liability for any accidents on a proposed Orlando commuter line should be enough to scuttle the deal. The agreement to purchase 61 miles of CSX track for commuter rail in Orlando and shift freight traffic east into Polk County and elsewhere heavily benefits the railroad. Yet the company wants even more. CSX is asking too much." "A Possible CSX Deal Breaker".

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