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, February 14, 2008

That's our Charlie, "a warm bucket of spit"

    Mike Thomas gives us the "Top 5 reasons for Vice President Charlie Crist:"
    5) Would turn all those frowns upside-down at state funerals.

    4) Wouldn't spend all day in a Colorado mountain yelling "DEFCON 4!" into disconnected Hotline.

    3) Would never shoot anybody, not even his close friends.

    2) After the past eight years, there's something to be said for a warm bucket of spit.

    1) May have flunked Bar exam, but I bet he can spell potatoe. . .
    And, "Why Charlie wants to be vice president:"
    The constitutional challenge to Amendment 1 has begun. Lawyers also hope to get Save Our Homes thrown out. They then will seek tax rebates issued to all new home buyers who made their purchases in the past four years. This would bankrupt the state. . .

    Fallback plan if the above happens: Lotto machines in middle-school cafeterias. . . .

    I can't decide what to do with our $1,200 tax rebate.

    Invest it? Pay off debt?
    Thomas also gives us this on the knuckle-dragger crowd::
    Monroe School Board Chairwoman Debra Walker says school districts most opposed to teaching evolution have lousy FCAT science scores. In fact, the most vocal opposition has come from Taylor County, where only 25 percent of 11th-graders passed the science FCAT. More scored at Level 1 (lowest) than any other ranking.
    "25 percent"?

    Florida delegate fight "intensifying"

    William March explains how, "even with the voting and candidate boycott now over, the fight over Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary is only intensifying." "Face-Off Fixes On Florida".

    Jebbite stalls service tax proposal

    "Former Senate President John McKay's controversial plan to eliminate $8 billion in school property taxes and replace the money by closing tax loopholes, raising the sales tax by a penny and taxing some services ran into serious trouble in the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission."

    McKay angrily postponed a crucial vote in the Finance and Taxation Committee on Tuesday when a veteran economist predicted that the measure could cost the state $2 billion in lost productivity and 52,000 jobs a year. He's trying to get the proposal approved by the commission and before Florida voters later this year. Tuesday's committee delay is just its first steps in an already difficult climb.

    "The impact on competitiveness needs to be considered," said economist Tony Villamil, who once headed Gov. Jeb Bush's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. "Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, California, would all love to take jobs away from us if we make it harder to create businesses."

    Villamil's report completely contradicted another study by veteran Orlando economist Hank Fishkind who predicted a large economic boost. McKay waited a day to schedule the vote so that Fishkind could present his findings to the committee as well, but Fishkind was called away at the last minute, leaving McKay stranded.

    McKay looked stunned and tried to shoot down the competing analysis.
    "Economist's warning makes tax plan uncertain". See also "Sales Tax Exemptions Eyed" ("McKay's plan ran into trouble when economists who work for the commission forecast that the plan would cost the state 53,000 jobs over 10 years.")

    Water war

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "An 18-year water dispute between Florida, Alabama and Georgia may have gotten a nudge toward a solution thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia." "Court ruling could ease water dispute".


    "State Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, isn’t running around the county promising more cuts in property taxes than what just passed on the ballot in January. And for good reason. Holder said he’s concerned about the atmosphere in Tallahassee now. With budget cutting getting more and more aggressive, there is less room in the budget to slash additional revenue to make up for lost tax money that could come with further chopping." "More tax cuts? Don’t count on it, Holder says".

    By the way, Holder may have a re-election dogfight. See The Spencerian's "Draft David Shapiro", and The Florida Progressive Coalition's "More on Draft David Shapiro".


    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "According to records from last year, high-ranking SBA staff members knew for months that some of their securities were shaky, and that the Local Government Investment Pool their agency managed could be in trouble."

    In November, after several local governments throughout Florida, including Leon County, withdrew roughly half of the fund's value, several officials, including Leon Clerk of the Courts Bob Inzer, complained that SBA officials repeatedly stonewalled them when they sought information.

    It was information that, as records now show, could and should have been shared much earlier, perhaps preventing, or at least reducing the severity of a financial crisis in November that left many local governments in peril of not being able to make payrolls.

    Tuesday's report not only confirms the complaints of Mr. Inzer and others, but says the team of SBA officials who were discussing potential problems as early as last August also withheld critical information from their own trustees: Gov. Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum.
    "'All governments lie'".

    "Violence against union members", Ya gotta problem wit dat?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "President George W. Bush has been stepping up his campaign lately for Congress to pass a free-trade agreement with Colombia. He deserves an enthusiastic assist from Florida's delegation. ... Critics of the Colombia deal have cited violence against union members there as a reason to reject it." Phooey say the editors:

    Among Florida's senators, Republican Mel Martinez has endorsed the agreement. Democrat Bill Nelson, who has voted for other trade deals, hasn't made up his mind on this one. With Congress under the control of Democrats, his support is crucial. So is the backing of Florida's Democratic House members.
    "It's critical for Sen. Nelson to support trade agreement with Colombia".


    "A lawyer for three new Florida homeowners has filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the portability portion of the Save Our Homes Amendment." "Lawsuit challenges portability proposal". See also "Florida's Amendment 1 Save Our Homes portability sparks lawsuit".

    No early start

    "A proposal to move up the starting date of legislative sessions by a month to early February died Wednesday in the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission." "Panel shoots down bid to start Legislature earlier".

    Medicaid mess

    "At the same time that Florida's share of Medicaid money is declining, the number of poor families on Medicaid is increasing .... The Medicaid shortage was caused by an unexpected, one-time influx of money into the state to help it recover from the seven hurricanes that struck during 2004 and 2005. As a result of the intense reconstruction efforts, per-capita income in the state sharply increased during the 2004-2006 period". "Florida losing millions in federal Medicaid money".

    Early voting

    The Sun-Sentinel editors argue that "early voting — both in Florida and around the nation — has pitfalls that have been exposed during the current primary campaign." "Dump early voting in primaries".


    "The government-affairs chief of a Muslim group and a civil-liberties attorney said Wednesday they were satisfied that Attorney General Bill McCollum is not spreading religious bias by showing state employees a film about terrorism." "Groups satisfied with McCollum's response to film about terrorism".


    "The Department of Children & Families will continue using foster children to improve the troubled system, despite the arrest of a top agency employee who used one of those children to create pornographic pictures, agency head Bob Butterworth said Wednesday." "Child welfare agency chief pledges to continue changes".

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