Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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, March 13, 2008

Do-over debate

    "Pleading with the presidential candidates to take a serious look at their plan to salvage Florida's Democratic primary, the state party leaders on Wednesday proposed a new vote-by-mail primary overseen by an independent commission. But with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday insisting that only a full-scale statewide primary could make up for not counting the Jan. 29 vote, and Sen. Barack Obama hostile to any mail plan, their proposal appeared to be on life support."
    The stakes? Nothing less than Democrats winning or losing Florida in November, said state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman.
    "Fla. pleads for vote by mail". "Nothing less than Democrats winning or losing Florida in November"? A bit much don't you think? Nevertheless, "Poll: Party could push Dems to vote for GOP".

    "Florida Democrats may get 're-do' of vote". See also "Thurman: Need candidate participation for new election", "Latest: Democrats unveil vote plan, still 'not a done deal'" and "Florida Democrats outline mail-vote plan"

    There may be a problem though: "Florida law prohibits election officials from authenticating votes cast in the Democratic Party's proposed do-over primary by mail, state officials said Thursday, a potentially fatal blow to the increasingly embattled plan."
    ''There's no authority under Florida law that would allow county supervisors of election or the state to verify signatures in an election of a state party,'' said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Florida's secretary of state and Division of Elections.
    "Do-over primary getting lost in the mail". "The Clinton and Obama campaigns Wednesday dug in on opposing sides about a do-over presidential primary in Florida." "Democrats square off over revote in Florida". The Miami Herald editorial board: "Mail-in election has many challenges". See also "Vote by mail? Only in emergencies, bill says".

    And then there's this: "The day before state Democrats were expected to unveil a plan for a revote of Florida's Democratic primary, Barack Obama's presidential campaign raised its most serious questions yet about the effort."
    Obama's campaign spokesman called the mail-ballot revote effort a "Clinton production" that would require a civil rights review from the Justice Department to be considered legitimate.

    "The people designing the likely mail-in plans here are Clinton supporters," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. "So I think everyone has to be very cautious about that."

    Under a draft version of the mail-in election plan obtained by the Herald-Tribune, all of the state's 4.2 million registered Democrats would get a ballot and a prepaid return envelope in the mail two weeks before the June 3 election.

    Also, the party would create 50 regional voting offices throughout the state that would be open every day for two weeks before the election to allow voters to cast ballots in person or get replacement ballots.

    The estimated cost of the plan is $10 million to $12 million.

    Though he had not seen the plan, Plouffe said, there are legal issues, security questions and funding concerns that remain unresolved in what would be Florida's first-ever statewide mail-in election.
    "Party pushes on with plan for revote". See also "Fla. Primary Re-Do Unlikely" and "Fla. vote-by mail primary re-do unlikely because of concerns".

    Plan B: " Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman acknowledged today that her plan for a do-over primary appeared unlikely to happen. ... A successful appeal would mean Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won Florida's primary, would pick up about two dozen delegates from the state. There was no immediate response from the campaign for Sen. Barack Obama, who has about 100 more delegates than Clinton with 10 primary contests left." "Still nothing is settled, Florida Democrats appeal to DNC to seat delegates".

    In the who gives a damn category we have the wisdom of this self-important fool: "Rubio blasts 'ridiculous' mail-in idea".

    Brilliant mistake

    "Among the losers as Florida lawmakers cut the state's budget Wednesday: troubled teenage girls in the Tampa Bay area." "PACE program for troubled girls takes budget wallop".

    "House Bill 195 and Senate Bill 532"

    Troxler: "The government is the servant of the taxpayers, not their master. And yet increasingly, Florida cities, counties and school boards spend public dollars to try to sway election results." "Stop using our money to sway our vote".

    How long is "Forever"

    "Florida Forever, the state's land-buy program, runs out in 2010. On Tuesday, a House council tried to figure out how to continue its aims when money is tight." "Lawmakers try to save land-buy program in lean financial times".

    Directly to jail

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "With the sentencing Friday of a bit player in the Tony Masilotti corruption scandal, the scorecard is complete. Two ex-Palm Beach County politicians, Masilotti and Warren Newell, and two enablers have been sentenced to prison. Several others who may have helped them, though, remain free. Former Commissioners Masilotti and Newell are serving five-year sentences. The enablers are lawyer Bill Boose, sentenced to two years, and developer Daniel Miteff, sentenced on Friday to five years. But what about those other insiders who helped make the deals happen but faced no charges? When he sentenced Boose in January, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp wondered aloud why justice had not been brought to bear on them." "In the corruption saga, plea deals were worth it".


    "In a scenario that many Americans never imagined -- or understood -- Puerto Rico is poised to play a crucial role in choosing the Democratic presidential nominee." "Puerto Rico becomes player in Dem primary".

    Imagine that?

    "Hillsborough, the largest district to enact merit pay, has discovered that teachers in the most affluent schools are the ones benefiting the most." "Merit pay plan's unintended lesson".

    What a deal

    "It would link Orlando's sprawling suburbs, ease traffic on bottlenecked Interstate 4 and spur an economic boom in Central Florida."

    At least that's what Orlando-area lawmakers said Wednesday about the CSX rail project, a proposal that calls for the Florida Department of Transportation to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy miles of train tracks for an expansive commuter and freight rail system.

    The $491 million project has raised red flags for critics who ask why the state should dole out so much taxpayer money to benefit a for-profit company. Others are leery about a provision in the deal that would make the state - not CSX - liable for train accidents, even those the company causes while using the rail line.
    "Central Florida Legislators Rally Behind CSX Rail Plan". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Dockery's attack on rail project ignores facts, threatens future efforts".

    We're Number One!

    "Florida No. 1 for mortgage fraud in 2007 for 2nd straight year".


    Daniel Ruth: "Are you beginning to get the sneaking suspicion that when it comes to figuring out elections, Idi Amin was a paragon of democratic fair play compared with the Bowery Boys meet-Freedonia's Rufus T. Firefly overseeing the Florida Democratic Party presidential primary food fight?" "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?".

    Brain trust

    "The Council of 100 has been advising Florida's governor since 1961. Its members today include Raymond James Financial chairman Tom James, OSI Restaurant Partners chairman Chris Sullivan, and Phil Handy, chief executive of Strategic Industries LLC, who once led the state Board of Education." "Group: Lay Off Higher Ed".

    Free dunce caps and popcorn

    "Supporters of an 'academic freedom' bill permitting students and teachers to challenge evolution teachings in Florida's new science standards brought actor-activist Ben Stein to the Capitol on Wednesday for a private screening of his new film before an audience of state lawmakers."

    Few lawmakers were among about 100 people who showed up for the private screening of Stein's film.

    Organizers refused to let reporters or uninvited spectators into the theater, which was rented for two hours at $940.63, but insisted that no discussion of pending legislation would occur.
    "Lawmakers attend Tallahassee screening of movie by Ben Stein".

    We don't need no stinkin' gov'ment handouts

    "Roughly a third of the jobs at U.S. Central Command will be eliminated under a review started by outgoing Adm. William Fallon, military officials said." "Outgoing admiral eliminates 1,100 jobs at U.S. Central Command".

    Budget blues

    "After slashing $512 million from the existing state budget on Wednesday, lawmakers today begin the painful process of cutting as much as $3.7 billion from next year's nearly $70 billion spending plan." "Lawmakers look to next year's budget cuts". See also "Legislators cut into current budget".

    Open for bidness

    "Five regional legal offices the state has created to represent poor defendants in special circumstances can stay open, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The justices reversed a judge's ruling that the offices, which opened their doors in January, were unconstitutional because they are headed by appointed rather than elected officials." "Justices OK new state legal offices for poor defendants".

    Big of 'em

    "Giving the wrongfully incarcerated an 'automatic trigger,' a House council approved a bill Wednesday that would give $50,000 a year to those who have been mistakenly imprisoned." "House council OKs bill to compensate wrongfully convicted".

    The rules are different here

    "Authorities say a Tampa Bay-area father and daughter duped thousands of British citizens into making $70 million in bogus investments." "Fla. father-daughter accused of $70 million stock fraud scheme".

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