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 Saturday, March 08, 2008

Florida Democratic Party "still has a pulse"

    Steve Bousquet, who is happy to play a journalist on RPOF-TV, snarks that the Florida Democratic Party "still has a pulse." He writes:
    It's never just another week in the life of Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida.

    The first week of the 2008 legislative session began with the Florida Democratic Party launching a Web site blasting Crist for spending too much time off the job.

    "Where is he when Florida needs him?" the site asks, next to a photo of a grimacing Crist looking as if he's just been force-fed a lemon.

    The site, www.emptychaircharlie.com, exploits the perception that Crist is spending too much time with John McCain - and cleverly uses Crist's own tactics against him.

    In the 2006 race for governor, Crist used a TV image of an empty chair rolling down the streets of Washington to highlight Democratic rival Jim Davis' missed votes in Congress.

    By throwing a punch at Crist, the Democratic Party showed it still has a pulse. But what the Web site didn't say [according to what appear to be RPOF talking points regurgitated by the alleged journalist] was that some of Crist's official absences from state business were explained by his stumping for the Amendment 1 tax cut on Jan. 29, which passed with 64 percent of the vote.
    "Spotlight gets hot for Crist".

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board has a less Sayfie-like view of the matter: "Florida is facing severe budget cuts, and the Legislature is in session trying to make them. But on Thursday, Gov. Crist attended yet another McCain event, this one at Howley's Restaurant in West Palm Beach. If lawmakers need to stand on a chair to get his attention, they know where to find an empty one." "lawmakers didn't consider unintended consequences when they amended retirement rules seven years ago, and are prone to make the same mistake again.".

    The bars are now open

    "Negotiations over more than $500 million in cuts to the state's nearly $70 billion budget for 2007-2008 were temporarily halted Friday, although a formal resolution is expected to come Monday." "State budget negotiations on hold until Monday".

    Another Jebacy

    Courageously fighting against taxes on the wealthy

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editors: "In Florida, the Legislature -- prodded by former Gov. Jeb Bush -- used the prosperity fueled by the real-estate bubble as justification to give away billions each year to wealthy investors. ... to stand by while millions of children, seniors and disabled people lose services through state budget cuts in Florida and other states, and addiction treatment, mental-health and foster-care systems fall apart for lack of funding -- would be heartless and foolhardy." "Block grants to state would help Floridians in direst need".

    Rumor has it that somebody in the traditional media - other than the hardy souls on the Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board - are contemplating placing a teeny, tiny bit of blame for Florida's present financial disaster on Jebbie having given billions of tax cuts to Florida's oppressed wealthy. But it's only a rumor.

    Put on a happy face

    "The nation's work force shrank by 63,000 jobs in February, the largest monthly drop in five years, adding to concerns that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession."

    The federal government reported Friday that the job losses were broad-based, as labor troubles moved beyond the construction industry. Yet the unemployment rate also dipped last month, to 4.8 percent from 4.9 percent in January, in an unexpected decline that suggested large numbers of people had stopped looking for work.

    Florida received a double dose of sobering news Friday, as a separate report revealed that statewide employment has been shrinking since September when compared with the same month a year earlier -- instead of growing steadily as previously thought.
    "U.S. job loss fuels fears of recession". See also "Sharp Drop in Jobs Adds to Grim Picture of U.S. Economy" ("one minute after the Labor Department published its report at 8:30 a.m., JPMorgan Chase reversed its stance, declaring that a recession appeared to have begun. Lehman Brothers switched its position as well.")

    "The state government's January unemployment report, released Friday, makes it clear that not only is South Florida shedding jobs at a fast clip, but that the job market has been in a downturn since last summer. ... It looks like it will get worse". "South Florida losing jobs; state agency's revisions turn gains into losses".


    "A House council approved Friday a resolution that would weaken the Board of Governors' authority over the State University System, mainly giving power to set tuition to the Legislature." "House may weaken Board of Governors". See also "Education commissioner again?".

    Good luck

    "Florida's tax commissioners on Friday urged lawmakers to set up a special committee that would draft bills to repeal sales tax exemptions if they fail to serve a public service or meet other criteria. If the Legislature doesn't do that, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission may later ask voters to force lawmakers to do it." "Joint committee to review sales tax exemptions urged".

    "Our Youth Are Dumber Than A Sack Of Maybelline Eye Liners."

    Daniel Ruth: "There are moments, especially whenever state Sen. Ronda Storms, the Tammy Faye Bakker of Tallahassee, starts flap-jawing, that I begin to think maybe this whole evolution thing is indeed suspect."

    Geez, the Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old and all we have to show for it are the likes of Ronda Storms, R-Paula White-Lite, a woman who would send even the hosts of "What Not To Wear" screaming into the night? ...

    Last month the state Board of Education, in a crazy, wacky, cuckoo kind of move, took the bold, unheard of step of acknowledging academic advancement when it voted to allow science teachers to actually teach science, including Darwin's science of evolution.
    "As you can imagine, the Board of Education voting to enter the 21st century didn't sit well with the Bible-thumper crowd and their Mother Superior, Ronda Storms, R-Archbishop of Amway."
    This week the Tugboat Annie of End Times filed a bill, disingenuously titled the Academic Freedom Act, which would allow science teachers to ignore established science, such as evolution, and instead introduce contradictory information to students.
    "By this measure, a teacher, perhaps one who belongs to the Church of the Parallel Universe, could insist two plus two equals five, simply because his or her version of God says so."
    In a gesture of faux sincerity rivaling a smiling Miss America runner-up, Storms insisted she was merely trying to encourage intellectual curiosity, not impose any religious belief or the teaching of creationism or its phony permutation - the Wizard In The Sky Intelligent Design.

    Phooey - more or less.

    More accurately, the propaganda masquerading as a piece of legislation being proposed by the Ma Kettle of Genesis would be more properly labeled the "Fundamentalist Tyranny Of The Classroom Act."

    Of course Storms and her legislative Taliban are attempting to undermine the Board of Education's established science standards to finagle religious concepts like creationism and/or the Wizard In The Sky theology into the teaching of biology - of SCIENCE.

    This is slouching to illiteracy. This is a state senator arguing - let's make our students less educated. Say, there's an economic development incentive for you: "Come To Florida - Where Our Youth Are Dumber Than A Sack Of Maybelline Eye Liners."

    Dear Lord, forgive the Torquemada of Tallahassee for she knows exactly what she is doing. And she doesn't care.
    "Science! Science? Hahahaha!!!"

    FCAT Follies

    "Students, schools confront Florida's high-stakes FCAT exam".


    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "So far, both chambers in Tallahassee have opted for spending cuts to balance the current fiscal budget. But to argue that lawmakers ought to make ends meet on the 2008-2009 budget by slashing another $2.5 billion on top of the hundreds of millions removed from this year's accounts is red meat politics. Draconian across-the-board cuts aren't feasible." "Legislature begins budget battle for 2008".


    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Two veterans' groups suing the federal government are seeking an additional $60 million in spending by the VA for a variety of pending health claims that include mental-health problems."

    U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and a staunch advocate of better benefits for vets. This week he joined a bipartisan congressional caucus called the "America Supports You Caucus," to help veterans and their families through partnerships with support groups.

    Mr. Boyd describes help for veterans and their families as a "continuing cost of war." Despite an increase of $11.8 billion last year for better VA benefits and health-care funding, he acknowledges that more help is needed.

    Stoopid man

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board remarks upon Marco's depth:

    Rubio doesn't help his cause with overly partisan jabs, even in jest, such as advising those concerned about tight budgets in Tallahassee to move to "socialist" states like Vermont, Canada or Venezuela. Let's strive to make Florida a model for plurality of thought and consensus rather than ideological purity.
    Surely there is a place in the U.S. Army this chickenhawk can fill - maybe getting out of Little Havana will broaden his perspective on political discourse.

    Not exactly "Forever"

    "Florida Forever, a state program that spends $300 million a year purchasing and preserving land, is nearly out of money." "Preservation program running short of money as land prices drop".

    Off topic: McSame in a Bushco world

    Wonder where super patriot John McBush is on outsourcing American jobs? This should help: "Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, one of the nation's best-known business leaders, is taking on a new high-profile job as an advocate for presumptive GOP nominee John McCain and the Republican Party."

    During six years at HP, Fiorina became used to the spotlight as one of the few female CEOs of a major corporation. She was a leader on tech issues and defended HP for sending some jobs overseas.

    In 2004, she was part of the tech sector's efforts to counter criticism of ''off-shoring'' jobs to India and China. ''There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore,'' she said at a Washington press conference.
    "Ex-Hewlett-Packard chief to boost GOP". Ain't that cool - American workers need to stop whining and compete with the "market driven" wages of slaves in workers' paradises like China. More of the same from John McSame.

    More McSame here: "Boeing Supporters Target McCain" ("Angry Boeing supporters are vowing revenge against Republican presidential candidate John McCain over Chicago-based Boeing's loss of a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract to the parent company of European plane maker Airbus.")

    Double dipping?

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "lawmakers didn't consider unintended consequences when they amended retirement rules seven years ago, and are prone to make the same mistake again." "Be wary of new problem with double-dipping fix".

    Tax cap

    "A citizen petition that aims to cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of a home's taxable value appears to have cleared its first hurdle to the 2010 ballot." "Tax cap petition advances".

    Florida's dynamo

    "Cuba flirts with economic reforms". Perhaps Mr. Cellophane can teach Cubans the skill set of how to be appointed to paying jobs for reasons unrelated to merit (unless being a drooling Bushco lapdog is considered "merit"). More: "House Of Cards".


    "Adding confusion to a process already beset with it, Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday reopened the door for taxpayers to help fund a do-over mail-in Democratic primary run by the state. Democrats variously dismissed it as a Crist publicity grab, a crafty way to weaken the Democratic contenders, or a potentially nifty idea." "Ideas floated for Democratic redo".

    S.V. Dáte writes that a Florida "do-over still seems unlikely. But after the fun of 2000, and then the questionable vote totals from the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, all that seems certain right now is that nothing is certain. Which is to say, for Florida elections, everything's pretty much normal." "The Second Florida Primary".

    "Charlie Crist said he'll push for state elections officials to oversee a primary do-over, if Democrats pay for it." "Crist proposes state oversight of a revote". "Letting voters use computers is being touted by some as a way to end Florida's Democratic delegate standoff." "Online vote discussed for Florida".

    As 30,000 a year teachers fight over merit pay?

    "In pointed exchanges with Congressional lawmakers Friday, three prominent financial executives defended the multimillion-dollar pay packages they received even as their companies were brought to their knees by the spreading credit crisis. " "Chiefs’ Pay Under Fire at Capitol".

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