Daniel Ruth: "Who would have ever guessed Southeastern University in Lakeland offers a major in grifting?"
How else to explain the school's con job to get people to burp up $300 to spend "An Evening With Jeb Bush," which has to be a bit like finding one's self passing the night with a bucket of warm spit - and paying for the privilege."No doubt the Il Duce of the Apalachee Parkway's appearance at Southeastern will be of keen interest to the local [Lakeland] peasants, especially since it was Bush who, behind closed doors, sold the city down the river for 491 million pieces of silver."
If you didn't know any better, you'd think the former governor's upcoming appearance on campus Friday night was being sponsored by the Robert Vesco Chair within the Hustler Department of Advanced Stings.
Bush's $300 scam is part of the school's 2008 National Leadership Forum, where a bunch of big shots weigh in on "an innovative and creative approach to teaching the servant leadership concept not only in the academic community, but in the business and church communities as well."
It was during the Bush Junta that the governor secretly negotiated to buy 61 miles of CSX Transportation tracks in the greater Orlando area, which in turn will permit the rail company to shift a huge chunk of its freight business to a massive Polk County hub. ..."Now the weak link in the Bush dynasty is coming to Lakeland to lap up another speaking fee at the expense of the gullible, leading the rubes."
Somehow the backroom arrogance of power associated with the CSX deal was emblematic of Bush's disdain for public accountability during the eight years of his regime.
Here's the ultimate hypocrisy of Bush's performance at the home of the Fighting Lemmings.Go read it all here:"Jeb, Visionary? Lakeland Folks Might Disagree".
The Boss Hogg of Kennebunkport's schedule is handled by the Washington Speaker's Bureau, which does not publicly list Bush's fee for blowing smoke up the bloomers of unsuspecting audiences.
Bush's sister Doro is handled by the same company with fees from $15,000 to $25,000 to give speeches about the wonders of being born a Bush, so you have to figure her brother commands even more moola for, what, being taller?
33 year old spoiled Bushco frat brat huffs and puffs"Hit by a wave of Republican retirements, House GOP leaders, including Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, find themselves at the helm of a leaky political ship as this fall's congressional elections approach. Not since 1958 has a political party in the House minority faced such an uphill battle to merely keep the number of seats it has, much less gain ground on the majority. 'These retirements certainly have an impact on morale, and they are not particularly helpful,' acknowledged Putman, who, as GOP conference chairman, ranks as the chamber's No. 3 Republican." "Republicans' Woes Could Impede Putnam's Climb".
Jebbites "Leading the charge against common sense"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, "which must recommend statutory or constitutional changes by May 8, could position the state for a new period of growth with some common sense."
Leading the charge against common sense, though, is Patricia Levesque, executive director of two education foundations established by former Gov. Bush. Ms. Levesque took a reasonable proposal from former Senate President John McKay that would have tapped the potential of a sales tax on services, and turned it into that trust-us, tax-cutting suggestion."Opportunity nearly lost".
Mr. McKay advocates taxing services, which make up nearly half of all consumer spending. It could produce about $24 billion a year, matching existing sales tax collections. But Mr. McKay's proposal, calling for just $2 billion in service taxes, was derailed by Ms. Levesque. The argument that customers of lawyers, accountants and architects will go to Georgia to avoid a 6 percent tax has achieved almost magical reverence in Tallahassee. One of the true believers is House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami.
The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is supposed to be more removed from politics than the Legislature, but this commission seems driven by politics. The hostility toward Mr. McKay's idea is a new version of the cowardice shown in 1987, when Gov. Bob Martinez and the Legislature repealed a services tax six months after passing it - and increased the sales tax to 6 percent.
Big of 'em
"Lawmakers come up with budget plan to avoid court closures". See also "Florida lawmakers find $12.5M to keep courts open".
Will Dems halt "Mr. Cellophane" history of falling upward?"Democratic insiders often speculate about who should run against Martinez. While no one has stepped forward, names bandied about include state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, former gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis, U.S. Reps. Ron Klein and Kathy Castor and state House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber." "Sen. Martinez sets focus for rest of term after weathering bumps".
Poor Mel, "if his approval ratings through the first half of his term are any indication, most Floridians haven't seen his good days. A poll last fall showed his approval dipped to the mid-30s, and that makes Democrats smile as they think about the opportunity in 2010 to get back the seat Martinez won when Democrat Bob Graham retired.
"Nobody would mistake that for something Lincoln wrote on the back of an envelope while traveling to Gettysburg"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "It should have been an easy question. On Tuesday, reporters asked Gov. Crist whether he would support a bill requiring Florida to issue a license plate featuring the Confederate flag. The easy answer should have been: 'No.' Or, better: 'Hell, no.' Instead, Gov. Crist said, 'Let's see if it goes anywhere before I have to weigh in.' Nobody would mistake that for something Lincoln wrote on the back of an envelope while traveling to Gettysburg." "Opportunity nearly lost".
"The Florida Democratic Party is going ahead with plans Saturday to select delegates for the national convention, even though the state had no delegates at stake during the Jan. 29 presidential primary." "Florida goes ahead with delegate selection, despite sanctions". See also "Florida Democrats split over rerun of primary", "Florida Democrats select convention delegates today" and "Fla. Dems hope for party recognition".
Greedy bastard probably even has a pension
"A power outage that affected large parts of Florida this week was primarily the result of human error, the state's largest electric company said Friday. Florida Power & Light released a two-page preliminary report on the incident. It says that a field engineer was to blame for Tuesday's outage, which affected more than 584,000 customers or the equivalent of more than 1 million people." "FPL says Human error the cause of power outage across Florida".
Arrested while Black
"Tallahassee man spent 24 years in prison for crime he didn't commit".
"Rethink sites for commercial pads in refuge "
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "NASA and Florida officials have their work cut out for them before anyone builds a proposed $500 million private launch complex at Kennedy Space Center: more environmental impact hurdles, cost-benefit analysis, financing, regulatory hoops and a wall of opposition to scale if they persist in picking either of their two preferred sites that would sacrifice natural areas, wildlife and public access in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for marginal prospects of space commerce." "Space to launch".
Private school cash
The libruls on the St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "No scholarship that Florida offers to university students should be immune from budgetary pressures, but the swipe Gov. Charlie Crist would take at private college grants this fall is too abrupt and could leave some high school seniors out in the cold." "School of hard cuts".
"'The whole thing is lunacy'"
"One of Gov. Charlie Crist's education priorities when the legislative session opens Tuesday is something few educators support and many call a gimmick."
It is also one that died in Florida's Legislature two years ago."Educators unhappy with Crist solution".
Crist is proposing that 65 percent of school districts' operational funds be spent in the classroom, increasing to 70 percent by 2010 -- an effort he says will protect teachers and students from deep budget cuts facing schools this year. ...
But educators say the 65 percent solution has the potential to shortchange students by forcing the elimination of positions such as assistant principals, guidance counselors or librarians.
In some areas where discipline is a major challenge, reducing the number of administrators who help keep order could create major problems.
"The whole thing is lunacy," said Al Weidner, Sarasota County School District budget director, of Crist's plan.
Florida's booming economy
"State leaders this legislative session will grapple with the worst budget crunch that Florida has seen since the early 1990s. The reason is no secret: Florida, which depends heavily on tourism and real estate sales, is suffering the effects of the country's deteriorating economy." "Legislators Open Session".
The good 'ole days of right-wing fascist dictator Fulgencio Battista
Miriam Leiva, an independent journalist in Cuba writes: "The New York Philharmonic has performed in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. That's the North Korea that has been immersed in major conflicts and the home of the totalitarian dictatorship of Kim Il Sung and his heir, Kim Jong Il. A beautiful initiative!
The authorities in the south have maintained a patient policy to reduce tensions and promote unification. At the same time, the United States has made moves to dissuade North Korea from aggression by delivering humanitarian assistance and other forms of aid in exchange for a halt in the construction of nuclear power plants. ..."Why deal with North Korea and not Cuba?". An interesting opinion piece by a science ficion writer: "Ben Bova: What should America do while Castro fades away?"
All of which raises a question: Why can the United States come to an understanding with a bloody dictatorship that has lasted for 60 years, on a land where American citizens have died, yet it is not capable of assuming an intelligent position toward a small island 90 miles from its shores, to which its businessmen sell an appreciable quantity of food?
The policy of isolation and unilateral embargo maintained for 49 years against totalitarianism in Cuba has only encouraged the hardening of the regime and the repression of oppositionists, under the pretext of the danger posed by ``Yankee imperialism.''
The Legislature and all that
Steve Bousquet: "Sasso is the ninth Democrat to win a House seat formerly held by a Republican since November 2006. A Cocoa Beach city official and a Boy Scout leader with an A-rating from the NRA, Sasso ran as a conservative and is the latest example of a Democratic candidate who matches up well with the makeup of the district."
Democrats stole the issue of illegal immigration away from Republicans and used it against Republican Sean Campbell, who ran a day-labor staffing company."Time, term limits ease lawmakers from office".
Sasso will be the newest face in the House chamber when Speaker Marco Rubio pounds the gavel Tuesday morning to open the 2008 session.
Over the past 15 months, Democrats have put together an impressive winning streak, and in this race they beat the GOP on its turf. But it has to be put in perspective: the Republicans' high-water mark was 85 seats of 120, and that's a level of dominance that was not sustainable.
The margin is now 77 to 41 with two safe Democratic seats currently vacant.
"Florida should level the field for consumers battling business"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "In Florida, businesses don't have to make the binding-arbitration requirement plain to you when you're signing paperwork. It's up to you to find out. That's one more slam against the consumer's rights. Arbitration 'agreements' should be made clear up-front, and the process rendered more fair to consumers. The Florida Justice Association (the state's trial lawyers' association) is behind a bill to be submitted to the Legislature that would do just that -- by requiring arbitration agreements to be made explicit, with time for consumers to prepare; requiring arbitrators to disclose any kind of interests that may bias their decision; requiring that costs of arbitration not be shifted to consumers; and requiring that the process follow the rules of civil procedure (in record-keeping and the use of witnesses) more closely. None of those standards are unreasonable. Only their absence is." "Can't sue? Read the fine print".
Those icky poor people keep getting in the way
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "With the fourth-largest Medicaid population in the nation and growing expenses that threaten to consume 59 percent of the state's general revenue budget by the year 2015, Florida cannot afford cuts proposed by the Bush administration to the state-federal health program for poor people." "Block Medicaid dump by Congress onto states".
Martine de Wit "is a medical examiner, for manatees. If one of the endangered animals is reported dead anywhere in Florida's waters, it's brought to de Wit, who helps determine and duly record its cause of death. About 250 of their bodies arrive at her lab every year." "Florida has a medical examiner for endangered manatees".