Adam C. Smith, the St. Pete Times Political Editor: "Nobody doubts Obama's ability to win Democratic states like California or New York, after losing those primaries."
The fact remains, though, that Clinton at this point looks stronger in the states that make the biggest difference in who wins and loses the White House: Ohio, whose primary she won by 10 points; Pennsylvania, where the average of recent polls shows her leading by about 6 points; and Florida, whose officially meaningless primary she won by 17 percentage points."Obama's key losses pose questions".
Florida is a trickier question, as neither candidate campaigned in the state. But show me a candidate struggling to win over Hispanic voters and Jewish voters, as Obama has, and I see someone with dubious prospects in the Sunshine State.
"Florida House Republicans held three Democratic bills hostage Monday, hoping to guarantee a smooth return to business today, the first time lawmakers will return to the chamber since a political standoff Friday forced them to work into the Passover weekend."
Republicans originally pulled the three [unremarkable] Democratic bills Friday as retaliation for a slowdown imposed by the minority party."GOP holds bills hostage". See "House leaders pledge to get beyond last week's quarrel".
On Monday morning, Democratic Leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach shared a plane ride to Tallahassee with House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, and said the two had a productive talk.
"It is my hope we can put the rawness and bitterness of the weekend in the rear-view mirror," Gelber said. "But that said, we'll have to see how events unfold."
At a House committee meeting Monday to set the chamber's agenda for today, Republicans held on to three noncontroversial Democratic bills to make sure the minority party held to its word.
"Democrats in Florida and across the country will be watching the Pennsylvania primary results tonight to see whether Hillary Clinton gains a clear victory and remains a viable candidate in the presidential race." "Florida Democrats focused on crucial Pennsylvania primary".
"As many as 5,000 illegal immigrants locked up in Florida prisons could get out early and be deported under a measure a Senate committee approved Monday." "Panel considers early release for jailed illegal immigrants".
tax fee increases
"Despite the lack of money, legislators refuse to raise taxes. But raising fees is another story.It will soon cost more than ever for drivers to pay traffic violations, for suspended drivers to get their licenses back and for landlords to evict tenants in Florida." "Cost of being bad driver, going to court to rise". See also "" and "".
"Fed up with the brushoff"
"A Florida Democratic National Committee member trying to give Florida a voice in the Democratic presidential nomination is fed up with the brushoff he says he's getting from the party." "Democratic Party stalling on Florida, DNC member says".
"A fluffier version of an attempt to fine red-light runners caught on camera is floating around in the state House and the Senate." "Measure for red-light cameras shouldn't be compromised".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida's Senate gets the chance today to support mass transit when its transportation committee takes up the insurance portion of the deal that would bring commuter rail to Central Florida." This is an important clarification, glossed over by opponents:
CSX would pay for damages that its freight cars caused. The state would pay for damages caused by passenger trains. If freight and commuter cars crashed, causing injuries on the street, both parties would pay."Giving CSX limited liability for commuter rail is totally justified".
Outrageous? It's the same deal that South Florida's Tri Rail gets. And other states' commuter-rail systems typically offer rail companies more generous liability terms.
Rubio's deep thinking
"A special panel of economic advisors calculated Monday that a plan backed by House Speaker Marco Rubio for limiting property taxes would cost cities, counties and other taxing districts about $6.3 billion." "Rubio plan cuts property taxes for Florida cities, counties by $6.3 billion".
Lazy, greedy public employees
"Mail Carrier Saves Baby Falling From Window".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Florida legislators have found some solid ground on which to build grandstanding bills this session."
House Bill 257, adopted and under consideration now by the full Senate as SB 2400, require women in first-trimester pregnancies who are seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of their pregnancies or to sign a waiver declining to view the procedure and have it explained. (Women with second- and third-trimester pregnancies seeking an abortion are already required by Florida law to undergo an ultrasound.)"Ultrasound bill is blow to women".
Republican lawmakers are touting the bill's requirements with wide-eyed innocence, saying it will provide women with the best medical care. Supporters included Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, who appeared rather disingenuous saying "I can't imagine any man having a surgical procedure without having all the tests," when she was criticized for standing against women's rights with her vote.
The 70-45 vote in the House provided sound-bite goodness for Mr. Traviesa, but it's a double blow for women's rights — for women, period — in Florida. The Senate should let this one fade with next week's sine die.
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Chances are there's not a single legislator in Tallahassee who didn't campaign on a promise to improve public education in Florida. Yet these same lawmakers are preparing to slash support for a national-certification program widely credited with encouraging and rewarding the state's best teachers." "Florida Will Lose Quality Teachers If It Slashes Certification Program".
Just say no
The Miami Herald editorial board: "The future of Florida's higher-education system hangs in the balance in the wanning days of the 2008 legislative session. The Senate has passed a bill that could radically restructure the university system and lead to more turmoil instead of more learning. Speaker Marco Rubio should say No to the House version of the bill and avoid a harmful reshuffling of the system." "Universities need stability to improve".
"Secret group of citizens"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Like a majority of lawmakers, Gov. Charlie Crist places gun rights above all others. By signing a bill that allows people to keep guns in their cars at work, he ignored the private property rights of business owners, who must pay the price for any gun-related incidents on their land. The guns-at-work law also allows a secret group of citizens [("in a previous bow to the NRA, the Florida Legislature made secret the names of people who obtain concealed-weapons permits.")] to buy constitutional protection by obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon." "Gun Rights Trample All Others".
Back at the ranch, "Business groups sue to block new Florida guns-at-work law".
Try honoring them with decent wages instead of mere "artwork"
"When Florida legislators arrive for next year's session, they will find a moving new artwork in the Capitol courtyard, honoring police officers slain in the line of duty." "Statue will honor fallen officers in Florida Capitol courtyard".
"Allstate's 1,100 insurance agents in Florida are still in business, thanks to a mistake Monday by a Florida appeals court. Less than an hour after issuing an order denying Allstate's appeal of a state-ordered suspension, the 1st District Court of Appeal withdrew it. In a terse statement withdrawing the original order, the court said 'it was issued due to clerical error.' No further explanation was given." "Court mistake keeps Allstate in business". See also "Court rejects (maybe) appeal of Allstate suspension".
"Today is Earth Day, a great opportunity to stop and think about the importance of protecting the environment. But let's face it: Given the environmental challenges the world faces, there ought to be an Earth Year or Earth Decade. OK, relax. No one's trying to turn you into one of Al Gore's true believers." "All the world's environmental challenges deserve attention every day".
"OK, relax. No one's trying to turn you into one of Al Gore's true believers" To which one might say, why not?
After all, the Sentinel editors seem to spend half their time "trying to turn readers into one of Jeb Bush's, Milton Friedman's and/or Ayn Rand's true believers". The list could go on.
Which leads one to ask, how many Florida traditional media editors think Dagny Taggart was cool?
Fun with RPOFers ...
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Here's conclusive proof that the Legislature should be barred from micromanaging education in Florida: Lawmakers have now declared that books are not school supplies."
According to the usual GOP logic, restricting and eliminating sales-tax holidays this year in Florida also should count as raising taxes. Last year, the back-to-school tax holiday was 10 days. This year, it will last only a week. So, Republicans are raising taxes. "Not on the same tax page" More: "Sales tax holiday for back-to-school shoppers set for Aug. 2-8" ("Florida's weeklong back-to-school sales tax holiday will be Aug. 2-8 under a legislative compromise nearing final approval.")
At least there will be a back-to-school break. To save $12 million, the Legislature has killed plans for a tax holiday on hurricane supplies. Why isn't that a tax increase? ...
So, Republicans might say that they won't ever raise taxes, but in terms of tax increases, this year's tax-holiday retreat could be one for the books.
Another fine GOPer ideer
Tom Blackburn: "McCain's feel-good suggestion [which good time Charlie has echoed] of suspending the federal gasoline tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day might be helpful if we hadn't been bipartisanly stupid about gas taxes for so long. As things stand, it would be counterproductive and insubstantial." "Big Oil would suck up a gas-tax cut".
Those reliable "affluent sections of Palm Beach County"
"Affluent sections of Palm Beach County -- area codes beginning with 334 -- have given $5.6 million. South Florida zip-code areas beginning with 333 and 330 have each given nearly $2 million." "Florida raises cash for McCain".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board writes that "privatization [of toll roads] sounds good, but the long-term price could prove excessive." "Transportation"
Excuse me? When does the privatization of government assets ever "sound good"?
Stewards of the earth
"Florida's beaches lost a substantial amount of loggerhead sea turtle nests in 2007, giving the state its lowest nest count in 17 years, wildlife officials reported." On top of that, "Loggerhead sea turtle deaths in Florida have more than doubled during the past decade, statistics show." "Loggerhead turtle nests in Florida at lowest level in 17 years".
"A shadow banking industry"
"Check-cashing stores provide valuable services to largely low-income consumers and recent immigrants who can have trouble opening a traditional bank account. Increasingly, though, drug traffickers, dirty contractors and Medicare con artists have found they also offer a valuable off-the-menu convenience -- money laundering."
A statewide grand jury report released last month found weak laws and lax oversight of check-cashing stores has led to a shadow banking industry used to conceal the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit gains."Florida bill targets check-cashing firms".
The Legislature has responded with a sweeping bill clamping down on so-called money-services businesses, or MSBs, which include check cashers and also currency-exchange firms, money-transfer companies -- like Western Union -- and pay-day lenders.
I want more of the McSame of this
"South Florida gas climbing toward $4 a gallon".
Your Legislature at work
"Lawmakers are again targeting motorists who are not going fast enough in the fast lane." "Bill that would fine fast-lane slowpokes bumps way to Senate".
Lifting up those "large corporate landowners and developers"
"House Republicans want to make it easier for property owners to challenge their assessments, reviving an idea they considered and dropped a year ago."
Here's the reality: appraisers claim "the change would primarily benefit large corporate landowners and developers, who today file the bulk of the challenges that go to court." "Assessment challengers may win more".
"Tallahassee primates continue their assault on evolution"
"As if to provide comic relief between budgetary sessions of brutalizing poor kids and the elderly, our Tallahassee primates continue their assault on evolution."
What makes this latest return to the 19th century interesting is that the Senate and House have swapped their traditional roles."Senate, House well on way to inherit the wind".
Usually it is the House that goes on crusades to create a Theocratic State of Florida, while the more moderate Senate tends to drag its heels and whine about the Constitution.
But on the issue of evolution, it is the Senate going out on a limb, or at least refusing to concede that our ancestors once did.
Let's be clear, Mike, this isn't a "Tallahassee" thing or a "Senate" thing, it is a RPOFer thing. You (an admitted "Jeb!" guy) helped create this monster, so live with it.
Thomas observes that "this hardly meshes with House Speaker Marco Rubio's plan to make Florida a world-class education center in math and science", as if such a thing ever existed. I don't recall reading that "plan" - does the "plan" have something to do with vouchers and/or gutting the class size amendment?
Thomas nevertheless quotes Rubio as follows:
"The jobs and careers that our children are going to aspire to fill haven't even been invented yet," he says. "Their competition is not Mississippi or Alabama; it's China and India and emerging markets."It might have behooved the columnist to make clear that, notwithstanding Republican Rubio's empty words, that teaching creationism is - lock, stock and barrel (save Gary Siplin) - a Republican initiative
Why, then, are legislators considering laws that would teach science at a Mississippi and Alabama level?
Because in China, India and every advanced country looking to pass us by, they teach evolution.
On the "cutting room floor"
"A successful incentive program offering cash rebates to film and entertainment companies that bring their production business to Florida is likely to hit the cutting room floor this year as lawmakers, facing revenue shortfalls, take an ax to the state budget." "State budget crunch hits incentives for filmmakers".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "This idea that state Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, wants to ban dangling truck ornaments that are replicas of male genitalia — he can't be serious. ... Sure, the ornaments are tasteless and sophomoric, but it's just as humorless to have somebody in our own Legislature who thinks dangling truck ornaments are something lawmakers should be wasting precious time with." "Nuts to this idea".
Big of 'em
"Marissa Amora, a former Lake Worth girl who suffered brain damage because of a neglectful state agency, would receive $18.2 million from the state during the next 11 years under a bill approved Monday by a powerful state budget panel." "Panel OKs $18.2 million for abused girl".
"Poker-playing in Florida card rooms would be allowed around the clock on the weekend and 18 hours a day during the week under a measure that has made its way through the state Senate but is at a standstill in the House." "Senate OKs longer poker hours".