The Palm Beach Post editorial Board rightfully derides Charlie's smoke and mirrors scam:
A "golden opportunity." "Historic legislation." "A giant step.""Legislators approved Gov. Crist's plan with House Speaker Marco Rubio's"
Praise abounds for Gov. Crist's political victory in getting his "Cover Florida" health insurance proposal through the Legislature. But the 3.8 million uninsured Floridians have little reason to celebrate if similar policies are any precedent."
"Florida Health Choices" plan, which will use $1.5 million in state money to create a corporation to negotiate rates, collect premiums and handle claims for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. "Today," Gov. Crist said, "we have made great progress in providing uninsured individuals and small businesses choices in how to access health care coverage."Forget Cadillac, "Actually, not even a Yugo".
So, uninsured residents will now have the power to choose - between unaffordable health care and insufficient health care. A golden opportunity, indeed.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board doesn't dig "Florida's two-state suggestion".
OJT for millionaire RPOFer hack cancelled
"The chief of staff in training for de facto Senate President Jeff Atwater is officially off the payroll, Atwater said Wednesday. Millionaire 'Budd' Kneip of Palm Beach Gardens earned a $7,000-a-month salary from the state for one month and two days to learn the ins and outs of the legislature, which was dealing with a $5 billion budget deficit." "Atwater aide removed from payroll".
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "During the legislative session, the Florida Land Council did what the group does best: Kill any proposal to manage growth. That shortsighted action, however, likely will bring on an alternative that the council and every developer in Florida dislikes even more: the Florida Hometown Democracy constitutional amendment that would require voter approval for every change to local growth plans." "This year's big winner: Hometown Democracy".
Cat's outa the bag
"A Michigan Supreme Court ruling -- that the state's law banning gay marriage also prohibits same-sex benefits offered to government employees -- is energizing opponents of a similar amendment on Florida's November ballot."
Though the wording of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban is not identical to the proposed Amendment 2 facing Florida voters in November, opponents say it will pave the way for the same ban on domestic-partnership benefits."Michigan ruling stirs same-sex advocates in Florida".
Don't worry, be happy
Mike Thomas reminds us that Chain Gang Charlie
scored a political coup with his plan for a gas-tax holiday. It landed him on the front page of The New York Times, where the governor said his job is to "respond to the people and try to make them happy.""This won't make you happy: Gas is still too cheap".
Heaven help us
"More than 1,000 people, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and other elected officials, gathered at the Gibbs High School football stadium to celebrate the National Day of Prayer and to ask God to help them eradicate crime, homelessness, poverty and unemployment." "Praying is fine, but it takes action to solve problems".
Here's a plan
"Here's a way for Barack Obama to nudge Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race: Step up and join her call to count the votes of 1.75-million Florida Democrats."
No, the all but inevitable Democratic nominee is not obligated to recognize Florida's disputed Jan. 29 primary. Nor does he need to buy into Clinton's suspect argument that Florida deserves 100 percent of its delegates at the national convention.After all, "Tuesday's huge win in North Carolina and narrow loss in Indiana, there's no longer any real risk for Obama in letting Clinton pick up a decent number of delegates in the state she won by 17 percentage points." "Accepting Fla. vote could boost Obama".
But if Obama wants to eliminate one of Clinton's last rationales for staying in the race, and if he wants to curb the considerable skepticism about his interest and ability to compete in America's biggest battleground state, he should start mending Sunshine State fences and speak out about counting Florida's votes.
"That could potentially open the floodgates for superdelegates to come on board if he was that gracious and that comfortable in his inevitability to win the nomination,'' said Bob Buckhorn, a Democratic consultant in Tampa who backs Clinton. "It would go a long way to ease the anger that remains over Florida's votes not counting."
"Oliver North attracts hundreds to 'American Heroes' book-signing in The Villages".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "For nearly a decade, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test has been treated as though it alone could determine whether each student is progressing or failing, whether teachers should get bonuses or be fired, whether schools should be rewarded or shut down. That obsession won't end with the new high school grading plan lawmakers passed last week, but it begins the conversation." "Wise shrinking of FCAT's role".
"Almost one-third of the money designated for programs to help educate condo owners and pay for enforcement of condo laws will be diverted for unrelated state expenses as a result of the current budget crunch." "Florida takes $10 million from condo trust fund".
"God went only 1-for-2"
Troxler: "God went only 1-for-2 in the Florida Legislature this year. He did get a new state license tag bearing the slogan, 'In God We Trust.' But the Legislature did not approve a more Christian-themed tag featuring a cross, stained glass and the slogan, "I Believe."" "Make specialty auto tags harder to get and keep".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida can lead the way in finding alternatives to corn in ethanol".
"Florida Hometown Democracy"
"The state's revised statement on how much a proposed growth-management amendment would cost taxpayers is still vague and misleading, a lawyer for the plan's supporters told the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday."
BTW, did you know that "State law requires financial statements only for citizen initiatives, not amendments placed on the ballot by the Legislature or the state's tax and constitutional-revision commissions." "Lawyer: Growth proposal's cost still vague".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Crist came out a winner with a number of key victories this legislative session. But it's the sweeping energy bill passed unanimously by both chambers last month that may help form his most lasting legacy." Don't get us wrong, but all the legislation does is
offer perks to utilities, local governments and consumers to use renewable energy; require all gas to consist of at least 10 percent ethanol by 2010; urge certain state employees to work from home; mandate that state buildings meet tough green energy standards and require building codes for new construction and appliances to address energy efficiency."Florida can get energized about this new climate-control legislation".
"Wannabes aren't terrorists"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Yet after spending millions on the two mistrials, federal prosecutors plan a third trial beginning Jan. 6. This is fiscally irresponsible and, worse, erodes confidence in the administration's war on terror. Agron summed it up best: 'It seems to me like they are looking to perhaps save face for a case they made a big deal out of at the time of the arrests and has not gone their way.' The Justice Department should drop the case. Wannabes aren't terrorists, and spending millions more won't make them so." "Give Up On 'Liberty City Seven' Case".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board writes that "the reality is that years of neglect are now coming home to roost in this current financial disaster, as a recent report by the LeRoy Collins Institute noted."
"To characterize Florida's recent treatment of its higher education system, we borrow from the harsh old grading scale at Princeton. Six was a garden-variety F, but there was an even worse mark: a 7, for 'flagrant neglect,'" said the report."Wing it and wither".
Daniel Ruth: "A respected scholar in the field of human evolution, on a day marking the birthday of the creator of the science of evolution, giving a speech in a setting inextricably linked to the study of biology, which indeed would reflect upon Darwinism, was considered too controversial?" "Evolution? Darwin Day? Big Problem".
Florida's booming economy
"10 suspects questioned in migrant smuggling at Miami-Dade, Monroe border".
"Flanked by a group of Republican senators, Hispanic business leaders Wednesday announced a grass-roots effort to convince the House to pass the Colombia free trade agreement." "Hispanic leaders call for free trade with Colombia".
"Business leaders" and "Republican senators"? Doesn't sound very "grass-roots" to us.
"Not an option"
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board tells Hill that "Florida is not an option".
One man's "pork" ...
"With $6 billion less to spend this year, lawmakers were reluctant to push the 'pork' for their districts, at least overtly, in the pared-down $66.2 billion budget, and Crist's red pen likely will be left with a lot more ink if he can even find the questionable spending in the 408-page document." "Lean budget prods lawmakers to trim pork ahead of Crist".