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 Monday, May 12, 2008

The last (delegate) dance?

    Adam C. Smith: "In a sign that the impasse over giving Florida a voice in the Democratic nomination finally may be breaking, both Democratic presidential campaigns are starting to broach compromise plans publicly."
    Democratic National Committee member Allan Katz of Tallahassee said the Barack Obama campaign authorized him to suggest to the Florida Democratic Party on Friday that it propose a compromise plan that would let Hillary Rodham Clinton net about 10 delegates out of Florida. He got nowhere with the state party, but on Sunday the Clinton campaign for the first time signaled publicly that it might accept something other than Florida's getting all of its delegates seated at the convention.
    "Signs point to a delegate deal".

    Smith has more: "Maybe it's time to cool the speculation about Barack Obama writing off Florida's 27 electoral votes."
    The day after the Illinois senator is expected to win a majority of the delegates for the nomination, he is planning to make up for lost time by kicking off a three-day Florida campaign swing in the Tampa Bay area on May 21. He also recently sent a campaign worker to Miami to work on voter registration, and more are expected soon.

    "It just confirms what everyone on the Obama campaign has been saying — not only will we compete in Florida but we'll compete in every part of Florida," said Miami lawyer Kirk Wagar, Obama's Florida finance chairman.
    "Obama's Florida push to kick off in Tampa Bay area". See also "Obama Coming To Tampa".

    And the sum total of Jebbie's State finance "plan" was to ... ahem ... eliminate the intangibles tax?

    "Forced to cut state spending by more than $4 billion, legislators called this the worst budget year ever. But as they assemble for the new term next fall, they may look back on their just-concluded 2008 session as the good old days." "Florida's budget woes could worsen next year".

    When will we ever learn?

    "The solution should have been a no-brainer, voting specialists say. After all, it was a badly designed ballot that inflamed the 2000 election meltdown and introduced the vagaries of chads to the political lexicon — pregnant, hanging and otherwise."

    So it would seem that redesigning ballots to make them simpler should have been a high priority. But that hasn't been the case, analysts say.

    Eight years after the fiasco in Palm Beach County, confusing ballots continue to stymie voters and plague elections in this primary season.
    "8 years after chads and dimples, confusing ballots still stymie voters".

    FCAT Follies

    Precisely what does The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board by this editorial today?: "Over time, however, results like these, plus de-emphasizing the test as an end-all, will get schools more comfortable with the FCAT, and more confident about their preparations for it." "FCAT proves its worth even though fixes still needed".

    After all, as The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board pointed out years ago, the test, which was "always intended as a diagnostic and accountability tool, the FCAT came to life when Lawton Chiles was governor".

    And stop it with the self-serving gesticulation over improving test scores. "Florida rated a C-plus for difficulty on reading and math tests used to meet requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act last year, a study released Monday showed." "Study gives Fla. C-plus on No Child Left Behind standards".

    Why not just do the poll tax thing?

    "The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote."

    Voting experts say the Missouri amendment represents the next logical step for those who have supported stronger voter ID requirements and the next battleground in how elections are conducted. Similar measures requiring proof of citizenship are being considered in at least 19 state legislatures. Bills in Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina have strong support. But only in Missouri does the requirement have a chance of taking effect before the presidential election.
    "Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship".

    What's a dead union organizer or environmentalist anyway?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board complains that

    Opponents of the deal who cite violence against labor-union members in Colombia are ignoring the government's steady progress in protecting members and bringing perpetrators to justice.
    "The Colombia trade deal would boost U.S. economic, foreign-policy interests", as well as the Tribune Company's anti-union interests.

    And then there are those pesky environmental types, as The Miami Herald editorial board writes: "The decision by a jury in Brazil last week to acquit an Amazon rancher who was found guilty in an earlier trial of ordering the murder of American nun Dorothy Stang represents a stunning reversal of justice. The 2005 murder of Sister Dorothy, an environmental activist, has been seen as a test of Brazil's judicial system and its willingness to confront the culture of impunity that surrounds powerful landholders in rural areas. Brazil's public is outraged. It should be." "Surprising acquittal in death of a nun". Perhaps a "free trade" deal will soothe the pain?

    "A black eye to the office"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board writes that Buddy "Johnson was unqualified for the appointment Gov. Jeb Bush gave him in 2003 ... His record since then has given a black eye to the office, the county, the former governor and the Republican Party. Whether losing votes, switching polling sites without adequate notice, not paying his taxes on time or leasing cattle in what looks like a dodge to avoid property taxes, Johnson has been a one-man band of bad press. His decision to pay hush money to a former aide represents a way of thinking that is out of synch with public service, openness and accountability."

    . If Republicans stick with him, they will make it easy for his Democratic challenger to make the race a stark contrast between opposite ideals of public service.
    "A poor public servant".

    "When Johnson finally sat for his deposition, he said he didn't know the answers to dozens of questions about procedures in his office. He was unable to describe details of the voter registration process and unwilling to respond to routine questions, including the degrees he held and where he lived." "Voter rules test Johnson".

    Stop the madness

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "In the waning days of the legislative session, lawmakers passed a pilot project allowing private-school students to play sports on public-school teams. Gov. Charlie Crist, a supporter of school choice and youth athletics, should sign the bill." "Private-School Students Deserve Chance On Public-School Fields".

    Bad business

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "The state of Florida has no business favoring one charitable organization over another. Yet it does so by soliciting donations to certain private groups on state application forms for drivers' licenses and motor vehicle tags." "End state's charity checkoff".

    Oh, well

    "State budget woes gobble up Orlando-area 'turkeys'". The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Crist Should Gobble This Turkey In Pasco".

    Empty gesture from empty suits

    "The Wrongful Incarceration Act, which Crist has said he will sign,"

    may be loaded with just as many complexities as the legislative process it is to replace.

    The cases of seven men released from Florida prisons after DNA evidence cleared them of their crimes show how the legislation may not simplify things. Five of the men aren't eligible for the automatic provisions because they have prior felonies, contrary to the "clean-hands" requirement of the bill.

    Even the cases of the two who are eligible provide a glimpse of just how difficult things could be.
    "Wrongful Incarceration Act may not solve problems it was intended to".

    You gotta problem wit dat?

    "Leader of GOP convention quits after Myanmar ties reported".

    Why not just pave 'em over?

    "Some of Florida's springs have become choked with weeds and algae. Nitrogen from septic tanks, sewage treatment plants, fertilizer and livestock operations are feeding the plant growth, scientists say." Nevertheless, "Once again, Florida springs protection fails in session".

    This is off-topic, but ... well, you get the idea: "McCain urges free-market principles to reduce global warming".

    "Extravagant Hillsborough County"?

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Pinellas County gives just nine employees a county car to drive. In Pasco County, just 10 supervisors drive county cars home, a number that will be cut later this year. But extravagant Hillsborough County gives 26 people county cars to drive, guzzling gas and tax dollars at once." "Put Brakes On County's Take-Home Cars".

    "Dumbing down", yet again

    "Thinking they can stop divorcing parents from fighting in court, state officials want to rewrite the laws to replace loaded terms like "custody" with "parenting plan.""

    To do that, though, they'll strip out guidelines for psychologists that are designed to protect the children.

    "It dumbs down the criteria," Coral Gables psychologist Jerome Poliacoff said of the proposal to replace American Psychological Association's guidelines with "standards that a reasonable psychologist would use."

    "Who gets to be the reasonable psychologist?" Poliacoff said. "I think it leaves a lot of room for poor work."

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, passed both the House and Senate last week and is waiting for Gov. Charlie Crist's signature.
    "Bill may remove 'loaded' words".

    Beware the "yam-colored man"

    We missed this gem from Frank Cerabino the other day: "Republicans will be counting on getting all the white votes they can, especially in key states such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. By the end of October, the voters in those states will already be donning their sweat suits for the long, gray winter, and the appearance of a smiling, yam-colored man on their doorsteps might just irritate them. So I wouldn't be surprised if Crist stays out of the sun for the next few months." "Crispy-looking Crist drawing heat from conservatives".

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