Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Thursday, May 15, 2008

South Florida prices "soaring at the fastest pace in the nation"

    In South Florida, "Consumer prices — for gas, food and other products — are soaring at the fastest pace in the nation, according to figures released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But wages here haven't kept pace with inflation. That combination is putting pressure on local consumers. The Miami- Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area topped all other cities, with a 4.9 percent annual inflation rate through April." "Ouch! South Florida's inflation rate outpacing nation".

    If it weren't the dry season ...

    Daniel Ruth has a little fun at the expense of Florida's latest eruption of "values" from Florida's knuckle-draggers: "There are plenty of reasons it's hard to find dedicated teachers - low pay, even lower societal appreciation, the focus on teaching the little dickens to simply take tests, rather than run the risk of actually learning something."

    And then there is probably this, too. The fear a well-meaning teacher will be accused of practicing wizardry by pinched school bureaucrats armed to their tightly wound hair buns with their clipboards and lanyards and policy manuals.

    How proud the Pasco County School District must feel to know their Col. Klink ineptitude in handling what should have been a bigger nonissue than "Do we give LeBron James the ball with 10 seconds left in the game?" has made these "educators" a laughingstock from Australia to Moscow to even Iraq!

    On Jan. 16, substitute teacher Jim Piculas found himself with a few spare moments before the end of his intensive reading class at Rushe Middle School.

    To pass the time, Piculas thought it would be fun to amuse the sixth- and seventh-graders with a silly sleight-of-hand trick in which he makes a toothpick appear to vanish in his hand.

    Poof! Job Vanishes
    "A few days later Piculas was informed that the school district would no longer require his services. The now defrocked teacher said he was accused of performing 'wizardry' in class." But look at the bright side:
    It's probably more than reasonable to assume once you've been accused of "wizardry" by an elementary school tattletale, your future in the classroom is more doomed than a Salem witchcraft defendant.

    And that's probably the good news here.

    At least Jim Piculas wasn't burned at the stake.
    Then again, if it weren't the dry season, burning at the stake might very well have been on the agenda.

    Read the whole thing: "Here's The Trick To Becoming A Laughingstock".

    Obama makes a move

    William March: "CANF has long been known as a hard-line anti-Castro organization, strongly aligned with Republicans—the Bush family in particular. But there are indications that it has moderated its views recently, and may be sympathetic to Obama’s stances on how to deal with the island dictatorship. According to Frank Sanchez of Tampa, Obama’s adviser on Latin American affairs, CANF has agreed to alter the date of its annual celebration of Cuban Independence Day, May 20, to hold its celebration luncheon on May 23, during Obama’s May 21-23 tour of Florida. Obama will speak at the lunch. " "Sanchez: Obama Will Make Pitch To Cubans". See also "New emphasis placed on Cuba".

    The FEA steps up

    "The state's powerful teachers union is weighing a multipronged attack on amendments 7 and 9, which would clear the way to restart ex-Gov. Jeb Bush's school vouchers. Florida Education Association attorney Ron Meyer said the group may oppose all the amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot, including Amendment 5, which would eliminate $9.5 billion in property taxes for schools and replace it with other taxes." "Teachers union poised to fight amendments".

    Never mind

    "Budget cuts at FSU have not only put tighter caps on enrollment and have administrators scrambling to avoid layoffs, but the Mag Lab will shut down for perhaps two months to save electricity." "FSU, Mag Lab caught in state budget vise".

    No prob ... they're plenty of jobs at Disney

    "The University of Florida's governing body unanimously approved $47 million in budget cuts Wednesday that will result in reducing enrollment and laying off some faculty." "UF trustees approve cuts of $47 million".

    Big business gives permission

    "Publix, The St. Joe Co. and PetroAlgae of Melbourne are among the companies that could help Florida benefit from federal climate-change regulations, environmental groups said Wednesday." "Businesses team up with state to help limit carbon emission".

    Time to cut their benefits

    "Firefighters made major gains against a wildfire that has charred thousands of acres along Florida's Atlantic coast". "Firefighters make major gains against Central Florida wildfire" See also "Firefighters keep on battling blazes".

    Put a fork in him

    "Rubio's critics say the West Miami Republican is taking a little too much credit." "Rubio talks about 57 points of pride".

    More from the "values" crowd

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "On per-child spending and quality, the National Institute for Early Education Research in March ranked Florida 34th of 38 states that finance preschool. States spent an average of $3,642 per child in 2006-07. In the 2008-09 school year, Florida will spend $2,628. And Florida meets just four of the eight quality standards the group measures, lacking in training and credentials for pre-K teachers. Legislation that would have required at least one pre-K instructor in a classroom to have an associate's or higher degree in early childhood education or child development by 2010-11 - and a bachelor's or higher by 2013-14 - did not pass this year." "A new early warning".

    Mercury poisoning

    "The Florida Department of Health and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said pig frogs taken from Wildlife Management Areas 2 and 3 showed elevated levels of mercury, a contaminant that can cause neurological problems, particularly among young children." "Look before you leap: State issues mercury alert for legs from Everglades pig frogs".

    Take the test

    Jac Wilder VerSteeg:

    True or False: In particular, Floridians need to learn about the constitutional issues and vote to protect public education.

    Answer: Too true.
    The complete test is here: "Go to school on education".

    Nap time

    "Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain will visit South Florida next week to discuss Cuba and Latin American trade issues and to raise money for his campaign." "McCain to visit Miami, Fort Lauderdale next week".

    Global warming may "submerge swaths of some of the most populated areas along the southeast coast"

    "The South Florida Water Management District's long-term plans once anticipated the sea level rising about 1 foot by 2100, but more recent projections say the rise could be five times as much. That could move the southern tip of Florida's mainland to the Tamiami Trail and submerge swaths of some of the most populated areas along the southeast coast." "Study: Will rising ocean submerge part of South Florida?".

    Allstate banned

    "Allstate Insurance Co. and nine of its affiliates were temporarily banned by the state insurance commissioner from selling new insurance policies in Florida."

    The suspension followed a ruling issued Wednesday by the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee denying Allstate's request for another hearing in its court case with the state over property insurance prices.

    The action doesn't affect existing policyholders from renewing policies with Allstate, the state's third-largest automobile insurer and No. 4 property insurer. It stands to squeeze the company's lucrative auto insurance business, which collects about $1.9 billion in premiums a year statewide. Allstate hasn't sold new homeowner coverage in Florida since 2004.
    "State bans Allstate, nine affiliates from selling new policies".

    "Fat chance!"

    Even a Maitland housewife can see it "It doesn't matter that Florida has a huge glut of abandoned homes thrown up in the hinterlands, dragging down the economy. Our political leaders want more." "So you want to halt sprawl? Fat chance!"

    Corporate welfare

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "This week Brazilian airplane maker Embraer announced plans to build a $51 million assembly plant at Melbourne International Airport. Gov. Charlie Crist had made a personal pitch to the company's executives during a trade mission to Brazil in November. Florida beat out four other states for the plant, promising almost $9 million in state and local tax breaks and grants. Embraer has agreed in return to create 200 jobs paying an average of $50,000 a year at the plant by 2011." "Our position: New Brevard airplane assembly plant shows value of foreign investment".


    "Four Democratic candidates seeking legislative districts in Palm Beach County held by high-powered Republicans on Tuesday held a news conference where they blasted the Republican-run Legislature for failing to fix homeowners insurance woes and not eliminating special-interest tax breaks. They say the Republican lawmakers dwelled instead on frivolous matters, and led what Miller described as 'draconian education cuts.'" "Four Democrats aim to unseat Republican state legislators".

    Yesterday's news

    - "NAACP: Feds dragging heels on Anderson probe".

    - "Florida's top Democrat: We're 'alive and well'"

    - "U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler tells Jewish voters that Obama will stand strong with Israel".

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