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 Tuesday, June 03, 2008


    So sorry we missed this piece of garbage on Sunday from alleged Miami Herald journalist, one Fred Grimm. In a break between cleaning the boss man's pool and inserting his nose into the derrière of his immediate supervisor, Mr. Grimm managed to pen this gem for his master:
    Commissioner [Beam] Furr [apparently his real name] crossed the fire and police unions. Foolish fellow. And now he's gotta pay.

    The unions filed a couple of petty complaints, one with the state ethics commission, another with the state attorney's office. They claimed Furr, a Flanagan High School media specialist, misused a couple of sick days in January when he took time off work to campaign for his commission seat.
    Grimm follows this up with a particularly tight piece of prose:
    Unions aren't usually sticklers about malingering but Furr had them riled.
    "Hell hath no fury like a union scorned". What a creative turn of a phrase, Mr. Grimm: Unions are into malingering. The boys at the club must have laughed with you over that one.

    And your masters will certainly give you an extra point when you cower before them for your merit pay review.

    Who is this Grimm person anyway? The Miami Herald deigns to disclose only this much about his background:
    Grimm joined the Herald in 1976 as a general assignment reporter after working for newspapers in Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. After a decade as The Herald’s southern correspondent he became a columnist in 1991.
    Perhaps someone can enlighten this poor blogger as to where and when, this fellow from "Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia" and who knows where else, developed his wisdom about what unions are "about".

    Aside from the abject stupidity of Mr. Grimm's show dog anti-union observations, it is simply absurd to claim that taking sick leave under false pretenses is something "petty". Workers - including public employees in unions - are not permitted to call in sick and, say ... go out politicking. If a firefighter did that he'd be ... you know: fired in two seconds.

    I look forward to Mr. Grimm's published protestations about such injustices to in the future.

    Heck, even when public employee union members follow the rules, and use contractually negotiated union leave (leave negotiated for the very purpose of permitting political activity) to engage in politicking, as opposed to abusing sick leave to do so, union members get dragged before grand juries. AP reported a few years ago:
    Members of the Orlando firefighters union should not have been paid by the city for their time spent working on Mayor Buddy Dyer's campaign, a grand jury concluded. But the jury, impaneled during an investigation into the March election that kept Dyer in office, issued no indictments.

    "While the grand jury finds that the evidence is insufficient to charge criminal violations, it does find that the practice of using public funds to compensate firefighters while engaging in union activities to be a violation of the public trust and poor stewardship of public moneys," the grand jury foreman said after Tuesday's closed hearing.

    The union is one of the most active labor groups in central Florida. Under their contract, there is money set aside to pay members for time spent on union business. The city lets the union decide what constitutes union business, and as far as union leaders are concerned, political campaigning is covered.

    "It is the feeling of the grand jury that this is a practice that gives an unfair advantage to incumbents or to other candidates the firefighters support," State Attorney Lawson Lamar said. "It is the feeling of the grand jury that it should not happen again." Union president Steve Clelland said the organization is reviewing its policy and expects to stop the practice, but "we will not stay out of politics."
    So don't tell me, Mr. Grimm, that this is petty. Or is it petty for everyone but union employees?

    Mr. Grimm, you may now return to caressing your employer's derrière.

    Of course this is just part and parcel of the corporate media's crusade against crazy excesses like defined benefit retirement plans. Grimm eventually gets around to his point - the point his master so loves him to make - that it is a bad thing that some employees, particularly public employees, have those crazy defined benefit retirement plans (instead of wonderful things like defined contribution plans). It is a "bad thing" of course, because, if the great unwashed learns about the inherent fairness and equity of defined benefit plans (heck, retirement plans of any kind), then they will start clamoring for the same thing. Imagine that.

    We've gone after the corporate media many times on this before, and anyone interested is urged to take a look at the following posts:

    - "The swells on the Orlando Sentinel editorial board think Florida governments' financial problems can largely be traced to the 'fatter paychecks of government workers'." See "Orlando Sentinel embarrasses itself".

    - "This morning the Palm Beach Post editors breathlessly report, and duly complain, that 'more than 200 [Palm Beach County] fire-rescue workers logged more than $10,000 in overtime last year.' Outrageous! Next thing you know, some of these lazy slugs* might have the audacity to send their bratty kids to college." "Firefighters' "outlandish benefits" and "sweet pay plans"".

    *We say "lazy slugs", because some may recall these sage words from the "liberal": Post:
    Sitting at home on the couch, finishing off a six-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes and having a heart attack? It's considered an on-the-job injury for firefighters ...
    Isn't that a nice visual. Another blow for the working class from Florida's "liberal" media.

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