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 Saturday, July 12, 2008

Florida voter registrations show "'huge swing' toward Democrats"

    "An escalating number of voters registering as Democrats is providing evidence that "
    the 2008 election could produce a wave of support for Barack Obama — and trigger a decades-long shift of party allegiance that could affect elections for a generation.

    The numbers are ominous for Republicans: Through May, Democratic voter registration in Broward County was up 6.7 percent. Republican registrations grew just 3 percent while independents rose 2.8 percent.

    Democrats have posted even greater gains statewide, up 106,508 voters from January through May, compared with 16,686 for the Republicans.
    "Voter registrations in Florida show 'huge swing' toward Democrats". See also "No fuzzy math: State Dems sign up voters 7-1 over GOP".

    Another fine loophole

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "'how can a facility avoid state licensure by putting itself in a certain category? I find it incredible we have no authority. We may need legislation to close the loophole.' DCF attorneys are reviewing the situation at the state level, he said, and then will begin discussions with state legislators." "Private abuse still abuse".

    More from the "we must be balanced crowd"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "George Bush and Barack Obama will share this year's gold medal for Olympic inconsistency." "Summer political games".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Getting an Olympic gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics is great. But it's just not the same as winning gold in traditional gymnastics. Getting an A school grade based on FCAT results also is great - in a rhythmic gymnastics sort of way."

    Education shouldn't be like the Olympics, where success depends on one supreme effort at just the right time. Through its system of FCAT-based school grades, the state mistakenly treats education like that kind of competition. That's not the same as teaching kids how to think, so they can became medalists in the real world.
    "Annual FCAT snapshot has usual fuzziness".

    The Bush-apologists beg to differ: "Just like our kids, teachers union chief Andy Ford needs educating".

    Hieteenthia bags it

    "State Rep. Curtis Richardson's chances of winning a seat on the Florida Parole Commission have apparently improved with the withdrawal of a top executive of the prison system who was competing for the job. Hieteenthia 'Tina' Hayes, director of initiatives for the Department of Corrections, said she couldn't afford the cut from $113,517.56 to the $92,574 that the three-member commission pays." "Odds improve for those vying for seat on state parole commission".

    Bill Maxwell

    "To me, everyone who eats fruits and vegetables should be outraged and should be, in some manner, advocating for farm-worker justice."

    American consumers have a moral duty to stop the exploitation of farm workers. If we do not, as McEmrys argues, we enable servitude and are guilty of the "sin of complicity."
    See what he's talking about here: "Eating that tomato can put you in moral peril".

    "A massive mistake Florida voters made ..."

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "The resulting tangle of litigation only demonstrates what a massive mistake Florida voters made when they authorized local-option slot machines in the first place. With no compact, Seminole officials insist they're now allowed to offer high-stakes card games as well as slots. Meanwhile, parimutuels have filed suit, saying Crist had no right to allow table games -- especially in a deal that explicitly cut them out of any chance to offer blackjack and other popular gambling options." Here's where it gets scary:

    The Supreme Court's ruling suggests that the Legislature holds all the cards.
    "High-stakes ruling: State's gambling issue returns".

    Mel steps in it yet again

    "Karl Rove's Florida Frankenstein", "Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, seeking to bolster Republican John McCain's efforts to win Hispanic voters, says McCain has 'stood tall' on immigration reform against his own political interests while Democrat Barack Obama 'caved' to anti-reform forces when the matter was in the U.S. Senate." "McCain aims new TV ads at Hispanics".

    As Politco points out, poor Mel can't get seem to get his "straight talk express'" lies straight lies straight:

    When Florida Senator Mel Martinez criticized Obama's work on an immigration bill ..., he contradicted his own earlier praise for Obama.

    On the McCain campaign conference call just now, Sen. Mel Martinez expanded on John McCain's argument that Obama had sabotaged comprehensive immigration reform.

    "He was AWOL, he was working against us," Martinez said.

    However, in a June 28, 2007 letter to Obama, which you can read here, Martinez wrote to thank Obama for his "support of the Immigration Reform Bill.
    "Martinez praised Obama for 'standing firm' on immigration".

    "It doesn't pass the [smell]* test"

    "One of Gov. Charlie Crist's handpicked utility regulators is questioning why the governor is getting energy advice from a lawyer whose utility clients could be affected by Crist's policies."

    The criticism comes from Nancy Argenziano, whom Crist named to a $133,000-a-year job on the Public Service Commission last year in part because he admires her outspokenness.

    Now Argenziano is taking aim at Crist and one of his former employees, Chris Kise. The 43-year-old lawyer from Tampa has years of experience in complex utility law and represents utilities before the PSC. He is also Crist's "special adviser on energy and climate change," an unpaid position.

    "I find this hard to believe," Argenziano said. "You're being compensated to represent utilities, and you're advising the governor? It doesn't pass the test."
    "Crist energy adviser doesn't pass test, public service commissioner says".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Wednesday, when Argenziano's office delivered a 25-pound box of cow manure to Jodi Chase, many of her colleagues cheered her on because the recipient is a notoriously abrasive lobbyist for Associated Industries of Florida. ...

    She didn't earn the nickname "Chase in your Face" by being a warm and fuzzy Oprah clone. Many in Tallahassee figured that Chase had it coming, especially after she seemed to be taunting Argenziano by going to the representative's 11th-floor House office, putting her feet up on the couch and watching a televised debate on a bill the two had fought over.

    As Chase lounged in her office, Argenziano was demonstrating courage in a vote on nursing home reform. The issue is one of her top priorities this session, and she has fought hard for reform, tangling with Chase in the process, but the bill that emerged from the back rooms of the House was just too flawed. Argenziano ["the self-described Brooklyn girl"] bucked her party's leadership and was the only Republican to vote against the measure, which passed overwhelmingly.
    More here.

    Argenziano, to paraphrase Mr. Waits, remains one of those "Brooklyn girsl who managed to break out of her little world".

    Florida Legislature shows its derriere, ACLU sues to cover it

    "The American Civil Liberties Union is pressing its lawsuit against a Florida law banning university researchers from traveling to countries on a terrorist nation list. ... The law passed in 2006 bans Florida public universities from spending money on travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. " "Hearing in lawsuit against 'terrorist' travel ban".

    A great story

    Martin Dyckman: William M. "Bill" Gillespie, who had served six years in the House and two in the Senate, has died at the age of 80." Dyckman describes him as one of those "people in Tallahassee who were there to do good rather than to do well. ... [and] cared more about improving Florida's future than enhancing their careers"

    But it was his last act as a legislator that came first to mind when Sally called to say he had died. That was to pass legislation compensating Jesse Daniels and his mother for the nearly 14 years Daniels had been the victim of a frame.

    In 1958, Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall, one of the genuinely evil figures in Florida history, needed a scapegoat to "solve" the rape of a socially prominent woman. Daniels, who was mentally retarded, made an easy mark. The case was so flimsy, however, that the prosecutor dared not put Daniels on trial. He was rushed off to the state mental hospital at Chattahoochee, where he remained until an appeals court in 1971 set things right.

    One of his new lawyers had written to Askew that Daniels was "a benign, timid, quiet, friendly and pathetic soul, who has no friends in high places." But it turned out that he did, and one of them was Bill Gillespie.

    The claims bills were a hard fight. The prosecutor was still in office and had friends in the Legislature. The House voted only $82,000; even that was stymied in the Senate when it was about to adjourn the session near midnight on May 31, 1974.

    Gillespie filibustered. The parliamentary situation required unanimous consent to do anything; he would object to everything until the Senate took up the claims bills.

    They passed unanimously.
    "He stood up for Florida".

    To appreciate this, one must know about Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall. Indeed, to appreciate Florida's recent history, one should know about Willis McCall. See "Floridian: A Southern sheriff's law and disorder", "PBS - Freedom Never Dies: The Story of Harry T. Moore - Florida ..." and "State: Time and forest swallow traces of 2 from Pinellas". Here's the transcript of a UF archived interview with the fellow.

    From the "values" crowd ...

    "Funds sliced for HIV youth program in South Florida".

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