"When Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum sued Countrywide Financial Corp. last week, he accused the disgraced mortgage lender of a pattern of deceptive trade practices."
But McCollum could fairly be said to be engaging in a little of that himself. Critics say he's just the latest officeholder looking to tamp down rising voter unrest by taking a headline-grabbing -- but ineffective -- step."McCollum is playing the political card with lawsuit against Countrywide".
"I have not seen this much voter anger or anti-incumbency feelings in 30 years of polling," said Jim Kane, a Fort Lauderdale pollster. "I think every elected official in the country is looking for cover and trying to look like they are concerned about consumers."
McCollum's lawsuit was 12 pages of mostly legal boilerplate. It cited no examples of Floridians who were allegedly deceived by the company. And the attorney general acknowledged his staff had rushed to the courthouse so it could sue much-maligned "Countrywide" rather than Bank of America, which has bought the company.
But the lawsuit-news conference made the attorney general seem tough -- an image that proved useful a couple of hours later when McCollum put on his John McCain campaign hat to tell reporters that Democrat Barack Obama was "soft on crime."
Nevertheless, hometown rag loves big Bill
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum went a long way toward quelling doubts about his commitment to consumer protection last week when he sued Countrywide Financial Corp. for allegedly deceptive sales pitches to its customers." "It's good to see AG McCollum turning his attention to mortgage pitches".
"Things will get worse before they get better
The consequences of eight year's of Jebbie's fiscal "leadership"
Florida's prison system is shedding nearly 400 probation officers, prison teachers and chaplains."These are just some of the consequences of the bare-bones $66 billion state budget that took effect July 1. And almost everyone thinks things will get worse before they get better."
The Department of Community Affairs, which polices growth, is laying off planners, shuttering its office in the Florida Keys and predicting it will take longer for local governments to get needed approvals of redevelopment plans.
Hundreds of other government workers -- from greyhound-track judges to college professors -- are headed to the unemployment line.
And the Agency for Persons with Disabilities is trimming funding for everything from transportation for disabled Floridians to in-home-care speech therapy. About 35,000 people with cerebral palsy, autism and mental retardation will see Medicaid service cuts totaling $43.5 million.
"We earlier had a lot of optimism, but that's waning," said Amy Baker, coordinator for the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, one of the state's financial forecasters"Floridians feel squeeze of state's $66B budget".
Another sweet Jebacy.
Wedding pictures in the National Enquirer
Adam Smith: "Crist is now engaged, and that makes him a more appealing pick than if he were still a bachelor. What's more, a bunch of new polls came out last week underscoring how tight Florida may be in November. McCain leads in must-win Florida by just 2.2 percentage points, according to the average of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com. As long as Florida's in play, so are Crist's veep prospects." "Crist is engaged, but will it help?". See also "Media attention on Crist inspires VP murmurs" ("Is the Florida governor's headline-grabbing behavior typical or is he aligning himself for vice presidential consideration?")
Poor Charlie, things don't look too good - "The temptation is overwhelming and the flattery, for a rookie governor with a razor-sharp political instinct, irresistible." "Crist unlikely VP for McCain".
The gambling thing
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist rolled the dice and lost. The Florida Supreme Court's unanimous opinion that the governor exceeded his authority by signing a compact with the Seminole Tribe allowing gambling that is otherwise illegal was not entirely unexpected. Now it is up to the governor and the Legislature to negotiate and come to a consensus that should have been reached before the Seminoles installed new slot machines and blackjack tables." "Quick resolution needed on gambling".
To the extent anyone cares ...
"A timeline on Jeb Bush's career and details on his speeches, corporate ties and associates."
The Times' effort ten years ago was a bit better: "Make [sic] the money and run". More on Jebbie's crooked world here: "Primed for success".
When the Army Corps of Engineers solicited bids for drainage pumps for New Orleans, it copied the specifications -- typos and all -- from the catalog of the manufacturer that ultimately won the $32 million contract, a review of documents by The Associated Press found."Corps asked to explain pump contract". More: "N.O. pump problems renew cronyism concerns".
The pumps, supplied by Moving Water Industries Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and installed at canals before the start of the 2006 hurricane season, proved to be defective, as the AP reported in March. The matter is under investigation by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. ...
MWI employed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother, to market its pumps during the 1980s, and top MWI officials have been major contributors to the Republican Party.
"Jeb!"-world in five words, from the Miami Herald: "Fast success, brushes with mystery".
The Herald story reveals that, before "Jeb!" decided to share his policy wonkishness with us,
Jeb Bush was hopscotching through Nigeria in a corporate jet, on his way to meet government officials he hoped would buy $74 million worth of water pumps from his South Florida business partner.Of course he didn't.
On the jet with Bush was a Nigerian associate in the deal, Al-Haji Mohammed Indimi, who carried several heavy Hartmann suitcases. At least one of the bags, the airplane's pilot says, was packed with cash to bribe the Nigerian officials.
Did Jeb Bush know about the cash in the suitcase? Did he understand what the money was for?
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "The loss of Jabil Circuit Inc. would be a serious blow to St. Petersburg, but the lack of public scrutiny for $34.4-million in proposed tax incentives is bad business. At a time of unparalleled financial distress for state and local governments, the lack of public debate is simply stunning." "Jabil deal requires a closer look".
"A Public Policy Polling survey of Florida voters last week found Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, beating Republican incumbent Mel Martinez 37 percent to 31 percent in a hypothetical U.S. Senate contest." "Sen. Alex Sink in 2010?"
"State Rep. Pat Patterson wasn't one of the lucky ones who held onto his seat this year because of a lack of opposition. A former Orlando Sentinel reporter stepped forward on the last day to qualify. Barry Flynn, 62, recently left his job as an assistant editor at the Daytona Beach News-Journal to take on the DeLand Republican for the District 26 seat. Flynn, a Democrat living in Ormond-by-the-Sea, said he had been eyeing the post for months. Patterson has had the job for three straight terms." "Former journalist challenges Patterson for state seat".
"Orlando-area leaders look at sharing services to save money".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board argues that "the true test of this new youthful political exuberance will come long before Nov. 4. On Aug. 26, polls will open in South Florida for primary races, and voters will have an opportunity to vote in state and local races." "Primary will test young voters".
"10 Stages of Political Life"
Dan Moffett shares his wit with us this morning - "After great study and reflection, I offer the 10 Stages of Political Life:" "Career arcs of drunks and politicians".
Please, enough with the "upscale" solutions
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Imagine Everglades National Park extending north into Palm Beach County. Four trails lead from the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail atop the lake's dike into four downtowns, 'little San Antonios' with restored streets, coffee shops, restaurants and bike shops in Belle Glade, an amphitheater and marina in Pahokee, a 'parking area' for horses in South Bay and trailside eateries and businesses in Canal Point. An upscale eco-tourist hotel and resort overlook the lake." "Save the Glades while saving the Everglades".
No "need for a lot of the steel-and-concrete"
"The original plan for restoring the Everglades would tighten human control over the battered, shrunken South Florida wilderness."
Artificial wells drilled 1,000 feet into the earth. Walled, aboveground reservoirs. Diesel-powered pumps."Rethinking the grand plan for the Everglades". More: "Rethinking the grand plan for the Everglades".
The land of alligators, herons and panthers faced a future on the ecological equivalent of a heart-lung machine, with complex oil-powered, computer-controlled engineering works moving water through the ecosystem.
Although many environmentalists and scientists have supported the plan as better than nothing, they remain uncomfortable with what they see as a blueprint for a facade of natural wetlands supported by an artificial, ugly water system designed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The U.S. Sugar acquisition could change all of this. The deal for Florida to buy all 187,000 acres of U.S. Sugar Corp.'s land could eliminate the need for a lot of the steel-and-concrete elements of the restoration plan.
"In November, Hillsborough voters will decide whether they want to create the position of county mayor. It could potentially be a major power shift that changes the course of county politics." "What To Expect If County Voters Opt To Have A Mayor".