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 Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Sounds simple, right?"

    "For the third presidential election in a row, Florida is converting its voting machinery,"
    from punch cards in 2000 to touch screens in 2004 to optical scan ballots in 2008. And once again, elections experts are fretting over the possibility of trouble, from long lines at voting sites to a close race that would require a recount of ballots.
    "Crist, prodded by Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Boca Raton, ordered a $28-million conversion to a system of paper ballots marked by hand and fed into machines. But what Crist promised as a 'paper trail' doesn't yet exist."
    At voting precincts, scanning machines or "readers" will reject a ballot if a voter casts an overvote, a vote for more than one candidate in a race. But as growing numbers of Florida voters mark absentee ballots at home and return them by mail, no way exists to catch overvotes before voters submit their ballots.
    "Browning worries about what might happen if a razor-close race requires a recount."
    By law, a candidate who loses by less than one-quarter of 1 percent is entitled to a manual recount, but the law requires only a review of overvotes and undervotes.

    To Browning's frustration, the Legislature did not change the law to require a manual count of all paper ballots, even though Crist repeatedly promoted paper ballots as a way of providing "receipts" for wary voters. ...

    Not only that, Browning said, but Florida is a so-called voter intent state for recount purposes. A review of overvotes will mean a return to those days of 2000 with bleary-eyed canvassers peering at mismarked ballots to determine a voter's intent as a way of ensuring that all ballots are counted.
    "Voting machines debut in August primary".

    Looking for answers

    "Want to know which presidential candidate is going to win Florida's 27 electoral votes?" Adam C. Smith takes a close look at Pasco Precinct 134 for some answers. "Vital suburban voters squarely on the fence".

    Does that mean those icky poor people from the library get to go?

    "Florida's state parks free".

    A Panama City thing

    "Burnie Thompson, a conservative radio talk show host from Panama City, in a column he wrote for the Washington Times":

    "In less than 18 months, Mr. Crist has socialized Florida's insurance market, hamstrung businesses with climate regulations, invigorated trial lawyers and launched costly public-works projects to stimulate the economy," Thompson wrote. "With a record like that, could a New York Times endorsement of Charlie Crist for VP be far behind?"
    "Conservatives pan Crist".

    Florida wingnuts luv their Charlie (at least in Fla.)

    "Florida conservatives seem eager to tout their ties to the governor despite his centrist leanings. 'Virtually every Republican candidate running for office is calling me for an endorsement, or to get the governor to campaign in their district,' said state GOP chief Jim Greer." "Crist becomes darling of state GOP as election nears".

    "Howdy Doody Looking Nimrod" whines about Obama

    To the extent anyone cares,

    Obama's political strength worries U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow. No, the House GOP Conference chairman and third highest ranking Republican in the House doesn't think Obama will win Florida's 27 electoral votes, but he thinks Obama's ability to turn out African-Americans and other strong supporters could make a real difference in some congressional districts, particularly in the South.
    "Obama's coattails are a concern for the GOP".

    Good luck

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "NASA celebrates its golden anniversary this month, and Florida can certainly share in the space agency's half century of triumphs. The Sunshine State, however, must also share in the anxiety over what will happen with the world's premiere space agency going forward. Florida has profited and benefited mightily from being NASA's chosen launch pad. The federal government's investment in the Cape Canaveral space center brought top-notch jobs to the state, and international focus and acclaim."

    There's also a brewing race for private space travel and adventures. Florida, with its past and infrastructure, is a natural launch pad for that industry.

    But other states, not to mention other nations, have also seen the possibilities, and are setting themselves up as rivals. It's here that Florida's leaders and space-related economic development entities need to brace and beef themselves up so as to dominate private space travel in the future, just as we have government-sponsored space exploration in the past.
    "Florida must celebrate NASA's golden anniversary by sharpening its competitive edge".

    The "talent"

    "In a state where Democratic presidential campaigns often rely heavily on out-of-state political talent,"

    Obama is tapping lots of people with actual Florida experience. Former state House campaign director Steve Schale is leading the Florida campaign, South Florida campaign manager Ashley Walker is No. 2; former state Democratic Party communications director Mark Bubriski is now Obama's top press guy in Florida, and former state party field director Jackie Lee is leading the coordinated campaign between the Obama campaign and state party
    "Obama gets Fla. talent".

    The rental thing

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Businesses and owners of rental property are punished by Florida law, not local decision-making, when it comes to paying a higher proportion of property taxes than homeowners pay." "Millage epilogue".

    McCain a comin'

    "McCain is to return to Florida on Aug. 1 to address the conference of the National Urban League in Orlando." "McCain to visit Tampa Bay, Obama a maybe".

    "It won't come cheap

    "Faced with growing demand for electricity and worries about climate change, state leaders have moved forward with a strategy during the past two years: Build nuclear-power plants and look for alternative sources of clean energy.But for Florida homeowners and businesses, it won't come cheap." "Utility bills to reflect costs of building nuclear, solar plants".

    FCAT follies

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "There's no sense celebrating a school's A grade if the grade masks the results that matter much more. That is, the individual achievements or struggles of students to whom a schoolwide grade means absolutely nothing, and on whom most of the attention, and available extra resources such as bonuses, should be focused." "FCAT highs and lows".

    Florida's booming economy

    "Region Needs To Wake Up To Teen Sex Trafficking".

    "Scripps II"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Scripps II has a great chance to succeed, enhance the neighborhood and ignite the economic engine that makes Scripps the best hope for diversifying the economy. All of that should be on the fast track." "Potential of Scripps II justifies faster approvals".

    Out here in the fields ...

    It never ends:

    The farmers and their Maitland-based lobbying group have refused to pass on to workers the extra penny that McDonald's, Yum! Brands and Burger King are paying. So the money -- now more than $110,000 -- piles up in escrow
    "Orlando-area immigrant workers fight to hold the pennies they won".

    Maitland housewife thinks ...

    ... "The Mouse outsmarted you guys. Get over it." "Blaming Disney for using gun-law loophole is off target".


    Daniel Vasquez: "Crist said he was inspired to work on the legislation after his mother's car was towed improperly and ruined." "Towing legislation a long road for senator".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "violators of the unstaffed and ungated SunPass lanes helped cost the state agency that operates the turnpike $25.6 million in lost tolls last year. That's almost 4''percent of all tolls collected, and up from the $17 million in 2005. It's why turnpike officials should continue targeting both innocent mistakes and hard-core offenders." "Ease the toll on the state".

    Raw editorial board courage

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Officials need more than benchmarks to get people to recycle".

    Charlie's junket

    "Crist sure knows how to wow his new fiancee. Crist and his girlfriend, Carole Rome, will meet Prince Charles and Prince Andrew during their visit to Europe this week." "Crist and his new fiancee to get the royal treatment".

    "His new fiancee at his side, Gov. Charlie Crist today kicks off an 11-day mission to England, France, Spain and Russia ..."

    One might suppose that it is little more than Charlie

    adding depth to his [very shallow] resume as he is mentioned as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate
    "Crist will stay in suites with work and meeting space that cost as much as $1,800 a night."
    The trip comes as growing numbers of Floridians abandon vacations for "stay-cations" to save money. Democrats say it is ill-timed in light of record gas prices and tight government budgets.

    "No responsible governor would have the audacity to spend more than $225,000 of the taxpayers' money jet-setting around Europe with his fiancee," said Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff.

    Carole Rome, who accepted Crist's marriage proposal last week, was already on the travel list as a "delegate" representing her New York-based company, a wholesaler of Halloween costumes. ...

    The trip will include a tour of a nuclear waste processing plant near Paris [Paris is good] as well as:

    • Meetings with senior officials in the United Kingdom, France and Spain.

    • Attendance at a climate change forum in London.

    • A ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where 9,387 U.S. soldiers are buried
    With all due respect, help us understand what Charlie Crist, his girlfriend and a cadre of RPOF campaign contributors will achieve trapsing around the sacred ground at Normandy?

    Not only that, this is already Charlie's "third trade mission [read 'junket'] as governor".

    And this borders on the ludicrous:
    Enterprise Florida said his trip to Brazil last fall generated more than $300-million in "actual and anticipated" sales, including a 200-job expansion plan by the Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer
    "Democrats toss barbs at Crist's European trade trip". See also "Big names, big possibilities greet Gov. Crist on European trip".

    Huh?: "Crist will be unfettered by the nettlesome Florida media. The $10,000-plus cost to accompany the governor on the entire trip was too rich for the state's newspapers, which have traditionally sent at least one reporter to accompany Florida's governors on international trips."

    The The Orlando Sentinel editorial board leaps to Charlie's defense: "Crist's critics are taking aim at him for spending $255,000 in state money to lead a 10-day trade mission to Europe. They're off the mark." "Mr. Crist's economic mission could pay dividends".

    Back to Charlie's fascinating fiance, the alleged journalists in this lengthy piece were simply entranced by the delightful couple: "In the hour long interview on Fisher Island, Crist and his fiancee never stop touching. He rubs her hands and her back and her shoulders. She squeezes his thigh and stares at his face." "Meet Carole Rome, the governor's fiancee". for more puff, see "Two very public figures figure out a private life".

    "Obama is ready to fight"

    Randy Schultz: "Fortunately for Floridians, Barack Obama is ready to fight for the state." He explains:

    If your state is in play during a close election, candidates make many visits and spend heavily. Florida, if you haven't noticed, is having economic troubles. Tourism is coming back a little, but overall spending is down, and Florida relies most heavily on sales taxes to run government.
    He continues:
    If Sens. McCain and Obama are here often, they'll have to talk about national disaster insurance, Medicare, Everglades restoration, the space program and other issues important to Floridians. That could make for promises to keep. The best thing for Florida would be a vote that comes up just short of a recount. Floridians can disagree about who should win on Nov. 4, but Floridians can root for an all-out fight until Nov. 4.
    "Florida wins if Obama plays to win".

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