C'mon Johnnie, I challenge you to go with the empty suit: "Obama spending big on ads in Florida" ("The polls suggest Obama's ads in Florida have made a difference. He resoundingly lost the state Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton on Jan. 29 and trailed McCain in nearly every survey until mid-June.")
"Obama holds narrow lead over McCain in Florida, latest poll says". See also "Poll: Ohio and Florida toss-ups for 2008 presidential election".
"Obama and John McCain remain locked in a tie for Florida's 27 electoral votes. A new Quinnipiac University poll found Democrat Obama has 46 percent of the vote and Republican McCain has 44 percent."
"The two percentage point gap is insignificant in a poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. The Obama-McCain contest is essentially unchanged from the previous poll, released June 18. Obama lost a point and McCain gained a point." "Obama, McCain remain deadlocked in Florida poll".
However, Steve Bousquet says "Crist's bid to be McCain's VP may be waning". He writes in detail about the vetting process, and observes that "the question now is whether he already has become an also-ran or is being subjected to the kind of microscopic background check performed on the most viable contenders."
But the weather's great
"Congestion, lack of funding make Florida's highways some of worst in country".
Our "economic doldrums
"Barack Obama wants to help pull Florida out of its economic doldrums by sending $3 billion in rebate checks and providing an extra dose of housing relief. John McCain plans to stimulate the state's economy by cutting business taxes, declaring a gas-tax holiday and expanding foreign trade." "Two prescriptions, one sick economy".
"Transportation Secretary Mary Peters will be speaking Friday about steps being taken to reduce traffic tie ups. She says she wants to make it easier for cities like Miami to fight traffic and improve transit options." "Transportation Secretary visiting Miami".
Today's FloBama: "Obama to address economy at St. Petersburg appearance", "Obama supporters meet tonight in Weston", "White House rivals will visit - Sarasota Herald-Tribune", "Obama, McCain focusing on Florida economy - TCPalm", "Obama risks voter ire by opposing new oil drilling", "South Floridians plan gathering for Obama", "Obama, McCain both campaign in Florida", "Obama slams McCain over oil company tax breaks", and "Lieberman to return for McCain campaign". Up to the minute Flobama news is right here.
Plus it don't cost nuthin'
"Conservatives and libertarians nationwide tout the '65 percent solution' as a way to increase classroom spending without raising taxes. The idea is to require schools to spend 65 percent of their budgets on classroom expenses as opposed to administrative costs. It's been pushed for three years but has sputtered nationally, with only Georgia and Texas adopting it. " "'65 percent solution' school plan comes to Florida".
"Beginning today, the Road Rangers will stop continuously patrolling Miami-Dade County's interstates to save money on gas. " "Road rangers cut presence on Miami-Dade interstates".
"Florida finalized a record number of more than 3,500 public adoptions this year thanks to a new campaign that focuses on adoptions for older children, siblings and children with disabilities." "Campaign helps boost adoptions".
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Florida was wrong five years ago to weaken Everglades cleanup rules and postpone the deadline for meeting them, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was wrong to turn 'a blind eye' to it."
Those who said so then were vindicated this week by U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold. His ruling, echoing the tough stance of Judge William Hoeveler, stops Florida's Department of Environmental Protection from issuing permits that don't meet the safety standard of 10 parts of phosphorus per billion for water flowing to the Everglades. That standard seems minuscule, but the Everglades ecosystem can tolerate few nutrients. They make cattails grow and upset the balance of native plants and wildlife."New Everglades enforcer".
In 2003, the Legislature and then-Gov. Jeb Bush postponed enforcement of the super-low pollution limits until 2016, extending the deadline by a decade and easing pressure on the South Florida Water Management District to meet the strict standard.
More from the "values" crowd in Tally
Good luck with this: "Schools seek $65.4 million to keep professors in Fla." ("Florida's universities are asking for $65.4 million to stem the "brain drain" of professors and staff leaving for better-paying jobs in states not suffering the same cuts to higher education budgets.")
"The letter was another disappointment to FAU faculty, who have gone two years without a raise, said Eric Shaw, a marketing professor who serves as president of the Faculty Senate." "Florida Atlantic University faces more budget cuts".
One man's freedom fighter ...
"Several Cuban exile organizations have launched a campaign to persuade President Bush to pardon convicted Cuban exile militant Eduardo Arocena, reputed mastermind of Omega 7, whose group was blamed for numerous bombings in Miami and New York." "Petition seeks pardon for jailed exile bomber" ("Also, a federal jury in Miami convicted Arocena of planting nine bombs over a four-year period in the Miami area.")
"Supporters of an anti-Castro activist sentenced to life in prison plus 35 years for the murder of a Cuban diplomat and other terrorism-related activities want President Bush to pardon him. Eduardo Arocena's friends and family have created a Web site in support of his early release and on Tuesday held a rally for him in Miami's Little Havana." "Wife, friends of anti-Castro Cuban want clemency".
Hey, isn't this a reportable "in kind" contribution ...
... worth all of two cents?:
Country music star John Rich wants like-minded voters to join him in "Raising McCain.""Country star John Rich wants fans 'Raising McCain'".
The other half of the Nashville duo Big and Rich, the singer-songwriter has penned lyrics for a rock-infused anthem focused on the 5 1/2 years Republican presidential candidate John McCain spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and his refusal of an early release.
"He stayed strong, stayed extra long til they let all the other boys out. Now we've got a real man with an American plan, we're going to put him in the big White House," the song says. Its refrain: "We're all just raising McCain."
Rich planned to debut "Raising McCain" on Friday at the Country First concert in Panama City, Fla., with McCain on hand.
Rich, 34, has written best-selling songs for country artists, including Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" and Faith Hill's "Mississippi Girl."
Floridians dig drilling
"McCain had just come out for drilling, and Crist is hoping to get tapped as his vice presidential running mate. A new poll out today shows Crist was on target, at least as far as voter opinion goes in Florida. Quinnipiac University’s new poll shows that voters agree with President Bush and McCain that Congress should allow offshore oil drilling, something Democrat Barack Obama opposes." "Poll provides new evidence that Crist’s vaunted political senses are still finely tuned".
More: "Obama risks voter ire by opposing new oil drilling".
"As Michael Grant explains it, Gov. Charlie Crist is simply doing a favor for a friend. But Nancy Detert, Grant's opponent in the Republican primary for state Senate, is perplexed that Florida's popular governor is picking sides in what is expected to be one of the state's tightest Republican races."
Crist, who has not endorsed any other candidates in state legislative races, [was in Sarasota], headlining a $250-a-plate fundraiser in support of Grant at the home of builder John Cannon on Siesta Key."In unusual move, Crist goes to bat in a state contest".
The governor's efforts for Grant will not stop there. Crist is also appearing in Grant's campaign mailers and is recording phone messages that are being sent to thousands of voters across Southwest Florida.
"This is not typically something a governor or other party leaders do," said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political science professor. "For the party, this is like picking one child over another."
Grant and Detert are vying to replace state Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey, in District 23, which includes most of Sarasota County, part of Charlotte County, and the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key.
McCain in Florida
"Republican presidential candidate John McCain is in town today to court black voters at the National Urban League convention." "McCain, in Orlando, will have to work for Hispanic vote".
This is a bit much: "George Diaz: For some blacks, Obama falls shy on race question".
"Edward Lynch, the Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, said a $1.37 million federal tax lien against him is the result of a 'routine' audit and helped inspire him to run for Congress." "U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler turns the tax tables on campaign opponents".
Surely someone is profiting in this deal?
... just not these 10,711 folks: "U.S. Sugar buyout's downside: Loss of $1.64 billion a year, 10,711 jobs".
"Alan Hodges, one of the four members of the UF Food and Resource Economics Department team that conducted the study",
said he doesn't think U.S. Sugar's closure could be made up by other activities such as eco-tourism, although some new business would develop around the conservation areasId."eco-tourism"? Heaven help us
A different sorta "green"
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "It says a lot that Florida Power & Light Co.'s 'green' program got shut down by a unanimous vote at the Public Service Commission — and what it says reflects very poorly on the utility. Now, as regulators investigate and mull what step to take next, it's hard to tally just how big a black eye FPL has dealt itself." "FPL's credibility takes another big hit".
Of course, as them librul St. Petersburg Times editors would say, if these FP&L dopes "worked in private business instead of for the state, [they] already would be gone."
Charter school flop
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "USF Charter School Doomed By Poor Planning And Blind Oversight".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "House Speaker Marco Rubio and Florida International University deserve each other for their preposterous deal making him a 'visiting distinguished-service professor.' FIU's students and faculty -- indeed, all Florida residents -- deserve far better." "Rubio's new gig at FIU undermines the cause of education".
Another fine Jebacy
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist won't choose from all 50 lawyers who aspire to a seat on the Florida Supreme Court. "
The job of screening them falls to a nominating commission whose members now will demonstrate whether their allegiance is to the justice system or their political benefactors."That may be a fair assumption, but Unger's indiscreet remark only underscores the rank politics that are possible when a governor can appoint not only the justices but the people who nominate the justices."
Crist already has appointed six of the commission's nine members, and one of them is already speaking bluntly about political considerations. Jason Unger, a lobbyist whose wife ran Gov. Jeb Bush's re-election campaign in 2002, told a reporter: "The governor (Crist) is a conservative, and I assume that he's going to be looking for judges that share his judicial philosophy."
Prior to 2001, when Bush persuaded lawmakers to let him corner the judicial market, the nominating commissions were intended as a check on any single governor's attempt to pack the courts. As such, the governor and the Florida Bar each selected three nominating commissioners, with those six choosing three more."Put experience before ideology". See also "To Begin Reshaping High Court, Crist Must Focus On Commitment".
"Fla. Sheriffs Association elects new leadership".
We all love Bob
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board thinks, with Butterworth's leaving "Agency's next chief must follow path of reform, progress set by predecessor". The Miami Herald editorial board: "Build on his gains".
Over the line?
"Commissioner's missive leaves some in Safety Harbor miffed".
"'Why does a Realtor from Daytona, or an appraiser in Wyoming, have an interest in the property appraiser's race in Pinellas County?'" "Pinellas appraiser GOP primary draws distant donations".
... takes a closer look at the recent court decision on packin' heat: "Gun law: They can pass it if they want".
Subsidizing municipal budgets
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "More damaging than the bacteria was fiscal mismanagement. For years, West Palm Beach transferred annual surpluses from the water operation to the general fund, instead of upgrading equipment. Those unpaid repair bills are coming due." "Progress, not a solution".
"Crist appoints two to executive positions".
The "brown skin" thing
"Immigrant advocates and business owners blame the loss of income on what they say are a recent spate of arrests by immigration agents improperly targeting Hispanics. Advocates plan a know-your-rights workshop to educate immigrants in the area. Immigrants in the area, many who admit they are here without authorization, say they are scared. Day laborers said they to have lost work because employers are hesitant to hire them." "Advocates protest Hispanic 'profiling' by government agents".