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 Thursday, August 28, 2008

Charlie selects yet another right-wing hack

    "Lakeland Appellate Judge Charles Canady was selected this morning to fill one of two vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court, Gov. Charlie Crist announced." "Former congressman Canady picked for state Supreme Court". You remember Mr. Canady:
    He was initially elected as a conservative Democrat, but after his 1986 re-election, he changed parties. The change created much hard feelings as the change came almost immediately after he accepted Democratic money for his re-election campaign. He was defeated in 1990 when he ran for the Florida Senate. He was elected to Congress in 1992 in a very close election against Democratic Candidate Tom Mims. He represented Florida's 12th congressional district from January 3, 1993 until January 3, 2001. He was one of the managers appointed to conduct the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton.
    And Mr. Canady's supporters?
    Crist was heavily lobbied to pick Canady by members of the Christian right and former Bush staffers. ...

    Canady, who is from Lakeland, served as general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush from 2001 to 2002 and defended Bush's school voucher program, which gave tuition vouchers to children from failing public schools to attend private schools at taxpayer expense. The Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in 2006 that the program was unconstitutional.
    "Crist appoints Charles Canady to high court". See also "Clinton impeachment prosecutor on Fla. high court".

    Not a good visual

    "The folksy first-term governor proved his stuff again Wednesday morning, when he prodded Florida Democratic delegates to bark like dogs after predicting Barack Obama would win Montana." "Montana governor tabbed as next Democratic superstar".

    Early voting too expensive?

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "At a time of budgetary belt-tightening, it's worth asking whether state law should force counties to stage early voting for primary elections." "Early voting becomes an issue".

    From the "values" crowd

    "Thousands of people with disabilities statewide will see their services cut next month as part of a new plan to put financial limits on services." "Service cuts for people with disabilities to start".

    "Florida could once again keep the nation waiting"

    "Worry that South Florida could once again keep the nation waiting to see who captures the Oval Office resurfaced Wednesday when Broward County officials took 21 hours to count all the precincts from Tuesday's woefully light primary."

    The delay not only kept three hot-button races in limbo for nearly a day, it instantly rekindled memories of 2000, when hanging chads and ballot problems in Palm Beach County kept the nation on edge in Bush v. Gore.

    This November, the heavily Democratic Broward County is expected to turn out in droves for nominee Barack Obama.
    "Broward vote tally delays raise fears about Nov. 4 election".

    C'mon folks, read a newspaper

    "Did you happen to notice that Florida's delegation was blinking red, white and blue last night?"

    That's because they were all wearing necklaces made of mini- Mickey Mouse heads, provided by Disney. (Retail value: $9.39.)

    Because what's more Democratic and patriotic than a blinking mouse?
    "Florida legislator, historian relishes unexpected march".

    Might that be this Disney?: "Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth. ... The workers' contract expired in February and their union says Disney's latest proposal makes health care unaffordable for hundreds of employees and creates an unfair two-tier wage system." "Cinderella, others arrested in Disneyland labor protest".


    M-D Poll hi-lights

    "New poll: McCain has thin lead in Florida over Obama". More:

    - "Democrat Barack Obama clung to a razor-thin 45-44 percent edge statewide over McCain in the poll, a lead that means nothing given the survey's 4 percent margin for error."

    - "McCain garnered only 78 percent support from Republican voters interviewed a lower base of love than the high-80s support Florida Republicans are used to giving their nominees in recent statewide and presidential contests."

    - "The survey found 32 percent of Florida voters were more likely to support McCain if Romney was on the ticket, compared to 17 percent who said they would prefer Gov. Charlie Crist."

    - "Voters, in turn, would also rather see Crist stick with the job they elected him to do. 'If he was a second-term governor that might be different, but he's not even though his second year in office,' said Brad Coker, polling director for Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which surveyed 625 voters over Monday and Tuesday. 'Sometimes people get turned off if you're seen as a social climber, or in this case, a political climber.'"
    "Poll: Floridians prefer Mitt Romney as Republican John McCain's VP pick". See also "Obama, McCain in Florida dead heat", "Poll says Romney might boost McCain in Florida", "Floridians more likely to vote GOP with Romney on ticket than Crist" and "Florida again ‘epicenter’ of presidential race".

    "Hit by a bad economy and election-year politics, Gov. Charlie Crist's popularity is starting to fade a bit, according to a new poll." "Charlie Crist's 'shine' fades in poll".

    Knuckle-draggers in a tizzy

    "Crist signed an executive order Wednesday making it easier for released felons to register to vote and to track the status of their civil rights."

    The move builds on Crist's push, 16 months ago, to dismantle Florida's Jim Crow-era laws. But the timing — with less than six weeks before the voter registration deadline for the Nov. 4 presidential election — angered some of the very people who sought the change.

    The move is also expected to draw flak from opponents, including some Republicans who fear the decision could help presumed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in a battleground state. A high percentage of prison inmates are African-Americans who are more likely to vote Democratic.

    Public opinion on the issue is mixed. A Quinnipiac University poll in December 2006 showed 55 percent of Floridians opposed "automatic" restoration of civil rights.

    Under Crist's order, the Florida Parole Commission Web site (www.FLrestoremyrights.com) will allow released felons to print out copies of their restoration certificates, and all released felons will be given voter registration forms with the certificates.
    "Crist order makes it easier for released felons to vote". See also "Crist makes it easier for Florida's felons to vote" and "Florida will make it easier for ex-convicts to vote".

    DB 4 OB

    "Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Daytona Beach on Sept. 20 to address the Florida Democratic Party at the Ocean Center." "Party members notified Obama to visit Daytona Sept. 20".

    "Guess which state?"

    "When the presidential nominating roll call was taken Wednesday night, one state messed up its ballot count."

    Guess which state? Florida, the crucial swing state that brought America the dangling chad, the party that almost missed the convention because its "rogue primary" violated Democratic National Committee scheduling rules, the Democrats who flirted with having no electors because they couldn't muster a quorum in Tampa, proudly reported its delegate count for Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    The DNC Secretary made a point of welcoming the Sunshine State back into the fold, as delegates from other states applauded politely.

    And then, after Obama was nominated by acclamation, the Florida party said "oops."

    Instead of 136 votes for Obama, 51 for Clinton and one abstention, the corrected total was 135 for the victor, 59 for the New York senator who graciously asked the convention to make it unanimous for Obama, and no abstentions. The initial count, shouted to the convention rostrum by Florida Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman, indicated that two-dozen delegates might have taken a walk — rather than voting for Obama.

    Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said, however, it was just a big logistics snarl.
    "'Logistics snarl' causes mess-up in Fla. Dems' ballot count".

    Even Mr. Happy Face ...

    ... gets it: "Crist hints he might not be McCain's VP pick" ("Charlie Crist gave the first hint this morning that he will not be Arizona Senator John McCain's pick for a vice-presidential running mate on the Republican ticket.")

    When in doubt ...

    "Two things are clear from this week's voting in Broward: It helped to be an incumbent. And in a race without an incumbent, it helped to be a woman. Gender was especially pronounced in three-way races with two men and one woman. Unless there was an incumbent, the woman won." "Incumbents, women had their day at polls in Broward races".

    No shows

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "No question there were surprises following Tuesday's primary elections, which far too few voters participated in. They missed out. Maybe some were bailing water or had otherwise excellent reasons to duck their responsibility to vote — after all, the public services that will help Fay-battered residents recover come through their governments — all to be overseen by some of the men and women who won office Tuesday." "Election '08".

    "Think Florida's budget is bad now?"

    "State lawmakers heard Wednesday that they will face a $3.5 billion hole in the state budget next year, raising concerned cries in both parties about the future of Florida's health, education and criminal justice systems." "Lawmakers Face $3.5 Billion Gap In Next Year's Budget".

    "Think Florida's budget is bad now? You haven't seen anything yet. A top state economist said Wednesday that Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers could have to plug a $3.5 billion budget hole next year as Florida's housing-driven economy continues to sputter." "State economist says Florida facing more budget troubles". See also "Lagging economy could mean more cuts" and "Lagging economy could mean more cuts".

    "Feeney didn't get what he wanted"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "So why was Feeney's campaign calling registered Democrats before the primary, touting Curtis's positions on Social Security, health care and Iraq? Easy. Feeney preferred to face Curtis -- whom he beat in 2006 with 58 percent of the vote -- than Suzanne Kosmas, a New Smyrna Beach Realtor and former state representative. Kosmas had outraised Feeney in campaign contributions by nearly $150,000. And her moderate, business-friendly positions better match the conservative-leaning Congressional District 24. She's the more formidable opponent -- which is why Feeney wanted Democrats to vote for Curtis. Feeney didn't get what he wanted; Kosmas handily beat Curtis and will move on to the November ballot." "Attack ads injure when voters don't question".

    Move up

    "The Florida Supreme Court has moved up hearings on challenges to three proposed state constitutional amendments to meet a Sept. 5 ballot deadline. The justices Wednesday agreed to hear the cases two days before that date, when ballots for the Nov. 4 election will be set. Oral arguments previously were to be held three days after the deadline." "Supreme Court moves up amendment hearings".

    Maitland housewife goes overboard

    Mike Thomas: "The bloated St. Johns River is flooding Central Florida. So this might seem an odd time to praise the bloated bureaucracy that oversees it. But that is today's topic. Government can do something right." "Let water be water, and keep people away".

    Spare us the Sam Zell worship Mikey.

    "A test run for new optical scan technology"

    "So few Floridians went to the polls on Tuesday that it at least gave elections officials what amounted to a test run for new optical scan technology. Given the rate of scanner failure and the slowness of the new check-in procedures, supervisors should feel fortunate the general election is still 10 weeks away." ""Florida DEP secretary queried on pay bonuses".

    Tuff guy

    "What's the difference between a bonus and a temporary merit-based increase?"

    That's the question at the heart of a debate going on between a Lakeland state senator facing a re-election challenge and the head of the state's environmental regulatory agency.

    Republican Sen. J.D. Alexander sent a letter Thursday asking Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole where he got the authority to distribute roughly $78,000 in bonuses to staffers in the agency's general counsel's office in a bad budget year.

    Alexander runs a state Senate panel that oversees the governmental operations budget, so he can ask such questions. He pointed to state laws that say the Legislature has to sign off on lump-sum salary bonuses.
    "Florida DEP secretary queried on pay bonuses".

    Another suggestion ...

    ... don't fire 'em for unionizing.

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Information, indeed, is power, especially if it can put more money in your pocket. That's the mission of the civic-minded Prosperity Campaign, created in 2002 by the Human Services Coalition in Miami. It encourages local businesses to make sure that their employees, especially lower income workers, can access services and benefits available to help them save money, hold on to their homes, get out from under crushing debt and fulfill other vital needs." "Nurturing prosperity".

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