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 Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Dry Run"

    "Florida voters will cast ballots Tuesday in the first statewide election held with new optical-scan voting machines, in a low-key primary seen as a dry run for November." "Paper trail of primary tests Florida's readiness".

    More: "Primary elections: Polls open at 7 a.m.". See also "Florida primary will set congressional races".

    Village idiot goes national

    "U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart flew into enemy territory Monday, tapped as a star [sic] of a Republican rapid-response team that is aggressively looking to put its spin on the Democratic convention. From a sleek, high-tech war room set up in a brick bunker about a mile from where Democrats are converging this week, Diaz-Balart zapped Barack Obama and praised John McCain -- in English and Spanish -- on radio, television and in print." "Diaz-Balart jabs on Obama turf".

    On the home front, the Miami Herald's Lesley Clark writes that "the Miami Republican's Democratic challenger was nipping at his heels from the Denver hotel where Florida's Democrats are camped out."

    Raul Martinez reiterated a challenge to debate Diaz-Balart in Denver, before cameras.

    ''He won't do it at home,'' Martinez said. ``So let's go here. We're both here.''

    Democrats believe they have their best shot in years to take out one of Miami's three Cuban-American Republicans in Congress in races that are attracting national attention -- and loads of money. All three Democrats in the races have outpaced the GOP incumbents in fundraising. ...

    And he's about to have national exposure: His campaign said he has been tapped as one of five congressional challengers to share the stage Tuesday night with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who chairs the national committee charged with boosting the Democratic majority in Congress.

    The two other Floridians are Democrats Joe Garcia, who is challenging Diaz-Balart's brother, Mario, and Christine Jennings, who is seeking election two years after losing a tight race to Republican Vern Buchanan.

    Democrats say voters in Diaz-Balart's majority-Republican district are increasingly more interested in healthcare and mortgage foreclosures and accuse Diaz-Balart of focusing almost entirely on Cuba. Martinez told one interviewer that Diaz-Balart, whose aunt was once married to Fidel Castro, was using his congressional seat to fight a ''family feud'' with Castro. ''You can't do that,'' he said. ``It's like the Hatfields and McCoys.''

    Diaz-Balart called the remarks ''offensive'' to the Cuban political prisoners he says he views as ''heroes,'' and shrugged off Martinez's calls for a televised debate.
    I kinda like the theme: Jebbie suck-up is having a "family feud" with Castro, just "like the Hatfields and McCoys".

    "Ability to pay"

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that "in South Florida and nationwide, some insured patients are being asked by hospitals to pay larger portions of their bills upfront — and sometimes hospitals will not do the procedures until they get their co-payments."

    Hospitals administer emergency treatment without asking for payment first, but elective or scheduled procedures — anything from nose jobs to chemotherapy — can be withheld depending on a patient's ability to pay.

    An informal survey of 22 hospitals in Broward and Palm Beach counties found that all have required upfront payments for elective surgeries for several years. The change that might shock patients, hospital officials said, is the larger amounts requested as insurance companies require patients to make higher out-of-pocket payments.
    "Sign in and pay now: Insured patients finding they must put down higher fees upfront for care".


    Adam C. Smith: "Florida Democrats revel in gained ground". See also "Floridians get warm embrace at Democratic convention" and "Treasure Coast Democratic delegates ready for their part at national convention".

    Dan Ruth: "In June, as Sen. Barack Obama was tidying up his hold on the Democratic presidential nomination, former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman huffed that although she might very well bring herself to vote for Obama, she most certainly was not going to offer to volunteer to work on his campaign. Fast forward two months to the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and now Freedman was more reticent, telling an out-of-town newspaper she was thinking of not voting in the presidential election this November." "Courting That Critical Sandy Vote". Scott Maxwell: "With Hillary in the house, it's not all about Obama"

    Even ...

    Cotterell is forced to do it: "Democratic Convention blog: That's a wrap for day 1".

    Better luck next time

    "Florida insurance regulators Monday told State Farm Florida that it couldn't raise property insurance rates. The state's largest private property insurer had requested an average 47.1 percent increase. " "State Farm denied 47 percent property insurance rate hike". See also "State to nix State Farm rate hike".

    Blame the feds

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board says that "before throwing stones at Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, the congresswoman should have accepted responsibility for the federal government's failure to protect communities from criminals who enter this country illegally."

    Though she bungled the delivery, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite was right Monday to call for a federal investigation of how two illegal immigrants with arrest records were free to allegedly carry out a string of violent robberies and rapes.

    This region was let down by a system that released two illegal immigrants who went on to terrorize women and restaurant owners. Lessons must be learned to prevent other innocent citizens from facing a similar horror.
    "Search For Culprit In Immigrants' Crime Spree Starts On Capitol Hill".

    Lazy bums

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "This area's homeless quandary is perfectly framed by recent news out of Seminole County:

    More than 600 school-age children are expected to spend at least part of the year in motels, shelters or tents in the woods. An additional 450 homeless children in Seminole County are younger than 5 years old.

    Those numbers were compiled by The Children's Cabinet, an all-volunteer group hoping that the statistics will spur local leaders to take action.

    The report helps blow away stereotypes that homeless people are just a bunch of bums hanging out in downtown Orlando. Despair runs deep in this area, with as many as 9,000 homeless people in Central Florida."
    "Homeless children in Seminole reflect big-picture challenge in finding remedies".

    'Ya reckon?

    "State and national leaders of the Democratic Party told Florida delegates Monday that the state's 27 electoral votes will probably decide whether Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain moves into the White House next January." "DNC: Florida will play key role in '08 general election".

    "Tuition differential fees"

    "Tuition differential fees were approved by the 2007 Legislature and allow FSU, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida to levy extra charges for additional faculty. The fees will apply to newly enrolled undergraduates — freshmen and transfers — including students with Bright Futures scholarships." "Tuition increase hits new 'Noles".

    "We have a false sense of our dryness"

    Mike Thomas; "The St. Johns River Water Management District operates a huge flood-bypass canal on the Brevard-Indian River county border that empties into the Indian River Lagoon. It should only have to be used in storms so severe they'd only come once every 50 years. It has been used twice in the past four years."

    I recall state biologists going bonkers in the 1980s because the state was using various plants to define whether or not an area was a wetland. But the plants dried up in dry spells. And so a piece of land that was in fact a wetland would lose that designation long enough for a builder to bring in his bulldozers.

    I also recall the parade of dump trucks loading up fill dirt in West Orange and hauling it off to build up house pads in low-lying East Orange. More than 40,000 people moved into the Econ River flood plain during the 1990s, from Oviedo down to Avalon Park. Each house pad that goes in displaces that much more water.
    "Florida has false sense of dryness - until soaked".

    Sheldon is the one

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The gubernatorial appointment of a state agency chief typically turns few heads outside of Tallahassee, or inside the capital, for that matter. Gov. Charlie Crist, however, managed to make a noteworthy choice recently in replacing an inspiring administrator, Bob Butterworth." "George Sheldon is the right choice".

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