"Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama supports the plan developed by the Bush administration to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon by 2020 and on to Mars after that." "Obama favors fast track for new space ferry".
"Lieberman for Lieberman"
Dan Moffett: "Get ready to see a lot of Joe Lieberman in Florida from now until November. ... Floridians will hear him talk a lot about John McCain here in the weeks ahead, but make no mistake. This is really a Lieberman for Lieberman crusade in the works." "'Loserman' is still sore".
RPOF sounding desperate
"Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer told GOP activists Saturday not to worry about voter-registration trends favoring the Democrats or claims that Sen. John McCain represents "a third term" for President Bush."
Ya gotta feel sorry for the guy:
"America has not been attacked again since 2001 and that's something that this president should be commended for every day," Greer said. "I'll tell you one thing — I'll take a third term for George Bush any day, over a second term for Jimmy Carter, and that's what Barack Obama is going to be.""Florida GOP chairman dismisses McCain worries".
You have to give the wingnuts credit for their raising the level of political discourse: "The ad [to appear on the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity talk shows] features an 'Obama-like voice' saying he would make taxpayers pay for all abortions [and] ensure minors' abortions are concealed from their parents".
The "nuclear option" - "A state income tax"
Mike Thomas hints that Jebbie may have been, you know ... at teeny bit culpable for the state's current economic disaster. He notes this morning:
The tax revenues that poured into Tallahassee during Jeb's final years were as real as the economy that created them. But Bush used the bounty to slash billions in taxes.Thomas continues: "Florida taxes cannot be fixed in their present configuration. They are levied against too narrow a slice of the economy. Tax reform has become one group trying to shift its tax burden to another group. And that is dragging us into an ever-darker black hole."
And now Charlie Crist finds himself billions in the hole, facing the greatest budget meltdown since the Great Depression.
The only way to create a stable and fair tax system is a state income tax backed by responsible spending."Of course, "The Florida Chamber of Commerce doesn't see it that way. It wants more cuts. It wants legislators to scurry back up to Tallahassee and concoct yet another amendment."
Fifth time's a charm."Mike Thomas: Economy's busted; politics is broken - it's time for the nuclear option".
This is the same bunch that trumpeted its visionary "Cornerstone" report last year, laying out a long-term strategy to ensure Florida's future prosperity. It included a call for "significant infrastructure investments" that would total tens of billions of dollars. ...
When asked to reconcile this with its call for more budget cuts, a chamber spokesman talked about focusing on these priorities instead of building "dog parks and water parks." ...
Thomas concludes: "But Florida is all about immediate gratification, not long-term planning. So don't plan on any solutions, just a never-ending demand for more amendments."
From the "values" crowd
"Across Central Florida, school districts have had to cut spending deeply -- Orange alone faces a $70 million loss from the state -- and shed thousands of teachers." "Now teachers in Central Florida have to 'claw at pennies'".
On the other side of the ledger, millionaires no longer have to pay that "insidious" state intangibles tax on investments.
"The Barack Obama strategy to win Florida"
Update: It's working - "Herald-Tribune: Obama gains on McCain in state".
Adam C. Smith: "The Barack Obama strategy to win Florida in 2008 is pretty basic and relies on big spending and big enthusiasm among supporters:"
1. A massive voter mobilization effort to register and turn out a good chunk of the 5.1-million eligible, unregistered voters, and mobilize the nearly 1-million registered African-Americans and 18- to 29-year-olds who did not vote four years ago."To capture Florida, Barack Obama thinks, acts, spends big".
2. An equally huge, volunteer-driven effort to win over the roughly 20 percent of undecided Florida voters who won't make up their minds until well into the fall.
"John McCain is going to own the George Bush economy around his neck in this election. He was central to its architecture, he was one of its fiercest defenders in America. Florida has lost more jobs over the last year than any other state in the country," Obama's national campaign manager, David Plouffe, said Friday in Tallahassee, sounding decidedly unintimidated by the Florida GOP's proven get-out-the-vote machine, given the intensity of Obama's support.
"Last year, Michigan and Florida Democrats were being told they would lose all their votes at the Democratic National Convention if they moved up their presidential primaries. Now, the same committee that stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates for violating party rules by holding early primaries is poised to suggest those delegates regain their full voting powers when the Denver convention starts in eight days." "Florida, Michigan May Get Full Votes At Convention".
"The murky ride that's taking us to the privatization of Alligator Alley"
Michael Mayo: "Last week brought one of the weirder public meetings I've seen. Finished in 22 minutes, no questions or discussion, just some transportation bureaucrats obliquely briefing other transportation bureaucrats about documents the public and media couldn't see. Welcome to the murky ride that's taking us to the privatization of Alligator Alley." "Time to throw the brakes on Alligator Alley lease plan".
What's wrong with Florida?
"We're very confident that Florida continues to trend as Republican, going back to Jeb Bush, Mel Martinez, Charlie Crist, of course the President Bush elections." "History on our side, Republican leader says".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is right to be asking questions about the unholy alliance between credit card companies and some state universities. Any time a public institution is granting market exclusivity in exchange for millions of dollars, the deal deserves scrutiny." "College credit offers overstep".
Aaron Deslatte: "If last week's economic predictions bear out, Crist will be well into his 2010 re-election campaign before Florida's sales- and housing-dependent economy starts to dig itself out." "Crist accelerates construction projects to revive economy".
"The Legislature sued; the governor lost"
Steve Geller in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
"Crist signed a controversial gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. Despite requests from me and other lawmakers to include the Florida Legislature in the negotiations, the governor claimed the exclusive right to negotiate and enter into the agreement with the Seminoles."Rescue gambling deal by working with both pari-mutuels and Seminoles".
The Legislature sued; the governor lost.
The Florida Supreme Court opinion is not final, but once it is, the Seminoles would be forced to stop their new card games and Class III slot machines. The matter should not end there."
"McCain's campaign says he will land in Orlando Sunday night. He will be speaking at the 109th Annual Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States National Convention in Orlando Monday at 9 a.m." "McCain to travel to Florida for event".
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "The idea that eco-tourism could compensate for the loss of 1,700 jobs is unrealistic. Eco-tourism can't happen in the Glades until Lake Okeechobee gets healthy. A better, if far from certain, idea is an inland port - a warehouse and distribution hub, fed by shipping. A state study identified a need in South Florida based on cooperation among the Port of Palm Beach, which proposed it, the Port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale."
The editors argue, however, that "Palm Beach County commiting now to the Florida Crystals proposal would set up a premature and possibly needless competition between the Florida environment and the Glades economy. Only a longer, closer look will determine if Florida Crystals has the best site for an inland port." "Avoid a confrontation over Everglades' future".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper did the voters of Florida a favor last week when he struck down the so-called ''tax-swap'' amendment from the Nov. 4 ballot. Proposed Amendment 5 is a legislative ruse, a deal under which Florida voters are given a property-tax reduction in exchange for the promise that the Legislature would somehow make up the loss in revenue for secondary education in Florida. Such a deal. " "Right call on Amendment 5".
"[W]ithin minutes of the Amendment 5 ruling, the Florida Chamber of Commerce called for a special legislative session to consider property-tax cuts. A rival business group, Associated Industries of Florida, said that was the last thing Florida should do."
"None of us want a special session right now on property taxes," AIF President Barney Bishop said."Capitol View".
The biggest reason: Lawmakers have zero interest in what feels like the 345th special session on property taxes. "You couldn't get a special session in the Florida Legislature right now if you paid every one of them $1,000," Bishop said.
Lawmakers also have punted budget management to the governor, giving him responsibility for tapping into reserves to try to balance the state's books -- and assure that they themselves don't have to do anything before the Nov. 4 election.
That leaves Crist with the capital stage to himself. And by week's end, there were few signs that he had anything big up his sleeve.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "the proposed amendment cloaked substantial facts in order to aim for an emotional response from purposefully misinformed voters anticipating lower taxes and no harm done. Give those voters a clearer picture. They're likely to react less emotionally and more rationally once they discover that overall taxes won't necessarily be lower, considering the shift to the sales tax, while overall services in the state will almost certainly be poorer, beginning with the already begging education system." "Judge sees Amendment 5 for what it is: deception".
News paper company employees biting the dust
Randy Schultz: "For several months, those of us at The Post have had the sense of watching an approaching hurricane, knowing that the track wouldn't change. Last week, it hit. On Tuesday, lots of our friends and colleagues walked out the door after taking buyouts. There were handshakes, hugs and tears." "Cranky, wonderful readers". Letters to the editor: "Longtime readers upset as familiar names go".
"Wexler, D-Delray Beach, who went against the prevailing sentiment for Hillary Clinton in his congressional district to be an early backer of Barack Obama, has been tapped to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this month." "Wexler to speak at national convention".
If you're into kartoons
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel joins the Orlando Sentinel in the komic book klub:"Redesign: Bold new look aimed at helping readers".