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 19, 2008

Raw political courage

    More pusillanimity from Charlie, who "said Tuesday he plans to tap reserves to cover part of a predicted $1.47 billion state budget deficit, but not the entire shortfall." "Crist to tap reserves for part of budget deficit".

    Beyond the pale

    In Orlando, what used to be a decent person actually "said Obama placed his political self-interest ahead of his country's." "McCain says rival sought to 'legislate failure' in Iraq". See also "McCain: Obama legislated Iraqi failure".

    McCain is apparently willing to say or do anything: "McCain in Orlando: Obama lacks judgment to command nation". More on McSame's embarrassing display here: "McCain tells vets he's more prepared".

    In turn, the white faces who run the VFW were abjectly rude to the uppity Obama, apparently upset that the boy doesn't recognize the role of performing KP duty for Johnnie - top gun - McCain (recall that "John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line of American military elites. McCain’s father, John Jr., and grandfather, John Sr., were both full Admirals. A destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, is named after both of them. While his son was held captive in Hanoi, John McCain Jr., from 1968 to 1972, was the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Pacific Command; Admiral McCain was in charge of all US forces in the Pacific including those fighting in Vietnam.")

    Consider this: "Addressing a racially divided audience of veterans Tuesday, Barack Obama" said

    ''Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country,'' Obama said, drawing a mixed reaction, as many black veterans clapped passionately and most of their white colleagues listened politely [sic]. ...

    ''I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition . . . because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest,'' Obama said. ``Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same. ''
    That doesn't sound "polite" to me.
    "Obama tries to reach vets in Orlando".

    Who knew?

    The The Tampa Tribune reminds us that "when Florida voters adopted the alien land law in 1926, it targeted Asian immigrants, who were barred from becoming naturalized citizens purely because of their race."

    Florida is one of two states where an "alien land law" remains on the books. Proposals to ask Florida voters to eliminate the restriction failed in the Legislature for three years before Geller successfully shepherded it through in 2007 with the help of Rep. Ronald Brise, D-North Miami.
    "Land Law Amendment Targets 'Vestiges Of Racism'".


    "Florida's education board approved a federal pilot program on Tuesday to give the state more flexibility dealing with troubled schools. ... Under the federal Differential Accountability Program, schools that fail to meet standards under the federal No Child Left Behind program will receive targeted help from education experts. The new program is a softening of the current program. In the past, schools were required to take specific, federally mandated steps at specific times if they failed to make adequate yearly progress under the law." "Florida board considers No Child Left Behind changes". See also "Fla. board considers No Child Left Behind changes".

    CD 24

    "For six years, U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, has easily held on to the congressional district he helped draw while he was a state legislator. This year, though, he faces Democrat Suzanne Kosmas, who can match him in fundraising and has name recognition from her time as a state representative. Democrats nationally are hoping she'll take the seat. But although both Feeney and Kosmas are the presumptive nominees, they must fend off primary challenges next week by Republican Jason Davis, a decorated war veteran, and Democrat Clint Curtis, a computer programmer who also ran in 2006." "U.S. House race for District 24 is a run for the money".


    W. Marc Hardesty, a board member of St. Johns Riverkeeper, a privately funded ombudsman monitoring the ecological health of the river in northeast Florida, writes that

    The Georgia Pacific toilet paper plant located in Palatka is running a pollution pipe into the middle of the St. Johns River, which will belch 23 million gallons of water of questionable quality into the river each and every day. Amazingly, the state Department of "Environmental" Protection is in agreement with this scheme.

    Unfortunately, the Georgia Pacific Corp. is not alone. The St. Johns River Water Management District, another agency with board members who live in our area, is attempting to issue permits to drain up to 262 million gallons of water a day for other uses in Seminole County and adjoining counties in Central Florida. District officials claim that the aquifer groundwater is being depleted, yet ironically, they issued a permit for an out-of-state company to pump 177 million gallons of water a day from this same aquifer to sell as bottled water out of state. Go figure!
    "Robbing a river of its saintly name".

    Poor Vern

    "A third complaint has been filed by a former employee of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's car dealership, Sarasota Ford, claiming the company employed at least eight illegal immigrants. Richard Thomas, a former director of fixed operations at Sarasota Ford, alleges in a lawsuit filed in Sarasota County Circuit Court that Buchanan had illegal immigrants working both at his dealership and at the congressman's home." "Third lawsuit filed against Buchanan".

    Welcome to Florida

    "McCain and Democrat Barack Obama got a crash course in hurricane politics Monday as they reached the nation's largest battleground state at the same time as Tropical Storm Fay. " "Storm's wind, rain upstage McCain, Obama campaigns".

    Mail ballots

    "You can vote early. You can vote on Election Day, Aug. 26. You can even vote from your living room. That's easier than it used to be because absentee ballots no longer require a reason, such as being out of town on Election Day. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Wednesday. The request has to be at the Supervisor of Elections Office by phone, mail or in person by 5 p.m. that day." "Absentee ballot deadline Wednesday".

    Wanna bet on this one?

    "Among the finalists for a Florida Supreme Court vacancy this fall is a key player in the 2000 presidential recount, Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga, 55, of West Palm Beach."

    In the heat of the 2000 recount, with the world's attention on the county's butterfly ballot, Labarga threw out the county canvassing's board's rule that dimpled ballots -- where the punch hole indicating a candidate wasn't poked all the way through -- shouldn't count. Instead, he allowed the canvassing board to review each ballot.

    And later, he denied a bid by a conservative law group, Judicial Watch, to keep examining Palm Beach County's presidential ballots. Some 3,300 ballots were in Al Gore's sights for a recount.

    "I think these ballots need to be up in Tallahassee now so whatever needs to be done can be done quickly," Labarga said at the time.

    He is among five finalists for the seat occupied by the retiring Raoul G. Cantero, culled from a list of 50 applicants for Cantero's seat and one other spot on the seven-member high court. Applicants were reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission.
    "West Palm's Labarga among finalists for state Supreme Court".

    Busy bees

    "Only four of the eight incumbents invited to appear on recent televised forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Hillsborough County bothered to show. State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, whose district crosses the bay, confirmed but did not appear. Other no-shows: State Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and Republican Hillsborough County Commissioners Ken Hagan and Brian Blair. None had the time. Tampa's Tiger Bay Club, the leading bipartisan political club in the county, has had the same problem, club president April Schiff said. " "Incumbent arrogance".


    "Husband of congresswoman dies at 68".

    When you wear $520 loafers and own 10 homes ...

    ... it is funny to hear McBush claims he "sympathizes with homeowners battered by soaring insurance costs, but he was not prepared to endorse a national risk pool as a way to bring those prices down." "McCain: No to storm fund; yes to NASA money".

    Substandard health care bids

    "Nine firms want to market low-cost health care plans to about 4-million uninsured adults in Florida under Gov. Charlie Crist's new "Cover Florida" program." "Nine firms submit health care plans to cover 4-million adults in state".

    What makes it "substandard"? To begin with, "Insurers can offer lower premiums under the program because it exempts the insurance coverage from more than 50 state-mandated benefits." "Crist's health insurance plan draws low-cost bid".

    Did he really need the shoe that badly?

    "A shoe lost by a Florida man while fighting off a bear that hurt his 8-year-old son has been found in the stomach of the bear authorities killed because they suspected it in the attack." And isn't this classy:

    said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that rangers called him Friday to say they'd found his other shoe "inside the bear's stomach." The boys "really got a kick to hear that," he wrote.

    He doesn't expect to see the shoe again. "I don't think there is much left of the shoe to send back," he said.

    But Evan has hopes for his own memento. "They do have the bloody Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt that Evan had on and plan to send that back," Pala said.
    "Fla. man's shoe found in stomach of bear".

    The Fay effect

    "One-third of Florida schools to close because of Fay".


    "Florida's largest property insurance company — state-run Citizens Property — is in good financial shape as Tropical Storm Fay threatens the peninsula. " "Insurer says it's prepared for hurricane".

    "Stunning settlement"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Here's the take-away message from the stunning settlement struck between Allstate Corp. and Florida insurance regulators: Getting tough works. It is why Allstate, the state's fourth-largest property insurer, went from claiming it needed a 42 percent rate hike in homeowners insurance to agreeing to a 5.6 percent premium reduction." "Score one for consumers". The Miami Herald editorial board: "Win for homeowners".

    The old "colored blocks" argument

    "An influential legislative money manager used colored blocks Monday to illustrate his argument that an imperiled tax-swap amendment would wind up costing Floridians a lot more than they save. " "Haridopolos: Tax-swap would cost Floridians".

    Wouldn't want to upset the country clubbers

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "New rules exempting golf courses and athletic fields from year-round water limits may seem unfair, but the policy is really not as pro-business as it appears. Most large water users are already conserving water through caps, recyclable waste water and other measures. It's homeowners who are the real water guzzlers, and that's where the South Florida Water Management District's efforts should focus. The proposed rules would make twice-a-week watering restrictions for homeowners permanent. Sure, that may irk some homeowners, but most residents are unaware that golf courses and other businesses already operate under strict limits." "Certain exemptions from water restrictions OK".

    At the trough

    "Leon County Commissioner Ed DePuy worked briefly two years ago as a $3,000-a-month consultant for Booth Properties, the developer of the Centerville Farms project that is at the heart of a recent ethics complaint filed against him by the Florida Police Benevolent Association. " "Leon County Commissioner DePuy worked for developer named in ethics complaint".

    Florida's rugged infrastructure

    "FPL reports power outages across the state".


    Joel Engelhardt: "Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman fears that the fight brewing over an inland port in the cane fields south of Lake Okeechobee has many of the same elements as the fight over where to build The Scripps Research Institute."

    No county administrator in his right mind would welcome that comparison. The dispute over Scripps' location devoured years of staff time, pitted commissioners against one another, polarized the community and wasted millions. It ended when a federal judge blocked construction at Mecca Farms and commissioners bickered their way to building Scripps at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter.

    From the start, the scientists were pawns in a bigger game to assure that development would continue its inexorable western rush. To many environmentalists, hidden agendas are again at work to assure an influential landowner, the Fanjul family-owned Florida Crystals, a cut from the state's planned $1.75 billion buyout of U.S. Sugar.
    "Saving the Glades: Scripps 2?".

    Was it a union contractor?

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Tropical Storm Fay should be filling up Tampa Bay Water's 15-billion gallon reservoir and drowning any chance of a regional water shortage next year. But the region won't get that one benefit from the storm's path because of another troubling miscue at Tampa Bay Water, the regional water supplier. The utility is keeping the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir in south Hillsborough at half-capacity because cracks - some six inches wide and several inches deep - have developed in the walls. And next spring the utility will have to drain the reservoir even further for a closer look at what's causing the concrete to fail." "Public Needs Straight Answers On A Reservoir That Can't Be Filled".

    "The cause of the cracks so far remains uncertain. But divers have found that near the base of the reservoir's walls, the concrete is only three inches thick, though engineering specifications required 12 inches."

    Florida snow

    "Meth lab falls on Pensacola hotel guest's head".

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