"If Barack Obama wants to win Central Florida ..."
"If Barack Obama wants to win Central Florida and carry the state in November, he'll need the votes of Hispanics, who constitute 14 percent of the region's registered voters."
For that to happen, Obama must prove himself as the candidate who can transcend the everyday differences that separate blacks and Hispanics.Nevertheless,Hispanics in Central Florida are predominantly Democratic. Of the 194,000 Hispanic registered voters in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and Volusia counties, 42 percent are Democrats; 20 percent, Republican.
In Central Florida, the two minority groups have many issues in common -- discrimination, health care, public education -- but diverge when it comes to language, jobs and immigration.
Just as recent national polls have reflected, many Central Florida Hispanics are overcoming their initial skepticism to support Obama. "A unifying election?".
Big dogs in Florida for Obama (and/or fundraising)
"Hillary Rodham Clinton makes a swing through Florida on behalf of Barack Obama on Monday. She will speak at a rally in Tampa at All Peoples Life Center, 6105 E Sligh Ave. Doors open at 5 p.m. Admission is free, but a ticket is required. They are available today at the following locations, first come, first served: Tampa Campaign for Change Office, 817 E Washington St., between noon and 9 p.m., or the North Tampa Campaign for Change Office, 14519 N 18th St., from noon to 9 p.m." "Clinton back on road for Obama in Florida". See also "Clinton swings through Fla., campaigning for Obama".
"New York Sen. Charles "Chuck" Schumer urged Jewish voters across South Florida on Sunday to back Barack Obama's presidential bid, touting the Democratic nominee's record on Israel. Schumer, D-N.Y., visited temples and community centers in Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton and Aventura as part of a statewide strategy by Obama's campaign to reach out to the Jewish community, many of whom had supported Hillary Clinton." "Schumer visits South Florida to tell of Obama's support for Israel". See also "Democratic Caucus leader rallies Jewish voters in Boca for Obama".
Must feed campaign contributors
"Despite a rising tide of opposition on both coasts, Florida is plowing ahead with a plan to lease Alligator Alley to a private contract for 50 to 75 years to raise short-term cash for other transportation needs. The 78-mile toll road could be in the hands of private interests by this time next year. Six firms -- most of them foreign-owned that specialize in large infrastructure asset investments -- have been short-listed."
"The proposal has drawn heavy criticism from elected leaders and residents on both coasts. They view the lease as giving away a valuable state asset that currently generates $23 million a year in revenue." 'Ya reckon? Nevertheless, this
potential lease of Alligator Alley is part of a larger trend toward privatizing major infrastructure assets in the United States."Private plan for the Alley is advancing".
The federal highway trust fund, which pays for roads, bridge repairs and mass transit, is running multi-billion dollar deficits and on the verge of bankruptcy.
The orgy of Congressional earmarking politics has drained billions from needed construction and maintenance jobs toward lesser priority pork.
"Both Universal and Disney have made a habit of giving free rooms and suites to Republicans and Democrats to hold events there."
Fundraising records show Universal Orlando has given the Florida GOP $231,000 in free rooms and event passes in 2007-08 for conferences, fundraisers and meetings."Fiddling and fundraising".
Universal has given Democrats $31,500 in "in-kind" contributions.
Walt Disney World has given $94,000 worth of free room and tickets to Republicans -- and $134,000 to Democrats, most of it for the party's state convention last October.
And over here, in the fiction section of the library ...
"After months of rumors he was on McCain's short list of vice presidential contenders, Crist now returns his energies to Florida where he must deliver the state for McCain and work to revive the state's economy." "Crist's task: Help McCain win Florida".
A priority thing
"During tough budget times, local governments have considered harsh measures to balance their budgets. Yet in many cases, one line item endures: their paid lobbyists." "Lobbyists spared as budgets slashed".
Palin lite: HD 56 today, then the White House
"When local Republican leaders announced Rachel Burgin  as their candidate for House District 56, the news was as surprising as incumbent Trey Traviesa's decision to quit the race a few days earlier."
She's new to the political limelight. She doesn't have a college degree. Although she doesn't own a home, she seeks to represent eastern Hillsborough County, where suburbanites worry about insurance rates and property taxes."But doubts seem to be fading within the party as high-ranking Republicans hosted a Tallahassee fundraiser for Burgin on Wednesday."
Raised in Plant City, the third of seven children, she aspired to do Christian humanitarian work but was drawn into politics when her brother, Josh Burgin, asked her to join his District 62 House campaign in 2004."GOP warms to new face".
It was the summer before her senior year at Bob Jones University, a South Carolina Baptist college, and she ended up postponing the next semester as her political career gained traction.
Although Josh Burgin lost his race, Republicans took note of Rachel Burgin's grass roots effectiveness.
"She was a big part of the success that we had," Josh Burgin said. "She is a magnet for friends. She has a great way with people."
Traviesa said it seemed like she was everywhere.
"She was waving signs," he said. "She was at meetings at night. Handing out fliers. Knocking on doors in neighborhoods."
The Bush/Cheney campaign made her director of a Plant City office
Florida's "diploma" inflation
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Excluding GED recipients would lower Florida's official graduation rate. But it would raise the bar to a level of honesty that should become a national standard, and perhaps it would make state leaders finally take seriously the link between good education, a good work force and economic development." "It's about the diploma".
Run, Howdy Doody, Run!
"Incumbent Republican Charlie Bronson is leaving office, and politicos in both parties are buzzing with potential candidates for the Cabinet position." In addition to state Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis,
other potential Republican contenders include state Reps. Marty Bowen of Haines City and Baxter Troutman of Winter Haven, and U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow. Potential Democrats? The names we hear include state Rep. Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee, U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd of Monticello, and former state Reps. Rick Minton of Fort Pierce and Dwight Stansel of Wellborn."Agriculture post generates early interest".
Off topic: Palin's "qualifications"
The Palin-McCain campaign has finally selected a "journalist" with whom she will deign to respond to "questions".
The "journalist", one "Charles Gibson", recently wrote:
"Once you know about her daughter's pregnancy, once you know about her husband's political interest in the Alaska Independent Party, once you know about the special nature of their latest child, I think that's enough ...""ABC News' Gibson lands first Palin interview". No surprise, then, why the Palin-McCain campaign selected Gibson; hardly a badge of honor.
Here's the problem, Chuckie: the GOPers are putting Palin's record as a "mother" at issue - they are saying we should vote for her, among many other reasons, because she is a mother. No lessthan
President Bush, in a statement, praised McCain for choosing "a working mother with a track record of getting things done."No candidate, in this race or any other I can recall, is listing "working father" as a qualification; Palin is the only candidate I've ever seen riding the "working mother" train.
That being the case, aren't voters entitled to know about how good of a "working mother", or heck just a "mother", she is. The GOPers have put her "status" as a "mother" in question - so, this is a question that should be asked:
Q: The McCain campaign claims that your success as a "working mother" is one of the reasons people should voter for the McCain-Palin ticket. That being the case, would you not agree, particularly as a conservative Christian opposed to out-of-wedlock-copulation and teen pregnancies, that you have been unsuccessful in that regard?Here are some more "Questions Gibson should ask Palin", but never will.
Oh, and remember this: "Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, told the following joke at a Republican fundraiser: 'Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?' McCain joked about the then-President's then-teenage daughter. 'Because her father is Janet Reno.'"
Bought and paid for
"Democrat Fred Taylor thought his table at the Florida Health Care Association's conference last month would be a good place to drum up support and donations for his Florida Senate campaign. After all, he's an associate member and a former nursing home consultant."
But he got a lot of "no.""Fasano's war chest dwarfs the competition's".
Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was named Legislator of the Year at the same conference in Orlando. Nursing homes and assisted living centers also have contributed at least $10,000 to the re-election bid of Fasano, who is a member of a Senate health care committee.
While Taylor scrimps for money, Fasano has raised nearly $490,000, more than all but three other Senate candidates in the entire state.
We don' want any taxes ...
Aaron Deslatte reminds us that, although "Business and industry groups were quick to laud the plan's demise [Amendment 5] ... they have also been part of the problem, pushing lawmakers to tailor tax relief to stimulate the economy, then digging in their heels when the solution fashioned might lead to higher taxes on business services. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, and many other industry groups were among the earliest backers of tax cuts -- and the fiercest critics of Amendment 5." "Amendment 5's demise stalls fervor for tax cuts in Florida".
A different view: "More Property Tax Proposals Likely to Surface".
Tom Blackburn on "Evaporating money, middle class".
From the "values" crowd
"As many as 7,500 Floridians with developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, autism and severe mental retardation, will be impacted by budget reductions at Florida's Agency for Persons with Disabilities ...". "Disabled Woman Faces Severe Cuts in State Aid".
The Zell Corporation ...
... wants you to know that it's all just so much stagecraft and manipulation ... "Not so off-the-cuff: How Obama works his magic on the crowds".
They kill them union troublemakers in Columbia ...
... but the Zell Corporation has no problem with that: The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "In Florida, hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on international trade. Thousands of companies in the state sell their products abroad. Manufactured goods are the top exports."
Florida already exports billions of dollars of goods a year to the three countries [Colombia, Panama and South Korea]. And history shows that when trade agreements have been approved with other countries, Florida's exports to those countries have grown."We think: With exports a bright spot in the economy, Congress should approve 3 agreements".
In a compromise last year with Democratic leaders in Congress, the Bush administration agreed to require higher labor and environmental standards from Colombia, Panama and South Korea. But the leaders, under pressure from union supporters, are still balking.
With polls showing the economy is the No. 1 worry for voters, and the latest figures on growth showing that trade is a tonic, those leaders would be wise to stop stalling and pass the agreements.
Get over it
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "It's time to move on and deport Al-Arian".
"A once-hot race for the state Legislature so far looks like a dud. Just months ago, Democrats trumpeted the candidacy of Joseph Puglia, who is challenging Republican incumbent Robert Schenck for the seat in House District 44, which covers most of Hernando County and reaches into north central Pasco County. The state party even ranked the race near the top of its priority list and promised help. But now — two months before Election Day — the Puglia campaign is still nonexistent." "Democrats' House District 44 candidate has yet to campaign".