"Nearly one out of five of the state's unaffiliated voters live in this swath between Tampa and Daytona Beach, and an even higher percentage are considered 'persuadable' Democrats and Republicans."
''I-4 is a little bit of South Florida, a little bit of North Florida, a little bit of Yankee transplants, and a little bit of old South rednecks,'' said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. ``It may be the best microcosm of Florida.''"Florida's I-4 corridor is key election battleground".
During three days of interviewing voters in 10 communities along I-4, The Miami Herald found rampant financial worries, widespread anger toward the current administration -- and a fair number of the fence-sitters that both campaigns seek.
"So far ..."
Aaron Deslatte: "Although Florida has weathered the storm so far, state money managers were anxiously waiting on Washington, too."
For three weeks, locals and the state have been virtually shut out from bonding on the financial markets. Interest rates for governments to borrow money soared from 1 percent to 8 percent in two weeks, state officials said."Credit crunch could put crimp in Florida's plans".
"The municipal market for all practical purposes is frozen. It's closed," Ben Watkins, Florida's bond finance director, told Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet last week.
The state's holdings in troubled Wall Street institutions such as AIG and Washington Mutual were showing more than $1 billion in unrealized losses last month, although the state's credit rating is excellent.
Florida has $21 billion in variable-rate debt, but only about $100 million in short-term securities that could suffer near-term losses.
"Obama has been working harder than John McCain"
"Need evidence that Barack Obama has been working harder than John McCain to stir up energy and excitement in the Sunshine State? Consider the emissaries that the campaigns have dispatched for Florida campaign events over the last couple of weeks."
McCain-Palin surrogates in Florida: Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe participated in a three day veterans bus tour for McCain two weeks ago."Obama's stars are shining in Florida".
Obama-Biden surrogates (partial list): Bill Clinton; Michelle Obama and Jill Biden; former New York Mayor Ed Koch; actor Forest Whitaker; actor Cynthia Nixon; retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration; former White House antiterrorism adviser Richard Clarke; Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning; NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing; actor Tyler Perry[*]; Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion; Grammy winner Olga Tanon.
"During a two-day visit to Florida, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden will hold a 'community gathering' Wednesday at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome for what campaign officials call a 'fairly detailed' talk on the economy. He will hold a similar event Tuesday in Lakeland." "Biden To Speak In Tampa, Lakeland". More: "Joe Biden to hold rallies in Lakeland, Tampa".
- - - - - - - - - -
*FYI: "Tyler Perry's Alleged Role As Union Buster Becoming Big Obama Embarrassment?"
"That dream has been shattered"
"A shake-up on Wall Street and financial traumas across the country once again have made the economy the dominant issue of a very close presidential campaign. Florida once represented an escape from such troubles, a low-tax refuge where people of modest means could find their piece of paradise at a relatively low price. That dream has been shattered." "How plans by John McCain, Barack Obama affect Floridians".
"A new set of challenges"
"Optical scanners and paper ballots, while upgrades to Florida's previous voting systems, come with a new set of challenges for voters and poll workers. The first big test will come Nov. 4." "New voting system not quite goof-proof".
From the Zell Corporation
Some idiot named "Charles Lehmann" writes in a Zell Corporation outlet this morning that the Employee Free Choice Act is "un-American and an invasion of our privacy." "Free Choice Act: Democrats put workers' rights at risk".
Might this be the same idiot who resigned as Palm Beach County's tourism chief in the wake of a "$1.5 million embezzlement scandal"?
Lehmann, 55, faced criticism from county commissioners after a $1.5 million embezzlement scandal at the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2006. Donna Duffer, an ex-employee, stole the money over three years without anyone noticing."County tourism director to resign after 21 years".
Lehmann survived the scandal while other tourism officials, including visitors bureau head Warren "Mac" McLaughlin, were forced out. Deputy County Administrator Verdenia Baker called Lehmann's departure a "mutual agreement."
Assuming this is the same "Charles Lehmann", can't the Chamber-types come up with a less tarnished lecturer on what is best for working folks?
Wink-o-matic on way to Florida
Just a regular "hockey mom", Palin "has a series of fundraisers Monday and Tuesday with a goal of collecting $3-million in Florida. The fundraisers are Monday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, the Naples home of Republican donor Jack Donahue, reportedly at $10,000 per person" "Palin will vacuum up cash".
The wingnuts can't seem to get enough: "Large demand for Sarah Palin rally in Pensacola". Palin appears unable to refrain from brain dead smears: "Palin defends terrorist comment against Obama"
Brings her "Obama hangs with terrorists" show to Florida
Get your red hot Diaz-Balarts here! ... Cheap
"Medley defense contractors who've gotten millions of dollars in earmarks from Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart have contributed heavily to his and brother Mario's political campaigns and causes." "Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart's earmarks raise eyebrows".
More: "The contest between incumbent U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez has drawn national attention because it is expected to be close, and because it is colorful. ... Diaz-Balart has aired a television spot that links Martinez to a documentary film called Cocaine Cowboys. The Martinez campaign has labeled the Republican attacks sleazy." "Economics may decide matchup in heavily Hispanic District 21".
Earth to Mike: the Orlando Sentinel "liberal"?
Zell Corporation employee Scott Maxwell snarks that the Orlando Sentinel editors are "most likely to get their 'liberal media' credentials revoked:"
That'd be the Sentinel's editorial board, which has now endorsed Republicans in all six of the legislative races in which it chose sides. "Making the best - and worst - of '08 campaigns".
Man, if people start noticing that -- along with the fact that we've endorsed only one Democrat for president in the past 40 years -- they might stop calling us 'liberal.'
Actually, people "noticed" that about the Sentinel a long time ago.
Consider one of the Sentinel's greatest hits: "Jeb!"'s"vision is universal and timeless...clear and electrifying as the day's cobalt-blue sky".
The Sentinel long ago lost any credibility it may have had, and with the Zell Corporation gobbling up the Tribune Company, well ... what can you say. Well, we could say this: "The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again".
Note: our apologies for missing this: "Sam Zell Sued By Tribune Writers".
The Tallahassee Democrat: "Voters must vote to matter".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:
Six constitutional amendments are up for consideration. All but one, the gay marriage ban, are less controversial than three proposals that were benched this summer by the Florida Supreme Court because of misleading ballot language. (Those had to do with a so-called "tax-swap" plan and a pair involving school vouchers.)"Our Opinion: Six amendments deserve your attention".
"Would constitutionally banning gay marriage threaten benefits for thousands of Floridians — gay, straight or even siblings living together — who depend on their domestic partnership to pay for health care? Amendment 2 supporters say no way. Amendment 2 opponents say absolutely." "Ban may go beyond gays".
"Last year, Gov. Charlie Crist signed off on a gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe. Now Florida's Supreme Court has ruled that Crist lacked authority to do that. So ... now what? Now the issue of tribal gaming gets really complicated." "Decision Complicates Seminole Gaming Pact".
"One More Day To Register For November Election".
The The St. Petersburg Times gives us this fairy tale: "John McCain's Pensacola proving ground". But how did McBush become a pilot in the first place?:
Despite graduating in the bottom 1 percent of his Annapolis class, McCain was offered the most sought-after Navy assignment -- to become an aircraft carrier pilot. ... After four abysmal academic years at Annapolis distinguished, according to his own books, by mediocrity and misdeeds, no one with a record resembling McCain's would have been offered such a prized career path."McCain's Secret, Questionable Record".
It's a no glow
"Florida Power & Light's effort to persuade regulators that nuclear power is a renewable energy suffered a blow Thursday when the staff of Florida's Public Service Commission recommended against including nuclear in the state's portfolio of green energy." "Nuclear energy is not renewable energy, PSC staff says".
Randy Schultz: "According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Republican Party of Florida held an emergency meeting last Tuesday after new polls showed Sen. Obama leading in Florida. Here's a suggestion for those worried Republicans: Tell the GOP nominee to show Floridians that, when it comes to the state's insurance crisis, he gets it." "How to take Florida by storm".
"Florida is the only state in the nation ..."
"Florida is the only state in the nation with an archaic law designed to give the legislature the ability to discriminate against Asian immigrants. But voters could change that on Nov. 4 by approving a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by lawmakers to strike that law." "Symbolic amendment eradicating discriminatory law likely to fail".
While were at it, you'd think our courageous legislators could make time to get rid of this obviously unconstitutional crap:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to copy, print, publish, or otherwise use the flag or state emblem of Florida, or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States, or any flag or emblem used by the Confederate States or the military or naval forces of the Confederate States at any time within the years 1860 to 1865, both inclusive, for the purpose of advertising, selling, or promoting the sale of any article of merchandise whatever within this state.Florida Statutes, Chapter 256.051 Improper use or mutilation of state or Confederate flag or emblem prohibited.
(2) It shall also be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to mutilate, deface, defile, or contemptuously abuse the flag or emblem of Florida or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States by any act whatever.
Have another beer ...
Here's a suggestion for Gov. Crist. When the next spot opens on the Florida Supreme Court, appoint Butterworth. You reached across party lines to name him head of DCF and he didn't fail you, so why not name him to the state's high court? There's no one in Florida in terms of knowledge, temperament and integrity, who's more qualified."Kingsley Guy: What about Bob?: Butterworth merits Supreme position".
"A lying, fibbing, prevaricating pinhead"
On September 27, Daniel Ruth asked "just how sleazy is Florida U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Where's Mine?", and proceeded to give an answer: "Just A Poor Lamb Who Lost His Way". Ruth wrote that Tommy "is playing his constituents for chumps in claiming that simply because he was a new member of the U.S. House, he didn't grasp rules of ethics, the insidious influence of lobbyists and, more pointedly - a simple understanding of right and wrong. That would be a bit like a hooker insisting she didn't understand her end of the deal after the money's been paid.".
Today, he tells of "an obviously piqued and perturbed Pepper Pennington [her real name] who pugnaciously propagated a pejoratively passionate passing shot over [the] column about her boss, Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Pawn."
"After reading your column, I planned on giving you the same treatment that you extended my boss and call you a vulgar name," a fairly peeved Pepper Pennington puckered. "But I stopped because I feel so sorry for your miserable existence and the shame your family and colleagues must feel for being associated with you.""Pardon? Pennington Peppers Me For Being Feeney Meanie? Pshaw!".
Say, that was mighty piquant of Pepper Pennington, who is the press apparatchik for Feeney's re-election campaign, which has been dogged by a scandal involving the congressman accepting a $20,000 golf treat to Scotland courtesy of none other than the now imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The term that so appalled Pepper Pennington was the suggestion in the column that Feeney, R-Panhandler, was simply a lying, fibbing, prevaricating pinhead.
Feeney has taken to the airwaves in his Oviedo-area district to pout that his glomming on to Abramoff's frequent flier card was nothing more than a "rookie mistake" made by a newbie congressman unfamiliar with the bizarre rituals of Washington.
To which one can only say to Pepper Pennington: Piffle!
By the time Feeney had landed in Washington, he had served in the Florida Legislature since 1990, including a term as House speaker, in addition to serving as Jeb Bush's running mate during his ill-fated 1994 gubernatorial race.
Rookie? This dope was about as much of a political rookie as the Mayflower Madam.
The Zell Corporation's Maitland Housewife ...
... doesn't think much of Buddy Dyer: "Gambling Buddy steps up to fiscal roulette wheel -- with your money".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board looks for something, anything to cheer about: "There is no questioning the success — and humanity — of Florida's Save Haven Law. The statute allows for babies less than a week old to be taken anonymously to any hospital emergency room, staffed fire-rescue station or staffed emergency medical service station. The mother then has 30 days to change her mind." "Nebraska's broken safe haven law needs to follow Florida's lead".