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 Saturday, October 04, 2008

Florida Voter Suppression V.43

    RPOFers of course want to make it difficult for people to vote; no news there - hence we get delightful artifices like the "no match, no vote" crapitude.

    Then, when a sane SOE tries to do the right thing, Kurt Browning and his RPOFer stooges in Tally block it.

    The latest:
    Pinellas County wants to make it easier for new voters to fix identification problems under Florida's much-debated "no match, no vote" law, a move the state believes would be illegal.

    The result is a new controversy involving the law, which requires that a new voter's driver's license number match the one in the state database.
    In response,
    Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark says she'll give voters with matching problems a chance to correct them at the polls on Election Day, so they won't have to cast provisional ballots [and have to make a trip back to the SOE offices within 2 days and wait in line].

    She plans to tell poll workers to phone election headquarters to try to resolve cases of mismatched numbers, which can be the result of a clerical error.

    "I don't think the person should be penalized if the error is on our side of the net," Clark said.
    'Ya reckon? Apparently not in Florida, if Mr. Browning has his way.

    Secretary of State Kurt Browning "says that a mismatch must be corrected before the voter arrives at the polls. Otherwise, the voter must cast a provisional ballot and return with clarifying information within two days."Secretary of State Kurt Browning said Friday in an interview from a military base in Germany that Clark is misinterpreting the law, and he is worried about potential legal challenges if the 'no match, no vote' law is not enforced uniformly in all 67 counties."*"State upset over Pinellas 'no match, no vote' plan".

    I get it: the state of Florida screws up, and when the elector tries to vote, (s)he has to vote provisionally, and it won't count at all unless (s)he comes down to the election office within two days with "clarifying information" to correct the state's mistake.

    Bill Cotterell: "At last count, there were 131,540 people who registered since Sept. 8, and 20,355 of them had mismatches in their records. About 15,000 of those discrepancies were cleared up by the state or county elections officers ...". "If voting is important, put some effort into it".

    As usual, The Tampa Tribune editorial board publishes RPOFer talking points, glossing over the issue:
    Unlike what activists are saying, obvious errors, including nicknames or typos, will be resolved, and that applicant will be registered to vote.
    "The Truth About Voter Verification".

    As an aside, WTF is this about?:
    Browning ... has been in Kuwait visiting with overseas military voters from Florida ... .
    I urge Browning to visit with some voters in Liberty City instead (and easier on the budget).

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *That is of course a reference to the fun Bush v. Gore case, wherein Bushco crowned Dubya.

    Chamber chumps to the rescue

    Just when McCain needs some poll-PR, the hacks at the Chamber step into the breach: "Countering a series of polls earlier this week showing Barack Obama leading the presidential race in Florida, a Chamber of Commerce poll shows John McCain with a lead slightly less than the error margin. The poll showed McCain with 45 percent; Obama 42 percent". "Chamber Poll Shows McCain Up In Florida, Crist Approval Back Up".

    Mail it in

    "Requests for absentee ballots are soaring in Tampa Bay area counties, a bellwether region in this hard-fought swing state." "Absentee vote requests soaring". See also "Absentee Ballots Go Out As Registration Deadline Nears".

    And his wife is a thespian

    To paraphrase that J S Mills guy

    "All Republicans are not necessarily racist a**holes, but most racist a**holes are Republicans."
    Consider this delightful Florida tale:
    A Florida middle school teacher has been suspended after students said he used a racial epithet directed at presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    Seventh-grade social studies teacher Greg Howard reportedly wrote the word CHANGE as an acronym on the board and wrote an expletive with the letter 'N.'

    The phrase he wrote has alternately been reported as "Can You Help A (expletive) Get Elected" and "Come Help A (expletive) Get Elected."
    "Middle school teacher suspended for Obama comment". More links at this this dKos post: "Teacher suspended for racial slur against Obama".

    Speaking of black people

    "Four years ago, nearly 500,000 registered black voters stayed home, a significant figure considering that President George W. Bush beat John Kerry by 381,000 votes. There were 1.2-million black voters overall in Florida." "It's all about black voters".

    Dumbing things down

    - Woo hoo! "Palin visiting Boca Raton during 2-day Florida jaunt".

    - Wink-o-matic: "Downtown Clearwater prepares for Palin appearance".

    - Adam Smith must be balanced: "Palin regains confidence in debate, while Biden commands the material".

    - The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "Palin connected with a segment of the audience predisposed to suspend disbelief." "Biden-Palin in the turn".

    - Yee Haw! "Hundreds grab up tickets for Palin visit".


    "The Everglades restoration project is off track. After eight years of work and $7-billion in taxpayer spending, the effort is strangled by red tape, a shift in the nation's political priorities and concern over rising costs. The project was designed as a partnership between the federal government and the state, but Congress is not providing Washington's share of the cash. Federal agencies also need to show greater urgency and ensure that the state, in looking to accommodate growth, protects the environmental quality of this national treasure." "Refocus attention on saving Everglades". See also "Accelerate pace of Everglades restoration".

    Black men can't vote

    "With felons who have served their time now having a much easier path back to the voting booth, the 2008 political season has led to some efforts to harness a newly accessible voting bloc." "Restoration of felons' voting rights in Florida has 'never been easier'". See also "123,000 Florida felons getting to vote again".

    "Roughly 13 percent of black men nationwide have lost the right to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law, which advocates the reform of felon voting rights." "Push to register felons to vote could aid Obama".


    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Crist's choices thus far tap into only one of the many options available to him: conservative white male. Florida is too big, too populous and too diverse a state for the chief executive to confine his choices to a single end of the social and political spectrum. Gov. Crist knows better. Florida deserves better." "Florida's top court needs more diversity".

    Dear editors; Chain-gang Charlie is an empty suit, political hack. His appointments are no surprises. Your editorial is naive. Any questions?

    Rescue plan

    "Rep. Allen Boyd helped the House approve a $700 billion financial-rescue package Friday despite "serious misgivings" over $110 billion in tax cuts added by the Senate." "Florida Rep. Boyd votes for $700 billion economic-salvage plan". See also "Manatee reps split on revised bailout plan" and "Times: Brown-Waite votes no on tweaked bailout plan".

    This just in, from the Zell Corporation!

    - "Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief: Their vice-presidential candidate is still standing. Not only that, she kept her balance and even threw some jabs. In other words, Sarah Palin cleared the bar." "Scott Maxwell: Republicans can wipe sweat from brows.

    - Bill O'Reilly, or someone he pays, writes a column that appears in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Two controversial films spar at cinema". Embarrassing.

    "It is the outcome of the vote on Election Day ..."

    ... that, or whomever the Supreme Court selects.

    "Steve Schale, state director for the Obama Florida campaign, said the Obama campaign has registered 100,000 to 125,000 voters statewide since the effort began over the summer."

    Jim Greer, the state Republican Party chairman, is skeptical that Obama's efforts will translate into a big Democratic advantage.

    "It is not simply a numbers game as it relates to registrations. It is the outcome of the vote on Election Day," Greer said.
    "For parties, push is on to register voters before Monday's deadline". "For parties, push is on to register voters before Monday's deadline". The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "No excuses: Monday is the deadline to register to vote". More: "Sentinel: Elections supervisors extend voter registration times".

    Growth industry

    "2 people charged with raiding charity boxes".

    Alcee at work

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, has been among the most vocal congressmen urging the granting of TPS [temporary protected status] for Haitians. He kept up the pressure this week during a congressional hearing in Washington. Eventually, $100 million in aid to Haiti was approved by the House." "The Issue: Haiti still in crisis".

    Charlie "touts", Florida burns

    "Gov. Crist touts free trade with Latin America".

    Heaven help us

    "Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen announced Thursday that the stickers will not be distributed in future elections. The process became a liability, he said, after complaints surfaced from voters who did not want to be physically touched by election workers." "Bay boots 'I Voted' stickers after complaints".

    Nuthin' better to do?

    "Vote on median steps on speech".

    The middle of nowhere

    "Delta's capital crime: no nonstops to Tallahassee".


    We missed this column by Joel Engelhardt last week:

    Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty wants the public to believe that the FBI raided her house Friday to dig up dirt on political rival Blake MacDiarmid. She told reporters that the search warrant had Mr. MacDiarmid's name on it.

    But as Mr. MacDiarmid told The Post: "This is about Mary, not me. They raided her house, not mine." After her 18 years in office, the FBI likely has more to investigate than Commissioner McCarty's petty schemes against Mr. MacDiarmid.
    "Why the FBI raided McCarty".

    "'Thanks for the history lesson'"

    Daniel Ruth relates that this "what happens when abject hubris collides head-on with 10 tin ears." "Hart Performs Moral Courage Encore Act".

    Craps at the Fountainbleu?

    Mayo: "There’s been a lot of noise coming from our south lately about full-blown casinos in downtown Miami and at the revamped Fountainbleu Hotel on Miami Beach. The Miami Herald has reported that developers of the proposed Miami Worldcenter project are exploring a constitutional amendment drive to allow casinos. Good luck with that."

    "In theory, the idea makes perfect sense. In reality, it’s never going to happen." "Michael Mayo: Miami casinos? Don't bet on it".

    More: The Tampa Tribune editorial board:"As the economy has weakened and citizens have become weary of increased taxes, more pressure is being put on state governments to find "painless" alternatives to fund education, which accounts for the largest category of state expenditures."

    The bulk of funds for education comes from local and state sources - property taxes, bonds, special tax appropriations and, since the latter part of the 20th century, gambling .

    While Florida spends $22 billion, or about a third of its budget, on education, it ranks 38th among the states in per pupil expenditures and is 49th in the number of students who graduate from high school in four years.

    Faced with a $3 billion loss of tax revenues, including a $100 million loss of revenue from the state lottery, state officials recently tapped the state's "rainy day" reserve fund for $672 million. Now there is growing sentiment - including a coalition called Florida's People, Florida's Promise, made up of community organizations that serve children and seniors - to legalize more gambling, including video lottery terminals.
    "Video Gambling Risky Way To Pay".

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