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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

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The Blog for Saturday, December 06, 2008

Perhaps the days of dissing Florida unions are over?

    "Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's potential ascent to a Cabinet post in the Obama administration -- a possibility buzzed about for weeks -- is being challenged by a coalition of labor and activist groups who argue he has not done enough for working people."
    The coalition includes, most prominently, the nation's largest federation of labor unions, the AFL-CIO.

    ''Manny Diaz's track record is he's ignored the middle class,'' said Fred Frost, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO. "The Obama election signified that working people were going to be respected, and he's shown no respect for working people.''
    "Union officials don't want Miami mayor in Obama Cabinet".

    Funds for "children's lives and health" used to subsidize tax tax cuts for Florida's wealthy

    "The state of Florida's children has deteriorated significantly in the past 10 years since my father's death," Bud Chiles wrote to Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and House Speaker Ray Sansom, R-Destin. 'We cannot allow this to continue. If the state chooses to raid the fund, we are fully prepared to seek full relief in the courts.'"

    "The state of Florida's children has deteriorated significantly in the past 10 years since my father's death," Bud Chiles wrote to Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and House Speaker Ray Sansom, R-Destin. "We cannot allow this to continue. If the state chooses to raid the fund, we are fully prepared to seek full relief in the courts."
    "Son of the late Gov. Chiles pleads with state not to 'raid' children's fund". See also "Chiles family to fight state over raiding fund".

    Is Internet Killing the Ink Stained Star?

    "Yes, this is a bad year for the economy and all industries. But it's the worst year ever for newspapers."

    Hundreds of journalists lost their jobs in Florida cities such as Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, Gainesville and Ocala. Thousands of journalists were cut loose nationwide in cities such as Atlanta, Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Newark, Tacoma and Savannah.
    "Common wisdom holds that the Internet is killing newspapers."
    The Christian Science Monitor quit being a newspaper: It will publish online only. Reportedly, the Tampa Tribune will follow suit in January.
    "As newspapers struggle, change brings pain".

    Another fine Florida export

    "For 2007, the top sources for guns used in crimes elsewhere were Georgia, Florida, Texas, Virginia, California, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Alabama. However,"

    the report's authors placed greater emphasis on per-capita exports of guns, saying that data is a better indicator of lax gun laws. The gun-friendly South accounted for a disproportionate amount of the problem when population size was factored in, according to the report.
    "Report: South a big exporter of guns used in crime.

    "Florida led the nation in mortgage fraud"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "A recent report by a national mortgage research group found that, during the first half of 2008, Florida led the nation in mortgage fraud -- one in every five cases started here. And though they don't always fit the strict legal definition of fraud, deceptive 'foreclosure-rescue' schemes are becoming more prevalent, according to Attorney General Bill McCollum." "Florida needs help to thwart foreclosure scams".

    Gotta problem wit 'dat?

    "State Republican chief Jim Greer, already under fire for his spending decisions during the election, charged personal expenses to the party." "Florida GOP chairman billed party for personal expenses". See also "Personal expenses charged to GOP".

    Get ready to drag them knuckles

    " William Ayers to speak at FSU".

    79 percent of Cuban Americans favor direct talks between the U.S. and Cuba

    "The shift in attitude among Cuban Americans is reflected in a poll by the Brookings Institution and Florida International University's Institute for Public Opinion Research."

    It found that 55 percent of Cuban-American respondents favor ending the U.S. trade embargo, 65 percent favor reestablishing relations with Cuba and 79 percent favor direct talks between U.S. and Cuban government officials.

    Those are startling results when you consider that Cuban Americans have traditionally been the hardest of the hard-liners when it comes to U.S. policy on Cuba. Paradoxically, we have also been the biggest violators of U.S. sanctions. So what gives?

    The poll shows a change in attitude among younger Cuban Americans: 65 percent of respondents ages 18 to 44 opposed the embargo, 71 percent of those who arrived in the United States after 1998 also opposed it. The older generation responded differently: 68 percent of those over 65 support the embargo, and 65 percent of those who arrived in the United States before 1980 support it.
    "It's time to change U.S. policy on Cuba".

    Judge "diversity"

    "Crist's request for a more diverse list of nominees to replace a retiring Florida judge has been rejected. Crist on Monday asked the 5th District Court of Appeal Nominating Commission to reconsider the six names it sent him because none of the nominees are black. The commission's chairman wrote Crist on Thursday that after more deliberation the panel would resubmit the same nominees because they are most qualified." "Crist's Fla. court diversity request rejected".

    Very cool

    "FAMU's Marching 100 to perform in Obama's inaugural parade".

    The media ... err, the "Jeb!" machine cranks up

    "Bush supporters, eager to return to the days of Republican dominance in Florida, are establishing web pages urging the former governor to run." "Alex Sink may face Jeb Bush in Senate race". See also "Jeb Bush's Prospects in a Florida Senate Race" and "Jeb Bush Seriously Considering Florida Senate Run".

    Adam Smith writes that

    a Bush candidacy would all but guarantee a free ride to the general election. No credible Republican would take him on. Two potential Senate candidates, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami, declared their support for Bush Wednesday as the Republican nominee.

    Bush's hard-charging partisanship and his politically radioactive last name may seem out of sync in a state just won by Barack Obama, whose current Republican governor is sustaining high approval ratings as he stresses bipartisanship.

    "Let me give him some free advice," former Bill Clinton strategist Paul Begala said on CNN Wednesday. "Change your name. Run as John Ellis, not John Ellis Bush. The Bush brand is probably what croaked Mel Martinez."
    Unfortunately, Mr. Smith is helping to propagate the myth created by the chattering classes over the years, to wit: that Floridians will walk over hot coals for beloved their "Jeb!" Smith writes that
    In Florida, though, the Bush brand is different from the Jeb Bush brand.
    Smith proceeds to uncritically repeat shopworn RPOF talking points:
    "There isn't a person in Florida that doesn't know Jeb Bush and know that he is his own man, his own thinker, his own innovator. They think of him as Jeb, not as a member of the Bush family,'' said Al Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman from Fort Myers.
    "If Jeb Bush is in, Senate race is on". Spare us the revisionist history, won't you Mr. reporter?

    No one with their eyes half open believes really believes Jebbie "is his own man, his own thinker, his own innovator". The reality about "Jeb!" was touched upon, if only to the smallest degree, in this teensy (and ancient) bit of investigative reporting in, of all places, the The St. Petersburg Times*; there, a fundamental question was asked about the man who (then) sought-to-be Governor, and the question was: "What exactly does Jeb Bush do for a living?" The answer was hard to come by:
    The 45-year-old Republican nominee for governor has hawked luxury condos in South Florida, sold industrial sites for IBM, made bank loans in Venezuela and marketed giant water pumps in Nigeria. He has even tried to sell imported shoes to Wal-Mart.

    His corporate ties are a web of more than two dozen companies, including obscure, privately held ventures called Uno, Uno Dos and Oriental Trading, and bigger public companies such as SunTrust, Anchor Glass, Ideon and American Heritage Life Insurance. ...

    Trading on the famous family name, Bush gained entry to exclusive business ventures courtesy of wealthy Republicans. ...

    This go-along style marks how Bush operates in the business world. He has never been elected to public office and wants to be judged as a successful businessman. But he bristles when asked if the Bush name has helped his dealmaking.
    There's much, much more, including gems like these:
    Richard Lawless, a former 15-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency who won state contracts to promote exports in Asia when Jeb Bush served as Florida commerce secretary. Later, he joined with Bush and paid him to find real estate property for Japanese investors. Just one deal in 1993 gave Bush a commission of $213,000.

    One Miami real estate deal is typical of the privileged pattern of Bush's wealth-building: invest little but reap lots. In 1984, Bush put just $1,000 in an office building called Museum Tower. By 1990, he sold out for about $346,000. Similar deals followed. Who made it possible? Armando Codina.
    "Jeb Bush: Make the money and run".

    As an aside, if Jeb! runs, perhaps a courageous newspaper company employee will follow up on this?:
    It was 1991, dad was in the White House, and Jeb Bush was hopscotching through Nigeria in a corporate jet, on his way to meet government officials he hoped would buy $74 million worth of water pumps from his South Florida business partner.

    On the jet with Bush was a Nigerian associate in the deal, Al-Haji Mohammed Indimi, who carried several heavy Hartmann suitcases. At least one of the bags, the airplane's pilot says, was packed with cash to bribe the Nigerian officials.

    Did Jeb Bush know about the cash in the suitcase? Did he understand what the money was for?

    Bush declined to be interviewed for this story.
    "Florida Governor's Past Is Full of Fast Success, Brushes with Mystery".

    Don't count on tuff questions being asked, let alone answered. In addition to a history of sycophancy, there are three primary reasons to expect-

    First - Florida's (nonunion) newspaper company employees are (understandably) worried about saving their jobs (see today's "As newspapers struggle, change brings pain" discussed above), and pissing off the owners' ain't the road to job security**.

    Second, and, as we all know, there's no longer any real separation between the interests of Florida newspaper company owners and the product of Florida newspaper company employees. Consider this sad story, which forever exposes the hollowness of newspaper company claims that the company owners don't direct editorial decisions:
    In 1984, The Miami Herald's editorial board voted 9 to 2 to endorse Walter Mondale. But one of the two was the publisher, Richard Capen Jr., who insisted [and (as bosses tend to do) got the endorsement for] on Ronald Reagan.
    "Taking a Stand; Why Newspapers Endorse Candidates".

    Believe it or not, one Robert F. Sanchez, JMI’s Director of Public Policy, actually brags about his involvement in this sordid affair: "In 1984, Bob authored The [Miami]Herald’s strong endorsement of Ronald Reagan’s re-election after Herald Publisher Richard Capen wisely overruled the Editorial Page Editor’s decision to endorse big-government liberal Walter Mondale."

    More recently:
    "billionaire Sam Zell has long been known for his foul mouth and abrasive demeanor, rough edges that helped the real estate magnate [a/k/a Republican slum lord] build a reputation as a feisty and iconoclastic investor. But Zell's bluntness backfired at a Jan. 31 meeting of Orlando Sentinel staff after Zell said 'fuck you' to a journalist who twice questioned him about softening news coverage.
    "Sam Zell Says 'Fuck You' To His Journalist" (See boss man Zell in action here).

    Third - a point we've made repeatedly: Florida newspaper company employees want "Jeb!" back on the national stage (preferably running for preznit) because when "Jeb!" is in the limelight, so are the "journalists" who have followed his career. When Florida is in the center of the storm, so are her political reporters, and that makes things a barrel of fun for all of us.

    Get ready: "Jeb!" is back, and his lapdogs in the media can't wait to tell the world how wonderful he is.

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *The piece appeared a decade ago, before reporters were afraid to offend Bushco and/or write anything that might risk their chances of getting on the big bus with the real reporters when "Jeb!" runs for preznit.

    **Florida's newspaper companies are mostly, if not entirely, nonunion, and reporters are thus without the basic job protections provided by a union contract. Indeed, some Florida "journalists" have actually shown themselves all to willing to scab for their owners ("Send in the scabs") and take their fellow reporters jobs away; others, the so called editors, have flopped when the owners overrule their editorial decisions; this should remove any question that honest, independent thinking, fightin'-for-the-truth, crusading newspaper guys and gals are a thing of the past.

    Times are tuff all over

    "Deltona mayor's home faces foreclosure".

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