Fun with Charlie
Beth Reinhard pokes a little fun at everyone's favorite empty suit:
The Miami Herald ''obtained'' an advance copy of Gov. Charlie Crist's state of the state speech, which he is scheduled to deliver Tuesday at the start of the annual 60-day lawmaking session. Bucking his own party, the Republican governor has embraced the Democratic administration's economic stimulus plan as the panacea to the state's budget shortfall.Read her column here: "What Crist will tell lawmakers in his state of the state speech".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board writes today that the "'just say no' approach isn't working in public-school sex education." "Sex-ed beyond abstinence".
The Miami Herald editorial board thinks Florida should "Stanch the rate of wetlands destruction".
Will the flock stand for this?
"Joel Hunter -- Christian evangelical, pastor of a Central Florida megachurch and lifelong Republican -- "
gave the benediction at the Democratic National Convention. He prayed with Barack Obama on Election Day, and rode to the inauguration with Oprah."Florida pastor joins Obama's religious advisory council".
At the swearing in, he sat in the 12th row, next to Muhammad Ali.
'I'm like, `What am I doing here?' '' said Hunter, who recounted his experience before leading his fifth service in three days. ``It's surreal.''
The Midwestern transplant who voted twice for George W. Bush and backed religious conservative Mike Huckabee in last year's GOP primary isn't accustomed to overtures from Democratic politicos and the celebrities who come with them. But in keeping with Obama's unprecedented outreach to the religious right during the campaign, the White House plucked Hunter to serve on a 25-member advisory council that also includes a reform rabbi, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is an extension of Bush's office directing tax dollars to faith-based social service agencies. The difference: Obama's group will actually weigh in on policy matters.
''President Obama's vision is so much broader. How do you engage churchgoers and people of faith to be part of the solution?'' Hunter asked during a recent interview in his office at Northland Church.
Charlie's California connections
"$5,000 in donations to Charlie Crist called illegal by feds".
But is it limited to five grand? "A federal indictment released this week claims Gov. Charlie Crist received 10 illegal campaign contributions of $500 each from these 5 homes in Southern California in 2006. But campaign finance records show that Crist received a total of 40 $500 contributions on the same day from nearby neighborhoods, as shown in the map below." "More questionable Crist contributions?".
"Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty finally has a date for her planned guilty plea to a federal fraud charge - the same day her husband is to be sentenced." "Former Palm Beach county commissioner plans to plead guilty to federal fraud charge".
"A dramatic way to try to fix Florida's property insurance market"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "A group of leading state legislators is considering a dramatic way to try to fix Florida's property insurance market: have the state cover the hurricane portion of virtually all homeowner policies statewide. Their goal is to draw private insurers to Florida and eliminate the need for state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida's biggest home insurer." "A tough task: Legislators seek to fix Florida's property insurance problems during session".
"In an ideal world"
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida is at a crossroads."
Growth has stalled, and 300,000 homes sit vacant. A record number of homeowners face foreclosure. One in 13 Floridians is out of work, and one in 10 is receiving food stamps. The state is staring at a $6 billion budget shortfall. Universities have frozen enrollments, teachers are facing pay cuts and public defenders are closing offices some days to save money."A crisis offers an opportunity for leadership. Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature should seize the moment to start creating a fairer, broader tax system."
In an ideal world, Florida would create a reasonable personal income tax that would establish a more progressive, stable source of revenue."In crisis, a time for Florida to act".
It also would scrap the terribly unfair Save Our Homes, which limits property tax increases and benefits longtime homeowners at the expense of businesses, snowbirds and newer homeowners.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "In December, The Post unsuccessfully editorialized that Gov. Crist should name Jane Kreusler-Walsh to one of two vacancies on the 4th District Court of Appeal. There are two more vacancies, Ms. Kreusler-Walsh again is a finalist, and our opinion hasn't changed." "Stack court the right way".
"Obama backs Bush plan to retire shuttle in 2010".
A special kinda' guy
"A personal chauffeur and bodyguard, multiple airplanes and three sport utility vehicles stationed around the state are all part of an elaborate network used in transporting Florida's lieutenant governor, Jeff Kottkamp." "Floridians paid $700,000 over two years for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's travel, protection".
"As more trips on state planes are revealed, the lieutenant governor no longer can fly under the state’s budget radar. 'At a time when we're struggling to balance our (budget), everyone needs to tighten the reins on spending and travel,' says state Sen. Mike Fasano." "Kottkamp's flights under scrutiny".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "More outrage from the lieutenant governor begs for change".
Crystal Ball: Florida Senate 2010
Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball: "Never very popular, Martinez stunned his state by deciding to step down after just one term, creating a rare open seat opportunity in this mega-state."
The pent-up ambitions of dozens of politicians are on display. Nonetheless, one politician had the ability to shut down the contest on the GOP side, and also become the instant November favorite: former Gov. Jeb Bush.To which we say: Run, "Jeb!", run! Jebbie is yesterday's news, and with his failed policies coming home to roost (on Charlie's lap), Saint "Jeb!" ain't near as popular as the outside-the-state pundits and Bushco dead enders think he is. "Jeb!" is yesterdays news, and bad news at that.
The Sunshine State is one of the few where it is still possible for a Bush to be elected to a top spot because Jeb Bush carved out his own legacy in eight years as Governor (1999-2007), and voters understand the difference between Jeb and George. But after sending signals that he might run, Jeb Bush said no in early January.
Indeed, many of us in the library card crowd are intrigued at the thought of Jebbie running - this would give the Dems the opportunity to put his failed "legacy" on the table, and drive a stake through his rotten political heart.
Florida's political media, forever clinging to the coat tails of the Bush clan - and in their never rending hope to for once ride on the big bus with the real journalists - would love to see Jebbie get in the game, if not in this race, sumthin' even bigger - IYKWIMAITUD.
So, anything Jebbie does - the Senate thing or whatever - is sure to be accompanied by extensive positive media. Prepare to be inundated with stories about how Jebbie uses twitter and is a "policy wonk".
Republicans would love to get popular Gov. Charlie Crist to forgo a second term as chief executive and run for the Senate instead. Like Bush would have, Crist would very likely win the seat. On the other hand, the open Senate seat is good news for Crist in another way: Most ambitious Democrats are going to make a beeline for an open Senate seat rather than challenging an incumbent Governor. Crist has sent contradictory signals about his intentions, and the GOP field will be essentially frozen until he decides whether he'd rather continue being Governor or prefers the Senate seat."At one time, the presumed Democratic frontrunner was state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, but she has now removed her name from consideration and plans to run again for her post."
In her stead, a cluster of U.S. House members is now hungrily eyeing the Senate seat, including Kathy Castor, Kendrick Meek, and Ron Klein. State Sen. Dan Gelber, an early Obama supporter, is also in the hunt, as is Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio."For the Republicans, if Crist joins Bush in opting out of the Senate contest, the GOP will have exhausted the list of near-sure winners. The GOP has to find a good candidate and will have just a 50-50 shot at holding the seat."
It isn't immediately obvious which second-tier Republicans will launch a candidacy but a couple of GOP congressmen are making noises ... If Crist runs, this is LEANS REPUBLICAN HOLD. Otherwise, it's a TOSS-UP."SENATE 2010: A THREE-PEAT FOR DEMOCRATS OR COMEBACK FOR THE GOP?".
Don't hold your breath - Charlie's running.
"Top Publix Lobbyist Dies".