"Legislation that would open the door to school prayer and discourage teaching evolution have been declared dead."
Prospects don't look good for a proposal to require ultrasounds for first-trimester abortions. Same goes for a bill to make marriage licenses more expensive for couples who don't take a premarriage education course."GOP agenda loses traction in Florida Senate".
Conservative Republicans' hallmark legislation, some from sessions past, is stagnating this session, victim of the all-consuming state budget deficit and the political realities of a Senate that is Republican, but moderately so.
Politico: "Former Bush adviser Karl Rove was verbally accosted Thursday evening by an ex-chief of staff to former Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.)."
Rove was quietly having dinner at the tony restaurant Charlie Palmer Steak on Capitol Hill when he was aggressively approached by Jason Roe, the former Feeney staffer. Roe, now of Federal Strategy Group, was "loud and boisterous" toward Rove. He was apparently (still) upset over ... comments Rove made on Fox News, the day after the election, in which Feeney — along with many other Republicans — went down in flames.Much more here: "Karl Rove accosted by ex-GOP chief of staff".
Shortly thereafter, Roe had to be escorted away from the table. Charlie Palmer Steak management remained typically mum and wouldn't even confirm Rove's appearance to Shenanigans, but when asked if there was a fight, the reply was, "Noooooo, this is a quiet family establishment."
Rove, when contacted, had "no comment."
Roe, when contacted, also had "no comment."
"Gov. Bob Butterworth?".
From the "values" crowd
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "In 2007, a report to the Supreme Court found that more than 70,000 Floridians with mental illness were being detained in some type of correctional facility; mentally ill prisoners are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population. As legislators look into every spending crevice in the state budget, funding mental-health services should be considered a savings. Appropriate care of the mentally ill ultimately cuts down on health care and penal service spending." "Care for the sick".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "The state Supreme Court Web site ( www.floridasupremecourt.org ) is virtually a public courtroom. Arguments are webcast live. The site, in association with public television station WFSU, makes archived audio and video recordings of arguments available and easily searchable at a click. Transcripts are also available. Proceedings are universally accessible to Floridians -- or anyone else -- anywhere. It's a fine realization of the principle of open court." "Rule would reverse gains in access to court records".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Central Florida got a couple more sharp reminders recently of just how shaky the pillar of its economy — tourism — can be when recession rattles the nation. We hope state lawmakers were paying attention." "Central Florida's economy must move beyond Mickey Mouse".
Cuba on the front burner
"The debate from Washington to Miami and Havana over President Barack Obama's next steps toward Cuba heated up Thursday, as the momentum to improve relations with the communist country reached levels not seen in nearly three decades." "Debate on Cuba at fever pitch".
Meantime, "[a] federal indictment of Luis Posada Carriles linking the Cuban exile militant to Havana tourist site bombings in 1997 shows the U.S. government is finally acting in the case, the brother of an Italian tourist killed by one of the bombs said Thursday."
Livio Di Celmo was one of several people who spoke at a telephone news conference giving a cautious welcome to the indictment handed up by the grand jury in El Paso Wednesday. People who routinely denounced the U.S. government under the Bush administration for allegedly failing to prosecute Posada forcefully suddenly expressed some satisfaction."Bombing victim's brother applauds Posada indictment".
Some even left the impression the indictment was made possible by the change in administrations, a perception shared by some Cuban exiles who support Posada.
The case of Luis Posada Carriles is a prime example of the tentacle-like reach of Miami’s exile community into both the Washington foreign policy establishment and the U.S. judicial system. What is so instructive about the Posada case is how little secrecy actually surrounds it: few details are shrouded, and his dastardly crimes are not only publicly known, but even celebrated in select circles. This apathy and lack of moral rectitude is appalling, even under the Bush administration’s Olympic record for duplicity."Posada Carriles, Child of Scorn: Yet Another Example of the White House’s Denigration of its War on Terrorism, which Woefully Lacks Integrity, Coherence or Consistency".
Related: "Cubans divided over more possible policy changes".
"South Florida water managers [Thursday] gave the initial go-ahead to Gov. Charlie Crist's scaled-down, $533 million land deal for Everglades restoration. The South Florida Water Management District now must negotiate the final details with U.S. Sugar Corp. for the purchase of 72,500 acres that would be used to help restore water flows from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades." "$533 million Everglades land deal gets initial go-ahead".
"We've hit bottom and the economy has started climbing again. At least, according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson." "Sen. Nelson optimistic about U.S. economy".
Diaz on fire
George Diaz: "In their bizarro world, legislators slash away at everything, without regard to the consequences. Having been fiscally irresponsible when this state was flush with money during the housing boom a few years ago, they are fiscally irresponsible now that everything's gone bust." "Budget cuts shortchange state's future".
a pbc THING
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow has provided another reason to avoid casting an absentee ballot. Even if you mail your ballot on time, it may not count."
In the Palm Beach mayoral election decided in favor of incumbent Jack McDonald by one vote, Judge Crow rejected nine absentee ballots delivered to the supervisor of elections post office box the morning after the election. At issue: Were they in the post office box at 7 p.m. on Election Day?"Votes disappear in the mail".
Judge Crow ruled that challenger Gerry Goldsmith failed to prove that the ballots were there on time. However, the elections office couldn't prove that they weren't there because workers checked the box at 5 p.m., not 7 p.m.
5th DCA fuss
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Crist deserves accolades for pushing hard for diversity in the state's judiciary. The most just way for Florida's court system to dispense justice is through a judiciary that adequately reflects the citizenry. But by holding up a judicial appointment indefinitely, waiting for a black nominee that may never come, Crist seems to be taking the point a bit too far, hurting the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals more than he's helping the fight for judiciary diversity — and violating the state constitution along the way." "Crist's well-meaning delay in picking minority judge is hurting more than it's helping".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:
When state lawmakers want to put makeup on ugly legislation, they phony up the name. But calling a bad telephone deregulation bill the "Consumer Choice and Protection Act" cannot cover up its flaws. It is designed to boost the telephone companies' bottom lines, not protect consumers who are looking to expand their choices."Hang up on this bill".
The keys are beautiful
"Man walks away from Keys state prison facility".
"Storms and politics"
"Former state Rep. Don Brown spoke to a group of Big Bend State Farm agents Thursday on how storms and politics have pummeled the insurance industry in Florida." "Former Rep. Brown speaks to State Farm agents, criticizes Gov. Crist".
"Turning the budget into a campaign document"
"A ban on embryonic stem-cell research. A prohibition on Cuba travel. More money for Florida International University."
These hard-to-spot House budget add-ins inserted by Miami Republican Rep. David Rivera have a distinctly hometown flavor that might not survive the legislative session."Miami Rep. David Rivera accused of playing politics in budget".
But they'll likely live in his campaign for state Senate in a 2010 primary race where the voters tend to be older Catholic Cuban-Americans.
Democrats are bashing Rivera for wasting his time, promoting bad scientific policy and turning the budget into a campaign document. Republicans are crediting Rivera for crafty maneuvering. And his Republican Senate-race rivals, Miami representatives Anitere Flores and Marcelo Llorente, are staying out of the fray.
"Five members of Congress have asked President Obama to protect the Florida panther. Designating a certain area of South Florida as 'critical habitat' for the panther would likely make it harder for developers, farmers and miners to wipe out the swamps and forests where the big cats live." "5 lawmakers ask Obama to protect panthers".
"U.S. Treasury backup for the state hurricane catastrophe fund isn't an immediate option, but there are other possible ways to shore up the plan." "Florida seeks U.S. help to back up hurricane catastrophe fund".
Meek on the move
"About 75 people Thursday evening attended a [Pensacola] rally supporting U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, as he campaigned to be the first U.S. Senate candidate from Florida to qualify by petition." "75 supporters hand Meek a running start".
"Federal wildlife managers are planning a major review of 13 rare plants in Florida, including eight mostly tiny species found only in the Everglades and Miami-Dade County." "Wildlife Service to review rare Florida plants".
Another federal handout please
"Crist is asking President Obama for federal aid to help storm ravaged counties in north Florida." "Crist seeks federal aid for 11 flooded counties".
"A new city will be powered by solar energy -- and cost the average Florida Power & Light customer about 31 cents a month. " "New city in Florida to run on solar power".