Pam Hasterok: "Even U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson isn't sure what a public health care option is or what it would do. It wouldn't be socialized health care like European countries have, he told a meeting of political leaders and business people here this week." "Health care: Nips, tucks don't cut it".
"Where does Senator Bill Nelson stand on the public healthcare option? Does he support a national public healthcare option that’s available on day one and able to establish rates with big drug companies and hospitals? Does he support the public healthcare option as passed by the HELP committee in the Senate?" Ask him here.
"Significant challenge to Florida's law against gays"
"An adoption case that is now before an appellate court case presents a significant challenge to Florida's law against gays." "Case is a serious challenge to Florida's gay-adoption ban".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editors:
Individual donations to specific candidates' campaigns are capped. But donations to groups [like ECOs] aren't. Nor are group-to-group donations. So individuals donate limitlessly to an ECO, which in turn donates to another, shedding donors' identity along the way and piling up cash to bankroll "issue" ads that don't specifically endorse a candidate. The result is transparency in appearance only. Groups like Conservative Citizens for Justice or Alliance for Florida's Future or Stop Unfair Taxes sound legitimate. But finding out who's behind them can be impossible."First Amendment stealth".
Florida's 2004 law had it right in principle and in many of its specifics. It's not unfair, or burdensome, for any organization that intends to campaign for or against issues to register with the Divisions of Elections. Nor is it burdensome for an electioneering organization to have to disclose its donors' identity and the amounts they give. That's the essence of transparency. The difference is in how electioneering is defined. A small community association printing a few fliers for its members to describe what's on the ballot should not have to meet the same standard as an organization actively campaigning in various media on behalf of an issue or against a candidate.
The Legislature should revisit its 2004 law early next year in time for the 2010 election cycle, preserve its transparency requirements but redefine its reach to ensure that communicating about an election and "electioneering" aren't confused. The First Amendment should be guarded. But it shouldn't be a cloak for anonymity that turns the amendment against itself by denying voters the right to be clearly informed about those who seek to influence them.
Aaron Deslatte: "Florida's 2005 ethics reform banning lobbyist meals and gifts for politicians could find itself caught up in a potentially sweeping reordering of election laws spurred by an anti- Hillary Clinton film yanked from theaters last year." "Florida lobbyists still trying to undo state's gift ban".
Thomas gives his RPOFer buddies a pass
Mike Thomas: "My worst fears about national health care have now been realized. All it took was an hour with U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, and knowing there are hundreds more just like her in Washington." "Health care on the wish list".
"Here's a number that may worry the Florida GOP: 11. That's the number of paid staffers Obama 2.0 has in Florida at the moment." "Yes, we can, evermore".
Beware "powerful legislators, business groups and Texas oil companies"
"A secretive group of powerful legislators, business groups and Texas oil companies has been laying the groundwork since December to win legislative approval to open Florida waters to oil exploration and end the 20-year drilling moratorium." "Push for drilling off Florida's coast is well-oiled".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The federal government pays about 70 percent of insurance premiums. Employees pay the difference."
That's a better deal than most, but it isn't free. U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, said he pays $326 a month for his coverage. Reps. Klein, Hastings and Wexler all are enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that covers 4 million of the 8 million federal employees. They have co-pays and deductibles. Blue Cross determines which drugs they and their family members can get and whether they can see a specialist, be hospitalized or even treated at all."Congressionalcare myths".
Jac Versteeg: "Spell check keeps suggesting that I change Charlie Crist to Charlie Christ, and I'm beginning to think that spell check is on to something." "Does Florida have a prayer?".
"A helping of disillusionment"
The New York Times: "Choked by a record level of foreclosures and unemployment, along with a helping of disillusionment, the state’s population declined by 58,000 people from April 2008 to April 2009, according to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research."
Except for the years around World Wars I and II, it was the state’s first population loss since at least 1900."After Century of Growth, Tide Turns in Florida".
“It’s dramatic,” said Stanley K. Smith, an economics professor at the University of Florida who compiled the report. "You have a state that was booming and has been a leader in population growth for the last 100 years that suddenly has seen a substantial shift."
The loss is more than a data point. Growth gave Florida its notorious flip-flop and flower-print swagger. Life could be carefree under the sun because, as a famous state tourism advertisement put it in 1986, “The rules are different here.”
But what if they are not? Or if those Florida rules — an approach that made growth paramount in the state’s sales pitch, self-image and revenue structure — no longer apply?
State may not "see a dime"
"If Seminole Tribe, Crist don't reach agreement state won't see a dime". See also "Seminole deal would add to a gambling industry that has grown to high stakes".
"A titanic and costly clash"
"It has been a decade since former Gov. Jeb Bush joined forces with then-House Speaker John Thrasher to reduce taxes, legalize school vouchers and generally make life miserable for Florida's mostly liberal trial lawyers."
Having capitalized on that success by earning millions as a high-powered lobbyist, Thrasher now wants to return to the political arena, and Bush is the key. He stars in pro-Thrasher TV ads that blast the lawyers who are now aggressively working to defeat Thrasher."Vote may test whether Jeb Bush still has influence".
With no Democrats running, the Sept. 15 primary for the North Florida Senate seat is winner-take-all where anything can happen, because voter turnout is usually low in special elections. That means a short, intense campaign heavy on advertising, and an effective get-out-the vote effort can be crucial.
The result is a titanic and costly clash between the Republican old guard and trial lawyers, and the outcome could have implications for years in the state capital.
That's our Charlie ... all things to all people
"Crist is as cordial as they come in the political world. But his office may have went a bit too far with a 'thank you' letter sent to a Pasco County man who had mailed Crist a copy of a Nazi-era anti-Semitic video." "Crist to “pro-white” candidate: 'Thanks for the video!' UPDATED".
"Crist and former chief of staff George LeMieux -- the subjects of a federal public corruption investigation -- have been cleared of allegations that they tried to thwart a state criminal probe into a Fort Lauderdale insurance company, according to sources familiar with the ongoing case."
Crist's selection of LeMieux to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez would not have been possible had LeMieux still been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors investigating alleged influence-peddling by Mutual Benefits and its former top executive."Crist, LeMieux cleared in Mutual Benefits probe".
LeMieux was in the cross-hairs of the investigation after a major Republican fundraiser working with the FBI made a secretly recorded phone call to LeMieux at the governor's office in 2007, trying to get LeMieux to implicate himself, sources said.
But the phone call backfired: LeMieux immediately reported it to Crist's general counsel, who called the FBI. Still, LeMieux remained under investigation through much of 2008, along with Crist and several other members of his inner circle from his tenure as Florida attorney general and then as governor.
Adam Smith: "Forget that the governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat and every other statewide office are open this election cycle. The 2010 campaign that could have the farthest-reaching implications for Florida is a redistricting ballot initiative that would change the way congressional and legislative districts are drawn." "Florida's ballot initiative to ban gerrymandering starts to draw foes".
Scott Maxwell asks "Why is blood so costly?".
Them bad scary mean firefighter unions
The malleable Miami Herald editorial board* slams firefighters and their unions whilst publishing Chamber of Commerce propaganda in the form of a so-called "editorial" this morning: "We ask our police officers and firefighters to do things we won't do because of the risks involved."
In exchange we pay them more [than other low paid public employees?], make sure they are well compensated for any harm received on the job and allow them to retire at an earlier age than other government workers because of the stress and risks they face. All of this is fair."Unsustainable pension pandering".
What isn't fair is how much political clout the first responders' unions wield in local governments and in Tallahassee to the detriment of taxpayers.
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*These are the same courageous editorial pages that originally "voted 9 to 2 to endorse Walter Mondale. But one of the two was the publisher, Richard Capen Jr., who insisted on Ronald Reagan."
Capen then promptly "overruled [the] editorial board decision to endorse Walter F. Mondale", and the paper endorsed Reagan.
Capen was in turn promptly rewarded for his GOPerness by, among other things, an appointment as Ambassador to Spain."
Those horrible firefighter unions.
"About 50 firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze this morning that caused the evacuation of a hotel along South Orange Blossom Trail." "Firefighters battle blaze at motel on South OBT".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: ""."If you someday look out the window of a local train taking you into Tampa and see a traffic jam on a highway, would you call the train a failure? How you answer says a lot about which side you're on in the debate over local rail." "Rail system won't empty the roads".