"For the second time in two weeks, a doctored image of President Barack Obama has stirred a political and racial row in the Tampa Bay area. ... Once it hit the Drudge Report this week, it spread far and wide, including to a Facebook page titled 'Pinellas County Republican Party.'" "Pinellas GOP denies link to Facebook page with image of Obama as Joker".
"Once was the huntress"
"Suzanne Kosmas once was the huntress,"
stalking Florida's 24th congressional district against incumbent Tom Feeney.That changed in November after the New Smyrna Beach Democrat unseated Feeney, the Republican.Kosmas has been targeted by criticism from Republicans and at least three credible Republican candidates are competing to unseat her in 2010. A fourth potential candidate, former Notre Dame football coach and ESPN commentator Lou Holtz, is also considering a run."GOP targeting Kosmas in 2010". More: "Ex-coach Lou Holtz considering running for Congress in Central Florida".
The Miami Herald editors fear that "drilling fever is spreading in Florida -- to the state's peril." "Stop drillmania".
"Negron Republican former state Rep. Joe Negron won the special election to succeed Ken Pruitt in the state senate [last night]. No big surprise that he beat a perennial candidate, Bill Ramos, whom he outspent at least 14-to-one, but a win is a win and this district did not have to be a GOP lock." "Congrats to state Sen. Joe Negron".
"Slow start" for Sansom
"Legislators probing former House Speaker Ray Sansom's dealings with a Panhandle college and a wealthy developer voted Tuesday to hire an outside lawyer, then recessed until after the scheduled start of the his criminal trial." "Sansom hearing recesses on search for outside lawyer". See also: "Legislators' look at Ray Sansom's dealings off to slow start". Related: "Legislature On Trial Along With Ex-House Speaker".
Meantime, it seems "Northwest Florida State College officials began devising an educational purpose for aircraft space secured through funding from Rep. Ray Sansom only after The Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times began asking questions, according to investigative files released Tuesday." "Northwest Florida State College made educational plans for hangar funded by Rep. Ray Sansom only after newspapers' scrutiny".
"New extension on unemployment benefits critical"
Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "More than 25,000 Floridians have been filing claims for unemployment compensation every week since January."
If there is any improving trend, it's not showing yet. And unemployment money is beginning to run out. In Florida, 14,000 people have already run out of benefits eligibility. By next month, 1.5 million people across the country will have exhausted their benefits despite an extension Congress approved this year. By year's end, a quarter of Florida's unemployed will be out of benefits. ..."Jobless in Florida".
Fiscal conservatives oppose the extension, saying it's more deficit spending. They're right. But domestic deficit spending in a recession beats the alternative. The deficit-spending claim is less convincing when the same fiscal conservatives, judging from the near unanimity of the approving vote in the House, didn't hesitate to approve the latest spending bill for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- $126 billion, part of a $636 billion defense bill for 2010. The appropriation sends total war spending past the $1 trillion mark, with little to show for it.
If there's any doubt about the value of extending unemployment compensation, look around. In Florida especially ... it could be the difference between life and foreclosure for the house next door. Or your own.
Lobbyists go to court
"Florida lobbyists asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to review the state's ban on lobbyists buying gifts and meals for legislators in light of the high court's review of a similar case." "Florida lobbyists urge U.S. Supreme Court to overturn state's ban on gifts to lawmakers".
5th DCA appointment finally made
"Crist bowed to the state's high court and filled a judicial post Tuesday, nearly a year after the job opening set off a constitutional test over the governor's power to put more diversity on the courts. Crist appointed Circuit Judge Bruce Waldron Jacobus, 65, of Indialantic, to fill the opening on the 10-member Daytona Beach-based Fifth District Court of Appeal ...". "After constitutional struggle, Crist fills Central Florida appeals court post". See also "Crist names judge from Indialantic to district court of appeal" and "Gov. Crist names new judge to appeals court".
The best they can do?
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "St. Petersburg's mayoral race has degenerated into a contest to see who can be more punitive toward panhandlers." "Stop the pandering on panhandling".
"On the brink of collapse"
"Florida Bay's ecology on the brink of collapse".
"More than a chip shot away from vindication"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:"Now that the U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its investigation into former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney's 2003 golf junket to Scotland on the tab of crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, some of the ex-congressman's supporters talk as if he deserves a mulligan after losing last year's election."
But the Justice Department's action is more than a chip shot away from vindication for the Republican from Oviedo, who served three terms in the U.S. House.Much more: "The verdict on Feeney". Related: "Scott Maxwell: Feeney isn't the only one to blame".
Last week the department ended its investigation just weeks after a federal appeals court blocked prosecutors from access to statements that Mr. Feeney had made to the House ethics committee on the matter. Prosecutors reportedly tried to subpoena the information after Mr. Feeney refused to talk to federal investigators. The court ruled that the statements were off-limits to prosecutors under the Constitution's separation-of-powers principle. ...
Last year, Mr. Abramoff was sentenced to four years in federal prison for swapping gifts for political favors. A former member of Congress, Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, and several former congressional staffers were convicted on corruption charges connected to their dealings with Mr. Abramoff.
The House ethics committee, whose members seemed to sleep through most other scandals, concluded in 2007 that Mr. Feeney's Scotland trip violated the chamber's rules against travel for members financed by lobbyists. Mr. Feeney said he had been duped by Mr. Abramoff into believing the cost of the trip had been covered by a public-policy research organization. ...
Voters didn't buy what Mr. Feeney was selling. He lost to Ms. Kosmas by 16 points. It was a remarkable deficit for an incumbent in a Republican district tailor-made for him while he was still Florida House speaker.
There were other factors working against Mr. Feeney last year besides the ongoing federal investigation. He never tried to play down his strong conservative positions in an election year that turned out to be disastrous for Republicans.
"'White House Boys'"
"Open-ended claims have been filed to pay damages in the slaying of an informant killed during a botched drug sting last year and hundreds of 'White House Boys' who endured abuse as juveniles in state custody." "Lawson files compensation bills in Hoffman, Darling deaths".
Florida presidential election maps
From dKos: "For your enjoyment, a few maps of Florida's presidential elections (taken from the New York Times) are posted [here]" ... Barack Obama beats John McCain, 50.91% to 48.10%. Notice how well he does in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. On the other hand, John McCain is absolutely dominating the north, where he improved on Bush in a number of smaller counties." "Maps of Florida Elections".
The problem with "For-profit prison systems"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "At the heart of the problem is the network of federal detention centers -- including the Krome Service Processing Center in Miami-Dade -- and local and state jails and other facilities run by for-profit prison systems." "Abusive jails".
"Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is heading to Columbus and Albany to discuss the latest developments in Georgia's ongoing fight with Alabama and Florida over federal water rights." "Perdue heads to south Ga. to discuss water".
The RPOF wants you to know it ain't a "tax"
"Florida angers amateur anglers with new fees".