Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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.


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The Blog for Friday, September 11, 2009

An "ominous sign" for gambling pact

    "A legislative leader put the brakes on Gov. Charlie Crist's revised Seminole gambling plan Wednesday, an ominous sign as opposition mounts from lawmakers in both parties."
    The Indian gambling deal seemed on track for approval in an October special session, but Senate President Jeff Atwater, R- North Palm Beach, informed the governor that's now "highly unlikely."

    In his letter to the governor, Atwater also expressed concern about adding oil drilling to any special session agenda. An array of oil-industry and business lobbyists have been pressing for quick passage of a measure that would allow drilling within five miles of Florida's beaches – for potential royalty payments of as much as $2.3 billion a year.
    "Senate leader rules out special session on Seminole gambling pact". See also "Atwater: Oct. special session very unlikely".

    Mark Lane: "Sometime before the year's up, the Legislature will gather in Tallahassee to decide about casino gambling in Florida. It will not be pretty."
    And that was before somebody came up with the bright idea of pairing the issue with quick green-lighting of offshore oil drilling.

    If you're looking for a fight between gambling supporters and opponents, calm down and find something else to watch. That's not the dispute here.

    Nope. It will be strictly racetracks versus Indians. And in the Legislature, as in football, I'm rooting for the Seminoles.
    He explains: "Gambling on a hard session".

    UC benefits runnin' out

    "Next month, extended unemployment benefits will end for more than 31,500 unemployed Floridians." "Thousands of unemployed to lose benefits".

    Crist opposes oil drilling

    "Minutes after he was sworn in Thursday, new Florida Sen. George LeMieux got an earful of advice from Vice President Joe Biden, cast his first vote -- against an Obama administration appointee ['Obama's nomination of Harvard professor Cass Sunstein to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs'] -- and threatened to block passage of an energy bill that would put oil drilling rigs near the Florida shore." Get this:

    The Republican also sought to tamp down speculation that he would consider taking on Florida's senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, in 2012.
    "Sen. LeMieux sworn in, casts his first vote". See also "Former Crist aide sworn in as Florida's newest senator", "George LeMieux sworn in as Florida's new U.S. senator", "LeMieux sworn in as Florida's new senator" and "LeMieux sworn in as Florida's new senator".

    More: "Sen. LeMieux criticizes federal offshore drilling plan" and "George LeMieux vs. Bill Nelson in 2012?"

    BlackBerry boo boo

    "Two days after the Public Service Commission banned some BlackBerry messaging in its hearing room, the Florida Commission on Ethics will decide whether e-mails sent by BlackBerry may have snagged Commissioner Lisa Edgar in a potential violation of state law." "Ethics group to look at possible text message between Florida Public Service commissioner and Florida Power official".

    Kudos to Chipotle Mexican Grill

    "Chipotle Mexican Grill is going directly to one of the Florida tomato growers to improve wages for the migrant workers who harvest the company's tomatoes."

    The Denver-based burrito chain announced that it reached an agreement with East Coast Growers and Packers to pay workers an additional penny per pound for all Chipotle tomatoes they pick. The pay will go from 50 cents for a 32-pound bucket to 82 cents per bucket, marking a 64 percent increase.

    The deal could mark a major turning point in the long-running efforts by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve the wages and working conditions of the migrant workers who pick Florida's tomatoes.
    The idiots in the mix remain
    the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which since 2007 has threatened fines against its members for participating. Two growers participated in the Taco Bell deal for two years, but the rest of the deals were never implemented.

    The growers have argued that they can't participate because of legal issues with a third party dictating the terms of its workers' employment [?]. They've also complained about the difficulty of tracking who picks tomatoes that ultimately end up on a Burger King Whopper or a Chipotle burrito.

    Rather than fight with the rest of the industry, East Coast Growers decided in the last few weeks to drop out of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange and strike a deal with Chipotle.
    "Florida tomato grower will raise workers' wages".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "South Florida water managers say they struck a good deal when they agreed to pay a contractor $12 million to walk away from a massive, half-finished reservoir intended to feed water to the parched Everglades. The agreement comes in addition to $13 million the district paid to put the project on hold, bringing the total cost of the cancelled reservoir project to more than $280 million." "Contractor on killed Everglades project to get $12 million for walking away".

    Crist's guy at the RPOF "downright kooky"

    Scott Maxwell: "It was fascinating to watch Jim Greer step into the national spotlight last week — and then burn up in it."

    One day, the leader of Florida's Republican Party was having a blast, accusing the president of trying to "indoctrinate" children with "liberal lies" and a "socialist agenda."

    The next, he was a pariah in his own party. Mainstream conservatives were running away from Greer like he was a Code Pink protester at a VFW rally. ...

    Former George W. Bush adviser Mark McKinnon was so embarrassed by the antics, he went on a liberal MSNBC show to decry them. "It's insane when a United States president can't deliver a simple speech to the students of this country without everybody going absolutely berserk," said the man who also helped John McCain. "And, you know, I think it's bad for the country. But I also think it's bad for the Republican Party. It just makes us out to be incredibly partisan and out of touch."

    Greer still had fans in the echo chamber of talk radio, where Obama is believed to be an illegal immigrant. But most mainstream conservatives seemed to share the opinion of Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto, who described the protests as "downright kooky."

    By the end, Greer was reduced to praising the speech that he criticized before reading and trying to convince a CNN anchor that he'd taught his own children "to have the highest respect for the presidency and this president and all presidents."

    So said the guy who had just called the president an indoctrinating, socialist liar.

    Here's the kicker though: Later in the week, Greer tried again to offer his opinion on Obama — only no one would listen.
    "Greer is for speech after he was against it".

    Those of us who have had the unfortunate occasion to spend a little time in central Florida's right-wing bastion of Seminole County understand that Charlie Crist's shill Jimmy Greer, actually and accurately reflects the views of Seminole County RPOFers: those folks are "downright kooky".

    Steve Otto earlier this week: "Who would have believed that it could happen right here in America? Who could have imagined that in one 20-minute stroke millions of American children would have their minds corrupted and twisted, and that when they got off the school buses later in the afternoon they would have become zombie slaves to a socialist philosophy?" "Baracknophobia sweeps the schools".

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Kids teach adults a lesson with Obama speech".

    Tallahassee "sunshine"

    "In the aftermath of a lawmaker's indictment and a scathing grand jury report, a pair of legislators want voters to amend Florida's Constitution to require more 'sunshine' in the state Capitol. The proposed constitutional amendment by Miami Sen. Dan Gelber and Sarasota Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, both Democrats, would require higher standards for open meetings, budget writing and public records. Florida's open-government laws are known as Sunshine Laws." "Lawmaking duo wants voters to add more 'sunshine'". See also "Gelber pushes constitutional amendment to stop secret budget deals".

    "Withering piles of gutless goo"

    Daniel Ruth thinks "Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association's Tugboat Annie of Tallahassee, would be more than in favor of replacing the state bird with the noble, formidable osprey."

    After all, with a nearly 6-foot wingspan, it's a bigger target.

    Alas, Hammer, one of those powerful capital denizens who attracts fawning pols like Jennifer Aniston collects ex-boyfriends, has weighed in on the debate to name a successor to the current state fowl, the rather nondescript, dull, feathered answer to Alan Greenspan — the mockingbird. ...

    Last year, the commission conducted a program to engage elementary school students in the selection of a new state bird, culminating in a vote. Overwhelmingly, nearly 29,000 kiddos picked the robust osprey. But then again ballots often mean precious little in Florida, especially when they have to compete with just one vote — Hammer's backed by the juice, the clout, the checkbook of the NRA.

    Simply because the NRA can reduce all these politicians who claim to be bold, independent voices of the people into withering piles of gutless goo, Hammer has insisted her ties to one of the most influential lobbying organizations in Tallahassee has nothing to do with her preference in keeping the flock of Frank Gorshins as the state bird.

    Still, you have to suspect if Marion Hammer decided she thought Daffy Duck would do quite nicely as the state bird our august legislators would think nothing of blowing off the will of schoolchildren and (lisp included) vote to appease her.
    "NRA to schoolkids: Shut your beak".

    Never mind

    "DNA evidence frees man after 26 years in Broward jail".

    Grayson at work

    "There have been so many abuses associated with the taxpayer bailouts of the past year — think of the fat bonuses and luxury retreats for executives at rescued companies, the millions spent by the companies to lobby Congress and the billions in dividends paid to their shareholders."

    We thought — or hoped — that we had heard it all.

    If only we had been so lucky. Recently, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando uncovered yet another outrage. ...

    What kind of system leaves taxpayers to cover the legal expenses to defend executives who helped drive their company — and the U.S. economy — into a ditch?

    As Mr. Grayson remarked to the Times, "When did Uncle Sam become Uncle Sap?" It's a good question.
    "Another bailout bungle".

    "Senate race dominated by special interests gets stranger"

    "A special election that features a prominent former House speaker, Jeb Bush, racially tinged mailers warning of Black Panthers at the polls, and million-dollar attack ad campaigns backed by business groups and trial lawyers just got weirder."

    The latest twist: a surveillance videotape that shows two prominent trial lawyers leaving the home of the front-running candidate, an anti-tax activist named Dan Quiggle, that's being cited as evidence the trial bar is financing Quiggle's campaign.

    Supporters of John Thrasher, a former Speaker turned big-time lobbyist, have been charging for weeks that the trial bar is secretly backing Quiggle in the four-way Republican primary that will decide who replaces the late Sen. Jim King of Jacksonville.

    The Thrasher campaign is hoping that likely voters in next Tuesday's primary don't care for trial lawyers, and the mere implication that a candidate is backed by the group will turn them off.

    Quiggle has been something of a mystery figure in the seven-week special election for the seat, which extends into northeastern Volusia County. He has refused to return phone calls and e-mails and skipped several recent events attended by the other candidates, who also include Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham and former Rep. Stan Jordan.
    "Attack ads! Racial scares! And now videotape!".

    "The point would be to make abortion murder."

    For some reason, Paul Flemming thinks this bit 'o wingnuttery is worthy of attention:

    Brenda MacMenamin has begun a long, possibly quixotic, journey to amend Florida's constitution.

    I hope she succeeds in getting her "personhood" proposal on the ballot, for the basest of reasons. I'd pay to see this fight.

    Today, the 49-year-old from Port St. Lucie is set to launch her low-budget signature petition campaign to extend civil rights to fetuses, with a news conference in Tallahassee. Her stated aim is to put her question to Florida voters in November 2010. To do so, she'll need to get 676,811 registered voters to sign petitions before February.

    "We'll go for a million" signatures, MacMenamin said.

    If she makes it, Floridians will be asked to define a person, with full protections afforded them in the state's constitution, "from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."

    The point would be to make abortion murder.
    "'Personhood' promises one heck of a battle". See also "Group seeks Fla. amendment giving rights to embryos".

    Here's the thing ... Roe v. Wade is settled law ... that's the United States Constitution. The Florida constitution can't be amended to supersede the United States Constitution.

    Gay adoption

    "As a Miami appeals court ponders the fate of one gay adoptive father, federal child welfare regulators may step in on behalf of another. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administrators have written an e-mail backing the efforts of Wayne LaRue Smith, the first openly gay person in Florida to legally adopt in decades, who is seeking a federal subsidy given to Floridians who adopt a foster child." "Gay adoptive dad gets help to receive subsidy".

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