Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 04, 2009

"Potential deficits during the next three budget years"

    "Florida can expect more potential deficits during the next three budget years, the Legislature's top economist told a panel of lawmakers from both chambers today." "State economist sees deficits for next 3 years". See also "State expects budget shortfalls after stimulus funds dry up".

    The "absolutely appalling" RPOF

    "'Forced abortions' in the health care reform proposal? 'Indoctrinating children' for a 'socialist agenda' in a speech on the importance of education?"

    It's common to hear such assertions from extreme critics of President Barack Obama – Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin.

    But those words came from Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer, who runs the party headed by Florida's supposedly moderate Gov. Charlie Crist. Greer has suddenly become a fountain of some of the harshest anti-Obama rhetoric around.

    That's happening at the same time that Greer is nurturing ambitions for a high-level position in the national Republican Party.

    And it's the same time that his political patron, Crist, is having increasing problems with the conservative base of his own party in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

    Greer's latest salvo, on Obama's planned education speech, has suddenly put him in the national spotlight – he was scheduled for four national nightly news appearances Thursday.

    Greer denies his rhetoric is an attempt to reconcile himself or Crist with the conservative base.
    "Florida GOP head moves anti-Obama rhetoric to the right".

    "Parents are threatening to keep their children home from school Tuesday to avoid a presidential speech that conservatives and critics say is an effort to indoctrinate students in 'socialist" ideology.'" "Some parents upset over Obama speech to students".

    "Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer said in a statement he was 'absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology.' Despite his rhetoric, two of the larger Florida districts, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough, plan to have classes watch the speech. Students whose parents object will not have to watch." "Obama speech to students sparks new controversy".

    In that part of the State of Florida, that constantly reminds us that "After all, he is black", we get this: "Tampa Bay area school officials, who fielded dozens of calls and e-mails, will allow parents to 'opt out' students from viewing the 15 to 20 minute speech." "Nobody's required to watch".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Public discourse is seriously off track when the president of the United States plans a vanilla speech to students about civics, and in response the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida accuses him of promoting socialism and Tampa Bay school superintendents allow parents to opt out." "Danger! Obama speaks". More: "'Indoctrination' talk is baseless fearmongering ".

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
    The nation's political discourse has hit a new low. At least, we hope it doesn't get any lower than parents threatening to keep their kids home from school because the president plans to — gasp! — make a short speech Tuesday about hard work and education. ...

    Mr. Greer ought to try being less ridiculous, and parents who keep their kids home from school on Tuesday ought to be ashamed.
    "Obama's lesson".

    More: "Palm Beach County school administrators have not decided yet whether to air President Obama's nationally televised address Tuesday to the nation's schoolchildren, which the chairman of Florida's Republican Party has called a ploy to indoctrinate students into a 'socialist ideology.'" "Amid GOP charges of 'socialist' agenda, Palm Beach County school officials still deciding whether to air Obama's speech to children". See also "Obama's plan to speak to schoolchildren has some South Florida parents hopping mad".

    Making "the Hapsburgs look like Beaver Cleaver's family"

    Daniel Ruth: "Do you ever get the feeling political life in Tallahassee is so incestuous it makes the Hapsburgs look like Beaver Cleaver's family?" "Good times for them; shaft for us".

    Confederate flag fever

    "The [Sons of Confederate Veterans] group marched in the Homestead parade last year with the flag. The commander of its Miami camp says the group will participate this year and planned to bring the [Confederate] flag." "Veterans Day parade will go on, despite flag flap".

    "Drill, baby drill!"

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Crist and state lawmakers think they've found a solution to Florida's ongoing revenue woes. Imagine oil and gas rigs dotting the horizon off our shores. Republican state leaders apparently have envisioned it, and are lining up the votes to make it a reality. 'Drill, baby drill!' may make a catchy slogan, but it does not make for sound public policy." "Legislation to allow oil drilling to occur within five miles of Florida's shores is a little too close to home".

    Tea Baggers gettin' lazy

    "U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek emphasized the importance of a government-run healthcare plan at a low-key Miami town hall meeting attended by about 400 people. ... This was not the raucous town hall meeting that cable news networks have been recycling this summer." "Calm prevails at Meek's town hall". See also "Meek hosts South Fla. health care meeting".

    "Rationales against gay adoption defeat themselves"

    Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "It doesn't take a court case to bring in relief the absurdity of Florida's law banning adoptions by gay parents. But it helps. The case of Frank Martin Gill, the openly gay parent of two boys he took in as a foster father five years ago, is forcing the state to defend the indefensible -- to argue that the law is right to keep Gill from adopting the boys even though the state also believes that it's in the best interest of the children to stay with their foster father, and that Gill is an excellent parent."

    The more the state defends the law, the more it sounds like it's re-channeling the delirious claims that fevered the singer Anita Bryant's campaign in 1977 that led to Florida's ban.

    Bryant thought protecting gay rights would open the door to prostitutes plying their trade to schoolchildren and that "flaunting homosexuals" would automatically make children gay. "It may not have an immediate effect, but certainly down the line it will," she said at the time, "on your kids and your grandchildren, for generations to come."

    Certifiable bunk, but no different from the state's claim, in open court, that barring gays from adopting is just, because gays as a group have a higher rate of domestic violence, psychiatric disorders and breakups. The offense behind Deputy Solicitor General Timothy Osterhaus' line of argument is twofold. First, his statistics are wrong, as Gill's attorney pointed out. Statistical differences in gay and straight couples' stability, incidence of domestic violence and psychiatric issues are insignificant. But what if they weren't? Baptists divorce at a higher rate than Catholics. Should Baptists' adoption rights be put in question? Rich white men commit more white-collar crime than poor black women. Should rich white men's adoption rights be put in question?
    "Ending bad-era ban".

    "How much they can squeeze onto the agenda"?

    "It may no longer be a question of whether Florida lawmakers return to work early this fall, but how much they can squeeze onto the agenda."

    Lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist are talking about calling a special session in October or November to vote on a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. And though the Legislature's presiding officers say publicly it's too early to discuss adding to the menu, an intense lobbying effort is under way to take up a host of thorny issues — from Central Florida's commuter-rail project to offshore oil drilling.
    "Contentious issues may jam special session".


    Scott Maxwell: "Corrupt politicians have enablers -- including us".

    "So how many, if any, others were wrongly convicted"?

    More Maxwell: "It's time to check back on Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum — two men who have shown absolutely no interest in one of the most twisted cases of injustice Florida has seen in recent years."

    We're talking about the cases surrounding discredited dog handler John Preston in Brevard County.

    It has already been proved that Preston helped convict innocent men with a tracking dog that a judge later said "simply could not track anything."

    Three of these men were later freed from prison — after spending more than a half-century collectively behind bars.

    So how many, if any, others were wrongly convicted or still imprisoned?

    Who knows? Because Crist and McCollum — the state's two top (supposed) defenders of justice — have ignored repeated calls from public defenders and justice watchdogs to investigate the matter.

    After all, fighting for the rights of the innocent doesn't win nearly as many votes as threatening to lock people up.
    "Politics before justice?".

    If you're confident that the system works, especially in death penalty cases, you ought to take a gander at this story in the latest The New Yorker: "Trial by Fire".

    Where were the immigrant-haters ...

    ... when Bush pulled this stunt? And are they now cheering Obama's reinstatement of the requirement (see below) that "growers make greater efforts to fill [farm] jobs with American workers"?

    The Obama administration

    on Thursday said it is proposing new rules that would boost wages and increase safeguards for thousands of seasonal workers brought in each year to help farmers pick their crops. It would also require that growers make greater efforts to fill those jobs with American workers.

    If the rules are adopted, they would largely reverse regulations finalized shortly before President George W. Bush left office and return to a framework that had been in effect since 1987.
    "New rules would boost pay, safety for farmworkers".

    We can guess what Georgie thinks

    "The law firm led by newly appointed U.S. Senator George LeMieux was responsible for securing dozens of visas for foreign workers to enter the country and help construct the St. Regis hotel and condominiums in Bal Harbour – a move that left American sheet metal workers out of a job."

    LeMieux is chairman of Gunster Yoakley, a Florida-based law firm which specializes in helping companies hire foreigners to replace American workers inside the United States.
    "LeMieux's Firm Aided Foreign Workers" (via The Buzz).

    Warning!: "Indignant" political appointee ahead!

    "In the latest installment of intrigue at the Public Service Commission, chairman Matthew Carter issued an indignant press release today saying he takes 'great offense' at reports that utility regulators are too cozy with Florida Power & Light Co. executives." "PSC Chairman Carter denies he’s “too cozy” with FPL".

    Never forget ...

    ... that Florida has wingnut panhandlers, who regularly are given a voice Florida's corporate media:

    President Obama has surrounded himself in the White House with a cadre of tax cheats, swindlers and power-grabbers who seem like socialists to me. ...

    My questions to Congressman Boyd are:

    # Where will you stand when the Obama team launches its vicious attack on the Second Amendment? It is already on his agenda.

    # What will you do when the administration tries to eliminate the First Amendment and dismantle talk radio and Fox News?

    # Will you take a stand and fight for those of us who support you — who supported you before you went completely opposite of the person whom we thought had voted in to support of us. Or will you fall in tow with the Obama administration as you did with the energy bill and as you appear to be doing, waffling around on this socialized health care legislation?

    If you are not going to fight against all of this massive destruction of America, I suggest you resign from office, hang your head in shame and go back to Monticello.

    We patriots and voters who are good solid Americans who are proud of America will get someone else to take on the fight.
    "Russell B. Culpepper: Mr. Boyd, dump Obama".

    "Proposed revision to rules controlling public access"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Florida public records rules are in a state of flux as county and circuit courts put more and more of their files into computerized systems that are generally available to the public — with some exceptions that must strike the fine balance between the public's right to know what its government is doing, and personal rights of privacy. This week the Florida Supreme Court heard debate on a proposed revision to rules controlling public access, recommendations that have come out of a court committee headed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Judith Kreeger." "Need to know".

    So much for Alvarez

    Myriam Marquez: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos "Alvarez held out so much promise. It's sad to watch. Instead of leading good government he became a blind follower of business as usual." "So much for Mayor Alvarez, the crusader".

    Imagine that

    "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, elected to be watchdog over the state's coffers, is eliminating hundreds of BlackBerrys, cellphones and wireless air cards within her department -- a move she says will save taxpayers more than $210,000 a year." "Sink reins in wireless costs to save money". See also "CFO cuts back on cell phones".

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