"Charlie is becoming the new Tom Gallagher"
Adam Smith: "When people talk about the threat Marco Rubio poses to Charlie Crist's Senate plans, Crist backers tend to invoke two words: Tom Gallagher. He was the last Republican who tried to win a GOP primary by hailing conservative principles and trying to depict Crist as too moderate."
"It's hard to get to the right of Chain Gang Charlie,'' Crist said, shortly before crushing Gallagher in that 2006 gubernatorial primary by more than 30 points."This time, it's striking to see the similarities between the Crist of today and the Gallagher of 2006. Just like Gallagher did with Crist two years ago, Crist tried and failed to quickly shove aside former state House Speaker Rubio by overpowering him with GOP establishment support and fundraising prowess."
And just like Gallagher, a lifelong moderate who had supported tax increases, gun control and abortion rights and faced constant skepticism about his conservatism, Crist's attacks on excessive spending in Washington are constantly drawing scoffs from people who well remember Crist campaigning for passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus package."Role reversal puts Florida Gov. Crist in tracks of loser Tom Gallagher".
"It gets hard to pass the straight-face test with voters, and especially with you reporters," said Brett Doster, who managed Gallagher's campaign and constantly struggled to overcome skepticism that Gallagher believed what he said. "I hate to say this, but Charlie is becoming the new Tom Gallagher."
Collapsed building injures firefighters ...
... and these guys probably think their entitled to a raise or sumthin.
"Two firefighters were hurt when a Kissimmee condominium building burned Sunday night, and dozens of people were left homeless as a result of the blaze."
Several units of the Kissimmee Fire Department responded around 9 p.m. to a fire at the Villa del Sol Condominiums, said Megan Shephard, a fire department spokeswoman. The blaze was in a three-story, 24-unit building at 4103 Tropical Isle Blvd."2 firefighters hurt when Kissimmee condos burn".
As firefighters checked for people inside, half of the top floor's roof collapsed
"Charlie Crist's Ponzi politics."
Forbes: "Charlie Crist is an extraordinarily gifted politician, known for his unpretentious and warm demeanor. He might also be America's worst governor. Given that there is a great deal of competition for this dubious honor, that's saying rather a lot." "America's Worst Governor?"
"Offshore drilling splits House".
"The most sought-after endorsement in state politics"?
If you don't know much about the candidates or don't feel strongly on an issue, the advice of organized schoolteachers, economic-development folks, environmentalists or a professional association can convey a sense of confidence."When the PBA talks, candidates listen".
That's what meets the eye in the Florida Police Benevolent Association's endorsement of Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate. There's more to it than the appearance that cops, probation officers and prison security staff support Crist — so he must be tough on law and order — although that's the message Crist and the PBA conveyed last week.
John Rivera, the state PBA president, was not immodest when he said the police and prison officers have the most sought-after endorsement in state politics.
Rubio "more confident than ever"
"Crist's loudest critics this year have come from his own party. And the frustration has manifested itself in the insurgent campaign of former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is hoping to become the first Floridian in modern politics to defeat a sitting governor in a primary."
"I'm more confident than ever," Rubio said in an interview Friday."Rubio advancing on Crist in state senate race".
Rubio's latest fund-raising report, published last week, momentarily quieted concerns about his fund-raising ability and put him in position to reach the $4 million figure strategists say he'll need before the August primary.
Meanwhile, two polls this week showed him closing the gap to 15 points behind Crist. One poll suggested he could defeat the Democratic frontrunner in the race, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, although another showed him losing.
Also growing on Rubio's financial reports is the number of contributors with ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush, still a powerful figure in Florida Republican politics: former consultant Mike Murphy, former Florida Education Commissioner Jim Horne and a host of top fund-raisers, including Sergio Pino and Norman Braman of Miami, and Duane Ottenstrouer and the Demetree family of Jacksonville.
Other Bush family friends, including Karl Rove, Harlan Crowe and Jim Blankenship, have also written checks to Rubio.
Crist has taken notice.
Atwater on rail
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Senate President Jeff Atwater's call for a special session on rail projects may be late in coming, but it shows someone in Tallahassee finally understands what it takes for Florida to win federal support for a big-ticket item like high-speed rail." "Atwater, at least, understands Tri-Rail need".
Charlie ducking The President
"Obama visits Jacksonville, Miami today and Arcadia tomorrow; don’t look for Crist this time".
Worthy Save Our Homes challenge?
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Last week, former Florida State University President Sandy D'Alemberte, a former American Bar Association president who now teaches law at FSU, tried challenging a portion of Florida Save Our Homes amendment that contributes greatly to our state's lopsided tax structure."
In arguments before the 1st District Court of Appeal here last Tuesday, he called the amendment a "house of mirrors" that didn't make our tax structure better or more fair, but instead violates federal constitutional rights of equality, travel and interstate commerce. He said the tax breaks discourage Floridians from moving to other states where they don't offer a similar incentive, but they also discriminate between newcomers and out-of-state owners of second homes here."Save Our Homes challenge is worthy".
The constitutionality of these amendments has been challenged, rejected, appealed and, as Mr. D'Alemberte is doing, challenged again in various ways. One appeal is now in the hands of the Florida Supreme Court, and Mr. D'Alemberte has a tough challenge ahead.
But the Florida Legislature itself, if it had the gumption, could begin correcting the course of our tax structure and make it more equitable. It could begin reducing dependency on property taxes for revenue, and spreading the tax burden more fairly by extending the sales taxes to certain exempt services and to remote (online) purchases of goods, which are subject to taxes, but typically go uncollected.
"Crist balks at a request to increase funding for the state parole commission, even though he has championed the streamlining of restoration of civil rights for ex-felons." "Gov. Charlie Crist's refusal to fund parole board contradicts policy".
"How much of it will be spent here remains to be seen"
"President Barack Obama is in Florida to raise money for U.S. Senate races, but how much of it will be spent here remains to be seen."
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is the leading Democrat for former Sen. Mel Martinez's seat, and he trails Republican Gov. Charlie Crist by 20 points in a recent Quinnipiac University poll."Will Senate money Obama raises in Fla. return?".
If Meek doesn't close that gap, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will likely use the money raised at Monday's fundraiser in more competitive states - especially since campaign ads are so expensive in Florida.
"Out of touch with Floridians"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "PSC staff recommendations for future energy efficiency and switching to more renewable fuels are disappointingly uninspired. It's one more indication why the embattled PSC -- after a series of scandals involving too cozy relationships by staff and commissioners with the utilities they regulate -- continues to be out of touch with Floridians." "Uninspiring energy-efficiency standards".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "A weak energy plan".
Some serious grrrl power
"U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, said seniors will be much better off under plans to reform the nation’s health care system." "Nancy Pelosi joins Wasserman Schultz to talk health care in Sunrise".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "When it comes to solar energy, size doesn't matter. Big, sun-drenched states like California and Colorado are leading solar-energy producers. But so are small states like New Jersey, Hawaii and Vermont. Florida is sun-drenched, big -- and a laggard in solar energy. For the good of the state, and perhaps its survival as we know it, that should change more rapidly than it has even as a big new solar-power plant begins production this week on a former orange grove in DeSoto County. " "For Florida, solar is cheaper and safer than nuclear".
How Broward works
"Fundraising and personal ties keep super-lobbyists close to Broward County commissioners -- too close, say some prominent critics". "How lobbyists influence decisions in Broward".
"One of Fidel Castro's sisters says in a memoir released Monday that she collaborated with the CIA against her brother, starting shortly after the United States' failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961." "Castro's sister says she collaborated with CIA".