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 Thursday, October 01, 2009

Crist gets slimed

    Update: "Alan Mendelsohn has contributed thousands of dollars to Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and appeared on his campaign literature in 2006, the Miami Herald reported. Crist appointed him to a health policy panel and wrote a recommendation for Mendelson’s son for the University of Florida medical school." "Crist, Rubio share ties to Florida doctor arrested on federal corruption charges". More: "Mendelsohn Hosted 'Marco Rubio U.S. Senate Kickoff'".

    "The indictment reads like a thriller: tales of bribed public officials and thwarted investigations; confederates with code names like Contributor #1 and Accomplice #2; and six-figure sums spent on luxuries like a $60,000-a-month mistress and a love nest. Charges issued Wednesday by a federal grand jury, the second salvo of corruption allegations aimed at Broward's power elite in a week, accuse Hollywood eye doctor and political fund raiser Alan D. Mendelsohn of mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting fraud and lying to federal agents." "Hollywood doc's indictment claims $60K mistress, love nest".

    "A politically connected Broward County eye doctor who raised more than $2 million to influence Florida legislators was arrested by the FBI Wednesday, charged with funneling $87,000 to a former public official and spending hundreds of thousands more on his children's education and his mistress."
    Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, 51, a Hollywood ophthalmologist, is also accused of commiting fraud when he claimed that he had used his money and clout with Charlie Crist and other high-ranking Florida officials, in a bid to thwart investigations into Mutual Benefits Corp., a Fort Lauderdale life insurance company.

    Mendelsohn's indictment was the first in a long-running corruption investigation by the Justice Department into Mendelsohn and a major campaign contributor, Joel Steinger, former chief of Mutual Benefits.
    "Hollywood eye doctor arrested in fraud probe".

    "Foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals"

    Grayson's hometown rag: "Orlando's colorful U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is riling Republicans again — this time over health care — in an escalating rhetorical battle that had Grayson invoking the Holocaust and Republicans calling him 'unhinged.'"

    Republicans characterized his comments as proof he is unfit for office.

    "This is an unstable man who has come unhinged," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere. "The depths to which Alan Grayson will sink to defend his indefensible comments know no bounds."

    Republicans also said that Grayson, who is Jewish, went too far by invoking the extermination of millions of Jews in World War II.

    "He further crossed the line by comparing the health-care debate to the Holocaust," said Sara Sendek, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

    The GOP also tried to equate Grayson to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who shouted "You lie!" at Obama during his health-care address.

    U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., drafted a resolution to reprimand Grayson, modeling it after the language Democrats pushed through to chide Wilson. Price said he would file the resolution this week.

    Grayson said he had not been told by party leaders to apologize for his remarks. He disputed reports that House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., had sought an apology, saying he had spoken with Larson and the two agreed none was needed.

    Grayson, appearing on CNN on Wednesday night, dismissed the RNC criticisms: "What the Republicans have been doing is insulting," he said. "They are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."
    "Grayson: I'll keep saying GOP wants sick to die". More "Watch the CSPAN coverage on YouTube by clicking here.".

    The The Orlando Sentinel editors don't like Mr. Grayson much:
    U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, the first-term Democrat from Orlando, already has a well-deserved reputation for overheated rhetoric. But he outdid himself Tuesday night when he declared -- on the floor of the House -- that the "Republican plan" for health care was for Americans to not get sick, or to "die quickly" if they do.

    There is no place in a civil debate in Congress for this kind of hyperbolic, hyperpartisan attack. It's outrageous. Mr. Grayson owes the House a sincere apology.
    "Grayson's bombast"

    The Sentinel offers a poll this morning, which to this point shows that the editors are grossly out of touch with their online readers: "Does Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson owe the U.S. House an apology for saying that Republicans want sick Americans to die quickly?"
    Yes. His comments were outrageous and over the top. (1061 responses) 13.1%

    No. He deserves credit for having the courage to tell the truth. (6248 responses) 77.4%

    Yes. If Grayson really wants health-care reform, this isn't the way to get it. (212 responses) 2.6%

    No. Republicans have already shown they aren't interested in doing anything but blocking health care reform. (552 responses) 6.8%
    Vote here.

    More: "Seeking payback from a recent reprimand of one of their own for heckling President Barack Obama, House Republicans want a Democratic lawmaker to apologize or face a reprimand for saying the GOP wants Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick."
    Amid the bitter political bickering, Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida stood firmly behind his comments.

    The first-term lawmaker returned to the House floor Wednesday afternoon and mocked Republicans' call for an apology by citing a study being published in the American Journal of Public Health that found nearly 45,000 people die each year for lack of health insurance.

    "I would like to apologize ... I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this Holocaust in America," he said.

    Grayson's initial comments came Tuesday night as he criticized Republican health care proposals as a "blank piece of paper."
    "Democrat: GOP wants sick to just 'die quickly'". See also "Grayson won't apologize for jab at GOP".

    Argenziano has made some enemies

    "Reporters have been offered information aimed at discrediting Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano for weeks. She owns and works from a second home in North Carolina purchased with the help of a legislature lobbyist while she was a state senator." "Argenziano dismisses ethics questions".

    "Information aimed at discrediting Argenziano has been offered anonymously to reporters for weeks. Pennington blames Florida Power & Light, the Juno Beach-based company that has been in the middle of recent controversies involving PSC staffers and is asking the PSC for a 30 percent rate increase. FPL says it does not try to influence commissioners and declined to comment Wednesday." "Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano discloses, defends lobbyist ties". Related: "PSC commissioner under scrutiny over financial deals".

    SunRail resurrection?

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board writes that, "with the Massachusetts compromise on liability, the chances of a SunRail resurrection seem likely. "

    The question is whether a new deal would be any better than the old one. While the Massachusetts agreement is only in principle for now – there is no language yet – the terms do not seem very onerous for the railroad. Its risk is negligible.

    Until recently, CSX demanded absolute immunity, even in the event of a freight accident in which the railroad was at fault.

    But under the compromise, CSX will contribute $500,000 to pick up part of the cost of a liability insurance policy the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority carries for the entire Bay State commuter rail system.
    "CSX liability deal in Massachusetts puts Florida version in play".

    Sink "happens to be in the right"

    "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, competing candidates for governor, squared off Tuesday in a dispute over best ways to manage Florida's $110 billion pension fund. McCollum, backed by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, prevailed at the Cabinet meeting — declaring that the State Board of Administration 'ain't broke' and that, therefore, any fixing can wait until December. Sink, the major Democratic contender for Crist's job, said the complexities of modern markets and the size of Florida's portfolio make the Reconstruction Era management methods woefully obsolete." "Sink: Update control of fund".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum have put off until December any serious discussion of issues surrounding the state's oversight of its investments, including its $110 billion pension fund. The Republicans — once again — thwarted Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat who wants to expand oversight of the State Board of Administration beyond the three elected officials. Sink is running for governor and scoring her own political points on this issue, but she happens to be in the right." "Ducking their duties".


    "U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd and wife separate in midst of reelection campaign".

    Thank you Mr. Obama

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "The gridlock that has stalled Everglades restoration for so long may finally be easing. A wise appointment by the Obama White House and the first real infusion of federal money since Congress approved the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000 are combining with state efforts to move things forward." "Progress at last".

    RPOFers rolling in their anti-ACORN dung

    "In 2004, ACORN mobilized a volunteer army to help win passage of a constitutional amendment raising Florida's minimum wage to $6.15, worth an extra $1-an-hour to an estimated 300,000 low-income workers."

    Four years later, the anti-poverty group registered 151,000 voters in Florida before the 2008 elections, enraging Republicans by their focus on poorer communities often friendly to Democrats. And as the economy sank, ACORN launched a program to help homeowners fight against home foreclosures.

    But now a video sting, surging Republican anger and the recession have combined to bring the group to a standstill. ...

    Leroy Bell, Florida ACORN's co-chairman, said his organization is paying the price for standing up for poor people.

    "If you want to kill the message," Bell said of critics, "you kill the messenger."

    The national fallout for ACORN has been breathtaking since the Sept. 10 release of undercover videos showing ACORN staffers in Baltimore and Philadelphia seeming to offer advice on how to evade taxes to two young conservatives posing as a pimp and prostitute.

    Since then, Congress voted to cut off its funds; the census bureau severed its relationship with ACORN; and critics have denounced the nearly 40-year-old group as poorly run or corrupt.
    "Florida ACORN operations hobbled by fallout from video sting".

    "Walmart salaries"

    Kudos for Mike Thomas managing to get these words by his editor: "Medicaid already pays Walmart salaries".

    Unfortunately, in the uncontrollable need for "balance", Thomas is of course required to slam Grayson:

    The health-care debate is focused on government options, death panels, ObamaCare, and now, from Rep. Alan Grayson, the Republican "Die quickly" option.
    He continues, driving home this old saw:
    Lost in this intelligent discourse has been Medicaid.

    Medicaid is why Tallahassee raised your taxes this year, and largely why Charlie Crist hopes to skedaddle up to Washington before the stimulus runs out and Tallahassee implodes.

    Medicaid is a virus in the budget — mutating, replicating and now threatening to take over the host organism.
    "Real cost of Medicaid will make you sick".

    Lneejerk legislation has consequences

    "New debate on heels of double-dip crackdown".

    It ain't a tax ...

    "Floridians are going to pay more for home insurance despite years without serious storms".

    "A dangerous irony"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Democracy relies on competition -- candidates vying with their ideas to win elections. For Florida's 67 counties to now have only one large certified company to select for election equipment or upgrades is a dangerous irony." "Guard against voting-machine monopoly".

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