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 Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank the Chamber and AIF

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "No employer can be happy with Florida's nearly 12-fold increase in unemployment compensation taxes next year. It will hit nearly 500,000 of them at a time when they can least afford it. But it's the direct result of Florida's decadeslong addiction to a tax rate far below other states."
    The blame belongs with Tallahassee, where in a lack of planning and financial foresight, state lawmakers blithely underfunded the trust fund that holds tax receipts from employers to pay for jobless benefits during a recession.

    Florida's politicians chose to believe the Sunshine State's growth economy would never need a serious rainy-day unemployment fund. Well, it's raining. The state's unemployment rate hit 11.2 percent in October. Meanwhile, the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is broke. To keep jobless benefits flowing, Florida is borrowing about $300 million every month from the federal government.

    Had Florida politicians not been so tax-averse, the state could have been far better prepared.
    "Tax hike is lawmakers' fault".

    Yee Haw!

    "Conservative radio/TV/book-writing personality Glenn Beck is making a campaign-style tour of Florida today and Saturday, hitting seven cities and promising to unveil policy prescriptions that he calls 'The Plan' on Saturday afternoon in the Central Florida Republican bastion of The Villages. " "Glenn Beck barnstorms Florida; Jupiter part of seven-city book tour".

    Even Texas gets it

    Randy Schultz: "For 25 years, Florida's criminal justice policy has been to lock up as many people as possible for as long as possible."

    The Legislature has approved sentencing guidelines and minimum mandatory sentences. The Legislature has required inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Even Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe, one of Florida's most hard-line prosecutors, says, "We take away a driver's license for durned near everything."
    "Sure, Florida's crime rate is down 16 percent in the past 10 years."
    But Florida's incarceration rate is up 47 percent, crime has decreased nationally and the tough-on-crime tab has come just when Florida is tapped out. ...

    The real star of the [Justice Summit 2009] in Tampa was not someone from Florida. It was Jerry Madden, a self-described "hard-line conservative" Texas legislator who sponsored the bill in 2007 that shifted his state away from incarceration at all costs to rehabilitation and treatment where appropriate. "My god, Texas," exclaimed Vickie Lopez Lukis, a Republican who chaired the Governor's Ex-Offender Task Force in 2006. If Texas can be smart on crime, why not Florida?

    As Rep. Madden explained: "We didn't touch any sentencing laws. We just started shifting money." In 2008, he survived a primary challenge from a Republican who charged that Rep. Madden was "soft on crime." In 2009, he fought off attempts to undercut the reforms. He's going to run once more in 2010 "because by 2011, we'll have all the numbers to show that it really works."

    Florida hasn't done smart for a long time. Here's a good place to start.
    "Do justice like Texas. Really".

    Something's gotta give

    "Panhandle man fatally shoots black bear in yard"; "Headless panther found along road in central Fla.".

    Old news

    "Taking a cue from President Barack Obama's successful campaign, and from their children and grandchildren, elected officials and candidates are harnessing the popular social networking tools to drive home campaign platforms and reach voters." "Politicians jumping into social media, seeing new outlet to voters".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Bank helped Rothstein in fraud scheme, lawsuit alleges'".

    Wingnut's sister luvs them trial lawyers

    "Ex-Mayor Naugle's sister wins $300 million tobacco verdict".

    See you in Havana

    "At a tempestuous hearing, one House member after another criticized a growing campaign to lift the ban on American tourists traveling to Cuba." "Cuba Travel Ban Inspires Passionate Debate in House".

    Another fine Jebacy

    "Florida leads U.S. in foreclosures".

    School lawsuit

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:

    The Florida Constitution requires a "high-quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high-quality education." A lawsuit filed last week in Tallahassee on behalf of a coalition of public school parents and students claims the state has failed to meet that obligation by not spending enough money, misusing the FCAT, failing to ensure school safety and keeping teacher salaries too low. It points to a number of education measures where Florida ranks well below average, much less high-quality. While the prospects of a court victory are debatable, the lawsuit can galvanize Floridians to demand better and put pressure on the Legislature to respond.
    "For better schools".

    Perhaps they should be paid more ...

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "By 2010, Florida will be short approximately 18,000 registered nurses." "Filling the nursing gap".


    "Florida jobless rate up slightly". See also "Florida's unemployment reached 11.2% in October" and "Temp labor may be bridge to recovery".


    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "SunRail appears closer than ever to passing the Legislature in Tallahassee." "In a position to win".

    "In a brief interview outside a coffeehouse near the Capitol, Cretul, R-Ocala, said he was encouraged that the insurance liability and labor union concerns with the rail project were being addressed, but that the House would have a hard time swallowing a new $2 rental car surcharge to finance South Florida's commuter rail system." "House Speaker no fan of new taxes for rail".


    "Thirty years of spying for Cuba will send a retired State Department official to prison for life after he and his wife pleaded guilty Friday to sending secrets to the United States' longtime antagonist." "U.S. agent for Cuba gets life in prison".


    "Citizens rate hike not as harsh as expected".

    Where's Charlie?

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editors: "Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, and two of his colleagues introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act last May to increase residencies by 15,000 nationwide. The measure was not funded. A Senate proposal in the health care reform legislation would redistribute 1,000 slots unfilled through five funding cycles to a small group of targeted states. It is unclear how Florida might fare if that measure passes. A contingent of state medical and political leaders are planning a trip to Washington D.C. by year's end to press the issue with lawmakers. The Tallahassee Democrat reported Sunday that the group intends to impress upon lawmakers Florida's need for 2,700 additional residency slots." "Out of a Florida med school, then what?".

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