Scott Maxwell: "In recapping the recent flubs, foibles and general goings-on of your elected officials, we find everything from claims that your president is an illegal alien to your governor sending folks to a phone-sex hotline."
So forget that novel — because .Much more here: "Florida politics read stranger than fiction".
We start with U.S. Rep. Bill Posey.
While most of Washington is engulfed in talks about health-care and spending, the Brevard County Republican is still making news for cozying up with the fringe crowd that believes Barack Obama is an illegal immigrant.
The latest has the Brevard County Republican actually asking the "birthers" for campaign donations — and receiving an endorsement from the publisher of the birthers' Bible: the World Net Daily.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this Web site (also known as the 99 percent of America who mingle with mainstream Americans, are willing to consider facts and don't fear sunlight), the World Net Daily is obsessed with its belief that Obama was never legally elected. Headlines on this "news" site range from "Just who delivered baby Barack Obama?" and "Birth certificate fraud: It's been done before" to "Michelle contradicts Obama nativity story" and "Eye-popper: Is Nancy Pelosi in on eligibility cover-up?"
Normally, we could just ignore all this and allow these folks to wallow in their sub-culture. After all, their claims have been refuted by everything from public records to court rulings. And most mainstream Republicans won't have anything to do with them.
But it's harder to ignore the birthers when one of our own congressmen is not only courting them and their money, but filing the legislation they crave.
The best they can do?
Key party leaders and activists are racking up votes to rescind Greer's chairmanship in January in a secret-ballot vote. What started as an effort to force Greer to go quietly now looks likely to erupt in an ugly public battle when Republican party officials gather in Orlando during the Jan. 9 weekend."Jim Greer's job as GOP chairman still at risk". See also "Fla. GOP Chair Jennifer Carroll?".
The names most often mentioned as successors are former House Speaker Allan Bense and current Majority Leader Adam Hasner.
Related: "GOP money man Al Hoffman, a developer and former finance director for the Republican National Committee, wrote a scathing letter to Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer asking him to step down." "GOP chief Greer to Hoffman: Nuts to you!".
Crist gloms on ...
... to those federal dollars. "Crist to sign rail bill in Tampa, 3 other cities".
"Legislation that could jack property-insurance rates sky-high"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Once again, Florida lawmakers are waving the banner of consumer choice while pushing legislation that could jack property-insurance rates sky-high." "Bill returns that snubs consumers to favor insurers".
Convergys marches on
Bill Cotterell: "Computers and Convergys march on".
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "To hear lawmakers tell it, the rail bill sent to Gov. Charlie Crist last week was the best thing for Florida since the interstate highway system. But the legislation comes nowhere close to providing the money Florida will need to build a viable statewide passenger rail system." "Rail bill shortsighted". The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Florida moves into the "rail era."".
Stop the presses! "credible" RPOFer women!
Beth Reinhard: "Not so long ago, the Republican Party of Florida was fielding an all-white, all-male slate of statewide candidates in 2010."
But three credible female contenders have recently emerged: state Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland is taking on Attorney General Bill McCollum for governor and former state Rep. Holly Benson of Pensacola and Hillsborough County prosecutor Pam Bondi are challenging Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp to be attorney general."Women invade white male GOP stronghold".
The GOP can't exactly take credit for grooming these strong women since they are running against the party's establishment candidates. In contrast, Chief Financial Officer Adelaide "Alex'' Sink, the Democratic front-runner for governor, has got the party machine working overtime.
"Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is outraged over high-ranking transportation officials’ use of code words in e-mails, possibly to avoid being captured by public records requests." "Sink: ‘breakfasting’ DOT officials should resign". See also "DOT Secretary says pancakes got her attention".
"Navy expresses concern about proposed manatee protections".
"Despite marches and sit-ins over Florida's plan to end race-based admissions at universities, diversity hasn't suffered, a Herald/Times review found. " "10 years after its implementation, One Florida defies its critics".
"Mushy but necessary"
Fred Grimm: "'Honest Services Fraud' law mushy but necessary".
"Florida's toothless ethics rules"
The Miami Herald editors: "Florida's toothless ethics rules give ethically challenged public officials too much wiggle room to slither away untouched to conduct more monkey business as usual. Of course, taxpayers pay for it all." "Give ethics laws fangs to attack abuses". See also "Florida Commission on Ethics seeks more authority".
"Rothstein's desperate actions suggest he sensed the end". See also "Much of Scott Rothstein's Ponzi funds tied up in collection of businesses".
Mark Lane: "Florida judges facing up to Facebook -- it's complicated". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Judges, lawyers can't be 'friends'".
"Gov. Charlie Crist was out to cement his credentials as a conservative Republican on Sunday night, telling a GOP audience here that he is a budget-cutting conservative who believes deeply in gun owner rights." "Crist tells Republicans he is 'tried and true'".
Entrepreneurs in action
"Developers face felony charges for bribery".
"Predictable opposition to redistricting reform is emerging"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Entrenched Florida politicians and their special interest allies in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., are getting nervous about a pair of proposals that could weaken their grip on power."
In a statement opposing the amendments, Associated Industries of Florida, a powerful business lobby in the state, declared "there are no problems with the current redistricting process." None, if you happen to be an incumbent or a party boss, or any of the special interests invested in their keeping power."Don't fall for it".
Aaron Deslatte: "Is Florida retirement system overrun by politics?".
"FPL has turned to negative tactics in an effort to win a record electric rate increase, company sources say. " "FPL plays hardball in campaign for rate hike".
At the trough
"Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio landed a job at Florida International University after leaving the Legislature but says he didn't play favorites with the school."
The following year, as term limits forced Rubio to exit the Legislature and contemplate his next political move, FIU offered him a $69,000, part-time job that was not publicly advertised."Marco Rubio downplays relationship with FIU".
Critics questioned Rubio's soft landing as FIU trustees grappled with a $32 million budget shortfall that led to tuition hikes and the loss of 23 degree programs and 200 jobs.
Then came uncomfortable comparisons to another Republican House speaker -- Ray Sansom -- who steered $35 million to a Panhandle college then took a job there.
Rubio weathered the criticism and by many accounts is a popular, engaging political science professor. But as his campaign against Gov. Charlie Crist for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2010 gains ground on a message of fiscal conservatism, his job at FIU is under scrutiny.