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, January 22, 2010

Grayson ahead of the curve

    "For weeks, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson had expected a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that would lift long-standing restrictions on election spending for corporations and unions."
    So when the high court cleared the way Thursday for exactly that, the fiery Orlando Democrat was ready with a raft of six bills meant to undermine the 5-4 decision and slam the door on businesses that would use the ruling to flex more muscle in federal elections.

    "It's a direct threat to our democracy," said Grayson, an attorney who likes to refer to himself as "progressive." "I'm sure we'll find that corporations will reward politicians that do their bidding and punish those that don't. If this stands, we can kiss our country goodbye."

    The move puts Grayson out front in the debate among Democrats about how to respond to the ruling — though it remains to be seen whether the controversial freshman lawmaker can convince Congress to support measures with names such as the "Businesses Should Mind Their Own Business Act."
    "Grayson aims to rein in corporate campaign ads".

    RPOFers set new record

    "December's unemployment rate is the highest in Florida since May 1975 when it was 11.9 percent. Florida lost 232,400 jobs as of December 2009 compared with the same month in 2008. Florida's job loss began in August 2007, tied closely to its housing boom and then bust." "Florida's unemployment hits highest rate in 34 years".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Today's release of unemployment rates for December is expected to fuel concern that Florida could soon hit 12 percent, a rate not seen since the end of World War II. So it's increasingly hard to understand why the state's Republican leaders continue to ignore the unfair advantage given out-of-state, online merchants at the expense of Florida's retailers." "Unfair tax policy hurts Floridians".

    The AIF snaps ...

    ... and Charlie jumps: "Crist says he'll delay unemployment comp tax hike".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Rothstein loses fight to keep wife's photos out of auction".

    "Politicians suddenly screaming bloody murder"

    Scott Maxwell writes that "it's been interesting to hear from some of the politicians suddenly screaming bloody murder about" the nation's "growing mountain of red ink".

    U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, for instance, has decried deficit spending as loudly as any local. The Brooksville Republican even took to the House floor last month to accuse Washington of spending money "like a teenager with a credit card."

    She's right. But it's curious to hear her say so, seeing as how she voted to raise the nation's debt ceiling to about $9 trillion back when George W. Bush was running the show.

    In fact, every single Republican in Florida's congressional delegation — including those bellyaching about spending now — voted to raise the debt ceiling when I last wrote about it in 2006.

    Perhaps it isn't the debt to which all these folks so strenuously object … as much as who's asking for it.

    But hey, Republicans don't have the market cornered on debt-related double standards.
    Re3ad the rest of Maxwell's column here: "Rising debt: It's always the other party's fault".

    The letter "that went unheeded"

    "A letter sent Thursday to DOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos puts Florida on notice that Amtrak is terminating the 2008 memorandum of understanding with the state. Without the agreement, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman writes that Florida likely couldn't tap federal high-speed rail money. The problem is the liability clauses in the Sun Rail deal approved by the Legislature in the December special session and later signed by Gov. Charlie Crist. Amtrak raised these issues in a Nov. 30 letter to Kopelousos that went unheeded." "CSX deal prompts Amtrak threat to state".

    CD 19

    Learn about Congressional District 19 Democratic primary candidates Ben Graber and Ted Deutch. "Details about the District 19 Democratic candidates". See also "Democrat Deutch has huge money lead in race for Wexler’s old congressional seat".


    "Republican Adam Putnam announced 27 of 76 state House Republicans are backing him in his primary bid against state Sen. Carey Baker for the party’s agriculture commissioner nomination." "Florida House lawmakers line up behind Putnam".

    No credit

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Can a Democrat get anything done in the Florida Legislature?"

    Well, yes and no. Yes, she can. But no, she may not get the credit.

    Back in October, Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Democrat who represents the Tallahassee area in the Florida House of Representatives, wrote a My View for the Tallahassee Democrat in which she stated her case for supporting the film and TV industry in Florida.

    She offered praise for Gov. Charlie Crist and the film commissioner's office; the not-for-profit group Film Florida; and even Florida State University's nationally recognized film school. But she worried that the state had let its commitment to the industry — and its funding for it — lag.

    "Stay tuned," she promised. ...

    On Wednesday, the spotlight turned to two Republicans — Sen. Mike Haridopolos, who is next in line to be president of the state Senate, and Rep. Steve Precourt, chair of the Energy and Utilities Policy Committee. Together, along with support from House speaker-designate Dean Cannon, they announced the Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act.

    Stop us if you've heard this before: The bill (HB 697) would offer media production companies up to $75 million a year in tax credits if they hire Florida workers. "This is real economic development and a proven job creator," Sen. Haridopolos said.

    Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda was not asked to speak at the Wednesday news conference — hardly a surprise, considering that she is a Democrat and in her first term. But she handled it well, saying: "I'm just not sure this is the time to get into partisan politics; this is too important."
    "Our Opinion: Lights! Camera! Action!". See "New bill aims to create Florida jobs via entertainment industry". See also yesterday's "RPOFers stealing Vasilinda's thunder".

    We're breathless

    "Crist heads to Naples today to begin unveiling his 2010-11 spending plan in media-bite-sized chunks." "Crist to unveil spending plan". Related: "Economist: Lawmakers will continue to face steep budget challenges".

    'Ya think?

    "Thrasher not everyone's choice for top GOP job".

    The SCOTUS decision on campaign financing

    The United Citizens "decision leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates [in federal races] from corporations and unions."

    In Florida state races, corporations [and unions] can make [direct] contributions to candidates and run independent ads. About 24 other states, however, have restrictions similar to the federal one and those could be threatened as well.

    President Barack Obama and top Democrats on Capitol Hill voiced strong displeasure.

    "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans," Obama said.

    The political ads could play a major role in elections this fall and, at the outset, seem to favor Republicans. Democrats, already facing a tough mid-term election cycle, were preparing legislation to enact new restrictions.

    "This is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case," said U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, who has filed bills to offset the changes.

    Grayson took a seat formerly held by a Republican in 2008 and could be hurt by a flood of corporate money. He is one of several potentially vulnerable Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation.

    The key Florida matchup this fall is the Republican primary pitting Crist and Rubio, and observers were divided over which candidate benefits more.

    Rubio almost immediately heralded the decision as a "victory for those who truly value the freedoms outlined in our First Amendment." Crist did not offer reaction.
    "Supreme Court upends election law".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say a Florida man has admitted his role in a $20 million stock fraud and money laundering scheme." "Fla. man admits role in NJ stock scheme".

    "That letter after his name is worth noting"

    Paul Flemming: "As it is now, lawmakers can vote on bills even if they have a personal, business or family connection that would benefit them, as long as they disclose the interest within 15 days of casting the vote."

    This year's version of the bill has a House counterpart, sponsored by Rep. Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie. That letter after his name is worth noting. Republicans control the Senate and House. The 2009 attempt went wanting for a House sponsor as it failed to get a single hearing. Dockery's 2008 bill had a House sponsor, also a Democrat, as both versions died without a hearing in any of its committees.
    "How to build a political column, block by block".

    In the house

    "President Barack Obama is slated to appear in the Tampa Bay area on Thursday, one day after the State of the Union address and nearly one year after he pitched his economic stimulus plan in Florida." "Barack Obama, Joe Biden slated for Tampa Bay visit". See also "Obama, Biden coming to Tampa Bay area next Thursday".

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