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 Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"You must be stopped"

    Scott Maxwell: "There's a good chance Florida politicians are going to spend your money telling you how to vote this year."
    Politicians in this state are so scared that you might actually think for yourself — especially when it comes to development in this state — that they don't want to give you that chance.

    The latest news has legislators talking about overturning a law they passed just last year — one that banned local governments from spending public money to campaign.

    The law was a good one.

    It is simply undemocratic for the state to use taxpayers' money for political propaganda.

    And yet that was precisely what was happening.
    Much more here: "Pols want to rig votes -- and use your money to do it".

    Lawmakers "need to step up", not "get out of the way"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "With the state's unemployment rate at levels never before seen by today's workers, the Legislature is under pressure to act."

    The challenge is not to be bold, which is easy, but to be correct. Promises from legislative leaders of lower taxes and fewer regulations on growth won't fix the state's immediate problems, which include falling property values, a loss of jobs, a shortage of tax revenue and a glut of houses and lots for sale.
    "A statewide jobs summit in Orlando last week opened with Republican Gov. Charlie Crist saying, 'In some instances, we just need to get out of the way.'"
    For the Legislature to simply "get out of the way" would leave homeowners uninsured or faced with steeper increases in premiums.

    Many other problems loom. If the Legislature gets out of the way of oil drilling, it risks making the state less attractive to tourists

    Ineffective regulation of the building industry has sparked a grassroots reaction called Hometown Democracy. It will appear on the ballot later this year as Amendment 4, and leaders in business and government agree its requirement of a public vote on all changes to local land-use plans would be costly, disruptive and unpredictable.

    In some instances Crist is right - lawmakers need to get out of the way. But to help with Florida's biggest challenges, they need to step up.
    "Slogans won't heal state economy".

    Friends in high places

    "The fines facing Walt Disney World following an investigation into a fatal monorail crash at the resort last summer have been reduced by 20 percent, under a settlement Disney negotiated with federal-safety regulators." "Fines facing Disney after monorail probe lowered by 20 percent".


    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "NASA will ground space shuttles for good this year, barring an unexpected change of heart from President Barack Obama. Up to 7,000 positions at Kennedy Space Center and at least 10,000 more Florida jobs that depend on them could be lost along with the program." "Grounding shuttle could ground Florida economy, too".

    RPOFers run wild

    "Florida reacts to GOP Senate victory in Mass".

    "The thrill is gone"

    "Over the final three months of the 2008 presidential campaign, the St. Petersburg Times convened a group of undecided voters in the biggest swing region of America's biggest swing state."

    In August, they started out very skeptical of Obama; in September, they were horrified by the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate; and ultimately, in late October, 10 out of 11 decided to vote for Obama.

    Today no one regrets their vote; nor are they especially enthusiastic about Obama.
    "No regrets but the thrill is gone".

    Pelosi quaking in her boots

    "Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Tuesday that Congress has no constitutional right to force people to buy health insurance -- and he'll sue to stop the proposal if it becomes law."

    ``Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase an unwanted product or service simply as a condition of existing in this country,'' McCollum wrote in a legal opinion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
    "McCollum, a Republican running for governor,"
    was accused of playing politics by the two Democrats running for his seat, Sen. Dave Aronberg [2 Harvard degrees] of Greenacres and Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

    "Florida has an insurance crisis -- 20 percent of our citizens have no insurance,'' Gelber said. "I have no clue what McCollum will do to solve this crisis, other than threaten to sue Congress when it tries to solve the problem.''
    "Asked about what he'd do to help the roughly 4 million uninsured Floridians as governor,"
    McCollum said it was a '"political question'' and "that's not what I'm here about today.''

    "During the course of the campaign, I may well lay out something [regarding healthcare]. I may well not,'' McCollum said Tuesday. "I don't know yet.''

    McCollum said he would prefer to address health-insurance problems by offering more tax incentives, reducing government mandates or by requiring more physical education in schools to keep children healthy.
    "McCollum threatens suit to halt healthcare mandate". See also "McCollum: I'll sue to stop health-care bill", "Florida attorney general: Requiring Americans to pay for health insurance 'unconstitutional'" and "McCollum presses insurance fight".


    "Former U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, who represented Tampa in the U.S. House for 34 years, will get a very leaked surprise birthday party on his 90th birthday today. ... If it's not a surprise, it's also not exactly a party - it's actually an invitation-only forum at the Tampa Bay History Center to discuss the impact of Gibbons' career on Tampa, said Betty Castor, former University of South Florida president." "Party no surprise for Gibbons".

    As long as the defendant isn't a business

    "A Senate committee passes a bill to give families of slaying victims more time to file civil lawsuits." "Florida bill would lift time limit on wrongful-death claims".

    Perhaps Florida won't use it as a union busting tool this time

    "President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his plans to extend the federal Race to the Top initiative for an additional year."

    The announcement might help to assuage criticism that the program currently gives states too much control. This year, only state departments of education could apply for the grant money. States then asked their school districts and teachers unions to sign on to their applications.

    In Florida, most unions would not sign on, in large part because the state had set forth too many requirements.
    "Obama plans to bolster Race to the Top program"

    The Palm Beach Post's Jac Wilder VerSteeg explained the effect of these "requirements" in a column last week end:
    "Race to the Top" is the latest manifestation of this inclination to blame, and punish, teachers.

    Race to the Top, part of last year's $787 billion federal stimulus program, supposedly is a $4 billion reward for innovative schools. In Florida, which could get $700 million, the main "innovation" would be busting teachers unions. ...

    A "Memorandum of Understanding" contains Florida's basic pitch for Race to the Top money. It talks about requiring more science and math classes. But the central "innovation" would change the way teachers are hired, assigned, promoted and paid.

    And the central factor in evaluations? FCAT results. Why? Because that's what we've got. Never mind that the FCAT is too narrow and too affected by factors outside the teacher's control, including socioeconomic status and parental involvement. Moreover, the FCAT already is used to grade schools. If praying to the FCAT idol — as we've done for a decade — could produce uniformly great teachers, we'd have them now.

    Supplying eyewash, the state says that teachers would be evaluated on other factors, such as evaluations by parents and students. But the FCAT remains the biggie. Add a spoonful of caviar to bucket of spit and you've still got mostly spit.
    "The amazingly silly race: State already relies too much on the FCAT". The Tea Party crowd begs to differ: "Unions exert costly influence on politicians".

    Panthers don't vote

    "First Fla. panther death of '10 confirmed".

    He's baaaccckkk

    "Former Gov. Jeb Bush is backing Senate President Jeff Atwater in his statewide race for chief financial officer, an endorsement that’s about as good as it gets for a GOP candidate in Florida." "Jeb! backs Atwater".

    Oil rigs on the horizon

    "Oil drilling proponents attempted to refute one of the most potent arguments against oil drilling off Florida shores Tuesday with a new report that suggests that weapons testing and pilot training is compatible with oil rigs and pipelines." "Report claims oil rigs, military can share gulf". See also "Offshore drilling remains hot topic at Tallahassee debate".


    "Just hours before Monday's violent terror attack on Kabul, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and five other congressional representatives met in Afghanistan with military leaders and troops." "Local congresswoman visits Afghanistan".

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