The Saint Petersburg Times editors ask, "Just whom does Marco Rubio want to represent in the U.S. Senate? The national Republican conservatives who applaud his call to count only 'legal American citizens' in the 2010 Census? Or Floridians, who would lose the ability to recoup millions in federal aid to cover services for legal and illegal residents?" "Rubio bows to hard-liners, stiffs Florida".
Putnam elbows Baker aside
"State Sen. Carey Baker withdrew from the Florida agriculture commissioner race Friday, saying his campaign didn't meet its initial goals."
Baker, a Republican from Eustis, faced an uphill battle in the GOP primary against frontrunner U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow."Baker drops out of race for agriculture commissioner".
Baker raised about $535,000 through 2009, while Putnam's haul topped $1.2 million, according to campaign finance reports.
"Marco Rubio, Tom Tancredo and the Tea Party convention".
Absolutely, 100% not guilty
"Florida Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos was cleared Friday of allegations that she skirted state public records laws in a series of unusual e-mail exchanges with a co-worker."
A 24-page report by Gov. Charlie Crist's chief inspector general said Kopelousos and a top aide were not using ``code words'' when they sent e-mails with subjects such as "pancake'' and ``French Toast.''"Florida transportation chief cleared in e-mail inquiry". See also "Crist's inspector general clears officials in 'Wafflegate' controversy".
The report also said an employee's error caused a delay in sending a state senator 8,000 e-mails in response to a public records request.
$3,000 meal tabs
"From golf-course fees to charter jets to the nation's capital, Republican Party of Florida Executive Director Delmar Johnson racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel, food and expenses to his party-issued American Express card last year." "Records: Fundraiser charged big tab to Florida GOP-issued credit card".
The photographer speaks
"It was all over the Internet. Pundits were claiming it showed Obama as weak, that he should save his bowing for terrorists."
None of these people were even there. I was. And I didn't see anything like that. Even though these critics hadn't witnessed the scene firsthand, they decided they knew with certainty what had happened."My photo gets skewed".
Nothing makes my blood boil more than seeing an image, particularly one I created, used outside of its original context to promote a particular agenda. Further compounding my frustration is that it is totally out of my control when it happens. People criticize the media constantly for showing bias, or not reporting the whole truth, but here is an instance of an accurate depiction of an event being recycled and repackaged with much bias. Fair? I don't think so. ...
I've been reading a lot of the blog commentary out there relating to the moment I captured. Some of it is pretty disgusting and inappropriate, no matter what political leanings people may have.
If the president of the United States is going to be torn apart by his own citizens for showing respect to a local mayor, what does that say about us? Maybe we are a touch too arrogant for our own good? Maybe we are focusing our attention on trivial things? Maybe we could take a cue from his graciousness?
We all know what "streamlining" means
"With more than 1 million residents out of work, state lawmakers are trying to concoct the right blend of business incentives to bring jobs to Florida. Supporters hope the proposed mix of tax and regulatory changes will reel in new businesses and tempt existing ones to hire more Floridians. But some environmentalists worry that the Legislature, panicked by high unemployment, might give up too many protections of Florida's resources in the name of job creation." "State is looking at streamlining permit process for developers".
Sentinel goes after state workers again
We understand that "salaries, benefits and jobs of government employees are not exactly high priorities among the Republican primary voters" and their kindred spirits writing Tribune Company newspaper editorials.
The Teabaggers that dominate the Orlando Sentinel editorial board just can't help themselves - ignoring the fact that the size and cost of Florida's government employee workforce are at the bottom nationally, and Florida is tied with one other state for the lowest ratio of public employees to population - blithely asserting that the Legislature ought to "take a whack at generous benefits for state employees."
We understand that these on the editors dislike public employees with the gall to earn pensions* - of course, the editors dislike uppity (read union members) workers generally** - but you'd think they would at least make an effort to get their facts straight before writing junk like this:
maybe, just maybe, there are some state agencies that can function with fewer workers.The ignorance continues, with the editors writing that
legislators also should take a look at another area Mr. Crist found too hot to touch — state employee benefits. Most state workers still get cheap health care and pay nothing toward their pensions. Raising their contributions closer to the level paid by workers outside state government could generate real savings."Pare back the perks".
We urge the editors to try facts for a change - as the Tallahassee Democrat's Bill Cotterell explains, according to the Florida's Department of Management Services report issued in 2009,
the size and cost of [Florida's] state personnel remain at the bottom nationally. In 2008, the average state government had 216 employees per 10,000 population; Florida had 118. Also, the average payroll expenditure was $69 per state resident nationwide, but only $38 in Florida. The state was tied with Illinois for the lowest ratio of actual employees to population, and we ranked 49th in authorized full-time positions (103) per 10,000 residents."The next time someone whines about state employees ..." (quoting from Cotterell's December 28, 2009 column, "State work-force report is a fascinating read", which is no longer online).
We realize that these facts do not fit into the editors' theory, but facts, as they say are stubborn things, and the editors are not entitled to their own facts.
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* See "Orlando Sentinel embarrasses itself" and "The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again".
*See "Send in the Scabs", "Picking scabs, part two" and "Oh ... The Hypocrisy".
Teabagging losing appeal
"National tea party gathering not attracting droves from South Florida".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "President Barack Obama is right that NASA needs an overhaul. But the plan he unveiled this week, which would privatize human space flight while increasing research spending, fails to draw a clear mission for the space agency. It risks reducing NASA to a procurement office and robbing it of the vision and in-house expertise it needs. That's risky for the United States and particularly for Florida." "Plan for NASA lacks vision".
"State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink wants Attorney General Bill McCollum, one of her gubernatorial rivals, to investigate fraud at the bank where she was a longtime executive."
In a letter sent Friday to McCollum, Gov. Charlie Crist and the state pension fund director, Sink — former head of Bank of America in Florida -— asked McCollum to "immediately review" whether the alleged fraud by Bank of America and its executives has resulted in losses to Floridians. Her request came the day after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed charges of fraud against Bank of America alleging it, former chief executive Kenneth D. Lewis and former chief financial officer Joseph Price misled federal officials and investors about the size of losses at Merrill Lynch, which it was moving to take over."Sink wants McCollum to investigate Bank of America in Florida".
"Senate foes Crist, Rubio back 'don't ask, don't tell'".
Another fine Jebacy ...
"The state will be required to repay the federal government for the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance's spending on expensive meals and desserts. The state will be asking Hillsborough County to come up with the money." "State hit with job agency bill".
"Florida will never be the same"
Steve Bousquet: "Charlie Crist may or may not be the next U.S. senator from Florida, but this much is certain: Florida will never be the same."
Crist's decision to forgo a second term as governor and instead seek an open Senate seat in Washington has unleashed a torrent of political ambition that could mark the 2010 election cycle as a turning point in the state's modern evolution."Ten moments when politics in modern Florida changed forever".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Samantha Burton wanted to make her own decisions about her obstetrical care, but the state of Florida wouldn't let her."
Claiming it was protecting her fetus, the state took away her rights as a patient and a citizen and made her a virtual prisoner in a Tallahassee hospital. A state appeals court now considering the case must slam the door on such tactics before other pregnant women are victimized."Florida trampled woman's rights".
Burton, a 29-year-old working mother with two young children, was 25 weeks pregnant when she was hospitalized in March 2009 at Tallahassee Memorial. Her obstetrician, Dr. Jana Bures-Forsthoefel, told Burton that because of ruptured membranes and premature contractions, she would have to stay in bed in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy — potentially 15 more weeks for a full-term pregnancy.
Burton wanted to leave and get a second opinion, but the hospital blocked her departure and set up a hasty court hearing in her hospital room. Burton was sworn in and handed a telephone, with Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper on the other end of the line. She had no lawyer and no legal experience, but Burton was expected to argue her case against her obstetrician and the hospital's attorney.
Her request to go to another hospital was denied. The judge ordered Burton to remain in Tallahassee Memorial and submit to any medical treatment that doctors decided was necessary to preserve the life and health of her fetus. And because the fetus was in the breech position, the judge also ordered Burton to submit to a caesarean section whenever her doctors said it was time.
Burton, who had broken no law, was essentially imprisoned at Tallahassee Memorial and denied control over her medical care.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The New Florida Initiative, a plan to increase state spending on higher education by $1.75 billion over five years and bring the university system into the knowledge-based economy, is a good idea that won't become a reality unless Tallahassee gets serious about Florida's future." "'New Florida,' new money? There's a rush to upgrade state universities".
12.3 percent peak?
"Fla. unemployment expected to peak at 12.3 percent".
"A good look in the mirror"
Steve Bousquet: "The Florida Legislature needs to take a good look in the mirror." "Longer session? Longer term limits? Don't count on it".
Daniel Ruth: "Until fairly recently Toyota was sort of the gold standard for quality and reliability for some snooty auto owners, who turned up their noses at the prospect of even remotely entertaining the purchase of a car from a U.S.-based manufacturer."
Detroit was so declasse, so ooey-gooey, so second-rate. So Detroit."Bells and whistles won't make it run".
Now it is certainly true America's Big Three automakers have had more than their fair share of oopsie production moments over the years, churning out dull and quite often shoddy wheels that would only appeal to one's inner actuary. So boring.
Today's car assembly plants are, in theory at least, the ultimate in technological marvel — robotics, the very latest in computer wizardry, incredibly precise and cost-efficient production techniques, all manned by a highly trained and professional work force. More or less.
And yet people are driving around in their Toyotas and suddenly discovering they can't stop the %$#@*&^$ car they just spent a small fortune to buy.
Not to sound too much of a Luddite here, but this is a bit nuts. After all, if you just dropped $25,000 on some hotsy-totsy Camry is it really too much to ask that it — stops?
Seeing all the images of wrecked Toyotas on the roadways after drivers suddenly realized they were trapped in a four-cylinder version of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey reminds me of a different time in the history of quality control.
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the keynote speaker at this year’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, a key fundraising event for the Orange County Republican Party." "Sarah Palin to headline local GOP Lincoln Day dinner".
"Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey was called on the carpet by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday for improperly using the word 're-elect' in a YouTube campaign posting and padding her legal resume." "Court recommends formal reprimand for Dempsey's campaign errors".