FLORIDA POLITICS
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 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, March 05, 2010

Sink goes after McCollum

    "As Florida hemorrhages as much as $3.2 billion in Medicaid fraud a year, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink proposed reforms Thursday and pinned much of the blame for the problem on her political opponent, Attorney General Bill McCollum."
    Sink, a Democrat running for governor, said that since McCollum took office, the number of prosecutions for Medicaid fraud has dropped from 727 in 2004-05 to 372 in 2008-09. Florida has the second highest number of Medicaid recipients in the nation, but ranks 39th in convictions per person in its fraud unit.
    "Sink blames McCollum for Medicaid fraud problem".


    From the "values" crowd

    "As university students lobbied for more money in Tallahassee, legislative leaders, faced with a deficit, were predicting more budget cuts." "More money for universities called unlikely".


    This week in Tally

    "Florida legislators began the grim business of budget-cutting on multiple fronts Thursday, with the House leader issuing a spending outline and a grim outlook. " "Florida budget outlook grim".

    Paul Flemming on Gov. Crist ... the budget ... the Gun-permit trust fund". "It was a fine week of lame ducks, dollars and guns". Related: "2010 Legislative Session Daily summary".

    "State House leaders proposed on Thursday to increase spending on health care and public education - but not enough to meet the rising costs of either of those areas. All told, state health care and education programs may have to shrink by $750 million next fiscal year." "Shortfall chokes House spending".

    More: "In Tallahassee today: Medicaid costs, oil drilling and impersonating veterans", "House Speaker Larry Cretul's Budget Proposal Increases School Funds", "Recommendations could save Florida taxpayers $3.2 billion" and "It’s early — but the state budget looks bleak".

    If you're bored, you can "Watch live video of the session".


    RPOFer laff riot

    "An exchange between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio in a conservative political journal this week marked the toughest rhetoric so far between the two Republican U.S. Senate primary opponents."

    Rubio charged that Crist "cannot be trusted," and Crist shot back that Rubio's claims to conservatism are a "fraud."

    They traded hard punches Wednesday and Thursday on the National Review Online Web site, www.nationalreview.com, the online version of a magazine known as an intellectual trendsetter for the right.

    In an article Wednesday, Rubio blasted Crist for saying in a news interview that there might be parts of President Barack Obama's health care proposal that are worth saving, and that the nation's health care system needs change.

    Crist had told a newspaper editorial board that he wouldn't scrap the Obama administration's health care proposal entirely, and he thinks Americans need better access to health care and lower costs.

    "Again and again, from tax hikes to runaway government spending, my opponent has demonstrated he cannot be trusted," Rubio wrote on the site. "His recent comments, in which he broke ranks with Republicans and said he would not scrap the health care bill and process, is just the latest example."

    Crist shot back in an interview Thursday, saying Rubio's claim to be a conservative is the "greatest fraud perpetrated on people," and citing recent revelations about Rubio's use of a Republican Party credit card for apparently personal expenses as proof.
    "Crist, Rubio trade barbs on conservative Web site".


    Dirty water

    "The Environmental Protection Agency agreed Thursday to a extend the public-comment period on proposed water rules that have been blasted by Florida politicians. The decision came after members of the Congressional delegation met with EPA chief Lisa Jackson. Jackson told the lawmakers she would extend the comment period for the proposed rules by 30 days, adding three more public hearings." "EPA to hold more hearings".


    Begging for federal dollars

    Don't hear much complaining from the tea-baggers about this: "Florida is among 16 finalists in the federal Race to the Top competition, which the state hopes will land it more than $1 billion to use on 'aggressive education reform' in public schools." "Florida a finalist in Race to Top grant".


    Class size

    "Class size proposal heading to state Senate vote".


    Ethics violation

    "Ethics Commission: state employee broke 'revolving-door' law".


    SBA gets a pass

    "A two-sentence letter announced the end of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into the state agency that manages $138.5 billion in retirement funds."

    A two-year federal investigation into possible fraud at the Florida State Board of Administration, which manages $138.5 billion in retirement funds for state and local governments, ended this week with no action taken. ,,,

    "This investigation has been completed as to the Florida State Board of Administration, against whom we do not intend to recommend any enforcement action by the commission,'' wrote Eric R. Busto, assistant regional director for the SEC's Miami office.

    Busto then attached a copy of a 1972 securities act that indicated the SEC could reactivate the investigation if it deemed necessary and that the termination letter "must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result from the staff's investigation of that particular matter.''

    The SBA manages state employee pension funds and dozens of other investments for state and local governments, including 1 million current and future retirees. The SEC had been investigating whether the SBA and three large Wall Street firms had misled the public about the risk and liquidity of securities the state purchased from the firms.

    The securities sold to the state by JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers plummeted in value in late 2007, leading to the implosion of an SBA-managed local government pool that year.
    "Retirement-fund agency off hook".


    Gambling

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Legislature and the Seminole Indian Tribe appear close to striking a deal to finally give Florida a portion of the proceeds from blackjack and other table games added to the Seminoles’ casinos nearly two years ago. The pragmatic negotiations appear headed in the right direction." "Gambling deal looks like good bet".


    "Fiscal frauds"

    Scott Maxwell offers up "Double-fisted slugs to Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist — a couple of political hypocrites who preach fiscal responsibility to everyone but themselves."

    Rubio continues to yammer on about wasteful spending, even as he makes headlines for racking up more than $100,000 worth of credit-card charges on the GOP's American Express — everything from the simply pricey ($600-a-week car rentals, according to The Miami Herald) to the seriously questionable (plane trips for which Rubio double-billed both taxpayers and the Republican Party).

    A lot of people can rightfully criticize his spending … but Crist ain't one of 'em. This is the guy, after all, who managed to spend a whopping $430,000 on a European "trade mission," during which his wife helped him rack up $1,300 worth of room-service and mini-bar bills. Yet, in criticizing his opponent in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, Crist actually had the audacity to claim: "I'm the most frugal, cheap guy you'll ever meet."(Only if Paris Hilton and Donald Trump are the only two people you've ever met.) Basically, what we have here are two so-called "conservatives" accusing each other of being fiscal frauds. How about we find some common ground and agree they're both right?
    "Politicians unite in hypocrisy, in generosity".


    NASA

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "President Obama outlines lackluster, fuzzy NASA mission".


    Florida Forever

    "Florida Chamber, environmental groups will lobby to revive Florida Forever".


    Local traffic cameras

    "Bills suggest state should monitor local traffic camera laws".


    Entrepreneurs in action

    "The federal government has called American Pain a 'pill mill.' But the Lake Worth pain clinic operated more like a factory, churning through 250 patients a day, paying doctors as much as $44,000 a week, and distributing more than two million painkillers in a single year. " "Raided Lake Worth pain clinic handed out 2 million pills in a year".


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