With this, Florida's Republican U.S. Senate Primary is over: "Sarah Palin: 'I love Marco Rubio!'"
Although the The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board has already slammed the right-wing education "reform" ("An arrogant attempt to reform schools"), and called for its veto ("Crist should veto teacher tenure bill"), the Times can't resist a shot at the teachers' union.
This morning: "As the furor over proposed education reforms continues to ratchet up, groups on both sides have taken to the airwaves."
The Florida Chamber of Commerce, a main proponent of Republican-led Senate Bill 6, is running a 30-second advertisement that blames "Tallahassee union lobbyists" for misleading citizens about the proposal.Putting aside the misrepresentation of the teachers' argument, you can go here to see what the Times says about the veracity of these claims: "PolitiFact: Will SB 6 education changes cut Florida teachers' pay?"*.
"Tallahassee union lobbyists have been paid a fortune to bash anyone in their way, now backing a shadow group against rewarding our best teachers," the ad begins. "Fact is these reforms will not cut one teacher's pay or cut one retirement benefit."
In this item, we're going to put the claim about teacher pay to the Truth-O-Meter.
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*We hate to ruin the surprise, but you can guess "PoliFact's" take on the Chamber's claims when the PoliFact's no doubt meticulous analysis was undertaken by an expert by the name of "Adam Sharockman". We've seen that name before, haven't we? Sure we have, back in 2007. See "Who Writes this Garbage?"
"As legislators launch into their last three weeks of session, they will spend next week on several controversial bills ranging from Medicaid reform to abortion and even the touchy question of how far to extend the relationship between church and state." "Abortion, religion, redistricting on today's agenda in Tallahassee".
"Stimulus funding draws scrutiny".
Speaking of "dysfunctional" ...
"Q&A with Rep. Bill Posey: 'Congress Gets More Dysfunctional by the Day'".
You remember Bill: "Florida Congressman Bill Posey has only two claims to fame, but both have led to his public humiliation, because both are due to his incomparable stupidity. See, Bill Posey is the freshman Congressman representing the 15th District of Florida, and his primary accomplishment since assuming office has been to introduce H.R. 1503, which "would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate." This all made Posey the darling of the 'Birther' movement, those lovable loons who insist that President Barack Obama was not born in America." "Florida Congressman Continues To Stonewall On His Half-Alligator Genetic Heritage (VIDEO)".
The Times likes their Rubio
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio deserves credit for candidly confronting the challenge to keep Social Security solvent. The Miami Republican calls for raising the retirement age and says he's willing to consider recalculating cost of living adjustments. Those are the sorts of straight answers Floridians deserve from serious candidates." "Rubio gets serious about Social Security reform".
"Warehousing people with mental illness"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida spends more than a billion dollars a year warehousing people with mental illness in prisons, locked forensic treatment facilities and local jails." "Program would stop wasting money, lives".
"A House committee is expected to act on a bill that would expand Medicaid privatization to all 67 Florida counties. ... Critics say the changes hurt the most vulnerable patients, because providers make the most money by providing the least possible services." "Lawmakers put Fla. Medicaid overhaul on fast track".
"A congressman who left the District 16 seat in a sex scandal has reemerged as a political money-raiser and isn't ruling out another run for office."
That, of course, describes Mark Foley, who raised money for Republican state Senate hopeful Sharon Merchant last month and is entertaining thoughts of a 2011 run for mayor of West Palm Beach."Tim Mahoney is back on the scene".
But it also describes Tim Mahoney, the Democrat elected to Congress after Republican Foley's sexually charged Internet messages to teenage former pages drove him from office in 2006.
Voters booted Mahoney in 2008 after his own adultery and hush-money scandal. He's divorced now and doing some business consulting. And lately, Mahoney's been helping raise money for U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, and some out-of-state Dems he wouldn't name.
With Democrat Chris Craft dropping his challenge to U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, Mahoney says some people have asked him to run for his old seat.
"Running on empty"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Bright Futures scholarships were once the untouchable third rail, as far as Florida's Legislature was concerned. ... But needed reforms can be ignored no longer. The $418 million Lottery-funded program is essentially running on empty, and proposed changes to the program could save the state up to $150 million when fully implemented." "Justifiable changes could be coming to Bright Futures"."
"School Prayer Fix Wins Broad Support From Panel".
"Florida has come up with a new plan to cover possible cost overruns from operating the $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train that is supposed to run through Central Florida by 2013: Take the money out of the local roads budget." "SunRail could sap funding for roads".
Throw away the key ...
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Once again, Florida Forever, the land preservation program that is one of the state's most effective initiatives, is in danger of going unfunded. Unless a powerful ally in the House comes to the rescue, it will mark the second year in a row the Legislature has failed to support the 20-year-old effort, which has protected more than 2.4 million acres of land and become a national model for conservation." "Florida Forever at crossroads".
"Don't get sick and, if you do, die quickly"
Bill Cotterell writes that "this might be the worst possible time for Florida legislators to be considering a state budget, particularly the parts dealing with state employment."
And the only people in greater peril than state employees are retired state employees."A bad time for retirees".
There's a management rule that says work expands to fill the time allotted to it, and the last three weeks of a 60-day session is the time legislative leaders have devoted to budget negotiation. They did a lot of work earlier, but this time of session is like the last five minutes of a basketball game, when the outcome is really decided.
Unfortunately, it's also the time of year when the Division of State Group Insurance notifies retirees about premiums.
Among many other hard choices, the House version of the budget would eliminate the health insurance subsidies retirees receive. It's kind of like U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando famously said about the Republican approach to national health care: Don't get sick and, if you do, die quickly.
Florida has the most juveniles sentenced to life without parole
The Miami Herald editors: "Any day now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether judges can sentence juveniles convicted of serious crimes that don't result in a death to life without parole. The decision involves two cases in Florida, which incarcerates the most juveniles sentenced to life without parole -- 76 out of 109 in the United States." "Putting the judge back in juvenile justice".
Them selfish gov'ment employees
The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "The generosity of state employees shown in their contributions to charity is extra impressive given nearly five years of no pay raises, threatened reductions to their benefits or opportunities for promotion and, perhaps above all, a chronic inclination on the part of legislators to think of state employees as problems to be dealt with rather than assets to be valued." "$2 million for others".