Budget "deadline day"
"Today is the deadline for Gov. Charlie Crist to sign the $70.4 billion state budget, and he is expected to use his veto pen vigorously." "Today is deadline for Crist to sign budget".
"Newly independent Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to sign a $70.4 billion budget but with a liberal dose of line-item vetoes. Crist has waited to act until Friday's deadline." "Deadline day for Charlie Crist and Florida's $70 billion budget".
"When he signs the state budget on Friday, Gov. Charlie Crist will be waiting for just one major piece of legislation from the 2010 session: a highly controversial abortion bill."
The measure, which would require pregnant women in Florida to view a sonogram of the fetus, sits in a file drawer in the desk of House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, whose spokeswoman said there's no specific reason why it hasn't been sent to Crist."Abortion foes delay sending bill to Crist". See also "Anti-abortion bill still sitting in Florida House" and "Abortion bill sidelined as proponents inundate governor's office with calls for approval".
Opponents speculate that House leaders are deliberately delaying to give bill supporters the most possible time to flood the governor's office with calls and e-mails.
Todd Reid, staff director of the House Republican caucus, said the House is holding the bill "to give pro-life folks time to get their act together and contact the governor.'' ...
Crist has repeatedly voiced strong reservations about the bill and he is expected to veto it.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board:
By passing HB 1143, the same legislators who claim to oppose government forcing its will upon the citizens and government interfering in the doctor-patient relationship have approved legislation to do just that. During what passed for debate on the ultrasound amendment, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, tried to dismiss any comparison by saying that abortion is "elective." Tell that to a woman whose life or health is threatened by a pregnancy."Veto non-health care bill: Ultrasound amendment is just one bad part of it.".
HB 1143 is about politics, not health care. If there's no good policy reason for Gov. Crist to sign HB 1143, there's also no good political reason. Voters who most support HB 1143 favored Marco Rubio long before Gov. Crist quit the GOP. Having failed to get the endorsement of the AFL-CIO and having received only a partial endorsement from the Florida Teachers Association in his pitch for Democratic support, there's only upside for the governor in a veto. Indeed, he might also get support from Republicans who worry that their party is placing ideology so far above policy.
Grayson-haters run wild
Scott Maxwell: "The Republicans are stacked up seven-deep, trying to boot the outspoken Democrat Alan Grayson out of office." Maxwell went to listen to these geniuses the other day, and found some of it
compelling [thereby demonstrating to his readers that he is fair and balanced]. Some of it is nuttier than a Snickers bar. Very little of it is moderate.Maxwell continues:
•Kurt Kelly. ... loves name-calling. In the space of about 90 seconds, he called Grayson a "disgrace," an "embarrassment" and simply "a bad guy." (The crowd liked that.)Go read the entire column here: "Alan Grayson's GOP challengers slide to right at forum".
•Dan Webster. The former House speaker likes to reminisce about the good ol' days when Republicans ended the Democrats' reign of terror and turned Tallahassee into a Camelot of good government. The problem with that selling point is that, to believe it, you also have to believe Tallahassee actually is an example of good government and distinguished statesmanship. And that requires heavy doses of either distortion or medication. Webster's main attribute, as a 30-year veteran of the political scene, may also be his detriment. Career politicians aren't exactly en vogue nowadays.
•Dan Fanelli. If you think ethnic humor is funny — and that white people can't be terrorists — Dan's your man!
•Patricia Sullivan. If you're a Tea-Partyer at heart, then Sullivan may fill your cup.
•Ross Bieling. If you're convinced we have a Marxist in the White House, you and Bieling are kindred spirits.
•Bruce O'Donoghue didn't make Wednesday night's forum, sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition of Florida. But he is a businessman backed by Mel Martinez and Toni Jennings who has thrown a wrench in what might have otherwise been an establishment coronation for Webster. If you really dislike gay rights, O'Donoghue might be your guy. He has helped lead the Family Policy Council, the group that has worked hard to make sure gays don't get the same rights as straight folks.
•Todd Long ... Since losing two years ago, Todd has gotten himself a radio show and moved where many AM radio hosts go — even further to the right. Todd wants to abolish, well, most of the federal government.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "They're kidding, right? With the federal government running trillion-dollar deficits, with red ink gushing in Washington, D.C. like oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the three U.S. House Democrats who represent Central Florida are asking for more than a half-billion dollars worth of pet projects." "Shameless spenders".
"With the Gulf oil spill threatening Florida's pristine beaches and public support for offshore oil drilling waning, Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek of Miami has accused his rivals of backing oil drilling at one time or another, and says he's the only candidate to consistently oppose expanded offshore exploration." "Meek consistent in oil drilling opposition".
Spill baby! Spill!
Paul Flemming: "We need to start treating this disaster like a war". See also "Booms along the Gulf can't block all of the oil", "Gulf Coast awaits word that oil flow has stopped", "'People think the Exxon Valdez is in the Keys': Captain Duck sues BP for lost business", "Current shift could spare Florida of oil" and "Industry vs. the regulators: Guess who wins".
"A federal judge is set to begin sorting through more than 40 claims on real estate, bank accounts and other assets linked to admitted Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein." "Scott Rothstein judge to hear financial claims against admitted Ponzi scheme operator".
"Papers please" on the way the Florida?
"The state House's top legislator on criminal justice issues says he wants to see legislation to mirror Arizona's controversial illegal immigration crackdown."
"I would absolutely, 100 percent, unequivocally support an Arizona law," said Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, a former police officer and chairman of the Criminal and Civil Justice Committee. The state has its own sovereignty and we have a right to participate in federal efforts to stop illegal immigration. I'm not at all opposed to introducing that bill it's something I'm considering." ..."Top Florida lawmaker is pushing for an Arizona-style crackdown on illegal immigration".
Efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, such as a bill two years ago to deport some state prisoners here illegally, have have been bottled up in committees.
That might be changing. Upstart Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, a Naples multimillionaire, has made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign. In his latest TV ad, Scott pledges to bring the Arizona law to Florida and attacks his GOP primary opponent, frontrunner Attorney General Bill McCollum, for not wanting to do the same. (McCollum supports the Arizona law but says it's not needed in Florida). ...
Well more than half 58 percent of Floridians support the law, according to a poll earlier this month for several media outlets, including the Herald/Times.
Mack handles the heat
"No one would have expected a Republican from Fort Myers to jump into the battle over illegal immigration in Arizona. Yet there was U.S. Rep. Connie Mack blasting 'frontier justice' and comparing the state's new law to Nazi Germany."
"This is not the America I grew up in and believe in," he said on April 29. As the words hit the Drudge Report, criticism washed in from across the country. Mack was called weak, a Democrat."While some take cover, Connie Mack takes heat over immigration stance".
"The easy thing," he said in an interview Wednesday, "would have been to do nothing. That's precisely why I think it's important for people who are elected to take a stand."
But for others in Florida, taking a stand has been a struggle.
The "three times rule"
Joel Engelhardt writes that "there's one vast revenue source that politicians won't tap. In fact, state legislators prefer to make it easier, not harder, to get away with this tax dodge."
Every big landowner knows about the agricultural tax exemption. Run a few cows on a piece of land and qualify for a 90 percent property tax break. Far fewer know about the "three times rule." It says that if a buyer pays more than three times the farm value of land, it creates a "presumption" that the land wasn't bought for "bona fide agricultural purposes." So the buyer doesn't automatically qualify for the agricultural tax exemption."Legitimate tax break? Bull. Politicians won't tap this money source.".
Charlie's DADT switch
"Crist's switch to supporting the repeal on the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy Thursday left the no-party Senate contender caught in a crossfire of criticism from his Democratic and Republican opponents." "Crist switches, supports repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on gays in military".
Forcing the wealthy attackers into the sunshine
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida voters will not have a fighting chance against an onslaught of attack ads this campaign season if shadowy third-party political groups that spend unlimited amounts of money can avoid disclosing before the election who is financing their attacks. Gov. Charlie Crist needs to sign into law HB 131, which would force the groups back into to the sunshine."
Under the bill, special interest groups seeking to influence state and local elections would have to file regular financial disclosure reports throughout the election season, just like political parties, candidates and other political committees. Under current law, the so-called 527 groups, named after a section of the federal tax code, are only required to file federal disclosures after an election. But transparency during a campaign is essential, particularly since many of these faceless groups have such innocuous names that no voter can determine their motivations."Shine a light on attack ad buyers".
Time to build a fence ... around Texas
Daniel Ruth: "Let's see if we have this straight. U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, who ruined untold innocent lives as a besotted red-baiting vigilante, was a peach of a fellow. Check. The words of the treasonous Jefferson Davis should be held in the same esteem as Abraham Lincoln's. Got it. And Thomas Jefferson, one of the fathers of the country in more ways than one, couldn't hold Ronald Reagan's teleprompter. 10-4."
No, you haven't entered some surreal parallel universe of 10-gallon Mad Hatters, just the tea-swilling, bloomer-wadded, Bible-thumping wonderland of the Texas public school system, which seems hell-bent on turning out illiterate students of history at a faster rate than the BP oil rig gusher. ..."Don't mess with Texas, or the facts".
To be sure, if the state of Texas desires to create a student body that is more delusional about their country's history than North Korea's Kim Jong Il, then the public who elected these ayatollahs of history pretty much get what they deserve.
However, with nearly 5 million students, textbook decisions made by the Texas board on ideological purity ultimately impact the textbook decisions of other states.
Or put another way, because Texas is opting to impose demagoguery over reality upon its students, it is possible Florida parents could well have little Timmy coming home from school and observing: "Mummy, did you know the Civil War was fought because those big meanies in the North wouldn't let the South sing Dixie?" ...
This doesn't even rise to the level of revisionist history. It's a smarmy insult to the citizens and students of Texas (and possibly the rest of the country) that suggests a gaggle of fundamentalist neoconservatives don't trust the public they serve to make discerning judgments based on historical facts written by responsible scholars.