Fred Grimm: "George Rekers was paid handsomely by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum ($60,900) and the state of Arkansas ($60,000), to flog gay men and women as unfit parents. Particularly adoptive parents."
As a bonus, at no extra charge, Rekers testified in Miami-Dade Circuit Court that he also considered American Indians to be in the same risky category."George Rekers' explanation is one for the ages". See also "Rentboy escort: I gave `sexual' massages to antigay leader George Rekers" and "'Let's get to work' erodes McCollum's lead in GOP primary". Even Mike Thomas sees it: "Anti-gay 'expert' carries unsavory baggage".
Best I can tell, Rekers has never disparaged the fitness of gays or Indians to hump his baggage. George Rekers comes with a lot of baggage.
Rekers, 61, of North Miami, a Baptist minister and a retired professor of behavior science, has long provided academic cover for the Christian right's anti-gay agenda. He's written books, delivered lectures and provided pithy quotes that intimate a scientific basis for opposition to gay adoption and gay marriage.
On McCollum's tail
"Poll: Former healthcare exec Rick Scott trails Bill McCollum in GOP primary". See also "Poll: Scott's TV ad erodes McCollum's lead in GOP", "Poll: McCollum losing support to political newcomer" and "Poll: Newcomer Scott closes in on McCollum in GOP governor's primary".
"BP looks to charter Panhandle boats". But see "PNJ: Oil spill threatens beach livelihoods".
Miami-Dade losing clout in Tally
"Miami-Dade's legislative delegation, an experienced, powerful group that delivered state dollars to South Florida for local projects, will face heavy turnover -- and possible loss of clout -- this fall. Ten of the delegation's 25 members won't be returning to their seats next year, as they run for higher office or face term limits. The group includes Anitere Flores, a Republican in charge of the House K-12 education budget; Alex Diaz de la Portilla, the Senate majority leader; and David Rivera, who controls the budget in the House." "Miami-Dade to lose key players in state legislative delegation". Related: "Broward lawmakers leave Legislature with few wins".
Another fine Jebacy
"Florida high schools have been boosting their graduation rates for years by transferring thousands of struggling students to adult-education centers and then removing them from school rolls as if they didn't exist."
Those who have fallen behind and are unlikely to earn diplomas no longer are part of the equation when school districts compute their overall graduation rates, so the percentage of graduates looks much better than it really is. ..."Florida high schools boosting graduation rates by removing struggling students from rolls".
Although the state for years gave its blessing to the practice, Smith said Florida lacks "truth in advertising" by excluding adult-education transfers from the graduation count.
Special session on drilling?
"Crist leaning toward special session to curb drilling".
Luvin' the stim
The Tampa Tribune editorial board loves that stim money. Perhaps a "journalist" will ask Rubio if he opposes federal support for the Tampa-Orlando line:
The nation's first downtown station for a super-fast passenger train is going to be in Tampa. Being first has huge advantages in the hot competition for federal dollars for high-speed rail."State winning great train race".
Money follows good plans, and Florida's plans are the best.
Congress will have a vested interest in making sure the Tampa-Orlando line gets going on schedule. The first round of funding competition has made it obvious that the fastest trains are too expensive to be built across every state that wants them.
But it's also hard to see what could stop the momentum that will lay tracks across Florida and bring significant and lasting economic stimulus.
"A top staffer in Gov. Charlie Crist's office and Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein were flying high in 2008."
Shane Strum and Ponzi king Rothstein chatted on Rothstein's chartered jet on their way to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, where Crist was on John McCain's short list for vice president."Ponzi King Courted Charlie Crist Aide".
The two men's conversation, witnessed by others on the plane, focused on how Rothstein's law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, could represent the state in a class-action suit states were pursuing against pharmaceutical firms.
Drill ,baby, drill! dead enders
"State Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park spent part of the fall, winter and early spring steering a public inquiry into the profits and perils of offshore drilling."
Last week, he took off in a small plane on a different kind of fact-finding mission, piloting himself and state Sen. Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island over the graveyard of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon and the enormous carpet of crude oil now drifting across the Gulf of Mexico."Cannon, Haridopolos and oil drilling in Florida waters: Never say never".
With such a vivid view of the disaster, did the two Republicans in line to lead the state Legislature next year respond like many Floridians — especially those in the Pensacola area — with disgust and rage toward the oil industry? No.
Will the two Central Floridians renew their efforts to lift a ban on exploring for oil and natural gas in the thin strip of state-controlled waters within 10 miles of Florida's coast?
The The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "About a year ago, the man who hopes to be speaker of the Florida House in 2011 and 2012 led an ambush to lift the ban on oil drilling in state waters. Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, supported last-minute legislation that buzzed through the House but didn't get past the Senate." "Cool Florida drilling fever: Bad idea before gulf leak, worse idea now.".
Cannon is actually taking a little heat: "Flanked by members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, state House candidate Amy Mercado castigated state Rep. Dean Cannon for what she called his ties to the oil industry this morning."
At a news conference, Mercado described Cannon, R-Winter Park, as "a big man in politics" who is nonetheless largely unknown to his constituents. She also pointed to the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as evidence that what she called Cannon's "diligent" work to bring offshore oil drilling to the waters off Florida's coasts had been misguided."Florida House challenger Amy Mercado rips Dean Cannon for oil ties"
"He's been working for Big Oil," she said.
Cannon denies having connections to any particular industry.
Crist "finally his own man"
Stephen Goldstein: "By abandoning the Republican Party and choosing to run for the U.S. Senate under 'No Party Affiliation,' Charlie Crist has had a cross between a bar mitzvah and enlightenment: He's become not just a man, but finally his own man, seeing clearly the stand he should have taken all along." "Independent Charlie: Crist standing tall as his own man".
"A perfect storm"
Randy Schultz: "On March 3, 2000, the Minerals Management Service - the federal agency in charge of offshore oil and natural gas drilling - issued Safety Alert No. 185."
Two accidents had occurred on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Neither had caused a major problem, but the alert emphasized to companies drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf that the MMS considered a backup system to avoid a massive discharge of oil "to be an essential component of a deepwater drilling system…""Schultz: Another preventable disaster: A perfect storm of government, capitalism.".
Yet 19 days ago, a company drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf didn't have an adequate backup system. A rig exploded, and a massive discharge of oil threatens an area from Louisiana to North Carolina, with Florida right in the middle.
As with 9/11 and the financial crisis, the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon rig appears to be a terrible but preventable event. Plenty of state politicians are seeking to exploit this potential disaster, but U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., can claim to have been doing the hard work on drilling all along. He said Thursday that "it's increasingly looking like the oil industry and federal regulators ignored warning signs that there were problems with this backup equipment that was supposed to stop oil spills."
Kingsley Guy takes eight (8) paragraphs to say precisely nothing, which is to be predicted when the headline of his column is this: "Florida's past budget sanity is one reason we're in better shape than many other states".
"Crist scooped a bunch of oysters out of Apalachicola Bay today and assured skeptical residents that 'we're all in this together' as the Gulf oil spill threatened their livelihoods." "Gov. Crist tells 300 coastal workers "we're all in this together"".
fluffing the tea-baggers
Alex Leary relates that "Cook handicappers rate the Grayson and Kosmas races a 'toss-up' while Boyd's is considered 'lean Democratic.' With the GOP expected to pick up 30 or more House seats nationwide, it's likely one of these Florida Democrats will fall." "Health care reform votes might make Democrats vulnerable in midterm elections".
Poor Myriam Marquez, she doesn't understand that artists don't like to hang with wingers. "When it comes to showbiz, it pays to not be stingy".
Meek largely unknown
George Bennett: "With Meek still unknown by most Democrats, the post-partisan Crist is drawing significant support from Democratic voters. A Mason-Dixon poll showed 48 percent of Democrats favoring Crist and 36 percent preferring Meek. " "Democratic Senate candidates scuffle against each other and governor for recognition".
"Bush drew standing ovations at the Pasco County Ronald Reagan dinner and lavished praise on Rubio, who he formally endorsed earlier this week in a move given added loft by rival Charlie Crist’s earlier decision to break with the Republican Party and continue his Senate campaign as an independent." "Bush, Rubio Rally GOP: 'Remember when Florida Had Republican Governor?'".
Yesterday: "Fla. GOP opens some credit records".
What's a RPOFer to do?
"A high-stakes First Amendment battle that could either halt state funding to all church-run social service programs or create an unprecedented flood of government-backed sectarian groups may soon come before the Florida Supreme Court."
Confronted with a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of a state corrections program that allows Christian ministers to rehabilitate prisoners, the First District Court of Appeal has asked the Florida Supreme Court to define a century-old constitutional provision that prohibits diverting state dollars toward sectarian institutions."Ban on funding religious groups may head to Fla. Supreme Court".
The ban, one of the strictest in the country, bluntly states: ``No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.''
In the broadest interpretation of the provision to date, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that the law does allow the state to direct funds to faith-based groups, as long as the money isn't used to advance religion.
If the state appeals the decision, the Florida Supreme Court could weigh in and set new guidelines on a religious ban long under attack by Republican leaders.
It helps to actually invite teachers into the process.
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida's first application for a federal Race to the Top education grant failed when only five of the state's 67 teachers unions gave their support."
The state was schooled in a necessary, if obvious, lesson: Reform will succeed only if teachers are intimately involved and on board. They are the ones in the classroom, and they know better than politicians what will work."Race to the Top memo builds trust".
Lesson learned. Last month, in hopes of getting a $700 million grant in the second round of applications, Gov. Charlie Crist convened a diverse group that included a teacher of the year and representatives from teachers unions, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and others that share a common interest — improving students' education.
"The Republican Party's temper tantrum"
Scott Maxwell: "Politicians are sometimes compared to dogs. But that's unfair ... to the dogs. Dogs, after all, are loyal."
Compare that to many of today's politicians, who would drop their own mother into an icy pond if they thought it would earn ''em an extra half-point in the polls. Nothing proves that better than the Republican Party's temper tantrum over Charlie Crist running for the U.S. Senate as an independent."Charlie Crist hasn't changed, but attacks have".
Party bigwigs say Charlie's a pandering flip-flopper who sticks his finger in the wind to make decisions.
That's not news. That's just Charlie!
It's just that, until last month, Charlie was doing his pandering, flip-flopping best for the Republicans.
Shaking up Florida DOT
The Miami Herald writes: "Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower's call for a big modification of the construction plan for the Port of Miami tunnel has shaken up Florida Department of Transportation officials. No wonder. The mayor literally asked that the plan be turned on its head, with construction beginning at the port instead of on Watson Island."