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 Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scott and McCollum, birds of a feather ...

    "McCollum's campaign for governor recently began bashing his Republican rival for heading a hospital company that paid a record $1.7 billion fraud fine for bilking Medicare and Medicaid."
    But McCollum seemed to have a different perspective 12 years ago when he was a congressman and pushed legislation that, critics said, would have "gutted'' a federal whistleblower act and was designed to halt federal investigations of hospitals -- namely Columbia/HCA, which was run at one point by his new political rival, Rick Scott.
    "During the federal investigation of Columbia/HCA, from 1997 to 2000, McCollum never said a negative word publicly about the hospital chain or Scott, according to The Congressional Record and news databases.".
    Sparked by whistleblower complaints, the investigation into Columbia/HCA ultimately forced the company to agree to a settlement with the federal government.

    Before and after the settlement, McCollum was only quoted as defending hospitals under investigation. Months after McCollum filed the whistleblower legislation, he received $3,000 in congressional campaign contributions in a single day from Columbia/HCA executives, according published reports and the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.

    Today, as the state's attorney general, McCollum fashions himself as a Medicaid fraud fighter. And he's made Scott and Columbia/HCA into a poster child of fraud.
    Much more here: "McCollum's attacks on rival Scott clash with record on fraud legislation".


    "Money talks"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Republican candidate for governor with years of legislative experience and scant support in the opinion polls dropped out of the race on Monday. The Republican candidate with no political experience who headed a corrupt hospital company is moving up in the polls and is the only serious primary challenger to the favorite, Attorney General Bill McCollum. The reason for both developments, of course, is money." "When money talks, voters lose".


    "The scientific befuddlement is infuriating"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The scientific befuddlement is infuriating, given the industry's pre-spill claims to have mastered techniques and equipment that made offshore drilling absolutely safe. After the rig exploded April 20, BP sounded no environmental alarm. Coastal communities were reassured that the well had not been in production. If BP suspected an undersea blowout, it didn't share its fears."

    "Democrat Alex Sink urged President Obama Monday to have the federal government take over the effort to stop the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, while Gov. Charlie Crist, an independent who until recently was a Republican, stopped short of such a request during a conference call with the president."

    "A band of alternative energy activists staged a rally on the steps of the Old State Capitol on Monday, urging Gov. Charlie Crist to follow through with a decision to call for a special session of the Legislature to consider a ban on oil drilling." "Alternative Energy Activists Rally in Tally for Oil Drill Ban".

    See also "Sink urges fed takeover of leak response; Crist says he's leaning that way". See also "BP may cap well with dome if 'top kill' fails", "Oil tax increase would help pay to clean up spills", "Oil spill protesters rally at Capitol", "Plaintiff's lawyers set oil spill seminar", "BP continues to use toxic dispersant" and "BP had a key role in the Exxon Valdez disaster".


    In the dark of night

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Back in 2003, the Legislature tamed soaring workers' compensation rates in Florida, providing businesses some relief and more predictability for workers who are injured or made ill by job-related accidents or toxic environments. The reforms required insurance companies drop their rates by 14 percent, limited attorney fees and made it more difficult for injured workers to obtain permanent total-disability benefits."

    Though there may be more room for change, lawmakers this year buried a far-reaching policy change in provisions to the state budget that were slipped in just before midnight the day before the budget was approved and the session adjourned on April 30.

    This so-called "proviso language" was adopted without committee hearings, public notice or any open back-and-forth discussion of issues whatsoever. This, despite repeated vows of House and Senate leaders to make the budget process "transparent" to not only the public but also to other lawmakers who might like knowing what they're voting on, details and all.
    "Sneaky quick-fix".


    At Arizona's expense

    "In view of Arizona's controversial immigration law, the folks at Zubi Advertising, one of the leading Hispanic advertising agencies in the nation, have come up with the 'Gringo' mask. They say their aim is not to offend, but to start a dialogue. " "New face of immigration? Miami company creates 'Gringo' masks".


    Transportation bill

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Governor should sign transportation bill, including bike-lane language".


    Love 4 sale

    "Reports filed to the Legislature show AT&T nearly tripled its lobbying expenses in the year's first quarter. Sugar, tobacco, healthcare and gaming interests also spent substantially." "AT&T led pack in lobbying expenses".


    Webster, the tea party's dream candidate

    Daniel Webster, the man who would unseat Alan Grayson, has always been a right wing extremist; and his past is coming home to haunt him. see "Grayson opponent behind Florida ultrasound bill".

    Florida Today's Matt Reed: "This bill doesn't just mandate a new procedure. It includes page after page of requirements meant to eliminate medical discretion and micromanage conversations between women and their doctors. It also includes new red tape for OB/GYN staffs, with no apparent purpose except to make trying moments harder. ... A sampling from the 137-page bill:"

    # "Consent to a termination of pregnancy is voluntary and informed only if the physician who is to perform the procedure has, orally, in person, informed the woman of the . . . probable gestational age of the fetus, verified by an ultrasound."

    # "However, this sub-sub-paragraph does not apply if at the time the woman schedules or arrives for her appointment . . . a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court order is presented that evidences that the woman is obtaining the abortion because (she) is a victim of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking."

    # "For each abortion clinic patient . . . rules shall require: A medical history including reported allergies to medications, antiseptic solutions, or latex; A physical examination including a bimanual examination estimating uterine size and palpation of the adnexa."

    # "If the woman declines to view the ultrasound images, the woman shall complete a form . . . the form must indicate that the woman's decision was not based on any undue influence from any third party to discourage her from viewing."

    # "The physician shall keep original prints of each ultrasound examination of a patient in the patient's medical history file."
    "Pro-life bill is medical 'takeover'".


    TaxWatch "turkey" time

    Proto teabaggers, "Florida TaxWatch issued its annual list of spending projects either not requested by Crist or state agencies or which had bypassed usual selection processes. Most, but not all, of the 41 turkeys are local projects." "Group: $61 million in 'turkeys' in Fla. budget". See also "Crist weighs veto of $60.6 million in projects TaxWatch calls budget turkeys", "" and "'Turkeys' land in Crist's lap".


    Dockery

    "Paula Dockery drops out". See also "Paula Dockery drops out of Florida governor's race".


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