Greer claims Crist was in the loop
"Crist personally signed off on his former Republican party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party -- according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he 'didn't know anything' about the deal now part of a criminal investigation."
State investigators say Greer and the party's former executive director, Delmar W. Johnson III, secretly set up a shell company called Victory Strategies to divert party money and enrich themselves. Greer was charged Wednesday with fraud and money laundering."But Greer's attorney, Damon Chase, said Saturday that the deal giving them a 10 percent cut of party donations was legal."
What's more, Chase said Crist's former right-hand man, now U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, first proposed the idea that they earn a fundraising commission to save the party money and replace the $30,000-a-month contract with fundraiser Meredith O'Rourke."Scandal-stained former ally contradicts Gov. Crist".
Meek in Brevard
"U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek extolled his track record and leadership abilities Saturday to a banquet hall full of Brevard County Democrats as he continued to vie for the party's nod in his run for the open Senate seat in Florida." "Democrats push for open seat".
Raw political courage
"LeMieux: Obama not doing enough for Florida".
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "It's Florida's turn. As the oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout threatens to damage the Florida Panhandle — prompting fears that it won't stop there — the question remains, is the state doing all it can to mitigate the approaching disaster? The answer had better be 'yes.'" "Deepwater Horizon debacle hits home". More: "Crist, Buffett visit beach, try to console Panhandle residents and lament fouling of paradise", "Beyond BP: Who coordinates a long-term response?", "Crist, Buffett: Oil won't spoil your Florida visit", "Obama lets frustration show on trip to oil spill region" and "Garrison Keillor: As the oil spill spreads, a nation sits immobilized".
And then there's the Niger Delta
"It's Day 47 of what we regard as an utterly unacceptable environmental disaster. We watch in horror as the first tar balls wash onto the Florida Panhandle's sugar-sand beaches."
It's Day 32 in Akwa Ibom. Not that anyone in the Niger River Delta has bothered to count the days since an offshore spill added another million gallons of crude to an already devastated estuary."Oil-spill anger applies only to what's visible"
Oil bursting from an oil rig operated by a subsidiary of ExxonMobile has polluted the sea, poisoned tidal marshes and escalated the miseries caused by Niger oil extraction.
But the word "unacceptable'' has no meaning in Nigeria's bleak oil fields.
The Guardian of London reported last week that the Niger Delta's aging pipes, terminals, pumping stations and offshore oil platforms spill more oil each year than what has leaked from the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon.
Niger's marshes are just as fragile as those at the mouth of the Mississippi. Nigeria's wildlife is as vulnerable. Local farmers and fishermen have endured much more hurt than their counterparts along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The African Commission on Human Rights in 2001 and Amnesty International in 2009 documented dramatic human suffering from some 300 spills a year. Fishing and farming have been ruined. Drinking water has been poisoned. Incessant gas burn-offs pollute the air. Amnesty International reports significant and escalating health problems. Wetlands have been transformed into vast apocalyptic landscapes drenched in thick black syrup.
The national government admits that 2,000 major oil spills, some years old, still await cleanup. Nigeria has tough-sounding environmental laws, of course, but no enforcement by a government utterly corrupted by big-oil money.
Entrepreneurs in action
"Office Depot has agreed to pay a $4.5 million refund for allegedly using a bait-and-switch scheme to overcharge local governments around Florida." "Office Depot agrees to $4.5 million in refunds for overcharges".
Scott and the teabaggers
"In the six weeks since Scott came out of the shadows and announced his candidacy, he's spent more on advertising than McCollum has raised in his campaign. The tab is about $11 million, and there's little sign Scott's piggybank will be empty any time soon. He said he will take all the $500 contribution checks he can raise by law. But at of the end of this week, he had not filed any contributions with the Florida Division of Elections."
You can't seem to turn your TV on these days without seeing Scott hawking his conservative ideals. ..."Scott 'wild card' in Florida governor's race".
Where Scott is getting support is among tea party members, whose rising voice was heard on May 11 when tea party-backed Rand Paul won the GOP nomination in Kentucky for the U.S. Senate.
Scott said he is not running as a tea party candidate but relates well with their members. "I have spoken at a lot of tea party events. I agree with many of their principles."
Barry Willoughby, a tea party member from Naples, said Scott's entry into the gubernatorial race caught many tea partiers off guard.
"Rick Scott came out of nowhere," Willoughby said. "He caught many in the tea-party movement by surprise.
"I have never met him, but on the surface I absolutely agree with what he has said about accountability in government, limited government and following the law."
But, Willoughby said, he hasn't decided yet whether to vote for Scott or McCollum.
"I'm very torn, that's for sure," he said. "I don't see how the tea party could go against what he has said."
"Not pretty to see McCollum ... challenged from the right"
Jane Healy: "Suddenly the governor's race has heated up now that, out of nowhere, Rick Scott has decided to challenge Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination. Unfortunately, the competition seems headed the wrong way."
It's not pretty to see McCollum, who has been the darling of the conservatives, challenged from the right.Much more here: "GOP governor's race takes wayward path".
It seems to bring out his worst instincts. But that is what Scott, the Naples multimillionaire, is doing. Jumping into the race full force by spending a zillion dollars on television ads, he is mounting a serious challenge to McCollum.
So what is the ugly potential here? It's that the race devolves into a dogfight over issues that have little to do with being governor and ignores Florida's pressing problems.
Scott has grabbed attention by trying to make Arizona's controversial immigration law — which gives police far more leeway in questioning immigration status — an issue for Florida. Huh? If there's anything that needs to be addressed as a federal issue, it's immigration. Having different laws in different states doesn't lead to immigration reform. It just shifts the problem to another state.
Yet McCollum seems to have fallen for this gambit, now making statements that lend a sympathetic ear to the Arizona law.
For his part, McCollum is equally shrill when it comes to health care.
The Tampa Trib is outraged
Of all the things to editorialize about, the
Chamber of Commerce Tampa Tribune editorial board is outraged that a bill in Congress "would add chilling new complexities to political advertising". God forbid, "it would put business interests at a disadvantage. The bias has a partisan flavor and arises from fear among Democrats that a Supreme Court ruling in January will allow conservative-leaning corporations to buy elections." "Another bad campaign bill".
Howard Troxler: "As I've said before, we need four things:"
(1) Fair, competitive districts."It's not party, but power that corrupts in Tallahassee".
(2) Honest campaign money that cannot be laundered through no-limit committees controlled by individual legislators.
(3) Once (and only if) we pass those first two ideas, longer terms for legislators, 12 years instead of eight. Yes, really.
(4) Smarter, better-informed voters who actually hold the Legislature accountable for its actions. More on that theme over the rest of this year.
Look. We can never pass enough "ethics" laws to make Babylon "ethical."
Only true competition, and the threat of being held to account by the voters, will change things.
In other words, the answer to the sins of democracy is more democracy.
"Telling his story for the first time, Scott Rothstein detailed how his life spun out of control in a 12-page letter he wrote to the judge who will sentence him on Wednesday." "For first time, Scott Rothstein tells of his shame".
Dean Cannon and his study
Steve Otto reminds us about the $200,000 study
funded by the Florida House - of oil drilling off the state's coast. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?"Tally "rush job"".
... on April 14 - a week before the explosion - The Willis Group, which conducted the study, presented its findings to something called the House Select Policy Council on Strategic and Economic Planning. The study concluded any potential oil spills would be rare, small and easily contained.
The study, according to the WUSF report, was commissioned by Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Orlando, who is scheduled to become the next speaker of the House and who has been a proponent of offshore drilling. A spokesperson for current Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, said the study was a "rush job."
I guess you can understand why nobody in Tallahassee has been rushing to tell us the rest of what The Willis Group learned for your $200,000.
Orange Jefferson-Jackson Event
"The Republican positions on gay adoption, health care, gays in the military, abortion and the environment took a beating Saturday night as a slew of Florida Democratic candidates made their pitches at a fundraising dinner downtown. Alex Sink, Democratic candidate for governor, was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Jefferson-Jackson Gala, thrown by the Democratic Party of Orange County at the Orlando Marriott Downtown." "Democratic candidates take jabs at Republicans at Orlando gala".