"Florida Democrats showcased their 'new face' for the 2010 campaign season Saturday with predictions that the economy, corruption and the Gulf oil spill will persuade voters to reject the Republicans who have run the state for almost 20 years."
If the Republican-controlled Legislature rejects Gov. Charlie Crist's call for a constitutional amendment banning offshore oil drilling in Florida waters, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Democrats will be handed a golden political opportunity."Florida Democrats hopeful for campaign season".
"Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio is out with a new web video laying out the argument that his recently released '12 simple ideas to grow the economy and create jobs' are smart simply because MSNBC host Rachel Maddow disagrees with them." "Marco Rubio: If Rachel Maddow Says I'm Wrong, Then I Must Be Right".
"State Democrats rally around candidates". See also "Democrats raise $700K for state party at Hollywood dinner".
Mike Thomas, who always has had "A Bush of his own", parrots Bushco talking points yet again this morning in "Is FCAT a failure? No".
Mikey's "evidence"? Well, you know, those mystical, unidentified "piles of data". For a related story, with a privatization kicker, see Michael Mayo's "Test company deserves 'F' for this year's FCAT".
Thomas Tryon: "Republicans in Florida's Legislature have developed a bad case of Cristophobia."
This "disease," based on my observations and according to the definition I've conjured up, has observable and well-defined symptoms, including:"Voters deserve opportunity, not Cristophobia".
Obsessive and long-lasting reactions to Charlie Crist's exit from the Republican Party and his independent run for U.S. Senate.
Anxiety over Crist's prospects of winning the Senate race.
Compulsive attempts to undermine almost anything Crist does as governor.
Petulant acts of retribution -- even when they may lead to alienation and the potential for severe loss.
Cristophobia is not a disease, of course; it's a political disorder.
Make it Sink's special session
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board write that "it would be unconscionable for Mr. Crist and the Legislature to ignore Floridians facing a crisis on par with a major hurricane. Now. In this session."
Yet consumed by his desire to keep Mr. Crist from scoring a political triumph with his constitutional drilling ban — something he knows Mr. Crist would hawk in his independent run for U.S. Senate — Mr. Cretul signaled he won't entertain other drilling-related business. At least not till he and Senate President Jeff Atwater convene when they're good and ready — perhaps in September — another special session addressing remedies for the spill."Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and state Sen. Don Gaetz are pushing worthy proposals right in front of Mr. Cretul's and Mr. Atwater's noses."
Mr. Cretul says the remedies issues are too complex to successfully address in a special session next week. But he, other lawmakers and their staffs have had months to devise plans dealing with the Gulf disaster. What have they been doing since it began way back on April 20? Or since early June when oil starting soiling Florida's beaches?
Ms. Sink's include providing tax rebates for residential property owners hit by the spill. Temporary tourism tax incentives applied to coastal businesses harmed by the spill would help. Mr. Gaetz would allow coastal Northwest homeowners to revise tax bills to account for depressed property values due to the spill."Find remedies to the spill".
Lawmakers have the ability to help thousands of Floridians. Now. But that presents a problem for Mr. Cretul, who believes that allowing Mr. Crist's constitutional amendment to collapse without other bills blocking the view is what's best for Florida.
"Candidate Scott stumps door-to-door in Broward".
"Streamlined voting stacks races on ballots "
"'Be careful what you wish for ...' The old proverb has come to mind more than once for Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall as her office prepares for an Aug. 24 primary that will include more than 100 different ballot scenarios. "
Two years ago, McFall lobbied Volusia's cities to switch to even-numbered election years, and most signed on, creating up to $300,000 in savings for the cash-strapped local governments while also promising higher voter turnouts now that they'll be paired with races for governor, Congress and others."Election chiefs face 'crunch time'".
But there's a price to that kind of efficiency. Adding cities to ballots already crowded with federal, state, judicial and county races is stretching resources thin -- while threatening to test the patience of voters.
"BP will continue running tests on the gusher in the Gulf, which has been temporarily plugged by a containment cap." "Plug still working, but tests continue".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The presidential commission investigating the BP oil disaster needs to work fast over the next six months to answer three critical questions: What caused the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig to explode and sink in April, unleashing hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico? How competent is the oil and gas industry to drill in deep water? And what tools and regulatory authority does the government need to make drilling safer and to better respond in a crisis?" "Panel investigating BP needs to work fast".
See also "For US, ongoing battle against changing oil 'Blob'", "Oil is plugged, but for how long? No sign of leaks, but data puzzles scientists", "Fail Whale: Giant Oil Skimmer Won't Work In Gulf Spill Cleanup", "Scientists get another day to study Gulf spill cap" and "".
Don't forget the RPOF's pre-spill drilling fervor
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Legislative leaders such as incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon didn't want the session because it will highlight their pre-disaster fervor to allow drilling within 3 miles of Florida beaches. In 2009, they almost got the Legislature to approve drilling. That near success and the suspicion they'll bring it back when the current disaster subsides provide the best case to put anti-drilling language into the state constitution. The deadline to make this year's ballot is Aug. 4. Making it, especially in the face of GOP resistance, is doubtful." "The eye of the oil spill: Major cleanup and legislative issues remain.".
Special session doublespeak
Howard Troxler writes that, "if the Legislature really thinks the right thing to do about the oil spill is 'nothing,' then by all means, do it."
Of course, doing nothing this week means no immediate help for the Panhandle and Floridians already hurt by the spill. Maybe later, the Legislature says."As long as we're talking about wasting people's time, we should remember a couple of things that the Legislature has already put on the November ballot."
It also means not using the opportunity to talk about alternative energy or Florida's energy future. We have been bizarrely paralyzed on this subject for years.
Most of all, it means Florida voters will not get to vote in November on whether to amend our state Constitution to ban drilling in Florida waters.
Because that would be "smoke and mirrors," and a waste of time, and all that.
One House member, a Republican from Oviedo named Sandy Adams, even announced she is filing a motion to censure (that is, formally reprimand) Crist for calling the session. Her idea was trumpeted by the House Republican office via a news release.
Adams (who, as it happens, is running for Congress) wants Crist rebuked for "the unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars for a special session set solely to enact a redundant constitutional amendment banning an activity already banned by Florida law," the GOP statement said.
There's Amendment 9, for one. That's the one that declares that laws such as the big federal health-care reform, often called "Obamacare," will not count in Florida."Is Crist's drilling ban necessary, or a 'political stunt'?".
Not only is Amendment 9 constitutionally dubious, it is an entirely political gesture, intended to whip up the faithful in November.
Also, the Legislature is using this November's ballot to hold an unusual, non-binding, "advisory" referendum to ask Floridians …
Do you think the federal budget should be balanced?
I am pretty sure the answer is going to be "yes." Did they need to call a statewide election for it? Or were they just slapping another bumper sticker on the ballot?
"Out of bounds"?
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "State Sen. Dave Aronberg's attempt to tar his opponent in the Democratic primary for attorney general with the BP oil spill is out of bounds." "Candidate's cry of BP link out of bounds".
The trend is clear
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Florida homeowners are caught between a rock and a hard place. Despite not suffering from a severe storm since 2005, and regardless of reforms intent on stemming rate increases, consumers across the state are still suffering insurance premium shock."
The trend is clear. Gov. Charlie Crist may have vetoed legislation last month that would have made it easier for insurers to raise property insurance premiums, but as homeowners' policies come up for review, the rates just keep going up. And more increases could be on the way. "Property insurance reform reveals a harsh truth".
"Foreclosures remain a big part of South Florida's housing market, but some analysts say the outlook might be improving." "Broward foreclosure rate dips; PB County rate flat".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Arriving in mailboxes near you: ballots for the Aug. 24 statewide primary election. But that does not mean it's time to vote. The early arrival of ballots should signal voters that it is time to educate themselves so they can vote responsibly, and they should avoid rushing to return them." "No rush to return mail ballots".
"A merit-pay plan for teachers proposed by gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum on Friday is not too different from one rejected by Gov. Charlie Crist this year." "McCollum proposes merit-pay plan for teachers".