Greer to depose McCollum before the Aug. 24 primary
Steve Bousquet: "The Jim Greer saga took a new twist Monday when the attorney for the indicted former Republican Party boss said he'll call Attorney General Bill McCollum as a witness and seek to disqualify him from any role in prosecuting the case."
At an Orlando news conference, attorney Cheney Mason said Greer committed no crime when he and former party executive director Delmar Johnson formed a consulting firm, Victory Strategies, that received $200,000 from the party."Mason said he would seek sworn statements from McCollum before the Aug. 24 primary. The attorney said he also wants to depose three other top Republicans who helped to oust Greer in January, which would be part of an effort to prove they all knew of Victory Strategies and Greer's role in it. They are state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who succeeded Greer; Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, the next Senate president; and Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, the next House speaker."
"The civil lawsuit that was filed over that agreement resulted in an indictment," Mason said. "There will be a lot of interesting turns and twists in revealing that. The bottom line is, from what we know at this point, based on the documentary evidence, this is a significantly politically motivated prosecution."
Haridopolos and Cannon helped negotiate a severance pact with Greer, and the two legislators have helped to raise money for McCollum to pay for TV ads criticizing his GOP primary opponent, Rick Scott. ...Much more here: "Greer attorney want to depose McCollum, other GOP leaders".
Mason said the prosecution of Greer was politically motivated by the conservative wing of the Republican Party of Florida, which didn't like Gov. Charlie Crist and decided to attack him by going after Crist's handpicked party leader, Greer.
"Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer's defense attorney said today he will try to disqualify Attorney General Bill McCollum from prosecuting the case -- and call the GOP candidate for governor as a defense witness for Greer." "Greer's attorney will seek dismisal grand theft, money laundering, fraud charges".
See also "Attorney: Greer a victim of Crist foes", "Attorney says charges are attempt to ruin Greer" and "Greer attorney: Anti-Crist Republicans decided to ruin my client".
"FP&L and its alter-ego henchman, AIF"
Howard Troxler: "The purge is complete. Four of the five members of our state Public Service Commission who voted against raising electric rates in January have now been canned by the Legislature. Such a housecleaning is unprecedented in the three decades since the PSC switched from an elected body. It is proof of two things:"
(1) The Florida Legislature absolutely does not care or fear what anybody thinks."Take the PSC away from the Florida Legislature".
(2) The electric industry, and in particular Florida Power & Light of Miami, is able to take out any commissioner that it chooses.
To quote Michael Corleone in Godfather II: "If history has taught us anything, it's that you can kill anybody."
I even admit a certain admiration for FP&L and its alter-ego henchman, Associated Industries of Florida.
I tip my hat to them. To quote another Godfather character, Virgil Sollozzo: "My compliments."
No one will ever serve on the PSC again without this ax hanging over his or her head.
"As engineers bore deeper into the seafloor toward the source of the oil still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP PLC is growing more confident that the relief well it expects to complete in August will succeed where all previous efforts to contain or kill the gusher have failed." "Relief well is last best hope to contain gusher".
See also "Tar balls in Texas mean oil hits all 5 Gulf states" and "Could Tropical Storm Bonnie be on her way into the Gulf?".
"Florida not serious about solar energy"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "For a state with the Sunshine State nickname, Florida has a lot of nerve. The state has enough sunshine to be a national leader in developing solar as a renewable energy source. Unfortunately, there's little political will among short-sighted state leaders to make that happen." "Solar rebates reveal a dim energy future".
Recession? What recession?
"Seeking a lift from Florida's economic doldrums? Tallahassee and Gainesville may have just the ticket. While the Sunshine State suffers from double-digit unemployment and is mired in one of the worst real estate downturns in its history, Tallahassee and Gainesville aren't feeling the pain so acutely." "Tallahassee, Gainesville Resist Recession".
Grayson, Paul work together
"In what might be the one issue that could unite anti-Wall Street liberals, angry tea partiers, laissez-faire libertarians and suspicious conspiracy theorists, Congress is close to forcing open the books of the nation's central bank."
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed the House on Wednesday and offers a major overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system, contains a provision for a one-time, limited audit of the Federal Reserve, the controllers of the nation's money supply."Grayson helps build Fed audit into financial reform measure".
Such scrutiny of the central bank's books was championed by Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, current darling of small-government advocates and a critic of the Fed and its policies for 30 years.
Paul introduced his plan for a full audit in February 2009; his efforts were soon joined by Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando ... . Grayson is widely credited with helping convince skeptical members of the majority party about the need to analyze what the central bank did with hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout funds provided to big banks during the financial system's meltdown.
"Florida's public insurance carrier says someone fraudulently changed its address through the U.S. Postal Service. Citizens Property Insurance is trying to warn roughly 1 million policyholders and new applicants that checks and correspondence from June 14 to June 28 may not have been received. Even worse, it worries the information could be used for identity theft." "Mail for Citizens insurance fraudulently diverted".
"A $10 million state economic stimulus plan created by Gov. Charlie Crist has generated just 45 new jobs in its unfinished first year. Last January, as he announced the Economic Gardening Business Loan Program, the governor expressed confidence it would produce 'a large number of new sustainable jobs' while planting the seeds 'that our homegrown businesses need to flourish.'" "Charlie Crist's $10 Million Economic Stimulus Plan Generates 45 Jobs So Far".
Prescription drug deaths far outpace those caused by illegal substances
"According to a report released Thursday by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, 5 percent of all deaths in 2009 were attributable to prescription drug use, far outnumbering those caused by illegal substances." "Report: Prescription drugs kill far more in Florida than illegal drugs, Oxycodone deaths at record high".
Fewer teabaggers this year
"Organizers estimated about 1,200 to 1,300 people came to Coast Stadium in Viera [in Brevard County] to hear speakers and speak out themselves against excessive government spending, intrusiveness, public corruption and other issues they said violate the Constitution."
That's a little less than half the estimated turnout for a similar event held July 4 last year, said chief organizer Matt Nye, who attributed the turnout to competing holiday events."Rick Scott was chosen to deliver the keynote address because Scott is 'a self-made millionaire from the outside.'"
The big issues Scott said he's seen are jobs and citizens' desire for immigrants to follow the rules."Brevard tea partiers: We'll impact elections".
Tea partiers "believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, free market and the rule of law, which are things I also believe in," he said. ...
Vendors sold patriotic T-shirts and jewelry, and conservative political groups and candidates for local and state races or their representatives spoke with passers-by and passed out fliers.
"Companies run by friends or business associates"
"The man who oversees $134 billion of public money has recommended investing some of it in companies run by friends or business associates, and he doesn't see any conflict in doing that." "Florida pension agency head blurs line between state, personal business".
"Shifting population spurs a redistricting battle"
"Traditional bastions of GOP power – including Central Florida -- are lagging at a time when partisan anger at the Obama administration is growing and conventional wisdom suggests their numbers should be surging."
This week, a Leon County Circuit Court judge will hear final arguments in a challenge to the Legislature's amendment by the Florida League of Women Voters and the NAACP. Meanwhile, Brown, Diaz-Balart and the Legislature are suing to invalidate Amendments 5 and 6. Both court fights could go to the Florida Supreme Court in August, although they might not be resolved before election ballots get printed."There's also a significant difference between now and 1992:"
An Orlando Sentinel analysis of voter-registration data shows the percentage of new voters registering with the GOP is shrinking, compared to those choosing to be Democrats, independents or a growing number of third-party alternatives."Will new rules shape lawmakers' districts?".
Central Florida, for example, no longer can be banked on as a rock-ribbed Republican bastion.
Of the 17 Republican-held state House districts located primarily in Lake, Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Brevard and Osceola counties, the percentage of registered GOP voters fell an average of 4.8 percentage points – declining from 43.5 percent to 38.7 percent -- since 2002, the analysis found.
Meanwhile, Democratic numbers inched up, from 36.4 percent to 37.2 percent. And no-party-affiliation voters grew from 15.4 percent to 18.2 percent.
The six GOP-held state Senate seats in the same area have seen Republican registration fall from an average of 44.6 percent to 40.2 percent, while the Democratic percentage has held flat at nearly 37 percent and NPAs have grown on average from 15.2 percent to 17.7 percent.
"A home invasion in broad daylight"
"Committing the political equivalent of a home invasion in broad daylight, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene stumped Monday afternoon in the needy Miami neighborhood represented in Congress by rival Kendrick Meek and his mother for almost two decades." "Senate candidate Jeff Greene invades rival Kendrick Meek's home turf".
Details from The Reid Report: "(Video) Greene in the hood: Liberty City Stack-attack, and 'you people'", "Greene in the hood (sort of) take 2 … tea time" and "Greene in the hood, take 3 **UPDATED**".
That book learnin' stuff
"High school graduates in Florida are increasingly skipping college. ... Researchers found about 35 percent of Florida's 2009 graduates had no plans to attend college, two points above the 33 percent recorded in 2008 and worse than the national average of 30 percent." "Florida high school graduates foregoing college".