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 semi-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 Monday, July 05, 2010

Scott has "more baggage than J-Lo on a camel safari"

    Carl Hiaasen: "In the Republican race for governor, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum finds himself trailing a candidate who has more baggage than J-Lo on a camel safari."
    The polls show McCollum chasing Rick Scott, whose singular claim to fame was building Columbia/HCA into a healthcare conglomerate that perpetrated the largest Medicare fraud in the history of Medicare.

    Only in the rancid political swamp of Florida would a guy like Scott have the gall to run for office, bankrolling his run for the governorship with the fortune he accumulated while his empire soaked U.S. taxpayers for hundreds of millions dollars.

    His campaign mantra, slightly paraphrased: "Hey, lighten up! I never got indicted!''

    Naturally, a centerpiece of Scott's campaign is railing against healthcare reform. That's because he got filthy rich off the current system -- bloated, inefficient and highly lucrative to those who know how it manipulate it.
    "Which brings us to Bill McCollum."
    McCollum's biggest problem is McCollum. He is epically dull, and he just can't help it. Watching him speak has pretty much the same effect as 20 milligrams of Ambien.
    "Bill and Rick are their own worst problems".

    Or, as Lou Reed once put it, "some people are like human tuinals".


    William March: "You may never have heard of Peggy Land, unless you're a Tampa Democratic political insider. ... she has also been a faithful Democratic political donor - some $20,000 to the party and its candidates over the last decade or so, plus more from fundraisers in their home, and none to Republicans. So who is Land backing in the U.S. Senate race? Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican running as a no-party candidate."

    Land isn't a big political name, but Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish is. Last week it created a shock wave when Parrish, godmother of Democratic politics in the state's biggest Democratic county, hosted a fundraiser for Crist.

    A dozen other prominent Broward Democrats co-hosted, including state Rep. Ari Porth of Coral Springs - the only Democratic legislator to break ranks and back Crist openly, except Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, a former Republican and longtime Crist ally.

    "All we're doing is saying out loud what everyone else is whispering about," Parrish said. Neither Meek nor billionaire Jeff Greene, challenging Meek in the primary, can beat Rubio, she said. "So if we don't unite on someone, we'll send a right-wing ultra-conservative to Washington."

    The number of Democratic insiders and major donors backing Crist so far is small, but experts say it will increase if Greene wins the primary.
    "Democrats quietly line up in Crist's corner".

    RPOFers "are tripping over themselves"

    Anthony Man: "As tea party activists try to figure out how to maximize their muscle in the 2010 elections, the movement is moving more indoors and concentrating less on outside sign-waving protests. ... Among the signs of strength in South Florida:"

    Close to 300 people showed up last week at the first public meeting of a new Boca Raton-area branch of the tea party movement. On Saturday, a Broward tea party group joined forces with a separate Fort Lauderdale contingent, which expanded its weekly protest to three hours and a roster of dozens of speakers.

    A coalition of 16 tea party groups, and similar organizations such as chapters of the Glenn Beck inspired 9-12 movement, is working to block the state's plan for the South Florida Water Management District to buy land owned by U.S. Sugar and use it for Everglades restoration.

    And the tea party enjoys so much influence in the Republican Party that candidates are tripping over themselves to proclaim their allegiance to the movement.
    "Tea party flexing muscle, feels growing pains".

    Randy Schultz offers some words of advice to the folks who are better with magic markers and cardnoard than they are with books: "It's democracy, not tyranny"

    Medicaid morons

    "If you thought the debate over health care ended when the federal government approved a major overhaul to the system earlier this year, think again. Health care has emerged as a major issue in Florida's gubernatorial race, with the two Republican candidates vowing to take every action possible to stop what they call Obamacare from ever seeing the light of day in the Sunshine State."

    Unless the law is invalidated by the courts or repealed, it will significantly influence any decisions made on health care by Florida's next governor.

    Nowhere is that more true than for Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled.

    By 2014, the law requires Florida and the other states to provide Medicaid coverage for anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line -- which is $29,000 for a family of four.

    It would be a major change for Florida Medicaid, which currently offers much lower coverage for many categories and provides no coverage for childless adults, who would be covered under the new law.

    The expansion of Medicaid could substantially reduce the number of Floridians who have no health insurance -- with state officials estimating 1.3 million uninsured residents fall below the poverty guidelines in the law.

    The federal government will also cover the entire cost of the expansion in the first three years, although the federal share will eventually drop to 90 percent. Proponents note that it is still a match well above the traditional 55 percent federal support for Florida Medicaid.

    Nonetheless, state officials estimate by 2019 Florida could face an additional cost of $1 billion a year for the expansion -- an issue that worries legislative leaders since Medicaid now accounts for more than quarter of the $70 billion state budget. ...

    Supporters of the federal health care law say it would be foolish to turn down the offer of $10 in health care coverage for every $1 put up by the state under the Medicaid expansion. ...

    State Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, who is running for attorney general and said he would drop McCollum's lawsuit if he is elected, also questioned the opposition to the law. "I just think it's nutty what we're doing," Gelber said, saying Florida --with its economy based largely on small businesses and with nearly 4 million uninsured residents --is the state "most poised to benefit from the law."
    "Health law stays on the radar in Florida race".

    "Disrespect among legislators for state employees"

    Bill Cotterell: "The 2010 Legislature put proviso language in the state budget forbidding government agencies from paying Bar dues for employees who are required to be lawyers. You can't be a lawyer around here without admission to the Bar, so this amounts to a $265 cost-shift to state-employed lawyers."

    It's easy to have no sympathy for lawyers, who can probably afford $265 more easily than most state employees. Maybe they can work in the private sector for a firm that covers their dues, while paying them much better than the state.

    But is that what we want? Is that good for the taxpayers?

    It's like the 2-percent pay cut last year and the interest rate reduction on DROP accounts this year, both vetoed by the best-known lawyer working for the state. It's like the 0.2-percent pension contribution sought by the Senate or abolition of retiree health-insurance subsidies tried by the House, two ideas that failed in a year with (again) no raises.

    The principle of the thing is just a basic disrespect among legislators for state employees.
    "This time, legislators put the squeeze on lawyers".


    "A massive Taiwanese oil skimmer completed a second day of tests amid rough seas, while Florida officials downplayed a study that suggests the spill could hit South Florida." "Bad weather hampers Gulf clean-up efforts".

    See also "As oil gushed, BP quickly hired lawyers, scientists and experts to fight lawsuits", "Official downplays forecast of oil on South Florida beaches", "Migrating birds could fall victim to Gulf oil spill", "BP costs for oil spill response pass $3 billion" and "Drilling off Cuba could be sticky".

    "Decisions by nominating council smack of payback"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Florida's utility consumers suffered a serious blow last week when the panel that approves nominees for the Public Serivce Commission rejected two worthwhile candidates with a meritorious track record."

    Commissioners Nathan Skop and Nancy Argenziano, whose terms have expired, were seeking reappointment to the PSC. The PSC Nominating Council, dominated by state lawmakers, didn't even bother to show a sense of fairness in rejecting them, however. Neither one made the list of 18 applicants cleared for interviews next month.

    This makes no sense at all given their credentials and experience and the absence of these qualities among some applicants who cleared this first hurdle on the road to appointment. The exclusion of Commissioners Skop and Argenziano means they won't be back after their four-year terms expire at the end of this year.

    Apparently, the grievous failing of both commissioners is to possess the intelligence to make fair and impartial decisions on utility-rate cases and the backbone to resist pressure to rubber-stamp requests for increases.
    "Utility consumers lose big".

    The Tampa Tribune editors: "Sen. Mike Bennett, the Sarasota Republican who chairs the panel that nominates candidates for Florida's utility-regulating board, says the committee failed to renominate two commissioners because it was 'looking for a Public Service Commission that will be more congenial, more cooperative.'"
    What he means is that he and his fellow lawmakers want a PSC that will do whatever the utilities want.

    The Public Service Nominating Council made its intentions clear by failing to nominate PSC Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano and Commissioner Nathan Skop, both of whom had dared to reject the industry's demands.

    It was a disgraceful display that shows the industry's remarkable control of the regulatory system
    "Lawmakers do utilities' dirty work".

    Wingnut lies

    "As Florida lawmakers prepare to introduce their own version of Arizona's strict immigration law, Republican state Rep. Ritch Workman has been championing the cause by painting the state's illegal immigrant population as the scourge of fiscal conservatism, business owners and taxpayers. ... We rate Workman's claim False." "PolitiFact: Facts don't support Rep. Workman's estimate of Florida's illegal immigrant cost".

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