Teabagger agenda taking hold
"Across the state, Floridians are paying close attention as state lawmakers begin to craft a tough, Arizona-style immigration law that would grant law enforcement officials broad authority to act as immigration investigators."
Under the proposed law, criminal suspects and traffic law violators would need to show proof of legal residency if questioned. Insufficient documentation could result in a trip to a local federal detention center."Opponents, however, maintain that an Arizona-style solution to Florida's sprawling illegal population will do more harm than good. "
They raise the specter of tourism boycotts and say the state's many Latin American business partners could interpret the law as an unfriendly, or, worse, racist gesture. They also argue that overwhelmed police might have less time to pursue violent suspects and that undocumented workers could move further into secret underworlds of illegal employment."Battle emerging on immigration law".
Mote: "Rick Scott, Bill McCollum Oppose Obama Administration's Suit Against Arizona Immigration Laws".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "This sort of controversy is the last thing Florida needs, yet state Republicans are determined to repeat Arizona's mistakes and turn the Sunshine State into the next battleground over immigration."
Encouraged by the leading Republican candidates for governor, some Republican state lawmakers already are planning to draft legislation that mirrors portions of Arizona's law. The Arizona law, which takes effect later this month, has a number of offensive provisions. It requires police to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop for any other reason, and it leaves them vulnerable to lawsuits if they do not. Imagine setting such an ultimatum in Florida's melting pot and essentially requiring all minorities to carry proof of their legal status with them at all times. ..."Arizona law wrong for Florida". Related: "U.S. sues to throw out immigration law".
Yet Florida's leading Republican candidates for governor, Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott, are tripping over themselves to support Arizona's law (Scott is wrongly claiming in a television ad that McCollum opposes the law).
More from Dan Moffett, "Immigration battle fatigue: Good idea takes hostile fire from both sides" and Mark Schlakman, senior program director at the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights: "Follow Florida, not Arizona".
"Speed zones to change in Broward waterways to help manatees".
Another fine Jebacy
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "The department's findings don't say much for the years-long efforts to 'reform' public school education with a seamless 'K-20' approach. The damning I-don't-have-a-clue-after-high-school statistic is actually worse than Florida's previous 30 percent figure, although state education officials pass that change off on the way the survey was conducted." "Education in Florida too often ends with high school".
Prosecution gives "the four horsemen." a pass
"Ousted Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer calls them 'the four horsemen.' But Bill McCollum, Mike Haridopolos, Dean Cannon and John Thrasher do not appear on the prosecution's witness list. While Gov. Charlie Crist is named 62 times in the investigative report on Greer and could be called as a witness by both the prosecution and the defense, the four top Republicans are nowhere to be found." "Apocalypse Now: 'Four Horsemen' Getting a Free Ride?".
What did McCollum know, and when?
"Greer, arrested in early June, faces theft and fraud charges and up to 75 years in jail. He is accused of bilking the party by skimming donations into Victory Strategies, a shell company he created with another party official who is now cooperating with the prosecution."
Asked what he knew about Victory Strategies and when, McCollum said he knew nothing about it prior to an internal party audit, which in mid-March revealed Greer's stake in Victory Strategies."Tampa Bay Online - Politics". See also "McCollum: I'm happy to give deposition".
McCollum's recollection differed from that of former party vice-chairman Allen Cox, who told FDLE investigators that he showed McCollum a copy of the party's contract with Victory Strategies, on Jan. 9.
McCollum said he could not remember exact dates, only that "that I turned over the information when it became knowledgeable to me." [sic]
Within hours, McCollum's primary opponent Rick Scott, again leapt on the story. "These latest revelations coupled with what already had been public knowledge raises serious questions about what McCollum knew, when he knew it and why did he fail to act earlier," the campaign charged.
Crist haters run wild
"Gov. Charlie Crist angered his former fellow Republicans with high-profile -- and highly politicized -- vetoes of an ultrasound abortion bill and teacher performance pay. But eight other Crist vetoes jilted businesses or agriculture, or just contradicted previously stated positions, with potentially damaging impacts to Floridians and the state's economy." "Charlie Crist's Vetoes Hurt Florida, Economy".
Lightweight laff riot
"Marco Rubio Opposes Elena Kagan's Nomination to the Supreme Court".
"On a collision course with" Billy
"Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of private claims made against BP, is on a collision course with Florida's attorney general, Bill McCollum." "Case for claims puts oil czar on the spot in Fla.".
An ugly visual
"Rick Scott and Political Dancing with Hispanic Seniors in Miami".
Gambling a done deal
"It's finally, and officially, a done deal: The federal government has signed off on Florida's blackjack gambling deal with the Seminole Indian tribe."
Now ratified by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees state-tribal compacts, the $1 billion deal authorizes the tribe to offer blackjack at five casinos in Florida until 2014. The tribe also gets exclusive rights to Las Vegas-style slot machines except in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where voters have already approved slots."Florida's gambling deal with Seminoles is OK'd".
This was the third gambling deal between Gov. Charlie Crist and the tribe since 2007. The first was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court, the second rejected by the Legislature. All the sides finally came to a revenue-sharing agreement during the legislative session that ended in May.
"Mother Nature will steer oil away from Florida beaches at least for a week, but money from energy giant BP will begin flowing faster to local governments in Northwest Florida, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson promised on Tuesday. " "Nelson: BP money on the way".
See also "Tar-like balls on area beaches probably not from spill" and "BP: $1.9M check on way to Escambia".
"Undecided leads the crowded field in the Republican primary in the 24th Congressional District that includes northern Brevard County, a candidate's survey indicates."
About two-thirds of Republican voters responding to the survey said they remain undecided in the five-way GOP primary for the congressional seat now held by Democrat Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach."GOP up in air over Kosmas' seat".
The telephone survey of 300 likely voters in the Aug. 24 Republican primary found that 65 percent of respondents are undecided; 17 percent support Craig Miller, who commissioned the survey; and 11 percent support Sandy Adams.
Three other candidates split the remaining 6 percent. Totals did not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
Buchanan on a roll
"A series of lawsuits that were once considered a threat to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's political career are quietly fading away, strengthening Buchanan's bid to win his third term this fall."
Heading into the 2008 election, Buchanan faced 13 lawsuits, ranging from accusations of illegal fund raising to claims of malfeasance at his auto dealerships."Buchanan's path gets smoother by the day".
But none of the suits have gone to trial, and that is among the reasons Buchanan is not facing serious opposition as he campaigns for a third term.
Five cases alleging that Buchanan's dealerships deceived customers and falsified documents to sell cars have been dismissed. Three suits filed by former Sarasota Ford employees who say they were wrongfully fired for refusing to mislead customers have been sent to arbitrators.
In yet another case, which alleges Buchanan failed to uphold a contract with a former business partner, a judge issued a key ruling in favor of Buchanan two weeks ago.
Thank you, Mr. LeMieux
"Jobless benefits running out for 147,000 Floridians this week".
Jebbie's next job?
"The person who chairs a major political party should be solid on four fronts: politics, of course; fundraising; public policy; and dealing with the media. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida would be a safe, blue-chip choice who would hit all four marks." "Republicans' Dilemma: Michael Steele's Replacement".
We do a agree that "Jeb!" excels at "dealing with the media". Indeed, they outright worship him. For example.
"Sprinting to Primaries"
"After a long Independence Day weekend, politicians in two of the closest races in Florida are hitting the campaign trail hard as they ramp up efforts before the Aug. 24 primaries. The close contest for the Republican gubernatorial nomination between Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott took center stage Tuesday morning." "After Long Weekend, GOP Gov, Dem Senate Candidates Sprinting to Primaries".
And so it begins
"Top shuttle contractor schedules layoffs". See also "First big layoff scheduled as shuttle program winds down". Related: "Space Coast jobs: Proposals aim for part of $40M in grants to create jobs after shuttle".
The The Orlando Sentinel editorial board thinks state employee pensions amount to "beyond soaking taxpayers". They write that
The system, which includes county and some city workers, along with state employees, has features that most private-sector workers would love to have. Members can retire with full benefits after 30 years, regardless of their age. Retirees get 3 percent cost-of-living increases every year, regardless of inflation."Doubling down on pensions".
And unlike public employees in 45 other states, Florida's don't have to contribute a dime to their pensions. In this year's legislative session, a bill died that would have required employees to put up a measly one-quarter of 1 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. So did proposals to raise retirement ages and reduce higher payouts for some employees.
Legislators took one small step, dropping the interest rate on payouts for employees in the DROP early retirement incentive program from 6.5 percent to 3 percent a year. But Mr. Crist vetoed even that change.
Meanwhile, some cities in South Florida with their own pension systems have decided to follow the lead of private employers. They're putting new employees in 401(k)-type plans rather than more-expensive guaranteed plans. Some are upping employee contributions to their pensions, or raising retirement ages.
Not surprisingly, the editors - who are always happy to parrot Chamber of Commerce talking points - fail to mention that, according to the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, "Florida ranks last in state personnel costs, at $38 per resident, and is tied with Illinois for the lowest ratio of state employees to population, 118 per 10,000 residents." "On the cheap".
Heck, why not gut their pensions as well.
Not good for "Bud"
Lawton “Bud” Chiles, III, independent candidate for governor of Florida, filed his financial disclosure form last month, he listed his annual income as $143,000, his net worth as $1.3 million and an additional $1,763,546 in assets as of Dec. 31, 2009. But in the six months since that reporting date, his fortunes threaten to decrease sharply. The latest of several foreclosures on investment properties he owned has diminished his holdings by $150,000. And a development company he lists as a $550,000 asset is in default on an $11.5 million loan for which Chiles may be personally liable."Bud Chiles finances worsen".
Blast from the past
"Saving Jeb By Smearing Columba".
"Kill one office, set up two? Ridiculous!"
"Attorney General Bill McCollum thinks the best way to move forward with job creation and business growth in Florida is to replace the state office that oversees economic development." "Bill McCollum: Replace Economic Development Office to Create Jobs".
Paris Hilton endorses Billy
Paris Hilton Steve Forbes endorses Billy: "The top priority for Florida's next governor will be fostering an economic climate that makes it easier for businesses to grow, prosper and create jobs. Florida is suffering from one of the country's highest unemployment rates, and it will take years to replace the more than 900,000 jobs the state has lost during this deep recession."
It is for this reason, among others, that I am supporting Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican gubernatorial primary. His economic plan will accelerate Florida's recovery and facilitate the creation of more than half a million jobs over the next six years."Rick Scott's troubling story of convenience".
I've known Bill for many years, since his days as a congressman representing Orlando. He's an experienced leader with a fine record on the issues that matter to Florida Republicans. When he says he will cut business taxes and remove regulatory roadblocks to job creation - he's going to do it.
In contrast, it's hard to know what to make of Bill's primary opponent. Rick Scott boasts about his experience building HCA/Columbia, a massive network of for-profit hospitals that at one time employed one in every 1,000 American workers. For some reason, he doesn't like to talk about how that story ends - being ousted as CEO by his board of directors, massive federal fraud charges and unprecedented company fines totaling $1.7 billion.