"In an atmosphere of mounting anxiety and cynicism, some residents said they have heard rumors of massive evacuations from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Tampa. Others nodded in agreement when a man said that a Democratic White House was deliberately punishing the conservative, Republican-voting Panhandle." "Panhandle residents share oil spill frustration in Rubio's virtual town halls".
"No hookers ... promise"
"Crist says no hookers on Bahamas trip". See also "Docs Detail Scandal Within FL GOP -- Including Hooker Allegation".
"Where do presidential scholars rank Barack Obama and George W. Bush among their fellow U.S. presidents?"
The answer may not surprise you: Obama comes in at number 15. Bush is 39th. ..."Scholars: Obama Is Our 15th Best President -- Bush Is Bottom Five".
Bush joins such presidential luminaries Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding and Franklin Pierce in the bottom five, with Johnson taking the honor for worst president ever.
"Crist's lucky charm"
"The nation's worst environmental disaster could be Gov. Charlie Crist's lucky charm. The once-foundering U.S. Senate candidate is sitting on top of the polls, largely thanks to round-the-clock -- and free of charge -- publicity as he monitors the Gulf oil spill." "Oil spill shaping Senate campaign".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Health care reform hit another important milestone Thursday when uninsured Floridians with pre-existing conditions could begin applying for coverage through a new government-run plan. The coverage could be a lifesaver for tens of thousands of residents who have been unable to obtain private coverage because of medical problems." "Another benefit of health care reform".
Bondi and Benson e embarrass themselves
"Locked in a tight race for the Republican attorney general nomination, former Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi and former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Holly Benson won endorsements on Thursday and used the opportunity to pledge to continue Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit against new federal health-care laws backed by President Barack Obama. Kottkamp also picked up an endorsement and used it to stress his legal background." "Republican AG Candidates Back Bill McCollum's Suit Against Obama Health Care Laws".
""Tea Party" spokesman resigns".
"State Sen. Mike Fasano has established a federal 527 political committee to help Gov. Charlie Crist get elected to the U.S. Senate. Helping Fasano is former Senate president -- and fellow Republican -- Ken Pruitt." "Fasano-Pruitt team up on 527 for Crist".
"States' rights", we know what that means
"Rick Scott, the billionaire, self-financed Republican candidate for governor, told a crowd of about 250 voters Thursday night that he would fight for 'states' rights' by suing the federal government to limit its influence over Florida." "Governor candidate Rick Scott tells activists he'll fight for states' rights".
Joel Engelhardt: "FPL rogues must face light".
"Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger ripped into Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti on Thursday, accusing him of 'corrupting and tarnishing' his office by opening a criminal investigation into her at election time. She accused Lamberti of colluding with her election opponent, former state Sen. Steve Geller, to destroy her chances of winning by opening a criminal investigation into her late husband's business dealings with Broward County." "Candidate Geller admits talks with sheriff, denies Gunzburger collusion".
"22 former Rothstein attorneys cleared by Florida Bar".
McCollum's "almost awe-inspiring stupidity"
"Ben Smith of Politico has a real classic here."
For those who didn't know, the campaign of upstart GOP right-winger Rick Scott has been lambasting Florida AG and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum for getting endorsed by...of all people...Rudy Giuliani. Once the patron saint of 9/11 in campaign circles, you'll be interested to know that Rudy G. is now apparently the patron saint of the "pro-abortion" and "pro-homosexual" communities."Anti-gay rhetoric goes from offensive to stupid in GOP race".
Instead of laughing off Scott's blast, McCollum decided to return fire, and he did with almost awe-inspiring stupidity. He nailed Scott for being an investor in a Latino social networking site (Que Pasa), which happens to have gay groups among its numbers. Team McCollum decided to limn this as Scott's financial support of a "gay dating site." As Ben Smith pointed out to the staffers flogging that story, however, even the most homophobic politicos have not expressed an interest in legal prohibition of gay dating.
This ain't the first time.
It wasn't long ago that fellow RPOFer Mel Martinez called McCollum "antifamily", and "the new darling of the homosexual extremists". Recall this Saint Petersburg Times editorial when Mel Martinez was running against McCollum:
No matter what else Martinez may accomplish in public life, his reputation will be forever tainted by his campaign's nasty and ludicrous slurs of McCollum in the final days of this race. The slurs culminated with Martinez campaign advertisements that label McCollum - one of the most conservative moralists in Washington during his 20 years as a U.S. representative - "the new darling of the homosexual extremists" because he once favored a hate crime law that had bipartisan support. A few days earlier, the Martinez campaign arranged a conference call with reporters in which a group of right-wing Martinez supporters labeled McCollum "antifamily." Why? Because McCollum supports expanded stem cell research to find cures for deadly diseases - a position that is identical to those of Nancy Reagan, Connie Mack and many other prominent Republicans."McCollum for GOP" (The Saint Petersburg Times withdrawing its endorsement of Martinez in the GOP U.S. Senate primary).
Meanwhile, "Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene Battle for Gay Floridians' Votes".
Greer gets election eve trial date
The court "set an October trial date for the ousted chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. The trial of Jim Greer on theft, fraud and money laundering charges is to begin Oct. 18. Greer, who has pleaded not guilty, wasn't at the hearing." "Greer theft and fraud trial set for October".
"Charlie Crist has had a solid few weeks, as polls have shown him moving into an unambiguous lead in his Independent bid for the U.S. Senate. But he got a little bit of bad news today, as the trial of his former handpicked state party chairman, Jim Greer, was scheduled for October. The trial is set to begin within two weeks of Election Day." "Greer trial to hang over Crist's head on Election Eve?"
Dems seek to cash in politically
"Former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer pleaded not guilty to six felony charges Thursday as Florida Democrats sought to cash in politically on his case."
The state GOP depicted itself as the victim of Greer's secret business dealings in the three years he chaired the party. But the Democrats gleefully posted online many documents released by prosecutors — and called Greer a "fall guy" for a "culture of corruption" among top Republican leaders."Greer enters not guilty plea".
"Since this scandal came to light, the Florida Democratic Party has warned that Republican politicians — including Bill McCollum, Dean Cannon, John Thrasher and others — were not being truthful about their roles," the party said in an e-mail to Democratic activists.
HD 33 "personal grudges"
"Florida Libertarians are making history this year with the first-ever contested primary in a so-called 'minor' party."
But the race between Franklin Perez and Ellen Paul in state House District 33 is hardly one for the civics textbooks. It illustrates how a small party can be manipulated and splintered by personal grudges."Libertarians Feuding in Central Florida".
"Smoke and money go hand-in-hand"
Mark Howard, the Executive Editor of Florida Trend writes that the "biggest issue emerging with the tobacco money":
is that since 2007-08, the annual payments have been declining — from $392 million that year to $355 million in 2009-10 and an estimated $340 million in 2010-11. That trend is national, and there are two main reasons: Fewer people are smoking (in Florida, 17.5% of adults smoke, down from 21% in 2006). More significant, more smokers are turning to cigarettes made by companies that weren’t included in the lawsuit."Florida Still Using Tobacco Money, 13 Years Later".
Those "non-participating" companies haven’t had to calculate the settlement in their cost of doing business and can sell cigarettes cheaper. They’re taking market share from the bigger firms. In Florida, for example, the market share of Dosal Tobacco Corp., which wasn’t part of the lawsuit, has risen from insignificance to nearly 15%. Dosal, appropriately, has fought attempts in the Legislature to impose fees that retroactively sweep it into the legal settlement. The only real alternative the state has if it wants more money out of Dosal is to sue. Florida’s decision to go it alone in suing the tobacco companies — rather than join the other 46 states — worked against it here. Unlike the 46, Florida didn’t end up with provisions that generate payment from non-participating companies.
And so it goes. Cigarette makers are back in court these days defending lawsuits by individual Florida smokers that are now coming to trial — these plaintiffs once were part of the Engle class-action lawsuit. So far, the companies are losing big. As the verdicts, and potential costs, mount, it will be interesting to see whether the companies look for ways to duck the obligations they agreed to when they settled the tobacco case.
Meanwhile, our state operates in policy schizophrenia: One hand keeps tobacco money firmly attached to its budgetary lip, while the other does everything it can to quit the habit.
Crist's Dem dollars
"Crist left the Republican Party to continue his campaign for the U.S. Senate as an independent, and according to Real Clear Politics, he maintains a lead over rivals Republican Marco Rubio and Democrats Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene. Now he is not only courting but also getting Democrat dollars for his campaign." "Crist gets Broward Democrat dollars".
"Florida Right-to-Life PAC released its endorsements Thursday afternoon for the Aug. 24 primaries -- and while the pro-life political group backed some candidates, the PAC also sat out or passed on others, refusing to endorse either of the two leading Republican gubernatorial candidates."
At the federal level, the PAC backed former House Speaker Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate. It backed Republican candidate Dean Black to take on U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown; Republican candidate Dennis Ross to take the seat that U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam is vacating; Republican candidate Karen Harrington to take on U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, who is in a close GOP primary against U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas; and Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami to take the place of U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart who is seeking the congressional seat that his brother Lincoln is vacating."Florida Right-to-Life PAC Releases Endorsements for Primaries".
The PAC also backed re-election efforts of two sitting Republican congressmen -- U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. While the PAC gave high marks to Eddie Hendry, David Scholl and Steve Southerland, all running in a crowded Republican primary to take on U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, no endorsement was made. The PAC gave high ratings to two Republican candidates -- Rep. Kurt Kelly of Ocala, and former House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster -- seeking to knock off Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, but did not endorse either candidate over the rest of the field.
While giving high marks to Attorney General Bill McCollum and health-care executive Rick Scott, who are waging a fierce battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, the PAC did not endorse either candidate. The only candidate the PAC backed for a state Cabinet office was Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp for attorney general over former Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi and former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Holly Benson.
McCollum and Scott blast each other
"Florida Republican gubernatorial contenders Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have been blasting each other over immigration, but joined together Thursday in criticizing President Obama’s proposed overhaul." "Rick Scott, Bill McCollum Agree on Immigration; Obama Is Wrong".
Lay down with Rothstein ...
"John McCain's campaign claimed the Arizona senator couldn't pick one of his former fundraisers — now headed to jail — out of a lineup. But new video unearthed by the campaign of his Republican primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, shows McCain standing next to convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein at events during McCain's 2008 presidential campaign." "Hayworth hits McCain-Rothstein ties" (via The Buzz). See also "The John McCain-Scott Rothstein connection".
Thank you, Mr. LeMieux
"1.3 million unemployed won't get benefits restored".