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, November 22, 2010

Ship of fools

    Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

    Ricky's ship of state is already foundering, with

    some stumbles on the transition.

    Chris Knight was let go from the transition team after the Herald/Times asked about his qualifications. Knight was forced to resign from the Florida Highway Patrol in 2007 after falsifying a memo and using it to justify the firing of a commander. The state eventually paid $525,000 to end a lawsuit filed by the commander.
    More "outsiders":
    Scott has blamed special interests and party insiders for wasteful spending in state government, but put lobbyists Wayne Watters and Margaret Duggar and state party fundraiser Dr. Akshay Desai on his healthcare team.

    Heading the budget team is Donna Arduin, well known in conservative economic circles for her opposition to taxes on wealth. She earned $180,000 in five months on Scott's campaign for authoring his jobs plan.

    Arduin was former Gov. Jeb Bush's first budget director. After working in a similar role for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, she returned to Florida in 2007 to write then-House Speaker Marco Rubio's plan to increase state sales taxes and eliminate property taxes.
    Another "outsider":
    Heading the transition team on health issues is another former Bush acolyte, Alan Levine. Now a vice president with Health Management Associates, a Naples-based operator of 58 hospitals in 15 states, he was most recently health secretary under Gov. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, where he helped reduce the Department of Health and Hospital workforce by 25 percent.
    "Rick Scott's new team coming into view". See also "Gov.-elect Scott's administration is shaping up".

    "Too comfortable operating in the shadows"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Here in the Sunshine State, the state agency investing billions of dollars in taxpayer assets has become all too comfortable operating in the shadows." "SBA needs less secrecy, not more".

    "Letting doctors off the hook for malpractice"

    "One proposal by Republican lawmakers to help reduce the $20 billion that Florida expects to pay for health care for the poor in the coming year hinges on an age-old battle between doctors and lawyers: whether doctors should be protected from medical malpractice lawsuits."

    Letting doctors off the hook for malpractice on Medicaid patients also might violate constitutional due process rights by creating a second class of citizens who don't have the same rights as those who can afford health care.
    "Fla. GOP lawmakers' plan to cut Medicaid costs: Shield doctors from malpractice suits".

    Merit pay is back

    "The highly contentious teacher merit pay proposal that was shot down by Gov. Charlie Crist last spring has re-emerged". "Legislators revisit merit pay for teachers".

    Future entrepreneurs in action

    "Hundreds of [University of Central Florida business] students were accused of cheating after studying from a publisher's 'test bank,' from which their midterm exam was drawn." "Controversy swirls over allegation that students cheated".

    Runnin' government like a bidness

    "Independent studies continue to suggest Florida's figures are inflated". "Graduation Rates: Solid Gains or Creative Accounting?".

    Ricky's choice

    "Wetlands vs. jobs".

    West opens mouth ... insert foot

    "Allen West: Gov't Should Have 'Put Out... Feelers' On TSA Pat Downs".

    Latching on to the federal gravy train

    "With new spending on rail in question because of a rising anti-tax mood, supporters in South and Northeast Florida may look to duplicate successes in Orlando and Tampa in drawing down federal money so trains can roll, even if there’s state government opposition." "Despite Right's Objection, S. Florida, Jax Eye Rail, Too".

    "A shocking turn of events"

    "Just as it looked liked a nationwide high-speed rail system was taking off, a backlash by conservatives who now control many state governments is threatening to knock it off the tracks. And Florida is on the verge of becoming the biggest derailment yet."

    Florida has received $2 billion from the federal government -- 70 percent of the total cost -- to build a line from Orlando to Tampa. It is envisioned as an alternative for workers and tourists to the state's often snarled interstate system, promising, roaring along at 168 mph, to deliver them to their destinations in a fraction of the time.

    But Gov.-elect Rick Scott and the state's leading transportation force in Congress, Rep. John Mica, are signaling that it is not too late to stop the project -- and that they may be the ones to do it.

    It is a shocking turn of events for high-speed rail advocates who thought they were on the cusp of gaining a national model for getting cars off highways while creating up to 10,000 jobs building and running the train line.
    "Scott could join other new GOP governors to snub funds".

    Country clubber speaks

    Country clubber Kingsley Guy provides "a few data-driven observations concerning the Nov. 2 election."

    The GOP registered a net gain of 680 legislative seats nationwide, with seven of them coming in Florida. ...

    Republicans also registered a net gain of seven governorships, giving them a 29-20 advantage, with one independent. In 20 states, including Florida, the GOP controls both the statehouse and governor's mansion. Democrats have complete control only in 11 states. ...

    Florida voters passed constitutional amendments aimed at eliminating contorted, "gerrymandered" districts, which could benefit Democrats. But Californians also passed a ballot measure that will give congressional redistricting authority to an independent commission, and this should help the GOP in the liberal Golden State. ...

    Republicans picked up 64 seats in the U.S. House, giving them a 244-191 majority. In Florida's 25 congressional races, Republicans captured 55.6 percent of the vote and Democrats, just 38.1 percent. Florida Republicans currently have a 15-10 congressional edge, but in January, with the seating of the 112th Congress, they'll be up by 19-6.

    In District 2, Panhandle voters dumped seven-term incumbent Allen Boyd, a moderate "Blue Dog" Democrat. Boyd voted for the Obama-Reid-Pelosi health-care bill. In Central Florida's District 8, one-term incumbent Democrat Alan Grayson fell to former Florida House Speaker Daniel Webster. Grayson is most noted for declaring on the floor of the House that the GOP's health-care plan amounted to "Don't get sick, and if you do ... die quickly." Grayson received just 38 percent of the vote.

    In South Florida's District 22, conservative Republican Allen West defeated two-term incumbent Ron Klein by 10 points. Klein, who also voted in favor of the health-care legislation, ran a fear-mongering campaign that tried to paint West as a dangerous radical. Apparently, most voters didn't consider West's call to restore fiscal sanity to the nation and to re-establish federal principles of government to be all that radical. ...

    [T]he Center for Responsive Politics calculates that only one out of eight candidates who contributed more than $3.5 million to his or her own campaigns pulled off a victory.

    Florida's Republican Gov.-elect Rick Scott, who spent more than $70 million of his own money in one of the few successful self-financed campaigns, was no exception. He, too, felt a voter backlash because of his spending spree.

    Scott captured about 49 percent of the vote to Democrat Alex Sink's 48 percent. Compare that 1 percentage-point victory to Republican Pam Bondi's 13-point win in the attorney general race, Republican Adam Putnam's 18-point win in the commissioner of agriculture race, and Republican Jeff Atwater's 18-point victory in the contest for chief financial officer.

    In this year of a Republican sweep, Scott barely squeaked by. He should keep this humbling thought in mind as he takes the oath of office.
    "Big gains: GOP won more than seats in Congress".

    Thank you, ACLU

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Last week, in response to complaints by media organizations and the ACLU that some Florida judges have been barring the public from mortgage foreclosure proceedings, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady sent a memorandum to the chief judges of the state's trial courts. His message was apt: Open the process to the public." "Foreclosure proceedings must be open to public".

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