Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Friday, December 17, 2010

Crook to speak at Scott's inauguration

    Will the FBI be at Scott's inauguration, just as they surveil mafia funerals for crooks?

    After all, "Watergate figure Charles Colson, who also founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, will be the keynote speaker at Governor-elect Rick Scott's inaugural prayer breakfast. ... [he served] seven months in prison after pleading guilty in 1974 to obstruction of justice in the Watergate-related break-in of psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg's office." "Fla. inaugural to include Watergate figure Colson".

    Who knows what other crooks will be in attendance?

    Ricky's "numbers just don’t seem to add up"

    "Gov.-elect Rick Scott has continued to draw scrutiny for his supposed goal of shaving $1 billion a year from the state’s annual prison budget. The numbers just don’t seem to add up. How could the incoming governor possibly find that much waste in an overall budget of $2.4 billion — 'a whopping 42 percent reduction' — without wreaking havoc on the state’s criminal justice system? According to Brian Burgess, the communications director for Scott’s transition team, those reports are based on 'fantastic claims.'" "Scott team: Reports of $1 billion annual cuts to prisons ‘fantastic claims’".

    Sink has not ruled out running for office again

    "Sink told reporters Thursday that she has not ruled out running again for office one day. As for the immediate future, the former bank executive said she is investigating 'business opportunities,' but has no specific plans as of yet." "Sink says running for governor was right".

    Rick Scott: All Teabaggery all the time

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Could Rick Scott, who's all about getting people back to work, manage to kill the planned Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail line and the 24,000 jobs it would bring Florida?"

    The answer's yes, if, in the end, the governor-elect cares more about partisan politics than an economic opportunity that anyone with his supposed business savvy would be daft to resist.

    Regrettably, Mr. Scott's sending signals that to him, politics may well be more important than doing what's clearly in the best interests of Florida. How unfortunate for the state, which needs the stimulative, potentially transformative high-speed line.

    And how ironic for someone who cast himself as a political outsider in his run for governor. ...

    Why would Rick Scott oppose such a system? Because President Obama's stimulus program, which he savages, underwrites so much of it? Because it has become a badge of honor among conservative governors to reject federally funded rail projects? Because, even though it would better connect Floridians and deliver all those jobs, Mr. Scott thinks opposition would somehow help him among his conservative constituency?

    We've tried, but we can't think of another reason.
    "Rick Scott vs. high-speed rail".

    Meanwhile, "with plans for a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando still up in the air, state transportation officials said Wednesday workers already doing surveying work along I-4 are still being paid to continue. The project, however, remains in the peril as Gov.-elect Rick Scott has not said whether he will accept federal funding being offered for the project. The federal government’s contribution to the project ballooned another $342 million last week." "Department of Transportation: Workers still being paid for high-speed rail survey work".

    Enough already with the raw sewage

    "A federal judge in Miami is demanding answers from Florida and federal officials on stemming the flow of pollution into the Everglades." "US judge seeks answers on Everglades fixes".

    Wingers think this activist court is just dandy

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "A Florida appeals court ruling has made it financially risky to challenge growth management rules. The decision opens the door for local governments and developers to disregard guidelines intended to curtail taxpayers' costs and protect public resources."

    Ironic that "Paul Hawkes and Brad Thomas were the judges who took the harsh stand. The former legislative staffers also led the charge for the construction of the opulent 'Taj Mahal' courthouse in Tallahassee." "Court deals blow to smart growth". See also "Appeals court sanctions environmental groups in land-use case".

    Meanwhile, back at the Taj Mahal ...

    "Fasano urges state leaders to block move to 'Taj Mahal' courthouse".

    RPOF nominating calendar skirmishes

    "Despite that the fact that no individual has come forward as a 2012 presidential candidate on either side of the aisle, skirmishes related to the nominating calendar are already underway." "Florida GOP hopes early straw poll will end presidential calendar dispute".

    Lies and liars of the year

    PolitiFact asked its "readers to pick what they thought was the most significant lie of the year in 2010, and 3,289 people voted. The decisive winner was the same one PolitiFact editors and reporters selected for the 'Lie of the Year.' Here are the readers' poll results:"

    1. ObamaCare is a "government takeover" of health care. — Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio; Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla.; the Republican Party of Florida; Lt. Gov.-elect Rebecca Kleefisch, R-Wis.; and others: 43.9 percent. ...

    3. "The stimulus has not created one private sector job." — Gov.-elect Rick Scott, R-Fla., and others: 13.9 percent
    "PolitiFact.com's Lie of the Year".

    We're lookin' forward to Ricky's promised 700,000 jobs

    "State economist Rebecca Rust said anecdotal reports indicate holiday season hiring from October through December will be up this year, possibly hitting 40,000 additional jobs. She noted that some of those jobs typically become permanent." "State readying unemployment numbers from November".

    Will Billy's forum shopping pay off for Teabaggers?

    "PENSACOLA — Health care for uninsured Americans in 20 states, including Florida, now rests in the hands of a federal judge who heard oral arguments Thursday in the states' lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the national health-care law." "U.S. judge in Pensacola weighs Florida's challenge to Obama's health care law". See also "Florida Presents Case Against Obamacare" and "Judge hears argument on healthcare law".

    Who's runnin' Tally these days?

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Florida's prescription drug dealers are getting an extra four months to peddle their pills because state legislators inadvertently delayed implementation of new pain clinic regulations and increased the cost to taxpayers." "Pushers can keep pushing". See also "Bill Cotterell: McCollum plays a role in another big case".

    Now they tell us

    "The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is investigating more than $500,000 in secret payments from the owners of the Flagler Dog Track to a company tied to Congressman-elect David Rivera, the Miami Herald has learned."

    Rivera, a Miami Republican elected to Congress on Nov. 2, has previously denied working for the dog track, though he played a public role in supporting the pro-slots referendum campaign. Rivera never reported receiving any money from Flagler during his eight-year tenure in the Legislature.

    Rivera, who is scheduled to be sworn in as a member of Congress on Jan. 5, declined to be interviewed for this article, but he released a statement saying that he never received any money from the dog track or from Millennium.
    "Miami-Dade investigating payments to company tied to Congressman-elect David Rivera".

    Florida Republicans assert themselves in Congress

    "The deeply unpopular, $1.1 trillion spending bill -- including its more than 6,700 earmarks -- went down in flames Thursday night. And Florida Republicans in Congress can claim their opposition as some of the ammunition that shot it out of the sky." "Florida Congressional Repubs Piled Pressure on Dems Over Now-Deceased Spending Bill".

    Nothing left to foreclose on?

    "Foreclosure filings in Florida fell 42 percent in November from the previous month, with one in every 267 housing units receiving a filing last month, according to a report released Thursday by Realty Trac, a California-based company that tracks foreclosed properties." "Foreclosures Down in Florida, But Cases Linger in Courts".

    Sink makes good use of her last days as CFO

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Alex Sink is making good use of her final days as Florida’s chief financial officer by calling on President Barack Obama and the BP claims fund to speed up payments to victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." "Get moving on Florida's oil claims".

    From one wingnut to another

    "Florida TaxWatch Releases Handbook to Help Rick Scott".

    "That would be so poetically tzedaka"

    Daniel Ruth: "If there is any justice, one can only hope Richard Nixon is spending his afterlife stuck in a synagogue seated next to a drunk Irish priest on one side and Golda Meir on the other, while listening to a black rabbi." "Tricky Dick's reels of shame".

    Slipping through the cracks

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida needs those billions".

    Now that the campaigns are over

    "In a fascinating article published [yesterday] morning, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune‘s Jeremy Wallace reports on how Sarasota County state legislators are pushing back on some items on Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s agenda, in particular his pledge to reduce property taxes by 19 percent." "State Sen. Detert: Scott’s 19 percent property tax cut may be unfeasible".

    Discount? What discount?

    "Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state's largest property insurer, may go after homeowners and business owners who thought that they had storm-proofed their property." "Citizens may go after homeowners who got discounts".

    Ricky fails his first task: Transition team flops

    "With time running out before Governor-elect Rick Scott takes office, his transition team plans to ask many high-level state officials to remain on the job past the inauguration date of Jan. 4." "Scott will ask high-level state officials to remain on the job past inauguration".

    Pigs at the trough

    "AT&T will not challenge the state's decision to award a $20 million health information technology contract to one of its competitors. Agency for Health Care Administration spokeswoman Shelisha Durden said the state is drafting a four-year $20 million contract with Harris Corporation as previously announced. AT&T spokesperson Gretchen Schultz confirmed on Thursday the company didn't challenge the decision as it warned it would. The company wouldn't comment on its change of plans." "Health care agency will award $20 million contract as planned".

    "Nothing stops the 'we're-taxed-too-much' mantra"

    Stephen Goldstein: "Taxes: Mention the word, and it's like feeding time for one of Pavlov's dogs. Most people will salivate and yelp, 'They're too high.' Americans howl that they are crushed by an onerous financial burden from out-of-control government. It's the daily grind of cable TV pundits, the rallying cry of politicians, the raison d'être of the tea party. It doesn't matter if the economy is good or bad, or how little or how much people actually pay in taxes, nothing stops the 'we're-taxed-too-much' mantra."

    But before anyone can say that taxes are too high, we have to answer the simple, but never asked, question: How much is appropriate? In other words, what is the reasonable cost all of us should gladly pay for the privilege of living in this country? My dueling partner, Kingsley Guy, has never been able to tell me, because he's in an ideological straitjacket. Marco Rubio told me that taxes were too high if they dampened the economy. Perhaps, he'll spend the six years Floridians gave him in the U.S. Senate learning something about economics. ...

    Florida voters elected Rick Scott governor partly because he said he would reduce property taxes and let corporations pay nothing. But according to the latest data from the Tax Foundation, Florida is a low-tax state: Our state-local tax burden is the 47th lowest in the nation and we have the 5th best tax climate for businesses. Our governor-elect seems like a loose cannon, targeting solutions for problems that don't exist.
    "Taxes keep society functioning".

    Kingsley Guy manages to avoid the question this morning, and instead whines about the usual head fakes: "the ridiculous high-speed train from Tampa to Orlando", "ethanol subsidies and bribes for upper-middle class people to buy plug-in electric cars" and "a broken public education system in which it's almost impossible to get rid of incompetent teachers". "Recession has made people aware of how their tax dollars are wasted".

    As to this latter, Kingsley offers no evidence or argument, just the usual mindless right-wing pap that "it's almost impossible to get rid of incompetent teachers" - on the contrary, it is very, very easy to "rid of incompetent teachers"; all the school board has to do is prove that the "incompetent" teacher is actually incompetent by a mere preponderance of the evidence, and off (s)he goes into the wild blue yonder of career oblivion.

    Never mind the constitution

    "Key Florida lawmakers already are looking at ways to inject some flexibility into the class-size rules this spring. Those efforts include finding ways to minimize fines that districts face if they fail to shrink all their classes, said state Sen. David Simmons, R- Longwood." "Legislator aims to ease class-size law, reduce fines".

    Let them eat cake

    "Sarasota area jobless running out of time". See also "House passes unemployment and tax cut extensions, Fla. delegation mostly in favor".

    Heavy trucks

    "Crist has extended an emergency order lifting weight restrictions on trucks transporting freeze-threatened crops for two more weeks through Dec. 31." "Crist extends crop freeze emergency order".

    FCAT follies

    "A change in the rules helped some South Florida high schools raise their state-issued grade." "Schools outsmart failure on the FCAT".

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