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 Saturday, January 08, 2011

Empty suit flops in 17 minute "press conference"

    The Miami Herald reports: "At his first formal news conference, Gov. Rick Scott spent about 17 minutes jostling with reporters and repeating his campaign mantra of bringing jobs to Florida".

    It seems to us that Ricky was on the verge of - reflexively - pleading the fifth. It took less than 17 minutes for Ricky to crumble in the face of Florida's unusually vigorous political press; before you could say "empty suit", Ricky was flip-flopping all over his flip-flops.

    "Scott sought to downplay his day-old pledge of support for allowing Las Vegas-style casino resorts in Florida, while also defending his hiring of lobbyists for agencies he controls despite campaigning against such spending."
    Scott also defended his decision to pay six-figure salaries to at least eight staffers in his office, while also filling lobbyist positions at agencies under his control. During the governor's race, Scott vowed to eliminate agency lobbyists as part of his push to trim state government and close a $3.5 billion budget shortfall.
    "Scott plays down gambling expansion". See also "Gov. Scott discusses state planes, high-dollar hires and more at first news conference", "Scott denies encouraging casino gambling", "Scott explains executive orders signed Tuesday" and "Scott denies he's open to expanded gaming".

    See for yourself: "Video: The difficulties of translating Rick Scott".

    Other than that ...

    "Democrats lost all five statewide seats on the November ballot and lost ground in the House, Senate and in Congress." "Florida Democrats to pick new party chairman". See also "Fla. Dems look to 2012 as Smith becomes chair".

    Ricky's brilliant mistake

    "Grounding state planes could have six-figure cost".

    RPOFers' premature gesticulation

    "According to a Pew Hispanic Center report released this week, 'Hispanic voters are nearly three times more prevalent in states that gained congressional seats and Electoral College votes in the 2010 reapportionment than they are in states that lost seats.'" "More Hispanic voters in states that gained congressional seats".

    Courtesy of 12 years of RPOFer rule

    "Applications for food stamps skyrocket in South Florida".

    Glowing victory

    "Florida environmentalists win right to an independent review of facility's water use". "Progress Energy's Nuclear Project Gets Closer Look".

    Plum assignments

    "U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, named members of his party to the various appropriations subcommittees Friday -- and three Florida Republicans won some plum assignments, giving the Sunshine State a large seat at the table when Congress sets federal expenditures." "Florida Republicans Get Coveted Appropriations Assignments".

    Ricky's "Axis of Stoopid"

    Fred Grimm earlier this week: "The new governor declared war on himself. Or at least on the tax-wasting bureaucrats and disputatious regulators who now call him boss."

    Rick Scott spoke of little else in his inaugural speech Tuesday but his disdain for government workers and government regulations and taxes. (Scott tossed in a cameo reference to "predatory lawyers'' as the third element in an "axis of unemployment.'')

    Even references to education and healthcare were couched as attacks on meddling state agencies. "Why should we allow bureaucracies to make our decisions for us?'' Government regulators, he said, were Florida's great job-killers.

    (Of course, if diligent regulators had intervened back when Wall Street banks and mortgage brokers were peddling subprime mortgages and toxic securities, Florida might have salvaged a few more jobs. But Scott, banished from the hospital chain he founded in 1997 after pesky federal regulators uncovered a massive Medicare fraud scheme, brings a different worldview to Tallahassee.)
    Grimm, who considers "Scott, a halting, uncharismatic speaker" points out that Scott managed to ignore
    other issues previous governors might have addressed: the foreclosure crisis, the Everglades restoration project, immigration, urban street crime (abetted by a proliferation of assault weapons), offshore oil drilling, Cuba policy, Haiti policy, rising sea levels, suburban sprawl, gridlocked highways, disappearing agricultural land, fluctuating revenue streams, overburdened public hospitals, unaffordable catastrophic insurance, depleted fisheries, property-tax inequities, invasive species, boom-bust economic cycles, environmental degradation.
    "Amid an array of crises, Scott's an obsessive guy".

    Scott's to keep his air travel a secret

    Aaron Deslatte reports that our Governor, the "millionaire former health-care executive owns his own Raytheon Beechjet 400 jet and plans to use it to travel. Scott said Friday he would pay all its costs himself for the full four years of his term. But unlike the public planes, whose trips are public record, Scott said he wouldn't release detailed flight itineraries so the media or public can find out where he's been."

    Comments of the Week

    "Comments of the Week: Oil spill claims, Gallardo, Scott, Obama and E-Verify".

    Union haters drooling at the keyboard

    The librul Saint Petersburg Times editorial board, who never have had anything good to say about either public employees or their unions, continue their jeremiad against public employee pensions: "Florida's pension benefits have long been defended by public employee unions as compensation for below-private-sector wages or the high-risk roles of police and firefighters. But they are no longer sustainable or justifiable in an economy where nearly 12 percent of Floridians are unemployed and countless others have suffered wage cuts or lost retirement benefits altogether." "Scott's serious on pensions".

    The equally virulent public employee pension haters writing for the Zell corporation politely warn that "[d]ecisions made in redesigning public worker benefits should be nuanced, reflective of ... but of the risks and sacrifices that come with the work.". See the Sun Sentinel editorial board this morning: "Rise in police deaths a key backdrop for pension reform". To which we say, "big of them".

    For more, see "The Plan to Blame Unions For Everything". See also Robert Reich's "The Shameful Attack on Public Employees".

    Meanwhile, I haven't noticed coverage of this Economic Policy Institute's January 5, 2011 report from our first amendment heroes in the corporate media: "Public-sector workers earn less".

    Crist hands Ricky a gift

    "Former Gov. Crist leaves office without appointing judge to appellate court".

    Weekly Roundup

    "Weekly Roundup: Axis-ing the State He Now Leads".

    Teabaggers recall the good ole days

    "Monday marks the 150th anniversary of Florida leaving the Union, a step in the coming of the Civil War. In early January 1861, leaders from across the state met in convention to debate what the state should do in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln, who wished to limit the expansion of slavery in the territories and backed a higher tariff." "Florida Marks 150th Anniversary of Secession".

    From the "somewhat hypocritical files"

    Update - from the "somewhat hypocritical files", Mayo posts this: "(UPDATE: Just when I wanted to praise him, along comes Gov. Scott backtracking. At a news conference Friday morning, he reiterated his campaign-trail opposition to expanded gambling and denied the Herald report.)"

    Michael Mayo writes that Scott "realizes that if he's going to be Mr. Jobs-Jobs-Jobs, it would be somewhat hypocritical to thwart an industry that would create plenty of work."

    All sides will be working the Legislature with an army of lobbyists, including the historically anti-gambling Orlando theme resorts and socially conservative/religious groups.

    It should make for a bruising fight. But give credit to Gov. Scott for rolling the dice and exploring all options.
    "Is Gov. Rick Scott ready to roll dice on casinos?".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "Federal authorities made a very public showing in 2010, documenting a year of reckoning for crooks prosecutors say took part in a wave of mortgage fraud and Ponzi schemes that brought down the American economy." "Florida ground zero for 2010 fraud schemes".

    Which option has the most cameras?

    "Responding to a Florida Independent report about a motion filed by the ACLU of Florida to join the state in defending Amendment 6, the office of newly inaugurated Attorney General Pam Bondi says it is still reviewing its options in the case, and will make its intentions known when it files a response early next week." "Bondi’s office reviewing options in anti-Amendment 6 lawsuit".


    "A proposed federal refuge north of Lake Okeechobee would be built on a new conservation approach that would leave most of the land in the hands of ranchers." "Wildlife refuge plan aims for balance in the Everglades". See also "Ambitious Everglades plan blends ranching and land preservation" and "Everglades Headwaters national wildlife refuge to be proposed".

    For the people (who slip and fall)

    "Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist takes job with Morgan & Morgan law firm".

    Not so grassy

    "Most of the funding for the National Organization for Marriage, a 501(c)(4) "grassroots" group dedicated to opposing same-sex marriage in Florida and elsewhere, comes from a few sources, according to its most recent 2009 IRS 990 form."

    [T]he National Organization for Marriage received $7,106,388 in donations in 2009. Three donations of $2.4 million, $1.2 million and $1.1 million constituted 68 percent of its total donations. Two additional donations of $400,000 and $150,000 mean that three-quarters of its funding came from just five sources.
    "Despite 'grassroots' claim, National Organization for Marriage funded by a handful of sources".

    That silly constitution thing

    "Falling short of a state law that limits the number of students in a classroom could cost Miami-Dade and Broward school districts nearly $10 million." "Failure on class sizes could cost $10 million".


    "Florida Supreme Court marshal dismissed after sexual harassment accusations".

    Public finance lawsuit continues

    "A federal judge has refused to end a lawsuit that then-candidate Rick Scott used to block a key part of Florida's public campaign finance system."

    Scott last summer won a preliminary injunction from a federal appeals court that said the state could not give GOP rival Bill McCollum a dollar-for-dollar match of taxpayer money if Scott spent more than $24.9 million on his campaign. The ruling was a blow to McCollum's campaign and put him at a financial disadvantage to Scott. Scott won the primary and then went on to spend roughly $73 million to win the governor's race.

    After Scott won the primary his lawyers and lawyers for the Department of State asked a Tallahassee federal judge for a permanent injunction against the matching money provision.

    But U.S. Judge Robert Hinkle waited until December to shoot down the request and instead put a hold on the lawsuit while the U.S. Supreme Court decides campaign finance cases from other states.

    Hinkle noted that then interim Secretary of State Dawn Roberts had changed her position to fit the viewpoint of Scott. (Roberts has since left the post.)
    "Federal judge refuses to end Scott lawsuit against state".

    Zell corporation editors love their Rubio

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Marco Rubio is well-positioned to lead".

    Chamber hack dumbfounded

    "Earlier in the week, Scott was unable to identify one rule that might be a job killer." "Scott's regulation freeze sweeping".

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