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, January 24, 2011

Now Elected, Rubio Backsliding on Teabaggery

    "A tea party caucus of U.S. senators convenes Thursday for the first time, but one of the movement's biggest stars doesn't plan to be there."
    The meeting -- at least for now -- is not on Sen. Marco Rubio's schedule, said spokesman Alex Burgos, who pointed out that the freshman senator had yet to make up his mind about joining any caucus. ...

    "He's proud of his relationship with the tea party movement,'' Burgos said. ...Burgos said Rubio's office stays in contact with a number of tea party groups and he's not heard any grumbling.
    "Will Marco Rubio join tea party caucus?" See also "Rubio probably a no-show at tea party Senate caucus, spokesman says".

    Scott's "faced a grim reality"

    "Without the Legislature in session until March, it has been difficult for Scott to deliver on most of his promises. Similarly, it has been hard for him to break a promise. But Scott has advanced several major pledges — to sell the state airplane, to not take a salary and to try to crack down on illegal immigration."

    Scott promised to freeze all regulations, but upon taking office, he's faced a grim reality: He can't direct the practices of the entire state government. ...

    Scott has made progress on two immigration-related promises — though their ultimate fate is very much in question.

    He promised to bring an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida that would require local law enforcement officials, once they stop a person, to verify the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally.

    A bill has been filed in the Senate, and one is coming in the House ...
    "PolitiFact Florida: Three weeks in, a snapshot of Rick Scott's work in progress".

    Public Employee Pensions: "Facts are Stubborn Things"

    Bill Cotterell: "There's an old joke in newsrooms — at least, I hope it's said jokingly — about not letting the facts get in the way of a good story."

    Elected leaders do that, too, but they're not joking. Ronald Reagan once said "facts are stupid things." Maybe he meant "stubborn things," but he was right either way — truth just is what it is, unyielding and unresponsive to what we'd like.

    The 2011 legislative session is going to make major changes in the Florida Retirement System. A lot of the new rules will be based on cold, hard fact — namely, money — but much impetus for these changes will come from feel-good political motives.

    There's a perception that public pensions are far too generous and that the FRS is in great financial peril. But the fund is sound, despite some investment losses in the great market collapse of 2008-09. And if you look closely at the greed stories about some 48-year-old cop retiring with a six-figure pension, or retiree health-care costs gobbling up city and county tax revenues, you'll notice that they occur in other states.

    When you get past the anecdotal eye-openers, the numbers don't show a big, rich public trough for public retirees. While it's true that some retire with generous benefits — especially in the "special risk" class of firefighters, police and prison officers — they earn it.

    It's also true that a lot of the local governments now unable to afford their obligations got in trouble by bargaining away future health and pension benefits. It may have been done by previous administrations but, many times, the cities avoided giving big pay raises today by promising big benefits in retirement — and their successors now see the bill coming due.
    "Facts could mess up the FRS debate". See also "Unions vs. GOP in Pension Battle".

    Heroes and Zeroes

    Nancy Smith: "Cool-Head Dean Cannon, Hero; Not-So-Cool, Bill-Happy Legislators, Zeroes".

    "Slaves" at "posh country clubs across South Florida"

    "For up to 16 hours daily, they worked at posh country clubs across South Florida, then returned to deceptively quiet houses in Boca Raton where they were captives -- and in the most dreadful cases, fed rotten chicken and vegetables, forced to drink muriatic acid and repeatedly denied medical help." "Modern-day slaves' story repeats daily in plain sight".

    Musta been those defined benefit pensions

    "Gunman shoots 4 officers inside Detroit precinct".

    The "pull" of Teabaggers slowing rail

    "Florida's high-speed rail system may offer trains capable of running at 168 mph, but the project has yet to prove it can outrun the pull of state politics. ... [S]kepticism -- from newly elected Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a Republican who has declared his intention to challenge rail-supporter and Democrat Bill Nelson for his U.S. Senate seat, and the politically influential Tea Party movement -- is slowing the project again." "Will GOP end high-speed rail's momentum?" See also "Politics may stop fast rail efforts".

    "Tempting to think Barney Fife"

    "When it comes to Florida's newest prison boss, it's tempting to think Barney Fife. Don't be fooled, say colleagues and national experts on prison reform who have worked with him." "Union warms to new chief of corrections".

    Bits and Pieces

    Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".

    "The People’s Republic of Florida"?

    Jim Stratton: "One of the recurring themes is last year’s state elections was that Florida needed to do more to attract and accommodate businesses. That the state had become too heavily regulated and generally unfriendly to business."

    Gov. Rick Scott relied on that narrative throughout his campaign as did Sen. President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon. All three are Republicans.

    Given the state’s miserable unemployment rate — about 12 percent — and the prevailing view of all things government, the message resonated with lots of voters who embraced Scott’s "Let’s get to work" mantra.

    But the storyline ignored an inconvenient fact: Republicans have controlled the state legislature and the governor’s office for more than a decade. For eight of those years, Jeb Bush ran the state — and Bush was one of the most conservative, pro-business leaders ever to hold the office.

    So the idea that we’ve become the People’s Republic of Florida is a little hard to swallow.
    "If only Florida was pro-business; Oh right, it already is". See also "Florida’s low cost of doing business".

    "Hot-button issues"

    "Get ready for bruising battles this year over such hot-button education issues as merit pay, vouchers and charter schools. Under Gov. Rick Scott and a Republican-dominated legislature, big changes are all but assured. And so is controversy."

    Before the political rhetoric gets too heated, state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, on Wednesday will hold an education summit for policy-makers and the public at Lynn University Bachelor's, master's & online degrees in Boca Raton. It will focus on these contentious topics: high-stakes testing and curriculum, school funding and President Barack Obama's Race to the Top, and charter schools and voucher programs.
    "Hot-button issues to dominate South Florida education summit".

    "Returning fire"

    "A Northeast Florida lawmaker is trying to shield Floridians from estate taxes on property they inherit in other states by returning fire." "Jacksonville Rep. proposes retaliatory estate tax on non-residents".

    Perhaps the Growers should Increase Wages?

    "Driving away undocumented farm laborers would create an employment hole that no one else would fill, Putnam predicted." "Top Republican Putnam warns against copying Arizona immigration law".

    More Job-Killin' Gub'ment Reger'lations

    "New catch limits for certain types of fish are among items being discussed during public hearings in the Southeast during the next two weeks. ... Among the items on the agenda are proposed annual catch limits for species of fish not currently listed as overfished." "Fishery hearings set in 4 Southeastern states".

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