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 Sunday, January 09, 2011

"What can I tell you? They're Republicans"

    Stephen Goldstein: "Happy New Year, compliments of the Obama/Democratic health-system reform law. In the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath, it not only does no harm, it's doing major good. Year by year, as new provisions of the law roll out, the public will reject the lies and deceptions of the law's Republican/tea party and Fox not-News opponents and relish its plusses."
    Opponents of the law tried to turn the public against it with inflammatory catch-phrases ("death panels") and outright lies ("it's socialism," "a government takeover"). But more and more people now realize its provisions are long-overdue consumer protections and improvements to coverage and quality of care.

    Even so, Republicans in Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee want to take away all your benefits under the federal law. Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum led a group of states in a lawsuit to declare the legislation unconstitutional. Congressional Republicans vow to "kill the bill," along with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the state Legislature.

    But opponents of the health reform legislation have not offered credible alternatives to it, except to invoke their tired refrain that "market principles" are the proper solution — the same market principles that caused our broken health-care system.
    "What can I tell you? They're Republicans:"
    They try to make reality fit their small-minded, elitist, mean-spirited, failed economic ideology in spite of facts. The bottom line for them is always the bottom line, how much they can rake in at the public expense.

    As a result of the anti-health-care initiative, the tea party emerged and helped sweep Republicans into office nationwide and in Florida.

    Ask Congressional Republicans, heady with victory, what specific plan they propose to replace the health-reform law. The same goes for our new governor, a former health-care executive, and our overwhelmingly Republican Legislature. It's one thing to carp, quite another to come up with solutions.

    The Republican/tea party already violated the Hippocratic Oath by trying to do harm in keeping the federal bill from becoming law and challenging it since it has been in effect. Don't let them do more damage by killing the bill entirely and taking away your benefits, or, someday soon, you'll again be at the mercy of insurance companies — and have only yourself to blame.
    "GOP distortions: Still spreading lies about reform".

    Sink stayin'

    "Alex Sink is telling Democrats she's not going away. Sink, who narrowly lost her bid for governor in November, told party activists at a meeting in Orlando [Saturday] that she's going to be beside them as they work to regain ground in 2012. ... she won't rule out running for office again if the right opportunity comes up." "Sink tells state Democrats she's "not going away"".

    Smith's in

    "After ugly election year, Florida Democratic Party picks new chairman", "New party head tells Dems to stop pouting", "Rod Smith takes gavel to lead Florida Democrats, vows comeback for party" and "Rod Smith tapped as chairman for Florida Democrats".

    RPOFer circular firing squad

    "As the race for Republican Party of Florida chairman gets increasingly ugly, Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein and the four other announced candidates for the post all say the negativity isn't coming from them." "In heated race for Florida GOP chairman, candidates deny involvement in attacks".


    "Obstacles ahead for Everglades? Graham sees political hurdles to restoration".

    Scott goes too far

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board point out that Scott's disdain for government rules show "his inexperience and his lack of institutional knowledge." "State rules review goes too far".

    Ricky thinks rules don't apply to him

    Aaron Deslatte: "New Gov. Rick Scott says he has a commitment to government transparency and empowering the public to keep politicians on their toes."

    There's a basic assumption behind state Sunshine laws like Florida's that the more information the public has, the more pressure will be applied on politicos to do the public bidding.

    "I believe Floridians have a right to know. So I'm going to do as much as I can to create that right to know and get them access to information," Scott said last week. "The more people who know, the better decisions will be made."

    But Scott seems to make a distinction between access to information and access to him, especially when capital reporters are concerned.
    "Scott supports access to information, not himself".

    Alleged journalist calls firefighter pensions a "scam"

    Mike Thomas channels the firefighter-hating Chamber of Commerce (not to mention his own editorial board) this morning. Thomas, unable to acknowledge that firefighters might actually have earned the right to defined benefit pension plans ('ya know, by doing that stuff that firefighter/EMT/Paramedics do everyday), whines from the confines of his large desk that "the reason is simple" that firefighters have managed to hold onto traditional defined benefit retirement plans:

    Public safety unions are very organized and scream very loudly, particularly the firefighters. They have lots of time on their hands to work on campaigns, making them a very potent political force.
    "Public employees' pension plan scams taxpayers".

    Ricky's schools are "a fraudster's dream"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board warn: "Fasten your seat belts, educators. With Scott and Rhee controlling the education agenda in Florida, you could be in for a bumpy ride." "Scott should change focus of school reform".

    Not so fast. As reported last month,

    Scott's plan is radical because it's designed to get around a constitutional problem the state encountered a few years back when, during Bush's tenure, it attempted to create vouchers to send public school students to private schools. But Scott apparently believes that his proposal will slip through, in part because the money could be used for other public schools.

    There are many flaws in Scott's proposal. But here's a biggie: It’s likely to be a fraud magnet.

    As soon as the state starts handing families $5500 a year, it's virtually assured that enterprising thieves will devise various schemes to help them part with those funds, including by starting "independent" for-profit virtual schools, charter schools, and other predatory "educational" institutions. While the idea of privatizing the education system may seem like a big money saver, and no one really loves school bureaucracies, putting that much taxpayer money out there without adequate oversight (i.e. bureaucracy) is a formula for disaster.

    It's not just a hypothetical harm, as charter schools in many states have demonstrated. Charter schools get paid by the number of kids they enroll, and they are free from much of the bureaucracy Republicans like to bash so much. All that money mixed with all that freedom hasn't produced much in the way of an education boost: Charter schools perform no better and often much worse than traditional ones. But they have produced a bumper crop of fraudsters.
    "Rick Scott's School Plan for Scoundrels"

    As Ricky sleeps

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Scott and the Legislature need to realize that stronger oversight of prescriptions and pain management clinics is an essential step toward exposing physicians and sham clinics that conspire to dump boatloads of narcotics on the streets. Prescription drug abuse is a crime, and the costs in lives and taxpayer dollars have hit the crisis stage. The days of turning a blind eye are over." "Fight scourge of pain pill abuse".

    Government hater on rampage in Arizona

    "Meet Rep. Giffords' Alleged Shooter".

    "Giffords, 40, is a moderate Democrat who narrowly won re-election in November against a tea party candidate who sought to throw her from office over her support of the health care law. Anger over her position became violent at times, with her Tucson office vandalized after the House passed the overhaul last March and someone showing up at a recent gathering with a weapon."

    "The sheriff blamed the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country, much of it occurring in Arizona. Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin's decision to list Giffords' seat as one of the top 'targets' in the midterm elections. 'For example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.'" "AZ shooting targets US congresswoman, kills 6".

    More: "Florida's members of Congress react to shooting of Arizona Rep. Giffords".

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