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 Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Pecunia veritas est (Money is truth)"

    Howard Troxler has fun with Koch's recent purchase of the FSU economics department; here's a taste of his take on FSU's latest course offerings:
    ECON 201: FREE MARKET THEORY. Sponsored and faculty approved by: Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Evils of government regulation; wisdom of tax cuts for the rich; rehabilitation of trickle-down theory. 3 credit hours.

    POLI SCI 400: ADVANCED SOROS. Sponsored and faculty approved by: Soros Fund Management. Topics include advancement of international socialist conspiracy; ...

    POLI SCI 400: EXPLORATION OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP. Sponsored and faculty approved by: Committee of Real Americans, If You Know What We Mean, and We Think You Do. Lecture topics include forensic examination of birth certificates; deconstruction of constitutional citizenship; field trip to Kenya; legal claims that Hawaii was never a valid state in the first place. 3 credit hours.

    METEOROLOGY 300: CLIMATE 'CHANGE.' Sponsored and faculty approved by: National Council on Digging Up Fossil Fuels and Setting Them on Fire. Topics include, "It Snowed Last Winter Up North, Didn't It?" 3 credit hours. ...
    Much more here: "The new and improved FSU course catalog, brought to you by Charles G. Koch".

    "Stare-down over judicial nominations"

    "In a stare-down over judicial nominations, Gov. Scott blinked. As if he had much choice."

    Looking to fill two seats on Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal, Scott was given a list of seven names from the Judicial Nominating Commission.

    According to state rules, up to 12 names (six for each slot) could have been provided. And Scott requested that complement.

    But Katherine Giddings, a member of the 1st DCA nominating commission, said at a meeting Tuesday, "We let the governor know we sent him the seven names and those are the names we're going to be sending."

    In other words, he gets what he gets.

    Having made two unsuccessful requests for more names, Scott will proceed to interview the seven candidates forwarded by the JNC, said Scott spokesman Lane Wright.

    The nominees to replace retiring Judges Charles Kahn and Peter Webster are: Jim Daniel, Miguel Olivella Jr., Stephanie Williams Ray, Charles Stampelos, Ronald Swanson, Jessica Enciso Varn and Waddell Wallace,

    The JNC reported received 25 applications and interviewed 16 candidates.
    "JNC to Rick Scott: Seven Names for 1st DCA Vacancies, That's Your Lot".

    Haridopolos "meltdown"

    "Asked in March about his campaign against Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Florida Senate president Mike Haridopolos pointed to his performance in the legislature. 'I think I'll be judged on how I do my current job,' said Haridopolos. 'My job is to be the spokesman and keep the trains running on time.'"

    A few months later, his first session in the job is over, and it ended with an ugly legislative meltdown.

    Haridopolos was out-manuevered in the final days of the session by more liberal Republicans who stymied him on some conservative proposals. On one measure, he was outvoted 32 to 6. The night the session was supposed to end, disputes with the state House forced lawmakers to stay on to break the logjam.

    The trains did not run on time. Will it take a toll on Haridopolos’ Senate bid?
    "Mike Haridopolos and the meltdown". Related: "Haridopolos betting on action over accolades".

    Losing the best

    "Pension system changes spur more teachers to consider retirement".

    From the "values" crowd

    "A popular bill that could have regulated sex between the developmentally disabled in group homes was thwarted by last-minute legislative infighting." "Legislature kills bill that would have monitored sex at group homes".

    Checking the Teabaggery

    "State Sen. Jack Latvala failed to pass 29 of the 38 bills he sponsored this year, but he might have been the session's most effective lawmaker. ... State Sen. Jack Latvala, a St. Petersburg Republican, dismantled some of the top priorities of the conservative House by assembling interchangeable coalitions of senators attracted to his independence and reverence for Senate traditions." "Latvala slowed conservative march".

    Will Scott lose 600 jobs?

    "Florida officials apparently plan to shut down Glades Correctional Institution, possibly leaving its 300-plus workers without a job in an already-economically ravaged region by July 1."

    Mothballing the Belle Glade prison, one of the state's oldest, is part of a Department of Corrections overhaul approved by lawmakers during the legislative session that ended Saturday.

    Department officials would not confirm Wednesday that the prison is slated for closure but state budget documents show that GCI and Hendry Correctional Institution are both excluded from a plan to privatize all other prisons in the 18-county region in which they are located.

    Prison officials did acknowledge that Hendry Correctional is scheduled to be closed. It has a staff of 323, while GCI has 346 employees, according to the prisons' websites.
    "Fla. plans to close Glades, Hendry prisons, maybe leaving 600 jobless in impoverished region".

    Just in case

    "Florida’s largest property insurer to pad financials as storm season approaches". "Citizens to Borrow Nearly $1 Billion Ahead of Hurricane Season".

    Rubio strides world stage

    "Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday called for the Obama administration to ratchet up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose regime has attacked antigovernment protesters." "Sen. Marco Rubio urges more U.S. action against Syria".

    "Prosecutors off the hit list"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Many bad things happened in the just-finished session of the Florida Legislature, but at least the state's prosecutors got off the hit list." "A reprieve for prosecutors".

    Environmentalists lose out

    "Session Bears Little Fruit for Environmentalists".

    Romney picks up Florida cash

    "Several high-level Florida Republican fundraisers will be among scores of Mitt Romney backers flying to Las Vegas this weekend for a dialing-for-dollars marathon expected to raise $2-3 million for Romney’s campaign—part of his attempt to outdistance the rest of the slow-starting Republican field in fundraising.
    Bill 'Hoe' Brown of Tampa said he’s heading to Vegas Sunday for a reception the night before the call day, Monday, and expects other GOP fundraisers including Brent Sembler of St. Petersburg and John Rood of Jacksonville to be among the group." "Floridians head to Vegas to raise $$ for Romney".

    Wood, R-Haines City, gets primary challenge

    "Rep. John Wood, R-Haines City, will be facing a primary challenge in 2012 from a conservative challenger for the Republican primary nomination -- John Lindsey, who took 31 percent of the vote against Dennis Ross in a congressional primary in 2010. Speaking to Sunshine State News Wednesday, Lindsey, who filed with the state Monday, said that redistricting, which will occur in 2012, had nothing to do with his consideration and that he was taking aim at the incumbent." "John Wood Gets Republican Primary Challenger in John Lindsey".

    "'A great gift to the business industry'"

    "A just-passed overhaul of Florida's unemployment laws gives employers the ability to challenge jobless benefits to former employees for behavior that has little to do with how they conduct themselves at work."

    In Florida, employers can fire employees for virtually any reason. But state law has held that even poorly performing employees are entitled to jobless benefits — up to 26 weeks under the state plan — if they've worked long enough to earn them.

    The policy helps workers and props up the economy by providing the unemployed a source of income while they look for new jobs. ...

    Republican lawmakers lauded the bill, saying it would help make Florida more "business-friendly." State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism, called the measure "a great gift to the business industry," according to the News Service of Florida.
    "Off-the-job conduct may risk your jobless benefits".

    "Slower Florida recovery"

    "Nose-diving home equity means slower Florida recovery".

    "Florida made a half-start"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Texas showed how to save money and lives, and cut crime. Florida made a half-start".

    Confederate Flag fight

    "A new civil war is brewing in Florida, now that the Legislature failed to approve a Confederate license plate."

    In a March 30 decision, a federal judge ruled that Florida's program -- under which the state Legislature approves the plates -- was unconstitutional because it gives "unfettered discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination."

    The Florida SCV ignited the legal battle when it sued the state after the Legislature failed to approve the Confederate plate.

    Since the court ruling, SCV leaders tried to get lawmakers to reconsider, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

    "They had a million and one excuses. We got nowhere," said John Adams, first lieutenant commander of the Florida SCV.

    Adding to the irony, and fueling Southern angst, state lawmakers did find time to approve a "Hispanic Achievers" plate during the session.

    "We still have a Legislature that was discriminatory, and continues to be," Adams fumed.

    Heading back to court, the 1,500-member heritage group now asserts that the Legislature created an "unconstitutional forum" and failed to address U.S. District Judge John Antoon's order to remove itself from the plate-approval system.

    In his motion, attorney Fred O'Neal, representing the SCV, asked the court to either strike down the statutes in question or re-open the case.
    "Confederate License Plate Battle Goes Back to Court".

    "Long overdue"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It took a decade and was far too politically contentious, but the Legislature may finally have a comprehensive plan for attacking the prescription drug abuse epidemic that claims seven lives in Florida every day and contributes to the illegal drug supply across the eastern United States." "Drug deal long overdue".

    Committee faces $15,250 fine

    "A committee that boosted former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader's unsuccessful 2010 bid for state Senate is facing a $15,250 fine for failing to file a campaign finance report just before last year's Aug." "Pro-Rader committee faces $15,250 fine for tardy report; appeal planned".

    Rivera's Fl-oil-duh

    "David Rivera leads the charge while Corrine Brown wants no drilling in eastern Gulf". "Florida Congressmen Clash on Offshore Drilling".

    Insurance companies could delay payouts

    "If Florida homeowners fall victim to a hurricane this summer, they may end up paying for some repairs out of pocket, under provisions in a property insurance bill that landed on Gov. Rick Scott's desk Wednesday. The bill (SB 408) allows insurance companies to withhold payment for full replacement value until a homeowner submits receipts from a contractor." "Bill lets insurers delay payouts to homeowners".

    Call it a tie

    "There were no clear winners or losers on lawsuit reform in this year's legislative session. In the perennial battle between the powerful business and health care lobbies and trial lawyers, the 2011 session could probably best be declared a tie, with each side walking away with its fair share of victories and defeats." "Trial lawyers take 'dings' but survive Florida Legislature".

    Never mind those FEC fines

    "Candidates, consultants and political organizations owe the Florida Elections Commission almost $1.4 million in unpaid fines from cases stretching as far back as 1990, state records show." "Florida Elections Commission is owed almost $1.4 million in unpaid fines".

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