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, May 21, 2011

Teabaggers luvin' the Ricky

    "Tea party leaders are cheering one of the most conservative legislative sessions in recent history, even if it was only a fraction of what they wanted. ... Tom Gaitens, state director for Florida FreedomWorks [wingnut Dick Armey's plaything], said he plans to recruit primary opponents to run against Republican Sens. Jack Latvala of St. Petersburg, Jim Norman of Tampa and Thad Altman of Melbourne."
    Some of the proposals that failed included:

    • A bill prohibiting Florida courts from relying on Muslim Sharia law[*] or legal codes from other nations when making decisions (SB 1294, HB 1273).

    • A resolution calling on Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution[**] so that federal laws can be overturned if two-thirds of state legislatures agree (SCR 1558).

    • A repeal of the Florida Climate Protection Act, which authorizes the state to create a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emission (SB 762).

    But tea party leaders have been most vocal about the Legislature's failure to approve tougher immigration standards. They wanted lawmakers to:

    • Force Florida businesses to use a federal database, known as E-Verify, to check their employees' citizenship (SB 518, HB 691).

    • Let law enforcement check the citizenship of citizens when there is "reasonable suspicion" (SB 136, HB 237) [a/k/a "papers please" legislation].

    • Expedite the deportation process by creating new agreements between the state and federal government (SB 304, HB 205).
    Tea party leaders celebrate a session with limited victories". Related: "Florida FreedomWorks Cheers Governor Scott and Passage of a Bold ‘Freedom Agenda’ for the Sunshine State". At the national level: "Tensions Rising Between Tea Party And GOP Business Establishment".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *Have Florida courts been relying upon Muslim Sharia law? Musta missed that.

    **Apparently the original language is not good enough for Teabaggers who we thought were in love with the original text of the U.S. Constitution.

    Florida GOP blind to Obama's success on job front

    "Florida's labor landscape continues to improve slowly, with unemployment rates across the state and in Central Florida falling to some of the lowest levels in two years." "Florida, Orlando jobless rates drop in April". See also "Palm Beach County jobless rate at 10.2 percent as more people return to work".

    To the chagrin of Florida's Teabaggers, the improvement is decidedly not a Florida thing, but rather part of a national trend. See "Thirty-nine states see unemployment drop".

    Florida Republicans took pain to ignore these numbers as part of a national trend - and hence attributable to national (read President Obama's) policy. Rindded, Ricky Scott

    took the opportunity to tout the numbers, as well as reductions in business and property taxes that he pushed for and the Legislature delivered. ...

    Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, took to Twitter to tout his efforts to reduce taxes and eliminate regulations in the recent legislative session. One of his opponents in the race, former state Rep. Adam Hasner, seemed unimpressed with an unemployment rate that remains in double digits, but blamed their mutual opponent of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, and President Barack Obama.

    "Florida's unemployment rate is headed in the right direction, and that's good news for those Floridians who have been able to find jobs in this difficult economy. But it's little comfort to the nearly 1 million Floridians who are still unemployed, and the other Floridians who have given up looking for work altogether. Florida's unemployment rate is still higher than what President Obama and Senator Nelson promised it would be when they rammed the stimulus through Congress, and their economic policies of stimulus, debt, bailouts, cap-and-trade and Obamacare are burdening job creators and stifling economic growth," Hasner said.
    "Likewise, Ricky's do girl at Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation didn't miss the opportunity to praise her boss man:
    "This is the fourth straight month of decline in Florida's unemployment rate and the lowest rate in more than a year and a half -- very encouraging for Florida's employers and job seekers. With Governor Scott's laser focus on job creation, we can expect continued improvement in Florida's business outlook and employment opportunities," said AWI director Cynthia Lorenzo.
    Unemployment Drops Again in April".

    RPOF anticorruption fail

    Steve Bousquet: "A grand jury report, issued after a string of scandals, urged lawmakers to address anticorruption efforts. The report fell on deaf ears." "Legislature passes on ethics reform".

    Florida Teabaggers move North

    "Two Florida tea party favorites, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Allen West, have helped out the GOP with an unexpectedly competitive congressional race in New York."

    Both Rubio and West vouched for Corwin’s conservatives bona fides, with West calling her the “only endorsed Tea Party candidate and the only candidate who will stand up to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and their out-of-control spending agenda.”
    "Political scene".

    Another privatization flop

    "While Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe is overhauling how it serves foster families, after the February death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona, the agency may now face sanctions for how it spends taxpayer money and follows purchasing and bidding guidelines." "DCF contractor may be asked to repay misused public funds".

    Post mortem

    See "Broward Dems notch few victories in Tallahassee" and "Miami-Dade lawmakers scored legislative wins in Tallahassee".

    Florida slave labor

    "Spokesmen for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Florida, which represent thousands of Florida firms, said they are studying bills recently introduced in Utah and Texas. Both organizations said discussions had just begun and gave few other details."


    Legislators who back strict immigration enforcement at the state level have said they want Snyder to reintroduce a version of his bill. That measure mandates the use of the federal E-Verify system, which determines whether Social Security numbers presented by would-be new employees are valid. It would also involve state, county and local law enforcement officers in determining the immigration status of people suspected of crimes. Snyder's bill passed two House committees but failed in the Senate.

    The Florida Chamber and Associated Industries, as well as Florida's agriculture industry, which relies heavily on undocumented workers, crusaded against the bill. They warned it would cripple agriculture and might set off boycotts of Florida, such as the ones that damaged the Arizona economy, and could harm Florida tourism.
    "Florida business groups look at guest worker program".

    Background: "South Florida Country Clubs Contracting in Slave Labor: Feds" and "Slavery is not just the shameful stuff of history books - not in Florida" ("The Palm Beach Post presents a three-part examination of slavery, its costs and its effects - on the migrant workers, and on you").

    Climate change deniers

    "Tallahassee has lost its passion for combatting climate change. Some lawmakers attempted last month to repeal the Florida Climate Protection Act, arguing it was no longer needed." "Climate change not a priority in Tallahassee". Fred Grimm: "For Scott, global warming is just hot air".

    They're jus' teachers

    "Budget planners endorse one-day furlough throughout Palm Beach County schools". See also "No raises or step increases for Marion County teachers" and "Local schools face $7.2 million shortfall; for now, no layoffs planned".

    "Mormon billionaires to square off in Florida"

    "Call it Mormon War III. Jon Huntsman's announcement that he will, if he runs for the GOP presidential nomination, locate his campaign headquarters in Orlando is a not-so-veiled shot at fellow Mormon Mitt Romney."

    Religion isn't supposed to play a role in politics, but it clearly does when Mormons are in the mix. In 2008, Romney was dogged by questions about his faith, particularly by Huckabee, a fundamentalist Christian who once asked Romney if he believed Satan was Jesus' brother. (Mormon doctrine says yes, but Romney hedged.)

    Florida's Mormon population is relatively sparse -- estimated at about 100,000 -- yet LDS voters are almost universally Republican, so their votes are a factor in any GOP contest.
    "Huntsman's presence in Florida is a particular challenge for Romney, says Kevin Wagner, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University."
    "Huntsman is dangerous because he's competing for the same base," Wagner said.

    "Last time, Romney courted the ultra-conservatives. This time, he's focusing more on money, not trying to 'out-right' everyone. Huntsman can appeal to groups outside conservatives, and Florida has that broader Republican electorate."

    Both men have the ability to raise copious campaign cash through their well-honed personal and corporate connections. Romney says he is on track to collect a record $1 billion -- matching Obama's target.

    For Huntsman to headquarter his campaign in Orlando would be symbolic in ecclesiastical terms. Orlando is the only city in the state with a Mormon Temple, an exclusive edifice where qualified tithes-paying church members perform baptisms for the dead and other holy rituals.

    Even with their heavy Republican bent, and contrary to popular belief, Mormons are not all of one mind politically. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is a leading Democrat on the national scene, and it is widely believed that a few Democrats are sprinkled among the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

    Whereas today's church stands officially against gay (and plural) marriage, it has sent out homosexual missionaries under a sort of don't-ask-don't-tell policy. Like the Catholic Church, the LDS church also has assumed a "liberal" position on open borders and immigration.
    "Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney Head for Holy War in Florida".

    Ricky regrets septic-tank inspections

    Aaron Deslatte: "Florida's CEO governor is getting an earful from the company, but Rick Scott appears unflinching in his vision. He says his biggest regrets from his rookie legislative session are that an immigration bill and repeal of a septic-tank inspection mandate did not pass, and an insurance bill he signed last week did not go far enough to scale back the state's underpinning of the property-insurance market." "Rick Scott, CEO, unfazed by criticism".

    With the stroke of his pen, Ricky cancels Miami-Dade's Sunday vote

    "A Miami-Dade judge on Friday backed the county elections department’s decision to cancel a day of early voting for Tuesday’s special election."

    Circuit Judge Barbara Areces dismissed a lawsuit filed by county mayoral candidate Marcelo Llorente, who argued the elections department acted unconstitutionally when it did away with early voting scheduled for Sunday.

    Lester Sola, the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections, changed the schedule earlier this week to comply with a new elections law Gov. Rick Scott signed on Thursday. The law requires early voting to end three days before Election Day.
    "No early voting Sunday". The Miami Herald editorial board: "Tallahassee meddling in voting rights".

    Vern who?

    "An Emergent Vern Buchanan Pushes to Slow Foreign Aid".

    "Florida continues to jeopardize its environment"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida continues to jeopardize its environment, tourism and public health by fighting the federal government over new clean water rules. Fortunately, state lawmakers did not pass legislation that would have barred the state from enforcing the rules, which are designed to curb pollution in lakes, rivers and estuaries. But that is small consolation; the state’s Republican leaders are continuing a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority and the scientific basis for moving ahead. Only a strong mandate by the EPA will protect the state’s resources." "Obstructing the path to cleaner water".

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