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 Friday, July 22, 2011

Feds open second criminal probe of Rivera

    "Federal investigators have opened a second criminal probe of U.S. Rep. David Rivera, examining undisclosed payments from a Miami gambling enterprise to a company tied to the Republican congressman, the Miami Herald has learned." "More FBI trouble for U.S. Rep. David Rivera".

    BP oil spill fines

    "A bill with bipartisan support in Congress would require most of BP oil spill fines be used for restoration projects in Florida and other Gulf states." "Bill would steer money to restoration projects in Gulf". See also "Federal legislation would direct 80 percent of oil spill fines to Gulf states".

    Obama crusade a soulless political behemoth

    "When Sen. Barack Obama began running for president in 2007, a small handful of determined, inspired supporters found a new political calling."

    Four years later, many of those new bundlers say they won't be coming back. For reasons ranging from disillusion and dissatisfaction to an overriding sense that the once idealistic Obama crusade has become yet another soulless political behemoth, that inspired cadre of early Obama supporters has largely been replaced by professional Democratic Party operatives.
    "Campaign officials deny that there's any 'enthusiasm gap,' and indeed the new operation appears to be on track to raise as much money as Obama did in his record-setting 2008 campaign."
    But the identity and mood of the campaign is very different.

    The shift among bundlers is part of a broader transformation of an insurgent candidate of hope and change to an incumbent president grinding out his re-election amid the very real and often daunting world of Washington politics.
    "Barack Obama's re-election campaign missing big bundlers from 2008".

    Yes, West is Wasserman Schultz's constituent

    "West lives in Wasserman Schultz's congressional district, not his own." "A new question in the West-Wasserman Schultz feud: Where does West live?".

    Mica don' like them thar water-pollution rules

    "A diverse group of environmental advocates on Thursday protested U.S. Rep. John Mica's sponsorship of legislation that would rein in federal authority to establish water-pollution rules in Florida and other states." "Activists protest Mica's plan to weaken EPA water rules".

    Sorry Pammy, but the coverup is often worse

    Gary Fineout: "After refusing initially to disclose why two foreclosure fraud investigators were forced to resign, the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi contended the attorneys were removed because of poor job performance." "Bondi defends decision to remove foreclosure fraud investigators".

    "The Florida Attorney general's office released a cutting statement Thursday criticizing the work of two former state foreclosure fraud investigators after a week of national attention paid to the duo's forced resignations."

    Carlos Muniz, deputy attorney general and chief of staff in Pam Bondi's office, says the performance of former assistant attorneys general Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson was "unacceptable" and that they were given the option to resign or be fired because of their "failure to improve after multiple warnings."

    Edwards and Clarkson, who resigned their jobs at the South Florida bureau of the office's Economic Crimes Section on May 20, had been investigating the state's so-called "foreclosure mills," uncovering evidence of legal malpractice that also implicated banks and loan servicers. ...

    In his statement Thursday, Muniz refers to an April 28 review of the South Florida bureau and Chief Assistant Attorney General Robert Julian that lists staff shortcomings, including "proper identification and analysis of legal issues," and "professionalism to opposing counsel."
    Srange that
    Just seven days earlier, in an interim evaluation of Edwards, Julian praised her work, saying it has been "instrumental in triggering a nationwide review" of foreclosure practices.

    "I cannot overstate the degree to which I respect Ms Edwards and her work with this unit," Julian wrote.
    Stranger still:
    Both Edwards and Clarkson also received high marks in evaluations conducted in the fall.

    Clarkson was given "above expectation" or "exceptional" rankings in 14 of 15 categories.

    Edwards received "above expectation" or "exceptional" rankings in all 15 categories.

    "The shortcomings outlined are hard to understand when you put them beside the evaluations of 2010," Edwards said Thursday. "I dispute the version of events released by the attorney general's office." ...

    Muniz said Thursday the resignations had nothing to do with politics.
    "Florida attorney general's office fires back at its former foreclosure investigators". See also "Florida attorney general, two fired lawyers in public dispute".

    Scott Maxwell is typically blunt: "Apparently, these were two of the most highly rated poor performers Florida has ever employed." "Pam Bondi strikes back".


    "After state aid ends, how to pay for SunRail?".

    "Nothing in Scott's background qualifies him ..."

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Scott has cast himself as the champion of health care reform. As founder of Conservatives for Patients Rights, he lobbied against the Affordable Care Act. As governor, he continues to advocate for his supposedly better, market-driven approach. In fact, nothing in Gov. Scott's backgrounds qualifies him to lead on health care reform." "Governor is no reformer".

    Miller rips off Bob Graham

    "Stealing a page from a popular Democrat's playbook, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Craig Miller unveiled a 'workday' initiative in Orlando on Thursday that he said would keep him in touch with struggling Floridians." "GOP Senate hopeful adopts Democrat's 'workdays'".

    Brown fights Fair Districts

    "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, the Jacksonville Democrat more interested in preserving her gerrymandered district than promoting fair elections, sent out an invite this week asking donors for as much as $5,000 to fund her lawsuit against Fair Districts." "Attacking democracy".

    Out of touch

    Notwithstanding the overwhelming acceptance of birth control among Catholics, the

    Catholic hierarchy has successfully lobbied policy makers in Florida and all over the country.

    In Florida, for example, Florida Catholic Services lobbied state legislators this year to include an opt-out provision in the state’s Medicaid overhaul that would exclude them from having to provide family planning services for “moral or religious” reasons. Catholic Services got what they asked for, despite efforts by a state legislator to remove the provision.
    "Bishops continue lobbying against access to family planning".

    Good luck with that

    "Friends of the Everglades calls on Scott to make polluters pay". Meanwhile, "Another fish kill, this time in Collier County".

    About that book ...

    "Critics of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, have long suspected that a lucrative book contract he inked with Brevard Community College in 2003 was unusual. It is. In fact, it’s the only book contract the college signed in the last 10 years." "Haridopolos deal the only Brevard Community College book contract in last 10 years".

    Ex-cons with rights restored have low recidivism rate

    "A new state report shows that roughly 11 percent of ex-felons who won back the right to vote in the last two years committed new crimes or were placed back under state supervision. ... I]t mirrors other studies that have shown criminals are less likely to commit new crimes if they are integrated back into society."

    Simon said he tried to tell Bondi the same thing when he met with her earlier this year to discuss the new rules. He said this just proves that the new rules are more about making sure certain people - who could lean more Democratic in elections - do not win back the right to vote. Florida's ban on granting rights to felons once they leave prison dates back to just after the Civil War.

    "This is a government system that was designed to prevent the freed slaves from after the war from being able to work,'' Simon said. "It continues to work as it was designed."

    Before then-Gov. Charlie Crist's in 2007 pushed through a plan to ease some of the restrictions, Florida was only one of five Southern states that required convicted felons to apply and appear at a hearing before their civil rights could be restored.

    Crist successfully won approval for state clemency rules that granted automatic restoration of rights for most former inmates, although those with more serious crimes such as murder and sexual battery needed to go before the governor and Cabinet in order to win back their rights. More than 154,000 ex-felons had their rights restored between 2007 and 2011.

    But the decision to ease the rules drew fire from many other Republicans, including then-Attorney General Bill McCollum.
    "New Florida study tracks ex-felons after they won back voting rights".

    "Tea party stooge"

    Daniel Ruth: "If Rep. Allen West, R-You Talkin' To Me?, has anger management issues over a relatively benign piece of rhetorical political boilerplate, imagine the bursting gaskets if a waiter were to bring him Coke instead of Pepsi. Not pretty."

    Before West, who has been a member of Congress for about 20 minutes, starts accusing Wasserman Schultz of being a vile, unprofessional poltroon with despicable tendencies simply because she suggested he is little more than a tea party stooge, he might want to take a closer look about the House chamber and soak in some of its more checkered history.
    "In a House divided, the Beltway Bickersons". More: "West-Wasserman Schultz duel continues as West cites double standard for black conservatives" and "West feud with Democrat precedes Hillsborough GOP speech".

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "West's red-hot response was clearly beyond the pale and uncalled for. Wasserman Schultz clearly irritated West and shouldn't have singled him out. However, she kept her remarks to policies, wondering how any lawmaker from South Florida would go against the interests of local voters. On the other hand, West made it personal." "Feud distracts from both dignity and the debt-ceiling debate".

    The always good for a laff Orlando Sentinel editorial board actually attacks Wasserman Schultz, writing that "the Democratic National Committee chair, far too often commits gaffes and engages in cheap hyperbole on behalf of Democratic candidates and her party's political agenda. It's embarrassing." "Allen West vs. Debbie Waserman Schultz". Actually, no, it is you - The Orlando Sentinel editors - who are embarrassing.

    Disney in a dither

    "Boca Raton Congressman Ted Deutch is calling for the U.S. Labor secretary to investigate a work visa program that he says allows hundreds of foreigners to take hospitality jobs at the expense of qualified Americans."

    Meanwhile, Florida's perpetual embarrassment,

    Republican Congressman Allen West of Plantation, in a letter to the leader of a Palm Beach County Hispanic organization, defended the rights of the hospitality employers to import the workers under the current guidelines and decried government interference with business.
    "Deutch urges probe of guest worker visa program, saying it costs U.S. workers jobs".

    Bribery ... a way of life

    "A trial featuring James Bond-style intrigue in Palm Beach County Circuit Court isn't the first time Gulf Stream billionaire Harry Sargeant has been accused of bribing Jordanian leaders to secure billion-dollar defense contracts to deliver fuel to U.S. troops in Iraq." "Sargeant faced earlier bribery accusation".

    "Six in the morning"

    Travis Pillow: "Six in the morning: A six pack of infobits you might have missed but shouldn’t have".

    Huntsman's Florida campaign takes a hit

    "Jacksonville native Susie Wiles has announced her resignation as the manager of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign. Wiles was a driving force behind Rick Scott’s successful gubernatorial campaign, and also acted as a top advisor to two former Jacksonville mayors: John Peyton and John Delaney. " "Wiles out as Huntsman campaign manager".

    Scott lightens up

    "In March, Scott's communications director, Brian Burgess, announced a new policy for fulfilling what Scott has characterized as an unprecedented volume of records requests. Cost recovery would reflect the costs of producing them."

    In practice, the policy resulted in charges of hundreds of dollars when senior staff members spent time reviewing their personal email accounts to determine what was public. Florida's broad Sunshine Law allows for actual costs to be recovered for proving public records.

    Now, staff costs will be charged at the lowest salary rate in the office no matter who is required to undertake the work. Requests that require legal review will still incur charges for the work, but at the lowest-paid staff lawyer's salary rate. Requests that take less than 30 minutes won't be charged, and those that take longer will start incurring costs after the first half hour.
    "Gov. Scott's office tweaks cost policy for public records".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Scott opened his door wider for government-in-the-sunshine Thursday by making it easier and less expensive for Floridians to obtain public records from his office. It is a solid step in the right direction." "A welcome dose of sunshine". See also "Gov. Scott eases position on public records fees".

    Florida paid for Jindal junket

    "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, left, appears at a rally in Tampa last year with then-Senate candidate Marco Rubio. Florida spent $3,137 on security when Jindal made a one-day trip to campaign for Rick Scott." "Fla. picks up security tab for visitors".

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