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 Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scott down with federal shutdown

    "Scott on Monday said Florida is ready to weather a potential federal shutdown and if he were put in congressional shoes he’d oppose efforts to raise the federal debt ceiling."
    Scott conceded that the nation, which has never failed to pay its bills, is entering new territory if Republican lawmakers and President Barack Obama cannot reach an agreement, but he added that financial markets have likely already figured in such a scenario and would not overreact if it comes to pass. ...

    Others aren’t so optimistic. With 2.9 million Medicaid recipients and thousands more on food stamps and other federal assistance, the potential of a government shutdown August 2 could prompt the loss of critical services at a time when Floridians have already been subject to the most severe recession since the Great Depression.

    Carol Weissert, political scientist and director of the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University, said bedrock federal programs like Social Security and Medicare will likely not be affected, but Medicaid may not be so lucky if lawmakers have to choose what programs to fund. Other vulnerable areas are grants to states for education and transportation programs. ...

    In April, more than 3 million Floridians receive food stamps through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The figure represents an 18.3 percent increase in the number of food stamp recipients from April 2010.

    Meanwhile, Florida's Medicaid program costs $20 billion a year, with more than half of that coming from the federal government.
    "Gov. Rick Scott: Shutdown Impact 'Minimal'".

    Not surprisingly, one of the biggest beneficiaries of federal largess is deep red Marion county. Tell them that the effect of a shutdown will be "minimal":
    The ongoing bickering between Republicans in Congress and President Barack Obama over raising the debt ceiling could have a profound impact on Marion County if the stalemate is prolonged much beyond next week's deadline for action.

    According to an annual report produced by state economists, Marion County received $2.7 billion in direct federal funding in fiscal year 2009, the most recent for which data are available.
    "Big impact on Marion if debt deadline not met".

    "Arguments used over and over again by reactionary lawmakers to eviscerate sensible regulations"

    "Last year's hysterical reaction from opponents of tougher federal clean-water rules was, unfortunately, only the beginning."

    Since the Associated Industries of Florida's Barney Bishop hammered "radical left-wingers" for daring to impose new regulations that would strap businesses, we've seen a lawsuit from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

    The pair sued those awful left-wingers running the Environmental Protection Agency for imposing what will be new limits on how much phosphorus and nitrogen can get into waterways from sewage plants, industry and other sources.

    Central Florida's John Mica got into the act, too, introducing legislation in Congress that would blunt the EPA's ability to toughen Florida's ineffective water-pollution limits. The EPA's "almost unprecedented power grab" would create a "regulatory nightmare," Mica gasped on the floor of the U.S. House.

    Central Florida's Sandy Adams injected her trademark hyperbole. The congresswoman tied the EPA's coming rules to clean Florida's waterways to an imagined plot by President Obama to undermine anti-pollution efforts. And her office said the new EPA rules "would effectively kill job creation throughout Florida." ...

    If the arguments against the EPA's tougher nutrient standards sound familiar, that's because they've been used over and over again by reactionary lawmakers to eviscerate sensible regulations. The anti-environment gang in Tallahassee killed state growth laws they said killed jobs. What nonsense.
    "Protect Florida's water".

    Meanwhile, "Representatives from major industries (including JEA and Georgia-Pacific) and environmental groups (like the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Earthjustice) gathered in Orlando early this morning to discuss a much-disputed set of federal water pollution standards and the costs associated with compliance." "Conference on economic impact of EPA water rules kicks off in Orlando". See also "More from water pollution conference: Huge gap between industry, EPA cost estimates discussed" and "Water pollution meeting highlights questions about cost, feasibility".

    Big of them

    "The Public Service Commission is considering revised demand-side conservation plans for Florida's two largest electric utilities. The commission was set to vote Tuesday on the plans proposed by Florida Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy Florida. Each would slightly increase overall rates but give customers a chance to reduce their power bills by participating in the conservation programs. " "Florida PSC considering power conservation plans".

    Please drug test someone in this welfare deal

    "PricewaterhouseCoopers confirmed on Monday it will move 2,000 employees into a new office building in Tampa's West Shore area, spurred in part by $1.2 million in local government incentives."

    At the same time, Hillsborough County leaders say they are looking into whether the accounting and advising giant is even entitled to the money.

    The County Commission and the Tampa City Council approved the incentive package last week in the belief PricewaterhouseCoopers might be on the verge of moving more than 1,600 jobs to another state or overseas.

    That was never the case, PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PWC, said Monday.
    "Hillsborough to review whether job incentives were justified".

    'Ya reckon?

    "Recession hit minorities much harder than whites, report says".

    Unannounced Perry leads in RPOF primary poll

    "A new poll finds Gov. Rick Perry of Texas leading the Republican presidential pack in Florida, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts on his heels."

    The American Research Group poll finds that Perry, who has yet to formally enter the race despite coming in second in two recent national polls, leads in the Sunshine State with 16 percent, followed by Bachmann and Romney with 15 percent each. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who also has yet to enter the race, came in fourth with 13 percent. Businessman Herman Cain is fifth with 11 percent. ...

    The poll of 600 likely Republican primary voters in Florida (including 50 independents) was taken between July 18-24 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

    A poll taken in May by American Research Group shows that Romney and Gingrich are now on the decline in Florida, while Perry, Bachmann and Cain are on the rise.
    "Rick Perry Starts Off Ahead of Other Republicans in Florida".

    Republicans at work

    As of "April, more than 3 million Floridians receive food stamps through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The figure represents an 18.3 percent increase in the number of food stamp recipients from April 2010."

    Redistricting Round-up

    "Round-up of media coverage of redistricting for 7/26".

    Premature gesticulation

    Without knowing her opponent, or even the district she will run in, we read that "Emily’s List backs Orlando’s Val Demings for congressional run".

    Empty suit rising

    Brent Batten: "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, less than a year into his freshman term, is emerging as the Republicans’ most telegenic and relatable spokesman as the debt crisis puts a spotlight on the differences between their party and the Democrats." "Marco (not the island) garnering national attention".

    Charter follies

    "One charter school in Broward County was among the state's 27 worst schools, state officials have said. Imagine Charter School at North Lauderdale Middle, which earned an F grade this year, will face state sanctions for poor academic performance." "One Broward charter among state's 27 worst schools".

    Republican donors licking their chops

    "The fastest privatization venture ever undertaken by Florida took a big step forward Monday when the state formally sought plans from private firms to operate all prisons in an 18-county region in South Florida." "Private prison plan moves along for South Florida".

    "One source of revenue continues to pay out"

    "While sluggish sales tax receipts may have forced the state to slash government spending again this year, one source of revenue continues to pay out: Your name, address and driving history." "A surefire state revenue generator? Selling your driving records".

    Jackson on town

    "Jesse Jackson protests Florida elections bill".

    "Republicans intent on driving the nation to the brink"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Escalating an avoidable economic crisis, House Republicans are intent on driving the nation to the financial brink at the behest of their most extreme members."

    The president, congressional Democrats and what moderates remain in the Republican caucus need to come together quickly on a clean, substantive bill. The White House threw its support behind the Reid plan, calling it a "meaningful down payment" in controlling the debt and a "reasonable" step Congress and the administration could build on in any larger effort to close tax loopholes and curtail spending. In reality, the fallback plan is a measurement of how irresponsible House Republicans — including those in the Tampa Bay area — have been in blocking all attempts at consensus and compromise. The president, the Senate and the American people should not give in to their extremist approach.
    "Extremists drive nation to brink".

    Medicaid deform

    "As Florida nears the Aug. 1 deadline to submit to the federal government its blueprint for shifting 3 million Medicaid patients into managed care plans, opponents are busy asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to turn the state down flat." "Critics seek to stop Florida's Medicaid handoff".

    Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities

    "Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities, despite consistently going over budget the past few years and facing a $120 million cut from the previous fiscal year, will remain within appropriations set out by the Legislature this year, its top financial director said Monday." "Disabilities Agency Vows to Stay Within Budget".

    Teabagger to challenge Senate Majority Leader Gardiner

    "Software company owner Ron Rushing will announce on Tuesday that he is pulling out of the Republican primary to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and will instead offer a primary challenge to Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, in 2012."

    Rushing looks likely to run to Gardiner’s right. During his brief U.S. Senate bid, Rushing, who is from Windermere, backed the "Contract From America." It pledges that a candidate will back smaller government, repeal the federal health-care law, and lower taxes. The contract is being pushed by FreedomWorks and former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey. Myriad conservative candidates backed the contract in the 2010 cycle, including Mike Lee, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and Sharon Angle.

    During his U.S. Senate bid, Rushing also backed the Fair Tax, gutting the EPA, reducing regulations on business, pushing to end foreign aid, slashing federal spending across the board by 5 percent, using the armed forces to secure America from illegal immigration, and repealing the federal health-care law backed by President Barack Obama.
    "Ron Rushing Switches Gears, Will Challenge Andy Gardiner".

    Bad drugs

    "Florida Supreme Court stays execution; drugmaker says anesthetic unsafe".

    What's wrong with Tampa?

    Daniel Ruth: "While white children splash and frolic in the invigorating waters of the Interbay Pool, a few miles away, tots of color stare forlornly through the locked gates of the Williams Park Pool. No pool for you." "A public perception belly flop in Tampa".

    2,000 percent insurance premium increase?

    "After the Legislature lifted a rate hike cap, the state-run property insurer is proposing to increase sinkhole insurance premiums by more than 2,000 percent in some parts of the Tampa Bay area, and an average of more than 400 percent across the state." "Citizens sinkhole rates may surge". See also "Citizens Property Insurance seeks big rate hikes".

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