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 Monday, August 01, 2011

Florida looking to lose on $100 million in federal funds

    "Florida's decision to reject federal grants tied to the Obama administration's health-care overhaul means it might not be able to compete for $100 million to improve the care and education of young children."
    A new federal Race to the Top program that aims to improve early learning was launched in May, the latest push from Washington to spur reform through competition among states.

    The first Race to the Top competition, embraced by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, resulted in a $700 million grant for the state last year. But Florida could remain on the sidelines in the newest competition, which has the potential of netting the state an additional $100 million.

    Meanwhile, 36 other states and theDistrict of Columbia plan to take a shot at the new grant.

    "It's a big deal," said Laura Bornfreund, a policy analyst with the New America Foundation in Washington. She called it a "potentially powerful way" for states to improve early education.

    Florida might not be able to apply for the grant because one of the proposed eligibility guidelines requires states to take part in a federal child-abuse-prevention program.

    Florida had been participating in the prevention program until the Florida Legislature decided against authorizing it this spring. The program's grant money was among about $54 million the state has rejected or refused to apply for since last fall.

    All the rejected grants are part of the Obama administration's health-care overhaul law.
    "Florida might reject $100M grant to educate children".

    "Obsession with charter schools and vouchers"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It is time for an open and honest discussion about funding for Florida's public schools, which are suffering from cuts in per-pupil spending and the Legislature's obsession with charter schools and vouchers." "Children owed a quality education".

    "Six in the Morning"

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

    Good luck with that

    "Shuttle gone, Brevard County hopes eco-tourism launches new era".

    Scott's politics are made for radio

    "In a half-hour at the obscure gospel station, Scott talks about his favorite foods and what it’s like to be rich after growing up poor — all while avoiding questions about his controversial policies that aim to create jobs by increasing corporate profits."

    For a governor who is about as popular as the summer humidity, radio appearances like this are as close to paradise as he’ll find outside his faithful inner sanctum.

    In the past four months, Scott has been on the radio more than 130 times, including 10 appearances last week.

    That’s more than all of his other pre-scheduled media interviews combined.

    In politics, TV appearances drive poll numbers up and down. And television coverage is often influenced by print media.

    But for Scott, it’s the radio that gets most of his attention.
    "Scott spends most of his airtime on conservative talk shows, where hosts lob friendly questions and get the best access."
    [T]he forum gives conservatives an easy platform to deliver their unfiltered message. Republican Marco Rubio, for example, harnessed conservative media to create buzz about his once unlikely U.S. Senate campaign. ...

    Most of Scott’s appearances are less than 15 minutes, a relatively small investment of time, which offsets concerns that few people are listening.

    The South Florida station, 610-AM, is the 20th-most listened-to radio station in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, according to Arbitron. In Pensacola, there are 21 stations with more listeners than 1620-AM.

    The gospel station in Tallahassee has fewer listeners than almost any other in the city.

    Continuous appeals to the base will help avoid the same mistakes as Crist, who was eventually run out of the Republican Party.

    “The folks who listen to AM radio, on both the left and the right, never tire of hearing people agree with them,” said Mac Stipanovich, a Florida Republican consultant.
    "For Rick Scott, radio interviews prove to be safest".

    "It’s not the politicians"

    Kevin Derby argues that the "Rick Scott administration's idea to honor 22 former governors needed to be scratched". He points out that "Veterans from Florida have assembled a long and honored history of which we should all be proud. The governor's team and the state VA department have said the list will be changed. Let’s hope that it is -- and remember that in the military, as in most aspects of life, it’s not the politicians who push us to greatness, it’s ordinary people." "For Florida Vets Hall of Fame, Politicians Aren't the Only Patriots".

    "Not at the expense of Bright Futures"

    The Herald-Tribune editors: "If the Legislature wants to increase need-based scholarships, great. But doing so should not come at the expense of Bright Futures and its focus on merit. The scholarship program is a worthwhile investment in Florida — and its people and economy." "Bright Futures' future".

    Hasner benefits from Haridopolos' exit

    "Adam Hasner is set to benefit the most from Senate President Haridopolos' exit from the race for U.S. Senate, according to respondents of last week's Current poll. Hasner is one of several Republicans who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012." "Poll: Who will benefit most from Haridpoplos' exit from the U.S. Senate race?".

    PSC jettisons rules encouraging conservation

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board think it is peachy that "the Florida Public Service Commission jettisoned rules that would have required two utilities to more aggressively encourage energy conservation."

    Scott opposed the measures, which he feared would increase electricity costs and hurt state businesses. That's a legitimate worry. Utilities were unenthusiastic, and the notoriously utility-friendly PSC is not an agency eager to upset the status quo. A brief era of independence was quickly ended last year when state lawmakers dumped Gov. Charlie Crist-appointed PSC members who dared to reject rate hikes.

    Still, the PSC probably was correct to scrap these particular plans, developed in response to a 2008 Legislature directive that utilities expand conservation efforts.

    But the proposals developed by Progress Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light would have cost 8 or 9 cents per kilowatt hour. Progress Energy customers would have paid $6.24 more per month for conservation, and Florida Power & Light would have increased a customer's average monthly bill by about $4 a month.

    Such increases would hit families and businesses hard during these tough times. Yet there is reason to believe energy savings can be achieved without such expense.
    "Cutting Florida's electric bills".

    "Florida's Boss Tweed"

    Nancy Smith don' like those Progress Florida folks. She writes:

    In three years of existence, St. Petersburg-based Progress Florida, by its own description a lobbyist for liberal policy, has morphed into Florida's Boss Tweed, absent the criminal overtones but with all the power and bluster. Left-leaning PF calls the shots for an already left-leaning press, and all of a sudden a partisan point of view becomes a general directive.
    "Progress Florida Whistles, Mainstream Media Come Running".

    RPOF-Baggers in a quandry

    "Tea Party groups in Florida remain skeptical of a proposal they say cuts spending too little, and may be loaded with hidden accounting gimmicks." The RPOF-Baggers appear lost:

    George LeMieux, a Florida GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, told Sunshine State News, “This deal is no time for celebration; it offers no significant debt reduction for our children and grandchildren, and no fundamental reforms that will solve Washington’s spending addiction.

    "As a U.S. senator, I supported a balanced budget amendment, and authored legislation that would have balanced our budget in two years. During this critical crisis, Senator Bill Nelson is again absent and ineffectual and needs to be replaced," LeMieux said.

    Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Tallahassee, was one of the GOP congressmen who voted against Boehner's initial plan.

    “After watching President Obama run up $3.7 trillion in new debt over his 30 months in office, I refuse to hand him a blank check to spend even more of our hard-earned money," the congressman said Saturday after also voting against a Democratic counterproposal.

    Southerland spokesman Matt McCullough declined to offer a statement on the congressman's position Sunday night, saying, "With so much left to be determined, we'd rather not comment today." ...

    Ultimately, conservative critics figure the new GOP plan doesn't differ significantly enough from the version presented by Reid.

    "To take what is currently on the table will give little to no relief to the American people, and a 'compromise' will simply mean that the conservatives take another step toward this leftist administration," said Danita Kilkullen, head of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale.

    "To allow the debt ceiling to be raised is to truly compromise the people," she said.

    Gov. Rick Scott said deals that continue to raise the debt ceiling are bad for business and the economy.
    "Deal or No Deal? Obama Trumpets Debt-Ceiling 'Compromise'".

    Teabaggers wanna primary West

    George Bennett: "After a conference call with about 250 activists on Thursday night, South Florida Tea Party Chairman Everett Wilkinson said participants were "extremely upset" and about one-third seemed sympathetic to finding a primary challenger to run against West." Related: "GOP debt-ceiling vote finds U.S. Reps. Allen West, Tom Rooney reversing roles" and "Rep. Allen West leaning toward supporting debt-ceiling deal".

    Tommy jammed

    "GOP's war of words with Lois Frankel lands U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in awkward spot".

    Pawlenty looks to revive "stalled" campaign in Florida

    "Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is hoping an influential organization in Florida and signs of life in Iowa will revive a presidential campaign that isn't yet showing the grassroots excitement he needs." "Pawlenty looks to Florida to bolster his standing in GOP primary race".

    "Prescription-drug epidemic"

    "The number of babies treated at Florida hospitals for drug-withdrawal syndrome continued to skyrocket last year, further evidence of the far-reaching impact of the state's prescription-drug epidemic." "Number of Florida babies born addicted to drugs continues to skyrocket".

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