"Tapping in to Florida's grassroots and tea leaves, Michele Bachmann takes her first campaign swing through the state this weekend."
Beginning Friday in Jacksonville Beach, then on to Orlando and Sarasota, the Minnesota congresswoman will seek to parlay her Iowa straw poll victory into top-tier status in the Sunshine State.
"Michele Bachmann Seeks a Bounce in Florida on Weekend Swing".
Bachmann's visit comes at a crucial time. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is surging in the polls and on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park.
Mitt Romney already has a state organization dating from his 2008 run and Ron Paul will garner votes from the party's libertarian wing.
Sarasota County GOP chairman Joe Gruters says the race remains "wide open" in Florida because none of the major presidential candidates has committed to waging a concerted grassroots campaign here.
"Bush's idea of a good time was to pave over a wetland"
Daniel Ruth: "There it was in black and white, a heretofore unpublished e-mail from former Gov. Jeb Bush addressed to then Gov.-elect Rick Scott, advising his successor once removed that he should 'have fun and enjoy the job!'"
For Bush, who treated his time in Tallahassee as if it was an eight-year novena, to encourage Scott to lighten up and have fun in the Governor's Mansion is rich. Few other figures in Florida politics have approached governing as if it was a burdensome cross to bear. Bush's idea of a good time was to pave over a wetland.
"Not that you asked, but lighten up".
Now here's Bush setting the stage for Scott, who has less of a sense of humor than Iran's wacky, zany Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to show up at work with a Steve Martin arrow through his head.
"A 2.22 GPA and a deep distrust of Darwin"
Mike Thomas: "Rick Scott wants to reform our universities and turn them into great institutions of higher education."
[A]las, he is turning to Texas and his new friend, Gov. Rick Perry, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a 2.22 grade-point average and a deep distrust of Charles Darwin."This should be interesting."
It is an expansion of the public-school reform movement. That effort was relatively straightforward. You measured student-learning gains, graded the schools, gave parents the option of switching their kids from a failing public school to a failing charter school and busted the teachers union. ...
"Rick Scott wants to make us smart as them Texans". See also "Support Emerges for Higher Education Overhaul", "" and "Support emerges for higher education overhaul in Florida".
The first order of business is to turn everything into a business. This requires quantification, fiscal accountability, calling students "customers'' and abusing the help. ...
The professors went ballistic, and it has been war ever since.
The conservatives argued that if professors taught more and did less research on darn-fool theories like dinosaurs, they could educate a lot more students for half the cost.
The conservatives also want merit pay for professors.
Because there are no standardized tests to measure student-learning gains, they would have students grade the professors. If you think public-school teachers loathe being judged by a test, consider the reaction of not-really doctors judged by a bunch of entitled "customers.''
The eventual result would be Mutually Assured Excellence: You give me an A and I give you an A.
Professors preferring only to do research would have to pay for themselves with grants, encouraging them to work on more practical scientific breakthroughs such as Gatorade.
Race to the bottom
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida legislators have set the stage to raise health insurance premiums for state workers, though they kept prices the same for this year. ... One of their solutions is to oppose the federal law. The Legislature also ordered a study seeking other solutions. The first step, before reverting to a system that deprives sick people and young adults of coverage, should be to increase the premiums they and Gov. Scott pay." "Make state leaders pay more".
Poll: Obama trails Romney in Florida
"Lucky for Barack Obama that the election is 13 months away, because a new Florida poll shows him trailing Mitt Romney and neck and neck with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann."
The Aug. 18-22 Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll underscores the work Obama has to do if he hopes to win Florida again: Only 41 percent of likely voters surveyed approve of the job he's doing, while 56 percent disapprove, including 55 percent of independents."New Florida poll shows Obama has work to do". Related: "Rick Perry Brushes Aside Mitt Romney to Lead 2012 Republican Pack". See also "New Florida poll shows Obama has work to do".
"Couldn't have come at a worse time"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The divorce of Gov. Rick Scott from Ed Buss, the state's corrections chief, couldn't have come at a worse time." "Corrections Chief Ed Buss resignation". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Reformer runs afoul of governor".
Colombia Free Trade Agreement fight
"The Association of Floral Importers of Florida hosted a meeting in Miami on Wednesday with Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva, to show its support for a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The Free Trade Agreement, supported by Democrats and Republicans, grants U.S. exporters tariff-free access to the Colombian market. Supporters say this would boost U.S. competitivness and create jobs, while opponents dispute the job creation figures and say that Colombia must show it will respect organized labor and workers’ rights."
"Vicky Gass, senior associate for rights and development at the Washington Office on Latin America, tells the Independent that the Economic Policy Institute issued a study that shows the Korean and Colombian free trade agreements would cost the U.S. more than 200,000 jobs."
She says that studies have shown the U.S. lost more than 682,000 jobs thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement passed in the ’90s.
"Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement sparks debate over labor rights, job creation".
She is skeptical of the flower industry’s claims about job creation: “Where is the proof?”
Free Trade Agreement opponents have said human rights violations, the unresolved murders of union leaders and cheap labor in Colombia should delay the approval of the agreement. Boldt counters, “A lot of the people who actually state those issues are stating issues that occurred a long time ago. They are not [the] current situation.”
According to Gass, 17 labor activists in Colombia “have been murdered this year alone.” She says concerns about labor rights led the U.S. Trade Representative and the Colombian government to develop a Labor Action Plan. She says it “is a good idea” and “there are some important measures there,” and urges the U.S. to “wait for concrete results” before approving the trade agreement.
She cites the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement as a model; it included benchmarks to deal with labor rights issues.
"Round-up of media coverage of redistricting for 8/26".
"During transitions, governors ... solidify their alliances with special interests"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "So far, news that emails from Gov. Rick Scott's transition got deleted hasn't fueled much outrage. After all, why care about electronic messages that disappeared from the time between the new governor's election and inauguration?"
Here's why: During transitions, governors begin setting the agendas for their terms, start hiring the people to carry them out, and solidify their alliances with special interests. It's no wonder that Florida's government-in-the-sunshine law requires that any records from transitions be preserved and made available to the public. State archives include transition records dating back decades."Gov. Rick Scott's lost emails dim right to know".
Six in the Morning
Travis Pillow's "Six in the Morning: A six-pack of infobits you might have missed".
"Nelson makes a bipartisan appeal for tax simplification"
"Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson made a bipartisan appeal for tax simplification at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches luncheon today, then urged Democratic activists to help defeat Republicans who hold the "extreme position" that spending cuts are the only way to reduce the deficit." "Nelson urges income tax reform, accuses GOP of 'extreme position' to 'cut, cut, cut'".
Florida GOPers flock to Perry
"'I can't tell you that I understand the entire recipe, but I believe that Perry has an eye for developing an environment in which jobs can be created and people can get to work,' said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, Florida's next Senate president, who endorsed Perry hours after he declared but has never met him."
[A.K. Desai, a St. Petersburg health care executive who is hosting Perry's first Florida fundraiser on Sept. 13] says the jobs data is evidence Perry has what it takes to be president.
"Jobs at heart of Perry campaign".
"He also comes from a humble background and his ability to connect with people is tremendous," said Desai, who backed Romney in 2008. "He understands what it takes for people to make a living and also support a family and kids. He believes in the American values which we all want and aspire to. He's lived the American dream." ...
Gaetz said that after "window-shopping" with the current crop of candidates, Perry emerged as the obvious best option.
"This is a guy who has actually done the thing in his large state that this country needs done," Gaetz said. "If we're looking for people who have never made rhetorical gaffes we can find well-scripted, smooth-talking politicians, but they may not have the experience and produce the results that we need right now in this protracted economic crisis that has brought this country to its knees."
Scott flip-flops on "Lockup"
"Scott OKs 'Lockup' TV contract at Florida prison day after prisons chief exits over deal".
ACLU intervenes in election law case
"The American Civil Liberties Union and Project Vote announced today that they are intervening in Florida’s effort to win federal approval for its controversial changes to state election laws." "ACLU jumps into court battle over new elections law".
"Health care agency chief speaks to HMOs and nursing homes about fate of Medicaid reform".
Jacksonville shipyard executive talks environment
"In his first news media interview since becoming secretary in January, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard told the Florida Tribune he's still working on department priorities for the coming 2012 legislative session. He stepped into controversy in June when the department proposed RV campgrounds at four state parks." "Florida's top environmental regulator shares his vision for agency".
Vern "The Entrepreneur"
"Though Rep. Vern Buchanan has yet to publicly comment on a watchdog group’s efforts to launch an FBI investigation into his past congressional campaigns, he has found time to sell his $4.49 million yacht, The Entrepreneur. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now using that yacht sale to highlight the allegations surrounding the Florida congressman." "Democrats use Buchanan yacht sale to highlight ethics allegations".
Will water district cuts hurt Florida's ecology?
"Environmentalists: Water district cuts will hurt Florida's ecology". See also "Governor slashes water district budget to lower property tax bills".
"Alan Levine, the former head of the Agency for Health Care Administration, has asked the state's ethics panel whether or not he can sit on the University of Florida board. Levine, a hospital executive, served on the transition team of Gov. Rick Scott." "Hospital executive wants to know if he has a conflict of interest".
"Attorney General Pam Bondi joined a multibillion lawsuit against Education Management Corporation this month and reportedly is continuing an investigation into several other schools operating in Florida, but won't comment on either one." "Cloud remains over several Florida for-profit universities".
King dies fighting for the right of workers to unionize
Leonard Pitts, Jr. reminds us that "when he died, Martin Luther King was fighting for the right of workers to form a union and for the dignity of the poor." "King fought for the poor and labor unions —...".
"Investigatory Integrity Act"
Scott Maxwell: "State Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, and some others are pushing the 'Investigatory Integrity Act,' which would ban state employees from leaving to work for anyone their office has regulated or investigated in the past two years." "Finally, a plan to stop Florida's revolving door".
"Hispanic college enrollment spikes"
"Hispanic college enrollment spikes, study shows".