"[T]he so-called 'Presidency 5' straw poll has most of the presidential campaigns skittish, confused or decidedly unenthusiastic. Only Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul have committed to participate in the mock election, which essentially means showing up that Saturday afternoon and giving a speech." "Florida’s upcoming straw poll, Sept. 24 in Orlando, is not attracting the attention of the top contenders in the Republican primary presidential field." "Florida GOP's Presidency 5 straw poll lacking strong campaign support".
"General Halftrack meets Maxwell Smart"
Daniel Ruth: "When he entered the political arena, retired Col. Mike McCalister of the Army Reserve wanted you to believe he was some sort of derring-do, special operations, international man of mystery who gallivanted about the globe with a dagger clenched between his teeth, guns blazing on the trail of evildoers. Alas, we have learned differently."
Alas, as we have learned, Col. McCalister has quickly become the General Halftrack meets Maxwell Smart of Florida politics.
"A Purple Heart for paper cuts?".
Many politicians butter up their biographies, making it seem that their leadership was pivotal in getting laws passed, or persuading Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, or that without their economic brilliance we would still be trading in pelts.
But McCalister, who is running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, has taken self-aggrandizement to stratospheric Donald Trump heights.
"Putnam as presidential kingmaker"
"Adam Putnam as presidential kingmaker?".
Expect grade inflation
"In this school of sorts, the coursework features walking tours of inner-city neighborhoods, exercises on how to balance a mock municipal budget — and a guest speaker who has pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, perjury and public-meetings violations." "Initiative aims to teach South Florida’s elected rookies the political ropes".
Oh ... the things employers will do
"Nearly half of all employers screen selected job candidates by pulling their credit reports, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. That creates a catch-22 for some job seekers, especially in this economy: lose your job, your credit suffers. When your credit suffers, you can't get a job. State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, refiled legislation on Monday that would put a stop to the practice in most cases." "Refiled bill wouldn't let bad credit disqualify job applicants".
"A third of Central Florida kids lack adequate nutrition"
"The latest numbers are out on how many Americans struggle to get enough nourishing food to eat — and the news isn't good for Central Florida's children. ... more than 190,000 children live in families that sometimes go hungry, don't know where their next meal is coming from or have to rely on cheap, nutritionally sparse food to fill their stomachs — something that, ironically, can lead to childhood obesity." "Nearly a third of Central Florida kids lack adequate nutrition".
"While environmentalists blasted GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann for broaching the subject of oil-drilling in the Everglades, petroleum is pumping right next door." "Oil and Gas Keep Pumping Next Door to 'Pristine' Everglades".
"South Florida Rail Partnership: 'Best Case' or 'Secretive Deal'?".
Scott goes flip-flop
"Florida plans to compete for $100 million in the federal government's latest Race to the Top program, assuming the Florida Legislature is willing to accept other federal money it had previously rejected. To apply for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, which is designed to improve the care and education of young children, states must be taking part in a federal home-visiting program meant to prevent child abuse." "Gov. Rick Scott: Let's compete for $100 million Race to Top grant for young kids"
More from the Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Rick Scott is wisely making an exception to his opposition to the federal Affordable Health Care Act and rejection of federal money tied to the reforms. He plans to ask legislative leaders next month to reconsider the decision to reject $3.4 million for child abuse prevention that is tied to the health care law. That suggests that Scott — unlike Republican legislative leaders — will at least accept federal money for the law's less-controversial elements that show real promise for improving Floridians' lives. Lawmakers should take his lead or risk turning their backs even more on children." "Stepping up for Florida's children".
Jebbie tries to stay in the game
Kingsley Guy: "Is it possible for Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything in this era of hyper-partisanship?Possibly. And a couple of high-powered political figures from Florida could help lead the way in crafting reasonable policies that would help shake the nation out of its economic doldrums. The dynamic duo consists of former Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, and current Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who's up for re-election next year." "Real bipartisanship?: Bush, Nelson could forge tax strategy".
"Politically-charged water rate hike requests"
"PSC begins hearings across state on politically-charged water rate hike requests".
"A Sunny Isles Beach commissioner pleaded no contest Tuesday to three campaign finance-related charges." "Commissioner pleads no contest to campaign-finance charges".
Let the politicians do it
"Sen. Joe Negron criticizes the current system of having an appointed education commissioner. Negron on Monday also filed another constitutional amendment that would abolish two panels that are allowed to propose constitutional changes."
Negron's amendment - SJR 96 - would dissolve the current State Board of Education - which hires the commissioner now - and would instead make the governor and Cabinet responsible for approving statewide education policy. "Senator wants voters to pick Florida's education commissioner".
A few more pennies
"Scott in June vetoed $310 million in spending authority for Florida Forever. But one program has some money left over because other projects were cheaper due to declining land prices." "Florida Communities Trust awards grants despite demise of Florida Forever program".
"Florida 'still acts like a Third World country'"
"Despite gains in the last year, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says Florida 'still acts like a Third World country' when it comes to enforcing environmental regulations. The group analyzed enforcement actions by the Department of Environmental Protection." "Watchdog group says Crist edged Bush when it came to protecting the environment".
"Confidence dip is overreaction"
"Consumer confidence among Floridians fell to a near-record low in August, and a national reading of consumer sentiment also plummeted, renewing fears of a double-dip recession." "Floridians' confidence dip is overreaction, one economist says". See also "Drop in Florida consumer confidence points to possible recession".
Draggin' them knuckles
"Marco Rubio, Connie Mack Ranked Most Conservative of the Florida Congressional Delegation".
"Round-up of media coverage of redistricting for 8/30". "Gaetz proposes moving redistricting process timeline", "Second round of redistricting hearings possible", "Redistricting hearing draws crowd and criticism", "Lawmakers get an earful in Tampa on redrawing districts" and "Pinellas County residents criticize legislative redistricting process".
Jeremy Wallace: "A protracted battle over illegal campaign donations to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan may be headed for resolution. A federal court in Jacksonville is considering a formal recommendation to fine one of Buchanan’s former car dealerships – but no individuals — for giving $67,900 in inappropriate campaign donations to his past congressional races." "Court considers fine for former Buchanan dealership".
Innocence Commission bows to pressure
"For months, Florida's Innocence Commission struggled over whether to recommend that every police agency in the state be required to clean up and standardize how they have eyewitnesses pick suspects from photo lineups. After months of lobbying, the panel bowed to pressure from Florida's police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, voting to make their proposed fixes mere recommendations." "Florida cops water down Innocence Commission lineup recommendations".
Gaetz man-crushes Perry
"Don Gaetz Backs Rick Perry as Best Chance to Beat Obama in Florida".
If dirt were dollars
"If endorsements won races, Adam Hasner would be out front in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Tuesday he announced the backing of former House Speaker Larry Cretul (the "accidental speaker" who took over during the controversy that engulfed Ray Sansom), who will also serve as statewide co-chairman of the campaign." "Hasner's endorsement lead". See also "Former House Speaker Larry Cretul Backs Adam Hasner in 2012".