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 Friday, September 02, 2011

"Grayson gears up for comeback"

    "Alan Grayson, the former Democratic representative from Orlando who made national headlines for his pointed criticisms of the Republican Party, is running for Congress — somewhere." "Grayson gears up for comeback run".

    Charter madness

    "By day, the Balare Language Academy is an A-rated charter school, home to children in kindergarten through middle school. But when the kids are tucked into bed, Balare apparently becomes a playground of a different kind."

    Party fliers, printed and on the Web, indicate that the campus at 10875 Quail Roost Dr. has been hosting raunchy, booze-soaked bashes into the wee hours.
    "Charter school accused of becoming adult club at night".

    Budget blues

    "State may avoid budget shortfall next year".

    "Fast talker with a receding hairline"

    Florida's alleged journalists can't get enough of this "fast talker with a receding hairline": "Gov. Rick Scott's chief of change: Steve MacNamara".

    Romney in Florida

    "Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Florida, speaking at a group of Republican Hispanics and then attending the opening of his Florida campaign headquarters." "Romney visits Tampa to open campaign office".

    FDLE denies it is biased when it comes to Scott

    "Visibly annoyed, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey told reporters today that he is 'offended' by critics' suggestions that his department's investigation of the governor's missing transition emails might not be objective."

    FDLE answers to both Scott and the Cabinet, but the department's commissioner is appointed by the governor, prompting some critics — like former CFO Alex Sink, who lost the governor's race to Scott — to question the objectivity of the investigation.
    "FDLE head: Scott as boss won't sway look into missing emails".

    Florida's growing rolls of uninsured are among the highest in the nation

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Healthcare insurance costs continue to gobble up family budgets. Employers, whether private or public, have been pushing more of those costs on workers as the economy remains sluggish and healthcare costs rise. Except for a select few in Florida government who are getting a nifty deal."

    With the news that Gov. Rick Scott — long a staunch critic of “Obamacare” — enrolled along with his wife in the state’s special program for politicians and top officials, accusations that he’s a hypocrite were to be expected. After all, the former hospital executive is a multimillionaire paying $30 a month for top-tier healthcare insurance. Most of the cost, of course, is borne by Florida taxpayers in a state facing high unemployment and growing rolls of uninsured, among the highest in the nation. ...

    They have said, “no, thanks,” to federal money that would have started to help some of those Floridians. Why? Because it’s part of the new federal healthcare law that Mr. Scott refuses to accept. Florida is among 25 states suing to declare the law unconstitutional. They believe that making the purchase of insurance mandatory — or requiring a tax penalty for those who refuse to buy it — is an assault on states’ rights and individual freedom. (Tell that to drivers.)

    The U.S. Supreme Court will have to settle that argument, but in the meantime other states that also joined Florida in the lawsuit (including Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Indiana) have accepted federal money to plan for the healthcare exchanges under the new federal law that would give consumers a way to shop for the best price. Pennsylvania also has signed up for a federal program now helping more than 2,600 residents with pre-existing conditions like diabetes or cancer to buy low-cost insurance. Florida has only 770 people in that program because the state didn’t bother to get involved, as Pennsylvania did, in running it.

    Meanwhile, a majority of Florida’s legislators (all 40 senators and 112 of 120 House members also are enrolled in the state’s special insurance program for “special” people) turned down $17 million in federal grants under “Obamacare” this year. Who became a casualty?

    • Dying children in need of hospice care ($2 million).

    • Poor, working people who were promised community health centers so that they don’t wind up in hospital emergency rooms ($8 million in construction money).

    • Elderly and disabled Floridians who would get home healthcare aides so they don’t have to go to much more costly Medicaid-provided nursing homes.
    "Healthcare for a select few".

    Bachmann chases Fla-baggers

    "Though it received an intense amount of scrutiny and was branded as an 'incredible faux pas,' Michele Bachmann’s remark that she wouldn’t be opposed to drilling for oil in the Everglades isn’t going away. In fact, the GOP presidential candidate is going even further with her claims, arguing that only 'radical environmentalists' would oppose drilling in the Everglades." "Bachmann not backing down from Everglades drilling comment".

    Scott admin pushes out ombudsman, lies about it

    "Federal investigators have determined the state's Department of Elder Affairs violated the U.S. Older Americans Act by interfering with what is supposed to be an independent nursing-home watchdog program, officials announced Thursday afternoon."

    The findings cite a series of violations, including muzzling the program's communication with the news media and restricting its ability to lobby the Legislature on behalf of nursing-home residents. The report also criticized the department's selection and firing of volunteers who make up the bulk of the watchdog program's workforce, saying that "it must be clear to the volunteers that they work for and are answerable only to the Long Term Care Ombudsman."
    This is apparently how they do things in the private sector:
    The ombudsman program, established in every state, was designed to protect the rights of those in nursing homes and long-term-care facilities by investigating and resolving complaints and helping to shape state policy. But soon after Gov. Rick Scott took office in January, troubles erupted for the Florida ombudsman.

    On Feb. 7 — just 11 days after Lee had sent a letter to the state's nursing homes requesting ownership information — Scott's office advised Lee's boss at the Department of Elder Affairs that it was time for Lee to go and for the ombudsman program to "go in a new direction," the report said.

    Yet two days later, leaders in the department told the Administration on Aging — before the formal investigation was launched — that they were "unaware" of why Lee had resigned.
    "Federal report cites state's wrongdoing in nursing-home ombudsman program".

    After all, sh is a right wing Republican

    Bondi for some reason "has yet to challenge any proposed utility rate hikes. Bondi also decided against having Florida join with several other Gulf states in a federal lawsuit against the owner of an offshore rig that exploded and led to a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It's Bondi's dealings, however, with those involved in foreclosures that has generated the most controversy."

    Bondi spoke out against a proposed national settlement between 50 state attorneys general and lenders that would have cut the principal owed by homeowners. She said she was opposed to any across-the-board reductions because she didn't want to help people "who just don't want to pay their mortgage payments."

    Then two attorneys — Theresa Edwards and her colleague June Clarkson — were forced out of their jobs in late May despite positive job reviews. Both women had been involved with investigations into law firms handling foreclosures on behalf of banks.

    The dismissals came months after an attorney representing one of the companies under investigation - Lender Processing Services - complained that both had made "irresponsible" statements and had already "tainted the investigation" due to a presentation they had made to court clerks.

    That same company wound up hiring a former top aide to McCollum who had a lead role in helping with the state's lawsuit against the federal health care overhaul that has earned Bondi national exposure.
    "AG Bondi under fire".

    Welcome to Albania

    "Floridians are urged to report shady activity of neighbors".

    Wingnuts in a dither

    "Costly 'Green' Energy Ventures Burn Up Stimulus Dollars".

    Of all people

    The right wing Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board thinks Ricky "Scott right to focus on regulatory process".

    The editors have apparently forgotten that the last time "red tape" was cut in Daytona Beach, there were tragic consequences:

    It took a big explosion and workers dying to get everyone's attention, but a state task force now says that Florida's experiment with voluntary safety and health standards for public employees is insufficient. The state needs to return to the days when state law protected worker safety.

    In 1999, a Republican-led Legislature decided to release state and local governments from a legal regime of safety and health requirements for their workers. Dozens of worker safety compliance positions were eliminated as part of a larger reorganization that reflected the deregulatory spirit pervading Tallahassee.

    In place of state law, then-Gov. Jeb Bush issued an executive order directing state agencies "to voluntarily comply" with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act's standards, and leaving cities and counties to decide for themselves what they needed to do. But no state resources were devoted to ensuring compliance or guiding safety efforts. The move was a wink and a nod toward protecting employees, and little more.

    Then in 2006 a tragic explosion of methanol occurred at a wastewater treatment plant in Daytona Beach.
    "Put state back to work on job safety".

    Investigators at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, recently took the rare step of classifying Florida's worker safety provisions as
    "unacceptable" — the first time it has ever branded an entire state and its Legislature with that designation.

    The board, which investigates chemical industrial accidents, released a letter chiding Florida lawmakers for doing nothing to prevent a repeat of the deadly mishap.

    Its primary concern: The Legislature has failed for three straight years to fix a loophole in state law that essentially exempts cities and counties from following the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety guidelines that apply to private and federal employees.

    The board wrote that such guidelines — including better training and managerial oversight — "would likely have prevented" the accident at the Bethune Point wastewater-treatment plant that killed Daytona Beach workers Clyde Jones and Eric Johnson and hospitalized Martin for about four months.
    "Protections for Florida's city workers are 'unacceptable,' federal agency says".

    "Tea party pied pipers"

    Daniel Ruth writes that

    the national bogeyman seems to be the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has tea party pied pipers like [Ron] Paul and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in full caterwauling mode over what is clearly a dark government conspiracy to help a bunch of lazy, shiftless people who irresponsibly allowed themselves to be flooded out of their homes.
    "America's double disasters in Congress".

    Hurricane hunter planes axed?

    "Budget ax may fall on Tampa's hurricane hunter planes".

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