"Republican-palooza month in Florida"
"September is Republican-palooza month in Florida."
For the next few weeks, the eight or so Republican presidential candidates will take their Barack Obama bashing-based campaigns to the nation’s most important swing state. They’ll debate Monday tonight in Tampa, and they’ll debate again later in Orlando, where they’ll also speak to a national conservative conference."Republican-palooza: GOP presidential hopefuls barnstorm Florida". See also "Tampa debate on Monday to kick off big Florida push in Republicans' 2012 presidential race", "Perry, Romney Campaigns Prepare for Florida Battle", "Stakes high entering GOP Florida debate" and "Tonight's GOP debate in Tampa brings protests, watch parties".
Crowning it all off: The Republican Party of Florida’s Sept. 24 straw poll — the best measurement of a candidate’s viability in a state that mirrors the nation’s political mood.
"Cannon furthered the insult"
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Maybe now Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon will stop wasting taxpayer money and finally get the message that 63 percent of voters sent in November. On Friday, a federal judge in Miami quickly rejected a claim by two self-interested U.S. representatives who sought to invalidate a state constitutional amendment that prescribes how congressional districts are drawn."
Cannon should stop supporting the lawsuit and pledge to actually embrace the voters' will. ... Cannon furthered the insult when he used his office and state tax dollars to join their cause."Let the voters' will, finally, be done".
"Extremely important health insurance case"
Bill Cotterell: "Today, state employees around here have an extremely important health insurance case coming up at the Division of Administrative Hearings. Unfortunately, if DOAH could bottle its work product, it could put Sominex right out of business."
At 9:30 a.m., Administrative Law Judge Barbara Staros will begin hearings on a contract dispute involving three health maintenance organizations that want to cover more state employees in more places than the state wishes to do business with them. This is a result of a Department of Management Services decision to have only one HMO for state workers in each county — one of the insurance changes that, taken together, Gov. Rick Scott expects will save more than $400 million over a couple of years."It's boring, but it's big".
Florida Health Care Plan Inc., United Health Care of Florida Inc. and Coventry Health Care of Florida Inc. are asking DOAH to overrule the analysis of bids and procedures that DMS used in choosing an HMO for each county. AvMed Inc., the winner of HMO contracts for 38 counties, and Capital Health Plan, the only game in town for Leon and six neighboring counties, are playing defense as intervenors in the case.
Mack strives to be noticed
"Connie Mack and Rand Paul File No Confidence Vote Against Timothy Geithner".
While the rest of us watched television
"The day before the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 350 South Florida firefighters ran in Saturday's inaugural Fort Lauderdale Tunnel to Towers 5K to remember and memorialize Steven Siller and the other 343 firefighters that died in the line of duty that day."
Siller, for whom the 5K is dedicated, was off duty on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, but when the news of the attacks came over his news scanner, he turned around his car and headed for Manhattan and the World Trade Center towers."Tunnel to Towers".
Siller was met with blocked traffic at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. But, instead of conceding, he grabbed his heavy gear, abandoned his truck and ran through the tunnel.
Wearing 60 pounds of gear, Siller emerged from the tunnel and continued running toward the World Trade Center towers. He was then picked up by another FDNY crew, but it is believed that he met up with his crew, Squad 1, at Ground Zero.
Neither Siller, nor the rest of his squad, survived that day, but his heroic run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel — a run of almost exactly five kilometers — has been recreated in cities across the United States since 2002.
Scott looks to reject federal financial help
"President Barack Obama's latest jobs plan calls for $130 billion in aid to state and local governments.
A state-by-state breakdown of the president's plan shows that Florida could receive more than $7.5 billion for schools, roads and other projects. That money would come into a state with a 10.7 percent unemployment rate and one of the nation's highest home foreclosure rates. But Scott spokesman Brian Burgess left open the possibility that the Florida governor could reject money under Obama's latest plan, especially if it added to the federal debt."Obama jobs plan splits leaders of strapped states".
But wingnut "retreads" like "Jeb!" are OK?
The occasionally interesting Nancy Smith disappoints with this column today: "Don't look now, but here comes another Democrat[ic] loser looking to choke off party competition in the 2014 election – or at the very least grab a seat at the table."
No kidding, people. Can the majority of registered Democrats possibly be happy with Alex Sink right now?Actually "yes", Nancy, a majority of registered Democrats would certainly consider giving Alex Sink another shot*. Indeed, the one suspects that even the majority of registered Republicans - sans those ridin' the Teabagger crazy train - would be thrilled to have Sink rather than the Rickster in the Governor's office.
Smith continues, with more of the tired right-wing talking points:
Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich gets with the News Service of Florida, floats a trial balloon announcing her interest in running for governor in 2014, and barely two days later, up pops Sink."Florida Democrats Are Still Retreading Their Losers".
The 2010 failed gubernatorial candidate circulates a hey-don’t-forget-about-me press release announcing the launch of something she calls the Florida Next Foundation[**].
“Florida Next,” Sink explains, “is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, communications and research organization that I have created to gather the best ideas from everyday Floridians, small-business owners, and entrepreneurs."
Way to stake your claim, Alex.
"Florida Next will use an aggressive platform focusing on interactive social networking, in-person policy forums around the state, opinion polling and online surveys, to reach as broad an audience as possible so Floridians can share their ideas, concerns and aspirations."
Meanwhile, Rich is seeing firsthand that bringing a fresh message -- hers includes education and human services -- doesn't count for diddley. Old horses don’t like new ones anywhere near their pasture.
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*The Teabaggers forget that Sink barely lost to Scott in a mid-term campaign cycle when Dems were losing nationwide. In reality, Sink did well to keep it as close as it was.
**We don't recall Ms. Smith whining about "loser" Jeb Bush when he started his "foundation" after being spanked by one Lawton Chiles. Jebbie started his cash cow foundation even though he had never won an election, let alone a statewide election like Sink has.
"Legislature has received (to-date) 63 citizen-proposed redistricting maps".
And then there's the part where Texas' deforms have failed
"When Gov. Rick Scott asked for input from Florida college presidents this spring on the controversial Texas higher education reforms he supports, he received a three-page letter in July extolling the achievements of Florida colleges over their Texas counterparts. The letter crows that Florida colleges, for instance, have a three-year graduation rate 24 percent better than Texas." "College Presidents Push Back on Texas Higher-Ed Model".
"One of the governor's campaign gimmicks is simply bad policy"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The federal courts have a chance to end the wholesale assault on personal liberty by Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature and strike a blow against Big Brother government."
A lawsuit filed last week by a U.S. Navy veteran seeks to overturn a new state law that requires welfare applicants to submit to a drug test before receiving cash assistance. The suit comes as preliminary results from the program suggest the scheme may not even result in significant taxpayer savings. What started as one of the governor's campaign gimmicks is simply bad policy, and Republican lawmakers should abandon it."Drug test law should be overturned".
Dyer has a legitimate opponent
"Buddy Dyer didn't have much trouble winning the Orlando mayor's office in 2003, or holding onto it through two re-elections. But in City Commissioner Phil Diamond, Dyer will face a unique challenge in the April 3 city election: an opponent who has actually won an election before." "Commissioner Phil Diamond a unique foe for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer".
James Madison Institute in a dither
"Florida's bid for federal funding of an early-childhood education program is drawing mixed reviews amid the specter of Obamacare."
A legislative panel's approval of a $3.4 million grant for a home-visiting program for at-risk mothers makes the state eligible for up to $100 million in federal Race to the Top education funds."Federal Grant Links Education and Obamacare in 'Magician's Show'".
Proponents say such programs have proven effective at producing more healthy pregnancies, reducing child abuse and improving school readiness.
Noting that the state already provides some of these services, advocates say the federal grant will bring added support and structure -- and funds.
But critics warn that federal strings will bind Florida more tightly to Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act widely opposed by state Republican lawmakers.
"With this grant, as with federal funding in several other fields, state officials nationwide are placed in a difficult position akin to that of an audience member called to the stage to take part in a magician’s show," said Robert McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute, a free-market research organization based in Tallahassee.
Second amendment stoopid
"Man shoots self while trying to shoot snake".