"As he thrusts himself into the national spotlight, inviting speculation about vice presidential ambitions, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is also drawing tougher scrutiny over his words and actions."
He has been assailed on national TV for saying government programs have "weakened us as a people," subjected to negative political ads and labeled a traitor by pro-immigration groups. ..."Rubio meets spotlight's glare".
But there are also attacks in darker corners of the Internet, questioning whether he is a natural-born citizen (his parents were Cuban exiles) as well as the type of dirt-digging a presidential candidate might expect. A Miami TV station recently carried a report about a major drug bust that netted his brother-in-law — in 1987.
Rubio, 40, has pursued an elaborately scripted path since taking office in January. He eschewed national media just long enough to gain the label that he was focused on Florida and learning the ways of the Senate. Glowing national TV profiles followed as did a series of speeches his office aggressively promoted as "major" addresses, much in the way presidential candidates do, or the president himself. ...
Cast as the next "great communicator," Rubio exposed himself to a fierce backlash from the left when he said government programs have "weakened us as a people." ...
A growing number of Republican insiders think Rubio is actively laying the groundwork for higher office. Certainly he would be a top pick for any of the presidential candidates. The major ones have reached out to him, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.
Why why wasn't medical examiner reappointed?
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Motivations aside, Gov. Rick Scott has a right to make appointments any way he sees fit."
If there is somebody in a high-profile position whom Scott doesn't want to reappoint, that is his right. And even if he is motivated by political reasons — hey, he's the governor. Every governor makes some decisions and appointments for political reasons. This governor is entitled to do so as well. That being said, the people of South Florida and Joshua A. Perper, chief medical examiner for Broward County, are also entitled to an explanation as to why Perper has not been reappointed to his post."Gov. Rick Scott should explain Joshua Perper decision".
Second amendment takes a back seat to the first
"A federal judge Wednesday blocked a Florida gun law that restricted doctors from asking patients about firearms. Judge Marcia G. Cooke said doctors had a First Amendment right to ask about firearms, and she rapped the state's lawyers for failing to provide more than anecdotal evidence to show the law was needed." "Judge blocks Florida law restricting doctor gun talk". See also "U.S. judge blocks Florida gun law fought by doctors" and "Judge blocks law restricting doctors' gun questions".
Florida's economy "sputtering"
"With the economy sputtering, state analysts will gather Oct. 11 and dish out bad budget news."
Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, said Wednesday that earlier projections of general-revenue growth this year and during the 2012-13 fiscal year will drop "fairly significantly.""State revenue outlook is bleak". See also "'Another Tight Session' Awaits Lawmakers, Official Says".
That means more difficult budget choices for lawmakers when they start the 2012 legislative session in January --- though Baker said things won’t be as bad as during this spring’s session, when lawmakers faced a $3.6 billion shortfall.
"Obama's stimulus provided an economic lifeline"
The Sarasota-Herald Tribune editors: "Since he became Florida's governor, Scott has rejected more than $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail and health care needs. And this week, Scott signaled that he might reject funds resulting from President Barack Obama's proposed $447 billion jobs bill if they increase the national debt."
Scott was joined in his skepticism by Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, who said last week, "The answer to the current economic problem is not spending more money." And state Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Obama should cut taxes and repeal the health-care reform law rather than push for more federal spending. ..."Stimulate a discussion".
Federal money may not be "the answer" to the nation's and the state's continuing economic malaise, but it sure could help.
Cannon and Haridopolos should know. They've been in legislative leadership roles the whole time Obama's stimulus provided an economic lifeline that kept Florida's head above water in the Great Recession.
In all, Florida received $11.3 billion in stimulus dollars between February 2009 and this July, according to the latest White House figures. That money has helped police officers, firefighters and teachers keep their jobs, provided jobs for the construction industry, helped families on Medicaid and unemployment, and filled myriad other needs.
The stimulus funds have not prevented hard times for Florida and its people, or tough budget decisions by the Legislature. But they have eased the economic stress and suffering, and have helped keep a dire situation from becoming even worse.
Florida is still struggling. Its 10.7 unemployment rate is above the too-high national rate of 9.1 percent. Recent estimates put the 2012 state budget shortfall at $400 million.
Mike Thomas: "Sinkhole Alley folks apoplectic at Citizens' rate hikes; what did they expect?".
Wingnuts think it was a great idea
"Florida’s new law requiring welfare recipients to undergo drug tests before receiving state aid garnered high marks in a study released on Wednesday by the Naples-based Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank launched earlier in the year." "Welfare Drug Test Saves Taxpayer Money, Study Finds".
Rickster laff riot
"Gov. Rick Scott stopped by MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about the GOP presidential race and Florida today. During the interview, he told the panel he is skeptical of President Obama’s jobs bill and wants Florida to be a 'model for the country.'" "Scott wants Florida to be ‘the model for the country’".
"Kaiser Health News reports that states all over the country, including Florida, are moving toward Medicaid managed care and are looking 'to private health plans for help closing budget gaps.'" "Kaiser Health News: States moving toward more Medicaid managed care".
"September 19 redistricting committee meetings noticed".
"Knucklehead Capital of America"
Carl Hiaasen: "On the day after Christmas in 2000, flight controllers at Miami International Airport were annoyed to peer out at one of the crowded taxiways and see a small Piper Cherokee."
The plane wasn’t moving, and the cockpit was empty. One official in the flight tower spotted two men walking away, crossing the airfield in the direction of the main general aviation hangar."The dumb deed before the terror attack".
Even in Miami this doesn’t happen every day. Even rookie pilots know to radio the tower if their aircraft conks out while rolling toward the runway. Nobody just abandons a plane in a line of waiting commercial jetliners.
The men who pulled this stunt were named Marwan al-Shehhi and Mohamed Atta. Nine months later they would be infamous, but on Dec. 26, 2000, they seemed just like two more knuckleheads in the Knucklehead Capital of America.
They had learned to fly at Huffman Aviation in Venice, near Sarasota.
Elderly, disabled refugees need assistance
The Miami Herald editors: "Extend deadline, let elderly, disabled refugees continue to get assistance". "Don’t compound the problem".
"EPA appears to have capitulated again"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Floridians who banked on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the state's waters have a right to be disappointed."
The agency appears to have capitulated again by approving this month the state's request to lower standards for water bodies too polluted or physically altered to be redeemed in a "cost effective" way. The true impact remains to be seen, but this puts a new weapon into the hands of the environmental wrecking crew in Tallahassee."EPA retreats on clean water". See also "DEP draft water quality rule faces criticism on both sides". Related: "Florida congressman attacks EPA for ‘going wild,’ using ‘junk science’".
"Either we have no water problem or we do have a water problem"
Sen. Evelyn Lynn, a "Republican senator from Ormond Beach is raising the controversy over water bottling to another level with a bill filed Wednesday. SB 216 by Sen. Evelyn Lynn would place a 10-year ban on permits for the purchase of water with the intent to resell the water to the public for a commercial profit." "Senator wants a 10-year ban on water bottling permits".
State: Buss can't testify
"The state does not want recently ousted Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss testifying in a lawsuit filed by the Police Benevolent Association to stop privatization of prisons in South Florida." "State: Buss can't testify in prison privatization lawsuit".
Fla-baggers booed Perry
"Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry had the tea party crowd on his side at Monday night's debate, only to get booed when he espoused moderate-sounding positions on immigration." "On immigration, Rick Perry strays from tea party script".
New York congressional election could reverberate in South Florida
"Republicans are hailing their victory in a heavily Democratic New York congressional district with a large Jewish population as a rebuke of President Obama that will reverberate nationally and in South Florida." "GOP win in Weiner's old N.Y. district a concern for Obama in Florida?".
As if they weren't already underpaid
"For the second time in six years, a federal investigation has found the Florida Department of Children and Families violated labor laws by causing its employees to work overtime that went unrecorded and unpaid." "Feds: DCF Violated Labor Law for Unrecorded and Unpaid Overtime".
"Tar balls, dead marine life raise more questions about oil in the gulf".
Sansom's complaint about Meggs trashed
"The Florida Commission on Ethics has dropped former House Speaker Ray Sansom's complaint against Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs. The commission dismissed it without investigation, which happens with about half of all complaints." "Florida Commission on Ethics dismisses Ray Sansom's complaint against Willie Meggs".
Teamsters file ethics charge against Scott
"Florida policymakers' push to privatize a huge part of its prison system has drawn the wrath of the Teamsters union, which announced Wednesday that it had filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Rick Scott. The complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics says Scott's privatization push is 'tainted' because he accepted $30,000 for his inaugural committee from the two largest companies vying for the contracts, the GEO Group and Corrections Corp. of America. The companies also contributed more than $1 million to candidates in 2010, it says." "Teamsters seek to block prison privatization". See also "Teamsters accuse Gov. Scott of conflict of interest in privatization of Florida prisons" and "Teamsters, Governor's Office Clash on Prison Bidding".
"Lower scores in the Sunshine State"
"The College Board announced Wednesday that more high school students are taking the SAT test across the nation and in Florida -- but state Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson maintained that the higher number of test takers led to lower scores in the Sunshine State." "Florida SATs: Participation Up, Scores Down".
Admin law judges and mediators on chopping block
"Administrative law judges and workers compensation mediators have been targeted for reductions under a list of options to reduce spending by 10 percent that was submitted by the Division of Administrative Hearings Tuesday as part of this year's budget exercise. The reductions, according to budget documents, could slow down the legal system where proposed rules and state procurements are challenged and could slow down access to benefits for injured workers, according to the documents." "Judges and mediators included in possible list of reductions".
"Bullied by a single state legislator"
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "When the Florida Board of Governors convenes today to discuss the future of the University of South Florida Polytechnic campus in Lakeland, it should not abdicate all responsibility and allow itself to be bullied by a single state legislator." "Stand up to campus bully".
"Gospel of the Miami-Dade school district"
"Superintendent Alberto Carvalho brought the gospel of the Miami-Dade school district to Congress Wednesday, trumpeting his efforts to turn around long-struggling schools as a national model and urging lawmakers to revamp how the federal government measures student success." "Revamp No Child Left Behind, Miami-Dade schools chief tells Congress".
Lawsuit claims legislation interferes with right to bargain
"State teachers union sues to block Fla. merit pay law". See also "Sarasota teachers sue over merit pay law", "'Disruptive' Teachers Union Lawsuit Won't Wash, Say Supporters", "Florida merit-pay law challenge is part of bigger fight by unions against GOP legislatures", "Senator wants a 10-year ban on water bottling permits", "Florida Education Association, teachers file lawsuit against state education overhaul" and "Fla. teachers union files suit over merit pay law".