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 Monday, September 26, 2011

"What's wrong with Florida?"

    "In the last four presidential elections alone, Florida has been the most important swing state in the nation, and it is projected to be among the five most important in 2012. And yet the Sunshine State has failed to put forward a single presidential nominee or seen one of its own elected to the presidency during this era."
    Florida's increasing prominence and the size and diversity of its population now make it a place that the national parties regularly look to for presidential candidates.

    Much like Virginia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and Ohio in the late 19th and 20th centuries, Florida, together with Texas and California, is uniquely positioned to produce viable national candidates today.

    While size and state influence are often crucial, being in the right place at the right time also matters. The elections of Lyndon Johnson and George Herbert Walker Bush are recent cases in point.
    "David Colburn: What's wrong with Florida?".

    "Critical" River of Grass program to be gutted

    "The agencies in charge of restoring the Everglades are set to gut a science program critical to determining whether work they’re doing is helping or hurting plants and animals that live there — from algae that anchors the bottom of the food chain to alligators that feast at its top."

    The budget for the long-running monitoring program, which assesses key “indicator” species that serve as the vital signs of complex, interconnected Everglades ecosystems, is being slashed by almost 60 percent overall, with nearly a dozen research projects eliminated completely.

    The cuts, all but finalized, drew sharp criticism from some members of an interagency Everglades restoration group that reviewed them last week. They warned that the resulting data gap could compromise the ambitious multibillion-dollar restoration effort.

    “It’s devastating. It’s completely killing the science, the foundation on which everything was built,’’ said Ronnie Best, coordinator of the greater Everglades science program for the U.S. Geological Survey. “We can’t move forward in the future with any confidence that what we’re doing is making a difference because we won’t be out there monitoring.’’
    "Cut of key monitoring program imperils Everglades restoration, experts warn".

    Despite union pressure

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Despite the political pressure from public unions, nonprofit groups and arts supporters, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved the budget for the coming fiscal year that includes $400 million in cuts to balance the books and a reorganization of departments that Mayor Carlos Gimenez promises will result in better service for residents and more government efficiencies for taxpayers." "Miami-Dade: More left to do".

    Florida may "go fifth"

    "With a week to go before the Republican National Committee’s Oct. 1 deadline for states to schedule their primaries or caucuses, South Carolina officials are working to help Florida go fifth in picking a presidential nominee." "Florida in talks for 5th primary spot".

    "Southern Bellwether"

    "Southern Bellwether: Florida’s Crucial 2012 Contest Takes Shape".

    Millionaire goes after tenure

    "Scott's questions put university tenure under scrutiny".

    "Something smells here"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "It was bad enough the Republican-controlled Legislature, which purports to be against unnecessary regulation, tied up state election laws with red tape last session. Early-voting days were cut, voter-registration groups were burdened with onerous restrictions, and some voters who move will no longer be able to cast regular ballots at the polls."

    But another troubling part of the law went mostly unnoticed. It will dictate who can and cannot run in partisan elections, especially in 2012.

    Under the provision — sponsored in the House by Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican — candidates in partisan contests must be registered members of their chosen political party for 365 days before the qualifying period ends.

    This means there is no telling how many candidates now have been stymied in their plans to seek office in 2012. Qualifying for the general election ends on June 8 of that year, so candidates must have had their party selections formally declared by June of this year — barely days after Gov. Rick Scott signed the legislation.

    Something smells here.

    Clearly, this is a vengeful slap against former Gov. Charlie Crist, who left the Republican Party last year to run for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation after polls showed he would not capture the GOP nomination.
    "An election-law overreach".

    Unemployment tracker

    Each month, [The Current will present an infographic "updated to display the latest Florida and national statistics on jobless rates dating back for the previous five years." "The Current debuts new graphic feature to track unemployment".

    The best they can do

    Jeremy Wallace: "Republicans are convinced that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, is vulnerable in his 2012 re-election bid. But if last weekend is any signal, they are still not certain that any of the four candidates who are so far bidding to take him on in 2012 are up to the task." "Senate contenders to Nelson fail to excite GOP".

    "Most gerrymandered"

    "The most gerrymandered districts of 2011".

    "Work-force system needs overhaul"

    Beth Kassab: "Beth Kassab: State's work-force system needs overhaul".

    "Aligning college degrees with employers' demands"

    "Florida's colleges and universities are facing mounting pressure to graduate more students with science and math degrees as part of a statewide effort to more closely align college degrees with employers' demands and keep Florida competitive with other states." "Universities Pressured to Boost Science, Math Degrees".

    Welfare drug testing in court today

    "A 35-year-old Orlando father is expected to be in federal court this morning, challenging a new state law that requires welfare applicants to undergo drug testing. Attorneys for Luis W. Lebron, a Navy veteran and student at the University of Central Florida, will ask an Orlando federal judge to order an immediate stop to the tests."

    The ACLU filed a class-action suit with him as lead plaintiff on Sept. 6. It asks U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven to order a halt to those tests.

    At today's hearing, she'll hear lawyers for Lebron argue for the ban and those for the Florida Department of Children and Families defend it.
    "Orlando dad in court today to fight welfare drug-test law". See also "Federal judge hearing arguments on drug test law".

    Temporary influx of BP dollars inflates bed tax collections

    "Scott has his numbers right, but he's leaving out a couple of things. Tourism officials in the Panhandle admit that the boost is partly artificial, created by the temporary influx of BP dollars. And while bed tax collections are the highest they've been, occupancy rates were higher in the Panhandle in 2006 and 2007, and hotel operators were able to charge higher prices for their rooms in 2007 and 2008. With those minor points, we rate Scott's statement Mostly True." "PolitiFact Florida: Gov. Rick Scott says Panhandle set bed tax record".

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