"Florida has lost about 10,000 jobs as contracts and grants from the federal stimulus program dry up, according to a new report from the Collins Center for Public Policy."
“Some of the big education grants are winding down,” said Don Winstead, a Collins Center consultant who was former Gov. Charlie Crist’s stimulus czar. “I expect the job numbers to decline from here on out.”"The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act required states to create a website, and Winstead said Florida is still meeting the minimum requirements. But the data, showing how much money had been spent on projects like road construction and water system renovations, is no longer centralized on flarecovery.com.".
The Florida-based think tank started crunching stimulus data with money from liberal investor George Soros after Republican Gov. Rick Scott stopped maintaining a similar website that Crist started. The report is available at www.collinscenter.org.
“The information is available if you know where to look for it,” Winstead said."Report: As stimulus money dries up, so do Florida jobs".
Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said the stimulus site was dismantled because it was not getting significant web traffic and because Scott “has different priorities.” Scott, who opposes the stimulus program, has created his own public records site that posts information related to Scott’s policy agenda — floridahasarighttoknow.com.
Rubio tells "dramatically different" stories
"NPR [yesterday] afternoon cited Sen. Marco Rubio's piece Friday in Politico -- a strident reaction to allegations he embellished his parents' Cuban exile story -- and called it a 'narrative dramatically different from the one he provided to NPR in late 2009.' At issue, in part, is Rubio's telling of why his mother returned to Cuba." "NPR cities 'dramatically different' narrative than Rubio laid out for Politico".
'Jus dead fish
"The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association has released its annual condition report for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The report, which will guide a comprehensive review of sanctuary regulations in 2012, details the decline of several species and resources in the area, which have suffered as a result of both climate change and human impact." "NOAA finds dwindling species in Keys Marine Sanctuary".
"What is happening at 610 South Blvd. is completely legal"
"A little over a year ago, no-party gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles stood outside an off-white single-story building with a carefully manicured lawn in suburban Tampa and said, 'This building behind me is ground zero for what’s wrong with Florida politics.'"
The building’s address: 610 South Blvd., a designation found on the financial disclosure forms of countless political committees in Florida and all over the country. The unassuming building nestled in an unassuming neighborhood is a veritable political action committee mill, churning out millions of dollars and influencing elections all over the country."How one Tampa address handles millions in campaign cash, influences elections nationwide".
The kicker: What is happening at 610 South Blvd. is completely legal.
Chiles — who eventually dropped out of the race and endorsed Democratic candidate Alex Sink — was echoing the thoughts of millions of Americans who feel that too much money goes into our country’s political system, and we know way too little about where it comes from.
610 South Blvd. provides insight into a commonly overlooked aspect of campaign financing: Because so few people understand the nuances of campaign money, politicians and activists have a limited number of places to turn to when starting a committee. That leads to a high concentration of candidates and committees at a few select addresses, none more infamous in Florida political circles than 610 South Blvd.
Nancy and Robert Watkins together run Robert Watkins and Co., the accounting firm located at 610. Thirty-nine political committees are currently registered under the address with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The committees registered there have conservative leanings and ties exclusively to Republican politicians.
From Winter Park to Luxembourg
"Winter Park's Bob Mandell is new U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg".
FlaDems chastised for shortage of Hispanic speakers
"A group of Hispanic Democrats in Central Florida is chastising the party for what it calls a shortage of Hispanics in the lineup of speakers for the party's state convention, which starts Friday." "Not enough Hispanic speakers at state Democratic convention, group says".
Will the whining ever end?
"The National Federation of Independent Business says a pending 8.9 percent rate hike in workers' compensation costs is 'bad news' for small businesses." "NCCI Workers' Comp Hike 'Bad News' for Small Businesses in Florida".
Biden Heads to Florida
"Joe Biden Heads to Florida: 2012 and 2016 in Mind".
"The Florida Democratic Party has launched a fund-raising Web site - Rickpublicans.com - that takes aim at some of the state's most prominent Republicans by pointing out their ties to unpopular Gov. Rick Scott." "Six degrees of Rick? Democrats launch 'Rickpublicans.com'".
Fla GOP primary a winner-take-all contest for 50 delegates
"The Florida Republican presidential primary will be a winner-take-all contest for 50 delegates, a bloc that could serve as an early knock-out punch in this winter's primary season, the Republican Party of Florida announced Monday. The decision, approved by the Republican National Committee, means Florida loses just under half the 99 delegates it would have expected had it obeyed RNC rules and set a primary no earlier than March 6. Last month, state officials set the primary for Jan. 31." "State GOP presidential primary will be winner-take-all". See also "Florida primary will be a winner-take-all contest".
Welfare drug testing law enjoined
"Court blocks Florida’s welfare drug testing law". See also "Judge blocks state drug testing for welfare applicants" and "Florida's welfare drug testing law blocked by judge".
The legal geniuses at the wingnut Heritage Foundation speak: "'This is a deliberate violation of the law on the part of the judge,' said Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation researcher who helped author the original law governing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program." "Judge's Welfare Drug-Test Injunction Called 'Insane and Irresponsible'".
"Inside exile baseball"
Fred Grimm: "Over the weekend, old interviews surfaced on the Internet with Rubio talking to a Tampa television station, with NPR, with Fox News, indicating, or saying outright, that his parents came over 1959. In a 2009 campaign speech in northwest Florida, covered by Herald reporter Beth Reinhard, Rubio said 1959. And there was that 2010 campaign ad with him declaring, 'My parents lost everything – their home, their families, friends, even their country.'"
Rubio responded angrily to the questions about his exile credentials, particularly to the Washington Post story, which propelled this peculiar Miami story into the national conversation, entangling Rubio’s family bio, and questions about his veracity, into national Republican politics. ..."Marco Rubio’s biography didn’t need fudging".
Miami’s Cuban community closed ranks around their favorite son, their political star, declaring there was no meaningful distinction among Cubans who left in 1956 or 1959. That the whole imbroglio was the stuff of low-down politics, just short of slander. “They’re rallying behind him,” Gonzalez said. But, he said, within the exile community, there’s another conversation. “Inside exile baseball,” he called it. “I guarantee Cubans all are talking about this among themselves.”
[George Gonzalez, professor of political science at the University of Miami] said the Cuban exiles are undoubtedly debating with one another whether Rubio might have fudged his biography. Or whether, despite growing up in a place where everyone talked about their families’ exile experience, he was simply confused. Or was it that his parents had been murky on the details?
“Not to vilify Rubio in any way, shape or form, but it just doesn’t seem plausible,” Gonzalez said.
LeMieux grubs for wingnut vote
"Here's something you don't necessarily expect to see from a candidate trying to win votes from Florida's families: a call for higher tuition at state universities." "LeMieux says college is too cheap".
"Occupy Wall Street supporters arrested in Tampa and Orlando". Related: "Occupy Orlando supporters have to vacate campsite | Video".
Tallahassee prosecutor looking at Carroll office recordings
"A Tallahassee prosecutor is deciding whether any laws were violated in making a tape recording of a conversation between two employees in the office of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement started investigating in September after receiving a complaint regarding the audio recording." "Probe of covert tape of Jennifer Carroll's staff discussion advances".
Grayson truthfully defends the Occupy Wall Street movement
"Alan Grayson, an Orlando Democrat and former U.S. Representative running to reclaim a seat in 2012, emerged a big-time supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement after appearing on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Oct. 7, 2011."
"Listen, if I am a spokesman for all the people who think we should not have 24 million people in this country who can't find a full-time job, that we should not have 50 million people in this country who can't see a doctor when they're sick, that we shouldn't have 47 million people in this country who need government help in order to feed themselves, and we shouldn't have 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home, okay, I'll be that spokesman."Politifact "decided to check Grayson's litany of claims about the economic plight of many Americans."
Maher's audience gave Grayson a standing ovation. His retort popped up on YouTube and then spread through Facebook and Twitter. Liberal bloggers praised him for his succinct explanation. You can see the video clip here.
Grayson's defense of the Occupy Wall Street movement earned him praise from the left-wing blosophere and pundits for its pith. No pundit or official in the movement's first month had quite articulated the protesters' qualms -- high unemployment, expensive health care, poverty and underwater mortgage payments -- as Grayson did in 20 seconds on Maher's show. We examined each of his economic claims and found them accurate, point for point. We rate his claim True."Alan Grayson's defense of Occupy Wall Street is impassioned, but is it accurate?".
"Regulators rejected arguments from consumer advocates"
"State utility regulators rejected arguments from consumer advocates and agreed to allow utility companies to charge customers so they can invest in speculative plans for nuclear power." "Regulators agree to let FPL raise rates to pay for possible nuclear plants".
World's biggest companies breaching contracts, laffing their way to the bank
"Florida has given tax breaks and other cash incentives to some of the world's biggest companies in return for creating jobs."
But even Walmart, Publix, Kraft Foods and other corporate giants have had trouble meeting job goals."1 out of every 3 jobs promised".
New data show that Florida has signed contracts worth $1.7 billion since 1995 in return for promises of 225,000 new jobs.
But only about one-third of those jobs have been filled while the state has paid out 43 percent of the contracts.
That averages out to $10,237 per job.