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 Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Hays' ham-handed suggestion ... smacks of Jim Crowism"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Republican state Sen. Alan Hays of Umatilla is either woefully ignorant or suffers from a befuddled anti-Hispanic bias, or both. Hays' ham-handed suggestion last week that Hispanic citizens should be singled out for special scrutiny before the state creates a Hispanic-serving congressional district in Central Florida smacks of Jim Crowism and caters to the worst prejudices of elements in his party's extreme right wing." "Ethnic gamesmanship has no place in reapportionment". The Miami Herald editors: "Another attack on Hispanics".

    Awake The State Summit

    "With two months until the opening of the 2012 Florida Legislative session, progressives in the state have started to mobilize."

    On Saturday, more than 50 people took part in the Awake The State Summit at the University of Central Florida. The two-day event, which continues today, was created to bring activists together and give them the tools to fight against Gov. Rick Scott's "anti-middle class" agenda, organizers said.
    "The summit is a spinoff of the 'Awake The State' rallies held March 8."
    This weekend's summit was designed to bring the groups back together and get people on the same page, said Edwin Enciso, who helped coordinate LegiCamp, a program to help activists better understand legislative issues. The participants decide what bill or proposed bill to tackle.
    "Awake the State organizes to fight Gov. Rick Scott's agenda".

    Sentinel editors move to the right of Rick Perry

    The Orlando Sentinel editors move to the right of Rick Perry, writing that "At a debate last month, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry said it's heartless to deny [the children of] illegal immigrants the right to attend college at in-state tuition rates. We'd call it fair and fiscally prudent." "Don't cut tuition for illegal immigrants".

    One suspects that the editors' motivation is largely due to the fact that Orlando's Sen. Gary Siplin is pushing the issue; Siplin is as popular in the Sentinel editors' board room as Alan Grayson.

    Romney grubs for the Fla-bagger vote in Florida

    "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is coming to the defense of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's fighting allegations that he embellished his family's history by saying his parents fled Cuba before Fidel Castro's communist revolution. ... The AP relays background on the controversy surrounding Rubio:"

    The 40-year-old freshman senator has always publicly identified with the exile community and has a strong following within it. In a campaign ad last year, he said: "As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom." Rubio's biography on his Senate website previously said he was "born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who come to America following Fidel Castro's takeover." It has been changed to say Rubio "was born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban exiles who first arrived in the United States in 1956."

    But The Washington Post reported that Rubio's parents actually left Cuba in 1956, nearly three years before Castro seized power in a revolution against dictator Fulgencia Batista. Rubio's father was a store security guard when he and his wife left, according to Rubio's staff, and came to the U.S. for economic reasons.
    "GOP Candidate Defends Tea Party Senator Amid Allegations Of Embellishing History". See also "" and "The Fix: Will this hurt Rubio’s political career?".

    Marco scrubs his Senate Web site bio

    "Following an article in the Washington Post stating that the senator had embellished the story of his family’s arrival from Cuba to the United States, Sen. Marco Rubio’s Senate Web site biography has now been changed." "Marco Rubio updates his Senate Web site biography".

    Occupy Florida

    "More than 100 Occupy Tampa protesters showed up at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Saturday evening. But compared to Friday, when six protesters were arrested for lying on sidewalks in violation of a city law, Saturday's assembly was peaceful." "Occupy Tampa protesters huddle to discuss challenges". See also "'Occupy' movement expands into West Palm Beach".

    And "lying on sidewalks" is not peaceful?

    Obama's Florida bundlers

    "Florida bundlers have raised at least $4.5 million for the Obama campaign directly and for the Democratic National Committee. Federal campaign laws allow donations up to $5,000 to the campaign and $33,500 to the national parties. Florida's more than two dozen Obama bundlers include a mix of veteran Democratic fundraisers and power brokers, and relative newcomers to the world of top-tier fundraising." "Florida bundlers help bring in big bucks for Obama".

    "Glimmers of light"

    The Sasrasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Through the gloom of much of the global, national and statewide economic news, we're beginning to see glimmers of light, notably in Southwest Florida." "Hopeful signs for the economy".

    Dorworth won't say how he came into the money

    Scott Maxwell: "Two years ago, State Rep. Chris Dorworth was in a heap of financial trouble."

    In short: Things were very bleak for the Republican legislator.

    But the next year, things got much better for Dorworth.

    Early in 2010, his GOP peers voted for him to become a future speaker of the House — widely viewed as the second-most-powerful position in the state after the governor.

    And, according to recently filed papers, Dorworth went from having hardly any assets in 2009 to having a big one: a $713,000 stake in an out-of-state corporation that paid him $72,000 cash — in 2010.

    How did he come into the money? Well, Dorworth won't say.
    "Why won't Rep. Chris Dorworth explain $713,000 in new assets?".

    What is wrong with Rubio?

    Jon Stewart asks what is wrong with the GOP, including Marco Rubio?

    Real ID, who knew?

    "Real ID law gaining some real opposition".

    "Governor's predictable crusade for more tax cuts on top of tax cuts"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders continue to act as if Florida will magically return to prosperity if they can just cut taxes and business regulations enough."

    But new state revenue forecasts for the next two years expose the fallacy of that argument. Florida in the next two years won't have the means to maintain even the current level of often inadequate spending, particularly in education. Yet Scott's so-called jobs plan remains depressingly familiar: Just cut more taxes for businesses. It is a failed strategy that has diminished Florida's quality of life, and it has failed to keep the state's unemployment rate from rising higher than the nation's. ...

    The governor's predictable crusade for more tax cuts on top of tax cuts is not a road map to job creation and economic prosperity. It would require deeper spending cuts in areas such as public education — the very sorts of programs that families and business executives examine when they consider whether Florida is a good place to live and work.
    "More tax cuts: A failed recipe for jobs".

    "The battle over Miami’s soul has begun"

    "A bill is expected to be filed Monday by Miami Rep. Erik Fresen and Fort Lauderdale Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff. It asks legislators to do what decades of lawmakers have rejected: bring three Las Vegas-style casinos to Florida."

    The proposal appeals heavily to the jobs-first strategy of Gov. Rick Scott and legislators, but skepticism is widespread. Doubters question what impact more gambling, more tourism and more congestion will have on families, communities and the state.

    In a wide-ranging interview with the Times/Herald last week, [the top U.S. executive for one of the globe's largest casino developers] responded to concerns, pointedly countered rumors that his company is anti-Semitic and associated with the Chinese mafia, and offered a window into the company's legislative strategy.
    "With casino gambling bill near, Genting shares vision for resort, jobs".

    Andres Oppenheimer argues that "The battle over Miami’s soul has begun."

    He asks,
    does Miami want to be known as the home of one of the biggest mega-casinos in the world — if not the biggest one — assuming the Florida legislature approves it? Or does it prefer to be known as an international trade center that already has 1,000 multinational corporations, a brand new University of Miami Life Sciences and Technology Park, and an Art Basel annual fair that ranks among the world’s top fine arts shows? ...

    [Oppenheimer's] opinion: It all depends on how Florida legislators would regulate mega-casinos. If gambling corporations are allowed to build giant resorts with blinking lights, surrounded by “Girls, Girls, Girls” signs, pawn shops, and casino company buses roaming the city offering free rides to take seniors to the gambling places, it will kill Miami as an international business center.

    On the other hand, if legislators demand that mega-casinos have a discreet appearance, much like the slot machine and poker facilities at Hallandale Beach’s Gulfstream Park, where you don’t see huge casino signs from the street, and if there are laws to prevent Miami from becoming a Mecca for prostitutes, drunks, pickpockets and con artists, the proposed casino resort could be a good addition to the city.

    But, for now, [Oppenheimer is] not neutral. Considering how vulnerable Florida legislators are likely to be to big money promises at a time of financial crisis, I’m afraid they will be pretty lax at the time of authorizing full-fledged casinos. Unless the regulators convince [him] otherwise, [he thinks] mega-casinos will hurt Miami.
    "Las Vegas-style casinos would hurt Miami".

    Rubio's "politically useful identity" comes crashing down

    The usual suspects are rushing to Rubio's defense.  Consider this less than compelling syllogism from Nancy Smith: "Most Cuban Americans in this state don't define an exile by the date of his departure from Cuba. They define it by his inability to return to the Castro regime." "Marco Rubio Didn't Lie, Ask Those Who Know Best".

    If that is so, why was it that Rubio spun on his head to create the false impression that his parents left Cuba to avoid Castro? The answer is plain: Rubio wanted to create the politically useful impression that his family left Cuba because of Castro.

    The reality, of course, is that Rubio's family had abandoned Cuba years before Castro's ascendancy. Indeed, it would be more accurate to say that Rubio's parents fled the Batista regime; to be sure, fleeing Batista's brutal regime was both a wise and understandable thing to do, but it doesn't necessarily play as well with Miami Republicans, who are dominated by anti-Castro dead enders.

    Tom Lyons elegantly takes down the excuses trumpeted by Rubio's friends in the media.  Lyons begins with the truism that "Rubio has said, in print and in speeches, that he is the son of Cuban exiles who fled Castro. That claim made his roots seem more like many of his fellow South Florida residents, the ones who helped launched him into local politics and later sent him to the Florida Legislature."

    In 2006, when Rubio was about to become Florida Speaker of the House, he had claimed he was one of many children whose parents were "forced to flee and come here" because of Castro. Even his U.S. Senate biography says his mother and father "came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover."

    But the sad-yet-inspiring tale is a case of gilding the lily.

    As newly released documents reported by the Washington Post forced him to admit, Rubio's parents moved to Florida in 1956, while Havana was still a colorful tourism hot spot Americans were flocking to. Documents show his father was approved as a permanent U.S. resident that year.

    Castro's takeover was in 1959.
    Lyons continues: "Even Rubio's best attempt to salvage a claim of refugee status for his parents makes [Lyon] cringe. He said they considered moving back to Cuba, and that more than two years after Castro took power, his mother visited with that in mind, but decided not to because of Castro."
    After the Washington Post yanked the rug from under Rubio's family history tale, he responded that he had simply been uncertain on some dates and so had innocently garbled some "family lore." And one news report noted that the Miami Herald had more or less taken Rubio's side.

    The Herald said Rubio has also said, at times, that his parents came to America before Castro took power. The times when he dramatically claimed otherwise are apparently shrugged off in the Herald account as part of Rubio's tendency to be a bit sloppy with details.

    Details? Arriving here while fleeing Castro is no detail. It's the crucial fact, key to the story, the entire point.

    That wasn't being sloppy. That was fudging facts to help create a politically useful identity. That he has sometimes told the truth only shows he knew better.
    "Don't shrug off Rubio refugee ruse".

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