Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marco Rubio, actually the son of "pre-exiles"

    "Stung by revelations that he inaccurately described part of his powerfully told biography, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio moved aggressively Friday to contain any damage, insisting he is 'the son of immigrants and exiles.'"
    The fast-rising Republican from Florida acknowledged he got the year wrong for when his parents arrived in the United States from Cuba. They arrived in 1956, not "following Fidel Castro's takeover" in 1959, as his Senate website stated.
    "In a time when some political careers are stunted by resume inflating, the controversy could dog Rubio as he is talked about as a possible vice presidential, or even presidential, candidate. The Democratic response is fueled by worries Rubio could attract Hispanic voters to the GOP, even though he has adopted his party's hard edge stance on immigration."
    Rubio sees no distinction to whether they came before Castro took over or after.
    "Challenging Rubio's record". See also "Marco Rubio: 'I am the son of immigrants and exiles'" and "Rubio: 'Washington Post' story saying he embellished family's exile status 'outrageous'".

    Politifact: Rubio's claim is "False"

    "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio sold his American success story as he stumped across Florida two years ago."

    His parents left Havana in 1959, he told a Panhandle audience, inferring, at least, that they fled Fidel Castro's communist revolution.

    Now records show that they left in 1956, while Castro still plotted in Mexico — and that even when Rubio doubted his dates, he didn't correct the record.

    In 2009 and 2010, Rubio told three different TV audiences that his parents came from Cuba at the end of the 1950s. "In 1959," he told Fox 13 and Fox Business. "In '58, '59," he said to Fox News.

    But interviews, documents and news articles in September and October raised doubts.
    "The difference, in this case, is more than just a couple of years."
    Several times during his race for U.S. Senate, Rubio told reporters and voters his parents left Cuba in 1959, suggesting they had fled Castro's rule. In his campaign biography, and later in his official Senate biography, he said his parents "came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover."

    Even after he stumbled over dates with a Miami Herald reporter and acknowledged his parents left before the revolution, his official Web bio stayed the same. The day after two news organizations reported his parents moved to the United States in 1956, his spokesman acknowledged that the bio was wrong, which was updated.

    "Marco was born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban exiles who first arrived in the United States in 1956," the updated website now says. That puts everyone in agreement: The original statement is False.
    "PolitiFact Florida: Marco Rubio's parents' immigration predated Castro revolution".

    Florida Occupations going strong

    "Occupy Orlando uses 'community effort' to sustain demonstration". See also "Orlando police arrest Occupy Wall St. protesters".

    Limo rentals through the roof

    "GOP convention already bringing business to Tampa Bay area".

    Race to the bottom

    "Florida is among the states most likely to get a boost from free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that President Barack Obama signed into law Friday."


    Some Democrats and U.S. labor unions argued the deals would help some companies by lowering the cost of their exports. But a flood of cheaper products imported into the United States could lead to layoffs of American workers, they said.

    The nonpartisan Economic Strategy Institute points out that South Korea is a major exporter of textiles, steel and semiconductors.

    "The truth is, I think this is going to cost us jobs," Clyde Prestowitz, the institute's founder and a former Reagan administration official, told the Washington Post.
    "Free trade agreements hold promise for Florida".

    State employees likely to take another hit

    "With the state again facing another budget shortfall in the range of $2 billion for next year, there is increasing pressure on the state health insurance program, which provides coverage for some 150,000 active and retired state workers." "State employees' benefit costs could rise".

    Nice to call them "tent dwellers"

    "For tent dwellers in Miami, a sense of family and purpose".

    "Misinformed rhetoric divides"

    "A state senator is drawing fire over his comments about a proposal to draw a heavily Hispanic congressional district in the Orlando area. At a Senate Reapportionment Committee meeting this week, Sen. Alan Hays said lawmakers should make sure Hispanic residents are citizens before drawing up such districts." "Fla. lawmaker draws fire over Hispanic comments".

    Fabiola Santiago: "Ignorance and prejudice are first cousins."

    And here they dwell in perfect union on the lips of one of our state’s elected officials, Republican Sen. Alan Hays from the Central Florida town of Umatilla: “We all know there are many Hispanic-speaking people in Florida that are not legal.”

    Oh, senator, the language you’re referencing is Spanish, the one in which your home state was named way back in the 1500s.

    Hispanic is an ethnic designation, an umbrella term created by the U.S. government to refer to people who come from Spanish-speaking countries, or people born in the United States who claim that heritage.

    And while we’re at the point of basic lessons, let me just fix that sentence for you. The correct use of the English language to deliver your poison would be: “We all know there are many Spanish-speaking people in Florida who are not documented.” The term “legal” refers to actions or objects, like drugs and guns, not people. Cocaine is illegal. José, the landscaper, is undocumented. ...

    And don’t think South Florida is immune.

    If you were part of the redistricting hearing held in Miami in August, you heard the man who used up all his time before the visiting committee to complain about people around him speaking Spanish when he had learned Portuguese when he moved to Brazil and lived there for four years. And blah, blah, blah…. As is now the case with Hays, this was an attempt to confuse, divide and turn an information-gathering meeting into a hate party by tapping into those first cousins, ignorance and prejudice.

    That’s why people like Alan Hays are dangerous.

    They add fuel to the worst feelings in people.

    They give policy stature to prejudice.

    They don’t care if their misinformed rhetoric divides us as Americans as long as they retain supremacy in areas they really care about: real estate, power, and politics.
    "Senator tries to turn prejudice into policy".

    Week in Review

    "The Week in Review for Oct. 17 to Oct. 21".

    "Scott needs a dose of negative capability"

    Fred Grimm: "If anthropology fails the cost-benefit test our governor intends to apply to higher education, one can only imagine his chagrin as Florida State University students file into Barbara Hamby’s class. Poetry, sadly, has not been one of the great economic engines in the state of Florida. ... Hamby added, 'We just finished reading Keats’s letters about negative capability, that is when a person is ‘capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.’ I think Governor Scott needs a dose of negative capability.'" "Here’s an economic engine, Gov. Scott: Poetry".

    Perry gives private speech to secretive "Christian" groups in Orlando

    "A California-based Christian activist group sponsored a meeting of Florida pastors in Orlando this week featuring private speeches from Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich and production of a political-activism video."

    Participants in the meeting Thursday and Friday disclosed little about the event or the group behind it, United in Purpose. The group's spokesman was not available.

    The appearances by candidates at the event, dubbed The Florida Renewal Project, also were shrouded in secrecy.

    One local participating group, the Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council, announced Perry's and Gingrich's commitments in a press release two weeks ago, but neither candidate's staff would comment in advance.

    Perry's staff even denied he would attend. Gingrich's staff confirmed his appearance but would not return phone calls to discuss it.
    "Perry, Gingrich give private speeches to Christian group in Orlando".

    Unemployment dips .1%, Ricky dances in Rio, GOPers attack Nelson

    "Florida unemployment rate dips slightly to 10.6 percent". See also "Florida Unemployment Hits Lowest Point in Two Years, Scott Announces". See also "Florida's unemployment inches down to 10.6 percent in September" and "Scott praises job gains, but 1 million in Fla. out of work".

    As Ricky gesticulates, we learn that the job "growth" was "in the accommodation and food service sector, which workers say features low pay and unhealthy working conditions." "State unemployment rate dips slightly; growth in ‘lower wage industries’".

    "Soon after Gov. Rick Scott announced that the unemployment rate dropped from 10.7 percent in Florida in August to 10.6 percent in September -- the first time it fell in four months -- former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, now in a crowded Republican primary for the U.S. Senate election in 2012, took aim at Obama and Nelson. ... American Crossroads, a conservative political organization with ties to many prominent Republican leaders including legendary strategist Karl Rove, also looked to link Obama and Nelson to Florida’s continuing high unemployment rate." "GOP Takes Aim at Obama and Bill Nelson on Florida Unemployment Rate".

    "Orlando worst economic climate in country for young adults"

    "According to a Daily Beast ranking, Orlando has the worst economic climate in the country for young adults. Using data from the U.S. Census and the credit reporting company Experian, the website set out to discern where young adults 'had it the worst.' Orlando topped the bunch." "Orlando worst for young adults, says Daily Beast survey".

    "Blinded by promises of big cash in a bad economy"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Like carnival hawkers, the casino industry can spot a sucker even from a world away."

    That explains the welcome reception for Genting Malaysia and Sands Las Vegas in Tallahassee, where formerly antigambling, family-value Republicans are poised to consider the biggest expansion of gambling in Florida's history. Blinded by promises of big cash in a bad economy, lawmakers desperate to create jobs, revenue and excitement are poised to bet the state's reputation and quality of life. It's a terrible gamble.
    "A bad bet for Florida".

    Scott conceals names of "companies paid $38 million despite not creating any jobs"

    Aaron Deslatte: "Information is power in the framing of politics and policy, and Gov. Rick Scott's administration is working hard to tightly control what comes out."

    Look at his office's decision to release the salaries of thousands of public university employees on the eve of his push for substantial higher education reforms next year. Critics are calling it an attempt to undermine traditional enclaves of liberal intellectualism, though it turns out Florida's faculty at research universities are underpaid compared to their peers. ...

    At the same time, though, Scott's office delayed for weeks the release of companies that got taxpayer money over the last decade to create jobs that never materialized. Although the names and amounts are public record, the governor's new Department of Economic Opportunity claimed some of the data was confidential.

    But that isn't the only holdup.

    Department of Economic Opportunity head Douglas Darling said requests for the names of six companies paid $38 million despite not creating any jobs posed a "quandary" for him. Scott's office doesn't want to embarrass them by releasing their names and claims to be "re-negotiating" their tax-incentive contracts in order to avoid asking for the money back.
    "What Rick Scott doesn't want you to see". Related: "Companies got millions — but state got no jobs".

    Florida's "baby bust"

    "The economic hard times are creating a 'baby bust' in South Florida and across the state: New statistics show Florida's birth rate has dipped since the recession began nearly four years ago. According to the state's Office of Vital Statistics, 24,635 fewer babies were born in in Florida last year than in 2007. That's about the population of Cooper City. The number of babies born in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties dropped almost 10 percent. In Broward, the drop was 7 percent." "Florida experiencing a 'baby bust'; experts blame economy".

    Hasner goes off deep end

    "GOP Senate hopeful Adam Hasner called Occupy Wall Street supporters all over the country 'anarchists,' 'extremists' and 'thugs' in an email to supporters". "Senate candidate calls Occupy Wall Street supporters ‘thugs,’ ‘anarchists,’ ‘extremists’" ("Hasner’s 'good friend' Tom Trento, a right-wing activist in Florida, recently claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood had ties to an Occupy Wall Street rally in Orlando this past weekend.")

    Michelle Obama to visit Broward County next week

    "Michelle Obama makes her first visit as first lady to Broward County next week. She’ll be raising money for her husband’s re-election effort." "Michelle Obama to visit Broward to raise money for president’s re-election".

    Florida's Republi-baggers won't like this one

    "Proposed legislation would let U.S. citizens whose parents are illegal immigrants qualify for in-state university tuition if they are Florida residents. State Rep. Reggie Fullwood filed the bill Friday, two days after the state was sued over the issue." "Bill aimed at ending Fla. tuition discrimination".

    Florida a top exporter ... of crime

    "Florida a top source of guns linked to out-of-state crimes".

    Oh yeah ... and there's the part where he's an empty suit

    "The GOP's obsession with Rubio is unprecedented. ... But some political experts, not just Democrats, raise questions about how much Rubio would help the GOP 2012 ticket."

    But Rubio's own electoral record and job approval ratings don't suggest he could single-handedly swing Florida and create a national GOP Hispanic win.

    And drawn rightward by the tea party, Rubio has taken stances on some immigration-related issues that don't please some of his own Hispanic constituents.

    His appeal may have taken a hit last week with revelations that Rubio hasn't been completely accurate in his frequent, dramatic descriptions of his family's history as exiles from Castro's Cuba. His parents left Cuba before Castro took power.

    "What's important to Hispanic voters is who the Republican Party nominates for president," said Emilio Perez of Orlando, former president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.

    "Yes, Rubio will help with Latino outreach – but if the nominee is an extremist, somebody no one likes, at the end of the day it might hurt Rubio" rather than helping the presidential nominee, said Perez, who like a growing number of Central Florida Puerto Ricans describes himself as a no-party swing voter.

    Jacksonville-based tea party leader Marianne Moran said Rubio is the party's best choice "for three reasons – Florida, Florida and Florida."
    But, "He won election in 2010 with less than a majority of the vote".
    A recent Sunshine State News poll showed him with 38 percent favorable and 34 percent unfavorable views among Florida voters. A Public Policy Polling survey showed him with 44 percent job approval and 39 percent disapproval, up from 31 percent in March.

    In that poll, 30 percent of respondents said they'd be more likely to vote for a ticket with Rubio, but 34 percent said it would make no difference and 36 percent said they'd be less likely.

    Republicans acknowledge a major problem with Hispanic voters – President Barack Obama won in 2008 with a huge Hispanic win nationally, and a substantial one in Florida.

    Today, GOP candidates catering to the tea party are taking strong stances on illegal immigration that could alienate Hispanic voters.
    "Rubio's VP appeal hard to judge".

    "Business groups clash"

    "The fight between the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce centers on how much sales tax online travel companies should pay for the rooms they sell in the state." "Business groups clash over online travel sales tax, unite to fight casinos".

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