"There's good news for President Barack Obama as he sweeps into Florida today to raise money in a state where barely four in 10 voters approve of his performance: He can lose Florida's 29 electoral votes and still comfortably win re-election in 2012."
Thanks to the expanded political playing field he helped create three years ago, even a long-standing presidential election axiom — whoever wins two out of three between Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio wins the White House — is out the window."Now the bad news for Obama:"
It's absolutely plausible nearly one year out from the election that he will lose all three of those states — and a whole lot more. His approval ratings in Pennsylvania and Ohio are just as bad as in Florida, and his poll numbers are grim throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. ..."Obama's tricky 2012 math". Related: "See the math for 2012 and how states voted in 2008".
And more bad news for Obama: Census shifts since the last election netted six more electoral votes to states McCain won in 2008. (Florida's population gains increased its electoral vote prize from 27 to 29.)
On top of that, Republican leaders in Pennsylvania are considering making their electoral votes go to the winner of each congressional district rather than to the popular winner statewide. That means the 20 electoral votes of a state that has gone Democratic in the past five elections could wind up closely divided between the Republican and Democratic nominees.
"Muscle-flexing by Florida"
Steve Bousquet: "With 29 electoral votes, Florida is the biggest state that's not a lock for either party in a presidential race."
Previous elections made "the I-4 corridor" a household term in national politics (as well as dimpled chads and the butterfly ballot, but that's another story)."2012 is already all about Florida".
The latest muscle-flexing by Florida is the decision by Republican leaders to manipulate the political calendar and schedule the state's presidential primary on Jan. 31, 2012, following Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Scott likes regressive toll-taxes
"With a coming nationwide trend of tougher fuel standards and vehicles with higher gas mileage acting to depress fuel tax revenue during the next decade, Florida and other states are embracing toll roads as a way to pay for their transportation needs." "Gov. Scott’s transportation plan paved with toll roads".
Freedom to pollute
"Despite proposed rule changes announced last week by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, utilities say they still have concerns about whether Florida is being treated fairly. Florida Power & Light supports the intent of the rule but still says a review is needed. Progress Energy and Gulf Power have raised concerns about costs but are still reviewing the rule requirements." "Electric utilities back Bondi's lawsuit against federal air pollution rule".
The Week Ahead
"The Week Ahead for Oct. 10 to Oct. 14".
Charter school madness
A Florida charter school operator closes her Florida charter and heads to Wisconsin:
Last week, as she was leaving the Milwaukee [charter school in the Milwaukee public school system], a reporter confronted [the Florida school's founder, Wendy] Alexander and asked whether parents would get their money back."Tuition payments gone as Lutz school shuts down".
"I have no comment," Alexander said. "I hope so."
She wouldn't say what happened to the money.
Florida embarrasses itself (again)
"Former Sen. Al Lawson said Monday he would return to the Capitol to speak against a bill that would repeal Florida's ban on 'dwarf-tossing.'"
HB 4063, sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, has gained national attention after the Florida Tribune first reported on the bill last week. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel lampooned Workman during his monologue on his ABC TV show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" after the story gained national media attention."Former senator says he'll return to Capitol to oppose "dwarf-tossing" repeal".
Lawson sponsored the bill 22 years ago as a House member, which led to the ban after dwarf-tossing in bars became a national controversy.
Alleged journalists parrot Chamber talking points
More of the same union hating this morning from the alleged journalists who comprise The Miami Herald editors, the folks who
who let their owners "overrule editorial board decisions".
These would-be journalists seem incapable of conducting a reasoned debate on the pension issue, and instead do little more than parrot Chamber of Commerce talking points.
Alabama's "papers please" law may impact Florida
"A number of school districts across Florida have been advised to monitor enrollment numbers for Hispanic migrant families relocating from Alabama after a federal judge upheld that state's new immigration enforcement law. ..."
On Sept. 28, Birmingham-based U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn backed the immigration law that allows state and local police to ask for residency papers during routine traffic stops and renders most contracts with illegal immigrants unenforceable."Florida Schools Monitoring for Hispanics from Alabama".
The law, which went into place Oct. 1, also requires schools to find out for certain the immigration status of children when they register.
The last provision is what reportedly caused many parents in Alabama to pull their children from school on Oct. 1, even though nothing was expected to change for students already enrolled.
GOPers getting the double-dip they want
Just in time for the election, GOPers may be getting their second dip:
"We're not that optimistic at all," said [Senate President Mike] Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. "We're all hopeful that the economy will turn around. But at this point, we don't see it.""U.S. Teeters on Double-Dip Recession; Florida Already Feeling It".
As Florida's unemployment rate remains at 10.7 percent, state economists are expected to announce their latest revenue projections Tuesday.
The current $69 billion state budget required $4 billion in spending cuts, and Gov. Rick Scott has already directed agencies to prepare for an additional 10 percent reduction in spending.
Though Republican legislative leaders continue to rule out tax increases, Haridopolos said he would consider additional tuition hikes at state colleges and universities as a way to constrain higher-education outlays.
Never mind the anti-union violence
"The long-awaited trade deals -- Scott also slammed the Obama administration Monday for taking too long to send the proposals to Congress -- were originally negotiated by the Bush administration but were held up by wrangling over aid for workers who have lost jobs because of outsourcing and by concerns by organized labor about anti-union violence in Colombia." "Florida Officials, Businesses Look Forward to Trade Pacts' Passage".
"From more than 200 people gathering on a rainy Saturday on Miami Dade Community College’s Wolfson Campus this weekend to a smaller meeting this Sunday at the Miami Workers Center, Miami-ans are mobilizing in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement."
Occupy Wall Street has been gaining momentum all over the country, including in Florida. In the past few days Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and others saw demonstrations in solidarity with the New York-based movement."Miami begins to mobilize in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street".
The weekend before, a spontaneous protest took place in downtown Miami. About 200 people of all ages showed up to demonstrate. Following the momentum seen all over the country, groups are looking to show their support in greater numbers in cities all over the country — and Miami is among the cities looking to take continued action.
Much like the Occupy Wall Street movement, Miami demonstrators are not looking to choose leaders or decide on a single demand. Right now, veteran political activists and newcomers are looking to join a movement that expresses their many grievances with the state of the country. This movement, and the excitement that surrounds it, has provided the opportunity for large numbers to express their concerns.
"Carole Crist becomes a Democra"
"Former first lady Carole Crist becomes a Democrat".
A true laff riot: Scott's version of HCR
"As it fights to overturn the federal health overhaul, Florida is preparing to launch an insurance marketplace early next year that looks like a distant cousin of the ones being created under the federal law, according to Kaiser Health News."
[T]here are key differences between Florida's exchange and the type that will be available in 2014 in all states through the federal law:"Florida readies its own health care exchange".
--Florida’s exchange is open only to small employers, not to individuals.
--The federal law provides subsidies to help lower-income individuals buy coverage through the exchange, and tax credits to some small businesses that cover their workers. Florida does not.
--The federal law requires health plans to offer certain "essential health benefits." Florida does not.
Scott contributors look to reap spoils
"Florida Seeks Outside Counsel for Possible BP Lawsuit".
Obama's Florida money
"Miami is source of Obama's Florida money".
"Police, chamber sergeants prepare for policy allowing guns in Florida Capitol".
Republi-baggers run wild in Pinellas County
Fred Grimm: "For too long, we patriotic Americans have allowed winos and crystal meth addicts and backwoods yokels with no access to city water or modern dentistry to appropriate the prestige that comes with jagged, decayed teeth and the subsidiary whiff of rotten breath. Finally, after a contentious three-hour public hearing last week, the Pinellas County Commission confronted the bright white shining truth behind healthy teeth and fluoridated smiles: Local governments have given into the world-wide conspiracy to drug us into submission."
"Fluoride is a toxic substance," declared Tony Caso of Palm Harbor. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Caso, a fervid tea party activist, warned Pinellas commissioners: "This is all part of an agenda that’s being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government and the world government to keep the people stupid so they don’t realize what’s going on.""'It’s perplexing to me, how this succeeded,' said Dr. Scott Tomar, chairman of the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science at the University of Florida College of Dentistry."
Caso had constructed an utterly unassailable argument. It was stupid, sure, particularly to someone who doesn’t subscribe to worldwide conspiracy theories. But that’s obviously because Caso has been pumped full of toxic fluoride designed, as he said, "to keep people stupid." His very stupidity proves his stupid premise.
"This is the U.S. of A," Caso reminded the commissioners, in case they had misplaced their world atlases. "Not the Soviet Socialist Republic."
Perhaps under the stupefying effects of fluoride themselves, four of the seven commissioners voted to stop adding fluoride to the county’s water supply, rescuing 700,000 from the commie plot to control their minds, even while saving their teeth. ...
The state dental establishment, stunned by the Pinellas vote, harbors some meager hope that the commission will reconsider the fluoride issue at a meeting Tuesday. The Florida Dental Association warned that the Pinellas commissioners "failed to protect area residents against cavities and tooth decay by keeping its community water fluoridation program."
"Our community water fluoridation programs are vital to the public health," argued FDA President Cesar Sabates. "It is important that community leaders understand that cutting these vital health programs will directly lead to more cavities or tooth decay. This is especially true for low-income children, who have little access to dental services."
Not a good argument, that low-income children stuff. Not when the county commission’s facing down a roomful of rabid anti-government tea party activists.
The cowed commission also ignored 65 years of research supporting fluoridation as an effective public health measure against tooth decay. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized fluoridation as “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” The American Dental Association, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Public Health Service have all endorsed fluoridation.
"There’s really nothing new on the scientific side that could justify this.""Fluoridation? It’s just a government conspiracy".
Tomar worries that the anti-fluoridation campaign will spread across the state (about 70 percent of Florida’s public water supplies are fluoridated). He said similar protests have flared up recently in Gainesville and Naples. He expects others will follow. Tomar spoke of a kind a perverse parallel to the anti-vaccination crusade. It hardly matters if the science is faulty, as long as the websites seem plausible.
"Florida a thriving mail-order exporter of concealed weapons permits"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Add this to the list of citrus, phosphate and other top Florida exports:"
concealed weapons permits. The Sunshine State has quietly become a thriving mail-order exporter of concealed weapons permits, which have been issued to nearly 100,000 nonresidents. Some of those packing heat up north with permission from Florida have been denied concealed weapons permits in their home states. It's bad enough that the NRA controls the Florida Legislature, but this state should not be known as the place to turn for a suntan, an orange — and permission to carry a concealed gun. ..."Florida's dangerous export: gun permits".
In one case cited by the newspaper, an individual had been denied a local concealed weapons permit because of his association with drug trafficking. In another case, an 18-year-old man was shot to death by an assailant who managed to obtain a Florida concealed weapons permit after his Pennsylvania permit had been revoked. Florida was more than happy to oblige both customers.
Florida’s 'Walmart Moms'
"In a nondescript office park outside Orlando, the fragility of Obama’s re-election prospects were on full display one night last week at a focus group organized by Democratic pollster Margie Omero and Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. Ten mothers in their 20s and 30s gathered around a conference table, sharing their outlook on life, leadership and America heading into the 2012 election." "For Obama campaign, a dire message from Florida’s “Walmart Moms”".
Florida first state since mandatory drug screening was ruled unconstitutional
"In 1996, Congress said states could test welfare recipients for illegal drug use, and in 1999, Michigan was the first state to require applicants to take drug tests, regardless of suspicion. But that law was struck down as unconstitutional, discouraging other states from requiring similar testing. This year, Florida became the first state to try mandatory drug screening of all applicants after Michigan's legal loss, while Arizona and Missouri enacted laws to test applicants they suspect might use drugs." "Florida is not the first state to require drug testing of welfare applicants".