Florida extremists flock to Romney
"The campaign behind Republican presidential hopeful former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts unveiled its team to reach out to social and religious conservatives in the Sunshine State on Monday."
While Romney has take socially liberal positions in the past -- notably during his two statewide bids for elected office in Massachusetts in 1994 and 2002 -- his supporters insist he now stands with social conservatives against abortion and in favor of the role of religion in the public square."The effort will be led by former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon. He will be assisted by four state co-chairmen and women: state Sen. Anitere Flories, R-Miami; state Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville; former state Sen. Pat Neal, who had led the board of the Christian Coalition of Florida; and First Coast conservative activist Nancy McGowan."
The Romney team also gained the backing of a number of prominent Florida conservatives, including Reg Buxton, publisher of the Naples Journal and the North Naples Journal; former congressional candidate and Christian Family Coalition activist Marili Cancio; educator John Giotis; Adam Goldman, formerly with Florida Right-to-Life and now on the board of advisers of the conservative James Madison Institute; Margi Helschien, vice chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party and president of the Boca Raton Republican Club; Kissimmee Vice Mayor Art Otero; Marion County Commissioner Stan McClain; Leslie Steele, who handled communications for former Gov. Jeb Bush; attorney Patricia Strowbridge; and Don Mullins who served as an aide to House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park."Florida Religious and Social Conservatives Rally Behind Mitt Romney". See also "Romney’s Christian right Florida team".
The Romney team also includes a number of prominent religious conservative leaders, including Rodney Akers who is the immediate past president of the Florida Conference of United Methodist Men; Pastor Derek Janney and Rev. John-Erik Moseler of Orlando Baptist Church; First Coast businessman and Catholic activist Joseph Helow; pro-life activist Mac McGehee, vice president of Mac Papers; and Miami-Dade activist Warren Lutz, who has led efforts against gambling and for legally preserving traditional marriage.
West twofer: both a "chump" and "the worst person"
"Planned Parenthood’s new “Women are Watching” campaign features Allen West on its list of 'chumps,' a designation reserved for congressmen and congresswomen with the lowest scores on women’s health policies." "Allen West featured on Planned Parenthood’s list of ‘chumps’". See also "Keith Olbermann's Worst Person: Fla. Rep.-Elect Allen West - 12/15/10".
"Power and bullying in the Florida Legislature"
The Saint Petersburg Times' Daniel Ruth: "It's merely a theory, mind you, but as we witnessed last week you can be more tone deaf than Yoko Ono and still rise to great heights of power and bullying in the Florida Legislature."
Exhibit A: state Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Snidely Whiplash. ..."Bully pushes wrong kid".
Big shots like Alexander the Grate are used to getting their own way. People fear if they don't grovel in humiliation, they may find their funding requests disappear faster than a Syrian dissident.
But then Alexander, R-I Am The God of Hell-Fire, crossed paths with 20-year-old Michael Long. And Long didn't give a rat's patootie about the chairman's knee-trembling reputation for being Tallahassee's answer to Liberty Valance.
Long, a New College sophomore, is the lone student representative on Florida's Board of Governors, which was mulling over the USF Poly breakaway republic request. And so the young man, in an attempt to do his job, paid a visit to the chairman on a fact-finding mission.
Perhaps Alexander, R-Nurse Ratched, thought Long was some 20-year-old punk he could easily browbeat. Perhaps he thought he could impress this naive young man with his power. Or perhaps he was simply denser than a black hole.
During his meeting with Long, Alexander tried to regale the student with hilarious stories about using his perch on the budget committee to extract financial revenge on unfortunate souls who crossed him. He not-too-subtly hinted that if the USF Poly deal didn't turn out to his satisfaction, he would wield his influence against the rest of the state university system.
At the Board of Governors' meeting last week, Long had the chutzpah and the courage of his convictions to publicly call out Alexander, R-Bluto, for the bully that he is.
Attack on local pension plans continues
Sunshine State News trumpets that "While Florida’s pension plan funding is considered one of the healthiest in the nation, nearly a third of the 208 municipal programs in the state hold [so-called] poor to failing marks, according to [a report from (.pdf)] the Leroy Collins Institute at Florida State University." "Nearly One-Third of Florida's Biggest City Pensions are Failing".
"Universities desperate for money after years of budget cuts"
"Desperate for money after years of budget cuts from the state, universities are increasingly turning to out-of-state and online students to bring in more revenue." "Universities Pressing for More Market-Rate Tuition Structures".
No FRS conflict of interest
"State pension chief Ash Williams did not have a conflict of interest when he approved a $125 million investment in a hedge fund managed by a private sector colleague, an advisory panel for the State Board of Administration said Monday." "Panel: Florida pension chief had no conflict of interest".
"Wexler reemerges as a fiery partisan"
"Former Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler reemerged as a fiery partisan today, accusing Republican presidential candidates of undermining America's relationship with Israel by supporting a year-to-year reevaluation of U.S. foreign aid."
With Democrats often playing defense against Republican claims that President Obama is not a strong enough ally of Israel, the Democratic National Committee saw an opportunity to go on the attack after a Saturday GOP debate on foreign affairs."Wexler: GOP candidates' foreign aid plan would undermine Israel".
"As Florida lawmakers consider a major expansion of gambling in the state, they are spending less than ever to keep gamblers from getting hooked or to help those who have a problem." "State diverts cash collected to aid problem gamblers".
"The state Department of Education and a national nonprofit are rolling out a $30 million fund to help grow high-performing charter schools in Florida." "State launches charter school competition".
Confused lil' Fla-baggers
"Birther sheriff heckled at Orlando tea party gathering (Updated)".
"Lawmakers there at the behest of that company"?
"The sponsors of Florida casino legislation tested their message at a private focus group conducted by national pollster Frank Luntz over the weekend, Sunshine State News has learned."
The focus group, convened Saturday in Miami, heard from state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. The group also viewed video presentations showing the Genting Group's plans to build the "world's largest casino.""Lawmakers Test Casino Message at Frank Luntz Focus Group".
Up to 35 local residents participated in the exercise, which one participant described as a promotion for the project.
"All speeches were pro-gambling," said a Miami resident who spoke on condition of anonymity. "At one point, we were asked how we felt about a foreign investor."
The audience was also queried about Miami becoming the "New Singapore, as if that were a good thing," the participant related.
A spokeswoman for the Malaysia-based Genting Group said the Luntz session was paid for by Associated Industries of Florida, a strong supporter of the casino legislation. Neither Luntz nor AIF responded to Sunshine State News' requests for comment. ...
As for the audience, the unnamed participant said there was spirited debate about the relative value of adding 10,000 or more low-paying service jobs at a casino.
The focus group member came away with the impression that Luntz's program was conducted "for a specific casino company and that the lawmakers were there at the behest of that company."
"Limits of Florida's open government law"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "William Stetson Kennedy, a civil rights crusader who died in August at 94 years of age, ignited an interesting and important discussion about the limits of Florida's open government law. " "Florida should guard public input at meetings".
Hialeah hee haw
Fred Grimm: "Lord Henry’s legacy lives on in Hialeah".
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
"Tea party, old guard compete in Hillsborough GOP race".
Lil' Marco's "tricky act of political maneuvering"
"With growing signs that Hispanic voters are turned off to GOP positions on immigration, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is trying to use his national profile to deliver a message to his party: Tone it down."
“The Republican Party should not be labeled as the anti-illegal immigration party. Republicans need to be the pro-legal immigration party,” the Florida lawmaker said on Fox News Monday morning."His efforts constitute a tricky act of political maneuvering."
The appearance follows other efforts in the past two weeks — including a story in the Wall Street Journal and a speech in Texas — in which Rubio has criticized inflammatory immigration rhetoric.
“You’re talking about somebody’s mothers and grandmothers and brothers and sisters,” Rubio, the 40-year-old son of Cuban immigrants [or is that "exiles"?], said in Dallas.
“He’s stating the obvious,” said Tyler Moran, policy director for the National Immigration Law Center. “It’s good Rubio is stepping out, but it has to be followed by action. His actions in the Senate haven’t matched this new rhetoric.”"Rubio to GOP: Tone down immigration rhetoric".
Beginning with the 2010 campaign, Rubio has adopted the Republican line on tough enforcement policy, sometimes seeming to contradict himself. For example, as a state representative he co-sponsored legislation to give children of illegal immigrants in-state college tuition but now says he opposes that.
He initially indicated he was against the Arizona law but then he supported it after changes were made, ensuring he would not suffer among the conservative base he was courting in the race against then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
In the Senate, Rubio opposes the DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for some children of illegal immigrants. He also supports a background check for workers called E-Verify.
Democrats say those stances and others — once highlighted on a national stage —would push Hispanics away.