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 Friday, November 11, 2011

"Scott's job approval remains in the toilet"

    "Despite a concentrated push to rebrand his image, Gov. Rick Scott's attempt to change his low approval ratings may have stalled, according to a new poll."
    Fifty percent of Florida voters disapprove of the way Scott is doing his job as governor, a poll released by Quinnipiac University shows.

    Just 36 percent of the people responding to the poll said they approved of Scott’s performance and 14 percent said they didn’t know.

    This is virtually unchanged from a previous Quinnipiac poll released back in September. Back then Scott had a 37 percent favorable rating.
    "New poll shows Scott's negative ratings remain unchanged". See also "Rick Scott's popularity remains low, poll finds".

    From the Quinnipiac release: "Gov. Rick Scott's job approval remains in the toilet:"
    36 percent approve of his job performance, while 50 percent disapprove. Among independent voters, the key to carrying Florida, Scott has a 56 - 29 percent disapproval rating. Scott gets a 67 - 22 percent thumbs up among Republicans, but a 73 - 14 percent thumbs down from Democrats. He does okay with men, who split 43 - 46 percent, but woman say no way 55 - 30 percent.
    November 11, 2011 - Quinnipiac University Poll.

    "Mack blowing away Republican competition"

    "Congressman Connie Mack is blowing away the Republican competition and is in the best shape to best Sen. Bill Nelson, the only Democrat elected to statewide office in Florida"

    Congressman Connie Mack’s entrance into Florida's moribund Senate race has propelled him into instant-frontrunner status in the Republican field and threatens incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, according to a new poll.
    "Mack garners 32 percent of the theoretical vote while his fellow Republicans are polling in the single digits, the Quinnipiac University poll shows. In a general-election matchup, Mack would get 40 percent of the vote and Nelson 42 percent."
    “The entrance of Congressman Connie Mack into the Senate race changes what had been shaping up as an easy reelection for Sen. Bill Nelson into a tough fight that the incumbent could lose," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    “The fact that Mack is essentially tied with Nelson, who has been a statewide political figure for two decades, should set off warning bells at Democratic headquarters.”

    Nelson is the only Democrat elected to state-wide office in Florida.

    What makes the numbers so surprising is that Mack didn't make a high-profile announcement, entered the race relatively recently and has yet to really campaign. But he's the son and namesake of a former well-liked Florida Republican senator, who was the grandson of a famous baseball player. So Mack, R-Cape Coral, could be enjoying some residual benefits of having high name-identification.

    The other Republican candidates are suffering from the opposite name ID effect: They have almost none. So George LeMieux garners 9 percent, Mike McCalister 6 percent and Adam Hasner and Craig Miller tie at 2 percent. Prior to Mack’s decision to run for Senate, which he declined to do earlier this year, the race had no big name and was overshadowed by the presidential contest.

    But despite the big lead, Mack's victory is not assured. Nearly half of the electorate, 45 percent, are undecided and the primary is in August. That means the others have lots of time to raise money, campaign and to start taking shots at Mack, who now has a political target on his back.
    "Mack attack! Poll shows Rep. Connie Mack dominates GOP, best to beat Sen. Bill Nelson". See also "" and "".

    "Scott mum on allegations against Cain"

    "Gov. Scott mum on allegations against Cain".

    Scott runnin' gub'ment like a bidness

    "The Department of Economic Opportunity, created under Gov. Rick Scott, has lost track of millions of dollars it has already spent. Even so, the agency wants lawmakers to set aside more money for incentives next year." "State agency lost track of cash incentives".

    Occupy Florida

    "Occupy Miami protesters asked to leave temporarily". See also "Jacksonville city councilman continues to spar with Occupy protesters".

    Rubio don' like that intertube neutrality thing

    Marco Rubio supports a Senate resolution to repeal the FCC’s net neutrality rules

    The resolution would repeal the net neutrality rules issued last year that go into effect this month. Net neutrality is the idea that consumers should have access to all Internet content and services, and not by limited by Internet service providers "that want to treat them differently so they can charge you more depending on what you use." ...

    Matt Wood — policy director for Free Press, which manages the Save the Internet campaign — tells The Florida Independent that if the Senate resolution becomes law, the FCC “would not be able to adopt regulations on that issue again without further authorizations by Congress; if it does pass into law it would take away even more of the FCC’s power to oversee broadband and protect consumers online.”

    Wood adds that repeal of FCC rules “would allow [Internet service providers] to block consumers from websites, from lawful content of your choice, block and charge you more to access certain sites, speed up certain sites or slow others down.”
    "Rubio champions net neutrality repeal". See also "GOP resolution to repeal net neutrality voted down in the Senate".


    "An amendment to HB 119 would cap attorneys fees and require insurers to reduce their rates. The proposal would also automatically repeal PIP In 2015 unless Legislature agrees to re-enact the insurance requirement." "PIP stands to change or die under new proposal".

    Theme parks rolling in dough

    "Operating profit at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts surged 33 percent to $421 million on sales that were up 11 percent to $3.1 billion." "Disney reports record $4.8 billion profit in 2011".

    Teabaggers got taken by Scott

    "On Rick Scott's first day as governor, he declared ethics and integrity "essential to maintaining the public trust" and ordered his office to find ways to implement suggestions from a grand jury assembled to investigate public corruption."

    More than 10 months later, there appears to be no plan.

    That frustrates some tea party activists who propelled Scott to victory. They believed Scott was talking about ethics reform in all those campaign ads where he blasted "Tallahassee insiders."

    "He led Florida voters to think he was going to be a strong proponent of ethics reform, and his record shows he's very weak," said Nick Egoroff, a tea party activist from Orlando. "I haven't heard him say one word on it."

    A pair of Republican senators who have been unable to push ethics reform through the GOP-controlled Legislature also said they were "disappointed" in Scott.
    "Tea party picks up ethics issue".

    Empty suit strides world stage

    "Rubio calls for tough UN reforms to suit U.S. interests". For more on Mr. Rubio see "Marco Rubio's lavish rise to the top".

    "Florida voters just disapprove"

    "Florida voters just disapprove. Whether it's Democratic President Barack Obama, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, their political parties, the tea party, the Occupy Wall Street movement or plans to trim entitlements, all get relatively low marks in the eyes of Florida voters, two public-opinion surveys released Thursday show."

    One of the polls, by Quinnipiac University, showed that Florida was the most-displeased swing state when compared to contemporaneous surveys conducted in Ohio and Pennsylvania. A full 83 percent of Floridians said they were dissatisfied with the direction of the nation.

    When it comes to just Florida Republicans, there's not much of a sense of satisfaction with their candidates for the White House. None is a clear frontrunner. Mitt Romney, essentially running for president since 2008, is statistically tied with Herman Cain, a political newcomer who is the latest in Romney alternatives.

    Here's what GOP voters especially like: Medicare and Social Security, according to an AARP poll of 500 likely Florida Republican voters. And those are the two programs that their candidates want to reform and trim. ...

    By wide margins, the survey shows that Republicans of all kinds — whether they're Hispanic, moderates or in the tea party — would rather fix the nation's budget by withdrawing from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, eliminating foreign aid or eliminating so-called tax loopholes.

    The issues are particularly important in Florida, which has the largest number of retirees in the nation. The poll shows that 60 percent of the Republican primary voters in Florida are retired, and that 87 percent of all respondents say Social Security benefits are or will be important to their retirement. Nearly 45 percent say they rely on Medicare for health insurance.
    "New polls: Florida voters just disapprove". See also "Political poll: Florida voters find little to like". Meanwhile, "Obama Withers in Florida While Herman Cain Leads GOP Pack".

    Out here in the fields

    "Feds rip mismanagement of Homestead farmworker housing".

    Q Poll: 52% approve of Rubio’s job performance

    "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has emerged unscathed from a controversy stemming from the date on which his family emigrated from Cuba, according to a new poll Friday."

    Forty-nine percent of Florida voters approved of Rubio’s job performance - unchanged from late September, reports a new Quinnipiac poll. Only 29 percent disapproved of his job performance, slightly down from 31 percent in September.

    A majority of Hispanics - 52 percent - approved of Rubio’s job performance, compared to only 23 percent who did not approve. The breakdown for Hispanic voters in September was not available.
    "Poll: No dent in Rubio's popularity".

    Hastings rolls up his sleeves

    "Hastings tries to save Broward mail centers".

    Does GEO own the Florida GOP?

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was right to stop Gov. Scott from taking bids to privatize 29 South Florida prisons. The Scott administration had planned to begin accepting bids today, despite Judge Fulford's earlier ruling that the Legislature unconstitutionally enacted the privatization plan."

    Should that ruling stand up on appeal, Gov. Scott and legislators will have to be more transparent about trying to reward Boca Raton-based GEO Group for its campaign contributions by putting one-fifth of Florida's prison population in the company's control.

    The Legislature slipped the privatization language into the must-pass budget, so the plan avoided debate and an up-or-down vote. "If it is the will of the Legislature to itself initiate privatization of Florida prisons, as opposed to (the Department of Corrections)," Judge Fulford said, "the Legislature must do so by general law, rather than using the hidden recesses of the General Appropriations Act."

    In a report titled "Gaming the System," the Justice Policy Institute blames "lobbying largely led by the GEO Group," for the Legislature's tactic. The report says that private prison companies such as GEO have a vested interest in pushing legislation that keeps people incarcerated. "They have worked hard over the past decade to create markets for their product," the report said.

    GEO has worked hardest in Florida. The nation's second-largest operator of private prisons, its subsidiaries and its employees have donated nearly $1.5 million to Florida politicians, mostly Republican, since 2003, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. That's more than 60 percent of its $2.4 million in political donations during that period. The largest chunk, $705,000, came in 2010. GEO also gave $25,000 for Gov. Scott's inauguration party.
    "What is Scott trying to hide?".

    Sarasota connection?

    "In September, news about a previously unknown FBI investigation into possible ties between 9/11 hijackers and a Saudi family living near Sarasota led the agency to deny there was any connection and assert that it made all of its files available to congressional investigators a decade ago."

    But two months later, the FBI has been unable or unwilling to substantiate that it disclosed any information regarding its Sarasota investigation to Congress, says former Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’s bipartisan joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks.

    “My suspicion is that either, one, the documents don’t exist; two, that if they do exist they can’t find them; or three, they did find them and they did not substantiate the statements that they’ve made and that they are withholding them,” said Graham. He has long contended the FBI stonewalled Congress about what it knows about possible Saudi support for the 9/11 hijackers.

    The FBI investigation began shortly after 9/11 when residents of the gated community of Prestancia, south of Sarasota, called to report the abrupt departure from their luxury home of a Saudi family about two weeks before four passenger jets originating in Boston, Newark and Washington were hijacked. The family left for Saudi Arabia, leaving behind cars, clothes in the closet and a refrigerator full of food.

    Neighbors said agents searched the house and hauled away bags of belongings. But the most important information came when the FBI examined gatehouse security logs and photographs of license plates, according to then-homeowner’s association administrator Larry Berberich and a counterterrorism agent involved in the investigation.

    They said the security records revealed that the home was visited by vehicles used by 9/11 terrorist leader Mohamed Atta and fellow hijacker-pilot Ziad Jarrah.
    "Graham: Still no FBI records on Sarasota 9/11 probe".

    LeMieux's Palm Beach County Team

    "LeMieux won the backing of Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus and former state Rep. Carl Domino. His team in Palm Beach County also includes state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who represents part of the county, and tea party leader Alex Berry. Other Palm Beach County residents who endorsed LeMieux include Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie of Boca Raton, Vice Mayor Lisa Tropepe of Palm Beach Shores, philanthropist Yvonne Boice and Republican activists Marilyn Parmet and Joy Stone." "GOP Senate Hopeful George LeMieux Unveils Palm Beach County Campaign Team".

    Gambling with casinos

    "Economic reports released Thursday indicate that the revenue from three high-end resort casinos -- proposed in two bills now before the state Legislature -- may not cover the lost annual revenue from the Florida Seminoles or ... other pari-mutuel facilities." "Casino Revenues Remain a Gamble for Florida, State Economists Say".

    "Botched Crystal River nuclear plant project"

    Daniel Ruth: "Progress Energy's bumbling managed to turn a nuclear power plant repair project into Monty Python's ramshackle Trojan Rabbit. What began as a $230 million job now has risen to $2.5 billion with the meter still running. The botched Crystal River nuclear plant project already has made it one of the most expensive in U.S. history. But since Progress Energy operates three other nuke facilities in the Carolinas, it's possible the company could break its own record." "Progress Energy's nuclear nightmare". Related: "Gulf Power Nuclear Option Faces Legal Opposition".

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