"Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday abruptly canceled a meeting with a high-level State Department official after learning that Democrats had described his vote Monday against the ambassador to El Salvador as an insult to the Puerto Ricans he represents in Florida."
The Senate failed to get enough votes Monday night to take up the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte, who has been serving on an interim basis as ambassador to El Salvador. The White House lashed out at Republicans for blocking the vote, calling their move Monday night one that played “politics with America's national interests.”"In a call Tuesday afternoon, Hispanic leaders accused Rubio and other Republicans of abandoning fellow Hispanics. Aponte is the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a U.S. ambassador. But she has a complicated past — a former boyfriend was accused of being a Cuban spy. The FBI cleared Aponte, who later received two top security clearances, but not before the chatter scuttled her 1993 nomination by President Clinton to serve as ambassador to the Dominican Republic."
A spokesman for Rubio said the Obama administration was playing “ethnic politics,” and said the Florida senator would abandon efforts to work with the administration on Aponte's nomination. She's been serving as the ambassador to El Salvador since mid-2010, when President Obama appointed her during a recess. ...GOP leadership also opposes Aponte because she supports eliminating violence against gays and lesbians:
Yet Hispanic Democrats in Florida have taken notice, too. They include Florida state Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando and Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, who ran against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, in 2008 and again unsuccessfully for Miami-Dade County Commission last year. Taddeo-Goldstein on Monday urged people to call Rubio's office to criticize his vote.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. ... was critical this week of an op-ed Aponte wrote in a Salvadoran newspaper praising the country for its support of a U.N. declaration that calls for eliminating violence against gays and lesbians."Hispanic leaders knock Rubio on Aponte vote". See also "" and "".
State's workforce the smallest and cheapest in the nation
"Florida's state workforce shrank by about 3.5 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according the State Personnel System Annual Workforce Report for 2010-11, released by the Department of Management Services."
There were no raises for the second year in a row. The average salary for state employees declined slightly, by about $642, and remains below 2006-07 levels. During the same period, private sector wages have risen by 4.5 percent. Florida's state workforce remains both the smallest and cheapest in the nation on a per capita basis, edging out Arizona in both categories and costing the average resident $38, or just above half the national average of $75."Report highlights decline in ranks of state workforce".
Prodigy denies parental involvement
"John Martinez says dad didn't play role in Orange post".
"How in the world"?
The Miami Herald editorial board: "How in the world did Florida slip from being a virtual magnet for this nation’s seniors looking to spend their golden years in 'paradise' to a place where the most frail among them can be abused and neglected — to death — in assisted living facilities charged with their care? Worse, for years the state has practically given the worst facilities its blessing." "Step it up, AHCA".
Jobless fear benefits lapse
"Florida's limping economy will sustain a further blow if Congress does not extend emergency unemployment benefits set to expire Jan. 1. The state stands to lose roughly $30 million a week in direct benefits and even more in the loss of mortgage payments, grocery purchases and other spending the out-of-work may no longer be able to afford." "Florida's jobless fear possible benefits lapse".
Pasco goes Paul
"Ron Paul tops in GOP straw poll in Pasco".
"Start-Ups Drive Florida Job Creation, Report Finds".
"Legislature might shelve social issues during session"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "It was refreshing to hear that the Florida Legislature might shelve social issues during the upcoming 60-day session, which this year begins in January."
But way too often, once the Legislature assembles and should be taking care of the serious business that faces the state, lawmakers find themselves delving into issues like abortion, and teaching evolution in schools, and prayer in schools, and other such topics."Can Tally stick to business?".
And sometimes they want to talk about the dire need to bring back dwarf-tossing, or wanting to end lethal injections for executions and go instead to firing squads or even the return of Old Sparky. Even sex with animals gets a hearing.
And if all else fails, they will talk about the need for another vanity license plate, or picking the official state yogurt.
It all makes for a few jokes and keeps columnists busy, but it does a great disservice to the citizens of Florida.
Dorworth fights for sewage
"HB 999 by Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, could bridge differences earlier this year between the House and Senate on repealing the inspection requirement put in place in 2010. Supporters in 2010 said an estimated 260,000 failing septic tanks need to be identified and repaired or replaced to avoid polluting springs and groundwater." "Dorworth files bill to repeal septic tank inspection requirement".
Cannon sees no reason to delay budget vote
"Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon said Tuesday that he sees no reason to delay a vote on the budget. His counterparts in the Senate have floated the idea and said they are nervous about deciding on the budget two months ahead of schedule during a crucial stage of the state's still-fragile economic recovery." "Cannon: No need to delay budget decision".
Scott loses another one
"Former Rep. Kim Berfield resigned from her job at the Department of Health on Tuesday. Her decision to step down comes after a previous shakeup across the agency." "Former legislator leaves top post at state health agency".
"Florida has one of the worst rates of child homelessness in the country"
"According to a report released today by The National Center on Family Homelessness, Florida has one of the worst rates of child homelessness in the country." "Report: Florida among 10 worst states for child homelessness".
Occupying the Legislature
"This past weekend, Occupy Wall Street-inspired groups from all over the state came to together in Orlando to outline priorities for the upcoming state legislative session. ... About 200 people showed up to the People’s Convention, Garcia says. Among the cities represented at the convention were Ocala, Orlando, Jacksonville, Key West, Lakeland, Citrus, Gainesville, Tampa, Melbourne, Fort Lauderdale and The Villages." "Florida Occupy groups organize for legislative session during statewide convention".
"Victory for the state’s Holocaust survivors"
"A French railroad that carried thousands of Jews to their deaths in Nazi Germany will have no part of teaching Florida’s children about the Holocaust, the state education commissioner has decided."
SNCF America, the U.S. subsidiary of the French National Railroad, had agreed to pay $80,000 to the state for a program focusing on France’s role in the Holocaust. But Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson told an SNCF administrator in a letter last week that he was terminating its partnership after “thoughtful consideration of numerous concerns raised.”"Florida cancels Holocaust-education deal with French railroad".
It was a victory for the state’s Holocaust survivors, who fought a passionate battle against the railroad, which transported about 76,000 Jews during World War II. The survivors said the company has not taken full responsibility for its role in the Holocaust and should have no part in the state’s Holocaust education efforts.
Their fight received support from Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio as well as 11 U.S. House members. In September, they wrote a joint letter to Robinson criticizing the department’s involvement with SNCF.
“We are told again and again that all it takes for evil to succeed is for people to do nothing,” said Rita G. Hofrichter, 84, of Sunny Isles Beach, who lost her parents and other relatives in the Holocaust. “We have done something, and I’m very proud of that effort.”
The survivors said SNCF has not paid reparations to victims, and they saw SNCF’s donation as a public relations ploy in its effort to secure billions of dollars in U.S. rail contracts.
"Feds want changes to Broward Medicaid reform pilot". See also "New mandates stall decisions on $1 billion in health care spending" and "What could be changing in Florida Medicaid".