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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 Monday, January 21, 2013

    Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Bondi has succeeded in suppressing the black vote</b><br />
    <br />
    The <i>Saint Petersburg Times</i> editorial board:&nbsp; "The highly restrictive rules limiting felons' voting in Florida that
    were put in place two years ago at the urging of Attorney General Pam
    Bondi are having their predictable effect."<br />
    <i>Since then, fewer than 400
    people out of hundreds of thousands have gotten back their right to
    vote. It's no wonder the issue was featured last week among the concerns
     Florida's black lawmakers brought to the governor. Florida's Clemency
    Board, made up of Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet, have returned Florida
     to a process that suppresses black voting strength under the guise of
    criminal justice. The policy should be reversed and automatic civil
    rights restoration adopted.</i></blockquote>
    Bondi and fellow Teabagger, Rick Scott <br />
    <i>insist the tightening of the rules is about people
    proving they have reformed before regaining their rights, and not about
    keeping a disproportionate number of African-Americans who tend to vote
    Democratic from the voting booth. But the numbers tell the real story.</i></blockquote>
    "<a href="http://www.tampabay.com/SearchForwardServlet.do?articleId=1271267">Florida's unfair treatment of felons</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Angry GOPers</b><br />
    <br />
    "With former Rep.<b> </b>Allen West focused on his new online TV gig and ruling out a 2014 rematch against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy,
     D-Jupiter, there’s no slam-dunk early favorite candidate for the GOP in
     a swing district that national Republicans say will be a priority next
    year."<br />
    Longtime state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, who narrowly lost a 2008 GOP congressional primary to eventual U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, voiced cautious interest in the District 18 race. . . .<br />
    <br />
    Some Republicans point to up-and-coming St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery<b> </b>as
     a potential congressional candidate, noting his ability to win as a
    Republican in a Democrat-dominated county that is home to 37 percent of
    District 18 voters. . . .<br />
    <br />
    Some Republicans point to up-and-coming St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery<b> </b>as
     a potential congressional candidate, noting his ability to win as a
    Republican in a Democrat-dominated county that is home to 37 percent of
    District 18 voters.<i></i></blockquote>
    "<a href="http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/with-west-forgoing-rematch-gop-has-no-clear-early-/nT3Jz/">With West forgoing rematch, GOP has no clear early favorite to oppose Patrick Murphy in 2014</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>"Scott is on pace to appoint fewer African-Americans to
    judgeships . . ."</b><br />
    <br />
    "Gov. Rick Scott is on pace to appoint fewer African-Americans to
    judgeships in Florida than either of his two predecessors, Charlie Crist
     and Jeb Bush."<br />
    <i>In his two years as governor, Scott has appointed
    91 judges. Six are black, including the reappointments of three judges
    who handle cases involving benefits to injured workers.<br />
    <br />
    Scott has
    appointed two African-Americans to the circuit court bench, both in
    Miami-Dade County, and has appointed a black county judge in
    Jacksonville.<br />
    <br />
    In a state as diverse as Florida, racial and ethnic
    diversity in the court system has been debated for decades, and it
    erupted anew last week in the state Capitol.<br />
    <br />
    At a roundtable
    meeting with black legislators, Scott defended his appointments in the
    face of criticism that his record is "appalling."</i></blockquote>
    "<a href="http://www.tampabay.com/SearchForwardServlet.do?articleId=1271536">Scott appointed fewer black judges</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.palmbeachpost.com/ap/ap/florida/ap-fl-gov-scott-parade-fl/nT3Tz/">Meanwhile</a>, "Gov. Rick Scott
     and First Lady Ann Scott will walk in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    parade in downtown Jacksonville."<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>"<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">Florida to
    re-examine its fear of gambling</span>"</b><br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/source/jim-turner">Jim Turner</a>: "<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">If there is any
    indication that the gambling barbarians remain at the gates of Florida,
    one has to look no further than the Senate Gaming Committee meeting on
    Monday.</span>"<i><br />
    <span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">When
     Malaysian casino giant Genting and others were watching the doomed
    destination-gaming bill they backed go before committees, well-tailored
    lobbying suits created standing room only crowds during meetings in both
     the House and Senate.</span><br />
    <span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">With the Senate Gaming Committee embarking
     on what Chairman Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said could be a
    comprehensive two-year look at gaming in Florida, the scene in the
    Senate Building’s first-floor committee room was once again
    standing-room-only with proponents and opponents of any gambling
    expansion.</span><br />
    <span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;"><br /><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">First
     up, Richter wants a House- and Senate-backed study that looks into the
    economic impact on the state and each other of the Florida Seminole
    Tribe compact, the Florida lottery, the 30 pari-mutuel locations that
    include horse racing, harness racing, quarter horse racing, greyhound
    racing, jai alai, poker and slot machines. Poker is available at 25
    locations, while slot machines are available in seven locations in
    Miami-Dade and Broward counties.</span></span></i><br />
    "<a href="http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/gambling-issue-continues-hover-legislature">Gambling Issue Continues to Hover in Legislature</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/source/nancy-smith">Nancy Smith</a> thinks it is "<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.5;">time for Florida to
    re-examine its fear of gambling and put it where it can do the state
    some good -- in smart, high-class state-of-the-art casinos.</span>"&nbsp; "<a href="http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/florida-why-not-casinos">Why Not Casinos?</a>". <br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Rubio's immigration plan?&nbsp; Mimic the Obama plan</b><br />
    <br />
    The <i>Palm Beach Post</i> editorial board compares Rubio's immigration plan to the ideas Obama has had on the table for years and, lo and behold, "the two plans do not appear, in their broad strokes, very different."<br />
    <i> Both would expand guest-worker programs, require employers to verify
    workers’ legal status electronically and create more opportunities for
    highly skilled immigrants to remain after studying at American
    universities. Most significantly, Mr. Obama and Sen. Rubio would allow
    illegal immigrants already in the U.S. the chance to become legal
    residents and, eventually, citizens.<br />
    <br />
    That last part – the
    so-called “amnesty” question – has been the biggest sticking point, with
     many Republicans opposed. It is not surprising that the president’s
    plan creates a path to citizenship. (The New York Times reports that it
    would require paying fines and back taxes and satisfying other
    requirements). More significant is that Sen. Rubio’s does, too.<br />
    <br />
     the president, Sen. Rubio has laid out no formal plan yet. But in an
    interview with The Wall Street Journal this month, he said he supports
    the legal-residency-to-citizenship path with elements similar to the
    president’s: a criminal background check, verification that the person
    has lived in the U.S. for several years, payment of back taxes and
    mastery of basic English. His plan would require illegal immigrants to
    wait for a substantial period of time — long enough, he said, “to ensure
     that it’s not easier to do it this way than it would be the legal way.”
     Sen. Rubio also suggested that illegal immigrants who were brought as
    children should have a quicker path to citizenship, echoing supporters
    of the failed DREAM Act.<br />
    "<a href="http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/editorial-let-the-politics-align-on-immigration-re/nT2Rs/">Let the politics align on immigration reform</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>The best he could do?&nbsp; Really?</b><br />
    <br />
     not cheap, but the fastest way to score prime tickets for
    inauguration weekend is to raise money — lots of money — for the winning
     presidential candidate.&nbsp; Just ask John Morgan, the Central Florida
    attorney and fundraiser extraordinaire for President Barack Obama."&nbsp;
    "<a href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-florida-inauguration-boosters-20130120,0,6745727.story">Florida
     fundraisers land VIP seats for
    inauguration</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>"Cool reception"</b><br />
    <br />
    "A proposal that could
    help cities and counties pay down their massive liabilities for police
    and fire pensions is getting a cool reception from both the unions and
    from local governments.&nbsp; The legislation would
    give cities more flexibility in how they use insurance tax revenue to
    fund pensions for police and firefighters."&nbsp; "<a href="http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130120/ARTICLE/130129981/2416/NEWS?Title=Pension-proposal-gets-cool-reception">Pension proposal gets cool reception</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Get over it; you lost</b><br />
    <br />
    " Low-income Floridians, small businesses and mega health care companies
    are all waiting on Tallahassee lawmakers to decide how and when the
    state will implement the Obama administration's signature accomplishment
     – the Affordable Care Act."<br />
    <i>House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Matt Hudson,
    R-Naples, chastised the Obama administration for a lack of flexibility,
    for its refusal to allow the state to consider a partial expansion.</i></blockquote>
    "<a href="http://www.sun-sentinel.com/health/fl-obamacare-q-and-a-20130120,0,2182142.story">Fla. lawmakers face big questions in health care debate</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Almost true</b><br />
    <br />
    Marco "Rubio told the <i>Wall Street Journal</i> he didn't "'think that in
    the 21st century we can continue to have an immigration system where
    only 6.5 percent of people who come here, come here based on labor and
    skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration.'"<br />
    <i>In evaluating Rubio's statement, his larger point is correct:
    Immigration data shows that most people come here for family reasons.
    But the number of legal immigrants who come based on employment varies
    depending on the type of visa and category of employment. One valid
    example is to look at legal permanent residents — 13.1 percent were
    employment-based preferences in 2011, and professionals with advanced
    degrees accounted for 6.3 percent.<br />
    <br />
    The data isn't as precise as
    Rubio made it sound, but his basic premise is correct, and some numbers
    do support his claim. We rate this statement Mostly True.<br />
    "<a href="http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/politifact-florida-rubio-correct-that-most-immigration-is-not-connected-to/1271538">PolitiFact Florida: Rubio correct that most immigration is not connected to labor or skills</a>".<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>Time to challenge tax dollars already funding religion</b><br />
    <br />
    Stephen L. Goldstein<i> </i>asserts that in<i> </i>"November
     2012, Florida voters showed laudable wisdom by
    voting down proposed state Constitutional Amendment 8, which would have
    allowed tax dollars to be used for any religious purpose. Now, the state
     needs to challenge tax dollars already funding religion—like
    faith-based prisons."&nbsp; "<a href="http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/fl-sgcol-oped0120-20130120,0,2809921.column">Religion
     poisons political discussions</a>"<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b>"Obama-paranoia at Miami gun show"</b><br />
    <br />
    Marc Caputo writes that the "word “Obama” was frequently mumbled, muttered, hissed, cursed at Saturday’s Southern Classic Gun and Knife Show."      <br />
    <div style="color: black; font: 10pt sans-serif; height: 1px; overflow: hidden; text-align: left; text-transform: none; width: 1px;">
    <br />
    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/20/3191830/high-prices-obama-paranoia-at.html#storylink=cpy"</div>
    <i>A clerk said they quickly sold 40 AR-15s for as much as $2,800
    shortly after opening. Some people had to wait two hours until their
    paperwork cleared before taking their guns home.<br />
    <br />
    At a nearby
    booth, one seller soon ran out of hundreds of “bump-fire” trigger kits
    that, as a video showed, convert a semi-automatic weapon into a full
    machine gun that can fire 800 rounds a minute.<br />
    </i><br />
    <div style="color: black; font: 10pt sans-serif; height: 1px; overflow: hidden; text-align: left; text-transform: none; width: 1px;">
    <i><br /></i>
    <i>Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/20/3191830_p2/high-prices-obama-paranoia-at.html#storylink=cpy</i></div>
    "<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/20/3191830/high-prices-obama-paranoia-at.html">High prices, Obama-paranoia at Miami gun show</a>".

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