FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a 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 Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rick Scott's triple twisting back flop-flip

    Ed Dean: "From 2011 to 2012, Rick Scott was against Medicaid expansion in Florida. Then he reversed his position and, until last year, he supported it. It’s now 2015 and he has reversed his position again." "Pam Bondi, Dan Webster on; Rick Scott, Bob Buckhorn off."


    Florida’s political parties rake in corporate cash

    "Florida’s political parties are taking in millions of dollars from many corporations that have a stake in what happens during this year’s legislative session."

    New reports filed late Friday show that . . . The Republican Party of Florida, along with a separate fundraising account run by the GOP senate president, took in nearly $7.4 million. . . .

    The Florida Democratic Party received roughly $2.75 million in cash donations.

    "Florida’s political parties rake in money during session."


    Weekly Roundup

    "On a week when Jimmy Buffett came to the Capitol, one major piece of legislation ended up happily ever after. But others were getting to where they might need to do the desperation samba. As for the fate of other legislation? Only time will tell." "Weekly Roundup: Bills Living, Dying and Somewhere In Between."


    "Florida: comedy gold"

    "Why does Dave Barry live in Florida? It's comedy gold, the humorist told Bill Maher on Friday's 'Real Time With Bill Maher.'"

    We've turned strangeness into an industry. Perhaps the state should establish a bureau of weirdness and set up museums about Florida lore, crimes and elections. Gather all those late-night put-downs about Florida in one place and invite tourists in. Sure, we've been the butt of the joke often, but we're not boring. Come visit. You'll see. Imagine the commercials with Gov. Rick Scott: "Anything can happen in Florida. I was elected governor. Twice." . . . On the Maher show, Dave Barry joked that he had moved to Florida from the United States. Florida is different, and we have the comedy gold to prove it.
    "Florida: We are comedy gold."


    Gay adoption ban

    "House, Senate take different approaches on gay adoption ban." "House passes religious exemption to block gay adoptions."


    "Detzner's trivial opposition to online registration characteristic of his inept handling of his election responsibilities"

    The Tampa Tribune editors: "A microphone picked up a frustrated Pinellas Sen. Jack Latvala calling Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s testimony about online voter registration as “so much ...” — with Latvala using a salty term to finish his comment."

    If he was a bit profane, Latvala was on target. He, his fellow lawmakers and all Florida voters have good reason to be upset with Detzner, whose trivial opposition to online registration is characteristic of his inept handling of his election responsibilities.

    Even as Detzner made an uninvited appearance before the Senate this week in an effort to sabotage online registration legislation, his department was trying to explain the inadvertent release of voter information from high-risk individuals, including law enforcement officials, judges and crime victims. The department’s media release tried to minimize the blunder, but there was no hiding that these individuals’ personal information had been compromised.

    "Worry about voters, not bureaucrats."



The Blog for Friday, April 10, 2015

Batista-dead-enders run wild

    "Florida lawmakers have lambasted efforts by President Barack Obama to normalize relations with Cuba,"
    an initiative that continues today with Obama’s appearance at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
    And what about that Cuban Consulate?
    Local leaders in Miami, with the nations biggest population of Cuban-Americans, have also said they have no interest in seeing a Cuban consulate there. But many leaders in Tampa — a city with historic ties older than Miami’s and also just a short plane flight away — have embraced the idea.

    Both the Tampa chamber and the Tampa City Council have spoken out in favor of a consulate here, as has U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat.

    "Lawmakers' Cuba condemnation may hurt Tampa's outreach." More: "Warming Cuba relations may bring consulate back."

    Meanwhile, "Miami mayor would fight putting Cuban consulate in the city ." See also "Miami Rejects Hosting Cuban Consulate, But Tampa Wants It."

    Related: "Cuban dissidents heckled at Americas Summit," "Cuba, Venezuela tensions rise in run-up to hemispheric meeting," "Poll in Cuba: Obama more popular than Fidel, Raúl Castro," "How secret poll in Cuba was done," "Abel Prieto: Cuba does not dialogue with puppets of the United States" and "Orlando airport will offer flights to Cuba on July 8."


    "Gay adoption bill facing showdown"

    "A proposal allowing private agencies to deny gay adoptions by claiming religious or moral objections passed the state House on Thursday but faces uncertainty after the Senate signaled opposition to similar language." "Gay adoption bill facing showdown in state Senate."


    "There’ll Be Less Testing. But Not Much Less"

    "Rejoice, Students: There’ll Be Less Testing. But Not Much Less. House Approves Roll-Back.." See also "Legislature approves scaling back of school testing" and "House votes to reduce number of state-required school tests."

    And then there's this: "Bill to Cut High-Stakes Testing Heads to Rick Scott for Signing."


    Good luck with that

    "The South Miami city commission unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Mayor Philip Stoddard in support of removing barriers to customer-sited solar power and support for the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot petition." "South Miami mayor, commission: Floridians should have greater choices to buy solar energy."


    Its called Employment-at-will

    "Workers say Methodist church day-care center fired them for being gay."


    Nary a spine in sight

    "The Florida House overwhelmingly passed a $690 million tax cut package, but the Senate shows no signs of agreeing to the plan." "Florida House passes $690 million tax cut package."


    Second amendment stoopid

    "House gambling bill clears first hurdle." See also "Bill for concealed carry in evacuations headed to Gov. Rick Scott."


    "Rubio gets a Super PAC"

    "Sen. Marco Rubio has already used his Reclaim America PAC, which is limited to $5,000 donations, to build a political team that will run his campaign as well as grow a national fundraising network." "Marco Rubio gets a Super PAC, fueling 2016 money race."


    Batista-dead-enders in a dither over terror designation

    "Decision on Cuba terror designation will come soon, Obama says."


    Senate committee proposes to expand gaming

    "While the House scales back its broad bill, a Senate committee took its narrow bill and broadened it to expand gaming" "Turmoil continues over fate of gambling bills."



The Blog for Thursday, April 09, 2015

Medicaid expansion games

    The Miami Herald editors, "This is so sick" ("The debate over Medicaid expansion is not a game of chicken"). The Tampa Trib editors: "An about-face for Gov. Scott."

    Meanwhile, "In war over Medicaid expansion, Senate panel declines to confirm Scott’s pick for surgeon general."


    House bill permits adoption agency discrimination

    "House Democrats were unable to gut a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT parents based on their religious beliefs. Just an hour later, senators upheld language that strikes down an existing ban on gays adopting children." "House, Senate take different approaches on gay adoption ban."


    Eisnaugle "coup"

    "Republican members of the most recent class of lawmakers elected to the House are pushing back hard on reports in blogs that members are attempting to overthrow Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, as House Speaker for 2020-2022." "Freshman House members push back against Eisnaugle 'coup' reports."

    More: "Is Eric Eisnaugle’s Speakership in Trouble Over His Handling of Gay Adoption?"


    Death Sentence?

    "The fate of a bill to allow guns on college campuses faces an uncertain future after it was removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s meeting agenda this week. Gun rights groups have speculated the bill’s removal came at the hands of Senate President Andy Gardiner, who can ultimately decide whether a bill dies or lives to see another day in the Florida Legislature." "Is Campus Carry Bill Under a Death Sentence?."


    Murphy Kerfuffle

    Nancy Smith: "Democrats close to Florida party leadership are buzzing over the bold call Monday from Democratic progressives to replace senatorial candidate Patrick Murphy with Alan Grayson -- and an equally bold, retaliatory call the very next day from a party executive chair to disband the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida."

    Fuming over the attempt to sabotage FDP's choice to run for Marco Rubio's seat, Celeste Bush, DEC chair of St. Lucie County, said in an email distributed Tuesday, "Yesterday an unprecedented action was taken by Susan Smith, (president) of the 'Democratic' Progressive Caucus and Nancy Jacobson, an elected DNC member. "They called a press conference to discredit Congressman Patrick Murphy’s run for U.S. Senate. You may have seen some of the news stories."
    "Decertify Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Urges Party Leader."

    Background: "Decertify Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Urges Party Leader."


    "Along comes Annette"

    Nancy Smith: "For four years Charlie Crist gave me a reason to get up in the morning. I've been so down since he left my computer screen. Then, just when I thought that 6 a.m. bounce to the bathroom sink was over -- eureka! -- along comes Annette Taddeo." "Bless You, Annette Taddeo, Gift That Keeps on Giving."


    Detzner under fire

    "Secretary of State Ken Detzner appeared before House and Senate committees to oppose online voter registration, calling the idea a “flashing yellow light” fraught with security risks." "Florida’s top elections official under fire on two fronts." See also "Detzner opposes online voter registration before frustrated senators."


    "An interesting accounting maneuver”

    "Customers of Duke Energy Florida could get $2 or $3 reductions in their monthly bills through a financing plan that received support from lawmakers Tuesday." "Senators back Duke Energy plan that could cut bills $2 or $3."


    Jeb papers over drop in black college enrollment

    "As he courts Republicans across the country, Jeb Bush boasts that an executive order he signed that ended race-based college admissions in Florida upheld conservative principles while helping minorities."

    "We ended up having a system where there were more African American and Hispanic kids attending our university system than prior to the system that was discriminatory," the former governor and likely presidential contender said recently at a conference of conservative activists.

    But at Florida's two premier universities, black enrollment is shrinking. At the University of Florida in Gainesville and at Florida State University in Tallahassee, administrators say they worry that the trend risks diminishing their standing as world-class universities and hurts the college experience.

    Jeb is playing word (numbers) games:
    The growth in minority enrollment that Bush now points to is primarily a result of the state's booming Hispanic population, which has led to a large increase in the share of Hispanic students attending Florida colleges. Between 2000 and 2013, the numbers of Hispanics, African Americans and other ethnic groups have risen as the statewide university system has gotten much bigger, with freshman enrollment growing 35 percent.

    As a proportion of the overall student population, black enrollment has declined — most notably at UF and FSU. At the time Bush enacted the policy, black students made up 18 percent of all freshmen at Florida colleges. That dropped to 15 percent by 2009.

    "After Bush order, black enrollment shrinks at Florida universities."


    Florida drones

    "A bill identifying specific legal uses for unmanned drones stalled in a Senate committee Tuesday as members said they were concerned about 'unintended consequences.'" "Bill to restrict use of drones postponed in committee."


    Gambling bills

    "While the House scales back its broad bill, a Senate committee took its narrow bill and broadened it to expand gaming." "Turmoil continues over fate of gambling bills." See also "Not Quite Gambling's Year in the Florida Legislature ... Again."


    Batista-dead-enders in a dither

    "There are conflicting reports this week about when the U.S. will move to withdraw Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. No matter when, people in Florida who have a stake in the change are preparing for it, including professors at USF." "Florida researchers eager to see Cuba off U.S. terror list."


    "Modest prison reforms"

    "Prison reform advocates and families said a House bill approved Tuesday in committee doesn’t go far enough to fix the troubled prison system." "Despite appeals, House advances modest prison reforms."


    Another Jeb flop

    "In October 2003, Jeb Bush unveiled one of the largest economic projects in Florida history: a $500 million plan to bring Scripps Research Institute to the state and build a biomedical hub he said would generate nearly 50,000 jobs in 15 years."

    As governor, he described it as a "seminal moment,” comparable to Walt Disney World's arrival in Florida in 1971, which brought billions of dollars in tourism, spawned tens of thousands of jobs, transformed the economy and created the world’s most-visited vacation resort.

    Today, as Bush leads possible Republican candidates in the 2016 race for the U.S. presidency, the missed projections and mixed results of his signature economic policy as governor — a biotechnology gamble that has yet to pay off — illustrate problems he could face in explaining his own record while promoting a vision of “real conservative success."

    By nearly all measures, the plan to transform bedroom communities into biotech corridors by attracting Scripps and other research institutes has fallen short of expectations, despite $1.3 billion in state, city and county funding.

    Making an early case for his presidential ambitions, Bush has stressed that government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winning industries and that market forces should do that job.

    "I’m not here to take sides and I don’t think the government should either," he said in a speech on Feb. 4.

    But his Florida record tells another story.

    "How Jeb Bush's big bet on Florida economy may come back to haunt him." "Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s bet on creating a biotech cluster on the Treasure Coast hasn’t paid off as intended, and could help lead to the downgrade of Port St. Lucie’s debt."
    The news comes as Bush is gearing up for a possible run for President. A recent story from Reuters noted that other parts of Bush’s bio tech bet, like the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, are falling far short of expectations.

    A recent state report also showed the Innovation Incentive Fund, set up by Bush to aid the biotech sector, provides a negative return on investment for the state, although the fund is envisioned for more long-range returns.

    "Jeb Bush biotech bet could lead to downgrade for Treasure Coast city." See also "Moody's places Port St. Lucie (FL) under review for possible downgrade."



The Blog for Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Jeb takes "Hispandering" a bit too far

    "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he made a mistake when he self-identified as a Hispanic on his 2009 voter registration form."
    The mistake was first reported by the New York Times, which said a copy of his Miami-Dade voter registration form had the Hispanic box checked in the “Race/Ethnicity” section. Bush is trying to bush [sic] off the gaffe, writing on Twitter “My mistake! I don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!” It was a response to a Tweet from his son, Jeb Bush Jr., which joked “Come on dad, think you checked the wrong box.”
    "Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic on voter form, calls it a 'mistake'."

    Jeb ain't Hispanic, or Floridian for that matter, although he does have "strong ties to British and other European royalty."

    More on the GOP's habit of taking Hispandering a bit too far. "How Hispanic Is Jeb Bush?" See also "How Hispanic is the G.O.P.?"


    Another Scott flip-flop

    "In Reversal, Scott Opposes Expanding Poor’s Health Insurance and Opens $2.2 Billion Budget Hole." The Tampa Trib editors write that "Gov. Rick Scott’s frustration with federal officials who are playing hardball with the state over federal funds for hospitals that serve low-income patients is understandable. But his abrupt reversal on his support for Medicaid expansion is unlikely to help the state’s bargaining position or poor patients in need." "An about-face for Gov. Scott."

    "The fight over expanding Medicaid to cover 800,000 more people in Florida took another twist Monday, as a statement released by Gov. Rick Scott hinting at his opposition to expansion set off a ripple through the state government and health care circles. . . . Should Scott ultimately oppose Medicaid expansion, it would be a reversal of his previous position." "Gov. Scott hints at opposition to Medicaid expansion."

    See also "Gov. Rick Scott backs off support of Medicaid expansion," "Rick Scott's Opposition to Health Expansion Adds Fuel to the Fire" and "Gov. Scott weighs in on Medicaid divide, opposes expansion."


    Citizen lobbyists

    "Florida’s citizen lobbyists patrol the halls of the Capitol in Tallahassee and advocate for change, one issue and one lawmaker at a time." "Citizen lobbyists endure bureaucracy at Florida’s Capitol as they promote their causes."


    "Taddeo Takes on Curbelo"

    "Former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairwoman Annette Taddeo, best known for being former Gov. Charlie Crist’s running mate on the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial ticket, is running against U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla." "Playing Up Charlie Crist Ties, Annette Taddeo Takes on Carlos Curbelo."


    Atwater Leads Over Less Known Democrats

    "Jeff Atwater Leads Over Less Known Democrats in Early 2016 Senate Poll."


    "Class-size foes may finally prevail"

    "Backed by school districts that struggle annually to meet the strict caps, the Florida Legislature is poised to end penalties for school districts when classes get too big." "After a dozen years, Florida class-size foes may finally prevail."


    Because maybe he's not smart?

    Helen Aguirre Ferré: "It’s surprising that a smart conservative like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence did not foresee the backlash." "Changing U.S. culture challenges the GOP."


    Arrest me

    "University Police Chiefs Violated Law Testifying Against Campus Carry, Says Ethics Complaint."


    "Jeb the most conservative governor of a large state since Reagan"

    "When Jeb Bush, the most conservative governor of a large state since Ronald Reagan (by some metrics — taxes, school choice — Bush was a more conservative governor than Reagan), is called a threat to conservatism, Republicans are with Alice in Wonderland." "Sen. Cruz is aiming at the wrong Republicans."


    Marijuana Still Polls Well

    "Medical Marijuana Still Polls Well in Florida After Amendment 2 Loss."


    Rot has infected the Florida prison system

    "Further evidence of the rot that has infected the system surfaced last week when three Ku Klux Klan members who worked at a Florida prison were charged with plotting to kill a black inmate after his release in retaliation for a fight." "House falls far short of prison reform."



The Blog for Monday, April 06, 2015

Floridians give Rubio a reason to stay home

    "Republican State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is the strongest candidate in an early look at the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Florida, getting 38 percent to 34 percent for U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. Atwater leads another possible Democratic candidate, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, 42 - 32 percent."
    Florida voters disapprove 49 - 42 percent of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing, continuing a four-year streak of negative ratings.

    Voters approve 54 - 35 percent of the job U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is doing and give U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson a 45 - 30 percent approval rating.

    April 6, 2015 - Florida Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll.



"Florida is not a given for Jeb or Marco"

    "Florida is not a given for Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio." See also "Iconic Freedom Tower holds symbolic value for Rubio as site for likely presidential announcement."


    "Televangelist sics followers on bakery"

    "Former televangelist sics angry followers on local bakery to make a point about religious freedom."


    "Abysmally low"

    "There’s money for rural lands, beaches and the Everglades. But as lawmakers prepare to negotiate details of the new state budget, debate continues over whether more money from Florida’s land and water conservation amendment should go toward buying property for conservation."

    Amendment 1, sponsored by Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, passed with 75 percent of the vote in November. The measure sets aside one-third of money collected through taxes on real estate documentary stamps to protect environmentally sensitive areas for the next 20 years.

    About $750 million is expected to be set aside in the first year, and Florida’s Water and Land Legacy had hoped the state would dedicate $170 million of that to Florida Forever, a state program to buy land for preservation, to protect and maintain conservation lands and local parks.

    House and Senate leaders don’t appear to be close to that number. The state House set aside $10.5 million for Florida Forever in its budget, while the Senate initially put $2 million toward the land buying program.

    “It’s an abysmally low figure compared to $750 million,” said Ray Judah, coordinator for the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition. 'It’s really very distressing.'

    "Florida lawmakers set aside little for environmental land acquisition."


    FlaBaggers in action

    "Tea Party Miami hires actors to protest environmental land buy."


    "I understand"

    Darryl E. Owens " borrow[s] a line from Chris Rock: I ain't saying teachers should have cheated … but I understand." "Pay heed to the moral of Atlanta test cheating fable."


    "Competitive 2016 race for swing South Florida congressional seat"

    "Annette Taddeo, Charlie Crist’s former running mate, plans to run against U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo in South Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys." "Democrat’s candidacy sets up competitive 2016 race for swing South Florida congressional seat."


    "Budget Standoff"

    "Budget Standoff Will Rule Remainder of Legislative Session."


    Good luck with that

    "Florida’s citizen lobbyists, patrol the halls of the Capitol in Tallahassee and advocate for change, one issue and one lawmaker at a time." "Citizen lobbyists seek to be heard in Florida’s Capitol." See also "Health issues divide lawmakers."


    Is Arceneaux to Work for Clinton?

    Nancy Smith wonders: "Is Scott Arceneaux Really Going to Work for Hillary Clinton?"



The Blog for Sunday, April 05, 2015

"Jeb, the juggernaut that wasn’t"

    "Three months into what allies once confidently described as a “shock and awe” drive to overcome his rivals and dominate the Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush’s early campaigning looks like the juggernaut that wasn’t."
    But while Mr. Bush continues to position himself as Republicans’ best hope in the general election, recent polls show him performing no better against Hillary Rodham Clinton than Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin or Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. And he is well behind Mr. Walker in Iowa, which has made a habit of rejecting candidates seen as their party’s inevitable nominees.
    "Mr. Bush’s intense focus on fund-raising has left him to contend with a donor class far more restive than in his brother’s day, before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other court rulings amplified the power of wealthy contributors.?
    For example, Mr. Bush must navigate between the party base, which remains strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, and elite donors who have tried to steer the party to support it or leave the issue aside altogether.

    In California last week, Mr. Bush told donors that he approved of a decision by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana to seek changes to a new law billed as protecting religious freedom — just two days after Mr. Bush had firmly defended it on a conservative radio show.

    Jewish donors also remain angry at Mr. Bush for a March 23 speech that Mr. Baker, who was secretary of state under Mr. Bush’s father, delivered to J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group. Mr. Adelson, perhaps the single largest Republican donor, quickly complained to Mel Sembler, a Florida developer who has long supported Mr. Bush. And Mr. Bush was pressed again about Mr. Baker’s speech at another California event last week.

    "Bush as Inevitable Choice? Republicans Say Not So Fast."


    "Legislators pay attention to powerful interests"

    "With Florida lawmakers having reached the halfway point of their 60-day session last week, the lineup of legislation with traction looks like a Who’s Who of fundraising and lobbying heft."At midway point, Florida Legislators pay attention to powerful interests."


    "Reveling in divisiveness and obstruction"

    Scott Maxwell has discoved divisive GOPers: "House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, with the help of local Republicans such as Eric Eisnaugle, Scott Plakon, Jason Brodeur and most of the rest of the local delegation, has reveled in divisiveness and obstruction." "In Legislature, practical Republicans battle obstructionists."


    Hopes of major overhaul for underfunded mental-health system fading fast

    "With Florida legislators past the session's halfway mark, hopes that they'll agree on any sort of major overhaul for the state's overwhelmed, underfunded mental-health system are fading fast." "Mental-health reform languishing in Florida Legislature."


    "Everglades Show Business"

    Nancy Smith: "Buy the land, don't buy the land -- it's all pretend, all a big show and all for naught." "There's No Business Like Everglades Show Business."


    FDLE's "misguided Magical Mystery Tour probe"

    Carl Hiaasen writes that, when a blogger made fun of the "piddling $43 that an average Florida family supposedly would save annually from the governor’s proposed tax changes," and called it "'Gov. Scott’s Magical Mystery Tax Cut Calculator,'" adding "a line from the original Lennon-McCartney song: Coming to take you away, take you away...," somebody

    at FDLE (an “analyst,” the agency said) eyeballed those words on Tilson’s blog and perceived a potential threat to the governor. Could somebody be plotting to take him away, take him away...?

    Not since Charlie Manson got mesmerized by Helter Skelter has anyone twisted the words of a Beatles song so ludicrously — and Manson, let’s remember, is crazier than an outhouse rat.

    Yet the FDLE, the top crime-busting force in Florida, detected possible ominous undertones in the lyrics of Magical Mystery Tour. An agent was promptly sent to interview Tilson. . . .

    After Tilson wrote online about what happened, the FDLE hastily said the matter was closed. Its statement, in part: “Commissioner (Rick) Swearingen is reviewing the incident and believes FDLE could have better evaluated the post...”

    You think?

    Swearingen is new to the top job, having been hand-picked by Scott. The entire Cabinet is supposed to participate in the appointment process, but that’s not what really occurred.

    The governor wanted to get rid of longtime FDLE chief Gerald Bailey and promote his buddy Swearingen, who was once in charge of Scott’s personal security detail. . . .

    That landmark statute requires state government to be conducted in the open, a practice that cramps the covert style of Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and the other Cabinet members.

    All their legal fees — possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars — will be covered by taxpayers. This newspaper and several major media outlets are among those suing to find out how Bailey got fired.

    Meanwhile, Rick Swearingen has said he wasn’t named FDLE commissioner just to be “the governor’s boy,” and vows to walk away from the job if he’s asked to do anything unethical.

    "Beatles’ lyrics inspire misguided FDLE probe."


    Fair and balanced polling

    Here's a summary by Real Clear Politics of the eight Bush v. Clinton polls released since late March: General Election: Bush vs. Clinton. An average of all eight polls has Clinton 7 points ahead of Jeb.

    The only poll in this group that does not have Clinton in the lead is . . . you guessed it . . . a Fox poll, which has the race tied.

    See "FOX News Poll: Examining Potential 2016 Matchups" and "Polls show Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton tied in 2016 matchup | On Air Videos."

    More fair and balanced polling here: "Fox News Poll: More families feel worse than better as a result of ObamaCare."

    Fox's poll was conducted by "Anderson Robbins Research (D) / Shaw & Company Research (R)." In that regard, you may be interested in 538's poll rankings.



The Blog for Saturday, April 04, 2015

To know them is to dislike them

    The Q poll that was released this week tells the rest of the nation what Floridians have known for years. Jeb is not the beloved native love Florida's MSM would have the rest of the nation believe. The combination of fine people, but grossly underfunded candidates resulted in the election of Jeb Bush (and for that matter, Marco Rubio).

    The new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll "has Bush leading Florida by just nine points over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and trailing Walker and other GOP prospects in Ohio and Pennsylvania."

    Among the presidential prospects with the old national names, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running away with Democrats' support while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is losing Republicans' support in Florida and drawing limited support in two other swing states.
    "Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is deep in the pack in all three states, according to the Quinnipiac Poll. Rubio, expected to announce his candidacy for president on April 13, showed up in third place in Florida, tied for sixth in Pennsylvania and tied for eighth in Ohio, among 13 Republicans listed in the poll."
    The poll surveyed 1,087 Florida voters with a margin of error of 4.7 percent for Republican questions and 5.3 percent for Democratic questions. The Pennsylvania and Ohio samples and margins of error were similar.
    "Q Poll: Jeb slipping, Hillary still unchallenged."

    Related: "Hillary Clinton Leads With Florida Democrats But They Want Her to Face Primary in 2016" and "Scott Walker Gains Traction in Florida on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio."


    "Medicaid scuffle looms"

    "The House and Senate advanced competing budgets Wednesday, setting up what could be a weekslong showdown between the two chambers over Medicaid funding." "House, Senate advance budgets as Medicaid scuffle looms."


    Weekly Roundup

    "Weekly Roundup: LIP, the KKK and Tax-Free Guns."


    No standing

    "The public’s ability to sue in order to force local government to obey its own laws is suddenly on trial." "Miami vs. The People: An issue of standing."


    Scott the recipient of the most utility money since 2010

    "Campaign records show utility companies have sunk $12 million into the campaigns of state lawmakers since 2010."

    That money comes from the bills paid by customers of the state’s four largest utilities — Duke Energy, Gulf Power, Florida Power & Light and Tampa Electric.

    Those donations include contributions to every member of the Senate and House leadership. The recipient of the most utility money since 2010 is Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign, which took in more than $1.1 million through two political action committees.

    “Why don’t we have a bigger solar industry in Florida?” asked Mike Antheil, a West Palm Beach lobbyist who represents solar companies. “The answer is simple. Every kilowatt of solar you produce on your roof is one less kilowatt that the utilities can sell you.”

    "Big energy’s campaign cash keeps solar down in Florida."


    "Murphy, Grayson Take Different Paths"

    Kevin Derby: "U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has started his Senate campaign with impressive fundraising and the support of leading Democrats, but U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson continues to leave the door open to a Senate bid of his own." "Patrick Murphy, Alan Grayson Take Different Paths to Fundraising Success."


    Then we'll demand pension deform

    "Local first responders to be honored on Easter at Miami Beach hotel."


    But Rick Scott says . . .

    "A new study that sifted through piles of data on sea temperatures has found climate change may trigger fatal coral bleaching sooner than scientists had previously thought." "Study: Climate change will hit some Florida reefs sooner than expected, might trigger annual bleaching."


    Free choice

    Nancy Smith: "Abortion Decisions Don't Belong on a Legislative Agenda."


    "A lightning [flip-flop] by Jeb Bush"

    "Anti-discrimination activists and gay rights groups welcomed a lightning evolution [a/k/a 'flip flop] by Jeb Bush, this week on a controversial law passed in Indiana last week that opponents said would have made it easier for businesses to discriminate against LGBT employees and customers."

    On Monday, Bush praised the law as signed by Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence. On Wednesday, the former Florida governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate drew back sharply in his approbation, conceding only that the law would “be in the right place” by the end of the week, after an anticipated fix by the Indiana legislature.
    "Jeb Bush flip-flop on Indiana law shows what a difference two days make."


    "Does Florida have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act?"

    "Indiana’s law says government doesn’t have to be a party to the case, and it extends protections to corporations, and that’s different from Florida’s law." "Does Florida have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act like Indiana’s?." Related: "Florida House panel allows adoption agencies to discriminate."

    Meanwhile, "Bill would allow adoption agencies to turn away gay couples."


    "The House’s de facto leader"

    "Republican State Rep. Richard Corcoran is the House’s de facto leader, eclipsing House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, whose job he’ll assume in 2016." "GOP state Rep. Richard Corcoran: Tallahassee’s true power broker."


    Scott's backstage opposition to online voter registration

    "Gov. Rick Scott administration’s backstage opposition claims that online voter registration has 'risks and challenges,' a position that has created new rifts between the governor and county election supervisors." "Gov. Rick Scott’s criticism of online voter registration angers elections officials."

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editors: "Twenty-four states let people register to vote online. Until this week, Florida’s elections supervisors were looking forward to joining their ranks." "Let voters register online."


    Rubio's nationwide money machine

    "Marco Rubio is playing a different fundraising game than Jeb Bush, according to experts, who say he won’t have to match Bush but will need to bring in enough big donors to show he’s a viable presidential candidate." "Even before presidential launch, Rubio has built nationwide money machine." Relsted: "Marco Rubio confirms iconic Freedom Tower as site for likely presidential announcement."