Sunday, May 12, 2013

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

FlaDem's "cast of candidates look like the pledges from Animal House"

John Romano: "Florida hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1994. If it fails to this time, do not blame the voters. The fault will lie with party leaders who allowed it to happen." "Florida Democrats' gubernatorial hopefuls old and obvious".

"Bringing even more pain to unemployed Floridians"

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "If Florida's unemployment compensation system were a private business that depended on customer satisfaction, it would have been shuttered long ago. But unfortunately for the unemployed, Gov. Rick Scott's Department of Economic Opportunity has run the system just as some Republican leaders wanted: by denying thousands of legitimate claims over the past four years. Once again, the federal government has been forced to come to the rescue of Floridians whose state government has failed them. As the governor seeks re-election, he needs to correct a situation that increases cynicism about government and has resulted in the recent recession bringing even more pain to unemployed Floridians."

The U.S. Labor Department's Civil Rights Center issued a sharp rebuke to Scott's department last month, saying the agency's administration of unemployment compensation violated the civil rights of unemployed Floridians, particularly those who are disabled or speak Spanish or Creole.

The federal agency's investigation began shortly after the Republican-led Legislature in 2011 decided that all unemployment applications in Florida needed to be submitted over the Internet — ignoring that 40 percent of applicants preferred to use the phone. For applicants to collect an average weekly check of just $230, the Legislature also required them to answer 45 questions and prove they were contacting at least five employers weekly. Never mind that unemployment compensation is underwritten by private employers and only available to employees who are not fired for cause.

"Jobless deserve better from state".

The state can absorb only so many T-shirt shops

The Tampa Trib editors warn that "the bottoming out of Florida’s economy during the recession should serve as a forceful reminder to lawmakers and other policy-makers that diversifying the economy is more important than ever." "Florida’s economic recovery merits applause and caution".

"In 50 words or fewer"

Scott Maxwell: "In some ways, the Florida Legislature is like a bomb." "Health care, teacher raises, 'revenge porn' in 50 words or fewer".

Nelson is almost sure

"Frustrated Sen. Bill Nelson has 'no plans' to challenge Gov. Rick Scott".

"A bad bill"

The Palm Beach Post's Rhonda Swan: "The Legislature finally has passed a bill to ease Florida’s foreclosure crisis. The problem is, it’s a bad bill that Gov. Scott should veto." "Scott should veto the Legislature’s foreclosure bill".

Entrepreneurs in action

"Affordable Care Act confusion fuels fraud".

"As always, South Florida is a poster child for nationwide dysfunction"

Carl Hiaasen: "Anyone who thinks the healthcare apparatus in this country doesn’t need radical liposuction should read through the new federal report on hospital costs."

Make that alleged costs. All over the country, hospitals are billing Medicare ludicrously different amounts for treating patients with the same disorder.

Make that alleged costs. All over the country, hospitals are billing Medicare ludicrously different amounts for treating patients with the same disorder.

As always, South Florida is a poster child for the nationwide dysfunction.

"Once again, we’re the poster...".

Stating the obvious

Robyn Blumner asks: "Want to know what an antitax politician really is? Someone who will vote against investing in public schools, parks and infrastructure, and who will privatize Medicare and Social Security."

She continues:

Want to know what a politician who says he opposes regulation is really against? A clean environment, controls on Wall Street and giving workers safe conditions, living wages and the right to organize.
"Blumner: Graduates: Vote (and use sunscreen)".

Crist likes real big tents

"Charlie Crist touts big-tent appeal of Democratic Party".

Welfare much?

"Hertz, one of the nation's largest rental car companies, announced this week that it is moving its headquarters from New Jersey to Southwest Florida. The Fortune 500 company committed to the move after officials with the state and Lee County offered $19 million in economic incentives." "State, Local Governments Shell Out $19 Million for Hertz Relocation".

Republicans don' like Marco's amnesty stuff

"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration plan, which includes a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, still faces strong resistance from Republicans in Congress." "Poll Finds Floridians Support Path to Citizenship".

"No paper trail"

"Turn to any page of Florida's 450-page budget and what's most striking is the missing detail." "Lawmakers' pet projects leave no paper trail to Florida budget".