Saturday, July 13, 2013

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

Scott shill's new formula instantly reduces the number of failing schools

"The rule that prevented Florida school grades from dropping more than a single letter grade in a year is being extended."

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett decided to keep the rule so that there are fewer changes in the lead-up to Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, he said in a letter to the state Board of Education released Friday.
But it isn't political . . . not at all:
Bennett's letter said that his recommendations "are not made to soften the blow of higher standards or to reduce the number of failing schools," though both changes could have that effect.
"Bennett approves rules to ease school grading for 2013-14". See also "School grades would drop only 1 letter under state plan" and "State education chief suggests grading formula tweaks".

Scott given license to continue voter purge

"When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act last month, it cleared the way for Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to resume its controversial effort to remove potential noncitizens from voter rolls." "U.S. Supreme Court voting decision likely to stop legal challenge to Florida voter purge".

Hiaasen: Rubio "just another gutless sniveler"

"Poor Marco Rubio", writes Carl Hiaasen. He explains:

As the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform sink, so goes his hopes of establishing himself as the solid Republican front-runner in the 2016 campaign for the White House.

Meanwhile, the junior Florida senator is under siege from the bug-eyed right wing of his own party. Glenn Beck called him a “piece of garbage” and even the tea party has turned on him. It’s gotten so bad that GOP action groups are putting out commercials saying nice things about Rubio, just to preserve his shot at the presidency.

"Unfortunately, immigration reform is the only serious issue on which Rubio has presumed to lead. Otherwise, his time in Washington has been quiet and forgettable."
During the big post-Newtown debate on expanding background checks of firearms buyers, Rubio revealed himself as just another gutless sniveler controlled by the NRA. In the budget battle he offered not a single new idea, only boilerplate attacks on President Obama over the federal deficit (which is now, to the chagrin of Republican presidential hopefuls, shrinking).
Hiaasen continues, pointing out that next month will see "one of the grandest hypocrisies of the entire immigration furor"; Hiassen explains that
the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is for the first time taking its annual conference away from Washington.

The new site: Orlando. The keynote speaker: Sen. Marco Rubio.

Why is this so funny? Because the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is basically the infamous Koch brothers, Charles and David, those ultra-conservative billionaires who spend their free time and money trying to buy elections.

Paradoxically, their campaign contributions and massive media blitzes helped to install some of the same fire-breathing gasbags in Congress who are now dismantling immigration reform and damaging Rubio’s chances to be president.

That the Kochs would come to Florida and put Rubio center stage illustrates the bewildered desperation now plaguing the Republican Party. Charlie and Dave have seen the sorry poll numbers from 2012, and know they can’t win the White House without a titanic shift of Hispanic votes.

Apparently the strategy is to present a candidate who is heroically identified with pushing for immigration reform, while the brothers continue working backstage to ensure that reform itself has zero chance of becoming law.

"Marco Rubio: A funny thing happened on the way to the nomination . . .".

Meanwhile, the latesr Iowa polling doesn't look good for Saint Marco.

Have another puff

"By proposing new language, medical marijuana supporters must start again to obtain more than 683,000 signatures needed to put the ballot initiative before Florida voters. . . . By proposing new language, approved Wednesday by the state, PUFMM discarded tens of thousands of petition signatures from voters who wanted to get medical marijuana on the ballot." "Medical marijuana forces revamp popular plan, but face hurdles".

Beck clone makes House bid

"As he runs again for the Florida House in 2014, Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Milton, drew a Republican primary challenger this week. Army veteran and current National Guard member Jamie Tabisz-Smith, who runs the [Glenn Beckish] Liberty Life News site, filed his paperwork on Thursday to run against Broxson, who represents parts of Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties in next year’s Republican primary." "Doug Broxson Faces a Republican Primary Challenger in 2014".

Crist is running, no doubt

Kevin Derby writes that "If there are any doubts that former Gov. Charlie Crist intends to run for governor in 2014, the announcement this week that he is releasing a book -- "The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat" -- should end them." "Charlie Crist Isn't The Only Flip-Flop Governor Turned Writer".

Precisely who does Weatherford work for, and what does he do?

"For the past six years, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has reported that his largest source of personal income is from an outfit called Breckenridge Enterprises. When asked about Breckenridge, which hasn't been registered in Florida since 2007, Weatherford says he doesn't actually work for the company. "

"It's all very hard to follow, and when it's hard to follow, there's probably a reason," said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which reviewed Weatherford's financial disclosures. "I think he's doing everything he can to hide the true source of his income and conceal the fact that he isn't doing anything for the money."
"Weatherford's income continues to mystify".

Crazies claim DOJ organized anti-Zimmerman protests

The crazies at Judicial Watch intentional misrepresented the work of the DOJ's "Community Relations Service" in connection with the Trayon Martin related protest, which predictably "sparked outrage among conservative sites, including the Heritage Foundation and The Daily Caller, and attracted mainstream attention at CNN. The Rush Limbaugh Show went with the headline 'Obama Regime Organized Trayvon Protests.'" "PolitiFact: Conservative group says Department of Justice helped organize protests against George Zimmerman" (Politifact found the assertions to be "mostly false").