Sunday, September 29, 2013

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

"What next, Marco? A twerking video with Sarah Palin?"

Carl Hiaasen: "Nobody outside of Texas likes Cruz except the tea party troglodytes to whom he panders."

“You inspire me,” the buffoon cooed to Rubio, a future foe in the 2016 race for the White House.

At which moment Democratic campaign strategists surely fell to their knees whispering, “Thank you, God. This is too good to be true.”

The Cruz-Rubio bromance played out on C-Span in the wee morning hours last Wednesday during Cruz’s marathon tirade against Obamacare. Florida’s junior senator popped up like a blow-dried gopher to speak for almost an hour and give Cruz a break.

"Rubio’s appearance was another calculated suck-up to the right-wingers who scorned him during the immigration debate. Days earlier he had back-stabbed Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, a gay African-American, by abruptly withdrawing his support for Thomas’ nomination to the federal bench."
Rubio claimed he’d changed his mind about Thomas’ “fitness” because of concerns about the handling of a DUI case and a rape case – though even the prosecutor in the rape case said the judge had followed the rules. (Rubio’s vast credentials in criminal trial procedure consist of an unused law degree.)

By aligning himself with Cruz, whose self-styled filibuster epitomizes the partisan paralysis in Washington, Rubio further diminished himself in the eyes of moderate Republicans who yearn for a fresh and principled voice.

Ironically, the potential rival who benefits most from Rubio’s naked groveling is his mentor, Jeb Bush. Although he hasn’t announced whether or not he’s running in 2016, Bush is smart enough to watch the unfolding Republican train wreck and know that none of the current lightweights has a chance of beating Hillary Clinton.

"Democrats must be quietly elated to see a guy like Rubio, once feared as the bright new face of the opposition, swooning over a reactionary gasbag like Cruz."
Hillary can just sit back and watch. The campaign commercials keep writing themselves. “You inspire me,” sayeth the gasbag from Texas to the suck-up artist from Florida. What next, Marco? A twerking video with Sarah Palin?
"Americans aren’t buying what Cruz, Rubio are selling".

The party never ended for the uber-rich in Southwest Florida

"For Realtors selling million-dollar homes and wealth managers who control seven-figure nest eggs in Southwest Florida, the recession that began in 2007 was more of a bother than a crisis. Navigating the Great Recession, at least for the uber-rich and those who make handsome livings catering to them, provided as many opportunities as problems." "Afer recession, economic gap widens".

Conservation amendment a go

"The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved a 2014 ballot proposal that would set aside tax dollars to conserve land and other natural resources and help restore the Everglades. The court is required to review proposed constitutional amendments to make sure they meet legal standards, such as a requirement that ballot initiatives deal with single subjects and do not have misleading summary language." "Court OKs ballot language of conservation proposal".

To replace Fasano

"The two candidates seeking to succeed Mike Fasano in the state House of Representatives differ on their health care views, but both support the Second Amendment and both agree that alternatives need to be found for homeowners who have policies with Citizens Property Insurance. 'Citizens was the insurance of last resort,' Republican Bill Gunter said Friday morning as he and Democrat Amanda Murphy met in what was billed as an 'informal debate.' 'It’s become the only resort for most people.'" "House candidates debate issues".

"Bored" bimbos doom Suarez

"The beginning of the end of Francis Suarez’s promising bid to become mayor of Miami started the day his campaign got two attractive young women to work the crowd at a Cinco de Mayo party."

The assignment was not difficult: Get voters to allow the campaign to request absentee ballots for them.

The two friends flirted, downed vodka tonics and got some signatures. But not enough.

So they improvised: They filled out forms for themselves. They called a boyfriend and a sister and forged their names.

And when they ran out of people they knew, they made up names of fake voters.

Which landed them in the middle of a criminal investigation.

“We were bored,” 21-year-old Ivana Saud told the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.

A novice campaigner, Juan Pablo Baggini, submitted 20 ballot requests — the legitimate ones — to the county elections website.

Except Florida law prohibits anyone other than a voter or his or her immediate family from filing requests online.

"Inexperience doomed Francis Suarez’s campaign".

"A smokescreen for finding ways to expand gaming"

The Tampa Trib editorial board writes that "the Legislature is gearing up to evaluate and discuss Florida’s gambling laws — which, as everyone should know by now, is essentially a smokescreen for finding ways to expand gaming." "Resist another run to expand gaming".

"Three-foot rise would flood western Miami Beach permanently"

The Miami Herald editors: "Scientists forecast that, over the next century, seas could rise from 1-1/2 feet to six feet. That’s a lot of water. And it won’t just be coastal areas that are affected."

South Florida’s porous limestone foundation could increase ground water levels far inland as the ocean rises. Studies have shown that a three-foot rise in sea level would flood western Miami Beach permanently, but also overrun inland communities like Weston. There will simply be no place for the water to drain away.
"Combating rising seas".

A Bush v. Gore thing

After Bush v. Gore, it is remarkable that only "60% Think Supreme Court Justices Have Political Agenda".

Insurance lobby picks off "advocate"

"She has taken a job as vice president of government affairs for the Illinois-based American Association of Insurance Services, a national advisory organization for insurance companies." "State's insurance consumer advocate quits".

Baggers in a box

"Large groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable support the new education standards and tests, saying they'll promote a deep understanding of subject matter instead of rote memorization. But many conservative, small-business owners — especially those with ties to the Tea Party movement — want no part of it. They contend Common Core gives the federal government undue influence over local school districts." "Business groups split over Common Core education changes".