September 05, 2014

Wasserman Schultz: 'I shouldn't have used the words' about Scott Walker


Add one more person to the list of people who think DNC Chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz went too far in bashing Scott Walker: Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Her statement:

 "I shouldn’t have used the words I used.  But that shouldn't detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker’s policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it's mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law, or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker's record speaks for itself.  As for the issue of domestic violence, it's unacceptable that a majority of Congressional Republicans opposed this critical legislation, of which I was a proud cosponsor, after blocking its reauthorization for more than a year.”

Blog note: Normally, we'd add her statement to the prior-posted blog but, considering the interest and outrage (phony and otherwise), it merited its own space.

FL GOP tries linking Charlie Crist to Wasserman Schultz' hair-pulling controversy


Sharp-tongued DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz got too trenchant in Wisconsin this week when she criticized that state's governor, saying he and other conservatives gave "women the back of his hand" and "are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back​."


Democrats have distanced themselves from the Broward congresswoman's comments. Local papers condemned them. And Republicans are trying to make sure they're not forgotten.

Cue this Republican Party of Florida email that just dropped:

As President Obama’s top apologist, it’s no surprise that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is all in for Obama’s favorite liberal – Charlie Crist – as one of his top surrogates.

On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz stepped over the line with comments about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker & fellow Republican governors saying he “…has given women the back of his hand…” & “…they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.” The remarks have been roundly criticized by the media, Republicans and Democrats.

Ask Charlie Crist if he condemns these offensive remarks or if he agrees with using the plight of abuse victims to score cheap political points.

But as the candidate of TALK over ACTION, it’s likely that Charlie will fail to ACT on Debbie’s offensive TALK.

State agrees with Citizens: inland properties get rate cut, coastal property get another rate increase

State regulators have approved lower rates for most homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance, the first widespread rate cut by the state-run insurer in years.

Citizens, which insures those who cannot find coverage in the open market, is the largest property insurer in Florida with more than 933,000 policies as of July 31.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Friday said the average Citizens' homeowners rate will fall by 3.7 percent, slightly better than the 3.4 percent decrease sought by the insurer in its June filing. Rates will be cut 4.6 percent, on average, for mobile home owners with multi-peril coverage. Nearly all of the rate reduction is for inland properties and those with multi-peril coverages while nearly all coastal accounts for wind-only coverage will get hit with another rate increase.  

Citizens has previously said nearly seven out of 10 policyholders statewide would see lower rates if its filing were approved.

Among bay area counties, Citizens had proposed average rate cuts for most homeowners policies of 8 percent in Hillsborough; 8.9 percent in Pinellas; 6 percent in Pasco; and 9.5 percent in Citrus. Hernando County policyholders faced an average increase of 0.4 percent. A countywide breakdown of approved rates was not immediately available.

Continue reading "State agrees with Citizens: inland properties get rate cut, coastal property get another rate increase" »

An early look at new promises by Scott and Crist

As Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist campaign around the state largely attacking each other, they have also made dozens promises to voters with nearly two months to go before Election Day.

Whichever candidate wins, PolitiFact Florida will track their promises starting in 2015. If Scott wins re-election, we will add his new promises to ourScott-O-Meter. If Crist wins, we’ll launch a new meter. (PolitiFact Florida also tracks the promises of the mayors of TampaSt. Petersburg and Miami-Dade County. PolitiFact tracks the promises of President Barack Obama.)

Scott and Crist both have made promises about raising K-12 spending, making college more affordable, growing jobs and helping Florida’s middle class. But each candidate also has made proposals that provide a window into the different ways they would govern if elected. PolitiFact Florida takes an early look at the promises so far. 

A look back at Rick Scott's 2010 promises

Gov. Rick Scott has had four years to enact the agenda he promised as a candidate back in 2010: a relentless focus on jobs, a downsizing of government and a hard line on illegal immigration.

PolitiFact Florida has tracked 57 of his campaign promises over four years and found a mixed report. Scott is certainly trying on job creation. He’s succeeded in shrinking government. But he has largely reversed himself on immigration.

Out of 57 promises, PolitiFact Florida has rated 24 Promise Kept, 15 Promise Broken and 11Compromise. Another five are In the Works and two are Stalled.

PolitiFact rates promises based on outcomes, not intentions, so a promise not achieved is rated Promise Broken. The aim of PolitiFact’s promise meter is to compare campaign rhetoric with what actually happens after a candidate takes office.

Scott’s most notable promises were about jobs, and he pledged to create 700,000 above and beyond Florida’s natural growth. Florida’s jobs numbers are up, but economists say people should credit a natural recovery more than Scott’s specific actions. Meanwhile, Scott has kept his pledges to reducethe government workforce and oppose new taxes.

On the other hand, Scott abandoned promises to get tough on illegal immigration. And in a few cases, Scott made promises that simply weren’t realistic — such as massive cuts in the state prison budget. These examples seem to be pledges from a political novice who came up against the reality of governing.

"It’s not unusual for politicians to over-promise," said Kevin Wagner, associate professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University. "Candidates are better evaluated by what they have actually prioritized and done while in office." See PolitiFact Florida's full report.

Louisiana’s Landrieu fires back at criticism over Venezuelan sanctions bill


U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, fired back at Marco Rubio and Bill Cassidy over the claim that she essentially became a conduit for a recent attempt by the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “to influence our legislative process.”

The issue is a sanctions bill now in Congress that would target the individuals in Venezuela responsible for the often-violent crackdown this year on political protest. Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, is pushing the legislation; Cassidy, a Republican House member from Louisiana, is challenging Landrieu in a tight Senate race.

Just this week, Rubio – in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada – said the Maduro regime had worked its way into the U.S. political process: “Even though the legislation would have targeted individuals only and posed no threat to American jobs or Venezuelan firms, a Venezuelan government-controlled oil company with operations in the U.S. succeeded in convincing a member of the Senate’s Democratic majority to block the bill’s passage.”

In a recent opinion article in a Louisiana newspaper, Rubio and Cassidy singled out Landrieu by name for stopping the sanctions, saying Maduro’s regime succeeded in finding a senator to block them: Mary Landrieu.”

Not so fast, says the Louisiana senator in her own article: “For 70 years, thousands of Louisianians have gone to work at the nation’s sixth largest oil refinery in Lake Charles, owned by Citgo, a Venezuelan company with a strong and respected reputation in Louisiana… In July, a sanctions bill to punish the Venezuelan government for human rights violations was being fast tracked toward passage in the Senate, and I stopped it. I believe that the legislation as written was too vague and would jeopardize 2,000-plus jobs in this region and put the Lake Charles Citgo refinery at risk.”

She went on to take a shot at Cassidy’s leadership and to say that while she supports “the goals of clamping down on human rights violations, I believe that it doesn't have to be done at the expense of this strong economic engine. That’s why I stopped the resolution and will continue to oppose it unless the language of this resolution makes crystal clear that there will be no threat to the refinery.”

Taxpayers may foot former Miami official's legal bills in nepotism case


Taxpayers will likely have to foot the bill for the legal defense of a retired city of Miami parks director who beat nepotism charges this summer.

Juan Pascual was cleared of unethical behavior in May by the Miami-Dade ethics commission, which investigated his hiring of the half-brother and sister-in-law of then-assistant city manager Luis Cabrera. The commission found the hires "suspicious" but said the city's parks director had the appropriate discretion to make the hires. Cabrera was also cleared.

To defend himself, Pascual -- who'd already retired -- hired private attorney Vivian Reyes. On Thursday, commissioners will consider Pascual's request to pay his $3,500 legal defense. The city attorney has told commissioners they don't really have a choice in the matter as the case was related to Pascual's job as a city employee.

FL Supreme Court: Won't hear gay marriage case until after appellate court rules


Florida's Supreme Court on Friday said it would not hear a lesbian divorce case in Tampa until after a state appeals court makes a ruling.

"We decline at this time to accept jurisdiction of the appeal," said the Supreme Court, in response to a recent request from the Florida Second District Court of Appeal,

Last month, the Second DCA in Central Florida asked the Florida Supreme Court to hear the case of Mariama Monique Changamire Shaw and Keiba Lynn Shaw, a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts in 2010, who are now seeking a divorce in Tampa.

Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Laurel Lee refused to grant the couple a divorce because state law bans same-sex marriages. The Shaws' lawyers appealed the case to the second DCA.

The appeals court agreed 10-3 to “pass through” the case to the Supreme Court, in hopes it would decide the fate of Florida's gay marriage ban once and for all.

Click here to read the Supreme Court decision.


Scott urges feds to let Florida's education policies stand

As he promised to do at an Aug. 27 press conference, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying Florida should be allowed to keep its policies on students for whom English is a second language.

The federal government requires all students to be counted equally in education accountability measures. But Florida allows students who are still learning English to spend two years in a U.S. school before their test scores are factored into school grades.

The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to punish Florida if the state does not conform.

Scott, a Republican who is running for reelection, has made the issue an attack on the Obama administration and federal overreach in education.

"Today, we're putting the bureaucrats in Washington on notice: reverse course on our English Learner waiver, or we’ll begin reviewing every legal avenue that's available to us," he said in a statement. "Our districts have done an incredible job in providing our children with a quality education, and this federal overreach will punish Florida schools for their diversity."

Read the letter from Scott below.

Download Duncan-Letter

Marco Rubio commits no news in secret Koch-fundraiser speech


It seems someone's always recording conservatives in exclusive meetings and those records wind up in the hands of the liberal Nation.

But unlike Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" riff that damaged him in the 2012 presidential race, the not-so-good audio recording of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's June speech to a group assembled by the conservative Koch brothers is revealing only in how boring it is.

It's a variant of the same speech he has given since and before he left as Florida House speaker in 2008. A sample:

The American Dream is not about becoming wealthy, although that may be part of your dream. The American Dream is not about becoming famous or powerful. For millions and millions of people, the American Dream is much simpler, yet more profound. It’s about the ability to acquire a job that fulfills you, but also allows you to provide for your family; the freedom to speak openly and worship as you please; to provide a safe and stable home for your children; to one day be able to retire with dignity and to leave your children better off than yourself.

That is the real American Dream. And if you ask me what the single greatest challenge before our country today is, it is that there are now millions of people in this country that believe that dream is not our dream for people like them. And that is not just a threat to our economy. That is a direct threat to our identity. This erosion of the American Dream threatens to rob us of what makes us special and what makes us different.


Drink a cortadito before reading the transcript here