Sunshine State News Blogs
"In reality, the deaths of dozens of veterans across the country have been linked to delays in VA care and other severe department health-care problems,” Miller said on Monday. “But in the fantasy land inhabited by VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector, serious patient safety issues apparently have no impact on patient safety. It's impossible to solve problems by whitewashing them or denying they exist. This is a lesson VA should have already learned as part of its delays in care crisis, but President Obama needs to help reiterate it to each and every VA employee to ensure the department’s focus is on pinpointing and solving problems, rather than downplaying them. In the meantime, OMI owes it to America’s veterans and American taxpayers to provide an immediate and thorough explanation as to why it keeps reaching the same implausible conclusions in one report after another."
“Gov. Scott’s No. 1 focus is making sure every Florida family can get a job and live their dream,” the Scott campaign insisted on Tuesday. “He knows what it’s like to grow up in a family that struggles for work. That’s why helping Tonge comes naturally.”
The rigid Florida Democratic Party leadership can climb all over Kartik Krishnaiyer's The Florida Squeeze for failing to embrace Charlie Crist before Crist debates Nan Rich, but now look -- The Miami Herald is saying the same thing:
Debate Nan Rich.
In fact, the newspaper said the same thing two months ago.
What will party hardliners' comeback to the Herald be after its Monday editorial, "Make a date to debate, Charlie Crist"? Are they going to try to sink the Herald, too, as they vowed to do to Krishnaiyer? Of course not.
"Ms. Rich is an accomplished former state senator from Weston and a true-blue Democrat," the Herald editorial said. "She’s also the underdog, the long shot. But for some reason, Mr. Crist, a newly minted Democrat who’s running hard to regain his job as governor, is also running in the other direction when it comes to stepping up and debating Nan Rich for all the world to see."
The Herald had words for the party: "... the Florida Democratic Party is giving Mr. Crist undeserved cover."
And it had words for Crist: "Not only is his rebuff of a Crist-Rich debate unseemly, it has handed the Republican Party of Florida the ammunition with which to attack him. Makes no sense. Neither did the trial balloon he sent up a few weeks ago, announcing that he was considering a trip to Cuba. He has postponed it. Now that he has a little extra time, he should deign to debate Nan Rich."
It's time for the party to do to the no-debate dogma what it did to the Cuba trip. Ditch it.
If Crist is "for the people," show it. Stop hassling dissenters, make a Democratic primary debate, televised statewise, a priority. Get it over with.
Party-line Democrats' Twitter-announced blog -- the one concocted to "stop the lies" about Democratic Party mistakes -- appeared at a few minutes after 6 p.m. Monday.
If anybody was expecting clever, cutting payback prose aimed at party "traitors," they probably got the surprise of their lives.
The one blog piece on notgettingsqueezed.blogspot.com cited no party enemies, no stats or evidence to support its claims, and no real harm done -- at all. What it did do was cheer relentlessly, gushingly for party Chairwoman Allison Tant and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
It did include a party ad zinging Gov. Rick Scott for promising jobs he forgot he promised.
You might want to call notgettingsqueezed.blogspot.com a work in progress. Actually, a work in progress with a long way to go to be effective.
The folks behind it could start by running their blog past a copy editor.
“Rep. Hood’s leadership and dedicated service to the families of his district combined with his decades of practicing law will make him a great addition to the 7th Judicial Circuit bench,” Scott said on Monday. “I am proud to appoint Dave Hood today with confidence that he will continue his service to Florida with a keen sense of justice and compassion.”
Before winning a seat in the Florida House in 2012, Hood served as mayor of Ormond Beach and on the City Commission.
“The movement to impeach Barack Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors is growing,” West emailed supporters on Monday. “This weekend, the Republican Party of South Dakota passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of the president! They are the first state party to rally to the cause.
“Barack Obama may finally answer for the things he has done to destroy this country,” West continued. “Make no mistake – Obama is ignoring the Constitution, our laws, and the system of checks and balances that safeguard this country. Consider this: Just last week, GOP Congressman Lou Barletta just announced that he thinks there may be enough ‘yes’ votes in the House of Representatives to impeach Obama!”
"It’s disgraceful that Charlie Crist's vision for Florida's economy is to propose business ventures with a failed terrorist state that's been holding an American hostage for the last five years," said Lopez-Cantera.
Crist's campaign didn't rule out the possibility of traveling to Cuba in the future.
"Crist and his campaign continue to talk about wanting to go to Cuba for business opportunities – but unlike Crist, my position on Cuba is clear," continued Lopez-Cantera. "Gov. Scott and I stand with the Cuban-American community and their desire for the Cuban people to be free. I am sure, after the election, Charlie Crist will have a lot of time to go to Cuba since Floridians will once again reject his failed record on jobs.”
"As you know, your station’s obligation to serve the public interest requires you to decline to air false and misleading advertising, and unlike an advertisement aired by a candidate, your station can be held liable for distributing defamatory messages," reads the letter. "With this letter, your station is on notice that the FDP advertisement includes false and misleading accusations that are defamatory. Your station must cease and desist from airing this advertisement."
The letter refers to a recently-released ad from the FDP accusing the governor of taking the Fifth 75 times in lawsuits concerning his former company, Columbia/HCA, committing Medicare fraud.
View the ad below:
In May, Crist said he wanted to end the Cuban embargo and also expressed interest in visiting the communist nation. Crist supported the embargo of Cuba when he was a Republican.
"Despite his stark disagreements with the government in Cuba, the governor continues to believe the embargo hasn't worked for the Cuban people and is bad for Florida's economy," said Crist spokesperson Brendan Gilfillan.
The Crist camp didn't entirely rule out the possibility of a trip to Cuba in the future, however.
"If at some point after the election there is an opportunity to travel there to learn from the people of Cuba and help find opportunities for Florida businesses, the governor will go," said Gilfillan.
The poll of 806 likely voters was taken by Cherry Communications for the Florida Chamber on June 11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
The poll shows Scott ahead with 41 percent, Crist right behind him with 38 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie taking 4 percent.
The poll finds 43 percent of those surveyed think Florida is heading in the right direction and 41 percent think the Sunshine State is going the wrong way and that’s helping Scott. A majority -- 52 percent -- of those surveyed approve of Scott while 42 percent disapprove of him. While 43 percent see Scott as unfavorable, 45 percent see him as favorable.
Crist is upside down in the poll with 45 percent seeing him as unfavorable and 41 percent viewing him in a favorable light.
“I’ve been saying for a long time the voters of Florida appreciate leadership and the Florida Chamber’s poll is an indicator voters believe our state is headed in the right direction again,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, on Monday. “Gov. Rick Scott’s favorability numbers are increasing, voters recognize more jobs and opportunities are being created for Floridians and they are feeling more confident.”
The poll of 806 likely voters was taken by Cherry Communications for the Florida Chamber on June 11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
“I would like to thank Rep. Conyers for joining me, in a bipartisan effort, to keep U.S. weapons and equipment out of the hands of Syrian rebels,” Yoho said on Friday. “With so many combatants involved in that conflict, sending rebels easily concealed shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles could come back to bite us. Distributing these weapons to Syrian rebels only increases the chances that these weapons will end up in the wrong hands and be used against Americans in the region. This amendment shows that members from both parties can come together for the good of America and our troops.
“In addition to our amendment, the defense bill we supported today funds key readiness programs, authorizes pay raises for military personnel, maintains 100 percent of troop housing costs, and provides medical care for our soldiers, their families, and retirees,” Yoho added.
“Former state Rep. and state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff has proven time and time again her strong support of the issues and initiatives backed by the Florida Medical Association,” said Dr. Ralph Nobo, the resident of the FMA PAC. “She is a friend of medicine and we are thrilled to support her candidacy and look forward to having her back in Tallahassee.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to have received the support of physicians throughout the state of Florida,” said Bogdanoff. “I believe it is imperative that doctors remain in charge of patient care, and I will always support policies that place the patient’s health above all else.”
Bogdanoff is running for the Republican nomination to face Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, and she’ll face businessman and philanthropist Joseph “JB” Bensmihen in the primary. If she wins, Bogdanoff is expected to support Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala's Senate presidential ambitions. Sachs beat Bogdanoff 53 percent to 47 percent in 2012.
“Charlie doesn’t want to talk about what happened four years ago: slashing education funding, skyrocketing tuition, and teachers getting laid off,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), on Monday. “He is so desperate to run away from his failed record that he’ll say and do just about anything to avoid talking about it.”
The ad starts hitting the airwaves on Tuesday.
“The report by the Manhattan Institute proves what many American families feared would happen under Obamacare,” Diaz-Balart said. “Not only are you unable to keep your health care plans and doctors of choice, but you are seeing your premiums skyrocket. Whether it’s a 25 percent increase for a 40-year-old woman, or a 65 percent for a 27-year-old man, the president’s health care plan is hurting the wallets of hard-working American taxpayers. I will continue to work for Floridians’ access to the care they need, from the doctors they choose, at a price they can afford.”
In April, Florida had an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent, which is below the national unemployment rate of 6.3 percent.
Florida gained 34,000 jobs in April, putting it in third place for the highest number of jobs created behind Texas and California.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., weighed in on Thursday after the vote and said he backed U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Ind., over McCarthy but did back Scalise. Yoho also tried unsuccessfully to move the vote back a week.
“Yesterday in the House Republican conference I introduced a motion to delay the vote for the majority leader of the Republican Party for one week,” Yoho said after the vote. “I did this so we would be able to do our due diligence and have the needed time to vet the candidates. This would also allow time for other members to enter the race and campaign. My motion was not accepted and the vote was held today. This is a critical vote not just for the Republican conference in Congress but also for the direction of the Republican Party and our nation. This is why I believed we should have given more people more time to put their names forward for the position.
“The next majority leader stands a good chance to be the next speaker of the House,” Yoho added. “Given the importance of this vote today, we should have given it more time. The direction of our party and our nation will not improve until we have leadership that has a strong vision for America. Therefore, I supported Raul Labrador for majority leader and Steve Scalise for majority whip.”
The complaint alleges that Crist appointed Morgan & Morgan partner Joseph Linnehan to the JNC after opening talks to join the law firm. The vacancy was left open for over five months before Linnehan was chosen by then-Gov. Crist to take over.
“Less than two weeks after the appointment of Mr. Linnehan, Mr. Crist became employed with Morgan & Morgan,” the complaint reads. “That fact that Mr. Crist was a public officer during this period of time is without question. At some point, Mr. Crist apparently received a promise of future employment with Morgan & Morgan. It is also apparent that Mr. Crist may have received a special privilege or benefit for himself from Morgan & Morgan.”
Thursday's complaint echoes accusations made by former Crist ally and Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, who says Crist sold judgeships in return for political contributions.
Crist's campaign team dashed the complaint, calling it "absurd."
The camp said: "It doesn’t get more ironic than Rick Scott, after pleading the Fifth 75 times to avoid going to jail and leading one of the largest fraud schemes in the history of the U.S., directing his staff to file an absurd ethics complaint against Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor."
“It is our honor for us to recognize Rep. Workman for his leadership and work in the House on behalf of Florida’s taxpayers and small businesses,” said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “As the chairman of the Finance and Tax Subcommittee, Rep. Workman has served as a principled steward of our state’s finances, and we look forward to working with him in future sessions.”
“As a small-business owner himself, Sen. Simpson has distinguished himself with his understanding and commitment to issues important to Florida’s retailers,” said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the FRF. “Sen. Simpson is a tireless public servant who is willing and able to tackle big statewide problems while never losing sight of the needs of his constituents. We are very proud to recognize him for his leadership.”
The FRF praised Simpson’s record on Florida’s Petroleum Cleanup Program, aiding small business and trying to create a statewide process on wage disputes.
“When you look at the world today, it certainly hasn’t gotten any smaller. It certainly hasn’t gotten any safer. But, I think this bill balances the priorities that we need to balance and focuses on being able to meet the many, many challenges that we face in terms of our national security.
“I consider it an honor to serve on the subcommittee because when I read the Constitution, it teaches me that the No. 1 responsibility of the federal government is to protect American lives. And, the best way to keep America safe is to keep America strong, and I think this bill does that. We make sure that we’re not making any short-term budget decisions that would be easy to make in these difficult times.
“The Navy decided that they would like to deactivate 11 Navy ships. That’s one half of our cruiser fleet. We don’t need less ships. We need more ships, and I’m proud that the subcommittee has worked out a compromise where these ships will be modernized. Their life will be extended, and they’ll continue to do the work they need to do around the globe.
“The people I represent back in Jacksonville, Fla., care greatly about national security. They care about the men and women in uniform, and they care about the men and women who work so hard to make sure the ships are repaired and the planes are flying in the sky.
“And, the other thing I wanted to point out is, in terms of short-sighted budget-driven decisions, is that there was an effort to say there’s not enough money to refuel the USS George Washington. That’s one or our nuclear carriers. It has 25 years left of useful life if we spend the money to refuel that. It will also help us comply with the law, that I helped write eight years ago, that says you have to have 11 aircraft carriers unless Congress says otherwise.
“And finally, when I look at the airplanes, the new E-2D Hawkeye -- the Advanced Hawkeye – these planes are relatively new, but they’re incredibly important to our national security. The Poseidon, the P-8 surveillance planes – again relatively new – but important to our national defense.”
After the speech, Crenshaw doubled down on his support of the bill.
“Plain and simple: We live in dangerous times, and now is not the time to cut back our military,” said Crenshaw. “My bottom line is to make sure our men and women in uniform have what they need to get the job done wherever they serve, whenever they serve. Congress is also duty-bound to make sure that our military and their families receive the benefits they have earned. This defense bill accomplishes these goals and deserves immediate passage by the House and the Senate.”
The translation of the ad is as follows:
Announcer 1: We are at the beginning of this extremely important match for Florida.
Announcer 2: On one end, Charlie Crist, who abandoned us as governor when things got difficult. On the other end the current governor, Rick Scott, who keeps working to get the state's economy on the right track.
Announcer 1 Crist is issued a red card … (Whistle blows) … for worrying more about his political future than about us. With Crist, 800,000 jobs were lost in Florida. Here comes Rick Scott through the center, focused on fixing the mess Crist left. He cuts taxes 40 times for Floridians! Scott advances and scores a GOALLLLLLLLLLLL!!
Announcer 2: 600,000 jobs created in the private sector under Scott in only three and a half years. The highlights of this match. Charlie Crist, 800,000 private-sector jobs lost. Rick Scott, 600,000 private-sector jobs created.
Announcer 1: With Rick Scott, let's keep working!
“Now there is a 17 billion-dollar business out there in consumer loans and small dollar credit,” Ross said. “Operation Choke Point, if it were to eliminate due to reputational risk this particular supply, if you will, the demand will remain -- what will happen to those? What will happen to those consumers who need this particular market niche?"
"What we're working on right now is potential regulations that you and I just discussed for the industry,” Cordray replied. “That is not consistent with wiping out the industry, it's regulations to make sure that the industry is working in a pro-consumer fashion. That's our intent. I have recognized and acknowledged that demand for small dollar credit. People have that demand."
"And if they don't have it in a regulated fashion they're going to get it in a black market fashion, in a way that is more harmful to the consumer," Ross said.
"I agree with you on that," Cordray replied.
After taking a closer look at Adeshina's list of contributors as indicated on her campaign finance report, documents show over 30 of her donors -- some of whom donated $3,000 to her campaign -- posted addresses from a shopping plaza in Melbourne.
Some contributors' addresses don't even show up on maps -- like one Destin address. Others, including a Tallahassee address near Florida State University, show an empty field. Other addresses, when mapped, showed Chinese restaurants or were fake addresses.
Sunshine State News contacted the number on Adeshina's website to discuss the discrepancies, but it appears it is not a working number.
New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics has opened a new facility in Tampa to enhance and extend customer services for health-care clients and employees throughout the United States, according to a press release from Gov. Rick Scott's office.
The project will create a capital investment of $9.3 million and up to 350 jobs, which will consist of customer service, logistics and human resources.
Quest operates full-service clinical laboratories in various locations throughout the state, including Tampa, Miramar and Orlando. Other dermatological, pathology-focused labs and offices, and dozens of patient service centers can also be found across Florida.
Quest's new Tampa facility will include customer service and certain logistics operations for Quest’s U.S. operations, as well as a human resources-shared services center supporting the company’s employees.
“With this new center, Quest deepens our commitment to physicians, patients and the local community in Tampa and all of Florida,” said James E. Davis, senior vice president of operations at Quest Diagnostics. “This new center will elevate Quest’s customer services to the next level of responsiveness and quality. It reflects our commitment to delivering a superior customer experience and providing diagnostic insights that will help people lead healthier lives.”
Gov. Scott applauded the center's opening in Tampa as good news for Floridians.
“Quest Diagnostics’ investment in the Tampa Bay region is great news for Florida families," he said. 'These 350 new jobs will mean more Floridians will be able to provide for their family and live the American dream."
“Foreign terrorists who attack the United States should be treated as enemy combatants, not common criminals,” Buchanan said on Wednesday. “By no means should Abu Khatallah be entitled to the same rights as an American citizen. He should be immediately transferred to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he can be interrogated, prosecuted and tried in military court.”
“This is the sad reality that we are seeing in all states that have passed these measures,” said Calvina Fay, the director of the Drug Free America Foundation which opposes Amendment 2. “They use people who suffer with debilitating cancer or other conditions as a Trojan horse to pass these broad measures, and inevitably these powerful pot products end up in kids’ hands.
“We are unleashing the Wild West of incredibly potent marijuana and not providing the sheriffs to oversee it,” Fay added. “This is a canary in a coal mine for Florida’s parents and school officials; they need to heed these warnings from Colorado.”
Opponents of Amendment 2 insisted the proposal does not have any age restrictions and will allow children greater access to marijuana.
“Amendment 2 is full of loopholes, including no age restrictions, which may allow youth to easily obtain marijuana without parental consent,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Wednesday.
“We’re sending an additional 275 troops to Baghdad to protect our embassy,” Nelson said on Tuesday. “That’s a good thing. We’re going to send a carrier and an amphibious transport ship into the Persian Gulf in case we have to evacuate those Americans. And in the meantime, we’re going to try to work with our allies to stop the sectarian violence that’s about to blow Iraq apart.”
Earlier in the week, Gov. Rick Scott released three years of tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The website counts down time since the governor asked Crist to do the same.
"If Charlie Crist cares about transparency he will release his and his wife's returns,” said Susan Hepworth, a spokeswoman for the RPOF, on Wednesday. "But, so far he doesn't care and he hasn't provided Floridians with the transparency they deserve. Now, only time will tell. The clock is ticking."
"Charlie Crist consistently raised tuition as governor, even allowing it to increase up to 15 percent every single year,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), on Wednesday. “He even said it was the right thing to do. Governor Scott knows that making it harder for Floridians to get a college degree is never the right thing, which is why he reversed Crist’s 15 percent tuition increase and has cut the cost of a college prepaid plan by almost $20,000.”
Let’s Get to Work is putting $2 million behind the ad which hits the airwaves on Friday.