CHRIS ZUPPA | Times
'... embarrassingly solicitous of everyone he meets ...'
The Atlantic's Molly Ball:
The chutzpah of it! Florida Republicans, who thought they'd permanently excommunicated him from politics, still can't quite believe this is happening. To them Crist is a joke, a con artist, a pathetic phony still lusting for approbation long past his sell-by date. A thousand Republican knives are out for him, the people he betrayed (or did they betray him first?) lining up to get their revenge: the Tea Party people, the Rubio people, the Jeb Bush people, the well-funded Republican Party of Florida machine Crist once commanded. The Scott campaign is said to be prepared to spend $100 million to defeat Crist. And yet despite it all, and despite a campaign that could generously be described as bare-bones, Crist leads in the polls. Democrats, desperate to take the Tallahassee governor's mansion after two decades' shutout, have embraced him. He could do it. He could win.Full Story
State Archives of Florida
Something I underlined in the 2011 book by Dyckman, the retired associate editor of the St. Pete Times, about Askew, the great former Florida governor who died early this morning in Tallahassee:
Askew's improbable election victory in 1970 and his overwhelming reelection four years later reflected a kindred spirit among the people of Florida. On those occasions, it was possible for a governor to be elected owing no one but the people who had voted for him because they admired his independence and his courage.
A mere generation later, that spirit has vanished. As Florida politics became sharply polarized and partisan, government itself became an enemy in the eyes of the state's new political elite and the voters who responded to their propaganda.
From what Dyckman wrote today for the Times: In his first campaign, for the state House, Askew encountered a heckler who called him a "n----- lover." "The trouble is, I don't love them enough," he said. "The difference between you and me is that I'm trying to overcome my prejudices, and you're not." This was in Pensacola, in 1958, long before there was a Civil Rights Act.Full Story
"I am the expert," he told a Bigfoot website last year, "the state and county expert on the Florida skunk ape, and have been for years." Read it.Full Story
Good morning. It's Thursday, March 13, 2014.
Some things I underlined in John Romano's column today:
1. The governor will begin selling himself today in a brand new campaign commercial designed to make him look every bit as human as you or I.
2. ... his likely opponent, Charlie Crist, is carrying his own set of peculiar baggage. Yet the polls consistently show Crist with a lead against the incumbent.
3. "The only way Rick Scott wins is if he convinces people that Charlie Crist is actually worse than him. And that's going to be a tough sell because people like Charlie Crist and they don't like Rick Scott."
Some things I underlined in other places in the paper:
Facts about the vulnerable superstar who died of a drug overdose at age 36 flash on TVs. Click.
"This will make Florida the safest state in America to raise a family," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar. "And the worst state for violent sexual predators." Click.
But the most unsettling paragraph in the Times today? Scene: Goth guy in platform boots sings, is terrible, begs celebrity judges to hand him a golden ticket to fame, and when they do not, he is devastated yet still eager to hug them. They are who he wants to be. Click. …Full Story
KENT NISHIMURA | Times
It ran today on 4C with a story by Joe Smith. The Rays were in Dunedin for a spring scrimmage with the Blue Jays. Elsewhere in the paper: "Rays Up" is this year's version of the team's annual call to arms all but begging people to come to their games.Full Story
JEFF KLINKENBERG | Times
The appropriate phone at O. Brisky Books.
Today on 1A:
O.J. Brisky hated his first name, but he loved books, old dusty books, books with a little mildew or history hidden among the pages. For decades, he bought them by the thousands and sold them at his beloved North Florida store, O. Brisky Books.
Brisky, who helped start the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, which celebrates its 33rd year this weekend in St. Petersburg, would perch behind the counter next to his rotary-dial phone and hold court about one antique book or another. If a customer was unable to locate a desired book, Brisky could almost always put his hand on it, which seemed impossible given that neatness and a dependable filing system was a low priority.
After he sold a book, writing out a receipt because he hated computers, he'd retreat to the bench in front of his store with a book, perhaps The Tragedies of Sophocles or As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, ignite a Lucky Strike and start reading.Full Story
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
Seminole Tribe member Billy Walker and an alligator.
Good ... afternoon. It's Wednesday, March 12, 2014.
Yesterday, Democrat Alex Sink lost to Republican David Jolly in a political contest because of ... national affordable health insurance, which the president desperately promoted in an interview with a bearded comedian, video of which was posted on a website called Funny or Die.
That casino by the fairgrounds way out there in Tampa, meanwhile, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a ceremony that included an alligator procession, which for reasons that frankly are murky was supposed to symbolize prosperity.
I'm going to need somebody to write something super smart about George Zimmerman.
Tampa Bay is one of America's more affordable metro areas. It better be.
A fat man in Central Florida says he's too fat to go to prison, a young spring break frolicker got shot -- by accident! -- in Panama City Beach, and cruises are still stupid.Full Story
St. Pete, Clearwater and their environs, says the British mag, are "an unflashy region of mobile home parks, 'senior living' complexes, golf courses and strip malls." The short article, mentioned in today's letters to the editor, although with an important dropped "un," is about the glut of seasonal Canadian come-downs. This is, after all, the time of year when the area's streets are thick with poky Québécois.Full Story
MELISSA LYTTLE | Times
16 things I underlined in the piece in the current issue about the Everglades snake hunt (that also provided a Floridian cover story) last year:
1. Fobb coaxed the python back into the sack and tied the drawstring. He never got a chance to address the second thing that separates humans from other animals, aside from our enormous brains. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that we're the only animal exempt from being classified as invasive.
2. According to a recent study published in the journal Zootaxa, 137 exotic species of frogs, toads, skinks, salamanders, newts, chameleons, crocodiles, monitors, snakes, turtles, iguanas, and geckos -- collectively known as herpetofauna -- run loose in Florida, more than any other place in the world.
3. "It's luck, and it's just looking everywhere, all the time," Blake said. He swung an invisible machete. "The only stupid thing to do is get out and bushwhack."
4. It's no coincidence that most pythons killed or captured in Florida are found alongside roads and highways. That's where human and python behaviors intersect. …Full Story
Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
In today's New York Times:
"Daddy loved it here," she said, sitting in a wheelchair in the restaurant of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, once known as the Vinoy Park Hotel, where her father ate and drank and often stayed.
She is 97, yet she still calls that famous sports figure Daddy.
Daddy is Babe Ruth.
Our video about it.
"If you want to go poking around looking for something, you can always find something wrong." The quote of the day is the quote of the day mostly because of the surname of the guy who said it. Click.
... a shark expert; a hurricane chaser; one of the original Florida Highwaymen artists; and Tramar Dillard, best known by his rap persona, Flo Rida. Click.
Also: $100 million. SMH.
The problem is guns, and the solution is, too.
I like beer. But come on.
Jail for bullies?
Woman attacks mother, elderly man with flip flop, and that's the headline of the day.
I keep thinking about this quote in today's Times: "I don't think alcohol was the only factor in him doing what he did," Patel said. "I feel like he was emotionally distressed for some reason and alcohol was just fuel to the fire." …Full Story
The Times' Peter Jamison, delivering an important, interesting and informative piece:
Florida's notoriety as the "shoot first" state grows by the day. As its citizens pull guns on one another at gas stations and on basketball courts, at birthday parties and in movie theaters, the perception grows that the state's 2005 "stand your ground" law made it a safe haven for killers. But like many caricatures of the Sunshine State, this one is too simple. The truth is that Florida did not pioneer the controversial rules of justifiable homicide it adopted nine years ago — though the rules' effects here might serve as a warning for other states.
And here, from Cameron Cottrill, too, is a helpful infographic.Full Story
State Archives of Florida
If you didn't, you should:
A long line of muses has chronicled the orange's journey over the centuries from China to India, Persia to Spain, and Hispaniola to Florida. The orange has stirred the imaginations of Franciscan friars, country fiddlers and multinational conglomerates. More than anything else, Florida's signature fruit has defined the Sunshine State and its promise as the New Mediterranean.
But today the orange is in peril.Full Story
Good morning. It's Monday, March 10, 2014.
Y'all've been reading the trauma centers investigation by Alex Zayas and Letitia Stein in the Times the last two days? Shocking? Maybe. Disgraceful? Definitely. "It's a bad society we live in ..."
The quote of the morning? It's in Lisa Gartner's piece on 1A about math textbooks and Common Core. "We've actually gotten a lot of feedback from parents, regarding how difficult the K-5 math is."
Earlier this month, in his state of the state, Rick Scott said, "We have invested record funding in protecting our environment." That's a lie.
Scott should be the governor of Walt Disney World, not Florida, says Jacksonville's Ron Littlepage.
Florida: No. 50 of 50.
Weston Phippen watched a photographer from Ann Arbor take pictures around St. Pete of a naked Maddie Kaye.
The mobile home of a man named Animal Kidd: torched. A Treasure Island transient after he attacked a bar worker's parrot: arrested.
To keep the state's schools safe? More guns!
And Hampton? It's as if @Florida_Man ran an entire town.Full Story
Lots of people say Florida has no seasons. They should pay more attention. Here's Jeff Klinkenberg.Full Story