This morning in the Tampa Bay Times
The quotes of the morning are in Mike Van Sickler's tea party story on 1A.
1. "We're extremely happy that the tea party can have this type of influence," said Ryan Hecker, a legal adviser for FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy group founded by Dick Armey. "We've definitely taken over the Republican Party."
2. "Everyone is expecting Romney to move to the center," said Debbie Wilson, an Apollo Beach resident who is a member of Tampa 912 and a state coordinator for FreedomWorks. "But I'm pleased to see that so far, the platform is very much to the right."
This one, from Dan Rather to Eric Deggans, is pretty good, too: "The parties have chosen to make (the conventions) into an infomercial. ... Four nights of spin where nothing is decided. So no one can blame the networks for saying it's expensive to staff and cutting back makes sense."
The Times' editorial board: If both sides of America's political divide can agree on anything, it is that this presidential election offers voters two distinct choices on which direction to lead the nation. Yet the dispiriting campaigns so far have been more about who can spend the most to tell the biggest lies and get away with it. The shift in emphasis from the economy to Medicare has produced more distortions instead of clarity, and voters deserve better from President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
James Paul of Temple Terrace has the letter to the editor of the day: As a retired professor with 43 years' experience evaluating texts, I have become increasingly appalled by the meaningless slogans and unrestrained slander that passes as political news. By taking leave of our moral sensibilities and tolerating these political polemics, we are complicit in encouraging a political culture that has swamped respectable discourse.
Columnist Dan Ruth: Paul Ryan is the pandering persauder.
Focus for now on these three paragraphs from Marissa Lang:
The system that has everyone concerned isn't even a tropical storm. It's a tropical wave nearly 1,000 miles away from the Lesser Antilles. It's expected to become a tropical depression within the next 48 hours and ultimately could grow into Isaac, the season's ninth named storm.
If conditions are right, the system could reach North America by early next week. When the Republican National Convention is in town.
Despite swirling speculations, experts said there's no clear or present threat to the United States, let alone Tampa Bay.
The stage reflects a year and a half of planning and more than 30,000 hours of labor by a 318-member production staff and crew. Overhead, a half-mile of trusses holds 250,000 pounds of sound gear, video equipment and lights. Overall, the color scheme inside the Times Forum is dominated by a vivid blue. On a side wall, numbers flicker ever upward on a digital debt clock.
Kim Wilmath: The protestors will eat ... oatmeal, pasta or rice and beans, MAYBE a veggie stir-fry.
Anybody called 1-866-762-8687?