Friday, April 27, 2018

Happy New Year? Prove it

Ask yourself this question:

Do you feel better about living in Florida today than you did on the first day of 2012?

After all, unemployment has fallen and housing prices are starting to rise. Tourism is slowly returning and Connie Mack, hopefully, is disappearing.

On the other hand, we still have lawmakers trying to privatize every public institution, a governor who refuses billions in federal dollars and some increasingly worrisome odds following seven mostly hurricane-free years.

So just how good do you feel about living in Florida and Tampa Bay in 2013? To gauge your level of optimism, we've devised this entirely unscientific and completely biased multiple-choice quiz for your New Year's enjoyment.

Be sure to tally your score for interpretation below:

1. Court challenges to legislation supported by Gov. Rick Scott have cost taxpayers more than $1 million in legal fees. Where is litigation heading in 2013?

A. The governor sticks to his guns, no matter what the cost. (10 points)

B. A circuit judge makes Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi read the U.S. Constitution before they can file another motion. (20 points)

C. Florida signs a development deal with the Judge Judy show. (30 points)

2. The state is trying to push Citizens Property Insurance customers off on a handful of private insurers. Is this a good idea for consumers?

A. Heck no, these private companies are mostly new and untested. (10 points)

B. I'm hesitant because the state seems worried about exposure, yet these smaller companies are eager to climb aboard. (20 points)

C. Sure, I like to think of my home as one giant slot machine. (30 points)

3. A state official recently bragged about Florida becoming the first state in the nation to have issued 1 million concealed-weapons permits. How safe do you feel?

A. Like I'm living in Deadwood, circa 1876. (10 points)

B. I have to say I'm growing concerned about the proliferation of assault weapons in the nation. (20 points)

C. Having an NRA slumber party tonight! (30 points)

4. Twenty of the last 24 regular season games at Raymond James Stadium have been blacked out on local television. Do you expect the Bucs to be better in 2013?

A. No, there are far too many holes to fill on this defense. (10 points)

B. It seems like the franchise has been doomed since firing general manager Rich McKay. (20 points)

C. The Bucs still play here? (30 points)

5. State legislators have pledged to push ethics reform in the upcoming session. How effective will they be?

A. Hee hee hee. (10 points)

B. Depends on which lobbyist they choose to rewrite their reforms. (20 points)

C. Yeah, sure, whatever. (30 points)

6. Which major decision will finally be resolved in St. Petersburg in 2013?

A. A new police station. (10 points)

B. A new Pier. (20 points)

C. A new Doomsday Clock that counts backward the number of days St. Pete has remaining as a Major League Baseball city. (30 points)

If you scored more than 150 points, you should avoid driving because you are still under the influence. If you scored 100 to 140 points, consider yourself clear-eyed and moderate. If you scored below 100, you're my kind of grump.


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Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
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‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
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Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
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CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
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Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18