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Columns, Perspective

For A Better Florida

The Old  Capitol in Tallahassee. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)

Florida political insiders are pessimistic about state's leadership

IN FLORIDA, EVEN MANY OF THE MOST PLUGGED-IN PLAYERS are deeply pessimistic about the current state of Sunshine State leadership. The Tampa Bay Times last week surveyed more than 120 prominent lobbyists, former elected officials, political consultants, fundraisers and activists. Some sad highlights of this Florida  …


Voters wait in line at the Suncoast and Dance Party Center on County Line Road in Spring Hill on Election Day 2012. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Romano: It's up to voters to make Florida better

Reps. Richard Corcoran, R- Land O Lakes, and Jose Oliva, R- Miami Lakes, huddle on the floor of the Florida House before the House left for the regular session in 2015. The body declared Sine Die for the session without agreeing on a state budget. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)

Painful lessons for a troubled Florida Legislature


I broke a would-be rapist's nose, but what if I'd had a gun?

Gov. Rick Scott announces his state budget proposal which would cut taxes by $1 billion and add $250 million for economic development incentives on Dec. 7, at Harbinger Signs in Jacksonville. [Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP]

Trigaux: It's not jobs, but the quality of jobs, that matters now in Florida

  1. Cruz, warbling: 'Send in the clowns'


    For at least the second time in recent days, the Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, has described his method of relieving tension during anxious campaign moments: show tunes.

    — The New York Times on Tuesday

  2. Ruth: Lawmakers chip away at access to public records


    There's a reason why Tallahassee is more tucked away and inaccessible to most Floridians than the summit of Mount Everest. If you were a member of this august group of money-grubbing, duplicitous grifters, would you want voters to see how the sausage is made in the capital?

  3. Column: Making strides in preventing damaging concussions


    Now that the huge wave of nostalgia preceding tonight's Super Bowl 50 is about to crest, it is the perfect time to reflect on how far sports have come in terms of safety and to gauge how much more needs to be done.

    Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., has been named interim executive director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida
  4. Items: 16,720 pounds of trash not in Tampa Bay, the sex lives of Donald Trump supporters and six foods a food poisoning lawyer won't eat


    16,720 lbs. of trash not in Tampa Bay

    It starts with a bottle cap picked up from the side of the road. It continues with a plastic bag fished out of a drain pipe. And it dramatically improves Tampa Bay, the body of water that gives identity to our region.

    Dozens of fresh oysters are on display for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla. (not pictured) Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Apalachicola, Fla. Scott, saying it's time to fight for the economic future of the Apalachicola Bay region, announced Tuesday that Florida will file a lawsuit against Georgia over its consumption of freshwater in a river system that serves three Southeastern states. His move comes as the region's oyster industry has suffered a near collapse and a day after federal officials declared a fishery disaster for oystermen in the Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) FLPS109
  5. Maxwell: The pragmatic black president


    This is Black History Month, coming during Barack Obama's last year in office, notable because Obama is the nation's first African-American president.

    President Barack Obama makes a statement in 2014 on U.S. and allied airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria. “We’re going to do what is necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group.
  6. China makes its play for international finance, and the West better listen


    Over the last decade, China has been steadily laying the foundation of an international financial and monetary system centered on the yuan.

  7. China may be an ally in far oceans and an antagonist close to its shores


    China has impressively increased its naval capabilities recently. In the last year alone, China:

  8. Muslim NGOs can be a force to help rebuild Syrian society


    The ongoing Syrian conflict has resulted in the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Rwandan genocide. What is the scale of the catastrophe? More than half of Syria's 22 million citizens have been forced to move — many abroad — in the past four years.

    Rubble like this in Douma, on the eastern edge of Damascus, is common throughout a country where war has displaced more than half of the population.
  9. Perspective: What Russia shouldn't get from us


    This month will mark the two-year anniversary of the seizure of the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea by the Russian Federation, a profound act that marked the first time since the aftermath of World War II that a European state annexed territory from another European state.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama grip and grimace at the aptly named U.N. climate change conference.
  10. PolitiFact's guide to Republican-on-Republican attacks


    With the Iowa caucuses over and the New Hampshire primary ahead, the Republican presidential candidates are drawing distinctions among themselves like never before.

  11. Take a tour through a world of trouble and toil


    Roseanne Roseannadanna, the great modern philosopher of the original Saturday Night Live, once uttered a phrase both timeless and profound — "it's always something."

  12. China has different values on cyberspace, and even those are evolving


    The Internet revolution began in the 1990s when China was still recovering from Mao Tse-tung. After the American-led triumph in the Cold War, the emergence of yet another transformative Western technology presented China with risks.

    On currency, in cyberspace and on the seas, China is pushing its interests. Four years ago, China brought its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, into service. It is planning another as part of an expansive, multi-faceted blue-water and near seas policy.
  13. Column: Legislators can learn from history — and former legislators


    Many of my columns include blunt assessments of bills and budgets coming out of Tallahassee. So it was with some trepidation that I decided to attend the 2016 Legislative Reunion. And I'm glad I did.

  14. Column: And now, the Marco memo


    Here we are, in the Marco Rubio Moment.

    The Republican establishment is thrilled: A moderate-sounding Gen X senator from a swing state! And one so good at spin he managed to give a victory speech in Iowa after he came in third. No wonder all the other candidates are jealous.

    Marco Rubio’s answers to the nation’s economic problems are mainly about reducing business taxes and regulations, but he says it in a youthful way.
  15. Ruth: A lawyer's career goes up in flames


    When he is alone with his own thoughts, and the loneliness is only likely to grow, does disgraced Tampa attorney Stephen Diaco ever wonder: "Sheesh, I gave up everything for this? All in the defense of a huge tub of shock-talking goo? What was I thinking?"

    Not very much, apparently.

  16. Daniel Ruth: Gondolas, or more beach traffic jams?


    If you're thinking of enjoying a relaxing day at Clearwater Beach, better leave now. You might get there by Monday. And if you're lucky, you might find a parking spot by Wednesday. And you might get home by Saturday. And yes, we're having way big fun now.

  17. Column: Justice for Caroline Small, a small step toward justice for all


    Last week, a group of church friends held a town hall meeting in Brunswick, Ga. Their purpose is embodied in their name: Justice for Caroline Small.

    Chances are, you've never heard of her.

    Caroline Small, 35, who suffered from mental health and drug problems, was killed by Glynn County, Ga., police.
  18. Ruth: Ted Cruz preaches while campaign smears


    On his walk on water over to his Iowa caucus victory party Monday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Halo, credited his win to "God be the glory." There were so many hosannas and hallelujahs in the air you would have thought Cruz was running for archbishop of Canterbury rather than the presidency of the United States.

    Ted Cruz, above, offered an apology after his staff falsely told Iowa voters that Republican rival Ben Carson planned to quit the race.
  19. Column: What other countries spend on welfare


    I couldn't help but think about Bernie Sanders, the socialist who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, when I saw this graph. Based on data from LIS, a cross-national data center in Luxembourg, it comes from a new report by Stanford professor Karen Jusko that tries to quantify just how stingy America's …

  20. LeMieux: How Iowa results shape New Hampshire primary


    In a year full of political surprises, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas manufactured one of his own by winning the Iowa caucuses. Cruz proved that organization wins in Iowa, a state where neighbors make promises to neighbors to caucus for a particular candidate and feel accountable to do so. I attended the caucuses in …