Only in Flori-la-dee-da-la-dee-da would the results of a $600,000 study portraying the state's computerized standardized school testing program as a sixth-world boondoggle be hailed by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart as "welcome news."
You have to wonder if Stewart would also regard an outbreak of the plague as merely an unfortunate case of the sniffles gone horribly awry.
If you have a kiddo in public school, you know the litany of problems experienced by students who attempted to take the Florida Standards Assessment test online. Hackers infiltrated the system and interrupted the test, often knocking students offline and making it difficult to log back in. As a result, a study conducted by Alpine Testing Solutions concluded just about every aspect of the test was riddled with problems including "suspect scores" and a testing rubric that fell far short of "normal rigor and standardization." ...
A political campaign may have a smidgen of a public relation problem when the candidate has been reduced to producing a lie-detector test to convince voters he has not done anything wrong.
So it has come to this for former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman, who treated his oath of office as if it was written on a cocktail napkin.
Can you imagine the Norman campaign yard signs? "Never indicted!"...
With apologies to John Lennon, can't we please give peace a chance — but hold the onions?
And the answer to that question apparently is an abrupt, snarky "No," with an internationally recognized hand gesture thrown in for good measure.
Under the phony guise of peace, Burger King bought a full-page ad in Wednesday's New York Times, inviting McDonald's to participate in a one-off joint venture on Sept. 21, which is International Peace Day, to create something it called The McWhopper, with all of the proceeds going to support love and brotherhood....
It has to royally rankle the oh so self-important Victor Crist to be taken so lightly by his arch nemesis, the ride-sharing company Uber.
As the chairman of the Public Transportation Commission, Crist rants. He raves. He pouts. He threatens Uber as an arrogant unregulated company that illegally operates in Hillsborough County. Uber essentially shrugs with a blase, "Yeah, well, whatever."
The Hillsborough County commissioner has accused Uber of being unresponsive to the PTC, uncooperative and little more than a bully. But it is hard to say if any of this is true, since Uber simply ignores the PTC and its fuming chairman....
There is a very simple reason why the Florida Legislature proved incapable of meeting a court-ordered mandate to redraw the state's congressional districts.
Completing such a complex task would have required due diligence, fairness, intellectual honesty and a commitment to fulfilling their oath of office, especially the silly part about, "I will well and faithfully perform the duties of (the office) on which I am about to enter, so help me God."...
You would think that after all the civic breast-beating, the wails of protest, the huffing and puffing and whining, the demise of the Pier on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront would involve something more dramatic than razing the structure one lonely beam and bolt at a time.
Surely there must be a Lethal Weapon XXV somewhere in the pre-production phase looking for an edifice to blow up....
Think of this as Gov. Rick Scott's Planned Parenthood Emily Litella moment.
After weeks of railing against Planned Parenthood and accusing the agency of performing illegal abortions, late last week Stewart Williams, the general counsel for the state Agency for Health Care Administration, was forced to concede the procedures in question being performed in St. Petersburg, Naples and Fort Myers were — ahem — perfectly legal after all. A day later, Williams seemed to take that back and said the organization remains under investigation and the agency still believes unlicensed abortions were performed....
Here's a vexing thought. It has occurred to me that my ersatz crusade to snatch the Republican presidential nomination might be doing a better job raising money than the rinky-dink campaigns of Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and most certainly Jim Gilmore, the Judge Crater of the GOP.
And I haven't even had to go to Iowa to pretend to like triple deep-fried heart transplant-on-a-stick.
Over the past few weeks, the mailbox has seen a steady influx of mail from loyal patriots eager to do their part to contribute to my quest to win the Republican nomination and capture the White House in 2016. ...
For former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-I Feel Petty, Oh So Petty, to go all Capt. Renault on everyone in expressing how shocked, shocked he was over President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton royally mishandling Iraq is a bit like Gen. George Custer blaming the Pilgrims' policy toward Native Americans for his unfortunate turn of events at Little Big Horn.
But there was the Thurston Howell III of Kennebunkport the other day making his obligatory hajj to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to castigate Obama and Clinton over Iraq. He accused Clinton of "standing by" while events on the ground imploded and terrorist groups like ISIS gained greater influence in the region....
If Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist believes breathing new life into the decaying corpse of jai alai will reinvigorate the economic fortunes of North Tampa, we can all wait with bated breath for the politician's next brilliant marketing scam.
Medieval jousting? Bullfighting? Major league curling?
There are plenty of reasons the public should run away, run away from any effort to bring back jai alai to Tampa, not the least of which is the commissioner's steadfast refusal to name the investors he has been playing footsie-wootsie with about building a fronton in the north Tampa area. ...
Here's a simple question to ponder. Suppose you found yourself sitting next to a member of the Florida Legislature in a saloon. Would you feel comfortable leaving your bar change unattended within arm's reach of one of our elected officials if nature suddenly called?
Scary thought, isn't it?
And that explains why the House and Senate have been ordered by the state Supreme Court to conduct yet another special session, this time to redraw Florida's hinky congressional districts simply because a conniving, duplicitous, scheming Legislature was deemed to be more untrustworthy than Lord Voldemort meets Lance Armstrong....
Many of the headlines following Thursday night's Republican exercise in candidate speed dating generally concluded the "winner" to be Donald Trump, the Tangerine Scream of the GOP.
But is that truly accurate?
Up against this collection of whiners, blowhards, preeners, hand-wringers and cluckers, it didn't take all that much to capture the lion's share of attention. This had to be a bit like Olympian Michael Phelps arriving at the pool to discover all of his competitors are wearing water wing floaties....
Never let it be said that public service, most notably in the Florida Legislature, the best little whorehouse in Tallahassee, isn't its own very handsome reward.
At first blush, especially if you are a bigger chump than Bullwinkle J. Moose, you might stand in awe of the state's 160 pole dancers masquerading as lawmakers in the House and Senate. Oh, the sacrifices they make — months away from home toiling in a remote, inaccessible capital for a mere, lousy $29,697 a year in compensation with little more than a lobbyist or two, or three, to offer companionship. ...
Reader alert! You are about to enter the mother of all spit-take zones! Do not under any circumstances consume any liquids! Face away from any walls! Avoid looking directly at any children, pets, friends or spouses!
You have been warned. Proceed to the following paragraphs at your own risk.
Gov. Rick Scott is receiving an award for being a champion of the environment.
Hailing Scott, R-Nuclear Winter, as an environmental guardian is a bit like tapping Tom Brady as Sportsman of the Year....
Not to be overly simplistic, but the essential skill set to perform the duties of Florida's secretary of state would seem to be the ability to perform this task: one, two, three, four, five …
For the person responsible for overseeing the state's elections, counting is very important.
Ken Detzner has other things to do, like protecting the state seal to make sure it doesn't get lost, fall into a mayo jar, or wind up on Jameis Winston's mantle. But it's the election stuff that is the primary item on Detzner's agenda — when he gets around to it....