Wednesday, February 28, 2007


For the past couple of years, the stock of our area's representative in Congress Adam Putnam (R-Bartow) has been rising among the Republican leadership, and it paid off late last year after he was named Chairman of the House Republican Conference Committee. His red-headed mug is beginning to be seen more on the national news programmes, but Putnam is beginning to realize that the bigger the spotlight, the brighter the glare is.

Last week Keith Olbermann, the former ESPN SportsCenter anchor now doing the hour long news programme Countdown on MSNBC, focused on young Mr. Putnam, giving him the gold medal in his daily "Worst Person In the World" feature. Here is the piece from the Web site of Mr. Olbermann's programme:

But our gold-medalist Congressman Adam Putnam of Florida -- chairman of the House Republican Conference Committee, one of the guys who ran with, and pushed, the phony Nancy Pelosi plane request story.

He's now admitted to the Tampa Tribune newspaper that he not only doesn't know if the story was true... he doesn't care.

He read it in the Moonie Paper in Washington. [A reference to the conservative Washington Times, which is owned and operated by Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church]

Don't know if it's true...don't care if it's true.

Watch this man. He could be nominated for President some day.

Congressman Adam Putnam of Florida... today's Worst Person In The World!

Hey, friends, there shouldn't be any surprise's simply standard operating procedure for the far right. The truth doesn't matter; only if the result is to discredit your opponent. If you're reading this and are in the 12th Congressional District of Florida, realize that it's time to return some credibility to the seat that is supposed to be our representation in Washington.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Last week I made note of Largo City Manager Steve Stanton, who announced that he was transgendered and would be undergoing a sex change operation. His announcement had originally been planned for this summer, but had to be done suddenly after someone leaked the story to the St. Petersburg Times.

Obviously, such an announcement was bound to cause a backlash, even for an individual who has held the position for 14 years and is generally well respected in the community. But the idea of a transsexual city manager dressing in women's clothes and calling himself Susan (part of the therapy required in preperation such the surgery) is simply too much for some, and Stanton may not have a job after tonight.

City Commissioners expect to face several hundred residents at a special meeting tonight, at which three commissioners have said they plan to vote for Stanton's termination. Only Mayor Pat Gerard has publicly announced that she is standing by the city manager. The other three commissioners are undecided, so could decide his fate. It will take five of seven votes to fire Stanton.

According to today's St. Petersburg Times:

City Hall has received more than 250 e-mails about Stanton, more than 40 percent from people who identified themselves as Largo residents. Those e-mails called for his removal by a 7-to-1 ratio.
The first 520 people to arrive will be permitted to enter City Hall, with about 100 in commission chambers and the rest in the community room, staff break room and City Hall lobby.

Both Stanton supporters and opponents say they plan to pack the chambers.

Charlie Martin, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, said he encouraged parishioners to attend because it's the "biggest issue facing Largo" in his 36-year tenure as pastor of the church, one of the largest in Pinellas County.

Stanton's continued employment will be devastating to Largo's reputation and future business interests, Martin said.

Moreover, he said, it would trample on the rights of religious employees to force them to call the city manager Susan, the name Stanton plans to use when he comes to work as a woman this spring.

Brian Winfield, communications director for Equality Florida, an organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, said his group will urge members and other supporters to attend the meeting as well.

The discussion of Stanton's future employment is discriminatory because the topic only came up after Stanton announced plans for gender reassignment surgery, he said.

As I mentioned in my original post last Thursday:

Friends, it really shouldn't matter. The man has been the top administrator for 14 years in the Pinellas County city of 75,000. Noone stays around that long without racking up an excellent record at the job. As long as Stanton continues to do the job he was hired to do, it shouldn't matter if the name if Steven or Susan or if he wears a suit and tie or dresses.

UPDATE: The Largo City Commission voted 5-2 to begin the process of terminating Stanton's contract, placing him on paid administrative leave following a four hour meeting in which more than 60 speakers addressed the body. My guess is that they won't get that far, that Stanton and the city will come to an agreement which would protect the city from any possible litigation and provide the soon-to-be former city manager with a very generous benefit/retirement package considering his long tenure of service. That would likely be done within the next couple of weeks to allow this whole situation to be closed with as little fanfare as possible.


In his column yesterday, Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty focused on the newly formed American Party of Florida, among whose founders is former Avon Park mayor Tom Macklin, and it's primary focus of illegal immigration and undocumented aliens. As the APF works to expand across the state, a couple of recent events could possibly help their cause.

Rufty writes about a press release that Macklin and his new party sent out last Thursday deriding the decision by Highlands County officials to release five undocumented workers found in the back of a Freightliner box truck. It partially read, "They supposedly were released because they hadn't committed a crime. But in a post-Sept. 11 environment, undocumented individuals need to be detained, fingerprinted, and if possible, have their identities verified."

He may find some sympathizers in Manatee County in the wake of last Friday's kidnapping of 13-year-old Clay Moore from his bus stop. The alleged abducter is Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, a former migrant worker originally from Sinola, Mexico who law enforcement officials believe may have left the area, if not returned below the border. Beltran-Moreno was also an undocumented alien worker, resulting in a delay for deputies to get his actual identity clear.

Rufty closes his piece by noting:

Given the frustrations over immigration issues and the party's stand against illegal immigrants, they could have a powerful recruiting tool if Florida and especially the federal government don't come up with some type of resolution to the immigration issue.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Obviously, especially in the early period of a campaign, one has to be especially concerned with raising funds so that the tremendous costs involved in running for office can be met; just ask former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack. But in setting up a schedule to visit an area, some consideration should be given to having at least one event where the general public can see and hear a candidate in person without writing a big check.

I say this because in looking at U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's schedule for his visit to the West Palm Beach area on March 25, I notice that if you want to see and hear the man live, you'd better have a hefty bank account. Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald details the schedule in the newspaper's political blog Naked Politics:

--- 11:30 a.m. brunch at the Palm Beach home of James H. "Jim" Clark, founder of Netscape. $1,000 per guest.

--- 1 p.m. rally at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. $100 per person.

--- 2:30 p.m. fundraiser at the Hallandale Beach home of Jeremy and Rachel Alters. Jeremy is a founding partner of the Miami-based law firm Ratzan & Alters $1,000 per person.

--- 6:45pm fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. $250 per guest.

--- 8:00pm fundraiser at the Coral Gables home of Roy and Lea Black residence. Roy is a senior partner in the Miami-based criminal defense law firm of Black, Srebrinck, Kornspan, & Stumpf. $2,300 per guest.

Of course, Senator Obama is by no means the only one to point fingers at. When Hillary Rodham Clinton swung through Florida last week, the only public event was one in Miami's Liberty City area...she even escaped out the back door to avoid talking to a reporter.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


It is simply a beautiful Sunday morning here in north Lakeland...clear skies, a temperature in the upper 50s with a light breeze, low just seems like a great day to get out and enjoy the out of doors. Just do it early, though, as things will begin to change as the day progresses.

The effects of a big storm that is affecting the central states will begin to be felt here later in the day, only not as severe. We'll begin to see more clouds, higher humidity, and a slight chance of a shower or thundershower, with a better chance of getting rained on for much of the coming week.

Let's see what the editorial writers are concerned about this morning along the I-4 Corridor:

There has been a lot of talk recently about encouraging the Legislature to authorize the ticketing of red-light violaters caught by the use of intersection cameras. Now, drivers caught by these "red-light cameras" can only be issued warnings. The Orlando Sentinel joins the chorus favouring such a change in the law.

Here at home, the Lakeland Ledger takes note that one of what it calls the "mad hares in Tallahassee" has filed a bill to sell the state-run lottery to private interests, an idea which is being discussed in several states. The Ledger editorial writers believe it's a bad idea, mentioning that "It is a proverbial gold mine that any private company would like to have at the right price. All the more reason for the Legislature to leave it alone."

Obesity has become a serious problem in kids, and the University of South Florida is asking the state for $4 million to battle the problem through community outreach as well as hiring a team of 15 researchers and medical professionals; train doctors and physical education teachers; and create a repository of clinical data that could help health care professionals better understand obesity. It is a request being supported today in the editorial page of the Tampa Tribune as "an investment that could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars over the years".

Today's opinion in the St. Petersburg Times deals with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and how Governor Charlie Crist can work to change the way that it has resulted in pitting politicians against teachers. It offers several ideas for the St. Petersburg native, including inviting a teacher's point of element which has been missing from the FCAT accountability system in the eight years since it was started. Another call to overhaul FCAT comes this morning from the Melbourne-based Florida Today. The timing of these editorials is no surprise, as students take reading, math, and science portions of the test.

Also dealing with schools, the Daytona Beach News Journal looks at school concurrency as required beginning next year by state law, but effective September 30 in Volusia County thanks to voters approving a county charter amendment requiring planners to consider school capacity when considering new residential developments.

And the Sarasota Herald Tribune today offers it's endorsement to a proposed county charter amendment which would give the Sarasota County Commission authority to approve proposals which would make annexed rural lands ripe for city development, while protecting existing city-county planning agreements.

Make it a great Sunday, and a positive week ahead!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Being a former resident of Winter Haven, and my son Patrick almost being an alumni of Winter Haven High School (he earned a GED instead), we pass along our congratulations to the girls basketball team of WHHS on their Class 5A State Championship which was earned Friday at The Lakeland Center with a 53-42 victory over Clearwater. It marks the Lady Blue Devils' second state title in three years, the seventh trip to the state Final Four in eight years, and for Head Coach LeDawn Gibson it marks her 300th coaching win...quite an accomplishment!

While the title is something special, I'm certain that the real sweet point for the Winter Haven crew came on Wednesday night when the Blue Devils defeated Naples Barron Collier, the team that kept them out of last year's final to eventually take the championship back to Southwest Florida.

Way to go, girls!


I had to laugh at this story regarding the Federal Communications Commission about to assess a record fine of $24 million against Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster for failing to meet the agency's expectations for airing educational children's programming.

It seems that Univision tried to convince the FCC that their airing of several telenovelas, or limited run soap operas which usually run nightly during prime time, met the guidelines for children's programming. The Associated Press report notes that:

They included "Complices al Rescate", [produced by the Mexican television network Televisa] which followed 11-year-old identical twin girls who switched identities after finding out they had been separated at birth. [The show's Web site notes that it is aimed toward children].

"A significant purpose and key educational objective of this program is to illustrate how friendship, love and kindness can help overcome life's adversities," the network's lawyers said in court papers.

But [FCC Chairman Kevin J.] Martin said the FCC was unconvinced. Critics said the show featured adult plots and complex themes that were ill-suited for young children.

Telenovelas are tremendously popular throughout the Hispanic world, and are beginning to gain notice among English language broadcasters as well. The MyTV network has actually started airing two 13-week telenovelas that run weeknights [and a recap of the week's shows on Saturday night], Wicked Wicked Games and Watch Over Me.

Martin approved the fine, and the commission is expected to follow suit as part of a deal which would allow Univision to be acquired by a group of private investors for $12.3 billion, according to a story in the New York Times.

Y'know, the FCC requirements when it comes to educational and informational programming for children is only three hours a week! Surely a broadcaster can do better than simply try to con the agency that a prime time soap opera meets the requirment.

Friday, February 23, 2007


After a 15 week admittedly underdog campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack called it quits this afternoon. He admitted that it was money --- and the need for lots of it --- that caused this decision.

Between November 9 and December 31, his fundraising efforts only netted $1.17 million...barely enough to do a week's worth of advertising in big ticket primary states such as Florida.

While it was well known that better known players on the national scene such as U.S. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama would likely enter the presidential race, Vilsack was the first to officially announce that he would do so in November, two months before his term as governor ended. He's now the first to officially announce that he is no longer running, and we'll likely hear from other presidential wannabees who will follow suit as they realize that they simply do not have the national name or ability to match the major players when it comes to fundraising and publicity.

It's too bad...more voices mean a wider range of opinions and ideas on important issues that need to be seriously discussed.

His name is now removed from the list of official candidates.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been working hard early in his campaign forming a Florida organization. Thursday, his campaign announced that 77 men and women from across the Sunshine State --- none from here in Polk County, but several from across the I-4 Corridor --- had agreed to serve as the Romney for President Florida Statewide Finance Committee.

The list includes National Finance Co-Chairs Mark Guzzetta, a Boca Raton developer, and former Ambassador Mel Sembler of St. Petersburg. Other names of note include former State House Speakers Allan Bense of Panama City and John Thrasher of Jacksonville, former State GOP Chairman Al Cardenas of Miami, and former Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings of Orlando.

U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, will be visiting Florida for a couple of fundraising events in West Palm Beach on March 25.

The Palm Beach Post political blog Q notes that supporters are hoping to attract a crowd of 1,000 --- paying $100 each --- for an event at the Kraus Center. That will be followed by a $2,300 meet-and-greet event at the home of billionaire Netscape founder Jim Clark.

And the St. Petersburg Times notes that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani attracted a crowd of transplanted New Yorkers and snowbirds from the region to his first public campaign stop in Florida Thursday in Delray Beach. He pressed the flesh with the crowd before heading to a private fundraising reception. Giuliani has been much slower in organizing a Florida campaign team than GOP primary opponents Romney and U.S. Senator John McCain, and acknowledged that he is having to hasten his operation more than originally expected.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice will talk about her recently completed visit to the Middle East. Former president Jimmy Carter will appear to discuss Mideast tensions and next year's presidential race. Also, actor Patrick Dempsey will be on talking about finding help with fighting cancer. And the roundtable will include Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts of ABC News and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's political news.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: Guests this week will be Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R - CA) and former U.S. Senator and 2004 Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: With insurgents using chemical weapons in Iraq and allies planning to pull out, how should the U.S. respond? That question will be bantered about with former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, Iraqi National Security Adviser Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Republican presidential candidates U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R - KS) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R - CA), and Congresswoman Jane Harman (D - CA)

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice will appear to discuss her just-completed trip to the Middle East. And U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R - NE) will talk about the Bush Administration's strategy for Iran.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D - MI) will talk about the Senate Democrats' plan for President Bush's planned troop surge in Iraq. Also, a political roundtable featuring Dan Balz of the Washington Post, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, presidential historian Doris Kearns, and National Review White House correspondent Byron York.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: The questions: How potentially vunerable is Hillary Rodham Clinton in a possible Democratic faceoff against Barack Obama? Will there be a new Democratic Iraq resolution? And will there be a boom or bust on the road to 2008? The panel who will provide their ideas will consist of Dan Rather of HDNet, Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC, Michelle Norris of National Public Radio, and CNBC business show host Jim Cramer.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week's guest: Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Campaign Chairman for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.


Say what you will about straw polls, but they do tend to provide a good snapshot of the strength of support when it comes to candidates.

Susan S. posted in the Daily Kos Wednesday that the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee had a booth at the recently ended Florida State Fair in Tampa, and registered Democrats from around the country were encouraged to participate in the poll (it wasn't mentioned if there was a contribution required to do so), and the results generally reflected what most polls have noted to date.

U.S. Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ended up winning by a sizable margin, with 55 percent of the 2750 votes cast. Coming in second was U.S. Senator Barack Obama with 16.8 percent. Former U.S. Senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards was third with 12 percent. Nine other current and potential candidates earned single digit percentages.

Susan added:

Those of us working the booth were very surprised (maybe even shocked) at the support for Hillary Clinton. There was a certain militancy about that support, and it held up among men as well as women. We had to reorder Hillary campaign buttons and bumper stickers and have them express shipped several times over the 11 days. We also had to reorder Obama buttons and bumper stickers.

Speaking of Hillary, she earned some criticism earlier in the week when she came through Tampa on a fundraising swing through Florida. The event was closed to the media, and the frontrunning candidate decided she did not want to face any questions from the Fourth Estate, choosing to make her escape out a back door. The only somewhat public event during her day in the Sunshine State was a Q-and-A session with a mostly black audience of about 300 in Miami's Liberty City neighbourhood. It was also announced during the day that two South Florida congressional representatives, Alcee Hastings and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, endorsed Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary race.


It's not unusual for a judge to be asked to recuse themselves from a trial when there is reason to believe that he or she would not be able to rule over the proceedings with an even hand. But it's almost always the defense counsel to make such a request, not the prosecution. And the Tenth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office is not just asking Judge Susan W. Roberts to recuse herself from one case, but 22 first degree homicide cases in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties.

This whole issue began last month when the State Attorney's Office sought to have Judge Roberts disqualified from the pending first degree murder trial against 65-year-old Roy Ballard, who is charged with murder in the death of his stepdaughter, Autumn Traub. Her body has never been found, but prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to not only carry on with the trial, but to seek the death penalty in the case.

The issue with Judge Roberts is that prosecutors believe she is biased against using the death penalty, and it was based on this status conference as reported by the Lakeland Ledger on January 20:

At a status conference Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Victoria Avalon and defense lawyer Byron Hileman appeared before Roberts.

Hileman told Roberts the state is seeking the death penalty, and if the state persists in seeking the death penalty, he would not be prepared for the penalty phase of the trial if it proceeds as scheduled.

According to the motion filed by the State Attorney's Office, Roberts asked Ballard how old he was, and he told her he was 65 and would turn 66 in May.

Roberts said to Hileman, "Well, you can imagine what I might be thinking," according to the motion. Then she turned to Avalon and said, "That might be a waste of the state's resources. You might want to re-evaluate given his advanced age."

According to the motion, Hileman stated again that if the state were to persist in seeking death in the Ballard case, he would not be prepared for trial.

Roberts said she wanted another status conference on the issue, and asked Avalon, "What would be a reasonable time for it (the issue of the death penalty) to go get it re-evaluated?"

In its motion, the State Attorney's Office pointed out that the trial judge is the one who imposes sentence in a capital case, although the jury makes a nonbinding recommendation.

"Here, the court's comments regarding the suitability of the death penalty in the defendant's case show that the court has prejudged the decision regarding the death penalty in this matter. The court's comments to ASA Avalon, particularly its instruction to ASA Avalon to have the state's intent to seek the death penalty re-evaluated, create an appearance that the court would disregard a death recommendation."

Since then, the controveresy has escalated to where the State Attorney's Office has made another request requesting that Judge Roberts recuse herself from seven homicide cases involving two Lakeland Police Department detectives which have been investivating her adult son, Carson Brawley in a case where a child he had been caring for suffered a significant head injury.

The Ledger today noted that:

The motion said Roberts has already been inteviewed by Kercher in the child injury case. "It is reasonable to assume that Judge Roberts will be questioned further as this investigation continues." The investigation is described as a "criminal, felony matter."

Due to the issues with Judge Roberts, the State Attorney's Office last month requested Governor Charlie Crist to reassign it's handling of the Brawley case to another SAO, which is now being handled by the 13th Circuit SAO in Hillsborough County.

Judges are usually rotated into new divisions every 18 months, and Judge Roberts' tenure in her current division ends in July. Chief Judge J. David Langsford has been reported as saying that he has no plans to transfer Roberts from her current assignment.

This promises to become more interesting...stay tuned.

UPDATE - 02/24 @ 18:27 PM ET: The Lakeland-based Second District Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Judge Roberts should not preside over the trial of Roy Phillip Ballard, which is what primarily sparked the whole controversy between the judge and the Tenth District State Attorney's Office.

Judges Charles Canady (yes, the former State Representative and 12th District Congressman), Craig Villanti, and Douglas Wallace ruled:

"Upon a careful review of the motion filed in the circuit court for disqualification of the judge, we conclude that the motion was legally sufficient. Accordingly the circuit judge should have … disqualified herself. The State's fear that Judge Roberts had prejudged the question of the appropriateness of the death penalty was thus a reasonable fear, and that fear was a legally sufficient reason for the judge's disqualification."

You can view the entire ruling by clicking here (.pdf file). The DCA has not ruled on the prosecutor's motion for Judge Roberts to be removed from other first degree murder cases in the Tenth Judicial Circuit.


Veteran Largo City Manager Steve Stanton had not planned on announcing the news that he was planning on undergoing a sex change and has been preparing for the event through hormone therapy and counseling. At least, not until this summer when his teenage son would be out of town and away from the media glare. But those plans were not to be after the story was leaked to the St. Petersburg Times, which ran the story on it's Web site Wednesday.

Stanton, in talking with area reporters Wednesday backed with Mayor Patricia Gerard and Police Chief Lester Aradi, described his wife as "very upset...This is probably a wife's worst nightmare" but he was especially concerned about his teenage son, noting that "I literally haven't had time to discuss this with my son...Hopefully, he's not watching television."

Knowing that the Times story would be out shortly, Stanton --- who will soon begin using the first name Susan and wearing women's clothes to work as part of his preperation to undergo his yet-unscheduled gender change operation --- sent a hastily drawn e-mail announcement to city employees explaining that he had been seeing a gender thearpist for three years, as well as having undergone extensive psychological testing, hormone therapy, and painful electrolysis for two years.

"Like many transgendered people, I have privately struggled with this very personal matter all my life and have kept it secret from my family, friends and co-workers," Stanton wrote in the e-mail. "I hoped I could outrun it when I got married, became a father and found a job I love. Unfortunately, I was wrong."

While Mr. Stanton has the apparant support of the mayor and police chief, one thing to remember is that four years ago city commissioners refused to approve a proposed city ordinance to protect transgendered people. However, a similarly worded city regulation was approved prohibiting harrassment of protected groups, including transsexuals. It would take a vote of five of the seven city commissioners to terminate Stanton's contract.

Friends, it really shouldn't matter. The man has been the top administrator for 14 years in the Pinellas County city of 75,000. Noone stays around that long without racking up an excellent record at the job. As long as Stanton continues to do the job he was hired to do, it shouldn't matter if the name if Steven or Susan or if he wears a suit and tie or dresses.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


It didn't take the Republican Party of Florida long to step back from reports that candidates wishing to participate in the live televised debate to be held during it's October gathering in Orlando would have to put up $100,000.

Party Chairman Jim Greer released a statement which, in part, said:

"Candidates will not be charged a fee to participate in the presidential debate. Eligibility to participate in the debate will be determined by a criteria established by the Republican Party of Florida and FOX News Channel at a later date."

Let's see what kind of fundraising tricks they pull out of the hat now...


For years, many Polk Countians only had one phone book offered to them, the one provided by their local telephone company. For many, that would be Verizon (formerlly General Telephone & Electronics). But as different companies saw the amount of growth across Polk County, the yellow pages business has expanded as well.

In recent years we have seen TransWestern Publishing begin offering it's "Yellow Book". Now, AT&T is expanding it's yellow pages business across much of Central Florida, including Polk County. The Lakeland Ledger reports today that the AT&T subsidiary Yellow has opened an advertising office on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland and plans to print around 695,000 copies of it's book beginning in August.

Don't get me wrong...I have no issues with competition whatsoever. But three yellow page directories in the same area? It just seems like overabundance.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Yesterday, the Republican Party of Florida announced there would be no presidential straw poll at it's gathering in Orlando the weekend of October 20-21. Instead, the FPOF is teaming with Fox News Channel to present a live, televised debate between the GOP candidates.

The Palm Beach Post political blog Q is now reporting that those candidates wishing to participate in the debate will have to put up $100,000. And the St. Petersburg Times mentioned that delegates, or "ambassadors", as they will be known, will be charged an entry fee. But it wonders..."What happens if the candidates say they would rather spend their money elsewhere? Is a Fox News debate for the GOP presidential candidates in October really worth it?"

My guess is that the serious candidates will do it. They may not like it, but they'll do it because Florida is too important --- especially if the Legislature decides to move up the primary --- and a good showing in a nationally televised debate heading into the primary/caucus season would certainly help.

And who is the real winner in this? Q is suggesting Governor Charlie Crist, as he is once again showing that he's the man in charge.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer announced today that there would be no presidential straw poll when the party faithful come together in Orlando the weekend of October 20-21. Instead, the RPOF will host a live televised debate in partnership with Fox News Channel. (You really didn't believe they would get together with CNN, did ya?)

The announcement is a blow to backers of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who had been hoping that a good showing in such an event would earn him important publicity nationally and help him gain ground against the better known U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Now that the Repubs have made their decision on a straw poll, it will be interesting to see what the Democrats do. My guess is that the supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton will seek to avoid such an event, while the Barack Obama and John Edwards camps will argue in favour. It promises to be something to watch.


It was not that long ago --- around the time of another recent cold snap --- that the Lakeland Ledger called attention with a couple of great stories dealing with the area's homeless population and the lack of space available to help get them off the streets.

Sunday, another front page piece. This time, the focus was on those folks who have either stayed their limited time in the local shelters and those who simply refuse to take advantage of them. Many of those who decline shelters simply do not want to be bound by their rules, or say they are just as dangerous as being on the street.

Recently, Lakeland Police and the Homeless Coalition of Polk County conducted a survey of the homeless camps they could find around town. They reportedly found 20 such locations, the largest having approximately ten tents scattered about. The numbers haven't been crunched, but last year's survey counted 749 homeless people across the county. While that number does not break down into geographical areas, one can only guess most of those will be in Lakeland, the county's largest municipality.


Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty has joined the blogosphere with news about who's running for office, or who may be running, along with other info about the local political scene. Recently there has been some posts about a couple of likely candidates for the Florida House and one for the Polk County Commission.

It's still a slightly slow period in political news, but it's certainly worth checking out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


We'll begin today on the Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial page, which says that the request by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) for a federal investigation of all touch-screen voting machines that "do not produce voter-certified paper ballots" would be a welcome step, especially 3 1/2 months after the District 13 Congressional District controvesy in Sarasota County. It states that the probe, which would be does by the Government Accountability Office --- respected for it's neutrailty and thoroughness --- would help the nation avoid a similar outcome.

Moving up I-75, the St. Petersburg Times looks ahead to the legislative session, reminding lawmakers to remember the lesson of the 1992 Save Our Homes tax exemption: That such exemptions only switch the burden and, done recklessly, can lead to unintended consequences. While the opinion urges legislators to use caution, it notes that some of the fixes being pushed by Governor Charlie Crist and others are almost certain to make matters worse.

The election for Tampa City Council is coming up March 6, so the Tampa Tribune offers it's endorsements in the nonpartisan races:
District 1/Citywide: IT supervisor Randy Baron
District 2/Citywide: Writer Mary Mulhern
District 4/South: Attorney John Dingfelder (I)
District 5/East: Pastor Tom Scott
District 6/West: Charlie Miranda
District 7/North: Real Estate Broker Frank Margarella

This morning's Lakeland Ledger editorial reminds us that Daylight Savings Time will be here three weeks from today, a little earlier than normal and a little longer as it will end later. The change, added as part of a 1,600 page energy bill and reportedly will save 100,000 barrels of oil a day, could cause havoc will many computers unless manual changes are made to appointments and other time-sensitive programmes.

More jurisdictions are using cameras at busy intersections to catch so-called "red light runners", causing some to raise privacy issues and accusing cities of using the system as a ploy to raise revenue. The Orlando Sentinel editorial today uses statistics to prove that red-light cameras do make a difference, and urges the Legislature to move this session to authorize their use statewide.

Today's the "Great American Race" --- the Daytona 500 --- and with all the excitment building there will likely be a couple of heart attacks at the Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona Beach News-Journal opinion deals with surviving such events, noting that a rapid response time is critical to saving lives and that local leaders in Volusia and Flagler counties have done well in building lines of defenses in this area.

And in Melbourne, Florida Today calls on the Brevard County Commission Tuesday to adopt an ordinance proposed by the Brevard Affordable Housing Task Force which would give builders in unincorporated county areas help moving their projects through permitting, permit-fee forgiveness, and transportation impact fee deferral. In exchange, they would agree to set aside some of their housing units for workers whose incomes qualify, generally $20,000 to $50,000 a year.

While I'm not a huge NASCAR fan, the Daytona 500 will be the first major sporting event to really appreciate the HD qualities of my new TV. Whatever you do, make it a great Sunday!

Friday, February 16, 2007


Getting one's income tax refund is always an exciting time, with everyone in the household filling up their wish list as though it was a second Christmas. In a way, it is.

After getting caught up with the rent and utility bills, we did some shopping. In a couple of ways, I actually entered the 21st Century. Part of my wish list was to get a cellular phone, but I certainly did not want to be stuck with a monthly bill or plans, so I went the prepaid route. It should work out great, as long as I only give out the number to a few people.

The big ticket item this time was a high definition digital TV. No, I couldn't go hog wild and get one of the $1,000-plus jobs, although there was a really nice RCA 50 inch set we wanted for just under $900. We ended up with a Sanyo 36 inch for just under $800...and this situation leads me to my request.

We live in an upstairs apartment near I-4 in north Lakeland, so an outdoor antenna is out of the question. I purchased an indoor antenna (read "rabbit ears") made with HDTV in mind. I can pick up most of the Tampa Bay digital channels (WEDU, WTSP, WTVT, WUSF, WMOR, WTTA, WTOG, WFTT, ION), but I can't get a signal for two major network affiliates (WFLA and WFTS)...and the third (WTSP) can be spotty at times. When I called WFLA to inquire I was told basically it was my antenna. But if that were the problem I would have issues picking up most of those digital signals that I now can get. Can SOMEONE give me some help!


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: This week the host does another of his "On the Trail" features. The spotlight this time will be on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, who will discuss his faith, future, and campaign. And the roundtable will include editor Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek International, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's politics.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: The trifecta of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea will be discussed with U.S. Senators Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D - DE / 2008 Presidential Candidate) and Richard Lugar (R - IN). Mixing politics into the discussion will be Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus and Josephine Hearn of The Politico.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: Someone must have told Wolf, "Go West, Young Man!" as he is doing the programme from Las Vegas (Could he be there to watch the NBA All Star Game?). The guests this week discussing the 2008 race for the White House: U.S. Senators Harry Reid (D - NV / Majority Leader) and Mitch McConnell (R - KY / Minority Leader), New Mexico Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Bill Richardson, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, and Entertainer/Magician Penn Jillette.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R - GA) and U.S. Senator Carl Levin (R - MI) will banter about what impact the non-binding resolution passed Friday regarding a possible troop surge in Iraq have on our troops on the ground there.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will appear along with U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (D - NE) and Jack Reed (D - RI) to discuss Iraq. Also, veteran NBC News correspondent Richard Engel is back stateside after another tour of duty in the war zone --- he's been posted there nearly four years --- and he's share some of his insights into what's happening.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: This week's questions deal with President Bush's possible legacy: What can he accomplish between now and the end of his term of office? Will he go after Iran militarily before he leaves office? And will he attempt to influence the 2008 GOP nomination to name his successor? Offering their views: Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, Gloria Borger of CBS News and U.S. News and World Report, and David Brooks of the New York Times.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: State Senator Ronda Storms (R - Brandon) will be this week's guest.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


You can hear the social conservatives raising their voices in disgust this morning after reading Joe Follick's piece for the New York Times Florida Newspaper Group. In it, Follick notes that Governor Charlie Crist has said that the Republican Party of Florida should not contribute any funds to the group and it's efforts to place a constitutional amendment ban on gay marriage on the ballot next November.

The FPOF was the largest contributor to the effort, providing $300,000 to the campaign which failed to get the measure on last year's ballot.

While party chairman Jim Greer said Monday that the state GOP would continue to support the amendment, the governor replied that the party should spend it's resources on other things, "like elections, for example. I think that the people care about issues like insurance premiums, they care about property taxes, they care about public safety. And I think it's important that not only those of us in government, but the party focus on those issues, too." Asked later whether he thought voters should decide the matter next year, he avoided a direct answer.

"We only have so much time and we have to prioritize what we put our energy into," he said.

While Crist has voiced the opinion during last year's election campaign that he supported gay civil unions, he also signed the Florida4Marriage petition.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Beginning our weekly journey here at home, the Lakeland Ledger editorial writers use the space today for another edition of it's occasional "Gigs and Garlands" series. It contains several brief comments on a variety of issues and events while also taking note of actions good and bad.

Is the honeymoon beginning to fade away? It sounds like the first real criticism of Governor Charlie Crist in today's St. Petersburg Times editorial, which slams his "antimurder" legislation which was rejected by the Legislature when he was Attorney General and is proposing again now that he's in the chief executive's office. The paper says the plan costs too much, would further overcrowd county jails, and further limit judicial discretion.

One concern mentioned in the wake of last weekend's deadly tornadoes across Central Florida was that many communities do not have early warning sirens as is the case in parts of the Midwest where such events are more common. The Orlando Sentinel opinion page addresses that issue today, asking lawmakers to support legislation which would require local governments to install and maintain warning sirens as well as providing state assistance for those areas who can't afford the cost.

Global warming and the need to reduce carbon emissions is the issue of the Tampa Tribune editorial. Noting that carbon dixoide levels are higher now that they have for more than 650,000 years, and that it's no surprise that as a result the atmosphere is trapping more heat, Mother Trib is offering suggestions on how to bring down carbon emissions at all levels.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal suggests that the while testing our children is good, the whole premise of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) needs to be changed. It says that while Governor Crist hinted last month that changes were on the way, the results so far are disappointing. The editorial also notes that the test shortchanges students by not including the humanities, and that teaching of social studies and related subjects has declined, in some cases dramatically.

Over on the Space Coast, the Melbourne-based Florida Today calls on Florida Power & Light to begin putting power lines underground...and do so at it's own cost, not putting much of the expense on the shoulders of consumers who are becoming increasingly burdered with rising electric bills.

And today's editorial in the Sarasota Herald Tribune criticizes the fact that Governor Crist's proposed budget cuts $752 million (about eight percent) from the state transportation system when it feels that an increase is necessary. It asks legislators to press the governor hard on details about the Department of Transportation budget and work with the chief executive to develop a plan which would expidite projects, eliminate backlogs and projected shortfalls.

Make it a great Sunday! Miss football already???

Saturday, February 10, 2007


.ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry will discuss his decision not to enter the 2008 race. The programme will also go "On the Trail" with former Arkansas governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Actor Sean Penn will talk about the controversial court-martial of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. And the roundtable will include Robert Reich of The American Prospect, Cokie Roberts of ABC News and NPR, and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's politics.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: Politics and the Iraq war resolutions will be discussed with U.S. Senators Christopher Dodd (D - CT / also a 2008 presidential candidate) and Trent Lott (R - MS), along with The Politico editor-in-chief John Harris.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: Is it time for U.S. forces to change tactics in Iraq? And a look at the other terror front, Afghanistan. Those subjects will be dicussed with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D - OR) and John Cornyn (D - TX), Congressman and 2008 presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (R - CA), former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, and former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Lt. General Karl Eikenberry.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: President Bush's proposed troop surge to Iraq and the upcoming legislative debate will be discussed with U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R - KY / Minority Leader) and Jack Reed (R - RI),

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: If you want to hear about Russert's testimony last week in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, this won't be the place to turn. The subject will be the proposed troop surge to Iraq, and the guests will be Representatives Steny Hoyer (D - MD / House Majority Leader) and John Boehner (R - OH / House Minority Leader). Then the political roundtable will feature David Broder of the Washington Post, Gwen Ifill of PBS' Washington Week, and Roger Simon, Chief Political Columnist for The Politico.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: The panel will consist of Time magazine's Joe Klein, Katty Kay of BBC News, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, and MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell. This week, the panel will try to answer the questions of wheather U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D - IL) can win it all, and is it time for a big city president. Also, the roundtable will talk about the latest news from the Scotter Libby trial.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week, the question of alternative energy will be bantered with State Representative Rick Kriseman (D - St. Petersburg).

Friday, February 09, 2007


The players, parents, and guests of Lakeland High School's state championship football team were looking forward to hearing the guest speaker at last evening's team banquet, University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer. He had already arrived from Gainesville and was enroute to the banquet site, when only five minutes before the event was to begin, he learned that he could not address the event.

A little-known NCAA rule prohibits coaches from speaking to high school sports banquets within 48 hours of National Signing Day, which was Wednesday. The Gators had signed seven LHS Dreadnaughts, an accomplishment for a programme which has one of the nation's longest win streaks at 45 games and three consecutive FHSAA Class 5A state championships.

But even without Coach Meyer, the show went on as scheduled, with more than 1,000 filling the fellowship hall at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lakeland.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


First, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute has released it's latest poll concerning the 2008 presidential race. The survey, taken of 1,003 Florida voters between January 29 and February 4, included 387 Republicans and 386 Democrats.

Among Democrats in the poll, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D - NY) was the clear favourite among 49 percent. Coming in second was Senate collegue Barack Obama (D - IL) with 13 percent, tied with those still undecided. Everyone else came in single digits.

The survey among Republicans was a bit closer. When asked who they would support if the primary election were held today, the leader was former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani with 29 percent, followed by U.S. Senator John McCain (D - AZ) with 23 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R - GA) with 14 percent. Undecideds constituted 19 percent of those surveyed.

In head-to-head matchups, one interesting trend shows in the statewide numbers: In almost every scenario presented, the figures were close with the exception of a matchup between Clinton and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, which show Clinton winning handily. All others show a result within five percent.

Looking at the I-4 Corridor specifically: The Tampa Bay area figures generally follow the statewide numbers, but only when it comes to Senator Clinton -vs- the Republican. An Obama - McCain or Edwards - McCain contest show the Arizona senator winning by a 13 percent margin. Among respondants in Central Florida (Orlando region), the GOP candidate wins in every case, but the numbers may vary.

The survey also asked wheather respondants approved or disapproved of President Bush's performance in the White House. The numbers show 60 percent disapproved, including 17 percent of Republicans. Disapproval numbers were especially strong among independent/third party respondants...69 percent. Those figures have remained generally stable for the past year.

Also, the poll results should put a smile on the face of new Governor Charlie Crist, who received a 69 percent approval rating. Obviously, the honeymoon continues. You can look at the seperate press release dealing with the governor and statewide issues --- and all the numbers --- by clicking here.

Now, to other stuff:

The St. Petersburg Times political blog The Buzz Wednesday noted that the presidential exploratory committee for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced his Florida leadership team, including a number of well known names:

--- Toni Jennings, former Lieutenent Governor (Orlando) / Honourary Chair
--- Allan Bense, former State House Speaker (Panama City) / Chair
--- Al Cardenas, former State GOP Chairman (Key Biscayne) / Chair
--- Tom Feeney, U.S. Representative (Orlando) / Chair
--- John Thrasher, former State GOP Chairman (Jacksonville) / Chair
--- Rick Baker, St. Petersburg Mayor (St. Petersburg) / Co-Chair
--- Dennis Baxley, State Representative (Ocala) / Co-Chair
--- Jennifer Carroll, State Representative (Green Cove Springs) / Co-Chair
--- Dudley Goodlette, former State Representative (Naples) / Co-Chair
--- David Griffin, former Florida Lottery Secretary / Co-Chair
--- Anitere Flores, State Representative (Miami) / Co-Chair
--- Van Poole, former State GOP Chairman (Fort Lauderdale) / Co-Chair

Romney is by no means forgetting Florida, announcing that he will be at The Villages seniors retirement community near Ocala for a town hall meeting next Friday (February 16). The Villages, one of the nation's largest communities of it's type, was hard hit by last weekend's tornados.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has announced that he is backing U.S. Senator John McCain (R - AZ) in his presidential bid. Alvarez joins the state's three Cuban-American members of Congress --- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R - Miami), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R - Miami), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R - Miami) --- in supporting McCain.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


NBC announced last week that it would expand it's morning news/information show Today to a fourth hour beginning this fall. The decision would have the 50-year-old franchise running Monday through Friday from 7:00 until 11:00 AM, only a couple of years after adding a third hour. Primary hosts Matt Lauer and Merideth Viera will not participate in the expanded programme; weather guy Al Roker and newsreader Ann Curry will stick around for the honours.

Lauer has hinted that the added hour, which will primarily consist of lifestyle features, could end up diluting the Today brand.

"You go into something like this with slightly mixed emotions," Lauer told the room. "The one thing you don't want to happen is for it to dilute the brand. ... When you have a product that's good, you want people to want more of it, as opposed to less of it."

What I'm surprised about is that the affiliates haven't revolted. Local stations treasure their windows to sell advertising for either their own locally produced programming or syndicated material such as Judge Mathis or The Martha Stewart Show, and usually don't appreciate it when the network takes "their" time.

At Tampa's WFLA-TV, a fourth hour of Today --- if NewsChannel 8 chooses to clear it --- would likely bump Daytime, which is produced by it's in-house Riverbank Studio and syndicated to six other stations across the Southeast, or move it to 11:00 AM which would scratch or move the station's midday newscast.

It's a tough thing to do. Too much of a good thing can wear out after awhile.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Sorry the image quality isn't that great, but the lead headline in today's Tampa Tribune says it all. Nice Guys Finish First, with Martin Fennelly's column below.

Tony Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI last night in Miami, is still beloved by many throughout the Tampa Bay area five years after he was fired as head coach of the Buccaneers. The pictures of Dungy on the night he was sacked, carrying his own boxes to his car in a pouring rain outside One Buc Place without any aid, still rubs many people the wrong way. He's a man of class, dignity, and tremendous faith, and he indeed showed the world that Nice Guys Finish First.

You can read Fennelly's column by clicking here.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


We'll begin our weekly tour here at home, as the Lakeland Ledger echos the warnings issued last week by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which declared a water shortage and noted that the severity of that shortage could become much worse as Florida enters it's dry season. The Ledger notes that while restrictions on water use are a minor and occasional inconvenience, they should be taken very seriously when issued.

On a somewhat related note, the Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial page says that Floridians should pay special heed to the warnings issued last week in an international report on climate change released in Paris. Steadily higher temperatures, higher sea levels, stronger and more severe hurricanes will directly impact the Sunshine State, and the opinion says that government at all levels would be foolish to wait for more evidence before confronting the issue directly

While some remarks by U.S. Senator and Democratic 2008 presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of Deleware regarding Senate collegue and fellow candidate Barack Obama (D - IL) were meant to be complimentary, the wording was offensive to some in the African-American community. The Orlando Sentinel agrees, saying that "words matter, and his were inaccurate, insulting and painfully revealing".

The Daytona Beach News Journal opinion bring light to an embarassing subject in Florida education, the lack of time spent teaching social studies, government, civics, and geography to our students. Last month former U.S. Senator Bob Graham and former Congressman Louis Frey, Jr. with a group of experts in social studies curriculum and others published a list of suggestions to help correct that shortcoming, and the DBNJ strongly encourages education leaders to join the battle for change.

Today's editorial in the St. Petersburg Times notes that for the first time in two decades we may see a serious debate about Florida's tax structure. The opinion warns that lawmakers should move carefully, as there are no easy solutions and that simplistic approaches could result in disasterous results for many Floridians.

Taxes are also the subject of the editorial in the Tampa Tribune, which says that while lawmakers and the governor in Tallahassee are wielding axes, Hillsborough County Commissioners are being more cautious by a system of limiting property tax increases to a formula combining inflation and growth with allowances for emergencies and already-planned projects.

Make it a great Sunday!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


We in Polk County were very fortunate early Friday that the severe weather stayed to the north of us. Of course, nothing we say can express the sadness for all those people across North Central Florida who lost their homes and belongings, not to mention friends and neighbours, as a result of the tornadoes.

As of early Saturday morning, the death toll was listed as 19 in Lake County. Thousands of residents are without power, and it will take some time for many to recover from the destruction.

Our brothers and sisters need our help, and it is important to realize that at some point we may fall victim to a similar event. So I4J is enouraging people to give as generously as possible to their local American Red Cross chapter. You may earmark your donation toward Florida Tornado Relief. The ARC has always been there in such times of need, and volunteers are arriving from throughout Florida and beyond to assist.

Even if you can't donate financially, at least keep the people of the Central Florida area in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, February 02, 2007


The National Football League works so hard to make sure it's big event, the Super Bowl, is just right in every way. In these days of indoor arenas to keep the elements out of the mix for it's championship game, I'm sure the leadership who selected Miami as the site for Super Bowl XLI figured that the Almighty would insure clear skies and warm temperatures for the perfect Chamber of Commerce scene.

The likelihood of that happening is only partially right. The forecast from the National Weather Service Miami office for the big weekend:

Saturday: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 78. North wind between 6 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 62. North wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 73. Breezy, with a north wind between 14 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. Breezy, with a northeast wind between 15 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Those folks who plan to attend will definately need their least, those who will be watching from the Dolphin Stadium stands.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Discussing U.S. Senate opposition to President Bush's plan for a troop surge in Iraq will be Senators John McCain (R - AZ) and Chuck Hagel (D - NE). Then the roundtable kicks in to the lastest political news, featuring David Brooks of the New York Times, Democraticc strategist Donna Brazile, and conservative columnist/commentator George Will. And the Dutchess of York (Sarah Ferguson) will appear to talk about the meaning of motherhood.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: Getting away from the usual political stuff this week, FTN will discuss Sunday evening's Super Bowl XLI. Appearing will be National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, CBS Sports analyst and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, CBS Sports lead game analyst and former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, and play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: The Bush Administration explains the billions of dollars spent on our war in Iraq. And what role is Iran playing there? This week's guests will be U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) and Richard Lugar (R - IN), White House Budget Director Rob Portman, Former Iowa governor and current Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, former presidential candidate and consumer activist Ralph Nader, Intelligence Columnist and former CIA officer Robert Baer, Former CIA Deputy Director and current CNN National Security Analyst John McLaughlin, Former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel, and New York Times Chief Military Correspondent and author Michael Gordon.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Do the Democrats have an alternative to the planned troop surge in Iraq? That question, and more, will be asked of U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D - VA). And Senate collegeue Lindsey Graham (R - SC) will offer his thoughts on rumblings about possible non-binding resolutions being considered in his chamber.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: The programme's "Meet the Candidates" series returns for the 2008 presidential race. This week, former U.S. Senator and 2008 vice presidential candidate John Edwards (D - NC) will be featured.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: The questions: Will Iraq drive the Democratic primaries next year? Will U.S. Senator John McCain's support for the Bush Administration's proposed surge help his efforts with disaffective conservatives? And which Republican among the pack can best rally the base and take the nominating convention? Trying to answer: Katty Kay of BBC News, Time magazine Michael Duffy, Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: The candidates for Mayor of Tampa will be featured: Incumbant Pam Iorio and challengers Aria Ray Green and police captain Marion Serious Lewis