Dan DeWitt, Hernando Times
If you’ve seen his mailed-out advertisements, you’ve seen the new Blaise Ingoglia.
This Blaise, the Republican candidate for the District 35 seat in the Florida House of Representatives, usually wears unassuming polo shirts or respectable, pressed button-downs.
One exception is his appearance in outdoor gear, shotgun in hand, palling around with hunters whose right to bear arms he pledges to protect.
He’s got some other friends, too: members of an unnamed, wholesome-looking family apparently recruited to look grateful for his promises to support law enforcement and improve schools.
Gov. Rick Scott is planning not to appear Friday for a deposition in a lawsuit he filed in California to block the release of information about Google email accounts used by him and his executive staff.
Attorney Steven R. Andrews was prepared to put the governor under oath in Tallahassee, but Scott’s communications director, Frank Collins, said Thursday “there is not going to be a deposition tomorrow.” Scott’s lawyers asked the judge to quash the deposition but, as of late Thursday, they hadn’t received an answer.
Scott is instead expected to attend a Friday fundraiser at the Biltmore in Coral Gables, featuring former Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera.
Tampa Bay Times
For all of its challenges, Florida remains a place of promise and possibility, great resilience and untapped potential, entrepreneurial spirit and remarkable diversity. Charlie Crist understands this state and cares about its people and their aspirations, their struggles to make ends meet and their dreams for the future. His return to the Governor’s Mansion would advance Florida’s best interests and send a message that the concerns of average Floridians are more important than big money and rigid ideology.
I have always agreed that the two subjects that should be avoided in polite conversation are religion and politics. Well, since I’m forever talking politics, one can easily figure out what I think about polite conversation — obviously not much.
But if there is any doubt, let’s discuss religion today. We can start with this question: Who are you going to believe, Antonin Scalia or Thomas Jefferson? Justice Scalia recently made a speech at Colorado Christian University in which he declared that there is nothing in the Constitution stating that “the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion.”
It’s interesting that someone who is described as an “Originalist” would apply his own reasoning to the First Amendment, which specifically prohibits “an establishment of religion.” The author, Thomas Jefferson, made it clear what he meant. In an 1802 letter, he wrote that he intended a “wall of separation between church and state.”
Gail Collins, New York Times
On Miami Beach, rising sea levels have interesting consequences. The ocean periodically starts bubbling up through local drainpipes. By the time it’s over, the concept of “going down to the water” has extended to stepping off the front porch.
It’s becoming a seasonal event, like swallows at Capistrano or the return of the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio.
“At the spring and fall high tides, we get flooding of coastal areas,” said Leonard Berry, the director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies. “You’ve got saltwater coming up through the drains, into the garages and sidewalks and so on, damaging the Ferraris and the Lexuses.”
The Hernando County Commission needs new leadership. The reckless majority has gutted county reserves, slashed public services, gotten even cozier with special interests and dumped the cost of servicing growth onto existing taxpayers.
Two seats are up for grabs in November and the electorate should pick candidates motivated to tackle a broad spectrum of concerns instead of focusing exclusively on cutting spending. Commissioners must reside in their district, but they are elected by voters countywide.
As Republican U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent seeks his third term in Congress, once again he has cruised into the November general election to face a Democratic challenger with considerably less money and who lacks the support of a party focused on more competitive races.
While Nugent boasts $284,000 in contributions, opponent David Koller of Ocala has $32,000 — a large portion of it from his own pocket. Koller admits that he has received no support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and that his own initial informal polls showed him tied with “pressing the wrong button” on the telephone.
Hernando County and the owner of Blue Pelican Marina argue that the controversial rezoning at the marina should stand because the attorney for residents who have challenged it used improper legal filings and arguments.
In court papers filed this week, deputy county attorney Jon Jouben and marina attorney Joe Mason detail why they believe arguments that Hernando County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes had a conflict of interest because of a business relationship with the marina and that the commission ruling was tainted by the information commissioners had on the rezoning before the hearing fall flat.
Thomas Friedman, New York Times
I’ve been arguing for a while now that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the wider East-West clash of civilizations what Off Broadway is to Broadway. It’s where you can see many trends at a smaller scale first. That is why I study it closely. Whether it is airline-hijacking, suicide-bombing or trying to do nation-building with the other — Israelis called it “Lebanon invasion” and “Oslo”; we called it “Iraq” and “Afghanistan” — what happens there often moves to the larger stage. So, as I have asked before: What’s playing Off Broadway now?
It’s a play called “Containment.” When faced with a barrage of rockets from the Hamas militants in Gaza, Israel largely retaliated with artillery and air power. These inflicted enough pain on Hamas and the Gaza civilian population that Hamas eventually agreed to a cease-fire — but not to surrender.