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Scott at 35%, Dueling Cellists, Daviana’s Valentine Dance: The Live Wire, Feb. 2

| February 2, 2011

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Florida’s Power Over Health Care

us district court federal judge roger vinson floridaGarrett Epps in The Atlantic: “Why does our system allow an obscure Florida district judge to throw a monkey-wrench into the national works? The most obvious response by commentators to the decision by Judge Roger Vinson that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional is a correct one: This is just another step in a long process that will, sooner or later, result in a definitive decision by the Supreme Court. But it provides an occasion to take a look at the curious institution of judicial review as it has grown up in the United States. Americans take this function of courts more or less for granted, and the concept — that a court can void legislation for constitutionality — has now taken hold around the world. But it is worth examining how it is practiced here and elsewhere. […] Judicial review is a wonderful institution. It may be America’s single greatest gift to the rule of law worldwide. Originally, other countries regarded the idea as theoretically absurd and practically dangerous. But after the World War II, more and more countries came to appreciate the utility of a judicial check on the political branches. It has now been copied around the world. […] The reason our system works this way is that, contrary to what many Americans believe, our Constitution actually doesn’t provide for judicial review. The power of courts to invalidate state laws is perhaps implied in the text; the power to strike down acts of Congress isn’t there at all. In the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall decided that his court, at least, must have that power in order to make real the promise of a written Constitution (the first written national constitution in the world) as “a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means.” […] Amid the current uproar over Judge Vinson’s decision […] it’s worth thinking about the strangeness, in world terms, of allowing such an obscure jurist to throw a monkey-wrench into the national works.” The full piece.

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Enterprise Florida’s Scott Test

From the Sentinel: “Gov. Rick Scott proposed a shakeup of Florida’s economic development apparatus Thursday, saying he would re-create a state Department of Commerce under his control to streamline the various business-luring arms of government. Scott told members of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development arm, that the secretary of the new department would work in the first-floor Office of the Governor in the Capitol, just down the hall from Scott’s office. Scott said the new department would take the lead and coordinate the work of Orlando-based Enterprise Florida as well as Scott’s own Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and the Agency for Workforce Innovation, which runs job-training programs. Each handles various facets of the state’s efforts to lure companies here. In a move signaling his intent to consolidate power, Scott directed Enterprise Florida leaders to end its contract with longtime president and CEO John Adams, who was hired by then-Gov. Jeb Bush before he left office in 2006. […] Scott’s proposal is reminiscent of where Florida was in 1996, before the Legislature abolished the state’s Department of Commerce and merged it into Enterprise Florida. The legislation was urged by then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, who said it was needed to improve Florida’s business climate and make the state competitive with others in the Southeast.” The full story.

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Gov. Rick Scott’s Approval: 35 Percent

From Florida Capital News: “Gov. Rick Scott has 35 percent job-approval rating in a poll released today, but two out of five said they’re undecided about the new governor. The Quinnipiac University Poll , taken Jan. 25-31, surveyed 1,160 registered voters. It showed 22 percent disapprove of the job Republican Scott is doing. Of those asked, 43 percent were undecided. Scott was elected with 49 percent of the vote in November. Scott will release his first state-spending plan on Monday. He’s announced some of his intentions, such as combing state-agency responsibilities, creating a consolidated Department of Commerce and requiring public workers to pay 5 percent of salaries into their pension plans. […] The survey showed 46 percent of voters think it’s a bad idea to cut state workers, with 42 percent liking the idea. However, the pension changes got good marks, with 64-28 percent approval. Scott has said his budget will not only address a $3.6 billion shortfall, but will also cut taxes. […] Scott’s approval rating is in stark contrast to his predecessor’s first month in office. Then Gov. Charlie Crist had a 70-percent approval rating in a Quinnipiac poll released in February 2007.” The full story.

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Undocumented Immigrants: a Numbers Update

From Pew: “As of March 2010, 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States, virtually unchanged from a year earlier, according to new estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This stability in 2010 follows a two-year decline from the peak of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009 that was the first significant reversal in a two-decade pattern of growth. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the nation’s workforce, 8 million in March 2010, also did not differ from the Pew Hispanic Center estimate for 2009. As with the population total, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the labor force had decreased in 2009, from its peak of 8.4 million in 2007. […] According to the Pew Hispanic Center, unauthorized immigrants made up 3.7% of the nation’s population and 5.2% of its labor force in March 2010. Births to unauthorized immigrant parents accounted for 8% of newborns from March 2009 to March 2010, according to the center’s estimates, which are based mainly on data from the government’s Current Population Survey. The decline in the population of unauthorized immigrants from its peak in 2007 appears due mainly to a decrease in the number from Mexico, which went down to 6.5 million in 2010 from 7 million in 2007. Mexicans remain the largest group of unauthorized immigrants, accounting for 58% of the total.” The full analysis.

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What’s With the School District’s Early Release Days?

The Flagler County School Board Tuesday approved next year’s school calendar, which has just been released. Not many changes except, as Board member Andy Dance points out, two more early-release dates added to the calendar. That’ll make five next year, as opposed to three this year. Why the increase, on top of three “teacher planning” days already on the schedule (those are full days off for students). Dance is taking comments on the matter at his Facebook page.

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How to Buy Adam Putnam

Companies are constantly finding creative ways to buy politicians’ favors. Going through their children is especially clever. The politician this time: Adam Putnam, Florida’s new Agriculture Commissioner. From The Ledger as reported by AP: “A fertilizer company paid a record $10,000 for a cake at the Polk County Youth Fair Auction baked by the 9-year-old daughter of state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The Ledger of Lakeland reported Thursday that Mosaic, a large contributor to the annual agricultural fair and one of Polk County’s largest employers, paid $10,000 this week for Abigail Putnam’s hazelnut chocolate cake. Fair officials say the cakes are often sold for $200 to $500, with the second-highest this year going for $600. One year, a cake sold for $1,000, they said. Putnam, who took office Jan. 3, said Abigail donated $9,000 back to the youth fair. “Even my 9-year-old knows a cake isn’t worth $10,000,” he said. “I am proud of my daughter and proud of her cake. She feels good about her decision and is excited about it. It’s going to help a lot of kids.” Mosaic spokesman Russell Schweiss agreed that $10,000 paid Tuesday was “outside of the normal range.” He said an employee had been given a lump sum to purchase items at the fair. For example,the company spent $17,000 on pigs with the meat being given to charity. “This situation is embarrassing for Mosaic and our employees and is not characteristic of how the company represents itself. We’ve initiated an aggressive investigation to understand exactly what happened at the fair so that we may take swift and appropriate actions,” Schweiss said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.”

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How Privatization Advocates Buy Lawmakers

From the Times-Union: “A plan to privatize certification for people who work with abused and neglected children could save Florida money, but the only private organization eligible to do the work also contributed money to the lawmakers pushing the idea. Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, and Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, have sponsored legislation proposing the privatization idea, which could save the state more than $1 million in staffing and contract costs annually. But according to an analysis by the Department of Children and Families, which currently oversees certification, it also could dilute the system’s effectiveness.” The full story.

Daviana’s Valentine’s Dance Party

Daviana Campbell (click on the image for larger view)

Mark the day: Saturday, Feb. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., 5th, 6th and 7th graders are invited to a Valentine’s Dance at the Flagler Palm Coast High School cafeteria to raise money for military families (the $7.50 fee is for the fund-raiser). The dance is being organized by Daviana Campbell, the reigning Little Miss Flagler. It’s important for those who want to attend the “Have A Heart Valentine’s Day Ice Cream Social” to pre-register by sending an email to

Daviana has been very busy putting her crown to work for good causes. At Halloween, she raised over $900 through a Halloween bash that drew several hundred 5th and 6th graders to the skating rink at the Youth Center, on Flagler Palm Coast High School’s campus, for dancing, games and a picnic. So it’s dance time again. Daviana writes that even though the Flagler County student services approved the ice cream social and is lending the FPC cafeteria for the event, “some of the schools are having their own dance and the principals won’t hand out my fliers because they think that kids will come to my event and not the school event.” Well, here’s the flier in two versions: you can see it writ large by clicking on the image below, or you can print your own flier and hand it out or post it wherever you like.

click on the image for larger view.

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Smooth Criminal: Dueling Cellists

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Bohemian Rhapsody Ukulele

From Jake Shimabukuro’s website: “Jake Shimabukuro continues to revolutionize our perception of the ukulele with the release of his new album “Peace Love Ukulele,” on Hitchhike records, distributed through Mailboat Records, released on January 4, 2011. With drums, bass, and even orchestral strings filling in the spaces behind the ukulele, the album conveys the complete musical vision of one of the world’s most original talents. “The ukulele,” he says, “is the instrument of peace – and if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”” Here he is playing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

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A Few Good Links

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1 Response for “Scott at 35%, Dueling Cellists, Daviana’s Valentine Dance: The Live Wire, Feb. 2”

  1. Laura says:

    Jake is the man.
    No Ka Oi !

    {{* *}}

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