(1) A state representative from South Florida got an official letter of reprimand from the House for alleging that - gasp! - votes of the Legislature are influenced by campaign contributions.
The letter to Rep. Susan Bucher, D-Royal Palm Beach, was signed by the two co-chairs of the House's rules subcommittee. One was state Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland. The other was Rep. Sandra Murman, R-Tampa.
It should be noted that one of Ross' principal accomplishments as a legislator to date has been to allow Florida's dry cleaners to pollute the ground without fear of lawsuits. He got that law passed at the behest of his most important constituent, Publix, to protect its shopping centers.
As for Murman, well, her main role has been as obedient servant for whatever Speaker Johnnie Byrd and the House leadership tell her to do, right down to her creepy and pathetic defense of Byrd this year after he described all House members as "sheep."
Sorry to be so blunt, but if these two are the ones issuing letters of reprimand to House members for speaking the truth, then we have a fair idea of that letter's credibility.
(2) Please notice that the Legislature shot down any attempt to crack down on the fundraising committees being created by individual lawmakers with stupid names not far from "Committee for Sweetness and Light." The sole purpose of these committees is for legislators to collect legal bribes.
(3) Did you see that Virgin, the British outfit built by the wonderfully colorful Richard Branson, would like to run Florida's high-speed rail system? It would be kind of fun to give 'em a shot.
No, wait, I forgot the party line for a second. We have to repeal high-speed rail because we can't "afford" it. Then we have to get back to buying Hummers and paying all our money to campaign-contributing road builders and oil companies.
(4) AT&T "mistakenly" billed 1-million people who didn't owe it any money. Heck, AT&T started billing me three months ago, right out of the blue. Each month I've had to call to get it taken off my Verizon bill. How many people didn't notice, and just paid?
In terms of dollars, how does this act of theft compare to a day's worth, a week's worth, a month's worth, or a year's worth of the street crime that our politicians try so hard to keep us frightened about?
Where's the governor? Where's the Legislature? Where's the Public Service Commission?
(5) This is not an original thought, but: If our Catholic brothers and sisters wish to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights, such as U.S. Sen. John Kerry, then surely they also want to deny communion to politicians who support the death penalty, such as our governor. After all, both are violations of the church's admirably consistent belief in the sanctity of life.
(6) The other day we ran a story about how one of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, Peter Deutsch, was attacking another Democrat in the race, Betty Castor, for being backed by an "out-of-state special interest group" trying to "steal" the election.
The group in question? Emily's List, a tried-and-true outfit founded in 1985, created to get more women who support abortion rights into public office. The name is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast."
Emily's List? Emily's List? Deutsch is losing it.
(7) A contractor for the Hernando School Board bulldozed 38 acres, ignoring county development and landscaping rules, uprooting protected trees and razing a 50-foot buffer that was supposed to protect neighbors. Responded board chairwoman Sandra Nicholson: "I'm sorry. We are just people. We are human." Well, that makes me feel better.
(8) Re: The shooting death of the disturbed man who threw a knife at Pinellas deputies: If someone were throwing knives at me, I would shoot too, you bet. Whether to shoot in response to a deadly attack is not the right question. The right question in all such cases is whether there was any way not to get to the point of no return in the first place.
(9) The other day I used a different name and phone number for Gulfside Regional Hospice in Pasco County, (727) 845-5707, and am happy to set things straight.