Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Democrats reject Florida's primary election
Florida Democrats get a national flogging for the early date. Hold caucuses later or lose all delegates, the party says.
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published August 26, 2007
Karen L. Thurman (right), chair of the Florida Democratic Party, confers with committee member Terrie Brady while testifying before the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee.
James Roosevelt Jr. (left) and Alexis M. Herman (right), co-chairs of the Democratic National Committees Rules and Bylaws Committee, listen as Karen L. Thurman chair of the Florida Democratic Party testifies in Washington.
WASHINGTON -- In a move that could give Republicans a big, early leg up in Florida's presidential election, national Democrats voted Saturday to make the state's Jan. 29 presidential primary officially meaningless.
State Democrats must agree within 30 days to run a much smaller-scale, alternative election later in the year or Florida will lose all of its presidential delegates as punishment for violating the Democratic National Committee's schedule for nominating elections.
At a time when leading Republican presidential candidates are aggressively organizing in Florida, the move may discourage Democrats from starting comparable early efforts in Florida.
"We have to enforce our rules, but we don't want to shoot ourselves in the head trying to heal a little cut on the hand," said former DNC chairman Don Fowler of South Carolina, worrying the move could have long-term consequences. "You put the Republicans down there for a couple of months just humming and drumming and shucking and jiving and there's an absence of Democrats, that's going to give them a great advantage."
Then again, an excuse to avoid spending precious campaign resources in Florida might actually be welcomed by some of the Democratic contenders. Winning the nomination requires winning delegates state by state, so why fight hard for a state with no delegates?
"The attractiveness of not having to spend $5- or $10-million in Florida has not gone unnoticed in some quarters," said Allan Katz of Tallahassee, a Barack Obama supporter and the only member of the DNC rules committee to vote with Florida Saturday.
Although Democrats believe they have their best chance in years to win Florida's 27 electoral votes, the rules committee of the DNC said the state can't be allowed to break scheduling rules, lest an avalanche of other states follow suit.
"We have 49 other states. As important as Florida is to our democratic process and our country, there's a fairness issue here," said Alexis Herman of Alabama, former U.S. labor secretary and co-chair of the committee.
"We had other states who had essentially asked for the same thing as Florida and who are watching this process today. Are we going to enforce the rules, or are we just going to have open season on this entire process?"
The DNC schedule allows only Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina to hold caucuses or primaries before Feb. 5. Once Florida lawmakers set the primary for Jan. 29 to give the state more say in the nominations, the DNC wanted Florida Democrats to declare that Jan. 29 primary nonbinding and run their own caucus elections later on.
Impossible, said Florida Democrats, who have hinted a legal fight might ensue.
With a major tax overhaul initiative on the ballot Jan. 29 and a potential multimillion-dollar cost for caucuses, state Democrats said they had no choice but stick with Jan. 29. Democrats tried to stop Florida Republicans from setting the date.
State Democratic officials, including Chairwoman Karen Thurman, argued that staging a few caucus-style elections statewide would "disenfranchise" voters.
"We're asking you for mercy, not judgment," Democratic activist Jon Ausman of Tallahassee told the DNC rules committee. " ... It's like a family when you have a black sheep of the family. What do Republicans do? They cast them out, they throw them out. What do the Democrats do? We bring them in."
The Florida black sheep were cast out nonetheless. Thurman will take another look at holding caucuses to allocate delegates to the presidential candidates, but she was skeptical it would happen.
Florida Republicans are fighting to avoid losing half of their delegates as punishment for their early primary, but that's not stopping the candidates from investing heavily in Florida anyway.
Democratic candidates have visited Florida frequently to raise money and hold rallies. Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich will speak Monday and Tuesday to machinist union members gathered at Disney. Several similar gatherings are planned in coming weeks. That's not the same as mounting real campaign organizations, however.
"Our hope is that in the next 30 days Florida and the DNC can reach an agreement so Florida's delegates can contribute to the nomination contest," an Obama campaign spokeswoman said Saturday.
A Clinton campaign spokesman said: "We intend to compete wherever there's a primary or caucus. But having said that, we intend to let this process work itself out."