August 6, 2000
Legislative power is abused in state school programs
TALLAHASSEE -- Though Gov. Jeb Bush cut $313-million in so-called turkeys from Florida's new budget, some choice ones escaped the ax. They include a curious $6.5-million subsidy for two out-of-state firms that promise to work wonders for problem readers in public schools and juvenile prisons, and which are now hawking school boards to apply for the money.
Little difference between parties is no real choice
"Confrontation fits our strategy," a leading Washington policymaker said in the June 3, 1985 issue of the New Republic. "Polarization often has very beneficial results. If everything is handled through compromise and conciliation, if there are no real issues dividing us from the Democrats, why should the country change and (vote us into office)?"
A GOP reinvention: new face on old package
George W. Bush may have given the appearance of a softer, more compassionate Republican Party with more commitment to diversity, but the party position on abortion, gays, gun control and education hasn't really changed.
Bible class is off course
Hazel Eakins wants the Bible taught to Pinellas County schoolchildren, and she doesn't disguise her intent.
Watchdog's credibility at risk
Florida TaxWatch, the well-regarded and much-quoted critic of state budget and tax policies, has been peddling its services to local governments in a manner that suggests its credibility is also for sale. This must stop.
The best way to clean up the unseemly mess at the Hillsborough County courthouse is to combine the seven separate probes being conducted into a single investigation.
Not all of Africa is in desperation
Having recently visited the West African countries of Senegal and Benin, I read with interest Robyn Blumner's July 30 column Visiting Africa and its complexities: a world far from home.
Robyn E. Blumner
Court says juries, not judges, must decide the crime
Just say "criminal procedure" to most people and, as if through autonomic function, their eyes start to glaze over. The field can be duller than spectator golf and as hard to follow as Newt Gingrich's code of marital fidelity. But if ever you or someone you care about is falsely accused of a crime, the constitutional protections for criminal defendants become very relevant.
Here is a quartet of mysteries, set in the days before dot-com and DNA and featuring some familiar historical characters.
Game of American politics
Politics often result in some strange bedfellows, but who would expect to find books by such political opposites as William Safire and Joe Eszterhas to have anything in common?
Politics on tape
Tired of listening to politicians? Try listening to books about politicians instead.
IN THE NAME OF GOD,by Yasmina Khadra (Toby Press, $12.95)
Flashes of talent in a jumble of problems
The child of a famous novelist breaks onto the writing scene with a built-in audience. Those who like the parent's work are going to give the kid a shot. It's a shot the child doesn't want to waste because, once disappointed, that ready-made audience will evaporate.
From breezy to brutal
Wives of famous novelists do not have an easy time of it. Writers of both sexes are known to be problematic spouses, but the male of the species tends to be worse. Literary luminaries like John Updike, Frederick Busch and Dave Barry have admitted as much in print.