The Ledes

Thursday, February 11, 2016.

AP: "Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole Wednesday for fatally shooting Robert F. Kennedy after a confidante of the slain senator who was shot in the head forgave him and repeatedly apologized for not doing more to win his release. Paul Schrade's voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony on his efforts to untangle mysteries about the events of June 5, 1968. The 91-year-old former labor leader said he believed Sirhan shot him but that a second unidentified shooter felled Kennedy."

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 11

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New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man. ...

... The Times is publishing previously unpublished photos of black historical figures & events every day this month. You can see those published to date here.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

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Miami Herald: "... with thousands of votes in Democrat-heavy South Florida uncounted, [Republican Rick] Scott couldn't declare an outright win late Tuesday over Democrat Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer. Sink held out hope that she could close the gap and at least trigger a recount as votes slowly broke her way." ...

     ... St. Pete Times Update: Sink concedes. CW: we now have a governor-elect who defrauded the taxpayers of at least $1.7 billion. He should be in jail, not in the statehouse.

NBC News projects Florida 8th District Republican Daniel Webster will win the House Seat held by Alan Grayson. Orlando Sentinel story here.

NBC News projects Republican Marco Rubio will win the Senate seat in Florida. 8:01 pm ET. Miami Herald report here.

Intrigue! Maggie Haberman & Jonathan Allen of Politico: "Bill Clinton’s recent attempts to suggest struggling Democrat Kendrick Meek should opt out of the Florida Senate race ... [were] only the culmination of a long, delicate, and occasionally testy string of stop-and-start talks that began months ago involving the Florida candidates [Meek & Charlie Crist], the former president, and political aides in the Obama White House, who sought Clinton's intervention as long ago as early spring."

Constant Weader News Flash. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (the real guy, not a recording) just called (10:20 am ET) & urged me to vote for Alex Sink for governor & Rod Smith for lieutenant governor. Not a word about Senate candidate Kendrick Meek or any other Democratic candidates. ...

       ... Update: not as big a deal as I thought. Ben Smith of Politico checked it out & told me Nelson was working for the state party, which is prohibited from spending their money specifically mentioning candidates for federal offices...

AP: "Florida's three-way Senate race grew testier Friday as the last-place Democratic candidate [Kendrick Meeks] denied claims that former President Bill Clinton had advised him to drop out, saying the idea came instead from his independent rival, Gov. Charlie Crist."

Wall Street Journal: "Florida independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist personally lobbied Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to exit the race this week, offering him a cross that had been a gift from his sister, Mr. Meek said Friday." The story gets weirder from there.

New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton’s political bank shot appears to have hit its mark with many black Democrats who were lined up at the polls here Friday. They were not voting for the Democratic congressman and neighbor they had long supported — Representative Kendrick B. Meek — but rather for Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running for the Senate as an independent."

** Wall Street Journal: "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would caucus with Senate Democrats if he wins Florida’s three-way U.S. Senate contest on Tuesday, a close advisor told Washington Wire Friday.... Crist spokesman Danny Kanner has denied that Mr. Crist had agreed to caucus with Senate Democrats as part of any deal with Mr. Clinton or Mr. Meek."

CW:  I got a recorded robo-call this afternoon from President Clinton urging me to vote for Alex Sink, the gubernatorial candidate. Not a word about Meek or any of the other Democratic candidates.

Here's part of the letter I just got (October 29, 9:30 am ET) from Kendrick Meek:

Dear Marie,

In the past 12 hours, you've probably heard a lot about Charlie Crist's latest attempt to push me out of this race.

Let me be clear -- I'm in this race until 7 p.m CT/8 p.m ET on Election Night.

President Clinton never asked me to drop out. Since the first day after my primary victory, Crist has been dead set on trying to push me out of this race because he only cares about advancing his own political career.

Instead of simply writing a $10,000 check, I was the first statewide candidate to qualify for the ballot by petition. Over 140,000 Floridians added their names to our cause. For me, this race is about taking a stand for the middle class.

Help me fight back by rushing $35, $50, or more to my campaign....

** New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to convince Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, to drop out of the race – but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening. Matt McKenna, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, said the former president believed that Mr. Meek would not win on Tuesday and was urging him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist...." Here's Ben Smith's scoop for Politico.

     Here's an updated & expanded NYT story. ...

     ... Washington Post: "Charlie Crist personally called a top adviser to Bill Clinton and asked if the former president would discuss with Kendrick Meek the possibility of dropping out of the Florida Senate race, according to a source close to Clinton." ...

     ... CNN: Charlie Crist said he spoke with Rep. Kendrick Meek and 'several people' at the White House about having Meek step out of the race. Crist would not specify to whom he spoke at the White House, but he did say he spoke to Meek about the possible shift and that Meek was 'considering it.'"

          ... Update. BUT Ben Smith of Politico says Crist did not ask the White House for help.

Kendrick Meek issues what Ben Smith aptly calls "a calibrated denial":

New York Times: "Politics is bloodsport in the heavily Cuban [25th] congressional district that includes Miami, and Republican David Rivera is looking pretty banged up." The media & his Democratic opponent Joe Garcia have raised multiple questions about his dodgy financial history & inadequate reporting. "Then there were the accusations from ... Garcia that he ran a mail truck off the road in 2002 to stop an opponent’s political mailing from being delivered." Democrats think they might be able to pick up the seat.

Politico: Alex Sink tells Chris Matthews that the only reason she looked at the message her makeup artist showed her during the debate was that she thought it might be about her daughter who was traveling in Europe. Really? ...

... CNN: "Alex Sink’s campaign violated rules Monday evening at the CNN/St. Petersburg Times Florida gubernatorial debate when her make-up artist delivered a message during a television break. Sink, the Democratic nominee, was shown a two-sentence message on a cell phone that offered her advice during the debate. Republican nominee Rick Scott ... noticed the violation and notified a CNN official, who approached the make-up artist and Sink and confiscated the cell phone." Sink later fired the advisor who sent her the message. CNN identified him as Brian May. With video that shows Sink reading May's message.

David Catanese of Politico reports on the Meek, Crist, Rubio debate of October 24. A more extensive Miami Herald report here. Here's a clip:

Miami Herald, October 20: "Alex Sink and Rick Scott ... spent most of Wednesday's hourlong, televised debate bashing their rivals platforms, experience and character in an effort to break the the logjam that remains with less than two." With video clips. You can watch the full debate on C-SPAN.

St. Pete Times/Miami Herald staff writers on the fourth debate among Senate candidates Meeks, Crist & Rubio.

Here's a screenshot of the text of a huge graphic that appeared on the front page of the St. Petersburg Times, October 19:

     ... Here's the related story by Marc Caputo that excerpts portions of Scott's infamous deposition re: his stewardship of Columbia/HCA, a company that had to pay $1.7 billion in fines for defrauding Medicare. AND this is Caputo's overview of the deposition testimony: "In a series of sworn depositions he gave in lawsuits against his former hospital company, Scott appears to be the polar opposite of the straight-talking Republican candidate for governor in his television ads."

Markos Moulitsas: the reason Kendrick Meek is staying in the Senate race is to help get out the vote for gubenatorial candidate Alex Sink.

New York Times: Schwarzenegger endorses Crist, via Twitter:

I endorse Gov @charliecristfl for Senate. Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now.

"Fraud Files." Meet Rick Scott:

McClatchy News: "Rick Scott blames President Barack Obama for the nation's economic woes, but Florida's Republican nominee for governor is doing far better now than he did under the last year of George W. Bush's presidency."

"Double-Crist?" Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, October 8: "Republican leaders in [Florida] ... are fretting that a deal may be in the works to get Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek out of the Florida Senate race in order to boost Charlie Crist's flagging chances of beating Republican Marco Rubio. Across the state, groups such as Palm Beach Democrats for Crist and Tampa Democrats for Crist are emerging. Republican fears are further stoked by the almost universal acknowledgment that Mr. Meek has almost no chance to win." CW: if Crist would pledge to caucus with Democrats, this might be okay-ish.

Miami Herald: "Marco Rubio got the frontrunner treatment in a combative U.S. Senate debate Wednesday night, with both his rivals attacking him as an extremist out of step with Florida."

Here's one effective ad against Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott:

"Taliban Dan." Rep. Alan Grayson is running an ad against the extremist views of his Republican opponent. As Ryan Grim reports, a local news report backed up Grayson's assertions:

Miami Herald, September 17: "a stinging internal investigation into the scandal-rocked Florida GOP under the chairmanship of the now-indicted [party chairman Jim] Greer ... focuses on [Charlie] Crist and Greer -- enemies of the current party leadership -- it portrays the party of fiscal responsibility as having lacked basic financial controls and accountability.... It also absolves free-spending Republican politicians who only reimbursed the party for personal expenses after the media started asking questions." ...

     ... St. Pete Times Update: "Charlie Crist held a hastily called press conference Saturday afternoon at his St. Petersburg campaign headquarters to denounce the Florida GOP's internal investigative report that suggested party donors spent more than $13,400 on a Disney vacation for Crist, his wife, her two daughters and former GOP chairman Jim Greer and his family. He released a Disney bill to Carole Crist showing she paid for $4,712.82 in expenses.... Crist called the party audit report 'literally a sham.'"

So Charlie Crist cut this ad:

... XNCreative produced a revision to make the ad more accurate:

CW: want to know what a rich asshole does when his big investment in his own hubris doesn't pay off? He blames somebody else & sues 'em. New York Times, August 31: "Jeff Greene, a Florida real estate developer who lost one of the year’s most bitter and closely watched primary elections, is preparing to sue The St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald for libel, claiming that articles they published cost him his bid for the United States Senate.... Even with an admission of error, a libel case can be hard to prove. [Legal expert] Sandra S. Baron ... said, 'Jeff Greene is going to have to prove that the articles were published with actual malice.'"

Palm Beach Post: "Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene lost his precinct 2-to-1 to Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Senate primary. That’s not a ratio of 2-to-1. It was literally 2 votes for Meek and one for Greene, presumably his own. Greene’s wife isn’t registered in Palm Beach County." Via Ben Smith.

Time's Mark Halperin talks to Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times about the upcoming general election races in Florida:

Naftali Bendavid of the Wall Street Journal: "independent" candidate Charlie Crist won't say with which party he would caucus should he win the Senate race. The last sentence of Bendavid's post is the kicker. Crist ain't gonna say.

CW: CNN publishes Bill McCollum's concession statement, if that's what it is. Ever gracious, McCollum leads off by slamming Rick Scott one last time in this nastiest-of-primary battles:

No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multi-millionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.

St. Petersburg Times: "Rick Scott launched a one-man political revolution Tuesday night, defeating Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary for governor. Scott overcame the might of the Republican establishment, the special interests who dominate the Capitol and a longtime politician determined to tar his character.... Scott will face Democrat Alex Sink and independent Lawton 'Bud' Chiles in November. Sink easily defeated little-known challenger Brian Moore in the Democratic primary."

Miami Herald, August 24: "Rep. Kendrick Meek is the Democratic nominee for Senate, overcoming billionaire Jeff Greene's massive television and mail onslaught to win a bitter primary.... Meek will now face Republican Marco Rubio and independent Gov. Charlie Crist in the general election. The New York Times has a more extended story on Meek's win.

Jonathan Martin of Politico: "... the Republican gubernatorial and Democratic Senate primaries Tuesday offer test cases on the limits of TV commercials and, more broadly, what exactly money can buy in a campaign. Rick Scott ... and Jeff Greene ... have together plowed more than $60 million from their personal fortunes into ads.... Yet ... their baggage-laden backgrounds, lack of identity in the state, rookie mistakes on the stump, establishment opposition and Florida’s ferocious press corps have together proved as important as what the pros call 'paid media' — and rendered them likely losers to opponents with traditional political backgrounds who spent far less money."

Orlando Sentinel: "in Florida, the electorate seems to view most everyone in the political arena with a healthy dose of disdain."

Miami Herald: "Candidates in the homestretch of tumultuous races for governor and U.S. Senate fanned out Saturday across Florida, with once-vulnerable political insiders surging in the polls and mega-rich outsiders struggling to regain momentum before Tuesday's election.

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times:  "facing intense competition for the moderate Republicans and independents who could be the keys to victory in one of the nation’s most closely divided states, [Republican Senatorial candidate Marco] Rubio is seeking to show that he is more than just an insurgent protest candidate – and is breaking with some Tea Party orthodoxy in the process."

Orlando Sentinel: Rick "Scott has taken flak for two weeks from Bill McCollum supporters for not releasing a deposition he gave six days before getting in the governor’s race, in a lawsuit against a current health-care company he founded called Solantic. But Scott did apparently get put under oath before about his past company’s behaviour." In a 2000 deposition, he asserted his Fifth Amendment right to testify against himself.

Maggie Haberman of Politico: the St. Pete Times & the Miami Herald publish front-page corrections on a story about Jeff Greene in response to further reporting & threatening letters from Greene's attorney.

St. Pete Times: "In his campaign to be Florida's next senator, [Jeff] Greene stresses his business expertise and ability to create jobs. But in [a] Tennessee court case, Greene's company is being held accountable for late rent, unpaid taxes and poor maintenance. About 50 people are out of work as a result."

Gail Collins introduces you to Florida Senate Democratic candidate Jeff Greene. And his 145-foot yacht.

"Freakin' Weirdos!" Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times has a fun post about fun Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene; it's full of Tales of the Trader like this one: "Aug 14, 06 Sag Harbour NY: 'Last night's party was interesting to say the least! ... Naked, drunken people everywhere! Freakin' weirdo's, bumping & grinding all over the place.'"

La Mirage. Kris Hundley & Caryn Baird of the Saint Petersburg Times (August 8) detail one of Jeff Greene's shady real estate deals. "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene says he had nothing to do with creating the subprime mortgage mess that made him fabulously wealthy.... But he wasn't just a spectator to the housing collapse. Four years ago, Greene was party to precisely the kind of deal that decimated the market." ...

... Maggie Haberman of Politico: "Billionaire self-funding Senate hopeful Jeff Greene ... is vowing to sue the St. Petersburg Times if they don't print a retraction this Sunday."

... The Saint Pete Times editorial that Haberman cites:

Jeff Greene, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, says he made hundreds of millions by betting the housing market would decline and denies he helped create the economic implosion. The facts paint a different picture. The billionaire participated in a California real estate deal featuring the conversion of old apartments to condos, inflated sales prices to straw buyers and defaults that cost banks and taxpayers millions. The FBI is investigating, and it should talk to Greene. 

This is one effective ad for Kendrick Meek:

The State Column, August 12: "Florida Governor Charlie Crist said on Wednesday that he does not support the Arizona immigration law."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum slings mud at his opponent Rick Scott:

...Then complains about Scott's mudslinging, & adds a few more cowpies to the pile:

As Tampa Times commenter "Moderate Republican" remarks, "Sad thing is, they're both telling the truth about each other."

Gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott & Charles Montgomery Burns. Jim Stratton of the Tampa Tribune realizes he's seen the Rick Scott campaign for governor before -- on "The Simpsons," in the antics of Charles Montgomery Burns (no relation to the Constant Weader, a/k/a Marie Burns) who also ran for governor: "They’re both crazy wealthy. They’re both conservative. They’re both political outsiders. They both have — or had — businesses that ran afoul of the law. And, let’s be honest, they kind of look alike."

St. Petersburg Times, August 2: "... Bill McCollum desperately needed a game-changing moment in Monday's debate with his rival for governor, Rick Scott. It never came, though McCollum delivered a steadier performance in the first of only two matchups between the leading Republican candidates."

Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times of Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene: "Behind the bio soundbites and chipper TV ads lies a man widely disparaged by current and former employees, former tenants and political consultants as a self-absorbed cheapskate. A lawsuit accuses him of being cruel and verbally abusive to his former chef. A deckhand shocked on Greene's Summerwind yacht had to fight eight months to get his medical bills paid after Greene denied knowing him."

Michael Scherer of Time thinks Florida has "perhaps the best Senate race in America."

Keepin' It Classy in Florida. Pensacola News-Journal: Republican state house candidate Greg Brown & his wife Jennifer are caught on an infra-red camera stealing the campaign signs of his opponent. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department is investigating. Thanks to Politico's Jonathan Martin:

Democratic Senatorial candidate Kendrick Meek goes on-air swinging at his primary opponent Jeff Greene:

... AND Greene swings back:

St. Petersburg Times: "... Gov. Charlie Crist has one place left to raise big money in his race for the U.S. Senate: Democrats. A governor who once courted conservatives by calling himself a 'Jeb Bush Republican' is getting help from liberal trial lawyers, union activists and even elected Democrats, who are shunning their party's Senate hopefuls, wealthy Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami."

Politico: "Black lawmakers are prodding the White House to get more involved in Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek's campaign amid growing concern that less-than-robust backing from President Barack Obama will signal to Democrats that it’s all right to help independent Charlie Crist."

Damien Cave & Michael Luo of the New York Times on self-financed "populist" candidates for high office -- both funny & disturbiing. The article makes Democratic Senatorial candidate Jeff Greene an exemplar & does a good job of demonstrating what a total phony he is.

Rachel Maddow is awfully pleased that Marco Rubio is promoting her show. And she does a little rewrite of his ad:

Miami Herald, July 18: Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek sends out a mailer dissing his primary opponent Jeff Greene, which reads, in part:

A former California Republican, billionaire Jeff Greene made his money on Wall Street rooting against middle-class homeowners hoping their mortgages would collapse.... It's hard to be the worst of Wall Street, but Jeff Greene found a way.

St. Pete Times: "Jeff Greene is spending millions on TV and campaign mailers casting himself the 'proven job creator...,[but he] is best known for having made hundreds of millions of dollars with arcane and controversial investments where he effectively bet on widespread mortgage foreclosures — not exactly a big job generator. He also has delayed filing a required financial disclosure report, so it's impossible to know his current business interests."

Miami Herald, July 14: Jeff Greene's campaign manager, Josh Morrow, has quit the campaign after two months. Greene will replace her with Jessica Vanden Berg.

St. Petersburg Times Editorial Board: "Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott's latest effort to burnish his credentials as a 'pro-life leader'' are deceitful and lack any sense of decency. The hospital executive is shamelessly exploiting the tragedy of a family of a severely disabled young woman, marking the second time he has placed his selfish interests over theirs." CW: read the whole editorial.

The crazy bald-headed Rick Scott runs a hair-raising ad:

Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald, July 7: "Even by the standards of wacky Florida politics, there was something surreal in the sight of [Democratic senatorial candidate Jeff] Greene, a Palm Beach billionaire, driving through Liberty City in a Cadillac Escalade -- the same kind of car he has criticized [rival Kendrick] Meek's mother for accepting from [crooked developer Dennis] Stackhouse. His brazen attack on Meek's home turf reflected the audacity -- critics would say arrogance -- of a real estate mogul bankrolling his own campaign and making his first trip to Liberty City. Greene has lived in Florida full-time only since 2008."

Think Progress: Florida Republican Senate candidate & brilliant economist Marco Rubio advocates cutting the deficit & reinstating Bush tax cuts for the rich. That'll work.

John Frank of the St. Pete Times: "A clearly frustrated and angry [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Rick Scott lashed out at a Republican activist who called him an 'unindicted co-conspirator' and asked him to explain the $1.7 billion health care fraud at his former hospital chain during a Q&A session at a GOP breakfast in Tampa."

Tim Padgett of Time: (horrible) outsiders Rick Scott & Jeff Greene are poised to win two of Florida's primaries.

Jonathan Martin of Politico: "The emergence of a politically unknown billionaire self-funder in the Florida Senate race is prompting top Democrats in the state to say publicly what some have been whispering for weeks: If Jeff Greene, who got rich betting on the collapse of the housing market, becomes their nominee, many in the party will have the cover they need to get behind Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist."

Real Clear Politics: "Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek has some magic on his campaign's side in the form of Earvin Magic Johnson. The former Lakers great will be on ABC's telecast of the NBA Finals tonight, but today he's also featured in a fundraising solicitation from Meek."

Yahoo News: Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida says he had no idea Jim Greer, his hand-pick state Repubican party chairman, was an (alleged) crook. even tho a Greer attorney said Crist "signed off on a questionable fund-raising scheme that landed Greer in jail...." Per the Miami Herald: "Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party -- according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he 'didn't know anything' about the deal now part of a criminal investigation."

Jim Greer, mugshot courtesy of the Seminole County (Florida) jail.St. Pete Times: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer "on unknown charges." The FDLE has been investigating his possible misuse of party funds. CW: too bad one of the charges won't be for accusing President Obama of "indoctrinating" schoolchildren, at taxpayer expense, with "socialist ideology.' ...

... Orlando Sun-Sentinel Update: "A statewide grand jury indicted Greer, 47, of Oviedo, on four counts of grand theft and one count each of money laundering and running an organized scheme to defraud. All are felonies." ...

... In a statement, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek slams opponents Charlie Crist for "handpicking" Greer as state party chair & Mario Rubio for "benefiting from Greer's excess."

Every Senate Candidate in Florida Is a Crook. Miami Herald: "As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project's developer.... The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million... from the... failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.... In addition..., Stackhouse hired Meek's mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, paying her $90,000 in consulting fees and paying for a Cadillac Escalade for her."

Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times interviews Gov. Charlie Crist.

Sorry, Charlie Says. St. Pete Times: Charlie Crist will not be returning contributions made to his Senate campaign before he turned independent. A spokesperson said, "They donated to the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign, and it's still the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign."

Alex Pareene of Salon: Marco Rubio returns to his tea party roots, endorses Arizona anti-immigration law. Rubio's parents are Hispanic immigrants.

St. Pete Times: Sen. George LeMieux, who got that "Senator" in front of his name because Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him, turns on Crist. CW: at least he's "saddened" about being such a little shit. Me too.

Democrat Kendrick Meek makes a strong, effective response to his new rival for the Senate seat, Jeff Greene, who is one huge jerk.

Horror of Horrors. Politico: "Billionaire Jeff Greene, a Florida businessman who made his fortune in the real estate and credit default swap markets, plans to jump into his state's Senate race on the Democratic side. CW: at least he'll make Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek look really good.

St. Petersburg Times: "Declaring the political system 'broken,' Gov. Charlie Crist made his long-awaited announcement Thursday that he will run for the U.S. Senate as an independent." ...

... AP: "Crist's move does pose some tougher long-term questions for today's GOP."