The Ledes

Friday, September 19, 2014.

Guardian: "Alex Salmond declared he will stand down as Scotland's first minister and the lead of the Scottish National party after failing to secure a majority for independence, as the country's vote to remain in the United Kingdom foreshadowed months of constitutional turmoil. After 55% of Scottish voters rejected independence, a higher margin than suggested by the final opinion polls of the campaign, Salmond, who has dominated Scottish politics for the past decade, said he would quit in November."

CBS/AP: "France said Friday it had conducted its first airstrike in Iraq, destroying a logistics depot held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The office of President Francois Hollande's office said Rafale fighter jets struck the depot in northeastern Iraq on Friday morning and the target was 'entirely destroyed.'"

Guardian: "David Cameron has declared a 'clear result' in the Scottish independence referendum after Scotland voted by a 10.6-point margin against ending the 307-year-old union with England and Wales. Earlier, Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, struck a defiant note at a downbeat Scottish National party rally in Edinburgh, saying he accepted Scotland had not 'at this stage' decided to vote for independence. He paid tribute to what he called a 'triumph for democratic politics' and said he would work with Westminster in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK – warning the leaders of the three main parties to make good on their promises of enhanced devolution for Scotland." ...

... The Guardian's liveblog on the referendum is here. ...

... The Scotsman's front page has links to numerous related stories. The paper's main story is here.

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Reuters: "Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday."

New York Times: "The people of Scotland decide Thursday whether national pride outweighs economic risk.... Economists normally as ideologically disparate and disputatious as Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Adam S. Posen and Niall Ferguson all have predicted a negative economic outlook for an independent Scotland, while expressing anxiety, too, about the impact of such uncertainty on the larger European and global economies."

... The front page of the Edinburgh Scotsman is here. The Guardian has a Scottish independence page here, with lots o'links. 

      ... Update: The Guardian is now liveblogging the vote & results. The final poll before voting put the yes votes at 47 percent & the no at 53. ...

     ... Update 2: The Guardian has a new liveblog here. Still no final results (as of 7:45 pm ET).

Guardian: "Toronto mayor Rob Ford has a 'rare and difficult' form of cancer called malignant pleomorphic liposarcoma, doctors treating him at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto announced on Wednesday." ...

     ... New York Update: Ford has endorsed his brother Doug for mayor.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
September 19

10:00 am ET: Annoucement of Department of Defense awards on biofuel production

10:15 am ET: President Obama & Vice President Biden host a White House event to launch the "It's on Us" campaign

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

CW: Here's some cheery news. The MacArthur Foundation has named the newest recipients of its "genius" grants. I hope none of them is somebody you personally dislike (thus keeping it cheery). The AP article linked includes a slide show with mini-profiles of each grant recipient.

** CW: The best, most provocative piece of writing in the "news" today is A. O. Scott's piece in the New York Times Magazine on "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." If you don't watch a lot of TV & never see stupid movies, you will struggle with Scott's exemplary references. You may not accept all of his premises, & I think he falls short on defining "adulthood" (though maybe, like pornography, we're supposed to recognize it when we see it.). ...

... Adam Sternbergh responds in New York.

Jeff Weiss, in the New York Times, profiles comedian Bill Maher, who is in the midst of a schtick aimed to defeat the U.S.'s worst Congressperson. You would be a good idea to read Weiss's piece with A. O. Scott's essay in mind. Maher (& even Weiss, who -- in ticking off "bad things" about Maher -- never mentions Maher's offensive attitudes about women) is a fine example of Scott's thesis.

Guardian: "Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, the royal family said on Monday morning. The announcement was made from Clarence House on Twitter.... The Duchess of Cornwall is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with her first pregnancy, and is being treated by doctors at her apartments in Kensington Palace."

Washington Post: "After less than a year at the top of Politico’s masthead, veteran New York Times editor Rick Berke has resigned as the publication’s executive editor.... Friction had been on display in the newsroom almost from the beginning of his tenure. Berke, according to several current and former Politico employees, tried to impose some of the values of the world he came from — where multiple editors might weigh in, demand multiple drafts, and shape bigger, more ambitious stories — on Politico’s fast-moving, reporter-driven newsroom."

 

Jimmy Fallon & Maroon 5 singer & Voice judge Adam Levine stage a "musical impressions-off." This clip, from a show that aired this week (September 2), already has more than 8MM hits:

New York Times: "The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine. The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she 'cracked' and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.... The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch."

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

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Florida

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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."