Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.13.23

Good Wednesday morning.

A new report from the Florida Chamber Foundation shows the state is losing nearly $5.4 billion annually from challenges associated with accessing child care.

The report, part of a national “Untapped Potential in FL” research effort with the National Chamber Foundation, shows child care issues account for $911 million in annual tax revenue losses and $3.47 billion in annual losses related to employee turnover and absenteeism.

Accessing child care in Florida is costly to the state.

“Increases in costs of housing, food, and daily necessities have changed the landscape of the U.S. economy and, by nature, America’s workforce,” said Florida Chamber Foundation Senior Vice President of Equality of Opportunity Kyle Baltuch. “However, for working parents of young children, there is one issue that exceeds all others in impacting their decision or ability, to work and contribute to Florida’s economy. That issue is access to high-quality early learning and child care.”

The report found that child care gaps drive parents out of the workforce, reduce tax revenue and put undue strain on households and businesses.

Other findings from the report include:

— 48% of parents attending school or work training needed to make a significant adjustment to their schedule due to child care issues in the past year

— 64% of parents of young children missed work or class at least once in the past three months for childcare-related reasons

— 15% of parents left a job in the past six months due to child care issues

The Florida Chamber Foundation is a business-led solutions development and research organization that works with state business leaders to make Florida competitive and secure the state’s future. Its six pillars include talent supply and education; innovation and economic development; infrastructure and growth leadership; business climate and competitiveness; civic and governance systems; and quality of life and quality places.

The foundation also runs the Florida Equality of Opportunity, an effort to tackle barriers in Florida.

In recent years, the rise in technological advancements has only created more opportunities for companies to bamboozle unsuspecting customers.

One of the newest scams involves phony trading courses or platforms — and they share a common thread: The same shady payment processor.

Florida law requires licenses for any businesses that expose customers to potential hazards or financial risks or that involve occupations where there is a need for extensive training. That includes stockbrokers, insurance agents, accountants, medical professionals, building contractors, real estate brokers … and payment processors.

Deel, Inc., already under investigation for failing to pay wages and benefits required by law, operates as a payment processor. But it doesn’t have a license to operate as one.

Deel is under the microscope for its role as a shady payment processor.

Notably, Deel is the go-to payment processor for one of the latest fads in fraud: proprietary trading scams. The grift involves convincing aspiring traders to pay for courses with the promise that, if they perform well, they may eventually be given seed money to get started on their new careers.

What’s even more questionable, such companies often pay students to recruit more students — a classic multilevel marketing scheme.

Regulators have caught on. One Deel customer, My Forex Funds, recently had its accounts frozen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for offering “professional trader” courses with promises that the company will “only make money when you do.” The perpetrators made millions; customers saw no such windfall.

Deel may not have been directly involved with the scam, but by not following regulations in place to protect consumers, they may be complicit.

Deel relieves itself of EOR responsibilities in contracts with customers. Florida Politics previously reported on Deel’s PEO claims and the risk they present to individuals and businesses that transact with the company.


Florida GOP 2023 Statesman’s Dinner — 1; Florida House Fall 2023 Interim Committee Meetings begin — 5; ESPN+ and Disney+ present ‘Toy Story’ based telecast of game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons — 18; Loki Season Two premieres — 23; Republican Party of Sarasota County honors First Lady Casey DeSantis with the 2023 Stateswoman of the Year Award — 36; Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ premieres — 37; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 40; Britney Spears memoir ‘The Woman in Me’ drops — 41; NBA 2023-24 season tipoff — 41; Taylor Swift’s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ released — 44; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 51; Suncoast Tiger Bay Club hosts ‘Evening with the Tigers’ — 54; 2023 Florida Chamber Mental Health Innovation Summit — 57; ’Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 58; Formula 1 will take over the Las Vegas Strip — 65; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 71; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 77; 2023 Florida Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 79; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 91; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 100; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: (Donald) Trump vs. (Ron) DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 118; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In — 118; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 118; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 123; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 124; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 140; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 151; Georgia Democratic Primary — 151; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 163; Michigan Democratic Primary — 169; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 173; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 179; 2024 Oscars — 181; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 230; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 240; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 250; the Republican National Convention begins — 306; New ‘Alien’ premieres — 308; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 317; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 317; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 347; Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 401; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 404; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 464; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 520; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 597; ‘Moana’ premieres — 654; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 828; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 961; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 983; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,196; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,335; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,291; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,654.


Kevin McCarthy directs the House to open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden” via Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri of The Associated Press — House Speaker McCarthy is directing the U.S. House to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden over his family’s business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 Election.

McCarthy said that House investigations so far “paint a picture of a culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of the President’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic President took office.

Kevin McCarty is pulling the trigger on an impeachment inquiry.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy said at the Capitol, announcing that he was directing the House led by the Oversight Committee “to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”

The White House shot back, calling the action amid the presidential campaign “extreme politics at its worst.”

“House Republicans have been investigating the President for nine months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing,” said representative Ian Sams.

An inquiry is a step toward impeachment, and McCarthy essentially outlined the potential charges as he prepared to brief lawmakers behind closed doors this week. Oversight Committee Chair James Comer will lead the Committee, in coordination with Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan and Ways & Means Chair Jason Smith.

—”Florida pols react to House opening impeachment inquiry on Biden” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics


2024 Election ad spending expected to top $10 billion, smashing Biden-Donald Trump 2020 record” via Kevin Breuninger and Brian Schwartz of CNBC — The 2024 Election cycle is expected to be the most expensive of all time for political ad spending, totaling $10.2 billion across all media. That figure would exceed by more than $1 billion the current record, which was set during the 2020 Election cycle when Trump lost his re-election bid to Biden. The previous presidential election cycle, in 2016, totaled $2.6 billion in political ad spending.

Ron DeSantis: Biden and Trump ages ‘absolutely a legitimate concern’” via Erin Doherty of Axios — DeSantis said during an interview with CBS Evening News that the ages Trump and Biden are “absolutely a legitimate concern” for voters. Biden’s age, 80, has emerged as a central concern for voters in the 2024 race. DeSantis, 44, has sought to present himself as the younger alternative to Trump, who is 77. “The presidency’s not a job for someone that’s 80 years old,” DeSantis said during the interview. “If Biden’s the Democratic nominee, I’m the Republican nominee, I think there’s gonna be a lot of Americans that are gonna wanna see a generational passing of the torch,” he said. Seventy-seven percent of adults think Biden is too old to effectively serve for four more years, according to an AP-NORC poll last month.

Ron DeSantis brings up the age concerns.

—“DeSantis would authorize preemptive strike against North Korea given ‘evidentiary threshold’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—”DeSantis says killing border crossers a ‘few times’ will deter future occurrences” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

DeSantis at 14% in Iowa, 35 points behind Trump” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A new poll from Iowa suggests DeSantis is closer to the pack at the back of the race than he is to Trump. The poll shows DeSantis with 14% support, 35 points behind Trump. Meanwhile, DeSantis has a 6-point lead over U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, and a 7-point lead over Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. Trump and DeSantis have lost their edge over the three candidates behind them during that period.

Trump, DeSantis both trail Biden in Morning Consult polls” via Tara Suter of The Hill — A Morning Consult poll released Tuesday found both Trump and DeSantis trailing Biden in head-to-head matchups. The poll found Trump trailing the current President by 2% in a head-to-head hypothetical matchup among registered voters. DeSantis falls behind Biden further, by 5%. Trump is the runaway leader at this early stage of the GOP Presidential Primary, while DeSantis is his closest competitor.

Trump and DeSantis campaigns are quietly lobbying the GOP on its loyalty pledge” via Matt Dixon of NBC News — A quiet lobbying fight between backers of Trump and DeSantis is breaking out over a push from Trump’s supporters to get the Florida GOP to scrap a loyalty oath requirement supported by the Governor. If Trump allies are successful in getting the state Republican Party to vote against DeSantis’ political wishes, some of his supporters are concerned it will send a signal that even Florida Republicans who have been steadfastly loyal to their Governor are abandoning his presidential campaign, which continues to trail Trump by significant margins in the polls. “Right or wrong, it would be viewed as a f— you to DeSantis,” said one prominent Florida Republican.

DeSantis demands end to ‘D.C. elites’ working against Americans: ‘I will give them no choice’” via Owen Girard of Florida’s Voice — “The federal government and D.C. elites work against the American people: a weaponized Department of Justice targeting innocent Americans, skyrocketing inflation that is hurting our families, a devalued dollar, and an open border that facilitates crime and drug fatalities,” DeSantis said. The Governor said both parties are to blame. “The days of rubber-stamping multi-trillion-dollar spending bills that harm the American people must end,” he said. “Congress needs to end this madness now.” DeSantis vowed that under his presidency, he would “give them no choice.” “How many establishment Republicans would have sent illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard,” he previously said during an interview with Newsmax. “How many establishment Republicans would have stood up against Disney?”

DeSantis’ allies mock Trump after he was booed at Iowa-Iowa State football game” via David Jackson of USA Today — Never Back Down, the pro-DeSantis political action committee released a video Tuesday mocking Trump for the scattered boos and middle finger hand gestures that he took at Saturday’s Iowa-Iowa State college football game. “Iowa is done with Trump,” the video said. “Trump’s message to Iowa?” the caption said. “A middle finger.” Trump allies said the crowd at Iowa State’s stadium in Ames overwhelmingly cheered the 2024 front-runner. Some added that DeSantis also got hooted on as he mingled with the fans. “Ron DeSantis goes to a college-football game in a sweater vest and all he got was a middle finger,” said Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington on X.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:

DeSantis slams Kamala Harris as ‘impeachment insurance’ for Biden” via Sarah Fortinsky of The Hill — DeSantis attacked Vice President Harris on Monday and accused her of being Biden’s “impeachment insurance.” DeSantis attacked Harris’s aptitude for the job of President and suggested she was the reason the House has not yet launched an impeachment inquiry. “I also look and think about who’s waiting in the wings, with Kamala, and I think you’re right,” DeSantis, who’s running for President in 2024, said.

The DeSantis Hillary complex” via Peter Hamby of Puck — Trump’s support in Iowa is softer than it is nationally. But it’s still a blowout, with Trump leading DeSantis 42-19, according to the most recent NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll. There are multiple non-Trump candidates acting in their own self-interest, diminishing any possibility that any single one of them can get to 50%, 40% — or hell, even 30%! Trump is just less vulnerable than Clinton was back then; he has a deep well of grassroots support, and given his fiery bond with the Republican base, he’s made it next to impossible for any candidate to outflank him. DeSantis is trying by running as Trump Lite. But Obama never ran as Hillary anything. He was just different all the way down.

— MORE 2024 —

Where the Republican candidates stand on impeaching Biden” via The New York Times — Trump has been the most extreme among the GOP field in his position regarding the man who ousted him from office, calling not just for an inquiry to determine whether Biden committed impeachable offenses, but for impeachment outright. DeSantis of Florida said at the beginning of August that he supported an impeachment inquiry. Scott of South Carolina endorsed an impeachment inquiry in August. Asked on Fox News whether he believed there was enough evidence for “an official probe.”

Republican hopefuls ramp up war talk over Mexican border” via Isaac Arnsdorf and Mary Beth Sheridan of The Washington Post — Trump proposed a naval blockade of Mexico. DeSantis pledged to send drones and Special Forces over the southern border starting “on Day One.” And investor Ramaswamy imagined launching a “shock-and-awe” military campaign against drug cartels. Republican candidates are engaged in a rhetorical arms race, vying to one-up each other with tough talk on the U.S. border with Mexico, taking the 2016 rallying cry of Trump to “build the wall” to the next level.

GOP candidates heat up the war of words about immigration.

Chris Christie on Biden impeachment: ‘I don’t see evidence yet’ to support it” via Mariana Labbate of The Messenger — Christie called the most recent impeachment inquiry of Biden a way of “cheapening” the action, saying he has not yet seen evidence to support the move. Christie said that while Hunter Biden and the Biden family’s business dealings are an issue that should be investigated, an impeachment inquiry is not yet the solution. “I think we’re cheapening impeachment by doing that kind of thing,” Christie said. “I criticized Democrats for doing that over the Ukraine issue a number of years ago, on impeachment, and I don’t want my party to fall victim to the same thing.”

Vivek Ramaswamy wants to trigger mass layoffs at federal agencies — and he thinks Supreme Court will back him up” via Allan Smith of NBC News — Ramaswamy believes he has the perfect approach to undermining the administrative state and the power wielded by career civil servants, trigger mass layoffs at federal agencies and defend his effort before the Supreme Court. The businessman-turned-candidate detailed his plans at length, which include shutting down a series of federal agencies and using “reduction in force” regulations to trim the number of government workers.

Ramaswamy says Trump was ‘duped by the adviser class’ ahead of policy speech on gutting FBI, other agencies” via Joseph A. Wulfsohn of Fox News — Ramaswamy took a swipe against Trump for being “duped by the adviser class” ahead of his first major domestic policy speech laying out his plan to dismantle what he calls “the administrative state.” Ramaswamy, who has often praised Trump on the campaign trail as being the greatest President America has had in the 21st century, told Fox News Digital that even “good Presidents” like him and Ronald Reagan were wrongly discouraged by their own staff to not use their authority in the executive branch combat the size and power of the federal government. “Good Presidents from Trump to Reagan have been duped by the adviser class around them, saying that they can’t do it. Well, it turns out they can. And as the next President, I will,” Ramaswamy said.

Presidential campaign ads to slump in Florida, with state seen as ‘no contest’” via John Kennedy of the USA Today Network-Florida — Florida is expected to see political ad spending plummet in the 2024 race for the White House, according to a report released by the tracking company AdImpact. The firm projected Tuesday that after leading the nation in media spending in the 2020 race between Trump and Biden, Florida will likely tumble to eighth place next year, behind battleground states Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin. The reason: Florida has shed its toss-up reputation in recent years, turning decidedly Republican red. That takes away the motivation for either party to spend heavily here, AdImpact concludes.


Trump privately discussed Biden impeachment with House GOPers” via Meridith McGraw and Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — Trump has been weighing in behind the scenes in support of the House GOP push to impeach Biden, including talking with a member of leadership in the lead-up to Tuesday’s announcement authorizing a formal impeachment inquiry. Trump has been speaking weekly with House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who was the first member of Republican leadership to come out in support of impeachment. The two spoke Tuesday after McCarthy announced Republicans would be pursuing the inquiry.

Donald Trump interjects his two cents about the Joe Biden impeachment push.

Getting indicted does seem to have helped Trump — at least once” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — There hasn’t been much change in national polling for the nomination. There’s Trump, floating along over 50%, and everyone else far beneath, looking up. The only change since Spring, really, is that DeSantis’ view of Trump keeps getting worse and worse as his numbers near the single digits. This introduces an interesting question, though. Conventional wisdom holds that Trump’s indictments have been a boon to his candidacy. But he’s been indicted four times this year and his poll numbers haven’t moved much. The first indictment was a boon to Trump even if the others — the initial one in Florida, the superseding one there, the one in D.C., and the one in Georgia — didn’t.

Vladimir Putin, citing Trump ‘persecution,’ wades back into U.S. politics” via Paul Sonne and Michael C. Bender of The New York Times — The setting was an economic conference in far eastern Russia, with discussion of the ruble and domestic investment, but that didn’t stop Putin from wading into American politics on Tuesday, branding the criminal cases against Trump political persecution and praising the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. For years, the Russian leader has demonstrated an ability to exploit political divisions within Western nations, often by signaling to conservatives abroad that he is aligned with them in a global fight against liberal values.

Vladimir Putin dives back into American politics. Image via AP.

How Trump’s DOJ gave Biden a major assist in the coming impeachment probe” via Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein of POLITICO — Biden has a literal Trump card to play against the House’s new impeachment inquiry. In January 2020, the Trump-led Justice Department formally declared that impeachment inquiries by the House are invalid unless the chamber takes formal votes to authorize them. That opinion, issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, came in response to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump without initially holding a vote for it. Not only is it still on the books, but it is also binding on the current administration as it responds to Tuesday’s announcement by McCarthy to authorize an impeachment inquiry into Biden, again without a vote.

Minnesota lawsuit seeks to keep Trump off 2024 ballot” via Mark Zdechlik and Dana Ferguson of MPR News — Some prominent Minnesotans filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking the state Supreme Court to keep Trump’s name off the 2024 Minnesota Presidential Primary and General Election ballot. The lawsuit was filed by a group called Free Speech For People, on behalf of several Minnesota voters including former DFL Secretary of State Joan Growe and former state Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson. It contends that Trump is barred by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment from holding another federal elected office because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Trump cannot be disqualified” via Steven G. Calabresi of The Wall Street Journal — Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s op-ed “Was Trump ‘an Officer of the United States’?” (Sept. 8) has caused me to change my mind about an argument that I have had with professor Seth Barrett Tillman for 25 years. Mukasey is right: Looked at in the context of the Disqualification Clause of the 14th Amendment, the President is neither an “officer of the United States,” nor, obviously, a “member of Congress.” That must be why the Constitution prescribes a separate oath for the President.

Trump is up to his old tricks in asking Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse” via Dennis Aftergut of The Hill — Trump on Monday filed a deeply flawed motion to disqualify D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Chutkan. She is the jurist randomly assigned to preside over his March 4 trial for criminally conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. Recusal is a move Trump has tried before and lost. It’s one he will lose again. Judge Chutkan is a seasoned, evenhanded trial judge, confirmed by a 95-0 Senate vote in 2014. Because, in Trump’s skewed worldview, she is not going to be for either side, she’s not for him so she’s against him.

Trump moves to quash most charges against him in Georgia” via Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim of The New York Times — Trump asked a judge on Monday to throw out most of the 13 charges against him in the wide-ranging election interference indictment handed up by a grand jury last month in Georgia. A flurry of one-page motions from Trump’s Georgia lawyer, Steven H. Sadow, piggyback off more expansive recent motions by some of the other 18 defendants in the case, including one filed on behalf of the lawyer Ray Smith III. That motion gives a detailed critique of the 98-page indictment, arguing that its “defects” are “voluminous,” and that it is legally unsound.

Trump’s criminal defense strategy: Delay, disrupt, throw s — t against the wall and hope something sticks” via Bess Levin of Vanity Fair — As you’ve probably heard by now, Trump is in most serious legal peril of his entire life, having been indicted a whopping four times in less than five months, which could put him in prison for many, many years. But it’s important to remember that long before he was slapped with 91 felony counts, Trump was involved in literally thousands of lawsuits and because of this, he developed a go-to legal strategy centered on one singular move: stall, stall, and stall some more. Did it matter if he had a legal leg to stand on? No! All that was important was that he delayed any proceedings against him in an effort to ultimately avoid any repercussions at all. And since this tactic worked out for the guy in at least several instances, the ex-President has naturally decided to apply it to his criminal cases.

Elon Musk loathes Trump, new book reveals: ‘Champion of bullshit’” via Aidan McLaughlin of Mediaite — Musk has “deep disdain” for Trump, who he believes is a “con man” and “the world’s champion of bullshit,” according to a sprawling new biography from Walter Isaacson. The hotly anticipated book from the famed biographer of Steve Jobs examines the life and career of Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur whose ventures include Tesla, SpaceX, and now X, formerly known as Twitter. Isaacson, who spent two years interviewing and shadowing Musk, delved into his complex views on U.S. politics, which his biographer describes as hatred for Trump but also increasing hostility toward the left.

Elon Musk is no fan of Trump, a new bio says. Image via AP.

Trump challenges Rupert Murdoch to a mental acuity test” via Brett Bachman of the Daily Beast — Trump threw down the gauntlet in a Sunday evening Truth Social rant, challenging a host of his perceived enemies — including Murdoch and the “heads” of his Wall Street Journal newspaper — to the same mental acuity test that he supposedly “aced” a few years back. Trump was apparently angry about a WSJ poll that asked voters about his age and mental fortitude. “Where did that come from?” He asked. “A few years ago, I was the only one to agree to a mental acuity test, & ACED IT. Now that the Globalists at Fox & the WSJ have failed to push their 3rd-tier candidate to success, they do this. Well, I hereby challenge Rupert Murdoch & Sons, Biden, WSJ heads, to acuity tests!”

Company releases limited edition Conservative Dad’s Revenge beer with Donald Trump’s mug shot on the can” via John Lynch of WTRF — Conservative Dad’s Ultra Right, a beer company, has released a limited edition beer called “Conservative Dad’s Revenge” that has Trump’s mug shot on the can. The company said this is only available until they sell out. Conservative Dad’s Ultra Right says its beer is 100% made in America. 10% of the Revenge sales will be donated to the Georgia GOP Defense Fund and the David Shafer Legal Defense Fund to defend Georgia’s Trump electors against unjust political prosecution, the beer company says.

Trump calls Biden “pathetic” for needing Hunter Biden’s help to get impeached” via Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker — As House Republicans took steps to open an impeachment inquiry targeting Trump called Joe Biden “pathetic” for needing his son Hunter Biden’s help to get impeached. “What kind of a man relies on his son to get impeached?” Trump said. “Joe Biden is a disgrace.” Having one’s children help secure an impeachment “should never be allowed to happen in our country,” he said. “Imagine if I had depended on Don, Jr., to get me impeached,” he said.


Save the date:

Political novice challenging Marie Woodson in her bid for a third term” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Rep. Woodson says she’s all in for a third term representing southern Broward County’s House District 105, dismissing reports that she might run for Senate. But she’ll have to get by political novice, Joshua Hlavka, who is making his first bid for elected office, running as a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida for the seat. Woodson said she wants to keep building on the success she’s had as a Representative. And there’s already a Primary contest for the Senate seat she would be competing for — to succeed term-limited Democratic Senate Leader Lauren Book.

Political novice Joshua Hlavka seeks to prevent Marie Woodson from another term.

Brian Aungst Sr. endorses Chris Scherer for Pinellas County Commission” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Clearwater interim Mayor Aungst is endorsing Scherer for Pinellas County Commission, District 1. Scherer is running as a Republican in the open race for District 1, hoping to replace Democrat Janet Long who is not seeking re-election. Scherer faces Democrat Cookie Kennedy. Aungst is a well-known figure in Pinellas County politics, having previously served as Clearwater Mayor from 1999 until 2005. He was appointed Interim Mayor earlier this year after former Mayor Frank Hibbard abruptly resigned in the middle of a budget workshop.


Democrats want feds to revive $346M energy-saving grants that DeSantis vetoed” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — State Democratic leaders are joining U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and other congressional Democrats in urging the U.S. Department of Energy to let local officials distribute $346 million in grants for energy-saving upgrades to homes under a program vetoed by DeSantis. Critics have said DeSantis vetoed this and other energy-saving bills to help wean the nation off fossil fuels to appeal to Iowa voters, who are expected to get the first crack at choosing a Republican nominee for President in January.

Democrats are up in arms over a DeSantis veto of energy-saving federal cash. Image via Right Cheer/Matt Johnson/

DeSantis cries foul over civil rights probe into New College” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Florida’s Governor isn’t holding back when it comes to a civil rights probe into New College, likening it to a probe of the state of Florida itself. During an interview on “The Ingraham Angle,” DeSantis took issue with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opening “a civil rights investigation against the state of Florida, one of our colleges: New College of Sarasota.” “I appointed conservative trustees. They reoriented the university from being left of the left to being classical education like Hillsdale,” DeSantis said.

‘Green Governor’ to ‘active hostility’: DeSantis’ shifting climate change politics” via Zac Anderson of The Sarasota Herald-Tribune — After Hurricane Idalia smashed into Florida last month, flooding the Big Bend region with devastating storm surge and splitting a 100-year-old oak tree at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee, DeSantis pushed back against comments by Biden linking natural disasters to climate change. Scientists believe the warming planet is allowing hurricanes to strengthen faster and pack a bigger punch because they feed off warmer ocean water. Idalia went from a Category 1 storm to Category 4 in a day. But DeSantis seemed to dismiss the idea that climate change may have factored into Idalia’s wrath, highlighting strong storms from decades past, including one that hit the same region in 1896.


Idalia losses in Florida near $160M” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Damage from Hurricane Idalia has already resulted in nearly $160 million in estimated insured losses, and that number is rising by the millions daily. The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) website showed that as of Monday, estimated insured losses exceeded $159.1 million from 17,681 claims, up from $156.4 million Sunday based on 17,472 claims and $135.7 million Thursday from 15,444 claims. Sept. 11 figures included 12,177 residential property claims of which 21.2% have been closed. There were another 4,624 claimed losses for automobiles, aircraft and various machinery, among other things, of which 27.4% were already closed.

Idalia costs are starting to mount. Image via AP.

Florida law restricting transgender adult care can be enforced while challenged in court” via The Associated Press — A new Florida law restricting health care for transgender people can still be applied to adults while it is being challenged in court, a federal judge ruled Monday. Judge Robert Hinkle, who previously blocked the law’s enforcement on behalf of minors, ruled that adults seeking to expand his injunction haven’t proven they would be irreparably harmed until the case is resolved. The law signed by DeSantis in May bans any transgender treatment for minors and requires transgender adults to give consent to treatment in person and with a physician present.

Sports betting is legal again in Florida, under Seminole Tribe compact. The only question is when it will return.” via Shira Moolten of the Orlando Sentinel — With its refusal to rehear a challenge to the Seminole Tribe’s gambling agreement with the state of Florida, a federal appellate court opened the door again this week to online sports betting in the state. On Monday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided not to rehear a legal challenge from two gambling competitors, Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida, against Florida’s 2021 Compact with the Seminole Tribe that previously legalized sports betting on Tribal lands. The result is that the Seminoles could capitalize on a monopoly in online betting when the practice starts again, possibly in time for the Super Bowl and March Madness.

—”Fiona McFarland to again helm transportation-focused panel in House” via Florida Politics

—”Jason Shoaf gets hurricane, higher ed Committee assignments for 2024 Session” via Florida Politics

Happening today — The Palm Beach County legislative delegation will host a public meeting: 10 a.m., Gordon and Patricia Gray Auditorium, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 14200 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach.

Appointed Brad King, of Ocala, to the 5th Judicial Circuit Court.

Appeals court rejects Robert Rubin lawsuit — The 1st District Court of Appeal lawsuit rejected a lawsuit by former Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Rubin, stemming from his 2019 firing. The three-judge panel also issued a separate order that Southern Group lobbyist R. Paul Mitchell, named in the suit, can “recover reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs” since Rubin pursued an appeal “without substantial fact or legal support.” Rubin filed suit after he was suspended in May 2019 over accusations of alleged sexual harassment; the lawsuit blamed Mitchell for tortious interference, defamation, and violation of Florida’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). Mitchell was linked to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who originally nominated Rubin for Commissioner.

Robert Rubin gets one last legal smackdown.

Florida Civil Rights Museum launches first-in-state website and virtual exhibit” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — The nation’s first exclusively virtual civil rights museum will launch this week, with an exhibit featuring trailblazing leaders in Florida’s civil rights history. The Florida Civil Rights Museum will focus on post-Reconstruction civil rights history in Tallahassee and Leon County, highlighting contributions from people of all races to the ongoing battle for equality through rotating exhibits. The first exhibit, which goes live on on Thursday, is entitled “They Made a Difference.” It features 30 men and women who distinguished themselves in business, education, civil rights, politics and journalism, and those who fought for civil rights for all Floridians.

Miami Dolphins, FSU aren’t playing in Florida but could see bluster from Hurricane Lee” via Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post — Hurricane Lee is forecast to lose some of its vigor by week’s end when a still-uncertain path takes it closer to the New England coastline, but what it loses in brawn, it will gain in girth. That means little to South Florida, which is far from Lee’s bluster unless you’re a Miami Dolphins fan. And while Florida’s Panhandle also will be spared, the Florida State Seminoles may not. Both teams are scheduled to play games in the Boston area this weekend. FSU takes on Boston College on Saturday at noon. The Dolphins and the New England Patriots play Sunday at 8:20 p.m. at Foxborough Stadium.


McCarthy’s shaky launch of the Biden impeachment inquiry” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — McCarthy’s stewardship of the House Republican conference has not been a smooth ride. That is in part a byproduct of the unwieldy conference he leads but the problem is also McCarthy himself. He often seems to be holding on for dear life. Even as the Speaker on Tuesday thrust the House into an impeachment inquiry into Biden, there was a stark indication that this was all very seat-of-the-pants. McCarthy announced that he would task three Committees with beginning the inquiry. All will focus on nonspecific and unsubstantiated suggestions of wrongdoing by Biden.

Kevin McCarthy has a rough rollout for his impeachment inquiry.

White House slams impeachment inquiry as ‘goose chase’” via Tyler Pager of The Washington Post — The White House denounced Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Biden, asserting that the President has done nothing wrong and calling the move an “evidence-free goose chase” that will spur Democrats to rally behind Biden. The impeachment inquiry presents a new set of challenges for Biden as he runs for re-election in what could be a rematch with Trump, who remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination.

Matt Gaetz threatens to force vote on removing McCarthy as Speaker” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Gaetz is threatening to force a vote on whether to remove McCarthy from his position. In a speech on the House floor, the Fort Walton Beach Republican dismissed announcements of an impeachment inquiry on Biden as a “baby step.” But he said McCarthy isn’t complying with the agreement cut with Freedom Caucus members to secure the gavel. “We’ve had no vote on term limits or on balanced budgets, as the agreement demanded and required,” Gaetz said. “There’s been no full release of the Jan. 6 tapes, as you promised. There has been insufficient accountability for the Biden crime family. And instead of cutting spending to raise the debt limit, you relied on budgetary gimmicks and rescissions.”

How serious Is the threat to McCarthy’s Speakership?” via Harvest Prude of The Dispatch — McCarthy is now fighting back his detractors on two fronts: whether to shut down the government at the end of the month, and whether to launch an impeachment inquiry into Biden. He relented on the latter earlier today. The question now is how much power McCarthy’s critics in the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) have to force the Speaker to give in to their demands — and whether they can oust him from his perch if he doesn’t. Now that the House is back from recess, lawmakers have only 11 working days until funding for the federal government expires on Sept. 30 — unless lawmakers can negotiate a deal before then.

Senior FBI agent disputes some whistleblowers’ claims about Hunter Biden probe” via Jacqueline Alemany and Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post — The FBI agent overseeing the investigation into Hunter Biden disputed whistleblower claims that the prosecutor in charge of the probe was stymied by the Justice Department, according to the transcript of an interview with lawmakers that took place last week. The question-and-answer session sheds additional light on the long-running investigation, which has become a focal point for Republican allegations of wrongdoing and corruption by Biden and his family.

U.S. Senate hearing takes on book bans; Democrats highlight DeSantis’ Florida policies” via Douglas Soule of USA Today — What books should be on school shelves has been not only a question but a pivotal battle in Florida’s culture wars. It’s far from resolved. And a congressional hearing shows that’s true on the national stage, too. Lawmakers got heated during a United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, titled “Book Bans: Examining How Censorship Limits Liberty and Literature.” Republicans bashed Democrats for holding the hearing in the first place, accusing them of trying to intimidate parents trying to speak out for their children. Democrats said the intimidation was coming from the minority of parents and a barrage of political outside interests trying to remove schools’ books, many of them featuring diverse characters and topics.

U.S. Senators are looking into Florida’s book bans.

Florida Democrats lobby U.S. Energy Department to bypass DeSantis, establish solar program” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Florida Democratic leaders want Biden’s administration running a solar incentive program if DeSantis won’t. The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) endorsed a letter from Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation encouraging the U.S. Energy Department to bypass the state and establish programs through county and local governments. “Floridians are suffering because of Ron’s political games,” said FDP Chair Nikki Fried. “His obsession with the presidency cost Floridians nearly half a billion dollars in federal grant funding — funding that comes straight from our taxes — all in an effort to impress farmers in Iowa. If only he cared about putting money back in the pockets of farmers in Florida.”

Cory Mills calls U.S. decision to exchange money for Iran releasing American citizens ‘Obama 2.0’” via Eric Daugherty of Florida’s Voice — Mills came out against the Biden administration’s decision to move forward with a deal exchanging frozen Iranian money, and releasing five Iranians, for the Middle Eastern state to release five American citizens. “I vehemently oppose this decision that will ultimately fund terrorist activities against Americans and our allies,” Mills said. “This is Obama 2.0 and the same policy failures that resulted in Iran’s advancements in nuclear weapon technology, uranium enrichment, and billions to Iran in the failed JCPOA.” Mills continued, calling the current presidential administration the “Obiden regime” and slammed the U.S. for embarrassing itself.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

State asks Attorney General to weigh in on FAU’s stalled presidential search” via Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post — The leaders of Florida’s university system are asking for an outside legal opinion on whether Florida Atlantic University’s presidential search violated state law, opening a new front in the debate over the long-stalled search process. The state Board of Governors, which oversees Florida’s public universities, decided it wants the state Attorney General to weigh in on the presidential search committee’s use of an anonymous survey to help narrow down its list of candidates to lead the school. The use of the anonymous “straw poll” was one of the two issues cited by the state when it abruptly halted the search process on July 7, two days after the committee selected three finalists.

Florida looks to the AG for an investigation into the FAU presidential search.

Industries push back as Miami-Dade moves forward on outdoor worker heat protections” via Nicólas Rivera of the Miami Herald — Miami-Dade County’s construction and agriculture workers moved one step closer to having a legally protected right to water and shaded breaks on hot days, but pushback from both industries makes some key details and the future of the county bill far from certain. The five Miami-Dade County Commissioners on the Community Health Committee voted 4-1 in favor of the bill, setting it up for a final vote in front of the full 13-member Board of Commission sometime in October. If passed in its current form, the bill would require construction and agriculture companies with five or more employees to guarantee workers access to water and give them 10-minute breaks in the shade every two hours on days when the heat index hits 90 degrees.

Republican State Attorney blasts judicial circuit consolidation as effort to advance DeSantis’ political aims” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The Republican State Attorney in the Florida Keys is blasting a current effort to consolidate decades-old judicial circuit boundaries as pure politics designed to keep suspended Democratic prosecutors from winning at the ballot box next year. Dennis Ward, the top prosecutor for the 16th Judicial Circuit, is sounding the alarm about plans he predicts will be fast-tracked through the Legislature this coming Session to serve DeSantis’ political aims.

Grandma lived in beloved treehouse for 17 years. $40K in fines has her tearing it down” via Raisa Habersahm of the Miami Herald — From the multicolored gate to the tiki huts, Shawnee Chasser has long considered her front yard her paradise. But it is the statuesque treehouse that’s long been the highlight and subject of controversy over the past few years. But now, after 17 years at the property, the 72-year-old has decided to tear down her treehouse to come into compliance with Miami-Dade County code violations levied against her dating to 2015. The treehouse sits at the corner of 135th Street and Northwest Miami Court in the Biscayne Gardens neighborhood in unincorporated Miami-Dade County near North Miami, according to property records.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Records reveal why DeSantis board overseeing Disney district scrubbed its minority/women-based contracting programs” via Richard Bilbao of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — More details have surfaced on why the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District decided it was time to abolish its Minority/Women Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contracting programs. Various documents obtained by Orlando Business Journal via public records requests show the district’s attorneys voiced concern that the programs were “illegal” and said scrubbing them would “minimize the threat of future liability.” In early August, the district announced in a news release it would end the contracting programs claiming they “discriminated against Americans based on gender and race, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”

The Disney district makes a sweeping (and controversial) change in minority/women-based contracting programs.

Proposed $1.77B Orlando budget includes 20 new cops in fast-growing Lake Nona” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando Commissioners unanimously moved forward with a $1.77 billion spending plan that includes 68 more public safety employees and is about 15% larger than last year. The budget, which needs one more vote this month before it can be approved, calls for property owners to pay the same tax rate as in the past decade — $6.65 per $1,000 of taxable value. However, due to new construction and rising values, city coffers will be bolstered by $321.6 million, which is about a 14% increase year over year. Of the new hires, 53 are sworn police officers, nine are civilian police employees and six are civilian fire rescue workers, said Deputy Chief Financial Officer Michelle McCrimmon.

Brevard County Commission’s 3-2 vote ends funding for mailing of sample ballots to voters” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — The Brevard County Commission has voted to eliminate funding for the mailing of sample ballots to all registered voters, as well funding for prepaid return postage on vote-by-mail ballots, from Supervisor of Elections Tim Bobanic’s 2023-24 budget. The vote to reduce the Supervisor of Elections Office’s total proposed budget by $318,223 was approved by a 3-2 vote last week during the County Commission’s first of two budget hearings. The change was proposed by District 3 Commissioner John Tobia, who will be running against Bobanic in a Republican Primary for Supervisor of Elections next year. Tobia also questioned the proposed increases in the Supervisor of Elections’ overall budget and the office’s travel expenses.

AppointedJoe Nunziata to the Central Florida Expressway Authority.

Central Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise as tests dwindle” via Caroline Catherman of the Orlando Sentinel — Though state leaders continue to downplay the virus’s risks, Florida currently has the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the U.S., and tests to check for infections are getting scarce. 12 per 100,000 Florida residents are hospitalized with the virus. This is the 11th week in a row that the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased. Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Flagler and Sumter counties saw a total of 301 COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week ending on Sept. 2. That’s an 18% decrease from a week before but a 41% increase from a month ago. Osceola County, reported separately, saw 59 admissions, an increase of over 30% from a week prior.


‘We have bad news.’ A Shore Acres woman recalls Idalia’s fiery aftermath” via Lane DeGregory of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s not even the things you lost. It’s the place. All the memories. The support we’ve received, not just from the Tampa Bay community but even from within Shore Acres, has been so surprising, so touching. I didn’t realize how many lives I had touched throughout the years that now were coming to my aid in my time of need. Made me cry. And for some reason that we may not understand at this moment, it was time for us to leave Shore Acres. You can either let a tragedy break you or make you stronger. It’s all how you decide to approach it. How can we make this bad situation into a blessing for us? That’s still to be determined.

A fire in Shore Acers is a double whammy. Image via WFTS.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Lawsuit: Faulty algorithms stop Jacksonville renters from finding homes” via Charlie McGee of The Tributary — After a fire devastated her apartment in February 2022, Earnestine Leckeyccia Lawson needed a new home. She paid $75 to apply for a rental from Jacksonville Wealth Builders. But to her shock, she got rejected based on a past eviction filing. The problem: she hadn’t ever faced an eviction filing. Despite her innocence, JWB stuck to its rejection. It kept her $75, too. Lawson, like a rising number of renters in the U.S., was trapped at the intersection of technology and housing, where glitchy tenant-credit algorithms and rigid landlord rules lead to people getting wrongfully denied homes. Lawson and three other Jacksonville residents make the novel legal argument that these algorithms have fueled civil rights violations, slanting the market against Black renters.

‘I could feel the ground shake’: Garage partially collapses at Jacksonville hospital” via Beth Reese Cravey and Teresa Stepzinski of The Jacksonville Florida Times-Union — After a search by officers, drones and K-9s, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers said there was likely no one trapped in a parking garage that partially collapsed Tuesday at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital. Powers said he was “pretty confident” but cannot be sure until structural engineers evaluate the integrity of the building and searchers are able to get “actual eyes” on each of the 111 vehicles. “A couple of vehicles are mashed pretty flat,” he said. The collapse, which happened just after noon, occurred on the third level of a garage adjoining the hospital’s Chartrand Building, across King Street from the emergency room, hospital officials said.

A partially collapsed parking structure caused a stir in the Jacksonville area. Image via News4Jax.

Florida National Guard’s Panama City’s new Readiness Center breaks ground” via Alex Schley of My Panhandle — Friday morning state and city officials broke ground for the new Panama City Readiness Center. The two-story building will house Calvary units from Bonifay and Chipley in addition to the 1st Squadron of the 153rd Calvary Regiment. The cavalry unit is primarily tasked with reconnaissance.


Sarasota County Commission gives preliminary approval to $2B 2023-24 budget” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — It took the Sarasota County Commission a little longer than 35 minutes to approve a $2.016 billion 2023-24 budget that includes a $433.9 million general fund budget. The general fund budget is built, in part, on higher property tax revenues resulting from a 14.1% increase in taxable values to $94.2 billion. Following $3.3 million of general fund budget trims in an August workshop, the proposed general fund budget is roughly 12.9% higher than this year’s budget. The general fund includes the budgets for Sarasota County’s five constitutional officers — including Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, who proposed an increase of 20.6% — due in part to the addition of 24 full-time positions to the department.

Affordable housing in Manatee is ‘major barrier’ to reducing homelessness, report says” via Tiffany Tompkins of the Bradenton Herald — Heather Moore struggled in the Summer heat to lift 2-and-a-half-year-old Noah from his stroller outside Bradenton’s Salvation Army for a diaper change. Moore, 39, her son and her partner are some of the estimated 567 homeless people living in Manatee County. The 2023 Point in Time report from the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness collected data from a single night to take a snapshot of the number of local residents without housing. For a few weeks, Moore, Noah, and her partner lived on the sidewalk behind “the Sally” after losing their home in a nearby mobile home park.

Affordable housing in Manatee is struggling to help reduce homelessness. Image via Facebook.

Mosquito officials: Malaria threat lifted in Manatee, Sarasota counties” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The malaria alert in Sarasota and Manatee counties has been lifted, county mosquito control officials say. “That’s great news for Sarasota, the whole state and the residents of our two counties. This, of course, doesn’t mean we are out of the water. We want everyone to be vigilant in stopping those mosquito bites,” said Wade Brennan, Director of the Sarasota County Mosquito Control District, during a news conference hosted by the Florida Mosquito Control Association. “But it gives us good news, especially recovering from this past Hurricane that just went through.”

Bradenton teenager arrested for bringing gun and ammo to Southeast High, cops say” via Jason Dill of the Bradenton Herald — A Southeast High student was arrested on charges that he brought a gun to school. It’s the second time in a month that a student was arrested for bringing a gun to the school. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said a school administrator walked into a boy’s bathroom at the school and saw a male student showing a gun to three other students. A news release said the 14-year-old student “tried to hide the firearm by placing it inside his backpack.” The school official took the backpack and the student to the school resource officer, who found a 9-millimeter gun and four live rounds of ammunition inside the backpack, the news release said.


Where is the evidence, Speaker McCarthy?” via David French of The New York Times — There is a certain pattern to modern impeachment inquiries. They typically begin after the discovery of blatantly incriminating evidence. In 1998 the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry only after DNA tests on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress exposed that Bill Clinton had lied under oath about their affair.

On Monday, McCarthy ordered the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees to start an impeachment inquiry into Biden without anything approaching comparable evidence.

Indeed, the absence of such evidence was used as a perverse justification for the impeachment inquiry.

The pretext is the purported need to grant greater investigatory authority to House Committees examining whether Biden lied about his business dealings with his son Hunter and whether the President granted Hunter “special treatment” in the ongoing criminal investigation of Hunter’s potential tax and gun crimes.

But at the risk of sounding crass, where is the blue dress? Where is the phone call? Where is the riot? There’s little question that Biden family members — especially Hunter but also Joe Biden’s brother James and daughter-in-law Hallie — have profited enormously over the course of Joe Biden’s political career. But evidence that the President was himself involved in Hunter’s schemes or shared in any of the profits is thus far lacking, as is any evidence that the President violated the law.

Ironically enough, McCarthy’s announcement came months after the initial Republican investigations failed to find any criminal activity by the President. There is no evidence remotely comparable to the evidence that spurred inquiries against Clinton or Trump.

There is a colloquial legal term for McCarthy’s approach: It’s a fishing expedition. He’s unilaterally opening a rare inquiry into a sitting President not because of the evidence that does exist but rather because of the evidence Republicans believe might exist.


Trump is really old, too” via Frank Bruni of The New York Times — How would we even notice Trump’s lapse into incoherence, when derangement is essentially his brand? Pretty much any interview he gives is a babble bonanza, and his recent lovefest with Tucker Carlson was no exception. He went on wacky tangents. We can’t know — really know — that Biden’s occasionally prolonged, futile search for the right word or name is firmer evidence of cognitive fade than Trump’s hallucinatory musings are.

Third-party candidates will help Trump win” via Robert Reich of The Guardian — Whether they intend to be or not, third-party groups such as No Labels and the Green party are in effect front groups for Trump in 2024. No Labels has pledged to spend $70M to support a third-party candidate in 2024 who could easily draw enough votes from Biden to tip the presidential election to Trump. No Labels has already qualified as a presidential party that can run candidates on the ballot in 10 states, including in both Arizona and Florida. It claims to be a centrist organization seeking a new bipartisanship, but it will not reveal its donors, one of whom is reportedly the conservative megadonor Harlan Crow.

The only way to stop Trump” via Tom Nichols of The Atlantic — Eminent legal scholars think the Constitution makes Trump ineligible for office; critics of the idea worry that using the Fourteenth Amendment will create an uncontrollable political weapon. Two of America’s great legal minds, the retired conservative federal judge Michael Luttig and the liberal law professor Laurence Tribe, have argued that Section 3 automatically renders Trump ineligible for office. “The clause,” they wrote, “was designed to operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the Constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup.”

Ramaswamy wants to fight the Fed the wrong way” via Ramesh Ponnuru of The Washington Post — Ramaswamy believes that the Federal Reserve is an oversized institution with too many objectives. By statute, it aims to produce moderate levels of unemployment, inflation and interest rates. He thinks it should, as he puts it on his website, “stabilize the dollar & nothing more.” Ramaswamy, a businessman running for the Republican presidential nomination, is a rare exception to the rule that presidential candidates show not the slightest interest in monetary policy.


— ALOE —

Orlando Museum of Art acquires work from Florida Prize finalists, offers program for visually impaired” via Matthew J. Palm of the Orlando Sentinel — There’s still time to catch Orlando Museum of Art’s ninth annual Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition, as the Loch Haven Park institution has extended its run date through Sept. 17. In related news, the museum has acquired a new piece of art created by a pair of the Florida Prize exhibitors. And look for special “tactile tours” and workshops, ideal for the visually impaired, related to the museum’s visiting distinguished-portrait exhibition. The workshops accompany the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s sixth Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition; finalists’ works are currently on view in “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today” exhibit, on its first stop of a national tour.

The Orlando Museum of Art celebrates Florida artists. Image via Facebook.


Celebrating today are Berneice Cox, former CEO of the United Way of the Big Bend, Rosemary Goudreau O’Hara, Will McKinley, and Melissa Joiner Ramba.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

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