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Mel Martinez: Two-Timing Man

The main story on the Sentinel's front page yesterday was all about how great the selection of Mel Martinez to lead the Republican National Committee was going to be for Florida. Written by sister paper Orlando Sentinel reporter Jim Stratton, it was full of gushing quotes from Republicans talking about how "awesome" this was for Florida and, from Tom Feeney, how Martinez was "an absolute rock star in the Hispanic community."

It was all about the glamour of the position. That Martinez would be spending his time politicking for the RNC rather than earning his six-figure salary as a U.S. senator from the state of Florida wasn't raised as an issue at all. That he would be out fundraising for the party and indoctrinated into Party-thought and Party-speak at the expense of the independence that Florida voters expect wasn't mentioned. Today, though, the Sentinel, in one of the better, more-focused editorials in that newspaper in months, slammed the move:

Republicans expect Martinez to lead a rebound, but time-sharing isn't what Florida voters counted on when they elected Martinez to the Senate in 2004.

It's hard to see how Florida voters and residents are best served by a U.S. senator who is dividing his attention between being a legislator and being a party fundraiser and spokesman. They aren't.

No matter how many of the RNC's day-to-day operations are spun off to Mike Duncan, the committee's general counsel, the demands of being the national face of the Republican Party are going to eat into Martinez's schedule. With battles looming on all kinds of issues, Floridians need a full-time lawmaker.

What's more, a key reason Republicans lost control of Congress in last week's rout is a widely held perception that they shirked their congressional checks-and-balances duties in deference to President Bush and party loyalty. To recoup the nation's trust, the GOP's lawmakers need to stand out as legislators, not political operatives.

A good editorial in the Sun-Sentinel is such a rare treat. This proves they can do it. Now if they'd just do more of them.

After the jump: Jeb's Parting Gift To The Kids, Judith Regan's Gift to America, and FHP's Gift To A Dad

-- So now all kids in Florida's public schools are going to have to pick a major for high school. Here's Don Jordan's well-wrought lede in the Palm Beach Post about it this morning:

This spring, as 13-year-olds across the country break in their baseball gloves and count down the days until summer vacation, students in Florida will have important questions to mull over.

Would I rather be an accountant or an administrative assistant? How about a horticulturist? Perhaps an automotive collision repair specialist?

That's because Florida's eighth-grade students, including more than 13,000 in Palm Beach County, will be the first in the country who must select high school majors. The statewide majors are a provision of Gov. Jeb Bush's "A-plus-plus" plan designed to make Florida schools more relevant to children.

Remember that Twisted Sister video where the furious father says to the kid, with disgust dripping from his voice, "What are you gonna do with your life?" (If you're under the age of 30, you probably won't). Yeah, Jeb is that guy.

To be fair, it is pretty flexible and the kids can change their majors once every year. And for some kids a kick-start on becoming a body shop worker (or "automotive collision repair specialist") might not be such a bad thing. But overall it sounds like a huge waste of time and just another way to kill imagination and put our future cubicle-inhabitants and worker-units in their little boxes a little quicker.

Yeah, I hate this idea.

-- I don't have to say anything about this. A book and TV show based on how O.J. Simpson would have killed his wife and Ron Goldman had he done it? How brilliant, a way for O.J. to profit from his murders and provide disgusting, bottom-barrel entertainment to the masses at the same time. Thanks for all you do, Judith Regan.

-- Normally I would rail against the charging of a father for child abuse for speeding, even if he was going 103 on I-95. But if what the troopers tell Rochelle E.B. Gilken in the Palm Beach Post is true (that papa and 13-year-old son both smelled of booze, that the guy's license was suspended, that he was driving through an attended construction zone at the time, that he cursed at officers, etc) then I got to side with the Florida Highway Patrol on this one.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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