Jeb Bush Archives - Page 6 of 105 - SaintPetersBlog

Democrats throughout Florida call on GOP opponents to denounce #TrumpTapes vulgar comments

A newly released videotape showing Donald Trump making crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce is sending shock waves throughout Florida politics.

“I’ve said some foolish things,” the Republican presidential nominee said overnight Friday in a taped apology posted on Facebook. “But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women.”

But Florida Democratic candidates statewide are not letting Trump off the hook so easily. Nearly all of them are calling for the Republican nominee — as well their opponents who support him — to either clarify their position or withdraw from the race.

U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy released a statement Saturday calling Trump’s comments “disgusting,” blasting his opponent, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio, for giving a tepid response.

“While prominent Republicans like Senators Mike Crapo and Kelly Ayotte have already withdrawn their endorsements,” Murphy writes. “Marco Rubio issued a tweet with empty rhetoric and continues to stand by his choice for President.”

“Donald Trump’s comments are sickening, inexcusable and dangerous,” Murphy said. “They contribute to a culture that devalues women and makes our society unsafe … Trump is an unhinged misogynist who has no place anywhere near our country’s highest office.”

Murphy points out Rubio claims he ran for re-election to serve as a check on the next president, even if that president was Trump.

“But how can he serve as a check on a Trump presidency if he won’t even hold Trump accountable as a candidate?” Murphy concluded. “If Senator Rubio cannot withdraw his endorsement after this latest sickening news, then he should withdraw from the race.”

Randy Perkins, who faces Republican Brian Mast in the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, says that his opponent has regularly ignored the regular flow of Trump’s “crude comments about women.”

In a statement, Perkins accuses Mast of continuing to support Trump, despite frequent comments the GOP nominee made about women, including calling them “fat pigs … dogs … and slobs” and talking about prenuptial agreements as, “There are three types of women, all gold diggers.”

“I am deeply disturbed and disgusted, not only as a husband and a father, but as a human being,” Perkins said. “Bragging about groping women is never acceptable, and this type of language can never be tolerated or condoned.

“This is why I’m calling on Brian Mast to officially revoke his endorsement of Trump’s candidacy for president,” he added. Many prominent Republicans, including Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, have had the courage to denounce Trump’s vile rhetoric toward women, but, unfortunately, Brian has yet to take their lead.”

Perkins concludes with a question: “Whose side is Brian on, the people of District 18 or Trump?”

David Singer, the Democratic candidate for Florida House District 60, calls it a simple issue of “right versus wrong.” He also demanded Jackie Toledo, his Republican opponent for the Hillsborough County-based seat, to immediately denounce Trump’s remarks.

“As a husband and the father of two young daughters,” Singer said in an email. “I am horrified at Donald Trump’s comments. What he described as his normal behavior with women is criminal sexual assault, plain and simple.

“Anyone who seeks public office should immediately condemn him and call for him to drop out of this race as he is unfit to serve. This is not an issue of left versus right. This is an issue of right versus wrong. This does not reflect the values of our community.

“I am joining Democrats, Independents and Republicans across the country who are calling on him to leave this race. I hope that Jackie Toledo would immediately disavow him as well and join with us in opposing his candidacy.

“At the very least, I would hope that she will finally state that she will not vote for him. If she won’t reject Donald Trump’s candidacy after this, she should tell us what it would take.”

Former Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl refers to the release of the video — now trending on Twitter as #TrumpTapes — as the “Moraitis Moment.”

Keechl, a Democrat running for House District 93, was referring to his Republican opponent, incumbent state Rep. George Moraitis, who took to the stage last month to introduce Trump in Broward County.

“He is the kind of President that I want,” Moraitis had said at the rally.

Keechl is demanding an apology.

“The country, and world, now have seen what many Republicans, Democrats and Independents have known for so long — Donald Trump is offensive and demeaning to women and his words on the video released yesterday only show how disgusting and hurtful he is,” Keechl said in a statement. “If my opponent stays silent — or worse — continues to endorse and support Donald Trump, then he not only condones Donald Trump’s words and action, but he too will owe Broward residents an apology.”

Jeb Bush: ‘No apology can excuse’ Donald Trump’s vulgar comments

Former Gov. Jeb Bush joined scores of Americans outraged by vulgar comments made by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in a 2005 video uncovered this week by The Washington Post.

“As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women,” the once-presidential candidate tweeted Friday evening.

Talking with Billy Bush, who was then a host of “Access Hollywood,” Trump was heard on the three-minute long video describing attempts to have sex with a married woman and bragging about women letting him kiss and grab them. Billy Bush is Jeb Bush’s cousin.

“When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said. “Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”

Trump was preparing for a cameo appearance on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” According to the New York Times, the video was discovered by “Access Hollywood” producers, scanning archival footage for past interviews with Trump. NBC News, part of the same corporation as “Access Hollywood,” acquired the tape; the Post also obtained a copy to the video.

Trump responded with a statement calling the exchange: “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”


State issues final order for workers’ comp cost increase

As expected, state insurance regulators have issued a final order jacking up the price of worker’s compensation insurance by nearly 15 percent.

The order was published Thursday.

The decision approves the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) request “for an overall combined statewide average rate increase of 14.5 percent,” the Office of Insurance Regulation said in a press release.

The rate hike, which applies to new and renewal policies, is effective Dec. 1. The increase continues to be bitterly opposed by business groups.

The bulk of the increase is blamed on two Florida Supreme Court decisions, both authored by Justice Barbara Pariente. 

One struck down a provision in state worker’s comp law limiting the time injured workers can get temporary disability benefits, saying such payments should last five years, not two. Another invalidated the law’s cap on legal fees as unconstitutional.

The U.S. Labor Department, in a new report this week, is calling for “exploration” of federally mandated minimum benefits.

According to NPR, the report says changes in state workers’ comp law have resulted in “the failure of state workers’ compensation systems to provide [injured workers] with adequate benefits.”

In Florida, opponents have criticized the 2003 changes put in place by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature, saying they were draconian and favored employers at the cost of injured employees.

Companies said the new system cut costs, which helps businesses grow jobs. And the changes also were intended to reduce lawsuits over benefits.

For more information about the public hearing and rate filing, visit the “NCCI Public Rate Hearing” webpage.

To view or download a copy of the NCCI rate filing, go to the I-File Forms & Rates Filing Search System and enter File Log #16-12500 into the “Quick Search” function.

Mitch Perry Report for 10.6.16 — Do you want to live forever?

On the campaign trail last year, an ebullient Jeb Bush used to talk about how we were on the verge of the greatest time to be alive ever, with a limitless future ahead.

“We’re on the verge of where my little boy Jack, my four day-old Jack is going to live until he’s 130 years old,” Bush told hundreds of Republican activists at a New Hampshire Republican Party summit in April of 2015. Later, he moved it up to 150 years.

Jeb sounded like he had found common cause in believing in The Singularity, the moment when humans — with the aid of technology — will supposedly live forever.

One scientist, David Sinclair, a co-director of a lab on aging at Harvard Medical School, recently predicted that yes, the first person to live to 150 has already been born. “Over the last 10 years, my lab and many others around the world have shown that it’s not just possible to delay aging, but to reverse aspects of it,” he said last year.

Maybe so, but a new study made public yesterday suggests there is a natural limit to human lifespan of about 115 years old.

Jan Vijg, Xiao Dong, and Brandon Milholland, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have produced a new report saying that — after looking at demographic data from the last century — they believe human lifespan has a hard ceiling at around 115 years.

As The Atlantic reports, between the 1970s and early 1990s, our maximum age rose from around 110 to 115 — and then stopped after 1995. Despite sanitation, antibiotics, vaccines, and other medical advances, the stats show the oldest living people simply aren’t dying any later. They’re unlikely to either, the Atlantic reports, regardless of calorie restriction, drugs like rapamycin, and all of our other efforts to slow the flow of sand through the hourglass. “In science, you never know,” says Vijg. “But I’ve not seen anything that I think would break through the ceiling.”

“There’s no question that we have postponed aging,” says Judith Campisi from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. “But to engineer an increase in maximum lifespan, we’ll probably have to modify so many genes that it won’t be possible within our lifespan—or even our grandchildren’s lifespan.”

So maybe Jeb’s grandson Jack won’t make it to 150, or 130.

Most importantly for all of us, though, is how long we can in a vigorous state, right? What’s the point of living to be 110 if the last 20 years amount to sitting on a couch?

In other news …

As they prepare to debate today in St. Petersburg, David Jolly joined with Charlie Crist in calling for an additional early voting site in South St. Pete. Jolly’s statement came after a Crist-led press conference in South St. Pete.

A new report from the Center for American Progress expresses concern about Florida’s voting machines, but the secretary of state’s office says many of those same counties have had upgrades since the 2014 election.

Hillsborough County Commissioners approved a six-month moratorium on the creation of any medical marijuana dispensaries. County staff will work on creating a regulatory framework for such entrepreneurs to get into the local market, as Floridians prepare to vote for Amendment 2 regarding medical pot next month.

Tampa City Council District 7 candidates have differing opinions on that major $251 million, 30-year stormwater tax approved last month by the current council.

Meanwhile, two of the candidates in that race — Luis Viera and Jim Davison, announced some new endorsements.

We spent a few minutes chatting up AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka when he was in Tampa earlier this week.

Former GOP Senate candidate Todd Wilcox has formed a new Super PAC, called “Restoring American Leadership.”

In SD 18 race, Dana Young faces the toughest challenge of her political career

After it was revealed last month that Mosaic had withheld information for weeks about the massive sinkhole at their New Wales facility in Polk County which spilled 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Florida aquifer, the Conservation Florida Voters attacked Dana Young for receiving campaign contributions from the phosphate corporation — and the fact that it’s vice president of public affairs co-hosted a fundraiser for her last year.

“Rep. Dana Young’s environmental record is as dirty as her campaign contributions,” said Jonathan Webber, deputy director of Florida Conservation Voters. “Her cozy relationship with big polluters like Mosaic shows how out of touch she is with the everyday needs of Tampa’s working families.”

Young’s campaign team fired back immediately, and she’s now criticizing the phosphate company — and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection — for their tardiness in coming clean with the public about the spill.

“I think it’s disgraceful that you can have an environmental disaster like this that truly can harm people’s health, to pour pollutants into the aquifer that could affect people’s well water,” she told FloridaPolitics last week. “I just don’t think there’s ANY excuse for not having a requirement that surrounding neighbors be immediately notified.”

A Mosaic employee discovered the water loss caused by the sinkhole Aug. 27 and the state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was notified the next day, as required by Florida law. However, homeowners near the facility weren’t notified by Mosaic or the DEP until Sept. 19, after news broke about the sinkhole. The DEP said Mosaic wasn’t legally obligated to because there was no evidence of threat to groundwater or off-site movement. But Gov. Rick Scott said the law was “outdated.”

Young says she’s extremely disappointed by the DEP’s response.

“They have an obligation to protect the public here in Florida. That is their role, and they knew for a long time what was going on there and they did not see fit to tell anybody, and I think that is absolutely unacceptable, and that we need to pass legislation in this session to clarify the duty to report by not only the permittees like Mosaic, but the state departments and local governments as well.”

Florida Conservation Voters also has criticized Young for voting for HB 191, the controversial fracking bill that passed in the House of Representatives last spring but died in the Senate. Critics seized on the provision that would strip local governments of the power to prevent the practice, in which large amounts of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the ground using high pressure to extract oil and gas deposits from rock formations. It also would require a comprehensive study to determine the effects of fracking in the state and establish a regulatory framework.

Environmental groups have depicted it as an “anti-fracking” bill and have accused those who voted for it of being pro-fracking, but some Republican House members running for re-election have stressed that they supported the vote because it put a moratorium on the practice, and say that they don’t actually support the procedure.

“I’m completely against it anywhere in Florida, ” Young says about fracking, and says it’s “hurtful” that people think otherwise. “I am an environmentalist, ” she vows. “I always have been and obviously fracking is not consistent with my philosophy, nor is it consistent with the geology and makeup with our state.”

The Nature Conservancy in Florida thinks so — the group announced Monday they were awarding Young with their 2016 Legislative Achievement Award.

The criticism from the environmental groups are an indication of the forces that would like to see her out of the Legislature next year, as Young faces the race of her political career.

After winning a contested battle against the late Stacy Frank for the House District 60 seat in 2010, the Democrats failed to nominate a candidate to oppose her in her re-election bids in 2012 and 2014, before recruiting attorney Bob Buesing to oppose her in the Senate District 18 race this year.

The race is expected to be close. A poll taken in early August showed Young and Buesing in a tie at 36 percent, though it didn’t include the two independents in the race, Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove.

When she’s not working in the Legislature, Young says her full time gig is being a mom to her two daughters (one of whom is a freshman in college this year). An attorney, she says doesn’t practice much these days, but does use her legal expertise to help draft bills. Young turns 52 the day after the November election.

Although she has moved up to become House Majority Leader in the past two years in the Legislature, Buesing has said an internal poll his campaign conducted this summer shows Young’s name recognition isn’t much stronger than his own, perhaps because her previous re-election bids have been under the radar. However, one thing is certain — she will not be outspent in the race. Young has raised $727,443 in her main campaign account, and her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” has raised another million dollars. Buesing has raised $244,737.

When asked to recount the legislation she’s most proud of, Young chooses to talk about two issues that have widespread support – though neither have actually gone as far as she hopes they will.

One is her work to reduce the number of non-driving violations that prompt Floridians to have their drivers licenses suspended. A recent state study said the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles had suspended 1.3 million driver’s licenses in fiscal year 2012-13, and 167,000 were for non-driving reasons, mainly failure to pay fines or court fees or child support. A bill she co-sponsored with Democrat Darryl Rouson in the House last session would have reduced the number of offenses for which license suspension is prescribed and prohibit suspensions for those who show in an court an inability to pay fines and fees.

Another bill that has frustrated her over the years but which she is determined to get passed is enact a ban on greyhound racing in the state. And she’s recently cut an ad that did make her a favorite among the craft beer crowd for her support against “Big Beer” distributors in the whole 64-ounce growler battle.

Young has been a consistent “Nay” vote when Medicaid expansion has come up in the Legislature, and Buesing has been vocal in criticizing her about it. She responds with the generic Florida House GOP line on the subject — it’s a broken system that doesn’t work.

“I try to be for commonsense government — that’s my motto — and there is no common sense in expanding a program that isn’t working,” she says.

In 2015, the Florida Senate approved a proposal by Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean that would have established a state-run private insurance exchange to state residents earning less than $16,000, or about $33,000 for a family of four. It included a work requirement and a monthly copay. Because it was questionable whether the federal government would approve the plan, Young says it was a no-go in the House. She says if the federal government is “bound and determined to give us money” she would like them to provide block grants to let the state decide how to aid some of the uninsured in Florida. “I think that would be a win-win for Florida,” she says.

Young supports the controversial Tampa Bay Express toll lanes project, though she emphasizes that she was not aware of the portion of the FDOT plan to toll an existing lane of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which she says is just not acceptable (On Monday, the FDOT said that they would no longer take away a free lane from the Bridge when it’s rebuilt in 2019).

Although Mayor Bob Buckhorn unsuccessfully lobbied Tampa Bay area lawmakers a few years ago to consider allowing large municipalities the power to hold their own referendums to pay for transportation projects, the idea has resurfaced this year among some local Democrats, frustrated that the Go Hillsborough plan died before ever coming before the voters.

Young is one of those local legislators who has no interest in giving Tampa that power.

“This is one of the sore subjects between me and my friend Bob Buckhorn,” she says. Recalling how the 2010 Moving Hillsborough Forward transit tax failed miserably in Hillsborough County but received a majority inside of Tampa, Young says that measure was half-baked, and if the city would have passed it “we would now be saddled with has been universally termed a terrible plan.”

“And so for me, I think that the county provides appropriate safeguards on taxpayer dollars to make sure that whatever plan is appropriate,” she says, adding it’s one of the few area that she disagrees with the mayor.

Young was a major supporter of Jeb Bush’s failed presidential run, but says now that it’s a “binary choice,” she’s with Donald Trump.

“It’s just a clear picture of how fed up people are with the way things are being done in Washington D.C.,” she says about the rise of the Manhattan real estate mogul in the presidential race. “People feel that they’ve been left behind, people feel forgotten, people feel lied to,” adding that “It’s a phenomenon of the voter that doesn’t feel that what they think matters.”

The Senate District race takes place on Nov. 8.

Jeb Bush to teach, lecture at Harvard this fall

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be spending some time at Harvard University this fall.

Harvard’s Kennedy School announced on Tuesday that Bush, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, will be a visiting fellow in the Program on Education Policy and Governance.

Bush plans to serve as a guest instructor and presenter on education issues during several visits to the Ivy League university during the fall term. He is the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Bush is scheduled to deliver the annual Edwin L. Godkin Lecture at Harvard on Thursday. The school says he will discuss problems with economic and social mobility in the U.S. The more than century-old lecture series is named for the founder of The Nation magazine.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Mitch Perry Report for 9.27.16 – The ‘what difference does it make?’ debate

Was it as good as you hoped it would be, America?

For months, people have talked about how they could not wait to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle it out in their first presidential debate. We all know that excitement wasn’t because of Clinton’s sterling debate style. No, it was because of the unknown about how The Donald would perform.

And … ?

Let’s put it this way: Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, just said on MSNBC this morning that Clinton failed to deliver the knockout punch. Absolutely true; so is that how we’re grading this thing?

Look, under any which way you score a debate, Mrs. Clinton had the winning hand. But as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush can tell you, traditional scoring points don’t necessarily mean much in debating against Donald J.

Conservatives are upset at the question selections offered by moderator Lester Holt — no Benghazi, no Clinton Foundation, no immigration. But as some said about the criticism of NBC’s Matt Lauer after the “Commander in Chief” forum, if you’re complaining about the moderator, you’re probably losing.

Many of the questions did put Trump in a vise — his explanations for not disclosing his income taxes felt hollow (where he boasted about not paying them), and his attempt to blame Sidney Blumenthal and Patti Solis Doyle regarding where Barack Obama was born seemed weak.

On style, it was interesting to see how long Trump would stay relatively subdued before he became the more blustery, bombastic candidate who dominated most of the Republican presidential debates in 2015 and early 2016.

The momentum has been moving Trump’s away in the past two weeks. Does that get stalled now? Does Clinton pick up some of the undecided voters, or Berniebros flirting with Jill Stein and/or Gary Johnson?

So many questions. My favorite line this morning, though, is the phrase “this really doesn’t change much.”

Then why all the hype in the first place?

In other news …

House District 68 Republican JB Benshimen insists he’s still in it to win in in his race against Democrat Ben Diamond, but his poor fundraising numbers aren’t encouraging.

Dover Republican Ross Spano’s House District 59 seat is one Democrats are targeting this fall. He tells us what he’s done in office since his 2012 election.

Former Pasco County DEC Chair Alison Morano is now leading a group targeting Marco Rubio for his past statements regarding Social Security.

Today is National Voter Registration Day, and various Latino advocacy groups are working on signing up people to vote in advance of Florida’s Oct. 11 deadline.

And Dana Young gets the firefighters unions in Tampa and Hillsborough County’s endorsements in the Senate District 18 race.

Florida primaries eyed: Representation of few, or the many?

It took just 14,496 votes to win his closed Democratic primary for one of Florida’s 27 congressional seats. Now Darren Soto is virtually assured of going to Capitol Hill, unlikely to face a strong Republican challenge this November in his safely Democratic district.

The state senator snared the votes of just 2 percent of the Orlando area district’s 750,000 residents, beating three other candidates in last month’s closed-party, winner-takes-all primary. Only registered Democrats could cast ballots in Soto’s race and the small percentage of them likely decided the contest before the general election.

It’s a scenario repeated regularly in Florida’s state and congressional races in districts firmly controlled by one or the other of the two major parties. Now such outcomes are prompting calls to reform Florida’s primary system so more voters have a say in who represents them.

“That’s a question that comes up often,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the Florida League of Women Voters. Her group is studying the primary system and will make recommendations next year to lawmakers on broadening the electoral process.

Florida is one of only nine states with a strict closed primary system, which prevents independent and minor party voters from casting primary ballots. Proponents say political parties should have the sole say in who they nominate, but critics say closed primaries exclude a large swath of voters, particularly as the number of independent voters grows.

Until 16 years ago, Florida primaries weren’t even over until a candidate won a ballot majority. If no primary candidate received at least 50 percent plus one vote, the top two met in a runoff to decide who reached the general election.

But then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush eliminated the runoff in 2002, a year he was seeking re-election and two years after his brother George W. Bush carried the perennial swing state by 537 votes in a famously chaotic presidential election. Jettisoning the primary runoff was part of reforms aimed at making Florida elections run more smoothly.

The impact on Sunshine State politics was immediate.

In 2002, political newcomer Bill McBride won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination over former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno by 0.4 percentage points in a three-way race. Many believe Reno would have defeated McBride in a runoff and gone on to face Bush. And in 2010, now Gov. Rick Scott won the Republican nomination with only 46 percent of the vote though a runoff could have overturned the results.

And this year, state Rep. Matt Gaetz is a lock to represent northwest Florida in Congress after capturing just 36 percent of the vote in a seven-way Republican primary, meaning 64 percent of voters wanted someone else in Washington from their firmly GOP district. It’s a decision that essentially excludes Democrats and independents.

It was a runoff that helped primary runner-up Bob Graham into the governor’s office in 1979.

Eventually a three-term U.S. senator, Graham avidly supports resurrecting the runoff primary. He said the current system often encourages election of the most extreme candidates among both major parties. He said primary reforms could make representation more moderate, in line with the views of most voters.

“The question ought to be not whose convenience are we serving, but what makes democracy work best and gives the people the opportunity to have persons in office who represent the broadest consensus,” said Graham, who now runs a University of Florida center for greater citizen engagement with government.

Only 11 states still have some form of a runoff primary, mostly in the Deep South. Louisiana, California and Washington state have all-inclusive primaries where the top two vote earners advance to the general election, 15 states have open primaries and nine states allow independent voters to choose which primary they’ll vote in.

People are increasingly open to changing primary systems because they don’t like current options that contribute to partisan extremes in Washington, said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a non-partisan Washington-area group that seeks to make voting more representative.

“There are different approaches that make sense for different states. There’s more openness in the reform world to not have a one-size fits all model,” he said.

Ion Sancho, elections supervisor in Leon County that includes Florida’s capital of Tallahassee, was first elected in 1988 aided by a primary runoff.

He agreed more voters should have a say in who’s elected, but isn’t espousing a return of the second primary. Instead, he said all candidates should be put on a primary ballot regardless of party and all registered voters, including independents, should be allowed to vote. The top two candidates would face off in November.

That notion doesn’t appeal to Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell, who chairs the House committee that considers election issues. He prefers the idea of voters picking their first two choices in a crowded primary. If no candidate wins a majority, then the second choice of voters are weighed to determine a winner.

Changing Florida’s primary system would require legislative action or a change in the state constitution through a ballot initiative.

“I’m not afraid to try to tinker with it,” Caldwell said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Purdue transfer looks to lead Gators to 12th straight win over Vols

Austin Appleby will lead the No. 19 Florida Gators head to Knoxville on Saturday to face the No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers. Austin who?

With Luke Del Rio sitting out the game due to the injury suffered in the North Texas game, graduate transfer Appleby is the next man up. Gator Nation has two basic questions.

Where did he come from? Is he any good?

Appleby played his undergraduate football at Purdue. If whether one is “any good” is defined by wins and losses, Appleby comes up short.

Last year he appeared in five games for the Boilermakers, going 1-4 in those games. He lost his starting job at one point.

The only win was against FCS opponent Indiana State. His last victory as a starting quarterback against an FBS opponent was a 38-27 victory over Illinois on October 4, 2014.

During his time at Purdue he threw for 2800 yards with 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He also rushed for nine touchdowns.

To be fair, Appleby performed well enough to win a few more games, but defense was a passing fancy, so to speak, at his former school. Purdue gave up an average of 37 points per game last year and 32 points in 2014.

It is not like an untested freshman will be thrown in front of more than 100,000 fans at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. He has played in some large stadiums in the Big 10.

His last start on November 28, 2015 also came in a rivalry game. On that day he threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores in Purdue’s 54-36 loss to Indiana.

“It’s next man up,” said Gators’ running back Jordan Cronkrite after Saturday’s game. “We just rely on Austin now and take him under our wing and go out and execute (on Saturday).

Some would be quick to say this is the SEC and not the second division of the Big 10. They would be correct.

Tennessee’s defense is not Indiana’s. But at the same time, Florida’s defense is not Purdue’s. Appleby should not need to put up 35 points on the board.

The Gators are counting on Appleby to manage the game and not take significant risks. In other words, no turnovers and let the defense make a play or two while your offense makes a play or two.

Coach Jim McElwain is keeping it simple.

“We’ll work through (the transition) this week to see what gives us the best chance to be successful,” he said.

After all, Florida has won 11 straight in this series in different ways. They have put up 59 points and won with Tim Tebow. In 2007, while putting 10 points on the board and winning with Treon Harris in 2014.

The Gators seem to always find a way to beat Tennessee or the Vols find a way to lose to Florida.

Despite that, a Tennessee fan launched a GoFundMe page ostensibly to pay for Appleby’s funeral after they get through with him on Saturday. This is an interesting display of confidence for a program that has not beaten Florida since Jeb Bush was governor (and before he became Jimmy Kimmel’s limo driver).

If the Vols do not beat Florida on Saturday, perhaps the GoFundMe creator may need the proceeds for his own services.

Tom Jackson: Appeal puts poor students under FEA’s boot

Now that the Florida Education Association has chosen to appeal its legal double-drubbing over the state’s scholarship program for students from low-income families, the question that leaps immediately to mind is this:

Why does the teachers’ union hate poor kids?

Seriously. About 92,000 students from modest circumstances are attending private schools through the 15-year-old Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, but the FEA wants to cut them off and haul them back into a system that, for far too many, is an abject failure.

Think about that. Ninety-two-thousand kids. Meanwhile, Florida public schools are responsible for nearly 2.8 million students. In short, the FEA is losing its mind — and spending a bunch of its membership’s dues in legal fees — over a population that amounts to barely 3 percent of its existing audience. A rounding error.

This is like Wal-Mart going nuts over a local farmers market, or the NFL trying to squeeze websites that stream Division II games. Gnat, meet sledgehammer.

Here’s another raw figure to chew on: In the most recent year, the program spread out just over $490 million, an average of roughly $5,300 per scholarship. That might sound like a bunch of money, but, as in most cases, context is everything.

Know how much K-12 education scored? Round numbers, a state-record $20.2 billion, or $7,178 per pupil. Note the per-pupil differential. That’s not unimportant.

Here’s the irony: If the FEA got exactly what it wanted — the scholarship program killed; all 92,000 beneficiaries sucked back into public schools; and every dime of the scholarship money funneled into the education monopoly — per-pupil spending actually would sink, to $7,158.

I know. This isn’t about the money. (Wink.) It’s about the principle of the thing. (Wink, wink.)

As someone who was once president of a small homeowners’ association, I appreciate the thought. Once you establish a willingness to overlook small infractions, you’ve sacrificed your legal authority to crack down on the big ones.

So, there’s another way of thinking about the FEA: Your friendly neighborhood deed-restriction committee.

Now that we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy, the larger problem for the union bosses and their lawyers is, in its relentless pursuit of education reform — a pursuit that must, necessarily, weaken the FEA’s stranglehold — what the Legislature crafted does not violate, even a little bit, the state constitution.

Oh, sure, lawmakers bungled their first attempt to craft a scholarship/voucher scheme in 1999, the first year of the Jeb Bush administration. In its genesis iteration, money did, indeed, flow from the state budget to pay for scholarships. The state Supreme Court found the arrangement repugnant to the state constitution’s provisions protecting public schools from budgetary intrusions, and it wasn’t even close.

The Legislature anticipated a bad outcome. Even before the justices ruled, lawmakers tackled the project again in 2001 to fix the funding bug. Businesses that donated to certain nonprofit groups would receive a tax credit equal to their contribution; meanwhile, the nonprofits would fund scholarships for students from low-income families.

Just now, the FEA’s problem is standing. That is, it’s been ruled unable to sue. The trial judge ruled, and the 1st District Court of Appeal enthusiastically affirmed, the plaintiffs have demonstrated neither “special injury” nor that the Legislature acted beyond its constitutional powers to tax and spend.

Undaunted — not to mention just a wee bit desperate — the union appealed to the state Supreme Court last week. Give us standing, its lawyers said, and we’ll prove the case against the scholarship plan.

Except they won’t. They can’t. Too many tenuous assumptions are built into their complaint. They can’t prove the Legislature would maintain current tax rates on businesses or, if they did, that the presumed additional revenue would go to schools.

Their other complaint — scholarships set up a competing class of public schools, in violation of the constitution — fails the sniff test.

So why don’t the program’s opponents shift their focus, and instead lobby the Legislature to hold participating private schools to the same standards as public schools?

Simple. Monopolies do as monopolies are. And any monopoly worth its massive, soul-crushing boots knows the path to ruin is hacked out by consumers making informed choices among alternative, disruptive market options.

That’s also why the FEA won’t simply butt out. Never mind that we’re talking about a subset of a subset of a subset, that minuscule portion of kids from families of limited means whose parents care enough about education to go through the application rigmarole.

Any threat, no matter how small, must be squashed. With prejudice.

If it means stomping on 92,000 poor kids. Well, in every war there’s bound to be some collateral damage.

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