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Mitch Perry Report for 12.4.15 – on Jeb, Ted and Kobe

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

First off, I want to wish the best for Brendan McLaughlin, who will be departing as a news anchor at ABC affiliate WFTS in a couple of weeks after 21 years in the market. Like yours truly, Brendan hails from the San Francisco Bay Area (Marin County, actually, I believe). Folks, there ain’t that many of us in Tampa Bay, much less Florida. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

The latest CNN/ORC national poll of GOP candidates has Jeb Bush at 3 percent, lagging far behind  front-runner Donald Trump, who polled at 36 percent.

That news comes out a day after Mike Murphy with Jeb’s super PAC Right to Rise announced that a 15-minute documentary featuring Bush will be released this weekend online and later on television.

According to The New York Times, the documentary “will talk about Mr. Bush’s record as the governor of Florida, as well as describe his vision for the future, including his plans to defeat the Islamic State and overhaul the federal government.”

A little advice to Murphy that I’m sure he’ll ignore: Leave out the “Florida Miracle” stuff, OK? If there’s one thing I know from covering this presidential campaign and speaking to Republican voters inside Florida and out, it’s that they don’t care that much about what happened in Florida from 1999-2007. Too many things have gone on since to focus on those halcyon days in Tallahassee.

Ted Cruz is second place in the CNN poll at 16 percent. That’s a long way away from Trump, but still puts him ahead of his arch rival, Marco Rubio. Thursday the two laid out their different theories on how to deal with Syria at the Republican Jewish Coalition presidential forum in D.C.

Cruz is getting battered in some conservative circles for having a somewhat isolationist stance on some issues. He’s no Rand Paul, but he said it wouldn’t be smart to get rid of Bashar al-Assad without considering who would succeed him, alluding to what’s happened in the region recently.

“If we are to defeat our enemies we need to be clear-eyed that toppling a government and allowing radical Islamic terrorists to take over a nation is not benefiting our national security interests,” Cruz said. “Putting ISIS or al-Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of yet another state in the Middle East is not benefiting our national security.”

Rubio argues that Assad must go. “This simplistic notion that ‘leave Assad there because he’s a brutal killer, but he’s not as bad as what’s going to follow him,’ is a fundamental and simplistic and dangerous misunderstanding of the reality of the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, let’s jump to the sports world for a moment, if you don’t mind, and speak of Kobe Bryant and Barry Bonds.

Bonds has been one of our greatest athletes ever, in my opinion, but also the most loathed. That’s not my opinion, that’s the sad reality.

The Miami Marlins are on the verge of hiring the man who has set the all-time record in home runs for a career and single season, and they may get hell for doing it. 

That’s of course, because of his steroid use. Bonds was one of many, maybe the majority of baseball players in the aughts who used performance-enhancing drugs, but nobody was better on them. Combined with his baseball intelligence because of his later years, he was one of the smartest hitters ever when he won four straight MVP’s from 2001-2004.

Another player who wasn’t liked until his twilight years was the Los Angeles Lakers’ Bryant, who said Sunday he’s retiring at the end of this season. And not a moment too soon.

Bryant, to be charitable, has been lousy this season. Look at his field-goal stats this season: 1 for 14 against the Warriors; 6 for 22 against Portland; 3 for 15 against Dallas. And this is his first time he’s played in three years, after his ruptured Achilles, fractured kneecap and ravaged rotator cuff.

Well, at least the Lakers are relevant, as every game this season will be noted more for Kobe’s “last time” playing in all of the various NBA cities. At times, Kobe was the best player in the game since Michael Jordan, and he’ll go down as one of the greatest of all time. Though also a bit of a ball hog.

In other news …

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office responded to state Sen. Jeff Brandes’ request for a legal opinion on whether the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission can hire lobbyists. Their response? Let the PTC decide.

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Florida’s Stand Your Ground law could be changed to put the onus on the state – and not the person who kills someone – to prove that they actually did something wrong.

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And the late Warren Elly will soon be remembered forever at the Hillsborough County Courthouse.

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And the mass killings in San Bernardino were noted at the beginning of Thursday’s Tampa City Council meeting.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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