Good morning, Tampa Bay readers and beyond.
It’s good to be back after taking a few days off to enjoy a lot of great music (the Governors Ball), theatre (“Skylight” and “The Flick”) and art exhibits in New York City (including taking in the brand new Whitney Museum in the meatpacking part of Manhattan). I hope to have the chance to share some observations of those experiences in future pieces.
The big news in the Tampa Bay area continues to be the Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Tampa Bay Lightning now hold a 2-1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks after last night’s victory in Chi-Town.
I’m actually seeing cars with Lightning window flags attached, the clearest manifestation that bandwagon fever has reached large proportions in this town. There’s nothing like a championship run to galvanize a community, so continued best of luck with goalie Ben Bishop and whatever ailment he’s got. But I’ve got my heart in my throat watching the other major sports championship, the NBA Finals, which resume again tonight in Cleveland.
That’s where LeBron James is attempting to do what he said he would a year ago when he ditched Miami to return to Ohio — bring the city of Cleveland a championship. As a lifelong fan of the Golden State Warriors, I’ve got a major problem with that, but damn if that doesn’t seem to be happening here. I’ve still got faith in the Dubs, however — though Steph Curry better get his act together soon.
In political news, Jeb Bush dumped his campaign manager yesterday, a week before he “officially” declares his candidacy for president. Meanwhile, the man who would be the front-runner but isn’t will be in Europe for the rest of the week, speaking in Berlin today, followed by trips to Estonia and Poland. As reported by Bloomberg, Bush’s task on the trip is “to articulate a vision of the U.S.-Europe relationship that is distinct from both the Obama and the George W. Bush administrations, both of which are unpopular there.”
The Florida Democratic Party sent out a snarky email yesterday with five questions that they say Jeb must answer in Germany.
One of them is how he would handle the crisis in Ukraine differently than President Obama. He’ll reportedly say that he favors offering more lethal weapons to the Ukrainians, something that Democrats like Bill Nelson also support. Another question they have is, will he propose to deploy new American troops to Iraq? Since President Obama is being hammered for saying yesterday in Berlin that he and other European allies are still trying to find the best way to defeat ISIS, undoubtedly Bush will have to speak up on that question as well.
All in all, it should be really interesting to see how he does over there.