Sunburn for 7/4 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: Happy Birthday, America! Today is Independence Day, marking the day in 1776 that the Continental Congress formally approved an unprecedented Declaration proclaiming the American colonies to be free and independent of Great Britain. Celebrate by wearing your finest red, white and blue attire!

Now, on to the ‘burn…


On July 2nd, 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the 13 American colonies voted to formally separate from Great Britain (New York abstained). On that occasion, John Adams, a future president of the renegade United States, wrote to his wife, Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Continued Adams, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

It was not to be.

Two days later, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by a showoff named Jefferson. (Psst! Look over here!) Ahem…The rest is history.

So Happy Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July. Just remember, it’s Adams who eventually got the HBO miniseries.


Every party has a pooper, that’s why some people go to Fourth of July parties armed with  trivia that casts doubt on conventional wisdom — especially in American history.

When partygoers are lighting fireworks, exclaiming “Isn’t America beautiful?” these historical fact checkers rain the truth on their parade.

Here are 10 “truth firecrackers” to liven up (or put a quick end to) any Independence Day festivities: 1. Baseball, the “All-American” sport, likely came from England; 2. Apple pie is British, too; 3. The melody of the American national anthem comes from an old English drinking song; 4. The Pledge of Allegiance was created for one reason — to sell more flags; 5. Canadians own the Mall of America; 6. Bald eagle screeches are much weaker than the iconic sound, which is actually from the red-tailed hawk ;7. Settlers didn’t tame the American frontier, it was already pretty tame ;8. Hot dogs on the Fourth? Lewis, Clark and the “Corps of Discovery” ate over 200 dogs during the trip; 9. Speaking of wieners … President Lyndon Johnson would frequently pull his out his own “Johnson”; and 10. Independence Day is actually July 2 (see above).



The U.S. Census Bureau is nothing without mountains of data about America, and the Fourth of July is no different.

So, here are some “red, white and blue” stats to chew on for the holiday:

In July 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the newly independent nation. Today, America has grown to 318.4 million.

The U.S. imported about $206.3 million worth of fireworks from China in 2013. In comparison, fireworks exports came to just $10.2 million, with Israel buying $2.7 million, the most of any other country.

Interestingly, the U.S. also imported $3.9 million in American flags from China in 2013, while exporting $781,222 worth of American flags during the same period, with Mexico the leading customer.

The U.S. shared $100 billion in trade with the United Kingdom last year, making our Revolutionary War adversary the sixth-leading trading partner, 239 years after our declared independence.

Chances are the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on the weekend grill came from Texas, which produced 6.1 billion pounds, nearly one-sixth of the nation’s total production.

If the beef is not from the Lone Star State, then it is a good possibility it came from Nebraska, with an estimated 5.1 billion pounds, or Kansas, at 3.7 billion pounds.

Fifty-nine places in the U.S. have the word “liberty” as part of its name. Four are counties: Liberty County, Georgia (population 64,135), Liberty County, Florida (8,349), Liberty County, Montana (2,369) and Liberty County, Texas (76,907). Pennsylvania has the most “liberties”of any other state with 11.

Independence Day also has far-reaching effects on American politics — especially when the holiday is rain-free.

According to Harvard University researchers, political views and behavior stem from social and cultural experiences in early childhood, and the Fourth of July holiday shapes the U.S. political landscape.

Specifically: “Days without rain on Fourth of July in childhood shift adult views and voting in favor of the Republicans and increase turnout in presidential elections. The effects we estimate are highly persistent throughout life and originate in early age. Rain-free Fourth of Julys experienced as an adult also make it more likely that people identify as Republicans, but the effect depreciates substantially after a few years.”

***Happy Independence Day from Bright House Networks Business Solutions, your local leader in advanced communications and networking solutions providing industry-leading Voice, Data, Video, and Managed Services to serve Enterprise needs at any scale.***

U.S. EMPLOYERS ADD ROBUST 288K JOBS IN JUNE via Josh Boak of The Associated Press

U.S. employers accelerated their hiring last month, adding a robust 288,000 jobs and helping drive the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008.

It was the fifth straight monthly job gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. Over the past 12 months, the economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — 208,000 a month, the fastest year-over-year pace since May 2006.

Friday’s report from the Labor Department made clear that the U.S. economy is moving steadily closer to full health after having shrunk at the start of the year.

June’s job gain followed additions of 217,000 jobs in May and 304,000 in April, figures that were both revised upward. Monthly job gains so far this year have averaged 230,833, up from 194,250 in 2013.

The unemployment rate dipped last month to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck at full force in the fall of 2008 with the bankruptcy of the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers.

TWEET, TWEET: @fineout: Today’s news means that the U.S. unemployment rate has now fallen below the rate in Fla. 6.3% vs. 6.1%

***”I think the true discovery of America is before us.  I think the true fulfillment of our spirit, of our people, of our mighty and immortal land is yet to come…” from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Clayton Wolfe.  From our family to yours, our team at Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations wishes you a safe and Happy Independence Day!***


If given the chance, Americans would prefer to have Bubba or the Gipper come to their barbecue this Fourth of July.

A Harris Poll shows that 28% of Americans would prefer to have former President Bill Clinton in their backyard for Friday’s festivities. Former President Ronald Reagan came in second, with 22% of those polled saying they would want the late Republican at their party.

While each got the most support from their respective parties, Clinton and Reagan — who died in 2004 — were nearly even among Independents.

President Barack Obama came in third, with 16% of Americans saying they would want him to stop by and help out on the grill.

Former President George W. Bush didn’t do so favorably, coming in fourth with only 12% saying they would likely send him an invite. But if he was at the party, 29% believe Bush 43 would fall in the pool with his clothes on.

If those polled could have any Founding Father in politics today, the majority sided with either Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson beat his historic rival and presidential predecessor, John Adams, by 27 points in the poll.

Jefferson did most favorable with Republicans, getting 40% of their vote, while Franklin was even among Republicans, Democrats and Independents with 33%

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: “We need your help to keep the promise of 1776” via The Sunlight Foundation

***Happy Independence Day from the Bascom Communications Team!  We wish a safe and happy holiday with family and friends celebrating our great nation. ***


Nan Rich has plenty of disagreements with Charlie Crist, who has refused to debate her and generally acted as if his Democratic rival doesn’t exist. But on the question of Crist releasing his wife’s tax return Rich agrees: He doesn’t have to.

“She’s not running for office,” Rich said in an interview.

Rich said she hasn’t decided about her own tax returns, but that as a state legislator she has long filed financial disclosure reports.

Rich was asked about the Progressive Choice group that is attacking Crist in mailers and on the radio. Rich said she has no idea about the group other than what she has read in the news. “I have nothing to do with them.” But she doubts it’s a Republican front.

“I like their message. It’s a very accurate analysis” of Crist’s history as a Republican.



As you go about celebrating our nation’s birthday over a long holiday weekend, please take a moment to remember all those law enforcement officers who will be protecting you and your loved ones.

These dedicated public servants will be away from the celebrations with their families and friends in order to keep our roads and waterways safe, protect our homes, and maintain the peace in our communities.

So remember, all it takes to show your gratitude is to say a simple “Thank You” when you see one of your proud law enforcement officers this weekend.

***On 3 Public Relations wishes everyone a happy and safe July 4th holiday. Remember in our United States that our beliefs and our debates should be intense, and we should be ever grateful that here, we are able to hold both openly, freely, and proudly. Recall the quote attributed to John Hancock as he affixed his famous signature to the Declaration of Independence: “There!  I guess King George will be able to read that!”***


In the Sunshine State, one does not buy a bottle rocket for recreation; one buys it to scare birds away from farms and fisheries.

That’s right: Explosives for pest control.

Technically speaking, consumer fireworks are illegal in Florida. But nearly 60 years ago, state lawmakers passed an exception — now the only one of its kind in the United States — for fireworks purchases by farms and fish hatcheries.

That’s how vendors, including those in the ubiquitous tents that spring up along Florida roadsides, have gotten around the general fireworks prohibition for years.

They simply ask customers to sign forms saying they’re buying under an agricultural or other exemption. There’s also one for illuminating a stretch of railroad.

Meanwhile, the Legislature hasn’t been moved to change the statewide status quo.

In fact, the only legislation introduced this year essentially would have legalized consumer fireworks. Both House and Senate bills died in committee.


Every year, the Florida Forest Service reminds the public of guidelines for the safe and responsible use of fireworks and fire while celebrating.

Anyone using fireworks should always check with local laws first. Florida Fire Marshal’s Office, as well as local fire and police departments, can also provide guidance.

If you are lighting fireworks, follow these safety tips: observe all fireworks laws for your county or city; light fireworks on a cleared area free of any vegetation or debris; remove any debris from roofs or decks where fireworks could land; always have a water source available in case of a fire.

In addition, the FFS recommends aiming fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas and do not allow young children to light or handle fireworks.

Never use homemade fireworks, always discard used fireworks safely in a bucket of water and report any fires to 911 immediately.

TWEET, TWEET: @TheWillHobson: Anyone else concerned the massive fireworks stands that miraculously appear each July in Florida are usually hosted by gas stations?

HOW A FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS SHOW IS MADE via Julie Kliegman of the Tampa Bay Times

Fourth of July fireworks start long before colored lights dot the sky and Katy Perry’s Firework fades into Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA.

The 20-minute show Dunedin residents will enjoy from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium is run by Fireworks Displays Unlimited, a Tampa branch of a Miami-based pyrotechnics company.

Fireworks Displays Unlimited orders fireworks from China a year in advance, even before Dunedin and about 20 other cities sign on for Fourth of July shows, lead technician Kim Wawrowicz said.

Pulling off the $11,000 fireworks show requires collaboration between city officials, the Blue Jays, the fire marshal and Wawrowicz’s team. They create a safe environment by inspecting the site and making sure the fireworks are far enough away from spectators.

In Dunedin, the fireworks will launch from the field at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School, right by the stadium, rain or shine. They’ll prepare the show as if it will rain, just to be safe, Wawrowicz said.

Only particularly heavy winds could stop the show. That’s a change from last year, when the fireworks were launched from the stadium itself and flooding forced a cancellation.

Donoghue’s office put together a soundtrack that Wawrowicz’s team will synchronize to the explosions. Over 20 minutes, there will be 4,631 explosions. The pace, colors and firework styles of the show vary by city. July Fourth shows are heavy on red, white and blue.

The average show requires at least 20 hours of preparation. That’s about one hour per minute of fireworks.


Every Fourth of July means a run on sales for fireworks shops and tents that dot the First Coast. But when the holiday falls on a Friday, many of those retailers say it’s an extra boom to business.

“We definitely are under a lot more pressure,” said Angie Byrd, general manager of Phantom Fireworks in St. Johns County, one of the largest fireworks retailers in North Florida. “We’re expecting to be very busy.”

The 5,000-square-foot Phantom showroom off Interstate 95 sells the rare exploding and flying fireworks, which are generally outlawed in most counties such as Duval. But Byrd said with Independence Day falling on Friday for the first time in six years, her workers are bracing for more business than on most Independence Days.

Byrd said she has already added more staff to handle the sales that will go late when she expects her store to be slammed. She normally has a staff of about 30 people when the holiday falls in the middle of the week. But when it lands on Friday, she expands that workforce to about 45 people.

Tessie Byrd, who is not related to Angie Byrd, volunteers to run the fireworks sales tent at Beach and Hodges boulevards in Jacksonville as a fundraiser for the Church of the Pentecost, which has been selling Fourth of July favors as a fundraiser for about 15 years. Tessie Byrd said she senses a better year this year.

“Friday’s an excellent day for business,” Tessie Byrd said.

The church also has another fireworks tent on Beach near Southside Boulevard and the two sites usually pull in about $5,000 for the church.

***The Public Affairs Consultants Team of Jack Cory, Keyna Cory and Erin Daly would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July.  Please enjoy the company of family and friends but also take a moment to thank those that make it all possible.  May God bless the United States of America and the Great State of Florida.***


Panama City business executive Jay Trumbull is hosting an Independence Day event to support his House District 6 campaign

. The event begins 8 a.m. at Spot 43 of Lynn Haven’s A.L Kinsaul Park on Missouri Ave. Supporters will receive breakfast and a free T-shirt.

TWEET, TWEET: @LindaStewartFL: I will be out and about on the 4th of July saying hello Where is everyone going maybe I can catch you in District #47

HD 67 CANDIDATE CHRIS LATVALA on “The 56 Men Who Committed Treason” here.

***CoreMessage is a full-service communications and issues advocacy firm with the experience, relationships and expertise to help you get your message out. Connected at the state capitol and throughout Florida, the CoreMessage team unites issues with advocates, messages with media and innovative solutions with traditional tactics to get results. Follow CoreMessage on Twitter and visit them on the Web at***


You don’t get a holiday more American than the Fourth of July. After all, the holiday commemorates the inception of our great nation. Our founders took great personal risk to declare their independence, and created this democratic republic out of their blood, sweat, and philosophical determination. The politics of 1776 were void of ‘registered lobbyists’ — obviously, as in 1776 no formal body existed upon which to lobby. But the things that we associate with Independence Day today, however — fireworks, beer, and “made in USA” flags — are all “lobbied” items.

Here’s a look at the “Fourth of July in Lobbying.”

Travel increases on any holiday that owns a three-day weekend — and on the Fourth of July, no different. Independence Day is one of the most traveled holiday in America, and is the third most dangerous — sadly, over 400 Americans die each year traveling during this holiday.

And when you think travel, and travel safety, you think of AAA. The organization has a strong presence in Florida — employing two lobbyists, Karen MacFarland and H. Lee Moffitt, and headquartering its national office in Seminole County.

AAA spent about $9 million on lobbying activities in 2013, the organization contributed about $25,225 to federal candidates, the vast majority of which went to Republicans. Notable exceptions to this are Florida’s Charlie Justice and President Barack Obama.

Then, there’s fireworks. So far in 2014, the American Pyrotechnics Association contributed $7,000 to four Republican candidates — Jeff Denham of California, Sam Graves of Missouri, and Charlie dent and Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania. In 2012, the organization contributed $14,165 in total, to Sam Graves of Missouri, Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, and $1,000 to Jason Altmire – then, a Pennsylvania Democrat and now the chief of Florida Blue.

TNT Fireworks gave just $4,900 to candidates in 2012 — $2,500 to Mitt Romney, $2,000 to Richard Lugar, $1,000 to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and $400 to Ed Royce.

For a lot of Americans, a festive Fourth means imbibing. We offered a thorough assessment of where the beer and spirits industry stands in the lobbying world in our Memorial Day post, here, but to recap some of the high points:

The National Beer Wholesalers Association alone ranks No. 46 in all federal donations, contributing $1.6 million to candidates so far in 2014, and spending over $1 million on lobbying. During the 2012 campaign cycle, this association contributed over $3.7 million to candidates and spent another $1 million on lobbying.

And now, for the real heart and soul of Independence Day: the American Flag. Even our star-spangled banner has folks on the lobbying front. For example, the American Flag Project donated $3,322 to federal candidates in 2012.

While US flags produced in China have been banned for use by the US military, foreign-made flags still represent the majority of those purchased by Americans. The National Association of Manufacturers, along with the Flag Manufacturers Association of America — and well, most Americans — would like this to be otherwise. The National Association of Manufacturers has spent $7.6 million on lobbying activities so far in 2014, as well as $6,322 in contributions to six Republican federal candidates. In 2012, the organization spent over $9 million on lobbying and contributed $28,900 to federal candidates and committees. The Manufacturers Association of Florida represents itself before the legislature through lobbyists Nancy Stephens and Nancy Black Stewart.

But wait… what about “the bombs bursting in air”? Who lobbies for them? A formidable host of defense contractors, for one. According to, while the “defense sector contributes far less money to politicians than many other sectors, it is one of the most powerful in politics.”

In sum, defense sector political action committees and individuals contributed more than $27 million to political candidates and committees in 2012. So far, in 2014, Lockheed Martin leads the pack, having donated close to $2 million so far. Northrop GrunmanBoeing, and Raytheon are close behind, each donating greater than $1 million in 2014 to date.

As far as your neighborhood parade goes, marching bands, baton artists and float makers appear to be on their own… at least politically, speaking.


For Independence Day, the leading advocacy group for the U.S. electronics industry unveiled an inspiring — and patriotic – video celebrating American innovation as the source of its economic and global power.

But the video also comes with a somber warning of a “storm brewing,” with new threats of “an attack on progress.”

The Innovation Movement, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, is a grassroots effort to focus attention on issues that advance — and a few that hold back — American free enterprise.

“Endless possibilities of Internet freedom are being shackled by limitation,” says the video’s narrator. “Where disruption isn’t valued for its innovation, but feared … because the entrenched are uncomfortable.”

Although the two-minute clip specifically pushes for an open Internet, it also touches on other public policy matters that influence innovation: international trade, skilled immigration, deficit reduction and broadband deployment.

Each of these issues, the video says, is poised to have an influence on the “tidal wave” of innovators, the “best and brightest” who are rising up to provide next great ideas, working basements, garages and dorm rooms.

The video continues by pointing out that outdated laws and regulations are hindering progress, preventing the growth of startups such as app-based services like Uber and Airbnb.

Ending on a patriotic note –“America needs us, and we need America” – the clip offers wanting more information to text “JOIN” to 52886, or visit

APPOINTED: Thomas Grady to the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees.


Oscar Anderson, Alex Setzer, Southern Strategy Group: Productivity Apex, Inc.

Kim Bertron: Franwell, Inc.

Fred Baggett, Gus Corbella, Leslie Dughi, Greenberg Traurig: GrowHealthy Holdings

Kurt Kelly, Natalie Kelly, Acclaim Strategies: Brookdale Senior Living

Charles Morris: Los Angeles Capital Management and Equity Research, Inc.

Roger Sims, Holland & Knight: City of West Palm Beach


The National Football League is hiring a new head of government affairs, according to a posting on the group’s website. “S/he will coordinate activities of individuals who are lobbying for the NFL and will work with other sports and entertainment organizations in Washington which have aligned goals and businesses. Additionally the head of government relations will work directly with the clubs regarding their own political contracts, fund raising programs, community legislative agendas and non-NFL Washington meetings,” the job posting announces. The NFL has three registered lobbyists currently – with the New York-based Adolpho A. Birch currently running point for lobbying efforts in his current position as senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs. The job posting is here, if anyone is interested.


Facing Florida with Mike Vasalinda: General Larry Snowden

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wylie

Political Connections on CF 13: Former state Senator Paula Dockery

The Usual Suspects which airs on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Steve Vancore, Gary Yordon, and Dara “Sparkles Plenty” Kam

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at***


If reigning champion Joey Chestnut wins the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest today, he’ll have broken the seeming curse of the eighth championship.


With the Fourth of July, comes picnics, barbeques, beer – and music.

Although music important part of nearly every Independence Day celebration, the actual songs may vary from different parts of the country, all depending on the culture, geography and taste.

As an interesting experiment, streaming music service Spotify studied all 50 U.S. states, and compared what they are listening to on the Fourth of July.

Using an algorithm designed by Paul Lamere, director of developer platforms for Spotify subsidiary The Echo Nest, the company created the ultimate July 4 playlist, which the company calls “most core to the concept of Independence Day.”

Spotify created an infographic map, showing the most characteristic “Fourth of July” song for each state. For example, in Florida, the most listened-to July 4 song was “America F*ck Yeah: Team America Tribute.”


Invoking the Founding Fathers on Independence Day to celebrate our nation’s birth is a fine thing to do.

Invoking them to score political points? Watch out.

Take, for example, a Facebook post about Benjamin Franklin that circulated in May, a post that was actually aimed at making fun of tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. The meme quotes Bachmann as saying, “This country could use a president like Benjamin Franklin again.”  Of course, Franklin was never president. And we think Bachmann knows that, as well, because she never actually said the quote. We rated the fabricated Facebook meme Pants on Fire.

It’s not just claims on social media. Pundits and politicians get things wrong time and time again when they use the Founding Fathers to support their political views. Over the years, PolitiFact has found numerous errors about what the Founding Fathers supposedly said or did, especially when it comes to constitutional issues and civil rights.

THE TRUTH ABOUT PAUL REVERE’S RIDE brought to you by the Florida Medical Association — “The FMA wishes Sunburn readers a happy Independence Day! We hope you’ll celebrate safely.  We also encourage all Floridians to thank our nation’s Veterans and their families for protecting the freedoms upon which our country was founded.” –FMA Executive Vice President Timothy J. Stapleton

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out this fascinating Paul Revere factoid involving a doctor (on message!) — a young physician was most likely the only Patriot who reached Concord during the famous “midnight ride” of Paul Revere.

The History Channel tells us that “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem about Paul Revere’s ride got many of the facts wrong. For one thing, Revere was not alone on his mission to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other patriots that the British were approaching Lexington on the evening of April 18, 1775. Two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode alongside him, and by the end of the night as many as 40 men on horseback were spreading the word across Boston’s Middlesex County. Revere also never reached Concord, as the poem inaccurately recounts. Overtaken by the British, the three riders split up and headed in different directions. Revere was temporarily detained by the British at Lexington and Dawes lost his way after falling off his horse, leaving Prescott—a young physician who is believed to have died in the war several years later—the task of alerting Concord’s residents.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Friday to my good friend, James Kotas.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.