Florida's Tabloid Leader, the St. Petersburg Times!

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Here's the rule: If you find some evidence that a candidate for governor may have fathered a child he now rejects, you can write about it. You set out the evidence; the candidate flatly denies it; the voters decide. That's what happened in the fall campaign. Done. You don't bring it up again unless you get more evidence. Well, the journalistically-pious St. Petersburg Times is back again this morning on page one, above the fold, with an exclusive! New evidence? Uh, no. Well, then, why? Answer: It interviewed the girl whose mother made the initial allegation, and it turns out the girl has been wondering who her daddy is. Well, OK, then! Page one, above the fold! 124 column-inches of space! Take that, Maury Povich! [Full Disclosure: Yr Editor, along with Gov. Crist, denies that he ever "consummated the act necessary for parenthood with [the woman in question]," and therefore I, too, refuse to take a DNA test, no matter how many times the St. Petersburg Times writes a page-one cuddly about this girl.] [St. Petersburg Times]

Undervotes, Even with Only One Issue on the Ballot?
More than 1,000 Miami-Dade "voters" on Tuesday showed up at the polls, stepped up to the electronic machine, and still didn't vote. The ballot measure passed by almost 60,0000 to 40,000, so it didn't matter Ñ except as part of Florida legend. Y'see, it's true that there's no paper trail with touch-screens, but nearly the same percentage of undervotes showed up on absentee ballots, which are, obviously, all-paper-trail. Suggestions: Some people just do their duty and show up. Some people erroneously believe that they have to show up in order not to get unregistered for the next election. Or, maybe some Floridians have really, really short attention spans. [Miami Herald]

Yet Another F-State Potboiler
A Daytona Beach jury is deliberating this very day on the fate of the alleged hired killer of plumber John Cantaneo, who was done in either by his wife, Karen Tobie, or by the woman who lived next door, Lynne Blake (who allegedly hoped to get custody of the couple's 2-year-old child by framing Tobie). The defendant denied it. Remaining dramatis personae of the trial: "White Mike," "Bear Claw," "T-Money," and of course the defendant, whose name is perhaps the result of near-catatonic scribbling on the birth certificate: Tysjohaun Cooper. [Daytona Beach News-Journal]

More Things To Worry About Today
A referee and a parent got into it after a Merritt Island Christian School basketball game, and "Witnesses reported that they saw chest-butting, finger-poking, and nose-flicking" [Florida Today] . . . . . Key West is an open city but not open enough that you can grow 24 marijuana plants in your yard, easily visible to a passing police officer, so Thomas Merrick, 67, was arrested [WPLG-TV (Miami)] . . . . . Something else you probably didn't know: Sam's Club sells a necklace, right there in the display case, priced at $263,500 (except the one in a Tampa store isn't there anymore because of a smash-and-grab Tuesday) [St. Petersburg Times] . . . . . A Senate committee voted out a general school anti-bullying bill after last year's failed bill that had singled out bullying on hate-group grounds, which Sen. Carey Baker of Eustis was skeptical of: "When I was in elementary school, the kid that got picked on was a redhead. [We're] going to adopt a redhead category?" [Associated Press via Sarasota Herald-Tribune] . . . . . Rich Fella Guy Henderson rented out his Palm Beach mansion to Rich Fella Joel Glazer (VP of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) last yr and is now suing because Glazer and his high-maintenance wife allegedly trashed it (gashes and holes in the floor, sloppy rug and drapery removal, screen damage, mold from permanently open windows in rainy season, and landscaping alterations, plus they ducked out five months early on the lease) [Palm Beach Post] . . . . . A lesson in post-hurricane insurance procedure: A Polk County condominium badly damaged by Charley in 2004 needs at least $25 million in repairs, but the insurance company, 29 months later, has paid out only $265,000 [Tampa Tribune] . . . . . Tomorrow night at the Naples Wine Festival is the biggest event of the year for limo rentals, with nearly 200 booked up and others headed in from the east coast [Naples Daily News].

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