Quoteworthy

* “Walking away from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) turns our back on America’s closest allies. … The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”–Former President Barack Obama on the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement.

* “If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends.”–Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

* “Two thousand years from now, historians may be lecturing on Trump the way they now discuss, say, the challenge to Roman institutions from Caligula.”–Nicholas Kristof, New York Times.

* “The vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. … But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. … They don’t speak English. … They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills.”–White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

* “Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days, and our reputation has been damaged. There is no other way to say it: AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”–AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

* “If not for the Trump and Cohen peer circle, white-collar prisons would be sitting empty. And this all happened before Trump and Cohen elevated their moral associations even higher by entangling with Russian oligarchs.”–David Brooks, New York Times.

* “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”–Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in explaining the government’s “zero tolerance” border enforcement policy.

* “I would not allow the CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.”–Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA.

* “I believe in the separation of powers, a free press to report without fear or favor, and free to infuriate politicians–including me–as they do.”–Sen. John McCain.

* “There is depth. There is talent. However, there is almost no original reporting. The right has stopped being investigative, stopped being reporters and journalists. It’s occurring precisely at a time when vigorous reporting is most desperately needed.”–Ben Howe, Daily Beast.

* “A tsunami of lies isn’t aimed at getting people to believe what the propagandist is saying. Rather, it’s to induce chronic disbelief, or an indifferent shrug. Who knows what to believe? Who cares? What is truth?”–Charles J. Sykes, Weekly Standard.

* “NRA propaganda hearkens back to an imagined past of white picket fences and financial security. In doing so, it whitewashes the history of guns in American life.”–Jennifer Carlson, Jacobin Magazine.

* “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in the opinion that struck down a federal law banning sports betting.

* “He has unlimited wealth. I have to be smarter, faster, quicker.”–Sen. Bill Nelson, referring to Rick Scott’s financial wherewithal.

* “Part of what I tried to do was reassure them that Tampa is interested in that relationship. That we don’t build walls; we build bridges. And that we are there for the long run. So block out the white noise, the tweets, because that doesn’t reflect America’s relationship with Mexico and certainly not Tampa Bay’s relationship with Mexico.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was part of the recent Global Tampa Bay trade mission to Mexico.

* “Fortune 500 company relocations are really rare. The fact that they chose Hillsborough County is just another testament to the momentum that the city and the county is experiencing right now.”–Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. president and CEO Craig Richard, on the announcement that Minnesota-based Mosaic Co. will be moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County.

* “Green spaces and public parks are the great equalizers. You don’t have to buy a ticket. You just come with your family and create memories.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

* “We have to start asking questions that maybe we have never asked ourselves before. This really implies  that the whole system has to change. The whole structure in our organization has to change.”–Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins, in unveiling a plan to address the 49 district schools with a history of low grades and neglect.

* We don’t need to double down on the bad decisions made in the 1960s to put asphalt through urban cores and destroy those communities.”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp.

* “San Francisco is a very, very cool place, but oftentimes it’s hard to live there because of the sheer size of it and the cost.”–Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp. President J.P. DuBuque, on the rationale behind pitching St. Pete in California. It was the EDC’s first ever business-recruiting trip.

* “I think (the Rays) have to move to Tampa. If you’re staying in the area, it has to move somewhere over there.”–Evan Longoria.

Quoteworthy

* “The world expects us to be concerned with the condition of humanity. We should be proud of that reputation. I’m not sure the president understands that.”–Excerpt from Sen. John McCain’s forthcoming book, “The Restless Wave.”

* “(Trump) sees this (North Korean negotiation) as a Nixon-in-China moment, and he will want to move quickly, where patience is the order of the day.”–Kurt M. Campbell, former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs during the Obama Administration.

* “We give the very best information that we have at the time.”–White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

* “Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump are making it up as they go along. How stupid do they think all of us are?”–Michael Avenatti, attorney for Stormy Daniels.

* “So it comes down to this: The $130,000 that Stormy Daniels got to keep quiet during the campaign was from Trump. But it was not an illicit  campaign contribution. Nonono, it was simply a charitable attempt to protect Melania from a broken heart.”–Gail Collins, New York Times.

* “Republicans on the Hill are bracing for a blue wave. Some have gotten out of the way, some have hunkered down. Mr. Trump is their problem. Whatever magic he has is not transferable. The base continues to shift under your feet.”–Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.

* “We cannot get complacent. We have to win the midterms.”–Donald Trump.

* “We are both dragon energy. He is my brother.”–Rapper Kanye West, in reference to his relationship with Donald Trump.

* “In the beginning of each great electronic media transformation–radio and television and now social media–there have been anxieties that mass communication would enable demagogy and trivialize governance.”–Historian Jon Meacham.

* “There have been times in this office when I’ve wondered how you could do the job if you hadn’t been an actor.”–President Ronald Reagan.

* “There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers. In fact, they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”–Sen. Marco Rubio.

* “Anybody who wants to talk about impeachment in this election, you’re giving a gift to the Republicans, because that’s just all they want to hear, that we want to win because we want to impeach. … It’s about a more positive agenda–better jobs, better pay, better future.”–U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

* “Ending the Trump presidency will not fix, or even substantially ameliorate, most of the problems plaguing the American political system.”–Dylan Matthews, Vox.

* “We must resolve this (China) trade dispute without resorting to job-killing tariffs and retaliation.”–National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay.

* “If the intention of our (immigration) admissions program is to provide ‘durable solutions to the most vulnerable refugees,’ then tackling the English proficiency should be the number one goal. Those who don’t learn our language are doomed to live in the shadows with very little chance of rising out of poverty.”–Mitchell Rolling, American Conservative.

* “This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014.”–Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service, in noting that crude oil prices are at the highest level in more than three years.

* “When he was in his 20s, he was in elective office. When I was in my 20s, I was serving in Iraq.”–Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, in portraying Adam Putnam as a career politician.

* “Right now, we’re waiting for Godot.”–Tampa city Councilman Mike Suarez, a candidate for mayor, on the need for a proactive approach to transit, including the extension of the city’s streetcar line.

* “We’re 35 years behind. We’ve got to get cars off the road. We need a regional system run by an independent agency with bonding power.”–Tom Hall, chairman of the Tucker/Hall PR firm.

* “We’re aggressively looking for private capital, private developers, to build a stadium.”–Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill.

* “I think for most officers, the chances of a camera helping you are far greater than the chances of it hurting you.”–Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent.

Media Matters

* I’ve often said “Doonesbury” should be on the editorial page–not sharing comics space with “Dennis the Menace” and “Hagar the Horrible.” Most recent case in point: the absolute, spot-on skewering of evangelicals who have, unconscionably and hypocritically, supported Donald Trump. You go, Gary.

* Wouldn’t it be rhetorically easier to take the fair and societally-beneficial side of “felon voting rights” if, every time the issue were debated or chronicled or headlined in the media, the reference was to “former felon” or “ex-felon” voting rights? Psychologically, it may help if we underscored that we are considering the status of those, violent-crime category excluded, removed from felonious ways and deserving of a return to full-citizen status. And, as noted previously in this column, this would be a step in the direction of enlightened self-interest, because disenfranchised former felons have disturbingly high recidivism rates.

Quoteworthy

* “Donald Trump convinced North Korea and China he was serious about bringing about change. We’re not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.”–South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

* “We should not harbor any illusions; Europe is far too weak and divided to stand in for the U.S. strategically. And without U.S. leadership, the West cannot survive.”–Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

* “(Donald Trump) wants the United States to become a mercenary power, protecting only those countries willing to pay for their protection, so he can concentrate on making America great again at home. But the hard lessons learned throughout history suggest the best way for the United States to care for its own interests is by investing in the security of its allies.”–William Drozdiak, author of “Fractured Continent.”

* “We in the intelligence world have dealt with obstinate and argumentative presidents through the years. But we have never served a president for whom ground truth really doesn’t matter.”–Michael V. Hayden, former director of the CIA.

* “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. Post-truth is pre-fascism.”–Historian Timothy Snyder, author of “On Tyranny.”

* “Never believe the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). Very important. Never believe them.”–White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, in rejecting CBO reports that the tax cut would raise the national debt by $1 trillion over a decade.

* “The opportunity here is not to suggest a ticket of moderates. I think that we’re speaking to what nobody else is, the ability to work together in a bipartisan way.”–Former Republican Congressman David Jolly, on the possibility he could be on a Florida Democratic gubernatorial ticket with former Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy.

* “It’s Time to Name the Betrayers Who Voted For Gun Control.”–Title of a letter recently circulated by Marion Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist.

* “If this state can ban people from voting but can’t ban weapons on our streets, that’s sick.”–The Rev. R.B. Holmes, an organizer of the recent Tallahassee march in support of Amendment 4, the statewide citizens’ initiative to restore the right to vote to former felons in Florida.

* “Tampa has got extraordinary potential.”–Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson.

* “The I-4 corridor is precisely the location where future Hillsborough County growth should occur.”–Ryan Sampson, immediate past president of NAIOP Tampa Bay, the trade organization that represents commercial real estate developers, owners and investors.

* “You can’t buy that kind of media exposure. It’s important to keep that high profile.”–Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, on the value of having an NHL franchise advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Media Matters

* Amid the headlines of continued momentum in Florida job creation–and another month of unemployment under 4 percent–comes this sobering note. The only sector to actually lose jobs in the last year was information, which includes media outlets. The info sector lost another 500 jobs in March. That amounts to 1,700 lost jobs over the year.

* “With all due respect.” “Thoughts and prayers.” How rare is it that either of these phrases actually means what was articulated.

* For once, wouldn’t you like to see a yes-or-no question addressed to a politician be responded to with a yes-or-no answer? More often than not, the first word of the response is: “Look.” That telegraphs that a talking-points-agenda response is on its inevitable way. Again.

* Time was that Pulitzer Prizes meant journalism awards. Of course they did. From breaking news, investigative reporting and editorial cartooning to national and international reporting to editorial and feature writing to commentary and criticism. Non-journalism categories meant fiction, biography and history. Music was later added.

This year’s music winner: rap star Kendrick Lamar, the first nonclassical or nonjazz artist to do so. Still seems out of tune with Pulitzer Prize purpose.

* Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and smartest Bush brother, the one who didn’t become president, was given the honor of prime time eulogist for his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush. And he delivered. Compassionate, loving, respectful and humorous–from his mom’s “benevolent dictatorship” that “wasn’t always benevolent” to feeling her post-life presence advising him to “keep it short.” Well done, Jeb!

* That was one appallingly scary photo of Southwest Airlines passengers wearing their oxygen masks improperly when their lives hung in the balance. A reminder for passengers to actually pay attention to the flight attendant’s instructions. Maybe this will turn out to be a teachable moment. Maybe.

Quoteworthy

* “In the face of authoritarianism, the response is not authoritarian democracy but the authority of democracy.”–French President Emmanuel Macron.

* “Hungary and Poland are turning the clock back to Europe’s darkest hours. … Taken to its end point, the new Hungarian and Polish authoritarianism means danger. It is more dangerous because Trump’s despot-coddling America has disappeared as a countervailing force. The president has ceased upholding the values that advance liberty.”–Roger Cohen, New York Times.

* “Intent is the problem when you’ve got a (Syrian) regime that loves using (chemical weapons). You either have to deter the regime from using it by imposing significant costs, or you have to get rid of the regime. But there is no way you can get rid of the capability.”–Michael Knights, fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

* “It isn’t all about Donald Trump. Mr. Trump came from the chaos, but didn’t cause it. He just makes it worse each day by adding his own special incoherence. The party’s intellectual disarray both preceded and produced him.”–Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.

* “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”–James Comey, in “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”

* “Barbara Bush was the First Lady of the Greatest Generation.”–Presidential historian Jon Meacham.

* “Your privacy is disappearing because it is profitable for it to disappear, just as it is profitable to dig fossil fuels out of the ground or to deny health care to millions of Americans. A small number of people get very rich, while everybody else suffers the personal, social and ecological consequences.”–Ben Tarnoff, Jacobin Magazine.

* “What compelling government interest is served by felon disenfranchisement. This is not a legitimate objective for elected officials to pursue.”–George Will, Washington Post.

* “Rick Scott is going to shake down Washington–not shake up Washington. Scott cannot run against insiders when they’re funding his campaign.”–Florida Democratic Party spokesman Sebastian Kitchen.

* “Most of our election officials in Florida, I believe, with all due respect, are overconfident. I don’t think they fully understand the nature of the threat.”–Sen. Marco Rubio, in warning election officials of Florida’s vulnerability to election-system hacking.

* “Politicians come and go, but the fundamental relationship between our two countries remains, and it’s a relationship developed over centuries, a relationship of blood.”–Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in remarks to local business leaders.

* “With only three municipalities, Hillsborough ranks dead last among similar counties in Florida in the number of incorporated areas. … With so few incorporated areas, Hillsborough has taken on the traditional role of a city. … The formation of new cities might be the answer to maintaining a high level of service, with a model of government closest to the people.”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White.

* “This is, in my mind, raw partisan politics. This is commissioners trying to draw districts for themselves to keep themselves on the commission.”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, one of the commission’s two Democrats, on a plan to eliminate at-large, countywide seats and move to a commission comprised of nine single-member districts.

* “We think it’s going to be the front door of downtown Tampa.”–Larry Feldman, president of Feldman Equities, on recently released plans for Riverwalk Place, which is being touted as the tallest building on Florida’s West Coast.

* “(The Rays) realize, as all teams do, that the world of sports financing is changing and everyone is having to adapt.”–Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill.

Quoteworthy

* “What we are returning to is great-power politics.”–Derek Shearer, former American ambassador to Finland, on an apparent shift in the post-World War II global political structure.

* “(Putin’s) biggest vulnerability is his diplomatic loneliness. He has nothing close to the web of alliances and partnerships that have anchored the United States and its partners. … Putin knows that the longer he is denied foreign direct investment, the further behind his economy will fall.”–William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former American ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008.

* “The risks of escalation are clear. Threats to the U.S.-China relationship are the most dangerous for global growth.”–Adam Slater, global economist at Oxford Economics.

* “China is the problem. Blame China, not Trump.”–White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

* “Brazil is very interesting as a case study, in the sense that the corruption is not in the politics. The corruption IS the politics.”–Brazilian director and screenwriter Jose Padilha.

* “Must pass tough laws and build the WALL. Democrats allow open borders, drugs and crime!”–President Donald Trump.

* “If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.”–Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state (1997-2001) and author of “Fascism: A Warning.”

* “We’re already going there to deliver mail and bills and advertising, so the marginal cost of delivering an extra package is not high.”–Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers, in refuting Trump’s claim about the Post  Office “losing a fortune” in working with Amazon. In 2017, package delivery accounted for the Post Office’s largest revenue increase.

* “Mr. Pruitt’s goal is simple: No studies, no data, no rules.”–Former E.P.A. Administrator Gina McCarthy, in reference to the current E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt.

* “Congress must hold ourselves to a higher standard and regain the trust of the American people.”–Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, the GOP campaign chief.

* “Intractable.” How Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, characterized Congress on the issue of effectively dealing with gun violence.

* “Eighty percent of white evangelicals would vote against Jesus Christ himself if he ran as a Democrat.”–Amy Sullivan, co-host of the podcast Impolite Company.

* “Less than a handful of political leaders in this country have more knowledge and experience than Hillary Clinton. This should be obvious. The need for continuing contributions should be obvious. It’s both astonishing and appalling that it should even be questioned.”–Laurence Lewis, Daily Kos.

* “Since World War II, there is in fact little evidence that military spending provides the Keynesian function of stimulating the economy. Key economic thinkers, including Adam Smith, have long viewed military expenditures as an impediment to economic progress because they are merely outlays for goods and services and not investments.”–William Felice, professor of political science at Eckerd College.

* “In a time of crisis, the peoples of the world must rush to get to know each other.”–Cuban revolutionary icon José Martí.

* “The signal fact of Mr. Zuckerberg is that he is supremely gifted in one area–monetizing technical expertise by marrying it to a canny sense of human weakness. Beyond that, what a shallow and banal figure.”–Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.

* “Hyperloop produces its own energy by using solar, wind, kinetic energy or, depending on the climate, even geothermal energy. So the operational costs are very, very low. … There’s no rail line, no metro line, in the whole world that’s profitable.”–Dick Ahlborn, co-founder and CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which is pursuing the concept of traveling in tubes at the speed of sound.

* “It is too early to tell if the Democratic wave in 2018 will be a surge or a tsunami, but one thing is clear: It will be too strong for Rick Scott to overcome.”–Statement from the Democratic group American Bridge 21st Century.

* “Here in the 21st century, we know how to produce things in our economy without dumping chemicals into our rivers. And for those facilities that won’t change on their own, we need robust enforcement of our clean water laws, including tough penalties so that it doesn’t pay to pollute.”–Jennifer Rubiello, director of Environmental Florida.

* “If you let businesses and families make the right decisions and not have government confiscate it, state revenues will be just fine.”–Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who emphasizes that he has signed a “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” to oppose and veto any effort to raise taxes in Florida.

* “From draining Florida’s public school funding–driving our state to the bottom of the country in per-pupil funding–to refusing the high-speed rail funding that would have improved transportation along the I-4 corridor, Rick Scott has done nothing but put himself ahead of what’s best for Floridians.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

* “I’m fed up. Something has to change, and it begins by electing individuals who are not scared of or beholden to the NRA but who will do what is right for our children, students, teachers and communities.”–Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa.

* “The activist options for teachers and education staff professionals are somewhat limited. Walking off the job or reporting to work late is not an appropriate action, and it comes with harsh consequences.”–From a statement by the Florida Education Association.

* “If it feels like we’re getting busy around here, that’s because we really are.”–Chris Minner, TIA’s executive vice president of marketing and communications, in noting that in February the airport saw a 12.5 percent increase in passengers compared to the same month last year, the largest monthly increase in more than a decade. Spirit and Frontier airlines were the biggest drivers of the growth.

* “So much is first building awareness and building excitement about it. Ultimately, we’ve got to get to every Little League. We’ve got to get to every neighborhood association. It’s not just a downtown thing or a business community thing.”–Mike Griffin, vice chairman of Tampa Bay Rays 2020, chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and senior managing director of the Tampa office of Savills Studley Occupier Services, an international real estate solutions firm.

Quoteworthy

* “Where once (Vladimir Putin) seemed out of step with the liberalizing West, he now seems to be the vanguard of a new generation of leaders–in Turkey, Hungary, Italy and even America–who are challenging it. He offers no coherent or comprehensive ideology, as Communism once did, but rather an amorphous model for protecting national sovereignty against international organizations.”–Steven Lee Myers, author of “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin.”

* “He is a fervent believer in pre-emptive war.”–Maureen Dowd, New York Times, on John Bolton, Donald Trump’s new national security adviser.

* “(Bolton) generally disparages international law.”–Amnesty International.

* “The full truth is that it’s stone-cold stupidity on his part if he actually did.”–Attorney Paul Rosenzweig, formerly part of Ken Starr’s independent counsel team, on whether Trump lead lawyer John Dowd floated the idea of a pardon for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.

* “The president divides the Right while he unifies the Left.”–Jonah Goldberg, National Review.

* “A shallow, lazy ignoramus.”–Updated assessment of the president by former Trumper-turned-critic Ann Coulter.

* “I think Trump is royally pissed about the Mueller subpoena of the Trump Organization records. He fears the nakedness of his true business activities  being revealed far more than the shame of ‘Access Hollywood’ or Stormy Daniels.”–Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

* “As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not have to be this hard to serve your country.”–Dr. David J. Shulkin, former secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

* “Without Facebook, we wouldn’t have won.”–What Theresa Hong, a member of the digital arm of the Trump presidential campaign, told the BBC.

* “We must demand that legislators and regulators get tougher. They should go after Facebook on antitrust grounds.”–University of Virginia media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, the author of “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.”

* “One thing our campaign was never able to move beyond was the vexing issue of Hillary’s emails. … I have weathered a lot of political crises, but never encountered one quite like this. It was a box we could never get out of.”–Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri, author of “Dear Madam President.”

* “Much of what’s going on with Oprah Winfrey and (actress-New York gubernatorial candidate) Cynthia Nixon–and what went on with Trump–is about the lazy deference to celebrities in these fame-mad times.”–Frank Bruni, New York Times.

* “What Cambridge Analytica did was, in many ways what Facebook was optimized for–collating personal information about vast numbers of people in handy packets that could then be used to try and sell them something.”–Will Oremus, Slate.

* “We made mistakes. There’s more to do. And we need to step up and do it.”–Mark Zuckerberg, in a post on, uh, Facebook.

* “We should be concerned about automated driving. We should be terrified about human driving.”–Bryant Walker Smith, University of South Carolina technology analyst.

* “But they’re tiny steps.”–U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s characterization of the Florida Legislature’s steps toward gun reform.

* “It’s shocking, and it’s embarrassing.”–Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida, on this state’s stance on felon voting rights that have resulted in an estimated 1.5 million disenfranchised voters.

* “When unemployment gets this low, it becomes increasingly difficult to see further decreases. I think it will drift a little lower, but we are certainly closing in on full employment in the labor market.”–UCF economist Sean Snaith, on Florida’s unemployment rate of 3.9 percent for the sixth straight month. The February unemployment rate for Tampa Bay was 3.6 percent.

* “It is ours for the taking. We put our minds to it, together, collectively, as a group, five to 10 years from now we will be the leader in Florida, if not the Southeast, in terms of startup activity entrepreneurialism, which will do wonders for the culture of the area and the growth of this area overall.”–Jeff Vinik, speaking at the Synapse Innovation Summit at Amalie Arena.

* “Our vision is to inspire a transformative, truly walkable district connecting downtown Tampa and (the)West Shore Business District.”–Nicholas Haines, CEO and master developer of Bromley Cos., on plans for Midtown Tampa, a $500 million, mixed-use project at the southeast corner of I-275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.

* “We think Tampa is the next great Florida market. And if you look at Tampa and put a pin down in the center of it all, it’s just a spectacular site.”–Reid Boren, managing partner of Two Roads Development and a partner with Larry Feldman on the 50-plus-story Riverwalk Place on South Ashley Drive, site of what was once to be the Trump Tower Tampa project.

* “I have one fundamental role … to make sure it’s real BRT. That’s what I’m dedicated to doing.”–Jim Holton, chairman of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, in advocating for a bus rapid transit line that uses dedicated lanes for the full St. Petersburg to Tampa route.

* “It’s an experiment worth pursuing. The problem for us is the cost.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn on police body cameras.

Quoteworthy

* “There will always be change. And I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas.”–President Donald Trump.

* “Our country learned about trade the hard way when the 1929 recession worsened into the Great Depression. Politicians tried to help workers with protectionism like the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930. Our trading partners retaliated, global trade decreased, the Depression was lengthened and everyone lost. The lesson: Trade wars have no winners.”–Alan Green, economics department chairman at Stetson University.

* “When it comes to Mr. Mueller, he is following the evidence where it takes him, and I think it’s very important he be allowed to do his job without interference, and there are many Republicans who share my view.”–Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

* “Public life on the whole has remained surprisingly calm. A significant factor in keeping the peace has surely been anticipatory catharsis: The widespread expectations of a big Democratic wave in the coming midterm elections are containing and channeling that indignation, helping to maintain order.”–Charlie Savage, author of “Power Wars: The Relentless Rise of Presidential Authority and Secrecy.”

* “(Trump’s) poorly briefed, malleable, crass and dishonest, and all he cares about is how he comes across in the press. Which makes it damn-near impossible for any self-respecting conservative to understand him, anticipate his positions or trust him on policy.”–Florida-based, Republican consultant Rick Wilson.

* “The upset in Pennsylvania wasn’t just a harbinger of likely Democratic gains to come. It also showed the bankruptcy of all the political strategies Republicans have used to distract voters from an unpopular agenda.”–Paul Krugman, New York Times.

* “Trump should be primaried in 2020.”–Former Florida Congressman David Jolly.

* We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns and increasingly divisive echo chambers. We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service or our inability to address it fast enough.”–Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

* “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world.”–Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, on the passing of physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking.

* “He doesn’t know anything about state government or the issues facing the people of Florida. He can’t talk about that. He has to talk about Mueller and Deep State conspiracies and the Wall and hitting all the usual right-wing, populist trigger phrases.”–Florida GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich on why Republican Congressman–and Florida gubernatorial candidate–Ron DeSantis has to rely on Fox News appearances to close the gap with Adam Putnam.

* “Hey, Tom, this is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers. Calling to, uh, share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend.”

* “We have learned an awful lot from our delivery pilot. The concept of saving time is just as important as saving money.”–Tom Ward, Walmart’s vice president of digital operations, after using Tampa Bay as one of its test areas for grocery delivery.

* “We came out very well. Certainly an improvement over last year.”–Brandon Wagner, head of legislative affairs for Hillsborough County, on how Gov. Scott’s veto pen impacted county priorities. Hillsborough’s top (veto-surviving) priority was $5 million for Big Bend Road.

* “When the day’s done, we’re a Tampa Bay area company, and maybe a derivative of that is we’re a St. Pete company.”–Jabil CEO Mark Mondello, on the electronics manufacturer’s plans to invest an estimated $67 million expanding its corporate headquarters in the Gateway area of St. Petersburg.

SNL Skitheads

Last week’s opening skit of “Saturday Night Live” was awful. It was an awkward, unfunny reach: Call it “Robert Mueller Meets The Bachelor.” Granted, it can’t be Alec Baldwin every week, but this, frankly, was worse than humorless and cringe-worthy.

More problematic, it was also grist for the Trump millers who complain about the biased mainstream media. Defending satire, especially the quality, spot-on variety, is not an issue. It’s part of a society-prodding, literary tradition across the ages. But when it comes across as badly scripted, pro forma cheap shots, it does a disservice to the media, which has more than enough to contend with these days.