* “I’m confident that we will keep the economic pressure in place until such time as Chairman Kim fulfills the (denuclearization) commitment he made to President Trump back in June in Singapore.”–Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

* “(The U.S.) will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this hemisphere.”–National Security Adviser John Bolton, in announcing new sanctions being imposed on Venezuela and Cuba and additional penalties against Nicaragua.

* “Scholars are still struggling to understand what will happen to democracy, whose growth stalled over a decade ago and may now be receding. … We had long thought that democracies in regions like Latin America or Southeast Asia would catch up to those in the West. And maybe they will. Or maybe we had it backward all along.”–Max Fisher, New York Times.

* “The world of inequality, corruption and violence (Central Americans) are fleeing is a world that American elites have helped build. To shrug off the struggles the region confronts today is to deny responsibility for decade after decade of neocolonial meddling.”–Miles Culpepper, Jacobin Magazine.

* “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the majority rather than giving his opinions on birthright citizenship, something he knows nothing about!”–President Donald Trump.

* “We’ll go up to anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border.”–Donald Trump.

* “In this campaign, fear is what’s on the Republican menu. Peace and prosperity? Mere side dishes.”–Bret Stephens, New York Times.

* “The fake news media, the true enemy of the people, must stop the open and obvious hostility and report the news accurately and fairly.”–Donald Trump.

* “Denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad. As a political tactic, it may be brilliant, but it comes with a larger cost to the cause of freedom.”–Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Senate candidate from Utah.

* “(Presidents) heal. They unite. They inspire. … It’s not in Donald Trump’s software to do this.”–Historian Michael Beschloss.

* “The president is trying to heal the country.”–White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

* “Being in (Trump’s) orbit, I think, has been good for me and good for him. … I enjoy his company. I’ve spend more time talking to him than any president–all of them combined.”–South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

* “It is now impossible to have intellectual integrity and a conscience while remaining a Republican  in good standing. … Those who remain are either fanatics willing to do anything in pursuit of power, or cynics willing to go along with anything for a share of the spoils.”–Paul Krugman, New York Times.

* “One election won’t eliminate racism or sexism or homophobia … but it will be a start. And when you start down that path, momentum starts to build.”–Former President Barack Obama.

* “One unintended effect of Donald Trump is that has alleviated fears of people who thought they were unqualified for office.”–Sayu Bhojwani, founder of New American Leaders.

* “Our debts are growing faster than our means to discharge them. It strains credulity to think that our creditors are unaware of the fact. Some of us fret about foreign hackers tilting American elections with lies. We should all spare a worry about hackers causing a bond-market crisis by spreading the truth.”–James Grant, Weekly Standard.

* “The economy is roaring, but the mood is so sour. It’s a very sad time in this country.”–South Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo.

* “The key distinction is the number of people per vehicle. Without pretty radically increasing the number of people per vehicle, autonomous systems will increase total miles traveled.”–Transportation planner Jerry Walters.

* “Cyber. Could be banks. Could be transportation systems. Could be communications systems. It’s going to happen.”–Former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart on what he thinks will be the next major threat.

* “I voted for Andrew Gillum. The reason is simple: It’s because I’ve served with Ron DeSantis.”–Former Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly.

* “Drinking and driving in the Tampa Bay area is a public health epidemic.”–Larry Coggins, executive director of the West Central Florida chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

* “Without a dedicated funding source, we’ll never break gridlock.”–Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill.

* “This next phase, we hope, is going to be a bridge (between) a seasonal service and a permanent ferry service that connects our communities.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.


* “What’s clear is that the only options on the table now from the prime minister are a bad Brexit deal, or no deal whatsoever.”–London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who joined some 700,000 people taking part in London’s “People’s Vote March.” Britain is scheduled to leave the EU this March.

* “Empires often think they can make some little mistakes … because they’re so powerful. But when the number of these mistakes keeps growing, it reaches a level they cannot sustain.”–Russian President Vladimir Putin, in reference to the U.S.

* “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s police and military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the southern border of the United States. I have alerted the Border Patrol and military that this is a national emergency.”–President Donald Trump.

* “The Saudis satisfy American greed, deftly playing their role as dollar signs in robes.”–Maureen Dowd, New York Times.

* “You have never participated in an election that is as consequential as this election nationally and locally.”–Former Vice President Joe Biden, at a Democratic rally in Las Vegas.

* “If you want to protect America’s laws, borders, sovereignty and even your dignity, you need to go out today and vote.”–Donald Trump, at a Republican rally in Elko, Nevada.

* “It’s very simple–November 6, up or down vote. Up or down vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump.”–Former Trump chief strategist Steve  Bannon.

* “Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out.”–Former First Lady Michelle Obama.

* “It depends on where Republicans are going low. If they’re going low in North Dakota, you offer to build a bridge to bring them back. If they’re going low in Brooklyn, New York, you hit them on the head with a two-by-four.”–Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

* “The only problem with a president who talks too much is that he might make his ignorance obvious. That’s why presidents get briefed, rehearse talking points, do practice sessions before facing the media and generally never do what Trump does, which is to wing it.”–Mike McCurry, former Clinton Administration press secretary.

* “(Trump) lives in the eternal now–no history, no consequences.”–Michael Gerson, former speech writer for President George W. Bush.

* “Intelligence is all about context … (Trump) gives weight to data based on who told him, not the evidentiary stack underneath it.”–Michael V. Hayden, former CIA director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

* “Trump’s edge over everybody: He can do no wrong because he’s all wrong. He never really shocks because he’s a perpetual shock.”–Frank Bruni, New York Times.

* “I took the (DNA) test and released the results for anyone who cares to see because I’ve got nothing to hide. What are YOU hiding @realDonaldTrump? Release your tax returns–or the Democratic-led House will do it for you soon enough. Tick-tock, Mr. President.”–Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

* “The one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view. … We’re not satisfied with the way ‘Obamacare’ is working.”–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

* “(Mitch) McConnell and (Paul) Ryan represent Wall Street interests that for years have been salivating at the prospect of using privatization schemes to get their hands on so-called ‘entitlement programs.'”–John Nichols, the Nation.

* “For most Americans, climate change has always been something that might happen in the future, but it hasn’t happened yet. That reality is changing. … Voters deserve lawmakers who would rather protect them from disasters than protect them from the truth.”–Emily Atkin, New Republic.

* “It’s highly targetable. It’s inexpensive. Until we screw it up, it’s the Holy Grail.”–Republican political consultant Alex Patton, on the increasing use of campaigns sending huge numbers of unsolicited texts to voters with the assistance of new apps and programs.

* “What ‘stand your ground’ has done is taken an unnecessary killing and made it into a justifiable killing.”–Bob Dekle, retired assistant state attorney and former University of Florida law professor.

* “(Funding education) should not be a partisan issue. Our environment should not be a partisan issue.”–Debra Bellanti, Democratic challenger to Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo for Florida’s District 60 House seat.

* “Looking at the month-to-month numbers, we are seeing continuous improvement in the Florida and Gulf Coast economies with solid job gains.”–PNC chief economist Gus Faucher. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in September. Tampa Bay’s rate plunged to 2.9 percent–with  Hillsborough County at 2.8 percent.

* “A huge win. Baker McKenzie will bring great prestige to Tampa and help fuel our increasing momentum.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn, on the announcement that Baker McKenzie, a global law firm, would be opening a new business services center in Tampa with more than 300 new jobs.

* “This is more than just a transportation issue. It’s an economic prosperity issue and a competitive issue.”–Craig Richard, CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., on the significance of passing the sales tax for transportation upgrades.

* “Compared to Miami and Sarasota, Tampa Bay offers tremendous value.”–Bob Glaser, president and CEO of Smith & Associates Real Estate.

Abominable Autocratic Agendas

You don’t have to be a journalist to be worried about America’s eroding First Amendment and “enemy of the people” demonization of the media by this unprecedented president. Attacking and scape-goating the press are on every authoritarian’s bucket list. Always have been.

Too bad “American exceptionalism” doesn’t preclude autocracy. There was a day when we could criticize, sans hypocrisy, the usual cast of right-wing strongmen: from Russia and the Philippines  to banana republics and Middle East “stans.”

No longer.

Now, attacking the U.S. media–with certain sell-out and alt-Reich exceptions–is an MO for governing and keeping a Trump cult-following base stoked.

We’ve seen the domestic impact of the Oval Office avatar of “fake news” on our democracy in the era of “alternative facts.” Ask Jim Acosta what it’s like to cover a race-baiting, isolationist-promoting, mainstream media-bashing, Trump rally. George Wallace never looked so polished and presidential.

It has even impacted foreign relations.

Anyone think that the ratcheting controversy over the suspicious disappearance–if not dismemberment–of Saudi Arabian-born, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is coincidental to what has been happening here at home?

You’d have to be clueless to think that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the imperiously despotic “reformer” who doesn’t suffer critics, didn’t see some signals he liked from the Trump Administration. Most notably, arms-sales money talks and dissenting media opinions walk–if they’re ambulatory. Besides, who can account for “rogue killers”?

The United States is not a macro version of Las Vegas. What happens here doesn’t stay here. The rest of the world–from the Moscow puppet master to the Saudi Prince of Darkness–take it all in.  And play Trump–and America–accordingly.


* “They do nothing without our approval.”–President Donald Trump on America’s relationship with South Korea.

* “There is very little evidence to suggest that Haley served Trump as an ‘adult in the  room.’ She was an ally, an apologist and an acolyte of a man she once recognized as irresponsible. That’s not how able diplomats operate, and Nikki Haley will never be confused with an able diplomat.”–John Nichols, The Nation.

* “We are talking to the European Union again, we are talking to Japan again, and we are moving to what I have characterized as a trade coalition of the willing to confront China.”–Larry Kudlow, White House economic adviser.

* “They’re going to use these bilateral deals to strong-arm countries into lining up behind the U.S. on China. But when we get there, what’s the next step? I don’t know what the endgame is.”–Mary E. Lovely, Syracuse University economics professor and a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

* “The Fed’s going loco. … I think the Fed has gone crazy.”–President Donald Trump.

* “Free societies do not die overnight. The growth of a climate of intellectual fear is one sign of their weakening. So are the development of a personality cult, the stripping of meaning from language and the spread of disorientation.”–Roger Cohen, New York Times.

* “The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela. If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run healthcare is just the beginning.”–Donald Trump.

* “Today, with President Donald Trump in office and some countries embracing explicitly nationalist policies, the United Nations has become the symbol of the fading internationalist dream. The choice between ‘America First’ and ‘the international community’ could hardly be starker.”–Martin Perez, former editor-in-chief of The New Republic.

*”While Democrats are largely ducking the topic on the campaign trail, few in Washington doubt that impeachment will be on the table if they win the House on Nov. 6.”–Peter Baker, New York Times.

* “Should American citizens get a new Bill of Rights for the internet? Given all the damage that tech companies have done, including the disaster of the week–a breach at Facebook that exposed tens of millions of accounts and maybe lots more–many Democrats think the answer is yes.”–Kara Swisher, editor at large for Recode, producer of the Recode Decode podcast.

* “From now until November 6th, we’re going to remind voters that they have the power to move the needle on issues like affordable health care, racial justice and climate change.”–Carly Cass, youth director for NextGen Florida, an offshoot of Tom Steyer’s NextGen America. NextGen Florida has registered more than 50,000 Floridians to vote ahead of next month’s general election.

* “The best time to get vaccinated is in October. It takes two weeks for the body to produce antibodies to fight the flu. You don’t want to get it too late.”–Dr. John Morrison, Florida Hospital family medicine physician.

* “Florida does have this kind of disaster amnesia. You’re in that build-disaster-rebuild mode like the old rinse-wash-repeat shampoo commercial.”–Steve Ellis, vice president of Washington-based, Taxpayers for Common Sense.

* “The president is not only inept, he’s prejudiced, he’s a narcissist, he’s angry, he’s not fit to be president. State attorneys general are a line of defense.”–Florida democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw.

* “If we’re going to continue the progress that we made under the last three governors of the state of Florida and Republican leadership, we’re going to need to elect Ron DeSantis as our next governor.”–Republican state Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon.

* “As governor, one of the things you have to do effectively is work constructively with the administration in Washington, and I think people running who say they want to impeach Trump, well, when you become governor and that’s your position, how the hell are you going to get anything done for us?”–Ron DeSantis.

* “What Tampa (Bay) has in common with other top 10 cities is that its employment base is growing, its population is growing and the result is an engine for continued economic prosperity.”–Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PwC US and co-author of “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019,” which ranked the top American markets for real estate in 2019. Dallas/Fort Worth was ranked no 1; no other Florida market made the top 10.

* “We have a huge transportation problem in this community. We bring people in here to the airport at 500 miles an hour, and then they just stop. We have do something about this.”–TIA CEO Joe Lopano.

* “If it passes there, I think it helps us talk about it here again.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, on the ramifications of Hillsborough County passing a transportation sales tax.

* “I fully acknowledge the district’s funding issues are not our responsibilities. However, I cannot sit back and ignore the issues facing hundreds of thousands of our children.”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, on how the county can help the school district tackle its air-conditioning crisis and other critical maintenance priorities.

* “I was shocked. They’ve endorsed me in 10 previous elections since 1992.”–Hillsborough County Republican Commissioner Victor Crist, in response to not getting the endorsement of the Greater Tampa Realtors.

Media Matters

* “Drastic independence.” That was what Joseph Pulitzer–yes, that Pulitzer–argued for when it comes to the relationship between editors and publishers–as well as from government and the general public. Today that would win you a prize for naiveté.

* “I don’t like to hear (“fake news”) aimed at my colleagues, but it’s just white noise now. It has never affected what we do.” That was NBC News Anchor Lester Holt, who was in town this week as part of the network’s “Across America” series. That was a very tactful and professional way of characterizing something that has most media members fuming off camera. Ask Jim Acosta.

* The media spotlight that made Dr. Christine Blasey Ford a household name and a White House nemesis, has adversely impacted her a helluva lot more than less-than-credible, newly-minted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “This has been terrifying,” said Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz. “(She and her family) are not living at home. … The threats have been unending.”

In the aftermath of that deplorable SCOTUS crucible, we’re left with a sobering societal message to women wanting to come forward about being victimized by sexual predators. Thanks again, Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and, yes, Susan Collins.

* Where politics, partisanship, opportunism, the Fox network and show business converge: Hope Hicks, former Trump Organization director of communications and former White House communications director, is now executive vice president and chief communications officer for Fox. Seamless career track.

* Should we be adding Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to the list of potential 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls? The articulate, telegenic 47-year-old is currently on a media-centric “College Tour,” where he is ginning up interest in the critically important mid-term elections.

* Presidential historian Michael Beschloss’ new book, “Presidents of War,” is a sobering, scary reminder that the Cuban missile crisis didn’t teach us all that we thought it had taught. And that includes never again putting this country and this globe in jeopardy of nuclear Armageddon.

Via recently declassified documents, Beschloss reveals a set of preparations by Gen. William C. Westmoreland to have nuclear weapons handy for American forces in Vietnam. Westmoreland had put together a secret operation that involved moving nukes into South Vietnam so that they would be available on short notice against North Vietnamese troops. That was 1968–six years after the missile crisis and 23 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Westmoreland plan was ultimately rejected by President Lyndon Johnson.


* “When you see a populist, you always see a demagogue. Societies no longer need demagogues; they need pedagogues–people that can tell a country, ‘Where is it that we want to go, how is it that we want to make it happen, and what is it that everybody has to  put in the basket to achieve those goals?'”–Colombian President Ivan Duque.

* “If you really want to reduce a trade deficit, the way to do it is to bring down spending relative to production, not to demonize trading partners around the world.”–N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard economics professor and the author of “Principles of Economics.”

* “I applaud and congratulate  the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court.”–President Donald Trump.

* “What we saw in these (Supreme Court) hearings was the unvarnished tribalization of national life.”–David Brooks, New York Times.

* “Part of the Court’s strength  and part of the Court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the Court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structure of this country now.”–Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

* “Most women tell the truth, but not all do.”–NBC’s Megyn Kelly.

* “If I am guilty of harassment, then every employee who stole a pencil is guilty of embezzlement.”–Garrison Keillor.

* “Mr. Trump inherited an empire built on tax evasion. Perhaps we cannot recoup all the taxes he and his family owed. But we can use their example as a call to restructure our tax system so it taxes people who work for their money less heavily–not more–than those born with a golden spoon in their mouth.”–NYU law professor Lily Batchelder, former majority chief counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.

* “If the U.S. has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell.”–Holocaust historian Christopher Brown.

* “This (partisanship) feels worse than the divisions over Vietnam and civil rights because there were three huge forces holding us together  back then that are missing today: a growing middle class, the Cold War and a sane Republican Party.”–Thomas Friedman, New York Times.

* “I remember when we were doing all those crazy shows back in the day and people said, ‘This is the beginning of the end of Western civilization.’ I thought it was sort of a joke, but it turns out they were right.”–Mike Feiss, the creator of “The Bachelor” and “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?”

* “Most fake news on Twitter links to a few established conspiracy and propaganda sites, and coordinated campaigns play a crucial role in spreading fake news.”–From a report by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports research in journalism.

* “We’ve got our work cut out with Gillum, there’s no question about it.”–Bill Bunting, Republican state committeeman in Pasco County.

* “(Andrew Gillum) is exciting for Americans, because I think the vast bulk of people in Florida, and the vast bulk of people across the country, think democracy has been hijacked by rich corporations. And that the elected officials don’t put the interests of their constituents first.”–Billionaire Democratic activist and mega-donor Tom Steyer.

* “Our organizations have long supported improvements in transportation in our community, and we proudly support the All for Transportation plan, which will reduce congestion, increase safety and expand transportation options for our fans and the citizens of the region.”–From a joint statement issued by the Bucs, Rays and Lightning.

* “We are going to contribute more than makes business sense for us. That reflects my strong desire to have MLB in Tampa Bay for generations to come.”–Rays owner Stu Sternberg on the proposed Ybor City Rays stadium.

* “Eight years ago, Florida missed an opportunity to connect Tampa and Orlando with a high-speed rail system. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again. … Our growth in Tampa must include higher-speed rail, and we need to keep Tampa’s future on the right track.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

* “I fully acknowledge the districts funding issues are not our responsibilities. However, I cannot sit back and ignore the issues facing hundreds of thousands of our children.”– Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, on how the county can help the school district tackle its air-conditioning crisis and other critical maintenance priorities.

* “If it passes there, I think it helps us talk about it here again.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, on the ramifications of Hillsborough County passing a transportation sales tax next month.

* “The best time to get vaccinated is in October. It takes two weeks for the body to produce antibodies to fight the flu. You don’t want to get it too late.”–Dr. John Morrison, Florida Hospital family medicine physician.

Laptopping To Tampa

It’s nice to be home again.

Not that most folks would necessarily have noticed. That’s the way it is with laptopped journalism. You can write for any market from any place that’s WiFi-friendly. The ubiquitous 24/7 news cycle and enabling technology means setting up anywhere for hometown punditry.

In my case, it was Asheville, North Carolina, for the past two and half months. A city of about 90,000, it’s nestled amid the Blue Ridges of the Appalachian chain at about 2,000 feet. It has a cooler clime, a welcoming vibe, a buy-local/no-chain mentality, a state university and a downtown culture that is artsy, funky, diverse, progressive and entrepreneurial. Call it a mountainous Key West–or a mini Portland. It even has a Portlandia theme: “Keep Asheville Weird.” Yes, I did my part.

Its eclectic scene includes restaurant variety, old-school book stores, yoga studios, street musicians, well-patronized breweries, repurposed buildings, prominent art deco architecture, the Grove Park Inn, the Biltmore and no shortage of roof-top bars with sunset-mountain views. The area is embedded amid mountainous terrain that is aesthetically complemented by sunflowers, crepe myrtles and forests thick with hickory, maple, oak, sycamore and maple trees. Post cards don’t do it justice. The city proudly celebrates its hometown literary lodestar, Thomas Wolfe, of “Look Homeward, Angel” fame.

And like all places, it has its oddities and anomalies. Hills are no walk in the park. No wonder motorized bikes are a visitor draw. And the surrounding woods are home to more than squirrels and butterflies. They are also habitats for bears.

I still recall walking my dog about 9 o’clock at night, when I heard a neighbor call out: “There’s a bear out here. Better get inside.”

I did.

Asheville was a great place to visit in the summer, and we’ll be back. But Tampa is home. We’re lucky we live here. We are blessed to be in a city and region with so much potential being realized on an almost daily basis. We just have to vote accordingly to keep it going.

Had to work that in.


  • “Multi-lateralism is under fire precisely when we need it most.”–UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
  • “A fundamental question the FBI can help answer is whether Judge Kavanaugh has been truthful to the (Judiciary) Committee. This goes to the very heart of whether he should be confirmed to the court.”–Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
  • “On the assault charges, let’s avoid a rush to judgment, but also a rush to confirmation.”–Nicholas Kristof, New York Times.
  • “The Supreme Court is the lone institution where most Americans still have some faith. And then the U.S. Senate as an institution–we’re coming apart at the seams.”–Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
  • “I’m a victim of sexual assault. I don’t expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper … or anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”–Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Donald Trump.
  • “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote ‘no,’ you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics. … What (Democrats) want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope (they) win in 2020.”–South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee.
  • “If Democrats were going to turn this into a referendum on whether women were adequately heard, Republicans were going to turn it into a referendum on whether men were automatically hanged.”–Frank Bruni, New York Times.
  • “It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government and that includes a woman at the top. So, here’s what I promise, after November 6, I will take a hard look at running for president.”–Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
  • “Under Mayor Andrew Gillum’s leadership, violent crime is down 24 percent and overall crime is down 10 percent, with crime at a 5-year low in Tallahassee. Mayor Gillum’s investments into more police officers, restorative justice and community policing have made Tallahassee safer than when he became mayor. Period.”–Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil.
  • “I’m absolutely concerned about the Republicans at the top of the ballot in Florida. The hard-core Republicans will vote for any candidate with an R next to their name. The problem is that Democratic women will turn out stronger than Republican women do. That’s just a reality. They’re more energized.”–Republican political consultant April Schiff.
  • “As governor, Andrew will expand access to affordable healthcare, protect Floridians with pre-existing conditions, invest in education, protect the environment and build an economy that works for all.”–Former President Barack Obama, in his endorsement of Andrew Gillum.
  • “Ron DeSantis pretends he is a friend of the Jewish people. But behind closed doors he has spent time with some of the country’s most notorious anti-Semites.”–Rabbi Mark Winer, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus.
  • “Campaign talk is a lot different from reality. We have to deal with reality in the Legislature. The reality is that increasing the corporate income tax would be a dramatic step backwards for Florida.”–Incoming Republican state Senate President Bill Galvano.
  • “You can’t underestimate the power of that veto pen.”–Charlie Crist, former Republican governor-turned Democratic congressman.
  • “Creo en Bill Nelson.”–Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
  • “Voting is power. So, I tell (young people) to get off the sidelines, get off their butts, they can change the outcome of an election.”–Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.
  • “A fantastic moment for Port Tampa Bay and our cruise line partners.”–Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson, in announcing that for the first time in a single year, the port welcomed more than a million cruise ship passengers.
  • “We’re very bullish on Tampa. … It’s the best city we work in, in terms of getting projects approved and built. And it’s about jobs. Tampa is well above average nationally for job growth. It’s a great place to be.”–Arturo Peña, vice president of the Related Group, the developer of Manor Riverwalk, the 8-story, 400-unit apartment complex being built on the waterfront lot that used to house the Tampa Tribune. First residents are expected to move in by November.
  • “Quite good.”–How Jeff Vinik assesses the Lightning’s TV ratings in Orlando.


  • “It’s very much calmed down. We’re talking. It’s very calm. He’s calm. I’m calm.”—Donald Trump, on current U.S. relations with North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
  • “China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns. I urge China’s leadership to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices.”–Donald Trump.
  • “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad.”–Donald Trump.
  • “The downward spiral that we have previously warned about now seems certain to materialize.”–William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, on China’s retaliatory response to the U.S. announcement that it will be imposing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods.
  • “I’m just being honest. Unless there’s something more, no. I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”–Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
  • “A shameful, smear campaign.”–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • “By Ford’s account, Kavanaugh’s acts did cause lasting damage, and he has done nothing at all to try to make that right. And that is why the mistake of a 17-year-old still matters.”–Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic.
  • “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. … The last-minute character assassination will not succeed. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process.”–Brett Kavanaugh.
  • “This is starting to feel like a vast, left-wing conspiracy.”–White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, in response to a second accusation of sexual misconduct on the part of Brett Kavanaugh.
  • “Truth decay.”–What the RAND Corporation calls the deepening disconnect over basic facts and the negative impact on American democracy.
  • “I don’t care. … I love flak. We’re not happy ‘til they’re not happy.”–Willie Nelson’s response to those who criticized his performance at a fundraiser for Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz’s senatorial opponent.
  • “It turns out more people in more places seeing more things isn’t an unequivocal good. And because it isn’t, platforms can’t pretend they’re neutral overseers any longer–no matter how many haphazard rules they put in place.”–Molly Roberts, Washington Post.
  • “This (gubernatorial) election is going to turn on moderate Democrats and independents. And with independents, Trump is a liability.”–Florida Republican consultant Mac Stipanovich.
  • “You expand the economic base, you don’t raise taxes.”–Ron DeSantis.
  • “Our north star is … shared prosperity for everyone. It’s not just about health care and women’s rights and immigration, our democracy is on the ballot. It’s not right vs. left; it’s right vs. wrong.”—DNC Chairman Tom Perez, while campaigning in Polk County with lieutenant governor candidate Chris King and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.
  • “It’s not just the people of Florida who need Bill Nelson back in the Senate. It’s all of the people of the United States of America.”–Excerpt from a South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  • “The potential for Brightline to connect Orlando and Tampa is a game-changer for the I-4 Corridor. … We are all in on this.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
  • “This sort of announcement, I just want to savor it.”–TIA CEO Joe Lopano, in celebrating news that the airport is getting non-stop flights to Amsterdam–TIA’s fifth European destination.
  • “I’m not here to tell you how to vote. I’m here to educate you about why we’re here.”—Hillsborough County School Superintendent Jeff Eakins, to a town hall gathering about the need for a proposed half-cent sales surtax on the November ballot.
  • “It is important that our message of service and safety not get lost in translation, so we are bringing the message to them in their language.”–Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, on the debut of the department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish.

Media Matters

  • In the news biz, there’s a term for the sort of media coverage we saw a lot of with Hurricane Florence: disaster porn. It’s meant to seduce viewers who might use some other news source or prefer to take a 24-7 news break. As a result, what we too often see are on-the-scene reporters performing for a camera.

We already have the relevant storm data and updates from gubernatorial press conferences. We also have video of falling trees, downed power lines, abandoned vehicles and roof-line flooding. But somehow, they’re just not graphic enough. Hence, the need for self-hyping histrionics showing reporters being buffeted–or trying their best to look buffeted–by winds and storm surge.

  • “The core lesson of being a journalist: Read before you write.” That’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh from his memoir, “Reporter.” Serious journalists already know that. It’s part of doing one’s homework. And it’s apparent how many less-than-serious, cable news political personalities don’t. It’s all about arranging your partisan talking points and getting ready to interrupt a panelist.

There’s another journalistic adage that is no less relevant. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Now more than ever.

  • From Michael Wolff to Omarosa to–Stormy Daniels? Indeed, the book-writing opportunists come in all shapes and sizes and partisan appeals. Now we have: “Stormy Daniels: Full Disclosure.” Maybe Melania will read it before checking her pre-nup agreement again.
  • With all due respect, please note that at the end of the day, the bottom line is to never throw anyone under the bus; we’re better than that. There, we got a bunch of all-too-frequently-applied clichés out of the way in one sentence.