* “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.


  • “It’s up to the president of the United States to decide what he wants to do.”–Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White.
  • “When a sitting president spews venom daily, and when Congress has become a cauldron of bitter partisanship, America needs a Supreme Court that can be trusted to fairly manage our national disagreements. … Tragically, Brett Kavanaugh will further divide us. For this reason alone, he shouldn’t be confirmed.”–Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
  • “Only a warped mind would turn this statistic into fake news. It might be a new low.”–Retiring Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, on Trump calling the nearly 3,000 reported deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria as falsely inflated.
  • “Brown stepchildren.”–Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, on how Trump thinks of Puerto Ricans.
  • “Ladies and gentlemen, the last president of the United States.”—Filmmaker Michael Moore in the trailer for his new movie, “Fahrenheit 11/9.”
  • “It is a mistake for any elected official to attack the media and journalists. It is dangerous to demonize the media.”–Jeff Bezos.
  • “Don’t be scared to get caught trying.”—Former Secretary of State John Kerry, on the advice he used to give career State Department employees.
  • “An epic proportion.”–FDA, on what stage teenage use of electronic cigarettes has reached.
  • “The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to (nicotine) addiction.”–FDA.
  • “I would say ‘Never say never.’”–VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebeken, in announcing that Volkswagen will be ending global production of its iconic Beetle next year–but won’t totally rule reviving it at some point.
  • “Statistics that sound as if they describe the broad U.S. economy–like GDP and the Dow Jones industrial average–end up mostly describing the experiences of the affluent.”–David Leonhardt, New York Times.
  • “One of the big economic distinctions between Florida and states in the Northern Rust Belt is our growing population. More people in a state’s economy by default means more economic activity.”–Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at UCF.
  • “(Ron DeSantis) ran a joke of a campaign and doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing right now.”–“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough.
  • “It’s always been easier to find him on Fox News than anywhere in Volusia County. Ron DeSantis quit on his constituents years ago–and he won’t be missed.”–Volusia County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jewell Dickson, on Ron DeSantis stepping down from his congressional seat.
  • “I’m entirely comfortable with Andrew (Gillum). And he with me.”–U.S. Sen. Bill
  • “I do not believe there is support in the Legislature for the expansion of Medicaid contemplated in the Affordable Care Act.”–Incoming Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.
  • “Expanding Medicaid would extend to able-bodied adults. That’s not what Medicaid was designed for, that’s not what taxpayers pay for, and that’s not how health care or government should work.”–Ron DeSantis.
  • “Medicaid expansion is a winning issue for candidates.”–Joan Alker, research professor who runs Georgetown University’s Center for Children & Families.
  • “There is a slightly less than zero percent chance of it happening.”–Darryl Paulson, emeritus professor of government at USF St. Pete, on the possibility of a state income tax.
  • “I think the pace will intensify here in the coming months. They have to be able to tell St. Petersburg, ‘This is our plan.’”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, on the financial-structure details of a Rays Ybor City ballpark.
  • “We’re going to need to know what the Rays’ and Stu Sternberg’s commitment is for us to know with certainty what our obligation might be.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
  • “We remain eager and committed to seeing this beautiful, iconic ballpark become a reality.”–Rays President Brian Auld.
  • “Malls are going away. What we are creating is the future.”–Chris Bowen, chief development strategist for RD Development, the owner of the repurposing University Mall.
  • “Obviously, I did try to talk Steve out of this.”–Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik on Steve Yzerman stepping down as general manager.


  • “Putin is so ‘popular’ that anyone who challenges him must be murdered, exiled or banned. Anyone who treats these (Russian) ‘elections’ as anything other than a dictator’s theater is a fool.”–Russian exile Gary Kasparov.
  • “I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico.”–President Donald Trump.
  • “I don’t think they can impeach somebody that’s doing a great job.”–Donald Trump.
  • “Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America. … Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.”–The late Sen. John McCain.
  • “I want to be a bridge between McCain World and Trump world.”–South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham.
  • “You learn to let things go.”–John McCain.
  • “We’ve never had a president who’s deliberately made decisions the effect of which is to tear down America’s standing in the world.”–Former Vice President Al Gore.
  • “(Trump) knows that the conservative base of the Republican Party will remain loyal as long as he’s busy stocking the courts with their brand of judges.”—David Van Drehle, Washington Post.
  • “My fellow Americans: Rudy Giuliani is right; truth isn’t truth. And climate change isn’t real. And Donald Trump isn’t president! Feels better already, doesn’t it?”–Bette Midler.
  • “I think Republicans will lose the House in the November midterms, and the results will yield enough angry Democrats for a majority of the House to vote for impeachment.”—Republican political consultant Ed Rogers.
  • “Resign.”–Al Gore’s one-word message to Donald Trump.
  • “Such a fantastic win.”–President Donald Trump, on Ron DeSantis’ primary win over Adam Putnam.
  • “Let’s keep Florida great–and make it even greater.”–Ron DeSantis.
  • “Florida’s not picking an apprentice. We’re electing a governor.”–Adam Putnam.
  • “I think (Gillum) is way, way too liberal for the state of Florida.”–Ron DeSantis.
  • “A failed socialist mayor … who has allowed crime and many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs.”–Donald Trump, referencing Andrew Gillum.
  • “What our state and country needs is decency, hope and leadership.”—Andrew Gillum.
  • “He’s the talent that our party has waited for for so long.”–Gillum primary opponent Chris King.
  • “Now we must put all our efforts behind Andrew Gillum.”–Gwen Graham.
  • “Andrew’s nomination was good news for every Democrat on the ballot. This pumps energy, excitement into the Democratic ticket unlike anything we’ve seen before.”—State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando.
  • “I can’t believe the party has turned into a cult of personalities.”–Keith Rupp, former aide to Adam Putnam.
  • “Either (DeSantis) has got some nasty tendencies within himself or he just doesn’t get out much. And neither is good.”–David Brooks, New York Times.
  • “I’ve always assumed that the path to victory has been through the center. … He certainly has excited the Democratic base. Now the job is to expand the universe.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
  • “Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”–Google
  • “Give a man fake news, and he’ll fool you for a day. Teach a man to fake news, and he’ll lie to you for life.”–M. Berger, author and fellow with the Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communication Project.
  • “The best way to encourage continued economic growth, make it easier to rebuild aging infrastructure and place more young adults into high-paying careers is to address construction workforce shortages.”–Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.
  • “The policing of women’s bodies must end.”–Billie Jean King.
  • “Sadly, it’s very common, ballot fatigue. You’ll see with the Amendments in November. … Undervotes have consequences. You literally are letting someone else choose for you.”–Pasco County Election Supervisor Brian Corley.
  • “Our estimates imply that the benefits of school air conditioning likely outweigh the costs in most of the U.S., particularly given future predicted climate change.”–From a Harvard research study of the impact of AC on standardized test results.
  • “His passing will leave a hole in the heart of theatre in the United States and abroad.”—Stageworks Theatre, on the passing of Neil Simon.
  • “The ability to get our new name out there was very important to us, because it is a very competitive landscape in health care.”–Florida Hospital president and CEO Mike Schultz, after signing 10-year deal with the Buccaneers to rename One Buc Place the AdventHealth Training Center.


  • “Make no mistake, democracy in the era of Trump and Putin is in retreat and has been targeted for extinction. With the right amount of public awareness, determination and dedication to the principles we hold dear and love, it can be stopped.”—Malcolm Nance, author of “The Plot to Destroy Democracy.”
  • “I give myself an A+. I don’t think any president has ever done what I’ve done in this short … we haven’t even been two years.”–Donald Trump.
  • “Sure, despite his denial, he was a “crook.” But compared with the incumbent, I’d take Richard Nixon any day.”–Philip Allen Lacovara, former counsel to the Watergate special prosecutor.
  • “We shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher–the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed.”—Former President Barack Obama, on the passing of Sen. John McCain.
  • “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. … No nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.”–Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • “You know the only reason I gave him the job because I felt loyalty. He was an original supporter.”—Donald Trump, on his rationale for appointing Jeff Sessions attorney general.
  • “He’s supposed to be a big hero from 9/11, and yet every one of his lines screams incompetent great uncle who gets drunk at Thanksgiving.”—Gail Collins, New York Times, in satirizing Rudy Giuliani.
  • “We are fighting history.”–Bill Stepien, White House political director, in noting that the party of an incumbent president typically suffers electoral losses in the mid-term year–and why President Trump will be spending a lot of time campaigning for Republican candidates on the ballot in 2018.
  • “If (the murdered) Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble. If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc., then the GOP could lose (the House) badly.”–Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
  • “The Congressional GOP has not simply enabled Trumpism’s worst and most dangerous instincts, but actually has encouraged them.”–Charles J. Sykes, Weekly Standard.
  • “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”–Winston Churchill.
  • “How long is it going to take for us to get guns off the street?”—Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, in the aftermath of a gunman opening fire during a video game tournament.
  • “Considering that Canada is the No.1 customer for U.S. goods, and Florida is an important part of that, we can only imagine the impact if trade barriers go up in a world without NAFTA. It would hurt everyone.”–Laurent Morel-a-l’Huissier, consul with the Consulate General of Canada office in Miami.
  • “Can’t recall a primary election cycle this nasty.”—State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa.
  • “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 destination in Europe.
  • “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.

Media Matters

  • It comes with the territory. You make a power or a cable or a pharmacy call, and you’ll likely start out on hold. And then you’re reminded of something else that comes with the territory: on-hold music. And one other thing: Like back-in-the-day elevator music, it’s supposed to calm and it rarely changes. Apparently for a lot of folks who call CVS and spend too much time on hold, having the same on-hold keyboard song for nearly 20 years only adds to the unhealthy frustration and tedium of waiting.


Among those not enamored of the CVS song “Golden Dragon” by circus composer Karl King is Harvard psychiatrist Steven Scholzman. “What they play is supposed to soothe you,” he says, “but after the three billionth time, it’s particularly unsoothing.” In other words, if CVS would just noticeably reduce the down time, music wouldn’t be an issue.


  • From the folks who brought us Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, this just in for those looking to get more creative about another layer of home security. Forget lots of lights and a TV left on or the posting of a prominent “Beware of Dog” sign. Echo’s “away” mode features long audio tapes that sound like real–albeit weird at times–conversations that could actually be happening inside.


Among the “away” mode conversational choices: A couple breaking up while trying to watch TV and a frustrated mom explaining to her daughter how to assemble IKEA furniture on the phone. This could go far beyond creative; already it sounds like Open Mic Night material.


  • “One of the reasons European citizens are stepping away from the European project (EU) is that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives.”–European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
  • “An exercise in economic masochism that Britons will long regret.”–Assessment of “Brexit” by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
  • “A mafia state.”–That’s how George Soros, the Hungarian-born American billionaire, philanthropist and Democratic activist, characterizes Hungary.
  • “This series of measures is a mix of incoherent and contradictory ideas.”–Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas consultancy Econometrics, on the announcement that the Venezuelan government will enact a drastic currency devaluation, a tax increase and a hike in gasoline prices.
  • “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”–Former CIA Director John Brennan, in responding to President Trump’s decision to revoke his security clearance.
  • “…A loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country.”–Donald Trump, on his rationale for revoking Brennan’s security clearance.
  • “The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it.”–Donald Trump in accusing local officials of inflating the costs of his proposed (now postponed) military parade.
  • “One of the worst things about this moment in our national lives is the fear that if Trump gets into trouble by doing something dumb and obnoxious, he’ll respond by doing something huge and maybe dangerous.”–Gail Collins, New York Times.
  • “He was disingenuous about his commitment to diversity. … I believe that he wants to start a race war in this country. … He has completely taken the presidency to the gutter.”–Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.
  • “Democrats are running against the tax cut more than Republicans are running on it.”–Paul Krugman, New York Times.
  • “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes lingering after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.”–Jonathan Swift.
  • “It’s not our job to cover politics, purely, but we’ll cover the intersection of sports and politics.”–Jimmy Pitaro, president of ESPN, which announced that it would not be showing the national anthem before the Monday Night Football games.
  • “This is one of the big puzzles for economists. How low can it go?”–Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, on the Florida unemployment rate inching down to 3.7 percent in July–an 11-year low.
  • “We are very concerned about the growing teacher shortage.”–Cathy Boehme, legislative specialist for the Florida Education Association.
  • “He really has no plan, no vision, no agenda. … No working knowledge of our state. And it would be tragic to have the CEO of the third largest state doing on-the-job training during the first two years.”–Adam Putnam, on Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial candidacy.
  • “Once you check the ‘I wore a uniform in a war zone box,’ you’re home free in a Republican primary.”–Florida GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich.
  • “It’s insane how much of the news cycle (Trump) eats up.”–Florida Democratic consultant Kevin Cate.
  • “Every day that passes, we are letting down the citizens of Florida who are put at risk by the unintended consequences of this statute.”–State Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, who tried to mobilize support for a special session of the legislature to revisit the “Stand Your Ground” law.
  • “I’m not auditioning. I’ve got a job I love. I still have things to do before I leave.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn, on speculation that he could be part of a Gwen Graham gubernatorial ticket.
  • “You have the opportunity to not only transform this state politically by electing a strong progressive, but you have an opportunity to send a message that will be heard all over the country.”–Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, at a Tampa gubernatorial rally for Andrew Gillum.
  • “They’re real estate developers.”–Bob McDonough, Tampa’s administrator for economic opportunity, referring to Brightline, which is bidding to build a high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa.
  • “Just like BP paid to clean up the oil spill, we want these (drug) companies to pay to clean up the (opioid) pill spill.”–Mike Moore, one of the attorneys representing Hillsborough County in its opioid suit.
  • “It’s really going to protect our citizens. A lot of activity of human trafficking comes from these bathhouses.”–Hillsborough County Commission Chairwoman Sandy Murman, on the county following the city of Tampa in cracking down on illicit services by moving to regulate massage parlors and bathhouses.
  • “Our commitment has always been to provide the most enjoyable fan experience, and we feel that making Raymond James Stadium a smoke- and tobacco-free venue is a necessary part of that commitment.”–Tampa Sports Authority president/CEO Eric Hart.
  • “The Empire State Building was built in 11 months. We should be able to have this figured out by year end.”–Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, on knowing enough financial details by the Dec. 31 deadline to let St. Petersburg officials know if the Rays will leave Tropicana Field early under pre-negotiated terms.