Sports Shorts

* The Tampa Bay Bowl, which used to be called the Outback Bowl, will now be called the ReliaQuest Bowl. The new sponsor is a local cybersecurity company. The previous names were better—but still not nearly as bad as Orlando’s Cheez-It Bowl.

* Congrats to the University of Florida women’s track and field team. The Gators won both the NCAA outdoor and indoor championships.

* The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos was the NHL’s overall No. 1 draft choice in 2008. No surprise. But No. 3 overall that year was (Lightning defenseman) Zach Bogosian, who was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers.

* “Sportswashing”: What human rights activists call the process of a country (such as Saudi Arabia) improving its image through staged events (such as golf) with well-known athletes.

Trumpster Diving

* If Trump winds up on the 2024 ticket, it means he was never held criminally accountable. Then head’s up as the vindictive former narcissist-in-chief doubles down on Making America Grating. A Trump-Gaetz ticket?

* If Trump runs again—and (actually) wins, he would become the president of Amerika.

* Nobody ultimately looms more important to the House Committee hearings than Attorney General Merrick Garland. He’ll make the call on whether DOJ can and should prosecute Trump. No president—or ex-president—has ever been indicted.

The Jan. 6 committee shouldn’t be necessary because the proper response and remedy to the attack should have been a rapid impeachment and conviction.”–Jonah Goldberg, Tribune Content Agency.

* There’s no there there.”–That was the take of Mark Meadows, former Trump chief of staff, on fraud charges that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Ever notice how often that Gertrude Stein quote is employed?

* “That’s a hill that no federal prosecutor has tried to climb, prosecuting a former president. It’s very fraught. It’s a massive undertaking as an investigation, as a trial, as a national saga and trauma.”—John Q. Barrett, former associate independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation.

* “Former presidents who can serve another term always have a special status, at least for the first two years.”–RNC member Ron Kaufman.

* “I’d be shocked if (Trump) doesn’t run. … It’s his primary to lose.”–Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

* Rep. Liz Cheney, among Trumpsters most reviled GOPsters, is scheduled to speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library later this month (June 29). Security will be tight. Mike Pence would understand.


* “The world economy … is facing high inflation and slow growth at the same time. Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years—unless major, supply increases are set in motion.”–World Bank President David Malpass.

* “We have the tools and team who can help us improve our understanding of the unknown. That’s the very definition of what science is. That’s what we do.”–Thomas Zurbuchan, the head of NASA’s science mission directorate, on NASA joining the hunt for UFOs.

* The expansion of NATO (Finland and Sweden) is based on the theory of deterrence—including nuclear deterrence.”–Heikki Patomaki, The Nation.

* “Russian power, it’s worth remembering, has gone through fitful cycles of stagnation, decline and resurgence; it would be wise to avoid triumphalism and complacency.”--Michael Kofman, director of Russia studies at CNA, a research institute focused on national security.

* “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”–American theologian and author James Freeman Clarke.

* “Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution. In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. … The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not.”–Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

* “If the MAGA crowd has a beef with the (Jan. 6 Committee) facts, they will need to take it up with Republican witnesses including William Barr, former White House adviser Ivanka Trump, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller and others.”–Jennifer Rubin, WaPo.

* “This was SeditionGate.”–Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe.

* “The number of ‘crazy’ white people in America fearing ‘replacement’ appears to be growing—and they seem ready to do whatever it takes to stay at the pinnacle of American life.”–Jonathan Capehart, WaPo.

* “The more deeply people are invested in the comfort of their lies, the less use they have for the challenges of truth.”–Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald.

* “Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his colleagues would love to unclog supply chains, alleviate food shortages and lower oil prices, but they can’t do any of those things. What they can do is raise short-term interest rates. That will help, but don’t expect miracles.”–Alan S. Blinder, Princeton economist and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, 1994-96.

* “A hero of the new cultural right and a prospective 2024 presidential front-runner, the governor (of Florida) is nominally Catholic and is politically friendly to conservative Christians.”–Nate Hochman, National Review.

* “America has come a long way from poll taxes, literacy tests and open intimidation and suppression of minority groups. But in the Sunshine State, what were whispers of Jim Crow-era voter suppression have become a foreboding roar.”–Gubernatorial-candidate Congressman Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, who recently wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland that Florida’s laws have disenfranchised citizens and created a “hostility” around the constitutional right to vote.

Bipartisan Support

We don’t collectively agree on much politically anymore; so when Congress goes bipartisan for a cause, it’s newsworthy for that reason alone. Exhibit A: the Senate passing that $40 billion emergency (military and economic) aid package for Ukraine. The vote, a glaring exception to divisive partisanship, was 86-11.

It also resonated internationally.

I applaud the Congress for sending a clear, bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom,” said President Joe Biden. That message was the antithesis of “America First” arrogance and isolationism.

American leadership, however, comes with a caveat. Vindictive Vladimir Putin still has too many nukes and not enough restraint. He’s a vengeful narcissist. We’re familiar with the pathology. And it’s also personal with Putin after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So it’s imperative that Ukraine be defended and rebuilt and Russia be prevented from further land-grabbing invasions.

But it’s also important that the U.S.–in its NATO-leading capacity–not spike the rhetorical football with global comments about “weakening” Russia or “regime change” or bragging about providing intelligence resulting in dead Russians and a sunken ship.

Play up defense of Ukraine; play down tempting taunts of a chastened Russia, whose ultimate response to humiliation may be all-out war. That should be cause for bipartisanship as well.

Dem Notes

* “With regard to whether I would meet with the leader of North Korea, that would depend on whether he was sincere and whether it was serious.”–President Joe Biden, while in South Korea. So, no, he won’t be “falling in love” with “Little Rocket Man,” nor will he be threatening “fire and fury”–although he is considering expanding joint military exercises with South Korea.

* “Operation Fly Formula”: Air Force planes authorized to distribute infant formulas in the U.S.


* The CDC has recommended that children 5 to 11 get a 3rd dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to boost immunity as cases and hospitalizations tick upward.

* Researchers are investigating whether infected animals might become reservoirs for the evolution of new variants.

* The U.S. is averaging more than 100,000 known cases per day for the first time since February.

* Total U.S. population that is fully vaccinated: 67 percent. Total Florida population that is fully vaccinated: 67 percent.

* Total U.S. population that is boosted: 31 percent. Total Florida population that is boosted: 27 percent.

* Positivity rates: Florida—16.9 percent; Hillsborough County—13.1 percent.


* “We must maintain a strong economic embargo and make Cuba’s Communist regime pay for its human rights abuses. … I will always put the Cuban people and their struggle for freedom and democracy first and hold the corrupt regime accountable for its crimes.” That was Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, former Orlando police chief and current candidate for U.S. Senate, sounding not unlike someone who doesn’t want to concede the South Florida Cuban vote to Marco Rubio. Too bad we can’t embargo certain rhetoric.

* The 1st District Court of Appeal reinstated a stay against a circuit judge’s decision that had blocked the state’s congressional redistricting plan favored by Gov. DeSantis.

* The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida has voted to endorse Nikki Fried for governor. The final vote: Fried: 67 percent; Charlie Crist: 25 percent; Annette Taddeo: 8 percent.

* The state’s unemployment rate: 3.0 percent. This time last year: 5.1 percent.

Tampa Bay

* Time Magazine has named St. Petersburg’s Nadine Smith, the founder and director of Equality Florida, one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2022.

* Next UP for DOWNtown? Plans have been filed to build a 54-story, 311-unit residential tower on Ashley Drive, just SE of Curtis Hixon Park. At 633 feet, it would be the tallest tower on the Gulf Coast. The development plans were filed by Kolter Urban, a subsidiary of Delray Beach’s Kolter Group.

* “We’ll make Tampa ‘Crypto Beach.’”–Ben Weiss, founder and CEO of Chicago-based CoinFlip that plans to open an office in Tampa’s Sparkman Wharf and hire 40 tech workers.

* The St. Pete Pier is one of the finalists in the Urban Land Institute’s Americas Awards for Excellence. There are 21 finalists; the Pier was the only one from Florida. The ULI awards recognize superior development efforts in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Foreign Affairs

* “America’s alliances in Europe and Asia keep us—and I would argue the world—strong and secure.”–President Joe Biden.

* Denazify” Ukraine. Even Putin’s spinmeisters should know better than to run that outrageous rhetoric out there. Zelenskyy’s Ukraine is manifestly not Hitler’s Germany.

* Now add Starbucks to the list of major corporate players exiting Russia. Predecessors include McDonald’s, Netflix and ExxonMobil.

* “To rob, replicate and replace.”–How former assistant attorney general John Demers, who headed the Justice Department’s National Security Division and served under both Presidents Trump and Biden, describes China’s strategy for achieving technological superiority.

* According to, Raul Castro is worth $100 million. How’s that for a career in egalitarian Cuban communism?

* The euro is nearly at a one-to-one exchange rate with the dollar.