James Taylor - Writer, Policy Analyst, Radio Host, Public Speaker

  1. Tampa Trib Falsely Smears Atwater on Bond Votes

    November 2, 2013 by James

    The Tampa Tribune presented a misleading narrative on state borrowing in order to smear Florida’s Republican Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jeff Atwater and provide cover for prominent Democratic politician and former state CFO Alex Sink.

    The Tribune published an article Wednesday claiming the Florida Republican Party engaged in hypocrisy when it sent out a press release this week “blasting Alex Sink for voting as a Cabinet member in 2008 to borrow money for school improvements.” The Tribune singled out Atwater in the title of the article, “GOP bashes Sink over decisions by Republicans – including Atwater?”

    The article correctly noted the Republican press release criticized Sink for voting to issue two bonds in 2008 totaling $1.2 billion. The article also correctly noted the Florida Cabinet, consisting of the governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, and agriculture commissioner, has sole decision-making power on whether to issue bonds – effectively borrowing money – to finance state spending programs.

    In March of 2008, the Cabinet voted to issue bonds totaling $586 million to construct government buildings. Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum, CFO Alex Sink, and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson voted unanimously to authorize the bonds.

    The Cabinet voted in June of 2008 to issue bonds totaling another $625 million for similar building projects. Crist and Sink were the only two Cabinet officials attending the meeting, and both voted to authorize the bonds.

    Jeff Atwater was not a Cabinet officeholder in 2008. He was a member of the Florida Senate in 2008. The Senate plays no role in decisions to issue bonds.

    The Tribune claimed, “Starting in 2008, when Atwater became state Senate president, he would have had substantial influence over the shape of the state budget.” Implicitly, the Tribune argued Atwater could have exercised his power as Senate president enact a leaner 2008 budget such that the Cabinet would not have to issue bonds to fund desired government building programs. The Tribune, however, failed to mention the legislature crafted the 2008 budget in 2007, before Atwater became president. As Senate president in 2008, Atwater could not unilaterally rewrite a budget the legislature passed a year earlier.

    Atwater did, however, exercise his authority as Senate president in 2008 to make substantial cuts in 2008 and 2009 government expenditures. As the Sun-Sentinel pointed out in March 2008, within two months of Atwater becoming Senate president, the Senate slashed $500 million in spending for the duration of 2008 and similarly began paring 2009 expenditures.

    To be fair, three Republican Cabinet members voted for the March 2008 bond and one Republican Cabinet member voted with Alex Sink for the June 2008 bond. However, the one Republican who voted with Sink in June was Charlie Crist. During Crist’s term as governor, Democrats often referred to Crist as “one of the best Democratic governors Florida has ever had,” and Crist has since become a Democrat. The two other Republicans who voted for the March 2008 bond are no longer active Republican political candidates, largely because they were perceived as politically left of the GOP’s center of gravity. McCollum, who pundits assumed would be elected governor in 2010, lost the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary to conservative favorite Rick Scott. Bronson is no longer involved in state politics.

    Since the 2008 Cabinet bond votes, one Republican became a Democrat, another Republican lost a primary to a conservative challenger, and the other Republican has dropped out of politics. Jeff Atwater played no role in the bond decisions, and affirmatively used his power as Senate president to slash state spending. Since Atwater became Florida CFO in 2010, Florida has reversed its perennial deficit borrowing and posted consecutive budget surpluses.

    For publishing an article titled, “GOP bashes Sink over decisions by Republicans – including Atwater?” the Tampa Tribune has some explaining to do.


  2. FL Ag Commish Putnam Champions Felon Voting

    September 14, 2013 by James

    Convicted felons should have an easier time regaining the right to vote, according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam, an ambitious Republican politician who many believe is the front-runner for the 2018 Florida gubernatorial election, shared his concerns about convicted felons’ voting rights in an interview Friday with the liberal Tampa Bay Times.

    Under Florida law, the Florida governor and his or her cabinet oversee convicted felons’ requests to have their voting rights restored. Former Gov. Charlie Crist restored nearly 40,000 convicted felons’ voting rights during his first year in office, while current Gov. Rick Scott restored less than 100 during his first year in office.

    “I don’t think that going all the way back to full, automatic restoration is the way to go,” Putnam told the Times. “But for certain classes of crimes, I think an expedited restoration process is appropriate. For more violent classes of crimes, I think they should still have to come before us.”

    The voting rights activist group Who Can Vote, funded by the leftist front groups Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, highlighted the sort of non-violent convicted felon for whom Putnam would like to more quickly and easily restore voting rights. In a feature article on Florida’s voting restrictions regarding convicted felons, touted a crack cocaine dealer who served time in federal prison. After release from federal prison, the crack cocaine dealer became a writer advocating leftist political causes. Who Can Vote championed the crack cocaine dealer as the sort of non-violent convicted felon who should more easily regain voting rights.

    Putnam’s advocacy for convicted felons continues a longstanding track record of championing leftist causes. Liberal establishment Republicans worked behind the scenes last year touting Putnam as a potential primary opponent for Scott in the 2014 gubernatorial elections. Putnam’s long history of tacking left on issues such as prescription drug entitlements, renewable energy subsidies, cash for clunkers, and the Obama stimulus endeared him to liberal establishment Republicans and the Florida media who felt Scott was too conservative for Florida. The extremely liberal Tampa Bay Times published a 2012 article titled, “Putnam, the pol who proves refreshingly sane.””


  3. Climate Alarmists Deny Their Own Arctic Ice Predictions

    by James

    Arctic sea ice experienced record 60-percent growth in August 2013 compared to August 2012. Global warming alarmists now tell us they predicted this, despite our collective memories to the contrary.

    Remember all those claims last year about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an ice-free Arctic by 2015 or 2020? Well, actually you don’t, because nobody ever made those claims. In fact, you heard exactly the opposite. You may think you heard claims about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent ice-free Arctic, but they were merely figments of your imagination. You were merely hallucinating. How do I know this? Global warming alarmists just told us so.

    Writing in Monday’s UK Guardian, alarmists John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli claim global warming alarmists predicted this year’s record growth in Arctic sea ice. And all those claims of doom-and-gloom predictions about Arctic sea ice in 2012? They were apparently just figments of our collective imagination.

    So when you click on this article published by the very same UK Guardian last September 17, you really aren’t reading the article title that you think you are reading:

    “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years.”

    You really aren’t reading this gem of a quote from the story’s central “expert,” either.

    “This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates.”

    When you click on this New York Times article, you also aren’t seeing what you think you see, because global warming alarmists apparently told us last year the 2012 Arctic ice season was unlikely to be repeated in 2013.

    According to our collective hallucination in the September 19, 2012 New York Times:

    “‘The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,’ said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. ‘We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.’”

    “Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020,” the Times continued, according to our collective hallucination.

    “Scientists said Wednesday that the Arctic has become a prime example of the built-in conservatism of their climate forecasts. As dire as their warnings about the long-term consequences of heat-trapping emissions have been, many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes,” the Times apparently never reported.

    Of course, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that warned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap. Er, I mean, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that we falsely think warned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap.

    These hallucinations are strikingly similar to when we erroneously believe alarmists warned us about less snowfall, more hurricanes, shrinking Antarctic sea ice, the Gulf Stream shutting down, etc. When the earth’s climate reacts exactly in the opposite manner as predicted by global warming alarmists, they pretend they never made such scary predictions in the first place.

    No, alarmists never predicted Arctic sea ice would recede this year. They all predicted record Arctic sea ice growth, instead. Any such memories to the contrary are mere hallucinations. We know this because if the alarmists ever had made such doom-and-gloom predictions, it would prove to be yet another epic fail in the annals of silly and disproven global warming predictions.


  4. USF Takes Lead Role Implementing Obamacare

    by James

    The University of South Florida is playing a key role in Obamacare propaganda and implementation efforts, applying for and receiving more than $4 million from the Obama administration to sign people up for the controversial federal program.

    The federal government contracted with approximately 125 organizations throughout the nation to serve as Obamacare “navigators.” The navigators will tell people about Obamacare and sign them up for the federal program. Leftist activist groups and controversial organizations, such as abortion provider Planned Parenthood, comprise many of the groups receiving taxpayer money to spread the word about Obamacare.

    In Florida, the University of South Florida applied for and successfully attained key status in the Obamacare propaganda and signup efforts, receiving more Obamacare grant money than all other Florida groups combined. USF will keep much of the money for its Obamacare outreach efforts and also farm some of the money out to other groups for the same purpose.

    The University of South Florida is a public university dependent on Florida taxpayer funding. Government watchdogs expressed concern, but no surprise, that the state taxpayer-funded university is so eagerly assuming the role of hired Obamacare advocate.

    “Educational elites lean liberal and now they get money to help advance a liberal cause such as Obamacare,” St. Petersburg attorney and public policy expert Kerry Brown told Media Trackers Florida. “This is delicious dining at the public trough by USF. No surprise here.”


  5. Colorado Voters Recall Renewable Power Zealots

    by James

    Two of the Colorado legislature’s most aggressive advocates of renewable power mandates lost their Senate seats last night in a historic recall election. Gun control legislation took center stage in the national media coverage of the recall election, but Sens. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) strongly alienated voters earlier this year championing costly renewable power mandates.

    Legislators’ Activist Credentials
    Morse, the sitting Senate President, sponsored Senate Bill 252, which doubled the percentage of costly power rural electric customers are required to purchase. The bill, which the Senate passed on a party-line vote, pleased environmental activist groups and liberal elites in Denver and Boulder while alienating Democratic, Republican, and independent voters in the rest of the state. Even the very liberal Denver Post urged the Colorado legislature to reject the bill.

    Giron took Morse’s bill and ran with it, frequently championing the electricity restrictions and related global warming claims in public events. For example, Giron spoke in favor of electricity restrictions and posed for photographs last month at a rally held by the environmental activist group I Will Act on Climate.

    Strong Message Delivered
    The recall of Morse and Giron sends a particularly strong message given the strong Democratic majorities in their respective districts. In Morse’s Senate district, registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republican voters by a 56-to-44 percent margin. In Giron’s Senate district, registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republican voters by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. Blue collar Democrats in large numbers joined independent and Republican voters to defeat Morse and Giron.

    Morse and Giron benefited from a massive advantage in campaign funds, outspending recall supporters by a 6-to-1 margin. Wealthy out-of-state liberal activsts such as Michael Bloomberg donated heavily in support of Morse and Giron, but the Democrats’ wealth disparity over recall supporters did them little good at the polls.

    With the defeat of Morse and Giron, Democrats now hold a razor-thin 18-to-17 majority in the Colorado Senate. Prior to the recall elections, the Democratic 20-to-15 edge gave the party a substantial cushion to ram through controversial legislation such as stringent gun control laws and costly renewable power mandates.


  6. Sun-Sentinel: Taylor Giving Liberals Heartburn

    August 31, 2013 by James

    I am pleased to see that my ongoing work with Media Trackers Florida is giving liberals “heartburn,” according to the Sun-Sentinel. In an article published earlier this week, the Sun-Sentinel documented some of our successes. My favorite is liberal Democratic Rep. Joseph Gibbons saying Media Trackers Florida “really have been beating Democrats down very badly.”

    In a separate article, the Sun-Sentinel reported on Florida Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith similarly complaining about our effectiveness beating down liberals. Smith stretches the truth in many of his complaints, so we published a follow-up article, available here, setting the record straight.


  7. More Global Warming: A Silent 2013 Hurricane Season

    by James

    This week marks the halfway point of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, yet not a single hurricane has formed anywhere in the Atlantic. This year’s lack of hurricanes continues an ongoing, beneficial trend of fewer hurricanes coinciding with moderately warming temperatures as the planet continues its recovery from the Little Ice Age. The decline in hurricanes also coincides with global warming alarmists ramping up a deceptive public relations campaign designed to convince the public that global warming skeptics are causing more hurricanes.

    In my weekly Forbes column, available here, I explain several remarkable aspects of the ongoing decline in hurricanes. I also call out global warming alarmists for making false hurricane claims and launching personal attacks against people who tell the truth about hurricanes.


  8. Global Warming Is Making Drought Less Frequent

    June 27, 2013 by James

    Global warming alarmists frequently assert that drought is becoming more frequent and severe as a result of global warming, but objective data show the opposite to be true.

    Over 100 years of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, presented by University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist John Christy, show no trend toward more drought or exceptional wetness.

    A 2004 study in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Climatology finds growing conditions are improving as the earth modestly warms. “The terrestrial surface is both warmer and effectively wetter … A good analogy to describe the changes in these places is that the terrestrial surface is literally becoming more like a gardener’s greenhouse,” states the peer-reviewed study.

    A 2006 study in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters reports, “Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.”

    A 2006 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Hydrology reports, “Evidence indicates that summer soil moisture content has increased during the last several decades at almost all sites having long-term records in the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank.”

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “A number of tree-ring records exist for the last two millennia which suggest that 20th century droughts may be mild when evaluated in the context of this longer time frame. The evidence from long tree-ring records is augmented with paleodrought records from other proxies, such as lake sediments that reflect changes in salinity and precipitation/evaporation balances.”

    Even a 2011 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on extreme weather events states there is “a lack of direct observations and a lack of agreement in the available scientific studies” regarding global warming and drought.

    Sure, droughts will continue to occur from time to time in various places, just as they have always occurred. However, scientific evidence shows droughts are becoming less frequent and less severe as our planet modestly warms. If droughts are becoming less frequent and less severe, how can one logically say global warming is causing drought?

    The decline in drought and other harmful severe weather events is also apparent in crop production. Since 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. farmers have set record per-acre crop yields for barley, beans, canola, corn, cotton, flaxseed, oats, peanuts, potatoes, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugarbeets, sunflowers and wheat.

    Global crop yields also are registering impressive gains as our planet modestly warms. Global grain harvests have nearly tripled during the past 50 years and nearly every important global crop has attained record productivity during the past five years.

    Droughts have always occurred and will always occur. If global warming is having any influence on droughts, however, it is making droughts less frequent and less severe.


  9. Polar Sea Ice Showing No Sign of Crisis

    by James

    Global warming alarmists frequently claim receding Arctic sea ice demonstrates an ongoing global warming crisis. These alarmists conveniently forget to mention that Antarctic sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been steadily growing for several decades and sets new records virtually every year.

    The amount of new sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is almost exactly the same as the amount of sea ice that has receded in the Northern Hemisphere. For most of 2013, global sea ice has been above the average extent of sea ice tracked by NASA satellites since the satellites began precisely measuring polar ice extent in 1979.

    The Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, and global sea ice history can be viewed here.


  10. Data Show No Rise in High Temperature Records

    by James

    Global warming alarmists often make the claim that global warming is causing a rash of dangerous high temperature records. Objective data from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) tell a completely different story.

    Climate scientist John Christy, who oversees the NASA satellite instrument program that precisely measures global temperatures, recently posted a chart showing the USHCN record high temperature data going back more than a century. The chart, linked here, shows quite clearly no increase in recent high temperature records. Indeed, many more high temperature records were set between 1900-1955 than were set between 1955-2013.