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Senator: Unemployed should take drug tests for benefits listen

03/12/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Unemployment is now at a 16-year high in Florida, as the Sunshine State has lost more than 355,000 jobs over the past year.

For many who have lost a job, it’s a blow to the ego to have to ask for government assistance. But if one bay area legislator has his way, they may have to submit more than their personal information and their pride to collect unemployment.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill that would require random testing for one of every 10 people who app...

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Michael Lind on Obama listen

03/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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As the stock market continues its downward spiral, some conservative critics are blaming President Obama, not yet in office 6 weeks yet.

In an opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal called “Obama’s radicalism is Killing the Dow,” Stanford University Economics Professor Michael J. Boskin writes that the Wall Street sell-off is a product in part of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy, not just...

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Florida unemployment rate continue to rise listen

03/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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The number of unemployed people rose in the Tampa bay area to nearly 10 percent in January. Officially, the number was 9.7 percent, while in Florida, unemployment is now at 8.6 percent. That’s 3½ percent higher than a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is now at 8.1 percent.

Rebecca Rust is an economist with the state agency for Workforce Innovation. She says Florida has nearly 356,000 jobs, a negative job growth rate at 4 ½ percent, larger than the national 2 ½ perc...

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Hillsborough Commissioner: Let's talk about the budget now listen

03/04/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tuesday night, the Pinellas County Commission held a public hearing where local citizens could weigh in on how the county should deal with spending cuts that will have to be made as they prepare next fiscal year’s budget.

In Hillsborough, County Commissioner Al Higgenbotham says its incumbent for the government to be vigilant and do whatever it can to help the local citizenry in these challenging economic times.

So Higgenbotham today was able to cajole other board members to get a bud...

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Political analyst dissects Legislature's challenges this year listen

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he wants to use as much as $8 billion in federal stimulus money to plug holes in the state budget over the next couple of years. But some Republicans don’t think that’s the way to go.

Wayne Garcia is the political editor of Creative Loafing, the Tampa Bay area’s alternative newspaper. He spoke about this issue and others on the eve of the legislative session.

That’s Wayne Garcia with Creative Loafing. On his political blog, called Political Wh...

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Pinellas seeks input on how to trim local government

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners plans to cut at least 20 percent from its overall general fund for the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

Because of that, the Board is hosting public hearings unusually early in the budgeting process this year, beginning tomorrow night in Palm Harbor.

Mary Burrell is a spokeswoman for Pinellas County. She says these early meetings are a little unusually early this year, but that’s because the cuts will be substantial.

The County C...

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Jeffrey Sachs on climate change and overpopulation listen

02/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrapped up her first diplomatic mission to Asia earlier this week with climate change experts praising her for putting global warming at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

Clinton said the Obama administration wants to see economic growth continue in China. But she also noted that the two nations produce 40 percent of the world's heat-trapping gas emissions.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs writes extensively about the dangers of climate change. His lat...

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Columnist: Government needs more revenue to function properly listen

02/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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In his message to Congress last night, President Barack Obama laid out how he plans on dealing with the various crises facing his administration.

But the Washington Post editorialized this morning that his message was more about what could be done than what would have to be left out.

Obama said in addition to dealing with the banking, housing and financial problems, he plans on addressing health care, education, and alternative forms of energy, and cut the deficit in half by 2013.

...

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Some legislators will promote development to fix economy listen

02/20/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Earlier this week, some state lawmakers announced that they believe a way to kick start Florida’s economy is by streamlining the permitting process for new development.

The St. Petersburg Times reporting this week that some of the groups pushing for looser permitting include such politically powerful groups as the Florida Home Builders Association, the Association of Florida Community Developers, and Associated Industries.

Barney Bishop is president of Associated Industries, base...

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Alexandra Harney on 'The China Price' - Part II listen

02/20/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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In her book, The China Price, reporter Alexandra Harney writes that in terms of labor rights, Chinese workers have actually been faring better in courts when suing their employers in recent years.

She writes that although such lawsuits could act as a break in derailing projects that might help nudge China’s GDP grow even higher, and thus make it less attractive to foreign investors, those individual rights cases do make China seem more like other nations, which could actually help the...

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