Florida Five: DWS to Dems: ‘Our party has a problem,’ Fla. Dem leadership challenged

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz defeated

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Dems: ‘Our party has a problem’ – While analyzing last week’s elections Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz admitted in a newly released video that there were flaws, but not with their issues. “Our party has a problem,” Wasserman Schultz said in the video, speaking directly to supporters with a Jewish Americans for Obama sign strategically placed just above her shoulder. Watch video

In lawsuits statewide, questions of profits and public records – The nonprofit Citizens Awareness Foundation was founded to “empower citizens to exercise their right to know,” according to its mission statement. The South Florida millionaire backing the foundation hired one of the state’s most prominent public records activists to run it, rented office space, and pledged to pay the legal fees to make sure people had access to government records. But a review of court records and internal communications obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting shows that the foundation is less interested in obtaining records and educating the public than in working with a partner law firm to collect cash settlements from every lawsuit filed. Citizens Awareness Foundation and the O’Boyle Law Firm set up shop in the same building at about the same time. The two share more than an address. They also share personnel, money and a mandate to sue as many state and local government agencies and businesses as they can for violating Florida’s Sunshine law. Read more

Daytona Beach Democrat challenges party leadership in Florida House – A rebellion against leadership by some Florida House Democrats has burst into the open days after the party lost six seats in the midterm elections and gave Republicans a supermajority in the chamber. Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, confirmed that he would challenge incoming House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, at a caucus meeting scheduled for next Monday, Nov. 17, one day before of the Legislature’s organizational session. Pafford was slated to be formally elected to the position during that meeting. Taylor said he and others tried to raise concerns with Pafford before the end of the spring legislative session but saw little change in the caucus’ approach to the elections. The Democratic wipeout last week leaves the party with little to no leverage in dealing with Republicans, whose 81-38 advantage gives them a free hand to run the House without fear of interference. Read more

Thrasher’s first day at FSU begins with tense student meeting – New Florida State University president John Thrasher began his first official day on the job by sitting down with his toughest critics. Thrasher met with 25 members of FSU’s Progress Coalition in a music rehearsal hall. The 8 a.m. meeting was as tense as his other interactions with the leftist student group: he didn’t like their accusations and they didn’t like his responses. “I want to be here today to listen to you,” Thrasher said at the beginning of the meeting before the students outlined a list of nine demands, such as admitting he accepted campaign contributions from the Koch brothers and ending all active agreements at FSU with entities tied to the Kochs, who are multi-billionaires and heavy contributors to Republican candidates and causes. Read more

NASA’s 1st Orion spaceship set for launch pad trek – NASA’s next spaceship is about to take a big step toward its historic December spaceflight debut. The Orion capsule will roll out to the launch pad Tuesday night (Nov. 11), moving from the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida to the next-door Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Orion will launch on an unmanned test mission from the Cape on Dec. 4 to test out a variety of its systems, including the capsule’s heat shield and other re-entry technologies. The move was originally scheduled for Monday (Nov. 10), but a weather forecast predicting strong winds and lightning pushed things back 24 hours. If all goes according to plan, Orion will start moving Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Nov. 12) and wrap up about 6 hours later when the capsule, encased in its 52-foot-tall (16 meters) protective fairing, arrives at Space Launch Complex 37B. Read more

Bonus: Cha-ching! Naples waiter receives $1,500 tip

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