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Steve Newborn / WUSF

Groundbreaking was held today for the newest improvement in Tampa's mass transportation. It's called Bus Rapid Transit, and it should mean a significant improvement in getting across town.

TBO.com

Want to stay on top of the Republican National Convention?

Of course there's an app for that. Several, actually.

WUSF Public Media took several of these convention apps out of a test drive, and some performed better than others.

Here are five of our faves:

flgov.com

The guessing game continues over who will give the keynote address at this month's Republican National Convention in Tampa, but one thing is certain: Florida Gov. Rick Scott will have a speaking role.

Let's take a picture of America in the latter months of an election year. We want to sense what's on this country's mind. So Morning Edition begins a series of reports from First and Main. Several times in the next few months, we'll travel to a battleground state, then to a vital county in each state. In that county we find a starting point for our visit — an iconic American corner — First and Main streets.

A landmark federal law used to block the adoption of state voter identification cards and other election rules now faces unprecedented legal challenges.

A record five federal lawsuits filed this year challenge the constitutionality of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 statute prevents many state and local governments from enacting new voter ID requirements, redistricting plans and similar proposals on grounds that the changes would disenfranchise minorities.

Bobbie O'Brien

The economic benefits of hosting the Republican National Convention are touted often, but who would have imagined that Tampa Bay Lightning fans would reap some of the rewards.

To accommodate the RNC at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Lightning is temporarily closing down its merchandise store on the western plaza.

“The area will be taken over by the RNC much like most of the, some of the office space and a lot of the under, the parking garage and everything will all be taken over,” said Brian Breseman, media relations manager for the Lightning.

Jay Cost is a staff writer for The Weekly Standard.

Over the last six weeks, President Obama has launched a sustained advertising blitz focused primarily in nine swing states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Everybody is wondering: has it moved the needle in his direction?

Opinions are mixed.

Writing in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove argued:

The decision over replacing the iconic upside-down pyramid on St. Petersburg's waterfront won't go before the voters. The city council today voted down a plan for a referendum by a 6-2 vote. This came despite a petition that had more than 20,000 signatures from opponents of the plan to build "The Lens."

That plan would build a looping, figure-8 walkway out into the bay. Council member Charlie Gerdes summed up his vote this way:

Ball Park Guides.com

The Tampa Bay Rays ownership can expect an official invitation soon from Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough Commissioners voted 5 to 2 Thursday to send a letter inviting the Rays organization to make a presentation on the team’s long-term interests, plans and goals to the board.

Commissioner Ken Hagan is calling for a regional discussion about the Rays future.

Get used to hearing the name Julian Castro. You're likely to be coming across it a lot in coming days and perhaps beyond.

President Obama chose Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

Bobbie O'Brien

If Congress fails to pass a revised budget, automatic, across-the-board budget cuts will take effect January 1st. Three Republican senators held a “town hall” in Tampa Monday to emphasize how that could devastate national security and the military, but they also offered a solution.

The three senators are breaking with the GOP leadership and calling for a compromise before the automatic cuts go into effect.  They want Democrats and President Obama to join them.

Senator John McCain cautioned, without action, the military and communities will lose jobs.

Here's some cool time-lapse photography that shows the transformation underway at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as we prepare for the RNC.

It begins with the removal of the turf for Tampa's arena football team.

About halfway through, you can see the main stage taking shape.

We expect to see the completion of the preparations in the RNC's next video.

Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.

Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.

Pam Bondi Stumps for Mitt Romney in N.H.

Jul 30, 2012
facebook.com/pambondi

While you were glued to the Olympics all weekend, Florida's attorney general traveled to the battleground state of New Hampshire to campaign for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

On Saturday, Republican Pam Bondi headlined a Women for Mitt breakfast in Concord. She later gave a pep talk to supporters at Romney's New Hampshire campaign headquarters in Bedford, lauding the former Massachusetts governor as a job creator who "leads by example."

Beth Myers is a tease.

The woman running Mitt Romney's search for a running mate — a.k.a. @BethMyers2012 — apparently decided to blow off some steam Friday afternoon with a couple of "Follow Friday" shout-outs on Twitter.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Today marks one month before the start of the Republican National Convention. But many of the people coming to Tampa won't be sharing in the coronation of Mitt Romney - they'll be out in the streets, protesting what they say are the party's policies towards the less fortunate.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani campaigned in Tampa today at Mitt Romney's state headquarters on Harbour Island. This is the same Mitt Romney he ran against four years ago for the GOP nomination for president. But times change.

Guiliani repeatedly ripped into Barack Obama as anti-business - expecially since the president's comment that small businesses have to rely on government to succeed.

(UPDATED July 26) The ad described in the post below was pulled off of YouTube at the request of the International Olympic Committee, citing copyright violation, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will host three town hall meetings to answer questions and discuss the Republican National Convention’s impacts on residents and area businesses.

August 14, 2012–     The Florida Aquarium – Taylor Great Room

701 Channelside Drive  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 15, 2012–     Stetson University - Smith Court Room 

1700 North Tampa Street  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 16, 2012–     Kate Jackson Community Center

Wikipedia

The Republican National Convention is still a month away, but already big names are rolling into Tampa to talk up the party's presumptive nominee.

On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will speak at Mitt Romney's Florida headquarters at 302 Knights Run Ave. on Harbour Island. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. For details, call (813) 638-8787.

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