Penny for your thoughts, Charlie
After reading your hometown newspaper, you should start your web-day with the Florida Progressive Coalition.
"Will Florida recognize gay adoptions from other states?"
DOJ investigates public corruption in Florida
"The U.S. Department of Justice has called on a tenacious veteran prosecutor to help handle a grand jury investigation into public corruption in Florida — a top-secret inquiry related to a Fort Lauderdale business that authorities suspect was a colossal fraud."
Accusations against current and former public officials presented to the grand jury are so explosive that careers could be ruined if they are made public before the investigation is complete, a federal judge said this month."Public corruption inquiry intensifies".
At least six past and present public officials have already been cleared of wrongdoing.
The federal grand jury's existence came to light in April when U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan, rejecting a request from the Sun Sentinel, ruled he was going to keep about 30 court filings in a criminal case involving Mutual Benefits Corp. hidden from public view.
RPOFer Speaker Sansom in a jam
"Prosecutors say a crucial document in the criminal case against former state House Speaker Ray Sansom shows that Sansom intended all along for a $6 million building to be built at Destin Airport." "Document refers to airport early on".
"Five members of South Florida's congressional delegation [Kendrick Meek, Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman Schultz] will travel to Haiti to discuss hurricane preparation, immigration policy and security issues with Haitian President Rene Preval." "S. Fla. congressional delegation travels to Haiti".
Them lazy firefighters
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "To save dollars, St. Petersburg's Fire Department is operating some of its fire trucks with smaller crews than other Pinellas County fire departments and"
below the staffing level recommended in a national standard. Fire Chief Jim Large [the man who made the decision to cut staffing] insists public safety is not compromised by the smaller crews — a view not shared by some other firefighting experts. St. Petersburg's unusual approach to stretching its firefighting ranks in lean times should give city officials and St. Petersburg residents pause, because the budget situation is not going to get any brighter any time soon."Balancing safety, tight budgets".
FFWCC does its job for a change
Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Too many times in the past, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission failed to live up to its name, putting the wishes of those who exploit game and fish over good conservation practices. Last week, by banning the commercial harvest of freshwater turtles in state waters, the commission stayed true to its core mission. Individuals can still take one turtle per day." "Freshwater turtles can come back out in the sun". The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Proposed harvesting ban best way to save Florida's turtles".
The Miami Herald editorial board loves the FCAT: "FCAT gains". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Poor grades not just schools' fault".
We don't care how you do it in Oklahoma
"A hearty national guffaw started early this week when Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., released a list of 100 items he called wasteful in President Obama's federal stimulus package."
The Lake Jackson "eco-passage," a few miles north of Florida's capitol, caught national media attention, from the Wall Street Journal to the Los Angeles Times."Officials defend eco-passage".
But Kevin Thibault, assistant secretary for engineering and operations in the state Department of Transportation, said the "turtle tunnel" ridicule missed a couple of salient points. First, the money won't detract from Interstate highways or airports, but will come from a small "enhancement" pot that is set aside for just such work.
And second, the twin tunnels under a four-lane stretch of U.S. 27 north of Tallahassee will be big enough for a deer to scamper through — thus making the road a lot safer for motorists who don't want to hit one at 50 or 60 miles an hour. Even a major alligator or turtle can be a highly hazardous speed bump in the dark, said DOT spokesman Dick Kane.
"The Repugnant Party"
Leonard Pitts: "The modern GOP was created in 1965 with a stroke of Lyndon Johnson's pen."
If that is an exaggeration, it is not much of one. When Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, he made a prediction: In committing the unpardonable sin of guaranteeing the ballot to all citizens regardless of race, he said, he would cause his party to lose the South "for a generation.""Grand Ol' Bigots strike again". For more, see our ongoing project: "After All, He Is Black".
And indeed Southern Democrats, who for a century had bombed schools, lynched innocents, perverted justice and terrorized millions in the name of intolerance, responded by leaving their ancestral party in droves. They formed the base of a new GOP, a reality acknowledged by Ronald Reagan when he opened his 1980 campaign at a segregationist fair in a town where three civil rights workers were infamously martyred, by declaring, "I believe in state's rights."
In embracing its new southern base, the Republican Party became the Repugnant Party on matters of race, a distinction it has done little to shed. ...
You may wish to let that one marinate for a moment.
And please, don't bother reminding me of Democrat Robert Byrd's onetime membership in the Ku Klux Klan; I make no argument that the Democrats are untainted by bigotry. Rather, my argument is that the GOP is consumed by it, riddled with it, that it has shown, sown, shaped and been shaped by it, to an abhorrent degree.
RPOFer tuff guy
"Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair [a 'conservative Republican who stressed family values'] was arrested early Sunday, accused of beating up his two sons on Father's Day." "Brian Blair arrested, accused of beating up his sons".
Dockery buzz continues
"State Sen. Dockery Known for Building Coalitions". Billy better keep looking over his shoulder.
Florida "retreating from its Southern Bible Belt roots"?
"That a Florida governor would openly praise gambling legislation in front of school children is a decisive signal that Florida is moving closer to Las Vegas in its tolerance for slot machines and blackjack and retreating from its Southern Bible Belt roots." "Gambling entering a new era in Florida".
Under water by 2099?
"It's the year 2099, the globe is warm, and coastal Florida could be under 3 feet of water."
It sounds like movie trailer hype. But it's what a plain-language climate report issued last week by the Obama administration means, scientists say."Among the projections for the Southeast by 2099:"
The 158-page report, six pages of which focus on Florida and the Southeast, says global warming is "unequivocal," man-made and primarily due to emissions of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and gas.
# The number of days with peak temperatures over 90 degrees will soar; North Florida, for example, will have 165 days of 90-degree heat per year by the turn of the century, up from 60 days in the 1970s."Frightful Florida global warming forecast for 2099: Will your grandkids be under water?".
# Higher temperatures will hurt human health, forests, crops and livestock.
# A rise in coastal water temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees will cause water to expand, and sea level will increase by 1 to 5 feet, possibly much more as polar ice melts.
# With Atlantic water temperatures up, hurricane strength likely will increase, with faster winds, more intense rain and stronger storm surge.
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Amid the flurry of bills Gov. Crist has signed into law in recent weeks, one got the governor's John Hancock with little fanfare. It should have been publicly heralded as the return of common sense."
In fact, SB 1540, which requires school boards to revisit their zero-tolerance policies, was lauded by the governor as just that. With support from Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice and law-enforcement agencies throughout the state, the measure is touted as a means of reducing the number of juveniles who are needlessly thrust into the system because of minor infractions — most commonly, petty disobedience."It makes sense".
Consider cases from several headlines: In March, a Lakeland boy was suspended from school for intentionally passing gas on a school bus. In Hernando County, an 11-year-old girl was suspended for bringing a plastic butter knife to school. A student in Brandon was suspended because a calculator he brought to school was equipped with a "knife-like object."
In too many cases, it had become clear that the state-sanctioned zero-tolerance policy was being abused by school districts to dump children into the juvenile-justice system rather than finding acceptable ways to deal with minor cases of acting out or acting up.
"The number of condo owners who aren't paying maintenance fees is on the rise, causing headaches for the other owners and, in some cases, animosity between neighbors." "Condo fee deadbeats cause problems for neighbors".
"The Department of Environmental Protection will spend $19 million over the next two years on trails throughout the Florida Keys. Officials say the goal is to provide a continuous biking and running trail from Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo to Mile Marker 0 in Key West by 2013." "Fla. Keys to get new $19 million trail".