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Sheriff Manfre on Medical Marijuana: “I Am Receptive to the Arguments Favoring the Amendment’s Passage”

| May 9, 2014

“For me,” Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre writes, “it comes down to whether medical marijuana has a medically beneficial effect and if it could help my Mom or any of our loved ones from the debilitating side effects of radiation treatments or the other diseases it claims to affect.”

Voucher Scams: Floridians Should Be Fighting the Privatization of Public Schools

| May 6, 2014

We’re decades into a war waged by shadowy business interests and religious groups, working through “cooperative” legislators and governors to gradually undermine most of the state’s public schools and ultimately privatize them, argues Daniel Tilson.

“Growing Up Fisher” Is Perpetuating Stereotypes About Blind People

| April 28, 2014

“It’s hard for me not to cringe,” writes Kathi Wolfe, a legally blind writer, when the main character on Growing Up Fisher “does things that most blind people in real life would rarely, if ever, do. He hits cars in crosswalks with his white cane, checks his guide dog into a restaurant cloakroom, chops down trees with a chainsaw, and takes his clients’ cars for rides.”

Progress Florida Launches Executive Accountability Project as Culture of Secrecy Pervades Scott Administration

| April 23, 2014

The culture of self-serving deal-making that grips many of our state capitals has operated essentially in secret, relying on tactics to avoid Government in the Sunshine laws and a lack of public attention. The Executive Accountability Project will focus on providing the public a never-before-seen look at the inner workings of how their elected officials are conducting “the people’s” business behind closed doors.

Corruption Theorem: Money as Speech and the Supreme Court’s Death Blow to Democracy

| April 7, 2014

We’ve come a long way from the days of Lawton Chiles, who won his election for governor despite limiting contributions to $10 a pop. There is no longer any bidding limit on the vast auction block American politics has become since, writes Martin Dyckman.

The Problem With “Step Up for Students,” Florida’s Voucher Jockey

| March 24, 2014

Step Up For Children CEO Doug Tuthill is shameless about the way his organization–the administrative agent for Florida’s school voucher program–spends lavishly on political races, which may explain why a Senate proposal to vastly expand the voucher program this year foundered.

After the Attack: A Pit Bull Owner Speaks In Defense of Second Chance Rescue

| March 18, 2014

In the wake of a pit bull’s–or a pit bull mix’s–attack on two young children at Second Hand Rescue last week, a dog owner who took possession of a pit bull that had been rescued and rehabilitated by Second Hand Rescue writes in defense of the Bunnell animal shelter.

If It’s Economic Growth You Want, Raising the Minimum Wage Crushes Wall Street Bonuses Every Time

| March 15, 2014

If the $26.7 billion Wall Streeters pulled in on their bonuses last year had instead gone to minimum wage workers, our economy would be expected to grow by about $32.3 billion — more than triple the $10.4 billion boost expected from the Wall Street bonuses.

Sheriff Jim Manfre: How To Restore Common Sense to Stand Your Ground

| March 13, 2014

The public’s valid concern over the vigilante-style actions of certain people who have watched too many Western movies should be dealt with through legislative action, argues Sheriff Jim Manfre, starting with a definition of self-defense that doesn;t leave its determination in the perpetrator’s hands.

Marco Rubio Flirts With Immigration Reform Then Capitulates to the Lunatic Fringe

| March 11, 2014

Rubio placed a dismal seventh at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in a straw poll of likely GOP presidential hopefuls, where his kind of immigration talk doesn’t sit well with the GOP fringe, political or lunatic, writes Andrew Skerritt.

Politicians’ Pot Dilemma: Whether To Inhale Florida’s Medical Marijuana Joint

| February 25, 2014

The elevation of medical marijuana to a theological level is not unique to Florida. Many legislators from Georgia to Kentucky to Iowa have invoked conversations with God as they came to embrace medical pot.

Memo to Florida Legislature: Quit Bashing Public-Employee Pensions

| February 20, 2014

A determined cohort of elected officials in our Legislature is trying to turn working and retired people against each other, to better the odds of a dangerous bill becoming destructive law. If ever there were a legislative wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing of “fiscal responsibility,” this would be that perpetually hungry beast, argues Daniel Tilson.

Neither Marx Nor Hannity: Pope Francis’s Cool Embrace of Simplicity

| February 15, 2014

Even for a pope as refreshingly humble and open-minded as Francis, it’s too much to expect that he will remake the worldwide Catholic Church into one big hippie commune, argues Cary McMullen. Those on the political left may eventually be just as disappointed in him as those on the political right.

Stand Your Ground: Florida is Not My Castle. And It’s Not Yours, Either.

| February 11, 2014

The right to stand one’s ground against aggression in one’s home is unquestioned, but, argues Julie Delegal, in public, spaces must be shared, peacefully. The castle doctrine cannot be extended to cover the entire state, as Florida’s Stand Your Ground law does.

Arrested For Felony Child Abuse and Pot Possession: The Mother’s Account

| February 5, 2014

Sophia Zhudro is the 30-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s B-Section who was arrested on Jan. 24 for marijuana possession as she was parked with her 15-month-old on the side of a residential street in her neighborhood. She tells her side of the story, taking issue with the way the incident was related by police.

Magpul Gun Company Mutes Its Connection To Sandy Hook, and Media Comply

| February 1, 2014

After rushing to every microphone in Colorado during a battle against gun control, Magpul had nothing to say to reporters about its connection to the Newtown shooting, even when photos of its magazines, used by the shooter, were released in December.

Martin Luther King’s Nightmare: The Inequality Behind Forbes’ Richest 400

| January 19, 2014

The net worth of just 400 billionaires is on par with the collective wealth of our more than 14 million African- American households. Both groups possess some $2 trillion, about three percent of our national net worth, an economic injustice Martin Luther King would have decried, argues Bob Lord.

The Slow-Motion Lynching Of President Barack Obama

| January 10, 2014

If this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White House, argues Frank Schaeffer, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law Review is being lynched?

Florida Hospital Flagler CEO: State Must Extend Medicaid to Working Poor

| January 4, 2014

The Florida Legislature still has the opportunity this year to draw down $51 billion in federal dollars already sent to Washington to help pay the cost of health insurance for those who cannot afford it, argues Floridfa Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison.

Solar Panel Users as Freeloaders: ALEC Network’s State Lobbyists Attack Homeowner and Business Subsidies

| December 28, 2013

According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative network better known as ALEC, our solar panels make us “free riders.” What? Yes, according to ALEC, an organization that specializes in getting the right-wing agenda written into state laws, people like me who invest in energy-efficiency and shrinking our carbon footprints ought to be penalized, writes Isaiah J. Poole.

In Defense of Net Neutrality: How To Keep Biggest Internet Providers From Running Amok

| December 17, 2013

Without net neutrality, the Web would look a lot like cable, with the most popular content available only on certain tiers or with certain providers: Imagine AT&T as the exclusive home of Netflix and Comcast as the sole source of YouTube.

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
Forgive, But Don’t Forget

| December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela, one of the towering figures of the 20th century and the liberator of South Africa from apartheid, died today–Dec. 5–at 8:50 p.m. in Johannesburg. He was 95. Here are exts from his own pen, which speak more eloquently than obituaries about his vision for a world of equality, human rights and dignity unobscured by illusions.

Don’t Slash Government Spending. Increase It.

| December 1, 2013

One of the biggest common misunderstandings is that governments are like households, which need to tighten their spending when times are tough. Actually, governments and households work in opposite ways. Governments can and should spend more when times are tough.

Obama’s Free Press Problem: Why Reporters in the U.S. Now Need Protection

| November 29, 2013

The Obama administration has made the most concerted effort since the Nixon years to intimidate officials from talking to a reporter. Paul Steiger, Paul Steiger recipient of this year’s the Burton Benjamin Memorial award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, argues for a response.

Why Florida Should Embrace Common Core: A Conservative Perspective

| November 26, 2013

“I believe in Common Core State Standards, believed in them decades before they existed, and desperately want them for my grandchildren, their children and the future of this great nation,” writes Nancy Smith, the conservative editor of Sunshine State News. “If I’d been an educator, I might have invented them.”

The Trouble With Veterans Day

| November 11, 2013

It’s hard to see how, if a war is unjust, it can be heroic to wage it. So it’s flat-out preposterous to claim that everyone who has ever been in the U.S. military is a hero, argues Arnold Oliver, a Vietnam veteran who finds it troubling that Veterans Day has devolved into a hyper-nationalistic worship service of militarism.

A Modest Crime-Prevention Proposal: If You Want to Raise a Child, First, Get a License

| November 4, 2013

Jim McClellan has an idea that will reduce all types of crime and violence without explicitly infringing on the Constitution in the process. What I propose are some tough new restrictions on people in this country who want to have and rear kids.

Marco Rubio’s Slimy Flip-Flop Against Judge William Thomas

| October 30, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio is blocking President Barack Obama’s nomination of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge William Thomas to a seat on the federal bench for the Southern District of Florida, even though Rubio himself recommended Thomas to Obama previously.

Disabled But Employed, Or Employable: What Businesses Can Do To Break Down Barriers

| October 17, 2013

Stewart Marchman Act’s Enrichment Program’s 150 participants in Palm Coast and Daytona Beach are a reminder that Americans with disabilities are an underutilized reservoir of ambition, talent and skill ready to make great contributions in the workplace, writes Chet Bell.

Forget Common Core: Here’s a Citizenship Test to Determine Who Can Survive In Florida

| October 16, 2013

Florida citizenship will be granted to all who live through the experience, don’t kill anyone else while doing it and swear to never, ever try to ride a manatee under any circumstances, writes Jim McLellan.

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