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The Trouble With American Exceptionalism

| September 21, 2013

Do we have moral authority as a nation, asks Cary McMullen. Do we have the humility Obama spoke of, namely that we are acting not in self-interest but in the interest of justice? Are we exceptional not just in our history but in our standing among nations as an exemplar of righteous ideals?

Where Fast Food Workers Make Twice the US Minimum Wage, and Have Benefits

| September 18, 2013

Critics say a living wage of around $15 an hour would drive fast-food restaurants and other retail firms out of business — and millions of their employees out of work. Australia’s experience, where workers make $15 an hour, shows why that argument is bunk, argues Salvatore Babones.

High Times Ahead: The Political Side Effects of Tolerating Legal Pot

| September 5, 2013

A nascent civil war is brewing between the social conservative and the libertarian wings of the Republican party, with legalized pot now another issue that could add to the divisions, and Attorney general Eric Holder’s decision not to prosecute marijuana possession in much of the nation lighting new fuses, argues Sanho Tree.

A Feral Cats Plea to Palm Coast: Time to Adopt Trap, Neuter and Return Rather than Kill

| August 31, 2013

As Palm Coast continues to trap and kill feral cats, Jacksonville, Deland, Port Orange and Flagler Beach are among the growing list of cities and towns that have adopted trap, neuter and return programs. Cities are turning to the protocol not only because it is humane, but because it is cost effective.

No PALs Allowed: A Mom’s Struggle With Flagler Schools’ Latest Dress-Code Absurdities

| August 30, 2013

Though her children could wear PAL jersey shirts on Spirit Fridays last year, Michelle Taylor was ordered to Bunnell Elementary School Friday morning to replace her two sons’ PAL shirts as the 1st and 2nd grade boys were pulled from class and made to sit in the office “as if they’d committed a crime,” Taylor says.

Not So Fast Missy: How a Protester Exposed an Undercover Cop

| August 21, 2013

When the author first met her four years ago, she couldn’t have known that the small-framed woman with spiky brown hair and intense eyes was anything but a fellow activist showing up for a protest in Washington, D.C. She turned out to be an undercover cop ordered to secretly spy on peaceful protesters, violate their freedom of speech and assembly, and disregard their right to privacy.

Art For Shock’s Sake: The Business and Aesthetic of Rejection

| August 14, 2013

Peter Cerreta, the Palm Coast artist who had a work of his own rejected at the “Monsters of Bigotry” show at Hollingsworth Gallery, adds his perspective to the debate about art that belongs (or doesn’t) in galleries and museums, concluding that “not every piece that shocks for shock’s sake” does.

Eric Holder Takes on the “War on Drugs,” Mandatory Sentences and Epidemic Imprisonment Rates

| August 12, 2013

Attorney general Eric Holder on Monday delivered a seminal speech outlining a plan to revamp federal drug policy and incarceration rates of non-violent and elderly offenders, and urging Congress to review mandatory sentencing in light of a “war on drugs” that has not worked. The full speech.

Commissioner Frank Meeker: Why I Voted to Buy the Old Hospital Despite Reservations

| August 2, 2013

“Honestly, I can’t help but feel I’m being led, at times by the nose, to a conclusion to support the hospital purchase,” Meeker writes. “But fortunately for me, I don’t mind researching issues on my own.” In a broad-ranging discussion, he provides a point-by-point defense of his decision.

We’re the Most Educated Young Adults in American History, Yet Many of Us Can’t Find Work

| July 31, 2013

What happens when we can’t find work and can’t pay our loans, asks Colleen Teubner. We invest about four years of our lives and up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in our education, and then spend the next decade trying to get out of ever-increasing debt.

Black Man 101: Déjà Jim Crow All Over Again For African-American Parents and Their Sons

| July 18, 2013

We already teach our sons to be “agreeable” and “non-challenging” with police. Must we now teach our sons to conform to some modern form of “Jim Crow etiquette” and defer to all potential bigots who come their way? Terrance Heath writes that the answer is as heartbreaking to give as it is to receive.

Commissioner to Lobbyist: Milissa Holland Joins Powerful Southern Strategy Group

| July 17, 2013

In a pair of candid interviews, former Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland traced her personal and professional trajectories that took her from representing taxpayers in government to representing the special-interest clients of the Southern Strategy Group, one of Florida’s–and the nation’s–most powerful lobbying firms.

The Undoing of Barack Obama

| July 15, 2013

President Barack Obama is no longer on a roll. We have become a laughingstock in the international community, writes Donald Kaul, obstructionist House Republicans are treating the immigration bill as their favorite hostage, and many more landmines await.

Edifice Complex: Palm Coast Council Should Forget About Gang of Six’s Geezer Gimmick

| July 12, 2013

The Gang of Six–the former Palm Coast City Council members wanting to build a new city hall–are showing their age with the outdated nature of their idea, argues Merrill Shapiro. The council should forget their proposal and focus on the challenges of a rapidly changing city and society.

As Flagler Beach Residents Bear Biggest Burdens of Changes, Commissioners Duck

| July 7, 2013

More visitors and more businesses have vastly increased costs on Flagler Beach residents, but when the county stepped up with proposals to reduce those costs through some fire-house consolidation, City Commission Chairman Steve Settle said no thanks–before the commission had even considered the proposals. It’s an example of a commission that doesn’t have city residents’ best interests at heart, argues Rick Belhumeur.

Morning-After Victory on Women’s Reproductive Rights, But Testosterone Policies Persist

| June 24, 2013

Reproductive rights advocates are celebrating the Obama administration’s surrender on the morning-after pill, empowering all women to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies. It’s about damn time, argues Kathleen Joyce, but she warns: don’t let your guard down just yet.

Racist Attacks on Mexican-American’s National Anthem Performance Reflect GOP Blinders

| June 20, 2013

It’s sad that Sebatien de la Cruz’s singing of the National Anthem at an NBA playoff game should become the target of ugly, anti-immigrant sentiment. These views didn’t arise in a vacuum, argues Raul Reyes. Republican lawmakers have been demonizing immigrants to the detriment of our civil discourse and to their own party. Meanwhile, our nation continues to grow more diverse, putting the GOP out of step with a changing America.

A Pastor Reflects on Two Church Community Friends: Leonard Lynn and His Murderer

| June 5, 2013

Rev. Beth Gardner, the pastor at Bunnell’s First United Methodist Church, heard the news of Leonard Lynn’s murder 10 minutes before services Sunday. He had been a member of her church community–as was his murderer, Erick Niemi.

Flagler Middle & High School Principals Plead With Voters: Give Us Back Those 45 Minutes

| June 3, 2013

Flagler County’s four secondary-school principals say restoring 45 minutes to the school day, or the equivalent of a month’s worth education, is indispensable if the district’s students are to excel consistently.

Property Appraiser Gardner: Correcting the Record on School Taxes and the Referendum

| May 29, 2013

In an endorsement of the half-mill school tax levy, Flagler County Property Appraiser James Gardner responds to claims that the school district has “continually increased our taxes. Based upon factual information, this is simply not true.” He shows why.

The Military’s Sexual Assault Crisis: Our Women in Uniform Deserve Better

| May 28, 2013

There were 3,374 reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2012, and 26,000 assaults likely went unreported. Those shameful numbers don’t have to speak for themselves, argues Martha Burk, but most of the victims were afraid of being punished by superiors if they reported what happened.

Sheriff Manfre Declares in Favor of June 7 School Tax Referendum

| May 20, 2013

Citing the benefits of a longer school day and deputies in elementary schools, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre issued a statement Monday afternoon in support of the June 7 tax referendum proposing to increase property taxes to support programs in the school district.

Flagler’s School Tax Referendum: An Opposing View

| May 15, 2013

Adding to a growing debate over the June 7 Flagler County School Board tax referendum, Brad West argues against the levy, saying the district taxes constituents enough as it is, while the “cup-of-coffee-per-month” argument is a more expensive proposition than the board claims.

Andy Dance: Why I Will Vote “Yes” On the School Tax Referendum

| May 14, 2013

“I will vote for the half mill, and I ask those that are on the fence or are leaning “no” to reconsider,” writes Andy Dance, the Flagler County School Board chairman, who has himself reconsidered his earlier opposition to the full .50-mill tax referendum. He explains why.

Pink Ladies in a Mud Run, On the Other Side of Flagler’s Beaches

| May 10, 2013

Mud runs in Flagler County–such as Saturday’s FL.ROC Mud Run on Cemetery Road in Bunnell–are a mostly unknown sub-specialty of Flagler County special events. Casey Ryan takes you into the mud on her October run, as she prepares for Saturday’s.

Flagler Beach’s Opposition to Fire Department Consolidation Costing Taxpayers $200K a Year

| May 4, 2013

Consolidating the Flagler Beach Fire Department with the county’s would save $200,000 and vastly improve fire and rescue services in the city, argues Rick Belhumeur, yet the Flagler Beach City Commission has consistently scuttled debate on the issue while pretending to invite residents to offer cost-saving ideas.

Ahead of National Police Week, A Sheriff Remembers That Knock at the Door

| April 26, 2013

Commemorating National Police Week in May, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre remembers his first memory of law enforcement, when he was 7 years old and a police officer knocked at the family home’s door to report his father’s accident with a drunk driver.

Publix’s Profitable Accommodation With Poverty: Not a Penny More for Tomato Pickers

| April 23, 2013

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has been trying for years to get Publix to join the Fair Food Coalition, in which suppliers and purchasers agree to pay the workers a penny more per pound of tomatoes picked. Publix won’t even meet with the workers.

Road Rage Genesis: Law Banning Texting a Long-Overdue Correction

| April 18, 2013

In Florida in 2012, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 256,443 traffic crashes and of those 4,841 were caused by a driver using some form of electronic device.

Break Up the Banks: It’s Not a Fringe Idea Anymore

| April 16, 2013

Moments of consensus between left and right don’t come frequently in Washington, and we should heed them when they occur. Right now, that means breaking up the banks, argues Amy Dean.

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