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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

E Pluribus Un-American:
The Judeo-Christian Smear of Islam

| February 5, 2016

President Obama’s trip to a mosque to reassure American Muslims of their importance should have been unnecessary. It reveals how deep-seated prejudice remains, especially that of conservative Christians who claim to preach acceptance.

Florida Supreme Court Halts Executions Indefinitely; 389 Death Row Inmates In Limbo

| February 2, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Florida’s death-penalty sentencing scheme on Jan. 12, forcing the state to rewrite its law but also putting in question whether the new law must apply to all 489 death row inmates.

Florida’s “Pastor Protection Act” Seen as Defense of Clergy or Latest Bias Against LGBT

| January 31, 2016

The proposal, which was approved this week by a Senate committee, would prevent clergy members from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies contrary to their beliefs.

Florida Lawmakers Urged to Require Unanimous Verdicts in Death Penalty Cases

| January 28, 2016

Florida is the only state in the nation where a simple jury majority is enough for a death penalty recommendation, one of several problems at odds with a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Florida’s capital punishment system.

Did Goebbels Win? Nazis Are Gone (Mostly), But Deadly Propaganda Is Thriving

| January 28, 2016

It’s not just ISIS: the increasingly sophisticated use of hate speech directed against minorities and migrants has been a worrisome trend in Europe and the United States. Bombs and bullets alone cannot defeat political poison.

Sheriff Manfre Proposes De-Criminalizing Pot Possession; County Officials and State Attorney Open to Idea

| January 22, 2016

Following in the steps of three Florida counties and some 20 states, Sheriff Jim Manfre wants to replace criminal penalties for small amounts of pot with civil fines. State Attorney R.J. Larizza and county officials are willing to explore the new approach.

Lawyers for Condemned Florida Man Call for Halt To Execution in Light of “Tectonic Shift”

| January 22, 2016

Lawyers for Cary Michael Lambrix, who has been on Death Row for more than three decades, have asked the Florida Supreme Court to halt his execution in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring Florida’s court process unconstitutional in such cases.

Opposing Open Carry, Sheriffs Instead Propose Immunity for Accidental Display of Guns

| January 20, 2016

The Florida Sheriffs Association, which has opposed the open-carry measure, outlined proposed steps that would provide immunity to people who inadvertently or accidentally display firearms.

Florida House Wants to Prohibit Immigrants’ “Sanctuary” Communities

| January 13, 2016

Despite emotional pleas from immigrant advocates, state House members Wednesday moved forward with measures aimed at cracking down on cities and counties that provide “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants and increasing penalties for people who defy deportation orders.

U.S. Supreme Court Declares Florida’s Death Penalty Scheme Unconstitutional

| January 12, 2016

The United States Supreme Court, in an emphatic ruling Tuesday, declared Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme to be a violation of the Sixth Amendment.

In a Civilized State Without Stand Your Ground, Jordan Davis Would Still Be Alive

| January 11, 2016

The covenant of civilized living demands that we work to defuse conflicts, not escalate them. It demands that we look at each other face to face, and not through the divisive lens of stereotype.

Two Sweeping Supreme Court Cases Set to Redefine Abortion and Contraceptive Rights

| January 10, 2016

As devastating to abortion rights as 2015 proved to be in state legislatures, 2016 is shaping up to be even more turbulent — perhaps the most momentous year for reproductive issues in a generation.

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., To Be Killed Tonight, Is 23rd Execution on Gov. Scott’s Watch

| January 7, 2016

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, whose body was discovered on Dec. 5, 1986, near the side of a road in rural Pasco County.

Florida Prisons, Already Censoring a News Publication, Now Seek to Censor Legal Brief

| December 30, 2015

The Florida Department of Corrections is seeking to block state and national media organizations from filing a brief in a legal battle about whether a publication should be barred from Florida’s prisons.

Congress Has Created An Average of 50 New Crimes Per Year for the Past Decade

| December 21, 2015

In just the five years Congress created 439 new criminal offenses for a of 4,889 federal crimes. That’s in addition to the growing number of state and local crimes for which Americans can be prosecuted.

Artless Censors: The Flagler’s School Board’s Misplaced Allegiance to “Staff”

| December 18, 2015

The Flagler school board shirked its responsibility when it chose to be a cheerleader for a principal instead of offering guidance and oversight after a student’s art work was censored at FPC.

Pinellas Sheriff’s Caution on Open-Carry Bill Triggers Duel of Furious Accusations

| December 14, 2015

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says a Sarasota Herald-Tribune blogger “absolutely mischaracterizes” his concerns about open-carry, as the blogger and Florida Carry, the pro-gun lobby group, claim the sheriff would threaten to shoot concealed carriers.

“I’m Against It,” Sheriff Manfre Says of Open-Carry as Bill Picks Up Momentum

| December 11, 2015

Opponents of open-carry, including a number of Florida sheriffs, Flagler County’s Jim Manfre among them, warn that people who openly display guns could get hurt as a result, either by criminals or law enforcement.

Hunting Undocumented Immigrants,
Travis Hutson Discovers His Inner Jim Crow

| December 5, 2015

Sen. Travis Hutson filed a pair of bills that would criminalize undocumented immigrants in Florida. The bills are unconstitutional, bigoted and unnecessary.

Transgenders in Flagler Schools: District Takes It Case By Case as State Scrutinizes More Than Nurtures

| December 4, 2015

The state and, to some extent, Flagler County, have a long way to go to ensure that transgender students are treated not only fairly and equitably, but that the environment they face is more respectful than questioning, more welcoming than inhibiting.

Stillbirth: FPC Art Student May Show His Class Work at a Gallery, But Not At His Own School

| December 3, 2015

A provocative painting by Patrick Conklin, a senior at FPC, was banned from display at his school but allowed at an art gallery, triggering a broad discussion on the lines between expression, censorship, fear and propriety.

Florida Protest Group Delays Rally in Light Of Terror Attack at Planned Parenthood

| December 1, 2015

Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council’s “Rally to Defund Planned Parenthood,” slated for Dec. 7 at the Florida Capitol, will take place in the spring instead, the council organizers said.

Should Government Censor Offensive Speech? 40% of Millennials Say Yes. That’s a Problem.

| November 29, 2015

Surprisingly, the Pew survey finds nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans saying government should be able to stop speech against minorities. Independents are in the middle.

Shirley Chisholm, “Part of the Heritage of Palm Coast,” Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

| November 24, 2015

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president, retired to Palm Coast in 1991. She received the posthumous medal from President Obama today as an awareness campaign about her life and impact on Palm Coast grows locally.

Conservatives Should Be Leading the Charge to Accept Syrian Refugees. We Have No Choice.

| November 21, 2015

Doesn’t American exceptionalism demand that we lead where others have neither the will nor the courage? We have no choice. America gives sanctuary to those fleeing persecution, argues Nancy Smith. This is what we do and who we are. We’re the good guys.

In Rare Defeat for NRA in Florida, Lawmakers Kill Broader Stand Your Ground Measure

| November 17, 2015

A National Rifle Association-backed measure that could have made it easier legally for people to claim self-defense in shooting incidents failed to get through its first House committee on Tuesday.

Not All Speech Is Free: County Slams McDonald for Legal Fees Over “Knowingly False” Claims

| November 17, 2015

Dennis McDonald, the Ronald Reagan Assembly member and frequent critic of government, said he’ll “absolutely” contest the county’s move on First Amendment grounds.

Gov. Scott Orders DCF to Stop Aiding Relocation of 425 Syrian Refugees

| November 16, 2015

Governors in Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin have also announced they will refuse to accept any more Syrians.

As Paris Bleeds

| November 14, 2015

The Paris attacks strike at the mother democracy and culture, but they’re the continuing consequence of 15 years reckless militarism in the Middle East. More of the same will solve nothing.

Paying for Patriotism: The Pentagon’s Crass, Misguided Stunts

| November 11, 2015

The Pentagon has been buying and choreographing patriotism at NFL, baseball and NASCAR events that are made to look spontaneous and voluntary. They’re anything but.

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