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Florida Loves Polluters, Girl Crushes of 2010, and Madonna vs. Lady Gaga: The Live Wire, Dec. 13

| December 13, 2010

Jaws, the sequel.

Jaws, the sequel. (© ialsonreir)

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links

Florida’s Civil Liberties at Risk

“You don’t need to be Max Mayfield to know that a Category 5 disaster is headed straight for our civil liberties,” Howard Simon writes in the Miami Herald. He names the storms: 1) Redistricting: Florida voters approved two redistricting amendments that should diminish legislators’ gerrymandering of voting districts, but the new legislative leadership is staunchly opposed to the amendments, which have a way of never matching voter intent when legislators don’t want them to (class-size amendment, anyone?). 2) Religious freedom: Incoming Gov. Rick Scott (the incoming having a lot to do with artillery) wants to spread the cheer of private and religious school vouchers at the public’s expense. He has no legislators stopping him, now that the Florida House and Senate are a cleric’s delight. The adoption ban: Florida finally repealed its infamous ban on gay adoptions, but there’s word of a constitutional amendment making it to the 2012 ballot to reinstate the ban. The proposal would be another in a line of wedge issues the GOP plans to stuff its ballot with in order to draw out the maximum number of bigots and reactionaries and lump Florida out of Obama win column. Abortion rights: Diminishing, beginning with yet another one of those proposed constitutional amendments, this one establishing “personhood” at conception. Curbing racial and ethnic profiling: Florida is already working toward becoming the next Arizona when it comes to undocumented immigrants and anyone who looks unpleasantly foreign to a cop.

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Florida Loves Polluters

Florida can’t be Number 1 at very many things these days except foreclosures, childhood poverty and harebrained development. But it can still lead the nation in its lunge to third-world status. Carl Hiaasen in the Herald: “Farms, mills and municipalities that use Florida waterways as a latrine got more good news last week from their stooges in Tallahassee. The latest battle to stop the enforcement of federal pollution laws will be paid for by state taxpayers.

Outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson — backed by Attorney General Bill McCollum — has sued to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing revised clean-water standards for Florida’s rivers, creeks and lakes. Standing stoically in support of the polluters, McCollum and Bronson say the new water rules are too costly, and based on flawed science (interestingly, data provided by the state itself). Endorsing that lame position are their successors, Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner-elect Adam Putnam. To hear all this whining, you’d think the EPA had ambushed Florida businesses with the new water regulations. Not even close. […] Floridians who aren’t familiar with Clean Water Act can be forgiven, because it has never been taken seriously here by companies that dump massive volumes of waste into public waters, or by the politicians who are supposed to care about such crimes. The Everglades wouldn’t be in its current dire condition if authorities at all levels hadn’t skirted and even ignored the law, permitting ranchers, sugar farmers and developing cities to flush billions of dirty gallons of runoff into the state’s most important watershed. […] Among the many harsh lessons of the BP oil spill was that pollution — not regulation — is a more devastating job-killer. Florida’s upper Gulf Coast received a relatively small bombardment of tar balls, but it was enough to cripple tourism and the commercial fishing trade for months. It didn’t help property values, either. […] That didn’t stop Bronson and McCollum from suing the EPA. They’re not doing it for the citizens of Florida; they’re doing it for the polluters. And they’re paying for it with your tax dollars, at a time when the state budget is strapped for revenue. Try not to think of this as pure crud. Just try.”

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Florida’s New Muscle in DC

john mica risingSpeaking of pork: they’re about to go hog-wild. From the St. Pete Times: “When the 112th Congress convenes in January, Mica will be chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, one of the most powerful perches on Capitol Hill. Two other Florida lawmakers will take the helm of committees: Rep. Jeff Miller over Veterans’ Affairs and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen over Foreign Affairs. Add to the mix the likely return of Pinellas County Rep. C.W. Bill Young as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee and Florida has significant clout in Washington — power that has been surprisingly elusive despite being the fourth-largest state and a critical battleground in presidential elections. [… ] No other state will have more committee leaders. And not since the early ’80s has Florida had three chairmen at the same time, when Democrats Dante Fascell, Don Fuqua and Claude Pepper oversaw foreign affairs, science and technology, and rules. Florida today is much bigger and has more pressing needs. […] Democrats are not completely hapless. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston is considered a rising figure in the party (though the November losses slow her momentum) and Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa played a role in crafting the health care legislation from her spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is still a relatively new member to that chamber, though he has been effective in getting military funding and addressing other Florida-specific concerns. But the Republican resurgence is well-timed for Florida given the strong GOP complexion of the congressional delegation. The national prominence of incoming Sen. Marco Rubio only adds to the clout.” The full story.

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Madonna vs. Lady Gaga

Girl Crushes of 2010

“2010 has given us plenty of villains—the usual smattering of ethically dubious politicians, unsympathetic reality-TV stars, dangerous dictators, and homegrown pests—but it has also yielded up a few true heroines” writes the Daily Beast. “These are the women we’ve turned to when it seemed like the universe was conspiring to drag every news cycle into the muck. Why do we love them? In some cases, we admit, we’re a tad superficial. Emma Watson is just gorgeous. Patti Smith has always made our hearts go pitter-pat. If Kate Middleton did nothing in 2011 but wear Princess Diana’s ring so elegantly and throw a great wedding when the time comes, we’d be thrilled. We chose these women for their fearlessness, their grace. Each has spoken her mind, found her way, or challenged the conventional wisdom. They range broadly in age, field, interest, and station, but what they have in common is a certain clarity of purpose. They’re not easily cowed. They’re not taking crap. From Velma Hart to Lena Dunham, Michelle Rhee to Stacy Schiff, meet The Daily Beast’s Girl Crushes of 2010.” See the gallery.

Graphic: The State of Giving in the US

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

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African American Society’s Gift-Giving for the Poor

Palm Coast’s African American Cultural Society (AACS) will be hosting its 17th annual Christmas Gift-Giving party for Flagler County’s poorer children and families on Friday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. at the cultural society’s center at 4422 US 1 North, near Whiteview Parkway. Several local businesses, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and cultural society members have donated money and time to make the gift-giving possible. The event, the society says, “provides a little brighter holiday for children and families in our community who are in need and offers them a positive lifetime memory.” For further information, please contact Barbara Goss at 386/446-4644 or 569-6451. And check out the cultural society’s website.

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Palm Coast’s Holiday Joy Ride

From Palm Coast’s PR office: the city is hosting the first annual “Holiday Joy Ride” this Saturday, Dec. 18. Participants can be part of a bike ride at either 11 a.m. or 5 p.m., exploring Palm Coast trails along Town Center, St. Joe Walkway and Linear Park. You can ride anywhere from 1.5 up to 26 miles with family and friends. Bring your decorated bike and enter it in a contest for a $200 shopping spree, among other prizes. But you’ll have to stay until 4 p.m., for the scheduled awards announcement. The ice skating rink in Town Center is still open ($8 for adults, $5 for children). And a BMX reality show will be auditioning. There’ll also be music in Central Park 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The International Mountain Bike Association and the Southern Off Road Mountain Bike Association will host bike clinics and display their state-of-the-art Olympic equipment. There’s no cost to the joy ride, but canned good donations are encouraged. Check out the joy ride website and see the bike trail below.

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Free Tennis Clinics at Belle Terre Park

Free tennis clinics are scheduled on Dec. 28 by USTA professionals at two locations: Belle Terre Park (339 Parkview Drive, behind the Wadsworth/Buddy Taylor School complex) and the Palm Coast Tennis Center (1290 Belle Terre Parkway). Tennis equipment and refreshments are free. Clinics will be offered to 5 top 13 year olds according to the following schedule:

  • Ages 5-7 – 1:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Ages 8-12 – 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Ages 13+ – 3:00-4:00 p.m.

No registration necessary: just show up. For more information, visit the tennis center’s website or call 986-2550.

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1 Response for “Florida Loves Polluters, Girl Crushes of 2010, and Madonna vs. Lady Gaga: The Live Wire, Dec. 13”

  1. Liana G says:

    ‘Incoming Gov. Rick Scott (the incoming having a lot to do with artillery) wants to spread the cheer of private and religious school vouchers at the public’s expense. He has no legislators stopping him, now that the Florida House and Senate are a cleric’s delight.’

    Charter Schools are also at the public’s expense – they are taxpayers funded and privately run. So yes, I would like school vouchers. My oldest went to private school in his early elementary years, my others went to private preK and I was very pleased with the programs. Can’t say I feel the same about SOME public schools. And as Mr Delbrugge wrote in his letter to Flagler, private schools are less likely to kick a child out for whatever ‘zero tolerance’ offence was commited because there’s the schematic of finances.
    The religious are taxpayers too! And though I’m not religious, I get along just fine with them – makes for healthy conversation. I was raised Christian and grew up alongside Muslims and Hindus living peacefully among each other.
    Public colleges and universities do offer classes on religion and they do offer financial aid in some form that do not have to be repaid.
    Excellent teachers will always find employ.

    I guess we have a difference of opinion here Pierre :)
    (Please don’t go all wordly on me, I’m not up to your calibre)

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