Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
The Civil War might be long over, but a battle about putting a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Florida is still underway.
The proposal to install a monument at the park — the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida — was met with opposition on Monday night during a public hearing…
Each year, Olustee hosts a reenactment of a four-hour battle in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops…
A descendant of someone who died at the Battle of Olustee, Mike Farrell, proposed the new memorial because of his experience serving as an historical exhibitor at the park.
“I always have the visiting public approach me and ask me where the Union monument is on the battlefield, and I often tell them, ‘There isn’t any.’…What I’m talking about is a battlefield monument,” Farrell said.
Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley…proposed halting the monument from within the state house. “I can do a very simple proposal to the Legislature that we protect all monument sites,” he said.
Racists have grown more practiced in the semantics-based lies they use to answer questions about bigoted proposals. I guess that in itself is recognition of growing understanding among Americans still dull enough to be suckered into rightwing politics. They don’t care to admit publicly how much of their craptastic chicanery is proposed to satisfy racism, justify slavery.
They’re only kidding themselves. The rest of the nation looks and nods – “Yes, these are the village idiots who continue to think they weren’t defeated by the strength of the Union. They believe the South will rise again and Jim Crow laws will be reinstated.”
Illustrating once again how easy it was for Nixon to decide on the Southern Strategy, just how easy it was for Republicans to lock up the bigot vote.
Free enterprise Florida style
The mayor of Hampton, Barry Layne Moore, was arrested Monday afternoon in Polk County after a Bradford County Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed he had obtained and sold oxycodone…
A deputy was given information while working on an unrelated investigation that alleged Moore was selling prescription medication. That led to the extended investigation by the agency’s drug unit.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies served an arrest warrant with a bond of $45,000 for Moore and took him to the Polk County Jail.
“This isn’t Toronto. We will not tolerate illegal drug activity, in my jurisdiction, by anyone to include our elected officials,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith said, referring to Mayor Rob Ford who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine.
Capt. Brad Smith, spokesman for the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, said Moore has been charged with one count of possession of a Schedule I or II drug — in this case, oxycodone — and one count of possession with the intent to sell, both of which are felonies.
Florida family values apparently extend to all levels of government. The governor’s previous business paid the largest fine in history for Medicare fraud. A leading Republican light in Congress was just busted for cocaine use. Now we have the mayor of small town Florida caught in the state’s leading illegal business – selling oxycodone.
America’s corrupt politicians apparently have decided there’s more profit to be made – and pleasure gained – from illegal drug sales than old fashioned theft from taxpayers.
Florida has executed a schizophrenic man who believed that he was the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers including an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution’s prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.
John Ferguson, 65, was killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday. Earlier in the evening the US supreme court declined to hear a final petition from his lawyers. Although there was overwhelming evidence that the court’s own interpretation of the US constitution was being disregarded, the justices gave no explanation for their decision to remain on the sidelines and allow the killing to go ahead…
Nobody disputes that Ferguson was guilty of a singularly gruesome sequence of murders. He was part of a group that killed six people in the course of an armed robbery in Carol City, in 1977, and then went on the following year to kill two 17-year-old school students, Belinda Worley and Brian Glenfeldt, in the same Florida area.
But opponents of the execution argue that he should have been transferred to a life sentence with no chance of parole – in other words, he would spend the rest of his natural life in jail – because he was mentally ill and had been consistently since well before he committed the crimes. A chart put together by his lawyers showed that he was first diagnosed as having visual hallucinations by a Florida state prison psychologist in 1965.
Before he had taken part in the mass murder, he had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic who demonstrated evidence of active psychosis. He was found in numerous medical examinations to be grossly psychotic, insane and incompetent.
In their petition to the US supreme court, filed last week, Ferguson’s lawyer Ben Lewis chronicled the prisoner’s persistent delusions. They included the belief that he could not be killed because he had powers drawn from the Sun, and a delusion that his prison guards were communists who were out to kill him because they knew that he was in fact the prince of God…
Yet the state supreme court of Florida found that he was eligible for the gurney, making the interesting argument that Ferguson’s belief in his own immortality was shared by millions of other American Christians. The federal appeals court for the 11th circuit concurred with the Florida courts and allowed the execution to proceed, even though one of the federal judges dissented that the application of the law in this case had been “patently wrong”.
Demonstrating once again the virtue of separation of church and state. If that was only allowed to be practiced in the United States. As far as daily conventions are concerned, the United States may as well be a theocracy. Politicians and judges don’t gain office unless they kowtow to religious foolishness.
Florida lawmakers will hold hearings this fall on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which has become a lightning rod for criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The announcement on Friday by Will Weatherford, the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, marked the biggest concession yet by the state’s Republican leaders to protesters’ demands for a top-to-bottom review of the law, which allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat…
“It’s a critical step,” said Phillip Agnew, who heads a group of young demonstrators calling themselves the Dream Defenders who have staged a nearly month-long sit-in outside Governor Rick Scott’s office in a bid to change the law. “We’re excited about having an open debate,” he told Reuters…
…critics see the self-defense law as emblematic of racial bias and unequal justice in America, since some studies have shown that defense claims made under the law are far more likely to be successful when the victim is black.
The Quinnipiac “poll du jour”quoted in the article has essential flaws that make it as unreliable as their other polls. I won’t go into all the mechanisms. The easiest being failure to include cellphone number polling. That skews demographics a great deal.
Much more important is the success of the sit-in at the governor’s office by the Dream Defenders. Frankly, I’m surprised. I guess Rick Scott and more traditional conservatives in the Florida Republican Party are willing to affront the more overt racist nutball wing of the electorate. Backbone trumps opportunism – a little bit.
After months of frustrating delays, a chemical company announced Wednesday that it had produced commercial quantities of ethanol from wood waste and other nonfood vegetative matter, a long-sought goal that, if it can be expanded economically, has major implications for providing vehicle fuel and limiting greenhouse gas emissions…
The company, INEOS Bio…said it had produced the fuel at its $130 million Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Fla….The company said it was the first commercial-scale production of ethanol from cellulosic feedstock, but it did not say how much it had produced. Shipments will begin in August…
The process begins with wastes — wood and vegetative matter for now, municipal garbage later — and cooks it into a gas of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Bacteria eat the gas and excrete alcohol, which is then distilled. Successful production would eliminate some of the “food versus fuel” debate in the manufacturing of ethanol, which comes from corn…
The plant, which uses methane gas from a nearby landfill, has faced a variety of problems. One was getting the methane, which is a greenhouse gas if released unburned, to the plant’s boilers. (The plan is to eventually run the plant on garbage that now goes to landfills.) Another problem was its reliance on the electrical grid.
The plant usually generates more power than it needs — selling the surplus to the local utility — and is supposed to be able to operate independently. But when thunderstorms knocked out the power grid, the plant unexpectedly shut down and it took weeks to get it running again, said Mark Niederschulte, the chief operating officer of INEOS Bio…“We’ve had some painful do/undo loops,” he said…
The Department of Energy hailed the development as the first of a kind, and said it was made possible by research work the department had sponsored in recent years…
INEOS has a goal of eight million gallons a year.
If they can get up to consistent production of commercial-grade, commercial quantities of ethanol, a number of goals become practical. Replacing fossil fuels is the most obvious. But, even the process of producing fuel to be burned is freeing up land to produce more cellulosic products which absorb carbon while growing.
Burning infected trees
The call Ricke Kress and every other citrus grower in Florida dreaded came while he was driving.
“It’s here” was all his grove manager needed to say to force him over to the side of the road.
The disease that sours oranges and leaves them half green, already ravaging citrus crops across the world, had reached the state’s storied groves. Mr. Kress, the president of Southern Gardens Citrus, in charge of two and a half million orange trees and a factory that squeezes juice for Tropicana and Florida’s Natural, sat in silence for several long moments…“O.K.,” he said finally on that fall day in 2005, “let’s make a plan.”
In the years that followed, he and the 8,000 other Florida growers who supply most of the nation’s orange juice poured everything they had into fighting the disease they call citrus greening.
To slow the spread of the bacterium that causes the scourge, they chopped down hundreds of thousands of infected trees and sprayed an expanding array of pesticides on the winged insect that carries it. But the contagion could not be contained.
They scoured Central Florida’s half-million acres of emerald groves and sent search parties around the world to find a naturally immune tree that could serve as a new progenitor for a crop that has thrived in the state since its arrival, it is said, with Ponce de León. But such a tree did not exist.
“In all of cultivated citrus, there is no evidence of immunity,” the plant pathologist heading a National Research Council task force on the disease said.
In all of citrus, but perhaps not in all of nature. With a precipitous decline in Florida’s harvest predicted within the decade, the only chance left to save it, Mr. Kress believed, was one that his industry and others had long avoided for fear of consumer rejection. They would have to alter the orange’s DNA — with a gene from a different species.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out an excellent article on the battle to save Florida’s citrus crops. Though Monsanto represents genomic crop research about as much as Ted Nugent represents American rock music – we often see the worst of capitalist robber barons accepted on the Left as defining contemporary botanical science. And that just ain’t so.
There is no more justification on the Left than there is on the Right for opportunism. Admittedly, I don’t get upset over Republicans and conservatives letting themselves be overwhelmed by the bigotry of the Tea Party and other looney brigades. I can rationalize it away and say they deserve the diseases they catch from those they’re in bed with. But, the Left faces a comparable danger of anti-science, anti-intellectualism, Luddite behavior from that segment of environmentalism that treats the world as a religious temple rather than the sum of knowable processes.
From that first Earth Day I attended in Amherst, Mass, I have counted environmental activism as part of the responsibilities I accept as a concerned human being. That concern includes educated, material and scientific grounding for the positions I fight for.
A long, detailed and accurate article worth reading. Take the time.
UPDATED: George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager last year, was found not guilty of second-degree murder late Saturday.
The verdict, from a jury of six women who deliberated over two days, was announced at 10 p.m. ET. Jurors also had the option of convicting him of the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Atheists unveiled the nation’s first public monument to secularism outside a county courthouse in Florida last week — a 1,500-pound gray granite bench engraved with quotations extolling the separation of church and state.
The group American Atheists said it had decided to put up its own monument only after failing to force Bradford County to remove the six-ton statue of the Ten Commandments that a Christian group had put up nearby.
The atheist group has vowed to erect 50 more such monuments around the country on public sites where the Ten Commandments now stand alone. It says that an anonymous donor will foot that bill — the monument in Florida cost about $6,000 — and that it is hearing from atheists who are already offering to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits if there is opposition and lead the charge in their communities.
“True equality means all or none,” said Ken Loukinen, a retired firefighter in Florida who volunteers as director of state and regional operations for American Atheists. “Christianity has had an unfair privilege for at least the last 150 years. We want to level the playing field by stripping them of privilege, and bringing them to equality with all other ideologies.”
The atheists’ monument-building campaign is a new tactic in a long-running battle over the boundary between church and state. Having failed to persuade the courts that it is unconstitutional for a private organization to put up Christian monuments on government property, the atheists figured they should get in the game.
But building monuments to atheism from sea to shining sea is not really their goal. They figure that once atheists join the fray, every other group under the sun will demand the same privilege — including some that Christians might find objectionable, like pagans and Satanists. In the end, the atheists hope, local governments and school boards will decide that it is simpler to say no to everyone…
There are hundreds of Ten Commandments monuments and plaques across the country, many erected in the 1950s and ’60s by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a charitable group based in Grove City, Ohio…
In Starke, the atheists’ monument is dwarfed by the Ten Commandments…At one end of the six-foot-long granite bench is a four-foot-tall square-top pillar bearing quotations from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who founded American Atheists in 1963.
“It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service [writing the Constitution] had interviews with the gods or were in any degree under the inspiration of Heaven,” Adams is quoted as saying.
I’d read enough science by the age of thirteen to become an atheist. I’d studied sufficient philosophy by the age of eighteen to become a materialist, able to embrace the dialectics of science and history.
I don’t care what you wish to believe as long as your deeds do not harm others, keep them from knowledge or prevent them from ordering their own life’s decisions. That puts me in opposition to pretty much all of the hypocrites and opportunists who quote religion as part of their political mantra.
The shocking death of a 4-year-old girl — shot dead with a handgun inside a car outside her grandparent’s home — zeroed in on two issues…
How did the gun that apparently killed little Rahquel Carr get into the hands of a group of children? And who owned the weapon?
A 6-year-old was found holding the weapon after the shooting. Police would not confirm if he fired the fatal bullet.
Family members were in shock Easter Sunday as the struggled to understand what happened and why. The girl’s grandfather, Willie Carr 57, collapsed Saturday night after the shooting and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital after he collapsed Saturday night…
Police will focus on who owned the gun and why it was in the car — was it stored there or brought by one of the children — are key questions in the investigation.
The children who witnessed the shooting are being interviewed by Miami-Dade police, Police spokesman Roy Rutland said.
The Medical Examiner Department will perform an autopsy on the child to determine the exact cause of death, police said.
Wayne LaPierre should be required to represent the NRA at the little girl’s funeral.
Even though the paltry Florida regulations were probably violated, these scumbags oppose even minimum controls for safety.