A state judge struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.
Circuit court judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade county said Florida’s ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, and offended “basic human decency“.
Florida’s attorney general quickly appealed against the ruling. But Zabel said the slew of recent verdicts showed it was “increasingly obvious” it was impermissible to deny couples the right to marry solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, and that doing so served no governmental purpose.
“It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society,” she wrote.
Now, you can see ever more clearly why the Republican Party and their nutball acolytes are blocking affirmation of federal judgeships throughout Obama’s terms in the White House. No one expects him to appoint anyone other than moderate to traditionally-conservative judges; but, even that is too scary for right-wingers and theocrats.
Anyone with an understanding of law beyond 19th Century blood-and-thunder oratory is going to rule favorably upon all the issues Congress is too cowardly to advance.
Kansas health officials are urging swimmers to take extra care in warm freshwater, which could be home to millions of microscopic killers.
A 9-year-old Johnson County girl is the latest victim of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba that lurks in warm, standing water. The girl died July 9 from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an extremely rare but almost invariably fatal brain infection…
Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose, causing a severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early symptoms give way to seizures, confusion and hallucinations as the amoeba migrates through the nasal cavity to the brain.
“After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days,” the CDC website reads.
Of 132 people infected with Naegleria fowleri in the United States between 1962 and 2013, only three have survived, according to the CDC. One survivor, a 12-year-old girl infected in 2013, was diagnosed early and treated with “therapeutic hypothermia” and the experimental drug miltefosine.
“Her recovery has been attributed to early diagnosis and treatment,” the CDC website reads.
But spotting the signs of the infection is tricky, because tests to detect the rare infection are “available in only a few laboratories in the United States,” according to the CDC…
The infection is most common in 15 southern-tier states, “with more than half of all infections occurring in Texas and Florida,” the CDC’s website reads. Three-quarters of all U.S. cases have been linked to swimming in freshwater lakes and rivers, but infections have also been associated with slip-n-slides, bathtubs and neti pots, according to the agency.
The infection is not contagious and can’t be contracted from a properly chlorinated pool or saltwater, according to the CDC.
In a video posted earlier this week, members of the Immigrant Archive Project — an oral history project that collects the stories of American immigrants — did a series of “man-on-the-street” interviews with passersby in Miami.
The twist: they asked questions from the US citizenship test that every immigrant is required to take in order to naturalize. Not to spoil anything, but the people they interviewed — all of whom are native-born American citizens — didn’t fare too well:
To put this in context, as of December 2013, 91 percent of immigrants who took the full citizenship test passed it by getting six of ten questions correct…
The 10 questions are chosen by examiners from a list of 100 that applicants are given to study.
By contrast, of the 15 people whom the Immigrant Archive Project people interviewed, only one got six out of ten questions correct: that’s a pass rate of less than 7 percent.
Now, it’s possible that the US citizens in the video weren’t representative of the country as a whole. But polls of the American public show that native-born citizens aren’t exactly A students in civics. When USA Today asked ten questions from the citizenship test in a poll in 2012, only 65 percent of Americans got a passing score. The year before that, Newsweek found just 62 percent of Americans could pass their own citizenship test.
Even more embarrassingly, in the video above, the interviewer himself gets one fact wrong. He says that George Washington signed the Declaration of Independence. Washington was busy fighting the Revolutionary War at the time, and wasn’t a signer.
RTFA for details about classification of immigrants, more testing. The article doesn’t include the history of racism and economic discrimination limiting those who may apply to legally immigrate and become American citizens.
…Until now “gross contamination of an open wound with squirrel flesh [was] an unreported event,” as Porter W. Maerz, MD…and colleagues write in a recent case study appearing in Case Reports in Emergency Medicine.
But no more, thanks to a Florida teenager.
When EMTs arrived on the scene of the boy’s injury, they reported visible “squirrel parts” in the margin of a buckshot wound. Such wounds are not unusual, but how did the squirrel get in there?
Turns out that that the young man was attempting to dislodge a dead squirrel from an overhead branch with the butt of a loaded 12-gauge shotgun.
He apparently learned that was a nutty idea.
You may not recall that the recommended technique for catching a squirrel is — to climb a tree and make a noise like a nut! In this case, a nut with a gun.
Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach is looking to ban the use of public profanity in town and is hoping to pass an ordinance that would allow officers to cite individuals who start fights by using their potty mouths.
“They can curse all they want. That’s what the U.S. Supreme Court says. They just can’t incite another person to violence,” Sembach told WTEV…
Not everyone agrees with Chief Sembach, who is also hoping to pass a law banning the obstruction of public passageways.
“It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money to try and do something like that,” said local resident Edward Spear.
The City Council would still have to approve the proposal for it to move forward.
Florida seems likely to pass laws even the rest of the Confederacy has given up on.
An elderly Florida man was tasered after he tried to make a very slow getaway following an alleged bank robbery in Boynton Beach.
Russell Cooper was at a PNC Bank attempting to withdraw money when he became “increasingly agitated” after a manager told him a “consistent lack of funds” had led his account to be closed.
The 77-year-old then pulled out a pocketknife and demanded the manager help him get the $130 he had requested…After getting the money, Cooper attempted to escape using his walker while holding the manager hostage at knifepoint.
Police arrived on the scene and told Cooper to drop the knife…
“I’m not dropping it, I’m going to stick it in your [expletive] gut. I’m going to stab you if you don’t shoot me,” Cooper allegedly said…
While Cooper continued to argue with the officer, a second officer approached him from behind and tasered him. He was taken to Palm Beach County jail and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping.
I presume local officials will offer medals of valor to the courageous coppers.
By enlisting the might of major restaurant chains and retailers — including Walmart, which signed on this year — the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has pressured growers that produce 90 percent of Florida’s tomatoes to increase wages for their 30,000 workers and follow strict standards that mandate rest breaks and forbid sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
The incentive for growers to comply with what’s called the Fair Food Program is economically stark: The big companies have pledged to buy only from growers who follow the new standards, paying them an extra penny a pound, which goes to the pickers. The companies have also pledged to drop any suppliers that violate the standards.
So far, the agreements between retailers and growers are limited to Florida’s tomato fields, which in itself is no small feat considering that the state produces 90 percent of the country’s winter tomatoes.
But gaining the heft and reach of Walmart — which sells 20 percent of the nation’s fresh tomatoes year-round — may prove far more influential. To the applause of farmworkers’ advocates, the retailer has agreed to extend the program’s standards and monitoring to its tomato suppliers in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia and elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard. Walmart officials say they also hope to apply the standards to apple orchards in Michigan and Washington and strawberry fields in many states…
Since the program’s inception, its system of inspections and decisions issued by a former judge has resulted in suspensions for several growers, including one that failed to adopt a payroll system to ensure pickers were paid for all the time they worked.
Amassing all these company partnerships took time. The workers’ coalition organized a four-year boycott of Taco Bell to get its parent company, Yum Brands, to agree in 2005 to pay an extra penny a pound for tomatoes, helping increase workers’ wages. In 2007 the coalition sponsored a march to Burger King’s headquarters in Miami, pushing that company to join the effort. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle and Subway have also signed on.
Perhaps the coalition’s biggest success is luring Walmart, which joined the program in January without a fight. Walmart officials said they were looking for ethically sourced produce as well as a steady supply of tomatoes. The giant company’s decision coincides with its major inroads into organic foods and fresh fruits and vegetables.
RTFA. It’s about a victory, serious victory inside one of the greediest segments of American capitalism. A penny a pound may not seem like a lot to urban and urbane workers and professional; but, for a field hand it’s a world of difference. And the most reactionary elements of American agribusiness think it’s the end of the world.
Kudos to the organizers and field hands together who joined this fight and won. And special thanks to the restauranteurs and retailers who supported this struggle.
A Florida woman was arrested last month on the charge of “nuisance injurious to health” after she allegedly defecated in an elevator at a courthouse in Fort Pierce.
Patricia Ann Jamison was identified as the last person in the elevator at the St. Lucie County Courthouse where the feces was found…
In security camera footage from the elevator, Jamison allegedly “appears to pull her pants down and back up toward the interior elevator buttons consistent with someone using the bathroom. When the elevator arrived on the first floor the female was seen on camera fixing her pants and pulling her shirt out of her pants as if she pulled her pants up over her shirt.”
After a deputy reviewed security footage and matched it up to a woman who had signed in at the public defender’s office, the 49-year-old was identified…
She’s lucky she wasn’t charged with committing a terrorist act – in Florida.
Court rules drinking filtered rainwater is unsafe
A Florida woman who has been living off the grid for about a year and a half was told that she has one month to “plug in” or deal with the authorities.
Cape Coral woman Robin Speronis doesn’t have any city power or water running into her house and relies on solar panels and treated rain water to survive. “I’m choosing to live without being dependent on the system…”
Officials from Cape Coral Code Compliance met with Speronis and her attorney about the situation last week…A magistrate ruled that Speronis was guilty of not being hooked up to a water supply that had been approved by the town.
Speronis has indicated that she doesn’t plan on changing her lifestyle.
“I don’t have to justify my life. They have to. That’s the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don’t,” Speronis said.
I’m not surprised at any of the “liberty-centered” Confederate states ruling against an individual who chooses to live off the grid. First off, the city isn’t making money from selling her electricity or water. Second, they were all embarrassed when she was interviewed by a local TV station about her lifestyle. It wasn’t until then that she was charged by the city.
The usual crap ideology about being clever and classless and free has always been nothing more than window dressing for conservative politicians who above all else want everyone to conform to their own narrow definitions of how to live and marry. And eat and drink. And sing.
Authorities in Florida said a sobriety test on a driver turned strange when the man told them he had “someone in the trunk.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers said they stopped a vehicle at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Hollywood and the driver had an open beer container in the car and the smell of alcohol on his breath…
The officers said they were starting the process of a sobriety test when the driver made a bizarre confession: “I don’t want to freak you out, but I have someone in the trunk.”
The man was handcuffed and officers opened the trunk, where they discovered a man. The two men told officers the man in the trunk had left his court-ordered community service job at the park to go drinking and he was trying to sneak back in so he could sign out and get credit for the hours he skipped.
The driver was arrested on an outstanding warrant and the man in the trunk was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate his vehicle. Both men were taken to the Broward County jail.
Phew! It’s a sign of the times that we always seem to think of something worse!