Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
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.
FloriDUH tip: If you’re going to drive around and play fake cop leave your pot at home and maybe change your name — FloriDUH Headquarters doubts if real cops would even have a name like ‘Tippy Iwin Peek.’
When Tippy Iwin Peek was pulled over for an alleged window tinting violation, the 55-year-old Clermont man flashed a badge identifying himself as a “private attorney general” and “bounty hunter.” Peek also reportedly told the deputy he does lawsuits about “law enforcement insurgence” and promptly issued the deputy a phony “warning” citation for “denial of right under color of law,” reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Deputies also said they found pot inside a lunch box in the car, an altered driver’s license and a rotating blue light.
Tippy Iwin, you lose.
You can get the DUHtails at the Orlando Sentinel.
A newly married South Florida man who opted to take his wife’s last name is fighting the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles after it suspended his driving license on grounds of fraud.
Real estate investor Lazaro Sopena offered to change his name following his 2011 marriage to Hanh Dinh in order to help his wife’s Vietnamese family perpetuate their family surname.
Shortly after their marriage, Lazaro Dinh obtained a new passport and Social Security card and changed his bank account and credit cards before applying to update his drivers license.
“It was an act of love. I have no particular emotional ties to my last name,” said Dinh, 40, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States at the age of 11 in 1984…
Lazaro Dinh was initially issued a new license after presenting his marriage certificate at his local DMV office and paying a $20 fee, just as newly married women are required to do when they adopt their husband’s name.
“It was easy. When the government issues you a new passport you figure you’re fine,” he said.
More than a year later Dinh received a letter from Florida’s DMV last December accusing him of “obtaining a driving license by fraud,” and advising him that his license would be suspended at the end of the month. Ironically, it was addressed to Lazaro Dinh.
“I thought it was a mistake,” he said.
But when he called the state DMV office in Tallahassee he said he was told he had to go to court first in order to change his name legally, a process that takes several months and has a $400 filing fee.
When he explained he was changing his name due to marriage, he was told ‘that only works for women”…
Most states formerly in the Confederacy seem to take special pride in acts of stupidity. One of the qualities required of state officials must be ignorance. Certainly the scumbags in charge of the Florida DMV lead the pack when it comes to fear of modern society.
Aside from the fact that drawing this affair out to the point where a civil suit or federal intervention will be required – building a cumulative debt the state of Florida will have to settle with the happy couple – they also perpetuate nationwide laughter over the spectacle they make of themselves.
UPDATE: The state of Floriduh has relented. The DMV is reissuing Lazaro Dinh’s driver’s license. They say they will have to retrain some of their staff to understand that both men and women can change their names upon marriage. And might even have to include men marrying men, women marrying women.
They were housed in a tent in Rhode Island
Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy were flown in a private plane back to their natural habitat in Florida…
The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet, was found on the side of a road at Fishermen’s Memorial State Park on November 7, nine days after the storm made landfall in New Jersey, said Jennifer Brooks, clinic director at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.
The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died, she said.
The second pelican landed on a fishing boat about 120 miles south of Block Island the following day, she said. The crew of the boat, which provides fish to SeaWorld theme parks, fed the bird for several days before docking.
“They were a little bit thin, they were a little beat up from the storm,” Brooks said of the birds. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates, Brooks said.
They were scheduled to be flown in containers similar to dog crates in a small private plane on Saturday to the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Florida, she said.
The cost of the flight — about $2,000 — will be covered by public donations, Brooks said.
Could be the easiest flight home they ever take. The return flight, that is.
I imagine being pushed up North by Sandy was just plain miserable.
Photos and video from submarine-cruiser collision off Florida coast
USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) runs on the surface Sunday, Oct. 14, a day after being hit while submerged by the cruiser SAN JACINTO. The upper vertical rudder normally visible right aft is missing.
The cruiser SAN JACINTO underway off the northeast Florida coast on Oct. 14, a day after colliding with the submerged submarine MONTPELIER. No visible damage above the waterline. The damaged sonar dome is at the foot of the ship’s bow.
Photos of the two ships involved in Saturday’s collision off the northeast Florida coast were taken and released Oct. 14 by the U. S. Navy. Neither of the ships, the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) and the Aegis cruiser USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56), show any topside effects, but both ships have been damaged…
The incident is currently under investigation.
Both the submarine and the ship were conducting routine training at the time of the accident.
Like I said: Oops!
In an embarrassing mistake, Florida Governor Rick Scott gave out a phone sex hotline number to Floridians seeking information on a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.
Scott was providing an update on the outbreak at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday when he announced what he said was the hotline’s toll-free phone line, but gave out the wrong number.
The governor’s office was alerted by a public radio station in Tampa, WUSF, which was monitoring the cabinet meeting and posted the number on its website.
The station said it was “quickly notified by a reader that the number instead connected to an adult telephone line…”
Contacted Wednesday, Scott’s spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said the governor inadvertently misread the number…blah, blah, blah.
Since the outbreak began, 138 people have contracted meningitis and 12 have died, including one in Florida, according to the latest tally from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
When Gino Covacci walks on the beach, he always keeps his eyes peeled for shells, fish and whatever else washes up…But it’s not every day that he comes across something that seemingly looks right back at him — as happened this week.
Covacci’s discovery: a blue-tinged softball-size eyeball. Even scientists don’t know quite where it came from, beyond the sands of Pompano Beach.
“I find many different things,” he said of his daily walks by the sea, “but not something like this.”
On Wednesday, Covacci said, he was walking along the southeastern Florida beach with a friend visiting from Greece when he spotted something protruding from the sand.
Excited about his find, Covacci flagged down a police officer and eventually got in touch with researchers based across the Sunshine State…
Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, confirmed Covacci’s account and said members of her agency ended up with the specimen.
“Staff have been looking at the eye to ID what it is,” she said…For the time being, the wildlife commission spokeswoman said, “the front-runner is some type of large fish.”
An extremely large fish!
Not the same amenities as a million-dollar McMansion
When Luis Alejandro Sanz got out of prison for drug trafficking, he soon found his new criminal fortunes in Miami’s emerging cottage industry: Medicare fraud.
The convicted felon started a home healthcare company, using his wife Elizabeth as the straw owner to hide himself from authorities.
The couple cashed in. Their Miami-Dade business, Ideal Home Health, billed Medicare $45 million for purportedly providing nursing services for homebound diabetic patients — raking in $30 million in taxpayer dollars.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams sent Luis Sanz, 58, to prison for 10 years and Elizabeth Acosta Sanz, 45, for nine years, saying the couple made a “mockery” of the beleaguered federal program for the elderly and disabled. The Sanzes, who bought a $1.3 million West Miami-Dade home with their ill-gotten gains, paid kickbacks to recruiters and patients for services that were never provided or needed…
“Every single day, they had one purpose: to steal as much money as they could from Medicare,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Bernstein told the judge. “Medicare paid because these people were good at fooling Medicare…”
“The case of Luis Sanz really encapsulates what’s been happening in Miami” since the 1990s, when many drug traffickers began gravitating to the Medicare rackets because it was seen as profitable and less risky.
Do you think that Florida voters electing a governor whose clinics set the record for a criminal fine for fraud might have given these crooks that idea? Republican Rick Scott’s firm – Columbia/HCA – paid over $2 billion fine for fraud.
Last year, Medicare adopted new measures designed to combat the failed “pay and chase” model of doling out dollars for claims, then pursuing the scammers after they have run off with the money. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare received $350 million to develop stricter screening of healthcare providers and more sophisticated software for detecting fraudulent claims…
The upgrades in screening and technology came in response to massive taxpayer losses in South Florida — regarded as the nation’s healthcare fraud capital — and other parts of the country.
Yes – of course the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican opposed these changes.
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Protesters who have set up a camp dubbed “Romneyville” in a restricted area near the site where the Republican National Convention will be held later this month in Tampa can stop worrying about being evicted.
City council members agreed on Thursday to abandon their efforts to look into potential violations of land-use laws or other ordinances with a view to evicting the protesters from the restricted so-called event zone near the convention site.
City officials told the council that they had issued zoning violation notices to some property owners two days earlier, warning that camping and tents on the site were not permitted.
But the property owners have 21 days to act, meaning that any actual evictions would not occur before the August 27-30 Republican presidential nominating convention is over.
In addition to the “Romneyville” camp, the city council ruling affects a West Tampa private park outside the event zone where members of the Occupy Tampa protest movement had been expected to camp out during the convention…
Occupy Tampa member Heidi Halsworth told the council the park would only be used as a base for protesters to get water, food or information, however, and that only several hundred demonstrators would be there at any one time.
“Romneyville” is a play on the term “Hooverville,” the popular name for shantytowns built by homeless people during the Great Depression. They were named after President Herbert Hoover because he was widely blamed for letting the nation slide into depression.
As we all know, today’s Republican Party is run by ideologues whose understanding of history, economics and society are roughly up to the 1920′s and Herbert Hoover – at best.