Tagged: Florida

Pooping in elevator lands Florida woman in a pile of trouble

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…

The health safety charge is a misdemeanor.

She’s lucky she wasn’t charged with committing a terrorist act – in Florida.

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Woman living off grid ordered by Florida court to “plug in”

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.

Sobriety test comes to a halt when the driver says — “there’s someone in the trunk”

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!

Post-racist society? In Florida, Confederates try to stop monument to Union soldiers

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.

Florida mayor arrested for use, possession, traffic of oxycodone

free enterprise
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.

US Constitution forbids executing the mentally ill – Someone please tell Florida!

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 agree to hearings on ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

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.

Milestone: commercial grade ethanol from wood and green waste

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.

Saving the orange by altering its DNA

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.