Friday, January 30, 2015

Nation reels from thought of presidential race without Mitt Romney

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 2:31 PM

Later, Mitt. We'll prolly see you soon. - SCREEN GRAB, BADLIPREADING.COM
  • Screen Grab, Badlipreading.com
  • Later, Mitt. We'll prolly see you soon.

The circus set to begin in Florida, the one in which presidential contenders crisscross the state ahead of the 2016 election, now has one less clown.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and a formidable primary contender before that, has announced he will not be competing against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush et al for his party's nomination.

From Politico:

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I have decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” the former Massachusetts governor, reading from a script, said during a five-minute call.
Was it something we said?

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Without Medicaid expansion, Floridians could really be S.O.L. come July, group says

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 1:40 PM

1375369997-healthcare.jpg
On the heels of Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli's Wednesday announcement that state lawmakers probably won't consider accepting federal Medicaid dollars available under the Affordable Care Act (sigh, Obamacare), a coalition of health care advocates stressed how dire things would be if lawmakers reject the money yet again.

This year, they said, accepting the money would be more important than ever.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Peter Kageyama, Urban Cupid: He wants to help you Love Where You Live

His new how-to manual is like the kama sutra for urban advocates.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Kageyama on Central Ave. in downtown St. Pete. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Kageyama on Central Ave. in downtown St. Pete.

The concept of a passionate relationship with your neighborhood or city is powerful, and Peter Kageyama’s new book on this subject rocks. He has taken the premise of his previous work, For the Love of Cities, and followed it with Love Where You Live:  Creating Emotionally Engaging Places, a DIY handbook of tips.

Kageyama is a pied piper of activism, encouraging all of us to be engaged in shaping our communities, to play a role more profound than just paying taxes and obeying the law. He exhorts us, “We are capable of doing extraordinary things to make our neighborhoods and even our entire cities better when we care to do so.”

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Sh*t happened 1/29/15: The State Fair ups security & the 'Burg gets millennial love

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:00 AM

fsfair.jpg

Ah, Thursday. The very tip of the weekend is just barely in sight, like the first rays of the sun as they rise above the eastern horizon after a long night on an angry sea. Rejoice, and then, because you're human, give in to the temptation to look back at what you've endured.

The Florida State Fair Authority announced new security measures for this year's fair, updated in the wake of the death of a 14-year-old trying to cross I-4 on foot last year, among other incidents. The improvements — including raised observation platforms, a wider midway thoroughfare and command center monitoring over 200 surveillance cameras — all seem prudent. But what does it say that a lot of us would consider adding the same types of security fortifications once associated with prisons and cult compounds to our annual state fair "prudent"?

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What will they love? How to ensure Tampa Bay’s allure

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Channelside pre-Vinik.
  • Channelside pre-Vinik.
At the core of Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s $1 billion plan to transform Channelside are plans for a medical school and heart institute. Economic development advocates say the med complex is crucial to the regional economy, and are lobbying hard for state dollars.

“You’re talking about a couple hundred medical students, several hundred physicians, faculty and staff that will be a part of this project,” said Brian Lamb, chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership board. “Our goal is to be able to bring a
tremendous amount of energy for that young population, Millenial population if you want to define it, to be in that area.”


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Update: Scott wants to cut 1,353 jobs - guess which agency suffers most (and where he'll tout his plan)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 5:05 PM

This guy.
  • This guy.
It's been a tough month for Governor Rick Scott, what with people actually investigating the mysterious departure of the state's top law enforcement official.

Scott's handlers will rush him through Tampa Thursday morning so he can talk about how great his plan is at a stiffly scripted press conference, then dodging media questions about the FDLE scandal.

If all the scrutiny is bumming him out, he's apparently cheering himself up by cutting over a thousand state jobs, reports the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald's Michael Van Sickler.

Scott's $77 billion budget proposal, which he's branding (presumably ironically) "Keep Florida Working," axes 1,353 jobs from the state rolls, most of which come from agencies that have a direct impact on Floridians (overworked DCF social workers, anyone?).

He also decreed that no state workers will get a raise or bonus over the next budget year (though to be fair, he tried for bonuses last year but the legislature shot him down).

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Pinellas to tally homeless Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 3:01 PM

YBOR CITY STOGIE
  • Ybor City Stogie


Although some pretend they don't exist, there are scores of people sleeping in cars and, worse, on concrete in Pinellas County. Many are young children expected to go to school and do just as well on standardized tests as everyone else.

Every other year, a collection of nonprofits and volunteers hits the street before dawn in an effort to get a handle on the county's homeless population; it plans on doing so this Thursday, when teams will comb local parks, bus stops and shelters in order to get a good feel for how many people lack shelter.

And they don't just count, either. 


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Woman convicted for warning shot walks free - sort of

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Freedom! ...sort of. - PHOTO COURTESY FREE MARISSA NOW GROUP
  • Photo Courtesy Free Marissa Now group
  • Freedom! ...sort of.
Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville woman sentenced to prison for firing a warning shot near an abusive ex-husband, walked free yesterday, if by “free” you mean “under a judge’s supervision for 2 years.” And there probably won't be much walking on her part; she can only go "where her court-mandated GPS ankle monitor allows.”

But the plea deal that let her transition to house arrest represents a victory for justice when weighed against the possible 60 years behind bars Alexander would have faced if she had been convicted (again) at her second trial.

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Sh*t happened 1/28/15: Zombie Cat, drunk driver slams into the Independent & more

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 9:05 AM

HUMANE SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay

How was your Tuesday? Well, if you're not Zombie Cat or someone given to hanging at the Independent on weeknights, quit yer bitching.

A Bay area cat buried after being hit by a car dug its way out of its grave five days later. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is nursing the animal back to health, while several in the community who have seen a horror movie in the last 30 years quietly wonder if that's such a good idea.

An allegedly inebriated driver slammed her car into the patio of hip Seminole Heights watering hole the Independent. One man was injured while using his body as a human shield to protect two pints of locally crafted IPA and a plate of organic hummus.

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman facing 60 years in prison for firing warning shots in her home when she was afraid her estranged husband was going to kill her, has been released from jail with time served after reaching a plea agreement. Some folks are calling it a pyrrhic victory for minorities and victims of abuse with regard to interpretation of the so-called "stand your ground" law; others are saying it isn't a pyrrhic victory, but rather a win reached at such a high cost it might as well have been a loss.

And finally, the Florida Department of Health has announced that a case of tuberculosis discovered at Plant High School is likely to turn out to be an isolated case. Parents of the student's classmates are reportedly so relieved, they'll be taking their kids to Disneyland to celebrate.


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Tensions visible between police, black community at south St. Pete forum

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 12:15 AM

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and Police Chief Anthony Holloway.
  • St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

The strained relations between residents of predominantly African-American south St. Petersburg and the city's police force have been the source of distrust at best and deadly violence at worst.

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman said a key reason he ran for mayor was to try to mend it.

"What I saw and I heard was a loss of trust, a loss of respect from the police to the community and the community to the police,” Kriseman said ahead of a forum at Gibbs High School on how police interact with residents on the south side.

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