Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The list of potentially harmful toys is surprisingly long, warn consumer advocates ahead of the holidays

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:03 PM

U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D—Tampa) and  Petra Vybiralova, Safety Instructor for Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, check out toys deemed hazardous by a recent study.
  • U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D—Tampa) and Petra Vybiralova, Safety Instructor for Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, check out toys deemed hazardous by a recent study.

Magnets. Balloons. A doll with an arm that's removable by design for some reason.

All were included in the collection of potentially hazardous toys consumer advocates rattled off during a press conference at All Children's Hospital Tuesday morning.

The aim was to highlight the 30th edition of Trouble in Toyland, an annual report featuring a long list of toys that could be harmful to children because of chemicals used in their making, the ability to cause choking or even noise features that could damage young children's hearing.

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Sh*t happened 11/25/15: Not-bombs, state budget, Rihanna

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 9:05 AM


It's Tuesday, and we're working hard to provide you with stuff to read on your work computer screen while you phone it in at the office for two more days.

A Spring Hill woman pleaded guilty to downloading child porn, in order to put it on a blog she started in her husband's name to frame him. She also apparently called in two fake bomb threats against an American Air Force base, and started a Facebook page in his name that linked to the child-porn blog. Right now, a bunch of dudes are thinking "that bitch is crazy," while a bunch of women are wondering exactly what the guy did. (And no, dudes, the answer is almost certainly not so simple as "marry a crazy bitch.")

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Rick Scott budget is chock-full o' freedom

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 6:03 PM

  • memegenerator.com
Florida governor Rick Scott unveiled his state budget proposal to cheers and criticism Monday, none of which we could hear over the sound of Jesus firing his guns into the sky while riding a bald eagle.

His $79.3 billion "Florida First" budget, if lawmakers give it a thumbs-up, would benefit many people in the state — and by "many people" we mean a few corporations.

While boosting the amount of money for K-12 education significantly, his plan actually places most of the education budget burden — 85 percent — onto local school districts, which obviously means taxpayers will be on the hook for it regardless.

As one might expect, his budget also contains large cuts to the state's health and environmental agencies, though many of the jobs cut would be vacant positions anyway, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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It's Adopt-A-Manatee time again

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 5:59 PM

  • wikimedia commons

We all have too much stuff, and every year around this time, we accumulate more of it.

Stuff, typically, just sits there, or it works for a while before it breaks or becomes obsolete. Or we lose it.

This, when we could be gifting people with things that really matter in the long run.

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Sh*t happened 11/23/15: Florida jobs up, Trump protestor beaten down, Bucs win, American Music Awards still a thing

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 8:56 AM


Miracle of miracles, it no longer feels like we're living on the surface of the sun, just waiting for the life to steam right out of us and dissipate into the muggy air.


Florida's unemployment rate dropped to a seven-year low as more jobs were created in the state in October than in any single month in the past ten years. Rick Scott said this calls for a billion-dollar tax cut for businesses, because sure, let's zero out the very real and badly needed gains in favor of a speculative investment in an uncertain future, I guess?

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Coalition of Immokalee Workers to demonstrate in Temple Terrace Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Protesters demonstrate outside a Tampa Publix in Nov. 2014. - SAMUEL JOHNSON
  • Samuel Johnson
  • Protesters demonstrate outside a Tampa Publix in Nov. 2014.
For years now, an organization consisting of low-wage farmworkers — many of them migrant — and activists has been waging war with fast food and grocery giants over the way those who supply produce to those establishments treat their farmworkers.

And they've had some success in getting companies like Yum Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell and other chains) to pay more for tomatoes so that workers could earn a decent wage.

Despite their many successes, though, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which is based in southwest Florida, still has its battles, as working conditions for many migrant farmworkers, they say, are still deplorable, at times even involving forced labor and sexual abuse.

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Sh*t happened 11/20/15: Refugee bill, GMO salmon, Fogle sentenced

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 9:12 AM


Looking for something to talk about while waiting to use the office Keurig this morning? We're your huckleberry:

The House of Representatives passed a bill that would add additional measures to the vetting process for refugees coming to America from Syria and Iraq. The bill also includes provisions for altering the Statue of Liberty's appearance to give her a more suspicious and forbidding facial expression, along with a sidearm.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

After fire destroys home, Tampa low wage worker/activist and family face homelessness

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 8:43 PM

Alexander and his family. - COURTESY OF CARLTON ALEXANDER
  • Courtesy of Carlton Alexander
  • Alexander and his family.
For about a year now, Carlton Alexander and his family have been staying in a Tampa home that belonged to his late uncle, a house Alexander had been rehabbing over the year between his shifts at a Taco Bell franchise. 

Alexander, 29, moved to the area from Georgia, and was gradually getting the house into decent shape.

On Monday morning, a shoddy window air conditioning unit changed that.

“It blew up," he said. "It was about two feet away from me.”

The explosion set off a small fire that eventually engulfed his home in flames.

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Enviro group targets big sugar over cane burning

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 2:34 PM

On the island of Maui — where this reporter cut her reportin' teeth — there is a stench along a stretch of road between the east and west end of the island. It is a stench so foul that one close relative of this reporter dubbed it "ass vomit" during a visit. Because if such a substance existed, that's what it would smell like, but with a little burnt rubber mixed in.

The stench, of course, came from a sugar plant whenever it burned cane, a plant that would also occasionally send black ashes into the air that would then rain down on residents and visitors (they call it Maui snow).

Residents on the island perennially raise a stink (not punny, we know) about cane burning and its potentially negative effects on health and the environment. And the science may be on their side.

Now, so are environmentalists in Florida, where big sugar is one of Florida's top political palm greasers.

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Game of Drones 11/19/15: Ambition, basic decency and, of course, insanity.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 11:24 AM


This week, we take a look at maneuverings and forged political alliances at the local, state and national level, each reminding us of a GoT character.

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