Friday, February 5, 2016

It's true: Donald Trump will rally in Tampa next week

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 6:36 PM

GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • gage skidmore/wikimedia commons
An official with Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign has confirmed that, yes, Donald J. Trump is coming to Tampa, and, yes, he is rallying at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Friday.

Donald J. Trump is the gentleman currently leading in all of the polls, and has been for months.

What does the J. stand for?

We may never know.

Anyway, it's been among the toughest of weeks for the brash, billionaire reality show star extraordinaire. Trump came in second place in the GOP's Iowa caucus on Monday. U.S. Senator "from" Texas Ted Cruz came in first, and U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio finished a close third.

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Memorial for teen killed during Florida State Fair set for Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM

Local activist Ashley Green takes part in a rally calling for justice in the case of Andrew Joseph III. - KELLY BENJAMIN/FACEBOOK
  • Kelly Benjamin/Facebook
  • Local activist Ashley Green takes part in a rally calling for justice in the case of Andrew Joseph III.
Andrew Joseph III was just 14 when he was hit by a car while trying to cross I-4 in 2014.

Police had just ejected Joseph and dozens of other teens from the Florida State Fair after violence broke out on the event's annual Student Day. 

Two years later, his family is still seeking answers.

This week they finally filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department, the Florida State Fair Authority and the Hillsborough County School District, according to the Tampa Bay Times.


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Sh*t happened 2/5/16: Uhurus disrupt the city council, Zika panic, RIP Dave Mirra

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 8:29 AM

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You made it to Friday! And just like in grade school, your reward is a forced look back at what you've learned.

There was quite the hubbub in yesterday's St. Pete City Council meeting, during which members of the African People's Socialist Party (aka the Uhurus) disrupted the proceedings and a package was left behind, precipitating an evacuation of the building. That's a pretty sure way to shake off the lethargy that generally sets in between property rent-hike complaints and yet another conversation about the Rays...

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Activists storm St. Pete council chambers, leave package that spurs evacuation

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 12:10 PM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
St. Petersburg's City Council members were plodding through a discussion over the possible development of a green parcel of land at 66th Street and Ninth Avenue North when there was a sudden commotion.

Activists from the African People's Socialist Party, better known as the Uhurus, had stormed council chambers, and immediately began shouting about the city's treatment of African Americans. They heralded a decades-old act of civil disobedience in which Uhuru founder Omali Yeshitela (neé Joe Waller) tore down an objectively racist mural at City Hall that depicted African Americans in a derogatory way.

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Sh*t happened 2/4/16: Animal abuser registry, King Scott, Bucs ticket price hike

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 10:04 AM

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This isn't the Thursday you're looking for.

While the state legislature continues to work itself into a frenzy over absurd bills, at least more beneficial things are going on closer to home: The Hillsborough County Commission, in an effort spearheaded by Commissioner Kevin Beckner, took some early steps toward creating a database of people convicted of abusing animals. "But don't you think such a database could make people who beat or mutilate animals fear for their safety?" one might ask. The answer, of course, is "hopefully."

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Orange alert: How Florida’s citrus industry is fighting to stay alive

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 9:04 AM

USED TO BE SWEETER: “It’s a rough business,” says Ben Tillett, who owns a Terra Ceia orange grove.
  • USED TO BE SWEETER: “It’s a rough business,” says Ben Tillett, who owns a Terra Ceia orange grove.
Ever seen a ponderosa lemon?

They’re almost the size of your head, or at least as big as a large grapefruit.

There’s a handful of ponderosa lemon trees growing in what remains of Ben Tillett’s citrus grove just off the Sunshine Skyway in Terra Ceia. He recommends using them in lemon pies.

Tillett has owned the land since 1979, along with the adjacent Florida Citrus Place, a roadside shop where you can find citrus, and juice that’s actually freshly squeezed on-site.

But much of what goes into the juice doesn’t come from his grove.

“We use everything we’ve got,” he said. “But here again there’s very little. We’re running to Fort Myers, a company down there, we’re getting fruit there. We’re running to Odessa, there’s occasionally fruit there.”

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fun with caucusing: A play-by-play of the Iowa caucus (as viewed from a St. Pete bar)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 10:28 PM

It’s about 8:00 Monday night. Projected onto the wall of a bar in St. Petersburg’s EDGE District is the televised image of a young bespectacled guy in a grey sweater unfolding small pieces of paper and reading what was written on them.

“Donald Trump.”

“Marco Rubio.”

“Donald Trump.”

“Ted Cruz.”

“Rand Paul.”

Time for a glass of wine.

A group of Sanders supporters, Tampa Bay for Bernie, is milling about the bar, Edge of 9. They’re saying that the Iowa caucus, the first presidential primary event in a series of dozens, is going to be a “game changer” for their man.
Watching MSNBC’s coverage on the barroom wall, I’m thinking they might be right. In a gymnasium in Iowa City, we see at least twice as many Bernie as Hillary Clinton supporters, and that’s how the caucuses are won: by counting how many people show up and for whom. The crowd here cheers.

But with returns coming in so slowly, it’s hard to pay much attention, except for when the young Democratic woman in Iowa City calls the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs “fucked up” on live TV.

Shit gets real somewhere around 10 p.m., when word gets out that Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor, is
suspending his campaign, possibly because he’s getting less than 1 percent of the vote.

Soon after, a commentator says, “Bernie Sanders absolutely could overtake Hillary Clinton.” The die-hard Bernie fans are, of course, pleased.

At 10:20, on the Republican side, Rubio’s numbers are catching up to Trump’s, and Cruz is leading by several points.
10:22. Ted Cruz is the projected winner. Gross.

10:26. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announces he is suspending his campaign, not that anyone cares except maybe Ted Nugent.

10:32. MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow calls Jeb Bush, once considered a frontrunner, a dead horse. How sad for someone who once seemed anointed — though he’s likely to do much better on Tuesday in New Hampshire. Sanders, meanwhile, delays his departure from Des Moines. He and Hillary are running neck and neck. In the minds of his supporters sipping wine in St. Pete, victory is imminent.

Rubio, officially in third place, starts talking to his fans at about 10:36. “They told me I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line,” he says. “This is your turn!” someone in his audience shouts. Rubio proceeds to deliver a speech using the same rhetoric that helped him win his Senate seat in 2010. Bernie fans wonder why the guy who came in third is sounding so presidential already. Easy. The person who wins Iowa tends to be a little too batshit for the rest of the country. In this case, it’s Cruz. As for Trump, he’ll probably get bored and drop out any day now. But who really fucking knows anymore?

At 10:29 Trump talks in relatively subdued tones about finishing second. What he doesn’t get is that most of his supporters in Iowa probably aren’t politically involved enough to attend a caucus, whereas any idiot can find his way to a polling place in a normal primary. Have faith, my orange friend.

About 50 minutes later, Cruz also trashes Democrats and invokes his religion incessantly. The St. Pete crowd sings the first few words of “Oh, Canada.”

At 11:30 it’s still tight on the Dem side. Despite this, Clinton and her family are behind a podium. “I am a progressive who gets things done for people,” she says. Her husband looks like he’s under sedation.

At close to midnight, Sanders addresses his audience. He avoids the negative bullshit against Republicans, instead targets billionaires and large corporations. He walks off the stage to Bowie’s “Starman.” (Sure, at a recent debate he said he wasn’t too familiar with Bowie, but his campaign appears to have remedied that.)

Hillary narrowly takes Iowa, though the results don’t become official till Tuesday. It wasn’t the absolute victory that Sanders supporters wanted, but he came so close to winning, his supporters came away with their optimism intact.
New Hampshire should be totally different, but just as telling. Sanders polls incredibly well there. On the GOP side, if Bush doesn’t land in the top three he may dip out early despite his monied support and status as the establishment’s guy. If he does exit, it’s possible his supporters will go to Rubio, who would then have to court religious fanatics (Cruz’s supporters) with homophobic rants and lure angry old white guys (Trump’s fans) with not-so-subtle bigotry.

Go America! 

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Hillsborough County takes first step toward animal abuser registry

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 10:02 PM

A rescue dog. - METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK/FLICKR
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr
  • A rescue dog.

It's hard to imagine the mindset of someone who would harm a pet.

But in his successful urging of his colleagues to launch an animal abuse registry that could function much like a registry for those convicted of sexual abuse (except that it would include those cruel to animals), Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner stressed how individuals who have the will to hurt animals are extremely likely to cause harm to humans as well.

“When we talk about pets, it's like talking about our families. And while most pet owners are responsible and love their pets, we also know that there are individuals who do not and cause great harm to their pets," he said. 

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Hillsborough Commission unanimously passes resolution opposing parts of state pro-fracking bills

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 2:28 PM

JOSHUA DOUBEK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Joshua Doubek/Wikimedia Commons
Officials at the city and county aren't too happy about a pair of bills in Tallahassee that, in an attempt to legalize and "regulate" the questionable practice of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in Florida, would bar local governments from banning the practice within their jurisdictions.

The Hillsborough County Commission on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution calling on the state legislature to pull two key provisions from the bill. Environmentalists obviously would like the bill to be pulled entirely, but this is the Florida legislature, so we'd be lucky if they change one word in a bill supported by an industry with as much clout as, say, oil and gas.

The Florida House of Representatives already passed its version of the pro-fracking bill, and the Senate is set to pass its version soon. This, despite the fact that 27 Florida counties have passed measures banning the practice.

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Updated: Sad pro-rape internet trolls to meet across the globe, including Tampa, to support "pickup artist" Roosh V

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 10:50 AM

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By now you've surely seen numerous blog posts about career überdouche Daryush "Roosh V” Valizadeh, famed "pickup artist" (neither words accurately apply) behind chauvinistic site Return of Kings, calling for the legalization of sexual assault on private property. 

Dude, who tries to perpetuate the idea that women are of lesser intellectual faculties than men, can say whatever he wants for attention.

It's when he tries to incite his followers to put pants on, go outside for the first time in months and talk about how great legal rape would be that it gets scary. 

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