Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sh*t happened 12/17/14: Bush's presidential bid, Rick Scott's FDLE upset, AirFest cancellation & more

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 8:47 AM


A ringtone crowed — a techno version of No Doubt's cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life." Pestilence's horse turned his head and shook his mane, agitated, ready to go. Pestilence patted his pockets; before he could find his phone, a man outside the gelato shop across the street from the carriage roost retrieved his own and silenced it. Pestilence soothed his mount, stroking his neck. "It's not us," Pestilence breathed. "But soon, my partner, very soon. After all, just take a look around."

The horse calmed. "Really, though," said Pestilence with a laugh, "what are the odds?"

Jeb Bush is maybe, possibly considering a run for the White House in 2016. Tea Party conservatives are horrified, because after Mitt Romney and John McCain, they're hoping for a ticket that's somewhere a few miles to the right of Mussolini, and Jeb Bush is sorta, you know ... sane.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Local heroes tout 64-ounce growler bill

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Two Tampa Bay lawmakers on Tuesday announced bills in the State House and Senate that would allow craft breweries to sell 64-ounce growlers, something that, stupefyingly enough, isn't legal right now.

In the crowded, lofty tasting room at Dunedin Brewery, State Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and State Rep. Chris
Sen. Latvala explains what the bill will do, if it passes. - KATE BRADSHAW
  • Kate Bradshaw
  • Sen. Latvala explains what the bill will do, if it passes.
 Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) stood among dozens of craft brewing industry leaders and beer enthusiasts and assured them they'll do what they can to make sure the bill passes. The bill was introduced during the past two legislative sessions, but obviously didn't make it far either year. Last year, large-scale beer distributors even championed a bill that would have further hurt the industry by forcing brewers to go through a distributor — even to sell at their own tasting rooms — if they produced a high enough volume of beer annually.

Latavala said such restrictions make no sense; especially the growlers.

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Jeb Bush looking into possibly seeing if he wants to explore definitely running for president

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Jeb's Facebook page.
  • Jeb's Facebook page.
In a shocking-not-shocking development as the field of 2016 GOP presidential contenders begins to blossom, it turns out there will probably be a Bush among them.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Tuesday announced a more aggressive pursuit of the presidency, or more accurately, he has "decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."

He said he came to that decision over the Thanksgiving holiday during conversations with his wife and children between eating and watching football, which we all totally buy.

Bush said he will be forming a Leadership PAC in January "that will help (him) facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans."

All Americans, Jeb? 

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Sh*t happened 12/16/14: #illridewithyou, Bondi fights gay marriage, Pier makeover and more

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 8:45 AM


Monday was a sodden athletic shoe that emerged from the mists to wash up on a nearly deserted shore in British Columbia. Was there a foot inside? You tell me:

The city of St. Petersburg released proposals for a Pier makeover from eight design firms. It'll still be a bit before the public gets to really weigh in — a potential shortlist is scheduled to be presented in mid-February — but if the current contenders could be grouped under a single aesthetic descriptor, it would be Contemporary Most Definitely Not The Lens We Heard You Please God Pick Us #1-8.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion to keep the state's ban on same-sex marriages in place pending appeals, overriding a judicial ruling against the ban that would allow marriages to begin taking place starting January 6. It's getting really hard to believe this isn't personal. Let it go, Pam. The hayride was a lifetime ago. He didn't know who he was back then.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

AG Bondi does the obvious; same-sex marriage up in the air again

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

Bondi in August after a Tallahassee judge declared Florida's same-sex marriage ban.
  • Bondi in August after a Tallahassee judge declared Florida's same-sex marriage ban.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency motion to keep the state's same-sex marriage ban in place Monday, jeopardizing the prospect of such unions becoming legal Jan. 6.

Because, obviously, there are no better ways to spend Floridians' tax dollars; might as well piss it away on things like continuing to limit individual freedoms of people you disagree with.

We can't say we didn't see this coming, though, because this is classic Pam.

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New St. Pete Pier designs revealed

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Christmas came early for urban designophiles, especially those eagerly awaiting options for the new St. Pete Pier. 

Today the city released proposals for the site from eight different design teams to the media on a DVD (which meant we all had to dig out our old, slow-ass laptops to pull up the images and project statements). 

So, here goes:  

Alfonso Architects' offering, ALMA, is perhaps the biggest departure from what's there now. A short video exploring the
  • Alfonso Architects
  • ALMA
 design starts with a view from a handsome sailboat that's blaring Bobby Darin's "Somewhere Beyond the Sea" as the vessel approaches the structure. It is very much not an inverted pyramid, but a couple of stories crowned by a glass observation tower providing sweeping views of the city and bay. The Kinks tune "This Time Tomorrow" plays toward the end, so that gives them extra points off the bat. "Our project will recapture the past, embrace the present and look to the future," reads the group's statement outlining the concept. 

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Florida among the lowest in wage gains: Set your stun guns to "Blame Obama!"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Another day, another thing that's holding our state back.

The Wall Street Journal crunched numbers on changes in wages, county by county, throughout the U.S. between 2004 and 2013, and adjusted them for inflation. Surprise, surprise: Florida counties are lagging in terms of positive changes in average annual wages, and a vast majority of counties here have actually seen declines.

Nationally, one in three counties has seen a decline in wages. In Florida, though, average annual income has gone down in three quarters — that is, 75 percent — of its counties.

That means, when you hear politicians spout that worn-out catchphrase "jobs, jobs, jobs!" (by the way, 2010 called. It wants its tired populist rhetoric back), what they're really saying is, "" 

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Sh*t happened 12/15/14: Hogan's Beach, Supa D, sex trafficking and bad movers

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 9:05 AM


What a great weekend, huh? Well, for you and me. Not so much for Safety Harbor, the patrons of Supa D and a couple of dudes with some extremely bad ideas...


A 27-year old St. Pete man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role — along with his girlfriend — in a sex trafficking business that involved arranging for his associates to have sex with two 14-year-old children in hotels. He is expected to shortly meet someone in the business of arranging for associates to have sex with one 27-year-old monster in the laundry room.

As its third annual New Year's Eve bash approaches, Rocky Point meat market Hogan's Beach has come under scrutiny from the Tampa City Council, which requested a report on whether or not the nightclub's indoor/outdoor activities are indeed within zoning guidelines. The council was happy to report, however, that the club is definitely meeting its quota of Tapout and Ed Hardy shirts.


Speaking of nightclubs, five people were shot Saturday night during an altercation at North Tampa nightspot Supa D, the site of two previous fatal shootings in the last 13 months. Weird how nobody catches a bullet at bars with names like Shooter's...

A house that was being relocated brought down two sets of cable lines in Safety Harbor. The incident was not, as initially thought, a viral marketing promotion for the forthcoming Discovery Channel reality program Shitty Movers.


And finally, another St. Pete man was arrested this weekend, for assaulting two Clearwater police officers and their K9 after cops were called by a former girlfriend of his claiming he was violating a domestic injunction and threatening her. There's "I'm at my wit's end," and then there's "nothing left to do but fight the cop-dog."

(Image of police dog via Wikimedia Commons.)

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Friday, December 12, 2014

It wasn't a total sh*tshow: a few good things that happened this week

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:21 PM

As the holidays approach, things tend to slow down. If you disagree, try journalism. Nearly everyone is on vacation and few public officials are interested in committing any news. While that makes for a not-so-depressing few weeks, it also means that the good-news-train (at least, the non-Christmas miracley one), slows down. 

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Transit: Orlando and Phoenix did it; Why the hell can't we?, say local leaders

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Getting people to vote to raise their own taxes for something even as beneficial as light rail is like getting them to try kale.

Those who make decisions in terms of their health for the coming decades are likely to give it a shot. They'll probably like it if it's cooked right (sautéed with garlic and olive oil, probably) and will be better off for having done so. Yet those open-minded enough to do so are obviously a very small minority.

That's part of the reason two penny transit referenda — one on each side of the bay — have failed miserably in recent years.

On Friday a panel assembled by the nonprofit Urban Land Institute included transit leaders from two cities where rail has become a reality in recent years, Orlando and Phoenix.

In Pinellas County, voters rejected a proposal to increase the sales tax by one percent. It lost 62-38. A similar initiative in Hillsborough County four years earlier only fared slightly better there. Polling done after the election reiterated the obvious — people don't want any more taxes.

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