Apr 262008
 
This entry is part 2 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

In this post, we’ll review the moderated part of the debate between Nadine Smith of Fairness for All Families and John Stemberger of the Krazy Kristian Kooks of Florida. They were debating the Florida Constitutional Amendment 2 at the Tiger Bay Club of Orlando. This is part of a series on Florida’s Amendment 2.

The first question goes to Stemberger, and it is the heart of the matter. The moderator notes that it’s already illegal for gay people to marry here in Florida, so why do we need an amendment. As expected, Stemberger gets on the activist judge bandwagon and talks about Massachusetts, and how they needed an amendment. Since they didn’t have one, the activists judges up there decided to be social change agents. This argument works with stupid people, and Lord knows there are plenty of those, but I was once told by a Judge that the definition of activists judges are judges that rule against you. Continue reading »

Apr 122008
 

In Florida
Well, we already had the “shoot first, ask questions later law” passed here. Now your employer can’t ban you from taking your gun to work. I guess at least it has to be in a locked car. The Senate passed the measure last week, and it’s on it’s way to Gov. Crist for signature. So along with take your daughter to work day, we can have a take your gun to work day.

Durell Peaden, a State Senator says it’s all about protecting the Constitution.:

The second thing they wrote about in that constitution was the right to bear arms,” said Sen. Durell Peaden, a Republican from Crestview, Florida. “It was what was dear in their hearts.”

If that’s the case, why doesn’t Durell take the matter to the Supreme Court. Oh, they do exempt Schools, Nuclear Power Plants, and Homeland Security offices. Let me explain something to you Durell, if you claim to have passed it because of the Constitution…well, the Constitution doesn’t exempt certain locations. You just shit and fell back in it. Liar.

On Airplanes
Feel safer knowing the pilot of your commercial jet might be packing? Well you shouldn’t. On March 22, pilot James Langenhahn was stowing his Heckler & Koch USP .40, issued to him by the Department of Homeland Security under the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, while his co-pilot prepared to land the plane. As he was placing the pistol, locked in its holster, into his flight bag, it discharged a single shot which exited the left side of the plane, doing little damage.

Now what the Reuters report doesn’t go on to tell you is that this was caused by another idiotic policy developed by someone at Homeland Security who clearly knows nothing about gun handling safety. The policy requires that pilots remove the guns from their belts and lock them up using a government-provided combination padlock before leaving the cockpit with a ring through the key guard, a requirement that pilots say creates unsafe conditions.

“The pilot was trying to lock his gun and remove the holster in an airplane going 300 miles per hour in preparation for landing and the padlock depressed the trigger,” said a federal flight deck officer who declined to be identified. “TSA knew this could happen but didn’t get rid of the requirement.”

…Said David Mackett, president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance. “TSA’s got these pilots taking off and putting on their guns 10 times a day. It’s a recipe for disaster and that’s why no other agency does it.”

Our friends at Homeland Stupidity found out that:

Pilots have been unable to criticize this arrangement publicly because the TSA had classified it; however, a group of federal air marshals met with the TSA last year to recommend that pilots carry their pistols in the same way that air marshals do, not to mention everyone else who carries a firearm safely. “We said, “Just use the same procedures you use for your own air marshals,” said one federal flight officer. “How hard is that to understand?” The TSA took no action on the recommendation.

Mackett goes on to say that the TSA’s requirement has also resulted in numerous guns being lost or stolen. “But, TSA can’t continuously ignore standard procedures pr oven over thousands of other law enforcement officers and then blame the pilot when it goes wrong.”

The Battle in Florida is Joined-Amendment #2

 Featured, Gay Issues, Legislature, Places, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society, Tampa  Comments Off on The Battle in Florida is Joined-Amendment #2
Mar 312008
 

This will be the first in what I expect will evolve into a series of articles related to the upcoming election and the vote on Constitutional Amendment #2. This is the krazy kristian kooks attempt to have a large conservative turnout in Florida, so instead of fielding a worthy candidate, they go for the divisive issue. Amendment #2 is, of course, a “marriage protection” amendment for the Florida Constitution.

Continue reading »

News for The Week of July 15, 2007

 Crime, General, Legislature, Places, Politics, Society, Tampa  Comments Off on News for The Week of July 15, 2007
Jul 132007
 

More Republican Family Values
Gotta love these Republican Family Values lawmakers. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinal, Florida State Rep. Bob Allen was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a local park after offering to perform a sex act on an undercover officer in exchange for $20, police said.

Titusville police were at Veteran’s Memorial Park on East Broad Street on a burglary detail when they noticed an unshaven man acting suspicious, going in and out of the restroom three times, said Lt. Todd Hutchinson.

An undercover officer decided to go into one of the bathroom stalls, Hutchinson said. Moments later, Allen knocked on the stall door and offered to perform oral sex on the officer for $20, according to the police spokesman.

Score on for Free Speech
The St. Pete Times reports Donnie James White spent three days in jail for desecrating an American flag. Then, Thursday, he became a free man after prosecutors declared the charge unconstitutional.

Tampa police said they were just following Florida law, of course several cases have been thrown out over the past few years also. I guess they just can’t remember that darned ole Constitution thing around here.

Though it has been 18 years since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated state laws that made flag desecration a crime, Florida never took its statute off the books.

May 142007
 

The following are odds and ends from the news this week ending May 13, 2007.

Minister Arrested, Charged With Cocaine Possession (from TBO.com)

TAMPA – A 70-year-old minister faces drug charges after police said he was found with 16 rocks of crack cocaine at his church Sunday.

David Brian Anton of Land O’ Lakes was approached by an officer in Living Word Fellowship church’s parking lot at 8216 N. 13th St., according to an arrest affidavit. Anton agreed to be searched and the officer noticed a plastic baggie with 16 rocks of crack cocaine in Anton’s left shirt pocket, the affidavit states. Police also recovered a crack pipe, according to the affidavit.

I’m just never really sure about these stories. If you knew you had a bag of crack and a crack pipe on you, why would you submit to a search? These kinds of incidents just always sound fishy to me.

No Time to Collect News

I just did not have much time last week to collect news. Heck, I didn’t even have time to read much news. I was on the road from Monday afternoon until about 1pm Saturday morning. This week was Chicago and Atlanta to work some software user-group conferences.

Not being clear what time we could take down the exhibit Friday afternoon at the Atlanta conference, I’d scheduled my flight for 8:15 getting home about 11pm. We were able to tear down fairly early, so we got to the airport about 4pm. The other guy with me had choices to get back to New York on a pretty much hourly basis, and plenty of seats available. There were only two earlier flights to Tampa, and both were book solid, as was my flight.

I don’t have status on Delta, so not only was I in the last row of seating, I knew I didn’t have much chance of being on one of the earlier flights. I tried to check in at the automated kiosks, and had some trouble. I got in the line for the agents, and noticed that my 8:15 flight was already delayed by 45 minutes. This is never good, and the delay is never just 45 minutes.

Lay called while I was waiting, and he had a good suggestion. We decided I’d probably wind up getting home about the same time if I rented a car and drove. Sounded like an OK idea with me. I had a good Audio Book (The Camel Club) on my phone, and new hack that will let me listen through a blue-tooth headset. I rent from Avis all the time, and called them, however they were saying they had no cars for one-way rental. I asked the supervisor to call the manager at the Atlanta station and ask him or her directly. I then got a car.

The drive went pretty well, and I was home about 1:30am, Saturday. I did get some traffic getting out of Atlanta, and I stopped to eat. I talked to a guy today that was on that flight, and he didn’t get home until nearly 1am taking the flight. It was further delayed.

The smoke from the wildfires was really thick in south Georgia and several miles into Florida. I stopped at GA exit 2 buy lottery tickets (Mega Millions was $122m…I figured I could get by on that if I won.), and just walking from the car into the store and back out made my clothes smell like smoke. It was really thick.

The Reddest Red State?

 Crime, Legislature, Politics, Society  Comments Off on The Reddest Red State?
Sep 072006
 

I’m having some trouble deciding which state best reflects America’s red state values.

Who’s ahead in promoting Tom DeLay’s market-based legislative techniques? Is it Ohio’s Bob Ney, Bob Taft and Ken Blackwell, or is Florida whack-job Kathering Harris leading the way?

Is Florida the reddest of states because they first implemented the GOP’s White American Voting Preference Initiative, or does Ohio win because they perfected it?

Is Florida’s recently passed law that let’s you shoot someone that scares you (and ask questions later) more red than Ohio’s recently enacted rule that allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit the reddest of values.

The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio’s so-called Megan’s Law.

The person’s name, address, and photograph would be placed on a new Internet database and the person would be subjected to the same registration and community notification requirements and restrictions on where he could live.

A civilly declared offender, however, could petition the court to have the person’s name removed from the new list after six years if there have been no new problems and the judge believes the person is unlikely to abuse again.

I’ve created a poll so you can help me decide.

Wack Job Katherine Harris At It Again

 Congress, Election, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts  Comments Off on Wack Job Katherine Harris At It Again
Aug 282006
 

Katherine Harris, as quoted in the Florida Baptist Witness:

Separation of church and state is “a lie we have been told,” Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is “wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers.”

“If you’re not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,” Harris said.

Here’s Katherine Harris “clarifying” her stated belief that there should be a religious test for public office, and that the Establish Clause of the First Amendment is a lie:

“My comments were specifically directed toward a Christian group,” said Harris

The clarification on her campaign website never actually quotes her, and goes on to quote her campaign manager just running on and on about how supportive she of the state of Israel, and how she supported some sort of legislation about the holocaust. Big F&*king deal.

The worst comment she made is about God selecting our rulers. I called her Hillsborough Campaign office for confirmation or clarification. (You all should call there too, and ask about this…Rick Gorka at 813-288-8400.) The lady I spoke with just kept referring back to the clarification and the fact that she was speaking to a group of Christians, and trying to impress on them that some people (and this lady couldn’t elaborate on who exactly these “some people” are) used the statement about seperation to keep people for faith from voting. Good Lord, I thought they controlled the elections in the U.S. now.

I asked about the Divine Rulers concept put forward by Ms. Harris. I explained that maybe I didn’t need to go stand in line on election day anymore since God makes the choice. As a former Secretary of State (we all remember that fiasco), she should at least give lip service to the concept that this is a country of elected officials, and not a country of divine rulers. Her campaign staffer (I’m surprised there was even someone there to answer the phone given that they are all quitting.) said it was “just words.” I explained that it is NOT just words, but that there exists a clear distinction between elected governments and “rulers.” It was at this point the lady started telling me how much more work she had to do. (I guess getting an idiot elected to the U.S. Senate takes a lot of work…actually, in thinking about it some more, it must be pretty easy.)

This lady is a nut job…certifiable, and definitely an embarassment to that State of Florida (and the entire Country for that matter).

Meet Tom Wells-Candidate for Congress and President

 Congress, Election, Fun Stuff, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Meet Tom Wells-Candidate for Congress and President
Apr 132006
 

Wells is the president and, if I’m not mistaken, founder of the Family Values Party. He is currently attempting to qualify to run for both houses of Congress from Florida for the 2006 election. He has no chance of winning, mind you, but he’s interesting nonetheless. He has run before, for president (yes, the president) and for Congress in 2002 (19 total votes), 1998 (663 votes) and 1996 (22 votes).

Where he gets real interesting is when you check out his homepage. His site shows all the hallmarks of an extreme right wing page that has little or no budget, horrible design, a strange picture, horrible writing, a complete misuse of capitalization and punctuation, strange fonts, dead links, Bible quotes taken out of context and a general incoherence. We can forgive him for all that, he doesn’t know any better.

But if you click on the link entitled “To find out who can and who cannot give money to the Family Values Party or to Tom Wells’ Campaign,” what you get is what appears to be a basic html web form with check boxes. It isn’t actually, since the closing sentence is: “If you qualify and want to contribute to The Family Values Party, or to the Tom Wells campaigns you must download this web sight, fill it out, sign and date the completed form. Remember all applicable Federal and State laws concerning federal campaign laws apply.” So what looks like an interactive web form is actually a site that you have to print out and mail if you want to use.

So, if you are interested in donating to Wells or the FVP, these are the conditions you have to agree to:

  • Not only declare that you will refuse to pay taxes until abortion is banned, you have to officially notify your public officials of this decision.
  • Declare that you are not a member of or financially support any group that favors premeditated murderings, (abortion) such as the Democratic Party, NOW, Planned Parenthood or the National Education Association.
  • Actively or passively participate in male homosexual acts. (As for female homosexual acts, Tom has this to say: I may not like nor understand female homosexual behavior, but I cannot say it is an abomination against OUR BELOVED HEAVENLY FATHER because HE has been so conspicuously quite on this subject.
  • Agree that the worse song ever made or sung is, “I did it MY WAY.”
  • Declare that you don’t have any tattoos.
  • Declare that you don’t use, grow, sell, promote, own stock, or work to manufacture tobacco products.
  • Declare that you don?t use, grow, sell, promote, own stock, or work to manufacture alcohol products.
  • Promote false gods by believing in The luck animal parts, lucky shirts, lucky pins, lucky numbers, amulets, and graven images that you honor and that you give credit to them of possessing special powers. These things are an abonination because they put the false gods of luck above God.
  • Don’t agree that asking a Jew to work on weekends is the most sadistic form of bigotry in practice today aimed at the observant Jew.
  • Don’t agree that Bill Clinton was America’s #1 Chief Baby Killer and #1 Chief Woman Abuser.

If you don’t agree to all these conditions, then you aren’t even allowed to donate money to the party or to the Wells campaign. He does save it all by stating that he won’t take PAC money, though. This is one of the reasons why those of us in Florida refer to the Panhandle as L.A.: Lower Alabama.

Sunday Afternoon Update — Wilma

 Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Sunday Afternoon Update — Wilma
Oct 232005
 

It is amazingly quiet here today. As of 4PM there is no wind, and while it has been overcast all day, we have yet to have even a drop of rain.

The NOAA forecast track is, as you might expect, beginning to narrow, (and here is a cool animated tracking map on MSNBC) hand has been moved more to the south with landfall right at Naples. However, the main wind field comes off the eye like a giant egg shape with the widest end going out to the northeast. That is going to bring sustained tropical storm force winds through Tampa. The NOAA forecast models still seem to have some disagreement on the forward speed of the storm. Landfall looks like it will happen around 7AM or 8AM tomorrow, and will probably be a category two storm (although some of the NOAA models say there’s a chance it will minimally be a category 3 storm). Most forecasts say we’ll start seeing increased winds during the late evening and continuing through noon tomorrow.

I had put everything away earlier this week, and we have water, food and gas for the generator. I’m going out in a few minutes to gas up the car. That will serve as a "reserve" gas tank for the generator. I’ll pull the generator out later. It is very heavy and cumbersome, so you would not want to be wrestling with that during a downpour. I have a tarp to cover it, and will use one of those bungee straps to hold it on.

Otherwise, it is a very quiet afternoon. Along with a stop at the gas station, I’m going to make a run to the grocery store. We’ve had so much warning, I’m hoping it won’t be a zoo there. Its not that we need much of anything, but they have Coke products on sell at the Albertson’s.

Lay is napping, and I’m watching the San Diego vs. Philadelphia football game.

UPDATED: 10PM — It finally started raining right at 7PM tonight. It has poured rain several time, and been a steady shower in-between. The latest forecast says the increasing intensity will be there, but it will be slower than first expected, so probably a category 2 on landfall tomorrow morning.

Wilma Update — Saturday

 General, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Wilma Update — Saturday
Oct 222005
 

I obviously have not been posting a lot lately. I was traveling for work some this week, and had a very interesting trip I’ll write more about later. I may have plenty of time tomorrow to do some updates to the blog.

In the meantime, I thought I would provide an update on Hurricane Wilma based on the most recent NOAA information. How much impact there is on Tampa remains a bit uncertain. Not unusually, with about two days to go before landfall, the “cone of uncertainty” is still a bit large.

The storm has drifted pretty erratically and slowly for quite some time. Yesterday it moved across Cozumel and then onto the Yucatan Peninsula. The slow movement helped weaken the storm, which is good for us, but very bad for those parts of Mexico. It has now settled into a slow northward drift, and is about to emerge into the Gulf. It will have a chance to re-strengthen then, and a low pressure trough dipping down will bring us some cooler weather later in the week, and pick up Wilma and start accelerating her toward Florida. This will also create shear that will hopefully weaken the storm as it approaches.

Right now, the forecast track brings the storm onshore somewhere in South Florida sometime on Monday. According to the NOAA discussion, the computer models have come into some disagreement, and the track has been moved slightly north. North is not good for us, but it still keeps the center of the storm well to our south. Earlier, the models had the storm coming onshore as a Category 1 or 2. Apparently, less shearing is expected, so now the forecast says a Category 2 or 3 when it comes onshore.

It is also projected that, as the shearing occurs, the wind field of the storm will expand, so we will pretty much be getting tropical storm force winds here in Tampa on Monday. That’s assuming the storm stays pretty much on the current forecast track. We will certainly get rain, but that won’t be bad, as we need some rain. I’m guessing this will probably start sometime tomorrow afternoon. It’s been cloudy most of today, but no rain so far.