YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Bundy blunders, Disney curses and Expressway woes


via LA Times
  • via LA Times

via LA Times

HEY, YOU GUYS REMEMBER HOW AWESOME TED BUNDY WAS? DID RAND PAUL LOVE HIM, TOO? ALSO, TOO, PEOPLE WHO TALK IN THIRD PERSON ARE TERRIBLE: “Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy doubled down on his controversial remarks about slavery Thursday, insisting that perhaps the "Negro people" were better off as the property of white owners because then, at least, they had gardens and chickens to tend to instead of being dependent on the government.  ‘Cliven Bundy's a-wondering about these people,’ said Bundy, referring to himself in the third person. ‘Now I'm talking about the black community. I'm a-wondering. Are they better off with their young women aborting their children? Are they better off with the young men in prison? Are they better off with the older people on their sidewalks in front of their government-issued homes with a few children? Are they better off, are they happier than they was in the South in front of their homes with their chickens and their gardens and their children around them, and their man having something to do? Are they better off?’ In recent weeks, Bundy has become a hero to some conservatives for his anti-government attitude. He and his armed supporters chased away Bureau of Land Management rangers this month who tried to confiscate his cattle that had been illegally grazing on public land since 1993.  This standoff made prominent politicians such as Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) into Bundy fans. But on Wednesday, The New York Times published comments that Bundy made Saturday at one of his daily news conferences. The rancher seemed to reminisce fondly about the days when blacks were slaves.  ‘And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?’ he asked, referring to African-Americans. ‘They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom.’ His comments set off a firestorm, with those same politicians now distancing themselves from him.” (via Huffington Post) 


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HOORAY FOR PERSISTENCE. THE TIDE IS CHANGING IN IMMOKALEE: “Not long ago, Angelina Velasquez trudged to a parking lot at 5 each morning so a crew leader’s bus could drop her at the tomato fields by 6. She often waited there, unpaid — while the dew dried — until 10 a.m., when the workers were told to clock in and start picking. Back then, crew leaders often hectored and screamed at the workers, pushing them to fill their 32-pound buckets ever faster in this area known as the nation’s tomato capital. For decades, the fields here have had a reputation for horrid conditions. Many migrant workers picked without rest breaks, even in 95-degree heat. Some women complained that crew leaders groped them or demanded sex in exchange for steady jobs. But those abusive practices have all but disappeared, said Ms. Velasquez, an immigrant from Mexico. She and many labor experts credit a tenacious group of tomato workers, who in recent years forged partnerships with giant restaurant companies like McDonald’s and Yum Brands (owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC) to improve conditions in the fields.” (via New York Times)

THEME PARKS ARE AWESOME UNTIL THE THEME IS INCOME DISPARITY: “When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. ‘What's hard for us isn't paying the bills," Candice Johnson, 24, said. "It's just trying to get our feet in the door" with the combined expense of application fees, security deposits and first month's rent needed for a place of their own.The Johnsons are among a growing number of families living in hotels in this Florida tourist corridor because they can't afford anything else and because their county has no shelters for the estimated 1,216 homeless households with children. The problem has created a backlash among the mostly mom-and-pop businesses, with some owners suing the county sheriff to force his deputies to evict guests who haven't paid or who have turned their rooms into semipermanent residences. It also shines a light on the gap among those who work and live in this county that sits in the shadow of Walt Disney World, and the big-spending tourists who flock here. On any given day, tourists pay nearly $100 per person to get into Orlando's theme parks. There, they may be waited on by homeless parents. From their hotels, they jog past bus stops where homeless children wait to head to school. They buy coffee at Starbucks next to the motels that have become families' homes.” (via Associated Press/NPR)


WHEN RICK SCOTT INVOKES “ETHICAL STANDARDS,” YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN TROUBLE: “A member of Orlando's beleaguered expressway-authority board was indicted on bribery charges Thursday by an Orange County grand jury — and more charges could be on the way for others connected to the toll-road agency. Scott Batterson, who faces 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine if convicted, was promptly suspended by Gov. Rick Scott. Batterson was appointed to the board of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority by the governor in August 2011. ‘All public officials must be held to the highest ethical standards,’ Scott said in a written statement. The indictment said Batterson, an engineer who works for IBI Group of Maitland, ‘corruptly’ sought for himself or others consulting work or other benefits in his role as a board member. Batterson, 38, faces three counts: soliciting bribery by a public servant; soliciting compensation for office behavior (performance of duty); and soliciting compensation for official behavior (exerting influence).” (via Orlando Sentinel)


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