AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS JUST YOUR HOUSE THAT WAS UNDERWATER: “The sunny-day flooding was happening again. During high tide one recent afternoon, Eliseo Toussaint looked out the window of his Alton Road laundromat and watched bottle-green saltwater seep from the gutters, fill the street and block the entrance to his front door. ‘This never used to happen,’ Mr. Toussaint said. “I’ve owned this place eight years, and now it’s all the time.” Down the block at an electronics store it is even worse. Jankel Aleman, a salesman, keeps plastic bags and rubber bands handy to wrap around his feet when he trudges from his car to the store through ever-rising waters A new scientific report on global warming released this week, the National Climate Assessment, named Miami as one of the cities most vulnerable to severe damage as a result of rising sea levels. Alton Road, a commercial thoroughfare in the heart of stylish South Beach, is getting early ripples of sea level rise caused by global warming — even as Florida’s politicians, including two possible contenders for the presidency in 2016, are starkly at odds over what to do about it and whether the problem is even real. ‘The theme of the report is that climate change is not a future thing, it’s a ‘happening-now’ thing,” said Leonard Berry, a contributing author of the new report and director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. “Alton Road is one of the now things.’” (via New York Times)
ALL THE POORS ARE STILL SPENDING YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON DRUGS, THE GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO ARGUE: “Arguing there is a "demonstrated problem with drug use" among people receiving public assistance, attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott's administration filed a 72-page brief this week asking a federal appeals court to uphold the constitutionality of a drug-testing program. The state is seeking to overturn a lower-court ruling that barred drug testing as a condition for welfare applicants receiving benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. In December, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven issued a 30-page ruling that concluded the urine tests would violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government and that "there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied." But the state's brief filed Monday in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta disputes Scriven's conclusions. "Drug use impedes TANF participants' ability to secure employment, drug use harms individuals and families, there is a demonstrated problem with drug use among the TANF population, and requiring individualized suspicion would be impractical and counterproductive,'' the brief said.” (via Lakeland Ledger)
IT TOOK FIVE DAYS FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA TO REALIZE IT’S NOT READY FOR MASS TRANSIT. FIVE. DAYS: “A SunRail train hit a landscaping truck in Longwood on Wednesday. The train appeared to hit the truck's trailer at Ronald Reagan Boulevard near State Road 434 at 5:30 p.m. "The truck and trailer had illegally stopped on the tracks when the railroad crossing arms were activated to the down position," said Longwood police spokesman Kevin Tuck. When the train's engineer saw that the truck had stopped on the tracks, he tried to stop the train but was unable to slow enough without hitting the trailer, officials said. Police said there were about 400 people on board when the accident happened, but no one was hurt. The crash caused traffic backups on local roads. The train had to be stopped until Florida Department of Transportation officials arrived at the scene to investigate. The engine had a minor ding, but is still able to operate, officials said. Trains were cleared to continue operation at 7:15 p.m. SunRail sent out an apology overnight for the inconvenience to its passengers, but also issued a reminder to drivers to stay at least 25 feet from the tracks. Wednesday was SunRail's fifth day in operation.” (via WESH)
HOW WHITE IS YOUR BREAD? WHITER THAN KOCH?: The most Republican-leaning company in the country, based on political donations, isn’t Koch Industries. It’s the company that makes Wonder Bread. The political action committee of Flowers Foods, a Georgia company that produces the pillowy sandwich bread, Tastykakes and Nature’s Own baked goods, has given more than 99 percent of its political contributions since 1979 to Republicans. Only three Democratic congressional candidates have gotten money from its PAC since 1984, and not one in the past 20 years. The PAC of Koch Industries, the well-known supporter of Republican candidates and conservative causes, has given nearly as much money to Democrats in the past 14 months as Flowers Foods has in more than 30 years. Most corporations involved in national politics don’t operate this way. Many take the approach often attributed to the former N.B.A. star Michael Jordan, who, when asked why he did not endorse a Democratic candidate in his home state of North Carolina, replied that “Republicans buy shoes, too.” (Whether he actually said it is in question.) The top lopsided corporate giver to the Democrats is Citizens Financial Group’s PAC, but it has given a relatively more modest 77.5 percent of its $1 million in contributions to the party. Despite its largess, Flowers keeps a low profile that masks the motives for its one-sided giving. It’s based in Thomasville, a southwestern Georgia city just over the Florida border best known for an annual rose festival and grand antebellum homes. (via New York Times)
A WHITER SHADE OF PALE:
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