YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: open wary, wage worry, Aristocracy Inc.


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BRIEFS ABOUT SAGGY BRIEFS AND OTHER SAD ACTS OF DESPERATION FROM THE IDIOT OPEN-CARRY BASE IN FLORIDA: “Dale Norman was packing heat. No doubt about that. On February 19, 2012, Norman strolled down Federal Highway in Fort Pierce with his .38-caliber pistol stuck in a holster on his belt. It was clearly visible. A sight alarming enough that a passerby called 911. A few minutes later a patrol car pulled up to the 23-year-old gunslinger on the sidewalk just outside the Peking Chinese Restaurant. The young man was busted for a misdemeanor, a violation of Florida Statute 790.053 which prohibits ‘any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device.’ For gun nuts, Dale Norman had just become their very own Rosa Parks. Somehow, Florida has remained one of six states that prohibits knuckleheads from traipsing around with their pistols on display like they were living in Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881. That, of course, has driven gun rights absolutists crazy. (Perhaps the proper description is “crazier.”) Every year, they spit and sputter and lobby the state legislature to pass an “open carry” bill. And while Florida legislators regularly capitulate to the whims and wishes of the NRA, an law permitting the open display of firearms has remained elusive. Opponents, led by the Florida Sheriffs Association, have managed to beat down the notion, though, in my wistful moments, I like to think that common sense also played a part in keeping our state legislators from tossing the state's concealed firearm law. Because, they surely understand that most of their constituents are profoundly disturbed by the sight of some non-law enforcement yokel flaunting his shooter in a public place. But the Norman arrest has given Florida Carry (representing the state’s most fervent open carry advocates – think of its members as the NRA’s wackier cousins) another way to undo 790.053. Norman's case became a cause. His lawyers first tried to convince a county court jury that he really didn’t mean to display his pistol as he ambled through town that day. ‘Unbeknownst to Mr. Norman, the weight of his pistol caused his shorts to sag, making part of his holster visible to the public,’ his attorney argued in an appeal brief. That was a feeble tactic. Police video of the arrest show a young man wearing a tight, white, revealing strap t-shirt. It beggars the imagination to think he wasn’t aware his attire was showing off his firearm. The gun was visible on the police video when the patrol car was still halfway down the block. The jury didn’t buy it. Neither did St. Lucie County Judge Cliff Barnes. ‘At trial, there was no credible evidence presented that the firearm had been concealed before defendant’s arrest, or that it could have been, considering his manner of dress,’ Judge Barnes wrote as he denied a motion to set aside Norman's conviction. But the real argument, the reason Florida Carry took on an obscure misdemeanor arrest, has to do with the constitutionality of Florida's concealed weapon laws. Norman, by the way, had a concealed weapon permit at the time of his arrest. His problem was that his weapon wasn’t concealed.” (via Miami Herald)



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BECAUSE TAX CREDITS FOR PARASITIC BUSINESS INTERESTS TRUMP THE VALUE OF YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION. WHO ELSE IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS CAMPAIGN, AMIRITE?: “Among the 57 bills signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday was the expansion of eligibility for one of Florida’s voucher programs providing public tax dollars for children to go to private schools, including religious ones. The voucher provisions are part of a wide-ranging, 140-page education bill (SB 850) that is also aimed at helping parents of students with disabilities pay for educational services. The measure also makes changes in middle school and career education. The changes to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program — which provides tax breaks to companies that donate money to nonprofit entities that then pay for children to go to private schools — broadens the pool of families eligible for the vouchers from the poor to the middle class. Under the new law, a family of four earning up to $62,010 a year will be eligible for at least a partial scholarship, a nearly $20,000 boost from the current $43,568 annual income limit. The value of each individual scholarship would also rise. The voucher provisions was a major priority for House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. Weatherford started the 2014 session pushing for even more sweeping changes, but the Senate balked. In a concession to Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, the bill also changes how the state measures the learning of students in the voucher program. But those students will still not be required to take the state test developed for public schools. The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, criticized Scott’s decision to sign the bill in a statement issued Friday. ‘Public schools face a strict accountability regimen that includes frequent testing, school grades and punitive actions for not meeting state mandates,’ said FEA Vice President Joanne McCall. ‘But taxpayer dollars flowing to voucher schools require very little accountability and can in no way be compared to what is required for public schools.’” (via Palm Beach Post)


MAYBE CITIES ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE WHEN THEIR POPULATIONS ARE ABLE TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO LIVE? REALLY?: “About one in five people in Hallandale Beach, Fla., live below the poverty line. Though it is a small city — 37,000 people, a horse track and a greyhound track — its mayor, Joy Cooper, bellied up to the table during a jobs committee discussion on Saturday among the nation’s mayors and fired off a few questions about raising the minimum wage, if not for the whole city, at least for businesses with city contracts. ‘I want to make sure my employees are cared for properly,’ Ms. Cooper said later. ‘I want to have a high-quality work force.’ A wave of cities and states have raised their minimum wage in the absence of federal action, most notably Seattle, which this month elected to go to $15 an hour, the highest minimum wage in the country. San Francisco seems likely to do the same. New York, too, is poised to raise its minimum wage if the Legislature grants permission. But such actions are not limited to coastal cities or those with the starkest contrast between rich and poor. Here at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, which convened over the weekend, the subject of income inequality seemed to be on almost everyone’s lips, and mayors wondered aloud how best to use their powers to help the lowest-paid workers. ‘This year, the idea that cities have an important role to play in raising the minimum wage has gone mainstream,’ said Paul K. Sonn, the general counsel of the National Employment Law Project. ‘More leaders than ever are looking to fight poverty locally with higher city wages.’” (via New York Times)


SPEAKING OF, BUSINESSES ARE THE NEW ARISTOCRACY! BOW DOWN BEFORE THE ONE YOU SERVE, ETC.: “Alexis de Tocqueville, a young, politically active Frenchman from an aristocratic family came to America in 1831 to study our penal system. In addition to completing that assignment, he also wrote one of the most heralded analyses of our political system, ‘Democracy in America.’ In Volume I (1835) he wrote, ‘The American Revolution broke out, and the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people came out of the townships and took possession of the state. Every class was enlisted in its cause; battles were fought and victories obtained for it; it became the law of laws.’ The English colonists had rejected the system of primogeniture, the law of inheritance that awarded a deceased man's property to the firstborn son or closest male relative, thus ensuring that the aristocracy would hold intact their land, wealth, and the power that was used to influence government. In America, by contrast, land would be divided among the children, at least in the northern colonies, thus wealth and its associated power would be equally distributed. Tocqueville referred to our democratic ways as ‘habits of the heart,’ those customs that imbued citizens with the idea of equality before the law. With the 2010 Supreme Court's 5-to-4 ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations were given First Amendment rights to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates for elected office. U.S. corporations are becoming America's aristocracy. In their ruling, the Supreme Court also declared that corporations are persons rather than the legal and economic entities they had previously been considered. The money they give to politicians is now considered speech. If regulations, for example, are proposed by federal, state, or local governments that they think might harm profits, including regulations affecting fair elections, health, or the environment, the corporation, led by its CEO, will use the power of the purse to defeat those regulations no matter how much they would have benefited society. When corporations share similar interests, their combined wealth is not only daunting, it's destructive to our nation and its people.” (via Pensacola News-Journal)



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