News & Features » Happytown

HAPPYTOWN


;The spring semester at the University of Central Florida was barely underway when the Man decided to crack down on Students for a Democratic Society, a group of radicals ["Second coming," Nov. 23] who were … trying to give away stuff on a sidewalk.

;

;;According to SDS members Eric Eingold and Pat DeCarlo, they were assembling their "free store" wares — donated CDs, clothes, vinyl, hemp bracelets — at the Student Union Jan. 10 when they were approached by two Union representatives asking them to move. Because it was cold, the SDSers had ventured a few feet out of their approved shaded area to get a little sunshine. What they got instead was nearly arrested.

;; A supervisor for the Union contacted campus police, who showed up four strong in two cars. A scene ensued. At issue was the fact that the so-called campus "golden rule" states the whole area is a free-speech zone, while "archaic" guidelines enforced by Student Union employees (drawn when there was still a road bordering the Union) say otherwise. The campus cops began stuffing the free crap into garbage bags, while DeCarlo and Eingold urged students to gather and witness it. Eventually, cops led Eingold to the side of a building and threatened to cuff and stuff him. He got a trespassing citation and the promise that next time, the handcuffs go on. He'll also have to appear before the Student Conduct Review Board and face potential expulsion, suspension or academic probation. You know, for sharing stuff.

;

;"Pat and I, I'm expecting they're going to try to expel us," says Eingold. "Because they've been trying to get rid of us since we've been here."

;

;UCF spokesperson Tom Evelyn says some of the language contained within the golden rule may be unclear, and says that the university is taking a look at it. He also states that, as a recognized student group, the SDS could have simply registered for the Union's Wednesday Market Day, but actively refused to do so. As for the Student Conduct Review Board, he says that all factors will be taken into consideration, and promises that there will be no "overreaction."

;;

;And now it's time for another installment of What's Up With Ric?™, our attempt to keep you up to date on the comings and goings of Orlando's favorite Congressman, U.S. Rep. Ric Keller!

;;This week's report finds Ric, heretofore a faithful Republican, turning into a flaming lib! First, on Jan. 10, he voted with the Democrats to raise the minimum wage. Then, the very next day, he delivered a speech on the House floor damning President Bush's plan to send 20,000 more troops into Iraq.

;

;"I oppose the surge," he declared. "We don't need more American troops caught in the crosshairs of a civil war. After nearly four years, it's high time for the Iraqis to send in their own troops to take out the Shia militias and the Sunni insurgents."

;

;Whoa. Opposing Bush? A "civil war"? Why does Ric hate America?

;;Friends, this is not the spineless yes-man we've come to know and love. This is Super Ric, a pol who leaps across the aisle to get the job done; a man who speaks the truth to power, and damn the consequences. How amazing is this transformation? Compare the quote above to this one he made in June 2006: "Tonight, thousands of people in Orlando will walk into hotel lobbies without having to go through a metal detector, unlike the hotels in Amman, Jordan. Why? Because our soldiers are taking the fight to the terrorists … in the Middle East so the rest of us can live freely in the United States."

;;For the record, Keller's conversion to the dark side isn't complete. He did vote against increasing embryonic stem-cell research.

;

;Thanks, Ric, for jumping aboard the bandwagon!

;;

;Not-so-fun fact: The United States has at least 744,000 homeless people, and an unhealthy chunk of them fall within Florida's borders. The Sunshine State, in fact, has the third highest population of homeless people, according to a recently released report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Behind only California and New York, the state had 60,867 known homeless people as of January 2005.

;;That's a conservative estimate. For instance, the report counts Central Florida as having 2,631 "total homeless" people. But that number only includes the homeless people who are part of a continuum of care, or a safety-net matrix that cares for the indigent. Homeless advocates estimate that there are more than 7,000 homeless people in the region.

;

;Other stats to chew on: 41 percent of homeless people have families; 23 percent are considered "chronically homeless," meaning they're not likely to get a roof over their heads any time soon; 44 percent are unsheltered.

;

;What are we doing about it? The Alliance says the biggest problem is a lack of affordable housing, and indeed, such cities as San Francisco and Denver have made permanent housing for the homeless a top priority, with some success. Closer to home, we haven't a clue what we're doing, except making sure that the homeless can't sleep under overpasses or get fed in public parks.

;;And that, gentle readers, is yet another example of the dearth of real leadership we suffer from daily in Central Florida. Good night, and good luck.

;; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
; SEMI-REGULAR FEATURE;
; WHO, WHAT, HOW AND WHY: ;
; ASK IAN THE I.T. GUY! ;

Dear Ian: I feel that I should anonymize, but I really don’t know what that means. Can you help?

;

— Anonymous

;

Anon: Anonymity is important these days, whether you want to keep your marijuana buys on the down low (I’m looking at you, Winter Park High art students) or you want to get around the pornography filter during study hall (I’m looking at you, Colonial High IT magnet students). Fortunately for all of us, it’s easy and cheap to be anonymous online.

;

First, get yourself a USB “jump drive.” They don’t cost much, maybe $20 for a gigabyte, which is more than enough. Then go download TrueCrypt (truecrypt.org) and set it up on the jump drive in “traveler disk mode.” That will make your jump drive inaccessible to anyone other than you.

;

Now that you’ve got some secure, portable storage, go grab TorPark (torrify.com) and put it on your newly encrypted drive. TorPark is a stripped-down version of the Firefox web browser, set up to utilize the Tor network of anonymizing proxy servers all over the world. Using TorPark from your jump drive means you’ll be able to turn any random PC into a secure, anonymous Internet terminal, and you’ll leave behind no trace of your activities after the fact, either on your machine or in the logs of the websites you visit.

;

So go ahead and visit Wikipedia from China, or TheHun.net from Iran. Content filters, snooping parents and despotic governments will have no way to stop you from using the Internet as God intended — freely.

;

askian@orlandoweekly.com

;

This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman and Billy Manes.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com

comment