Comic of the Century (Year) [Month] – OK, Fine, Just Day

I’m feeling vainglorious* about this because, well…

Fuck him. Really. Fuck Rick Scott.

*Look, maybe it doesn’t 100% apply, since this isn’t my comic. I am not being particularly vain. Self-righteous would have sufficed. Or just boastful, or gloating. The real word would be a mix of shame, vindication, zeal, patriotism, joy and underlying fear. I’ll leave it to the German language to concoct something for that because we English-speakers are as of yet unfamiliar with the full extent of those sentiments (or of any sentiments, really).

Stand Your Ground – Long form

The Tampa Bay Times has a large digital database of information on the “stand your ground” law and its application. If you prefer to read a long form example of this, you can go here.

Otherwise, there’s a couple charts and graphs that help illustrate this point here.

That Sinking Feeling

Gov. Scott has just unleashed the local voter purge leading up to the national election this fall. Among the victims – Bill Internicola:

The World War II Army veteran and lifelong Democrat was given 30 days to prove his citizenship or be stricken from the rolls. The letter he received was one of 2,600 sent to voters throughout the state in recent weeks, to keep non-citizens from participating in elections.

The partisan bickering underscores the tense political atmosphere of a presidential election year in Florida. Though, 2,600 voters doesn’t seem like a lot, the 2000 contest between George W. Bushand Al Gore was decided by 537 votes, a bit of history noted by the congressmen Tuesday and by Sen. Nelson in his letter.

And with presidential politics heating up, Florida is primed once again to be the center of attention. A Quinnipiac Poll released last week gave GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney a six point lead over President Barack Obama.

Reports elsewhere indicate among those purges for “non-citizen” issues or listed as deceased, between 5 and 15 percent in some places are actually that – dead or legitimately not legally able to vote.

Source

(Depressing) Science of the Day

The numbers look grim for much of the U.S.

As Florida heads towards its own rainy season we need to keep in mind the current water restrictions and drought conditions in the swampy state. Yet, outside my window this Sunday morning the apocalyptic and cyclical thunderstorm season appears to be starting up, nearly two months early.

Then again, there is an alternative for the Southeast:

Of course, these forecasts aren’t set in stone. If a tropical storm or hurricane were to make landfall in northern Florida or coastal Georgia, for example, it could end the southeastern drought. But as Texas learned last year, whenTropical Storm Don essentially evaporated as it made landfall, it’s probably best not to hold your breath for such relief.

Source via Al Gore

UF – USF: How Do You Feel About a $300,000,000 Cut?

Florida’s Asshole-in-Chief does it again. And all the while claiming he’s actually a good governor on education issues.

Making ends meet in the face of a $1.2 billion budget shortfall this year, on top of an even larger, $3.7 billion shortfall from last year was not an easy task, while still finding a way to pour more than a billion additional dollars* into our schools. But we must also look over the horizon, by spending the money it takes now to make Florida one of the most attractive labor markets in the nation. We accomplish this by investing in high-quality education, raising education standards and rewarding good teachers and the quality student outcomes they consistently produce. (originally from the Orlando Sentinel)

What a fucking riot.

*After Scott had cut 1.3 billion the previous year. That’s right. You got it. He cut the budget by 1.3 billion last year and is patting himself on the back for giving 1 billion back.

Source

The Blight Continues: Politicization

On March 24 (quote below) I wildly speculated that the next step in the grieving process would be that the conservatives who put in place the “stand your ground” law would start to distance themselves from cases like George Zimmerman. They’d say it can’t apply to him. That the NRA-types who passed this law would fear for their political existence because of the overwhelming public outrage here. It took little longer than a week to prove that cynical assertion right.

What does it mean that the Governor opposed the “stand your ground” law being applied to this case? It means that the conservatives who put in place the “stand your ground” law are terrified. It means if that law is successfully used to defend Zimmerman, if the “stand your ground” law works here, these NRA conservatives and the governor will eat crow all the way to the ballot box.

This Sunday’s TBT outlined a few instances where these NRA-types are furiously backpedaling in vain. Where it’s perfectly clear in situations ever more outrageous than Trayvon Martin’s that you can arm yourself, chase someone down, confront them, provoke a fight and shoot them dead and get off scot-free.

E.g.:

Durell Peaden, the former Republican senator from Crestview who sponsored the bill: “The guy lost his defense right then. When he said, ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”

Jeb Bush, the governor who signed the bill into law: “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”

But, the TBT argues, the politicians responsible for Florida’s “stand your ground” law are wrong:

Since its passage in 2005, the “stand your ground” law has protected people who have pursued another, initiated a confrontation and then used deadly force to defend themselves.

I encourage you to  read the full piece over at the Tampa Bay Times for each case disproving these opportunistic politicians.

Source

The Blight of the Suburbs: A National Solution and Frankly, More Blight

Sen. Charles Schumer, pretty much your national exemplar of corporatism and opportunism*, has requested the DOJ review all the nation’s “stand your ground” laws.

Including Florida, some 24 states – nearly half of the Union – have laws which potentially allow for the exact same type of excusable murder to occur.

Schumer said Sunday he thinks the laws should be re-evaluated and changed, and that he’s hoping to see hearings surrounding the matter on Capitol Hill.

“I think we should examine this law. They’re all new, they’ve been passed very, very quickly and I think the states who passed them, if they find out the real facts, they may decide to repeal them,” he said.

In other news out of Sanford, someone plundered Trayvon Martin’s school records and found he was suspended from school three times. I had thought the school records of minors was priveleged and private to the highest degree. OK, fine, so they’re out. What do they show?

He was suspended for:

1) Having a baggie in his backpack that had marijuana residue on it, but no actual marijuana.

2) Missing school/showing up late

3) Writing the letter’s W.T.F. on a school locker.

Great. Adorable. So presumedly, this excuses his murder? I’m still grasping at why his privacy as a minor and a dead child was broken in order to get these records public. Perhaps to stoke up fury that he was clearly the nascent seed of a villanous black so-and-so? Perhaps next someone will dig up his budget audio device and reveal MP3s of threatening black people music?

Source and Source

*Not that I’m complaining so much that he’s being an opportunist in this issue, where he could potentially do some good. Still, his track record is pretty disgusting.

The Blight of the Suburbs, cont…

Finally, someone’s got the lye and gelatin. We’re making soap. Give this video a listen. Joe Scarborough gives a Network type speech. It’s a small monologue, but its precisely from the place I am coming from. Shame. Shame that I’m from here. Scarborough’s ashamed that he’s from even closer to Sanford than I am.

Not only that. The two strongest condemnations of the Sanford P.D. and the State of Florida’s foot-dragging have come from Rick Santorum* and Barack Obama. The latter powerfully coming out and saying the kind of thing (in italics below) that lets me know no matter what, there will be justice here.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.

I am going to wildly speculate now, so please back away from the computer screen if this offends you. This comes from a place that’s familiar to all Floridians and most likely all Southerners of a semi-enlightened disposition.

  • Why hasn’t Zimmerman been arrested? The “stand your ground” law protects someone not only from prosecution for using lethal force to defend yourself, but also grants full immunity from being arrested. To disambiguate: if you arrest someone who successfully brings a “stand your ground” defense, your police department can be sued for it. This is why he’s not behind bars.
  • Why was Martin’s body drug tested immediately at the scene, but Zimmerman wasn’t given a breathalyzer or blood test? This is Sanford, Florida. This is the trucks on the lawn part of the state. In order to get to my parents house I have to drive through places identical to Sanford. I pulled off the road one time in just such a place and it was full of abandoned truck stops, SUVs (which, next time you’re out, try to identify some Explorers and Suburbans. They’re increasingly more rare, I find, but not here), and even more desperate homeless people than you’ll find in cities. A more precise definition of why one was tested but the other wasn’t from Mr. Chappelle.
  • What does it mean that the Governor opposed the “stand your ground” law being applied to this case? It means that the conservatives who put in place the “stand your ground” law are terrified. It means if that law is successfully used to defend Zimmerman, if the “stand your ground” law works here, these NRA conservatives and the governor will eat crow all the way to the ballot box. The state and the nation will set ablaze with petitions and referendums in order to overturn this law and punish those who put it in place. Florida is not alone, it is one of several dozen states that fixed their self-defense laws to remove the “need to retreat” clause that’s successfully been part of our collective Anglo-American legal code for centuries. No matter what these NRA conservatives say, that law is responsible for Martin’s death. It is the reason Zimmerman was packing heat on patrol, it is the reason Zimmerman knew he could confront Martin, it is the reason that when Martin swung Zimmerman drew and put a bullet in a little boy’s chest.

*-Santorum’s Quote:

“It’s chilling to hear what happened and of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of you know obviously horrible decisions made by people in this process.”

The Blight of the Suburbs, cont.

I am a 24-year-old, college educated, white male living in the United States and living here just became a little bit frightening. This isn’t a tongue-in-cheek economic statement. Nor am I implying that I am living in a warzone. I’m sorry, I’m not being clear. Its just that it’s very difficult to say, “it’s scary to live (insert place here).” People are going to think. They will make inferences, so you have to be very clear about what you mean.

I am a white man in Florida and I feel less safe living in America because I am afraid that a man is going to get away with the cold-blooded murder of a child. Its probable and likely – I think (maybe I have to think) – that the law will come down on this man. Justice will find a way. Again, for clarity’s sake, I do not mean “southern justice”. I mean I can imagine now that Sanford has handed this over to the State; the State will bring charges, Zimmerman will be defined as having acted outside the protections granted by the “stand your ground” law and he will be convicted after a heavily covered trial and imprisoned for a time insufficient to console anyone, most tragically Martin’s family.

I can also imagine a situation that’s less likely but feels more real. It feels like the last few years as a news reading person in Florida feels. Sort of like this: The State will bring charges and after a short case with lots of intentional hand-wringing (so that the people most incensed can feel vindicated) Zimmerman will be acquitted. Or the state won’t ever even bring charges, probably fearing a Constitutional challenge to the “stand your ground law” – which differs from everyone’s common sense notion of “self defense” only in that it removes the necessity to at least try to retreat or diffuse a threatening situation in a provable way. If you think about it, this means “justifiable homicide” has become a thing. And there’s statistics. Go look and feel shame to live in America, as well as a little scared.

So that’s what I mean. I’m white, a male, I live in America. But despite being a priveleged, educated, white male I feel like I could walk down the street in a different neighborhood in my city in Florida, I could be angrily confronted by a larger person 11 years older than me who said he’d called the cops on me for being suspicious, maybe I’m dressed ironically tramp-like, I may be convinced I need to hit him to get away, then I could be shot in the chest, dead. And no one would go to jail. If you feel comfortable, play that out in your head. Do you feel safe living in Florida tonight?

The clip embedded two paragraphs down in this link includes the 911 calls, you can hear a voice calling for help, followed by a gun shot. It’s unclear to me whose voice is calling for help. What is clear, is that an innocent person was killed and no one is in jail.

Oh, and one more thing:

Look at this face. Are you scared?

Full Coverage

Note: Obviously this is a racial issue. You may have taken umbrage with my referring to my own race and saying (possibly) – oh but I’m white and I’m scared and that’s crazy talk! White people in America are the most safe!

I am not making a reverse racism argument. I am saying there are race issues in this country and despite these underlying race issues no one wants to talk about, someone in the “most safe” category no longer feels that way. If you feel like my choice of words cheapens the issue, I’m sorry.

Fat, Scared, Entitled: The Blight of the Suburbs

First, read this article.

A captain of the neighborhood watch in a gated community, armed, with a 100-pound advantage over a teenager carrying nothing more suspicious than a bag of Skittles. Don’t underestimate the inherent fear in the mind of a suburbanite when someone is “walking”. Especially in the rain.

In the end, what may happen to George Zimmerman? All we know is than an innocent is dead in Sanford, FL and a 28-year-old captain of the neighborhood watch in a gated community suspected him of burglary, called 911, pursued him, was told by the dispatcher not to pursue him, a handful of residents heard a scuffle, some overheard “what appears to be a desperate cry” for help, and then someone is dead of a bullet wound to the chest.

I say throw the book at him, hard. Murderer.

Source

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