Sunday, December 17, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 17, 2006

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December 17, 2006

Our view: They better deliver

Lawmakers must come through with help for Floridians on insurance

To hear the politicians on their way to the Jan. 16 special legislativesession on insurance, the cavalry is coming.

"Lower rates are what we are talking about," says Gov.-elect Charlie Cristabout the session's goal.

"We're aiming for . . . long term relief (for) Florida's insuranceconsumers," wrote House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, in a column lastweek for FLORIDA TODAY.

As for Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, new chairman of the Senate Banking andInsurance committee, he has proposals "that would lower the rates."

It better be true.


Palm Beach Post

To keep ex-felons clean, restore their legal rights
Palm Beach Post Editorial

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Florida remains one of three states that don't automatically restore therights of felons after they serve time. It is a hangover from racism afterthe Civil War. All the good ideas from the Governor's Ex-Offender Task Forceto turn ex-convicts into productive members of society will amount tonothing if the Legislature refuses to end the unproductive stripping oftheir rights.

For a time after the 2000 election, it was a voting issue. Ex-felons whohave not had their civil rights restored cannot vote. Sloppy efforts topurge them from voting rolls discriminated against African-Americans.Republicans who control the Legislature, linking black voters to Democrats,upheld the law. But now, as The Post reported, the task force has turned thefocus to jobs. Too many professions, such as nursing and teaching, are notopen to felons. Too often, felons who can't find jobs return to crime andreturn to prison.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Dec. 17, 2006


County considers reusing wastewater, a pricey endeavor
With cheaper underground water off-limits, Miami-Dade turns to recyclingwastewater to cover its future growth, a plan that will easily top $1billion.

Under pressure from the state to overhaul its water supply practices,Miami-Dade County is turning to a new source -- recycling waste water.

The plan entails reclaiming tens of millions of gallons now lost every daydown sinks, sewers, tubs and toilets. After intensive treatment touted toproduce something safe and clean enough to sell in a bottle, the water wouldrecharge well fields and restore natural flows into southern Biscayne Bay.

''Reclaiming'' wastewater is the key strategy of a plan designed to keep thecounty from sucking up groundwater over the next 20 years to supply aswelling population. It would elevate Miami-Dade from one of the worstwater-wasters in the state, ranked No. 56 out of 67 counties in percentageof water reuse, to among the biggest recyclers.


St. Petersburg Times

Does separation equal suffering?
Published December 17, 2006

Ian Manuel had just turned 14 when he went to prison for shooting a woman ina botched robbery on a Tampa sidewalk. Mouthy and disobedient, he was sentto solitary confinement a year and a half later.

That was in 1992. He has been there ever since.

Now 29, Manuel has spent half his life in a concrete box the size of awalk-in closet. His food comes through a slot in the door. He never seesanother inmate. Out of boredom he cuts himself just to watch the bloodtrickle.

Attorneys who advocate on behalf of prisoners call Manuel "the poster boy"for the ill effects of solitary confinement.


The New York Times

December 17, 2006
Freed From Guantánamo Bay, 7 Afghans Arrive in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec.16 - Seven Afghans freed after up to five years ofdetention at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay arrived in Kabulon Saturday, desperate to get back to their home villages.

The long-bearded men, mostly farmers and simple villagers, dressed in darkblue jeans and jackets, arrived at the offices of the Afghan Commission forPeace and Reconciliation here to receive an official guarantee of freedomfrom the Afghan government.

Most of them were from Helmand, the southern province that has become themost volatile area of Afghanistan. Government and foreign troops there havecome under repeated attack by the Taliban and other insurgents.

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