Thursday, December 07, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 07, 2006

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Article published Dec 7, 2006
Sinking in
CFO-elect: repeal insurance hike

Alex Sink, who is set to be Florida's next chief financial officer andmember of the Cabinet, didn't waste any time spending a little of herpolitical capital on an issue near and dear to the hearts of coastaldwellers and property owners in general.

She urged, no, warned Florida lawmakers attending a three-day conference onthe property insurance crisis that they must repeal their recentauthorization of 56-percent rate increases in coastal-windstorm insurancepremiums. They're to be voted on today by the state-run insurer's board andwould take effect in March, so her words came just in time.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

DCF told: Treat inmates now
An appellate court told the Department of Children & Families that thelaw is clear: Dozens of mentally ill jail inmates must get treatmentimmediately.

The Third District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that the Departmentof Children & Families cannot continue to violate court orders to takementally incompetent jail inmates into state treatment facilities.

The department had argued that it didn't have the money to comply withthe court orders and therefore had to leave inmates in county jails forweeks and sometimes months until beds opened up.

But Florida law requires the department to provide treatment within 15days after the inmate is ordered into state care.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

Juveniles in custody to be seen within 24 hours
Miami-Dade judges were told detention hearings for juveniles must beheld within 24 hours of their arrests.

The Third District Court of Appeal ordered Miami-Dade courts to beginholding detention hearings within 24 hours of a juvenile's arrest.

Juveniles have waited in custody as long as 44 hours before they wereable to see a judge, according to the public defender's office.

''We have been arguing with the judges for several months that thestatute is very clear that a child who is arrested has to be brought beforea judge within 24 hours of an arrest,'' Chief Assistant Public DefenderCarlos Martinez said.


Insurance officials warm to Crist's ideas

House runs through proposals ahead of special session

By Paige St. John

Charlie Crist's campaign promises, previously panned by state insuranceexecutives, have a new shine now that he's about to become governor.

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty told House members on Wednesday he isopen to Crist's efforts to stop what he calls "cherry picking" by insurers.

Crist's idea is that national insurers be required to write home policies ifthey also want to sell life and auto coverage in the state. The requirementwould apply to 18 companies that already sell home insurance elsewhere inthe nation but not in Florida, said Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2705701.story?coll=sfla-news-letters

Moore should be leading, not inciting

Jack Lokeinsky
President Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 31

December 7, 2006

In the past few days, the public has witnessed a sequence of eventsemanating from the recent shooting incident involving the city of FortLauderdale.

Unfortunately, a number of premature statements by some public officialshave been made regarding the incident and the city of Fort Lauderdale PoliceDepartment's alleged inability to "police itself." These statements, to mydisappointment and dismay, have been made without facts and prior to anyinvestigation of the incident.

City Commissioner Carlton Moore, as a public official, should know better!Simply put, these statements are wrong, irresponsible and in derogation ofCommissioner Moore's sworn oath as a city commissioner charged with theresponsibility to act in the best interest of the citizens of the city ofFort Lauderdale.


The $2.5-million populist bash
A Times Editorial
Published December 7, 2006

The more half-million-dollar special-interest checks that are cashed in hisname, the tougher it's going to be for Gov.-elect Charlie Crist to play therole of populist.

Crist's $2.5-million inaugural festivities next month would seem garishenough by their bottom line, but his committee is financing the affair withcontributions as large as $500,000. In other words, companies and lobbyiststhat wish to do business with the next administration are being hit upbig-time.

When asked to square the shakedown with his promise to be the "people'sgovernor," Crist scrambled for cover in Sherwood Forest. The big checks, hesaid, will make activities more affordable for the little people. But evenRobin Hood will have to fork out $100 to get into the inaugural ball.


Rubio off to poor start
A Times Editorial
Published December 7, 2006

Marco Rubio, the new speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, issmart, young and ambitious. He also has a lot to learn. The first impressionthe 35-year-old Miami Republican carefully cultivated as a new style ofinclusive leader is quickly morphing into an unflattering caricature of anold-style power broker.

Rubio the reformer organized brainstorming meetings around the state andcreated a Web site and a book of 100 ideas that could improve Florida. Hepledged to include Democrats, who have gained six seats in the House, inpublic policy debates instead of ignoring them. The three days of meetingshe organized this week to educate all House members about property insuranceand brainstorm a bit in anticipation of next month's special session wererefreshingly open and inclusive.


The Palm Beach Post

Lawsuit disputes church poll site
By Kevin Deutsch

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Delray Beach man who cast his vote in a Catholic Church amid crosses,prayers and an anti-abortion banner is suing county Supervisor of ElectionsArthur Anderson, claiming the use of the church as a polling place wasunconstitutional, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Friday.

When Jerry Rabinowitz voted Nov. 7 at his polling place at Emmanuel CatholicChurch in Delray Beach, he claims election officials refused to coverreligious objects. Forcing him to vote in such an atmosphere violated theseparation of church and state and the constitutional prohibition againstestablishment of religion, the suit claims.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

Evidence thrown out in case of pastor charged with porn

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Computer evidence cannot be used against a pastorcharged with viewing child pornography on his church computer because of aviolation of privacy, a judge has ruled.

Circuit Judge Henry Davis also said Wednesday that statements the Rev. EricMichael Young, 48, made after the search must be thrown out.

An administrator at Fort Caroline United Methodist Church unlocked Young'soffice and was investigating computer problems when she reportedly foundpornography on the church-owned computer. Young was told not to return tothe church and police were called.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6090500.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

Human error cited in malfunction of electronic voting machines in Sarasota

The Associated Press

December 7, 2006

TALLAHASSEE · Two variations in the final test of touch-screen votingmachines used in a contested congressional race on Florida's Gulf coast weredue to human error and not to problems with the machines, state officialssaid.

That finding concluded the tests, Secretary of State Sue Cobb said Tuesday.Election officials previously had announced the testing failed to turn upany evidence the machines used in Sarasota County had malfunctioned.

Democrat Christine Jennings is contesting the official results that gaveRepublican Vern Buchanan a 369-vote victory in the 13th District. Rep.Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key, is giving up the seat after losing a U.S.Senate race.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7233517.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Broward teachers dig deep, buying supplies to ensure children don't miss out

By Melissa Hoyos
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 7, 2006

Glitter, feathers and brown paper lunch bags. Items for the junk drawerunless you're a kindergarten teacher scrounging art supplies for a turkeyproject.

Even the smallest tidbits can make or break a lesson plan, said SheridanPark Elementary teacher Jill Pavlick. And if her meager school budget can'tpay for them, she'll buy those extra items for students with her own money.

"It's not a negative thing to spend out-of-pocket money," said Pavlick, whohas taught at the Hollywood school for three years and earns $37,300. "Theprincipal and the school will give us as much as they can."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,4806233.story?coll=sfla-news-broward

NAACP calling for federal, state investigations of Fort Lauderdale PoliceDepartment

By Sofia Santana and Gregory Lewis
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 7, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE · Leaders of the NAACP met with federal and state lawenforcement officials Wednesday to push for a broad investigation of thecity's Police Department, which has faced harsh criticism for a Nov. 28fatal police shooting -- the fourth this year for the department.

Marsha Ellison, president of the Fort Lauderdale branch of the NationalAssociation for the Advancement of Colored People, said she was "encouraged"and "cautiously optimistic" after she and the civil rights organization'sstate president met with representatives of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney'sOffice and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at the FBI's Miamifield office.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5081079.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

Democrats, Republicans differ sharply on remedies for Florida's homeinsurance crisis

By Mark Hollis
Tallahassee Bureau

December 7, 2006

TALLAHASSEE · Searching for common ground on how to fix Florida's insurancecrisis, Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature unveiled starklydifferent strategies on Wednesday for bolstering the hurricane-batteredindustry and helping consumers cope with rapidly rising costs.

South Florida Democrats called for a New Deal-like government agency withbroad powers to deal with property insurance, including authority to writeits own low-cost policies, decree rate freezes and authorize rebates tohomeowners to offset rate hikes.

Key Republicans dismissed the Democratic plan advanced by Reps. Jack Seilerof Wilton Manors, Priscilla Taylor of West Palm Beach and Dan Gelber ofMiami Beach as unwieldy and unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled Legislature.They supported alternatives that would ease regulations on the industry inhopes that the upshot would be lower prices for consumers.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Dec. 07, 2006

Lauderdale Commissioner Moore's road record is rocky
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore is revered byconstituents and denounced by police. He also has a messy driving record.


Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore has had his driver'slicense suspended three times, has been issued four traffic citations andbeen involved in five minor traffic accidents since 1989, including one inwhich he collided with a city police car, court records show.

Moore, a 17-year veteran politician and longtime advocate for some ofthe most blighted neighborhoods in the city, knew since August that he hadlost his driving privileges, The Miami Herald has learned.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Religious Test
Wayne Besen

(Weekly Column)

A couple of weeks ago I railed against the Religious Right for turning SantaClaus into a wedge issue with theirobnoxious and offensive "War onChristmas" initiative. Through a pressurecampaign, extremist groups forcedmajor retailers, including Wal-Mart andWalgreen Co. to replace inclusive"Happy Holiday" greetings in stores withthe more in-your-face "MerryChristmas."

While I love the joyous"Christmas spirit," my main point was that theinsidious purpose behind thiscampaign was to force non-Christians intopaying homage to the right wing'spale-skinned, suburban, Republican Jesus.After all, if you are Jewish, anda well-meaning, broad grinned store clerkbellows, "Merry Christmas," howelse can you reply but, "Merry Christmas?"

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