Monday, February 05, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST February 05, 2007

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Palm Beach Post

Too slow on stem cells
Palm Beach Post Editorial

Monday, February 05, 2007

On the big issue of embryonic stem-cell research, Gov. Crist doesn't soundlike candidate Crist. That's not good for the state.

Candidate Crist spoke boldly of his support for research on cells from humanembryos, a position shared by his Democratic opponent. In the whirlwind ofhis first days in office, Gov. Crist has suggested spending $20 million ayear on stem-cell research, but he excluded stem cells derived from humanembryos.

The issue has nothing to do with human life - countless embryos unused infertility clinics would be discarded anyway - but has everything to do withscience. Gov. Bush poured hundreds of millions from the state treasury intoattracting biotechnology researchers to Florida, but opposed embryonicresearch. Gov. Crist could advance the nascent industry by removing limitsset by the former governor.

Gov. Crist argues that he's not abandoning his campaign stand, merely movingtoward it in steps. That's not the kind of leadership he has offered oninsurance. He also faces a deadline - November 2008 - when voters could beasked to choose between competing ballot questions. Resolving the issue nowcould keep stem-cell research out of the state constitution.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Feb. 05, 2007

Adult literacy tutors wanted

''Each One. Teach One,'' an adult literacy program at the Broward CountyLibrary, is seeking volunteers to tutor adults in reading.

The program will kick off its 2007 Recruiting Drive at the African AmericanResearch Library, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., near Fort Lauderdale, at 11 a.m. Feb.17.

Volunteers are needed throughout the county.

Call 954-357-8211 for training times and locations.


News-Journal Online

February 04, 2007

Policymakers fail test on civics

One of the highest and most valuable objects to which the influence of aschool can be made conducive consists in training our children inself-government.

-- Horace Mann

For a number of years now educators across America have been engaged in aconcentrated effort to improve student reading proficiency, and rightly so.Reading is a gateway to the acquisition of knowledge and attainment ofstudent success. Educators and policymakers must continue to focus theirefforts in this area; however, they must simultaneously work in earnest tobolster another type of student literacy -- civic literacy.

Civics refers to the preparation students receive in order to understand andappreciate the important rights and responsibilities they have as citizensof the United States. Civic instruction has been, since the beginning of ourhistory, an educational priority as recorded by George Washington in hisfinal State of the Union address in 1796: "A primary object . . . should bethe education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, whatspecies of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing .. . than communicating it to those who are guardians of the liberties of thecountry?"


HIV patient delivers frank talk to Fort Lauderdale teens

By Georgia East
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 5, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE · She brought a message they could find in no textbook, afirsthand account that went beyond the chilling statistics.

Sporting a pair of jeans and a sleek pony tail, Damaries Cruz, 35, startedby telling the group of teens in the auditorium that her former fiancé ropedher in with his good looks, his personality, his "cute butt."

"It took me two seconds to make the wrong decision," Cruz said as sherecalled how she contracted HIV about 15 years ago by having unprotectedsex.

The teens at first seemed startled by Cruz's frankness, then peppered herwith questions: Can she still date? Did her ex-fiancé know he had the viruswhen he passed it on? Does she feel healthy?

She answered "yes" to them all, but urged the young men and women to protectthemselves.



Sugar shouldn't get water advantage
By William E. "Ted" Guy Jr.

February 5, 2007

Contrary to the Jan. 29 opinion by Robert Coker, senior vice president forpublic affairs of U.S. Sugar, I have never heard an environmentalist proposeflooding the communities south of Lake Okeechobee.

Mr. Coker conveniently ignores the fact that Big Sugar has blocked thehistoric overflow of Lake Okeechobee south through the "River of Grass" tothe Everglades by lobbying Congress, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers andthe South Florida Water Management District to maintain a perfectgroundwater level at all times, wet or dry years, in the EvergladesAgricultural Area to foster their heavily subsidized sugar crop.

He conveniently leaves out the fact from the lawsuit that David Guest, forthe EarthJustice Foundation and other plaintiffs, prevailed, and FederalDistrict Judge Altonaga's recent decision will not stop the back pumping orflood the EAA.

It's not about back pumping. It's about not forcing others' polluted waterthat flows into Lake "O" from the north (all the way to Orlando) to bedischarged down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, ruining theirecology, instead of allowing the "River of Grass" to do its historic job ofcleansing the overflow water and feeding it to the Everglades.


Can Florida be more than sunshine?
By Randy Schultz

Palm Beach Post Editor of the Editorial Page

Sunday, February 04, 2007

If states have business models, Florida's is changing.

Florida has advertised itself as the state where you could get away fromwhat you didn't like. High taxes in New York City? There's no state incometax in Florida, and the property taxes aren't bad. Frigid winters inChicago? Find refuge in Florida. Feeling crowded in Philadelphia? Plenty ofroom in Florida.

To keep the state humming, there was tourism, which really took off afterDisney World opened in 1971. Politicians had it easy. Except for the 1973-75and 1990-92 real-estate recessions, growth kept tax money flowing in most ofthe state and covered up many mistakes of state and local government.Relying heavily on the sales tax allowed tourists to pay a good portion ofthe government freight. And, hey, the snowbirds also paid property taxes forschools, but they didn't send kids to the schools. How much easier could itbe?

Too easy, maybe. In 2004 came the first of two back-to-back hurricanesummers.


The New York Times

February 5, 2007

Good Election News From Florida

Florida, famous for doing so much wrong in its elections, is poised to taketwo very important right steps. First, Gov. Charlie Crist says he plans toend the use of touch-screen voting machines that do not produce a paperrecord. Florida's move may finally sound the death knell for theseunreliable, inherently antidemocratic voting machines.

After the 2000 election, there was a rush to eliminate the punch-cardmachines that produced the infamous hanging chads. But many states replacedthem with paperless touch-screen machines that require voters to accept onfaith that the reported vote totals accurately reflect the votes cast.

It has been hard to have faith. There have been widespread reports of "voteflipping," in which machines record votes cast for one candidate as votesfor the opponent. The Florida courts are still trying to resolve a challengeto a Congressional race last fall in which as many as 18,000 votes may havedisappeared. The race was extremely close, and the possibly missing voteswere in the losing candidate's strongest county.

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