Saturday, December 29, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST December 29, 2007

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1000 Men and Boys March Silently
Against Crime and Violence

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We must stop the Violence

(Miami) On December 29, 2007, the Miami-Dade Branch of the NationalAssociation for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) under theleadership of Bishop Victor T. Curry, President, People United to Lead theStruggle for Equality, (P.U.L.S.E) along with community leaders,organizations and citizens will lead 1000 Men and Boys in a silent marchagainst the increasing violence and crime that continues to plague SouthFlorida.

On that date, at 9:00am men and boys will gather at Miami Carol City Park,3201 NW 185th street and march silently through Miami Gardens in reverenceand solidarity. They will return to the Park and will be joined by concernedwomen for a rally and demonstration.

This Event seeks to put public spotlight on the violence that is stilltaking place in Miami-Dade County. "We must stop the shootings thatcontinue to occur, says Bishop Curry, the visionary for the Event. "We muststop the crimes, particularly those against each other. As men we must takethe lead and teach our brothers that there are alternatives to solvingdifferences."

"We are asking fraternities, men's groups and boy's organizations to march,"says Bishop Victor T. Curry. "Men, lets take the action that is needed forour families."

Voter Registration, as well as Health, Employment and Restoration ofRights information will be available. This event is free and open to thecommunity. For group participation, call Kevin "Dr. K" Moyd at305.769.1100. For more information call 305.685.3700.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is aninterracial membership organization, founded in 1909, that is devoted tocivil rights and racial justice. The NAACP has been instrumental inimproving the legal, educational, and economic lives of people of color.Throughout its existence, it has worked to fulfill its goals to secure fullsuffrage and other civil rights, with the ultimate goal to end segregationand racial violence.



Same-sex marriage no threat to rest of world

December 29, 2007

Re the Dec. 3 commentary, "Marriage a foundation that should not bediluted": Steven Vest makes several points as to why gay marriage shouldn'tbe legal. First, he writes that "marriage as a cultural and legalinstitution . has remained unchanged for thousands of years." But ratherthan maintaining status quo based on tradition and religious bias againsthomosexuality, the legal and secular definition of marriage should bereformed to consider modern cultural trends, the biology of sexuality andscientific research on marital and family relationships.

The writer also implies that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to"social chaos." Where's the evidence for such chaos in Massachusetts or anyforeign country where gay marriage is legal? The only chaos created is theirrational fear perpetuated by religious fundamentalists, socialconservatives and right-wing pundits, along with the politicians who panderto them.

Mr. Vest correctly states that we are faced with bigger problems such as"nuclear proliferation, global warming, poverty, terrorism." So why shouldanyone worry when a monogamous gay couple living in their community arelegally married?

When making the ludicrous and insulting assumption that gays marrying leadsto incestuous or human-animal marriages, it becomes clear that the writer is"personally not interested" in supporting gay rights.

Robert M. Perovich


St. Petersburg Times

Kid deaths from abuse, neglect soar in Florida
A reporting change is meant to help save lives.

By MELANIE AVE, Times Staff Writer
Published December 29, 2007

Ann Unger set her 9-month-old daughter on the floor of the family's PlantCity home and headed to the bathroom. Angelica, a fast crawler, usuallyfollowed close behind. Not this day.

Five minutes passed. Or was it six?

When Unger, 22, returned to the room, Angelica wasn't there. A franticsearch ended in the backyard pool, where Unger found the child floating facedown.

The mother's screams pierced the neighborhood as efforts to save the babyfailed. Angelica Unger died on Jan. 24, 2006, three months before her firstbirthday.

In the past, her death likely would have been considered accidental, afamily tragedy. But investigators labeled her death a result of parentalneglect. Unger had left open the door that led to the pool.

more . . . . .


Sarasota Herald Tribune

Top 10 Florida news stories for 2007

Article published Dec 28, 2007

Here are the top 10 Florida news stories of 2007, according to a vote ofnewspaper and broadcast editors:

1. Housing prices tumbles in most of the state after years of rapidincreases.

2. A severe drought in much of the state lowers Lake Okeechobee to recordlevels and results in severe restrictions in some areas.

3. Property insurance rates remain high in much of the state even after theFlorida Legislature and Gov. Charlie Crist enacted a measure aimed atlowering them.

4. Astronaut Lisa Nowak is arrested after she allegedly attacks her rivalfor the affections of a space shuttle pilot.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Florida's new voter ID law on hold

Posted on Fri, Dec. 28, 2007

People who show up for early voting next month will be able to use anemployee badge or buyers' club card as identification, despite new electionlaws taking effect Jan. 1 that eliminate their use.

In the spring, the GOP-controlled Legislature tightened up the types ofphoto IDs that could be used by voters, but the new law has been put on holdbecause the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to sign off on the change.

Florida's top election officials this week told election supervisors toignore a handful of voting law changes because federal authorities are tillreviewing them to see if they would adversely affect minority voters.

Because of past discrimination in five Florida counties -- Monroe, Collier,Hillsborough, Hendry and Hardee -- the federal government must sign off onany changes before they take effect.

While the federal government can block the law from taking effect only inthose five counties, Florida law requires voting standards to be uniformthroughout the state.

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

Fewer people are moving to Florida
The state's housing costs, insurance and taxes are working to keep retireesaway.

By NICOLE HUTCHESON, Times Staff Writer
Published December 28, 2007

It appears that the Sunshine State is losing some of its sparkle.

Florida's population grew slower this year than any year this decade,according to Census Bureau data released this week. More retirees, long thestaple of Florida's growth, are looking elsewhere, scared away by surginghousing costs, including insurance and property taxes.

Couple that with road congestion, low wages and the lingering memories fromtwo devastating hurricane seasons, and the state apparently has started tolook less like paradise.

Florida gained just 35,000 people from elsewhere in the country this year,the lowest number since the Census Bureau began breaking down the migrationnumbers in 1990. It also marks the first time in at least 17 years thatFlorida added more people from other countries (88,111) than from otherstates.

Overall, Florida slipped from the ninth-fastest growing state to the 19th.

more . . . . .


Florida Today

Our view: Wide open race
Whirlwind presidential primaries mean it's time for Space Coast voters tostart deciding

December 28, 2007

Huckabee's up, Mitt's down and McCain is making a move.

Hillary's lead is toast, Obama is surging and Edwards is hanging tough.

That's a snapshot of some of the candidates for the Republican andDemocratic presidential nominations in an increasingly unpredictable racefor the White House that formally begins in just a few days.

It happens Thursday when Iowa caucus-goers start cutting through therhetoric and cast the first ballots.

That's followed by an avalanche of voting Jan. 8 in New Hampshire, Jan. 19in South Carolina, Jan. 29 in Florida and 22 other states on Feb. 5's SuperTuesday.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

People with AIDS deserve better

Posted on Fri, Dec. 28, 2007

Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami have failed miserably to overseeMOVERS Inc., a nonprofit agency serving people with HIV and AIDS. MOVERS wassupposed to put needy clients in lowincome housing. The first outrage camelast year when eight families were cruelly evicted. Charles Hollis ended upsleeping on a bus bench, his belongings put on the street, where they werelooted.

The second outrage is all too familiar: the squandering of public moneyearmarked to house poor people. Miami and Miami-Dade County fell down on thejob. They gave money to MOVERS without adequate oversight, and the resultsstink. The failure is especially disturbing given this area's large andgrowing HIV/AIDS population.

More than $3 million have been invested in two apartment buildings forHIV/AIDS tenants with little positive results:

. Sugar Hill apartments in Liberty City were built with $2.8 million infederal AIDS housing funds. MOVERS mismanaged the building, then sold it toa private landlord who evicted needy tenants. Selling the property, whichwas bought with taxes, generated a $1.3 million profit for MOVERS. How isthis possible?

. Sugar Hill's new owner says he is not bound by a deed restriction orcontract to house HIV/AIDS tenants or to offer affordable rents, even thoughsuch conditions are required by federal law for at least four more years.Miami-Dade says he is and seeks a remedy. The city should, too.

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Daytona Beach News Journal

Gov. Crist's lead
Drug discount plan could help millions

December 28, 2007

When Congress passed its much-debated Medicare prescription-drug benefit in2003, analysts all over the country shook their heads at lawmakers' failureto include a simple, common-sense provision that could cut drug prices whilecosting taxpayers almost nothing. It was a strategy every health-insurancecompany in the nation already employed, one that passed muster with all butthe most dogged free-market proponents.

Yet negotiating for lower drug prices overall wasn't in the massive bill(apparently, at the behest of the White House). In fact, the new lawprohibited the federal Medicare program -- the nation's largest funder ofprescription drugs -- from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices.

You won't catch Gov. Charlie Crist criticizing fellow Republicans -- butCrist's actions last week amounted to a stern, if unintentional, rebuke offederal leaders. Following the example of other states such as Ohio, Cristannounced that Florida would be offering residents a discountprescription-drug card that should shave up to 42 percent from the cost ofmost medications.

The program will cost the state very little, but could save millions for 3.8million Floridians currently lacking prescription-drug coverage. The cardwould be available to anyone older than 60 without drug coverage, andMedicare recipients who have fallen into the "doughnut hole" -- the gap inPart D coverage that occurs after Medicare has covered $2,250 worth ofmedication. Low-income families and individuals younger than 60 would alsobe eligible if their income falls below 300 percent of the federal povertylevel (a little more than $30,000 for an individual or roughly $62,000 for afamily of four). Many Floridians working low-wage service jobs would likelyqualify.

The cards aren't free, but the cost is minimal: $1.50 to activate andanother $1.50 each time the card is used, to cover administrative costs.

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