Monday, February 04, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST February 4, 2008

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ArtsUnited - Ft. Lauderdale


ArtsUnited will feature the mixed media art work of Chinese artist Sip Tshun NG in a solo exhibit at the Stonewall Library and Archives from February 4 through 29, 2008.

The gallery is located at 1717 North Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The exhibit opens with a reception to meet the artist from 6:30 to 8:00 PM on Monday, February 4th.

Born in Indonesia, Sip Tshun NG has been paintingsince he was a child. As he gotolder, his art began to evolve into cartoon illustrations. Later his eye for color and design lead him to help his brother design clothing. It was asuccessful venture.

Sip Tshun NG left Indonesia 7 years ago and came to the United States. After extensive travels, he now makes his home in South Florida. His art has further evolved into colorful and often whimsical three dimensional works ondisplay in this exhibit.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to thepublic. Refreshments will be served during the reception.


Southwest Florida News-Press

Gay community could hold key to ID remains

By Sam Cook
Originally posted on February 01, 2008

It's time to call a gay, a gay.

That's the opinion of Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow - speaking as aprivate resident and not an office holder - when he says police need toexpand their investigation to the gay community in the case of eightskeletal remains found last March off Rockfill Road in Fort Myers.

"It looks to me like a bunch of gay men were victims of a serial killer,''says Bigelow, 44, who lives in Fort Myers. "It's important to let policeknow that to mention people by their sexuality is not a sin.

"It's about time.''

Bigelow says investigators need to take evidence and pictures of victims -men ages 18 to 49 and killed between 1980 and 2000 - to gay bars to helpwith their identification.

Police Det. Barry Lewis, lead investigator in a bizarre case built on bonesby forensic pathologists, says to identify all eight men as gay is imprudentand would create bias.

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St. Petersburg Times

GOP taunts Democrats over delegates

By Associated press
Published February 3, 2008

ORLANDO - Florida's Republican Party chairman Jim Greer took a swipe atDemocrats on Saturday during his party's annual meeting, saying they shouldapologize for disenfranchising voters during the state's primary election.

Tuesday's primary violated both major parties' rules because it was heldbefore Feb. 5. Republican candidates, however, still campaigned in Floridaoften and spent the last 10 days before the election in the state.

Democrats, though, made no public appearances in Florida in the four monthsleading up to the primary after signing a pledge to protect the interests ofparty-approved early voting states.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of all its conventiondelegates. Republicans were stripped of half their delegates.

At a Democratic Party meeting earlier in the day, party chairwoman KarenThurman said Democratic voter turnout shows that her party is motivated.More than 1.7-million cast ballots in the primary despite the national partypunishment.

"If anything, the resilience of our Democrats showed in this primary," shetold party activists. "Having the highest turnout, percentage-wise, since1980 and the highest turnout in actual numbers ever shows that our peopleare ready for change and want it badly."


Palm Beach Post

Nominating process weird? Let us recount the ways

By Jac Wilder VerSteeg
Deputy Editor of the Editorial Page
Sunday, February 03, 2008

It would be amusing if Barack Obama showed up at the Democratic conventionin August with a small margin above the 2,025 delegates needed to clinch thenomination. At that point, there could be another battle, reminiscent of2000, over whether to count Florida votes.

It's no surprise that just before the Florida primary, Hillary Clinton saidthat she would fight to have Florida and Michigan delegates seated at theconvention. No doubt she can foresee a case when she'd need them to overtakeSen. Obama.

Remember that the Democratic National Committee punished the two states forholding their primaries too early. The decision cost Michigan 156 delegatesand Florida 210. That's bad news for Sen. Clinton, who won both Michigan andFlorida. If those delegates were restored, the new total needed for thenomination would rise (by my calculation) to 2,208, and Sen. Clinton's shareof those delegates, which are awarded proportionally, could top that mark.

Would the Obama camp have the gall to claim that those delegates shouldn'tcount because the states weren't really contested? The question has aSolomonic answer. If Sen. Obama lobbied to seat the Hillary delegates, heshould get the nomination. But if he lobbied to exclude them, he wouldn'tdeserve it.

That might look like a Catch-22. In fact, the Democrats' system fornominating its candidate is so bizarre (and so anti-democratic, small d),that Sen. Obama graciously could concede the phantom Michigan and Floridadelegates to Sen. Clinton and still end up with more delegates.

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St. Petersburg Times

Crist pulls one more rabbit from hat

Published February 3, 2008

Our always-cheerful governor has pulled another rabbit out of his hat. Doeseverything work out for this guy, or what?

Charlie Crist proposes to run the state of Florida for less money next yearthan this year, in the $70-billion budget that he just made public.

And yet Crist also proposes to spend more money for schools, for greenstuff, for more prisons for bad guys, and even for a little bit of a raisefor some folks.

All of this without raising taxes.

How does the governor pull off such a trick, especially since the statestarted out in a $2-billion hole?

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Court challenge could cost Floridians who change homes

By Scott Wyman
February 4, 2008

Homeowners who plan to move soon and expect to save money by taking theirold tax breaks with them face uncertainty if there's a court challenge tothe tax relief plan voters approved Tuesday.

Officials and legal experts said those who move now risk losing the expectedsavings and may pay higher taxes if a judge eventually decides tax breakportability is unconstitutional.

David Traub, of Margate, has been debating between improving his currenthome and moving. A homeowner since 1994, he would benefit greatly fromportability. But he's decided the risk of what happens in a lawsuit is toogreat.

Noting there are "no guarantees in life," Traub said, "I will probablydecide to stay put."

The state Department of Revenue and Broward County Property Appraiser LoriParrish acknowledge a lawsuit's outcome cannot be predicted, but said thetax relief measure is now law and must be implemented.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Tough times for Florida's universities

Posted on Mon, Feb. 04, 2008

The board that oversees Florida's public universities recently took dramaticaction to increase tuition -- beginning this fall -- and curb enrollment.Those moves raise two questions:

. Are the actions reasonable? The board's actions may be precipitous, butthey are understandable. Members are trying to stop the slide of educationalquality. Cost squeezes have resulted in too-few faculty, too-large classesand slipping graduation rates. Funding cuts threaten to make matters worse.

. Does the board have the authority to hike tuition? Hard to say. This issuewill be decided in court. The 2002 constitutional amendment that created theboard to independently manage the universities isn't clear on this point. Alawsuit filed in July should clarify whether the Legislature, whichcurrently sets tuition rates, or the board should set rates.

Faculty shortage

Meanwhile, the board is trying to cope with reality. Florida universitieshave the highest student/teacher ratio, 31-1, in the country. This hurtslearning. The faculty shortage means there aren't enough classes thatstudents need to fulfill course requirements. It's why most students takemore than four years to graduate.

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