Autoblog has one of those stories of government fiscal irresponsibility which will boggle your mind.
Have you ever bought a brand new cars only to forget where you put it? How about 300 of them? Probably not – unless you’re Miami-Dade County, which was recently reunited with 298 vehicles it bought brand new between 2006 and 2007.
The county “discovered” this fleet of no-mileage vehicles after reading about them in a Spanish-language newspaper there (see the source for more images). Most of the misplaced motorcade is made up of Toyota Prius hybrids whose warranties either expired with very few miles on the odo or will very soon.
Looking to save some face, the county has rushed at least 123 of the hybrids into service. The Toyota warranty covered the hybrid bits for eight years or 100,000 miles, but we’re not sure if that covers cars parked for five of those eight. We’re also not sure what that much time in Miami heat and humidity does to an unused hybrid powertrain, but it can’t be good.
Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, who arrived with a reputation for being “too aggressive,” lived up to her reputation by announcing on Monday that she would not bring the matter of the shooting of Trayvon Martin before a Grand Jury at all, and would decide herself on whether to bring charges.
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
A news agency report predicted that the prosecutor’s job would not be easy.
The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman’s lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence – a relatively low legal standard – that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.
There’s a “high likelihood it could be dismissed by the judge even before the jury gets to hear the case,” Florida defense attorney Richard Hornsby said.
Yesterday, the more intellectually conformist element of my Facebook female friends began linking leftwing agitprop stories, like this one featuring a petition and all presenting one-sided, partisan, and axe-grinding accounts of the February 26th shooting of a 17-year-old African American by a 28-year-old Latino neighborhood watch captain in the Orlando, Florida, suburb of Sanford.
Zimmerman was not charged by the Sanford police, and accusations of racial bias being behind the failure of local authorities to prosecute the shooter originally leveled by the family of the 17-year-old were taken up by the local African American community and spread through the left-wing activist grape-vine to the Huffington Post’s Trymaine Lee, who one week ago produced a professionally researched, carefully drafted, and thoroughly partisan account complete with 12 pages of pictures of Trayvon Martin as a baby and small boy.
Trayvon Martin, we are informed, was unarmed, innocently returning from a trip to the convenience store, carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. He began to be followed by George Zimmerman, an allegedly self-appointed neighborhood watch captain armed with a 9mm handgun. Zimmerman was racially profiling Trayvon Martin as his Sanford gated community had experienced 8 burglaries in the last 15th months, typically by young black males.
Zimmerman made numerous 911 calls (46 over 12 years) and on February 26 called and reported Trayvon Martin as a suspicious person. Despite being advised not to follow him, Zimmerman went after and accosted Martin.
Trayvon Martin recognized that he was being followed and phoned a 16-year-old girlfriend to discuss this, rather than calling the police. Martin also responded to finding himself under surveillance by deciding to “put his hoodie on,” i.e. to put his sweatshirt hood up over his head so as largely to conceal his face.
At that point published accounts of what happened omit vital details and contradictions begin to appear.
It is evident that Zimmerman confronted Martin and a physical struggle ensued which was ended by a fatal gunshot to Trayvon Martin’s chest.
There is a very incomplete version of events provided by Stanford Police Chief Bil Lee to the Miami Herald:
“Mr. Zimmerman’s claim is that the confrontation was initiated by Trayvon,” Police Chief Bill Lee said in an interview. “I am not going into specifics of what led to the violent physical encounter witnessed by residents. All the physical evidence and testimony we have independent of what Mr. Zimmerman provides corroborates this claim to self-defense.”
To claim self-defense, someone has to show there was danger of great bodily harm or death, Lee said. “Zimmerman had injuries consistent with his story,” Lee said.
Zimmerman had a damp shirt, grass stains, a bloody nose and was bleeding from a wound in back of his head, according to police reports.
“If someone asks you, ‘Hey do you live here?’ is it OK for you to jump on them and beat the crap out of somebody?” Lee said. “It’s not.”
Immediately before the shot was fired, a witness reports hearing “someone crying — not boo-hoo crying, but scared or terrified or hurt maybe.” This witness thought she was hearing a child. It is disputed whether the cries for assistance came from Trayvon Martin or from Zimmerman.
As of this moment, the activist left has gotten 821,488 people to sign a petition accepting their own one-sided, ultra-partisan version of events and demanding the prosecution of George Zimmerman, which I think shows that you can use racial stereotypes just as effectively to whip up mob indignation today as you could a hundred years ago. The stereotypes have changed, but the human inclination to respond with predictable emotions when the right buttons are pushed has not.
The truth of the matter is we do not know what Trayvon Martin was really doing. We do not know what actually happened. And we have nothing beyond the unsupported testimony of the same combination of the local black community and the activist national left that always testifies to the absolute innocence of every African American who gets into trouble with the police, or is shot during a hold-up by an ordinary armed citizen, to go on. It was precisely the same kind of reliable sources that, a few decades ago, told us all about what those white police officers had done to poor Tawana Brawley.
Meanwhile, the same Obama Administration Department of Justice that declined to do anything about voter intimidation by Black Panthers in Philadelphia has announced its intention of intervening to deliver its own version of justice. George Zimmerman would be well advised not only to lawyer up, but to Latino up.
[T]he GOP is leaving Florida worse than it arrived.
“I think there has been lasting damage,” he said. “I think that when Newt Gingrich parades around the country saying Mitt Romney is a liar and Mitt Romney parades around country saying Newt Gingrich is a liar, the conclusion most people draw is they’re both liars.”
I’d say though that it started in South Carolina, when the Gingrich campaign took the low road and started attacking Mitt Romney using the left’s anti-capitalist, class warfare arguments.
The massive counter-attack on Gingrich, featuring prominent Republicans, former Congressional colleagues, and conservative pundits, which stooped to utilizing bogus democrat party ethics charges fabricated in the late 1990s for purely partisan advantage was effective and appalling.
We came into this presidential campaign, essentially with an economy-based free “Elect One President” card which ought to have made this race a relative walk-over and a complete sure thing.
Our only problem has been the conspicuous absence, for many years, of a respected, confident and articulate, national figure conservative candidate. For some unaccountable reason, no one has come along to occupy the role once filled by Barry Goldwater and later by Ronald Reagan. Newt Gingrich, for instance, did not really enter the race with that credential. I tend to think that Sarah Palin may yet grow into the role, though she is not there yet. Her declining to run prematurely speaks well for her judgment, and Palin has since 2008 been doing the kind of thing no conservative since Reagan has done: she has functioned as a reliable and effective voice for the conservative movement, and has had regular impact on the national political debate from outside elective office.
We Republicans and conservatives ought to be filled with optimism and resolve at a point in history when it is clear that we are going to have an opportunity to change the country’s direction for the better, but instead we seem to have no leadership, no principles, no really satisfactory candidates, and no class. We clearly have too damn many slime mold professional campaign operators, too many spiteful and grudge-bearing has-beens, and too little genuine leadership.
The Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and the country want the kind of leader who makes, not only our economy, but our politics better, the kind of man who leads and inspires.
If Gingrich and Romney persist in what they’ve been doing, they may yet re-elect Obama.
The Senator, a 125 feet (38 meters) tall pond cypress (Taxiodum ascendens), with a trunk diameter of 17.5 feet (5.3 meters), located in Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida, was destroyed last night by an unexplained fire which initiated in the tree’s hollow interior.
The cypress, estimated to have been 3500 years old, was the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River, and counted on some lists as the fifth oldest tree in the world.
The Senator was 165 feet (50 meters) in 1925, before a hurricane took down its top. It was named for Senator M.O. Overstreet who donated the tree and the land surrounding it to Seminole County in 1927.
Local firefighters laid 800 feet (243.8 meters) of hose in a vain attempt to save the ancient tree.
Since July 17, authorities in Florida have allowed reptile hunters with special permits to capture and euthanize pythons that are thriving in the Everglades and other parts of the state, living off native species and harming the fragile ecosystem.
The largest python (a Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus – DZ) so far was captured on Thursday. It was a 207-pound (94.09 k.) male that measured more than 17-feet (5.18 m.) long and 26 inches (66 cm.) in diameter; however, it was not captured by one of the permitted hunters. Instead, it was shot on the 20-acre (8.09 h.) compound of the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital by one of the vets who was alerted to its presence by his nephew. It is illegal to shoot pythons in Florida wildlife management areas or federal lands, but the snakes can be legally shot on private property.
The now-deceased snake is believed to be one of more than 100,000 pythons living in the Florida wilds. The snakes are often abandoned by disgruntled pet owners when they become too large to handle and too expensive to feed. They can reproduce rapidly with female pythons laying up to 80 eggs at a time, and they have no natural predators in Florida.
In what a top Florida anthropologist is calling “the oldest, most spectacular and rare work of art in the Americas,” an amateur Vero Beach fossil hunter has found an ancient bone etched with a clear image of a walking mammoth or mastodon.
According to leading experts from the University of Florida, the remarkable find demonstrates with new and startling certainty that humans coexisted with prehistoric animals more than 12,000 years ago in this fossil- rich region of the state.
No similar carved figure has ever been authenticated in the United States, or anywhere in this hemisphere.
The brown, mineral-hardened bone bearing the unique carving is a foot-long fragment from a larger bone that belonged to an extinct “mammoth, mastodon or ground sloth” according to Dr. Richard C. Hulbert, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History museum. These animals have been extinct in Florida for at least 10,000 years.
Etched into the bone by a highly sharpened stone tool or the tooth of the animal is the clear image of a walking adult mammoth or mastodon. Extensive tests over the past two months have shown that the image was created when the bone was fresh, presumably right after the animal it belonged to was killed or died.
Do-gooders Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity some years ago built Fairway Oaks in Jacksonville, Florida, a classic liberal charity project delivering housing to the undeserving poor.
And what did the poor do with their housing? They certainly didn’t maintain it. Obviously, they rode it hard, and put it away wet. And now, 8 years later, they expect Jimmy to come back and fix it all up for them again. Besides, nobody told them them the place had been built atop some former dumps. Call Erin Brokovitch! Those poor people are feeling a trifle queer, breaking out with mysterious skin rashes, you know the drill, and they need to sue. After all, Jimmy Carter has got that presidential pension. There are deep pockets there.
In early December, residents of Vista Plantation began seeing an unusually large white-colored alligator in the community’s lakes west of the Indian River Mall, said subdivision manager Charles Smith.
“It was pure white,” he said.
The 300-pound, 10-foot-long adult alligator is seen resting on the shores of one of the man-made retention lakes along the golf course fairways winding through the subdivision’s condominiums. That lake is north of State Road 60 and west of 66th Avenue.
But when park officials called in a wildlife official to verify the alligator is albino, they learned the coloring is instead a coating of white minerals from untreated water pouring out of an artesian well emptying into the lake.
Bruce Dangerfield, Vero Beach Police animal control officer, humorously offered to pull the animal out to prove his point.
“I offered to catch it and use a scrub brush,” Dangerfield said to prove it, to which subdivision officials declined.
Yet, the alligator could continue to get fresh coats of white minerals as long as it stays around the artesian well. The coating is on the animal’s thick skin and isn’t a threat to its health, officials said.
Wilson Bradshaw, President of Florida Gulf Coast University, evidently did not like being the subject of nationwide negative news coverage, so he is explaining, that though the problem is that we misunderstood his noble purposes, he feels obliged to bow to our confusion and reverse his decision.
FGCU’s president reversed his decision to ban Christmas decorations.
In an e-mail message sent to the campus Wednesday, university president Wilson Bradshaw, Ph.D. acknowledged the “overwhelming negative response” to his original letter banning all holiday and seasonal decorations from the school’s common areas, citing “legal limitations.”
“It is now clear to me that we have erred in our attempt to find a balance between how best to observe the season in ways that honor all traditions – while also allowing employees to express their individual beliefs during the upcoming holiday season,” Dr. Bradshaw wrote. “As stated in my earlier message, there was no attempt to suppress expression of the holiday spirit. However, the message was received differently, and for this, I am sorry.”
Demonstrating once again the American propensity to entrust the education of the young to society’s biggest fools, the eminent Wilson G. Bradshaw, president of Florida Gulf Coast University, struck a blow recently for “diversity” by issuing a proclamation banning public acknowledgment of Christmas.
Christmas is just 30 days away, but Santa Claus won’t be stopping by Florida Gulf Coast University this holiday.
He’s not allowed on campus.
FGCU administration has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest, which is being replaced by an ugly sweater competition. In Griffin Hall, the university’s giving tree for needy preschoolers has been transformed into a “giving garden.”
The moves boil down to political correctness.
“Public institutions, including FGCU, often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions,” President Wilson Bradshaw wrote in a memo to faculty and staff Thursday. “This is a challenging issue each year at FGCU, and 2008 is no exception. While it may appear at times that a vocal majority of opinion is the only view that is held, this is not always the case.”
The ineffable Wilson G. Bradshaw’s Holiday proclamation. .pdf
When you or I get angry at one of our local politicians, we post an angry letter to the local newspaper. In Deltona, Florida, unhappy constituents (clearly originally hailing from more tropical climes) leave a Voodoo doll and candle by the offending politicians mailbox. Uh oh!
City Commissioner Zenaida Denizac’s happy day after a church picnic this past weekend was briefly ruined by the discovery of a voodoo doll on her lawn.
The doll was stuck with many pins and included a photo of the commissioner’s face pinned on the doll’s head. The doll, inside a black plastic tray, was found by Denizac’s husband next to a periwinkle plant near the base of her mailbox Saturday afternoon.
Jose Denizac said he saw the package when he left at 4 a.m. to fish but thought it was trash. When he returned at 5 p.m. he saw the object while parking his boat and checked it out.
“As soon as I saw the doll and the pins and the candle, I knew what the intention was,” Jose Denizac said. “It is envy. My wife has always been a leader who does not hide anything and speaks with frankness.”
Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the unusual incident, although they do not believe it is a direct threat to the elected official, said spokesman Brandon Haught.