Tag Archives: Florida

Blue Lives Matter flag deemed ‘racist,’ ordered to come down

blue lives matter flag

From Fox News: A Florida woman is being told to take down her Blue Lives Matter flag that’s been flying for several years now by her homeowners association.

Jeff Gaddie told Action News Jacksonville that his daughter in St. Johns County has been flying the flag to honor him and many other family members who are law enforcement.

“She called to ask why,” Gaddie said. “They told her they had received a complaint that it was considered racist, offensive and anti-Black Lives Matter,” he said.

The association asked the woman, who did not want to be identified for fear of backlash, to submit a request for permission to fly the flag, which has since been denied.

Action News Jacksonville reached out to the First Coast Association Management, which said only American and military-themed flags are allowed to fly in the neighborhood, even though there are other types of flags flying.

Gaddie says the flag is only a show of support and the family is planning to appeal the decision at the next homeowner’s association meeting.

Click for more from Action News Jacksonville.

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Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

adalberto-jordan

Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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680 Cubans returned home since end of ‘wet foot, dry foot’

wet-foot-dry-foot-obama

Via Fox News: About 680 Cubans have been returned to the island from various countries since then-President Barack Obama ended a longstanding immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, state television reported Friday.

Cuba’s government had long sought the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which it said encouraged Cubans to risk dangerous voyages and drained the country of professionals. The Jan. 12 decision by Washington to end it followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Havana to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.

Cuban state television said late Friday that the returnees came from countries including the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and were sent back to the island between Jan. 12 and Feb. 17. It did not break down which countries the 680 were sent back from.

The report said the final two returnees arrived from the United States on Friday “on the first charter flight especially destined for an operation of this type.”

Florida’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper reported that the two women were deemed “inadmissible” for entry to the United States and placed on a morning flight to Havana.

Wilfredo Allen, an attorney for one of the women, says they had arrived at Miami International Airport with European passports. The women requested asylum and were detained.

The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy was Obama’s final move before leaving office in the rapprochement with the communist-run country that he and Cuban President Castro began in December 2014. The surprise decision left hundreds of Cubans stranded in transit in South and Central America.

Before he assumed the presidency on Jan. 20, Donald Trump criticized the detente between the U.S. and Cuba, tweeting that he might “terminate” it.

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Gun-shaped house key almost ruins couple’s cruise trip

key

Fer cryin’ out loud…

From Fox News: A Florida couple’s Carnival cruise vacation was almost ruined last weekend as they attempted to board the ship because one of them was carrying a 2-inch house key shaped like a gun.

Henry Echevarria, a deputy sheriff in Pasco County, Fla., was boarding a cruise ship in Port Canaveral with his wife Lisa Jan. 15 when a ship security agent halted them at the entrance.  “He pulls out my key and says ‘Oh, here’s the problem,” Echevarria told WTSP.

As a law enforcement official, Echevarria says he understands routine security procedures but was shocked that such a small item would cause an issue. The deputy sheriff says he tried to explain that there was no way the key could be used as a weapon.

“First of all, you can’t even get your finger in the hole if it was a gun and you can barely get a finger around the grip,” he said. “They say I can’t have it. I can’t get on the boat. I either need to get rid of it take it back or not cruise.”

But ship security stood firm and, left with no choice, Echevarria elected to have the key placed in the ship’s safe until returning back to port. But the law enforcement official says the cruise line’s unusually strict policy could have harmful security implications for customers. “They [Carnival] have my address, they have my key, all they need to do is make a replica and next thing you know they could be at my house,” he said.

After his vacation, Echevarria says his key was returned but told FoxNews.com that he has tried reaching out to the cruise line for an explanation.

“So far the one time I called to speak with customer service, “John” kept trying to blame the security company and would not get that the supervisor from Carnival was the one who ultimately took my house key and placed it in a safe at Port Canaveral,” Echevarria said.  He also says he’s sailed with Carnival before and never had an issue with his house key.

Carnival may not have contacted Echevarria to resolve the issue but in an emailed statement to FoxNews.com, Carnival’s vice president of corporate communications Jennifer De La Cruz, reiterated the cruise line’s prohibited items policy which bans “all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components.”

“While our Prohibited Items Policy does prohibit “all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components,” a house key shaped like a firearm is not what is meant by the term ‘replica’ and the key should not have been retained,” De La Cruz said.

“We contacted the third-party company that provides security services at the port in question to discuss the matter and initiate corrective training so this doesn’t occur in the future.” Echevarria says he still awaiting a reply from Carnival.

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Florida VA hospital left deceased veteran in shower room for 9 hours, report finds

There IS NO EXCUSE for this. Wait until you see what the hospital said about it. Warning: My response to them is NSFW.

misadministration

From Fox News: An internal report blames staffers at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Florida for leaving the body of a deceased veteran to decompose in a shower for nine hours and then trying to cover it up.

The 24-page report concluded that hospice staffers at the Bay Pines VA hospital failed to provide appropriate post-mortem care to the veteran’s body, Fox 13 Tampa reports.

The report found hospice staff put the veteran’s body in a hallway and left it there for an unspecified time, the station reported. Staff then put the veteran’s body in the shower room and did not “check on the status of the decedent…for over nine hours.”

suzanne-klinker-va-bay-pines

The Medical Center Director for Bay Pines, Suzanne Klinker. From her bio,”With dedication to the organization’s I CARE values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence, she oversees health care delivery for the entire organization which includes one large medical center, eight outpatient clinics and 4,000 employees with an operating budget of more than $700 million.” Contact the women dedicated to respect and excellence at 727-398-9300.

The report also found that a staff member then “falsely documented” the incident, Fox 13 reported.

The investigative report said that leaving the body unattended for so long increased the chance of decomposition.

“The report details a total failure on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs and an urgent need for greater accountability,” Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., told the station. “Unsurprisingly, not a single VA employee has been fired following this incident, despite a clear lack of concern and respect for the veteran. The men and women who sacrificed on behalf of our nation deserve better.”

The unnamed veteran died in February after spending time in hospice care. The hospital’s Administrative Investigation Board ordered retraining for staff.

Hospital spokesman Jason Dangel told the Tampa Bay Times hospital officials view what happened as unacceptable.

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Florida Democrats clucking over voter registration drives at local Chick-fil-A restaurants

How the proggies really feel...

How the proggies really feel…

From Fox News: Democrats in Pinellas County, Fla., are crying fowl over the supervisor of elections’ decision to hold voter registration drives at nine area Chick-fil-A locations earlier this week on National Voter Registration Day.

Susan McGrath

Susan McGrath

Susan McGrath, head of the county Democratic Executive Committee and leader of the Pinellas Stonewall Democrats, a pro-LGBT equality group, says she is all in favor of getting out the vote — just not at Chick-fil-A, the Georgia-based fast-food restaurant chain beloved for its fried chicken sandwiches and its adherence to the Southern Baptist culture of its founder by closing on Sundays. The company’s CEO Dan Cathy has made multiple remarks in the past expressing a personal opposition to same-sex marriage.

According to the Tampa Bay Times and Creative Loafing, McGrath wrote a letter to Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark, who chose Chick-fil-A for the voter drives, saying: “As an elected official, you have a duty to be evenhanded and fair. Surely, you and your office staff do understand that using Chick-Fil-A as the base for voter registration activities is not only inherently unfair but overtly partisan as well. This company has a strong and well-understood history of anti-LGBT activism and is publicly associated with Republican Party values.

Chick-fil-A's xxx

Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBT stance on display

(Hey McGrath! Did you know that Chick-fil-A distributed food and ice tea to those waiting in line to donate blood after the Orland shooting? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)

She compared it to a Democratic supervisor deciding to hold the event at Planned Parenthood and said the get-out-the-vote campaign might just as well be held at the county’s Republican Party headquarters.

McGrath suggested that a recent surge in the number of registered Democrats in the county may have been an impetus to hold the drive in a place Democrats tend to avoid. “While some Democrats may occasionally dine at Chick-fil-A (and perhaps even members of the LGBT community), the coordination of Pinellas voter registration activities with this right-leaning business very clearly conveys that your office is targeting Republican-leaning voters,” McGrath wrote.

A spokesman for Clark said her office will hold 350 voter drives at hundreds of locations this year. He did not address McGrath’s allegations, other than to say the popular chicken chain gets a lot of customers.

In her letter, McGrath strongly urged Clark’s office to reconsider holding future voter registration events at Chick-fil-A locations. 

Across the country, other food establishments are getting into the voter registration game. In Houston, a fleet of taco trucks is now doubling as voter registration centers throughout the city.

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‘Kill white people’ is spray-painted on a highway wall and Black Lives Matter graffiti scrawled on Trump election signs

kill-white-people-sign

From Daily Mail: ‘Kill white people’ and ‘BLM’ are among graffiti that has been spray painted across highway walls, homes and election signs in a week. Workers were forced to paint over a section of wall on Gornto Lake Road in Brandon, Florida, on Wednesday to conceal the words ‘kill white people’. At a nearby home, a Trump For President election sign was defaced with the letters BLM, which stands for Black Lives Matter, abcactionews.com reports.

Tampa has played host to a number of the movement’s protests in the wake of police killings of black men.

trump-for-president-sign

It is not clear who is responsible for the graffiti but it is the latest in a string of racially charged incidents in and around the city. ‘For us it’s criminal mischief, it’s definitely racial. It’s racially indicative, it’s hate speech,’ said Larry McKinnonn on behalf of the sheriff’s department.

Earlier this year hundreds gathered to march in a Black Lives Matter Tampa protest. In July a local lawmaker proposed plans for a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ law to categorise police killings as hate crimes. More than 1million people have liked a local Blue Lives Matter Facebook page which promotes merchandise emblazoned with the slogan ‘hold the line’.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department has not yet traced who is responsible for the latest graffiti.  Detectives are appealing to members of the community for information.

Read the rest of the story here.

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