One of the more charming effects of a good hit of crystal meth is the constant urge to run to your windows, peek out the blinds and scan the streets for unmarked white vans. So it’s only appropriate that the Orange County Health Department – with funding from the Orange County Drug Free Coalition – is encouraging you and your family to embrace your collective inner Gladys Kravitz and pipe up with some nosy- neighbor paranoia. They’re offering a new meth lab awareness program to neighborhood groups and individuals to assist you in recognizing just what it is you’re looking for – basically a revolving door of shaky, skinny (or gay) people, toothlessness, weird drips of odorous chemicals, big angry dogs, techno music – and what to do when you think you’ve found it and feel the need to narc. Now you can keep your eyes peeled all night, too! As far as we can tell, there will be no hands-on lessons in creating your own Tina still, although that would be fun, too.
We already knew that there were at least 611,009 bigots in the state of Florida, but what we didn’t count on was their ability to print and sign a petition. Guess we were kind of right to doubt that ability because now it seems that the Marriage Protection Amendment proffered by the charming folks at Florida4Marriage.com is about 22,000 votes short of its goal to get on the ballot this November. Gosh, that’s really too bad.
Anywho, should they turn over enough rocks to collect the required signatures, the group will face new opposition. Last week the Fairness for All Families fight was bolstered by new leadership from famed civil rights icon and longtime national chairman for the NAACP Julian Bond (not gay!), who by his association raises the level of discourse away from false fears of pansy pedophile nuptials under the weeping eyes of God to something a little more sane.
“It is divisive,” says Bond of the amendment in a press release. “It is harmful. It does not bring people together. It drives them apart.” And he should know. He’s spent the past 50 years ridding the South of its redneck, lynching tendencies, even facing jail time in the process. How you going to argue with that, Jethro?
RATE THE PROTEST!
Who: American Civil Liberties Union of Central Florida
When: Jan. 11 in front of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s offices at 225 E. Robinson St.
Scene: More ACLU outrage, this time directed at Guantanamo Bay to mark the six-year anniversary of the detention center’s opening. ACLU prez George Crossley and a half-dozen others, some in orange prison-style jumpsuits, protested on the street while others delivered letters to Nelson, Sen. Mel Martinez and Rep. Ric Keller demanding the facility be closed immediately. (When the evening news came on and there was no mention of it, we figured the pleas didn’t do the trick.) Crossley points out that at least four have died after being tortured at Gitmo, though no one ever gets a trial.
“The oldest prisoner is 98 and the youngest is 13. Who are we kidding?” he asks. “It’s a question of [law- makers] being indifferent. They don’t care what happens to those people. We do.”
OUR RATING: 7 (out of 10)
In related news, the cross-the-aisle folks at Florida Red and Blue have also announced increased initiatives against the amendment and are now working in conjunction with the national Human Rights Campaign to train concerned citizens in spreading the word. Their first public meeting was at Fifi’s Patisserie Jan. 15, but there may be 10 more cities in Florida announced shortly. It is going to be a very long year.
Note to our friends at the IRS: The Longwood-based Liberty Counsel is calling you a bunch of pussies.
OK, not in so many words. But the group’s Jan. 11 press release, “Pastors, churches and politics take front and center in upcoming primaries,” basically states that you aren’t going to do anything about preachers crossing the line when it comes to endorsing candidates.
Despite the fact that you ruled in 1934 that churches lobbying for candidates could endanger their tax-exempt status, and ruled in 1954 that endorsements would do the same, the Liberty Counsel is urging religious leaders (and by that they mean Christian religious leaders) to “throw away the muzzles that some wish to impose on [you] and replace them with megaphones.” After giving a grudging acknowledgment that they cannot endorse or oppose candidates, the group ends the press release with a nod to the fingers crossed behind their backs. “It is far more likely to be struck by lightning twice than for churches to lose their tax-exempt status over political issues.”
Just thought you’d like to know. Maybe it’s time to “review” the Liberty Counsel’s 501(c)(3) status.
Funny story: Sometime last fall, Orlando Magic vice president of communications Joel Glass sent a $500 check to Orange County commissioner Mildred Fernandez’s re-election campaign, which we’re absolutely positive had nothing to do with her vote to build Rich DeVos’ Golden Pleasure Dome™. But Oct. 3, according to Fernandez’s campaign records, the check bounced and she was also hit up for a $7.50 returned check fee.
Don’t worry, fair citizens. The Magic execs aren’t in such dire financial straits just yet. Apparently, Glass cut the check from an account he had closed. Nov. 13, he sent her another $500 check, which presumably went through just fine.
It was only last week that O-Rock 105.9-FM imploded, and yet more changes are afoot in the unpredictable world of Orlando radio. Real Rock 101.1-FM morning DJs Taco Bob and Pat Lynch were canned by the station on Jan. 11. Clear Channel has been mum about placing the longtime station personalities on the chopping block.
Crash and Alter Boy now head up the typically raucous morning talk show, meaning we can probably expect 50 percent fewer pot and boob references, which was the only reason we ever listened in the first place.
This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes, Deanna Sheffield and Bob Whitby[email protected]