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Sunburn for 7.4.18 – Happy Independence Day! – Florida Politics

Sunburn for 7.4.18 – Happy Independence Day! – Florida Politics

— “ 4 more forgotten Founding Fathers ” via Erik Johnson of Mental Floss “ Even George Washington had to fight fake news ” via Angie Drobnic Holan of the Tampa Bay Times — Forged letters from before his presidency claimed to show in his own words that he privately sympathized with the British monarchy and thought the American cause was doomed. The letters also suggested that Washington thought Americans weren’t ready for democracy. The letters were clever forgeries, but they dogged Washington. They circulated in pamphlets, during both the American Revolution and Washington’s presidency — until Washington grew tired of hearing about them and issued an adamant fact-check of his own. Whoever forged the letters worked to make them believable, including details about Washington’s life as a Virginia farmer. The letters were immediately recognizable as fakes to Washington’s inner circle. The truth about Paul Revere’s ride brought to you by the Florida Medical Association — “The FMA wishes Sunburn readers a happy Independence Day! We hope you’ll celebrate safely. We also encourage all Floridians to thank our nation’s Veterans and their families for protecting the freedoms upon which our country was founded.” — FMA Executive Vice President Timothy J. Stapleton. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out this fascinating Paul Revere factoid involving a doctor (on message!) — a young physician was most likely the only Patriot who reached Concord during the famous “midnight ride” of Paul Revere . Henry Wadsworth Longfellow got a lot wrong in the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” The History Channel tells us that “ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ’s 1861 poem about Paul Revere’s ride got many of the facts wrong . For one thing, Revere was not alone on his mission to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other patriots that the British were approaching Lexington on the evening of April 18, 1775. Two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott , rode alongside him, and by the end of the night as many as 40 men on horseback were spreading the word across Boston’s Middlesex County. Revere also never reached Concord, as the poem inaccurately recounts. Overtaken by the British, the three riders split up and headed in different directions. Revere was temporarily detained by the British at Lexington and Dawes lost his way after falling off his horse, leaving Prescott—a young physician who is believed to have died in the war several years later—the task of alerting Concord’s residents.” “ 10 U.S. historical facts to rain on any July 4 party ” via Florida Politics – Every party has a pooper, that’s why some people go to Fourth of July parties armed with trivia that casts doubt on conventional wisdom — especially in American history. When partygoers are lighting fireworks, exclaiming “Isn’t America beautiful?” these historical fact checkers rain the truth on their parade. Here are 10 “truth firecrackers” to liven up (or put a quick end to) any Independence Day festivities: 1. Baseball, the “All-American” sport, likely came from England; 2. Apple pie is British, too; 3. The melody of the American national anthem comes from an old English drinking song; 4. The Pledge of Allegiance was created for one reason — to sell more flags; 5. Canadians own the Mall of America; 6. Bald eagle screeches are much weaker than the iconic sound, which is actually from the red-tailed hawk; 7. Settlers didn’t tame the American frontier, it was already pretty tame; 8. Hot dogs on the Fourth? Lewis, Clark and the “Corps of Discovery” ate over 200 dogs during the trip; 9. Speaking of wieners … President Lyndon Johnson would frequently pull his out his own “Johnson”; and 10. Independence Day is actually July 2 (see above). — TOP STORY — “ Concealed weapon permit review finds mistakes in Florida ” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press — A 2012 internal investigation found that 48 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employees made mistakes while issuing concealed weapon permits and armed security guard or similar licenses. One employee resigned during the investigation, one was fired and others received suspensions or written reprimands. In all, two concealed weapons permits and one armed security guard license were revoked … (Adam) Putnam … was criticized last month after acknowledging that the agency revoked 291 permits awarded in 2016 and 2017 and fired an employee last year. The Putnam campaign said the problem discovered in 2012 started under a previous administration and he took steps to fix it. — NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL — Of course he did –“ Marco Rubio helps raise money for Donald Trump super PAC ” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Rubio took another step toward his embrace of President Donald Trump by speaking at a ritzy fundraiser for the biggest Trump super PAC. Rubio spoke at a recent America First Action event at Trump International Hotel here, where guests paid $100,000 to get in and $250,000 for VIP access. “ Fracking appears to be out: Group gets Ron DeSantis to voice support for ban ” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Following DeSantis ’ rally in Tampa, he shook hands with members of the crowd, and that’s when Food & Water Action volunteer Ginger Goepper asked him if he supports a ban on fracking in Florida. “Yeah, yep, yeah,” DeSantis replies, as shown in a video the group released. Last month Goepper ask ed Putnam if he oppo sed fracking. Putnam replied a bit more loquaciously, “We don’t need to be fracking in Florida. Our geology, our limestone, we do not need to be fracking in Florida for oil and gas. It is just not the right spot.” “ Gwen Graham tops Democratic rivals in outside contributions, but not June fundraising ” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Graham ’s campaign is reporting it raised $152,291 and her independent committee brought in another $481,350 during the just-posted campaign finance reporting period of June 1-22. Graham’s campaign hailed that total as more than all four of her Democratic primary opponents raised from supporters combined during the same period. her Democratic rivals Jeff Greene , Philip Levine , and Chris King all bolstered their campaigns with big personal checks that Graham’s campaign is discounting because they’re not donations from supporters. As a result, in the end, each of them brought in far more money in the 22-day period than Graham managed. Second, while rival Andrew Gillum did not raise much at all from June 1-22, his Forward Florida independent political committee cashed contributors’ checks totaling $451,000 just in the next three or four days. Spotted: Graham on MSNBC – The campaign sent out an email blast Tuesday: “NBC News’ Ali Vitali covered Gwen on the campaign trail as she built affordable housing on a Workday with Habitat for Humanity and at a Ruth’s List conference, where women from across the state spoke about their passion to elect a woman governor to stand up to Donald Trump.” Watch by clicking here . Assignment editors — Graham join state Sen. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg to march in Florida’s largest Fourth of July Parade, 10 a.m., 101 E. Lumsden Road, Brandon. Assignment editors — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine will be participating in the 59th annual Key Biscayne 4th of July Parade, 10:45 a.m., 107-1 Fernwood Rd. “ Adam Putnam attack ads funded by dark money group with ties to mega-donor Joe Ricketts ” via Ali Schmitz of TCPalm — The Tenth Amendment Project paid for an attack ad linking Putnam to U.S. Sugar Corp. donations and toxic blue-green algae bloom in Treasure Coast waters in 2016. The TV ad is running in Tampa, but is not scheduled to run on any stations in the Treasure Coast/West Palm Beach or Fort Myers/Naples media markets. Those communities bear the brunt of Lake Okeechobee discharges that cause the blooms. Unlike election campaigns and political action committees, nonprofits aren’t required to divulge their donors — hence the term “dark money” — but the Tenth Amendment Project has at least one visible tie to TD Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Ricketts , who has supported DeSantis in the past. Assignment editors — Putnam will celebrate Independence Day at the Lynn Haven 4th of July Parade, 9 a.m. Central time, A.L. Kinsaui Park, 1146 W. 5th St., Lynn Haven. “ ’Cow cuddling?’ Denise Grimsley talks agritourism at Polk Tiger Bay ” via Bill Rufty of Florida Politics — Who would pay $300 to hug a cow? Enough people to save the family farm, state Sen. Grimsley told a luncheon of the Polk County Tiger Bay Club. Agritourism will be a key component of her policies to save Florida agriculture if elected Agriculture Commissioner, the Zolfo Springs Republican said. “I had a constituent tell me she had some people coming to her ranch and pay $300 to cuddle a cow,” she said when asked by a club member about agritourism. “I had never heard of that before, but when you think about it, this is part of how you bring prosperity back (to small farms and rural communities). There are people in Miami or Tampa who may never have seen a farm or where their food comes from.” Assignment editors — Grimsley will participate in the annual Naples 4th of July Parade, 10 a.m., beginning at Broad Avenue South and ends on 8th Avenue South and 8th Street South in downtown Naples. “ Money flows in GOP Attorney General race ” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody continues to post six-figure contribution totals, while her opponent in the Republican primary for attorney general, state Rep. Frank White , has started to dig into his campaign treasury to pay for ads, new finance reports show. On the Democratic side of the race to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi , state Rep. Sean Shaw of Tampa maintains a big lead in the fundraising contest over Ryan Torrens , a lawyer from Hillsborough County. “ Darren Soto, Alan Grayson set for two CD 9 debates ” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Soto ’s campaign announced Tuesday it was committing to a Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida Aug. 2 debate, and a Spectrum News 13 Aug. 8 debate. The Tiger Bay forum, open only to members of the club, is a noon event. The Spectrum forum is set for 7 p.m. and would be broadcast by that cable TV company’s 24-hour news channel. In addition, Soto’s campaign said he would be participating in the upcoming July 16 Polk County Progressive Democratic Caucus candidate forum, and a July 31 forum being arranged by several organizations including the League of Women Voters of Florida. “ Latest GOP poll in Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s district shows potential for three-way race ” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald – A third poll conducted in recent weeks in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen shows television journalist Maria Elvira Salazar with a double-digit lead but the potential for Miami-Dade commissioner Bruno Barreiro and songwriter Angie Chirino , the daughter of Cuban pop sensation Willy Chirino, to make the primary competitive if they run to Salazar’s right on guns. The poll conducted on behalf of Chirino’s campaign on behalf of Big Data Polling shows Salazar with a 10 percentage point lead over Barreiro, with Chirino close behind Barreiro in third. Salazar took 26.5 percent support among 531 likely GOP primary voters in a poll conducted from June 22 to 25. Barreiro received 16.8 percent while Chirino received 13.3 percent support in the poll, which was conducted in English and Spanish with a four percent margin of error. “ Belinda Keiser sinks another $200,000 into Senate race ” via the News Service of Florida — In a sprint to replace outgoing Senate President Joe Negron , Republican Keiser loaned another $200,000 to her campaign last month, bringing to $700,000 the amount she has put into the race … Keiser also had raised an overall total of $76,165 as of June 22 and had spent $343,274. Keiser, state Rep. Gayle Harrell and Democrat Robert Levy are running to replace Negron in Senate District 25, which includes Martin, St. Lucie and part of Palm Beach counties. Harrell had raised $69,285 and loaned $100,000 to her campaign as of June 22, while spending a total of $12,863, a finance report shows. Levy had raised $13,650 and loaned $150,000 to his campaign while spending a total of $70,150. “ Where does she live? A Miami lawmaker’s bizarre attempt to reside in her district ” via Sarah Blaskey and David Smiley of the Miami Herald — State Senator Daphne Campbell , longtime owner of a five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home inconveniently located outside the community she’s represented as a member of the Florida House and Senate, has been difficult to find at home over the last 30 months. More accurately, her home has been difficult to find. That’s until late June, when she switched her voter registration to this small, pink house in North Miami Beach. It’s one of at least four addresses she’s listed over the last six years after a statewide redrawing of House districts placed her own home outside the boundaries and forced her into a series of temporary residences. The extent to which she has actually lived at any of them is questionable. “ Whoops! Aventura pol says Campbell endorsement was by mistake ” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics – Campbell announced Monday that she had earned four new endorsements from South Florida commissioners in her run for re-election. Now, it appears one of those endorsements was sent out in error. Aventura Commissioner Robert Shelley says he is not backing Campbell’s re-election in Senate District 38, but is instead supporting her opponent, Miami attorney Jason Pizzo . After Florida Politics reported on Campbell’s announcement Monday, the Pizzo campaign produced a signed letter that showed, in fact, Shelley had endorsed Pizzo’s campaign back in April. We reached out to the Campbell campaign to get a response, and it turns out they too had a signed letter from Commissioner Shelley from June indicating his support for her SD 38 bid. Shelley spoke to Florida Politics to clear up the confusion, saying his letter of support to the Campbell campaign was likely sent out due to some sort of miscommunication between the two offices. Assignment editors – Democrat Jennifer Webb , who is running for House District 69, will be walking in the Kenneth City/Pinellas Park Independence Day Parade, 10 a.m., starting at northbound 62nd Street between 46 and 54th. Later, her group will be walking in the Gulfport Independence Day Parade, 6 p.m., starting at the Gulfport Public Library, 5501 28th Ave. S. Assignment editors — Democrat Emma Collum , running for House District 93, is celebrating Independence Day with a parade of volunteers, 8:30 a.m., Lauderdale by the Sea Town Hall, 4505 N. Ocean Drive. “ Primary election changes proposed ” via the News Service of Florida — The proposals, sponsored by the committee Florida Fair and Open Primaries, would seek open primaries in which all voters would be able to participate and would create a “top two” system … Under such a system, the two candidates receiving the largest numbers of votes in each open primary would move on to the general-election ballot. The earliest the proposed constitutional amendments could go before voters would be 2020. Also, Florida Fair and Open Primaries would need to submit at least 766,200 petition signatures to get each measure on the ballot. — NON-FOURTH NEWS — “ Rick Scott in Kuwait to visit Florida troops for Independence Day ” via the Space Coast Daily — Gov. Scott is meeting with servicemen and women, and military officials. He will also be bringing these troops some reminders of home this Independence Day. “It is an honor to celebrate our country’s Independence Day with the brave men and women who are currently serving and protecting our freedom.” Snack time: Gov. Rick Scott brought “reminders of home” to Florida National Guard and Army Reserve troops deployed in Kuwait: Coffee from Lucky Goat of Tallahassee, Buddy Brew of Tampa and Social Grounds of Jacksonville; fresh orange juice from Sun Harvest Citrus of Fort Myers, and key lime pie cookies from Kristi’s Key Lime Cookies of Naples, his hometown. “ Flags at half-staff to honor victims of Maryland newspaper shooting ” via Florida Politics – Gov. Scott has ordered flags at half-staff to honor the victims of the June 28 shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. The order was effective immediately on Tuesday till sunset. The U.S. and state flags will “be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida,” Scott said. Earlier Tuesday, President Trump directed the U.S. flag to “be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its territories and possessions” until sunset. That proclamation came after the mayor of Annapolis said his request to Trump to lower flags had been turned down. “ Florida consumer sentiment decreases in June ” via the University of Florida — Consumer sentiment among Floridians dropped 1.9 points in June to 98.3 from a revised figure of 100.2 in May, according to the latest University of Florida Consumer Survey. The five components that make up the index declined. The last time a drop across all five components happened was in August 2016. Perceptions of personal financial situation now compared with a year ago decreased one point from 92.9 to 91.9. Consumer confidence declined across all five components. Although Floridians overall are more pessimistic, all Floridians do not share this sentiment. For women and respondents 60 and older, consumer confidence increased slightly, and for respondents with income under $50,000, confidence remained unchanged in June. Despite the decline in confidence, the economy is doing well overall. “ Fewer hurricanes expected this season, according to latest forecast ” via David Fleshler of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project now calls for four hurricanes this year, compared to 10 last season and a sharp reduction from the university’s April forecast. The probability of a direct hit to the eastern United States stands at 22 percent, compared to the average of 31 percent. Since hurricane season began June 1, the forecast said, the Atlantic Ocean has developed unusually cold temperatures, depriving developing hurricanes of fuel and the atmospheric instability necessary for their formation. And the likelihood has increased of an El Niño, the warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that creates high-altitude winds that tear apart would-be tropical cyclones, the rotating storm systems that can strengthen into hurricanes. “ Ex-Dem IT staffer slammed by Donald Trump pleads guilty to bank fraud ” via John Bresnahan of POLITICO Florida — Imran Awan — the former House Democratic IT consultant at the center of conservative conspiracy theories that were even promoted by Trump — pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one felony count of federal bank fraud. Criminal charges against his wife, Hina Alvi , will be dropped as part of the plea deal between Awan and the Justice Department. Awan’s attorney and DOJ agreed to a recommendation of probation for Awan, although that will not be final until U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sentences him on Aug. 21. Despite an extensive investigation by federal agents, Awan and Alvi were not found to have any ties to a foreign intelligence agency targeting Congress or to be involved in a criminal ring that stole equipment from Democratic lawmakers. There had been numerous stories in conservative publications over the past two years suggesting Awan, Alvi and other family members who worked with his IT firm engaged in a host of potentially illegal activities. But no such charges were ever filed against him or his family members, the Justice Department acknowledged in the plea agreement. “ Appellate court calls out ‘abuse of discretion’ in medical marijuana case ” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – An appellate court delivered the equivalent of a judicial smackdown Tuesday following its decision last month to reinstate a delay on the effect of a lower court’s ruling that medical marijuana can be smoked in Florida. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 1 st District Court of Appeal (DCA) issued a 5-page order calling Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ‘ ruling to allow patients to smoke pending appeal “an abuse of discretion.” The state’s appeal after Gievers’ decision had placed an automatic stay, or hold, on the ruling pending review. Gievers lifted that stay. She found that the ban – written into state law – violates the constitutional amendment on medicinal cannabis, passed by 71 percent of voters in 2016. But the appellate judges said the smoking plaintiffs “have not shown that compelling circumstances exist to support the order vacating the stay in this appeal,” nor have they “sufficiently demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.” “ Jackpot: New casino permitted for downtown Miami ” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Downtown Miami is getting a brand new casino. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling in the state, late Tuesday issued what’s known as a “summer jai alai” permit for a new facility to be built on roughly a full city block along Biscayne Boulevard. The permit was granted to West Flagler Associates, controlled by South Florida’s Havenick family. They operate Magic City Casino in Miami and Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker in Bonita Springs. Pari-mutuels, particularly in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, covet such permits because at a minimum they allow a facility to open a cardroom and offer simulcast betting. The permit comes more than a year after the 1st District Court of Appeal reversed a denial of West Flagler’s permit application and ordered its reinstatement. — A FLORIDA FOURTH — “ Florida was off center stage in American Revolution despite some important events “ via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News — As the nation celebrates the 240th anniversary of independence this Fourth of July … Floridians can look back at the strange and almost entirely forgotten role their state played in the American Revolution. A Spanish colony for almost 200 years, the English gained Florida at the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the Seven Years War. People in the U.S. call it the French and Indian War. Dividing the peninsula into East Florida and West Florida, the British attempted to develop plantations in their new holdings, but generally used the Floridas for military purposes. The strong military presence helped ensure that the Floridas would not join the 13 colonies to the north in rebelling against George III . … rebellious Americans looked at the Floridas as a threat since the British could launch attacks into Georgia and South Carolina from the south. Colonists loyal to the British crown fled to the Floridas and helped form military units, like the East Florida Rangers, to fight against the American forces. While they did not play a leading part in the American Revolution, Florida and Floridians provided some dramatic moments. James Grant , who served as governor of East Florida from 1764 until 1771, played a crucial part in British successes in capturing New York, and would capture St. Lucia from the French later in the war. American prisoners were held in St. Augustine — including Arthur Middleton and Edmund Rutledge , two South Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence. One recent Florida politician with a keen interest in his state’s role in the American Revolution was longtime U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett … Who represented the First Coast in Congress from 1949 until retiring in 1993. Bennett wrote a number of books on the Revolution, including a book on battles as well as a biography of Robert Howe with Donald Lennon . — Assignment editors — The Vietnam Veterans of America Big Bend Chapter 96 host a reading of the Declaration of Independence by an actor dressed as Ben Franklin , 8 a.m., Old Capitol front steps, Tallahassee. “ Adam Putnam: Be mindful of our forests this Fourth of July ” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Since January, more than 1,500 wildfires have burned approximately 89,307 acres of Florida land. To Ag Commish Putnam, that’s cause for concern this Independence Day. While he expects Floridians to use fireworks on Wednesday, he is encouraging them to do so with care. “While recent rainfall has lowered wildfire risk across the state, Floridians and visitors should keep a few safety tips in mind while enjoying fireworks and cookouts with friends and family this Independence Day,” Putnam, who also oversees the Florida Forest Service, said in a prepared statement. Among the recommended precautions: light fireworks away from debris and vegetation; always have a water source available; aim fireworks properly; discard used fireworks in water; and report fires to 9-1-1. “ DCF reminds families to stay safe while celebrating Independence Day ” via Florida Politics — DCF offers a few family safety tips to keep in mind … Use good judgment when going boating. Make sure every passenger uses flotation devices and children are always secured by an adult while on a vessel. There should always be an unimpaired adult actively watching children playing around or swimming in pools. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying and always follow all safety instructions. When lighting fireworks, including sparklers, always have water handy, such as a hose or bucket. Use your grill well away from your home and deck, and out from under branches or overhangs. If you attend a large event, plan ahead by determining a safe place to meet in case your family gets separated. “ Florida wildlife officials urge safety, beacons for July Fourth weekend boating ” via Florida Politics — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) urges boaters to use caution while boating on this busy holiday. Inattentiveness or improper lookout cause many boating accidents. During this weekend, boaters can expect to see an enhanced law enforcement presence and increased messaging about safe boating practices. Beginning July 1, Floridians have another great reason to buy and register an emergency locator beacon. Gov. Scott and the Florida Legislature have instituted discounted vessel registration fees for anyone who owns a recreational vessel equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or a Personal Locator Beacon. “ How to be July 4 ‘beach hero,’ give space to nesting shorebirds, sea turtles ” via Florida Politics— Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding the public to help protect beach-nesting shorebirds and sea turtles by giving them space and keeping personal fireworks off the beach. Please respect shorebird and sea turtle areas that are posted to protect these vulnerable species, but remember not all nests are posted. July is also a busy time for sea turtle nesting on Florida beaches, and female sea turtles can become disoriented and fail to lay their eggs if disturbed by bright lights, loud noises and people getting too close to them. Sea turtle hatchlings, also vulnerable to disturbance, are beginning to emerge this month. — ROCKETS RED GLARE — “ Fireworks! The science and psychology of fireworks “ via PBS — NOVA presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how high-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science. Here’s what you’ll find online: Name That Shell … Watch video clips of fireworks bursting in air and find out how well you know your chrysanthemums from your peonies, your roman candles from your palm trees. Anatomy of a Firework … Where you see brilliant light and vivid color, a pyrotechnician sees a successful lift charge, black powder mix, time-delay fuse, bursting charge and other essential ingredients. Pyrotechnically Speaking … Dr. John Conkling , adjunct professor of chemistry at Washington College and former executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, describes what it is about fireworks that gets him, well, all fired up. On Fire (Hot Science) … This virtual laboratory lets you explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, what a flame is made of, and how burning molecules rearrange themselves. “ Florida’s bizarre fireworks law still in place ” via Florida Politics – It’s almost Independence Day, which in Florida means: Time to scare some birds. Although you can buy fireworks in the state, they’re not actually legal here. Indeed, The Tampa Tribune once called fireworks sales in Florida an “institutionalized charade,” leading one lawmaker to call for “more freedom (and) less fraud.” Retail sales are allowed only because of a 62-year-old loophole in the law, the only known one of its kind in the country. That allows “fireworks … to be used solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.” Counting the days: Bob Buckhorn will watch his last fireworks as Tampa’s Mayor this Fourth of July. “ A wink, a nod and a boom ” via Michael Bates of the Citrus County Chronicle — Most people know buying fireworks is a wink-wink, nod-nod proposition. The seller agrees to use the explosives for arcane applications like scaring birds on their farm or signaling railroad trains. The seller has the purchaser sign a “restricted fireworks verification” agreement, absolving themselves of any legal ramifications, and the latter goes on his or her way. The vendors know not all — in fact, almost none — will follow the law, and the customer knows they know it. Don’t look for the legal loophole permitting the sale of Florida fireworks to go away anytime soon. Most people seem happy with the way things are. While the county prohibits most tent sales, such as the ones automobile dealers used to set up in parking lots, it has an exception for seasonal sales for July 4 and New Year’s Eve fireworks, as well as Christmas trees. The county has issued eight temporary permits, at $190 each, to fireworks vendors this month. Apparently, a lot of birds and animals need to be frightened away on the Fourth of July. —“ Floridians traveling across state lines for fireworks ” via WEARTV.com Get smart fast — “Hold my beer and watch this! July 4 fireworks light up ER “ via Andrew Bryant for Florida Politics — The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) … uses a sample of hospitals across the U.S. to estimate nationwide totals for ER visits involving an injury associated with consumer products. Based on these data, a whopping 179,730 Americans have visited the ER for fireworks-related injuries since 1997 … a shocking two-thirds of these visits occur on or just after one day of the year: July Fourth. Comparatively, Independence Day sees nearly seven times as many fireworks-related injuries as New Year’s Eve each year … based on the data, we can infer that most injuries involve lighting mistakes. Over 20 percent of all hospital visits due to fireworks include an injury to the hand, and another 12 percent involve an injury of the fingers. The head also sees as a fair amount of action with 20 percent of all fireworks-related ER visits relating to the eyes, 12 percent to the face area, 3 percent to the ear, and 2 percent to the head. Less than 1 percent of reported injuries involve the “pubic region,” though this stat may not be of much comfort to the estimated 319 men who experience such an injury each year. The age distribution of these injuries is a lot younger than this title would imply: two-thirds of fireworks injuries occur in those under the legal drinking age of 21, with a peak age of 13. While it is unclear whether the victim was the firework-setter or an innocent bystander, men make up about 72 percent of all ER visits for fireworks injuries. This trend generally holds across all age and demographic groups. — “ Months of planning, effort go into city’s annual July Fourth extravaganza ” via Sheldon Gardner of the St. Augustine Record Jimmy Patronis: 5 fire safety tips for Fourth of July — 1. Monitor children and pets. Never allow children or pets to play with sparklers and always provide adult supervision. 2. Light one sparkler at a time. Never attempt to ignite more than one sparkler at a time. Move away once they are lit and never attempt to reignite. 3. Be prepared. Always have a fire extinguisher or a water hose on hand and soak used sparklers before throwing them away. A sparkler can reach temperatures of more than 1,200 degrees. To put that in perspective, glass melts at 900 degrees. 4. Abide by all local laws and ordinances. Check with your county or city officials for ordinances or burn bans in your local community. 5. Attend public firework shows. Many local governments make significant investments to put on professional fireworks shows. Consider attending one in your area instead of lighting your own. “ Florida Forest Service reminds revelers to use fireworks responsibly ” via the Tallahassee Democrat — Individuals should always check local laws before using fireworks. Local fire and police departments and the State Fire Marshal’s Office can also provide guidance. Floridians celebrating with fireworks or campfires should follow these safety tips: Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris. Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources. Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land. Always have a water source available. Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas. Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure it is completely out before leaving it. Get smart fast — “ Hold my beer and watch this! July 4 fireworks light up ER “ via Andrew Bryant for Florida Politics — The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) … uses a sample of hospitals across the U.S. to estimate nationwide totals for ER visits involving an injury associated with consumer products. Based on these data, a whopping 179,730 Americans have visited the ER for fireworks-related injuries since 1997 … a shocking two-thirds of these visits occur on or just after one day of the year: July Fourth. Comparatively, Independence Day sees nearly seven times as many fireworks-related injuries as New Year’s Eve each year … based on the data, we can infer that most injuries involve lighting mistakes. Over 20 percent of all hospital visits due to fireworks include an injury to the hand, and another 12 percent involve an injury of the fingers. The head also sees as a fair amount of action with 20 percent of all fireworks-related ER visits relating to the eyes, 12 percent to the face area, 3 percent to the ear, and 2 percent to the head. Less than 1 percent of reported injuries involve the “pubic region,” though this stat may not be of much comfort to the estimated 319 men who experience such an injury each year. The age distribution of these injuries is a lot younger than this title would imply: two-thirds of fireworks injuries occur in those under the legal drinking age of 21, with a peak age of 13. While it is unclear whether the victim was the firework-setter or an innocent bystander, men make up about 72 percent of all ER visits for fireworks injuries. This trend generally holds across all age and demographic groups. Flashback — “ Man loses hand to fireworks in early July 4 celebration ” via The Associated Press — … it happened Thursday night at a Leesburg home. The firework was attached to a wooden stake designed to be planted in the ground and had a foil-covered ball inside that explodes after launch. Witnesses told police that Brett Demascio lit the fuse, but the spark went out. He then picked up the foil-covered ball in his left hand, lit the shortened fuse and attempted to throw it. An incident report says the firework exploded early, tearing off most of the man’s hand. Demascio was airlifted to an Ocala hospital. No criminal charges were immediately filed. “ Child safety group: Sparklers, fireworks are better left at home ” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — The safest way to celebrate Independence Day is by leaving the fireworks displays to professionals. That’s according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping children out of harm’s way. “We know fireworks are fun and young kids look adorable holding those sparklers. Unfortunately, fireworks can cause serious injuries to children, including devastating burns and other injuries,” a news release from the organization reads. “Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, make sure to follow these tips to keep your kids as safe as possible.” “ ’We want you to be around for the Fifth of July’: Officials warn about holiday gunfire ” via Rebecca Ellis of the Miami Herald — In 1997, Rev. Jerome Starling was making his way back from the Miami Martin Luther King Jr . Day parade with his 5-year-old niece, Rickia Isaac , when she was killed by a stray bullet to her forehead. Every year since, Starling has held a news conference before New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, imploring revelers to celebrate with fireworks — not gunfire. “He never stops,” says Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall , a Miami-Dade School Board member. But, she says, “It’s almost as if nobody’s listening.” Bendross-Mindingall, Sterling, and others gathered at a news conference to drive home a fundamental law of physics to their audience: “What goes up will always go down,” says Miami Gardens Police Maj. Robin Starks . “It takes 21 years of begging and pleading,” said Starling. “I have to continue to bury them.” —‘MERICA — “ Disney World to livestream Fourth of July fireworks show ” via Ashley Carter of Bay News 9 — Disney World will livestream “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” from the Magic Kingdom … The patriotic-themed show includes music and colorful displays on Cinderella Castle. The broadcast begins at 9:10 p.m. ET. The stream will be included in a new post on the Disney Parks Blog minutes before the fireworks begin. Watch this video dedicated to the 4th of July and produced by the Majority Office of the Florida House: “ Poll: On the 4th, what symbolizes the best (and worst) of America? It depends whom you ask ” via Susan Page and Merdie Nganza of USA TODAY — A new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll about patriotism finds an overwhelming majority of those surveyed say they are proud to be Americans. But they split almost down the middle, 42 percent to 39 percent, when asked whether they are proud of America right now. This year, a holiday that is designed as a moment of national unity also underscores the country’s deep divisions and the broad dissatisfaction with its government. A long-term trend toward partisanship and the superheated presidency of Trump have sharpened a debate over what defines America and what it means to be patriotic. In the survey, most say they are proud to be Americans, although Republicans feel that way more strongly (90 percent) than Democrats (61 percent). There is no consensus when asked about the country’s current course, though: 71 percent of Republicans but just 22 percent of Democrats said they are proud of America right now. “ Misunderstood ‘patriotic’ songs for the Fourth of July ” via Maeve McDermott of USA Today — “Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen : Perhaps the most famous song to be widely mistaken for a patriotic anthem, Springsteen’s famous 1984 single has been used by political candidates from Presidents Reagan to Trump . Yet, listen past the song’s booming chorus, and its lyrics tell the story of a young American kid sent against his will to fight in Vietnam, only to return home to a country arguably as hostile. “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival: The song has been similarly treated as a patriotic working-class anthem, but listen past its star-spangled opening lines — “Some folks are born made to wave the flag / Ooh, they’re red, white and blue” — for John Fogerty ‘s anti-establishment storytelling about how the poor were sent to fight and die in Vietnam while the wealthy were spared. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie: It wasn’t intended as such when the singer-songwriter, irritated by radio stations playing Irving Berlin ’s “God Bless America” on a constant loop, wrote the song in 1940. “ Feeling unpatriotic about this year’s dumb midweek Independence Day? Spain has a long-weekend solution: The puente. ” via Rachelle Hampton of Slate — The puente — or bridge — weekend is a beloved Spanish tradition that entails canceling work or school on the day between a holiday and a weekend. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the preceding Monday or following Friday are absorbed into a long puente weekend. Spanish puente weekends are officially condoned and don’t require workers to take any of their paid time off. Other European countries have their own versions of the puente, including the French faire le pont (making a bridge) and the German Brückentag (bridge day). And while most bridge weekends are a result of holidays falling on a Tuesday or Thursday, it’s easy to imagine a supersized U.S. model that wouldn’t require workers to show up in the fits and starts we’ll be experiencing this week — especially for a holiday that is as ostensibly important to our government as Independence Day. Puente. It should become the new American way. “ The case for a Fourth of July Seder ” via Alan Burdick and Eliza Byard of The New Yorker — Independence Day should be restful, yes, but it could also be more purposeful. What the Fourth of July needs, we think, is a Seder. For those unacquainted with it, the Seder is the meal served at the beginning of Passover, the Jewish holiday that recalls and celebrates the flight of the Israelites from bondage in ancient Egypt. It is a ceremony replete with symbolic foods (bitter herbs, invoking the bitterness of slavery; matzo, the bread of affliction) and ritual acts (hand-washing, blessings over wine). It’s also an adaptable holiday, responsive to its audiences through the ages and to changing historical tides. What would a good Fourth of July Seder look like? One core ritual, easily carried out in ten minutes, should be to read the Declaration of Independence out loud. It’s a declaration; let’s declare it. And one more thing: a proper Seder requires that you invite a stranger to your celebration, someone who is wandering alone in the desert, beyond the borders of your community. That shouldn’t be hard to find. “ The Statue of Liberty ” via Miss Cellania of Neatorama.com — The story of the statue begins with the American Civil War. When fighting broke out in 1861, the rest of the world watched with rapt attention: Could the grand experiment in democracy survive? The United States had been an inspiration to the French, who were locked in a cycle of extremism, swinging between bloody democratic revolutions and imperial autocracy. When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865, the French were crushed. More than 40,000 grieving citizens contributed to a fund to award Lincoln’s widow a gold medal … It was in this climate, in the summer of 1865, that a group of prominent Frenchmen were discussing politics at a dinner party given by Edouard René de Laboulaye , a prominent historian and law professor … He proposed that France give America a monument to liberty and independence in honor of her upcoming centennial. After all, tens of thousands of Frenchmen had just contributed to a medal for Mary Todd Lincoln-how much harder could it be to pony up for a statue? Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi , an up-and-coming sculptor … wanted his monument to be just as inspiring, and his sketches leaned on the popular imagery of the time-broken chains, upheld torches, crowns meant to represent the rising sun … Bartholdi didn’t want “Liberty Enlightening the World” to be just a tribute to American freedom. The statue had to send a pointed message to France that democracy works. It didn’t take long for Bartholdi to perfect his vision for the sculpture. Getting the statue actually built, however, was another matter … Given the statue’s message, backing from the French government seemed unlikely … Laboulaye had an idea: What if he and Bartholdi pitched the project as a joint venture between the two countries? As a show of their shared friendship, France could provide the statue and America the pedestal … Bartholdi’s workmen started by creating a 4-foot model. Then they doubled the size. Then they quadrupled it to create a 38-foot-tall plaster model. The workmen then broke down the structure into 300 sections, taking each piece and enlarging it to precisely four times its size. The result? A full-scale model of the final statue — in pieces! On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was finally ready. New York held its first-ever ticker tape parade for her unveiling. And while hundreds of thousands cheered from Manhattan, only 2,000 people were on the island when she was finally opened to the public — a “tidy, quiet crowd,” an officer on duty told The New York Times. — OPINION — “ Uncle Luke: Philip Levine should be Florida’s next Governor ” via Luther Campbell for the Miami New Times — Levine is going to be the next governor of Florida. And the Democratic Party is running scared because Levine doesn’t need the liberal money machine to win. That’s why I am endorsing him. The good ol’ boys of the Republican Party don’t want to face Levine, either. He will knock out Putnam or DeSantis , two Trump wannabes who don’t have the charisma to win the governor’s race. That’s because Levine has the guts to bet on himself. From his own pocket, he’s contributed about one-third of the $8.7 million raised by All About Florida, the political action committee paying for his TV ads across the state. Levine has used his media advantage to take on Florida’s most dangerous special interest group, the National Rifle Association, and position himself as the most progressive leader on the ballot. When politicians have to count on other people’s money to get elected, they are beholden to special interests … Once he takes control of the state capitol, Levine is going to outsmart and outplay all the racist North Florida crackers who have kept us down for so long. “ Blake Dowling: Happy Fourth of July ” via Florida Politics — Our nation and our state are both the greatest in the land. We have so many to thank for this, our armed forces, first responders, law-abiding citizens that vote, the media, government employees, athletes, the business community, even rock-n-rollers and anyone involved in The Process. But before we can thank the citizens, and today’s leaders, we must look to where it all began. Let us look to the past, as it took a lot of guts, courage (and a little luck) for us to become the best nation on earth. Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in the days before July 4, 1776. The full Congress debated and changed the document on July 2 and July 3. On July 4, the wording was ratified and ready to roll. However, the final copy of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially finalized until two weeks later; it wasn’t signed until Aug. 2. Although the anniversary was celebrated each year, did you know that the Fourth of July did not become an official holiday until 1941? Be safe as you head out to celebrate our Independence Day and enjoy all the freedoms that our great nation has to offer thanks to the courage and sacrifice of so many. “ Joe Henderson: This wonderful place called America belongs to all of us ” via Florida Politics — It’s perfectly fine for everyone to bask in a love-of-country glow on the Fourth because — and this important — no group or individual has a copyright on patriotism. I think some folks forget that. Conservatives generally claimed exclusivity on patriotism a long time ago, and unfortunately, liberals and even moderates let them do it. So, that’s how we get all this rubbish about how only ultrapatriotic conservatives can represent the “true” America. That just ain’t so. Actually, this kind of robust division could be just what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Ultimately, we are governed by laws that stipulate what can or can’t be done, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some rootin’ tootin’ arguments about what those laws should be. I wish we looked at each other that way more often because those values can bring us together more than the forces of division can tear us apart. So light up the grill. Put on the burgers and hot dogs. Scoop the potato salad. Or don’t. Classic column — “ All fired up for the Fourth “ via Dave Barry — This year, why not hold an old-fashioned Fourth of July Picnic? Food poisoning is one good reason. After a few hours in the sun, ordinary potato salad can develop bacteria the size of raccoons. But don’t let the threat of agonizingly painful death prevent you from celebrating the birth of our nation, just as Americans have been doing ever since that historic first July Fourth when our Founding Fathers — George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Bob Dole and Tony Bennett — landed on Plymouth Rock. Step one in planning your picnic is to decide on a menu. Martha Stewart has loads of innovative suggestions for unique, imaginative and tasty summer meals. So you can forget about her. “If Martha Stewart comes anywhere near my picnic, she’s risking a barbecue fork to the eyeball” should be your patriotic motto. Because you’re having a traditional Fourth of July picnic, and that means a menu of hot dogs charred into cylinders of industrial-grade carbon, and hamburgers so undercooked that when people try to eat them, they leap off the plate and frolic on the lawn like otters. Dad should be in charge of the cooking, because only Dad, being a male of the masculine gender, has the mechanical “know-how” to operate a piece of technology as complex as a barbecue grill. To be truly traditional, the grill should be constructed of the following materials: 4 percent “rust-resistant” steel; 58 percent rust; 23 percent hardened black grill scunge from food cooked as far back as 1987 (the scunge should never be scraped off, because it is what is actually holding the grill together); 15 percent spiders … After the traditional visit to the hospital emergency room, it’s time to gather ’round and watch Uncle Bill set off the fireworks that he purchased from a roadside stand operated by people who spend way more on tattoos than dental hygiene. — MOVEMENTS — Spotted: Former U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire on Fox Business – He was commenting on an ongoing ethics investigation into U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt . Altmire also brought up Attorney General Pam Bondi being heckled by protesters at a Tampa showing of a Mr. Rogers documentary. “When you move politics in that direction, when it becomes so ugly, that really turns off the independent voters and the swing voters that the Democrats are going to need to retake the House,” Altmire said. The Keystone State native, known as a centrist Democrat, represented western Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District. He has since written a book, “Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do about It.” Watch by clicking here . New and renewed lobbying registrations : Allyce Heflin , Southern Strategy Group: Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, Florida State College at Jacksonville Foundation Lawrence Gonzalez , Law Office of Lawrence A. Gonzalez: Electrolysis Society of Florida Danny Jordan , Samuel Verghese , Don Yaeger , Jeanette Yaeger , One Eighty Consulting: HVJT Consulting on behalf of Dell Technologies Paul Mitchell , Monte Stevens, Southern Strategy Group: CertiPay PEO Solutions Jenna Paladino , Paladino Public Affairs: IMCS Group — ALOE — “ AAA: July 4th holiday will inspire record travel ” via Jim Abbott of DailyCommercial.com — A record-breaking number of Americans, roughly 46 million, will travel for the upcoming July 4th holiday … running from Tuesday through Sunday, July 3-8. In Florida, nearly 2.4 million residents will travel during the holiday weekend, according to AAA. That’s a 6.3 percent increase over the 2017 holiday and represents nearly 142,000 more travelers than last year. On the highways, nearly 2.1 million Floridians will take a road trip, an increase of 121,000 over the same period in 2017, which equals a 6.2 percent jump. By air, AAA estimates that 184,000 Floridians will fly to a destination, a 7.7 percent increase that represents 13,000 more air travelers than last year. Also in Florida, nearly 137,000 Floridians will travel by train, bus, or cruise ship, a 6 percent increase that’s a growth of roughly 8,000 more passengers over last year. Consumers to spend a little less on food for Fourth of July this year due to it falling on Wednesday — The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) expects total spending nationally of $6.9 billion is still the second-highest on record and per person expenditure of $75.35 is a record … $6.9 billion on food for cookouts and picnics, down slightly from last year’s record of $7.1 billion as fewer people say they will turn out for the Wednesday holiday … over 216 million Americans (87 percent) plan to observe Independence Day, down slightly from last year’s 219 million (88 percent). Nearly 153 million (62 percent) are planning a cookout or picnic, spending an average of $75.35 per person, a record topping last year’s $73.42. Other Independence Day celebrations include fireworks or a community celebration (106 million) and attending a parade (30 million). Fourth of July is also a favorite time for traveling with 31 million planning to head out of town. That’s down from last year’s 33 million, and 25 percent said higher gas prices would affect their plans, but the decline in travel could also be related to the timing of the holiday. “ Eight American sparkling wines for a festive Fourth of July ” via Megan Krigbaum of Bloomberg – Winemakers in the past few years have embraced a style of sparkling wine called pétillant naturel (pet-nat), in which wines finish in the bottle, without the usual addition of yeast and sugar for a second fermentation. A much quicker and cost-efficient process, it’s allowed smaller producers to gain a toehold in the sparkling wine market, too. Since there’s never been a better moment to drink some fizz from the States, here are eight quality bottles to pop off your Fourth of July: 2017 Bonny Doon La Bulle Moose de Cigare;2017 Broc Cellars Chenin Blanc Pétillant; 2017 Birichino Pétulant Naturel Malvasia Bianca; NV Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay; 2013 Onabay Vineyards Blanc de Blanc; 2015 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs; 2013 Under the Wire Alder Springs Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé; 2013 Soter Mineral Springs Brut Rosé. “ Independence Days from across the multiverse ” via Katharine Trendacosta of i09.gizmodo.com — Where there’s society, there’s a foundation story. And where there’s government, there’s a holiday to instill patriotism and pride. So here are the ways fiction has commemorated independence from an oppressor, the end of a Civil War, or just the day certain documents were signed and the current government came into existence: First Contact Day, Star Trek … First Contact Day is (will be? Stupid time travel.) April 5, 2063. On that day, Zefram Cochrane pilots Earth’s first warp-capable ship, drawing the attention of a Vulcan ship. Colonial Day, Battlestar Galactica … OK, so this one is a celebration of the conclusion of what were surely long diplomatic talks. Empire Day and Republic Day, Star Wars … What the galaxy far, far away lacks in creative naming, it makes up for in quantity. If you are Empirically inclined, there’s Empire Day. If you’re a fan of the Republic, there’s Republic Day. Unification Day, Firefly … The Unification Day marks the day the Alliance defeated the Browncoats in the Unification War. Freedom Day, Futurama … Now, it’s never explicitly stated that Freedom Day marks some sort of founding, but it’s pretty heavily based on the Fourth of July, is celebrated by/on Earth, and is particularly celebrated in the Earth’s capital of Washington D.C. Honorable Mentions … Creator’s Day, Discworld … Skynet Becomes Self-Aware, Terminator. Happy birthday to our friend, James Kotas , of Darden.

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