Category Archives: Florida

The First Family Visits the Gulf Coast

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by: Nikki Sutton

President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug.14, 2010. The President traveled to Panama City Beach with First Lady Michelle Obama and Sasha to meet with local business owners and officials and to encourage Americans to travel to the Gulf Coast beaches. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family traveled to Florida’s Gulf Coast today to spend the weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida. The President and First Lady joined area small business owners and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for a roundtable discussion of the recovery.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hold a round table discussion with business owners, officials, Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at the United States Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla, Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following the roundtable discussion, the President spoke about his sustained commitment to the Gulf.  The President was clear that though the well has been capped and the oil is no longer spilling from the ocean floor, there is still work to be done:

Well, today the well is capped.  Oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf.  It has not been flowing for a month.  And I’m here to tell you that our job is not finished and we are not going anywhere until it is.  That’s the message that I wanted to come here and deliver directly to the people along the Gulf Coast — because it’s the men and women of this region who have felt the burden of this disaster.  They watched with anger and dismay as their livelihoods and their way of life was threatened these past few months.  And that’s why I made a commitment in my visits here that I was going to stand with you not just until the well was closed, not just until the oil was cleaned up, but until you had fully recovered from the damage that’s been done.  And that is a commitment that my administration is going to keep.

President Obama also spoke about Gulf Coast seafood safety:

Next we’re going to continue testing fisheries and we’ll be reopening more areas for fishing as tests show that the waters are safe.  Already, more than 26,000 square miles were reopened at the end of July, and another 5,000 were reopened earlier this week.  I know this takes some time, and it’s been incredibly hard on the people who earn their living on the water.  Carolyn’s boats, for example, have had to find different areas to fish that are further away and require more fuel, so she’s been having to make some decisions, maybe I don’t send out my boat this time out.  But their livelihoods, not to mention the health of the people across this country, obviously depends on making sure that folks can trust the seafood coming from the Gulf, trust that it’s safe, as it always has been.

Finally, President Obama stressed the importance of standing together with the people of the region and encouraged Americans from across the country to come down and enjoy the Gulf:

So, with the closure of the well we mark an important milestone.  But this is not the end of the journey.  And in completing the work ahead I’m reminded of what I heard when I was in Louisiana back in June.  I spent time with folks on Grand Isle, meeting with fishermen and small business owners, and the town’s mayor, David Camardelle.  And he told me what his friends and neighbors were going through.  He talked about how hard things had been.  But he also explained the way folks rallied to support one another, and said, the people in this community may not have a lot of money, but that didn’t matter.  “We help each other,” he said.  “That’s what we do.”

That’s what folks do for one another in the Gulf.  That’s what the Coast Guard has been doing for folks in need.  That’s what we do as Americans.  And my job is to make sure that we live up to this responsibility, that we keep up our efforts until the environment is clean, polluters are held accountable, businesses and communities are made whole, and the people of the Gulf Coast are back on their feet.

So to the men and women of the Coast Guard, thank you again for your extraordinary service.  To the people here in the Gulf, we are going to be standing by your side.  And to Americans all across the country, come on down and visit.

President Barack Obama, flanked by First Lady Michelle Obama and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, makes a statement to the press on Gulf Coast recovery plans, Panama City, Fla., Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


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First Lady Michelle Obama Visits the Gulf

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Trooper Sanders

This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill,” Mrs. Obama said, “And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady at Panama City Beach
Remarks by the First Lady during a Briefing by Officials and Local Leaders in Panama City Beach, Florida

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Extremist Group Demands Governors Resign

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~A domestic extremist group has sent letters to more than 30 U.S. governors demanding they resign, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI said in an intelligence note.

The note, dated Monday, said the letters told the governors to vacate their posts within three days.

The FBI and DHS said there do not appear to be credible or immediate threats of violence attached to the letters.

The group behind the letters has a “Restore America Plan” that calls for the removal of any governor who fails to comply, the intelligence note said.

While DHS has no information that the removal refers to a specific plan for violence, “law enforcement should be aware that this could be interpreted as a justification for violence or other criminal actions,” the note said.

Other steps in the group’s plan include “establishing bogus courts, calling of ‘de jure’ grand juries, and issuing so-called ‘legal orders’ to gain control of the state,” the note said.

States that have acknowledged receiving the letters include Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Arkansas, Maine, Colorado, Rhode Island, Michigan, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and Nevada.

Officials in Pennsylvania and Illinois did not say whether they had received a letter. Officials in Maryland and Idaho said the governors’ offices there did not receive such a letter.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons received one letter Monday and three more Wednesday, including one by fax, said his chief of staff, Robin Reedy. The group behind the letters does not believe there should be a federal government, Reedy said.

The letters were not handwritten but did have some handwritten signatures, Reedy said Thursday.

The office had been warned in advance to be on the lookout for the letter, she said.

Gibbons’ office stepped up security at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City after receiving the letters.

Everyone had to enter through one entrance, and an X-ray machine and metal detector were brought in.

Boulders were placed in front of the Capitol so vehicles could not drive close to the building.

The governor hadn’t seen the letters because he had been in Las Vegas for a few days, Reedy said.

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States To Sue Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~Several states plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform bill, Florida’s attorney general announced this week.

Bill McCollum, the Republican attorney general up for reelection under fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, told a news conference that the lawsuit would be filed once President Obama signs the health care bill into law. He said he’ll be joined by his counterparts in Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

All of the attorneys general in the states mentioned by McCollum are Republican, but McCollum said the lawsuit would be about the law and not politics.

On Monday, Virginia’s Republican attorney general said his state would file a lawsuit challenging the health care bill. It was unclear if Virginia would join the other states or proceed on its own.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Sunday night, and President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

McCollum said the lawsuit would challenge the bill’s provision requiring people to purchase health insurance, along with provisions that will force state government to spend more on health care services.

“This is a tax or a penalty on just living, and that’s unconstitutional,” he said of the mandate to purchase health coverage. “There’s no provision in the Constitution of the United States giving Congress the power to do that.”

McCollum also said that portions of the bill would force states to spend money they don’t have, which he called a violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.*

“There’s no way we can do what’s required in this bill and still provide for education, for foster care, for the incarceration of prisoners, all the other things that are in this bill,” he said.

McCollum said he expected the lawsuit to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Later Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration expected to win any lawsuits filed against the health care bill.

*The Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, restates the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people. However, there are clauses in which the federal government have intervened on behalf of the states.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Charlie Crist R-FL, Congress, Courts, Democrats, Florida, Health Care Reform, Law, Pennsylvania, Politics, Republicans, Senate, South Carolina, Supreme Court, Texas, United States, Virginia, Washington

Florida – The Next GOP Bloodbath? aka “2012 the prequel”

posted by GeoT

“The candidate who purports to speak for populist rage in fact turns out to be the candidate of a national political leadership.”

frum1by David Frum (CNN) — The Republican fratricide in the Nov. 3 special election in upstate New York may prove just an opening round of an even more spectacular bloodbath in Florida in 2010.

In New York, Republican feuding lost the party a seat in the House of Representatives. At stake in Florida is not only a senatorship — but very possibly Republican hopes for 2012 as well.
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The battle in Florida pits Gov. Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. Both men claim to be conservative, pro-life, tax cutters. On the issues, they would seem to agree far more than they disagree.

But on one issue they have disagreed passionately: President Obama’s fiscal stimulus. Squeezed by his state’s desperate fiscal condition, Crist endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus. Inspired by his conservative ideology, Rubio opposed stimulus.

Now Rubio is the darling of conservatives nationwide. Just this week it was announced that he would keynote next year’s annual CPAC conference in Washington. He has been profiled on the cover of National Review, endorsed by the Club for Growth, and feted by radio talk show hosts.

Marco Rubio has fiercely denounced Crist’s support for the Obama stimulus. His campaign ads show images of Crist and Obama side by side and damn the stimulus as “trillions in reckless spending” and a “terrible threat to a fragile economy.”

Rubio’s message of uncompromising, unremitting opposition to President Obama has won him an enthusiastic following among conservatives nationwide.

But here’s the most important unasked question raised by the enthusiasm for Rubio among Washington conservatives: What alternative policy should have been adopted back in the spring, when interest rates had been cut to almost zero and the economy was still collapsing? Are vague bromides about big government anything like an adequate response to the worst economic crisis experienced by any American under age 80?

If all we conservatives have to offer is oppositionism, then opposition is the job we’ll be assigned to fill.

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Note: David Frum, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was a special assistant to President George W. Bush in 2001-2002. He is the author of six books, including “Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again,” and the editor of FrumForum.com

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Filed under 2012, 2012 Elections, Charlie Crist R-FL, CNN, David Frum, Elections, Florida, Politics, Stimulus, Uncategorized

Tampa Police: Marine Reservist Attacked Greek Priest He Mistook for a Terrorist

Posted by Audiegrl

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

St. Petersburg Times/Jamal Thalji—A Marine reservist armed with a tire iron beat and chased a man he thought was an Arab terrorist and even called 911 to say he was detaining the man, police said.

But the man he assaulted was actually a Greek Orthodox priest visiting from overseas who spoke limited English, police said.

That’s why police arrested reservist Jasen D. Bruce on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Police said they’re also investigating whether Bruce, 28, committed a hate crime.

The incident took place around 6:35 p.m. Monday, police said. The priest, Alexios Marakis, 29, is from Crete, Greece. He is visiting St. Nicholas Greek Cathedral at 17 E Tarpon Ave. but police said he was in the Westshore area to bless another retired Greek priest.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

But Marakis apparently got lost and exited northbound Interstate 275 into downtown Tampa, police said.

The priest followed several cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments on Twiggs Street. He got out of his car and asked Bruce for help.

Instead of offering help, Bruce struck the priest on the head with a tire iron, police said.

He then chased the priest for three blocks to the Madison Avenue and Meridian Avenue, police said, and even called 911 to say that an Arabic man tried to rob him.

Bruce said he was going to take the Arab into custody. When police arrived, Bruce told them the victim was a terrorist.

The priest was taken to Tampa General Hospital. There, a translator helped Marakis speak to police.

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The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten.

The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten

SunCoastNews/Josh Poltilove—In a 911 call, Bruce made a derogatory comment about a man he said was a terrorist and was trying to rob him and had grabbed him in a sexual manner, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

When officers arrived, police say, Bruce told them he heard the man say “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.”

That’s what they say before they blow you up,” Bruce said, according to police.

But at a news conference today, Bruce’s attorney said his client didn’t understand what Marakis said.

Lance Cpl. Bruce defended himself with the full legality of the law for being sexually attacked and potentially robbed,” lawyer Jeffrey Brown said.

Bruce, 28, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was released on $7,500 bail.

McElroy said Bruce “teared up when we told him that (Marakis) was a Greek Orthodox priest and not a terrorist.”

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Marakis, 29, was treated at Tampa General Hospital and released. He told investigators he’s visiting St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs.

Marakis declined to comment today, saying he does not speak much English. The Rev. Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas said Marakis is doing well.

Before deciding whether the incident qualifies as a hate crime, police will determine whether Bruce’s motive was based on a belief that Marakis was Arabic.

The Marines Reserve will wait for the investigation to conclude before taking any action, an official said.

In 2007, Bruce was accused of pushing a tow truck driver in the back and chest when his Jaguar was about to be towed, records show. Bruce told police the truck driver had grabbed him to stop him getting in his car.

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Filed under Christianity, Florida, Greece, Hate Crimes, Islam/Muslim, Military, Police, Religion, Reserve, Tampa, FL, Uncategorized, Violence