We'll get to our regular Friday Files, including items on conspiracy theories, unpopular politicians and a death-penalty debate.
But first I wanted to tell you about something that has been making me happy lately.
That's right, big ol' stinky, garbage-stuffed dumpsters.
Why? Because the folks in the business district around Mills Avenue and State Road 50 ("Mills 50" as the hipsters call it) have invited artists to decorate dumpsters, with the city's permission.
And they are sprouting like flowers.
In fact, that's what some have on them: flowers. Along with painted skylines, mountain ranges, patriotic colors, fruit, 3-D shapes — you name it.
What a great idea. Local artists get a public showcase. Eyesores get spruced up.
Giant containers of filth have never made me so happy.
Now on to other stuff ...
•Poll call! The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Democrat Charlie Crist with a 45-40 lead over Republican Rick Scott. But the bigger news is that voters don't really like either of these guys. (More people have "unfavorable" opinions of both men.) So, yeah, Crist is ahead. But it's a bit like winning a date with a woman who, when asked to choose between you and your buddy, opted for "the less ugly one."
•Still ... Crist can feel good about leading, considering Scott has spent approximately 4 gazillion dollars on the campaign. Another guy who should feel good: Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who crept up to 9 percent in the poll.
•Rick's Buddy. Speaking of Rick Scott, he seems to have an unlikely supporter in Democratic Mayor Buddy Dyer. At a Tuesday press event, Dyer couldn't praise Scott enough, telling the crowd that Scott hasn't just yapped about jobs, "he has, in fact, created them" and comes around "once a week or so to create new jobs." Scott couldn't have scripted a better campaign ad. (On a completely unrelated note, Crist dashed Dyer's dreams of becoming attorney general back in 2002.)
•Science Center support? The Dyer-Scott bromance budded at the Orlando Science Center, where both men touted science-and-technology education and jobs. It's nice that politicians want to use the science center for photo ops. But we'll see whether any of them actually helps center update its exhibits. So far, the center's funding requests have gone unanswered. Come on, guys (and county folks, too). If you want to tout science, put your money where your press conferences are.
•Poll call, part 2! Barack Obama continues to have lackluster approval ratings, too — around 42 percent. Unimpressive. Still, it looks a bit more impressive when you consider that the Rasmussen polling group found that 23 percent of voters don't believe Obama is really an American citizen. Seriously. The Rasmussen poll was studying conspiracy theories and found that 14 percent of Americans also believe the moon landing was faked. The survey concluded that men are more likely than women to believe conspiracies and that people who constantly forward bogus ALL-CAPS EMAILS DEMANDING THAT YOU FORWARD THEM, TOO should be quarantined from the rest of decent society. (OK, that last part was just my suggestion.)
Wednesday's paper revealed that an impressive group of justice seekers — including four former state attorneys general — are calling for a new trial in the death-penalty case of Clemente Javier "Shorty" Aguirre. The former prosecutors say new DNA evidence suggests the court got it wrong.
We'll see what happens. But one thing that should already trouble everyone is that Aguirre was sentenced to die on split verdicts — one of which was 7-5.
Think about that. I wouldn't feel confident making a decision on what kind of pizza to order if my dinner guests were split 7-5. Yet this state will end people's lives on it.
The key point: Florida is the only state in America that doesn't require a unanimous jury verdict to execute someone.
That must change. If you agree, tell your legislator. (Phone numbers and emails for all reps can be found at leg.state.fl.us)
Last session, Republican State Sen. Thad Altman filed a bill to require unanimous verdicts. But his legislative peers ignored it.
Talk about dumpster-worthy behavior.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6141407-420-6141Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun