Today, I give thanks to readers — the funny ones, the passionate ones and even the ones who think I'm a "biased bonehead."
Among the topics that have worked up readers lately: revelations that your very own state legislators have been funding and fighting fair districts and the barbershop sweeps that resulted in 35 misdemeanor arrests of "barbering without a license."
Scott, Thanks for your investigative report on the fair-districting amendments. No wonder voters have disdain for politicians. I hope this shifty bunch read your article and realize they are not fooling anyone. — B. Gaudet
Oh they know, B. It's just that most of them sit in gerrymandered districts that are so safe they don't care what you think.
Scott, your piece on "Follow the Money" was absolutely brilliant! Glad the Sentinel still has teeth. — Beth S.
Thanks, Beth. We may have had a few molars extracted, but our incisors are still working fine.
You liberal, biased boneheads just don't get it. There is a reason your liberal rag of a newspaper's endorsements … aren't worth the dead trees used in producing the paper you write your diatribe on. The American people do not want your socialist government! — Arlene and Jo
Heck yeah, Arlene and Jo! And nowhere did my paper better display its liberal, biased bone-headedness than with its endorsements of Marco Rubio, Dan Webster, Dean Cannon, John Mica, John Thrasher, Teresa Jacobs and on and on and on.
Nice article — except that it makes no sense. — Andy
Sheesh, Andy. I was feeling so good about myself after those first two words.
Mr. Maxwell, Thank you for not letting the embarrassing raids of barbershops by the OCSO just go silently in to the night. I use the word "embarrassing" because that is exactly what it is to me and many of my co-workers. As a veteran law enforcement officer … I never thought I would see the day an agency like OCSO would enforce barbershop licensing issues." — B.M.
I agreed with your entire column except one paragraph. The unlicensed barbers did not violate a "bureaucratic policy", they violated state law. Barbering is just one of many professions the state of Florida regulates. — Bill B.
You're right, Bill, that businesses need to be licensed and regulated. And we have state departments that are supposed to do precisely that. I think it was the criminalizing — and jailing — that rankled many people. I just can't remember the last time I heard of a Realtor (or lawyer, accountant, beautician, etc.) going to jail for not having a license … certainly not as part of an organized sweep.
The whole thing looked more like a fishing expedition — a warrantless entry for the stuff they were really after … but they couldn't really say that." — Bill D.
You know, Bill, reader Jeff said the incident reminded him of Deputy Barney Fife raiding Floyd's barbershop … and coming up with a grand total of two cases of moonshine.
I am curious as to whether you consider yourself an objectionable reporter … you stink at objectivity and should quit your job. — Michael B.
Actually, Mike, several readers think I have objectionable down pat.
In your piece on "Deep-pocketed outsiders," why did you forget to include the UNIONS? — Tony P, The Villages
Tony, I know the Villages are located outside of Orlando. But they're not actually on another planet, are they? I did mention the unions. In fact, I specifically highlighted the teachers union as the top example of "spending by liberal groups." Normally, I'd forgive you for missing it. But the item you're griping about was only four sentences long — and that was one of them. So I'm afraid I have to ticket you for "ranting without reading." It's not as serious as improper barbering … but it's a lot more prevalent.
If you don't have anywhere to be this Thanksgiving, please call us, and we'll pick you up. We'd love to have you. — Lou and Linda
I sure appreciate the offer, guys. But I would've felt weird loosening my belt to comfortably enjoy post-turkey football with anyone other than family.
Scott Maxwell welcomes your rants, holiday invite and thoughts (objectionable or otherwise) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6141.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun