In today's Friday files, we're talking about everything from delusional politicians to philanthropic G-strings.
But first, I want to give House Speaker Dean Cannon a mild coronary by saying: Dean, you are right.
Not for your continued efforts to use public money to try to overturn the public's vote for Fair Districts, of course. (That's still revolting. And un-American.)
But you are right to push for earlier presidential primaries in Florida.
The current system is a mess. It makes no sense to give states like Iowa and New Hampshire — hardly representative of the country — so much sway in choosing our nation's leaders.
Ideally, we'd have a rotating system where different states go early each cycle. But in the meantime, Florida has as much of a right to go early as anyone. (Heck, we usually decide these things anyway.)
So fight on, Mr. Speaker.
Did you see where the Orange County Convention Center shrunk its "free speech zones"? Protesters must now stand in more confined areas to wave their placards about war, abortion or anything else.
The shrinking is taking place before this week's big GOP event. But make no mistake: This trend of stifling protesters isn't partisan. One of the worst "free speech zones" I ever saw was at the Democratic National Convention in lefty Boston where they literally caged dissenters.
Yes, divided partisans can quickly unite when it comes to regulating their critics.
With funding for AIDS and HIV down, Central Floridians stepped it up at last weekend's Headdress Ball, raising more than $300,000 for the Hope and Help Center. The most unique part of the event at the Orlando Hilton were the donations stuffed into the skimpy outfits of a stage full of hard-body dancers. Attendees "donated" more than $6,000 this way — led by a generous tip from everyone's favorite local philanthropist: 89-year-old Harriett Lake. You go, Harriett.
A number of readers answered the call in Sunday's column to contact lawmakers about Florida's crazy new gag law — the one that tries to ban doctors from freely speaking about guns with their patients. Their message to pols: Stop wasting our money and trying to strip away our rights.
In response, the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said he filed his bill to protect "young mothers who are scared to death that if they admit they have a rifle in their trailer that the Department of Children and Families will come take their baby because their physician is demanding to know if they own a gun."
Wow. That does sound scary.
It also sounds like fiction.
I asked Brodeur if he could cite a single instance — ever — of the state seizing a child because of a physician reporting a legally owned firearm. He could not.
Neither could state officials.
It says a lot about this fringy movement that their best argument is pure fiction.
(And by the way … trailers???)
For more on this one, check out the latest installment of the Malarkey Meter at orlandosentinel.com/takingnames.
A scary mind
Speaking of Brodeur, the freshman legislator also recently went on a rather bizarre rant against the state's tourism industry.
After Florida hoteliers asked online travel agencies like Expedia and Travelocity to pay the same taxes they do, Brodeur went off the deep end, saying he was "disgusted" with this "supposedly pro-business group."
Brodeur then asked if the leaders of the state's key industry if they had "just moved here from some socialist country."
Um, OK. So we have socialist hoteliers and doctors helping the state snatch kids?
Maybe Brodeur's the one living in another country … namely Delusionstan.
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