Flooding Could Wipe Out 25 Percent of Critical Infrastructure: Report

About 25% of critical infrastructure in the U.S., or 36,000 facilities, is at serious risk of being rendered inoperable as a result of flooding over the next three decades, according to an industry report released Monday.

American infrastructure such as police stations, airports, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, churches and schools were all considered in the analysis, according to First Street Foundation, the group that published the first-of-its-kind report. The U.S. is “ill-prepared” for a scenario where major flooding events become more commonplace, the report concluded.

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Commentary: The Left Can Finally Admit What It Wants

I remember a staggering conversation with my high school lunch table in the early 2000s. Everyone agreed with one kid’s statement that there was nothing special about living in America: Life in Canada, or anywhere else, would be identical except for maybe the weather.

At the time, I wondered what was going to happen to America when all these kids grew up. What happens when America’s young adults, far from having any intellectual commitment to freedom, don’t even understand what life would be like without it?

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DeSantis Dismisses Talk of 2024 Presidential Bid, but Continues to Campaign Across the Country

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to dismiss the chatter about a run for high office in 2024.

“I just do my job and we work hard,” the governor said in a recent in-state press event. “I hear all this stuff,nand honestly it’s nonsense.”

He also said “speculation” to the contrary is “purely manufactured.”

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States Banning Mask Mandates Could Face Civil Rights Probes, on Biden’s Directive

President Biden is ratcheting up opposition to Republican governors blocking COVID mask mandates in schools, putting in charge the Education Department, which is raising the possibility of using its civil rights arm to oppose such policies.

Biden on Wednesday ordered Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to “assess all available tools” that can be used against states that fail to protect students amid surging coronavirus cases.

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Commentary: A January 6 Detainee Speaks Out

Joe Biden’s Justice Department notched another victory last week in the agency’s sprawling investigation into the January 6 protest on Capitol Hill against Biden’s presidency.

On Wednesday, Michael Curzio pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol building. The government offered the plea deal to Curzio’s court-appointed attorney in June; Curzio faced four misdemeanor charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct, for his role in the Capitol breach.

Curzio will pay the government “restitution” in the amount of $500 to help pay for the nearly $1.5 million in damages the building reportedly sustained. (The Architect of the Capitol initially said the protest caused $30 million in damages but prosecutors have set the figure far lower.)

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Commentary: Florida Woman Received a $100,000 Fine for Parking on Her Own Property

Car Tire In Driveway

There’s nothing worse than when you’re having a bad day and come back to your car to find a parking ticket on your windshield. Except, maybe, if that ticket was for $100,000, and you got it for parking on your own property.

That’s what happened to Sandy Martinez, a resident of Lantana, Florida. Teaming up with attorneys at the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice (IJ), she is suing the town over a parking violation fine assigned to her that totaled more than $100,000.

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Another Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden’s Debt Relief Program Exclusively for Farmers of Color

Silhouette of man on a tractor during golden hour

A federal judge in Florida temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s $4 billion debt relief program exclusively for farmers of color, saying in a Wednesday order that the program was racially discriminatory.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sided with Scott Wynn, a Florida-based white farmer who sued to block the program in May. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) program was originally passed in March as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with the intention of providing relief to “socially disadvantaged farmers.”

“Section 1005’s rigid, categorical, race-based qualification for relief is the antithesis of flexibility,” Howard wrote. “The debt relief provision applies strictly on racial grounds irrespective of any other factor.”

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Just 14 States Had Positive Job Growth in May

Just 14 states saw positive employment growth between April and May while the majority of the growth was concentrated in a handful of states, according to the Department of Labor.

Fourteen states led by California, Florida and Texas experienced significant job growth, 35 states experienced stagnant job growth and Wyoming saw a decline in employment last month, according to a Department of Labor report released Wednesday. Overall, the unemployment rates in 21 states decreased between April and May while every state’s employment improved compared to May 2020.

While the U.S. continues to report increased job growth, the report showed that the vast majority of the growth has come from about a dozen states.

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Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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Greg Abbott Says He’ll Suspend Lawmakers’ Pay After Democrats Walk Out on Election Bill

Greg Abbott

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he would veto funding for his state’s legislature after Democrats delayed the passage of an expansive elections bill.

Democrats in the state House quietly left the floor late Sunday with just hours to spare in the legislative session, preventing the bill from coming up for a vote. If signed into law, Senate Bill 7 would enhance voter ID provisions, empower partisan poll watchers and ban ballot drop boxes and drive-thru voting centers, which were used disproportionately in Texas’ biggest counties.

It would also make it easier to overturn an election in the state, allowing courts to throw out the results of an entire election if the amount of illegally cast votes exceeds the margin between two candidates, regardless of which candidate received more fraudulent votes. In 2020, there were just 43 documented cases of voter fraud, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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Florida Bans Biological Men from Competing in Women’s Sports

Women's volleyball game

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning biological males from women’s sports.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act prohibits biological males from participating in athletic teams or sports designated for female students and requires that a student’s school or institution “request a certain health examination and consent form or other statement from the student’s health care provider to verify the student’s biological sex under certain circumstances.”

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will empower Florida women & girls to be able to compete on a level playing field,” DeSantis tweeted Tuesday. “This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come.”

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Florida Concert Promoter: Tickets Are $18 if You’re Vaccinated but $1,000 if You’re Not

Live concert

A concert promoter in Florida is selling $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not, ABC News reports.

Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay is organizing the concert which is set to take place on June 26 at the VFW Post 39 venue in St. Petersburg. It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin, according to the report.

Posters for the punk event feature an image of “Nightmare on Elm Street” killer Freddy Krueger with needles for fingers and the Leadfoot Promotions booking page advises attendees to bring their “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” showing they have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before 6/12/2021.

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DeSantis Signs New School Choice Law, Could Make Florida First in Nation

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an education bill that allows for greater school choice in his state.

The new law, which streamlines Florida school choice scholarship programs and expands eligibility, was touted by DeSantis at a May 11 news conference at Jacksonville Catholic School.

Children in families of four that earn less than $100,000 will be eligible for a fully funded K-12 education at the school of their choice.

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Documents Reveal Twitter Failed to Properly Register in Florida Before Doing Business There

Government documents from Florida show that social media giant Twitter failed to properly file to do business in the state, incurring a fine for transacting business there without the official permission of state officials.

The documents, available on the website of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations, show that in March the department received from Twitter an “application by foreign corporation for authorization to transact business in Florida.”

The application reveals that Twitter “first transacted business in Florida” in June 2015, apparently well before it registered to do business there. A letter sent back to Twitter by the department indicates that the social media company failed to properly register with the state, potentially for many years.

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Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Scrapping All of Florida’s Covid Restrictions

Gov. DeSantis discussing COVID-19 bill.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Wednesday scrapping all COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state and an accompanying bill that limits localities’ ability to enforce emergency precautions.

“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the executive order. “I think folks are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, then you’re really saying you don’t believe in the vaccines.”

DeSantis signed SB 2006, which says that any emergency orders can last no longer than six weeks. It gives him the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions deemed too harsh or unnecessary, and gives city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors.

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Census Bureau Announces Florida Will Gain a Congressional Seat as Michigan and Ohio Each Lose One

Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.

The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count.

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