In a scorching column in the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago brutally called out Florida Gov. Don DeSantis (R) for the latest piece of legislation that he has signed which she called just another step down the path to fascism as he sets himself up for a White House run in 2024.
As the columnist notes, DeSantis has signed a bill he demanded that would, in essence, criminalize protesting in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution.
Santiago notes, "Florida lawmakers have assaulted and trampled the U.S. Constitution during this legislative session like the state hasn't seen since Jim Crow days. Every bill, every strategy was already cooked, party-ready, at the behest of the state's maximum leader, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis," before adding, "DeSantis is, after all, channeling his political mentor, Donald Trump, and following his bombastic, destructive script to reelection next year, and onward, to the White House in 2024, perhaps."
Focusing on the bill, the columnist notes that any Floridian caught up in a protest against DeSantis's polices --or malfeasance by the police -- could quickly find themselves in jail without bail for "rioting."
Writing "DeSantis and his enablers turn the Constitution into a pliable document, chipped away by legislating at the state level in order to win elections, then so be it," the columnist added, "If, in the process, DeSantis quacks like a racist, that's just the price of doing business with the base."
Pointing out that DeSantis "surrounded by more than a dozen white men and women" signed the bill as America awaited the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, Santiago explained that the state can expect to be hauled into court as civil rights attorneys have a field day challenging the law.
"Without an ounce of sensitivity, DeSantis assaults the rights of Floridians to protest, presiding over a major crackdown on free speech, delivered by the acquiescent, overwhelmingly Republican Legislature via the HB 1 bill — their No. 1 priority after more than a year of a pandemic. Coming in a close second: voter suppression," she accused. "Who's going to go to a protest knowing that if a few protesters get violent or more rowdy than police feel like tolerating — and you get caught in the melee — you'll be carted off to jail, charged with a felony and held without bail like a murderer? What low-income minority resident who works — and they're the ones holding down essential jobs tied to a schedule — is going to risk losing a job to stand in hours-long lines when they find themselves without a mail-in ballot?"
"In his quest for absolute power, the Ivy League-educated governor, a lawyer, forgets the law of the land isn't that of his scribes in the Legislature, but the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787. Bring on the civil-rights lawyers," she wrote before concluding. "Florida needs them to show the governor who's boss."
You can read the whole piece here.
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Florida teacher used whistle to disrupt Muslim students' prayers while telling them 'I believe in Jesus!'
On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a charter school teacher in South Florida has been dismissed after she reportedly used a whistle to disrupt the prayers of Muslim students.
"A TikTok video of the incident shows the unidentified teacher entering her office and blowing a whistle upon seeing two students praying," reported Alec Karam.
"I believe in Jesus so I’m interrupting the floor, excuse me," the teacher said. "And why are they in my office? Who told them to come in here?"
Muslims and Christians both worship the same deity, known alternatively in various faiths as Yahweh or Allah. Indeed, Muslims revere Jesus as a holy prophet, one of several who revealed partial revelations before Muhammad, although they do not consider him to be the Son of God.
"Officials of Franklin Academy, the South Florida public charter school where the incident happened, said they launched an investigation into the teacher’s conduct after the 'troubling' video surfaced, ultimately firing her," said the report. In a statement, the school said that “Franklin Academy does not tolerate discriminatory behavior.”
Over the past year, a number of scandals around discriminatory behavior from teachers have emerged from Florida.
In May, a teacher in Duval County Public Schools in the Jacksonville area called a middle school student the N-word and told him "Black people are beneath White people." And in September, an art teacher at Manatee High School in Bradenton was fired after he told a student who didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to "go back" to "Mexico or Guatemala."
'Not going to bend to their will': McCarthy allies refuse to back down to hardliners in GOP 'doomsday scenario'
CNN reports that a potential Republican "doomsday scenario" is emerging in which neither McCarthy's allies or his opponents blinks and more centrist Republican lawmakers team up with centrist Democrats in the House of Representatives to find a candidate both sides can live with.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), a McCarthy ally, warned his hardliner colleagues to not think that he and his likeminded Republicans would be pushovers.
"Our initial plan is vote for Kevin and let him fight this out repeatedly," he told CNN. "But if they think they’re going to use this to infinity to drive him out, well, we’re not going to bend to their will."
Bacon also explicitly threatened to work with Democrats if anti-McCarthy Republicans torpedoed his bid to become House Speaker.
“If a small group refuses to play ball and be part of the team, then we’ll work across the aisle to find an agreeable Republican,” Bacon said. “But I hope we don’t get there.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), however, is ready to call Bacon's bluff.
"Kevin McCarthy won’t have 218 votes," he said. "I think the person who is ultimately going to be the speaker isn’t even the candidate yet.”
Virginia State Delegate Marie March (R) has pre-filed House Bill 1395, a law that would define life as beginning at fertilization.
“Life begins at conception and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States,” the proposed bill states.
The proposed bill would effectively outlaw all abortions in the state and even endanger the use of Plan B (aka. “The morning-after pill”), a medication that prevents fertilized egg cells from attaching to a woman’s uterine wall.
The bill could also effectively criminalize in vitro fertilization, a method of inducing pregnancy that uses fertilized eggs and discards any unused ones.
Even though Republicans control the state’s House of Delegates, it’s unclear if the bill would have any chance of passing the state’s Democratic-led Senate. The legislature won’t reconvene until January 11, 2023.
Virginia currently allows a woman to get an abortion within roughly 26 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed passing a law that would reduce that window to 15 weeks, a period of time in which most women may not even realize they’re pregnant.
In response to March’s bill the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance said in a statement, “In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and despite the vast majority of Virginians who oppose it, Virginia’s anti-abortion elected officials keep proving there are no limits to their extremism and true intentions to ban abortion for all Virginians.”