Commentary

COMMENTARY

Governor DeSantis: Floridians Deserve a Better Safety Net

BY: - May 8, 2020

One month ago, we sent a letter along with 44 partner organizations to Gov.  Ron DeSantis, urging for more action to strengthen our safety net programs to help families survive the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, we haven’t heard anything in response — and while the governor’s office and state departments have taken some steps in the […]

COMMENTARY

It’s time to stop fooling the public: FL kids aren’t learning and they need to catch up, from summer school to a longer school year in 2020-21

BY: - May 4, 2020

There’s a lot of spin in the world of government and politics, and that includes public education. Spin means politicians try to make schools and districts look better than they are, citing accolades in speeches, press releases, reports and statistics that are forever positive. State test exam results, for example, show Florida purposely sets the […]

COMMENTARY

As campaign 2020 shifts into high gear, Trump’s defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press

BY: - May 1, 2020

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak from […]

COMMENTARY

What happened at the treasured Big Cypress National Preserve was “horrendous”

BY: - April 30, 2020

The Big Cypress National Preserve is a soggy wonder — a place that is, as nature writer Jeff Ripple once noted, one of the few left in Florida where you can stand still and hear nothing but the sounds of nature. Forty-six years ago, when the federal government bought the Big Cypress Swamp and created […]

COMMENTARY

Rick Scott, a man of no sympathy for “whiners who lost their little jobs” and try to access FL’s glitch-prone, crash-happy unemployment system

BY: - April 29, 2020

Florida’s junior US senator is quite a guy–as he’d be the first to tell you. He’s worth over $250 million, and you’re not. Rick Scott has no sympathy for these grasping whiners who lost their little jobs in the coronavirus pandemic and now have the gall to expect a government hand-out. Who do they think […]

COMMENTARY

In the wooded silence, a time to rethink: How can we shift our politics away from us vs. them; red vs. blue?

BY: - April 27, 2020

SOMEWHERE ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL — We’d been climbing steadily uphill for 25 minutes, a deceptively arduous mile, with the sweat pooling in the small of my back and my breath coming deep and even against the climb, as I planted one foot ahead of the other on the rocky trail. My daughter was behind […]

COMMENTARY

Some people (such as Ron DeSantis and former Gov. Rick Scott) just have no sense of humor

BY: - April 24, 2020

In Tallahassee when folks talk about The Moon, they are usually referring to a nightclub just about a mile from the state Capitol. No, I’m not suggesting that the state’s politicians are often on another planet…but they are often found inside a large building on Lafayette Street that is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week. […]

COMMENTARY

Lacking proper protective equipment is similar to soldiers on a battlefield with no weapon or a sailor with a pretend life vest

BY: - April 21, 2020

I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and […]

COMMENTARY

Talking to a screen is not the same as talking to human beings in a room; Going to class is a ritual, an event

BY: - April 21, 2020

PLAGUE-RAVAGED TALLAHASSEE—I’m in the middle of talking to my senior literature students about Ralph Ellison’s great novel Invisible Man when the cat sticks his two-tone muzzle up to the tiny camera and scrubs his cheeks on the laptop lid. My students get a screen-full of feline face. The cat isn’t known for his scholarly dignity, […]

COMMENTARY

Coronavirus should bring a season of transparency

BY: - April 16, 2020

If you aspired to be a great leader, would you send your team into harm’s way with incomplete or inaccurate information? What would happen if you withheld important facts that could have saved lives or changed the outcome? When your team discovered, while in this dangerous situation, that you knew information and didn’t share it […]

COMMENTARY

A decade after the BP oil spill: Sick fish, Gulf pollution, and human health problems

BY: - April 16, 2020

On March 31, 2010, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited St. Petersburg’s Vinoy hotel to give a speech where he talked about how safe offshore oil drilling was. He was touting his book, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. On that same day, then-President Barack Obama announced he would open a lot of the nation’s […]

COMMENTARY

There’s no approved cure for COVID-19, but charlatans are trying to take advantage of folks who are desperate

BY: - April 13, 2020

Do not download a new “Social Distancing’’ App that promises to detect the presence of the coronavirus when it’s too close to you. Forget about drinking liquid silver (16-ounce bottle for $24.99) from a company in Melbourne, Fl. Forget about special toothpaste or essential oils. Don’t fall for an online coronavirus test – there is […]