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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,680

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Florida Legislature pumps $50 million into New College after DeSantis takeover

New College of Florida is receiving nearly $35 million in additional funding next year, including nearly $10 million to renovate aging facilities and $25 million for operating expenses. The money comes on top of an extra $15 million the school received in the current budget for operating expenses.

New College of Florida is receiving a massive influx of cash next year to help the school’s new leaders carry out the vision of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Florida Legislature has pumped almost $50 million into New College within a few months of DeSantis appointing six new conservative board members to shake up the small Sarasota school.

It’s a huge amount of money for a college with just 700 students, the smallest institution in Florida's public university system.

"Over the last 90 days, New College has received almost $50 million in new funding from the state, which is more than the university has received in the past 20 years," New College Interim President Richard Corcoran said in a statement. "Our future could not look brighter."


IMO New College will be begging for students in the upcoming years, and this budget increase is part of an effort to induce future applications.

Fed Set to Raise Interest Rates to 16-Year High and Debate a Pause

Officials could keep their options open in crafting signals around the endgame for increases

Federal Reserve officials are on track to increase interest rates again at their meeting this week while deliberating whether that will be enough to then pause the fastest rate-raising cycle in 40 years.

“We are much closer to the end of the tightening journey than the beginning,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said April 20.

Just how much closer the Fed is to that endgame will be a focus of internal debate because officials think their communications around future policy actions can be as significant as individual rate changes.

Officials are likely to keep their options open as they finesse carefully calibrated signals in their postmeeting statement and remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at a news conference after the meeting ends Wednesday.


This Is Make or Break Time for Desperate Vladimir Putin

It’s the Kremlin’s last chance for a reboot or they are toast.

During Russia’s blood-stained spring of 1919, about 10 months after the Cheka executed the tsarist Romanov family in a grubby basement, Vladimir Lenin assembled 15 Bolsheviks and ordered them to sanitize the mess. They did such a poor job of sweeping up the dirt that Lenin the following year persuaded 425,000 volunteers to participate in what the Kremlin soon after enshrined as the subbotnik, the annual Saturday spring-cleaning of Russia.

Vladimir Putin is keen on autocratic traditions and enthusiastic about keeping his Kremlin spick-and-span. But with so much crap piled up inside his fortress after the invasion of Ukraine, arresting critics and assassinating political foes, the one day of traditional spring-cleaning from the beginning of Putin’s reign is no longer enough.

Spring 2023 is here and it’s time to look at what Putin has to clean up. He’s ignited a dumpster fire kindled with more than 200,000 dead Russian soldiers, whose death march on Ukraine doubled the size of his border with NATO, torched his profitable global energy markets, and recycled him as a Chinese subordinate.

He’s produced the country’s largest budget hole since the 1990s and achieved the highest number of sanctions ever leveled against a country. And if the International Criminal Court in The Hague has its way, Putin is destined to be convicted of crimes against humanity, leaving Russia leaderless and with the annexed Crimea becoming a Ukrainian vacation destination once again.

Putin can always cut and run to one of his many gilded hideaways of reinforced concrete, but there’s no future in hunkering down alongside his hierophants, all of them echoing his flimflam about Russia’s grandeur, moral superiority, and schemes to lure deposed Fox News host Tucker Carlson into anchoring a talk show on Russia-1. Spring 2023 is a pivotal political moment for Putin, particularly if his moral compass is plotting an anywhere near tolerable economic future for his country. Putin, however, has never taken directions. Many who have offered him advice are either dead, under arrest, or being slowly poisoned in far-flung penal colonies.


The first arrests from DeSantis's election police take extensive toll

The fallout came fast when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s new election police unit charged Peter Washington with voter fraud last summer as part of a crackdown against felons who’d allegedly broken the law by casting a ballot.

The Orlando resident lost his job supervising irrigation projects, and along with it, his family’s health insurance. His wife dropped her virtual classes at Florida International University to help pay their rent. Future plans went out the window.

“It knocked me to my knees, if you want to know the truth,” he said.

But not long after, the case against Washington began falling apart. A Ninth Judicial Circuit judge ruled the statewide prosecutor who filed the charges didn’t actually have jurisdiction to do so. Washington’s attorney noted that he had received an official voter identification card in the mail after registering. The case was dismissed in February.


Defamation bill dead for this Florida legislative session, sponsor says

The measure was a priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ goal of passing legislation that would rewrite federal defamation law and make it easier to sue critics appears dead for the legislative session, but the author of the bill said he will be back to try it again next year.

“There’s just not enough time, and I have too much stuff on my plate,” said Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, the House sponsor of HB 991, as lawmakers approach the final week of the annual 60-day session, which ends May 5. The companion measure, SB 1220, is also dead, he said, as time ran out before the bills could be heard in their final committees.

The bills would have removed many of the legal protections against defamation lawsuits established in the landmark 1964 Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan by changing what is considered a public figure in a defamation claim and eliminating the longstanding protections for the news media in its coverage of politicians, government officials and public figures.

Although the measure was a top priority for DeSantis, who has been sued for curbing First Amendment protections for critics of his policies in Florida, support for the measure had waned.

For weeks, free speech advocates, including some members of conservative media, warned that the bill was a direct violation of the free speech protections in the U.S. Constitution and would open the door to a barrage of lawsuits, including against conservative talk radio hosts.

The death of the bill is one of the few policy losses the governor has faced this legislative session, as he has advanced an aggressive agenda of culture wars aimed at imposing state controls over classroom speech, transgender health care, entertainers in drag, abortion and loosening restrictions on guns.


I suspect the real reason Republican interest in passing this legislation waned when it was pointed out it would open up lawsuits against right wing radio talk show hosts...

Opinion: Expect Steve Bannon to follow Andrew Badolato to prison

A Sarasota County man named Andrew Badolato was sentenced to three years in prison this week for his role in a border wall scam.

The news may have slipped through the cracks nationally, but you can bet one person, in particular, kept a very sharp eye on the proceedings.

His name is Steve Bannon, and he may be next.

Badolato and Bannon were among four people charged for fleecing thousands of online donors in a fraudulent fundraising scam called "We Build the Wall."

The four men raised $25 million to build a barrier along the United States-Mexico border and kept hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal use, breaking a promise to donors that all of the money would be used for the wall.


Ex NYC Mayoral Candidate Curtis Sliwa Sued Over Huge Child Support Bill

Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa was hit with a lawsuit Saturday by his third wife who says he owes $530,000 in unpaid child support.

Former New York mayoral candidate and radio host Curtis Sliwa owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid child support, according to a new lawsuit filed Saturday.

The suit, filed by Sliwa’s third wife Mary Paterson in New York Supreme Court and obtained by The Daily Beast, alleges that when the couple divorced in 2012, after 12 years of marriage, Sliwa agreed to pay $144,000 a year in child support to his ex-wife and son. But, Paterson says, between 2015 and 2023, Sliwa refused to pay the promised amount.

Now, she is suing Sliwa for more than $530,000 in unpaid child support.

“Last fall, Curtis Sliwa unilaterally decided to reduce his bi-monthly child support payment by 23% for his son Anthony. Instead of reinstating the court-ordered amount, he tried to maintain the unauthorized reduction by making threats to expose my client and her husband with bad publicity,” Paul Siegert, a lawyer representing Paterson, told The Daily Beast, “Neither my client nor I have anything against Curtis but we will not tolerate his disregard for the legal process.”

Sliwa, who rose to prominence as the founder of the 1970s New York vigilante group The Guardian Angels, has made a living as a radio broadcaster since the 1990s.


Quite a "Guardian Angel"...

Large Fire Burns at Crimea Fuel Depot After Suspected Drone Attack

Source: New York Times

A Russian-installed local official blamed the blaze on “enemy drones.” Ukraine, which typically maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity about strikes in Crimea, did not claim responsibility.

A drone attack on a fuel depot in the city of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea set off an enormous fire early Saturday, a Russian official said, in the latest assault on a peninsula key to Moscow’s war effort.

A thick cloud of black smoke darkened the skies above the port city, which is home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.

The Crimean Peninsula, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 and has been heavily fortified in the years since, is critically important to Moscow’s control over occupied territories in southern and eastern Ukraine. It has increasingly become a target of attacks, though Ukraine typically maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity about strikes there.

The Kremlin-appointed local governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev, urged local residents to remain calm as teams of firefighters battled a blaze that he said was caused by “enemy drones.” Ukrainian officials did not claim responsibility for Saturday’s blaze.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/29/world/europe/russia-ukraine-war-crimea-fire.html?unlocked_article_code=Tqzqm55VG0WWwFoLc7sd7WR7UY0UR0Pt_KEOTN4vCKBjmmsGVJFKAjJRWDM8-jeodWRmSj9_pXKpWWQ0Qb4LC3XXSV8Cwd5qT9jeL3W8a5kicGfYfkZRb8oEbd9VKGA0hvYOtE1FfT_Y6lekkpKk5oE65vqGojqr9dXDyS1ddhitCrizGCtHNgm43uWe78-wgGafnnnsyFiOhW1B7XmhO60DPJBT1sesn54vW8WueOIeuaeLEwwjZhmwq8gbnGUmx5XS2cVO1CpG89tkaCyh9YXxZUp3BfjYjkw8d6wWnMomQmrlh-jvUIDgCJbCUyMaaCT5NaFk93jCk3qLwduqD-9EMVFxI5HcPbb_z1I&giftCopy=0_NoCopy&smid=url-share

Kevin McCarthy's spending bill is about wrecking the economy

The “Limit, Save, and Grow Act” passed by House Republicans Wednesday is extortion, plain and simple. Speaker Kevin McCarthy is telling President Joe Biden that he has two choices: Destroy the economy with a default on the nation’s debt, or destroy the economy by accepting ruinous cuts to government operations. Then next spring, as the presidential election is heating up, they’d go through it all over again.

The dirty little secret is that the debt ceiling is just the hostage in this scheme. McCarthy had to put it in there as the mechanism to try to force Biden to negotiate with him. It had to be included so McCarthy could claim, “We lifted the debt limit; we’ve sent it to the Senate; we’ve done our job.” The hike was set at $1.5 trillion, a small enough number to ensure that this exercise is repeated again next year, when it can be used again as a cudgel against Biden.

The meat of the bill is those spending cuts the Freedom Caucus demanded, and got. That includes rolling back overall appropriations for all discretionary programs, meaning the ones that Congress has to approve spending for every two years, to 2022 levels. All the programs, that is, except defense. Exempting the huge defense budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young explained in a White House statement, “means that everything else in annual appropriations—from cancer research, to education, to veterans’ health care—would be cut by much more.”

“The math is simple, but unforgiving,” Young wrote. “At their proposed topline funding level—and with defense funding left untouched as Republicans have proposed—everything else is forced to suffer enormous cuts. In fact, their bill would force a cut of 22 percent—cuts that would grow deeper and deeper with each year of their plan.” It would make those cuts grow by capping annual spending growth to just 1% for the next decade.


State seeks death penalty for plastic surgeon in missing Largo attorney case

Prosecutors have filed a notice that they will seek the death penalty for a plastic surgeon who was indicted Thursday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a missing Largo attorney.

Tomasz Kosowski, 44, was arrested on a murder charge late last month in the death of Largo attorney Steven Cozzi, who vanished from his office at Blanchard Law, 1501 S Belcher Road, in the middle of the day on March 21.

Cozzi was representing some of the defendants in a lawsuit in which Kosowski was the plaintiff.

According to court records, police reviewed surveillance footage of a man entering Cozzi’s office building and leaving with a cart large enough to hold a body. Forensic investigators also found a large amount of blood in the office’s public bathroom.

Police found blood inside Kosowski’s truck, which was captured on surveillance cameras outside the law office. Kosowski also carried brass knuckles, a stun gun, duct tape and sedatives in another car, police said.

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