Florida gubernatorial candidate Chris King takes LGBTQ rights personally

By : Scottie Campbell
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WINTER PARK, Fla. | Each 2018 Democratic candidate in the Florida gubernatorial race has made statements in support of LGBTQ rights, but in a speech before the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus in August, Orlando’s Chris King revealed why his long-held support is personal.

King ended his speech talking about his eldest brother, David, who was gay. A polished and considered speaker, the cadence of King’s voice noticeably changes as he relates David’s rough childhood and adolescence growing up gay in Florida during the ‘70s and ‘80s. After battling years of insecurities and depression, David eventually committed suicide 20 years ago at the age of 30. King tells Watermark that caucus speech is the one time he has talked about this publicly.

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Uprisings: Sign your name

By : Billy Manes
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While many of us were flapping around in post-traumatic winds on the one-year mark of the Pulse shooting June 12, some of the weight of a contentious legislative session met the power of the governor’s pen. Governor Scott, who never met a gay person he didn’t ignore (except for when convenient), took to uncle Donald Trump’s Twitter ways and made it clear that he was thinking about the victims.

“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before,” his fingers tweeted. “I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Hateful lawn signs and Honoring the 49 with action

By : Anonymous
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Get off my lawn

In front of a quaint green-and-white paneled house, adorning the freshly manicured green lawn on 27th Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood June 3, laid five derogatory signs. The first four calling for “No Jews,” “No Infidels,” “No Fags” and “No Retards”; a fifth sign read “…Great Again!”

The house – and the signs – are the property of St. Petersburg resident Roland Price. Price spoke with WFLA News Channel 8 and told them that the signs are self-explanatory. This isn’t the first time Price has stirred up controversy and frustration among his neighbors. According to neighbors, he has posted signs in the past displaying his political and social views ranging from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The Tampa Bay Times has also found out that since 2004, the police have been called out to the Price residence 44 different times for aggravated assault, noise complaints, criminal mischief, theft and domestic incidents.

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Uprisings: A New Deal?

By : Billy Manes
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On the last day of February, our national leader and television star Donald Trump launched his congressional speech with a nod to his wife and to Black History Month, attempting, apparently, to launch a new narrative about the Trump presidency, one that doesn’t involve salacious groping and Twitter accounts.

“Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” he said with all the gall of a teenage actor.“ Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

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Uprisings: No apologies

By : Billy Manes
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By now, we’ve all had a few weeks to breathe in the post-traumatic, post-Trumpian world of Tweets and nonsense. By now we’ve survived our Thanksgiving skirmishes with chest-puffed grumpy uncles and the general racists and horror shows of our particular broods. By now, we’ve even danced around the daisies of Green Party hopeful Jill Stein and her swing-state strategy of proving nothing in a recount that is not meant to benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but rather to flex her own nascent political muscle one last time. By now, we’re aware of the hell we’re facing.

There isn’t nearly enough sugar – outside of Big Sugar – to coat the results of the Nov. 8 general election and its subsequent horror of errors. In just a week or so, the Electoral College will cast the final stone, leaving us swirling in a vacuum of idiocy, most of which will be stuffed with as much acrimony as a fraudulent billionaire can afford. Donald Trump got his wish: he is king of the mountain; it’s all on him.

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Florida Gov. may serve as a model, and warning, for Trump

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

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[Update] Deadline to register to vote in the presidential election is Weds., Oct. 12… Do it!

By : Billy Manes
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We’ll hold back on the locker-room banter motif that defined a weekend that was likely to be blown away by mass destruction via Hurricane Matthew. What’s more important, especially after watching last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is that you are engaged in a manner that can make a difference.

Following a request by the Clinton campaign to extend voter registration in order to make up for days lost at home during a natural disaster, our favorite (not favorite) Gov. Rick Scott has refused said extension. Wonder why? Google “Voter Suppression.”

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Attitudes toward LGBT community at odds across Florida

By : Wire Report
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Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s Key West is one of the most gay-friendly places in the country. The Florida Panhandle – many locals call it the Redneck Riviera – is a different story.

The massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub happened between these extremes, forcing many Floridians to reconsider their assumptions about the state’s evolving culture.

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Uprisings: October 8 – 21

By : Billy Manes
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It shouldn’t be a political banner for the requisite public waving in front of a coming election – a disturbed gunman follows in the footsteps of all of all of the disturbed gunmen before him and arbitrarily takes the lives of nine individuals ranging in age from 18 to 67 in what can only be described as a massacre on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Oct. 1 – but it has become one, regardless of from which side of the aisle you’re armchair quarterbacking the decline of western civilization. In the aftermath of the latest campus terrorist attack (and yes, that’s exactly what it was), politicians were once again called to task, once again asked for answers, on exactly how it is that we comfortably walk this tangent bridging mental health and forced death into one blur of public-relations horror.

“Stuff happens,” presidential hopeful and gaffe-master Jeb Bush opined, according to the Tampa Bay Times via the Washington Post.

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Uprisings: August 27 – September 9

By : Billy Manes
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In yet another week of banging our heads against the figurative political firmament, we’ve come to learn a few things about Florida’s state governance we’ve suspected but weren’t necessarily choosing to believe. Yes, we’re aware that the swamp dense with horny toads and sprawl-makers who pretend to be concerned about the Everglades. We understand that there’s a secret pipeline that funnels cash from private prisons and their health-care mechanisms, a pipeline that effectively fuels campaigns of ignorance. We get that #Floridaman is less a Twitter distraction that a symptom of a state that just doesn’t take care of itself or scrub in the right places. We get it.

But what we weren’t ready for, at least in the past couple of weeks, is the witch-hunt switch on the back of our dear leader Gov. Rick Scott. You’ve likely already heard the news and its requisite fallout. Scott decided to take a hard stand on Planned Parenthood after the reproductive health organization was pinned into a corner for something we don’t care to talk about.

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Uprisings: August 13 – 26

By : Billy Manes
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Somewhere in the annals of psychological academia exists a hidden chapter – an Easter egg of sorts – that describes the finely honed narcissism that allows the seemingly illegal cloud of hair and bravado, that misanthropy and machismo and money, that witch’s tick and spooky juice available to a figurehead named Donald Trump with which he has managed to control a news cycle yet again. You wouldn’t find that listing anywhere near its reasonable attribution – a footnote about nonsense that shouldn’t be paid attention to; the bad kid pouting in the back of the bus – as we already know that attention is being paid, and if there is a Republican Party bus, at least for the moment, he is the creepy guy driving it way up front.
Sure, it’s a low-hanging fruit expedition to go after Trump after his ostentatious appearance at the Aug. 6 Republican primary debate aired by Republican funhouse mirror Fox News. Why, even Fox is playing into the fallout, circling wagons around host and debate panelist Megyn Kelly, who Trump, in no uncertain terms, accused of menstruating, because that’s what makes women ask about why it is that you continually and publicly hate on women.

UpRising_MeganKeyllyRegardless, it’s Trump who walked away with all the headlines. He’s not backing down. All of our leaders are dumb. Only women bleed. Don’t discriminate against gays, but, “I am against gay marriage.”In some ways, the gay card was partially protected from the primetime Republican scrimmage – Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich actually went to a gay wedding recently and apparently had a good time, not that there’s everything wrong with that. The volume of applause, if applause in these scenarios is to be believed, suggested a turning point in the rickety conservative wheelhouse, base be damned (except that Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz all committed to reversing LGBT progress). There are, as they say, many rivers to cross, and the gay one has already been traversed by the U.S. Supreme Court (at least on the issue of nuptials), or so we are to believe in this particular spin cycle.

More concerning is the attitude toward women and their requisite rights. The one Republican woman in contention, Carly Fiorina, was forced to the kids’ table with Rick “Ronald Raven” Perry (and the rest of the lot) for a happy-hour pre-show debate that nobody watched (she later defended Kelly against Trump’s period-gate, if only for good press). Not surprisingly, much of the red meat being used to chum the noisy base of riled-up Fox fans teetered on the bravado of threatened men in suits. Why? Well, obviously because Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings, and we all know how easy it is to get groups of people to scream obscenities about that woman.

But it was Trump who ultimately showed the true nature of the current conservative discourse (replete with reproductive choice buried in the code).

After Kelly brought up his “fat pig” remarks against Rosie O’Donnell and, well, an entire gender he doesn’t understand, Trump warned against politeness.
“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness and, to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either,” he said.

This country doesn’t have time for you, your insolence, your blinders or your ill-gotten fortune, Mr. Trump. Step aside.

UpRising_MarcoRubioIt doesn’t take a political genius to recognize the balance beam that Sen. Marco Rubio is continually falling from on social issues as he tries to appease both the far right and the middling clueless on his trek to the White House. Rubio, you’ll recall, has always been an opponent of abortion, often citing his “two wrongs don’t make a right” playground mentality he learned in a second-grade sandbox. But following the severely anti-woman tone of last week’s televised Republican presidential debate, Rubio found himself crushed into a conundrum. You see, Rubio, who tried to make it clear that he believes that women should be forced to bear the children blindly offered them by the love of rapists and incestuous family members – it’s a child, people! Just read the billboards on the Turnpike – has a history of, gasp, supporting exceptions for those in need of abortions under duress. Side note: abortions are legal, so your support is weak, Marco Polo. Rubio didn’t come out anymore decisive than he went into this after a post-debate CNN grilling, but nothing about this man is certain. Wild cards are fun.
UpRising_RickScottIf you were on the proper email feed – or actually allowed into the public records and emails that Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was clearly concealing from the public throughout the beginning of his administration – then maybe you would understand the bobbing and weaving that has come to characterize Florida’s elected Republicans over the past few years. At every turn, Scott and his cronies have attempted to hold themselves exempt from standard Sunshine Laws, because, well, they don’t want to admit that most deals are done off-card and beneath the board. Last week, Scott agreed to fork out $700,000 in order to settle no less than seven public records disputes brought about by Tallahassee attorney and Scott arch-nemesis Steven R. Andrews. So, basically, you’ll be paying that $700k through various agencies that exist off your tax dollars, and there will be a rather large rug with untold deals swept beneath it. Sunshine for everyone!
UpRising_AshMasonAck, we almost forgot to mention the other tangential Rubio connection to this week’s cascade of illegitimate hopefuls lining up at the public-figure trough! In a twist worthy of a bad soap opera, the Tampa Bay Times reports that former Rubio aide Ash Mason (of Pinellas County) is lining up for a potential run for Congress, even though we’re still not quite sure what the boundaries look like after the redistricting fracas. Mason has “history” with frat-house inflatable pool Will Weatherford, the former Republican House Speaker from Wesley Chapel, and, in a strange twist of fate, could be facing disgraced former Republican and failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. Don’t say Charlie Crist three times. Wait, did we just say Charlie Crist three times? Oh, no.

LGBT voters could very well sway the 2014 gubernatorial election

By : Steve Blanchard
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When President Barack Obama faced Republican challenger Mitt Romney for the nation’s top elected office in 2012, polls showed the two in a dead-heat race. Pundits predicted the next president would be elected by a minority group, and eyed Latinos and African-Americans as the driving force behind whichever candidate won the election.

They were right, but exit polls showed another minority had a strong voice. LGBT voters overwhelmingly supported the incumbent Democratic president and could have very realistically helped push him into his second term.

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