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Inside the lunatic world of the family of George Zimmerman

Florida's George.


Florida's George.

You've read this by Amanda Robb in the new GQ? You really should. …

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It's almost as if it doesn't even matter to people whether or not something is actually true

... take the bizarre but instructive example in recent days of the Tampa woman who claimed to have had an implant to add a third breast — clearly an example of an implausible story that was too good to check. Initial reports circulated widely on social networks, totaling more than 188,000 shares according to Emergent's data. The story was quickly discredited after it was reported that a three-breast prosthesis had been previously found in the woman's luggage, but the articles reporting that it was false never attracted nearly as many shares as the initial false reports. Click.

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Frank Lavallee of Valrico is quite worried about climate change

You saw his letter to the editor in this morning's paper?

Whether people want to believe it or not, there's plenty of scientific and physical evidence to confirm that the Earth is going through a global warming. Part of it is because of the geological warming cycle that has occurred since the last Ice Age about 20,000 years ago, but an even bigger part of it is because of the impact from the human race.

By the year 1900, the global population was about 1.6 billion people. By 2000, it had reached about 6 billion. By 2015, it will be about 7 billion. That's 1 billion more people contributing to greenhouse gas emissions than only 15 years ago, and there are no signs that the population explosion is slowing down.

Miami is beginning to suffer the consequences of rising sea levels, and other large coastal metropolitan areas will eventually follow. I don't believe this cycle can be stopped or reversed, so the future of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren is something I try not to think too much about.

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The Times' Craig Pittman has inked a deal to write a book about Florida and so I asked him some questions

1. So it's about Florida. What about Florida?

It's an expansion of the "Oh #Florida!" blog I did for Slate last year, in which I tried to explain Florida, celebrate Florida and, on more than a few occasions, throw up my hands and shake my head at Florida.

2. What do people need to know about Florida?

Florida is strange and strangely beautiful, and it's the only state with an economy that's pretty much identical to a Ponzi scheme. But it has also exerted a strong but often invisible influence on all the other states. Things that happened here first have affected everything from gambling to environmental protection to criminal law to modern music to the news business. The guy who invented the computer grew up here, and so did the guy who started Amazon.

3. I'm curious about some examples of Florida's "invisible influence." …

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Don't click on this if you're offended by profanity

Rick Scott.


Rick Scott.

Jeb Lund for Rolling Stone on our governor's race:

If you want to forecast the fate of the nation, it's tempting to play the Hillary and Mystery Date 2016 guessing game. But that's like determining wedding cake ingredients by the plastic bride and groom on top. If you want a picture of America two terms from now, ignore the national stage and gaze instead at the states, where failure is confirmed before it's applied to the rest of the country. …

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The Rev. William L. Strange Jr., the pastor at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, on Miami's Liberty City

"When you put angry people together who are agitated, in some cases angry, who feel there is no hope for the future, that is what you get: hurting people hurting other people." Click.

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The future of Florida …

is the present?

Floridians 50 or older make up just 38 percent of the state's population. Yet, despite being fewer in number, they have a bigger economic impact than younger residents here.

The older generation generates 54 percent of the state's economic output, works in 58 percent of the state's jobs, and pays 67 percent of state and local taxes. It also accounts for 58 percent of total consumer spending, the chief driver to keep the economy churning.

Those numbers — included in a report released today by senior advocates AARP and Oxford Economics — are part of a concerted effort to tout the value of Florida's so-called "Longevity Economy" and urge state leaders to do more to support and attract the 50-and-up set.

"This report adds to a growing body of research that shows that in economic terms, gray is gold," said AARP Florida state director Jeff Johnson, who is presenting the data in Orlando today at the Florida Chamber Foundation's Future of Florida Forum.

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Biologists in Florida! Barreling into the Anthropocene!

Just pointing out on this Monday morning something I underlined in my Sunday reading:

Biologists in Florida, which faces a daunting sea level rise, are working on a plan to set aside land farther inland as a reserve for everything from the MacGillivray's seaside sparrow to the tiny Key deer.

To thwart something called "coastal squeeze," a network of "migratory greenways" is envisioned so that species can move on their own away from rising seas to new habitat. "But some are basically trapped," said Reed F. Noss, a professor of conservation biology at the University of Central Florida who is involved in the effort, and they will most likely need to be picked up and moved. The program has languished, but Amendment 1, on the ballot this November, would provide funding. …

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Adam Smith says you should vote for Charlie Crist because he's not Rick Scott and Rick Scott because he's not Charlie Crist

Here and here from Sunday's paper.

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13 things I underlined in the New York Times' lionfish article

The perfect invader.


The perfect invader.

1. Nearly three decades after a lone venomous lionfish was spotted in the ocean off Broward County — posing as a bit of eye candy back then and nothing more — the species has invaded the Southern seaboard, staking a particular claim on Florida ...

2. There is no stopping them now, salt-water experts said.

3. "Eradication is not on the table, but local control has proven to be very effective," said Lad Akins, special projects director for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, a grass-roots organization helping to curb the proliferation of lionfish. "They are what many people call a near-perfect invader."

4. The lionfish derbies, or rodeos, seem to have the best success rate. Groups of divers gather for a day of spearfishing; last week, 22 divers, some from as far away as Texas, strapped on tanks in the Florida Keys and speared 573 lionfish in one day. There is talk of offering bounties ...

5. Some Florida restaurants are now buying lionfish, which are light and flaky when cooked, not unlike snapper, and serving them to diners. …

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The remains of more boys who were sent to Marianna for their own good

The latest from Ben Montgomery, who continues to do this important work for this newspaper:

TAMPA — Researchers have identified the remains of two more boys unearthed from a graveyard at Florida's notorious reform school in the Panhandle town of Marianna. The remains of Thomas Varnadoe and Earl Wilson, who both died under suspicious circumstances while in custody at the Florida School for Boys, will be returned to their families.

The identifications are the second and third made by forensic anthropologists and archaeologists from the University of South Florida who have excavated 55 burial sites from the campus of what was once the largest reform school in the country. Recently known as the Dozier School for Boys, the state closed the facility in 2011, after 111 years of operation and dozens of scandals. Keep reading. For Their Own Good.

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The headline on Gail Collins' column in today's New York Times: Florida Goes Down the Drain

Three parts in particular that you should see:

1. On Miami Beach, rising sea levels have interesting consequences. The ocean periodically starts bubbling up through local drainpipes. By the time it's over, the concept of "going down to the water" has extended to stepping off the front porch.

It's becoming a seasonal event, like swallows at Capistrano or the return of the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio.

"At the spring and fall high tides, we get flooding of coastal areas," said Leonard Berry, the director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies. "You've got saltwater coming up through the drains, into the garages and sidewalks and so on, damaging the Ferraris and the Lexuses."

2. Miami is probably not used to being compared unfavorably to Detroit. But there you are. "We're going to wander around shin-deep in the ocean — on the streets of Miami," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who is planning to go on a climate-change tour this month with Florida's senior senator, Bill Nelson. (The junior senator, Marco Rubio, who's no fan of "these scientists," will presumably not be joining the party.) …

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The dim Sunshine State

If you haven't read the Bob Trigaux column in this morning's Times, you should, and here it is:

If Apple ran its business like Duke Energy in Florida, it would pitch black rotary phones, not the iPhone 6.

If Neil Armstrong worked for Duke Energy in Florida instead of landing on the moon, he would have taken a backward step for a man and done nothing for mankind.

In Florida, what we have is a failure to innovate when it comes to where our electricity comes from. Especially when it comes to Duke Energy. The state's sorry lack of leadership compounds the problem.

I'd really like to go months without writing about this Neanderthal electric company or the Jurassic officials in Tallahassee who embrace Duke Energy's monopoly power here and then graze so ravenously on Duke's swollen wallet.

But it can't be helped. This week, Duke put its Jekyll-there, Hyde-here personality on display to Florida's detriment. Again. …

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Here it comes

Rolling through.


Rolling through.

The cutline today on my 3B: A thick line of dark clouds hangs over Tampa Bay on Monday as a squall line moves through the area, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and lightning. This photo was taken just after noon on Davis Islands in Tampa, looking toward the eastern shore of the bay. More rain, with a chance of river flooding, is forecast for the next several days. "We have higher-than-normal rain chances for the week," said Josh Linker of Bay News 9.

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'Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century'

That's the quote of the day. Click.

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