He might have been among the last of the great two-digit typists. But Leland Hawes' index fingers could crank out copy faster than an old Associated Press teletype machine.
Leland Hawes was that sort of journalist — quick, concise, efficient. A pro's pro.
Since Leland's death May 18 at age 83, the tributes to his life and character have come in a cascade of love and admiration from his too-many-to-count friends and colleagues, of whom I am proud and honored to be one of them. ...
Maybe you are one of those 1 million low-income Floridians who are uninsured and were just informed by the Florida Legislature that if you get sick in this state, buster, you're pretty much on your own.
And that's why House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Simon Legree, stuck to his guns in rejecting $51 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next 10 years, which would have covered those medical moochers....
Introducing Bruce Hicks, a solid sovereign citizen of the People's Republic of Stupidstan.
Of course, Mr. Hicks is abroad at the moment, spending his time as a guest of Hillsborough County's elegant accommodations for tourists arriving from the Grand Duchy of Moronovia, otherwise known as a jail.
Hicks' difficulties in having his visa from Delusiontina validated began last week when Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Diaz, a resource officer at Turkey Creek Middle School in Plant City, spotted the 46-year-old pushing a toy car on a dolly down the road....
Commissioner Choo-Choo has just morphed into Commissioner Anchors Aweigh!
You do have to hand it to former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik — at least he thinks big. There's something to be said for that, even if some of what Turanchik's critics might say is unprintable.
It was Turanchik who led the effort to bring the Olympic Games to Tampa Bay. Yes, those Olympics, even though the probability of landing the Games was about the same as Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods double-dating....
You're the president of the United States sitting there in the Oval Office reveling in the power of it all, including access to Vladimir Putin's code name (Mr. Snagglepuss, by the way). While watching the Daily Show, you're informed that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Inspector Javert, is trying to turn the botched reaction to the Benghazi attacks into Teapot Dome, the Dreyfus Affair and Mel Gibson getting stopped for speeding....
Given the success of Dolphin Tale, based on the story of Winter, the tailless dolphin nursed back to health at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, it was probably only a matter of time before state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Air Kiss, and state Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Let's Have Lunch, would discover their inner Hollywood's Darryl F. Zanuck.
If this goes on much longer these two chaps are going to start showing up in Clearwater wearing ascots, name-dropping Brangelina and threatening people that "they'll never work in this town again!"...
Don't you suspect it's likely New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a long hard look at himself and mused: "Whoa, I think I'm gonna need a bigger mirror."
Think of this as Christie's "Come to Papa John's" moment.
So it was understandable when Christie announced he had recently undergone a stomach-reducing Lap-Band procedure in an effort to get his weight — estimated to be in the Tony Siragusa range of 350 pounds — under control....
As a small child I learned many valuable life lessons from my mother — how to brush my teeth, remembering to say "please" and "thank you," and what a really, really ill-advised idea it is to throw a grade school report card laden with D's and F's down the sewer.
Yeah, that was a really, really bad idea. She was not amused. Nor were the Sisters of the Consecrated Thumbscrews.
Time passes. And so, too, do the lessons to be gleaned from a mother over a lifetime. My mother, Ruth Ruth, has chosen to live and lead by example, even if the example from time to time was Eva Perón....
Only in political life do we stumble across people who aspire, yearn, crave to hold high and powerful offices without the slightest clue about what the job requires.
And yes, you would be forgiven if the first name that comes to mind is Gov. Rick Scott.
It was telling that Scott needed a civics 101 class when he admitted after being sworn into office that he hadn't fully realized he was the guy who has the authority to sign death warrants....
First some good news. By the end of the today, the Florida Legislature will declare "sine die," which is Latin for "thank goodness we're done with all this time-wasting lawmaking piffle and can now get down to the real work of stuffing our pantaloons with fat, juicy campaign contributions."
Or words to that effect.
The bad news is that the Legislature will have been in session for 60 days, which effectively means a Gitmo detainee has gotten a fairer shake from government than your great unwashed member of the body politic....
When you hear the words Dade City, the elegant, old-world charms of Pamplona, Spain, do not immediately leap to mind.
Pamplona was forever engraved in literary history when Ernest Hemingway wrote about the annual running of the bulls through the city's streets in his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises.
And ever since, certified morons have been flocking to Spain to see if they can be among the 200 to 300 people who get trampled yearly, or, if they are looking for that special distinction of stupidity, one of the 15 or so who have gotten themselves killed over the decades. Good times, good times....
If you're the parent of a teenager as you might be reading this at the breakfast table, take a long, hard look at that mono-syllabic, brooding life form attached to his or her iPhone and ask yourself a simple question.
As much as you love them, as much as they might be really great kids when they aren't regarding you as a complete idiot, is that young man or woman remotely qualified to make a life-altering decision for themselves?...
Apparently Gov. Rick Scott has a rather flexible bar when it comes to determining "greatness."
With the governor passing out "Great Floridians" secret decoder rings as if they were Gasparilla beads, it is only a matter of time before our beloved skunk ape, the Creature of the Black Lagoon and lap dance impresario Joe Redner are recognized for their distinguished contributions to the state's quality of life....
Here's an offer the Florida Legislature can't refuse.
The Founding Moochers in Tallahassee have decided to pay $400,000 to a New Jersey company, Spectrum Gaming Group, for a term paper to determine the efficacy of expanded gambling in Florida.
Now what do you think the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey is going to conclude after it analyzes, studies, dissects and chin-rubs its way through flow charts, statistics, graphs and focus groups?...
This ambivalence probably qualifies as the columnist's conundrum.
Our fair hamlet's resident Good Book political huckster Terry Kemple, the Harold Stassen of the New Testament, has announced he plans to run for the District 4 Hillsborough County School Board pew in 2014, which certainly deserves an extra olive in a perfectly dry martini, or two, or three.
And therein lies the conflict of self-interest....