Politics

Education
11:50 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Lawmaker Warns Parent Trigger Bill Confuses Empowerment With Involvement

Sen. Bill Montford wants to see more parents involved in their children's schools. He says the parent trigger bill isn't needed because they are already empowered.
Credit billmontford.com

Sen. Bill Montford, a Democrat from North Florida, doesn't like the Parent Empowerment in Education bill. It's much better known as the parent trigger bill.

“We know overall that the majority of students that are successful have parents that are involved,” Montford said. “It's critical to have parent support and involvement in the schools.”

Montford is CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

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Internet Sales Tax
11:31 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Why Revenue Neutrality Is Key To Enacting An Internet Sales Tax In Florida

BUT WAIT! You may have to pay Florida sales tax on this on-line item if a bill makes it through the legislature.
Credit Rick Stone

Online shoppers in Florida may have to budget an extra 6 or 7 percent for their Web purchases if State Sen. Nancy Detert's sales tax bill (SB 316) makes it through the Legislature this year.

But they may get some of that back. She's making the legislation politically palatable by ensuring most of the revenue is returned in the form of tax breaks.

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Venezuelan Election
6:35 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Oil, Chavez And Telenovelas: The Rise Of The Venezuelan Novel

Venezuelan author Romulo Gallegos (1884-1969), circa 1950.
Edwin Karmiol Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 10:55 am

Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.

For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?

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Florida Constitution
2:28 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Law Of The Land In Florida Is A Source Of Irritation For Asians

CONSTITUTIONAL RACISM: Asians have been angered and insulted for decades by the Alien Land Law in the Florida constitution. But they have still acquired land.

Here's a question we received from one of several hundred South Florida residents who attended a recent WLRN/Miami Herald Town Hall that was held just prior to the current legislative session.

This one comes from friend-of-WLRN Piyush Agrawal, a scholar, educator, businessman and philanthropist who lives in Weston:

"Why does Florida's constitution still allow the state to prohibit foreign citizens from owning real estate?"

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Cuba
1:09 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Jay-Z Stirs Passions About Cuba With New Song

Rapper Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce paid a recent trip to Cuba despite a longstanding trade embargo by the United States.
Credit Vanity Fair

Back from his recent trip to Havana, rapper Jay-Z quickly released a new song, Open Letter, in which he not only addresses controversy about the trip but speaks his mind in a way that is likely to stir up some of the deep passions Americans have toward Cuba and the communist island's tumultuous relationship with the United States.

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Venezuelan Election
10:44 am
Thu April 11, 2013

How Hugo Chavez's Policies Affected Ordinary Venezuelans

Maria Colmenares lives in a concrete-block house on a mountainside overlooking the presidential palace in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. Her story says much about the oil-rich and turbulent Latin American nation.
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:46 pm

In the days before elevators, there was no such thing as a penthouse on the top floor. The highest floors of a building had cheaper rents because the stairs were hard to climb.

Caracas, Venezuela, is organized roughly the same way, with many poor neighborhoods climbing up the sides of a mountain valley. Some of the poorest homes are among the most remote, accessible not by any road but by alleyways and long flights of stairs.

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Community Contributor
10:32 am
Thu April 11, 2013

'Medical Marijuana' Contradicts A Physician's Do-No-Harm Mantra, Doctor Says

Pot can't be classified as a drug, says Dr. David A. Gross.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

A patient, we’ll call him John, called my office several years ago, frantic over the behavior of his son Aaron. “My son thinks there are helicopters circling our home, following his movements,” he said.

At my office the next day, dad was frantic. Aaron, who appeared disheveled and preoccupied, presented his experiences in a matter-of-fact style. He was certain some authority had singled him out to be placed under surveillance. He had no insight into the psychotic nature of his thinking.

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Venezuelan Election
9:45 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Venezuela's Next Leader Faces Tough Choice On Oil Program

Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, fist-bumps a worker of the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., last month. Maduro faces opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in Sunday's presidential election. Whoever wins will have to tackle the legacy of Chavez's oil programs.
Miraflores Presidential Press Office AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 10:59 am

As Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez thought in grandiose terms, and his country's vast oil riches enabled him to act on his vision. But Chavez died before he had to deal with the flaws in his model, and some hard choices await his successor.

Key to Chavez's notion of "21st Century Socialism" was the redistribution of Venezuela's oil earnings. The country's oil reserves — estimated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to be the largest in the world — are worth tens of billions of dollars a year in potential revenue.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Hey, Everybody! Florida Is Looking At A Budget Surplus Next Year

Tax revenues are up, enabling Florida lawmakers to spend $4 billion more than last year.
Credit athrasher/flickr

Florida lawmakers are doing something they haven't done in years: adding money to state programs.

The recession sent the state into multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls that led to big cuts in education and state government payrolls.

But this year, lawmakers have money to play with. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget of more than $74 billion for the fiscal year that starts in July. That's about a $4-billion increase in spending over the current year.

So where did the extra money come from?

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Venezuelan Election
3:30 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Campaign Heats Up Ahead Of Sunday's Vote To Replace Hugo Chavez

A Venezuelan flag flutters in the wind. On Sunday, South Floridians pick a successor to Hugo Chavez.
Credit Guillermo Esteves

This Sunday, Venezuelans return to the polls for yet another presidential election.

This vote is to replace the late Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last month after winning re-election in October.

Interim president Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's former vice president, has tried to embody his former boss as he runs for the permanent job. The man who was defeated in the fall -- Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles -- is waging a more aggressive campaign.

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Town Hall Questions
11:05 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Despite Legislative Slide From Hostile To Neutral, Marijuana Bill Seems Doomed

WHAT THE DOCTOR CAN'T ORDER: Prospects for a medical marijuana bill in the Florida Legislature are bleak.
Credit Vlado / Flickr CC

  National opinion surveys are showing increasing support for medical uses of marijuana. Patients are puffing away legally in 18 states and the climate for medicinal pot has even become more welcoming in Florida.

Is Florida about to become State No. 19?

The question arose during the WLRN/Miami Herald Town Hall before the legislative session began. The questioner was Juan Palenzuela of Hollywood:

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Politics
10:22 am
Wed April 10, 2013

U.S. Immigration Overhaul Kicking Into High Gear Backers Say

Protesters march last week in Miami, in support of immigration overhaul legislation. The marchers were calling for a new immigration system with a path to citizenship for 11 million people currently in the country illegally.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:22 pm

Thousands of supporters will descend on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call for legislation that creates a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

Sound familiar?

But this time, unlike in 2007 and 2010 when immigration legislation died in Congress after similar demonstrations, proponents of an overhaul say politics has swung inexorably toward their side.

"I've been working on this issue for more than a decade, and it feels unstoppable now," says Ana Avendano, director of immigration and community action at the AFL-CIO.

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Venezuelan Election
10:13 am
Wed April 10, 2013

'Comandante' Chavez Still Revered By Some, Despite Failings

Hugo Chavez, shown here in February 2012, was the president of Venezuela for over a decade. His career is the subject of a new book by Rory Carrolll.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 9:42 am

Hugo Chavez died in March, but his ghost still lingers in Venezuela. He was president for well over a decade and, according to journalist Rory Carroll, his oversize influence hasn't faded.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

How State Laws Would Still Impact Gay Marriage Regardless Of High Court Ruling

Till death do us part, so let's figure out this insurance mess.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:47 am

Even if the Supreme Court sweeps aside barriers to federal- and state-sanctioned same-sex marriages this summer, where you live and work may still affect your access to health insurance benefits for a same-sex spouse.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Dolphins Stadium Deal Close; Rubio's Role In Immigration Reform Grows

Dolphins rendering of proposed $400-million renovation of Sun Life Stadium
Credit www.miamidolphins.com

Marathon talks between the Miami Dolphins and Miami Dade County officials appear to have delivered a tentative deal.

In the agreement, the Dolphins would receive $7.5 million a year in hotel sales taxes to renovate Sun Life Stadium. The deal also stipulates that the Dolphins repay the county between $110 million and $120 million over the next 30 years. The team would face huge penalties if it fails to bring high-profile sporting events to the stadium, including four Super Bowls and four college football championship games.

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