Leading the Panic Over the United Nations Global Warming Report Will Be . .

The UN's 113-nation committee effort is said to have watered down the report a bit but still concluded that it's more likely than not that GW has strengthened hurricanes. Under Florida's new legislation, the industry pays up to $6B per storm, which is supposed to be relief for them, but if you see a lot of storms costing $6B each, that might panic investors. Oh, and also, irrespective of hurricanes, the surf'll be from 2 ft to 10 ft higher by the year 2050, and, y'know, there are a few insured oceanfront properties in the state, and I'm not talking about the Sea Rocket Motel. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Universal Acclaim for Florida's Imminent Optical-Scan Changeover Ñ Well, Not So Fast
"Florida is like a synonym for election problems; it's the Bermuda Triangle of elections," hissed some vote-reform alley cat, so, he said with some twisted logic, when Florida abandons touch-screen machines, it's the end of touch-screens for everyone. U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Delray Beach, the leading critic of no-paper-trail voting, is solidly behind the changeover. On the other hand, the St. Petersburg Times points out some bugs, for instance the hundreds of variations of paper ballots that will have to be printed and distributed for each election (which would be taken care of with a few mouse clicks on touch-screen machines). Result: There'll still be enough Glitch Potential in 2008 and 2010 to keep Florida in the spotlight. [New York Times] [St. Petersburg Times]

"Senior Drivers' Gas/Brake Confusion" Is So Yesterday!
Twice this week, the problem has not been that seniors confuse which pedal they need to hit. The problem is that they keep their foot on the gas, even when (a) the vehicle in front of them has slowed or stopped and (b) they're going really fast. Along with the one on Wednesday [The F State, 1-31-2007], here's an 89-yr-old man who is no longer with us because he exploded (65 mph) up the butt of a stopped school bus (fortunately, a childless school bus) in Polk County. [Tampa Tribune]

Yr Editor's Weekend Browsing

The Tampa Tribune this morning distributed the periodic Hillsborough County tabloid consisting of the names, addresses, and photographs of every single registered sex offender in the county, 48 pages' worth, handsomely published. The mug shots are absolutely precious. This is an example (treasures for your coffee table!) of what print newspapers can deliver that the Internet can't.

The Armed Cartoonist who took over the Miami Herald building for three hours in November was put on probation [The F State, 11-27-2006] [WTVJ (Miami)] . . . . . Turns out that when Shaq called the 911 dispatcher about that hit-and-run against his Escalade, the dispatcher not only dissed him but hung up on him [The F State, 1-29-2007] [WFOR-TV (Miami)] . . . . . The Genovese family's south Florida capo, Renaldi Ruggiero, 73, pleaded guilty, leaving only two of the alleged conspirators still holding out, including our favorite, the 96-yr-old Chinky Facchiano [The F State, 1-3-2007] [South Florida Sun-Sentinel] . . . . . It's official: The sperm in the mutilated goat near Crestview was, indeed, human (Too Much Information?) [The F State, 1-24-2007] [Northwest Florida Daily News].

Your Daily Loser
While other 19-yr-olds are out trying to get laid, Jesse Briandi, 19, in Sarasota County was pretending to be a cop, stopping a driver with two passengers, accusing her of going the wrong way in a parking lot, "calling in" her name and license number on some sort of a "radio," getting word back (probably in a pretend conversation) that she was clean, then letting the car go (all this according to a real police spokesman after Briandi was arrested). [Tampa Tribune]

More Things To Worry About Today
It was just reported this week that hunter Joe Stokes killed a, uh, hermaphrodite deer, near De Bary, Fla., in November [Miami Herald] . . . . . The Army Corps of Engineers warned of 122 levees in the U.S. that are of substandard strength and need quickly to be fixed to avoid catastrophes, including four in Jacksonville [USA Today] . . . . . In a report on the posh Fisher Island (located just south of South Beach) as the U.S. enclave with the highest average income, the New York Times revealed that of the top eight such enclaves, six are in Florida (and no, you don't live in any of them, and never will) [New York Times] . . . . . The Sons of Confederate Veterans said it will apply to the legislature to create yet another specialized license plate, the "Confederate Heritage," and I think we all see where this is going [St. Petersburg Times] . . . . . Did you know: "Boca Raton Overrun By Lizards"! [FirstCoastNews.com] . . . . . At a demonstration of a high-tech algae-employing farm-runoff scrubber in Okeechobee County yesterday (highly efficiently at rendering manure and carbon dioxide harmless), a few locals and industry types showed up, along with, er, Paul Newman (an investor in green technology) (and, at 82, still a lot better-looking than you and I, but he probably wishes he'll still be stirring the soup when he's Chinky Facchiano's age) [Palm Beach Post].

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