Posts Tagged ‘ st. petersburg times ’

PolitiFact chooses Palin death panel comment for ‘Lie of the Year’

St. Petersburg

In a recent poll, Politifact, the fact-checking website for the St. Petersburg Times, has dubbed Sarah Palin’s claim about “death panels” as Lie of the Year.

If you’re unfamiliar with Politifact, it is a fact checking site associated with the St. Petersburg Times that takes comments made by politicians from around the country and fact checks the truth of the comment.

St Petersburg Times:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

“Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The list of runner-ups in the Lie of the Year poll can be found at


Florida unemployment rate soars, bay area even worse

U.S. unemployment rate history.

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Florida unemployment rates reach 11.5 percent and 12.3 percent in the Tampa Bay area.

Among lowlights revealed Friday:

• In shedding 16,700 more jobs last month, Florida not only lost more jobs than any other state, it exceeded the net loss of jobs for the entire country (11,000 jobs).

• Florida’s unemployment rate rose to a 34-year high of 11.5 percent, up from a revised 11.3 percent in October. The state rate is now running a full 1.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate. For much of the recession, the gap had been one percentage point or less.

• The Tampa Bay area’s jobless rate jumped half a percentage point to 12.3 percent, making it the most job-challenged major metropolitan area in Florida. The region’s most sluggish county remained Hernando, which saw its unemployment rate rocket to 14.7 percent, up from 14.0 percent the prior month.

County-by-county unemployment rates

County Nov. 2009 Oct. 2009 Nov. 2008
Citrus 12.6 percent 12.1 percent 9.3 percent
Hernando 14.7 percent 14.0 percent 10.2 percent
Hillsborough 12.1 percent 11.7 percent 7.5 percent
Pasco 13.2 percent 12.6 percent 8.8 percent
Pinellas 11.7 percent 11.3 percent 7.7 percent
Flagler (highest) 16.8 percent 16.2 percent 11.1 percent
Liberty (lowest) 6.1 percent 5.4 percent 4.5 percent
Tampa Bay area* 12.3 percent 11.8 percent 7.9 percent
Florida 11.5 percent 11.3 percent 7.2 percent
Nation 10.0 percent 10.2 percent 6.8 percent

* Combines Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Note: County and Tampa Bay area numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Florida and U.S. numbers are seasonally adjusted.

Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

Auschwitz ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign stolen

'Work Sets You Free' sign that hangs above the entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp was stolen early Friday.


The famous sign reading “work sets you free” that hangs above the Aushwitz Nazi death camp in Poland was stolen early Friday morning from the camp turned museum.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

The 16-foot sign bearing the German words “Arbeit Macht Frei” – “Work Sets You Free” – spanned the main entrance to the Auschwitz death camp, where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed during World War II.

Working under the cover of darkness and timing their theft between regular security patrols, the culprits unscrewed the 90-pound steel banner on one side and tore it off on the other, then carried it 300 yards to an opening in a concrete wall.

The opening, which had been left intentionally to preserve a poplar tree dating back to the war, was blocked by four metal bars, which the thieves cut. Footprints in the snow led to the nearby road, where police believe the sign was loaded onto a vehicle.

…The slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” appeared at the entrances of other Nazi camps, including Dachau and Sachsenhausen, but the long curving sign at Auschwitz is the best known.

What do you think this act suggests?

St. Petersburg may see new age in billboards

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mayor Rick Baker has a proposed agreement with Clear Channel that would eliminate 110 billboards from St. Petersburg and would be replaced with 10 digital billboards, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Clear Channel, the radio conglomerate, owns 144 billboards in St. Petersburg, making up 80 percent of all billboards in the city.

Among the issues in the proposed ordinance that Baker has agreed to address and council members should review:

• Any digital billboard should replace an existing sign at the same location and should be no taller than the current sign.

• There should be a minimum of 2,500 feet between digital billboards, and drivers should not be able to see more than one at a time.

• All future deals with billboard companies for digital billboards should require the removal of existing signs in the proportions that the Clear Channel deal would require.

It is argued that drivers would be negatively affected by the digital billboards because of the frequent message change and bright lights. Check out the aforementioned article in the St. Pete Times

Do you think that this will pass before Baker leaves office in January? How will digital billboards affect drivers?

For more information:

Clear Channel website

St. Pete city website announcement of billboard proposal


There is an upcoming St. Petersburg City Council meeting concerning the matter:

In order to implement the proposal, City Council will need to amend its Land
Development Regulations to allow the new electronic technology. Council will
discuss the proposal at its December 17 meeting.

Scott Wagman not charged with violating Florida election law

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Scott Wagman, former St. Petersburg mayoral candidate, will not be charged with violating a Florida election law.

Wagman was notified in July that he had violated a state election law that requires

106.143 Political advertisements circulated prior to election; requirements.—
(1)(a) Any political advertisement that is paid for by a candidate and that is
published, displayed, or circulated prior to, or on the day of, any election must
prominently state: “Political advertisement paid for and approved by (name of candidate),
(party affiliation), for (office sought).

Wagman was said to have violated section 106.143 of the Florida state Election Laws for not including the “political advertisement paid for and approved by Scott Wagman” dialogue in his Google campaign ads before the Sept. 1 mayoral primary election.

The former mayoral candidate argued that the number of characters allowed in the hyperlink were so few that he didn’t have enough characters to put the political disclaimer.

From the St. Petersburg Times article published just a few hours ago:

The candidate said there wasn’t room on those small, hypertext links. One click on those ads led to his campaign Web site, which Wagman said did run the disclaimer.

“Obama and McCain were doing the same thing,” he said. “We didn’t think it was hoodwinking the American public to see an ad on the side of a (Web) page. They know what happens if you click on it. People get it.”

The Florida Elections Commission has reviewed Wagman’s case and ruled that the former candidate did not willfully leave out the disclaimer, according to the St. Petersburg Times political blog, the Bay Buzz.

Ohio switches death penalty method, man faces execution by new method today


Formerly using the three drug cocktail to execute the inmates on death row, the state of Ohio will now use a single drug injection.

The first person that will receive the death penalty by this new one drug injection is Kenneth Biros, who was tried and convicted for the murder of 22-year-old Tami Engstrom in 1991.

Biros argues that the new method could cause severe pain, as it is said to take longer for the recipient to die.

Experts say that there will be no pain involved in the process of administering this new drug. From the St. Petersburg Times:

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction estimates it will take from 15 to 30 minutes for Biros to die, prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn said Tuesday.

“Every person’s body absorbs drugs and processes them differently, but we don’t really expect a demonstrative difference,” she said.

…All 36 death penalty states use lethal injection, and 35 rely on the three-drug method. Nebraska, which recently adopted injection over electrocution, has proposed the three-drug method but hasn’t finalized it.

Biros was sentenced to death at 11:00 a.m. today. He is dying as I write this. How morbid.

Unfortunately this man will not have to spend the rest of his life in prison and face what he has done, because in the U.S. we let criminals take the easy way out. I am definitely not a proponent of the death penalty and do not think it constitutional for the state to be able to sentence a human being to death.

What do you think? Is this new death penalty method humane? Is the death penalty humane?

I want to hear from you.

President Obama commits 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

Obama shakes hands with cadets at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times

President Obama has ordered 30,000 more troops to be sent out to Afghanistan this year, but unlike his predecessor who did not specify an exit strategy, states that troops will begin exiting Afghanistan in July 2011. The cost to send more troops is $30 billion this year alone. The president has not yet decided how this extra cost will be paid for, but is “commited to addressing these costs openly and honestly,” according to the article in the St. Petersburg Times.

A new Gallup poll shows that only 35 percent approve of how Obama is handling the war and 55 percent disapprove.

I’m not going to lie, I’m very disappointed that Obama is sending 30,000 more people to Afghanistan. At least he has set a date for exiting Afghanistan, but I don’t think that adding more manpower is going to put out the fire, but will instead stir up settling embers. Many more people will die and who knows what is going to happen between now and July 2011. We could end up creating more problems thus resulting in a longer period that the U.S. has to be over there.

I think we need to be more focused on the state of health care in this country and what we can do to fix it. Most of our energy and wealth should be about helping people, not killing them. We should be concerned about educating our children and providing health care for all, not squandering money to ship out overseas to mess with someone else’s home. Yes, Bush started the war but Obama needs to end it and the only way to start improving our national security is to leave Afghanistan and Iraq. Our continuing presence there will only piss people off and make them want to commit atrocities against the U.S.

I don’t know, folks, what do you think? Should we be investing time, money and people’s lives in a war that was complete bullshit to begin with? Let me know.

Also, Michael Moore wrote an open letter to Obama addressing the war in Afghanistan. It’s a good read for sure, check it out.