Election Day 2014 – Be Ready at the Polls!

On Tuesday, 4 November 2014 we Floridians go to the polls to elect a Governor of the State of Florida among other things.  Ever since Rick Scott got elected governor four years ago in 2010 the State of Florida as we see it is not the same.
After all, Rick Scott did nothing more than turn against the people of the great State of Florida.  Ditto with Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General.  You’ll be surprised:
Unauthorized turning of public meetings into private meetings and using law enforcement as a tool of intimidation such as using trespass warnings.
The refusal of federal healthcare money.
Throwing 25,000 potential jobs into the trash by refusing money for high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando on the Interstate 4 corridor.
The constant lying and deceit to the people of the State of Florida.
Telling people that were unemployed and are still looking for work that you are on your own.
People who are discriminated against in looking for work, including the use of credit reports as public record.
Your child treated by your school district as its property.  Try to even speak with your child’s teachers regarding your child’s progress and you will be trespassed from school property.
The warehousing of disabled and elderly persons into nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities (ALF), thanks to Florida’s guardianship laws.
Making it very easy for a law abiding Floridian to acquire an arrest record, thanks to Pam Bondi’s goals.
The constant use of Section 810.09 – Florida’s trespassing law – as a tool of intimidation, especially against the homeless.
Making sure that Floridians that are legally registered to vote are purged from the voter rolls.
Now that Election Day 2014 is just around the corner, ask yourself:  Do you want four more years of the constant lying, deceit and threats that is now in Tallahassee?  Or do you want change in Tallahassee starting from the Governor downward?
We do not have to put up with another four years of Rick Scott as well as Pam Bondi.  We Floridians can make a change come on Tuesday, 4 November 2014 at our assigned polling place.

If you have already participated in early voting or you have voted by mail, that’s great!  For those of you that want to go to the polls it’s best to be prepared before you make the trek to your assigned polling place.

Remember, the polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM on Election Day.  What if you are in line at your assigned polling place at 7 PM when the polls close?  As long as you are in line by 7 PM, you will be able to vote!

You can go over to the website of your county’s Supervisor of Elections and even generate a sample ballot based on where you live.  Print it out and take it with you so that you can use it as a reference when you actually vote.
For reference, here are links to the Supervisors of Elections in the Tampa Bay region (a selected list of Supervisors of Elections links):
 
Links to above Supervisors of Elections offices in the immediate Tampa Bay region are provided to you as a public service.
When you arrive at your assigned polling place, be sure to have a picture and signature ID with you when you go to check in with the poll worker.  A Florida Driver License or a Florida ID Card is best but Florida’s voter ID law allows you to use the following as ID when you go to vote:

Florida Driver License
Florida Identification Card
United States Passport (either the book or card is OK)
Debit or credit card
Student or Military ID
Retirement Center ID
Neighborhood Association ID
Public Assistance ID

When you registered to vote or updated your voting information, your Supervisor of Elections will more than likely sent you a Voter Information Card, which used to be a Voter Identification Card many years ago.  A Voter Information Card is NOT valid voter ID.
If in the event you do not have valid voter ID with you when you go to vote, you can still vote.  However, you will only be able to vote a provisional ballot and you will be given instructions on proving your identity at the polling place.
If you have previously requested a mail ballot and you decide to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, you can still vote!  Having your mail ballot with you is the best, as your mail ballot will be cancelled and you will be given a regular ballot.  However, if you do not have the mail ballot with you don’t fret – the poll worker will check to be sure that the mail ballot was not received.
So, what can we Floridians do to see change in Tallahassee?
That, my friend, is very simple.  Get on over to your assigned polling place on 4 November 2014 and VOTE!  I don’t care how you get to your assigned polling place, whether it may be by your own vehicle, on foot, by bicycle, by public transit or whatever, but get out there on Tuesday, 4 November 2014 and VOTE!!!
 

Rick Scott and Pam Bondi: Resign from office!

Now that the general election for President of the United States is just a little more than a month away, we Floridians know that this is the halfway point for Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as far as their terms of office are concerned.  Their terms expire in January 2015, which is a couple of months after the November 2014 general election.

Even if President Obama gets re-elected for a second term, we Floridians have to put up with two more years of Florida state government that is unresponsive to the people, instead favoring the special interests.  This is how life in Florida has gone down the storm drain under Rick Scott as well as Pam Bondi:

The unauthorized turning of public meetings into private meetings.  Remember what happened at The Villages?

The refusal of federal healthcare money.

Throwing the potential of 25,000 jobs into the trash can by refusing federal money for high speed rail (the expansive median on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando serves as a reminder).

The constant lying and deceit to the people of Florida.

To the people of Florida who are unemployed and their unemployment benefits have ran out.

To the people of Florida who are discriminated while looking for work.

To the Florida homeowner subjected to the super high homeowners insurance rate increases by Citizens.

Children that are constantly fed with drill and practice in school for the FCAT.

Children that are being treated as property of the county school district.  Try to have a conference with your child’s teachers and more than likely you will be arrested for either trespassing on school property, interfering with the operation of a public school or a combination of the two.  Try to greet your child in the unsecured area of school grounds (the area where you do not have to check in at the office, present your ID and pick up a visitor pass) when the school day is over and you will be arrested for trespassing.

The constant use of Florida State Statute 810.09 – Florida’s trespassing laws – as a tool of oppression against the people of the State of Florida.  Florida’s trespassing laws are an easy tool of oppression, especially for private property owners who don’t want to go through the time and trouble of going to court and getting a restraining order against a person.

Making sure that each law abiding Florida resident has at least an arrest record that will follow them for the rest of their lives – even if it takes the issuance of a trespass warning to do it.  From what I understand and what I have read this was Pam Bondi’s goal.

Turning law enforcement such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement against the people.  Just ask the people of The Villages who were subjected to oppression from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office with the threat of arrest for trespassing when Rick Scott came to visit.

Warehousing our disabled youth in nursing homes for life.

Warehousing our elderly and veterans in nursing homes for life and taking their prized possessions away, thanks to Florida’s guardianship laws that serve to legally kidnap and exploit the elderly and disabled as well as our veterans.

Making sure that Floridians who have legally registered to vote are purged from the voter rolls.

Ask yourself: How would you feel, as an American citizen living here in Florida, got the news that you are not eligible to vote?  And the reason is because of a flawed list?

Want proof?  Here’s some articles from the St. Petersburg Times:

A parent denied access to a meeting with Rick Scott, because the parent is deemed a “threat”.

Rick Scott lying about Florida’s jobless rate.

Warehousing Florida’s sick and disabled children in nursing homes for life.

Rick Scott’s shameless voter suppression effort.

Do we Floridians have to put up with two more years of the constant lying, deceit and threats?   Do we Floridians have to put up with two more years of oppression against the people of our great state?  We Floridians are getting sick and tired of life under Rick Scott!

Both Rick Scott and Pam Bondi have done nothing to make Florida state government responsive to the people.  What Rick Scott and Pam Bondi need to do is to do the people of the State of Florida a very big favor before 2014:  Resign from office!!!

Let’s clean up the State of Florida before it’s too late!

Almost a year later: Rick Scott is still Florida’s Number One Dictator!

Soon we will be approaching the one year aniversary to the day that Florida’s 45th Chief Crook Executive, Rick Scott, took office as Florida’s 45th Governor.

Lately in the St. Petersburg Times The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi happened to crash not one but two press conferences, one with Rick Scott and the other with Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi. One of Rick Scott’s unpopular acts was to require anyone seeking welfare benefits to submit to drug testing. During both news conferences, Aasif Mandvi asked both Scott and Bondi to submit to a urine sample in the same manner as Florida’s welfare recipients.

I commented on that article as to how both Rick Scott and Pam Bondi are both destroying the State of Florida as we see it. Back in a previous blog entry on how Rick Scott deals with dissenters, here is a reminder of how Rick Scott is doing a major disservice to the people of this great state:

Rick Scott = Adolf Hitler

The Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce = the Nazi Party

Law enforcement commanded by Rick Scott to deal with and threaten dissenters with trumped-up criminal charges such as trespass (and trespassing after warning, too) = the Nazi SS Troops

And we need to add this to the list:

Pam Bondi = Nazi People’s Court Judge Roland Freisler

(After all, Roland Freisler was state secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice and president of the Nazi People’s Court, set up to deal with people who said no to Hitler. People who voiced their opposition to Hitler’s rule, such as Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Movement, ended up paying the ultimate price.)

Now why is Pam Bondi trying to do to make life more miserable for us Floridians? First and foremost, right after she took office as Florida Attorney General she made it very hard for anyone convicted of a felony to seek a pardon, even after the prison time and/or probation was served, fines paid, court orders complied with, etc. After all, these people who were convicted felons wanted to put their past behind them and get on with their lives so that they can become productive members of society once more.

In short, Pam Bondi wants to make things a lot easier for Floridians – especially law abiding Floridians – to acquire a criminal record upon arrest (yet make it harder to get a pardon or even a criminal record seal/expungement for that matter). That would be simple enough – law enforcement can arrest a person on trumped up charges of trespassing after warning (using the recent arrests of members of the Occupy Movement in Tampa and Orlando as great examples) and find ways to upgrade the charges to felony charges.

Simple trespassing charges in Florida Statute 810.09 are misdemeanor charges. However, the law goes on to state that if you are even caught within a certain distance of a specified property (and I do not mean going onto the specified property itself), the misdemeanor trespassing charges become felony trespassing charges.

Even if the charges are later dropped by the State Attorney or if you are found not guilty in the courts, you still have an arrest record. You can go through the hoops with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to have your record sealed or expunged, but most people don’t do it due to the high cost among other things.

And one more thing: A St. Petersburg Times reader whose name is Fighting Irish replied to my comment. Although he disagreed with my comparison between Rick Scott and Adolf Hitler, still he agreed that Rick Scott is doing everything to destroy our great state.

I replied to Fighting Irish thus (the reply you see here is different than the reply I made at the St. Petersburg Times article, as comments and replies are limited to 1,000 characters but the content is basically the same):

Be glad we live in America and in a free country where we have freedom of speech and freedom of lawful expression. In Thailand, freedom of speech and freedom of lawful expression are less than half-existant; an American was recently arrested in Thailand for violations of their very strict lese majeste laws, which mean one can be arrested and jailed for criticizing the Thai Royal Family.

Just imagine for a moment if Florida was an independent nation and we had Thai style lese mejeste laws: Our jails and correctional facilities would be extremely overcrowded with people arrested and convicted of criticizing Rick Scott. Just be glad we don’t sing Phleng Chat – the National Anthem of Thailand – at a Tampa Bay Rays home game at Tropicana Field!

Just a reminder of what a way of life we Floridians have to endure under a governor that does not care about the people and now an attorney general that will not go after the real criminals: The people in Florida who are responsible for the real estate and mortgage crisis that sent property values downward and put millions of Floridians underwater on their mortgages. Just remember this blog entry the next time you pass by the Welcome to Florida sign at the Florida Welcome Center on Interstates 75 or 95 when you cross into our great state.

The Top 10 Things That You Know You Have Arrived in the State of Florida

This past Thanksgiving weekend I decided to not mess with the Black Friday crowds and instead take a jaunt over to Jacksonville. While there I did some sightseeing including taking a side trip over to Folkston, GA and the famous “Folkston Funnel”, where practically all trains from the country have to pass through on their way to Florida with the exception of trains coming from the west.

I stopped at the Florida Welcome Center – not once, but twice – just to get that welcome home feeling coming back from Georgia. Unfortunately, the Welcome to Florida signage bears the name of our 45th Chief Crook and Executive Thief of the State of Florida, none other than Rick Scott. It really tiffs me to even have to see the Welcome to Florida sign with Tricky Ricky’s name on it – since it’s posted right at the state line, you can’t avoid it one bit.

So, while I was at the Florida Welcome Center on southbound Interstate 95 north of Jacksonville, I pulled out my trusty BlackBerry and jotted down ten items that you, as a Florida resident returning home or a visitor coming to enjoy the Sunshine State, know that you have arrived in the great State of Florida!

Without much further ado, here we go with ten items that you have arrived in the State of Florida, in the tradition of the Late Show with David Letterman (which can be seen on your local CBS affiliate; here in St. Petersburg it’s on WTSP-10 News at its appropriate starting time of 11:35 PM weeknights):

10. You stop at the Florida Welcome Center on I-75 or I-95 and pick up your obligatory sample of orange juice.

9. Move over or slow down for emergency vehicles.

8. Our great state’s Interstate shields are better to read than Georgia’s.

7. Our Interstate highway overheads are much better than Georgia’s.

6. Home of the Florida merging traffic symbol.

5. Home of the near extinct Draw Bridge Ahead warning sign in Highway Gothic Series C. (After all, the Florida DOT has been pulling up these classic Draw Bridge Ahead warning signs of this type and replacing them as part of drawbridge reconstruction or update projects with a similar sign in Highway Gothic Series D produced at the Florida DOT sign shop in Lake City or produced by the Florida DOT contractor)

4. Come to Florida on vacation, leave Florida with a trespass warning thanks to 810.09. (What does Wal-Mart, Black Friday and Florida have in common?)

3. Your children are learning new words in their vocabulary: Foreclosure and homelessness.

2. Cash or your state’s EZ-Pass is worthless when you drive onto the Florida Turnpike or practically any toll road or bridge in Florida for that matter.

And the Number One thing to know that you are in Florida is:

1. You see our Chief Crook and Thief’s name, Rick Scott, plastered on every Welcome to Florida sign at our welcome centers as well as every port of entry into the great State of Florida!

And you, the Florida taxpayer, spent $7,000 to let Tricky Ricky make an idiot of himself on every Welcome to Florida sign!

The next time you stop at the official Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 75 south of Valdosta or on Interstate 95 north of Jacksonville remember these things when you see Rick Scott’s name plastered on the Welcome to Florida signs:

1. The disposal of 25,000 potential jobs by rejecting the high speed rail money.
2. The voters of this great state elected a crook and a thief (HCA, anyone?).
3. 10%+ unemployment rate in Florida.
4. Foreclosures driving down house values.
5. Homeowners insurance skyrocketing.
6. The turning of law enforcement against the people.
7. Everyday, law-abiding citizens arrested on trumped-up charges, such as trespassing after warning.
8. Turning public property into private property.
9. Your children receive nothing more than drill and practice for the FCAT test instead of a quality education you pay for with your tax dollars.
10. More and more public schools in Florida keeping you, the parent, out of your child’s educational progress by using threats of trespass warnings against the parents (does Mike Rio and Virgil Mills Elementary School in Ellenton ring a bell?).

So, there you have it. Now that Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone and that the holiday season is well underway, enjoy the holiday season!

Rick Scott: Florida’s Number One Dictator!

This article in the St. Petersburg Times was interesting: Gov. Rick Scott’s Office – We didn’t kick anyone out of budget signing.

Turns out, according to the article, that Florida’s Chief Crook Executive has ways to deal with dissenters. During a budget signing ceremony in The Villages, a community located next to Leesburg east of Interstate 75 and the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike, several residents who were opposed to Rick Scott’s budget and leadership were chased away by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office on the orders of Rick Scott. After all, according to the Constitution of the State of Florida the governor is the chief law enforcement officer of the state.

What is going on here? Sick law enforcement on people exercising their constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest and at the same time threaten these people with arrest for trespassing? This goes on to show you that Rick Scott is way out of touch with the people of Florida and that Rick Scott will do anything to accomplish an objective, including the turning of law enforcement against the people and threatening the people with arrest and even incarceration on trumped-up charges of trespassing, among other things.

This is not new. Back when George W. Bush – our former Star Spangled War Loving President – was in office he went to major extremes to make sure that lawful protesters were effectively excluded from areas where he traveled. Now this is happening again – this time, here in Florida with a governor who is out of touch with the people.

I have mentioned this in the reader comments area in the St. Petersburg Times, and I’ll mention it again:

Rick Scott = Adolf Hitler.

The Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce = The Nazi Party.

Law enforcement commanded by Rick Scott (after all, the governor is the state’s chief law enforcement officer per the Florida Constitution as I mentioned earlier) to deal with and threaten dissenters with criminal charges such as trespass = the Nazi SS Troops.

Ask yourself: Do we even live in the United States of America anymore as far as the State of Florida is concerned? Or do we live in a totaltarian state such as Cuba, China, Myanmar (Burma) or even Belarus where dissenters are routinely jailed, often times without charges?

Hey, if we were living in a country where human rights and civil liberties are suppressed, we would not be singing The Star-Spangled Banner as part of Rays pre-game ceremonies at Tropicana Field. Imagine this for a moment the next time you go to a Rays game and you get there early enough for the pre-game ceremonies:

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Rays public address announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your caps for the presentation of our nation’s colors, which are this evening presented by a high school JROTC color guard. And at this time, please join so-and-so, a student from a local high school, in the singing of our national anthem. Performing tonight’s national anthem in sign language is so-and-so from some organization that you probably know or don’t know of.

Here goes the singer singing the national anthem – this time, you don’t hear The Star-Spangled Banner. Instead, you hear the national anthem of a country whose human rights and civil liberties are suppressed, let’s say My Belarusy (We Belarusians), the national anthem of Belarus.

Now you’re thinking, why Belarus? Belarus is an eastern European country whose leader, Alexander Lukashenko, suppresses any and all forms of dissent by not only turning soldiers and law enforcement against the people, the people are routinely jailed oftentimes on no charges being filed. Almost a modern day version when the people of Germany feared Adolf Hitler and his SS troops during World War II.

In other words, instead of hearing O’er say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, you hear My Belarusy, mirnyja ludzi, sercam addanyja rodnaj ziamli echoing through Tropicana Field. You say to yourself, what is going on here? This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of the afraid and the home of the oppressed!

###

Unfortunately, Florida is slipping slowly into O the land of the afraid, and the home of the oppressed. That’s what probably went through the mind of the people of The Villages peacefully protesting Rick Scott’s budget who were chased out on the orders of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. As long as Rick Scott is in power at the helm of the highest office of the State of Florida, Rick Scott will do anything at his disposal to take care of dissenters, even if it includes turning law enforcement against the people.

I urge you to read my other blog entry on recalling Rick Scott NOW! There is a website also in operation called recallrickscott.net and we Floridians need to get the ball rolling on a citizen initiative to place the ability to recall the governor and high ranking Florida officials into the Florida Constitution on the 2012 ballot, and if this passes to get Rick Scott recalled from office.

We Floridians need to take back our State of Florida – before it’s too late!

Rick Scott trying to polish Florida’s image? Not!

Just recently I had the honor of seeing my nephew graduate from Florida State University in Tallahassee. It was an excellent graduation ceremony.

While the graduation ceremony took place in Tallahassee (the nerve center of everything the State of Florida) I had to stay in Valdosta, across the state line in Georgia. After all, the closer you got to Tallahassee on graduation weekend you are faced with either sold out hotel rooms or if there were any hotel rooms left, be prepared to pay a hefty premium. In fact, when I planned my trip back in early January 2011 (right after I got word that my nephew would be graduating this year) the only hotel room I could find near Tallahassee was in Quincy. The asking price: $200 a night! I said to myself, try Valdosta – only 80 miles from Tallahassee.

And I proved myself right. I found a hotel room in Valdosta for $99 a night. At least it was a decent hotel priced just right for my wallet.

The day I left Valdosta for St. Petersburg, I decide on taking a longer way back home instead of reliable Interstate 75 which would take me on US 84 east to Waycross, then south on US 1 to the town of Folkston. After all, Folkston is where all rail traffic headed to Florida passes through including the two Amtrak trains that serve Florida, the only exception is trains that come from the west directly into Jacksonville.

After an hour of train watching in Folkston, it was time to head towards Interstate 95 south which would take me through Jacksonville and the eastern terminus of Interstate 4 in Daytona Beach, then west on Interstate 4 towards St. Petersburg through Orlando and Tampa. Once I crossed the St. Mary’s River and over the state line into my home state of Florida, this is what I found:

What? Rick Scott plastering his name at the entrance to our great State of Florida?

I better verify that. Let me stop at the State of Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95 south to confirm this:

No other Florida governor – Bob Graham, Bob Martinez, Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush or even Charlie Crist – ever put their names below a Welcome to Florida sign at the state line. As a lifelong Floridian, I was extremely flabbergasted and disgusted as I think Rick Scott is trying to polish the image of the State of Florida to our visitors while at the same time Rick Scott is doing everything to destroy the State of Florida as we know it.

I went inside the Florida Welcome Center to pick up my obligatory sample of orange juice. After a few minutes, I got back onto Interstate 95 towards home. After all, Rick Scott threw approximately 25,000 potential jobs in the trash can when he rejected the federal money for high speed rail. If you want proof, take a ride on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando and look at the wide median: That wide median is the spot where the high speed rail would have been located.

Besides, the State of Florida is slowly being taken away from the people of this great state. Rick Scott is proving this point by plastering his name at the principal entrances to the State of Florida. Rick Scott’s “let’s get to work” mantra is nothing:

To the family whose home value is underwater and struggling to pay the mortgage.
To the state employee (including law enforcement and teachers) who is thinking, will I have a job tomorrow?
To children who want a decent education rather than constant drill and practice for the annual FCAT test.
To people who are looking for work.
To people who are subjected to discrimination when looking for work.
To a homeowner having to pay steep homeowners insurance premiums, especially when the insurer is Citizens.
To the school administrator (including school principals) who has had more pressure added to his or her workload now that FCAT scores are tied to school performance.
And the list goes on and on…

We need to take back our State of Florida, before it is too late. Now that the 2011 Florida Legislature has adjourned for the year it appears that HJR 785 – the bill that would place a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot paving the way for the recall of Rick Scott – did not pass. However, what we can do as Florida residents is to get a citizen initiative going to get this important amendment into the Constitution of the State of Florida and hold our state leaders – including the governor and top cabinet officials – responsible and accountable to the people of this great state.

After all, California did it in 2003. Why can’t Florida?

The Florida FCAT Test and New EdwardRingwald.com Topics

I got a couple of new topics that I recently added to the topics area of EdwardRingwald.com. But first, we got something coming up in Florida’s public schools the week of 11 April 2011, and that is the much dreaded FCAT Test.

First of all, the FCAT Test. This is the test that your children study for as well as drill and practice for all school year long. This is why there is no meaningful education for your children in Florida’s public schools. In fact, school officials as well as your legislators in Tallahassee will do everything and anything to be sure that your child passes the FCAT, and extending the school year to disrupt summer vacations is being recommended.

Wait! If the State of Florida wants to extend the school year to accommodate this FCAT hodgepodge, it would have to go back and repeal a law which was enacted that prohibits starting school no earlier than two weeks (14 days) prior to Labor Day, the first Monday in September. This is thanks to Sherry Sturner and her grassroots group Save Our Summers that preserved summer vacations for our students.

As you send off your child to school to take the dreaded FCAT Test, this is what I think: The FCAT Test is nothing more than a waste of time and a waste of money. Just recently our not-so-favorable 45th Governor, Rick Scott, signed legislation that would tie teacher salaries to FCAT test scores among other things, which turns the FCAT into a high stakes and high anxiety test.

Did you go to the Tampa Bay Rays’ home opener on Friday, 1 April 2011 and booed Rick Scott as he threw the ceremonial first pitch? I did.

I encourage you to read my topic on dumping the FCAT Test in its entirety and replacing the test with meaningful end of course exams. After all, end of course exams demonstrate mastery in a given subject, such as English Composition or High School Algebra. After all, the FCAT has no place in our children’s education in Florida to begin with!

Now on to two new features I have added to EdwardRingwald.com for your reading pleasure.

First, we have been constantly bombarded with stories in the news media regarding the housing and mortgage crisis, especially declining property values and underwater mortgages among other things. Unfortunately, the news media such as the St. Petersburg Times capitalizes on the housing crisis and reports stories for the sole purpose of drowning you in fear. I have covered the housing crisis as well as the credit crunch here at the Edward Ringwald Blog and I put everything together in a topic over in my topics area at EdwardRingwald.com for your reading pleasure.

Second, as most of you St. Petersburg residents know (as well as the rest of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area) we sadly lost a third member of St. Petersburg’s finest over the span of a few weeks, Officer David Crawford. Officer Crawford was dispatched to a call during the night regarding a suspicious person on the streets when a 15 year old boy shot Officer Crawford. Despite heroic efforts to save his life at Bayfront Medical Center, Officer Crawford did not make it.

What was learned was that the 15 year old boy was attending Gibbs High School here in St. Petersburg. The 15 year old boy as was reported did not have any major issues with one major exception: Missing too many days of school. Currently the 15 year old boy is in the Pinellas County Jail awaiting trial on murder charges as an adult.

Following that major incident, I was inspired to write a topic on an all-too-important issue that faces high school students: Dropping out of high school. After all, dropping out of high school can carry with it major, if not severe, consequences later on in life. One important consequence is the chance of reduced earning potential – in other words, high school graduates make more money than those who have not graduated.

I put everything together on the dangers of dropping out of high school, plus what students can do if they indeed dropped out of school despite the consequences, into a topic over at my topics area at EdwardRingwald.com for your reading pleasure.

On a personal note, I did finish high school – at a private high school – and received my high school diploma. With that and two Associate in Science college degrees later, I am proud of myself.

It’s Academy Awards Time – The Technical Aspects, That Is

Time for a little break from the happenings going on in the great State of Florida and our increasingly unpopular governor, Rick Scott, who recently threw 25,000 potential jobs down the drain by rejecting high speed rail which we desperately need. Not only that, Rick Scott wants to do away with the unions that represent state employees.

Well, the 83rd version of the Academy Awards telecast is just around the corner! If you are a movie buff or just want to get a piece of the Oscars action on TV, the action starts when the announcer intones: Live from Los Angeles! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents the 83rd Annual Academy Awards!

Over the past several years the Academy Awards telecast had some great announcers over the years: Don LaFontaine (aka the voice of God), Les Marshak, Gina Tuttle and Randi Thomas. From what I understand another voice over superstar who did the announcing duties for the Oscars telecast in 2006 and 2008, Tom Kane, is going to be the announcer for Oscar telecast No. 83.

OK. Now how does the announcer’s voice such as Tom Kane travel from the announcer’s booth at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to your television set here in St. Petersburg connected to Bright House Networks? After all, as the voice over announcer from 10 News (WTSP-TV) says, Bright House is the home of free HD – and I got to agree many more. So, let’s step through the process from Point A to Point B.

I think of the typical Academy Awards telecast as an Amtrak Silver Star train going out of Tampa. The telecast announcer is like the engineer driving the train (with the Oscar telecast’s script supervisor sitting right next to the announcer), while the telecast producer is the conductor and the host is the chief of on board services. The presenters are the on board personnel that take care of you, the celebrity that is either there for the ceremony or a nominee anxiously waiting to see if you get to go on stage to claim your Oscar statuette. Attending an actual Academy Awards ceremony at the Kodak Theatre is strictly invitation only; your ticket is the invitation.

All right. Let’s get on with the technical aspects of getting the announcer’s voice – let’s say Tom Kane from the 83rd Academy Awards telecast – speaking this line when the telecast cuts to a local commercial break: The 83rd Annual Academy Awards will return in a moment here on ABC.

Let’s start from the moment Tom utters this line into the microphone in the announcer booth over at the Kodak Theatre. From that moment the pathway from Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to my townhome in St. Petersburg is analogous to an Amtrak Silver Star train going through a series of switches to get to a main line to the destination, then another series of switches just before your destination. And you know what, I think I threw you a curve when I compared the typical Academy Awards telecast as an Amtrak Silver Star train as far as the technical aspect is involved. And I like to, for very good reason.

The microphone picks up Tom’s voice and it is converted into a digital audio signal, as is the case with microphones of the professional broadcast type. From this point forward Tom’s voice – now a digitized audio signal – is sent from the announcer’s booth to a central master control located somewhere in the Theatre. Tom’s digitized audio signal is multiplexed with the associated video (usually a view of the Oscar statuette when cutting to a commercial break) and is steered by the telecast’s engineers onto a live feed that connects the raw audio and video to ABC Television Network’s master control in Los Angeles. Now Tom’s voice has begun the long trip from Los Angeles to St. Petersburg.

At ABC Master Control in Los Angeles, Tom’s digitized audio signal goes from the raw feed from the Kodak Theatre for a 44,000 mile ride to ABC Master Control in New York City. The audio and video signal is transmitted from a satellite dish for the 22,000 mile ride to the satellite hovering high over the Equator somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. At the satellite Tom’s voice is bounced back for another 22,000 mile trip to ABC Master Control in New York City.

By the way, the fun just got started. The feed from Los Angeles to New York City is commonly known as a raw east coast feed, and the east coast means cities in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. At ABC Master Control in New York this is the point where the national commercials for the Academy Awards telecast are inserted.

(By the way, ABC Master Control in Los Angeles does the same thing as ABC Master Control in New York, except this is the west coast feed which includes cities in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones. If it’s 5 PM at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, it’s 8 PM in St. Petersburg!)

At ABC Master Control in New York, Tom Kane’s digitized audio voice is passed through again through a set of switching equipment, much like Amtrak’s Silver Star when it passes through the Neve Wye for the reverse move into Tampa’s Union Station. Now we’re ready for another 44,000 mile trip – this time, on the ABC Television Network’s east coast distribution feed, which distributes the ready to broadcast Academy Awards telecast to ABC affiliates on the east coast of the United States.

Leaving New York, Tom’s digitized audio signal is placed on the transmit – or uplink – feed for the 22,000 mile trip to the satellite hovering high over the Pacific Ocean on the Equator. Tom’s digitized voice is relayed by the satellite and is bounced back – or downlinked – to the ABC affiliate in Tampa (which is part of the Tampa/St. Petersburg Television Market, No. 14 in the USA), WFTS-TV Channel 28, known to us Tampa Bay television viewers as ABC Action News.

WFTS’ studio is located on 4045 North Himes Avenue in Tampa just across from Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The composite ABC east coast feed containing the Academy Awards telecast – which contains Tom Kane’s digitized voice – is picked up by WFTS’ receiving satellite dish and immediately sent to WFTS master control.

At any typical network television affiliate, master control consists of three items: The network feed, the live feed from the news studio, and another internal feed for programs that may be originated from the television station itself. As WFTS is an ABC affiliate (since 1994 when the great Tampa Bay affiliate switch took place), its master control processes the Academy Awards telecast containing Tom Kane’s voice and is sent out for transmission to the Tampa Bay area.

Traditionally, the signal is routed from master control to the studio to transmitter microwave link which beams the Academy Awards telecast from WFTS’ studio on Himes Avenue to the transmitter tower in Riverview. Once in Riverview the Academy Awards telecast is pulled off the microwave signal and is placed on WFTS’ regular broadcast signal for distribution to everyone in the Tampa Bay area receiving the Academy Awards telecast by traditional means.

However, I am listening to Tom Kane’s voice on a HDTV set in St. Petersburg connected to Bright House Networks. More and more network affiliates, especially in the major cities, relay their signal directly to cable companies for distribution to their customers, which helps preserve the signal as much as possible. So, at WFTS master control the Academy Awards telecast that has Tom’s voice is steered onto a special cable feed which connects WFTS with the nearest Bright House Networks signal gathering facility somewhere in Tampa, known as a cable television headend.

Once the Academy Awards telecast is at the Bright House Networks headend, it will be switched over to a series of trunk cables which will take the Academy Awards telecast – and Tom Kane’s voice – across Tampa Bay on Interstate 275 over the Howard Frankland Bridge through a dedicated utility conduit over to Bright House Networks’ St. Petersburg headend.

Once at the St. Petersburg headend the telecast is switched over for its final time to the local Bright House Networks distribution grid which will take it underground and overhead (not to mention the power boosters the signal goes through) to my place. The signal is received by the digital converter box and it translates Tom Kane’s voice from a broadcast signal to a signal that my HDTV set can understand.

Once at my HDTV set electronic brains located deep within the set itself finally convert the Academy Awards telecast – and Tom Kane’s voice – to what went into the microphone at the announcer’s booth over at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. The end result: You hear Tom Kane’s voice just like if you were there at the Academy Awards ceremony.

Total distance traveled from Los Angeles to St. Petersburg: 88,000 miles, give or take a few extra when the signal arrives at WFTS’ studios in Tampa.

Time delay of Tom Kane’s voice from the Academy Awards telecast to my HDTV set here in St. Petersburg: About 11 seconds, give or take.

And one more thing I forgot to mention is the mandatory delay imposed by the ABC Television Network. This is needed so that if in the event a curse word was ever uttered at the Academy Awards, ABC would catch it just in time before it is allowed to be distributed to its affiliates. After all, one curse word on a major awards telecast such as the Academy Awards that is actually aired can cause ABC’s many affiliates to be hit with substantial FCC fines for broadcast of obscene or indecent material.

So, I gave you a rundown on the technical aspects of how the Academy Awards announcer’s voice travels from Los Angeles to St. Petersburg. Depending on where you live and how you receive your local ABC affiliate, the path is practically the same.

Now if you have watched the 83rd Annual Academy Awards telecast, if you got a rant about the telecast please feel free to leave a comment. Just keep the comments clean.

Rick Scott: A Major Embarassment to the State of Florida

By now you may have read reports on the Tampa Bay area news media outlets that high speed rail is gone, according to this Bay News 9 story.

What Rick Scott is doing is devastating, if not damaging as well as a major disgrace to the State of Florida and its residents. We have unemployment running at an all time high and we have people out of work that need work – and the paycheck that goes with it – to put food on the table. Besides, if and when the economy recovers we are going to have a state that is embroiled in major gridlock, especially our state’s metropolitan areas such as Tampa/St. Petersburg, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville. Furthermore, Rick Scott’s rejection of high speed rail, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, is a slap in the face not only to us Floridians but the federal government as well.

The construction of high speed rail would have brought jobs – 25,000 from what I understand – jobs that Floridians out of work need. Also, the construction of high speed rail would have been the jolt that sends our state’s economy on the way to recovery. Rick Scott does not care about us Floridians not one bit.

Another benefit of high speed rail is it would have brought Tampa and Orlando closer. It would have opened up the job markets of Tampa and Orlando to job seekers on the Interstate 4 corridor. Speaking of Interstate 4, when the major improvements were built that transformed Interstate 4 from an overcrowded and dangerous four lane highway to the six lane interstate highway we know today, there is ample space in the median which was built with high speed rail in mind.

Realize for a moment that the State of Florida spent billions of dollars in transforming Interstate 4 from a dangerous highway to a safer highway with high speed rail in mind. Now Rick Scott – the crook and thief running the State of Florida from the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee – decided to go ahead and destroy it all.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we Floridians need to do something to save our state from irreparable ruin. We need to get HJR 785 passed and an amendment placed onto the Constitution of the State of Florida so that we can get Rick Scott recalled from office.

If you think Rick Scott is damaging the State of Florida at every turn, here’s another byproduct of Rick Scott: Turning public property into private property.

This recently happened at a Polk County School Board meeting where someone was protesting the start of their meetings with an invocation was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to this article on 10 News (WTSP-TV).

Here is the comment that I left on the article, as Ellenbeth Wachs – who was with John Kieffer at the school board meeting – was taking pictures and was declared a second class citizen by the Bartow Police Department on the orders of the Polk County School District by having a trespass warning issued:

Ellenbeth Wachs being given a trespass warning for taking pictures at a school board meeting? Just a great example of Rick Scott turning public property into private property by having government meetings held in private. However, I don’t condone what John Kieffer did by disrupting the meeting in the first place.

Just goes on to show you that by the way things are going, Rick Scott is Florida’s #1 Section 810.09 trespass warning king. And the Polk County School District will do anything to turn ordinary citizens into second class citizens by using trespass warnings against anyone for any reason.

And yes, Rick Scott will do anything to intimidate Floridians by the use of these trespass warnings as a tool of repression against the people. That way, government meetings such as school board meetings can be held in private in clear violation of the Sunshine Law which mandates that most government meetings such as school board meetings, city council meetings and county commission meetings be held in open session with very few exceptions. All Ellenbeth Wachs was doing at the Polk County School Board meeting was taking pictures – she did not do anything wrong from what I understand.

Moreover, we can’t forget Rick Scott’s mantra of no government interference in private business. The Orlando area theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida are the biggest purveyors of trespass warnings; with theme park security standing ready to turn ordinary law abiding people into second class citizens by inventing an incident to justify a trespass warning banning the person for life. Additonally, private business – especially the retail sector such as shopping malls (like International Plaza in Tampa and Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg) and retail stores (like Wal-Mart, Sweetbay Supermarket, Winn-Dixie and 7-Eleven) – will do anything to turn a law abiding customer into a second class citizen by inventing an incident and have a trespass warning issued banning the customer for life.

After all, there is no appeal to a trespass warning issued – it is permanent. Trespass warnings issued in Florida are convictions for trespassing without the benefit of due process and trial.

Again, we Floridians need to take back our state. We need to do something now before it’s too late.

Can it happen here in Florida?

By now you may have been watching developments unfold from Madison, which is Wisconsin’s equivalent of Tallahassee. Wisconsin’s newly elected governor, Scott Walker, has declared all out war on workers in the state. The plan is to eliminate the rights of workers such as teachers, health care workers and much more to organize a union and bargain for better working conditions including decent pay and benefits among a few things.

In response, thousands upon thousands of people marched to the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison protesting Governor Scott Walker’s plan. The result: Scott Walker has threatened to turn the Wisconsin National Guard against the people, much like demonstrations across the Atlantic which have so far toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Can it happen here in Florida? Potentially, the answer is yes. The potential is there for our newly elected crook and thief in the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee, Governor Rick Scott, to unleash the Florida National Guard as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other law enforcement agencies against the people of this great state. With the recent uproar on Rick Scott’s rejection of high speed rail and the rejection of other federal monies that would benefit Floridians such as unemployment, the potential exists for a Madison-style protest in Tallahassee.

OK. Now how did both Rick Scott and Scott Walker get elected in Florida and Wisconsin? It’s simple: Governor’s Offices were bought for millions. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker was elected governor of that state thanks to partial financing by the infamous billionaire Koch Brothers. The objective in Wisconsin: The worker’s unions are a nuisance.

Since 9/11/01 the mantra of law enforcement and private security companies has been this: The people are our enemy. Now with governors that are out of touch with the people, that statement is getting more true than ever. Even private businesses are getting into the act too: Private businesses – especially in the retail and amusement sectors – have tools in their arsenal to intimidate their customers, and one of the major tools in private business’ toolkit is the use of trespass warnings for no reason. In Florida, trespass warnings are very easy to issue and you don’t need a reason.

So, can the events that have transpired in Madison happen in Tallahassee? Potentially yes.

Remember to contact your Florida state representative and show your support for HJR 785 which would allow for the recall of Florida’s high ranking officials including the governor.