Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Florida: Hotbed of Hate or Land of Opportunity?

Florida hasn't been getting quite the sort of publicity it did in 2000, when the Florida presidential ballots added "hanging chad" and "pregnant chad" to America's vocabulary. But the sunshine state has been getting more attention than usual lately.

One of the three more-or-less serious threats to Obama's life came from the Sunshine State:

On the silly side, there's that "Obama Half-Breed Muslin" sign in a Barefoot Bay, Florida, front yard. That is, it would be merely silly, if so many people didn't
  • Believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim
  • Feel that this was a bad thing
I don't think it helps that Barack Obama doesn't have an "American" name. Like Johnson, or Schmidt, or Hong.

Coming from another direction, there's Representative Alcee Hastings. He warned Florida Jews about Sarah Palin: "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks." (I'm not making that up.)

If Dallas is the "City of Hate," is Florida the State of Malice?

Quite a few people, including editors of The New York Times, have decided that Dallas didn't kill JFK after all. And, I don't think that some crazy white guys and Representative Alcee Hastings are typical Floridians.

Florida, the Land of Opportunity: and Obsolete Voting Machines

People in Florida, in common with all Americans, are allowed to think of ways to make money: and try out their ideas. They're even allowed to profit from their successful efforts. For now, at least.

For example, after the 2000 Florida election and the month-long wrangle over voting machines, ballots, and the voters who allegedly couldn't figure out how to use them, Florida decided to scrap its Votomatic III voting machines.

That left some guy with a warehouse-full of the things. He auctioned them off on eBay to some other guy, who turned around and sold them, one at a time, as collectibles. But that's a topic for another post.

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