Florida mom abandons 3 kids in Waffle House to go drinking at nearby bar

“Waffle Nights,” Ahmed Hashim.
The restaurant chain has been in the news for a number of odd crimes lately. This one is very sad.

Florida toll collector fired for paying tolls for drivers who didn't have money

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Samsonov, a military veteran who had worked at the booth for 29 years, said he was fired for covering someone’s toll fee out of his own pocket.

Florida man dislikes sea turtles, shoots a volunteer protecting their nest

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A 72-year-old Marine veteran who volunteered to protect a sea turtle nest got beaten and shot in the butt for his troubles. Turtle-hater Michael Q. McAuliffe was arrested. Read the rest

They're tearing down the Adventurer's Club

The best original attraction in Walt Disney World, an interactive theater that combined live actors, live-puppeteered animatronic elements, gag bar-stools, and booze, is finally being razed. Read the rest

Florida HS Principal and student interrupted smoking pot, making out. Arrest follows.

"Police say a married Florida principal was caught in a car with a student and marijuana – and her shirt was unbuttoned." Read the rest

Jeb Bush sold patronage and favors to his top political donors

The AP analysis of Bush's 275,000 FOIA'ed emails show that "donations" to his campaign were really more like "purchases." Read the rest

Snowbirds' guide to avoiding corrupt cops on I-75

My parents just got back from a road-trip from Toronto to Florida, and used Dave Hunter's venerable Along Interstate-75 to find food and lodgings, pass the hours, and beat the speed-traps and civil forfeiture nightmares of America's great roadways. Read the rest

Carl Hiaasen's "Skink No Surrender"

Carl Hiaasen's novels are treasures of hilarity, violence, comeuppance and ardent love for Florida wilderness. The very best of them feature "Skink," a wild man of the woods with a fantastic history and a twisted sense of justice. With Skink No Surrender, Hiaasen brings his greatest character to a new generation by transforming the violent, profane anti-hero into the star of a young adult novel.

Don't drive with marijuana plants sticking out your window

20-year-old Justin Goodloe and 19-year-old Allen Thomas were charged with manufacturing of marijuana after a cop spotted the plant in Clearwater, Fla. [WTSP] Read the rest

Ocala, FL criminalizes sagging pants

If you're on city property and your pants hang more than 2" below your "natural waistline," you face a $500 fine, and for repeat offenders, jail. Read the rest

Fla principal broke rules by cancelling summer read of Little Brother

You'll remember that my publisher sent 200 copies of Little Brother to Booker T Washington High School after the principal canceled the summer One Book/One School reading program because he was opposed to the book's "anti-authoritarian" message. Read the rest

Carl Hiaasen's BAD MONKEY, now in paperback!

Carl Hiaasen's amazing comic novel, Bad Monkey, is now out in paperback; I reviewed it last year in hardcover: Read the rest

Pensacola newspaper editorial board condemns censorship of Little Brother

An unsigned editorial in the Pensacola News Journal decries the decision of a local high-school teacher to cancel the school's One School/One Book summer reading program to stop students from reading my novel Little Brother. They point out that the principal violated school procedures when he took it upon himself to unilaterally cancel the assignment, and that this is both inappropriate as an educational matter and from the perspective of free speech and free inquiry. It's a great editorial, and it rightly emphasizes the bravery of English department head Mary Kate Griffith, who has fought valiantly over this issue. Read the rest

National anti-censorship orgs protest cancellation of Little Brother summer reading program

Last week's news that the principal of Pensacola, FL's Booker T Washington High School had cancelled its One School/One Book summer reading program rather than have his students read my novel Little Brother has alarmed several national anti-censorship organizations, led by the National Coalition Against Censorship. Their open letter to the principal of BTWHS, signed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the American Booksellers Federation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center, discusses the legal and moral duty of educators to put challenging material in front of their students.

I'm immensely grateful to these organizations and especially the NCAC for their support, and I really hope that the principal reconsiders his decision and that I can have a chance to discuss the admittedly challenging themes and scenes in Little Brother with his students in the fall. Read the rest

Why I'm sending 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensacola, FL

The principal of Booker T Washington High in Pensacola FL cancelled the school's One School/One Book summer reading program rather than letting all the kids go through with the previously approved assignment to read Little Brother, the bestselling young adult novel by Cory Doctorow. With Cory and Tor Books' help, the teachers are fighting back.

US Marshals raid Florida cops to prevent release of records of "stingray" surveillance

US Marshals swept into the offices of police in Sarasota, Florida to whisk away records related to operation of "stingray" surveillance tools that the ACLU had requested. The records detailed the farcically low standard for judicial permission to use a stingray (which captures information about the movements, communications and identities of all the people using mobile phones in range of them), and is part of a wider inquiry to their use without a warrant at all -- at least 200 Florida stingray deployments were undertaken without judicial oversight because the police had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the device's manufacturer and they decided that this meant they didn't have to get warrants anymore.

The ACLU has seen a lot of shenanigans in respect of its campaign to document the use and abuse of stingrays, but this is a cake-taker: "We’ve seen our fair share of federal government attempts to keep records about stingrays secret, but we’ve never seen an actual physical raid on state records in order to conceal them from public view." Read the rest

Upside-down coffin filled with medieval weapons discovered in wooded area

A Deputy Sheriff from De Leon Springs, FL, responded to a report of an upside-down coffee in a wooded area. He arrived on the scene, overturned the coffin, and discovered that it was full of replica medieval weaponry, which News 13 enumerates in eye-watering detail: Read the rest

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