You know it wasn’t that long ago that Florida finally got around to making bestiality illegal. I wrote all about it back on April 11 of this year. Simply put I thought the issue behind us, if you’ll pardon the allusion. But, stop me if you can, it turns out that they needed some time to implement the changes. After all, one does not stop having sex with Flicka overnight. You need to be weened a little at a time. Go from horse, to pony to …. well, you get the idea. That means, until October 1, that you can still head on down to Disney World get your Mouse-Ka-Freak on. I kid you not, Governor Rick Scott was so thrilled to get any such law passed that he neglected to make it active. Well, hell, what fun’s a law if people have to obey it? In Florida that’s almost counter-intuitive.
Even the court system there seems to be having some issues sorting out what is and is not punishable. For example, if you’re an older woman who has sex with a young boy you get 30 years in prison. But, and this is very important distinction, if you are an older man who has sex with a young girl, you get seven years probation.
I hope Denise Harvey is too preoccupied with her own ongoing legal to dramas to keep abreast of the ones unfolding back home. Remember Denise? She was the 42-year-old Vero Beach baseball mom who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sleeping with a 16-year-old. Thusly sentenced, she did what any sane person would do: She hit the road. Early this year, authorities found her hiding out in Saskatchewan, where she’s now fighting extradition. She may win. Good for her! (And bad for her bail bond company. Just yesterday, Barnett Bail Bands coughed up $150,000 on Harvey’s account.)
If she’s keeping abreast of the goings-on in Florida, what might she make of this story, published in Tuesday’s Sun-Sentinel: “Drummer gets probation for sex with teen girl from band camp”?
The subject of the story, 23-year-old Clinton Tyquiem Simmons, engaged in an affair with a girl between the age of 13 and 15. (The precise age is redacted from the police report.) She was a “youth counselor” at a band camp; he was an assistant director and therefore in a position of authority over the girl. Even in countries with more liberal ages of consent than this one — Canada, say — there are usually special prohibitions against trans-generational relationships with significant power differentials. The average Joe can sleep with 16-year-olds; a 16-year-old’s teacher, counselor, and band camp director cannot. Too much potential for coercion.
Though his victim was younger than Denise Harvey’s, and though he was in a position of power over the girl, Simmons will not go to prison. He will serve seven years’ probation and perform 100 hours of community service.
What a relief for him! And what miserable news for Denise Harvey, reading the news in unseasonably cold Saskatchewan, knowing that if she ever goes home, she’ll be tossed into prison till she’s an old, old lady for committing almost exactly the same crime in almost exactly the same state at almost exactly the same time as Mr. Simmons. Justice is blind, maybe, but it’s mostly just capricious.
My guess is, given that we are talking about Florida, his community service will involve youth counselling.
In other news related to destroying young lives, Florida is pushing a train wreck called a “parental empowerment bill” that, oddly enough, does nothing to empower parents. It does, however, allow parents to send their kids to schools that have no government oversight. First the story of the bill.
A bizarre showdown is unfolding in Tallahassee this week. Advocates for parents — including the Florida PTA and Parents Across America — are lobbying vehemently against a bill that’s supposed to “empower them.”
The proposed legislation would let parents vote to turn a failing public school into a charter school. Opponents say SB 1718, the “Parent Empowerment in Education” bill, is a thinly veiled attempt to expand charters in a state where the for-profit charter school business is already booming.
“This bill is a hoax to further privatize our public schools,” Rita Solnet, a Palm Beach County parent advocate, wrote in an open letter to StudentsFirst, an organization pushing the bill. “This bill no more empowers me than it does the gecko on my patio from taking over my home.”
So why are Republican legislators pushing the bill? Let’s follow the money.
Last year, the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers), received at least $2,500 in campaign contributions from people in the business of “educational services,” including $500 from StudentsFirst.
Benacquisto got another $500 from Education Partnerships, a joint venture in Tallahassee that is not registered with the Florida Secretary of State’s Office and has no website. The mysterious business gave $15,500 to Florida Republicans last year, including $10,000 to the state Republican Party. It did not give to Democrats.
Benaqcuisto’s other notable donor was Community Education Partners Inc., a for-profit company from Nashville that runs alternative schools and dropout prevention programs. The company gave $10,500 to Republican legislators last year (nothing at all to Democrats). Under the “parent empowerment” bill, a failing school could also be turned over to a private management company.
The rest of the argument is already in court. Florida lawmakers slid a fun note into the school voucher program that allows parents to send their kid to any religious school, even if it’s unaccredited. After all, belief trumps fact, doesn’t it?
Yeah, there is a lawsuit.
Yes, the same people who are still stuck on trying to figure out how to stop you from having sex with animals are in charge of educational standards. As written the law would require more diligence from home schooled kids (who have to meet minimums in reading, writing and arithmetic) and would allow kids in these new private schools to be taught that dinosaurs are an evil conspiracy to keep kids from seeing the truth.
Here’s what the new law, bill, whatever the heck, would do.
The amendment would ask voters if they want to delete the so-called Blaine Amendment provision from Florida’s constitution.
That 39-word sentence has been in Florida’s state constitution since 1885. Known as the “no aid” provision, it states that “no revenue of the state” can be given “directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.”
The sentence, like similar language in nearly 40 other state constitutions, is a stricter prohibition against the financial mixing of church and state than is found in the U.S. Constitution. It was named for a U.S. Senator who tried but failed to get similar language in the federal document in 1875.
Advocates of the amendment said they pushed to delete that sentence because it was rooted in anti-Catholic bigotry and led to discrimination against religious organizations seeking to take part in taxpayer-financed programs.
Why do these idiots not see that a government funded religion, at any level, is bad for religion. The Catholic church is having a hissy fit over birth control regulations in the new health bill. But, and they keep neglecting to mention this, they have taken millions of dollars from the government.
Governments get a say in your life when you take their coin. Even Jesus knew that. Matthew 22:1 – Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s – is pretty clear about the distinction.
God is not the government and the governmeent is not God. Start mixing them and you’ve joined the Taliban.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.