Florida Schools Have Banned 560 Books Over the Past Year

According to the Temple Terrace Patch, many of the books have been made into movies and TV shows.

More than 560 books were targeted by school districts in the Sunshine state over the past year, according to the report from PEN America, a New York-based literary and free expression nonprofit advocacy group. The report highlights how challenges to books have become a political issue nationwide. A majority of the targeted books focus on sexual identity, race and racism.

The report, “Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools,” said the majority of book bans weren’t “spontaneous, organic expressions” of concern by parents and citizens, but rather “reflect the work of a growing number of advocacy organizations that have made demanding censorship of certain books and ideas in schools part of their mission.”

Nobel Prize and Pulitzeer Prize winner Toni Morrison was a repeat offender with “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved.”

Florida Dems Meet, See for Signs of Hope

Politico: “Various Democrats said during the three-day “Leadership Blue” conference that they see openings that can be used to overcome Republican advantages. They see their best hope for a statewide victory in Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is challenging Sen. Marco Rubio and has bested him in fundraising in successive quarters even as she trails in most polls.

“But party leaders also say that voters are alarmed by the Supreme Court decision to undo abortion rights and are upset with Republican resistance to address gun violence. They contend some Republicans were turned off by the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that left several people dead and has led to a negative headlines in recent weeks as the Jan. 6 committee holds hearings that uncover damning details about Trump and several Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

“’This is not about ‘all right, let’s just take our best shot,’ Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said in an interview. ‘This is a real belief in winning.’”

Newsom to Florida: ‘Freedom Is under Attack in Your State’

Deadline.com: “Continuing the war of words between Florida and California – and potentially previewing the presidential campaign for 2024 – California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a new ad attacking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Newsom’s July 4 weekend ad claims “Freedom is under attack” in states run by Republican governors, like Florida. It goes on to demonize several decisions led by the conservative DeSantis.

“’Your Republican leaders, they’re banning books,’ Newsom says in voiceover of images of DeSantis. Republican governors are ‘making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors,’ Newsom’s ad claims….

“Newsom called on Floridians to ‘join the fight’ against DeSantis. He added that disgruntled citizens in the Sunshine State are welcome to move to California, ‘where we still believe in freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love. Don’t let them take your freedom.’”

Under Gov. DeSantis, Florida Has Become the Least Affordable Place to Live in the United States

CBS News: “Rents, which are rising by double-digits nationwide, are positively ballooning across Florida, fueled by a surge of people who relocated to the state during the pandemic. Florida’s population is growing faster than any state but Texas: Between 2020 and 2021, 300,000 people moved to the Sunshine State.

“In February, Realtor.com designated Miami as America’s least affordable place to live. Average monthly rents in the metro area, at $2,930, are on par with San Francisco and Los Angeles — and double the level considered affordable for people in the region given the local median income. Miami, Orlando and Tampa have the fastest-growing rents in the country over the past year.”

Redistricting Stalled in Last Four States, Including Florida

44

Politico reports that “spats between governors and state legislators have brought map-making to a standstill in the final four states still without new congressional lines for the 2022 elections.” “With filing deadlines looming, 44 House seats are still outstanding in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Missouri and, most importantly, Florida, which has 28 districts all by itself.”

Florida Seeing Nearly 300 COVID Deaths Per Day

277

New York Times: “More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the Delta variant rips through the state. … This week, 227 virus deaths were being reported each day in Florida, on average, as of Tuesday, a record for the state and by far the most in the United States right now.” Washington Post: “More than 17,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Florida, which has the most hospitalizations for Covid-19 of any state in the country.”

Trump Got the Debate He Wanted, But Will it Help Him?

The day after the debate
Does it feel like something changed at that first presidential debate of 2020? Putting aside that it was exactly the kind of debate that the year 2020 deserved, it felt like during all that bellowing, bullying, heckling, and lying, Trump pushed a few more voters away.

I’m not a pollster. My observations are just that: the most elemental of research, what I see and hear around me.

The day of the debate, I heard Trump supporters talking about recording the show like it was a ball game their team was likely to win. I heard laughter about Biden. On a neighborhood walk, I saw mostly Trump/Pence signs. They appeared early and continued to outnumber Biden signs.

The day after the debate, I heard no chortling about how well Trump did. In fact no one mentioned the debate at all, the subject just too painful. When I came home, it seemed that my neighbors’ yards filled with Biden signs overnight. No matter where my eyes fell, there was a Biden/Harris sign in view.

The official polls reflecting post-debate sentiment won’t be out for awhile. But I’m cautiously optimistic they’ll back up what I’m seeing and show that Trump is sliding just a bit, losing support every time he opens that tight, pursed mouth to let all that anger out.

Watching Trump live-tweet Biden in person was hard. But it might be what it takes to turn enough Americans away from his nightmare presidency.