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Surrounded by residential areas, Taksim Meydani (Taksim Square) is the symbolic center of Istanbul and the most cosmopolitan city in Turkey.

Recent years have seen growing unrest in the nation that straddles Eastern Europe and Western Asia. On Friday night, the friction between dissidents and the government reached a new level. One of the epicenters of that was Taksim Square.

Late that night, social media started buzzing with reports that an attempted coup d'état was underway in Turkey. Cafés closed and Friday night festivities came to a halt. Citizens withdrew cash from ATMs, procured supplies, many stocking up on water, then fled city centers to make their way home. People carried out these and other tasks in a quick and mechanical way, without argument.

On Friday night, young soldiers lined the famous Istiklal Street on one side of the square. On the opposite side of the square, police vehicles and police calmly stood by. It was a curious sight: The police clearly outnumbered the soldiers, yet did not approach them for hours.

The government encouraged citizens via Twitter to flood into the public spaces to protest the attempted coup. This would later prove to be an effective tactic.

The protestors swarmed military personnel and pushed them into the center of the square where the Republic Monument is located. The soldiers were surrounded by the angry mob, but would occasionally fire live rounds into the air to dissuade the crowd from overwhelming them.

The police cautiously stood by while civilians doled out their brand of justice. This type of mob justice is encouraged in Turkey; thus, hordes of men feel entitled to mete out punishment.

The soldiers had also taken control and closed major bridges and airports in Istanbul without major incident, but, much like in Taksim Square, were unable to contain the mobs and police that swarmed them. There are reports that the mob beheaded or possibly lynched a soldier on the Bosphorous …   More



Earlier today, and only 13 days after his deadline (he could be a Folio Weekly writer!), Dr. Dr. Herbert M. Barber Jr. — the Jacksonville Port Task Force consultant whose rather … shall we say … colorful views on poor people, environmentalists, integration and Barack Obama being a terrorist are contained in a 2012 book he wrote that nobody in the city bothered to Google before signing on the dotted line — finally turned the draft report that was due Feb. 13. (In keeping with his anachronistic sensibilities, it seems, he only filed a hard copy and not a digital one; the city has promised to email me a copy of the report as soon as it’s digitized, probably tomorrow see below.) 

The city responded with a very polite “thanks and by the way your services are no longer needed”: 

“In accordance with Section 8 of the Contract and Section 3.23 of RFP, the City has elected to terminate the Contract for convenience. Accordingly, this letter shall serve as the City’s written notice of termination to Xicon. The Contract shall be deemed terminated effective immediately upon receipt of this notice.” 

Don’t be worrying about Dr. Dr. Barber, you guys. Dude’s still gonna get paid. Per the notice: “The City is hereby relieved of all further obligations other than payment for the amount of services actually performed to the date of termination. … Please provide the City with an invoice within 30 days of this notice for services completely up to the date of this notice of termination. The City greatly appreciates your cooperation on this matter.” 

Because Dr. Dr. Barber’s work was mostly completely by the time the city found out about his book (from me, natch) — his final report was due March 2, and he was to present to the task force March 11 — he can (and probably will, since he only hates government money when less deserving people get it) …   More


The Power Meter

POWER UP: Curry's Budget Proposal

Whether you feel the Lenny Curry’s recent attempts at purging potential opponents from high ranking board positions is business as usual for a party boss, or not, on Monday, Sept. 14, the new city council approved the Mayor’s $1.1 billion budget, and did so unanimously.

NEXT: You Don’t Have to Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here >>>   More

Jag City


Listening to the national media before the Atlanta game, it was hard not to feel a little bit giddy.

The Jaguars, many folks predicted, would beat Matt Ryan and his Falcons with ease. The Atlanta Falcons, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo. And the way they handled their business underscored why the Jaguars are a 5-9 team.

The first drive was an augury: Atlanta got the ball first, and drove 80 yards down the field in 8 plays and 4:12, pushed by 44 yards from Julio Jones and FSU product Devonta Freeman knocking over the pylon as he crashed into the end zone on a 5-yard run. Matt Ryan: six for six on the drive.

The second quarter featured a second efficient Ryan drive, culminating in an 11-yard strike to - Jones, putting Atlanta up 14 to 3. Those who were waiting for the Falcons to self-destruct like they did a week before in Charlotte began to realize that wasn’t going to happen.

After trading punts, Jacksonville had the ball inside its own 20 with 1:42 left in the half. Bortles, in 2-minute mode, had the offense on the move against a soft Falcons zone, until throwing one of those classic poorly timed interceptions in the end zone. The interception, returned to the Jacksonville 14, set up a Falcons field goal, putting Atlanta up 17 to 3.

The Jaguars, for a second week in a row, needed some magic in the final 30 minutes.

And, for a moment, they were getting it, chunk play by chunk play, on a 9-play, 4:20-drive that covered 80 yards and cut the Falcons’ lead in half, ending with a Bortles bootleg for the touchdown.

Then Ryan served up a pick to Paul Posluszny, giving Jacksonville the ball inside the 50 and all the momentum in the world, as Bortles moved the ball down the field in a drive that culminated with a strike to Allen Robinson, tying the game up at 17, which was where it stood at the end.

Jacksonville punted the ball back in short order, a three and out forced by an aggressive Falcons’ defense, as each team saw …   More

Waller and McCloskey ROCK "MERRILY" at ABET

Shortly after the open, Katie Swider McCloskey — as the alcoholic Mary Flynn — deadpans, ”The plot thins.”

Huge laughs follow as her increasingly caustic jabs rip at the center of her orbit, Frank Shepard (Daniel Austin). But it’s the simplicity in staging, not plot, that truly allows Merrily We Roll Along to hit nearly all the right notes. 

This Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre production continues with six more performances through September 25 at the Adele Grage Cultural Center after two opening sellouts last week.

When director Lee Hamby saw a stripped-down version of Merrily that drew raves in London, he realized that the musical, best-known as a Broadway flop, could be a hit on a small stage.

The original Broadway edition in 1981 holds an infamous place in theatre history, losing its original leading man, being postponed twice and running for only 16 performances. It also marked the end of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince’s collaborations for more than two decades, until 2003.

Some of the challenges remain, with a story told in reverse, and a bittersweet tale of theatre sellouts unraveling themselves into optimistic go-getters of 1957. 

But the small-stage intimacy of ABET with an extreme focus on storytelling allows the musical to strike deeper, even with some rough edges.

Merrily We Roll Along does indeed open at the close. 

We quickly discover that Frank, Mary and Charley Kringas (Josh Waller) were once the three best friends that anyone could have, but now they’ve gone their separate ways. One mention of Charley, and a drunk Mary who has flown in from New York City for this 1976 Bel Air party chastises, “Don’t you know that in this joint you must never, ever mention the name Charley Kringas.” 

We learn quickly that Mary is still in love with Frank after all these years. But it’s the intrigue over what happened on a TV set back in ‘73 …   More



People often accuse me of lacking a sense of humor. I know a good joke when I hear one, though. Exhibit A:

“Gus Bradley has never talked about the playoffs in his time with the Jaguars” — Random CBS Z-List announcer so deadpanned. So typical of how the national media has treated Jacksonville football over the years. Even during the 14-2 regular season in the 1990s, there was always this kind of condescension toward the River City.

Now that there’s been a long stretch of mediocrity-or-worse, the rhetoric and results line up.

The Saints game was one of those when someone (who was lucky enough not to be watching the game) might look at the final score, see 38-27 and 368 passing yards, and think that it was another seamless performance by the fantasy football-friendly Jags’ offense. However, the signature play of Sunday’s game was not on the stat sheet: It was Blake Bortles being hit in the groin with a shotgun snap.

The final score and final box score (larded with garbage time production) might lead one to believe this was a competitive game.

Don’t buy it. The outcome was never in doubt.

The Saints came out and disrespected the Jags on offense, storming down the field with 4:27 elapsed and 70 yards from Brees on that first drive, as he cut through the Jags’ defense like it was preseason.

After a Jags’ punt, the Saints had the ball again at their own two.

This set up a 98-yard drive, culminating with a Brees-to-Cooks strike for 71 yards, putting the home team up 14-0 at the end of one quarter, with 169 passing yards from Brees.

Bortles was picked on the next drive; Allen Robinson couldn’t bring in the pass, but a Saints defensive end did.

From there, you could see some give in the Jags’ defense. Tim Hightower found space running up the middle and, after yet another Jags’ penalty in the secondary, Hightower took a screen pass for 27 yards to the Jacksonville 1, then, …   More

12 Times We Couldn't Tell if Lenny Curry was a Mayor, Coach or Gladiator on Twitter

If you follow the Northeast Florida Twits as closely as we do, you know that Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry is one active mofo on social media. An early adopter, to date the crown prince of pension taxes has Tweeted over 12,000 times since 2009. That's more than us. For realz.

Recently, we took a deep dive into Curry's Twitter feed, and we've gotta say, he's one cheesy fellow. We also noted the mayor's ongoing lovefest with sports radio personalities and a certain news channel that rhymes with 'traction shoes hacks.' We couldn't help but note that Curry, um, really likes grinding, almost as much as he digs the arena. But he loves nothing more than fist bumps. He loves them so much, he even fist bumps himself (but only when he's feeling froggy).

As we delved ever deeper into the fondue pot of the Curry Twitter feed, one burning question presented itself: Is Lenny Curry man, mayor, or some kind of gladiator/coach? 

You be the judge:



















































Ooh, sick burn from …   More


Hemming Plaza’s H.A.R.T. on Hold


The Downtown Investment Authority will continue studying the idea of having a nonprofit foundation to run events at Hemming Plaza. On Feb. 13, Jim Bailey, publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record and chairman of the Hemming Plaza Committee of the Downtown Investment Authority, proposed the creation of a private foundation to take over administration and programming of the downtown park. The organization would be called H.A.R.T - an acronym for the Hemming Arts Recreation Team, after Isaiah Hart, the founder of Jacksonville, who deeded the land for the park to the city. Other DIA board members said more research is needed before such a committee could be formed. Board Chairman Donald Harris said the DIA was still in the fact-finding stage. Bailey’s proposal was to have 10 board members contribute $5,000 each to establish and form a non-profit to run the park.

FEB. 13

The Hemming Plaza Committee of the Downtown Investment Authority is proposing the creation of a private foundation to take over administration and programming of the downtown park. Jim Bailey, chairman of the committee and publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record, outlined the proposal Tuesday. The organization would be called H.A.R.T - an acronym for the Hemming Arts Recreation Team, after Isaiah Hart, the founder of Jacksonville, who deeded the land for the park to the city. If approved by the Downtown Investment Authority, the non-profit foundation would be supported entirely by private contributions and its mission would be “to enhance Hemming Plaza through events, collaboration with local businesses and volunteerism.”   More

Lawsuit May Challenge Closed State Attorney Primary

According to emails obtained by Folio Weekly Magazine, Jacksonville pastor R.L. Gundy is attempting to collect plaintiffs to challenge the closed State Attorney primary in federal court. And he’s getting an assist from the Jacksonville Young Democrats.

The complete, unedited text of a May 18 email, entitled, “Need your help! State Attorney's race/Federal Lawsuit,” says:

PLEASE KEEP THIS CONFIDENTIAL - DO NOT FORWARD except to a prospective volunteer

Hi Everyone,

Pastor Gundy called me today. He is taking the State Attorney's close primary issue to the federal courts on the basis on expressed intent of voter suppression.

He's found an attorney who's willing to file the lawsuit but needs 3 democrats to jump on board with him to file the lawsuit. Just 3 residents.

The Democratic Party has not endorsed this officially. I've just been asked to provide Pastor Gundy with 3 Democrats who are willing to get on this with him.

We need 1 African American, 1 Hispanic, 1 White ASAP.

If interested, I will connect you with Pastor Gundy and you can proceed. Let me know ASAP if you're interested by replying to this email.

Thank you!!

Article for reference:

Be Bold,



Jacksonville Young Democrats


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A May 19 email from JYD president Kristellys Estanga with the subject line, “Re: Need your help! State Attorney's race/Federal Lawsuit,” updated the group that, “We need 3 people from each county.” According to the email, so far three whites and two blacks from Duval and one white from Clay have signed on as plaintiffs.

On the last day of qualifying, write-in candidates filed to run in the state attorney and public defender’s races, …   More


Bill Would Give City $2 Million for Stadium Upgrades

Two Clay County lawmakers are filing a bill that will make public-owned stadiums with professional franchises eligible for a $2 million a year sales tax rebate for the next 30 years, the Times-Union reported. If the bill passes, the city-owned Everbank Field, the home of the Jaguars, would be eligible for a total of $4 million a year based on the new rebate and a rebate the stadium received in 1995. Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, and Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, will sponsor the bill.   More