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News Bites: Mo' MAGA; Cop Appeal; Cart Talk

Top print stories featuring Fernandina Beach News-Leader, The St. Augustine Record, and The Daily Record

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FERNANDINA BEACH NEWS-LEADER: MO' MAGA

The changing face of white nationalism has been a popular topic among the liberal media, which can never resist an opportunity to give the rub to their enemies. Speaking of which, the Florida League of the South (not to be confused with the Florida League of the North, which does not exist) held its annual convention in Lake City on June 2, and Carl McKinney of Community Newspapers was there. His story ran in the Fernandina Beach News-Leader on June 5, and it's a fun little read.

Leader Michael Tubbs (not to be confused with that black guy from Miami Vice) told a teeming throng of nearly three dozen that "We are not your daddy's Southern heritage organization. ... Do not make the mistake of believing that we exist to discuss rusty muskets or how many buttons were on a Richmond depot shell jacket." (The answer, of course, is NINE buttons, duh!) Speakers touched on the usual bullet-points: slavery good, Pledge of Allegiance bad, Donald Trump, mmm yum-yum, yes, more, please.

"All but a handful of attendees wore the league's official uniform-tan khakis and a black polo shirt emblazoned with a white-and-black Southern nationalist flag based on the Confederate battle flag," writes McKinney. "The Southern nationalist flag and an early Civil War-era unofficial Confederate banner depicting a white star against a blue background flew over the fairgrounds entrance and in front of the conference hall. Cameras were not allowed inside." Why no haz cameras? It seems like a very photogenic group!

ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD: COP APPEAL

The last few years have had some problematic times for the nation's law enforcement community, with their best public-relations gimmicks running against a rising tide of "ACAB" sentiment, wrought by the misdeeds of several thousand bad apples, not to mention pensions and aging personnel. This has led to recruiting problems for many departments, including here in Florida, where we struggle to find even enough python hunters to get by, let alone hunters of men. The St. Augustine Record's Jared Keever took a look at recruitment efforts in St. Johns County in its June 10 issue.

"We have had some challenges this past year in just getting up to where we are already approved in terms of strength, in terms of personnel," Sheriff David Shoar told county commissioners last week. Shoar cites the county's super-low 2.7 percent unemployment rate as a major culprit, in addition to the current political climate. That department is not alone, as Keever notes similar issues facing the St. Augustine PD, as well as the St. Johns County Fire Rescue and even its school district, which is facing a slew of unfunded mandates for next year. But all sides involved seem optimistic that recruitment will pick up, and the county does have one big advantage: With those forest-green uniforms, St. Johns County's deputies are arguably the best-dressed in all of America—and when you look good, you feel good.

THE DAILY RECORD: CART TALK

Last Friday, June 8, in the Daily Record, Larry Hannan reported on legislation being sponsored by City Councilmen Matt Schellenberg and Al Ferraro that would, under certain conditions, legalize the use of golf carts on the streets of Jacksonville. "The news is likely to surprise many people who thought it already legal to drive a golf cart on Jacksonville roads, and that's kind of the point," writes Hannan, who notes that, funny as it is, Schellenberg does make some good points: Golf cart usage would reduce gasoline consumption and vehicle emissions, and it makes a nice alternative for folks whose disabilities disallow for the use of normal vehicles. And carts might be especially useful in smaller neighborhoods, in the sticks and in  certain places (like Downtown) where parking is at a premium.

This news portends great fun for those of us in the media, some of whom (specifically, me) are already salivating at the thought of all the golf cart-related tomfoolery that seems almost guaranteed to occur. Drunken golf cart hijinks? Check. Drag-racing in golf carts? Check. Hit-and-runs, solicitation and road-rage involving golf carts? Yes, yes and YES. After all, Florida is already a global tastemaker, in terms of the vast array of illicit fun to be had on horseback, so the golf cart concept is clearly tailor-made for Florida Man to shine, brighter than any star in the night-drunk, in a golf cart. (Speaking of which, how is Tiger Woods doing these days?) The potential for customizations alone is staggering.

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