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UCF volleyball’s Jenny Maurer completes first coaching staff

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 09:30

New UCF volleyball coach Jenny Maurer rounded out her first staff late last week.

Maurer, who was promoted May 18 to replace long-time coach Todd Dagenais, hired a pair of coaches with Big 12 Conference coaching and playing experience while keeping another Knights assistant onboard.

Michaela Franklin and Jason Tanaka were both named associate head coaches under Maurer while UCF announced the retention of director of operations Erin Olson.

“I am ecstatic to get going as a complete staff as we begin our training for our international trip next week,” Maurer said in a release.

Franklin comes to UCF after one season as the associate head coach at South Florida. Prior to USF, she served as the head volleyball coach at Clemson from 2017-2020.

At Clemson, Franklin guided the Tigers from a 7-25 record in her first season in 2017 to a 19-15 mark the following year as the team reached the National Invitational Volleyball Championship quarterfinals, marking the program’s first postseason appearance since 2009.

She came to Clemson after serving as the associate head coach at Iowa from 2014-16 and the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in ’13. Franklin also served as an assistant coach at Marquette from ’09-12 and Northern Illinois from ’06-08.

As a player at Kansas State from ’02-04, Franklin helped lead the Wildcats to a Big 12 championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the Sweet 16.

“Michaela and I have crossed paths for over 15 years on the recruiting trail where we served as head coaches and recruiting coordinators at various universities,” Maurer said. “She is a go-getter, a consummate learner and an overall great person who will add valuable experience to our staff as both a former player and coach at the highest level.

“From her time as a student-athlete in the Big 12 to her years as a coach in the Big Ten, ACC and Big East, Michaela knows what it means to prepare for and compete against the best in the nation.”

Tanaka joins the Knights after spending the past 21 years in Texas as the head coach volleyball at Southlake Carroll High School for one season, an assistant coach at SMU from 2015-2022 and an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at TCU from 2002-15.

He helped SMU capture back-to-back AAC conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances in 2015 and ’16. At TCU, he helped the Horned Frogs reach their first-ever NCAA tournament in 2009.

Prior to his time at TCU, Tanaka served as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh (’00-01) and Baylor (1998-99), helping the Bears earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and a school-record 26-9 record in ’99.

“Having coached at two Big 12 programs, three Power 5 schools, plus having experienced a major conference transition, Jason not only brings a wealth of knowledge about our upcoming conference opponents but also an elite level of preparation, attention to detail, recruiting connections and training skills necessary to compete for championships,” Maurer said.

With Maurer’s first staff complete, the Knights will prepare for a European tour that takes place June 7-18.

While making stops in Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy, UCF will play 6-8 matches against local club and professional teams, with the possibility of additional matches against junior and national teams, in preparation for the program’s first season in the Big 12.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.

Biden marks Memorial Day nearly 2 years after ending America’s longest war, lauds troops’ sacrifice

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 09:19


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Biden was joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, for the 155th National Memorial Day Observance. He had a moment of contemplation in front of the wreath, which was adorned with flowers and a red, white and blue bow, and then bowed his head in prayer.

“We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy,” Biden said later in an address at Memorial Amphitheater. “We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent.”

”Every year we remember,” he said. “And every year it never gets easier.”

Monday’s federal holiday honoring America’s fallen service members came a day after Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached final agreement on a deal that would raise America’s debt limit and that now awaits approval by Congress.

As it stands, the agreement would keep nondefense spending roughly flat in the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1% the following year. The measure would allow for 3% defense growth in fiscal 2024, to $886 billion, and then another 1% in fiscal 2025, to $895 billion.

Biden has taken pride that his Democratic administration has overseen a time of relative peace for the U.S. military after two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s been nearly 21 months since Biden ended the United States’ longest war in Afghanistan, making good on a campaign promise to end a 20-year-old “forever war” that cost the lives of more than 2400 U.S. service members.

The war in Afghanistan, however, ended in deadly and chaotic fashion on Biden’s watch in August 2021 with critics blasting the administration’s handling of the evacuation of some 120,000 American citizens, Afghans and others as poorly planned and badly executed.

The Biden administration last month released a review of the last days of the war, largely blaming his Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, and asserting that Biden was “severely constrained” by Trump’s decisions.

The U.S. now finds itself leading a coalition of allies pouring tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid into Ukraine as it tries to repel the Russian invasion, which appears to have no end in sight.

While making clear that he has no desire for U.S. troops to enter the conflict, Biden has maintained that he sees the Russian effort to grab territory as an affront to international norms and has vowed to help Kyiv win, sending artillery, tanks and drones and recently agreeing to allow allies to train Ukrainian military on American F-16 jets.

Before Monday’s ceremony at the Arlington, Virginia, cemetery, the Bidens hosted a breakfast at the White House for members of veterans organizations, military service and military family organizations, surviving families of fallen U.S. troops, senior Department of Defense officials and other administration officials.

The president and the first lady were scheduled to return to their home near Wilmington, Delaware, later Monday to spend the rest of the federal holiday.

Justice Thomas can tell right from wrong | Letters to the editor

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 09:00

I cannot believe that Clarence Thomas is still sitting on our Supreme Court after the shenanigans that have gone on of late. He has basically been taking bribes for years, in huge dollar amounts and in many ways, yet he acts like he doesn’t know what the law is. That is wrong.

If a Supreme Court justice does not know right from wrong and what the law is, then who does? Why do I have to follow the law but but a Supreme Court justice feels exempt from following all ethics and laws?

This man is making decisions that change the lives of every American citizen, and it appears he’s been being bribed the whole time. We can’t let this go. I say it is time to remove Clarence Thomas from the Supreme Court. It’s a total outrage what he’s been doing.

Diane Miller, Plantation

‘Free’ Florida? Really?

The father who wrote to the Sun Sentinel and others who support banning books don’t seem to care about the education of their children.

Who are they trying to protect? And against what? Don’t they want well-rounded and well-educated citizens who can make their own decisions and not just be a sterilized clone or shell of a person? I guess the current books available in the library and schools will corrupt them.

I hope parents today realize that their children are much more knowledgeable and successful and have more tools to learn from about life lessons. Do parents even watch TV or movies or listen to today’s music? These daily modes of communication have a larger impact on children’s lives than books ever will.

Let’s look at the current crisis that our local and state governments have created, where great educators and leaders are leaving their jobs due to all of the outside negative influences and low wages.

How can one person determine whether a book should be banned or if their child may or may not be affected by a book? Can’t we choose to participate or not? So much for freedom of speech and choice in this free Florida.

Ronald Jones, Pembroke Pines

Worse than Trump

DeSantis is not Trump Lite. He may be more dangerous than Trump.

Trump is an obvious train wreck. DeSantis was given the green light by the Florida Legislature to invade the lives of Florida citizens in ways never seen before. He’s working to erase diversity and inclusion of minorities and those not white or Christian. It’s disgusting what he is doing to schools.

It started with underage kids and has expanded through high school and college. He’s installing his cronies on the boards of many diverse schools here in Florida and taking away the freedom that made these schools unique. Banning books in public schools. Permitless carry gun laws.

No one can see his travel plans. He can pursue all kinds of litigation against businesses that don’t agree with his attacks on minorities or LGBTQ people. He did not utter one word to condemn Nazis marching in Orlando. Worst of all, a new law allows him to remain as governor if he loses the presidential election.

Remember, we had no state income tax long before DeSantis. He is not responsible for all that makes Florida a great place to live.

Mark Walker, Boca Raton

No deaths reported after rescuers rush to save residents from Iowa building collapse, officials say

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 08:51

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Firefighters and other first responders are being credited with saving lives – at great risk to their own safety – after a six-story apartment building in Iowa partially collapsed, authorities said Monday.

There were no confirmed fatalities and no known people still trapped the morning after a section of brick building in the eastern Iowa city of Davenport crashed to the ground. Mayor Mike Matson said members of the Davenport Fire Department and others went “literally into an unsafe building” to try to rescue residents.

“When something like this happens here, and tragedy strikes, our responders immediately do their work and their job and I can’t thank them enough,” Matson said at a news conference Monday.

Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said workers searched for survivors throughout the night and rescued one person from the six-story building — bringing the total number of people rescued by fire officials to eight. An additional 12 people were escorted out by fire crews when they first responded to the collapse on Sunday evening.

“No known individuals are trapped in that facility,” Carlsten said. Authorities have not released how many people were injured or provided details on the nature of their injuries. Carlsten did say that the person who was rescued overnight was in the hospital.

Rescue teams, including K-9 units, were inside the building all night.

Rescuers were called to the scene shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday. Carlsten said the back of the apartment complex collapsed and had separated from the building, which houses apartments on the upper floors and businesses on the ground level.

Authorities found a gas leak after the collapse, Carlsten said, while water also had leaked throughout the floors of the structure.

The stability of the building was still a concern.

Carlsten said officials were “currently finishing the rescue phase of our operation and soon it will become a recovery operations.”

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known.

Rich Oswald, City of Davenport director of development and neighborhood services, said at a news conference Sunday that work was being done on the building’s exterior at the time of the collapse.

Reports of bricks falling from the building earlier this week were part of that work and the building’s owner had a permit for the project, Oswald said.

The Quad-City Times reported Robert Robinson, a second-floor resident, had gone outside and returned as alarms went off in the building.

“When we started to go back in the lights went out,” he told the newspaper. “All of a sudden everybody started running out saying the building collapsed. I’m glad we came down when we did.”

Robinson and his girlfriend were able to take the elevator down just in time, he said.

“This is horrible,” he said. “We don’t have anywhere to go. Nothing to eat.”

Tadd Machovec, a Davenport contractor, told the newspaper he was inside putting up a support beam when the building came down.

Some people in the area said the building has had problems. City officials said Sunday that they had several complaints from residents about needed repairs.

“The tenants told us the building was going to collapse,” said Jennifer Smith, co-owner of Fourth Street Nutrition, which moved into the building this winter.

“It sounds bad, but we have been calling the city and giving complaints since December. Our bathroom caved in December,” she said.

Smith said water damage has been apparent since they moved into their space. Her fellow co-owner, Deonte Mack, said fire crews were in the building as recently as Thursday for an inspection.

The Quad-City Times reported the building is owned by Andrew Wold. A working phone number for Wold was not immediately available Sunday night and attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

The newspaper reported nearly 20 permits were filed in 2022 for building repairs, mainly for plumbing or electrical issues, according to the county assessor’s office.

There were 84 units in the building, a mixture of residential and commercial spaces, the mayor said.

In June 2021, 98 people died when a high-rise condominium near Miami Beach collapsed in the middle of the night.

The Champlain Towers South had a long history of maintenance problems, and shoddy construction techniques were used in the early 1980s. Other possible factors for the collapse include sea level rise caused by climate change and damage caused by saltwater intrusion.

Russia issues arrest warrant for Lindsey Graham over Ukraine comments

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 08:34

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Interior Ministry on Monday issued an arrest warrant for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham following his comments related to the fighting in Ukraine.

In an edited video of his meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that was released by Zelenskyy’s office, Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, noted that “the Russians are dying” and described the U.S. military assistance to the country as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”

While Graham appeared to have made the remarks in different parts of the conversation, the short video by Ukraine’s presidential office put them next to each other, causing outrage in Russia.

Russian President Vladiir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented Sunday by saying that “it’s hard to imagine a greater shame for the country than having such senators.”

The Investigative Committee, the country’s top criminal investigation agency, has moved to open a criminal inquiry against Graham, and the Interior Ministry followed up by issuing a warrant for his arrest as indicated Monday by its official record of wanted criminal suspects.

Graham is among more than 200 U.S. members of Congress whom Moscow banned last year from entering Russia.

Graham commented on Twitter, saying that “to know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy.”

“I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory,” he tweeted. “I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor.”

Videos show flooded decks as severe weather strikes Carnival cruise ship

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 08:02

The bad weather the formed in the Atlantic this weekend gave crew and passengers on board Carnival Sunshine a rough ride Saturday. Videos showed flooding on the lower decks and tumultuous seas rocking the ship before it was able to get into its home port of Charleston, S.C.

“Carnival Sunshine’s return to Charleston was impacted by the weather and rough seas on Saturday.” the cruise line said in an emailed statement Monday. “The weather’s prolonged impact on the Charleston area delayed the ship’s arrival on Sunday and as a result, the next voyage’s embarkation was also delayed. We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests. Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on its next cruise.”

The high seas were associated with a non-tropical low mixed with a storm front that had been sitting on Florida all week that the National Hurricane Center had been keeping tabs on, noting a small chance it could form into a tropical or subtropical depression.

As the system moved up toward the Carolina coast, gale and high seas warnings were issued from Florida up to Virginia, and Carnival Sunshine endured some of those effects as it waited to get into port. Weather reports showed winds in the area of up to 75 mph.

The aftermath aboard Carnival Sunshine after a severe storm.
The crew from Deck 0-4 evacuated to the theater, and anywhere they could rest… the crew bar destroyed. pic.twitter.com/MqsDJYvrSG

— Crew Center (@CrewCenter) May 28, 2023

Videos on social media showed some of the damage. One post from the Twitter account @CrewCenter, associated with website Crew-Center.com, which is run by former ship crew, showed “the aftermath aboard Carnival Sunshine after a severe storm. The crew from Deck 0-4 evacuated to the theater, and anywhere they could rest… the crew bar destroyed.”

The website report stated there were no injuries, but passenger space on Deck 2 also experienced flooded hallways and staterooms.

@CarnivalCruise #carnivalsunshine. This was on Deck 12 at 11:38pm. We were in the piano bar right before when 30+ bottles of liquor jumped off of the bar and broke. We were told to leave the piano bar as there was liquor running across the floor. pic.twitter.com/2t1OLwY4go

— FlyersCaptain®© (@flyerscaptain) May 29, 2023

Passengers in public spaces reported bottles flying off shelves as the waves of more than 12 feet rocked the ship.

A Twitter post from @FlyersCaptain said “We were in the piano bar right before when 30+ bottles of liquor jumped off of the bar and broke. We were told to leave the piano bar as there was liquor running across the floor.”

After a major makeover, the cruise line renamed what was the Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine in 2013. It has a passenger capacity of 3,002 based on double occupancy.

The ship sails year-round on a variety of itineraries from Charleston.


Uganda’s president signs into law anti-gay legislation with death penalty in some cases

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 07:46

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA (Associated Press)

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s president has signed into law anti-gay legislation supported by many in this East African country but widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad.

The version of the bill signed by President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t criminalize those who identify as LGBTQ, a key concern for some rights campaigners who condemned an earlier draft of the legislation as an egregious attack on human rights.

But the new law still prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV, as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.

A suspect convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” can be imprisoned for up to 14 years, according to the legislation.

Parliamentary Speaker Anita Among said in a statement that the president had “answered the cries of our people” in signing the bill.

“With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country,” the statement said.

Museveni had returned the bill to the national assembly in April, asking for changes that would differentiate between identifying as LGBTQ and actually engaging in homosexual acts. That angered some lawmakers, including some who feared the president would proceed to veto the bill amid international pressure. Lawmakers passed an amended version of the bill earlier in May.

LGBTQ rights campaigners say the new legislation is unnecessary in a country where homosexuality has long been illegal under a colonial-era law criminalizing sexual activity “against the order of nature.” The punishment for that offense is life imprisonment.

The U.S. has warned of economic consequences over legislation described by Amnesty International as “draconian and overly broad.”

The U.N. Human Rights Office said Monday it was “appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law,” describing the legislation as ”a recipe for systematic violations of the rights” of LGBTQ people and others.

In a joint statement Monday, the leaders of the U.N. AIDS program, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund said they were “deeply concerned about the harmful impact” of the legislation on public health and the HIV response.

“Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy,” the statement said. “The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat.”

That statement noted that “stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services” for LGBTQ people.

Rights activists have the option of appealing the legislation before the constitutional court. An anti-gay bill enacted in 2014 was later nullified by a panel of judges who cited a lack of quorum in the plenary session that had passed that particular bill. Any legal challenge this time is likely to be heard on the merits, rather than on technical questions.

Anti-gay sentiment in Uganda has grown in recent weeks amid news coverage alleging sodomy in boarding schools, including a prestigious school for boys where a parent accused a teacher of abusing her son.

The February decision of the Church of England ’s national assembly to continue banning church weddings for same-sex couples while allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships outraged many in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.

Homosexuality is criminalized in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. Some Africans see it as behavior imported from abroad and not a sexual orientation.

Naso parsha: Women and Torah study

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 07:39

The sotah laws (Numbers 5:11–31) may explain a troublesome comment made by Rabbi Eliezer in the Talmud: “Whoever teaches his daughter Torah teaches her tiflut [sometimes translated as ‘obscenity’]” (Sotah 3:4).

Although Rabbi Eliezer’s dictum is often quoted as a primary source for excluding women from Torah study, an analysis of the passage in Tractate Sotah where Rabbi Eliezer’s comment appears could yield a different conclusion.

AP Photo/Jon GambrellA Torah is read. AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

A sotah, a woman suspected by her husband of infidelity, was forced to drink the bitter waters. If she was guilty, the waters had a devastating physical effect upon her. If she was innocent (or if her husband himself had been unfaithful), the waters had no effect (Sotah 28a).

Concerning the laws of sotah, the Mishnah states: “If she has merit, it [causes the water] to suspend its effect upon her. Some merit suspends the effect for one year, another for two years, and another for three years. Hence, declared Ben Azzai, a man is under the obligation to teach his daughter Torah, so that if she has to drink [the waters of bitterness], she may know that the merit suspends its effect. Rabbi Eliezer says: Whoever teaches his daughter Torah teaches her tiflut” (Sotah 3:4).

The view of Rabbi Eliezer is best understood within the larger context of Tractate Sotah. It is preferable that women not drink the bitter sotah waters. The first three chapters of Tractate Sotah therefore describe how the rabbis use every legal means at their disposal to make it unnecessary for an accused woman to drink them. Our Mishnah even states that even if a woman does have to drink them, they may be inoperative, for she may have merits that suspend their effects.

Ben Azzai then declares that every father should teach his daughter Torah. With that merit, the waters will be rendered null and void. Rabbi Eliezer responds: If so, women may feel free to commit immoral acts, knowing the waters are ineffective.

From this perspective, Rabbi Eliezer’s statement is not a sweeping restriction of a woman’s place in Torah study but rather relates to the specific laws of sotah. By interpreting Rabbi Eliezer’s single statement outside of this broader context of the sotah, readers may misunderstand his directive.

As I argued in my book Women at Prayer more than thirty years ago, an analysis of the whole of the corpus of Jewish law reveals that women may – and according to some (in an opinion central to my rabbinate) must – study Torah on the same quantitative or qualitative level as men. Rabbi Eliezer’s statement does not undermine this position but instead presents a specific argument in a specific context, a statement about the sotah, not about women’s learning more generally.

Candle lighting:

Naso parsha

June 2 at 7:51 p.m.


Amid playoff whirlwind, Celtics forward and former G League teammate sees bright future for Heat neophytes

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 06:00

BOSTON — With the Miami Heat going to a decisive Game 7 against the Boston Celtics for the second consecutive season in the Eastern Conference finals, there already was an extended reunion in play.

Turns out, there also was a reunion from the G League level, which allowed for insight into what might come next for the Heat.

With Max Strus and Gabe Vincent to become unrestricted free agents July 1, it could create the need for a new pipeline of prospects for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

In that regard, Justin Champagnie said the Heat might be in good, youthful hands.

Added by the Heat’s G League affiliate in January, Champagnie, the former Toronto Raptors forward, helped the Sioux Falls Skyforce advance to the G League conference finals. Among those he counted as Skyforce teammates was Heat 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, as well Heat two-way players Orlando Robinson and Jamal Cain.

With Champagnie signed April 7 by the Celtics, it has meant Champagnie, Jovic, Robinson and Cain on the court for pregame drilling throughout the East finals.

“I got to see my guys again,” Champagnie said with a smile. “It’s been like seeing family all over again.”

Based on what he experienced with Robinson, Cain and Jovic in South Dakota, Champagnie said the Heat could be well positioned for the future.

In Robinson, who contributed to Heat victories during the team’s injury struggles, Champagnie said the center who went undrafted last year out of Fresno State was essentially a force of fury.

“A big bruiser,” Champagnie said. “He gets down in the paint, gets to his full offense, his little hook shot. He rebounds.

“He’s overly aggressive, so it’s kind of hard to guard O down there.”

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Among the reasons Robinson went undrafted were poor metrics in athleticism testing at the pre-draft combine.

“I mean, when I played last year, I wasn’t the most athletic,” said Champagnie, alluding to questions some had about his own athleticism after going undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2021. “I wasn’t playing over the rim. You find ways to impact the game. I think O can impact the game in multiple different ways.”

As for Cain, who went undrafted last June out of Oakland University, Champagnie said the spirit in Sioux Falls was the same as what has made Cain a likable presence in the Heat locker room.

“That’s my dog,” Champagnie said. “Me and Cain are kind of similar in the way we can do a little bit of everything. Some things he has got to work on. But I just feel like go out there and be that dog and he doesn’t back down from nobody.”

Among the concerns with Cain has been struggles to create his own offense on the wing.

“I think he has the tools to do it and the moxie to do it,” Champagnie. “He’s a workaholic. He’s always in the gym, and I think he’ll make it.”

Then there’s Jovic, the skilled neophyte big man whose time in Sioux Falls was limited by a back issue, but who came on late during the Skyforce’s playoff run.

“He’s more like a point forward to me,” Champagnie said of the 19-year-old out of Serbia. “He’s a guy who has a unique still set in that he can put the ball on the floor really well. I think if he just works on his body a little bit, he’ll set sail in the NBA. I think he’s a great player.

“I love playing with him.”

Champagnie said the experience in Sioux Falls was beneficial to all involved, crediting the exposure helping  to lead to his opportunity with the Celtics.

“It was probably the best three months of my basketball career,” he said. “It kind of helped me get focused and it kind of instilled confidence in me when I first got there to be myself on the court

“It’s been nice seeing those guys. We’re all ready.”

A ‘No Labels’ candidate? Not likely | Editorial

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 06:00

A “No Labels” president?

No way.

No Labels, a dark money-funded organization pretending not to be a political party, is seeking ballot access around the nation in the likely event it decides to nominate a “unity” ticket for the White House in 2024.

There couldn’t be a greater incongruity or anything more suspect than a so-called reform movement financed by secret sources.

Various media have described efforts by No Labels to solicit major contributions from billionaire donors and corporate executives such as Peter Thiel on the Republican side and a close advisor to George Soros on the other. Former baseball commissioner Bud Selig, a known donor, has a net worth estimated at $400 million.

Even if No Labels were entirely above board, its third-party ticket would be a bad idea.

It won’t succeed

The Electoral College system of winner-take-all state by state is so unsuited to third-party candidacies that none has ever come close to winning the presidency and only two have carried as many as six states.

The presidency will remain a two-party contest until the Electoral College is supplanted with popular election and ranked-choice voting.

Third parties have accomplished nothing but to tip victory from one major party candidate to another.

In 1912, ex-President Theodore Roosevelt and his new Bull Moose Party sabotaged President William Howard Taft, his estranged protégé, by splitting the Republican vote. TR won six states; Taft won Utah and Vermont. Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the other 40 but with majorities in only 10, all in the South.

Democrat Bill Clinton benefited from Ross Perot’s independent candidacy in 1992, even though Perot carried no state.

Remember 2000?

Ralph Nader won no state in 2000 but his 97,488 votes in decisive Florida likely cost Democrat Al Gore the presidency, considering that Gore lost to George W. Bush by 537 votes.

The notion of a third alternative to the two parties has generic appeal. But it’s far-fetched to think that No Labels could win an electoral majority in 2024 with candidates like Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona or former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — names most often floated as likely candidates. Hogan is national co-chairman of No Labels.

Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/TNSLarry Hogan, a Republican, reflects on his eight years in the office Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Annapolis.

They would be much more likely to tip the election to the Republican nominee, whether it’s former president Donald Trump, his former protégé Ron DeSantis, or some long-shot challenger. Democrats know that, which is why they, not Republicans, are alarmed by No Labels.

That would also mean another minority presidency, which this polarized nation cannot afford. No Labels votes would be mainly at President Joe Biden’s expense.

Although Manchin and Sinema are more conservative than moderate, they’re not nearly extreme enough to win over the GOP’s hard core.

Reasonable Republicans would do better to get behind one of the dark horses in their party, preferably someone who would confront the front-runners over their extreme right policies rather than their supposed un-electability.

Trust questions

It may be unfair for Democrats to allege that No Labels is simply a stalking horse for the GOP, but the group’s secret financing doesn’t lend itself to trust. Neither does the ambiguity of how states would send delegates to its national nominating convention.

By exploiting a campaign law loophole intended for groups trying to draft candidates, No Labels is operating as a nonprofit that is not required to report where it gets its money. That’s dark money, and there’s already far too much of it in American politics.

Congressional candidates it has supported, Manchin among them, have reported its contributions, but No Labels nationally has not responded to a Sun Sentinel query asking whether it intends to register as a political party. There are serious questions as to whether its operations are legal.

The No Labels Party of Florida is chaired by Kathleen Shanahan, who was chief of staff to former Gov. Jeb Bush. It’s registered with the state as a minority party entitled to a presidential ballot line in November 2024 without having to gather petitions.

Its only financial report to the state so far shows a $35,000 stake from No Labels Ballot Access Inc., in Washington, for which the Federal Elections Commission reports no information.

The No Labels Party of Florida advised the secretary of state that it would have no candidates for state office and will not hold a presidential preference primary. It would support the ticket chosen by a national convention. Small groups of insiders apparently would select the national convention delegates.

Some people might point to Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860 as a third-party success, but the six-year-old Republican Party was actually the anti-slavery wing of the venerable Whig Party, which had dissolved over the slavery issue. Lincoln had been a Whig, and other former Whigs were in Congress.

So we have examples in history of a new political party emerging from the ashes of an old one. Unfortunately for No Labels, the Republican Party still in the thrall of Donald Trump is very much alive.

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney, and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson. Editorials are the opinion of the Board and written by one of its members or a designee. To contact us, email at letters@sun-sentinel.com.

‘Same test until you pass it’ for Heat as ultimate Celtics challenge awaits

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 09:31

BOSTON – The external expectation is an air of resignation.

The Miami Heat, after all, are in danger of becoming the first team to lose a series among the 151 in NBA history that have held a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven matchup.

They also are a team devastated by a game-winning Boston Celtics putback basket with one-tenth of a second remaining in Saturday night’s 104-103 Game 6 loss that set up Monday’s winner-take-all Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden.

But that, those on the inside insist, misses the point.

The air of resignation comes from what predated — by minutes, hours, days, weeks — Derrick White’s Saturday tip lay-in at a suddenly hushed Kaseya Center.

This is who the 2022-23 Heat are, have been, and, frankly, hope to continue to be: a team of every last breath, one somehow still breathing.

“I mean, this group’s pretty much been here before. We’re just running it back,” guard Gabe Vincent said of again swimming against the current in desperate straits. “It’s almost like it’s supposed to be this way.”

On April 14, it was a fourth-quarter comeback in a winner-take-all play-in game against the Chicago Bulls. In the first round of the playoffs,  it was a pair of fourth-quarter, double-digit rallies to oust the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. In the next round, it was overcoming New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson morphing into Michael Jordan.

And now this, from up 3-0 against the Celtics to an against-all-odds last chance in hostile territory, with the carrot of a trip to the NBA Finals starting Thursday on the road against the Western Conference champion Denver Nuggets.

Heat hope did not end Saturday … it just felt that way in a moment frozen in time.

“Part of the journey,” forward Duncan Robinson said, reiterating, “part of the journey.”

A journey harrowing and exhilarating, sometimes in the same game, sometimes in the same minute, as was the case Saturday after three Jimmy Butler free throws put the Heat up one with 3 seconds to play.

“You’re going to get the same test until you pass it, I swear. We were in this same position last year,” Butler said, the difference being last year the Heat’s Game 7 loss to the Celtics in the East finals was in Miami. “We can do it. I know that we will do it. We’ve got to go on the road and win in a very, very, very tough environment.

“We have got to go on the road and do something special. But we’ve got a special group, so why not it be us?”

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This ride could have been over in mid-April. It could have ended without those fourth-quarter turnarounds against the Bucks. Could have been extinguished if the Knicks forced a Game 7 on their home court.

Now one more opportunity to turn a 44-38 regular season riddled with injuries and close games into a thrill ride all the way to the championship round.

“You’ve just got to be better than one team, than the other team, for one night,  for 48 minutes,” forward Caleb Martin said after stepping away from his teammates in the locker room. “I’m taking that group all day long. I know what we’re about. I know what we’re capable of.”

So, yes, air of resignation. But not air of capitulation.

“There’s been nothing easy about this season for our group, and so we just have to do it the hard way,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s just the way it’s got to be for our group.

“This group has a competitive will and a competitive want to win that is up there with any team I’ve ever coached.

“The pressure can go back and forth in Game 7s quite a bit. We’re not going anywhere.”

Resilience is about to face its ultimate challenge.

“It’s just been crazy,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why when we say for the national media that didn’t follow us, and we didn’t expect you to follow us, when we say we did it the hard way, there were some bone-crushing losses where we did the right things, and then last-second shots just for the wins against us. And the competitive spirit of this group, we are never to be denied.

“Even after games like [Saturday], we would always come back the next game and find a way to get a win. That’s what we have to do right now.”

Jewish groups and city officials protest against Roger Waters concert in Frankfurt

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 08:55

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER (Associated Press)

BERLIN (AP) — Several Jewish groups, politicians and an alliance of civil society groups gathered for a memorial ceremony and a protest rally against a concert by Roger Waters in Frankfurt on Sunday evening.

They accuse the Pink Floyd co-founder of antisemitism – an allegation he denies.

Waters has also drawn their ire for his support of the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.

Frankfurt authorities had initially tried to prevent the concert taking place, but Waters successfully challenged the move in a local court.

The concert is taking place in the city’s Festhalle, where in November 1938 more than 3,000 Jews were rounded up by the Nazis, beaten and abused, and later deported to concentration camps.

“Against this historical background, the concert should not have taken place under any circumstances,” said Sacha Stawski, a member of the Frankfurt Jewish community and head of the group Honestly Concerned, that helped organize the protests.

“It’s very frustrating” that the concert is going ahead as scheduled even though Frankfurt officials and many others tried to prevent it, Elio Adler, the head of the Jewish group WerteInitiative which supports the protest, told The Associated Press.

“His words and imagery spread Jew-hatred and are part of a trend: to normalize Israel-hatred under the protection of freedom of speech or art,” Adler added.

Last week, police in Berlin said they had opened an investigation of Waters on suspicion of incitement over a costume the Pink Floyd co-founder wore when he performed in the German capital earlier this month.

Images on social media showed Waters firing an imitation machine gun while dressed in a long black coat with a red armband. Police confirmed that an investigation was opened over suspicions that the context of the costume could constitute a glorification, justification or approval of Nazi rule and therefore a disturbance of the public peace.

Waters rejected those accusations in a statement on Facebook and Instagram, saying that “the elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”

He claimed that ”attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated.”

During Sunday’s ceremony and protests, which took place in front of the Frankfurt concert venue before Waters’ concert was set to begin, protesters read out loud the names of 600 Jews who were rounded up at the Festhalle on November 9, 1939, the so-called Kristallnacht — the “Night of Broken Glass” — when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.

The organizers also held a joint Jewish-Christian prayer for the victims of the Nazi terror in Frankfurt. The city’s mayor as well as the head of the local Jewish community were set to speak at the protest.

In addition, some of the around 400 protesters handed out flyers to concertgoers and waved Israeli flags. Others held up banners with slogans such as “Israel, we stand with you” or “Roger Waters, wish you were not here” in reference to Pink Floyd’s famous song “Wish You Were Were,” German news agency dpa reported.

Protesters in Munich rallied against a concert by Waters earlier this month, after the city council said it had explored possibilities of banning the performance but concluded that it wasn’t legally possible to cancel a contract with the organizer.

Last year, the Polish city of Krakow canceled gigs by Waters because of his sympathetic stance toward Russia in its war against Ukraine.


Michael Probst contributed reporting from Frankfurt.

Russia launched ‘largest drone attack’ on Ukrainian capital before Kyiv Day; 1 killed

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 08:23

By SUSIE BLANN and ELISE MORTON (Associated Press)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s capital was subjected to the largest drone attack since the start of Russia’s war, local officials said, as Kyiv prepared to mark the anniversary of its founding on Sunday. At least one person was killed, but officials said scores of drones were shot down, demonstrating Ukraine’s air defense capability.

Russia launched the “most massive attack” on the city overnight Saturday with Iranian-made Shahed drones, said Serhii Popko, a senior Kyiv military official. The attack lasted more than five hours, with air defense reportedly shooting down more than 40 drones.

A 41-year-old man was killed and a 35-year-old woman was hospitalized when debris fell on a seven-story nonresidential building and started a fire, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Debris from a drone damaged the building of the Ukrainian Society of the Blind. On Sunday morning, organization member Volodymyr Golubenko came to pick up his things. He was helped by his son Mykola, who searched for his father’s belongings among the rubble and at the same time tried to describe to his father what his office looks like now.

“This wall on the right is destroyed and on left also,” said Mykola to his father.

Volodymyr Golubenko worked at this place for more than 40 years. He says it is a home for many blind people, because they come here to talk and support each other.

“If you don’t even have a job, it’s difficult to get a job now, because these events (war) have been going on since last year. At least people come here to chat,” said Volodymyr.

Like Golubenko, many people in his district heard the sound of Shahed drones for the first time. Among them was 36-year-old Yana, who has three boys. The family hid in a corridor all night.

“Something started to explode above us. The children ran here in fear,” said Yana.

Ukraine’s air force said that Saturday night was also record-breaking in terms of Shahed drone attacks across the country. Of the 54 drones launched, 52 were shot down by air defense systems.

Russia has repeatedly launched waves of drone attacks against Ukraine, but most are shot down. Ukraine has also claimed this month to have downed some of Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted as providing a key competitive advantage.

In the northeastern Kharkiv province, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said a 61-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in two separate shelling attacks.

Kyiv Day marks the anniversary of the city’s official founding. The day is usually celebrated with live concerts, street fairs, exhibitions and fireworks. Scaled-back festivities were planned for this year, the city’s 1,541st anniversary.

The timing of the drone attacks was likely not coincidental, Ukrainian officials said.

“The history of Ukraine is a long-standing irritant for the insecure Russians,” Ukraine’s chief presidential aide, Andriy Yermak, said on Telegram.

“Today, the enemy decided to ‘congratulate’ the people of Kyiv on Kyiv Day with the help of their deadly UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),” Popko also wrote on the messaging app.

Local officials in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region said that air defense systems destroyed several drones as they approached the Ilsky oil refinery.

Russia’s southern Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, also came under attack from Ukrainian forces on Saturday, local officials said. Regional Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov reported Sunday that a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were wounded in the shelling.

Drone attacks against Russian border regions have been a regular occurrence since the start of the invasion in February 2022, with attacks increasing last month. Earlier this month, an oil refinery in Krasnodar was attacked by drones on two straight days.

Ukrainian air defenses, bolstered by sophisticated Western-supplied systems, have been adept at thwarting Russian air attacks — both drones and aircraft missiles.

Earlier in May, Ukraine prevented an intense Russian air attack on Kyiv, shooting down all missiles aimed at the capital. The bombardment, which additionally targeted locations across Ukraine, included six Russian Kinzhal aero-ballistic hypersonic missiles, repeatedly touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as providing a key strategic competitive advantage and among the most advanced weapons in his country’s arsenal.

Sophisticated Western air defense systems, including American-made Patriot missiles, have helped spare Kyiv from the kind of destruction witnessed along the main front line in Ukraine’s east and south. While most of the ground fighting is stalemated along that front line, both sides are targeting other territory with long-range weapons.

Against the backdrop of Saturday night’s drone attacks, Russia’s ambassador to the U.K., Andrei Kelin, warned of an escalation in Ukraine. He told the BBC on Sunday his country had “enormous resources” and it was yet to “act very seriously,” cautioning that Western supplies of weapons to Ukraine risked escalating the war to a “new dimension.” The length of the conflict, he said, “depends on the efforts in escalation of war that is being undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the U.K.”

Kelin’s comments are typical of Russian officials’ rhetoric with regard to Moscow’s military might, but contradict regular reports from the battlefield of Russian troops being poorly equipped and trained.

Also on Sunday, the death toll from Friday’s missile attack on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the regional capital of the Dnipropetrovsk province, rose to four. Regional. Gov. Serhii Lysak said that three people who were considered missing were confirmed dead. There were 32 people, including two children, wounded in the attack, which struck a building containing psychology and veterinary clinics.


Elise Morton reported from London.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Huh? Panthers’ Tkachuk says he’s rooting for both Tatum and Butler in NBA playoffs

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 08:04

MIAMI — Matthew Tkachuk went to high school with Boston star Jayson Tatum in St. Louis. He now has Miami star Jimmy Butler wearing his Florida Panthers jersey for workouts.

And everyone wants to know who Tkachuk is rooting for in the Boston-Miami matchup in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals. Understandably, the answer is a bit complicated.

“I think the best answer so I have people in St. Louis still on my side — I’m rooting for my two favorite players, Jimmy Butler and Tatum,” Tkachuk said before Game 6 of the Boston-Miami series, the first time he was at a Heat game in person. “I hope they both go off … but for the whole Florida vibe, I hope this building is electric all night.”

Tkachuk appeared on TNT’s pregame show before Game 6; TNT also will broadcast the Stanley Cup Final, which Tkachuk and the Panthers will be in after beating Boston, Toronto and Carolina for the Eastern Conference title.

He hung out with Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal before his appearance, and said he couldn’t believe he was there.

“It’s kind of weird and shocking,” Tkachuk said. “I don’t feel like I belong at all.”

The Heat also were the No. 8 seed for the playoffs, just like the Panthers were. And both have been part of surprising postseason runs, after both teams barely got into the playoffs. Butler wore a Tkachuk jersey for a shooting workout — “Crazy,” Tkachuk said — a few days ago, putting photos on social media to show that he’s rooting for the Panthers and the player they acquired last summer who helped turn everything around.

“What our team and their team have done so far in the playoffs has been spectacular,” Tkachuk said. “It’s been so fun to watch their games and have them be able to watch ours and just like both fan bases and all of South Florida rooting on both teams as well. It’s been unreal.”

Tkachuk will be able to watch one more game in the series, since the Celtics won Saturday to force a Game 7 on Monday in Boston.


Jan. 6 rioters are raking in thousands in donations. Now the US is coming after their haul

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 06:15

Less than two months after he pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol, Texas resident Daniel Goodwyn appeared on Tucker Carlson’s then-Fox News show and promoted a website where supporters could donate money to Goodwyn and other rioters whom the site called “political prisoners.”

The Justice Department now wants Goodwyn to give up more than $25,000 he raised — a clawback that is part of a growing effort by the government to prevent rioters from being able to personally profit from participating in the attack that shook the foundations of American democracy.

An Associated Press review of court records shows that prosecutors in the more than 1,000 criminal cases from Jan. 6, 2021, are increasingly asking judges to impose fines on top of prison sentences to offset donations from supporters of the Capitol rioters.

Dozens of defendants have set up online fundraising appeals for help with legal fees, and prosecutors acknowledge there’s nothing wrong with asking for help for attorney expenses. But the Justice Department has, in some cases, questioned where the money is really going because many of those charged have had government-funded legal representation.

Most of the fundraising efforts appear on GiveSendGo, which bills itself as “The #1 Free Christian Fundraising Site” and has become a haven for Jan. 6 defendants barred from using mainstream crowdfunding sites, including GoFundMe, to raise money. The rioters often proclaim their innocence and portray themselves as victims of government oppression, even as they cut deals to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

Their fundraising success suggests that many people in the United States still view Jan. 6 rioters as patriots and cling to the baseless belief that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump. The former president himself has fueled that idea, pledging to pardon rioters if he is elected.

Markus Maly, a Virginia man scheduled to be sentenced next month for assaulting police at the Capitol, raised more than $16,000 from an online campaign that described him as a “January 6 P.O.W.” and asked for money for his family. Prosecutors have requested a $16,000-plus fine, noting that Maly had a public defender and did not owe any legal fees.

“He should not be able to use his own notoriety gained in the commission of his crimes to ‘capitalize’ on his participation in the Capitol breach in this way,” a prosecutor wrote in court papers.

So far this year, prosecutors have sought more than $390,000 in fines against at least 21 riot defendants, in amounts ranging from $450 to more than $71,000, according to the AP’s tally.

Judges have imposed at least $124,127 in fines against 33 riot defendants this year. In the previous two years, judges ordered more than 100 riot defendants to collectively pay more than $240,000 in fines.

Separately, judges have ordered hundreds of convicted rioters to pay more than $524,000 in restitution to the government to cover more than $2.8 million in damage to the Capitol and other Jan. 6-related expenses.

More rioters facing the most serious charges and longest prison terms are now being sentenced. They tend to also be the prolific fundraisers, which could help explain the recent surge in fines requests.

Earlier this month, the judge who sentenced Nathaniel DeGrave to more than three years in prison also ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Prosecutors noted that the Nevada resident “incredibly” raised over $120,000 in GiveSendGo fundraising campaigns that referred to him as “Beijing Biden’s political prisoner” in “America’s Gitmo” — a reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

“He did this despite seeking to cooperate with the government and admitting he and his co-conspirators were guilty since at least November 2021,” a prosecutor wrote.

Lawyer William Shipley, who has represented DeGrave and more than two dozen other Jan. 6 defendants, said he advises clients to avoid raising money under the auspices of being a political prisoner if they intend to plead guilty.

“Until they admit they committed a crime, they’re perfectly entitled to shout from the rooftops that the only reason they’re being held is because of politics,” Shipley said. “It’s just First Amendment political speech.”

Shipley said he provided the judge with documentation showing that DeGrave raised approximately $25,000 more than what he paid his lawyers.

“I’ve never had to do it until these cases because I’ve never had clients that had third-party fundraising like this,” Shipley said. “There’s a segment of the population that is sympathetic toward the plight of these defendants.”

GiveSendGo co-founder Heather Wilson said her site’s decision to allow legal defense funds for Capitol riot defendants “is rooted in our society’s commitment to the presumption of innocence and the freedom for all individuals to hire private attorneys.”

The government’s push for more fines comes as it reaches a milestone in the largest federal investigation in American history: Just over 500 defendants have been sentenced for Jan. 6 crimes.

Judges aren’t rubber-stamping prosecutors’ fine requests.

Prosecutors sought a more than $70,000 fine for Peter Schwartz, a Kentucky man who attacked police officers outside the Capitol with pepper spray and a chair. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Schwartz this month to more than 14 years in prison — one of the longest so far in a Capitol riot case — but didn’t impose a fine.

Prosecutors suspect Schwartz tried to profit from his fundraising campaign, “Patriot Pete Political Prisoner in DC.” But his lawyer, Dennis Boyle, said there is no evidence of that.

The judge “basically said that if the money was being used for attorneys’ fees or other costs like that, there was no basis for a fine,” Boyle said.

A jury convicted romance novel cover model John Strand of storming the Capitol with Dr. Simone Gold, a California physician who is a leading figure in the anti-vaccine movement. Now prosecutors are seeking a $50,000 fine on top of a prison term for Strand when a judge sentences him on Thursday.

Strand has raised more than $17,300 for his legal defense without disclosing that he has a taxpayer-funded lawyer, according to prosecutors. They say Strand appears to have “substantial financial means,” living in a home that was purchased for more than $3 million last year.

“Strand has raised, and continues to raise, money on his website based upon his false statements and misrepresentations on the events of January 6,” prosecutors wrote.

Goodwyn, who appeared on Carlson’s show in March, is scheduled to be sentenced next month. Defense lawyer Carolyn Stewart described prosecutors as “demanding blood from a stone” in asking for the $25,000 fine.

“He received that amount in charity to help him in his debt for legal fees for former attorneys and this for unknown reasons is bothersome to the government,” Stewart wrote.


Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to reflect that the sentence for Peter Schwartz was one of the longest so far in a Capitol riot case, not the longest.

Anatomy of agony: Everything about the moment that turned Heat jubilation into Celtics celebration

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 05:41

BOSTON — So what went wrong on the play Saturday night that in an instant turned triumph into torment for the Miami Heat?


And nothing.

“Sometimes,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “things don’t break your way. I don’t think there are any regrets on that. It’s just a shame.”

For as stunning and staggering as the impact Derrick White’s buzzer-beating putback was in the Boston Celtics 104-103 victory — a moment that took the Heat from an NBA Finals berth instead to a Monday 8:30 p.m. Game 7 at TD Garden —  it was a play that had the Heat properly positioned . . . until they weren’t.

Or, as Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said, “Derrick White like a flash of lightning just came out of nowhere and saved the day, man. It was just an incredible play.”

The setup: His team down 10 with 4:10 to play, Spoelstra put his team into a zone defense for the first time in the game.

The approach, as it did earlier in the series, when the Heat took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven matchup, stifled the Celtics, with Boston missing its next six shots.

“Bricks,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said of those attempts. “They went zone, slowed us down a little bit. We got some really good looks. Just didn’t make them.”

The review: With 2.1 seconds remaining and the Heat down 102-100, Celtics center Al Horford was called for a two-shot foul by referee Josh Tiven on a Jimmy Butler corner jumper.

Having used their coach’s challenge at the start of their second half, the Heat could not challenge that Butler was behind the 3-point line and therefore due three free throws.

The Celtics, however, challenged whether a foul should have been ruled.

The review allowed the officials both on site and at the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., to inspect all aspects of the play, with a bobble by Butler not ruled what would have been considered a double-dribble, and therefore a turnover, giving possession to the Celtics.

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After the review it was determined that Butler was behind the 3-point line, but that the foul occurred with 3 seconds remaining. That decision proved crucial in light of White’s winning basket being shot with one-tenth of a second to play.

Butler drained all three free throws, to close at 12 of 14 from the line, for a 103-102 Heat lead.

looks more like 2.8 to me. Ball is out of his hands by 2.7 pic.twitter.com/dUgp4gValU

— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) May 28, 2023

The reset: The Celtics then called their final timeout, with the Heat substituting Max Strus for Duncan Robinson, leaving Butler, Strus, Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent on the floor against the Celtics’ White, Horford, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Brown.

The Heat had the option of substituting in Haywood Highsmith for his superior defensive ability rather than Strus. But Highsmith had not played to that point.

The play: White inbounded from the left sideline in front of the Heat bench to Smart, with Butler denying a pass to Tatum, who led the Celtics with 31 points. Tatum  also drew the defensive attention of Strus, who was assigned to guard the inbounder but played off the ball for such assistance on Tatum.

“We drew up a play, they kind of took away that,” Tatum acknowledged. “I was trying to get the ball. Jimmy and Strus jumped out to me,”

Smart, who shot .336 this season on 3-pointers and .371 this postseason, was off with a 26-foot turnaround attempt with one second to play.

But after initially setting up in the left corner for a shot, White then darted to the rim, caught a perfect carom of Smart’s miss, and beat the buzzer with a tip layup, replay confirming he had beaten the expiration of the clock.

“A hell of a bounce,” Martin said of White finding the ball and the ball finding White for the rebound that left each team with 47 at the close.

Strus actually closed ground quickly to attempt to contest White’s winning shot but was a fraction of a second late in a game decided by a fraction of a second.

“There really was nobody on me,” White said. “So I just spaced to the corner and, when he shot it, just tried to crash. Ball came to me; I made the shot.”



Using state constitutions to protect our forgotten rights | Opinion

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 05:00

Robbing a bank is a crime everywhere. But in some places and times, you could become a criminal just by growing vegetables, feeding the homeless, playing poker or working without a government-mandated license.

African immigrant Tedy Okech risked arrest when she started working as a hair braider. She learned the craft in her youth by practicing on her mother and sisters. When she settled in Idaho in 2005, she found neighbors willing to pay for her skills. Soon, she had a thriving side gig, which supplemented her income as a part-time insurance agent.

Everyone was happy except the cosmetology police, who mandated she take hundreds of hours of school and earn an occupational license. Rather than comply, Okech filed a constitutional lawsuit, prompting Idaho lawmakers to pass licensing reforms in 2022. My public interest law firm, the Institute for Justice, represented her.

Anthony Sanders is a senior attorney and director of the Institute for Justice’s Center for Judicial Engagement.

The case highlights the importance of unenumerated rights — the ones not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. A complete list of things people may do without government permission would fill volumes. Even then, certain rights might slip through the cracks, such as the right to braid hair.

Rather than risk omissions, the framers added the Ninth Amendment to the Bill of Rights as an et cetera clause, saving gallons of ink. Using simple language, it expands the Constitution to guarantee not just enumerated rights, but “others retained by the people.” Words with similar effect, but applied to the states, were then added after the Civil War, protecting Americans’ “privileges or immunities.”

Okech should have been safe, but two problems have emerged since these amendments. First, judges and legal scholars have found ways to explain them away. Mostly, they just ignore them. The Supreme Court has yet to cite the Ninth Amendment as the primary basis for a single opinion.

Second, policymakers discovered they could skirt the Constitution with little pushback from the courts, especially when it comes to unenumerated rights — which too often get second-tier status. Results over the decades have ranged from bizarre edicts, such as rules against ice cream on cherry pies in Kansas, to serious privacy invasions, such as prohibitions on private school attendance in Oregon.

The legislative overreach has continued in modern times. Miami Shores, Florida, prosecuted Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll in 2013 for growing vegetables in their front yard. Bullhead City, Arizona, arrested Norma Thornton for feeding the homeless at a public park in 2022. And Oklahoma criminalized tattooing from 1963 to 2006.

Many jurisdictions also restrict poker, home-baked cookie sales and educational choice. New York parents violate the law if they homeschool their children without submitting annual instruction plans and quarterly reports to the state by mandated deadlines.

Meanwhile, 17 states continue to license hair braiders. Montana was on the list until April 21, 2023, when Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill following Idaho’s example.

States routinely infringe on unenumerated rights. Lawmakers meet, debate and vote, giving the appearance of legitimacy to their actions. Citing the Ninth Amendment does not help when code enforcers accuse you of breaking the law — a real occurrence for hair braiders and others.

My new book, “Baby Ninth Amendments,” explores a second line of defense. State constitutions, which can expand federal guarantees of individual rights, often contain Ninth Amendment variations. These clauses, informally called “Baby Ninths,” can help rein in policymakers when they restrict safe and common activities without providing compelling reasons.

Courts typically avoid giving these Baby Ninths their due. The implications are too great. As one Iowa Supreme Court justice hysterically noted in 1869, the result would be an “unwritten Constitution” protecting all the absolute rights of the people.

Courts prefer to pick and choose when recognizing unenumerated rights. So, they make up distinctions without differences, which usually boil down to “I like these rights and not those.” Then they apply various standards of review, which they can calibrate to get desired results.

If nothing else, courts are creative. But instead of exercising the mental gymnastics necessary to protect only the unenumerated rights they like, state judges simply could activate their Baby Ninths, which are well-disposed to protect all unenumerated rights.

Judges might resist such bold action, but this is not their choice to make. People often decry judges seizing power and legislating from the bench, yet the reverse scenario is far more common: Judges shrinking from their responsibility to apply constitutional commands.

This is what happens when courts ignore a Baby Ninth — they abdicate a responsibility the people have placed in their hands. Bank robbers deserve punishment, not hair braiders.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire. Anthony Sanders, of West Lakeland, Minnesota, is the author of “Baby Ninth Amendments.” He is a senior attorney and director of the Institute for Justice’s Center for Judicial Engagement.

On Memorial Day, thoughts of service and sacrifice | Letters to the editor

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 04:00

I am a Vietnam veteran from a family of veterans. We veterans defend freedom, liberty, human rights and safety.

What’s unfortunate is death on the field of battle and at home from military service. Sadly, I know that the greater numbers of victims of war in other countries are often innocent civilians.

People need to recognize the importance of our military, law enforcement, families and community leaders, and have regard for self. Finding peace is an ongoing process. Imagine a better day for families without conflict, where people can resolve conflicts through communication. I thank and remember all military veterans for leading us in the direction of peace.

Louis Cohen, Tamarac

The writer is Second Vice President of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 23.

Pause and be grateful

South Florida lacks those old-fashioned Memorial Day events I grew up attending. We lined the streets, bands played and all us kids ran to the military, police and fire department members to thank them for their service. There was a sense of community pride.

Now, we get a one-hour event if we’re lucky, and members of the younger generation are rarely in sight. Prove me wrong, South Florida, and go to a Memorial Day event with your children. Walk up to one elderly person who sacrificed more than we can ever imagine and simply say: “Thank you for your service and for giving me more opportunities.”

We live in a great country. All you need to do is open your eyes and be grateful to those who paved the way. This is one of those specific days to pause and be thankful. To everyone who served and helps me live my life in a wonderful country, I say, “Thank you,” and for anyone who lost a family member serving our country, I say thank you even more for your sacrifice.

Brian Javeline, Coral Springs

Safety on the holiday

As Memorial Day weekend and summer approaches, our team at WM (formerly Waste Management) reminds Broward residents to help prevent fires from garbage and recycling trucks and facilities. Fires are often caused by improper disposal of hazardous household materials. That poses danger to drivers, firefighters and area neighborhoods.

Lithium ion batteries, so common in household electronics, toys, small appliances, vape pens and even greeting cards, cause many of these fires. They can’t be put in curbside garbage or recycling bins. Visit broward.org/WasteAndRecycling or swa.org/221/Household-Hazardous-Waste to find a nearby hazardous waste drop-off location for lithium ion and rechargeable batteries. Retailers also accept them.

After your cookout, cool coals for several days on the grill or in a metal container full of water, then place them in a metal container with a tight lid before placing in trash. Never dispose of used coals in plastic, paper or wood containers. Following these simple tips helps protect WM drivers, our trucks and facilities and your neighborhood from dangerous and costly fires.

Chris Carey, Parkland 

The writer is WM’s Florida Area Safety Director. 

Send him to D.C.

Please do everyone a favor and vote for Ron DeSantis for president. Then maybe we can send him far from the shores of the Sunshine State. He cannot do us any more harm in D.C. than he has in Florida already. Mickey and Minnie will survive!

Marty Menter, Pompano Beach

Breaking bad habits: What we learned from Ian and Nicole as we head into the 2023 hurricane season

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 03:18

The 2022 hurricane season was a harsh teacher.

Not because of the number of storms — it was a fairly average year — but because of the tricky nature of the two storms, Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, that hit Florida.

The big lesson to learn from 2022? Experts say it’s to break out of the habit of obsession over the cone, spaghetti models and the storm’s category, and start focusing on hazards such as storm surge warnings, rainfall flooding and even tornadoes.

Ian and Nicole proved why old habits won’t give you an accurate sense of how dangerous a storm is to you, your family and property. They serve as a warning heading into the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Ian slammed Florida at Cayo Costa, just off Fort Myers, on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. But the real story, according to Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center, was the resulting hazards.

The storm pushed 10 to 15 feet of storm surge over barrier islands and into neighborhoods. Inland, it dumped nearly 27 inches of rain in some areas, causing profound flooding outside Orlando.

All told, the storm caused 66 direct fatalities, destroyed 5,000 homes and caused $109.5 billion in damage in Florida — the costliest storm to ever hit the state.

Douglas R. Clifford/APJake Moses, 19, left, and Heather Jones, 18, of Fort Myers, explore a section of destroyed businesses at Fort Myers Beach after Hurricane Ian barreled through the area. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Multiple agencies performed 5,500 rescues, according to Gracia Szczech of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Four million customers lost power. Ian tied the record for the fifth-strongest hurricane to strike the U.S., and was the fastest intensifying hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season.

Hurricane Nicole, too, shattered norms. It showed up very late in the season — the latest hurricane ever recorded — making landfall as a Category 1 storm at Vero Beach on Nov. 10. Its waves carved away the beach, causing homes and homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea, 120 miles from the eye, to collapse into the Atlantic.

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“A lot of people get enamored with the calendar, and fixate on when hurricanes can and can’t come to the area,” Rhome said. “I hear it all the time — ‘It’s October, they don’t come here. It’s November, they don’t come here.’ Another case of — don’t get stuck in the conventional wisdoms … Although it was late, it certainly packed a decent punch, with U.S. damages of $1 billion.”

Stop focusing on the cone, category and calendar

Who among us doesn’t gaze at spaghetti models, or check on the boundaries of a cone, or poo-poo a Category 1 storm, or assume hurricane season is over after Halloween?

2022 challenged all those habits. “The season last year had similar lessons from past years, but it really was quite acute during 2022,” said Rhome in reference to Ian’s and Nicole’s behavior.

Both the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service are in lockstep in their messaging for 2023: Don’t rely on categories, calendars and cones. The cones they’re referring to are the “track forecast cones” we all obsess over when a storm heads our way. They show where the eye will likely travel, but not the limit of the storm’s fury.

“As a community we are far too focused on models,” Rhome said. “We need to help people shift from just using the cone to using our newer risk-based products.”

Those products are the watches and warnings that the NHC puts out. Watches come out 48 hours before conditions arrive, and warnings 36 hours before conditions arrive.

As for the spaghetti models, Rhome and Robert Molleda, his peer at the National Weather Service, incorporate those models into their decisions to issue watches and warnings.

“We have to pay attention to watches and warnings,” Molleda said. “That is our primary risk communication tool. We are looking at every available piece of information, and then make a decision” about watches and warnings. “They’re the end result of all the work we do.”

If you’re in a warning zone, it means that condition is expected to occur somewhere in there, but not everywhere within the warning.

Rhome also worried that the public focuses too much on whether a storm is Category 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, a wind-speed rating system known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

“There was way too much emphasis on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It’s telling you the peak winds anywhere within the storm. But it’s not telling you whether or not those winds are going to impact you. Nor is it telling you anything about the rest of the hazards that come with the storm, namely the water-based hazards, which are historically the biggest killers,” he said.

He points to 2022’s Hurricane Fiona, which was only a Category 1 storm when it hit Puerto Rico, but dumped 32 inches of rain.

Cone addiction

Another issue, said Rhome and Molleda, is our cone addiction.

It’s easy to assume that anything outside the cone is safe. But the cone indicates the area where the eye of the storm is more likely to pass, based on the success of the NHC’s last five years of predictions. The center of the storm has a 2-in-3 chance of falling within the cone, Molleda said.

The destructive muscle of a storm can reach well beyond the cone — it doesn’t tell us how far out the hurricane force winds will extend, or where and how deep storm surge will be.

With Ian, hurricane force winds extended 45 miles on either side of the eye at landfall. Naples, nearly 40 miles from the eye, was buried under five to eight feet of surge.

NOAAHurricane Ian’s track forecast cone shifted to the east in the 48 hours before landfall. Impacts can reach well beyond the cone. Storm surge warnings were issued for an area from Tampa south to Everglades National Park.

Let’s look at the east coast of Florida under similar circumstances. If Miami were at the northern edge of the cone, Miami could get the eye. If it did, Boca Raton, 45 miles north and well outside the cone, would get blasted by hurricane-force wind and the storm surge that comes with it.

In a real-world example, 1992’s Category 5 Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Homestead at high tide. Storm surge 16 miles north hit 16 feet. Forty miles north, at Coconut Grove, surge reached 9 feet.

“Just looking at the cone or track models is like looking at the cover of a book and assuming you’ve read the book,” Rhome said.

He calls the cone the “executive summary” but you can’t stop there. You need to take in watches and warnings. Rhome, who makes a living understanding these complexities, said, “I cannot deduce my personal risk from a hurricane from the cone alone.”

The warnings make it simple, he says. “If there’s a hurricane warning in your community, that means you need to protect your house, property and family,” Rhome said.

Anatomy of an evacuation

The cone vs. surge warning debate played out in Lee County, where Ian made landfall. Sixty-one people died in Lee County, and 80% of those victims lived in an evacuation zone.

Officials there have been criticized for the timing of evacuations.

According to Wink News, Lee County officials ordered the evacuation at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 31 hours before the storm hit. Wink reported that “a study by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council shows it would take 36 hours to evacuate all of Zone A.” In other words, there may not have been enough time to evacuate.

According to Molleda, the NWS issued a storm surge watch for Lee and Collier counties, the area of highest impact, on Sunday evening, more than 60 hours before landfall.

They issued the storm surge warning from Tampa all the way to Flamingo, in Everglades National Park a day later.

The takeaway, says Molleda, is that the cone can’t be the only lens through which to judge risk.

“Every community is different,” said Mary Blakeney, Palm Beach County’s director of emergency management. “I don’t want to speak to another community’s decision making. I can tell you here, we plan for a safe evacuation during daylight hours, and you’re planning it for the amount of time it would take to get residents safely out of a hazard area to the shelter. In Palm Beach County, we have significant shelter space.”

“We’re always talking about the strength of the storm, but I think we really need to talk about those other hazards,” Blakeney said. “Ian is a perfect example of that. Those storm surge watches and warnings were in place for places well outside of the cone. And that’s the thing, people think, ‘Oh, if I’m not in that cone I’m not going to get storm surge or wind,’ and that’s just not true when you have storms as big as Hurricane Ian.”

When the South Florida Sun Sentinel asked Lee County officials about adjustments to 2023 protocols, the county offered a video recording of public safety director Ben Abes stating that the county is working on an after-action report, and that they expect areas that need improvement.

Surge is the new villain

Rhome sees storm surge as the real story of Hurricane Ian. Ian exposed more people to life-threatening storm surge, 157,000, than all 10 of the impactful storms of 2020 and 2021, and 20 times more than 2018’s Hurricane Michael, which made landfall at Mexico Beach, Florida, as a Category 5 storm.

Of the 66 direct Ian deaths, 41 came from storm surge and 12 from inland flooding. Surge traveled 4 to 6 miles inland in Lee County, said Sandra TapfumaneyiI, of FEMA.

“When we issue a storm surge watch or warning, we mean it,” Rhome said. “It should have the same shock as the hurricane watch or warning.”

Inevitably, surge warnings cover much larger areas than the cone. Ian’s surge warning stretched from the north of Tampa all the way to Flamingo, in Everglades National Park.

When comparing the east and west coasts of Florida, Molleda said that the southeast isn’t quite as vulnerable to extreme storm surge as the southwest coast — the long gradual slope of the Gulf of Mexico means water has nowhere to go but sideways, into land. “Most of the southeast isn’t as vulnerable to very high storm surge, like 15 feet, or something like that,” he said. “But it doesn’t take 15 feet of storm surge to produce significant impacts or cause deaths.”

In the Naples areas, there were three deaths attributed to storm surge, and those particular areas only had about five feet of flooding.

“If a storm surge watch or warning is issued in your area, that means you’re in danger of life-threatening storm surge. That’s the take-away here,” said Molleda.

Rapid intensification

Ian was the fastest intensifying hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season, gaining 50 mph in just 24 hours.

“We have seen more of those rapidly intensifying systems in the last decade or so,” said Molleda, noting that there are myriad causes.

“There’s some new research suggesting that the chances of rapid intensification may be increasing in a warming climate, but I wouldn’t say the science is a slam dunk,” Rhome said. “Storms could have the opportunity to rapidly intensify more frequently in climate change, but that’s not to say that every storm that rapidly intensifies is due to climate change.”

NOAAHurricane Ian had the fastest intensification of any Atlantic hurricane in 2022, gaining 50 mph in just 24 hours.

How does the intensification trend affect warnings? “If you come out too strong, and the storm doesn’t develop, you’ve done huge damage to your credibility,” said Rhome. “Likewise, if you wait for certainty, you waste precious time.”

“Unfortunately it pushes us more down the path of giving early warnings, but the more you push out in time in sounding the alarm, the higher the probability of a false alarm, or the cry wolf syndrome. It’s a huge dilemma for us. If we sit on a forecast until it’s absolutely certain it’s going to happen, we’ve failed society — we have not given them enough lead time. Likewise, if we warn a community at the earliest indications of something possibly happening, we’re crying wolf and nobody will listen to us anymore. So we’re trying to find that balance.”

As for county decision-making, Blakeney said, “I can tell you that we’re seeing almost every catastrophic landfalling hurricane that’s hit the United States has really formed significantly less than 72 hours before landfall.”

As a result, she said that she and her team reviewed their decision-making points for the county. “We were happy to see that a majority of decision-making and a lot of the real tough things about moving people and assets really happens after that 72-hour time frame. So we wouldn’t be behind [schedule] in any way.”

A new Florida reality

Climate change and development have brought a new hurricane reality to the Sunshine State.

Sea levels in Southeast Florida, measured by NOAA at Virginia Key, have risen 4.2 inches since Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992 and 8 inches since 1950. That just gives a storm more ammunition.

Additionally, South Florida gained 30,000 new residents in the past year, according to data from the U.S. Census.

Water temperatures both in the Eastern Atlantic, where tropical systems form, and across the Caribbean, where they strengthen, are up, and natural forces such as Rossby waves, which cause seas to raise and dip slightly over decades, are causing sea levels to increase faster in Florida than in other parts of the U.S.

Broward County’s 1,800 miles of canals are a maze of funnels through which all that extra water pushes and drains.

“The impacts [of Ian and Nicole] reinforce the need for resilience dealing with sea level rise and storm surge,” said Jennifer Jurado, Broward’s chief resilience officer. She said that when the county started working on seawall ordinances in 2017, it was the first time they had formally incorporated sea level rise into plans for county codes and land use plan.

She said the county has begun to incorporate new Federal Emergency Management Agency data on flooding, as well as data on sea level rise, into their evacuation plans.

One concern is that when a storm hits, surge and sea level rise will inundate canals and rivers, and block any drainage needed for rainfall flooding. “We have been reviewing the early model output in the last several weeks, and we will apply that in our adaptation planning, and hope to have the work complete this time next year,” she said.

Blakeney is addressing sea level rise as well. “We’re changing our response and actions based on trends in all types of hazards, whether it’s more people moving into an evacuation zone, or an important street that floods during heavy rainfall or higher tides. So we look at those things when we talk about evacuating people or telling them it’s safe to return.”

Florida Power & Light said that as part of its Storm Secure Underground Program, which swaps overhead power lines for underground lines, it has completed 237 projects in Broward and has 100 more planned for 2023, and 267 projects in Palm Beach County, with 88 planned for 2023.

Each project is about 4/10th of a mile of lines. FPL said they select neighborhoods for such projects “based on a history of outages during past hurricanes, interruptions caused by trees and vegetation and other metrics.”

Words of Advice

Molleda’s advice for 2023 is to watch out for all hazards, not just wind. Rainfall flooding and tornadoes can occur far from the storm’s track. In fact, Ian, as far away as it was, spawned a tornado with gusts of more than 100 mph in Palm Beach County.

“When a hurricane of that magnitude makes landfall, the impacts are going to be pretty severe, for not just one hazard, but for multiple hazards,” Molleda said.

“We have to make sure that we know if we live in an evacuation zone,” Molleda said. Blakeney concurred. “We have a lot of new residents,” said Blakeney. “And some of them may not know what can happen in a hurricane, and all of those other hazards — the heavy rainfall, the potential for tornadoes, the wind, the storm surge, so we need to make sure everybody is prepared.”

She said that residents should know, right now, if they live in a hurricane evacuation zone.

To find out, search for “Know Your Zone” tab at discover.pbcgov.org and type in your address to see if you’re in a hurricane evacuation zone and/or a flood zone. The Broward County zones can be found at broward.org/Hurricane/pages/evacuationroutes.aspx.

Rhome, who lives in Broward, had some advice as well.

“A lot of people on the southeast coast of Florida have this working narrative that because we have not had a direct impact in a long time, that somehow infers a lack of risk. But the longer we go without a direct landfall impact from a major hurricane, the more our risk has gone up,” he said. “And we’re long, long, long overdue.”

And though the outlooks for the 2023 hurricane season includes a possible El Niño, which would, in theory, steer storms north, he thinks it’s a distraction. “Hurricane Andrew happened in an El Niño year.  El Niños are not going to stop hurricanes. El Niño may reduce total numbers, but it doesn’t stop them from coming to your community.”

Shocked by ‘horrific’ stories of kids housed in nursing homes, judge tells Florida: Fix it

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 03:10

On the day Dr. Mary Ehlenbach toured the Kidz Korner nursing home for children with complex medical needs, she encountered a little boy confined to one of two cribs in a large room. The boy appeared excited to see visitors, and when a caregiver lowered a railing to his crib, he bolted.

“He made a run for it,” Ehlenbach, medical director of the Pediatric Complex Care Program at the University of Wisconsin, testified at a recent trial. “He hopped out of that bed and was really jetting for the door.” A staff member “intercepted” him.

The child’s fate, and that of 139 other Florida children who are living their lives in institutions, no longer rests with nursing home employees — or even state health administrators, who have fought for 12 years to keep them there. It now belongs to U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, who is presiding over a civil rights lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department against state health regulators.

For the full story, please see miamiherald.com

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