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How to make cafe-quality cold brew at home

South Florida Local News - Thu, 06/15/2023 - 10:01

Hotter temperatures mean it’s time to make the switch from hot to iced coffee. Pre-made and cafe-bought cold brew are expensive, but you can make it at home for much cheaper, without expensive specialty machines, and with surprisingly little effort (as long as you know what you’re doing).

Our team spoke with a barista from a high-end cafe who assured us that with the right ingredients and a little attention to detail, anyone can master the craft of cold brew.

Keep reading to see how easy it is to brew this cult-favorite warm-weather coffee beverage and save money on all those coffee shop runs.

Cold brew vs. iced coffee

Cold brew and iced coffee aren’t the same thing. Iced coffee is essentially hot coffee that has been chilled with ice cubes and cold ingredients, whereas cold brew coffee is made with only room-temperature water. In fact, hot water is never used during the cold brew process — hence the name.

Unlike iced coffee, which only takes as much time as brewing hot coffee and then pouring it over ice, cold brew isn’t exactly an instant drink. Rather, it takes between 12 and 14 hours to brew — which is why it’s important to plan ahead if you intend to drink it. You might also need to tweak the brew time to find your preferred strength and flavor.

If you have a sensitive stomach, cold brew is actually a better option than hot or iced coffee, as it’s much less acidic due to the difference in brew process.

How to make cold brew coffee at home


Step one

According to our expert’s recommendations, start with about half a cup of ground coffee per six cups of water. If you’re using whole beans, you’ll probably want to use around 50 percent more beans for cold brew than you would for hot brew.

You’ll get the most flavor out of freshly ground whole beans, so use them whenever possible. Grinding beans is an extra step, but the results are well worth the effort. However, if you are using pre-ground coffee beans, jump down to step three.

Step two

Grind the coffee beans much coarser than you would for hot coffee. The barista with whom we spoke recommends using the coarsest or second coarsest setting on your coffee grinder. The finer you grind the beans, the stronger and more acidic the taste will be.

Step three

Add the ground beans to the basket of your cold brew maker and pour in the water. This must be room temperature water, as using hot or refrigerated water affects the brewing process. While you can simply use tap water, using filtered water dramatically improves the cold brew taste.

Step four

Let the cold brew sit for 12 to 14 hours, or overnight if you’d like to wake up to a fresh cup of cold brew coffee. While this window is the optimal brew time, you can tweak it to adjust the taste to your preference. Keep in mind that the longer you brew, the stronger the flavor will be.

Step five

After the brewing time is up, remove the coffee grounds to prevent over-steeping. Lastly, pour your fresh cold brew into a cup and enjoy! You can store the rest of the coffee in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about a week, though the flavor is definitely better when fresh.

How to drink cold brew coffee
    • As-is: Simply sip and go.
    • Over ice: Enjoy a chilled beverage on the porch or in the back yard.
    • As a frappe: Blend it with crushed ice (and top it off with whipped cream).
    • With milk and sugar: Make it as sweet as you like with your favorite type of milk and sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
    • With creamer: Add a splash of cream to enjoy a hint of flavor.
    • With flavored syrup: Add a few pumps for sweetness and flavor.
    • With ice cream: Add a scoop to your mug with fudge or caramel for a dessert drink.
    • With protein powder: Blend it with ice and protein powder for a filling post-workout recovery.
Tips for homemade cold brew coffee
    1. If you don’t have a cold brew coffee maker, don’t fret. Our barista says you can simply double-bag ground coffee in large filters, close off with a rubber band, and let the coffee and water mixture sit overnight in a container on your counter.
    2. If you’re using pre-ground coffee for cold brew, never freeze it, as this dries out the oils and produces stale-tasting coffee. Instead, it’s better to simply store it in an airtight container — and the same goes for whole coffee beans.
    3. If you prefer sugar alternatives, like coconut sugar or stevia, start with a little then add to taste. Cold brew reacts differently to these sugar-free sweeteners, so you’ll need to get used to balancing the recipe to find the right sweetness.
    4. If you intend to make several servings of cold brew coffee, invest in an airtight pitcher for easy pouring. Make sure the pitcher fits easily inside the refrigerator, as some may be too tall or wide.
    5. If you’d like to recycle your grounds after brewing, use them to create a homemade exfoliator scrub. Simply mix the grounds with coconut oil or water to create an all-natural, antioxidant-rich formula.

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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Mastering the tricky art of setting up your 3D printer

South Florida Local News - Thu, 06/15/2023 - 09:59

If you’ve ever wondered how some objects are sculpted or shaped, it often involves 3D printing. 3D printing is used in many industries in the manufacturing process for all kinds of products. Buying a 3D printer can be great for those looking to take up a new hobby or start a business selling consumer goods.

3D printing is challenging and involves many steps and processes, so there’s a learning curve. However, if you’re set on diving into 3D printing, the first step is setting up your printer before anything else. It can be tricky, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy. However, with the proper tools and guidance, you’ll be ready to 3D print in no time.

What you should know about 3D printing What is it, and how does it work?

There are many 3D printing technologies, but fused deposition modeling is the most common. An FDM 3D printer works like a standard inkjet printer, but instead of printing on paper, melted materials are manipulated layer by layer to mold objects. Much like how documents are uploaded to an inkjet printer, a 3D model file must be uploaded to a 3D printer. 3D files can be found online or designed using computer-aided design software.

What can you do with a 3D printer?

3D printing can be used to make many consumer goods and other items. Some of the popular things that can be produced through 3D printing include the following:

    • Consumer goods, such as glasses frames, shoes, and jewelry
    • In the automotive industry for parts, tools, fixtures, and restoring old cars
    • Combined with medical technology to produce prosthetic limbs
    • Small houses
    • Foods, such as pizza, chocolate, and cake decorations
Things to consider before setting up a 3D printer for the first time What you’ll need

Now that you’ve got the basics locked down, it’s time to set up your 3D printer, but there are a few things you’ll need. Check off each of the following items before moving on to the next step:

    • Assembled 3D printer
    • Screwdriver
    • Wrench
    • A blank piece of paper
    • An ample, well-ventilated workspace
Assembly and quality inspection

A damaged printer might not work well and can be hazardous. If your printer isn’t assembled, have a quick look at all the parts before you begin to build it. If everything looks like it’s in working condition, you can proceed to assemble it, which may seem difficult at first. However, most of the time, the included instructions are thorough and descriptive enough to make it manageable for most.

Setting up your assembled 3D printer Calibration

Once your 3D printer is assembled, you must ensure it’s correctly calibrated. Many printers come pre-calibrated, but things can shift during shipping, so refer to the manual for calibration instructions, which may require additional tools, such as a wrench or screwdriver.

Loading filament

The filament is like ink for an inkjet printer. It’s what a 3D printer needs to print. Most 3D printers come with preset functions for loading and unloading filaments. The nozzle needs to be heated to a specific temperature that varies depending on your filament.

Leveling the printing bed

The printing bed must be square and level because if it isn’t, you won’t get the desired results from your printer. The nozzle should be positioned approximately 0.5 millimeters from the bed. To ensure adequate separation, you can slide a piece of paper underneath it. If you feel mild resistance as you move it around, it’s perfectly positioned.

Printer head movement

Move the printer head along every axis. If it moves smoothly, you’re good to go, but if you feel any irregularity, you may need to lubricate one of the moving parts, such as the metal rods. However, it’s best to consult the manual for further information because troubleshooting and suitable lubrication types vary across models.

Printing 3D files

Once you’ve set up the technical side of things, you’re ready to start printing. However, you’ll need a 3D model file first. Designing a 3D model on CAD software can be challenging, but Tinkercad is an excellent program for beginners. Additionally, you can search the internet for pre-made 3D models.


A slicer or g-coding program is necessary for preparing a 3D model file for printing. It essentially separates the model into layers and creates mechanical instructions consisting of data, such as printing speed and temperature, so the 3D printer can mold it layer by layer.

Keeping your 3D printer in optimal working condition Clean the printing bed

The molded material won’t stick to the printing bed if it’s dirty or greasy. Use isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the printing head, and if necessary, a glue stick can help you get the first layer of your new project to stick if the smooth surface of the bed isn’t cooperating.

Keep the nozzle clean

Nozzle openings widen over time the more you use your printer. If they become clogged, it can significantly reduce the printing accuracy, so it’s best to clean the nozzle’s exterior with a brass brush whenever you can and invest in spare nozzles.

Avoid clogging the printer

Do not let the filament uncoil from the spool, as it can create a knot that would cause it to get stuck in the printer and cause it to jam. Also, you can use a dust sponge to remove dust and grease by placing it on the tip of the filament before entering the extruder.

FAQ Q. Are 3D printer fumes toxic?

A. Yes, 3D printers emit fumes that can be dangerous to your health. Therefore, it’s crucial to only use it in a well-ventilated area in your home.

Q. Are 3D printer nozzles universal?

A. No. Nozzles are sized according to the volume and pressure of each printer, and they typically range from 3 to 7 inches.

Best 3D printers and accessories

Dremel DigiLab 3D45-01 3D Printer

This award-winning printer has a 5-inch color touchscreen, a removable glass build plate, and a nozzle that heats up to 280 degrees. It has a sturdy plastic design and is calibrated and ready to go straight out of the box.

Sold by Amazon

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K 3D Printer

This high-speed printer boasts 4K monochrome and uses a higher contrast ratio to print highly-detailed objects with more accurate exposure areas. It has a large 6.23-inch screen, adjustable power settings, and universal compatibility with UV and special resins.

Sold by Amazon

Mika 3D Shiny Silk PLA Filament Bundle

This filament is available in metallic colors, including copper, silver, and gold, and is compatible with most FDM 3D printers. It’s odor-free, bubble-free, and eco-friendly, and it has 500 grams of filament on each spool. Plus, it comes with a 3D print removal tool or glue stick.

Sold by Amazon

Phrozen 3D Printer Rapid Aqua-Gray 4K Resin

This resin creates high-resolution prints featuring intricate details and high-color rendering that prevents long-term yellowing and easy breaking or chipping. It works best with other Phrozen 3D printers but is also suitable for other LCD 3D printers.

Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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Upgrade your patio on a budget with these finds for less than $100

South Florida Local News - Thu, 06/15/2023 - 09:58

Too often, we only think of upgrades as extravagant options, such as remodeling the kitchen or building an addition. In reality, you can dramatically enhance your home without spending much money at all. For example, adding string lights to your patio decor can quickly and easily transform your outdoor living space into something magical.

Learning how to make significant changes without disrupting your backyard budget is as much of an art as it is a skill. Making the right choices starts with knowing what options are available. Here is a list of simple patio upgrades that cost less than $100.

Why upgrade your patio?

Your patio is a versatile extension of your living space. It can serve many purposes and increase your home’s curb appeal and value. It can also help you love where you live. Here are a few reasons why you should upgrade your patio.

Encourages outdoor activities

Jenga Giant

Upgrading your patio makes it a more desirable place to be. If you like being there, you will find more reasons to go there. This could be all the incentive you need to tidy up your yard, start that garden or begin a new activity, such as croquet or Jenga Giant.

Available at Amazon

Spending time outside is beneficial to your overall health

Spending more time in the sunlight has numerous benefits. These positives can range from bolstering your immune system and reducing stress to helping you achieve a better night’s sleep and increasing your life span.

Gives you a place to entertain family and friends

Even if you have a small home, you can entertain large numbers of family and friends simply by moving the festivities outdoors. Upgrading your patio gives you a comfortable location to enjoy the people you cherish.

Serves as a second kitchen

Especially in the summer, cooking indoors can be uncomfortable. It can also raise your cooling bills. Adding an affordable charcoal grill (or an expensive gas grill, if you prefer) can give your home a second kitchen.

Offers a change of scenery

When many people first started working from home, the experience was freeing: No more commuting, many could set their hours and you never had to get out of your pajamas/sleepwear. However, spending too much time in the same environment can feel a little confining. Taking occasional breaks on the patio can give you the change of scenery you need to reenergize.

Patio upgrades for less than $100

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

This combination offset smoker has multiple dampers to control the heat and smoke so you can cook low and slow like the pros. It offers 290 square inches of main cooking surface and an additional 140 square inches of cooking surface in the firebox. The side shelf gives you a perfect spot to store utensils and condiments.

Available at Amazon


Emsco Granite Resin Garden Bench

Add a touch of style to your patio with this striking bench. The durable resin construction looks like granite and holds up in all types of weather. For added stability, you can fill the large base with sand. It is 16 inches high by 34 inches long.

Available at Amazon


PHI VILLA Modern Slatted Steel Patio Single-Seat Garden Bench

If you prefer a single-seat bench with backing and armrests, this slatted option may be more to your liking. It features an iron frame with a waterproof, anti-corrosive coating, and it is easy to assemble and clean. The arched feet add stability.

Available at Amazon


Hampton Bay Warm White Landscape Path Lights (10-Pack)

This 10-pack of solar lights can illuminate your patio and walkways with an elegant style. The solar-powered stakes require no wiring, turn on automatically and offer eight hours of performance when fully charged. The crackle glass lens creates intriguing light patterns.

Available at Amazon


Hampton Bay Quadripod 26-inch Round Fire Pit

A fire pit adds warmth and elegance to your outdoor living space. Hampton Bay’s 26-inch model has an antique bronze finish and comes with a poker and a mesh cover to help protect you and your patio from sparks. The deep bowl construction lets you build a larger fire.

Available at Amazon


Outdoor Essentials Raised Cedar Garden Bed Planter

Cedar is naturally resistant to insects and rot. This rustic planter is 28 inches by 20 inches and is raised 27.5 inches off the ground. The planter can be assembled in minutes with just a cordless drill and Phillips head bit. The purchase includes a plastic liner that helps keep the soil moist.

Available at Amazon


Theater Solutions Outdoor Granite Rock 2-Speaker Set

If you want to add a little music to your patio, you need a pair of outdoor speakers. These weatherproof, camouflaged rock speakers blend in seamlessly with your backyard environment and feature a 20-degree angle in the design, making them ideal for installation at ground level.

Available at Amazon


Woodstock Chimes Musical Wind Chimes

Not all wind chimes are the same. This set, for instance, is tuned to the opening notes of “Amazing Grace.” The husband and wife team that creates these musical wonders has been doing so for over 30 years.

Available at Amazon


Brightown Outdoor String Lights Patio Lights

One of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your patio into a magical wonderland is to add a string of lights. These dimmable, energy-saving lights come 100 on a string that features a rugged design so you can light up your outdoor living space all year round.

Available at Amazon


Alpine Corporation 4-Tier Step Tabletop Fountain with Rustic Bowls

This four-tier rock fountain makes a great accent piece for a patio table or a garden. The soothing flow creates a meditative space that can help you reduce stress and relax.

Available at Amazon


Raindrip Automatic Watering Kit for Container and Hanging Baskets

A drip irrigation system isn’t an upgrade you’ll see, but it will make your life easier. This kit from Raindrip is completely customizable, allowing you to water your potted and hanging plants with zero effort. The included timer lets you add the perfect amount of water each week so your plants can thrive.

Available at Amazon


Perky-Pet Red Daisy Vase Decorative Glass Hummingbird Feeder

To lure hummingbirds to your lawn, you need a feeder. This gorgeous rose-colored vase adds a dazzling flair to your backyard space. It is easy to install and maintain, and it can hold up to 24 ounces of nectar.

Available at Amazon


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Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.


BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

© 2023 BestReviews. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Former Harvard morgue manager stole brains, skin and other body parts to sell them, indictment says

South Florida Local News - Thu, 06/15/2023 - 09:48

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former manager at the Harvard Medical School morgue, his wife and three other people have been indicted in the theft and sale of human body parts, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced Wednesday.

Cedric Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, stole dissected portions of cadavers that were donated to the school in the scheme that stretched from 2018 to early 2023, according to court documents. The body parts were taken without the school’s knowledge or permission, authorities said, adding that the school has cooperated with the investigation.

Lodge sometimes took the body parts — which included heads, brains, skin and bones — back to his home where he lived with his wife, Denise, 63, and some remains were sent to buyers through the mail, authorities said. Lodge also allegedly allowed buyers to come to the morgue to pick what remains they wanted to buy.

Bodies donated to Harvard Medical School are used for education, teaching or research purposes. Once they are no longer needed, the cadavers are usually cremated and the ashes are returned to the donor’s family or buried in a cemetery.

In a message posted on the school’s website entitled “An abhorrent betrayal,” deans George Daley and Edward Hundert called the matter “morally reprehensible.” They said Lodge was fired May 6.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” the deans wrote. “The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research.”

Paula Peltonovich and her sister, Darlene Lynch, said they were shocked to learn that their father’s remains were among those said to be stolen. They said their parents were both police officers in New Hampshire who wanted to donate their bodies to science.

While the woman fear they may never know what happened to their father’s remains, they have asked the school to return the body of their mother, who died in March.

“Who could do something like that? What kind of person? No respect at all for the family,” Peltonovich told WMUR-TV about the defendants. “They need to pay.”

The indictment charges the Lodges and three others — Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts; Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; and Mathew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota — with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. It was not known Wednesday if any of the defendants had a lawyer who could comment on their behalf.

According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a nationwide network of people who bought and sold remains stolen from the school and an Arkansas mortuary. The Lodges allegedly sold remains to Maclean, Taylor, and others in arrangements made through telephone calls and social media websites.

Taylor sometimes transported stolen remains back to Pennsylvania, authorities said, while other times the Lodges would mail remains to him and others. Maclean and Taylor resold the stolen remains for profit, authorities said.

Maclean owns Kat’s Creepy Creations, a store in Peabody, Massachusetts, where authorities say she sold and stored human remains. Its Instagram page notes the store sells “creations that shock the mind & shake the soul,” along with “creepy dolls, oddities and bone Art.”

The indictment cites a transaction where Maclean allegedly sold human skin to a Pennsylvania man who tanned it to create leather. In another instance, MacLean allegedly agreed to buy “two dissected faces for $600” from Cedric Lodge in October 2020.

Denise and Cedric Lodge both made their initial court appearances Wednesday in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, and were each released on personal recognizance bail. They declined comment as they left the courthouse.

Two other people have been charged in the case.

Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, allegedly bought some remains from Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas, who allegedly stole them from a mortuary where she worked. Authorities have said Scott stole body parts from cadavers she was supposed to have cremated, noting many of the bodies had been donated to and used for research and educational purposes by a medical school in Arkansas.

Pauley allegedly sold many of the stolen remains to other people, including individuals, including Lampi. Pauley and Lampi bought and sold from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments, authorities said.

Scott and Pauley have both pleaded not guilty.

How much prison time could Trump face? Past cases brought steep punishment for document hoarders

South Florida Local News - Thu, 06/15/2023 - 09:37


WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI investigators who searched Harold Martin’s Maryland property in the fall of 2016 found classified documents — including material at the top secret level — strewn about his home, car and storage shed.

Unlike former President Donald Trump, the former National Security Agency contractor didn’t contest the allegations, ultimately pleading guilty in 2019 and admitting his actions were “wrong, illegal and highly questionable.” But his expressions of contrition and guilty plea to a single count of willful retention of national defense information didn’t spare him the harsh punishment of nine years in prison.

The resolution of that case looms as an ominous guidepost for the legal jeopardy Trump could face as he confronts 37 felony counts — 31 under the same century-old Espionage Act statute used to prosecute Martin and other defendants alleged to have illegally retained classified documents. Even many like Martin who have pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility have nonetheless been socked with yearslong prison sentences.

“When they decide to pursue a willful mishandling case, it’s to send a message: that we take these cases very seriously,” said Michael Zweiback, a defense lawyer and former Justice Department prosecutor. “They almost always are seeking jail time.”

How much prison time the former president could face in the event of a conviction is impossible to say, with such a decision ultimately up to the trial judge — in this case, a Trump appointee who has already demonstrated a willingness to rule in his favor. It’s also hard to know the extent to which other factors — including the logistical and political complications of jailing a former president — might play a role.

The Espionage Act offence is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though it’s rare for first-time federal offenders to get close to the maximum. But beyond the retention, prosecutors have also identified multiple aggravating factors in Trump’s alleged conduct, accusing him of seeking to enlist others — including a lawyer and aides — to hide the records from investigators and showing off some to visitors. Some of the other counts in the indictment, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, call for up to 20 years in prison.

Justice Department prosecutors in recent years have used the Espionage Act provision against a variety of defendants, including a West Virginia woman who retained an NSA document related to a foreign government’s military and political issues. Elizabeth Jo Shirley pleaded guilty in 2020 to a willful retention count and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

This month, a retired Air Force intelligence officer named Robert Birchum was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to keeping classified files at his home, his overseas officer’s quarters and a storage pod in his driveway.

Many defendants have pleaded guilty, rather than face trial, though not all have gone to prison. Trump — who also faces charges related to hush-money payments in New York state court — has shown no signs that he could be headed toward a plea deal, vigorously insisting he is innocent and personally attacking Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith hours after appearing in Miami federal court Tuesday.

Despite the details in the indictment, Trump does have some avenues to try to contest the charges.

For one thing, he’s drawn Judge Aileen Cannon, who sided with Trump last year in the former president’s bid to appoint a special master to conduct an independent review of the seized classified documents. Citing the “stigma” she said was associated with an FBI search of Trump’s home, she said a “future indictment” based on items that should’ve been returned to Trump “would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously overturned her ruling, which was widely criticized by legal experts as extraordinary and unusually broad.

Over the next several months, Cannon will make decisions that will shape the trial, including how quickly it will happen and whether any evidence will be kept out.

Prosecutors also face the challenge in Florida — where Republicans have made steady inroads in recent years — of a jury pool likely to be more favorable to Trump than if the case were tried in overwhelmingly Democratic Washington, D.C.

Still, “I think that it might very well be that Jack Smith welcomes a Florida jury because if there is a conviction, it will be much harder to say, ‘Well, that jury was somehow anti-Trump,’” said Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law school professor and former Justice Department official.

Experts anticipate Trump’s lawyers to echo the former president’s public remarks in trying to get the case dismissed by arguing he was entitled to have the documents and is the victim of prosecutorial overreach. Trump could also try to block prosecutors from being able to use key evidence, such as notes from his lawyer detailing conversations with the former president.

If the case gets to trial, experts say Trump’s attorneys may attempt what’s called “jury nullification” or try to convince jurors that he should be acquitted even if they believe Trump broke the law because the violation wasn’t serious enough to warrant charges and he is being singled out.

“The theme of the defense can be riddled with suggestions of unfairness and selective prosecution — basically trying to convince a jury that even if the former president did what the government says he did, none of this should have ever ended up in a criminal prosecution,” said Robert Mintz, a defense attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor.

Robert Kelner, a Washington criminal defense lawyer, said while an outright acquittal seems unlikely given the volume of evidence, a pathway for a mistrial exists if Trump attorneys can persuade even one juror to acquit on grounds that the president enjoyed the absolute authority to declassify information.

That authority ended the moment Trump left the presidency, but even so, “some jurors will likely find it hard to rationalize convicting him for something that he previously had the absolute authority (to do) simply because he didn’t file the right forms and do it at the right time,” Kelner said.

In the end, facing a mountain of evidence and the prospect of years in prison, Trump’s best hope may be a tactic he often pursues: Delay, delay, delay, said Cheryl Bader, a former federal prosecutor and head of Fordham University Law School’s Criminal Defense Clinic.

“His best defense may be to try to ride out the election cycle, be elected as president and therefore be in charge of the Justice Department before the case goes to trial,” she said.


Richer reported from Boston.

Robert A. Gill - The Fulton County News

Home Inspection - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 12:09
Robert A. Gill  The Fulton County News

In Florida schools, shrinking freedom and growing mental health concerns | Opinion

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:25

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory in 2021 pointed to “unprecedented stresses” facing youth and escalating rates of mental illness. The latest report from the surgeon general highlights an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. Nationally, 22% of high school students report seriously considering suicide. Girls, Black youth and LGBTQ+ youth are at highest risk. Even pre-pandemic, long waitlists, high costs of care, inconsistent insurance coverage, insufficient providers and persistent stigma left roughly half of Florida’s children with mental health disorders without care. And yet, Florida is ignoring science, promoting fear and harming children’s mental health by restricting their freedoms to read, learn and express themselves.

Don’t say gay: Florida’s Board of Education extended House Bill 1557, the so-called Parental Rights in Education law, also known as Don’t Say Gay, to all grades, banning instruction about gender or sexuality. But research shows that LGBTQ+-inclusive school climates reduce bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts for all youth.

Dr. Stacy Frazier is a professor of applied social and cultural psychology at Florida International University.

Don’t say trans: Florida codified a ban on social gender transitions for minors despite recommendations by the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics and warnings about the “tragic health consequences, both mental and physical” from ending gender-affirming care.

Don’t say race: House Bill 7 ended critical race theory in schools despite no evidence of it being taught. Instead, the Stop WOKE Act has interfered with culturally enriching teaching practices despite research showing that connecting instruction to their lives and identities benefits all students.

Don’t say Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. instructed school superintendents to stop using SEL curriculum stating it had “no place in Florida’s classrooms” despite hundreds of studies showing long-term benefits for student academic performance and well-being.

Don’t say health risk: Florida’s Department of Education withdrew from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) used nationally over three decades despite research showing that screening and monitoring reduce health risks and improve youth care. This puts Florida counties at risk for losing millions of dollars for prevention.

Don’t say read: House Bill 1467 brought scrutiny to school libraries and reading materials that resulted in banned books. Among those books removed from classrooms and school libraries, 41% have LGBTQ+ themes, 40% contain protagonists of color and 21% directly address race and racism. But research shows that all students demonstrate increased empathy and emotional intelligence after reading about characters from diverse backgrounds and histories.

Dr. Elisa Trucco is an associate professor of clinical science in child and adolescent psychology at Florida International University.

Don’t say Black: Florida’s public schools won’t offer the College Board’s AP course on African American Studies, but research shows that ninth graders enrolling in ethnic studies courses increased attendance by 21% and GPAs by 1.4 points.

Don’t say period: House Bill 1069 postpones health education until sixth grade and prohibits students from learning about menstruation. But girls can begin menarche even earlier than age 10, and research shows menstruation education reduces anxiety and improves girls’ knowledge, confidence and competency to care for their menstrual health safely and comfortably.

Say guns: House Bill 543 allows Floridians to carry concealed weapons without training or government permits despite increasing violent crime rates in states passing similar regulations. Since January, 179 people have been killed or injured in school shootings.

Don’t say gay doesn’t turn gay kids straight. Stop woke doesn’t change history. Denying health care doesn’t make transgender youth conform to gender norms. But these laws do create psychologically unsafe classrooms where kids can treat one another with less dignity, increasing risk for anxiety, depression, isolation, loneliness, self-harm and suicide. By teaching prejudice instead of perspective taking, which students will be empowered? Florida’s youth deserve to learn in classrooms that promote courage and compassion, not hate and bigotry.

Dr. Stacy Frazier, is professor of applied social and cultural psychology, and Dr. Elisa Trucco is associate professor of clinical science in child and adolescent psychology, at Florida International University in Miami. The opinions expressed are their own and not the university’s.

In blow to Russian LGBTQ+ community, lawmakers weigh a bill banning gender transitioning procedures

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:24

By DASHA LITVINOVA (Associated Press)

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Russian lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would outlaw gender transitioning procedures in yet another blow to the country’s beleaguered LGBTQ+ community.

Senior lawmaker Pyotr Tolstoy, who is among the bill’s sponsors, has said it is intended to “protect Russia with its cultural and family values and traditions and to stop the infiltration of the Western anti-family ideology.”

Russia’s LGBTQ+ community has been under growing pressure for a decade as President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church embarked on a campaign to preserve what they deem the country’s “traditional values.”

The bill bans any “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person,” as well as changing one’s gender in official documents and public records.

Russian transgender people and LGBTQ+ rights advocates contacted by The Associated Press described the measure as a grim development.

“We knew that they didn’t like us here, but to go absolutely against human rights, against the existing laws even,” said Maxim, a 29-year-old transgender activist who spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns.

The only option for those seeking to transition through medical care or changing their gender in documents would be to leave the country, according to human rights lawyer Max Olenichev, who works with the Russian LGBTQ+ community. “Neither medical, nor legal transitioning will be possible without changing the country of residence.”

The bill must receive three readings by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, but there is little doubt it will pass because about 400 members of the 450-seat house signed it, including the house speaker and the leaders of all political factions.

The independent Russian news outlet Meduza reported that such a massive show of unity has happened only three times before under Putin, most recently when 385 Duma members signed on to a bill last year to ban “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among adults.

That initiative was quickly rubber-stamped, and by December 2022, any positive or even neutral representation of LGBTQ+ people in movies, literature, or media was outlawed. The bill severely restricting trans rights came just a few months after that.

The crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community started well before last year, however. Maria Sjödin, executive director of the Outright international LGBTQ+ rights group, told AP in an interview that the situation in Russia has been deteriorating “over quite a long period of time, coming up on at least 10 years.”

In 2013, the Kremlin adopted the first legislation restricting LGBTQ+ rights, known as the “gay propaganda” law that banned any public endorsement of “nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. In 2020, Putin pushed through a constitutional reform that outlawed same-sex marriage.

But the Kremlin has ramped up its rhetoric about protecting “traditional values” from what it called the West’s “degrading” influence after sending its troops into Ukraine last year, in what rights advocates saw as an attempt to legitimize the war.

“Do we really want to have here, in our country, in Russia, ‘Parent No. 1, No. 2, No. 3’ instead of ‘mom’ and ‘dad?’” Putin said in September at a ceremony during which four Ukrainian regions were formally annexed by Moscow. “Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed in our schools from the primary grades?”


Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

A heat advisory is in effect in South Florida. Here’s how to avoid getting ill

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:15

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory Tuesday for South Florida as temperatures climb and humidity soars. Heat indices are forecast to be in the 105-108 range over the next several days, increasing the risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion or dangerous sunburn.

Before you spend time outside this summer in the sun, learning what to do and what not to do as the heat index climbs could have big health consequences.

What might start with a headache or leg cramps can quickly turn serious when the body temperature rises in the scorching heat. Seniors and babies are most vulnerable, but doctors say anyone who spends time outdoors can be affected by the high temperatures and brutal humidity.

How do I know if I’m about to get heatstroke?

Heat stroke happens when the body gets severely dehydrated or is unable to cool itself off in extreme temperatures. It tends to be the result of spending long periods of time or doing strenuous activity in hot weather. With heat stroke, the body’s core temperatures rise above 104 degrees in adults and 105 degrees in children.

South Florida’s humidity creates the ideal environment for heat stroke, experts say.

“Normally when we sweat, it evaporates and gives the body a chance to cool off,” said Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, VP of Health Care Strategies KA National Medical Director United Healthcare. “Humidity worsens that and behaves like steam. As you become more sticky, it may obscure the early signs that sweat hasn’t had a chance to cool you off.”

Amanda Afflebach and Jeff Allen, both visiting from Pennsylvania, use sunscreen during a visit to the beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea on June 8, 2023. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel) Sweating is good, right?

Outdoor activities in high temperatures that cause big-time sweating can become a problem. Sweating releases minerals and salts in the body that help with electrolyte balance. Heavy sweating can lead to dehydration. The more you sweat, the more you need to stay hydrated.

Here is what not to drink while in the sun:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated soft drinks

They are diuretics that rid your body of salt (sodium) and water. Before you have that cocktail in the pool, you might want to think about following up with water.

“People in the pool tend to think, ‘How can I be dehydrated?’” Hernandez said. “They don’t realize that alcohol is a natural diuretic, so even if you are in the water, if you are drinking alcohol you can get dehydrated.” Dehydration, she notes, can cause dizziness or headaches and even lead to fainting.

A big don’t, Hernandez said, is taking a hot shower right after coming in sweaty from outside. Between the steam and loss of sodium, the combination is likely to make you pass out, she said.

What are the signs of heat illnesses?

Heat illnesses tend to present themselves as a spectrum of symptoms. A mild sign could be a rash, which could progress into muscle cramps from a lack of hydration or intense exercise.

“What people need to do when they see a sign is stop what they are doing, get into a cool place and hydrate,” said Dr. Neil Galindez, a cardiothoracic surgeon with HCA Florida Heart and Vascular in Margate. “If not, they can go into the next level, which is heat exhaustion.”

Signs of heat exhaustion, the precursor to heat stroke, are: Heavy sweating, clammy skin, a rapid pulse, dizziness and headache.

The most severe heat-related illness is heat stroke, and without emergency treatment, it can lead to death or organ damage. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to develop heat stroke if body temperature rises fast. Signs include nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate and possibly loss of consciousness.

“If someone feels sick more than 30 to 40 minutes, you need to call EMS or see a doctor,” Galindez said.

What do I do if I start feeling awful?

Enjoy the warm weather, but do it judiciously, Hernandez said. Take breaks and don’t wait to be thirsty to drink water, particularly during long bouts in the hot sun.

If someone is showing signs of heat-related illness, cool them down with a wet cloth or ice bath to lower their body temperature as soon as possible. Also encourage them to take tiny sips of sports drinks with electrolytes. Galindez said one way to cool the body temperature quickly is place cold water or ice in the groin area or armpits. “Places where the big arteries are close to the skin.”

Hot cars can cause health problems, too. It takes only four minutes to faint in a hot car.

“Before getting in a hot car, lower the windows and let heat out so you don’t end up walking into a sauna,” Hernandez said.

What makes heat illnesses worse?

If someone appears to be suffering from heat stroke, offering a drink of water or Gatorade is not the way to go.

“If some is completely awake and coherent, it’s okay to hydrate,” Galindez said. “But if they are confused or if their level of consciousness doesn’t seem normal, don’t give them anything to drink. They can aspirate and it can go into their lungs.”

How do I know my heat tolerance?

Older adults are more at risk for heat stroke because their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.

In addition, seniors are more likely to be on salt-reduced diets or have conditions for which they take medications that affect their responses to hot temperatures.

Physicians advise seniors to hydrate more often during the summer months and stay indoors as much as possible.

Once you experience a heat-related illness, you are susceptible to recurrences, Hernandez said. “Your tolerance to heat is diminished.”

How can you avoid a bad sunburn or sun blisters?

With hundreds of sunscreens on the market, pick any one of them that fits your budget rather than none at all, says Blair Ferguson,  a nurse practitioner with Natura Dermatology in Fort Lauderdale. The higher the SPF number, the better, he says, but don’t be fooled into thinking 100 is twice as good as 50. “It’s better but not twice as good,” he says. “You still have to reapply every few hours.”

Sunburn and sun blisters can happen on any exposed area of the skin. The deeper the blister or burn, the more serious the damage and the longer it can last. Ferguson says blisters should be washed with soapy water and covered with petroleum jelly and a bandage. Don’t put ice directly on a blister or burn. Instead, apply cool compresses. For sunburn use aloe or diaper rash cream (zinc oxide).

“The blisters should heal without issue,” he said. “The biggest thing is it puts you at higher risk for skin cancer later on.”

Extreme heat kills. Communities shouldn’t wait for government to prepare for it | Opinion

How do you treat heat rash?

Heat rash looks like small red, white, or grayish bumps that resemble small pimples. It often is itchy or prickly. Ferguson said heat rash usually goes away on its own but you might be able to speed up the healing with a mild topical steroid, such as hydrocortisone cream. Applying cool compresses can give you relief too, he says. “For some people, heat rash goes away and comes back,” he said. “Some people are more prone to heat rash than others.”

Besides sunscreen, what else can help prevent sunburn?

Dermatologists recommend broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent UVA and UVB rays from doing damage to your skin. They advise a minimum of SPF 30.

But beyond sunscreen, more dermatologists are recommending two over the counter supplements to help your body fight off sun damage and free radicals: Heliocare and Nicotinamide

“Heliocare is a herbal supplement and has been shown to help reduce your risk of skin cancer if you take it daily,” said Dr. Chere Lucas Anthony, a dermatologist with The Rendon Center in Boca Raton.

Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to reduce the number of skin cancers, according to Harvard University researchers. “The vitamin must be taken continuously, as the benefits are lost once stopped,” the research found.

Sun Sentinel health reporter Cindy Goodman can be reached at cgoodman@sunsentinel.com.

Is there enough value to camp?

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:08

With the school year coming to a close, many children are now looking forward to going to camp, while some parents are on the fence. They’re not sure if there’s enough value in camp to justify their investment. After all, to run a proper camp is not cheap. Especially with the new inflation on everything, think of what it costs just for eggs! Besides, for some children, they’ve gotten used to and are actually happy to hide behind a mask. In addition to basic social reasons, here’s some food for thought for those parents that may be on the fence.

Camp is the most special time of a child’s year. In a way, it’s the most educational part of their year. Unlike school, where kids are in learning mode and not always excited to go school, camp is fun, full of exciting activities and always looked forward to by all kids! They’re in a great mood and ready to soak things in!

Courtesy of Chabad ChayilCampers enjoy summer camp in Highland Lakes. Courtesy of Chabad Chayil

Many kids who have a difficult time memorizing what they learn in school, have a much easier time memorizing camp songs and every silly skit and shtick they see in camp. They remember it with every hand movement, detail and nuance. The same kid who’s failing school is excelling in camp!

For this reason, The Rebbe established the first Camp Gan Israel in NY 67 years ago, with the goal to capture the best of the child’s year and infuse it with good character traits and a noninvasive education that kids look forward to.

Gan means a garden – a pleasurable place to spend time and where things grow. Israel, in addition to being the name of all Jews, is also the name of the founder of Chassidim, the great Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Thus, Camp Gan Israel (CGI or Gan Izzy as it’s lovingly known) is a garden where kids grow in every way, from learning how to be a mensch to the proper way for a Jew to tie his shoes.

Between overnight camps and day camps, today there are over 500 Camp Gan Israels, with close to a quarter of a million campers attending this summer! For our local Camp Gan Israel in Highland Lakes, activities include: Swimming, Cooking, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Survival, Crazy Science, Kabala 101, Team Building, Field Trips and Tons of Fun!

When Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov was a child of five years old, his father said to him: “My son, have no fear from anyone, except G‑d. Love every Yid, whoever he may be and however he may be, with all the fire of your soul!” These two things – The Rebbe taught – fear of G‑d and love of our fellow man, accompanied the Baal Shem Tov throughout his life and was the guiding force to his holy work. And it’s these 2 things that are infused in every child that attends a Camp Gan Israel.

We, therefore, focus many activities on getting rid of children’s fears. From swimming lessons with professional instructors to encouraging kids to play a sport that they’re not yet good at. From animal therapy to exploring new kinds of art, children are fully immersed in exploring new experiences. And when kids learn to let go of fears together with other kids, there’s a magical bond that develops between them! A bond that is sure to last a lifetime!

Kiddie camp is for preschoolers aged 18 months through 4 years old, while the regular camp is for boys and girls ages 5 to 12. You can find a Camp Gan Israel in just about every county in Florida, with 2 dozen chapters right here in South Florida alone! To learn more about camp go to www.ChabadChayil.org/camp or call (305) 770-1919.

Rabbi Kievman together with his wife are the ambassadors of The Rebbe in Highland Lakes. They are the founders of CHAP – an after school program for Jewish children in public schools and direct Chabad Chayil. He’s the rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at (305) 770-1919 or rabbi@ChabadChayil.org

At least 79 migrants dead and dozens feared missing after fishing vessel sinks off Greece

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:05


KALAMATA, Greece (AP) — A fishing boat carrying migrants trying to reach Europe capsized and sank off Greece on Wednesday, authorities said, leaving at least 79 dead and many more missing in one of the worst disasters of its kind this year.

Coast guard, navy and merchant vessels and aircraft fanned out for a vast search-and-rescue operation set to continue overnight. It was unclear how many passengers might still be in the water or trapped in the vessel, but some initial reports suggested hundreds of people may have been on board.

Authorities said 104 people have been rescued so far after the boat sank overnight in international waters some 75 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Greece’s southern Peloponnese peninsula. The spot is close to the deepest area of the Mediterranean Sea — and such depths could hamper any effort to locate a sunken metal vessel.

Twenty-five survivors were hospitalized with symptoms of hypothermia.

At the southern port of Kalamata, around 70 exhausted survivors bedded down in sleeping bags and blankets provided by rescuers in a large warehouse, while outside paramedics set up tents for anyone who needed first aid.

Katerina Tsata, head of a Red Cross volunteer group in Kalamata, said the migrants were also given psychological support.

“They suffered a very heavy blow, both physical and mental,” she said.

The Greek coast guard said 79 bodies have been recovered so far. It said the survivors included 30 people from Egypt, 10 from Pakistan, 35 from Syria and 2 Palestinians.

The Italy-bound boat is believed to have sailed from the Tobruk area in eastern Libya. That country plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Human traffickers have benefited from the ensuing instability, and made Libya one of the main departure points for people attempting to reach Europe on smuggler’s boats.

The migration route from North Africa to Italy through the central Mediterranean is the deadliest in the world, according to the United Nations migration agency, known as IOM, which has recorded more than 17,000 deaths and disappearances there since 2014.

Smugglers use unseaworthy boats with as many migrants as possible crammed in — sometimes inside locked holds — for journeys that can take days. They head for Italy, which is directly across the Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia, and much closer than Greece to the Western European countries that most migrants hope to eventually reach.

In February, at least 94 people died when a wooden boat from Turkey sank off Cutro, in southern Italy, in the worst Mediterranean sinking so far this year.

The Italian coast guard first alerted Greek authorities and the European Union border protection agency, Frontex, about an approaching vessel on Tuesday.

The IOM said initial reports suggested up to 400 people were on board. A network of activists said it received a distress call from a boat in the same area whose passengers said it carried 750 people — but it was not clear if that was the vessel that sank.

After that first alert, Frontex aircraft and two merchant ships spotted the boat heading north at high speed, according to the Greek coast guard. More aircraft and ships were sent to the area.

But repeated calls to the vessel offering help were declined, the coast guard said in a statement.

“In the afternoon a merchant vessel approached the ship and provided it with food and supplies, while the (passengers) refused any further assistance,” it said. A second merchant ship that approached it later offered further supplies and assistance, which were turned down, it added.

In the evening, a coast guard patrol boat reached the vessel “and confirmed the presence of a large number of migrants on the deck,” the statement said. “But they refused any assistance and said they wanted to continue to Italy.”

The coast guard boat accompanied the migrant vessel, which the statement said capsized and sank early Wednesday, prompting a massive rescue operation by all the ships in the area.

Alarm Phone, a network of activists that provides a hotline for migrants in trouble, meanwhile, said it was contacted by people on a boat in distress on Tuesday afternoon. That boat was in the same general area as the one that sank, but it was not clear if it was the same vessel.

The organization notified Greek authorities and Frontex. In one communication with Alarm Phone, migrants reported the vessel was overcrowded and that the captain had abandoned the ship on a small boat, according to the group. They asked for food and water, which was provided by a merchant ship.

Over the last two years eastern Libya has seen a resurgence of smuggling operations involving large wooden boats or old fishing vessels that can carry hundreds of migrants, many of them from Egypt and Bangladesh. While these boats are sturdier than inflatable rubber boats or other small craft used in western Libya and Tunisia, overcrowding makes the journey extremely dangerous.

The Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck in living memory occurred on April 18, 2015, when an overcrowded fishing boat collided off Libya with a freighter trying to come to its rescue. Only 28 people survived. Forensic experts concluded in 2018 that there were originally 1,100 people on board.

Six Greek coast guard vessels, a navy frigate, a military transport plane, an air force helicopter, several other vessels and a drone from Frontex are currently taking part in the search for the boat that sank Wednesday.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited the area where rescued migrants are being tended to, and political parties called off planned campaign events ahead of June 25 national elections.

Separately Wednesday, a yacht with 81 migrants on board was towed to a port on the south coast of Greece’s island of Crete after authorities received a distress call.


Paphitis reported from Athens, Greece. Associated Press journalists Sam Magdy in Cairo and Renata Brito in Barcelona, Spain, contributed.


Follow AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

What does Trump tell us about us? | Letters to the editor

South Florida Local News - Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:00

I’m thinking about how America has reached the point where our beloved democracy itself is threatened, where a former president is now charged with 37 felony counts, with more surely to come. What caused us to fail so badly?

Perhaps foremost is a decades-long slide in teaching children to love the Constitution and the good that flows from it. Without the love, we cannot flourish, and no democracy can survive with an undereducated populace in charge. People who didn’t vote got Trump elected. That’s a big problem.

Electoral College clumsiness aside, the electors badly failed us. They could have, and should have, recognized the danger of a malignant psychopath and protected us. Media coverage continually stoked emotions, which dampened critical thinking. Calm and thoughtful coverage must become the rule, to give people time to think.

Senators twice failed to convict someone who had earned it. Prejudice contributed to dividing the country. The Golden Rule should be taught in the schools to stop this from flowing into the next generation. Finally, Trump’s goals required keeping America off-balance, and it worked. Until now.

Rick Soskis, Havana, Fla.

‘1984’ is here

George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ has come true. That book said the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth.

The twice-indicted and twice-impeached former president, who’s soon to face two more indictments, gets indicted on 37 serious charges. If that were you or me, we would be in jail by now.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said every American who believes in the rule of law should stand with Donald Trump. You can’t believe in the rule of law and stand with the ex-president at the same time. Those statements don’t go together. How can you stand for law and order yet you’re not concerned about serious crimes that threaten our national security?

Herb Cole, Delray Beach

‘A coup d’etat’

The weaponization of the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS and CIA is evidence that a coup d’etat has taken place in our political system. The judicial stain by these agencies has put us on the precipice of a dictatorship. The question is how this could have happened, and how to avoid it.

Asdur Triff, Miami

Still on the street?

On June 2, a woman stole a private ambulance in Broward with an employee inside, struck another car, bailed from the vehicle and allowed it to hit a tree. Ciara McGriff, 34, faces charges of grand theft auto, false imprisonment and leaving the scene. Yet that Friday, incredibly, she was not in jail.

Here’s the rest of the story. Beginning in 2008, McGriff served three years probation for aggravated battery. In 2010 she was convicted of grand theft auto, driving with a suspended license and resisting an officer and sentenced to a year-and-a-half in state prison. She was arrested in 2014 for grand theft auto and dealing in stolen property (amazingly, someone lent her a car which she sold for $350). She was sentenced to two years probation — again, no jail time.

Since 2018, this recidivist criminal has received 13 traffic citations, most recently for careless driving and running a red light (as reported by the Sun Sentinel). How in holy Hades is she still driving? Must someone die before a common-sense judge finally gets this menace off our streets? Sickening.

Neal Bluestein, Boca Raton 


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