Why Now?
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
  Good News in Florida
In spite of voting for Republicans, 71% of Florida voters backed a Constitutional amendment that raised the minimum wage to $6.15/hour, effective yesterday, and tied the minimum wage to the cost of living. The cognitive dissonance of being able to understand that the minimum wage needed to be raised, but then voting for people who have consistently refused to raise it, is beyond me.

The BBC notes that the Florida legal system is still functioning:
"Legally speaking, it's not a difficult decision to make. Morally speaking, it's very difficult," the judge said.

"But I'm not here to make the moral decision. I'm here to make the legal decisions," Judge Ronald Alvarez said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The 13-year-old was given permission by the court to do what she thought best.

The conclusion should not have surprised anyone who is familiar with the information in the final paragraph of this Newsweek article:
The abortion fight may obscure what many observers consider a far more pressing concern: DCF [Department of Children and Families] incompetence. The scandal-plagued agency made national news in 2002 when it acknowledged that it had lost track of Rilya Wilson, a 5-year-old under its custody. It still can't account for over 500 kids whom it's responsible for, according to The Miami Herald. At the Thursday hearing, Judge Alvarez directed his outrage at DCF for never alerting the court to L.G.'s flight from her group home. "To say that I am angry at that would be an understatement," Alvarez said, questioning why DCF rushed to prevent an abortion but not to find a missing child (DCF counters that it alerted authorities in Pinellas County, where L.G.'s group home was). "I don't know where our priorities in life are," Alvarez said. "The priorities should have been to make certain that an order to take [L.G.] into custody was issued as soon as possible ... But nobody cared."

Elected Florida judges still follow the law, not the winds of politics. The Department of Children and Families was given a strong dose of fundamentalism when John Ellis hired Jerry Reiger, founder and former president of the Family Research Council, another child beater in the Dobson mold. Being a "Good Christian", Reiger resigned over "the appearance of financial improprieties" of the type that put the former Republican governor of Connecticut in jail. The judge acts according to the law, the DCF acts according to the politics.


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