President Barack Obama

Last night I watched as first my state, and then my country elected a person of color to the  office of President. Future generations will sing of the decisions that we made on this historic day, and I am proud to be an American this morning, to live in a land where everyone has a voice.

Sitting at a party given by a  man I am now proud to know as my friend – Commissioner Ray Judah – who was celebrating his own victory of winning the office of Lee County Commissioner for the 6th straight time, I watched as news footage rolled in from around the country. As the states turned blue, people on TV cried and sang. As my own state finally turned blue – making this the first time since the Dixiecrats that Florida has gone to a Democrat – my jaw dropped and I began to feel as if anything were possible. The old-timers, including my sweet Dad, will say that it is a sign that the damn Yankees have finally overrun Florida and it is time to go. That may be true, but Virginia and North Carolina went to Obama, too, showing that bigotry no longer has such a stranglehold on the Deep South.

John McCain, in the most eloquent concession speech I have ever witnessed, enouraged his followers to move forward and unite this country around our new president. I agree – if we are too accomplish anything, we must do it as a whole.

Congratulations to Ray Judah, to President-Elect Obama, and to my fellow citizens! Today, we write history.

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lobster Lunacy – the Annual Feeding Frenzy for the Meat That’s Better Than A Mother’s Love

As long as I can remember, my family has spent our summers in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Part of a multi-family tradition begun by my parents and their friends long before I was born, this annual vacation lasted anywhere from one week to one month, and always involved more time spent on the water than on land – fishing, diving, and searching for that ultimate maritime delicacy – the lobster. Though I was born merely Cracker and not Conch (people native to Florida are called Crackers – those fortunate enough to have been born in the Keys are called Conchs), this annual migration instilled in my soul an eternal respect for Mother Ocean and a lifelong lust for Panulirus argus, the Spiny Lobster. This year was extra special for my father, marking his first return to the deep after undergoing open-heart surgery on August 1, 2007. We hoped to herald this anniversary with a bounty of crustacean goodness, so on Tuesday afternoon I traded our island for another and headed south to join my family in pursuit of the wily critters.

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 7:26 am  Comments (1)  
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Raising Cane – A History of Big Sugar in South Florida

      6,000 years ago, the Everglades were created when a receding ocean revealed a bare limestone plain that covered south Florida. Fed by heavy rainfall, subtropical plants made their home on the low nutrient soil. Rain falling across central Florida made its way to Lake Okeechobee, which frequently overflowed its southern boundaries, creating a slow moving ‘river of grass’ that once covered most of present-day Dade and Broward counties as well as the southern part of the state. As this ‘river’ slowly made its way towards Florida Bay, impurities were flushed from the water and Florida’s aquifers (large, underground limestone caves filled with fresh water) were replenished. Plants and animals thrived in this very unique ecosystem for

thousands of years. Then the white man came…

  The saga that is the tale of Florida’s sugar industry and its effect on the local environment is one of greed and power, of farmers and politically savvy wealthy foreigners, of bribes and Huge cattails clog the Evergladesshady deals, all wrapped in the southern pride of the tiny town of Clewiston. It reads like the script to a Hollywood movie with no one, Democrat or Republican, being spared from ensnarement in the decade’s long legacy of abuse. Its rippling effects reach residents of both coasts, from Ft. Myers to Jensen Beach, but is primary victims remain the non-human residents of Lake Okeechobee and the long-suffering Everglades.