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THE FLOG

AN INTERVIEW WITH A DUNN JURY REJECT

UPDATE: As a result of this story, the schoolteacher referenced in this story has been dismissed from the jury.

Richard David Smith III is a name familiar to Folio Weekly readers, who saw his byline on almost a weekly basis a few years back. Last week, he came very close to serving on the latest Trial of the Century of the Week — the Michael Dunn retrial that tops our local news every evening. But it didn’t quite happen.

Smith spent three days at the courthouse for jury screening, a process he describes as “very long” and filled with “odd questions” from “too many lawyers trying to be comedians,” making “a lot of jokes about budget cuts.”

Some of those japes came from Angela Corey, who seems intent on improving her public image with this case. Folks on hand were treated to cornball quips like “I might break into song,” a joke she made while being told to hold the mic by the judge.

Many of the questions, Smith says, had to do with “race and gun ownership” — a trend reflected in the composition of the jury, many of whom have guns. It seemed to him — and to me — that the sweet spot in jury selection, those agreeable to prosecution and defense, led to a preponderance of gun owners with children. Given the fact that 10 of the 12 jurors are white, clearly there were factors other than race that came into play.

“I think the defense wanted white males, particularly gun owners,” he says. “I couldn’t quite figure out what the prosecution was looking for other than minorities and/or people with children.”

During the jury selection process, Smith asked for and received a private sidebar. When he divulged that he had written for Folio Weekly in the past, he says, “Angela Corey expressed great sensitivity to things that had been written about her there.” [Editor’s note: Ha.]

“She said, ‘you know …   More

THE FLOG

One Spark Needs 800 Volunteers

One Spark needs help — and lots of it. About 800 volunteers are needed to support on-the-ground operations during the April 17-21 event, which is billed as the world’s first crowd-funded festival.

“We are looking for volunteers with a shared passion for Jacksonville, especially downtown, and the desire to make One Spark a great experience for attendees,” said One Spark Volunteer Services Manager Meredith O’Malley Johnson.

A volunteer open house is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Main Library, 303 Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville. One Spark team members will pass out volunteer information and answer questions.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and take a one-hour training session before the festival. Volunteers must agree to work at least one four-hour shift during the festival week. Visit BeOneSpark.com for more information.

  More

FOLIO DIGITAL

FIVE (PLUS) WAYS TO REBRAND HISTORY

St. Augustine has just wrapped up six days of cheers and jeers in recognition of its 450th year arguing with the Isle of Eight Flags (that’s Fernandina Beach, boys and girls) over who called dibs first. For the record, European honkies settled the Isle in 1562, so we’re going with our northerly neighbors on this one. (453 > 450).

Unhappily, St. Aug’s 450th did not lack drama. Apparently Native Americans have not gotten over the teensy matters of genocide, enslavement and betrayal by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his merry band of Spanish settlers and African slaves (“Resist 450,” Folio Weekly, Sept. 2).

But we’re not going to let that stop us from having a good time, are we, boys and girls? Hellz no. This situation calls for the Spin Dr.! (Not to be confused with Spin Doctors, a flash-in-the-pan early ’90s band who today wishes they could get a gig playing “Little Miss Can’t be Wrong” on the second and fourth Wednesdays at Joe’s Crab Shack.)

Spin Dr. is a dark magic magi who performs such public relations miracles as divorcing Jared from Subway from our mental impression of the foot-long spicy Italian; who convinced the nation that President Jimmy Carter was a cotton-headed fool for advocating energy efficiency (Get well, Mr. Carter! We know you’re no fool); who named the Civil War, then renamed it the War of Northern Aggression after South Carolina hired her.

To round out your understanding of Spin Dr.’s capabilities, here’s a rundown of projects she’s working on:

1. The Trail of Tears

Sounds so dark and depressing. Refer to it instead as “first and largest group to attempt ambitious walk across country.”

a. ??Possible product placement opportunity?? Reach out to fashion houses and shoemakers ASAP

2. Japanese Internment

At first blush, innocuous — who doesn’t like interns, am I right? *high five* …   More

THE FLOG

TEDxJacksonville Wants You

 

Most people have at least heard of and may have listened to the informative, engaging TED Talks. A 1984 conference that began in California really took off six years later and has been held annually ever since. The talks have become more and more popular after being broadcasted online for free. TED Talks are held to a max of 18 minutes, giving viewers a fun, fast way to learn while also being thought-provoking and inspiring. 

TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, and Design" but has widened that scope since 1984 by exploring, connecting, and educating on any "idea worth spreading," which is the TED slogan.  

Last October, Jacksonville hosted its first TEDx (the "x" indicating an "independently organized event),“Collective Genius.” TEDxRiverside/Avondale hosted nine speakers, four recorded TED talks and four entertainment performances. Jeff Spear, TEDxJacksonville media liaison and partnership relations director, said “the event was very successful and completely sold out.”

On Oct. 26, TEDxJacksonville's evolved and expanded event theme will be "Connecting Currents." The theme refers not only to the St. Johns River, the location of the event, but also the connections between Jacksonville's history, culture and people.  

The organizers are accepting applications from those who would like to speak or perform. Spear said speakers must have great ideas that are worth sharing but must also be able "to make the presentation of their lives." As anyone who has watched TED Talks knows, the "E" for entertainment is always emphasized. Those who want to speak or perform (as well as those who want to suggest speakers andperformers) are encouraged to apply early, although the official deadline is June 30.

TED Talks require not only engaging performers and speakers but also a responsive audience. Those, who wish to attend this year’s event must complete an application, …   More

THE FLOG

UNF Spinnaker Ponders Change to Magazine

The University of North Florida’s student newspaper, the Spinnaker, is considering a move from a weekly tabloid to a glossy magazine published monthly.

Spinnaker Editor in Chief Jacob Harn said May 15 that student leaders have had internal discussions with Media Adviser John Timpe and university administrators, and the business office is evaluating how the move would affect revenue.

The Spinnaker also wants to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni through a survey made available this week. The early response in discussions has been positive, Harn said.

“We’re keeping our eyes open in a digital age and focusing on the website for daily coverage,” Harn said of the plans.

The tentative plan for publishing a magazine would call for 10 monthly issues — including two double issues — beginning in Fall 2013.

“People can expect more investigative news pieces and longer and more in-depth feature pieces,” if the student publication makes the change, Harn said.

The Spinnaker plans to print three more issues in its current tabloid format — once each in June, July and August.

Timpe said the students’ enthusiasm has been a driving force in giving them a chance to make the change for the fall semester.

“It’s enthused not only the print staff, but also the TV, radio and digital staff here. There have been a lot of lively discussions,” Timpe said.

Timpe sees an opportunity for students to experiment where other traditional media might not have the initiative.

“Media operations of all sizes are still trying to figure out the future and to some degree the present,” he said. “That’s one of the benefits of working with a college media outlet. They’re full of students ready to try something new.”

The Spinnaker currently publishes a weekly run of 4,000 issues. Timpe said the monthly run would likely be 10,000 to 12,000 issues, …   More

THE FLOG

George Zimmerman -- Dadaist Genius

I don't know art, but I know what I like. And I think I like George Zimmerman's latest painting.

It is absolutely brilliant, on an artistic level. The yellow ink on a red backdrop -- evocative of the Chinese flag in its bold use of what in America are condiment colors. The primitivist rendering of the subject, the eyes frozen without soul, the Katherine Harris bangs,the gaudy necklace like a Kool Moe Dee gold chain; this painting lays it all bare like a chicken plucked and slaughtered. 

 

Forget who painted it. If it were Basquiat, you'd feel differently. The style, reminiscent of the brilliant painter and iconoclast, Lee Harvey. Bold strokes used in bold ways to make bold statements.

 

And the quote up top? Perfectly understated. Sort of, well, at odds with the Zimmerman public persona -- a Travis Bickel figure who fights with trolls on Twitter and creates bizarre publicity stunts and claims that Sean Hannity is the last honest man in national journalism.

He plays a buffoon on TV. But what if he is working us all?

Angela Corey is not a popular politician, though she is effective. She plays hardball, and she doesn't lose. Which is part of the reason she alone among local political figures would merit being the subject of a painting at all, never mind one of this quality and thematic resonance.

I have, of course, some unsourced theories on Zimmerman's paintings. One of them being that there might be no better way for him to launder money than by creating a dummy market for some awful paintings -- like that first one he did, allegedly plagiarized, that still netted $100k.

Brilliant! Never occurred to Aileen Wuornos, Casey Anthony, or Ted Bundy to bring it like that. George Zimmerman's first painting: a dummy shell, intended to establish a market price for anything with his imprimatur. A price for the celebrity that comes with shooting a teenage boy in cold blood because he was getting pummelled by that boy, whom he stalked in …   More

INSIDE THE COUP

Surrounded by residential areas, Taksim Meydani (Taksim Square) is the symbolic center of Istanbul and the most cosmopolitan city in Turkey.

Recent years have seen growing unrest in the nation that straddles Eastern Europe and Western Asia. On Friday night, the friction between dissidents and the government reached a new level. One of the epicenters of that was Taksim Square.

Late that night, social media started buzzing with reports that an attempted coup d'état was underway in Turkey. Cafés closed and Friday night festivities came to a halt. Citizens withdrew cash from ATMs, procured supplies, many stocking up on water, then fled city centers to make their way home. People carried out these and other tasks in a quick and mechanical way, without argument.

On Friday night, young soldiers lined the famous Istiklal Street on one side of the square. On the opposite side of the square, police vehicles and police calmly stood by. It was a curious sight: The police clearly outnumbered the soldiers, yet did not approach them for hours.

The government encouraged citizens via Twitter to flood into the public spaces to protest the attempted coup. This would later prove to be an effective tactic.

The protestors swarmed military personnel and pushed them into the center of the square where the Republic Monument is located. The soldiers were surrounded by the angry mob, but would occasionally fire live rounds into the air to dissuade the crowd from overwhelming them.

The police cautiously stood by while civilians doled out their brand of justice. This type of mob justice is encouraged in Turkey; thus, hordes of men feel entitled to mete out punishment.

The soldiers had also taken control and closed major bridges and airports in Istanbul without major incident, but, much like in Taksim Square, were unable to contain the mobs and police that swarmed them. There are reports that the mob beheaded or possibly lynched a soldier on the Bosphorous …   More

THE FLOG

BREAKING: THE CITY HAS TERMINATED ITS CONTRACT WITH DR. DR. BARBER (UPDATED)

Earlier today, and only 13 days after his deadline (he could be a Folio Weekly writer!), Dr. Dr. Herbert M. Barber Jr. — the Jacksonville Port Task Force consultant whose rather … shall we say … colorful views on poor people, environmentalists, integration and Barack Obama being a terrorist are contained in a 2012 book he wrote that nobody in the city bothered to Google before signing on the dotted line — finally turned the draft report that was due Feb. 13. (In keeping with his anachronistic sensibilities, it seems, he only filed a hard copy and not a digital one; the city has promised to email me a copy of the report as soon as it’s digitized, probably tomorrow see below.) 

The city responded with a very polite “thanks and by the way your services are no longer needed”: 

“In accordance with Section 8 of the Contract and Section 3.23 of RFP, the City has elected to terminate the Contract for convenience. Accordingly, this letter shall serve as the City’s written notice of termination to Xicon. The Contract shall be deemed terminated effective immediately upon receipt of this notice.” 

Don’t be worrying about Dr. Dr. Barber, you guys. Dude’s still gonna get paid. Per the notice: “The City is hereby relieved of all further obligations other than payment for the amount of services actually performed to the date of termination. … Please provide the City with an invoice within 30 days of this notice for services completely up to the date of this notice of termination. The City greatly appreciates your cooperation on this matter.” 

Because Dr. Dr. Barber’s work was mostly completely by the time the city found out about his book (from me, natch) — his final report was due March 2, and he was to present to the task force March 11 — he can (and probably will, since he only hates government money when less deserving people get it) …   More

FOLIO DIGITAL

The Power Meter

POWER UP: Curry's Budget Proposal

Whether you feel the Lenny Curry’s recent attempts at purging potential opponents from high ranking board positions is business as usual for a party boss, or not, on Monday, Sept. 14, the new city council approved the Mayor’s $1.1 billion budget, and did so unanimously.

NEXT: You Don’t Have to Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here >>>   More

Jag City

WHAT’S NOW

Listening to the national media before the Atlanta game, it was hard not to feel a little bit giddy.

The Jaguars, many folks predicted, would beat Matt Ryan and his Falcons with ease. The Atlanta Falcons, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo. And the way they handled their business underscored why the Jaguars are a 5-9 team.

The first drive was an augury: Atlanta got the ball first, and drove 80 yards down the field in 8 plays and 4:12, pushed by 44 yards from Julio Jones and FSU product Devonta Freeman knocking over the pylon as he crashed into the end zone on a 5-yard run. Matt Ryan: six for six on the drive.

The second quarter featured a second efficient Ryan drive, culminating in an 11-yard strike to - Jones, putting Atlanta up 14 to 3. Those who were waiting for the Falcons to self-destruct like they did a week before in Charlotte began to realize that wasn’t going to happen.

After trading punts, Jacksonville had the ball inside its own 20 with 1:42 left in the half. Bortles, in 2-minute mode, had the offense on the move against a soft Falcons zone, until throwing one of those classic poorly timed interceptions in the end zone. The interception, returned to the Jacksonville 14, set up a Falcons field goal, putting Atlanta up 17 to 3.

The Jaguars, for a second week in a row, needed some magic in the final 30 minutes.

And, for a moment, they were getting it, chunk play by chunk play, on a 9-play, 4:20-drive that covered 80 yards and cut the Falcons’ lead in half, ending with a Bortles bootleg for the touchdown.

Then Ryan served up a pick to Paul Posluszny, giving Jacksonville the ball inside the 50 and all the momentum in the world, as Bortles moved the ball down the field in a drive that culminated with a strike to Allen Robinson, tying the game up at 17, which was where it stood at the end.

Jacksonville punted the ball back in short order, a three and out forced by an aggressive Falcons’ defense, as each team saw …   More