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Zika Virus Reaches Duval County

In an updated daily Zika virus update, the Florida Department of Health this afternoon confirmed that the first case of Zika virus has been diagnosed in Duval County. This case, as all others in the continental United States, is travel-related. No locally-acquired cases have been diagnosed.

The Department of Health also amended its Declaration of Public Health Emergency to include Duval County.

The virus has previously been found in Clay (two cases) and St. Johns (two cases) Counties. It has not yet been found in Nassau County.

Zika virus is a relatively benign sickness, often causing fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis or red eyes. It is only fatal in extremely rare circumstances.

The virus' most devastating impacts are on fetuses. Mothers who contract the virus during pregnancy are at risk of their baby developing microcephaly, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as, "a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age." Babies with microcephaly range from having no cognitive or noticeable physical defects to having obvious physical and extreme cognitive defects.

There is no cure for Zika virus. The Department of Health recommends that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant avoid travel to Zika-affected areas. Thus far 38 pregnant women in Florida have been confirmed to have contracted Zika. The counties of affected pregnant women are not being disclosed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has applied for additional funding from Congress to fight Zika virus.

Contact Florida's Zika Virus Information Hotline at: 1-855-622-6735.   More

The Award for Most Hypocritical Response to the Pulse Massacre by a Local Goes To...

The aftermath of the tragedy that occured last weekend at Pulse Orlando has brought people together in shared grief and common cause. More than ever, people have shown love and support for the LGBTQ community and the victims of this terrible mass shooting.

This horror has also given disgusting bottom dwellers the opportunity to get up on their twisted soapboxes and spew hate, vitriol and hypocrisy out into the world as is their wont.

Locally, the most flagrant offender is Ken Adkins, a "Pastor" - or is it "Bishop"? #confused - for whom the term 'internet troll' was surely coined.

Here's a rancid sampling of his Twitter response to the largest mass shooting in U.S. history:


And another:

Funny, we thought gay (and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer) folks were Americans...


And another:


But don't worry, guys, the good Bishop/Pastor is praying for you:

Something tells us he might not be praying for the same things you are.

Something like this, admittedly created before the shooting BUT conveniently retweeted by Adkins on June 13 after Kelly Pope (@Pope_Yes) called him out.


Send cards, congrats and encouragement on this monumental achievement to Adkins via Twitter, @PastorKenAdkins.


Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Adkins' Twitter handle as @PastorAdkins.   More

What We Know about the Pulse Nightclub Massacre

The tragic mass shooting at Pulse Orlando on June 12 left 50 dead, including the shooter, and 53 wounded. The massacre at the popular gay club in Orlando, Florida has the highest death toll of any mass shooting in United States history and is the deadliest terror attack since 9/11.

This dark day in American history has left more questions than answers.

What we know so far is that authorities have identified the gunman as 29-year-old Omar Saddiqui Mateen of Fort Pierce, the American-born son of Afghani parents. News affiliates have reported that Mateen had previously been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014, but found not to be a threat. The New York Times reports that in 2014 authorities were investigating a link between Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a Floridian who became a suicide bomber.

CNN reports that around 2 a.m., Mateen started shooting outside the packed club. After exchanging fire with an Orlano Police Department officer on duty at the club, Mateen fled inside with a 223-caliber AR-15 style assault rifle, a 9mm handgun and an explosive device. Inside, the Orlano Sentinel reports that two additional officeres became involved in the shootout.

Mateen retreated to a bathroom; a hostage situation developed.

"Investigators called to the scene told CNN that, hours later, the bodies remained where they had fallen, their cell phones ringing and vibrating, filling the club with the eerie sound of parents trying to reach children who would never pick up," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

At approximately 2:22 a.m., Mateen called 911 from inside the club to pledge allegiance to ISIS.

After three hours, during which those trapped inside frantically called police, loved ones and posted on social media in desperate attempts to get help or escape, law enforcement breached the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades. Mateen was killed by officers. Thirty hostages were rescued.

According to …   More

Admiral: Donald Trump is 'Dangerous', a 'Fraud'

On a May 31 conference call retired military service personnel who cumulatively have the better part of a century of experience serving in the U.S. military lambasted presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.

Rear Admiral Gene Kendall of Fernandina Beach, a 35-year Navy veteran, called Trump a “fraud” who flagrantly uses veterans to tout his own political agenda, and makes promises he doesn’t back up. The admiral pointed out that this should be particularly important to voters in Northeast Florida, which has one of the largest populations of current and former military personnel of any region in the nation.

“Months ago he promised to donate money to veterans’ groups, he promised that he would raise money as he dodged a debate and then he began the process of obfuscating of how much was raised, where it was going, what would be the intended paid out,” Admiral Kendall said.

The admiral was referring to news that earlier today, in a press conference NPR referred to as “his most combative…yet,” Trump finally released information about the $6 million he said he raised for veterans back in January at an Iowa fundraiser, $1.9 million of which came in last week amid serious questions from the media about the funds.

“[Accounting for the funds] wasn’t something he did willingly; you can rest assured of that,” the admiral said.

Indeed, as NPR reported, after releasing the names of and totals given to all the organizations that received funds – still nearly a cool half million short of the $6 million that he promised, but who’s counting? (Answer: accountants, reporters, voters) – Trump launched into a bitter attack on the press for daring to ask him questions about the money, referring to the media as “sleazy,” “biased,” “extremely dishonest,” and “not good people.”

This temperament, Admiral Kendall …   More

Matt Shirk: Why Won't Angela Corey Prosecute Officers Who Assaulted Handcuffed Teen?

Yesterday's debate between Public Defender Matt Shirk and State Attorney Angela Corey was lively.

Both fired some shots at their challengers - Shirk memorably said he "wasn't in this for retirement" while Corey focused on her supporters of which - she says - there are many.

But perhaps the most interesting moment in the debate came at the conclusion, when Shirk asked why the Corey was refusing to prosecute the officers who allegedly slammed handcuffed juvenile Deandre Ezell into a wall headfirst in 2014. A video, which Shirk's office kindly provided the media after he dealt the blow, is below.


On January 22, 2016, Ezell filed suit against JSO officers David Stevens and T.M. Helms, as well as Sheriff Mike Williams, in federal court. The suit alleged that Ezell was arrested while visiting his sister at the Sophia Apartment Complex for "loitering and prowling, resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors." It says that after telling Ezell to sit down, Officer Stevens proceeded to ask him questions and when Ezell stood to answer Stevens "responded by violently smashing [Ezell's] head into a concrete wall, knocking him unconscious." It alleges that Stevens then handcuffed Ezell's arms and legs together while he was unconscious.

Subsequently, the suit claims that Ezell was arrested by Officer Helms for felony battery against a law enforcement officer, "despite the fact he never struck [Officer] Stevens."

If the foregoing is true, JSO arrested a minor for hanging around outside his sister's apartment, which he nonviolently resisted, which could be as simple as asking why they had cause to arrest him before he surrendered to police custody, then violently assaulted him while he was in their custody and handcuffed then charged him with battering a police officer but not the police officer(s) with battering him.

This does not paint the department in a favorable light.

JSO later told the Florida Times-Union that it could not …   More

Lawsuit Challenges Closed Primary

Four voters in Northeast Florida have filed suit against the Supervisors of Elections for Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties to keep the August 30 primary election for State Attorney open to all voters. The voter-plaintiffs in Scott v. Hogan have also named Alexander Pantinakis and Daniel Kenneth "Kenny" Leigh as defendants in the suit.

On May 5, Pantinakis, campaign manager for State Attorney Angela Corey, submitted the paperwork on behalf of Jacksonville divorce attorney Leigh, whose firm, Kenny Leigh & Associates, represents men only, so that Leigh could be a write-in candidate in the State Attorney¹s race. The lawsuit contends that Leigh’s candidacy was intended to close the primary to the majority of voters in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, and not to offer any real opposition.

Also on May 5, write-in candidate Roland Falcon filed for the office of Public Defender, closing the Republican primary. Incumbent Matt Shirk is facing former county judge Charles Cofer - both are Republicans - in that race. Falcon is not named as a defendant in this suit.

Civil rights attorneys Bill Sheppard and Sam Jacobson, representing the plaintiffs, allege in the lawsuit “Corey and her allies believed that it would be to Corey’s political advantage to restrict the voters in the primary election to the 319,004 Republicans and thereby bar the 438,896 non-Republicans from being able to vote in the primary.”

The voter-plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that Leigh¹s candidacy is a sham, to issue an order to keep the primary open to all voters, to expedite the case, and to award reasonable attorney’s fees.

Under Florida’s Universal Primary Amendment (UPA), when all of the candidates running for an office are from one party, the primary is opened to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

Any opposition candidate filing to run – even a write-in – closes the primary.

Until this month …   More

Lawsuit May Challenge Closed State Attorney Primary

According to emails obtained by Folio Weekly Magazine, Jacksonville pastor R.L. Gundy is attempting to collect plaintiffs to challenge the closed State Attorney primary in federal court. And he’s getting an assist from the Jacksonville Young Democrats.

The complete, unedited text of a May 18 email, entitled, “Need your help! State Attorney's race/Federal Lawsuit,” says:

PLEASE KEEP THIS CONFIDENTIAL - DO NOT FORWARD except to a prospective volunteer

Hi Everyone,

Pastor Gundy called me today. He is taking the State Attorney's close primary issue to the federal courts on the basis on expressed intent of voter suppression.

He's found an attorney who's willing to file the lawsuit but needs 3 democrats to jump on board with him to file the lawsuit. Just 3 residents.

The Democratic Party has not endorsed this officially. I've just been asked to provide Pastor Gundy with 3 Democrats who are willing to get on this with him.

We need 1 African American, 1 Hispanic, 1 White ASAP.

If interested, I will connect you with Pastor Gundy and you can proceed. Let me know ASAP if you're interested by replying to this email.

Thank you!!

Article for reference:

Be Bold,



Jacksonville Young Democrats


Facebook: Jacksonville Young Dems

Follow us on Twitter! @Jax Young Dems

A May 19 email from JYD president Kristellys Estanga with the subject line, “Re: Need your help! State Attorney's race/Federal Lawsuit,” updated the group that, “We need 3 people from each county.” According to the email, so far three whites and two blacks from Duval and one white from Clay have signed on as plaintiffs.

On the last day of qualifying, write-in candidates filed to run in the state attorney and public defender’s races, …   More



One of Jacksonville's local community theatres, The 5 & Dime, has begun a run of a new show: Laura Schellhardt's 2015, three-woman play, The Comparables. The well executed production brings to life two conflicting viewpoints on the struggle of women in patriarchal society, as well as the dangers of greed and manipulation, delivering its message with whit and humor, rather than over-the-top preaching.

The Comparables tells the story of 3 women working at a real estate boutique in New York City. The first is Monica (played by Kristin Livingston), a hard working, independent woman who has worked at the boutique for 10 years, and is expecting to inherit it as her aging boss' career comes to an end. The second is Iris (played by Milan Alley), a new hire for the boutique who brings her tactics of seduction and manipulation into the workplace, much to Monica's discontent. The final character in the play is Bette (played by Gretta Russe), the powerful and famous boss of the boutique who, though seemingly wise, often takes Monica's hard work for granted, eventually leading to a power struggle between the three women over ownership of the business.

The acting in this production is what steals the show, particularly Livingston's portrayal of Monica. Livingston does an excellent job of establishing Monica as a character who promotes female empowerment through independence and hard work. However, Livingston is also able to subtly show Monica's inherently timid personality buried beneath a layer of false confidence. As the play progresses, Monica begins to break down and abandon her beliefs for those Iris has put upon her. Livingston's acting range can be seen here, as she slowly turns Monica from a cooperative, happy-go-lucky employee into an angry, demanding one open to objectifying herself.

The performances of Alley as Iris and Russe as Bette also help to build highly dynamic characters with realistic motives and beliefs. Alley brings to the show an air of …   More

Flog Poll

Flog Poll (Escape From New York Edition)


The battle for New York is over, the frontrunners of both parties earning decisive victories in one of the most hyped primaries since that one that happened last week.

Feel The Bern Givin’ you the Feels?

To be fair, Sanders certainly outperformed expectations in his native state. Two weeks ago he trailed Clinton by double digits. Then he won Wyoming, got tickets to Hamilton and an invite to hang with The Pope (kind of). Momentum may be on his side.

Five Thirty Eight sees the race for the Democratic nomination tightening moving forward. While there are no numbers to back up the assertion that follows, Sanders seems to have benefited from a rather heavy-handed documentary (see:campaign ad) featuring the Vermont Senator walking the streets of his hometown, as actor/director/uber-Bernie Bro Mark Ruffalo tosses the candidate softballs and tries desperately to engage him in extensive periods of eye-contact, to no avail.

Enjoy the awkwardness below:


You Ain’t No Bern, You Bern

While Sanders had Ruffalo in his corner in New York, Hillary had the support of a half-dozen dorks at Columbia University. Also HRC got 6 in 10 Latino votes, 6 in 10 female votes, and two-thirds the minority votes in the NYC primary where 40% of registered voters are nonwhite.

Regardless, if your Facebook feed hasn’t yet made it clear, it ain’t cool to like Hillary. As I said weeks ago, Sanders is the perfect candidate for my generation: dug up like some old vinyl (a single like Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” for example) by a demographic Hell-bent on coopting things from the past. “Authenticity,” the buzzword of the generation that gave rise to the hipster, is often used to describe Sanders’ appeal. Just replace reclaimed wood with Bernie’s speeches from the '80s and you have, in a nutshell, the soul of why he’s popular with the under-30 crowd in the first place.

So it’s not all that …   More

Flog Poll

Flog Poll (Jim Gaffe-igan Edition)

Trump counterpunches himself in the face

After a span of two weeks in which the Trump campaign was taking heavy fire, mostly as a result of the blathering idiocy of its own candidate for President, Cruz’s victory in Wisconsin may represent a turning point as it puts the delegates Trump needs to clinch the nomination outright virtually out of reach.

While Trump is busy sabotaging his own campaign with gaffes, Cruz’s people have trained their focus on John Kasich, who – if the siege continues – will be hard-pressed to continue his campaign (see: act) of aw shucks, hug-dispensing. Kasich earned 14% of the vote in Wisconsin. This prompted the Ohio Gov. to declare the race wide-open, proving that a long held Republican tradition – namely, an aversion to math – is alive and well.

Maybe just stop talking?

On the Democratic side, similar to the current difficulties Drumpf is having with his mishandling of… well… words, Hillary Clinton continues to do unnecessary damage to her campaign with her facehole. Though HRC’s diarrhea of the mouth was much more nuanced, the statement she made about the “unborn person” not having any rights was roundly criticized. After the Nancy Reagan AIDs thing, the Bernie standing right behind her deal, and now this, it may be time for HRC’s people to give their candidate a rest break, or, at the very least employ a seven second delay on her microphone. 

With the New York primary approaching, Bernie Sanders – who has seemed, up to this point, to be allergic to saying stupid shit – had some puzzling answers for the editorial board of the New York Daily News, stumbling over specifics of how he would follow through with many of his campaign promises. It also became clear, from that same interview, that Sanders will return to campaigning in New York City with a pocket full of obsolete subway tokens.


After beating HRC …   More