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Making Florida Great Again
On June 22, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law three bills to strengthen civics education in the Sunshine State. As De Santis said at the signing ceremony, “The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” And so, he concluded, “It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”

Yes, in recent decades we’ve learned the hard way what happens to a country that forgets the basics of its own greatness. If American history is forgotten along with the lessons of civics and the Constitution, then it’s no surprise that young people, schooled instead in pop culture and nihilism, will fall prey to Antifa-ish ideologies.   
So we most definitely need a plan for teaching people more than just the fakeries of the Marvel Comics Universe and Black Lives Matter. Americans need to know, for example, that the U.S. Constitution is not just some musty old document written by “white supremacists,” but rather, a practical and enduring guide to small “r” republican self-governance. 
Of DeSantis’ three bills aimed at fixing this civics-gap problem, the first concerns the teaching of civics in grades K-12; the second concerns teaching civics in state colleges and universities; and the third—the most controversial—requires those state schools to “conduct annual assessments of viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom.” 

We might pause to admire the thoroughness of DeSantis’ approach. As we have learned, it’s not good enough for Republicans to simply write a law saying that some good thing, such as civics education, is supposed to happen. Why not?  Because if the bureaucrats think they think they can get away with it, they will find ways of maneuvering around—or simply ignoring—any such law.  So what’s needed is constant monitoring of law-abdingness or as the bill has it, “annual assessments.”  As they say, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.  
Furthermore, we can also admire the way that DeSantis has captured and inverted the notion of “diversity.” As we know, to the left, diversity is defined as merely skin color or gender, and yet DeSantis is saying that we should most prize diversity of thought. 
And so now all of a sudden the usual-suspect champions of lefty-diversity are outraged. For instance, the Miami Herald published an angry editorial accusing DeSantis of “targeting academia” (certainly true) and of being “anti-democratic” (certainly not true). 
Yet interestingly, even the Herald conceded, “There’s no denying that many universities have traditionally been hotbeds of liberalism.” And the newspaper further conceded, “It’s also likely that in any environment where one point of view is predominant those who think differently might feel shunned, as conservatives say they are on college campuses.”  
In other words, even seen through the liberal eyes of this establishment media outlet, there’s a logic to what DeSantis is doing. These are after all state-supported schools. So yes, the interests of the people of Florida—who elected not only DeSantis, but also the Republican state legislature—should be fairly represented. To put that another way, the taxpayers who foot the bill for public schools ought not to be insulted by the schooling.  


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrates after having signed a bill Tuesday that increases eligibility of school vouchers to attend private schools, during a ceremony at St. John the Apostle School, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Meanwhile, other establishment media organs were less measured in their response to DeSantis, accusing him of being an enemy of “free thought.” And the hard left went even further, calling Florida’s 46th governor “a stupid wanking fascist.” 
Most assuredly, DeSantis has been on a roll, having made the right calls on Covid-19, on the “mostly peaceful protests” (also known as riots), on girl-stomping transgender athletics, and on critical race theory. And oh yes, he not only survived a hit-piece from CBS News’ 60 Minutes, but actually emerged as the winner. 
Yet of everything that DeSantis has accomplished in his less than three years in Tallahassee, it’s hard to think of a greater accomplishment than his reform of civics education — because such reform goes right to the heart of who we are and who we should be as Americans. 
Remembering Where Our Greatness Comes From 
In his wonderful 2002 book, Making Patriots, the late Walter Berns, a longtime scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explained that the exceptional nature of U.S. history imposes a double duty on good citizens. We must understand that we are a people sharing a common language and a common culture, and we must also understand that we are blessed by a great guiding idea in the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

Hence, Berns wrote, “the unique character of American patriotism: the devotion not only to country but also to its principles.” These principles have often been called simply Americanism. 
Indeed, all through American history, our best leaders and thinkers have emphasized the importance of civic instruction to advance Americanism.  Yes, of course, we should be free and enjoy freedom of conscience, and yet at the same time, we have to live together in harmony, and such arrangements require statecraft as well as soulcraft. As our second president, John Adams, wrote in 1808, “Our Obligations to our Country never cease but with our lives.” 
And so wise leaders saw the value in education to remind each generation of its obligations as well as its rights. Such thinking led our fourth president, James Madison, to write in 1822 in praise of public education in the new state of Kentucky: 

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded.  A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.  Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Yet it was during wartime that we were most reminded of the importance of a common civic culture. Speaking to the 166th regiment of Ohio during the Civil War, our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, reminded the troops why they were fighting: “It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright. . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”
To be sure, the proper goal is not blind loyalty—at least not to any politician or party. As Mark Twain wrote in 1889, “My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders.” That is, the nation is held to be permanent, while the bureaucracies and politicians might come and go. As Twain continued:

The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, dise ase, and death.

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So yes, we should be ready to change politicians and even governing structures as needed, and yet as President Andrew Jackson said in 1830: “Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!” 
And so from time to time, the mechanism of preservation need to be upgraded and modernized.  For instance, in 1892, at a time of unprecedented immigration to the U.S., Francis Bellamy, recognizing the need for a new catechism of national unity, composed the Pledge of Allegiance.
In fact, in those days, public officials were at pains to make sure that the nation’s symbols were respected and revered.  And that’s why in 1907, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Nebraska ban on the use of the American flag in commercial advertising. In the words of the high court, “A State may exert its power to strengthen the bonds of the Union and therefore, to that end, may encourage patriotism and love of country among its people.”
As we all have seen, the prohibitions on the commercial use of Old Glory have eroded over the decades. And yet it was still startling, as well as disappointing, to see that in 1989, the Supreme Court reversed its ruling in defense of the flag, crazily declaring that actual flag-burning was allowable “free speech.” 
Yet notwithstanding the mutantly liberal Supreme Court of the late 20th century, most Americans have clung to patriotism and associated sentiments of duty and honor.
One is reminded of a scene toward the end of the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan—the film which most accurately depicts what the Greatest Generation actually went through in World War Two combat—in which the Captain Miller character, dying from his wounds, can manage only a gurgled whisper as he tells Private Ryan, “James, earn this . . . earn it.”  That is, the younger man is injuncted by Miller’s blood sacrifice to go home and live a full life as a good citizen of the United States.
We might also call that late in his presidency, Donald Trump made his own effort to advance civics. In September 2020, he declared, “Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their souls.” And so he directed the formation of a “national commission to support patriotic education,” to be called the 1776 Commission. 
The Commission held hearings even after the 2020 election, featuring witnesses such as then-housing secretary Dr. Ben Carson, and released its final report in January, including these ringing words: 

To be an American means something noble and good.  It means treasuring freedom and embracing the vitality of self-government.  We are shaped by the beauty, bounty and wildness of our continent. We are united by the glory of our history.  And we are distinguished by the American virtues of openness, honesty, optimism, determination, generosity, confidence, kindness, hard work, courage and hope.  Our principles did not create these virtues, but they laid the groundwork for them to grow and spread and forge America into the most just and glorious country in all of history.

It was revealing that within a week of taking office, President Joe Biden felt the need to abolish the 1776 Commission.  Announcing his new push for “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” he dismissed the commission’s work as “ignorance and lies.” 
In other words, whether he knew it or not, Biden was putting himself squarely against centuries of accumulated wisdom about the importance of positive civic education. In fact, the Biden administration has spent its first six months aligning itself with the anti-civics of critical race theory (CRT).  
Indeed, Biden is fully in league with the education establishment—and we know that means. It means that our civic future is being hijacked by CRT zealots in the professoriate, reaping exorbitant salaries to teach young people, in the mordant words of Donald Trump, Jr., to hate their country. 
Fortunately, we are now in the midst of a substantial public backlash against CRT. We won’t know the effectiveness of anti-CRT activism until we see some election results—including in Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin is helping to rally aggrieved parents in CRT-afflicted Loudon County.  
Yet as of now, Ron DeSantis is the tip of the spear. As governor of a state which is just 53 percent non-Hispanic white, he made the bet that color-blind Americanism—including law and order and good civics—would be a winner.  And he’s been proven right; recent polls show him leading his possible Democratic opponents by double digits. 
Yes, DeSantis has the benefit of a Republican legislature, and yet so do most states.  The better explanation for DeSantis’ success is that he has been more alert to governmental necessity (and, of course, political opportunity as well).  
And yet there’s still time for other Republicans to try and catch up as they eye 2022 and 2024. 

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Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis Declares State of Emergency as Tropical Storm Elsa Takes Aim at Florida

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency on Saturday in preparation for the potential arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The storm, which was downgraded from a Category 1 Hurricane on Saturday and last checked in with maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour, is set to track over Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Sunday morning before heading near Cuba through Early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Elsa should move near the Florida Keys by late Monday and near the west coast of the state by Tuesday.
DeSantis issued the state of emergency for 15 counties including: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
“While we continue to provide resources to support the response at Surfside, impacts from Elsa will begin affecting the Florida Keys and portions of southern Florida as early as Monday,” DeSantis said.  “All Floridians in the potential path of this storm need to prepare for the risk of isolated tornadoes, storm surge, heavy rainfall and flash flooding.”

Two people died during the storm in the Domincan Republic on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Another person died in St. Lucia, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported.
Elsa formed on July 1 and is the earliest fifth named storm of any Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to the Weather Channel, which noted the 2021 season is already off to a faster start than the 2020 season. The storm beat out the previous record, which was set just last year by Edouard on July 5, 2020.

That’s also over six weeks earlier than the average date of the fifth storm – August 18 – from 1991 through 2020. In eight of those 30 years from 1991 through 2020, the fifth storm didn’t arrive until September.

Elsa became the season’s first hurricane on July 2 near Barbados in the Windward Islands — 23 days earlier than 2020’s first hurricane, which was Hanna in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Weather Channel:

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Typically in June or early July, very little development occurs east of the Windward Islands due to the early-season progression of dry, dusty air from the Sahara Desert – such as what happened late last June – and stronger wind shear over the Caribbean Sea.
But Elsa developed in the “main development region” east of the Windward Islands and became a hurricane, no less.

In 2020, there were 30 named storms with 14 of those becoming hurricanes — just shy of the seasonal record. While Elsa’s origins suggest an active season, it’s too early to tell if there will be as many or more storms than last year, according to to the NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.
“If anything, this early activity is a reminder that the time to prepare for another hurricane season is now,” the Weather Channel reported.

For information about how to prepare for a severe storm or hurricane, click here.

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Donald Trump

Injustice: Trump fan indefinitely ban from MBL stadiums for displaying ‘Trump won’ banner

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A Trump fan who publicly flaunts “Trump won” banners at baseball games, alleged that he has been indefinitely banned from all the Major League Baseball (MBL) stadiums for his actions.


“Officially banned from the MLB. It was a good run!” Dion Cini told his followers on a now pulled down tweet on Sunday. It is unclear if the tweet was pulled down by him or twitter.

Report says that Cini had gone to Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Fenway Park and Citizens Bank Park to hang the banners.


Cini, whose first display of the ‘Trump won’ banner was at Yankee Stadium on May 27, has previously disclosed that the reason why he has not been kicked out of the stadiums by MLB executives was because he thinks, “the people at the top are conservatives.”

A one-page letter dated June 11 and allegedly signed by MLB security and ballpark operations vice president David Thomas accused Cini of entering the stadiums in the states of New York, Boston and Philadelphia in the past several weeks with the intention to conduct his “flag drops.”

“This activity is prohibited at each of these stadiums, and your fan code of conduct violations resulted in your ejection from each of them. A review of your public statements indicates that you intend to continue this behavior at other Major League Baseball stadiums, and that you are encouraging others to conduct themselves likewise,” read the alleged MLB letter, which Cini posted to Twitter.

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“You are hereby banned from all Major League Baseball stadiums and facilities,” the alleged letter continued.

Cini further encouraged his followers to purchase the banner directly from his website YugeFlags.com and them on MBL stadium in his absence. Also, he promised anyone who displays the banner in the stadium with a posted video evidence a full refund on their order. He gave this statement on Monday via Twitter.

Remarkably, Cini’s acts appear to have already inspired a copycat attempt in Florida on June 8. Five people were removed from a Miami Marlins game after unfurling banners from the upper decks that said “Trump Won, Take Back America” and “Proud Boys Did Nothing Wrong — Free All Political Prisoners 1/6/21,” NBC Miami reported.

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Accident

Florida mayor under fire after claiming Pride parade crash was terrorism

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Trace Gallagher slammed the mayor for ‘lying’ as new details emerge showing the incident was likely an accident on ‘The Big Sunday Show.’

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