The anti-Trump press. An Eagle Scout builds a garden.

Offshore drilling

As I’m sure you know, Amendment 9 passed in Florida on Tuesday. This was yet another strong showing of widespread, bipartisan opposition to dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling. Yet, Amendment 9 only protects the state waters of Florida, while the federal waters — including the eastern Gulf of Mexico moratorium — are still up for grabs in the Trump administration’s federal offshore drilling plans.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed opening nearly all U.S waters to offshore drilling, including both coasts of Florida. Recent reports have noted increased interest in the currently protected eastern Gulf, and out-of-state politicians are pressuring Florida’s elected leaders to make a deal on opening up the protected area.

So, while Amendment 9 is a powerful, statewide stance against expanded offshore drilling, it’s important that the public remain vigilant in holding their leaders accountable to make sure that drilling stays out of federal waters off Florida’s coasts.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded 41 miles off the Louisiana coast and Florida still felt the direct economic impacts all along our Gulf Coast. In Florida, offshore drilling threatens nearly 610,000 jobs and roughly $37.4 billion in GDP. We can’t let offshore drilling come one inch closer to Florida’s coast.

We hope that Florida’s elected officials will continue to stand with their constituents and won’t make any deals to open up the eastern Gulf moratorium, or any federal waters in Florida, to drilling.

Amendment 9 alone doesn’t protect Florida’s coast.

Loryn Baughman, Oceana, Washington, D.C.

 

The anti-Trump press

America may have a free press, but it is also an intensely partisan press that clearly cannot be trusted to tell both sides of any story.

The behavior of most of the journalists at the White House press briefing on Wednesday was appalling. Their tone, body language and facial expressions all reflected the loathing and hostility they feel towards the president of the United States. Rarely have I seen such hatred so openly expressed.

Like all of us, journalists are entitled to their opinions. But they also have an obligation to report the facts honestly and fairly. Redefining words to fit their agenda is neither honest nor fair.

For example, nationalism is “devotion to the interests of one’s own nation.” It is not racism. Indeed, it is what Americans should demand of their president. What kind of leader isn’t devoted to the interests of his own nation?

Similarly, an invasion is “infringement by intrusion.” To say that a group of thousands of people waving flags from their native countries and stating they intend to enter the United States illegally is not an invasion is patently absurd. We may legitimately disagree about how the situation ought to be handled, but how else would you define it other than as the threat of an “infringement by intrusion”?

Throughout the press briefing, President Trump spoke in modulated terms. He did not raise his voice. He was courteous to all. The screaming, shouting and vituperation came from the press corps.

Gail Graham, Ocala

 

Eagle Scout celebration

Nicholas Holmes, a senior at Forest High School, has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. It is the culmination of over six years of adventure, fun, work and dedication for Holmes, a member of Troop 200 in Ocala.

For his Eagle Project, Holmes worked in conjunction with other community volunteers to build “Charlie’s Garden” at Interfaith Emergency Services’ “Center for Life.” The concept for Charlie’s Garden, a place for parents to honor the memory of their unborn children, came about because the father of a child who was aborted without his consent wanted a place to grieve the loss of the child he called “Charlie.” When the old abortion clinic in downtown Ocala came up for sale, he donated funds to purchase it and convert it into a “Center for Life.”

Holmes led his group of over 25 volunteers in the building of three planter benches, a fountain and a free-standing circular waterfall wall. His project involved a total of 273 volunteer hours and over $1,400 worth of materials and supplies. Holmes and his volunteers also planted new bushes and flowers, built an archway entrance to the garden, and refinished the donated cast iron tables and chairs.

Along his trail to the rank of Eagle Scout, Holmes has earned 26 merit badges. Holmes was formally presented the Eagle Scout award at a Court of Honor ceremony Friday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ocala.

Barbara Holmes, Ocala