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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
Mary Jo Melone's picture
"Somebody once said that journalism is the first rough draft of history; if there was ever a form of the trade that suited that definition, it’s the blog—meant to be insightful, provocative, brief, and right on the tail of breaking stories. That’s the way I see it, and that’s what I intend to do, through a liberal lens. I worry about the way Florida is headed, the country too. We suddenly live in a mean-spirited, you’re-on-your-own world. Whenever I see it, I’ll point it and wonder aloud why this has happened to us. I’ll suggest answers when I can. I’ll write about events big and small. I’ll wait to hear from you, and we’ll have a conversation."
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 — Mary Jo Melone

I no longer look forward to going to the movies. It took a while to figure out that this change had occurred not right after the shooting in that movie theater in July in Aurora, Colo., but after a congressman, Texas’ Louie Gohmert, declared that if people could carry guns into theaters, by God, somebody could have taken out James Holmes, the shooter. Holmes was wearing full body armor. What was going to take him out? A drone lowered from the ceiling?

...

Friday, January 04, 2013 — Mary Jo Melone

This is what happened in Tampa on Jan. 27, 1991.

 New York and Buffalo met in Super Bowl XXV.  The Giants beat the Bills, 20-19.

  And Whitney Houston sang The Star Spangled Banner. When she finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the nation. 

...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 — Mary Jo Melone

Tampa’s Metropolitan Ministries, one of those thousand points of light that strives to save the vulnerable, struggled this past year to keep the flame burning. Even as Christmas loomed, the agency was clamoring for donations of toys and food -- a message that belied the declarations about Florida’s improving economy.

If conditions are so swell, then why weren’t the fortunate giving? Or did bloodless statistics look better because people had given up on returning to what we once called the normal world and showed up instead at places like Metropolitan Ministries?

Those who...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

Words are small things.

We writers use them to needle, plead, shout, cajole, pray, beg, and laugh, to knit ideas into sensible patterns, to blast ideas apart so that new ones can be shaped. The pay is lousy, but the power is said to be immense – you’ve probably heard that business about the word and the sword.  Maybe you’ve also heard that business about the word and the Bushmaster -- so much for the...

Thursday, December 13, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

When it comes to bad news, the truth is always inconvenient. And so it was this week, when forensic anthropologists from the University of South Florida reported on the expanding horrors at the now-shuttered Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, where, in the state’s name, boys in trouble were sent for over a century.

The anthropologists found that 96 children and two adults died, including two 6-year-...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

Marco Rubio did it once. Why not twice?

Florida’s junior U.S. senator once proclaimed himself the son of Cuban exiles. His U.S. Senate biography used to say that his parents escaped to Florida after Fidel Castro took over the island nation in 1959. Or at least it did until last year, when The Washington Post pointed out that Rubio’s parents landed in Miami in 1956.

...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

If you listened closely to the campaign racket mercifully just ended, this question could be heard, insistent as a drumbeat:  Are we at all responsible to each other or do we each grab and get for ourselves and to hell with everybody else?

It was hard not to watch Black Friday (or Black Friday eve) shoppers stomping and shouting their way through the doors of all those big box stores and not see the...

Sunday, November 18, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

In prehistoric days — I speak of the 1980s — Tampa, desperate to be someplace significant,  coined itself a name: America’s Next Great City. This tag begged the question of when Tampa would be great, of course, so moneyed men set about answering it. Keeping with Florida tradition, their minds immediately went to smoke and mirrors. If Tampa got enough good PR,  these men believed, outsiders would just be so plain knocked over by Tampa’s wonderfulness, they would come here like flocks of birds in the fall....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

Florida unemployment offices are not cushy places. The chairs are hard. The walls are barren. Desperation hangs in the air. So many people want to hunt for jobs online -- some can’t afford computers at home — that waiting for one is not uncommon.

The message is clear: The state doesn’t want you to get all comfy in the unemployment office, doesn’t want to make it all that easy to get benefits. After all...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 — Mary Jo Melone

The long line that snaked up to the door of the Tampa library where I voted cheered me last Saturday, the first day of early voting. Despite democracy’s current, spectacular dysfunction among those who presume to run it, the unremarkable rest of us still believe in the unfettered exercise of the franchise.

Not so the True the Vote crowd, and the man who has has slavishly followed them, Rick Scott. So when I saw the woman in the parking lot with a black T-...