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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly



Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: border zone map, www.aclu.org

From The Pages of Orlando Weekly: The 100 Mile Border Zone and The Fourth Amendment



On Monday, President Trump tweeted that starting next week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency would conduct mass arrests with the hopes of deporting millions of migrants. It’s unclear how ICE could immediately deport “millions” of people. Such an operation would require thousands of agents, however, ICE acting director Mark Morgan has vowed to crack down on immigrants living in the U.S. “illegally,” adding that the agency would also focus on families. This is especially concerning for states like Florida, where the entire state falls into the government’s 100-mile border zone. The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from random and arbitrary stops and searches. That does not fully apply at border crossings, though. At ports of entry, authorities do not …


Image: Photo by Monivette Cordeiro, orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Observing the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting



This week we observe the third anniversary of the worst day in Orlando’s history. In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, 49 people were shot to death at Pulse. The nightclub posted a terrifying message on its Facebook page, “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running,” as the bullets began to fly. As that merciless Sunday turned to daylight, friends and neighbors rose up to help each other however they could. Blood banks couldn’t handle the influx of donors, who often sat for hours in the sun. Bilingual residents helped translate for the friends and family of the mostly Latinx victims. Like any city, Orlando wants its name to ring out, but not like this. To the …


Image: NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer. | AP Photo/Phil Coale

From The Pages of Orlando Weekly: Florida lawmakers filed formal complaints seeking an investigation into NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer



Last week two Florida lawmakers filed formal complaints with the state seeking an investigation into National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. State Rep. Anna Eskamani and state Sen. Perry Thurston say that Hammer broke the law by failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in payment for her services. Under Florida law, lobbyists are required to file compensation reports quarterly. But according to documents found by a watchdog website called the Florida Bulldog,  Hammer has been paid nearly a million dollars by the NRA in the past five years, but Hammer has not filed a compensation report since at least 2007. Hammer is a former NRA president who’s influenced many of the state’s gun laws, including Stand Your Ground. …



Image: Sheriff Willis McCall and an unidentified man with Charles Greenlee, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Irvin in the Lake County Jail, 1949: photo via Florida Memory Project, Orlandoweekly.com

From The Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Orlando Sentinel’s horrific coverage during the Groveland Four trial



In the past century, white-owned newspapers across the South published racist material that stirred up mobs, incited lynchings, and even congratulated those who committed them. In this century, some have expressed regret. This January, five days before they were posthumously pardoned by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Orlando Sentinel ran an apology for its treatment 70 years ago of the Groveland Four, four young black men who were wrongly accused of raping a young white woman in Lake County. Two were murdered, and the other two wrongly imprisoned. An example of the Sentinel’s ongoing inflammatory coverage: a front-page cartoon run just as a grand jury was convening showing four empty electric chairs under the words, “No Compromise!” The paper’s conduct was …


Photo via Dennisbaxley.com

From the pages of Orlando Weekly: FL State Sen. Dennis Baxley said he’s “very encouraged” by Alabama’s new law



Last week, two dozen men in Alabama declared that a doctor who ends the pregnancy of a 12-year-old rape victim should spend more time in prison than the rapist who impregnates her. On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed their bill into law, proclaiming it a testament to their belief that “every life is precious [and] that every life is a sacred gift from God.” About that sacred gift: Alabama has the worst education system, the second-highest infant mortality rate and the fifth-highest child poverty rate in the country. Half of the state’s counties have no obstetrician. And, of course, the state has refused to expand Medicaid. This wouldn’t be fodder for a commentary on local events, had not Florida state …


Image: Fringezilla, photo courtesy of Orlando Fringe, orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: 28th Annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival



There are three things you can count on every May in Orlando: The love bugs are swarming, kittens are BOGO at the shelters, and you can get a damn fine plate of deep-fried cheese curds on the Loch Haven Lawn. That’s right, the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is back for its 28th year. Hundreds of artists from all over the world are concentrated in one small area of the city for two intense weeks in the longest-running fringe theater festival in the country. Along with all the things patrons have come to cherish over the years, there are some new things to experience this year. Fringers of the Future allows teen performers to present shows at the festival, nurturing …


Image: Photo by Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The FBI is still silent about possible hack in Florida during the 2016 election



The FBI is still keeping officials in the dark about a possible hack in Florida during the 2016 election, even as dozens of elections supervisors and lawmakers from across the state demand more information. The questions stem from a vague reference in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The report says the FBI believes Russian hackers accessed information in “at least one Florida county government,” but didn’t identify which county. The Florida Department of State, which oversees the elections infrastructure, didn’t know anything about the possible intrusion, but the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI refuse to release more details. Officials are irate, to say the least. State Representative Stephanie Murphy pointed out, …


Photo by Chuck Stewart, Aretha Franklin, 1967

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Snap Space hosts exhibit of Chuck Stewart, photographer of the jazz world



You might not know you know him, but you know him. Chuck Stewart’s photographs grace the covers of at least 2,000 albums, by his count. That’s his work on Albert Ayler’s Love Cry, Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers’ Three Blind Mice. And so, although he’s a visual artist, it’s music fans who know him best. Over the course of a 70-year career, Stewart shot everything from atom bomb tests to nudes, but it was his work in the jazz world of the ’60s and ’70s that dominated. Now an exhibition of his photos is coming to Orlando’s Snap Space gallery. “Eye of an Era” opened last week and will remain on …


Image: facial recognition kiosk, npr.org

From the Pages from Orlando Weekly: Orlando International Airport will soon use facial recognition to verify all travelers’ identities



Every international gate at Orlando’s main airport will soon use facial recognition to verify all travelers’ identities, including U.S. citizens. Orlando International Airport will spend around $4 million for 30 facial I.D. kiosks that use U.S. Customs and Border Protection algorithms to identify passengers from a database of millions of government-issued image sources like passports, visas and drivers’ licenses. Security agencies say facial recognition is more convenient than other biometric identifiers because it doesn’t require physical contact, like fingerprint scanners. But convenience could come at the cost of accuracy. A 2017 report from the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology says the Department of Homeland Security’s airport facial recognition systems erroneously reject as many as one in 25 travelers with …



Photo via News Service of Florida

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Idea of oil drilling in U.S. coastal waters continues



In recent weeks, President Trump has again floated the idea of drilling in U.S. coastal waters in search of oil. It’s come up before. This oil lobbyists’ dream scheme was kicked around in 2017, but former Gov. Rick Scott assured us Florida’s coastline was safe, saying then-interior secretary Ryan Zinke had assured him that we would not be included in White House drilling plans. However, that assurance was never made official. Now we have a new governor, and a new interior secretary, and they’re singing the same old song. Just last week, the oil lobby sharks began circling again. But Gov. Ron DeSantis downplayed concerns Monday, saying interior Sec. David Bernhardt promised him Florida was off the hook. There’s an …



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