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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly

Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image:  Photo via USDA, orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Florida to receive millions to battle feral hogs

Are you a Florida property owner dealing with, say, 30 to 50 feral hogs that run into your yard within three to five minutes while your small kids play? If so, the federal government wants to help. Last month, the USDA announced the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, which will devote almost $34 million to finding solutions for Lord of the Flies-style pig problems. Funded by the 2018 Farm Bill, the new program aims to eliminate feral hog populations with the help of the private sector and local governments. According to the USDA, the roughly 7 million invasive feral hogs in 35 states cause an estimated $2 billion in agricultural damage every year by rooting and wallowing in …

Photo: Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, myfloridalegal.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: FL AG Ashley Moody tweets thoughts and prayers to mass shooting victims

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody fired off two tweets this past weekend offering her thoughts and prayers to the victims of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. “Horrified and saddened by the tragic and senseless shooting in El Paso,” tweeted Moody last Saturday night, referring to the man who killed 22 and critically injured 24 using an AK-variant semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine. Less than 24 hours later, Moody tweeted, “Tragic news out of Dayton, Ohio.” That news was that a man wearing body armor shot and killed 9 people and seriously wounded 26 with an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle equipped with a 100-round “double drum” magazine. These tweets went out just after the newly elected …

Image: Travelers United logo, www.travelersunited.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Excessive Resort Fees can be Harmful to Orlando’s Economy

Anyone who has traveled in recent years knows how difficult it is to find the true cost of a hotel room when booking online, because “resort fees” are often revealed well into the booking process. These fees cover pool use, gym access, Wi-Fi, newspapers, and so on, whether the guest uses them or not. Resort fees are illegal in many countries, and since 2016, 47 state attorneys general have sued various hotel chains, on the basis that they’re engaging in deceptive bait-and-switch tactics. Lauren Wolfe of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy organization, says excessive resort fees can be especially harmful to an economy like Orlando’s, which is dependent on the hotel and lodging industry. Wolfe warns against dismissing resort fees …

Image: The Supreme Court Building  ,supremecourt.gov

From the pages of Orlando Weekly: Supreme Court decision may push America’s political dysfunction further

A Supreme Court decision issued this week may push America’s political dysfunction to the point of no return. Rucho v. Common Cause looked at extreme gerrymandering in two states, and in a 5–4 decision, the court’s conservative majority threw up its hands and decided, eh, there was nothing they could do about it. So come 2021, when the next round of reapportionment and redistricting takes place, state legislatures have the green light to do their worst. Justice Elena Kagan shredded the majority opinion in her dissent, writing: “The partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.” A reminder to electeds: you represent all of the citizens …

Image: book cover: How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Lessons from “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

I’m not sure if it’s a bad time, or the perfect time, to be reading a book called “How Democracies Die.” This 2018 book by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt presents case studies of how democratic governments throughout history have fallen into authoritarian regimes, as a warning that the American experiment is more fragile than we think. There’s nothing magical about the United States Constitution. Other countries have copied it, sometimes word for word, and collapsed. In its early days, the U.S. almost did, too. What held us together was a set of informal norms, an unspoken agreement that the parties would share power and the branches of government wouldn’t exploit the Constitution’s ambiguities to their own ends. For a …

Image: A member of the Rainbow Myriads at ‘Indigenous Futurism,’ Orlando Museum of Art, June 6 2019 – PHOTO BY MATT KELLER LEHMAN FOR ORLANDO WEEKLY

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Orlando’s Black Art Scene

With last week’s Juneteenth celebration in the rearview, it’s time to talk about what goes on with Orlando’s Black artists year-round. In early June a group of young Black artists took over the Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursdays party. “Indigenous Futurism” celebrated the African origins of human existence with a mix of old and new art forms: traditional African drummers played alongside producers with MPC beat machines and a modern-dance invocation of ancient spirits. This group, the Mercury Collective, also hosts a recurring jam session at the Wells’ Built Museum in Parramore. The idea is to connect art, music, and history in one of the few remaining African-American landmarks in Orlando. Elizabeth Thompson is the executive director of Wells’ …

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 …