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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, summer has finally arrived. The Legislature has concluded one of the most painful and pointless sessions in recent memory, Major League Baseball is in full swing, the Sunshine State's signature sweltering temperatures are starting to return, and for many of us here in the Gator Nation, it's back-to-school as a new semester presents us with new opportunities to engage in one of our favorite pastimes: procrastination. As we venture into summer '08, however, we at the Department of Darts and Laurels won't waste any time presenting to you, our loyal readers, a hot and fresh, first-of-the-summer-edition of…

Darts & Laurels

First up, we hurl a thanks-for-wasting-our-time-and-tax-dollars-with-meaningless-political-pablum-instead-of-working-on-Florida's-ubiquitous-problems DART to the Florida Legislature.

The deleterious effects of the biggest budget reduction in Florida's history are directly responsible for the excruciating budget cuts soon to be inflicted on the state's flagship university -that's us. Bernie and Co. might be taking flack from the UF community for their planned $47 million funding reduction, but we must remember where that money comes from and who appropriates it in the first place -that would be the Legislature.

Our legislators deemed replica bull testicles, droopy drawers, road rage and creationism in public schools to be more important than solving the state's real problems.

Prison funding was increased, yet no money was to be found for education or health care. What does it say about our state when we're more concerned with building new places to lock people up than we are with ensuring a quality education for the next generation of leaders?

We can only hope that this fall's election proves to be one of the "throw-the-bums-out" variety.

Florida needs leaders now more than ever. The Legislature's performance this session shows that leadership is in very short supply in Tallahassee these days.

Next up, we present a we-know-gas-prices-are-ridiculous-but-wow-that's-messed-up DART to former Gator football player Jamar Hornsby.

Hornsby has been charged with using Ashley Slonina's gas credit card to fuel up for the past six months. Slonina, a UF junior, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in October along with freshman Michael Guilford, a teammate of Hornsby's. Hornsby's misdeed goes far beyond the pale, and we commend Coach Urban Meyer for quickly and judiciously booting the depraved defensive back off the team.

Next, we present a thanks-for-actually-doing-your-job-and-working-on-the-issues-that-matter LAUREL to Sen. Bill Nelson.

In stark contrast to his counterparts at the state level, Nelson has proven once again that his focus remains on the concerns of his constituents.

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This week, Nelson visited Gainesville to survey the Cabot Carbon/Koppers Superfund site to raise awareness and pressure the Environmental Protection Agency to, you know, protect the environment.

Gainesville has been attempting to clean up the contaminated industrial site for more than a quarter-century, with little success. Nelson's visit reinforces his commitment to the environment and ensuring the safety and welfare of all Floridians.

Last, but certainly not least, we offer another green-themed if-only-the-rest-of-our-elected-officials-actually-did-something-substantive-and-sustainable LAUREL to the Gainesville City Commission for moving one step closer to establishing a biomass power plant here.

The commission voted unanimously to approve construction of the renewable energy plant this week. Although there is still a contract to be negotiated between the city and Nacogdoches Power of Boston, this is an encouraging development toward realizing sustainability right here in the heart of the Gator Nation.

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