27 November 2011

The Top 10 Things That You Know You Have Arrived in the State of Florida

This past Thanksgiving weekend I decided to not mess with the Black Friday crowds and instead take a jaunt over to Jacksonville. While there I did some sightseeing including taking a side trip over to Folkston, GA and the famous "Folkston Funnel", where practically all trains from the country have to pass through on their way to Florida with the exception of trains coming from the west.

I stopped at the Florida Welcome Center - not once, but twice - just to get that welcome home feeling coming back from Georgia. Unfortunately, the Welcome to Florida signage bears the name of our 45th Chief Crook and Executive Thief of the State of Florida, none other than Rick Scott. It really tiffs me to even have to see the Welcome to Florida sign with Tricky Ricky's name on it - since it's posted right at the state line, you can't avoid it one bit.

So, while I was at the Florida Welcome Center on southbound Interstate 95 north of Jacksonville, I pulled out my trusty BlackBerry and jotted down ten items that you, as a Florida resident returning home or a visitor coming to enjoy the Sunshine State, know that you have arrived in the great State of Florida!

Without much further ado, here we go with ten items that you have arrived in the State of Florida, in the tradition of the Late Show with David Letterman (which can be seen on your local CBS affiliate; here in St. Petersburg it's on WTSP-10 News at its appropriate starting time of 11:35 PM weeknights):

10. You stop at the Florida Welcome Center on I-75 or I-95 and pick up your obligatory sample of orange juice.

9. Move over or slow down for emergency vehicles.

8. Our great state's Interstate shields are better to read than Georgia's.

7. Our Interstate highway overheads are much better than Georgia's.

6. Home of the Florida merging traffic symbol.

5. Home of the near extinct Draw Bridge Ahead warning sign in Highway Gothic Series C. (After all, the Florida DOT has been pulling up these classic Draw Bridge Ahead warning signs of this type and replacing them as part of drawbridge reconstruction or update projects with a similar sign in Highway Gothic Series D produced at the Florida DOT sign shop in Lake City or produced by the Florida DOT contractor)

4. Come to Florida on vacation, leave Florida with a trespass warning thanks to 810.09. (What does Wal-Mart, Black Friday and Florida have in common?)

3. Your children are learning new words in their vocabulary: Foreclosure and homelessness.

2. Cash or your state's EZ-Pass is worthless when you drive onto the Florida Turnpike or practically any toll road or bridge in Florida for that matter.

And the Number One thing to know that you are in Florida is:

1. You see our Chief Crook and Thief's name, Rick Scott, plastered on every Welcome to Florida sign at our welcome centers as well as every port of entry into the great State of Florida!

And you, the Florida taxpayer, spent $7,000 to let Tricky Ricky make an idiot of himself on every Welcome to Florida sign!

The next time you stop at the official Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 75 south of Valdosta or on Interstate 95 north of Jacksonville remember these things when you see Rick Scott's name plastered on the Welcome to Florida signs:

1. The disposal of 25,000 potential jobs by rejecting the high speed rail money.
2. The voters of this great state elected a crook and a thief (HCA, anyone?).
3. 10%+ unemployment rate in Florida.
4. Foreclosures driving down house values.
5. Homeowners insurance skyrocketing.
6. The turning of law enforcement against the people.
7. Everyday, law-abiding citizens arrested on trumped-up charges, such as trespassing after warning.
8. Turning public property into private property.
9. Your children receive nothing more than drill and practice for the FCAT test instead of a quality education you pay for with your tax dollars.
10. More and more public schools in Florida keeping you, the parent, out of your child's educational progress by using threats of trespass warnings against the parents (does Mike Rio and Virgil Mills Elementary School in Ellenton ring a bell?).

So, there you have it. Now that Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone and that the holiday season is well underway, enjoy the holiday season!

23 November 2011

Thanksgiving, Christmas and the ever-growing Anti-American Holiday Sentiment

The holiday season has begun – and earlier than usual!

Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area you can tell that the holiday season has begun when WWRM-FM 94.9 switches their format from their regular easy listening music to all Christmas music, claiming to “get you into the holiday spirit”. Ironically, WWRM – dubbed as The New Magic 94.9 – is on the same FM frequency as Radio Veseljak in Ljubljana, Slovenia: Although Tampa and Ljubljana are at least 6,000 miles and an ocean apart, the difference is that Radio Veseljak is only 1 kW while WWRM has a power level (97.3 kW) almost 100 times more than Radio Veseljak.

Sure, The New Magic 94.9 FM wants to get you, the Tampa/St. Petersburg area radio listener, into the Christmas spirit – just a few days after the national test of the Emergency Alert System, which turned out to be way far from perfect. Besides, WWRM – along with WMTX 100.7 FM, known as Tampa Bay’s Best Music Variety – are what are called Local Primary stations for the Emergency Alert System in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. In a national alert, these two stations pick up the alert message from either WFLF 540 AM in Orlando (which is one of many Primary Entry Point stations around the country and one of three in Florida) or from National Public Radio via satellite (using their “squawk” sub-channel) and redistribute the message to the rest of Tampa’s radio and TV outlets as well as cable systems such as Bright House Networks.

Hey, I got to admit it, this is my favorite time of the year. Even after losing my mother 11 years ago, it still is. However, I have seen a disturbing trend of anti-American holiday sentiment going around; Andrew Dart has a great page about the Anti-Christmas and Anti-Anti-Christmas Sentiment in American Society over at his web site.

Psst! In fact, why don't you read Andrew Dart's Anti-Christmas page by opening the link to the article as shown above as a new tab (simply right click on the link and select Open In New Tab); that way you can read Andrew Dart's well written page and my blog entry (the blog entry you're reading now) side by side.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing anti-American holiday sentiment going around. Last Christmas season we had numerous reports of anti-American holiday sentiment from the education front as I discussed in an earlier blog entry, which I will summarize here:

1. Heathrow Elementary School in Heathrow, Florida (a small town just outside Orlando, not the airport in London) banished everything Christmas, including Christmas colors, from the school on the orders of its principal. The reason was that people may be offended.

2. Battlefield High School in Manassas, Virginia also banished everything Christmas on the orders of its principal, Amy Etheridge-Conti. Several students were disciplined for being members of the “Christmas Sweater Club”; the reason for the discipline was that students did not want Christmas cheer.

Apparently, Ms. Etheridge-Conti did not want anything to do with Christmas and she wanted to shove her anti-American holiday season beliefs on Battlefield High’s student body. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, if you are reading this, Ms. Etheridge-Conti, if Christmas or the holiday season offends you in any way please consider buying an one-way airline ticket out of the country, especially to a country where the celebration of Christmas (or any American holiday for that matter) is illegal such as North Korea, China or Saudi Arabia.

As the holiday season draws nearer, another school has adopted its stance of anti-American holiday spirit and this time it involves more than Christmas - and I mean much more than Christmas. This article from FOX 25 in Boston caught my attention before I hopped in my car for the brief trek on Interstate 275 to my office in downtown St. Petersburg: Somerville Principal: Fall Holidays are Insensitive.

What? Fall (and Winter) holidays – Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – are insensitive? What is going on here?

According to the FOX 25 article, the principal of Kennedy School, Anne Foley, sent a letter to faculty reminding them that they need to be careful about celebrating the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving. In essence, the fall holidays – Columbus Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving plus Veterans Day and Christmas as they are fall holidays too – were banished on the orders of Ms. Foley and these holidays were not to be celebrated in school.

Although Christmas is a winter holiday, I lumped it in along with the rest of the preceding holidays as the fall holidays for the sake of simplicity. At a most recent check of the Kennedy School's website as I am writing this blog entry, it appears that school was held on Thanksgiving week until 12 Noon on Wednesday, 23 November 2011. By comparison, the Pinellas County School District is closed for Thanksgiving week, giving students, faculty and staff a well deserved week off for a major holiday such as Thanksgiving.

Similarly, The Boston Herald has a great article on what is going on at the Kennedy School too.

By the way, Kennedy School is a K-8 school (which incorporates both elementary and middle schools) located in Somerville, Massachusetts. Somerville is a suburb of Boston located just west of Interstate 93. If you are wondering why Interstate 95 does not serve Boston proper, it is because of a freeway revolt which caused Interstate 95 to be routed onto the MA 128 loop that skirts the Boston metro area, much like how Interstate 75 is routed around but not through Tampa.

OK. Permit me to give you descriptions of the fall holidays in America from Columbus Day to Christmas, if I may:

Columbus Day is a federal holiday in which the federal government (including the US Postal Service) and banks are closed. Observances of Columbus Day by state depends on the state involved; I am not sure if Columbus Day in Massachusetts is a legal holiday but here in the great State of Florida, Columbus Day is an unofficial holiday in that state, county and city offices are open for business.

Halloween is an unofficial holiday, celebrated by children trick or treating in the neighborhood and Halloween costumes. The only entities I believe that do not observe or celebrate Halloween are religious sects that believe that Halloween is a holiday associated with witchcraft among other things.

Thanksgiving Day is an official holiday all across America. We celebrate Thanksgiving by going to relatives for Thanksgiving dinner among other things, not to mention the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, televised across the country on your local NBC affiliate.

The Day After Thanksgiving is considered a holiday depending on who you work for (for instance, if you work for a local government such as the City of St. Petersburg, the Day After Thanksgiving is one of 10 city holidays observed throughout the year as all city offices are closed); it is also known as Black Friday and the start of the Christmas holiday season. Thanksgiving Day, along with Christmas Day, is supposed to be a day of rest for most of us.

Finally, Christmas Day needs no introduction. We know what Christmas day is: Christmas lights, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer … and the Christmas traditions go on. Christmas is not only just an American holiday; Christmas is celebrated worldwide save for a few countries where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

What I can say is this: The fall and winter holidays of Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as Halloween – plus the other holidays of the year such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day and New Years Day – are a part of the American way of life. As such, these holidays and traditions will continue to be around, as long as the United States of America is in existence, so get used to it.

As for Anne Foley, Principal of Kennedy School in Somerville, MA, may I offer you some words of suggestion for the anti-Americanism you have forced on your faculty and students?

1. Take down the flags of both the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that fly in front of your school. Next, hoist the flag of a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, preferably a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

2. Next, ban any recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. While you’re at it, ban any singing of The Star Spangled Banner on your school campus. Instead, play the national anthem of the country you have chosen that is represented by the flag you have hoisted on the flagpole in front of your school on your school’s closed circuit TV system every morning as a part of your school's morning announcements. Have your students learn the words to the national anthem of the country you have chosen too.

If that does not work for you, and if American fall/winter holidays including Thanksgiving and Christmas continue to offend you in any way, then I have another suggestion for you: Purchase a one way airline ticket from Logan International Airport in Boston to a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated, such as Belarus, Cuba, China, North Korea or even Saudi Arabia. Besides, celebrating any American holiday in Saudi Arabia is illegal!

As I mentioned in another previous blog entry, there are school principals unfortunately that control their schools much like the governments of Belarus (think Alexander Lukashenko), Cuba (think Raul Castro) or the closed world of North Korea run by Kim Jong-Il. Why? Your parental rights are trumped and usurped while your children are in school; try to “interfere” with your child’s education and you can get arrested and your child taken into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families (the Florida DCF, also called the Florida Department of Complete Failure) or, at the least, turned into a second class citizen and trespassed which banishes you from school property, perhaps forever.

OK. Let's change gears a little bit while we're on the subject of anti-American holiday sentiment.

Now for another alarming trend of anti-American holiday sentiment, this time on the Corporate America front: Businesses that used to be traditionally closed for Thanksgiving are opening their doors, all in the name of profit.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two very important holidays in which people rest and be with their families, celebrating the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, Corporate America wants to cash in on greed, especially with the Day After Thanksgiving (more commonly known as Black Friday), and open businesses either at 12:01 AM on the Day After Thanksgiving or, worse, open on Thanksgiving Day.

The newest offender on the block as far as being open the Day After Thanksgiving is Target. In order to get a jump start on the holiday shopping season, Target decided to open its stores at 12:01 AM on the Day After Thanksgiving. While Target may be closed on Thanksgiving Day to the public, unfortunately their associates have to work on Thanksgiving in order to prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year. The result: Target’s associates cannot be with their families for Thanksgiving Day.

Whoa! Work on Thanksgiving Day?

First, I can understand that our police officers, firefighters and public safety personnel do have to work not only on Thanksgiving Day, but any holiday of the year for that matter. After all, we rely on these fine personnel to keep us safe.

However, I am miffed when I find out that a retailer – especially a retailer known for traditionally closing on Thanksgiving so that their employees can be with their families – decides to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day all in the name of making a quick buck. Does Corporate America care anymore about America’s traditional holidays?

Being open on Thanksgiving Day is fairly new. Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, we have businesses that are traditionally closed on Thanksgiving Day so that their employees can be with their families. A great example is Publix Super Markets, which has had a closed on Thanksgiving Day policy from the day George Jenkins founded Publix a long time ago.

Unfortunately, two other supermarkets in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area - Sweetbay Supermarket and Winn-Dixie – are open on Thanksgiving Day. Sweetbay claims that they are open on Thanksgiving for customer convenience, but Sweetbay’s Belgian owners – Delhaize Group – apparently believes that Thanksgiving is an interruption to their business. While Sweetbay may be open as a customer convenience, in reality their associates cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.

Besides, Belgium does not celebrate Thanksgiving as it is not one of their legal holidays, period. Thanksgiving, being mainly an American holiday, is celebrated in a few other countries around the world, but with different traditions and on different dates.

Sweetbay used to be known as Kash ‘n Karry, which was locally owned here in Tampa for many years. Then Belgian based Delhaize Group came into town in 1996 and bought up the Kash ‘n Karry chain, remodeled the stores, and rebranded them as Sweetbay as we know today.

Practically the same thing is over at Winn-Dixie. Besides being open for Thanksgiving in the name of customer convenience, Winn-Dixie is notorious for poor customer service: Rude and belligerent checkout staff as well as forcing you to surrender your personal information if you want lower prices or you are subjected to substandard treatment as a customer. In other words, the person ahead of you with a Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card gets better treatment while you, with no card (being your choice), are subjected to more harsh and belligerent treatment. (In fact, Winn-Dixie's way of dabbling into your personal business has gotten more severe: When you go to pay for your items at the register with your debit card, the cashier belligerently and brashly asks you "debit or credit?" Until recently, Winn-Dixie never asked that when you pay for your groceries with your debit card. To me, Winn-Dixie's way of asking you how you want to pay is none of their business - Publix doesn't even do a thing like that). Like Sweetbay, Winn-Dixie’s associates end up paying for being open on Thanksgiving Day in that they cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.

Let’s head over to McDonald’s, also notorious for poor customer service (especially the McDonald's restaurants in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area that are owned by the Caspers Company). Traditionally McDonald’s says on their hours of operation when you walk into the restaurant: “We rest on Thanksgiving and Christmas”. Not so. I have seen McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving morning only for breakfast, but I am seeing that being extended into a full day. Seems like Thanksgiving is more and more being placed on the backburner nowadays. What is going on here?

Now here’s my take on the fall holidays in America, as far as public school and Corporate America are concerned:

1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including the major fall holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

2. If schools do not want to celebrate any of the holidays, then consider holding school on these holidays such as Thanksgiving.

3. If Corporate America does not want to have anything to do with Thanksgiving, then have your corporate eons lobby Congress to repeal Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Believe me – it won’t happen; Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in tradition as an American national holiday to begin with, going back to the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce De Leon landed on the Florida east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.

4. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays to be with family and friends. As such, I do not conduct any business on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.

5. Finally, if the spirit of the American holidays – especially the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – offend you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, especially a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

We cannot let the fall holidays including the major holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas become endangered, thanks to public schools and Corporate America that think these holidays are a nuisance. Thanksgiving and Christmas - along with America's other major holidays - are not a nuisance; instead our nation's holidays are part of our heritage.

So, onward with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holiday season!

05 November 2011

A Case of Parental Discipline Gone Wrong and Too Far

Many of you out there may have watched the video of Aransas County (Texas) Judge William Adams savagely beating his daughter, Hillary. I had the courage to watch all seven minutes of the video which has gone viral worldwide thanks to YouTube.

First, I want you to watch the video below of this savage and cruel act committed against Hillary, who was attending high school as this video was made according to media reports.

WARNING: The video seen here is graphic and it involves strong language. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

This is my opinion in a nutshell: Horrific, shocking, disgusting and violent. As I posted in a comment for that video on YouTube, this is definitely not a case of parental discipline - instead, this is a case of aggravated child abuse.

Check out the news coverage both on a local, national and worldwide view:

Bay News 9's coverage
10 News (WTSP-TV) coverage
CNN's coverage
RTV Slovenia's coverage (in Slovenian)

Just recently here in Florida the Florida Supreme Court ruled that one spank is not considered domestic violence. To me, what the Florida Supreme Court did was have parents declare open season on their children, free to carry out any act of violence against children including spanking as long as no marks were left, and all in the name of parental discipline in the home. Want the facts?

Turn on Bay News 9 or 10 News (WTSP-TV) and this is becoming more and more common: Boyfriend arrested for child abuse. This story from Bay News 9 proves the point: A Seminole man beat his girlfriend's child to death in Lakeland, all because the girlfriend (who was the child's natural mother) did not believe in the use of violence when it came to parental discipline, including spanking.

That article from Bay News 9 is just only a sample of what's going on. There are more articles out there dealing with child abuse right here in our own backyard. Want proof? Go to Bay News 9 as well as 10 News and do a search for "child abuse" - you will be surprised.

While spanking your children may be legal here in America, let's take a quick trip across the Atlantic to Europe. You will be surprised that many countries in Europe have completely outlawed corporal punishment everywhere, including within the home. Sweden became the first country in Europe to outlaw all forms of corporal punishment in 1979; other European countries followed suit according to this article on Wikipedia:

Austria outlawed corporal punishment in 1989.
Croatia outlawed corporal punishment in 1999.
Denmark - Sweden's neighbor to the west via the Oresund Bridge - outlawed corporal punishment in 1997.
Finland outlawed corporal punishment in 1983.
Germany outlawed corporal punishment in 2000.
Greece outlawed corporal punishment in 2007.
Hungary outlawed corporal punishment in 2004.
Iceland outlawed corporal punishment in 2003.
Latvia outlawed corporal punishment in 1998.
Luxembourg outlawed corporal punishment in 2008.
The Netherlands (Holland) outlawed corporal punishment in 2007.
Norway outlawed corporal punishment in 1987; the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that even a light "careful" slap is illegal.
Poland outlawed corporal punishment in 2010.
Portugal outlawed corporal punishment in 2007.
Romania outlawed corporal punishment in 2004.
Spain outlawed corporal punishment in 2007.
Ukraine outlawed corporal punishment in 2004.

When I mean that corporal punishment is outlawed, corporal punishment in a country that has completely outlawed the practice is outlawed, period. Just ask Giovanni Colasante, an Italian politician from the town of Canosa di Puglia, who was on vacation in Stockholm with his son when he pulled his son's hair for not going into a Stockholm restaurant as a form of punishment. Mr. Colasante learned his lesson the hard way when he got arrested in Stockholm and was convicted for violating Sweden's corporal punishment ban. The incident created a big uproar in Italy, where corporal punishment is only outlawed in the schools but legal in the home, reports Radio Sweden.

Many countries in Europe have completely outlawed corporal punishment. But not in the United States of America, where corporal punishment in the home is completely legal. What Judge William Adams did to his daughter, Hillary, was horrific but it's legal in all 50 states of the United States.

However, if you are considering taking a trip with your family out of the country, say to Europe, be careful. As American citizens, we take everything for granted including the right to raise our children the way we see fit with minimal legal restraint. However, once you leave the United States our Constitution and our laws do not follow you - once you are in a foreign country, you are their guest and, as such, are expected to follow and obey their laws including bans on corporal punishment anywhere.

As the United States State Department warns in their travel advisories, once you are arrested in a foreign country you become subject to the judicial system of the country you are arrested in. The fact that you are American and the fact that you have an American passport does not exempt you from a foreign country's laws when you are there. That means if you spank your child in a country where corporal punishment is completely outlawed and you get arrested, you will be processed as an inmate according to the judicial system of the country in question.

While corporal punishment may be legal in the State of Florida, it is prohibited in one place: The Pinellas County School District. In fact, according to the District's Student Code of Conduct as to disciplinary action that can be taken against students (quoting directly from the Student Code of Conduct): "The use of corporal punishment is prohibited." Further, the policy goes on to state that (again, quoting directly from the Student Code of Conduct) "The prohibition against the use of corporal punishment also extends to parents or guardians on school grounds."

In a nutshell, corporal punishment of your children is legal in Florida and in Pinellas County. Just don't spank your children in a Pinellas county public school.

Even if corporal punishment of your children is legal in Florida, in reality you might not want to use physical violence against your children because doing so can attract the attention of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). I call them the Florida Department of Complete Failure, but this agency is very quick to do anything to take your children away from you.

For instance, let's say your child brought home a report card with D's and F's. You get upset, which is natural. However, you get so upset that you go ahead and spank your child using an object, such as a belt. The next day, you send your child off to school and you have a conference with your child's teachers in mind to see what is going on in school that caused the poor grades to begin with.

Suddenly, the phone rings. It's your child's school, with an urgent message that you need to come to the school as soon as possible. You ask why, but the school personnel cannot tell you. Once you arrive at school, you show your ID and sign in per school policy but when a staff member greets you, you are shown down the hall to a conference room where your child's school principal, a police officer, and an investigator from the Florida DCF are there. The reason: The spanking you gave to your child the day before for that poor report card left behind visible welts on your child; one of your child's teachers noticed difficulty in your child sitting down at his desk and took him down the hall to the school nurse. The school nurse saw the welts you made as a result of spanking your child and informs the school principal, who in turn notifies DCF and police resulting in both showing up.

Your nightmare as a parent has just begun. Your child is being taken into protective custody by order of the DCF and you, the parent, is being arrested on charges of child abuse. The police officer places handcuffs on you behind your back and you are placed in the back seat of the police cruiser, transported to the county jail to be booked on the child abuse charge.

Not only do you, the parent, now have an arrest record for child abuse, if the charges are later dismissed by the State Attorney your nightmare still continues. You can try to get your arrest record expunged, but your name will more than likely be entered into Florida's abuse registry as a child abuser. Simplest explanation: If you go on to apply for a job later on down the road, and that background check includes a check of the Florida abuse registry, chances are you might not get the job you want, all because of your decision to discipline your child by physical means.

Moreover, if the charges against you for child abuse are dropped and your child is eventually returned to you, welcome to a lifetime of harassment by the Florida DCF. After all, DCF involvement in your child's welfare is frequent.

I am not sure what the laws and procedures are in Texas when it comes to child abuse and mandatory reporting by certain personnel such as school officials, but did Hillary Adams report the savage beating to school officials when she was in high school when the beating took place? What would have happened if Hillary told her school principal and in turn made required reports to the appropriate state agencies in Texas? Unfortunately, these questions we don't know and we won't even know.

In light of the video of Hillary Adams being savagely beaten by her father, Judge William Adams, our state legislators - both in Florida and Texas as well as everywhere else in the United States - need to take a second look at corporal punishment, both at the school level and at the home level. I think a Sweden-style law banning corporal punishment in any form - whether it may be in school or by parents in public or private - is in order. After all, corporal punishment is completely banned in many European countries, and it's time in America to put an end to violence against children even if it means banning corporal punishment completely.

After all, in Florida if you hit, touch or strike another person you can be arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery. If the person you hit happens to be a police officer or a specified person listed in the Florida Statutes, then it becomes a felony. But you, as a parent, can get away with it by hitting your own children without risk of being arrested (just make sure no visible welts or bruises are on your child to avoid possible DCF involvement).

Now for my take on corporal punishment, in light of Hillary Adams posting the video of her being beaten by her father on YouTube:

Corporal punishment has no place in the home.

Corporal punishment has no place in the school.

Corporal punishment has no place - anywhere.

Corporal punishment teaches children that it is OK to solve problems with violence. In other words, corporal punishment teaches children that it is OK to hit other people to solve problems.

Corporal punishment needs to be illegal anywhere in America. It's already illegal in most European countries.

Parents have a duty to raise their children as they see fit, within reason. The doctrine of minimal interference by government as far as America is concerned I think should come to an end.

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