Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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Ben Kirby

Ben Kirby has 65 articles published.

Illegal guns are not welcome in St. Pete

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Though the firearm crime rate in America has steadily decreased since 1993, America remains awash in guns — legally purchased as well as illegally obtained. An estimated 6.6 million guns were transferred in 2012 without a federal background check. The Internet has opened up a vast marketplace of weapons — some from licensed dealers, many not. Websites like Armslist.com have tens of thousands of guns for sale at a time, and buyers can choose between unlicensed and licensed sellers. In December 2012,…

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Our ‘house liberal’ struggles with supporting Charlie Crist

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I have a rule about endorsing politicians (which means, effectively, saying that I will support a candidate on a blog post; please understand that I am nobody important enough to endorse anyone, for Pete’s sake): I don’t endorse any politician I have never met face to face. Don’t get me wrong — there are exceptions to this rule. I have never met President Obama, but as the house liberal here at SaintPetersBlog it should come as no surprise that I obviously…

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ENDA’s game: Senate to vote on historic legislation today

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Today the United States Senate is scheduled to vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  ENDA has been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994, failing every time. It failed by one vote in 1996.  Before you get too excited about this legislation, which in 2013 should have been law for years already, please take note that Speaker Boehner is, unsurprisingly,…

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The coming political storm: Rick, Alex, Charlie and the next big (political) thing

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So of course there is stormy weather brewing in the Caribbean, twenty-something days before the official end of the hurricane season. It is a weak area of low pressure, but is is broad, and a little unpredictable. There is only a small chance it will do anything but bring a lot of rain to Mexico, but then again no one every really knows what these things are going to do over the hills of Cuba.  It is the kind of thing…

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The week that was in Tampa Bay politics: ‘Next week’

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Let’s face facts: it is awfully tough to talk about last week and politics in this area without an eye — maybe both eyes — looking forward to next week. Tuesday is Election Day, and if you’re in St. Petersburg and are not one of the 27,135 who mailed in their ballot (as of 5:00 pm Saturday), please be sure to go vote. Whether you support Rick Kriseman or Bill Foster, make your voice heard. And by all means, do not forget about those important…

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With all eyes on Pinellas, Rick Kriseman is a leader on the cusp

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You can almost feel it.  The leadership of the City of St. Petersburg is about to change. Dramatically. And for the better. Rick Kriseman is about to do something virtually unprecedented in St. Petersburg politics: he is going to unseat the incumbent mayor. Bill Foster is going to be a one-termer. Kriseman’s outstanding latest web video is entitled “On the Cusp,” and that is just how this incredible moment in the political universe feels three or so days before the election. That…

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Something to talk about: food stamp benefits cut today

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The political chattering class will spend their day talking about a rumor: was President Obama going to replace Vice President Joe Biden on the ticket with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? A new book out details this rumor in one of its chapters. But this rumor is the worst kind of rumor, a lot like that leftover Halloween candy you’re eating. Your kid’s trick-or-treat candy tastes delicious but fills you up with empty, fattening calories and provides nothing healthy or…

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