Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – July 4th weekend

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.


On July 2nd, 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the 13 American colonies voted to formally separate from Great Britain (New York abstained). On that occasion, John Adams, a future president of the renegade United States, wrote to his wife, Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Continued Adams, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

It was not to be.

Two days later, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by a showoff named Jefferson. (Psst! Look over here!) Ahem…The rest is history.

So Happy Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July. Just remember, it’s Adams who eventually got the HBO miniseries.


Every party has a pooper, that’s why some people go to Fourth of July parties armed with  trivia that casts doubt on conventional wisdom — especially in American history.

When partygoers are lighting fireworks, exclaiming “Isn’t America beautiful?” these historical fact checkers rain the truth on their parade.

Here are 10 “truth firecrackers” to liven up (or put a quick end to) any Independence Day festivities: 1. Baseball, the “All-American” sport, likely came from England; 2. Apple pie is British, too; 3. The melody of the American national anthem comes from an old English drinking song; 4. The Pledge of Allegiance was created for one reason — to sell more flags; 5. Canadians own the Mall of America; 6. Bald eagle screeches are much weaker than the iconic sound, which is actually from the red-tailed hawk ;7. Settlers didn’t tame the American frontier, it was already pretty tame; 8. Hot dogs on the Fourth? Lewis, Clark and the “Corps of Discovery” ate over 200 dogs during the trip; 9. Speaking of wieners … President Lyndon Johnson would frequently pull his out his own “Johnson”; and 10. Independence Day is actually July 2 (see above).



The U.S. Census Bureau is nothing without mountains of data about America, and the Fourth of July is no different.

So, here are some “red, white and blue” stats to chew on for the holiday:

In July 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the newly independent nation. Today, America has grown to 318.4 million.

The U.S. imported about $206.3 million worth of fireworks from China in 2013. In comparison, fireworks exports came to just $10.2 million, with Israel buying $2.7 million, the most of any other country.

Interestingly, the U.S. also imported $3.9 million in American flags from China in 2013, while exporting $781,222 worth of American flags during the same period, with Mexico the leading customer.

The U.S. shared $100 billion in trade with the United Kingdom last year, making our Revolutionary War adversary the sixth-leading trading partner, 239 years after our declared independence.

Chances are the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on the weekend grill came from Texas, which produced 6.1 billion pounds, nearly one-sixth of the nation’s total production.

If the beef is not from the Lone Star State, then it is a good possibility it came from Nebraska, with an estimated 5.1 billion pounds, or Kansas, at 3.7 billion pounds.

Fifty-nine places in the U.S. have the word “liberty” as part of its name. Four are counties: Liberty County, Georgia (population 64,135), Liberty County, Florida (8,349), Liberty County, Montana (2,369) and Liberty County, Texas (76,907). Pennsylvania has the most “liberties” of any other state with 11.

Independence Day also has far-reaching effects on American politics — especially when the holiday is rain-free.

According to Harvard University researchers, political views and behavior stem from social and cultural experiences in early childhood, and the Fourth of July holiday shapes the U.S. political landscape.

Specifically: “Days without rain on Fourth of July in childhood shift adult views and voting in favor of the Republicans and increase turnout in presidential elections. The effects we estimate are highly persistent throughout life and originate in early age. Rain-free Fourth of Julys experienced as an adult also make it more likely that people identify as Republicans, but the effect depreciates substantially after a few years.”


Firework sales in America are booming, no thanks to the Obama administration.

Sales of low-and high-grade celebratory pyrotechnics in the U.S. – both commercial and personal – expect to reach $1 billion, especially since more states and municipalities are allowing the purchase of sparklers, Roman candles, and other consumer fireworks. Many of these places have been rewriting obscure regulations banning limiting the

But with Fourth of July heralding the start of a busy buying season, one obstacle remains: President Barack Obama … duplicate safety rules regulating fireworks or limitations on the weekly time truckers spend on the road … manufacturers, distributors and sellers all say Obama’s restrictions are “completely insane” limiting a patriotic and all-American industry.

However, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officials insist that the fireworks industry is on dangerous ground. This week, the agency produced data showing that in 2014, there were 11 fatalities and over 10,000 injuries from fireworks.

Although those injury statistics may be down from the previous year, it’s still an “unacceptable number,” according to CPSC communications director Scott Wolfson, who warned it could get worse as more states loosen restrictions on fireworks.

American Pyrotechnics Association executive director Julie Heckman … discussed her busy season – capped by July 4 — where part of her job is checking in with operators of about 15,000 professional firework performances nationwide.

“It is very nerve-racking,” Heckman says, calling Independence Day her industry’s “Christmas season … We love dealing with the press, the media, but there is always that concern that your phone’s going to ring with potentially bad news that something went wrong somewhere … We’re prepared for it, we pray it doesn’t happen, and we just want to get through July 5th and read the headlines that everything went off perfectly.”

ACTUAL PRESS RELEASE — “Tips for Talking to Your Family about the Affordable Care Act this Fourth of July” via the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

***Happy Independence Day from Bright House Networks Business Solutions, your local leader in advanced communications and networking solutions providing industry-leading Voice, Data, Video, and Managed Services to serve Enterprise needs at any scale.***

$18.7B DEAL CLEARS PATH FOR BP TO CLOSE BOOKS ON GULF SPILL via Kevin McGill, Rebecca Santana and Michael Kunzelman of the Associated Press

Trying to close the books on the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, BP agreed … to provide billions of dollars in new money to five Gulf Coast states in a deal the company said would bring its full obligations to an estimated $53.8 billion.

Federal and state government officials touted the record-breaking $18.7 billion agreement as a historic milestone in the Gulf Coast’s recovery. The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of crude that stained beaches, coated wildlife and polluted marshes.

BP also gets a valuable return: Much of the payments, to be made over the next 18 years, could be tax-deductible. And by finally providing shareholders with a clearer cost picture, the London-based oil giant will be freer to embark on new ventures.

“This allows us to manage BP as an oil company,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said during a conference call. He said BP could launch as many as 20 major new projects by 2020, depending on oil prices.

The Justice Department said … agreement would be the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history as well as the largest-ever civil settlement with a single entity. Civil claims by the five Gulf States and the federal government were, by far, the largest unresolved piece of BP’s financial obligations for the spill.

BP’s total spill-related cost estimate also includes roughly $29 billion on response and cleanup expenses and compensation for Gulf Coast businesses and residents.

In 2012, BP reached a similar settlement agreement with private attorneys for businesses and residents who claim the spill cost them money. That deal, which didn’t have a cap, led to a protracted court battle over subsequent payouts to businesses. A court-supervised claims administrator is still processing many of these claims.


A Florida judge is blocking the state’s new 24-hour waiting period for abortions while the legal battle moves forward. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson … sided with lawyers representing a Gainesville clinic challenging the law. The law took effect on July 1 despite the lawsuit.

Lawyers representing the clinic argued the new law is causing “irreparable harm” … 14 women were unable to obtain abortions at the Gainesville clinic the first day the law was on the books. Lawyers for the state argued there is no need for an injunction and said the new requirement does not block access to abortions.

Judge Charles Francis agreed to block the law two days earlier … state officials quickly appealed the decision. Under court rules that placed an automatic stay on the decision.

***Happy Independence Day from the Bascom Communications Team! We wish a safe and happy holiday with family and friends celebrating our great nation. ***


The DCCC launched a paid Twitter campaign, targeted at nine vulnerable GOP incumbent members of Congress – with a distinct Fourth of July theme. In MI-01, for example, the image will say: “Join Dan Benishek in celebrating his independence from his promise to serve only three terms in Congress!” Another ad is against GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin in NY-01.


Florida Democratic Party communications director Joshua Karp is leaving his party post at the end of the month to serve in the same role on the U.S. Senate campaign of Rep. Patrick Murphy … Karp’s post at the party will be filled by current Democratic press secretary Max Steele.

Karp will remain in his current role until July 31, joining the Murphy campaign after it picks up a primary challenger. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando is expected to announce his U.S. Senate bid in the next few weeks … The party has not yet hired a new press secretary.

TWEET, TWEET: FEC fines Democratic Executive Committee of Florida $28,000 for campaign $$ disclosure failures

MELISSA MCKINLAY RAISES $180,000, REBECCA NEGRON RAISES $175,000 IN CONGRESSIONAL RACE via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

Democratic Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay’s campaign says she topped $180,000 in contributions in her first seven weeks as a candidate in the crowded and nationally watched race to replace Rep. Patrick Murphy … Republican Rebecca Negron raised about $175,000 in the quarter …

McKinlay, who opened her campaign in May, is one of four Democrats seeking the seat Murphy is leaving to run for U.S. Senate … Negron, a Martin County School Board member and the wife of influential state Sen. Joe Negron … opened her campaign in April. She raised all her money from contributors rather than personal funds, her campaign said.

Six Republicans so far have announced bids in Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 … Carl Domino, the Republican who lost to Murphy by 19.6 points last year, said he has put $200,000 of his own money into a 2016 campaign … St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery, who opened a Republican campaign May 15, said he raised about $85,000.

Afghanistan war veteran Brian Mast, a Republican who entered the race in June, said he exceeded his personal goal of $20,000 for the quarter, but wouldn’t say by how much. Republican Paul Spain, who lost to Rep. Lois Frankel … last year and plans to run in District 18 in 2016, said he won’t begin fundraising until August or September.


Jonathan Chane, an attorney who lives in Palm Beach Gardens and has never run for office, will launch a Democratic campaign today for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat that Rep. Patrick Murphy … is leaving to run for Senate.

Chane joins a Democratic field that already includes Palm Beach County Commissioners Priscilla Taylor and Melissa McKinlay and retired engineer John (Juan) Xuna of Stuart. Six Republicans have also announced campaigns in Murphy’s District 18, where Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats.


— “DCF offers parents tips for a safe holiday weekend around water” via the Florida Department of Children and Families

— “Keep it clean, keep it cold, keep it covered: food safety reminders this Fourth of July” via the Florida Department of Health

— “Keep the July 4th fireworks in the sky and not in the road” via the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

FLORIDA RANKED 14TH MOST PATRIOTIC STATE via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

It’s that time of year: red, white and blue. Fireworks. Remembering just how lucky we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.  But can you really quantify patriotism?

The folks at the financial website WalletHub gave it a shot, and you may or may not like the results.

Florida came in 14th. States ahead, in descending order: Virginia, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Montana and Alabama.

The bottom five states? In descending order, West Virginia, Utah, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York.

WalletHub analysts used factors to come to its conclusion that included military engagement (the percentage of residents who enlisted in the military during 2013, the number of veterans per 100,000 residents and the number of active-duty military personnel) and civic engagement (the percentage of residents who voted in the 2012 presidential election, volunteer rates, the number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents, the frequency of Google searches for American flags and civics education requirements.

The Sunshine State finished 7th overall for military engagement and 35th for civic engagement, according to WalletHub … neither the best nor the worst state for any of the various categories.

But Florida finished 4th for the highest percentage of residents who enlisted in the military. It was 26th for the number of active-duty military personnel per 100,000 residents. It was 21st for the number of veterans per 100,000 residents.


Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida Forest Service, part of the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, encourage Floridians to use fireworks properly while celebrating American independence.

Officials offer these Top Ten safety tips for using fireworks this weekend and beyond:

Follow all county and/or city fireworks laws. … Light fireworks on a cleared area free of any vegetation or dry debris. … Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land. … Always have a water source available in case of a fire.

Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas. … Do not allow young children to light or handle fireworks. … Never use homemade fireworks. … Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water. … Store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children. … Report any fires immediately to 9-1-1.


A new report from the Florida Retail Federation — the state’s leading consumer sales trade association — says Floridians will spending more this year on holiday-themed events, food and merchandise … the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Independence Day Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly two-thirds of July 4 celebrants (64.4 percent) will hold a cookout, picnic or barbecue.

The group estimates that Americans nationwide will spend an average of $71.23 per household on the holiday, up from $68.16 last year. Spending on food items is projected to reach $6.6 billion.

Although many people already have Independence Day merchandise, the survey says more than 48 million consumers – 22.8 percent – will shop for new decorations, apparel and more.

Since July 4 falls on a Saturday this year, more than 33 million Americans say they will head out-of-town for the weekend. Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) told researchers that higher gas prices will not have an effect on holiday plans, up from 70.1 percent who said the same last year.

TWEET, TWEET: @FloridaCrystalsMake a toast to America this 4th of July with a glass of Red, White and Blue Agave Sangria. Recipe here.


In the Sunshine State, one does not buy a bottle rocket for recreation; one buys it to scare birds away from farms and fisheries.

That’s right: Explosives for pest control.

Technically speaking, consumer fireworks are illegal in Florida. But nearly 60 years ago, state lawmakers passed an exception — now the only one of its kind in the United States — for fireworks purchases by farms and fish hatcheries.

That’s how vendors, including those in the ubiquitous tents that spring up along Florida roadsides, have gotten around the general fireworks prohibition for years.

They simply ask customers to sign forms saying they’re buying under an agricultural or other exemption. There’s also one for illuminating a stretch of railroad.

Meanwhile, the Legislature hasn’t been moved to change the statewide status quo.

In fact, the only legislation introduced this year essentially would have legalized consumer fireworks. Both House and Senate bills died in committee.

YAWN ENDORSEMENT: “State Senator Dwight Bullard endorses Annette Taddeo


Teacher Sean Ashby is making another effort to win a Florida House seat … he will run for the seat currently held by state Rep. Tom Goodson … which represents parts of Orange and Brevard counties. Goodson is gunning for the seat currently held by term-limited House Speaker Steve Crisafulli… and Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia … who currently represents just Orange County, will run for the seat Goodson is giving up.

Ashby gave Goodson a fight in 2012, losing by less than 3,600 votes and claiming 47 percent of the vote.

“Floridians deserve elected officials who prioritize the interests of their constituents over the interests of the powerful,” Ashby said on Thursday. “As the representative for House District 50, I will strive to push for equality of all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and wealth; join those who work to protect women’s rights, and ensure affordable healthcare for all Floridians.

“As a tenured teacher I will work to implement ideas and policies that will move Florida’s fractured public education system in a new direction, one that supports our teachers and focuses on preparing our students for higher education and the workforce,” Ashby added. “We need to ensure that the best and brightest students stay in Florida by making Bright Futures scholarships obtainable for today’s and tomorrow’s graduates.”

WHAT SHAWN HARRISON IS DOING THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND: “Please join us at 9 am in beautiful downtown Lutz, Florida for the world-famous Lutz 4th of July parade. It’s a fun morning of meeting voters, tossing beads and candy to the kids along the parade route, and awesome all American hot dogs,BBQ, pies, and lemonade. If you can join us please call Jacob at (813) 613-3700. We hope to see all of our patriotic friends there!”


Scott Shalley began as the new Executive Director of the Florida Association of Counties, replacing former Director Christopher Holley, who is retiring. Shalley has been with the Association since 2012, most recently as Enterprise Director; he was chosen for the leadership position in the fall by the FAC Board of Directors.

The role of the FAC — the only association representing Florida’s counties — is to provide advocacy, education and collaboration that promotes county home rule. In his new position, Shalley will lead an organization of all 67 member counties, 377 county commissioners, a staff of 29 and a grassroots team made up of thousands of supporters.

“Over my coming tenure, the Association will focus on protecting home rule at the Capitol, establishing our expertise on county matters, spotlighting the service of our counties and sharing these accomplishments throughout Florida,” Shalley added.


Michael Anway, Mark Delegal, Holland & Knight: Thermo Fisher Scientific

Keyna Cory, Public Affairs Consultants: The Chemours Company TT

Meredith Hinshelwood: Office of Financial Regulation

Paul Jerald, Capitol Energy Florida: Medallion Homes Gulf Coast


It doesn’t get much more American than the Fourth of July. After all, the holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was then 239 years go our founders took great personal risk to declare their independence, and created this democratic republic out of their blood, sweat, and philosophical determination. The politics of 1776 were void of ‘registered lobbyists’  but the things that we associate with Independence Day today, however — trips to recreational locales, beer &  spirits and even Old Glory itself — are all “lobbied” items.

Here’s a look at the “Fourth of July in Lobbying.”

At the heart of Independence Day iconography is, of course, the American Flag. Political activity involving the production of the flag has come along since the days of Betsy Ross and the weavers of rebellion against the British.

This year saw passage of the All American Flag Act, which means all new star-spangled banners flown by cities and local governments will be made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

While the Legislature has done its part, foreign-made flags still represent the majority of those purchased by Americans. The National Association of Manufacturers, along with the Flag Manufacturers Association of America — and well, most Americans — would probably like this to be otherwise.

The National Association of Manufacturers has spent $3.9 million on lobbying activities so far this year, as well as chipping in $28k in contributions to mostly Republican federal candidates. The organization spent over $9 million on lobbying and contributed $28,900 to federal candidates and committees. The Manufacturers Association of Florida represents itself before the legislature through lobbyists Nancy Stephens and Nancy Black Stewart, while the Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers employ the influence services of Carole Duncanson.

For a lot of Americans, a festive Fourth means imbibing. The beer and spirit industry had a banner year in during the regular Legislative Session: 2015 will forever be marked in the annals of Florida-nerd history as the year both the Growler was freed at long last.

Both laws went into effect on July 1, just in time.

One beneficiary of those changes is the National Beer Wholesalers Association, a major political player that alone ranks No. 46 in all federal donations, contributing $4,027,250 million to federal candidates during the 2014 campaign, and spending nearly $1.3 million lobbying Congress. During the 2012 cycle, this association contributed over $3.7 million to candidates and spent another $1 million on lobbying.

The Florida Independent Spirits Association is well-repped in Tallahassee by major firms like Ramba Consulting GroupBecker & Poliakoff, SKD and Akerman.

The FISA also got into politics last year, chipping in $2,500 along with Wal-Mart ($5,000), Bernie Little Distributors ($5,000) and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits ($2,500) to a PAC called Limited Government for a Stronger Florida which advanced their mutual interests during the 2014 cycle.

The team at Capitol City Consulting handles Florida Capitol business for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, while Ballard Partners represents Southern Wine & Spirits along with Brecht Heuchan.

Of course after all that celebratory excess, you may want to call a cab.

Or an Uber – the ride-hailing firm has made a serious investment in campaign communications and lobbying efforts over the last year, with Cesar Fernandez running point in-house and Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, RSA Consulting, Ballard Partners, the Fiorentino Group, and the Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners all pushing for the sharing economy on a contract basis.

Southern Strategy GroupGunster and Akerman led an impressive counter-campaign on behalf of Orlando-based Mears Transportation which delivered taxi cabs a hard-fought victory on both budget and policy proposals to enshrine ridesharing into state law.

But wait… what about “the bombs bursting in air”? Who lobbies for them? A formidable host of defense contractors, for one. According to, while the “defense sector contributes far less money to politicians than many other sectors, it is one of the most powerful in politics.”

In sum, defense sector political action committees and individuals have contributed tens of millions to federal candidates in 2014. Lockheed Martin leads the pack, having donated close to $4.1 million over the cycle, donating more some $2.5 million to Republicans and $1.7 million to Dems. Northrop GrunmanBoeing, and Raytheon were close behind during last year’s midterms, each donating $1 million or more.

And then there are the lobbyists for freedom itself: the American Civil Liberties Union – who worked alongside more conservative groups to get the passed this Session – enjoys the representation of longtime Tallahasseean Pamela Burch Fort of the Commerce Group as well as the  aforementioned Carole Duncanson.

If Paul Revere-style muskets are your thing, those Bill of Rights enthusiasts at the National Rifle Association are, as ever, represented by 2nd Amendment stalwart and Adams Street staple Marion Hammer, who also represents the United Sportsmen of Florida.

However you celebrate in the Sunshine State, be sure to take a moment to be grateful for our Founders and the political system of checks and balances they put into place. After all, without their political descendants they bequeathed, who would the lobbying corps corps have lunch with on Adams Street?


Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: BA correspondent Duhane Lindo and Manatee County Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Tarnisha Cliatt discuss new opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

Facing Florida with Mike Vasilinda: Pete Dunbar and Screven Watson wrap up the Special Session, principal Jane Floyd Bullen on special needs children, plus “a Jeb Bush flashback!”

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Historians Ray Arsenault and Gary Mormino from USF St. Petersburg will talk about the meaning of the Fourth of July.

On Point with Shannon Ogden, on WFCN in Jacksonville: Newly-minted Jacksonville City Council President Greg Anderson, correspondent Garin Flowers with a legislative update (re-broadcast from last week.)

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: Anchor Al Reuchel and political reporter Troy Kinsey lead look back at the 2015 Special Session.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Anchor Ybeth Bruzual talks with Rep. Alan Grayson about his potential 2016 Senate run and Michelle Ertel and Jeremiah Jaspon break down recent Quinnipiac polling results in that race. Plus PolitiFact rates a claim made by bloggers that a U.S. Embassy moved their Fourth of July celebration to early June so as not to conflict with the Muslim observance of Ramadan.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Hosts Gary Yordon, Steve Vancore, Sean Pittman with Jason Altmire of Florida Blue.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Newly sworn-in Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

OR YOU CAN WATCH C-SPAN: Start celebrating the Fourth of July early. If you can’t keep away from the presidential politics, C-SPAN has an all-day-Friday marathon of 2016 announcements for your viewing pleasure.


Trimmel Gomes’ newest episode of The Rotunda explores the impact to Florida as President Obama announces the opening of an American Embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961. Gomes talks with Dr. Brian Latell, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. Child sex abuse survivor Lauren Book snags the cover of Newsweek with her amazing story and mission to protect kids from sexual abuse. Gomes interviews Book and Newsweek Senior Writer Abigail Jones about their feature, The Predator Next Door. And the conversation continues with Vice President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, Dale Landry, as he explains where he thinks the proper placement of the Confederate battle flag should be.

The Rotunda podcast is available every Friday via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. Subscribers receive free automatic downloads of episodes to their devices. Follow on @RotundaPodcast for daily updates.

***”I think the true discovery of America is before us. I think the true fulfillment of our spirit, of our people, of our mighty and immortal land is yet to come…” from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Clayton Wolfe. From our family to yours, our team at Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations wishes you a safe and Happy Independence Day!***


With the Fourth of July, comes picnics, barbeques, beer – and music.

Although music important part of nearly every Independence Day celebration, the actual songs may vary from different parts of the country, all depending on the culture, geography and taste.

As an interesting experiment, streaming music service Spotify studied all 50 U.S. states, and compared what they are listening to on the Fourth of July.

Using an algorithm designed by Paul Lamere, director of developer platforms for Spotify subsidiary The Echo Nest, the company created the ultimate July 4 playlist, which the company calls “most core to the concept of Independence Day.”

Spotify created an infographic map, showing the most characteristic “Fourth of July” song for each state. For example, in Florida, the most listened-to July 4 song was “America F*ck Yeah: Team America Tribute.”


Invoking the Founding Fathers on Independence Day to celebrate our nation’s birth is a fine thing to do.

Invoking them to score political points? Watch out.

Take, for example, a Facebook post about Benjamin Franklin that circulated in May, a post that was actually aimed at making fun of tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. The meme quotes Bachmann as saying, “This country could use a president like Benjamin Franklin again.”  Of course, Franklin was never president. And we think Bachmann knows that, as well, because she never actually said the quote. We rated the fabricated Facebook meme Pants on Fire.

It’s not just claims on social media. Pundits and politicians get things wrong time and time again when they use the Founding Fathers to support their political views. Over the years, PolitiFact has found numerous errors about what the Founding Fathers supposedly said or did, especially when it comes to constitutional issues and civil rights.

ON THE ROAD WITH THE DECLARATION via Jason Altmire for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When listing the names of the founding heroes of American independence, the name Charles Thompson does not roll off the tongue … he was not directly involved in the historic debate that summer of 1776. But he played a critical role in preserving the document that symbolizes the birth of our nation — the Declaration of Independence.

(T)he unusual travels of the parchment document over the next two centuries begins with Charles Thompson, who as secretary of the Continental Congress had custody of the Declaration after it was signed … it is believed that Thompson carried the Declaration with him as he followed the Congress to Philadelphia; Baltimore; Lancaster and York, Pa.; Princeton and Trenton, N.J.; and Annapolis, Md. In 1785, the Declaration arrived in New York, where the first U.S. Congress convened four years later.

When Thompson retired in 1789, President George Washington ordered what would soon be called the Department of State to take possession of the Declaration … the first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson, whose duties would include custody of the document he had authored.

In 1790, the temporary U.S. capital was moved to Philadelphia … in 1800, President John Adams directed that government records be moved to the District of Columbia, and the Declaration began its longest water journey, traveling by ship to Washington, where it would stay for 14 years. In 1814, Secretary of State James Monroe personally witnessed the British invasion that led to the burning of the Capitol and the White House … a State Department clerk placed the Declaration in a linen sack and carried it 35 miles to Leesburg, Va. Several weeks later the Declaration was returned to Washington, where it remained until 1876.

It was during this time that the first public concerns were raised about the condition of the irreplaceable document. Likely stored in a rolled format, the Declaration would have been opened and re-rolled countless times over the years. The rough handling of the document and exposure to sunlight damaged the parchment and caused an irreversible fading of the ink, noted as early as 1817.

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned a facsimile, unveiled in 1824 … may have been completed using a 19th-century technique of ink transfer. The resulting printed copies were the source of the first accurate image of the Declaration for generations of Americans, but the process may have hastened the deterioration of the original document.

The State Department announced in 1894 that it would no longer display the Declaration … next 30 years it was kept wrapped in a locked steel case … a comprehensive analysis completed by the National Academy of Sciences in 1903 … criticized the decades of mishandling and recommended that the document be “never placed on exhibition.”

Today, the barely legible Declaration is displayed alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in bullet-proof glass cases equipped with ultraviolet light filters. At night, the documents are stored underground. A computerized camera system has been installed to constantly monitor them and immediately detect any sign of deterioration. Barring a national emergency, it is unlikely that the Declaration will ever be moved again.

THE TRUTH ABOUT PAUL REVERE’S RIDE brought to you by the Florida Medical Association — “The FMA wishes Sunburn readers a happy Independence Day! We hope you’ll celebrate safely.  We also encourage all Floridians to thank our nation’s Veterans and their families for protecting the freedoms upon which our country was founded.” – FMA Executive Vice President Timothy J. Stapleton.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out this fascinating Paul Revere factoid involving a doctor (on message!) — a young physician was most likely the only Patriot who reached Concord during the famous “midnight ride” of Paul Revere.

The History Channel tells us that “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem about Paul Revere’s ride got many of the facts wrong. For one thing, Revere was not alone on his mission to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other patriots that the British were approaching Lexington on the evening of April 18, 1775. Two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode alongside him, and by the end of the night as many as 40 men on horseback were spreading the word across Boston’s Middlesex County. Revere also never reached Concord, as the poem inaccurately recounts. Overtaken by the British, the three riders split up and headed in different directions. Revere was temporarily detained by the British at Lexington and Dawes lost his way after falling off his horse, leaving Prescott—a young physician who is believed to have died in the war several years later—the task of alerting Concord’s residents.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.