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COLUMN

Happytown

Playing Tea Party with the kids (and Dick Morris!), playing favorites with dog breeds and paying the Chinese for VA construction. God bless Orlando.

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Dick Move: Morris hops in bed with school choice, local crazies

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Sit, Pit bull, Sit: Wall Street pulls out of dog benefit after succumbing to local news fervor


As would be the audience participation segment that followed, at least for those onstage. Thirty protesters submitted question cards asking just who funds Americans for Prosperity – the group is allegedly in the pocket of Exxon Mobil, among others – and when Morris and Co. refused to answer the query, the progressives turned the political tables and basically Tea Partied the Tea Party with howling dissent. Needless to say, we grabbed our free scarf and left. Your children are doomed.

But at least they’re not pit 
bulls. Shawn Rose, a pit bull owner and cook at the Ravenous Pig, decided he would show his appreciation for Mike’s Dog House, a Palatka-based rescue organization for pit bulls and other bulldog breeds, by holding a fundraiser for the group downtown. There was to be a chili cook-off with top chefs in the area, live music and some tips on caring for the dogs. (Hint: Tying the dog to a tree, beating it and leaving it outside for 48 hours are all no-nos.) 


Wall Street Plaza agreed to host the March 6 event … well, until they didn’t. Early on Wednesday, Jan. 26, Rose says Wall Street Plaza special events coordinator Paul Emery called to tell him that the venue “did not want to be affiliated with pit bulls” and asked him to change the fundraiser’s beneficiary. Rose refused, and hence, the event was cancelled. “This is something that we deal with as pit bull owners all the time,” Rose says.

For those of you already a step ahead of us, wondering which local child was mauled this time, it was 8-year-old Joshua Roberson of Seminole County, attacked in the backyard of his Geneva home by a pit bull the afternoon before Rose got the call. If Wall Street management likes WESH Channel 2 News as much as WESH Channel 2 News likes covering pit bull attacks, they may also have caught the Jan. 18 report of a Pinellas County pit bull that was shot dead by a police officer after it attacked the girlfriend of a drug suspect while he was being hauled out of a house in cuffs. Still, it’s unclear exactly which sordid pit bull headline, if any, spurred Wall Street to cancel the event, as Emery declined to comment through his secretary.

Ironically, one of Rose’s reasons for hosting the event was to correct popular misconceptions about the pit bull due partly to negative media attention. “If [the dogs are] shown love by people, they’re not going bite anybody,” he says. Now they will.

When something big, beautiful and shiny is being built, there’s always some emotion involved: There’s the stiff, choreographed public celebration, and then there’s the private pockets of bitterness and regret. When it comes to the 1.2 million square foot, $665 million Veterans Affairs clinic near Lake Nona, the former was on display Jan. 28 when U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki paid a surprise visit to the construction site, because evidently the clinic, upon its completion in 2012, will fulfill President Obama’s vision of “innovation, education and infrastructure” featured in his Jan. 25 State of the Union address. “When [veterans] see the size and the breadth and the thinking that went into this medical center, I’m sure they’re excited,” Shinseki said.

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