Winners & Losers: Malaria, Parvez Ahmed
LOSER: Scott Hughes, Chief Investigator at the State Attorney's Office, who has gotten himself into trouble by using a driver's license database to investigate the residency status of the parent of a football player at Yulee High School. Soon after, a parent at Epsicopal filed a lawsuit complaining that the school, which is located in Nassau County, used at least two players who resided in Duval County, meaning they were ineligible to play. Hughes is a football coach at Episcopal High School, which obviously puts him in a conflict of interest when it comes to looking up information on people from other high school football teams. While Hughes claims that he was simply investigating a potential felony - apparently that sort of arrangement is a felony for law enforcers who have no actual lawbreakers to go after - he clearly should have run the idea by his superiors before unilaterally digging up such information. Hughes and the concerned parent from Episcopal should find something more productive to do with their time.
WINNER: Malaria. MALAAARRIAAA!!! AHHHHH!!!! Yep, that's right. A random 31-year old female apparently caught the disease, which usually manifests in countries other than the United States, although she had supposedly not travelled internationally. This is Duval County's first case in 10 years, and is an extremely rare incident. The woman is recovering and traps have not caught any other infected mosquitos, which have mostly died off or gone dormant for the winter. Anyway, malaria may be loose on the First Coast. How exotic!
UPDATE: She may have gotten the disease after going to the Midwest, because as we all know, tornadoes and malaria go together like peanut butter and sausage.
LOSERS: Heterosexual ibises, who might get an unexpected visit from...a gay ibis. Researchers at the University of Florida have found that ibises which have been exposed to high levels of mercury are more likely to become gay. Obviously, this inhibits reproduction and isn't a great thing for keeping the species populated. Scientists caution that this effect doesn't necessarily hold true for humans - bird and human anatomy have many differences, and besides, while humans may eat mercury-rich seafood occasionally, they're not living in the environment 24/7 (well, hopefully). Now, you can finally get your husband - or wife - to clean up those broken CFBs!
WINNER: Parvez Ahmed, for hanging in there and sticking with the Human Rights Commission. One of the biggest obstacles to doing something about radial Islam, rather than just using it as a political football, is having moderate Muslims in the West who have insight into the issue and can help to fix it. Mr. Ahmed is one of those people - a solution to the problem. Even if Middle East peace and a solution to terrorism forever remain elusive, Ahmed does not seem to be in any way malicious. ACT! for America, whose actions of late seem to border on slander, apparently believes that Mr. Ahmed is guilty until proven innocent, and would have us all suspect him of secretly wanting to fire an RPG at the Modis Building. The same accusations could be made of any random person, but would similarly carry no weight.
WINNERS: Lawyers, probably. The City of Jacksonville Beach has put up Christmas decorations in the form of an ostensibly secular gigantic tree with lights. Isn't that pretty much what Town Center, Centre Street and San Marco look year-round? Not being entirely convinced, local Rabbi Nochum Kurinsky has requested that the City also put up a menorah. Sounds like things are going to get interesting, with injunctions and lawsuits potentially flying around. Why don't they just allocate a space for everyone to put whatever they want? Kurinsky can put up a menorah, someone can put up a Kwanzaa whatever, and atheists can put in a gallon of gasoline and a road flare to burn it all down.
LOSERS: The residents of Celebration, FL, which recently recorded its first homicide in the town's 14-year history. Matteo Giovanditto was found dead in his home by neighbors who noticed he had not been around for several days. His car was found at a nearby apartment complex. Also a notable loser is newswriting, which befell an unspeakable fate with a particularly "creative" line composed by some over-exuberant Associated Press writer... "As word of the homicide blew around town like the leaves from the maple trees that line the sidewalks, people started to worry." Now that's heinous.
In addition to offering up his weekly winners and losers in The Jacksonville Observer, Graham Wellington enjoys bacon, fancy hats and prank calling apartment complexes on Park Street.