Gov. Scott announces deal to bring 3,000 Amazon jobs to Florida

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced a deal with online retail giant Amazon to bring 3,000 jobs to Florida by the end of 2016.

The company is prepared to spend more than $300 million on new warehouses, The Associated Press reported. Earlier, Scott had nixed a deal to bring Amazon to Florida out of concerns that such a deal would result in higher taxes for Floridians because it would make online purchases through Amazon subject to Florida sales tax, which they are not now.

Online purchases by Florida consumers are not subject to the state’s 6 percent statewide sales tax, but they would be if Amazon has a presence in that state. In his announcement, Scott said Amazon would begin collecting state sales taxes from residents when it is required by Florida law.

Scott’s announcement did not say where Amazon’s Florida jobs would be located. The announcement also said that Amazon would collect Florida sales tax “at such time as it is required under current Florida law. To make the proposed job creation and investments economically viable, the availability of ecobomic development incentives will be a material factor in any final location decisions.” Full Story  (TBT/Bousquet)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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Jeb Bush’s immigration argument: Immigrants are more ‘fertile’

Jeb Bush at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to the Majority" conference

Saying “demography is destiny,” Jeb Bush told a Faith & Freedom Coalition crowd this morning that “more fertile” immigrants are needed to help keep America’s population young and sustain a healthy economy.

“Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years,” Bush said. “Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.”

Bush’s comments echoed what he said during a forum yesterday in Washington and were coupled with calls for more border security. But he thinks the best case for doing immigration reform is economic stability, saying other countries such as Japan and China are trying to find younger workers.

The message seemed to fall flat with the social conservative crowd, which applauded Bush’s other points on education and energy independence.

A few nuggets:

On W: “I’m very proud that he has maintained a posture of not chirping on the sidelines.” …  Full Story  (TBT/Leary)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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Famous People From Florida


Poitier was born in MiamiFlorida, in Coconut Grove, where his Bahamian parents, Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, traveled to sell tomatoes and other produce from their farm on Cat Island. His birth was premature and he was not expected to survive, but his parents remained three months in Miami to nurse him to health. Due to his stateside delivery, he automatically gained U.S. citizenship. Poitier was raised in a Catholic family. He grew up with his family on Cat Island, The Bahamas, then a British colony. At age 10, he moved to Nassau with his family.  At the age of 15 he was sent to Miami to live with his brother. At the age of 17, he moved to New York City and held a string of menial jobs. He then decided to join the United States Army after which he worked as a dishwasher until a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theater.

Sir Sidney Poitier,  born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian American actor, film director, author, and diplomat.

In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films To Sir, with LoveIn the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, making him the top box office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.

Poitier has directed a number of popular movies such as A Piece of the ActionUptown Saturday Night, and Let’s Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby), and Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, designated “To Sidney Poitier  in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.” Since 1997 he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.

Poitier gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2009.

 Poitier joined the American Negro Theater, but was rejected by audiences. Contrary to what was expected of black actors at the time, Poitier’s tone deafness made him unable to sing. Determined to refine his acting skills and rid himself of his noticeable Bahamian accent, he spent the next six months dedicating himself to achieving theatrical success. On his second attempt at the theater, he was noticed and given a leading role in the Broadway production Lysistrata, for which he received good reviews. By the end of 1949, he had to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). His performance in No Way Out, as a doctor treating a white bigot (played by Richard Widmark), was noticed and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and more prominent than those most black actors of the time were offered. Poitier’s breakout role was as a member of an incorrigible high school class in Blackboard Jungle (1955).

Poitier was the first male black actor to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award (for The Defiant Ones, 1958). He was also the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field in 1963). (James Baskett was the first to receive an Oscar, an Honorary Academy Award for his performance as Uncle Remus in the Walt Disney production of Song of the South in 1948, while Hattie McDaniel predated them both, winning as Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1939′s Gone with the Wind).

He acted in the first production of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway in 1959, and later starred in the film version released in 1961. He also gave memorable performances in The Bedford Incident (1965), and A Patch of Blue (1965) co-starring Elizabeth Hartman and Shelley Winters. In 1967, he was the most successful draw at the box office, the commercial peak of his career, with three successful films, Guess Who’s Coming to DinnerTo Sir, with Love and In the Heat of the Night. The last film featured his most successful character, Virgil Tibbs, a PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, detective whose subsequent career was the subject of two sequels: They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970) and The Organization (1971).

Poitier began to be criticized for being typecast as over-idealized black characters who were not permitted to have any sexuality or personality faults, such as his character in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Poitier was aware of this pattern himself, but was conflicted on the matter: he wanted more varied roles, but also felt obliged to set a good example with his characters to defy previous stereotypes, as he was the only major black actor in the American film industry at the time. In 2001, Poitier received an Honorary Academy Award for his overall contribution to American cinema.

Poitier directed several films, the most successful being the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder comedy Stir Crazy which for years was the highest grossing film directed by a person of African descent. His feature film directorial debut was the western Buck and the Preacher in which Poitier also starred, alongside Harry Belafonte. Poitier replaced original director Joseph Sargent. The trio of Poitier, Cosby, and Belafonte reunited again (with Poitier again directing) in Uptown Saturday Night. Poitier also directed Cosby in Let’s Do It AgainA Piece of the Action, and Ghost Dad. Poitier also directed the first popular dance battle movie Fast Forward in 1985.

From 1998 to 2003 he served as a Member of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company.

In April 1997, Poitier was appointed Ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan, a position he currently holds. He is also the Ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO.

Poitier was first married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950 until 1965. He has been married to Joanna Shimkus, a Canadian-born former actress of Lithuanian and Irish descent, since January 23, 1976. He has four daughters with his first wife and two with his second: Beverly,[14] Pamela,[15] Sherri,[16] Gina,[17] Anika,[18] Sydney Tamiia.[19].

Sources: Wiki/InternetPhotos/

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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florida, la vida locaL

Chad Johnson isn’t the only ex-Miami Dolphins receiver rotting in a Broward County lockup.

Johnson, who was arrested Monday morning after patting his lawyer’s butt in court, was joined byJames McKnight last night! 

McKnight, 40, was arrested at home in Southwest Ranches about 10 p.m. on charges of domestic violence and resisting arrest.

According to authorities, the retired ball player got into an argument with his wife Mikki over an alleged affair.

He then allegedly got into a tug-of-war with his wife over removing one of their kids to a room so that they could argue in private. McKnight’s wife fell over a table during the argument but was not injured.

 McKnight, who played for the  Fins 2001-03, was arrested in October 2011 after his wife Mikki accused him of grabbing  her by the arm and injuring her. The charges were dropped.


Developing . . .

(Gossip Extra, José Lambiet)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 


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Republican steps up to challenge Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson may have returned to Congress in a much safer Central Florida district but Republicans won’t give him a pass in 2014. Today, Jorge Bonilla announced his candidacy.

UPDATE: Bonilla joins Carol Platt in search of the GOP nomination.

According to his website, Bonilla, who is Puerto Rican, served in Desert Storm with the Navy and he now works as a court interpreter. He’s also a conservative blogger.

Grayson, whom the Orlando Sentinel said has a Democratic challenger named Michael McKenna, became a national figure in 2009-10 with an aggressive partisan persona. He promptly lost to Republican Dan Webster. But redistricting created a new Central Florida district that was much more favorable to a Democrat and Grayson won by 25 points. (TBT/Leary)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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Rubio, Nelson join large majority to proceed on immigration debate

Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson joined an 85-15 majority vote this afternoon to proceed on debate of the immigration debate.

The “cloture” vote is not indicative of the bill’s chances but does provide a sign of momentum for backers. Republicans and some Democrats still want to see more border security measures. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is getting the most attention for his proposed amendment that would make a pathway to citizenship contingent on border security goals set in the bill.

“My amendment demands results while the Gang of Eight bill is satisfied with just more promises, promises that historically have never been kept,” Cornyn said Tuesday.

Rubio, a member of the Gang of 8, is working on a proposal to put a border security plan in the legislation, rather than have the Department of Homeland Security do the work. Rubio contends there isn’t trust in the agency to do adequate security.   Full Story (TBT/Leary)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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florida, la vida locaL

Ever so quietly, media tycoon Oprah Winfrey appeared in the tiny Florida coastal town of Vero Beach this week, where she managed to shop on the main strip without being noticed!

Winfrey, 59, was in town for one of her famous one-on-one interviews with Latin songbird Gloria Estefan, who asked Oprah to visit her in her weekend home on the beach instead of in the bustle of Miami.

Oprah WInfrey and Gloria and Emilio Estefan

“Gloria proposed to Oprah something different instead of doing the interview at the main house in Star Island,” said Emilio Estefan, Gloria’s husband and producer. “Gloria asked if we could do it in her favorite place in the world. Oprah loved it.

“She’ll be back one day. Nobody bothered her. She went to the little shops on the main street and bought a hat. I’m not sure anybody realized.”

Winfrey’s special on the singer of Conga and Words Get in The Way is scheduled to air on her cable station OWN sometime in September for the release of Estefan’s new standards album.

Oprah spent time with the couple and family members, including cousin Lili Estefan, co-host of Univision’s El Gordo Y La Flaca.

Winfrey and a crew of 80 people spent three nights at Costa D’Este Beach Resort, the hotel that the Estefans bought in the sleepy town 10 years ago.

Oprah’s favorite part?

The chow, of course: She made a dent in the hotel’s supply of ceviche and black beans!

Gossip Extra/ José Lambiet.

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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Scott signs landlord-tenant, Villages nursing home bills into law.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed 34 bills into law, including measures to speed up the foreclosure process and make changes in eviction proceedings for tenants of apartments. Consumer advocates had urged Scott to veto the landlord-tenant bill (HB 77) to no avail, claiming it will make it easier for landlords to evict tenants.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, denied that. Stargel, who manages rental properties, said eviction is a costly and time-consuming process that for most landlords is a last resort.

Also winning Scott’s approval was a controversial bill that allows The Villages, the sprawling retirement enclave north of Orlando, to establish a nursing home exempt from a statewide moratorium on construction of new nursing home beds. The developer of the Villages, Gary Morse, is a generous supporter to the Republican Party and GOP candidates. The Villages gave $100,000 to Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign and Morse personally contributed $50,000. …  Full Story (TBT/Bousquet)

FLaConnection, Arnoldo Varona, Editor 

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Jim Morin’s Cartoon

Jim Morin

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