Last Call for 6.16.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The U.S. Department of Defense is establishing a children’s education program at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola.

It’s a decision favored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who had advocated for a Science Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation Space Exploration (STARBASE) Program at the Pensacola base.

“This decision by the Defense Department is incredible news for military families at NAS Pensacola,” Rubio said in a written statement.

The STARBASE program will provide fifth graders at NAS Pensacola with academic opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NAS Pensacola aims to enroll approximately 1,500 students annually.

In an op-ed Rubio co-wrote with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Rubio said military families at NAS Pensacola “lack that opportunity” and that service members are frequently forced to leave their families behind when moving to the base or commute long distances so their children can have better educational options.

“Our service members deserve to have access to high-quality educational opportunities for their children, and STARBASE will help make that a reality for these families. I remain committed to ensuring students in Escambia County, and throughout the State of Florida, have access to the educational opportunities they need to flourish,” Rubio said in his written statement.

It’s the second move this month in the state of Florida to ensure a better educational experience for the state’s military families.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, in early June, signed a bill that will recognize schools as Purple Star Campuses if they designate a military liaison, create a webpage with resources for military families and start a student-led transition program for military students.

The National Naval Aviation Academy, Escambia County School District, the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, and the West Florida Defense Alliance have all endorsed launching a STARBASE Program at NAS Pensacola.

Evening Reads

Hamburgers, Anthony Fauci and election fraud: How Joe Biden World combats disinformation” via Natasha Korecki of POLITICO

The challenge of COVID-19 vaccines for the immunosuppressed” via Maryn McKenna of WIRED

U.S. Army has hidden or downplayed loss of firearms for years” via Kristin M. Hall, James Laporta and Justin Pritchard of The Associated Press

The price of no consequences for Donald Trump” via Dahlia Lithwick of Slate

Eavesdropping through a pandemic” via Sarah Larson of The New Yorker

How and why to discuss Juneteenth with your children” via Amy Joyce of The Washington Post

Why the two-party system is wrecking American democracy” via Lee Drutman of FiveThirtyEight

Why American women everywhere are delaying motherhood” via Sabrina Tavernise, Claire Cain Miller, Quoctrung Bui and Robert Gebeloff of The New York Times

The rise and fall of an American tech giant” via Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Atlantic

FPL blows up its last coal-fired power plant; announces plans for its newest solar center” via Lina Ruiz of Treasure Coast Newspapers

Some Floridians still skeptical about COVID vaccines because of side effects and other concerns” via Issac Morgan and Diane Rado of the Florida Phoenix

Quote of the Day

“This action is necessary so that we can recover, have a good transition to normal operations, and also just a recognition that a lot of this stuff was way, way overboard.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, pardoning all Floridians who violated local mask or social distancing orders.

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