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The politics of language, new limits on 'forever chemicals' and final Delta IV launch

View of the Capitol Complex from the Florida Vietnam Veterans Memorial, across from the Historic Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, on Dec. 14, 2020. DANIEL A. VARELA
Daniel A. Varela
Miami Herald
View of the Capitol Complex from the Florida Vietnam Veterans Memorial, across from the Historic Capitol in Tallahassee on Dec. 14, 2020.

The politics of language 

Voters are hearing plenty of insults, threats and menacing warnings from the presidential candidates and probably from each other on social media. A team of political communication researchers at the University of Florida studied campaign language that presidents Biden and Trump used four years ago.

We spoke to the lead researcher of that team about their findings. Plus, we explored the power of words with the poet laureates of two Florida cities.


  • Brittany Shaughnessy, doctoral student and graduate assistant in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. 
  • Shawn Welcome, city of Orlando poet laureate. 

* We also spoke with St. Petersburg’s poet laureate Gloria Muñoz

New limits on 'forever chemicals' 

PFAS chemicals, or "forever chemicals," are in the drinking water of millions of Floridians. These are a group of compounds that stay around for a long time.

This week — for the first time — the federal government has set limits on how much of the chemicals will be allowed in the water we drink. We checked in with the deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water for more on the new standards.


  • Mae Wu, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. 

Final Delta IV launch  

It was the end of an era this week on the Space Coast. Florida hosted the final liftoff of a Delta rocket after 64 years and four generations of Delta rocket technology. To put this in perspective, we were joined by Central Florida Public Media’s Brendan Byrne.


  • Brendan Byrne, assistant news director for Central Florida Public Media and host of Are We There Yet?

Weekly briefings   

Public schools across the nation have been dealing with high rates of absenteeism since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Florida, about a third of students were chronically absent, missing at least 10% of the last school year. State law allows school districts to set up truancy courts within their county's judicial system.

The Sarasota County School District recently started taking students and parents to Truancy Court. From our partner station WUSF Public Media in Tampa, Nancy Guan takes us to one of those early hearings.

Plus, we hear how some in Florida experienced this week’s solar eclipse and find out why some fuzzy caterpillars are becoming a nuisance to some residents.

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