Dec 092016
 
Fight at Key West High / Student Arrested

IF PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE TO SURVIVE… Commentary by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Last week’s Blue Paper report on the re-segregation of Key West’s public schools has generated a lot of comments and questions.  What makes the new charter schools so appealing to mostly white parents? The video of a recent fight at Key West High speaks for itself. Academics are a great concern for parents and so is safety. We had previously received similar reports of kids ganging up on a lone student: Four kids [continue reading…]

Dec 092016
 
The DNC’s Epic Fail

by Alex Symington……. I, like millions of other good people in this dubious democracy, woke up November 9 to the news that Donald Trump had garnered more Electoral College votes than Hillary Clinton. There still is the issue that HRC had a surplus of popular votes greater than Obama had to defeat Mitt Romney, but never mind that annoying fact. The rapturous joy of Trump supporters was equaled only by the incredulity of the DNC and members of the Democratic Party. The tsunami of conflicting negative [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:18 am Alex Symington, Issue #196 5 Responses »
Dec 092016
 
Boeing's Iran Business: The War Party Versus American Jobs

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In June, US aerospace company Boeing inked an agreement with Iran Air to produce 109 passenger aircraft. Estimated value: $25 billion. The agreement represents the biggest business interaction between the US and Iran since that country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. On November 17, the US House of Representatives voted 243-174 to block the deal. The Senate seems unlikely to follow suit president Barack Obama would almost certainly veto the bill, but Boeing’s stock took a temporary 2% tumble on the vote. Why [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:16 am Issue #196, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Dec 092016
 
Soliloquy

by Kirby Congdon……. Soliloquy Each branch was poised on the silent air. No leaf stirred and no bird sang but one crow called and then was still. The sky was dull but light seeped through. The ocean’s line, drawn, was far and long as the sad surf’s sound still drew the earth’s edge as firm where oceans end out there under another world that only sound’s silence can comprehend.   – Kirby Congdon

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:15 am Issue #196, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Dec 092016
 
Amateur Night

by M.R. Willison……. Who are those scowling faces congealed from their resentful pasts? And smiling unctuous ones oozing from sanctimony? Or the tweeters and those who weave their fabrications into whole-cloth fantasy? They are disaster’s chorus who used to flutter at the screens but now have breached them by inattention and design to cluster at the incandescent source, to crackle their own and our skins, too in the game of power. The head conniver, having wrung concession from the prior prissy management convenes his random [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:14 am Island Voices, Issue #196 No Responses »
Dec 092016
 
Icelandic Pentameter

by Kim Pederson……. So I was thinking about some reasons to move to Iceland today. One, Donald Trump would not be president there. Two, they have polar bears. Oh wait. They eat people. Scratch that one. Two, they have Jacuzzis everywhere (better known as hot springs). Three, they have Norwegian roots, as do I. Four, they have the Icelandic Phallological Museum (better known as the Penis Museum). Five, according to the island’s official website, “thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:13 am Issue #196, Kim Pederson 1 Response »
Dec 022016
 
MONROE COUNTY'S SECRET ROADMAP TO RE-SEGREGATION

The controversy over Key West’s charter schools rocked the school board during last week’s meeting.  “How do we know this is not going to be another white-flight school?” asked longtime school board member Andy Griffiths about a new charter middle school.  Some fear an exodus of white students toward charter schools will leave the district run public schools with insufficient resources and failing grades. For others, the specter of re-segregation is simply intolerable. The numbers are telling: Key West’s Horace O’Bryant [HOB], the district run public [continue reading…]

Dec 022016
 
Showdown at the Southernmost House

By Arnaud Girard……. If you are like us you’ve probably always wanted to take a tour of the iconic Southernmost House. Well yesterday we were called on a tip to go there and report on a mysterious “big story.” Police cars were already parked at the gate but surprisingly we were allowed inside. Ah! Amazing sculptures and paintings, trompe l’oeil ceilings painted like the sky, infinity swimming pool suspended over the turquoise ocean view. Priceless. But what was going on?

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #195, Naja and Arnaud Girard 4 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Homelessness...A Journey & Memoir...

by John Donnelly……. An individual chooses their shelter in accordance with the realties facing them. Affordable Housing is living where you can afford to live. In fact, ones’ only true residence is lodged between their ears. Mother Earth is our home. Tangential structures and morsels of food do not equate to the nourishment required to maintain a healthy “Self”, the “Thinker of the Thought”. No human power, bathroom towel, soup kitchen, principality or government will alleviate the so-called homeless issue. Successful civilizations thrived because they [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #195, John Donnelly 6 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Hey, @RealDonaldTrump, Hands Off My Flag

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” writes US president-elect Donald Trump in one of his patented incendiary (pun intended) tweets. “[I]f they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” You’ve probably heard all the arguments for and against a flag-burning ban, most of them variations of the maudlin “my ancestor died for that flag” or the obvious (and Supreme Court affirmed) fact that flag-burning is a form of political expression protected [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #195, Thomas L. Knapp 24 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Will Trump Roll Back "Net Neutrality?"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US president-elect Donald Trump will appoint a new Federal Communications Commission chair in January. That chair will likely be inclined to undo the FCC’s 2015 “Net Neutrality” power grab and, to at least some degree, let markets settle how bandwidth gets priced and who pays. Good. For the most part I’m no Trump fan, but Net Neutrality was a bad idea from the beginning — half crony capitalism, half stalking horse for a future Internet censorship regime, all economic nonsense. If [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #195, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
An Epistle to the Earthonians

by Ray Jason……. At the time, it was just an eccentric, utopian game. But now, a couple of decades later, I realize that it was a perfect metaphor for my deepest aspirations. I would find some nicely rounded, sea-worn rocks along the shore. My favorites were about the size of a mango and slightly flattened. On each one I would paint a short quotation from a wise thinker. Here are some examples that swiftly rise from my memory vault. Whitman’s “Question much and obey little.” [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #195 2 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Open Letter: White Flight?

by Larry Murray……. Andy: In today’s Keynoter, you are quoted with regard to the proposed Collegiate Middle School: “How can we be sure that this will not result in one more white-flight school?” Very interesting comment that is likely to have the community talking and then some. When you say “ONE MORE white-flight school” (emphasis added), I assume you are referencing Poinciana School, Montessori Charter School and Sigsbee Charter School as existing “white-flight” schools. Correct? Or, are you referencing other schools? You cannot be identifying [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #195, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Fidel's Beard On The Day Of His Death

by Edgardo Alvarado-Vazquez……. Fidel’s Beard on the day of his death (for Doña Olga, Don Fernando, su esposo y su hija Lourdes, the first people that taught me about Cuba and Fidel Castro) Today it finally snowed in La Habana as the flairs of your beard fell to the ground one white irresolute hair at a time. In Miami, the pots and spoons come out, reminiscences of other protests in a lethargic and weary Latin America. In La Habana, nothing changes a memento of an ongoing [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #195 No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Our New Blackbeard

by Kim Pederson……. In 1853, an American named William Walker took forty-five men to Mexico, “conquered” the city of La Paz on the Baja Peninsula, declared his conquest to be the Republic of Lower California, made himself president, and instilled the laws of Louisiana, where slavery was still legal. The Mexicans said “Don’t think so” and eventually kicked Walker back to the United States. He was tried there for violating the Neutrality Act of 1794 and acquitted in eight minutes. About a year later, Walker [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #195, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Dec 022016
 
The American Scene in the Sixies

What impressed me most about the poets of the Beat scene was their independence. Their need was not quite so much to get appreciation and recognition from society for what they were doing as it was to establish faith in themselves regardless of pubic opinion or being in print. Our “kitchen-counter press” published William Wantling’s first publication because of this self confidence shining through it. Gregory Corso got his own poems down first and then looked around for approval, which he evidently got from Allen [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:35 am Issue #195, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 252016
 
Thanksgiving Celebrated at Homeless Shelter in Shadow of Terrible News

The homeless man was found face down on Smather’s Beach with his throat cut. Detectives are investigating. SHAL Raising Funds for Homeless Bus Tickets From SHAL’s Press Release: The Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) is asking for community support for its popular reunification program this holiday season.

Nov 252016
 
Profitability of Advanced Placement Courses

by Larry Murray……. We are all familiar with the profitability of Advanced Placement courses for students. That is their main purpose. First of all, students receive a higher level of instruction in AP classes than is ordinarily the case. Because of the additional training given to TEACHERS, the quality of instruction is much higher. Equally important is the fact that students who score a 3 or higher on a 5 point scale are usually given college credit for the class. The net is that they [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #194, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Nov 252016
 
The Washington Post vs. "Fake News": Pot, Meet Kettle

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Freedom of expression is a bedrock of American democracy,” the Washington Post’s editorial board writes in a November 18 jeremiad, “but its irresponsible exercise can distort and destabilize our politics.” The Post’s editors, mining the bottomless pit of mainstream media excuses for not predicting Donald Trump’s victory in November’s presidential election, think they’ve hit the mother lode with their newfound focus on “fake news” stories going viral in social media. The Post coming out against “fake news?” That’s rich, especially given [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #194, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Nov 252016
 
Confined--Unaware & Content...

by John Donnelly……. So filled with delusion and ignorance. Bound to ego consciousness and anger, unable to separate the wheat from the chaff. Violent in our thoughts and judgments, we’ve not learned much of anything, say to strike out and find fault. The manner in which the United States and most nations of the world educate their young stinks; and has stunk for a very long time. Thus, a steady stream of war and violence. In one American city the murder rate doubles that of [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:57 am Issue #194, John Donnelly 9 Responses »
Nov 252016
 
Never Fear. All Is Well...Sort Of

by Kim Pederson……. Not surprisingly, many people here in the United States have been searching desperately for silver linings since November 8 (as many others celebrate finding theirs unexpectedly). So I went looking for TTCMUs (things to cheer me up) the other day and came across some news that, while not exactly good in nature, might be considered to have a silver hue by those desperate enough. Just to give you a clue, the title of the article I stumbled on is this: “One in [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #194, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 252016
 
Window

Window A holly branch, dodging shade, seeks its share of light as I, impatient, stare, unable to rearrange chance and change that a winter made. An artist invents a world that remains the same. The permanent keeps us sane. Even stars exfoliate gladness like some inner light expelled to mend a bad moment gone more sad that the universe, so big and easy! went mad. Kirby Congdon

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #194, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 252016
 
Giving Thanks...

It has been brought to our attention that the beautiful stories and poetry that Barbara Mungovan so eloquently shares with our “Marine Corps Birthday” audiences each year, has gone for the most part unrecognized. Ms. Mungovan’s brilliant prose and poetry, captures the essence of the Marine Corps. Her impassioned and spirited delivery embodies our time tested traditions. She touches the hearts and souls of all in attendance, year after year. We’re certain that Barbara Mungovan’s two grandsons, both United States Marines, are basking in the [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:41 am Issue #194, John Donnelly No Responses »
Nov 182016
 
December 2016: A Republic, if You Can Keep it

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As I write this column, nearly 2.5 million people have signed a petition seeking to overturn the outcome of the November 8 national vote and make Hillary Clinton, rather than Donald Trump, the next president of the United States. The petitioners are asking presidential electors, chosen by the voters of their states to support Trump, to instead “faithlessly” cast their votes for Clinton on December 19. “Faithless” electors are nothing new. The only electoral vote ever won by a Libertarian presidential [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 1:03 am Issue #193, Thomas L. Knapp 15 Responses »
Nov 182016
 
The Sea Gypsy Path to True Freedom

by Ray Jason……. During the shrill cacophony of the U.S. election campaign, many friends and strangers asked me why I did not comment on it. The reason is because I try to observe the world as a philosopher – and not as a pundit. My belief is that pundits assess the short-term flux of events, whereas philosophers examine the long-term trends and consequences. Here are some of my conclusions. Intriguingly, they might provide some comfort to both camps – those devastated by the results and [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Island Voices, Issue #193 No Responses »
Nov 182016
 
To Whom the Finger Points

by Kim Pederson……. Since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election, there’s been mucho finger pointing. Hillary and her senior staff were too arrogant and overconfident. The Democrats ignored/shunned the locals in all the wrong places. The gobsmacked media gave DT too much free attention and Hillary too little. The FBI director deliberately torpedoed the Dem’s chances at the last minute. No one (except DT perhaps) saw the outcome coming and everyone (except DT perhaps) was shocked by it. But, as I’ve discovered, we [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #193, Kim Pederson 4 Responses »
Nov 182016
 
A Conclusion

by Kirby Congdon……. I first heard the word “hubris” in school when it described a hero in ancient literature who was too impressed by his own ego. I winced when Hillary said naughty black people should be “brought to heel” and taught how to behave. I winced when an upper-class business man, Donald Trump, said, “I seen,” instead of simply saying “I saw.” Both people have cut corners in their own personal development as politicians and as leaders. I see now that my vote lacked [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #193, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 112016
 
We Will Survive King Donald

by Rick Boettger……. I’m writing this mainly for Cynthia, who is depressed and scared. There is no way I can “cheer you up” if you hate our new President-Elect, but I’m hoping you’ll take the gun out of your mouth. It is not as bad as you think. The Republic will survive, maybe even thrive. The actual good news? TED CRUZ. If nothing else, Donald saved us from a true extremist Tea Partier. Compared to Ted’s, Donald’s policies are highly enlightened. The ones I like [continue reading…]

 November 11, 2016  Posted by at 1:16 am Issue #192, Rick Boettger 41 Responses »
Nov 112016
 
Mind Your Own Petard

by Kim Pederson……. Admittedly, it’s kind of a wonky catchphrase. We have Shakespeare to thank for it, as we do many other cliches that were not cliches when he wrote them but rather snarky little gems of intellect and wit (or more laconically, SLGIWisms, pronounced “sill-geh-wiz-ems”). What am I talking about? See if this rings any bells. Let it work; For tis sport to have the enginer [military engineer] Hoist with his own petar[d]; and ‘t shall go hard But I will delve one yard [continue reading…]

 November 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #192, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 112016
 
Politics

by Kirby Congdon……. When my mother showed me pictures of the hopeful candidates for the Presidency I, being a conservative, indicated my preference and pointed at the portrait of Herbert Hoover who was featured on the front page with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I managed to get over my disappointment, being very young. When I grew older, a high school teacher had a piece of furniture with legs that was a radio about three feet high with elaborate embroidery a few feet square covering the speaker. We [continue reading…]

 November 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #192, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Is Local Politics Getting in the Way of Public Safety?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. It’s 4:45 p.m. in New Town, Key West.  A silver Honda has just crashed into the car of two rangers from Dry Tortugas National Park. The Honda driver, reeking of alcohol, is stumbling away from the scene toward Duck Avenue. He is Robert Bethel, the 34-year-old son of Harry Bethel, a former City Commissioner.

Nov 042016
 
Divisiveness & Conflict Sweeping Through The Nation....Good Fortune, Security & Equanimity Can Be Reinstituted Locally....

by John Donnelly……. “Truthfulness, Accountability, Competence & A Sound Mind”; are qualities usually “Required of a State Attorney”. Given their unbridled power and authority over our lives; they must be stable and fit to govern. During this election cycle , the integrity and uprightness of the citizens residing in Monroe County, will be assessed via the ethical bearing and character of the State Attorney they elect. Returning a confused and duplicitous individual to this esteemed position, with inordinate power and influence; will be a societal [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 1:03 am Issue #191, John Donnelly No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Dakota Access Versus the American Way

by Thomas L. Knapp……. CNN reports that protesters from around the world continue to congregate in North Dakota in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their struggle to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through (or placed so as to negatively affect) tribal lands. The issues and the divide between sides seem to be fairly conventional: Promises of jobs and economic growth motivate the pipeline’s supporters. Its opponents cite environmental concerns (especially the prospective damage to tribal lands) and allege violations of the [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #191, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Culture Isn't Property. Copying Isn't Stealing.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. I used to love Halloween. Not just as a kid, but also as an adult taking my own children out for church “trunk or treat” events and to selected neighborhood homes (we lived a few blocks from the house where the events The Exorcist was based on occurred; in fact, friends still live in that very house; spooky!). No store-bought costumes for my progeny — we spent weeks thinking about and designing and sewing and modifying theirs. So much for that [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #191, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Looking Astern

by Ray Jason……. A few hours into every long voyage there comes a precious moment. Most sailors pay it no heed – but I never miss it. Suddenly, the gradually thinning margin of land and sea disappears. The land has drowned. The sea surrounds. The domain of Humanity has vanished. The realm of Nature is resurrected. Now my only companions reside in the sea and the sky. The only laws are timeless and elemental – the mighty ocean currents and the churning atmospheric systems. Most [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #191 1 Response »
Nov 042016
 
Want to Do Better? Bring More Brains!

by Kim Pederson……. So in the previous blog I mentioned that the bright side of the Higgs doomsday ball of instant death (BID) that may eradicate us at any moment (either that or 10 to the 100 years from now, which would be better since Medicare and Social Security would have run out by then) was that the BID would “save us” from the space brain threat. More specifically, it would “do away with a paradoxical menagerie of disembodied intelligent beings that shouldn’t exist.” At [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #191, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Martha de Poo

by Kirby Congdon……. Taking a second look at someone’s art work often helps you access it. I have had several looks at the watercolors of Martha de Poo and am invariably delighted with their elan, their spontaneity and easy skill. At least it looks easy. In a century of intense technology on the back of our wrists, it is a relief to let go and live for a while in someone else’s imagination. Ms. de Poo’s subjects are familiar enough. A pervasive light permeates the structure [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #191, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Oct 282016
 
Giant Property Tax Breaks For Some: But What About Long-Term Rental Owners?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. A few months back The Blue Paper discovered an infamous loophole by which the City of Key West rewards illegal vacation rental owners with transient rental licenses. This week a closer look at Monroe County’s property taxes revealed another troubling disparity: Some property owners have maneuvered to pay up to nearly 10 times less in property taxes than other owners of comparable properties.

Oct 282016
 
Ethics Commission on Neugent: It's Final—A Light Slap on the Wrists

by Rick Boettger……. I flew again to Tallahassee to attend the sentencing hearing for George Neugent’s three violations of our state’s ethics laws. I went to object to their absurdly light penalties—in particular, only a single $500 fine for not reporting his golf membership for years, missing dozens of quarterly reports of the $1,500 quarterly gift, 15 times the reporting requirement of over $100. The Ethics Commission had given George a separate violation and $500 fine for each of the two years he had filed [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 1:10 am * Featured Story *, Issue #190, Rick Boettger 8 Responses »
Oct 282016
 
White Privilege

by Alex Symington……. I was checking out my Facebook feed and came across a photo/meme of a young white woman holding a sign that read, “Even White People Are Sick of Other White People’s Racist Bullsh*t”. I immediately concurred. Many voiced their feelings on the subject, both white and black. One response from a white woman in particular caught my attention. She agreed that she was over white folk’s racism, but added another complaint. “Seriously am, and further more….I sure would like to know what [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Alex Symington, Issue #190 2 Responses »
Oct 282016
 
ObamaCare: Things Fall Apart

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare,” was intended to dramatically increase the number of Americans with health coverage while “bending the cost curve” (that is, reducing the expected increases in price over time). The plan managed the first goal, at least in the short term. Unsurprising, isn’t it, that more people get coverage when the law requires them to buy it, penalizes those who won’t, and subsidizes those who can’t afford to? But the progress on that metric [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #190, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Oct 282016
 
Corruption & Lawlessness Normalized...Double-Standard of Justice & Ineptitude Uncovered At State Attorney's Office--Misery Index Rising In Monroe County...

by John Donnelly……. Credible sources of information have devolved into putrefactive purveyor’s of decadence. Institutions of government, education, propagandized media and the judicial system; in too many cases have shamelessly prided themselves in distorting and manipulating data to suit their needs and ideologies. Carrion connoisseurs versed in amalgamating “empires of wasteland”; these paradigms of deception specialize in broken dreams and destroyed lives, as they arrange the place mats and set the banquet table for their “Malignant Overlords”. Conditioned as we are to accept the abuses [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #190, John Donnelly 2 Responses »