Dec 082017
 
Big Win for FIRM in Fight for Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe County

by Rick Boettger……. For the first time in 10 years, Citizens Insurance has not screwed Monroe County with another scientifically and financially extortionate 10% hurricane insurance increase. At least for homeowners.  Condominium owners like me are getting our yearly shaft: the near-$7k I paid last year will go up to around $7,700, my second-largest fixed expense after the interest on my remaining mortgage. In my column on Heather Carruthers’ financial incompetence last month, I questioned whether she had brought the same level of expertise to [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:39 am ~ Column ~, issue #246, Rick Boettger 2 Responses »
Dec 082017
 
Happy Holidays. Yes, All of Them.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s “War on Christmas” time again. In a November 30 speech in St. Charles, Missouri, US president Donald Trump mounted a stage festooned with Christmas trees to kick off the annual Airing of the Fake Grievance: “[Y]ou go to the department stores and you see ‘Happy New Years,’ and you see red, and you see snow, and you see all these things. You don’t see ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore. With Trump as your President, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am issue #246, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Dec 082017
 
Rising Tides

by Larry Murray……. Dear Editor, The decision by the Navy to raise Sigsbee Road by 6 inches confirms what I have been saying for quite some time.  The Navy announced that Sigsbee Road was flooding regularly at high tide, not just during king tides or a solstice as many would have us believe. I do not care if the cause is climate warming or whatever.  All I know is that the canal behind my house has been routinely higher throughout 2017.  For me, it does not [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:30 am Dr. Larry Murray, issue #246 No Responses »
Dec 082017
 
Previews of Exhibitions at the Gildea Gallery

by Kirby Congdon……. The Gildea Gallery has been promoting solid work by experienced painters and sculptors. We have now three distinctive artists this season in a joint show opening on December 11th, 6 to 8 p.m. Suzanne Donazetti works on copper, putting a subtle wave vertically on her sheet of metal juxtaposing her control over this shape with a vast checkerboard of small squares each one tinted in overall patterns of closely related tones. The three-dimensional effect not only gives depth to the surface but gives [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:23 am ~ Artists ~, issue #246, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Dec 082017
 
A M**D Case of Brain Splatter

by Kim Pederson……. Punctuation marks. What’s their story? In the endless search (mine anyway) for the strange and wonderful, they certainly qualify. Sure, we know the period, the comma, the question mark, and the exclamation mark. But what about the guillemet, the solidus, the octothorpe, and the obelus? Each one has its own specific role in our language and its own history. Today, for no discernible reason, I’ve focused my less-than-laser-like attention on the asterisk, or, as it is better known, the *. The asterisk, [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:22 am issue #246, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Dec 012017
 
The Cause of Sylvia Murphy's Ethics Violations: “An Expensive Weirdness” [and George Neugent Steps in It Again]   

by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Sylvia Murphy was Least Worst in Show among the four county commissioners hit with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics this year. She was only off a total of $1,109,000 on her financial reporting, with merely ten additional errors of form. If she had been in this alone, I’m sure she’d have been fined only the $350 or $500 per year as is common for this level of Form 6 misadventure.  [Using the “total assessed value” instead of [continue reading…]

Dec 012017
 
Animal Control Update – RFP Failure

by Margaret Blank……. Ugh.  The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is just so buffoonish and incompetent.  It’s very, very annoying to me.  I’m so glad they’ve all been nabbed for ethics violations.  It’s so well deserved. The county advertised a Request for Proposal (RFP) to run the Marathon animal shelter.  They placed ads only in local newspapers. The Key West Citizen, the county’s propaganda arm. The Keynoter/Reporter, Murphy’s mouthpiece. Only one bidder responded, the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA).  They are [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #245, Margaret Blank 2 Responses »
Dec 012017
 
And Now, A Prairie Home Sexual Harassment Complaint

by Thomas L. Knapp……. America is in the middle of an agonizing reappraisal of sexual conduct. What constitutes sexual harassment or assault? Where is the line that separates acceptable, or merely rude, actions from unacceptable, and possibly criminal or civilly actionable, behavior? If you feel like this process has been dragging on for a year, you’re not alone. But as I write this, it’s actually been less than two months since the New York Times brought movie magnate Harvey Weinstein low with its story on [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #245, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Dec 012017
 
James O'Keefe versus the Cardinal Rule of "Gotcha" Journalism

by Thomas L. Knapp……. James O’Keefe is famous — or at least notorious — for running sting operations in which he uses actors to trick organizations he opposes into behaving badly on (hidden) camera. The Washington Post didn’t fall for his latest ringer, a woman falsely claiming that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore got her pregnant, then procured an abortion for her, when she was a teenager. Writing at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf takes O’Keefe and his Project Veritas conservative media operation to task for [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #245, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 012017
 
Hanging Around

Hanging Around I haunt the old place, like any fool, chin up, head high, charming, debonair as I watch my glass of ginger-ale grow warm, and then go stale. I catch my breath at your silhouette when I forget that I can’t as yet. So I pretend in front of friends: no one’s aware this is the end of our affair. Only fools could think I cared. Kirby Congdon

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #245, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / “It's all Danny's fault if we lose.”

They lost. And he was off by over $2 million plus 333 other errors. by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Danny Kolhage’s share of the $15+ million in reporting errors made by the most recently cited four county commissioners rung up with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics was “only” $2,254,648, putting him a distant third to Heather Carruthers’ $7.4 million and David Rice’s $4.5 million.  But Kolhage was easily in 1st Place in errors of form, omitting 24 addresses and 309 entries on [continue reading…]

Nov 242017
 
No, the End of "Net Neutrality" is Not the End of the World (Wide Web)

by Thomas L. Knapp…….. I get lots of email, including email from political advocacy groups trumpeting the Impending Doom of the Month. This month, that doom is the coming end of “Net Neutrality” at the hands of the Federal Communications Commission. “Donald Trump and his corporate cronies are about to destroy the Internet,” writes Eden James of Democracy for America. “[FCC chairman Ajit] Pai is paving the way for monopolistic ISPs to block and censor what we see online, and push anyone who can’t pay [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:37 am ~ Column ~, Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
For Sir Robert Antoni

For Sir Robert Antoni Troubles recovered are victories won as any struggle provides the hope of continuing on. We were there when “there” was then as here and now, our names remain, when all is done, beyond the gloomy stare of judgment’s sun. The trampled weed, the fallen tree, let us feel survival’s thrill as we finish all the odds and ends we had begun and still engage in what we share: a single chance at life’s deep need to give or get, not just [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:33 am Issue #244, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
Things I've Found to be Thankful for in 2017

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s that time of year, and like most of you I’m planning on a big meal and a lazy afternoon as America celebrates yet another Thanksgiving. Naturally, I’m also thinking back over the previous year and looking for things to be thankful for. I’ve found some. Here are a few that aren’t about family, spiral cut ham and so forth: I’m not thankful that Donald Trump is president of the United States, but I am thankful that he hasn’t blown up [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp 12 Responses »
Nov 242017
 
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On November 15, US Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and US Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced  one of the shortest bills in the histories of their two parliamentary bodies. Shorn of the obligatory “be it enacted, blah, blah, blah” boilerplate, the bill’s content comes to 14 words: “It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.” It’s a short bill and it’s a good bill, but it could be made both shorter and better by eliminating the [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Nov 242017
 
Marine Corps Spirit & Resolve

by John Donnelly……. Words are insufficient in describing the debt of gratitude I harbor for those who gathered to celebrate this year’s 242nd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. With the passing of my long time Marine Brother and partner, Norm Higgins, along with the destruction associated with Hurricane Irma, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to provide our Marines, their families and the citizens of Monroe County with what has become a “bedrock event”. At first, I doubted my [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:22 am Issue #244, John Donnelly 2 Responses »
Nov 242017
 
As If Things Aren’t Bad Enough

by Kim Pederson……. I read recently that the Totten Glacier (TG) in Antarctica may not be long for this world. Described in a Verge article by Alessandra Potenza as “a sort of canary in the coal mine,” the TG, located in East Antarctica, “contains so much ice it could raise sea levels by at least 11 feet if it all melted—and research now shows the ice is retreating because of warmer-than-usual waters brought by strong winds.” (If you need a climate-change chill, these animated maps from The New York Times demonstrate [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:18 am Issue #244, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 172017
 
BOCC Persuades Me to Run for Neugent's Seat / My Platform: “Ethical Expertise”

  by Rick Boettger……. We are taking a break from detailing the individual Monroe County Commissioners’ Ethics violations to report on Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners’ meeting at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. It was a doozy. We will continue with Commissioners Kolhage (“It’s All Danny’s Fault if We Lose”) and Murphy (“His Weirdness”) in the next two weeks. For Tuesday’s meeting, I wanted to follow up on Commissioner Heather Carruthers’ assertion about it being common for the BOCC to squander hundreds of thousands of our tax [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Issue #243, Rick Boettger 21 Responses »
Nov 172017
 
Election 2017: The Moore You Know ...

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s hard to be objective about Roy Moore. Ever since his days as circuit judge of Etowah County, Alabama, he’s been a hero to religious conservatives and the bane of civil libertarians. The former powered his two elections to the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, on his promise to “return God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law.” The latter effected his two removals from that office over his insistence that his [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:35 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Nov 172017
 
The Honest Ads Act: "Fundamental Rights," Real and Imagined

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Wikipedia defines “moral panic” as “a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society” and notes that A Dictionary of Sociology attributes the cultivation of moral panics to “moral entrepreneurs and the mass media.” We’re well into the second year of a moral panic drummed up by Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans for the purpose of nullifying the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — removing US president Donald Trump from [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 172017
 
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As US president Donald Trump returned to the White House after a 12-day trip to Asia, he might be forgiven for wishing he’d spent more time seeing the sights of the Far East. Back home he faces a Republican Party torn by scandalous allegations against its candidate for US Senate from Alabama, a likely bruising fight over tax “reform,” and more of the constant nipping at his heels by “Russiagate” special counsel Robert Mueller. Oh, and Articles of Impeachment introduced in [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Nov 172017
 
Are You Alive?

by Kim Pederson……. Last week on Late Night, Stephen Colbert did a rather lame segment on sex with robots. He took the opportunity to tell the world that a company is manufacturing sexbots and selling them for as much as $15,000. Today, these are just glorified sex dolls with voice recordings, what Kate Devlin describes as looking like “bad 1980s store mannequins” in her TED Talk “Sex Robots.” But the company producing them claims that eventually they will have artificial intelligence and become increasingly more humanlike in [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #243, Kim Pederson 1 Response »