Oct 202017
 
COMMISSIONERS' ETHICS VIOLATIONS: Misreporting Totaled $15.36 Million

by Rick Boettger……. It’s official: the Florida Commission on Ethics affirmed the 16 ethics violations committed by Commissioners Sylvia Murphy, Danny Kolhage, David Rice, and Heather Carruthers at their meeting in Tallahassee today [Friday morning, Oct. 20]. The total fines were even higher than I reported last week, because they imposed a violation for a year for which I did not even file a complaint—in all, it came to $20,000 for the four. The amount of their errors was astounding, far more than I estimated [continue reading…]

Oct 202017
 
Hillary Clinton: Cold Creepiness with a Side of Corruption

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On October 16, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took her public pity party (and not so subtle hopes of somehow magically overturning the 2016 election) abroad, calling out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as “a tool of Russian intelligence …. a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator” in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show “Four Corners.” Clinton’s evidenceless accusations don’t seem to  carry much weight with Assange himself. He doesn’t find her “a credible person.” [continue reading…]

 October 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:33 am Issue #239, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 202017
 
Out of Time

by Kim Pederson……. This year’s Fantasy Fest theme in Key West is “Time Travel Unravels.” The FF website defines the TTU theme as “Past…future…present let your mind wander! This year’s Fantasy Fest theme…takes your imagination to anywhere in the space-time continuum (STC)…. You can set your [costume] time machine to go where your whim and imagination takes you.” In other words, do whatever the frack you want. It’s nice to see this all-encompassing sentiment, even if it does come wrapped in a blatantly hyped-up sales [continue reading…]

 October 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #239, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Oct 132017
 
Four County Commissioners Fined for Sixteen Ethics Violations

by Rick Boettger……. All four admitted violating their sworn financial reporting requirements for the years 2012-2015. David Rice was fined $1,500 for each year; Heather Carruthers and Danny Kolhage, $1,250; and Sylvia Murphy, $1,000 for a total of $19,000 in fines, levied by the Florida Commission on Ethics. In addition, all hired lawyers to meet with the Commission’s investigator and, as I will discuss next week, help them prepare their amended Form 6X’s for all four years, 2012—2015. That was likely more expensive than the [continue reading…]

Oct 132017
 
Take a Knee. Take a Seat. Take a Chill Pill.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” US president Donald Trump thundered from the stage of a September campaign rally, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Many seem to agree that professional football games are no place for political statements. Well, at least they agree now. I don’t recall a peep from them for nearly a decade of the US government [continue reading…]

 October 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #238, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Oct 132017
 
Mea Wherewithal

by Kim Pederson……. First, the “good news” for women: feeling guilty is not a sign of guilt but a sign of innocence, victimhood even. So says Devorah Baum in her Guardian article “Why do we feel so guilty all the time?” The bad news? Females must figure out how to forgive themselves for wrongs they have not committed to release their “money blocks and live a first-class life.” That last bit is Baum quoting from Denise Duffield-Thomas’ self-help tome Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! DDT believes guilt is “one of [continue reading…]

 October 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #238, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Oct 132017
 
Gay Murders

by Kirby Congdon……. The front page of The New York Times for Friday, September 29, 2017, had this headline: Bullying Seen as Prelude to Classroom Stabbing, with the subtitle, Death in Bronx School Defies Drop in Crime. A reader might have assumed we were pretty well beyond this kind of behavior, but I guess the Bronx cheer of razzing someone with your tongue belongs where it came from. During the Great Depression there is this poem, “Geographical Reflection” by Ogden Nash from his book, Hard Lines [continue reading…]

 October 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #238, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Oct 062017
 
GOP Tax Plan: Hardly "Reform," But Tax Cuts "Cost" Nothing

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans released their grandiosely titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” on September 27. The plan looks a lot more like a grab bag designed by lobbyists than like any kind of carefully considered plan for “tax reform.” It’s full of smoke and mirrors. For example, the one-page highlight sheet brags that “the framework roughly doubles the standard deduction so that typical middle-class families will keep more of their paycheck.” I’d hoped that this [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:20 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #237, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Oct 062017
 
Time to Stop Squeezing The Juice

by Thomas L. Knapp……. A few minutes after midnight on October 1,authorities at Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center released O.J. Simpson on parole after the former football great had served nine years of a 33-year sentence for criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon. Simpson, who faces several years of parole/probation restrictions, says he’d like to move back to Florida, where he lived before his conviction. Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, who never misses an opportunity to grandstand, says that “should not be an option.” [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:18 am Issue #237, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 062017
 
Bach & God

by Kirby Congdon……. Mr. Marissen gets a couple of ideas off his chest before we get into his project. His Preface states, “This book is scholarly but not devotional.” Page 2 of the Introduction asserts, “I am an agnostic.” The subject of all the essays is the text of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas, their history, translations, interpretations and grammatical definitions. The language is English but the reader’s knowledge of German, as well as access to recordings, can be helpful. The librettos of the cantatas may discriminate [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:16 am Issue #237, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Oct 062017
 
Is Black Black?

by Kim Pederson……. It seems ages ago already, but it has been just a few short weeks since we time-traveled back to the Dark Ages thanks to Hurricane Irma. By Dark Ages, I mean no electricity, no communications other than talking or shouting, and no running water. We were not, fortunately, forced to resort to dumping chamber pots out the window. Toilets still flushed as long as we hauled buckets from the filling pool (formerly the swimming pool) to replenish their holding tanks. Notably, the [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:14 am Issue #237, Kim Pederson 1 Response »
Sep 292017
 
The Russia-Blamers Think You're Stupid

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline. Over at The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah explains “How Russian Hackers Used My Face to Sabotage Our Politics and Elect Trump.” And US Senator James Lankford (R-OK) thinks that “the Russians and their troll farms” (as opposed to Donald Trump and professional football players) are behind the current “take a knee” kerfuffle between Donald Trump and professional football players. Because, [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Privacy and Politics: The Hypocrisy of the Surveillance Statists

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The New York Times reports that at least six members of the Trump administration used personal email accounts to discuss White House matters. Given president Donald Trump’s campaign and post-campaign harping (as the Times puts it) on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server and mishandling of classified information, it’s unsurprising to hear charges of hypocrisy from Democratic quarters. But the hypocrisy here  a matter of  political class elitism, not partisan politics. Those in power, regardless [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Social Media: When Does "Actively Working With the Government" Become Censorship?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a September 21 post, Mark Zuckerberg shared nine steps the  site he started is taking “to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy,” by “actively working with the government” and “partnering with public authorities.” The day before that, the United Kingdom’s prime minister, Theresa May, used the United Nations General Assembly as a forum to demand that social media networks “ensure terrorist material [read: content that May disapproves of] is detected and [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Cricket

by Kirby Congdon……. Cricket Carried in the spin of earth’s dogged days, allowed to see the space of time in an eon’s length, I heard a cricket sing to entice a mate. That brave thread like the spread of a spider’s web, made the starlight ring as even silence sang among neurons engaged in errands quickly sent to the inside depths of my singing head. Kirby Congdon

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:21 am Issue #236, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Reports of Our Demise Are Greatly . . .

by Rick Boettger……. Key West is in remarkably good shape. They finally let us fly back yesterday and I took a bike ride around town this morning.  What follows is a mixture of fact and opinion. The government experts who stopped us from returning for 10 days have facts and opinions no better than my own, I’ll bet.  They just take their own much more frightfully, but I’m letting that go for now.

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:44 pm ~ Column ~, Rick Boettger 2 Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Trump on Debt: Even More Establishment Than The Establishment

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Washington Post reports that US president Donald Trump and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.” That must be a bitter pill to swallow for those who thought they were electing an “anti-establishment” president to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but it should be no surprise. After all, Trump built his business career on going into debt up to his neck, taking [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:40 pm Issue #235, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
For Whom The Bell Tolls

by John Donnelly……. Callousness and contempt hinged upon self-absorption, narcissism and an inflated-sense of self; has given rise to indignant and rage filled conversations, some of which have triggered violent attacks in mainstream America. On too many occasions these types of exchanges have led to murder. Unfortunately, this aggressive form of political expression has become an accepted mode of behavior; even a sought after means of communication.

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:31 pm Issue #235, John Donnelly No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Qui a besoin de Français?

by Kim Pederson……. Apparently, I can stop losing sleep at night over having still failed to learn French. I took French classes for three years in junior high from Miss Gail van Eyke, if memory serves. From her name, it sounds like we should have been studying Dutch. Maybe it would have gone better. The classroom comprised rows of sound booths with headphones for listening to drills. The back row, where we sat, had small reel-to-reel tape decks for individual study. These were covered with [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:30 pm Issue #235, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Book Review: The Bees Have Been Canceled poems by Maya Catherine Popa

by Kirby Congdon……. Our dependency on such a trivial concern as the spread of pollen has, with our industrial and technological forces, become one more anxiety in civilized society. Maya Catherine Popa’s collection of poems opens with the title prose-poem, “The Bees Have Been Canceled.” The ambiguity of the factual business jargon and the poet’s own language is clever and full of concern at the same time. The narrator comments in a discursive tone that recollects what the activity of bees used to be like [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:20 pm Issue #235, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Fortitude

Fortitude Bravado came, like hopefulness, on its knees to give a name to good fortunes received that any body needs, lifting life by song or dance beyond a world’s end of bad dreams. Kirby Congdon

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 2:25 am Issue #235, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
W3C Turns the Clock Back on an Open Web

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On September 18, Ars Technica reports, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published a new specification recommendation, Encrypted Media Extensions. The recommendation, which natively implements a “Digital Rights Management” scheme in web browsers, marks a giant step backward for user freedom and an “open” World Wide Web. W3C is the Web’s  “international standards organization.” Simply put, its recommendations are the reason you can load almost any web page in almost any browser and expect to see the same things on your [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 2:22 am Issue #235, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »