Feb 182018
 
UPDATE: Cover-up of Gun Threat at HOB Middle School?

(c) Can Stock Photo / Stevemc by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. First Published on Feb 16, 2018 Following our coverage last week of alleged repeated gun threats by an HOB Middle School student, more questions have surfaced this week concerning a possible school cover-up of multiple gun related incidents at HOB. After our story was published, HOB Principal Christina McPherson sent a note home to parents assuring them that all gun threat incidents had been thoroughly investigated, all protocols had been followed and that no [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:58 am * Featured Story *, Naja and Arnaud Girard 5 Responses »
Feb 182018
 
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying

  by Thomas L. Knapp……. If it seems like only a year ago that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was telling us how dangerous it is for Americans to have encrypted smart phones that make it hard for the FBI to poke around in our data, that’s because yes, it really was only a year ago. In early 2017, James Comey took Apple to court, demanding that the company help the FBI hack into the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist/murderer Syed [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #256, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 182018
 
Purpose versus Excuse: Why Congress Might Buy Trump's Food Stamp Reform Plan

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Politico reports that the Trump administration wants to partially replace “food stamps” with “a box of government-picked, nonperishable foods every month.” Under the plan, recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which these days are delivered as debit card balances rather than as physical coupons — “stamps” — would receive about half as much money to buy food with. The other half would be replaced by the “America’s Harvest Box,” stuffed with “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food” such [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #256, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 182018
 
What’s the Body Count, Kenneth?

by Kim Pederson……. In Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film Kill Bill Volume 1, 95 people lose their lives in one way or another, most of them (76) cut down by Uma Thurman’s katana-wielding character The Bride. In Robert Rodriguez’ 2007 film Grindhouse: Planet Terror, 281 humans die, most of them gruesomely. No, I didn’t watch these movies with a counter in my hand clicking off each death. These numbers are easily available, believe it or not, at moviebodycount.com. While not blockbusters, both films were box office successes. In [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #256, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
Gun at HOB / Who's in Charge?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. “No, I don’t believe it was a toy,“ says our source [Let’s call her “B”], “It was the real thing and when the other kids reported that this student had brought a gun to HOB middle school, the student responded by sending a Snapchat photo to one of them: him with a gun and the message, ‘[I’m] gonna bust a cap in yah head.’” More recently he reportedly said (paraphrasing): ‘This ain’t over. I’m gonna shoot yah.’ Did this really [continue reading…]

Feb 112018
 
"Affordable Housing": Are the Wolves at the Gate?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. On January 30, 2018 the Monroe County School Board voted to vacate the parcels of land it owns on Trumbo Road. Their goal is to assist with the workforce housing crisis. One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the Keys, the 6 acres of waterfront property in downtown Key West, could be transferred, for free, to developers. Under a proposal put forward by Key West’s multi-millionaire, John Padget, developers would then build 480 “affordable” studios and one-bedroom [continue reading…]

Feb 112018
 
The Unbearable Dumbness of FDOT*

*with apologies to Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” by Rick Boettger……. FDOT has done so many stupid things in Key West, it is almost easier to believe they hate and are intentionally harming us than that they could be so incompetent. The deaths at the N. Roosevelt crosswalks are the worst, but the stupidity of their unwanted installation is merely in line with the sharrows, hundreds of useless signs, misplaced stoplights at the Y, four lights for three lanes, one-waying of the Boulevard [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:46 am * Featured Story *, Issue #255, Rick Boettger 1 Response »
Feb 112018
 
A Korean Spring after the Winter Olympics is Unlikely. Here's Why.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Peace between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) the the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) suddenly seems closer than ever as the 2018 Winter Olympics open in Pyeongchang on February 9. The North is contributing athletes to a bi-national team with the South, and also sending a delegation that includes its head of state (Kim Yong Nam) and the first ever official visitor to the South from its ruling dynasty (Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un). The [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #255, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, but it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

by Thomas Knapp…… On February 2, US president Donald Trump approved public release of a memo from the US House Intelligence Committee concerning FBI malfeasance  in its applications for warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former member of his campaign team. The following day, Trump triumphantly tweeted that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing “Russiagate” probe. It doesn’t really do that — proving a negative is always difficult — but it does add a great deal of credibility to his charge that the probe [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #255, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
Gnat

by Kirby Congdon…….   Gnat Avoiding my crass hand’s sweep, in random sallies within the world of my room, an insect darts, adoit, among the motes of dust that float, glow or drift about in ninety-three-million-mile rays of streaming silence. Such lives, in their abandon, define their space and what it’s all about, though chartless, in the far, rootless reaches of the absolute.  

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:32 am ~ Column ~, Issue #255, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
So Why Aren’t I Rich Yet?

by Kim Pederson……. There must be someone or something I can blame for my failure to reach the 1% (or the 5% or the 10%, etc., etc.). It can’t be me. I want to be wealthy as much as the next person (feel free to insert your own definition of “wealthy”—I have mine). As evidence for this, President Trump has kindly informed us that all Americans are dreamers, as in we all want the American Dream to come true. Just to ensure we are on [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #255, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Feb 042018
 
Animal Control: Corruption or Stupidity?

by Margaret Blank……. The image above is a screen shot from the Florida Inspectors General website.  Is the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) over-charging the taxpayers to run the Marathon shelter?  Sure looks that way. Are county officials benefiting somehow?  There’s no smoking gun, but documents that would shed light on how much it cost the previous operators to run the shelter are mysteriously unavailable.  And the state attorneys office has made it abundantly clear they cannot be bothered to properly look [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:55 am * Featured Story *, Issue #254, Margaret Blank 1 Response »
Feb 042018
 
Over-Development To Begin

by John Donnelly……. Monroe County Commissioners, County Administrator Roman Gastesi & Planning Director Mayte Santamaria are on the verge of executing a plan that will end life as we know it in our beloved island homes, neighborhoods and communities. My message to them is as follows: I’m at the Miami VA and unable to attend this important meeting. I adamantly oppose and will do all within my power to resist these specious, fallacious and unconstitutional changes under consideration that will destroy our way of life [continue reading…]

Feb 042018
 
Blue Collar Review. Vol. 21, Issue 1 (2917)

by Kirby Congdon……. Editors often put their best material near the front of their productions to catch the attention that is most worth it. Was this happening in the current Blue Collar Review? The poem on page 2, “Jackie Kennedy’s Hats” by Robert Cooperman out there in Denver is clear and memorable. When Jackie loses her hat as the President is shot, the poet’s father, a hat maker, responds, “There goes my business.” The poem ends this way: “…Dad couldn’t help but love Kennedy’s beautiful [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:53 am Issue #254, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Feb 042018
 
"Treatment We Associate With Regimes We Revile as Unjust ..."

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 29, US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ordered the release of immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir from pre-deportation detention. Ragbir, who came to the US from Trinidad in 1991 and got his “green card” in 1994, has been fighting deportation over a fraud conviction since 2006.  Earlier this month, while checking in with immigration authorities to renew his annual extension, he was detained and jailed. Ragbir’s is an interesting and compelling story, but this column is about Forrest and [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 042018
 
Protectionism: Trump's Tariff-ic Attack on Your Wallet

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 22, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer fired the first shots of the Trump administration’s 2018 trade agenda: Tariffs of 30% on imported solar panels, and tariffs starting at 20% on imported residential washing machines. In the name of “protecting” jobs — “America First!” — the administration is dead-set on making you poorer. Yes, the tariffs may benefit a few people (stockholders and employees of American solar panel and washing machine makers), if foreign governments  don’t retaliate in kind and [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:45 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Feb 042018
 
#ReleaseTheMemo -- And Then Some

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 29, the US House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a four-page memo on the “Russiagate” inquiry, authored by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA).  Republican sources tell The Hill  that the memo alleges “‘shocking’ surveillance abuses” by the Department of Justice. By the time you read this, we’ll  all know much of the memo’s contents, as President Trump has reportedly signed off on the decision to release it with redactions. While the memo may be a bombshell, whats more [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jan 272018
 
What is Eating up Key West’s Residential Housing Stock?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Key West suffers from an unprecedented housing crisis yet transient rental units seem to metastasize through Key West’s residential neighborhoods at an ever-accelerating rate. Last year we uncovered a disturbing legal process: The City of Key West had discreetly passed a law creating amnesty for people who illegally rent long-term residences to tourists. Instead of the 60 days in jail plus fines contemplated by the city code, property owners who can show they’ve broken the law since April 1, 2010 [continue reading…]

Jan 272018
 
Key West's Literary Seminar: "Each day my mind expanded into the possibilities of what I could become if I continued to practice my craft."

by Arida Wright……. The 36th Annual Key West Literary Seminar was held here Jan. 11-14, 2018. I was blessed to attend the Writers’ Workshop held Jan. 15-19, 2018 through a scholarship a writer friend helped me apply for. The experience was totally transforming. Their theme this year was Writers of the Caribbean and according to the President, Diane Shelby, “They paid tribute to the rich literary tradition of our Caribbean neighbors and kin.” This event sold out in twenty minutes last year. Before I moved to [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 1:05 am Arida Wright, Issue #253 No Responses »
Jan 272018
 
No, I Don't Really Care Much About Donald Trump's Sex Life. Here's Why.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In October of 2016, a Wall Street Journal article claims, Donald Trump’s lawyer paid $130,000 to buy the silence of Stephanie Clifford, better known to viewers of adult films, at any rate as “Stormy Daniels.” Daniels, it’s alleged, was set to tell the story of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump on Good Morning America and in Slate. Now-president Trump and Daniels deny (through the attorney) both the encounter and the alleged payoff, but as I write this In Touch magazine [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #253, Thomas L. Knapp 13 Responses »
Jan 272018
 
Veterans in Politics: It's Not About Honor

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Atlantic‘s Ronald Brownstein reports that a new political organization, With Honor, “has launched a major effort to elect to the House more recent military veterans who commit to working across party lines. … a bipartisan core of House Members who are inclined to seek common ground, whatever their personal views.” The idea that veterans are particularly well-suited for political office — in part because of  “their experience working in diverse teams that pursue common goals under great stress,” as Brownstein [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 1:02 am Issue #253, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jan 272018
 
The Monster Under the Bed

by Kim Pederson……. In the opening moments of “Listen,” the fourth episode of Season 8 of the revived Doctor Who series, the Doctor, alone and killing time, asks himself and answers this question: “Why do we talk out loud even when we know we’re alone? Conjecture – because we know we’re not.” The Doctor further conjectures that there are entities with the perfect ability to hide, except when they don’t want to hide, and that those creatures might be the ones we envision living under our beds, [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #253, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jan 202018
 
City's Deregulation of Transient Licenses Will Reduce Residential Housing

OP/ED by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. Hurricane Irma has left hundreds of people homeless in the Florida Keys. We wanted to know how the local government was handling the housing crisis. Officials seem genuinely concerned. They hold meetings and workshops on workforce housing issues. But clearly the problem predates the storm. Locals believe that, in recent years, too many residential units have been allowed to be transformed into vacation rentals. In this context we were surprised to learn that this week the City Commission voted [continue reading…]

Jan 202018
 
The Worst Thing About Federal Government "Shutdowns"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The second worst thing about federal government “shutdowns” is that they’re almost entirely meaningless theatrical productions — tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing — from beginning to end. The worst thing about such “shutdowns” is that they end, usually in a way that undoes most of what little good they accomplished in the first place. I’m writing this on the first (and for all I know, the last) morning of the latest such “shutdown.” It comes [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Column ~, Editorial, Issue #252, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Jan 202018
 
Is the School Board Turning Over a New Leaf?

by Rick Boettger……. The District made a positive move last week in their legal wrangling with Kathy Reitzel in her whistle-blowing case against them.  They admitted she was a whistle-blower. To recap: Kathy was head of finances for the School District when Monique Acevedo stole over $400,000.  Kathy turned over evidence to board chairman Andy Griffith. The district used this evidence and Kathy’s extended testimony to send Monique to prison and get her husband Randy fired from his job as superintendent.

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:34 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #252, Rick Boettger 2 Responses »
Jan 122018
 
"City of Arts" About to "Sell Out" Local Art and Artists...

  by Rick Boettger…….. The City Commission will decide at its next meeting on January 17th whether to exempt the new SPCA building on College Road from the requirement that they buy and display art.  Basically, the Art in Public Places Program has a noble goal: “To encourage the inclusion of works of art in public and private construction projects in order to expand citizens’ and visitors’ experience with visual art and enable them to better understand our community and their individual lives. By encouraging [continue reading…]

 January 12, 2018  Posted by at 12:26 am ~ Artists ~, Rick Boettger 12 Responses »
Jan 122018
 
The Spirits That Protect Key West

by Arida Wright…….. Cayo Hueso is what Key West was named by the Spaniards. It means small island of bones. Amidst all the folklore of Indians, pirates, wrecks-a-shore, ghost stories, hauntings, Africans in slave ships and Bahamian settlers comes the mystery of how Key West, being just a little dot on the map, sitting in the middle of the ocean where a majority of its residents make their living, survives killer storms.

 January 12, 2018  Posted by at 12:24 am ~ Column ~, Arida Wright, Issue #251 3 Responses »