From Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Newsletter
John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrims Progress,” said, “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.”
Makes Me Want To Run To The Next One!
Oily Clam Trail
I recently heard a presentation on the Restore Act for the second time in forty five days. The Restore Act is the fairy tale, granddaddy of all free world windfalls, BP Oil’s reparations for its engineering boondoggle of the century.
The buzzards with the best olfactory sensors have already found the prize source and pounced on the opportunity to ride the bull to the end of the rainbow. Some observations and examples follow, but first some truth serum about reality.
The ultimate payout is being advertised as $40 to $50 billion dollars. The court is still out on when this will begin to pour forth. Supposedly the first “pot” of money is $1.5 billion for 23 counties. Levy county has formed a committee to accept applications for community grants and they are in turn scoring those applications to establish a priority list. Interestingly, the committee is chaired by the Levy County Commission Chairman whose district includes Cedar Key. Of the ten seats on the committee guess how many are from Cedar Key? Five. So, the plot thickens.
A couple of weeks back 60 Minutes did a segment about this BP settlement. Somehow during litigation and settlement negotiations BP agreed to settle with any business within a geographic possibility of the Gulf Coast “damage” area. Also, any business that can show an economic loss immediately after the oil spill can apply for funding to remediate that financial dead fall - - - whether it was near the water, connected to the water, or if anyone in that particular business had thought about Gulf saltwater -- recently. Projects proposed? A parking lot. A Wendy’s hamburger joint. A trail of giant clam shell’s with community information highlighted for tourist visitors in Cedar Key. The shells are about six feet tall and resemble a bodily organ, although I can’t figure out which one.
Levy County’s applications so far, ranked on a “reach” scale (meaning: how much of a reach?) aren’t as ridiculous as many others.
Ten applications accepted by Levy’s Restore Act Advisory Committee on March 11, 2014, included $120K towards a restoration study of the lower Withlacoochee River, submitted by the Withlacoochee Area Residents, Inc. (WAR,Inc). This river is on the state’s list of Oustanding Florida Waters. The only thing outstanding today, is that the river is dead.
The top two applications scored by the committee as most deserving were, Cedar Key Waste Water upgrades and Cedar Key Clam Trail. . . . Surprise, surprise.
Saving the Withlacoochee ranked seventh. It beat out a parking lot in Williston, Work on Williston’s Horseman’s Park, and the Pegasus aquaponics farm. Note: that the Clam Trail (#2) $50 +K, beat out an info kiosk for the Withlacoochee Chamber of Commerce (#5), much less money requested.
The point of this commentary is not to whine about not winning but, scant approval. It’s about irrelevance, absurdity, and the state of “politics” in today’s world.
The Worst Gotcha So Far
On top of the horrific stories of fraud, conspiracy, and criminal manslaughter by collusion, comes news of enormous mismanagement and inefficiencies that have damaged veterans in more ways than the VA will ever admit to. Also, what’s a few thousand old veterans who were going to die anyway? You should know that if the government is caught red handed they will never admit the truth about how severe their culpable negligence goes. Plus, a small number sounds better that reality???
The president was warned. When he took office in January 2008 the Bush administration advised Obama that the VA was struggling with medical and employee fraud, mismanagement, phony waiting lists, and gross neglect. “Surprise boy”, knew about this debacle in 2008. And even though, today, he talks one way out the side of his mouth, he has no respect for veterans or especially those who have paid an inestimable price for their country. So, professing to be shocked and angry is a bald faced lie. Duh – not the first one and certainly not the last.
Bud Distributor Solar
I love the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. They are objective and seem to have focus on everything in their editorial purview. Last Saturday, May 17th, they ran a piece on the front page about the largest Anheuser-Busch distributer in Florida, Great Bay Distributors, and their new facility in St. Petersburg. When finished Great Bay’s solar array will eclipse the Darden Restaurant’s system, at its headquarters in Orlando, for largest solar system at 1.5 megawatts. Darden’s is 1.1 megs and generates enough power that would allow them to go off grid for two months. They expect to recoup their investment in just over 6 years.
The Great Bay facility will have 267,787 sq.ft. under roof. In addition led lighting will be installed throughout and natural gas will power generators and hot water heaters. The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over 25 – 30 years will be equal to planting 1.1 million trees.
I used to work with a Budweiser distributor years ago, and have dealt directly with two others. I have always been pleasantly surprised by the generous and unexpected things they have done for their communities. This is just another example. Big player. Big doings.
He’s So Damn Pretty, He Can’t Lose!
Just can’t seem to escape the glitter smile and Brooks Brothers styling, of flitting candidate Charley Crist. One more defeat and he’ll have to refresh by starting his own party. He could have guaranteed himself a much smoother path to national prominence by not believing the star struck swooning that surrounded him before he got so soundly whooped in the race for Senate, by the debonair Cubano all-star, Marco Rubio. Rubio, out shined him then and now has made it to the ring of rear-end smooching for the big dog nomination, way out in front of Charley.
Meanwhile Crist took an internship with another rock star player John Morgan. Now, if all else fails he can at least fall back on the star power of a celebrity ambulance chaser.
Well, there is always something good in stinky Denmark. Charley, is certainly right (Can’t hep it, gotta give the devil his due) about approaching Cuba. U.S. policy is stale and over ripe in that theater. The tigers of revolution are worn out. El Jeffe` is toothless and the average Cuban citizen sees more American TV in a week now, than in a year, not too long ago. Free world graphics are scattered in the wind around the Havana Airport as European, Canadian, and free Latins flock to the sugarcane republic at our backdoor, and discover living antiquities that archeologists never thought they’d get the chance to be immersed in i.e. 1956 Ford Fairlane Taxicabs, all original equipment, etc. etc.
The best thing that could happen to the Cuban people is the investment of free market capital that trickles down $25 a week jobs on the proletariat. And the resultant mad rush for more of the same, filters down from the corrupt ones and eventually the common folks. It’s amazing how few people, in this country understand the power of currency and the ability to earn some.
It’s beyond time for the United States to remove its collective, bureaucratic head from its domineering rear. The only thing to fear from Cuba is that one of its jets might fall on Miami beach pulling a banner. Or that its national Baseball team would beat the New York Yankees in a doubleheader.
Enuff Said . . .
Finish with some notable music: Wanna dance? Ain't no blue in heah! Some 4/4 time funky chicken!
As some of you know, I was elected in March to our local town commission (Inglis, Florida) and assumed office on April Fool’s Day. Little did I know that several of the local “April Fools” ( one of which was my neighbor for over a year, Bill Monteverde) were chomping at the bit to launch new found channels of second level government “management”. This essentially meant ‘I’ll do the brain storming, you do the dirty work - - I’ll start the rumors and you give them life with your official platform’. And in the case of the primary manipulator just named, I want my vengeance now and here’s my agenda that takes precedence over your silly goals:
2.) Raise “use taxes” across the board and initiate a new tax on water. The town has its own water system.
3.) Lower the Ad Valorem tax rates - - Real estate & intangibles. The chief/manipulator’s house is the most expensive in his neighborhood. He’s lived there 10 years and his taxes have gone down every year but two. His current taxes are the lowest they’ve ever been since he bought the place. His assessed value for a canal lot and a home of just under 2,000 square feet is just under $136,000.
4.) Get rid of the Budget Auditors. They certify the annual town budget -- it’s a state mandated thing. The chief manipulator/poser thinks they are in collusion because they use similar language in their audit certification letters? The actual preliminary audit is performed by one of the area’s best known, most experienced, professional CPA firms. The final certification is executed by one of the largest CPA firms in the state. I’m quite sure that these organizations would find allegations of impropriety on their part, for doing what they’re supposed to do, as patently absurd.
On April 14th at a regular town council meeting I voted to approve Commissioner Andrew White as chairman of the council. It was a no-brainer, he was already vice-chair. During this meeting, White had 15 of the 23 items on the agenda. The meeting lasted for 7 hours! 14 of Comm. White’s agenda items were voted down or withdrawn. Strange and expensive. The legal costs incurred, for this circus marathon, were in excess of $1,600. I was to learn the next day how strange White’s behavior would become.
It gets harder and harder to share the love with the Republican party. They no longer have anything unique to offer up to the U.S. public. They are the same old tune with slightly different words. GOP potentates are just as blatantly irresponsible and reckless with public money and resources as their Democratic counterparts.
Here at home is the perfect example. Florida established the highest budget in history during the recent session of the Republican controlled legislature. They began the year with a budget surplus of $1.2 billion. The house ignored watershed and springs legislation and instead spread the pork around to build a BMX super-cross track in the city of Oldsmar for $1.27 million. And just so all the pork peddlers got a piece of the big ham-bone, i.e., they earmarked $50K for improvements to a Hernando County Little League field, among other impertinent indulgences.
The Speaker of the House, “Boss Hog” Will Weatherford made sure that the home turf got its share of the spoils -- $10 million towards a performing arts center construction project at the Pasco County community college. Senate springs legislation that got the ax was a paltry 30 to 40 million dollar stab at a statewide disaster that gets closer to critical, unrecoverable, status with each day.
Water resource depletion and degradation of same, is not a new environmental event. Growing population by legislative fiat is, in fact, the root cause of sinking water levels in the Floridan Aquifer. Parallel damage is insidious, the more development, watershed alteration, and crap deposits in or near surface water systems, the more dangerous our springs and natural water systems become to humans and animal life.
Oh, and by the way, the more you puncture the supply and draw off ground water the less water that flows from already destroyed spring systems. The buzz word camouflage of “Minimum flows” is the ultimate scientific dodge and excuse for encouraging exploitation and catering to business interests that have no conscience when it comes to your natural resources or your children’s environmental health.
There are two great editorials out. Both appeared in The Citrus County Chronicle newspaper last week. The best was from Dan Hilliard, An Open Letter to Will Weatherford – May 9th. I know Dan personally and also serve with him on the board of directors of Withlacoochee Area Residents – WAR, Inc. The second was an editorial by the Chronicle’s publisher, Jerry Mulligan, the day before, May 8th.. Unfortunately, the Chronicle has blocked access to their online content without buying a subscription. New age version of Freedom of the Press. You gotta buy that freedom these days.
Once again, enuff said?