MR. PRESIDENT…..WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

I refer today for the first time to Trump as Mr. President. Not because he has achieved that recognition in my mind. Because for the first time he may be leaning that way.

My concern Syria.

The President has challenged Putin for the first time. Especially this morning. Recognizes Russia as a partner with the bad guys in Syria and bearing responsibility for the gasings.

The President said he was going to do something re the chemical attack. That was over the weekend. All recognized time was of the essence. If there was to be retaliation, it had to be immediate. Don’t give Putin and others time to move their war machinery around, get ready for a military hit, etc.

The President screwed up. It is now wednesday. The too long a time has passed. Putin however kept it alive with his tweet that he and his friends had the where with all to knock down any missiles the US might shoot.

An added concern is that the US has at least 2 Naval vessels in the area that are subject to retaliatory missiles.

I believe we have no choice but to go for it. Destroy something big time in Syria. Take the gamble with Putin. He has thrown down the gauntlet. The US cannot do what Obama did. Nothing.

Note that Russia is in bad shape. Their economy is way down. The ruble fell again last week. Putin cannot afford an all out war.

I further believe if Putin sees the US is serious, he will back off on the rhetoric and find a way to quiet the confrontation. He has done such in the past.

I criticize the time it has taken with no reaction yet by the US. Where is our planning? Where have the CIA and military been? Plans should have already been prepared and held in abeyance till needed.

An obvious failure in Washington in protecting the US. This fault may include the Obama administration.

Yesterday, my first book signing. Sold ten books in 3 hours. Not disappointed. Did not think prior to the signing I would sell one.

More experienced authors Reef Perkins and Robert Coburn participated also. I doubt they sold more than 10 books each.

The problem was no one came. We were alone for 3 hours in the hot boiling Key West summer sun.

Ross Pipkin was part of the program. Ross does voice overs for books. He did a reading. Interesting and humorous.

I thank good friends Kate Miano and Lynda Frechette for attending. A Jane who I never met before.

Towards the end of the 3 hours, Bob and Stevie from the Chicago area arrived. We had never met before. They came especially to buy my book. Bob and Stevie are loyal readers of this blog.

They leave today for home. Hopefully, we will meet next year when they return. We agreed on the Chart Room.

My favorite female bartender Nicolle showed up with her partner Dara. Nicolle works at Antonia’s. She did not buy a book. Did not have to. She had already purchased a copy through Amazon. She brought the book in for signing. My pleasure!

The book signing was at the Andrews Inn. Michael and Albena new owners. Eight months. Albena from Belgium. The Inn was run down when purchased. They have fixed the place up. Irma interrupted and added to the renovations.

The Inn is lovely. Tiny adding to its quaintness.

Michael noticed the crowd was sparse. Actually, non-existent at one point. He showed ingenuity. Went out on the street and dragged about 20 tourists in. Induced them with the free food and drink. A smart guy. The Inn cannot fail.

The book signing was a charity fund raiser. Titled the Bow-Wow Meow Book Signing. A fundraiser for the SPCA. Help the dogs and cats.

Not much help yesterday. I feel guilty. I plan on sending a check.

I enjoyed doing my podcast last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A mix of topics. Key West, Anchorage, and a little Trump. I try to include topics about what is going on involving persons other than Trump. He is available enough on the media.

The weather continues to be hot. Summer definitely here. Eighty six yesterday. And humid! Will be the same today.

Very likable and talented artist Jon “Tosh” McIntosh died last month. A memorial service will be held this saturday at 3:30 at St. Paul’s Church.

Sons and Daughters of Italy meeting tonight.

I was doing a Key West Lou Live video every day til about 2 months ago. Louis ranting and raving about some issue for a few minutes.

Renewed the show this morning. It is revived! Look for it daily on Facebook.

Enjoy your day!

 

KATE MIANO…..1,000 STRONG

 

Everyone wants to be the next Mayor of Key West. Twelve candidates have announced already. Two or three more expected.

Though our small island is a world wide vacation destination, Key West has its problems. Most cities are concerned with snow removal and garbage collection. Snow not a problem here. Garbage collection down to a science.

Key West’s problems involve continued recovery from Irma, affordable housing, the homeless, parking, traffic patterns, and whether Duval Street should become a pedestrian walk way. We have growing pains. More and more tourists visit each year. I sometimes think the island will sink under the weight of them all.

Kate Miano one of the candidates. I support her. I am sure her views are not totally in line with mine. People differ. I support Kate because I know her. I know her to be a woman of character, honest, a successful business person, kind, always available with a helping hand to those in need.

Key West recognized her nature in January when she was awarded the prestigious Humanitarian of the Year Award.

All of which bring me to last night. Kate’s campaign kickoff party. At The Gardens. Her Gardens. The community came out to wish her well, to extend their support. At least 1,000 strong! Perhaps more!

A turnout exceeding expectations. Evidence of the esteem in which Kate is held.

My friends…..Kate Miano, the next Mayor of Key West!

I was with Catherine, Donna,and Terri at Kate’s event. Afterwards, we went to Le Petit Paris for dinner. Robert the owner. Originally from Paris. Opened his dream in 2012. A success. His food spectacular. Prices reasonable. Located at Duval and Olivia. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We had a good time.

Terri has been told by her doctors to go out and live. She started in the last two weeks. Good to see her out and about. Most importantly, enjoying life without fear.

The weather sucks. Sixty one degrees last night. My heating unit on the blink. New one will not be here till wednesday. Two heavy blankets and I was still cold! Today will be better. Mid 70’s by day, low 70’s during the night.

I do not understand police behavior involving the recent Douglas High School shootings.

The police officer on duty did not go in the building. I would have assumed his first responsibility would have been to confront the attacker.

Two more officers appeared on the scene. They did not go in. The claim is they were told to establish a perimeter and not enter.

In the meantime, people were being killed inside. I have to believe if they did do something, some lives would have been saved. Even one would have justified their engaging the attacker.

The story gets better.

Two members of the Miramar Police Department were in the area. Both detectives, both members of the SWAT team. They immediately responded. What they did when they arrived, I do not know.

They have been suspended. They have been required to surrender their SWAT issued rifles. The reason for the chastisement: They failed to follow protocol by not getting permission from a superior prior to rushing to the scene.

Unusual circumstances call for unusual activity. Initiative becomes the order of the day. Not with the Miramar Police Department, however. The two officers are being punished for doing the right thing.

The Russian revolution began about this time in 1917. In Petrograd. Russia’s army was fighting the Kaiser somewhere else. Czar Nicholas II leading the Army. An inefficient, timid man. The cost of the war breaking Russia’s back. Food scarce. The people were demonstrating in the streets. The demonstrations turned into outright rebellion.

The rebellious leader was Alexander Kerensky. The leader of the White Bolshevists.

Czar Nicholas II was quickly deposed and abdicated.

Germany wanted Russia out of the war. The Kaiser offered Kerensky a good deal to withdraw Russia from the conflict. Kerensky opted to keep Russia in the war.

The very thing which brought the Czar down brought Kerensky down. The war continued to be expensive, the people still starving.

Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Red Bolshevists. He returned to Russia and overthrew the Kerensky government. Communist Russia was born.

Kerensky was a doomed man. He fled Russia. First to England. Then to the United States.

I was fortunate to have had Kerensky as a professor while in college. I took two courses in the Russian revolution from him. Exciting! To hear it first hand from a man who was an integral part of the revolution.

Lets suppose for a moment.

If Kerensky took Germany’s offer to get out of the war, history would have been different. Lenin’s group would have failed. Probably not even have attempted to overthrow Kerensky. There would have been no Stalin. There would have been no Hitler. Germany would have won the war and the depressed Germany which resulted in Hitler never would have been.

Kerensky’s mistake was that he wanted to establish a democratic monarchy. Lenin was smarter. He knew the people had had it with the Czars. They wanted to run the country.

Interesting might have beens.

Enjoy your day!

 

THOMAS PAINE, THOMAS JEFFERSON, ST. AUGUSTINE

 

Civil disobedience rumbles through our society today. One example is what is going on in California. Attorney General Sessions has brought the might of the federal government down on California via a federal lawsuit. Legal and public opposition to the suit guaranteed.

People do not like being imposed upon by their government. The California issue has to do with sanctuary cities. California is a sanctuary state. It will not assist the federal government in rounding up, etc. certain illegal immigrants for deportation.

Many cities throughout the nation have labeled themselves sanctuary cities. All considering the federal government off base in seeking a city’s assistance to arrest and deport persons they do not believe should be deported.

The people speaking.

The lawsuit is weak substantively. The President forgot there is another branch of government called Congress. Trump’s signature on a piece of paper not enough to bring the power of the federal government down on a sanctuary state or cities without Congressional passage of a bill first approving what the federal government considers should be done with illegal immigrants.

Trump’s legal beagles in a hurry to do their master’s bidding, failed once again to do things properly. The legal analysis I leave for another day. Today, I want to approach the issue of civil disobedience from the philosophical perspective.

Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Thomas Jefferson, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

St. Augustine, ” That which is not just seems to be no law at all.”

An unjust law is a perversion of the law. Law is supposed to stop bad things from happening. Not make them happen.

People have refused to obey/support laws wrong in their essence many times in the past. Significant ones include the Boston Tea Party, Gandhi, and the Birmingham protest marchers.

It all turns on morality. Sessions suit is immoral. Its basis immoral. The people of California are right in saying no to it.

My yesterday began at 8:45 in the morning with a visit to Dr. Norris. My intern. My first annual physical with him.

Lose weight and you make your doctor’s day! His records indicated I have lost 24 pounds since my last visit. Love doctor scales. I am still stuck at 20 on mine.

Everything ok. Blood and urine results next thursday.

The Cuban Coffee House is next door to his offices. I had planned on Cuban toast and coffee following the examination. No way! The line too long. No question season is here.

Decided on Harpoon Harry’s for a real breakfast. Lucky to get a seat at the counter. Packed. People waiting to be seated.

I enjoyed ham, eggs and hash browns. Yes, I cheated. Felt I was entitled. Skipped the toast, however.

Last night, the Chart Room. With Catherine.

Wonderful people.

Met Charlene and Chris from the Chicago area. Charlene reads this blog! I am excited and appreciative each time I run into some one who does.

Charlene is a State Attorney. She prosecutes. Chris an attorney, also. Works with local government in Joliet.

Both past visitors to Key West.

Charlene told me she had ordered Irma and Me. I loved her even more.

Hope to see them both again before they leave.

Gayla and Jeff were sitting at the bar. We started talking. From San Antonia. Home of the Spurs! They sounded like die hard fans. As I am with Syracuse.

Frequent Key West visitors. Two grown children.

Gayla stopped by before she left to tell me she had ordered Irma and Me on her cell phone.

Love these women!

Irma and Me has achieved a degree of popularity. It has been out 3 months now. Selling. I appreciate it. Not from a money perspective. Rather the recognition it provides. I am humbled people read what I wrote.

Finally, Holly. Holly of Kevin and Holly. Holly alone. Kevin at home in Key West.

Kevin’s scooter flipped a few months ago. Kevin spent 24 days in intensive care. Beat up badly. He is on the mend. Not totally yet. I hope to run into them both tonight at the Chart Room.

Today, a Louis one. A haircut with Lori at noon. Cuban cheese toast and coffee at Sandy’s Cafe afterward. A manicure with Tammy at 5. Then, the Chart Room.

Oh Syracuse, my Syracuse! Like Mighty Casey, struck out last night. Syracuse lost to North Carolina 78-59. The evening before, Syracuse beat Wake Forest 73-64.

The ACC Tournament is over for Syracuse. The NCAA next week. Will Syracuse make the big dance? I doubt it. A win against North Carolina might have permitted it. The team came up one game short at the end I fear.

We will find out for certain Sunday night.

Last but not least, tomorrow at 6 Kate Miano’s campaign kickoff party. Everyone go! At the beautiful Gardens. Free food and drink. See old friends and make new ones!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

DAY OF REST

As far back as I can remember, Sunday has always been my lazy day. I plan to do much. End up doing nothing or next to nothing.

Yesterday, no different. My plan was to go to the Gardens later in the afternoon and then home to watch the Academy Awards. Missed the Gardens. Caught the Academy Awards.

My comments re the Academy Awards brief.

A good show. Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning a tight schedule time wise. Hoped winners would keep their thank yous short. Even offered a prize for the most short. A $17,500 Jet Ski. Thought the Jet Ski thing tarnished the show a bit.

If time was a problem, why were the commercial advertisements so long. Perhaps the longest for this show. Also, some of the musical numbers ran longer than normal.

Inconsistencies.

Another item I found troublesome. Support for the feminist movement profound. Nothing wrong with it. However, I do not recall any mention of the gun issue which is at the least of equal importance.

Whatever, I enjoyed the show.

I did spend some time reading in the afternoon. Finished Collusion by Luke Harding. The book cover says: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia helped Donald Trump Win. Not quite. I fear a race to the printer caused the book to fail in showing with particularity how Russia helped Trump to win.

The book ends with parts of the time frame during transition. Two more months and the author would have had significantly more to talk about.

Don’t waste your time reading the book.

Love Kate Miano! A good friend, a good person. Candidate for Mayor. Hope she wins!

Her campaign slogan: Expect Great! Elect Kate!

I like it.

Don’t forget Kate’s campaign kickoff party Friday night. Six at the Gardens. Free food and drink. Bring a friend or two. Kate deserves everyone’s help.

Been cool the past two nights. High 60’s. Turned on the heat. Today 76 by day and 66 by night. Heater back on tonight. Not all night. I use it to take the chill out of the air when I go to bed.

I don’t think Wilbur Ross is good for the country. Ross is presently Secretary of Commerce. The guy on TV the past few days explaining how a trade war would not really impact on the American consumer. Used a can of Campbell Soup and a can of soda to explain his position.

Recall Herbert Hoover began a trade war. Look where it got us!

Ross and Trump met during Trump’s Atlantic City casino days in the 1980’s. Ross was a Rothschild banker. His specialty then and throughout his career has involved the purchase of bankrupt businesses, get them going again, and then sell them for a profit. Much involved with steel mills in this regard.

Ross was and is known as the King of Bankruptcy.

Re Atlantic City, Ross was not representing Trump. He was representing one of the banks. Whatever, Trump ended up putting his corporations into bankruptcy while at the same time retaining control of the casinos. Brilliant! Ross thought to be responsible,

Ross has Russia connections all over the place. Some of which he failed to sufficiently disclose during his confirmation hearing. Shortly thereafter, the Paradise Papers bloomed. Leaked documents which showed Ross had failed to clearly disclose his financial ties to Russian interests. He provided further information and agreed to divest himself from some 80 companies he had an interest in which were doing business with Russia. Not disclosed by him the first time around.

It is suspected some of the companies remain undisclosed even at this time.

The Ross items not clearly or sufficiently disclosed include the following.

He was Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. A bank that did significant business with Russian persons.

His Navigator Holdings. Ross’s interest in a shipping company that transports petrochemicals for Russian gas and petroleum. The Russian company is Silbur.

Silbur has been sanctioned for its close ties to Russian oligarchs and Putin’s son in law Kirill Shamalov.

A question remains as to whether there has been sufficient divestment.

Ross checkered and questionable. Yet he sits at the right hand of Trump.

Senator Lindsey Graham shocked me with a comment he made yesterday. He thought a war with North Korea was “worth it.”

Graham acknowledged deaths in the millions. Tens of thousands of American soldiers. Significant non-military deaths up and down the Korean peninsula.

An American general said that such a war would involve brutality beyond the experience of any living soldier.

Graham’s words were based on his belief that such a war would bring “long term stability” to a region requiring it.

Trump is crazy. Is Graham also? Who under any circumstances would want a war of such devastation?

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

ANOTHER CANCER SURVIVOR

Glad I stopped in the Chart Room last night. There sitting were Jenny and Scott. Friends from an earlier Key West visit.

Jenny a cancer survivor.

I met them last October. At the time, Jenny explained her recent mastectomy. Her breast had been reconstructed. No nipple yet. A waiting period involved. She explained she was going to have a nipple tattooed on. One of the Key West setting sun.

All new to me. Jenny gave me an education. Thereafter, I wrote about nipple reconstruction and as an alternative the tattooing method.

Jenny opened the door to my meeting further women who had had mastectomies. I got into the topic. One of the ladies even showed John and I her reconstructed breast. We could not tell the difference. Both looked the same, were balanced.

I learned from my initial Jenny experience. I learned more afterwards from research and meeting other women who had had mastectomies. With the exception of Jenny, all wanted to show me their new breasts. What I learned specifically was that women were proud of their new breasts. Natural appearing. Not freakish in any manner. Thrilled for the world to know.

Unfortunately, Jenny’s problem did not end when first we met in October. A genetic problem was discovered. One which could make her more susceptible to cancer again. She was required to undergo additional chemotherapy.

Her chemo recently concluded. She and husband Scott were in Key West to celebrate the occasion. It was all over!

Jenny a lovely person. Inside and out. Her hair similar to mine. Short. It is starting to grow in again. Even without hair, a beautiful face. Her smile bright. The smile of a winner.

Devon came in. We met in the Chart Room two years ago. He owns a home in Key West. Still lives in Illinois. He and his brother run a farm. I sense a big one. Corn and soy beans the product. Shipped down the Mississippi to as far away as China and Japan.

Devon an interesting person. His business acumen especially appealing. When the big corporations decided to get into the farming business, Devon and his brother decided to go the way of the big companies. Let them call the shots. Companies like Monsanto. Devon and his brother have prospered by so doing.

Dinner afterwards at the Hot Tin Roof. Stone crabs. Delicious. I even cheated. Enjoyed key lime pie with a graham cracker crust. Magnificent!

Syracuse/Clemson at 2 this afternoon. Clemson ranked #18.  The Vegas Line should favor Clemson by several points. Not today. The Vegas Lines favors Syracuse by 1.5 points. Syracuse needs the win to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse not even on the bubble at the moment.

Locals, remember Kate Miano is a candidate for Mayor of Key West. A smart woman, a successful one. More importantly, a good person.

Kate is the owner and operator of The Gardens Hotel at 526 Angela Street. A beautiful property. She is having her campaign kickoff party friday beginning at 6. Free food and drink. All you have to do is have a good time. Bring a friend and meet other friends at the party.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is a big deal. One of the few turtle hospitals world wide. Sick turtles are flown into Marathon for care.

The Hospital began operations in 1986. It was the first State licensed veterinary hospital devoted solely to sea turtle care. A full time staff of 20 and 3 turtle ambulances.

The Turtle Hospital is a not for profit. Its expenses covered by ticket sales and donations.

Stop by some time and see the miracles being performed. Amazing!

Tomorrow is election day in Italy. The people pissed big time. Immigration the problem. Over five hundred thousand Muslims from North Africa. As my friend Anna describes it, they have taken over the country.

Every one running a Donald Trump. Going to throw the immigrants out. Right away!

Populism on the rise. Sounds familiar, also. Several parties involved. Never enough votes for one person to win out right. A coalition government will be formed.

It is a north-south battle. Again just like the U.S.

The party of the south is the Five Stars Movement. Its candidate 31 year old Luigi De Maio. Anna does not like him. She is from the north. Claims Luigi is not formally educated and is too young.

Luigi is expected to garner the most votes. His southern support, the youth. Another familiar item.

Anna lives in Navaro, a community outside Milan. Their hero in the election is old friend Silvio Berlusconi. Thrice Prime Minister, twice convicted of crimes. Because of his convictions, he cannot run at this time. However his party is pushing for their candidate fully supported by Berlusconi. The party is Forza Italia.

Tomorrow election day. Going to be interesting.

Trump promised to clean out the Washington swamp. His track record thus far not good. He may even have to deal with son in law Jared Kushner.

Kushner may be using his official White House position in attempts to secure loans for his Kushner Companies which have serious financial problems.

Three situations stand out.

Joshua Harris is the founder of Apollo Management. He visited the White House several times. Claimed purpose to assist with infrastructure decisions and perhaps in due course receive an appointment. Actual reason, Kushner required a cash infusion for Kushner Companies.

In November, Apollo lent Kushner Companies $184 million. No appointment was forthcoming.

Michael L. Corbat is CEO of Citigroup. He was a 2017 spring guest in the White House to discuss finances and trade policy. In March, Citigroup loaned $325 million to Kushner Companies and a partner.

The worst situation involves Qatar. Qatar a small oil rich Middle East nation. A friend of the U.S. The U.S. maintains a base in Qatar with 10,000 military personnel stationed there.

Kushner wanted $500 million from the government owned Qatari Investment Authority. He arranged a meeting for his father Charles and the Qatari Finance Minister at a suite in the New York St. Regis Hotel. The second day of the meeting took place in a conference room at a Kushner property.

A high level negotiation. Qatar said no. Refused to invest.

One month later Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blockaded Qatar and threatened war. The claimed reason Qatar’s funding of terrorism.

Secretary of State Tillerson wanted to intercede. He knew the people involved and thought he could resolve the situation. Kushner blocked him.

The day after the blockade began, Trump appeared on television and took credit for the blockade. Said he was not going to tolerate Qatar’s funding of terrorism.

The question arises as to whether the Qatar blockade, etc. resulted from Qatar’s turning the Kushner family down re the $500 million loan.

Swamp contamination continues. The situation may be getting worse.

Enjoy your day!

 

KATE MIANO FOR MAYOR

A couple of heavy items to discuss today. Sad topics. I have opted to start with the happy rather than those.

Which means first and foremost, Kate Miano.

Lovable, warm, caring, interested in people and causes. An available helping hand. A successful woman to boot.

The 2018 recipient of the prestigious Humanitarian of the Year Award. Former Fantasy Fest Queen. Conch Shell Blower winner. The list endless.

Kate has been around a while. She personifies the Key West of yesterday and today. Perfectly blended.

Instead of sitting back and relaxing, she wants to take on Key West’s present woes. Solve the community’s problems. As only a Mayor can do.

The election is not till August. Already something like 10 persons have filed to run. The total in the end will be 10-12.

A Kate Miano for Mayor Kickoff Party is scheduled for friday March 9 at the Gardens Hotel. Six in the evening. Open bar and food. Come, join, visit, meet. Kate would love for you to stop by.

I would too. Bring your friends.

I have had company for a few days. Delivered the company to the airport yesterday for return to the north country. Flight canceled. The Northeaster. Flights cancelled today, also. At the moment, tomorrow looks good.

Early to the Chart Room last night. Good friend John bartending. Stayed a couple of hours. When I left, standing room only.

It never fails. As soon as the sun has set, tourists come pouring into the Chart Room.

Met some very interesting people.

Cathi and Mark from Atlanta.

We talked of Irma and its impact on Atlanta. Cathi and Mark lost a few trees. I told the story of my being kicked out of an Atlanta hotel after two nights because Irma was coming.

Cathi and Mark married 21 years. She “the best real estate agent in Atlanta.” Mark into finance and insurance.

Both 50ish, considering retirement and buying a home in Key West. Are frequent visitors to Key West. Hope they do opt to live here. They would be welcomed with open arms.

Met a sort of neighbor from upstate New York. George from Rochester. Ninety miles from my home town of Utica.

George unquestionably smart. Spent his career as a Physics Professor at the University of Rochester. Physics was always too heavy for me.

George and I almost contemporaries. He is 87. Sharp.

He used to visit Key West regularly years ago. He was in the Chart Room looking for his old friends Che and British Peter. Che at 83 has become a recluse. British Peter now living in the State  of Washington.

George lived on a boat in days gone by. He still owns the slip on Stock Island.

It was time to eat. I decided to return to Mary Ellen’s on Applerouth. A toasted cheese sandwich and tomato soup. So good the last time. Knew it had to be good again. It was.

Mary Ellen’s nothing fancy. I would describe it as typical Key West.

Entertainment last night. Dildo races. Electric vibrator dildo races.

Only in Key West.

A two foot board, ten feet long. Tipped forward about 25 degrees. Groved so the dildos would fit just right.

Betting beforehand. Bid on which dildo you wanted. The one you hoped would win. Bidding as high as $20-30 for each dildo.

The vibrators were turned on, the gate opened, and the dildos off and running! Spectators yelling just as if at a race track.

I did not bet.

As I was leaving, I heard the next race announced. The “Don’t Drop the Soap Race.”

Again, only in Key West!

I am still with the happy.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. The President made 11 trips to Key West totaling 175 days. He loved the place!

Truman arrived this day in 1951 for a three week visit. He would be staying at The Little White House.

Now for the unhappy. Two re Trump and one re Secretary of the Treasury Steve Munchin.

Trump announced yesterday steep tariffs beginning next week on steel and aluminum coming into the United States. Twenty five percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

The beginning of trade wars. Most of which historically have resulted in depressions and actual shooting wars.

Trump does not seem to care. He thinks he knows what is best.

The tariff increase would be world wide. No country left out.

Canada is our close friend and neighbor. We buy more steel from Canada than any other country.

China is the U.S.’s banker. The U.S. already owes China in excess of $1.3 trillion. We borrow from China almost daily. We never pay back. China always renews the notes.

Woe us if China decided to stop lending and called in the notes.

Trump does not seem to consider all ramifications before he makes a move. To our nation’s detriment.

The market knows what could occur. It dropped 500 points yesterday.

Another Trump catastrophe in the making. Guns, the NRA.

Wednesday he had a White House meeting involving himself, Congressional people, and parents and victims of some of the shootings. He spoke with bravado how something had to be done and he was going to see it got done. Preferably in one bill. He would sign it right away.

Not everyone bought what he was selling. He had been heard before re other important matters and failed when the time came to keep his word.

That was wednesday afternoon. Thursday evening there was another meeting in the White House. Only Trump. Pence and a representative of the NRA. Just the three of them.

The NRA rep was Chris Cox. Cox is the Executive Director of the NRA’s lobbying arm.

The meeting of the three appeared to have been kumbaya. In a tweet following the meeting, Cox reported Trump “does not want gun control.” Trump tweeted re the meeting: “Good (Great) meting in Oval Office tonight with the NRA.”

Trump playing games. He should have had Cox at the public meeting wednesday afternoon. A face to face confrontation between both sides. A no bullshit meeting.

My guess is the NRA will never budge re AR-15’s and other weapons of war. They will hold firm knowing their bought and paid for Congress will do their bidding.

Finally, Secretary of Treasury Steve Munchin. A former Goldman Sachs banker. An asshole first class from my perspective. Always ready to do Trump’s bidding. Not a free thinker. Happy to be Secretary of the Treasury. Beams with the joy of it.

Munchin married a much younger Scottish actress this summer. Good for him. Nothing wrong in it. However, he took his bride on their honeymoon on an Air Force jet that cost $25,000 an hour to operate. Taxpayer dollars. He justified it by claiming his security required it.

The man a pig impressed with his own self importance.

Munchin spoke at UCLA monday. The students were not nice to him.

One student referred to him as an enemy of the people because of the new tax law. Also referred to him as a plutocratic bullshiter.

Students in the audience yelled “I think you’re full of shit.” They denounced the Republican tax bill as an attack on “people who are in poverty.”

Munchin retaliated with wanting the students to identify themselves and the reason why a question was being asked.

The event was being videoed. Munchin had agreed before hand that it could be and later UCLA could run it on its TV network. Munchin withdrew his permission following his speech.

Cell phones are great. Some students videoed Munchin and excerpts can be found on the internet.

College and high school students are close in age. I sense a marriage and movement in the making. The young will not be silenced.

Enjoy your day!

 

HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR DAVID HOGG IMPRESSIVE…..#NEVER AGAIN FOR REAL

 

I watched Douglas High School senior David Hogg on Morning Joe today. Impressive. Articulate and thoughtful. Direct.

These children are not going to go away. #Never Again is for real!

The law moves in strange ways. Confusing even to the trained advocate.

In effect, assault weapons are banned in the United States. As was decided by the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Kolbe v. Hogan decided last year, Second Amendment protections are not extended to weapons of war.

Like an AR-15.

Several other Circuit Courts have similarly decided.

The Supreme Court may never decide. Specific grounds are required to reach the Supreme Court. One is that if Circuit Court decisions exist, they must be contrary. In other words, one Court decides one way and the other the opposite.

To achieve uniformity and a singular controlling “law” under the circumstances, it would require each State to ban assault weapons. I doubt such is possible recognizing the mindset of certain State legislators.

The Supreme Court decision recognizing Second Amendment gun rights is DC v. Heller. The case did not go so far as to recognize assault weapons and weapons of war. Even the conservative Justice Scalia wrote that Second Amendment rights were “not unlimited.”

Sunday a day of rest. I try to make it one.

My Sunday began with a 10:30 breakfast at Geiger Key. Owner Bobby Mongelli suggested I try Sunday breakfast there. The eggs benedict and water view went well together.

Continued researching in the afternoon. Missed Hot Dog Church and Kate Miano’s Gardens. Later in the evening, I stopped at Antonia’s for dinner.

Busy today.

Heart doctor appointment at 1:30. No problem. Routine check up. He is going to be shocked to see I have lost 19 pounds! I feel like Little Tom Horner…..What a good boy am I!

At 5, Mary Lou Hoover’s campaign kickoff party at Salute. Followed by Dueling Bartenders at Aqua. Mary Lou is running for City Commissioner.

Kate Miano, friend and proprietor of The Gardens, has made her bid for Mayor official. This morning’s Key West Citizen notes she has filed. As have 8 others.

Kate will win!

John Glenn made his famous orbital flight in February 1962. A few days after, America’s new hero and his family spent a restful few days at the Key West Naval Base vacationing.

It was announced over the weekend that Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will shortly undergo an $8.5 billion expansion. The work to include a 75 percent expansion, dozens of new gates, and several additional concourses. Three million square feet of rehab and new construction.

Purportedly will not cost taxpayers a penny. The airlines jointly enter into a long term contract with Chicago. The most recent a 35 year one. Scheduled to expire in May.

A new contract will be entered into. Chicago will pledge the rental fees over an extended number of years as collateral to borrow the money necessary for the new construction.

I wrote a weekly column for KONK Life for many years. One of the first concerned Lt. Edward “Butch” O’Hare.

O’Hare, a Chicago resident. A Navy pilot during World Ward II. He was stationed on the carrier USS Lexington. Japanese bombers were on the way. He and a handful of other pilots scurried to meet them.

O’Hare became an ace and Medal of Honor winner in 4 minutes. It that short time, he shot down 5 of the 9 approaching bombers.

O’Hare International Airport is named after him.

Trump continues to screw things up. Two of the most recent involve the Agency responsible for Immigration and the new head of the FAA.

The United States is no longer a nation of immigrants. So reflects the printed word as changed by the Trump Administration.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently changed its mission statement. From securing America’s promises as a nation of immigrants to protecting the homeland and honoring U.S. values.

Stripped the mission statement from immigrant assistance to protecting the homeland. I hate that word homeland. Sounds like something out of Nazi Germany.

The intent of the words emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty no longer of consequence…..Give me your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Another concern involves airplanes, airlines and the skies they fly. Trump is in the process of appointing a new head for the FAA. He is seriously considering appointing John Dunkin.

Dunkin has been Trump’s personal pilot since 1989.

Besides safety concerns, the FAA’s budget is $16 billion.

Dunkin qualified? I do not know. What I do know is that the whole thing sounds like Trump appointing his limousine driver of many years to be Secretary of Transportation. Which he did not.

Last but not least, my Syracuse got drubbed by Duke saturday night 60-44. Forget the NCAA! We will not make it.

Probably play in the NIT. I even question whether Syracuse belongs there this year. New York City is replete with Syracuse graduates who will run to the Garden to see Syracuse play. Syracuse a New York City guaranteed box office draw. Ergo, the NIT invitation.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN SUFFERING POST IRMA

Who is feeding the children of the Keys post Irma?

Irma came and went 5 months ago on September 10. Things appear better in Key West. Duval booming. Though I suspect the tourist numbers are down. Down based on a fear that Irma’s effects still with us.

Physical damage more obvious as you move up the Keys. Especially from Cudjoe to Marathon. House damage, especially. Small tent cities evident. Cars visible housing whole families.

A food problem exists. Full employment has not returned. Too many businesses still closed because of Irma. Waiting for federal or insurance monies to repair or rebuild.

The food problem most evident with children. The schools have brought it to light.

I became aware via an excellent article in KONK E-Blast and the Key West Citizen editorial, both this morning.

The federal government ceased paying for school meals as of February 1. The kids still line up for food. Say, please charge it. The schools charge. Otherwise, many children would not eat.

The numbers shocking. Four thousand living units in the Keys damaged beyond repair. Prior to Irma, homeless children numbered 150. Now, more than 500.

Since February 1, it has been costing the School District $400 a day to feed the additional homeless and others whose parents have not yet returned to work.

The feds who cut off FEMA funding prohibit school food programs from acquiring debt or using surplus funding. The School Board has to figure out how the monies can be found administratively. In the meantime, donations are coming in to keep the children fed.

Another big evening last night.

Began with the Sons and Daughters of Italy’s scholarship fundraiser. Involved was a silent auction and drawing for a cooked and served Italian dinner for 8.

Free food at the event. Home made by the members. Outstanding! I could not have eaten better anywhere else last night. Dates stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon. Meatballs in sauce. More. All mouth watering.

Blew my diet a bit. Only as to the stuffed dates. Enjoyed two.

Catherine was with me. We went over to Louie’s Backyard afterwards. Sat on the deck outside enjoying a couple of drinks.

I ran into Kate Miano. One of the finest persons in Key West. She told me she decided to run for Mayor. She will win. If she is able to run the City as she does her Gardens Hotel, Key West will benefit big time.

I was pleased and impressed with the announcement by Mueller yesterday that 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies had been indicted for screwing around with our Presidential election. Knocks the legs out of Trump’s claim that the Russians did not. Recall, he said Putin told him he and the Russians had nothing to do with it. He believed Putin.

I switched to FOX News immediately upon learning. Curious as to how FOX would be handling the news. Hannity was on. He seemed out of kilter. Unusual for him. Always damning things not Trump. He was obviously confused. He was suggesting the indictments were serious business and proof the Russians had committed wrong.

A couple of hours later when I returned to FOX, it was obvious Hannity had received other orders. Nothing good re the indictments was coming out of his mouth.

This morning FOX was the same. Three newscasters chatting back and forth. All negative re the indictments, of course. They lack backbone. They also don’t want to lose their pay checks.

I came across a Woodrow Wilson quote. Fits Trump perfectly: “All the extraordinary men I have ever known were chiefly extraordinary in their own estimation.”

Trump visited Parkland last night. Stopped at the hospital. Spoke to two of the injured children. A boy and girl. Focused his statements on first responders and the wonderful job they did. Failed to discuss the shooting itself, guns, and change to our gun laws.

Governor Scott and Senator Rubio were with him. It is reported Rubio spoke to the President emotionally re the impact on local families: ” This is a community and a state that’s in deep pain and they want action to make sure this never happens again.”

Trump replied: ” You can count on it.”

Good luck!

Trump recently submitted his proposed budget. The budget calls for a 30 percent cut to an Education Department grant program that supports safe schools. The budget also slashes public funds for mental health treatment.

The President speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

Seems to be a Trump morning for me.

Another Trump story involving the ladies. If this paragraph were titled, it would read something like Same Place, Same Week, Same Bungalow, Lake Tahoe.

It was reported that at the same 2006 golf tournament at Lake Tahoe where the President purportedly had a sexual liaison with porn star Stormy Daniels, he had another. She revealed herself yesterday. Her name Karen McDougal. 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year. She received $150,000. Daniels settled for $130,000.

And no one seems to care. Morality out the window as far as this President is concerned.

Syracuse/Miami at noon. Vegas line has Miami a 6 point favorite. Syracuse needs the win. I will be watching.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY BLUME

One of Key West’s most admired and respected persons is world famous author Judy Blume.

Today is Judy’s birthday. Happy birthday!

My daughters knew Judy Blume before me. Well before me. In their formative teen years. Judy wrote young adult novels. For the growing young lady. Issues like menstruation, self esteem, etc. She also wrote children’s books and adult novels.

Her books have sold over 80 million copies world wide and have been translated into 30 languages.

Judy and her husband George Cooper were instrumental with others in bringing Books & Books @ The Studios to Key West.

Judy can be found daily at Books & Books assisting visitors in making book selections.  Stop in today and wish her a Happy Birthday! Stop in any time to say hello.

Sunday means The Gardens. Kate Miano’s fabulous place.

I stopped by last night. Shocked! The most people I have ever seen attending the event. Ninety nine percent snowbirds. They have returned! Love Kate’s sunday party!

On the way home, stopped at Publix. I consistently run out of food frequently. Perhaps I never purchase enough at one time.

The past few days, I have had a desire for capicola. An Italian meat treat! Tasty. Bought a pound last night.

Capicola’s story interesting. More interesting, I made capicola while employed at a meat packing plant while in college.

Let me share my knowledge of capicola with you.

Capicola brought over from Italy. Referred to as capocollo in Italy.

Purchased at the store in its finished form as a fatty pork/ham cold cut surrounded by red pepper. Thinly sliced. The fat gives the meat a unique flavor.

Capicola is made from the pig’s muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the shoulder or neck.

The next few steps in the process not the same. Location alters the processing somewhat.

After cutting, the meat I dealt with was placed in huge jars of brine. Not sure the precise nature of the brine. Some said red or white wine, garlic and herbs. My recollection is that the room where the barrels were stored smelled good!

The brinning room was a large refrigerator. Not freezing. Merely cold. The room very large.

Row after row of the barrels. The barrels huge. Five or six feet tall. At least four feet wide. Made of wood.

The meat was marinated in the brine quite a while. Exact time, I do not recall. When the meat was ready for casing, the barrels were transported into another huge room.

That is where I came into the picture. My job was to stand on a ladder and remove the meat chunks one piece at a time. Did it with a meat hook. Had to be careful to put the hook into the right place on the meat. Otherwise, the meat would appear damaged and I could get fired.

I wore rubber gloves. No thin plastic gloves as we have today. My hands hot inside the gloves. The reason being the cooking ovens were in the same room and immediately next to where I was working.

I took the hooked meat off the hook and rolled it by hand in a large pan containing red pepper. Then I threw the piece on a large table below me. There a dozen or so workers were placing the meat in casings. Hands and small machines required for the operation.

The pepper would get in the gloves. Between the pepper heat and heat from the ovens, the skin began flaking off my hands. I was transferred to another job.

Once cased, the product was placed on huge trees and then sent into the huge ovens to cook. The ovens each the size of a room. After cooking, removed and allowed to hang several days to cool before delivery to stores for sale.

The owners of the meat packing house were good people. Employees were permitted to eat any of the meats produced for lunch. We normally went for the capicola or hot fresh ham warm as it came out of the ovens. A feast!

Syracuse survived yesterday against Wake Forest. Won 78-70. Syracuse has to win almost all of its remaining games to make the NCAA Tournament.

Trump coming out with his infrastructure plan today. $1.5 trillion. He has the ideas, but not the money. I understand he will suggest the federal government put  in 20 percent. The rest to be paid by the States, local governments, and private investment. The last meaning selling or leasing roads and bridges to private corporations.

The Feds do not have the money. However, I believe it has to come primarily from the federal government. It always has. The States and local governments are broke. Where would they get the money?

Private sector participation a no no from my perspective. It would be like using mercenaries to fight our wars, contracting out various federal jobs, and privatized jails.

It does not work. As we are slowly finding out, costly and full of improprieties and wrongdoing.

Trump is looking to private corporations to fund most of the repair/reconstruction work. I have seen how this works in Italy. The roads and bridges are beautiful. No pot holes anywhere. Most roads tolled. Expensive to travel. The toll charges not cheap. As a result, most Italians look for narrow country roads to travel.

Another Trump folly, mistake, not thought out plan, in the making.

Enjoy your day!

STONE CRAB SEASON A DISAPPOINMENT

Stone crabs!

My favorite food. The favorite of many.

Next to impossible to find. If available, expensive. Like $8 for a small one.

Why no stone crabs?

Two reasons.

The first Irma. Screwed up what is below the water as well as that above.

The other, cold fronts. Crabs are driven to the Keys by cold fronts. We have not had one yet this year. The cold this past week kid stuff compared to a real one.

Fortunately, the stone crab season lasts till May 15. We should have a cold front or two by then. Hopefully crabs galore. Unless Irma’s impact on them more significant than thought.

Yesterday’s blog lacked a most important saturday afternoon event. The Syracuse/Georgetown game. Syracuse won in overtime 86-79.

A typical hard fought game. As in the old days when the two teams met in Big East games.

Georgetown was up by 13 in the second half. Syracuse fought back and tied at the buzzer. Syracuse then out scored Georgetown by 7 points in overtime.

The best Syracuse game I have seen in a couple of years.

Go ‘Cuse!

I stayed in saturday night. The success Irma and me is having caused me to remain home working on my next book. Growing Up Italian. Irma has motivated me to do more.

I should have been out and about.

Doug Jones and Jimmy Buffett in town! Unannounced.

Jean Thornton has many friends. Someone called her and said be at Margaritaville at 8. Tell no one. Jean was not told why she should be there. She suspected maybe Buffett.

She was there. So too were Buffett and Doug Jones.

Jones and wife Louisa are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at a friend’s home in Key West. Jean is from Alabama. A Republican, of course. She rushed up to Jones excitedly and told him it was the first time in 28 years she had voted Democratic.

Then Buffett appeared. He played his guitar and sang for one hour.

The place was packed! Jean not the only one who had a friend. People out on the sidewalk for a look see and to hear Buffett.

Buffet sang Stars Fell Over Alabama in honor of Jones’ victory.

Nice that Buffett decided to “…..headin’ back to Key West town.”

Today’s Key West Citizen had only a few photos of the Lighted Boat Parade. Looked good! Also, a few photos of the first I Love Stock Island Lighted Boat Parade. Looked good, also.

The first I Love Stock Island Boat Parade and other events appear to be the beginning of a tradition. Go Stock Island!

I was out and about last night. Began with Kate Miano’s Gardens.

Terri White performing. My love! For the first time since her cancer surgeries. She appears on the mend.

The crowd was large out of respect for Terri. She failed them not. Her singing, Terri! Nothing changed. Outstanding.

I chatted with Terri, Donna, Tash, Kate, Jean, and Libby York amongst others. Also, Jan Gebhart and Bob Pracher. Had not seen them in a while.

Last night was the first time I met Libby York. Her singing well known beyond Key West. Places like New York, Chicago, and Paris.

Libby will be performing at The Gardens in a couple of weeks. She also opens thursday and every thursday thereafter at the Little Jazz Room Club.

Libby not new to Key West. She has had a home here since 1980.

The New York Times described her as “a juicy singer of cool composure and artful subtlety.”

Jean and I had dinner later at Antonia’s. She is supposed to leave today for Birmingham on Delta. Not sure she will get out.

I am still on the diet. Seem to have plateaued. Lost only one pound this past week. I have not cheated once. Ergo, the only one pound loss bothers me. I need to see success on the scale!

Enjoy your day!