BUBBA BUSTS

Bubbas are native born Key Westers. Also referred to as Conchs. A distinction. Those so born are proud of their heritage. Bubbas are also those who though not born in Key West have been residents a very long time and are deeply entwined in the business of the community.

On this day in 1985, the jury returned in a federal court criminal case involving 14 Bubbas. Twelve were found guilty. Involved were drugs.

The 1985 bust was not the only Bubba bust. There was one 10 years earlier in 1975 and another 10 years later in 1995. The feds would swoop down and make arrests.

The federal authorities in 1995 were concerned local authorities would reveal the investigation. The feds never advised local authorities of the investigation till arrests had actually been made.

The 1975 Bubba bust is best remembered.

James “Bum” Farto was Fire Chief. He was arrested and convicted of drug dealing. Following conviction, he disappeared on a trip to Miami. His car was found in a Latino neighborhood.

Bum Farto has never been found. A famous saying has developed over the years: Bum Farto Where are You? On tee shirts, etc. Farto has gained more notoriety in disappearing than if he had lived a calm routine life as Key West Fire Chief.

Tuesdays always quiet for me. I remain at home and fine tune my podcast to be delivered at 9 in the evening. The Show: Tuesday Talk with key West Lou.

Show went well last night. Love doing it! I sit back and vent. Share my feelings with everyone.

My numbers are increasing. I have national advertisers. Who would have believed!

Yesterday’s Rosanne Barr incident. ABC and Disney did the right thing. Costly, also. Not only for ABC and Disney. The many minions who worked the show, also. The little people. A hit show and their jobs lost.

Roseanne has a big mouth. Always has. Even 20 years ago. Would she have been as racist in her comments yesterday were it not for Donald Trump?

A President sets the moral tone for the country. The standard. Trump is a racist. Ergo, everyone else is entitled to be. He gives license to the Roseanne Barrs to be more vocal than they might have been.

This week’s KONK Life hits the stands at 5 this evening. My column this week: The FBI of Today The Jews of Yesterday. One of the best columns I have written. Read it, if possible.

In May 1937, the Volkswagen was born. Hitler wanted a state owned automobile company that could produce a cheap car. An affordable vehicle for the masses.

Hitler achieved his goal. The Volkswagen. Cost under 1,000 Reich marks. $140 American money.

The German term for Volkswagen means “The people’s Car Company.”

Hitler’s concept got its start in 1937. The company produced few or no cars. Hitler needed tanks. The plant was converted to a tank making facility.

The U.S. is in a time of diminishing influence world wide. For this we have Donald Trump to thank.

An example being the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear pact. There was and is money to be made in and with Iran. China recognized this fact immediately. It was recently announced a Chinese investment firm is going to invest $2 billion in an oil refining plant in Iran.

China and Russia are looking for ways to invest in Iran.

On this day in 1431, Joan of Arc was martyred. She was burned at the stake. By decision of the Catholic Church.

Burning at the stake. A religious inspired death. Concerned and caring.

Not one of the Church’s finest moments.

Church and government do not mix. Like oil and water.

We have a problem today with religion. Evangelicals have become politicized. They support Trump regardless of his many wrongdoings. The Catholic Church also on occasion.

Not a healthy scenario.

Have to hustle. I have a late morning heart doctor appointment with Dr. McIvor. Routine.

Frequent doctoring a scourge for the elderly. Tiring. A pain in itself. Necessary, however. I am glad I am able to do it.

Enjoy your day!

I’M THE PRESIDENT, AREN’T I?

Russia is a problem today. Russia was a problem yesterday. It has been a problem since the Russian Revolution of 1917. More so following World War II. Then a hiatus from 1989 till the ascendency of Vladimir Putin to power.

By 1961, Berlin had been divided into two different entities. East Berlin under Russian control and West Berlin under U.S. and West Berlin control.

People did not like living under Russian domination in East Berlin. They began escaping into West Berlin. The Russians did not approve. In August 1961, construction of a Russian inspired wall began to keep the East Berliners in East Berlin. The wall composed of barb wire and concrete.

The wall became known as the Berlin Wall.

The wall eventually started coming down 28 years later in 1989.

During its existence, 100,000 persons tried to escape to West Berlin. Only 500 made it. One hundred forty died trying.

Ronald Reagan became President of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia. They learned how to get along.

Gorbachev knew Russia was suffering. Its war with Afghanistan was costly and a drain on Russia’s economy. He also knew Russia had to reform its political system if it were to survive.

Reagan was scheduled to speak at the wall’s Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987. He wanted the speech to be special. He wanted it to make a point.

His speech writer was Deputy White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Duberstein wrote a dramatic line. Even more powerful when Reagan would deliver it with his acting fervor. The line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

Reagan liked the line. No one else. Secretary  of State George Shultz and National Security Adviser Colin Powell were vehemently opposed. The line too strong.

Those involved with the speech argued for weeks right up to the day of the speech whether the line should remain.

Reagan wanted the line in.

On the day of the speech, Duberstein and Reagan had this memorable exchange.

REAGAN: I’m the President, aren’t I?

DUBERSTEIN: Yes sir, Mr. President. We’re clear about that.

REAGAN: So I get to decide whether the line about tearing the wall down stays in?

DUBERSTEIN: That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.

REAGAN: Then it stays in.

Stayed in it did! Reagan’s words for history. Two and a half years later, the wall began to come down.

GOING TO NEED NOAH’S ARK SOON

In my 30 years of living in and visiting Key West, I have never seen rain like we are experiencing. Especially this time of the year. May is normally a dry month. People talk about needing rain.

It poured again yesterday. All day! Heavy!

Streets are flooding that never flooded before. Amazing!

The Comcast saga continues. Repair man due yesterday between 1 and 3. Got a call at 2. Three to four hours behind. Will come tomorrow (today).

I have been without TV since thursday.

Visited Dr. Jones late afternoon. Received my various test results. No cancer. Do have a problem, however. Cleveland Clinic next for consultation. Surgery probable in due course.

I am ok. Mentally in tune with what is occurring.

Aqua after Dr. Jones. Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna and Rick Dery. Guest performer the lovely Laura Richardson. Laura the owner of Salt Gallery.

Met Laura’s parents. Both retired corporate attorneys. Key West residents. Enjoyed my conversation with her father. Her mom seated too far away for any meaningful conversation.

Rick Dery a director, also. He has directed Pride Follies for several years. This year’s show is June 2 at 8 in the evening at the Key West Theater.

Always a winner!

Word on the street is Bank of America on Southard closing. I have not been able to verify the information. If so, the building would make an excellent dance facility. I have always thought downtown Key West needed a place where everyone regardless of age could get out there and do their thing.

Zombies in southern Florida! Reported by a power outage alert sunday in Lake Worth. The outage affected 7,880 residents.

The “alert” reported power was lost “due to extreme zombie activity.” Obviously a bogus report. Or was it? Actual cause remains unknown.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Interesting topics. My opinions shared. Though not necessarily the same as those who are tuned in.

The show’s audience gets larger each week. I love it! My advertisers love it!

Join me for a fast moving half hour.

Pope Francis a breath of fresh air in the world of Catholicism. Two weeks ago, he said in speaking to a gay man: “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care.”

The second time Francis has spoken in acceptance of homosexuality. A man of courage and conviction. The Bible tells us homosexuality is a sin.

Trump makes me laugh. He does not accept Venezuela’s election results. Phony, a sham. Earlier had threatened invasion. Now has fallen back to severe sanctions.

There are many tyrants elected in phony elections world wide. Putin, for example. Trump should threaten him and all other tyrants with invasion and/or severe sanctions.

Why pick and choose. Go after everyone.

The Trump administration continues on a fast track to dismantle Obama signature policies. Could Obama have been that wrong? Or is there another reason?

I suspect it may be because Obama is a person of color and Trump a racist. Or, it could be because Obama made fun of Trump at a White House Correspondents Dinner. When slighted, Trump has the memory of an elephant.

The Trump/Kim summit almost blew up. Trump may have saved it. John Bolton appears to have been the cause.

Bolton is crazy. A neo-con. A war hawk big time. Scares me.

In preliminary talks with North Korea, Bolton told the other side the U.S. supported a Libya Solution. Gaddafi was convinced to give up his nuclear program. Several years later, Gaddafi was found hiding in a sewer pipe, captured, tried and executed.

The North Koreans are not fools.

Some have suggested that Bolton’s meeting with his North Korean counterparts was an amateur hour.

The recent U.S./China trade talks another example of amateur hour play on the part of those representing the U.S. Nothing resolved. Problems kicked down the road.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mulchin should be sent back to Wall Street. He is neither qualified to be Treasury Secretary nor engaged in trade talks on behalf of the U.S.

Yesterday, Trump described Congressman Devin Nunes as “a very courageous man.” For pushing the DOJ and FBI for the name of an informant.

Recall Nunes’ support of Trump since day one. Running to the White House to report something that had happened in his Committee. More recently, having the House Intelligence Committee, which he Chairs, issue a majority report saying in effect no Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

I consider Nunes a stooge for Trump, an informant of sorts. He has forgotten his Congressional responsibilities in sucking up to the President.

An Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday causes me great concern. Note it was authored by Brigadier General Ronen Manelis of Israel’s Defense Forces.

The Jerusalem opening of the U.S. Embassy last week proved a disaster. At least initially. Now, I am not sure.

It was reported many Palestinians were protesting at the fence. On the Gaza side and unarmed. Israeli forces unloaded on them. Missiles, small fire, etc. Sixty two killed. Eight of them children. Two thousand seven hundred injured.

The world, including me, dumped on Israel.

Now it appears things may not have been as they appeared. Further investigation is required.

The Opinion claims the protest was funded by Hamas as a terrorist propaganda operation. Hamas provided free transportation to innocent citizens to the border, including women and children. These people were hired in effect as extras: $14 per person, $100 per family, and $500 if anyone was injured.

What is truth? The world should know.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK

Tombstones tell wonderful stories. History imprinted forever. Especially on Key West head stones.

The one that has always intrigued me, interested me the most, says…..I Told You I Was Sick.

This saturday, the Key West Cemetery is providing 3 guided tours. Ninety minutes each. Do yourself a favor, go. Reservations required.

Spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon working on Growing Up Italian.

Last night, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Friends galore.

Don and Chris in from Syracuse. They are getting married saturday at the Hyatt. Celebration time! I am invited. I am honored. Only 45 people. Three from Korea. His business partners.

Chris radiant. Always. This time a little more so.

Tom and Fran Dixon in from Buffalo. Only for 3 days. Leave wednesday morning.

Fran mothers me. Takes good care of me. Normally, she brings frozen containers of sauce with meatballs, sausage and pork. This time not frozen. Three canning jars full. No meatballs. She is aware I am on Atkins and did not want to submit me to bread crumbs.

The two couples Syracuse fans. We text each other during games. The object of our conversations last night Syracuse’s success thus far in the NCAA tournament. Exciting!

Lovely Liz at the bar. Met a family from somewhere. Two were Hamilton College grads. Actually, one Hamilton and one Kirkland. Kirkland the ladies part.

Nice people. A couple of interesting Hamilton exchanges.

Key West has been knocked down, destroyed, etc. many times over the years. Hurricanes a problem. In the early years, fires. Building codes either non existent or not as good as today.

On this day in 1923, an unoccupied cigar factory on the corner of White and Newton burned down. The fire spread. Forty three homes were destroyed. Forty families left homeless.

Show of shows tonight! My podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A quick and exciting half hour. Join me as I share my opinionated thoughts. About everything from a Key West problem to our national problem Donald Trump. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I consider New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Presidential timber. I am impressed how he has run New York State. Free tuition at 4 year State colleges, legalized same sex marriage, enacted gun control legislation. He balanced the budget on time during his first year for the first time in many years. Every area of the State has experienced significant development.

A negative is one of his aides was recently convicted of taking a $300,000 kickback. Cuomo was not involved.

It was announced this week Cuomo has primary opposition in his race for reelection.

Recall the movie Sex and the City. One of the four ladies was Cynthia Nixon. She is running a primary against Cuomo. One of her platform items corruption in his administration. I question the validity of the charge as it may personally involves him in any respect.

She has a list of other items. All sound good. Nixon has been active in New York City politics for years. Her other items appear to be New York City needs.

Not enough. There is upstate New York, also. The forgotten relative. Most Governors pay little attention to upstate New York. Cuomo has not. He is responsible for massive development upstate.

If Nixon wishes to succeed, she will have to come out with a for real program for the upstaters.

Trump on a high. Reminds me of a dog after he has done his business. Joyfully bounds around.

Why? He fired Andrew McCabe. News reports suggest he has become emboldened as a result. Accomplished a big thing from his perspective. Can do anything. Knows how to do everything. Does not need the advice of others.

His legal team a spot where he is spreading his wings. Apparently paying less attention to them. He has brought on another attorney. Joseph diGenova.

diGenova many years ago a U.S. Attorney. Today, a Washington attorney who frequently appears on FOX. He has been a part of the FOX group going back 20 or more years.

As does Trump, knows everything. Labeled Comey the “dirtiest cop in America.” Claims Comey destroyed the FBI’s reputation. Believes the Justice Department and Mueller are trying to frame Trump.

Washington attorneys describe him as a “wild card.” A qualification to represent Trump. They are birds of a feather.

Trump has brought  diGenova on board I assume based on diGenova’s appearances and statements made on FOX. Such do not qualify diGenova as the man for Trump. He does not need a TV star. He requires the very best attorney qualified in the areas Mueller is investigating.

My other area of concern is that Trump is apparently now running the legal show. He is not aware of one of the first axioms learned in law school: A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. I adjust it a bit to read…..A person who represents himself is a fool.

A person under investigation lives or dies by his attorney’s judgments, not his own.

Enjoy your day!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Belongs to the Irish. For this day alone, everyone is Irish.

Years ago, I did the Duval Crawl on St. Patrick’s Day. Drank green beer. Pissed green. Whooped it up.

No more. Time has caught up with me.

I look forward however to a good meal of corned beef and cabbage. Will do so with Donna and Terri.

Reservations generally required. Even with them, difficult to be seated timely. This year we are playing it smart. Take out from Shanna Key.

Parades a big deal this day. The only time I marched was when I was in college in New York City. I was in the Air Force ROTC. We marched in perfect precision up Fifth Avenue. A sharp eyes right as we passed St. Patrick’s Cathedral where the Cardinal sat.

Interestingly, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in New York City in 1762. As early as then there already was a large contingency of Irish living in New York.

Let me share with you an old Irish blessing: “May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”

Yesterday, a party at a lovely home on the water in Sugarloaf. Hosts Anita and Tom. Great company and food. A magnificent setting sun.

Watched Syracuse defeat TCU last night 57-52. Another squeaker.

Next game sunday against Michigan State. CBS at 2:40 pm. Syracuse the underdog once again.

Big week ahead. Folks coming in.

Today or tomorrow, Don and Chris. Their wedding next saturday at the Hyatt. I see a week of partying ahead. Liver abuse time!

Tomorrow, Tom and Fran Dixon from Buffalo. Recently returned from a trip to Italy. Fran will be bringing me frozen sauce with meatballs, sausage and pork. If I am lucky, home made pasta. Tom and Fran excellent company.

I mentioned earlier this week that long time Key West artist Jon “Tosh” McIntosh had passed on. This weekend’s Key West Citizen has an Editorial Page “cartoon” honoring Tosh. Tosh was the Editorial Page cartoonist for 20 years.

We have bad leaders in Washington. Whose fault? Ours.

Leaders rise from the people. We elect them. Ergo, we are complicit in the fact that our President and Congress are bad or have gone bad.

All cause and effect.

We live in a time where power has gone mad. Two occurrences in the last 24 hours proof. The firing of Andrew McCabe and Trump suing Stoney Daniels for $20 million.

This morning’s news tells us that Russia has found its way into our power grid. The computers, etc. that control electricity, etc. By the push of a button, Putin can shut the U.S. down. Place us in immediate danger. Our nuclear weapons and other defense items work off electricity.

A President’s first obligation is to protect the people. Trump is failing/has failed. First, by his reluctance to acknowledge and do something about Russia’s intrusion into the 2016 election. Now the danger of Russia turning off the U.S.’s power grid.

I am old school. I believe people should stay married, children should live with two parents, etc. I am one of the divorced. My wife divorced me after 52 years. Ouch!

I mention divorce because it has been announced Donald Trump, Jr and his wife Vanessa are divorcing. Apparently her idea.

Divorce is a lifer changer. I feel sorry for both of them and their children.

Donald Jr. may find additional aggravation from Mueller as a result. Vanessa might decide to reveal whatever she knows which might be adverse to her husband. Though certain laws might bar such testimony by her because of marriage, it would not bar her from sharing any information she has with regard to Donald Sr.

A woman scorned thing.

Have we become a society where there is no shame? Michael Flynn is Trump’s former National Security Adviser who plead guilty several months ago to lying to the FBI.  He has opted to take a deal, is providing information to Mueller, and agreed to testify against Trump if it becomes necessary.

Flynn was recently in California. He campaigned with and spoke on behalf of the Republican candidate who is running against Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Flynn was selling out America on a cell phone on inauguration day while Trump was being sworn in. Flynn seated several rows from Trump.

No one seems to care about character any more. For sure, Flynn, the Republican candidate he was speaking for, and the crowd that gave him a rousing cheer.

I am not sure why. Yesterday’s readership doubled. It happens occasionally. It had to be one of two blogs I wrote.

Enjoy your day.

 

TWO NOTEWORTHY EVENTS TONIGHT

Tuesday night always busy in Key West. Two events occur with regularity tuesday evenings. Aqua Idol and Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Aqua Idol a fundraiser. This year’s beneficiary the Waterfront Playhouse.

Aqua Idol is Lynda Frechette’s baby. Conceived, organized and directed by her. A tough job to keep going. Requires a slew of good singers willing to perform weekly. Lynda obviously knows what she is doing. Aqua is standing room only every week.

I suggest you get to Aqua by 5:30 if you wish to sit. The seats fill quickly.

The other tuesday event is my podcast. My blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. In its third year, the show’s numbers increase weekly. To the point the show has advertisers. Like GEICO Insurance and Old Navy.

Tuesday Talk is a quick moving half hour of me pontificating on world events. Listeners may not always agree. They return weekly, however.

Join me tonight at 9 my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Last night was Aqua and the Green Parrot. Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. The Green Parrot for dinner. I assume the restaurant next door/attached is now part of the Green Parrot. Whatever, I had dinner there.

Catherine joined me for the evening.

Dueling Bartenders was especially sweet. My beloved Terri White the guest performer. Together with Tom Luna and Rick Dery, the singing was over the top.

I sat with Bear. Except for barking a few times when Terri was singing, he was exceptionally good. Sitting at our able were Catherine, George, Art, and Stacey. At the bar, Liz, David, and Sheila.

Tried Antonia’s and La Trattoria for dinner. No room at the inn. Season packing the restaurants. That is why I ended at the place next door to the Green Parrot. Enjoyed ribs and wings.

Cold again! Another northeaster burying Boston and the Cape. We feel the cold this far south. Never fails to work that way.

Last night 61 again. I still without heat. You could hang meat in my bedroom. The cold will continue today. The high 68. Tonight, 63.

A major announcement just came over TV. Secretary of State Tillerson gone. Trump let him go and replaced him with CIA Director Pompeo.

Tillerson was ineffective. Not a diplomat. An oil man. Not qualified for the position as many Trump Cabinet persons. Tillerson’s main qualification when appointed was that he was a close friend of Putin. He now joins the some dozen other key Trump appointees who have gone along the wayside.

One of Tillerson’s problems is he spoke too candidly for Trump. They were not always on the same page.

Pompeo has all kinds of credentials. Whether the man for job remains to be seen. Pompeo a West Point graduate, Harvard Law graduate and most recently Director of the CIA.

An observation. Perhaps improper. I am not sure. Trump avoids confrontation in certain instances. Like when firing a main support person. Both Comey and Tillerson were out of town when they got the ax. TV is reporting Tillerson first heard of his firing via Twitter.

What happened to our political leaders being Americans first and politicians second? It has been obvious from day one that the House Intelligence Committee in its review of the Trump/Russia/collusion issue has been pro Trump and anti truth. The Committee’s Republican majority concluded yesterday there was no evidence of collusion between Trump’s Presidential campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Recognizing however that Russia had interfered with the election.

Fortunately, the Mueller investigation remains ongoing. The truth will out.

Trump has appointed a Commission on School Safety. A typical move. He has a pattern of passing the buck rather than making the hard decisions. Commissions and Committees have always been a Washington way of avoiding decision making re sensitive issues.

Trump has appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as Chairman. Her intellectual level is on a par with Sarah Palin’s. DeVos was interviewed a few days ago on national television. Her responses to questions shocking. Evidenced a definite lack of mental acumen.

Woe the safety issue and woe the education of American children.

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!

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTION

Word on the street is the Key West lodging and entertainment industry is having staffing problems. No wonder. The work staff, bartenders, wait staff, hotel workers, etc. are departing. They cannot afford to live in Key West any longer. Irma the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Rents became too high for ordinary Joes and Janes. Many ending up sharing an accommodation with anywhere from one to three other persons.

Irma caused damage in varying degrees to real estate. Renters found themselves without a home. Landlords in many instances became pigs. The law of supply and demand. Raised the rent!

Most were not able to work during the crisis. Two weeks or more  going unpaid.

Can you blame them for leaving? Or would you rather have them live under the Cow Key Bridge?

The heart of the housing problem is that the local law requiring Key West rentals to be for at least 28 days is not being effectively enforced. Forget excuses and difficulty of enforcement. Enforce! Hit violators with the fines permitted under the law, not a slap on the wrist.

Within a year, the affordable housing problem could be resolved. Without the need to construct affordable housing. The high cost of affordable housing itself  a joke.

Berlin proves my point.

Berlin was experiencing a relatively new housing crisis. Rentals became unavailable. Those available experienced sky rocketing rents.

Berlin attributed the problem to Airbnb. The greed of swift big dollars caused homes to be converted to unlicensed, super profitable hotel rooms. Such caused housing prices to be driven up and a shrinking rental inventory. Suddenly, Berlin was unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there.

Berlin dealt with the problem face on. Enforced a long term rental policy. Punished those who violated the policy.

In the first year alone, 8,000 units were returned to Berlin’s long term rental market.

San Francisco had a similar problem. Enforced its long term rental laws. As a result, 6,000 illegal listings disappeared.

New York City is presently complaining of the Airbnb problem. Airbnb has resulted in a raised cost of living for renters.

Unless local laws are enforced sternly, the situation will be as the comedian Robin Williams related regarding England’s unarmed police: Stop or I’ll say stop again!

Key West must use the law and its staff to combat the problem. Give Codes more men, a bigger budget. Resolve cases with significant fines. Of a size that hurt.

Then there will be no need for affordable housing. The working community will be able to pay fair market prices for rentals.

Trump’s State of the Union Address last night. What can I say that is not being bandied about via the media last night and this morning. I thought the address more form than substance. Considered it divisive. The tone Trump’s way or the highway.

Trump is fortunate to have finally discovered the value of prompters. He stuck to script last night. Made him appear Presidential.

Things are happening under Trump which I do not consider in the best interests of our Nation.

I hear purge and cleanse too often these days. With relation to the Department of Justice and FBI. Trump is a destroyer. A member of the Apocalypse.

Trump could have sanctioned Russia yesterday. He already had Congressional approval. He failed to do so. His excuse being he thought the ability to sanction was a sufficient deterrent to Russia.

He gave Russia a free pass. Russia who is out to bury us. A Russia that cannot be trusted. A Russia that only understands force/compulsion.

Trump claims that one of the benefits of the new tax law is that many corporations are paying bonuses in the thousands to its employees. I would buy $1,000. Not the point, however. A recent study shows only 9 percent of Fortune 500 companies have arranged to have their employees share in the windfall.

Whether 9 percent or 100 percent, the corporations who pay something to their employees still come out with huge significant monies remaining.

I am concerned. A society that is 1 percent/99 percent cannot survive. The 99 percent deficated upon will accept it only so long. Social disorder could result.

I worry about the market. So high! Higher every day!

Such cannot sustain itself. Fifty percent of Americans are not in the market, not benefiting.

Herbert Hoover was elected in 1929 when the market was acting as it is today. Upwards, ever upwards! Less than 8 months after his election, the market fell. The U.S. experienced its worse depression in history.

Trump could be the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century.

Irma and Me is now available at the Key West Library. Available for checking out. I am honored.

Syracuse/Georgia Tech tonight at 8. I will be watching the game. I am not sure where yet.

Enjoy your day!

 

PROHIBITION OVER

The band played, the drums roared…..Recreational marijuana became legal yesterday in California. Prohibition over.

Within five years, most States will permit the use of recreational pot. The reason simple. Tax dollars! Big ones expected.

A few States will resist. Evangelicals, the extreme right their moving force. Those who refuse to learn, to accept. They will view legalized marijuana as morality tossed out the window.

My only stop last night the Chart Room. Quiet at first. Chatted with Shaun. Watched the beginning of the Oklahoma/Georgia game. I left at half time. My recollection Oklahoma winning by 17 points at the time.

While at the Chart Room, met Barbara and Joe. From Westchester, Pennsylvania. Barbara still working. A nurse. Joe, retired. A retired attorney and college educator who taught law classes.

They visit Key West frequently. Their Keys home on Little Torch Key. A mobile home destroyed by Irma.

We talked about the tragedy wrought by Irma. Barbara and Joe’s Little Torch home right in the middle of Irma’s blast.

Got into a discussion re retirement. Two retired attorneys. I ventured I went crazy with nothing to do. My blog born of that boredom. My other writings, TV show, weekly newspaper column, and podcast followed.

Joe agreed re the boredom, the difficulty initially of handling doing nothing.

A voice joined us from the other end of the bar. Tomas Mazeika. An attorney, also! A partner in a major law firm in western United States with offices in most major west coast cities.

Tomas, Joe and I agreed on one thing. Practicing law was/is hard work! The issue arose when I mentioned how content I am writing. Told them I wished I had majored in English and became a writer rather than an attorney. I would not have made as much money, but life would have been a lot easier.

Headed home. I was interested in the Alabama/Clemson game.

Hopped in bed and turned on the game. No Alabama/Clemson. Oklahoma/Georgia still on. Georgia had come back. The game tied. Two overtimes. Georgia finally winning.

An exciting finish.

Began watching Alabama/Clemson. Fell asleep within minutes. Woke at 3:30. Curious as to who had won, I went to my office and turned on the computer. Alabama 24-6.

Georgia/Alabama has the makings of an exciting game!

The jet stream is out of its neighborhood. All the way down to southern U.S. states. Including Florida. The jet stream bringing Canadian cold to us.

Sixty one degrees in Key West at 8 this morning. High today 68. Cold tomorrow. Even colder beginning thursday. Evenings in the mid 50’s and days in the mid 60’s.

The heat on at on at the moment.

Trump acts without thinking. Shoots from the hip. Most times totally unaware of the consequences. Several months ago, Trump decided to get on Venezuela’s back. He heard the people were starving. They had been starving for four years.

He tweeted. Knocked Venezuela’s President Maduro. Threatened a U.S. invasion.

The U.S. invading Venezuela? Pure stupidity!

Maduro reacted. In effect said to Trump, up yours!

The story. The U.S. has been the beneficiary of a deal made many years ago involving oil. Basically means any crude oil transactions and those emanating therefrom, were to be in American dollars. Such kept the U.S. dollar stable.

China has been making noises in recent years that it would like to have countries use the Chinese yuan instead of the American dollar.

Maduro opened the door for China.

Venezuela has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Venezuela went to the yuan. Russia and China announced they are going to the yuan. More countries will follow.

The U.S. at some point will experience an economic crisis. The stable American dollar will no longer be stable.

The beginning of the scenario occurring because Trump threatened to invade Venezuela.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A quick half hour of interesting discussion. Many items eye opening.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Guaranteed you will enjoy!

If you have not purchased my recent book Irma and Me, please do so. It is the only published work on the hurricane. Humor and tragedy mixed.

Irma and Me is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE

The man who would not die. His name, Rasputin.

History tells us he was a con man supreme, a self-proclaimed holy person, one who caused a royal dynasty to fall. Romanov Russia.

Rasputin helped bring revolution to Russia. He made possible the birth of Communist Russia.

Born Grigory Efinovich Rasputin. To a peasant family. At some point, he underwent a religious conversion. Proclaimed himself a healer.

Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra’s son Alexi was a hemophiliac. Rasputin seemed to have the ability to stop Alexi’s bleeding. The year 1908. From that time forward, Rasputin was an accepted friend, confidant, and adviser to Nicholas and Alexandra. Especially, Alexandra. History believes she had an ongoing affair with Rasputin.

He became a dark influence on the royal family.

All of Russia disliked Rasputin. Nobles, church orthodoxy, and peasants alike. He was constantly drunk, a womanizer, an evil in the Romanov homes. He was concerned not with the best interests of Russia. His concern at all times was his image. Some what like Trump today.

A group of Russian nobles were eager to end Rasputin’s influence over the royal family. They murdered him the night and early morning of December 29-30, 1916.

Even at the time of his death, Rasputin exhibited messianic powers. He was a man who would not die.

The nobles laced his food and drink with cyanide. No effect. They then shot him at close range. He revived and tried to escape. The nobles shot him again. He continued to live.

The nobles finally tied Rasputin up and tossed him into a freezing river.

That did it!

The nobles killed Rasputin. Rasputin killed Romanov Russia. The peasants in due course revolted. In 1922, Soviet Russia was born.

Rasputin put into motion a series of events which even to today affect the world. U.S./Russian relations an example.

Last night, a lovely evening. A charming companion. Catherine.

We dined at Berlin’s. Guy de Boer sitting next to me at the bar. Berlin’s the busiest I have ever seen. Makes sense. Christmas week the busiest tourist time of the year for Key West.

I enjoyed a prime rib again. Terrific! Just the meat and au jus sauce. Part of the Atkins diet.

I am into my fifth week of the diet. Only cheated Christmas eve and Christmas day. I should have lost 15-20 pounds by now. I lost 10 pounds the first week. Not an ounce more since.

Discouraging.

I am thinner. Into shirts and shorts one size smaller. I need the pounds off, however. The scale speaks the truth!

Worry not, I will continue with the diet.

Big event tomorrow at noon. The Annual Dachshund Walk. Hundreds will congregate at the Courthouse on Whitehead to watch the parade.

Only in Key West!

Trump upsets me this morning. I saw the news that a small group had protested in Iran. Trump announced to the world how terrible the Iranian government was, good luck to the protesters, etc.

Trump does not know when to keep his mouth shut and when to speak.

The world is dividing into two camps. Just as Germany and the Allies did prior to World War II. Iran and Russia are friends. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia friends on the other side. Trump should not encourage further division. He has yet to learn it is better to make friends than enemies.

I wonder how Trump would have felt if after Charlottesville, Iranian and Russian leaders spoke out telling the world the U.S. was bad, good luck to the protesters, etc. Trump would have shouted back that each country should mind its own business.

Trump continues to be a growing menace to the health and security of the U.S.

The weather started turning last night. Today’s high projected at 73. The low tonight 64. Cold for us. Warm to my friends up north suffering in low teen freezing cold and tons of snow.

It will continue cold for a few days. Long pants, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. for us. For me, the heat on tonight.

Enjoy your day!