RIP-OFF RAPID RESPONSE TEAM

Several years ago, a new type sales store appeared on Duval Street. A cosmetic shop. Sold all kinds of goodies to enhance a woman’s facial features.

Soon there were more such shops.

Each engaged in overcharging. Significantly. Unknown to the purchaser. A $300 purchase showing up on a customer’s credit card billing as $3,000 for example.

The police did not consider the problem criminal. The ripped off customer was left to suing the store directly. A long tedious process uncertain of success.

A handful of Key West citizens decided to do something about it. A vigilante committee of sorts.

The group organized the Rip-Off Rapid Response Team. They fought the cosmetic shops not with guns. Rather with signs and picketing. The signs reflecting the fraud involved.

The group almost immediately became successful. The cosmetic merchants did not want a bunch of vocal crazies (from their perspective) spoiling business.

This morning’s Key West Citizen has a front page story and photo of the group in action.

One of the cosmetic stores had overcharged/ripped off a 54 year old Vermont visitor to the tune of $9,752. It took sign carrying picketers 1 1/2 hours to get the store to capitulate. The cosmetic store reimbursed the ripped off man the $9,752.

Congratulations to the do gooders!

I have a concern, however. What continually happens in these situations is fraud. Clear and simple. Why do the police not deal with the problem?

Key West’s finest are the finest. I think our police force does an excellent job. However in this regard, they fail the public they serve.

My understanding is the police consider the rip-off a civil matter. Not a criminal one. Ergo, the defrauded person has to resort to civil remedies.

I don’t buy it. It’s like passing the buck, I don’t want to get involved.

A similar situation existed with the former Scrub Club on Duval. Men would go in understanding a “massage” was $300. When the credit card bill was received, it was $3,000. The police refused to get involved. Considered the wrongdoing a civil matter.

Comcast. A pain the ass! Finally got a repairman. Took five days.

Learned something I did not know. The repair people do not work for Comcast. Comcast contracts out the repair work. To a Tennessee company. The company maintains 7 repair men in the Key West area.

From what I could determine, the repair people are overloaded. My repair man showed up around 6 last night. Was due between 1 and 3.

Spent yesterday afternoon preparing for my podcast show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Then the show at 9.

I have become sick and tired of Trump, Trump, Trump, in the news. All around us. Last night I did a show 95 percent non-
Trump. A change of pace. There are other things happening in the world we should be aware of, think about, discuss.

A point to be made with most of the topics. Of course, I made the point in each instance.

The show is archived. You can listen to it at any time at your convenience. You might especially enjoy listening to last night’s show. www.blogtalkradio/key-west-lou.

This week’s KONK Life on the stands. My column Right To Declare War. Congress’ right Constitutionally. However one that the Presidency has usurped since the Korean War. Interesting reading.

Pythons a dramatic problem in south Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Pythons sexually inclined. Now number in excess of one million. Most centered in the Everglades.

They can never be eliminated, eradicated. Too many. Hopefully, contained.

The State of Florida is always declaring war on the pythons. Last year, the State authorized 25 hunters to catch and kill them. A joke! Since March 2017, the 25 have caught 1,000 so far.

Like a drop of water in the ocean or adding a grain of sand to a beach.

Dentist appointment at 11:30. I think the endoscopy procedure might have screwed up an implant.

Enjoy your day!

SUB-HUMAN…..ANIMALS TO BE KILLED

Monday was a disgrace. A shame.

Israel killed 59 Palestinians, eight of them children. Injured 2,700. So many that the hospitals could not handle them all. Medical personnel, medicines, dressings, etc. were insufficient.

Palestinians were protesting. On their side of the fence. The power and might of war machinery on the other side of the fence. Israel sending drones and missiles,  in addition to shooting over the fence.

Ian Welsh is a noted blogger and editor. He wrote, “The simple fact is that too many Israelis now think of Palestinians as sub-human: animals to be killed if they are inconvenient.”

I recall when Israelis were abused. Those who abuse tend to become abusers. Such has happened to Israel.

Finally got my car back yesterday. The brake light problem was not a simple one involving a new fuse. Needed a brake switch. Had to come from Miami. First one that arrived the wrong one. Returned to get another. The order got lost in Miami. Finally, the correct brake switch arrived.

Lights worked. Voila!

Problem: Brakes were locked. Could not drive. Car had to remain at garage overnight.

Whatever, I was happy to have my car back yesterday. Decided I was entitled to a feast of sorts.  Lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large Cuban coffee. Always delicious!

Then home. I still had to finalize, revise my podcast to be delivered last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Dinner before the show at Lisa’s. Robert’s birthday. Fourteen years old. Blew out the candles and sang Happy Birthday!

Robert and Ally had to leave the table immediately following the cake. They begin final exams today.

I enjoyed delivering the podcast last night. So many exciting, interesting, and disgusting events occurring worldwide. Kim Jung Un threatening to call off his summit with Trump, American Embassy opening in Jerusalem resulting in 59 dead and 2,700 injured, and American designated evangelist Pastor Robert Jeffress offering a prayer at the Embassy opening, among the topics. Jeffress especially interesting. He has repeatedly said over the years that “Jews will go to Hell.”

The best of the best however was the China/ZTE/Trump story. A quid pro quo. Three days before Trump announced we have to help China retain jobs, a Chinese bank loaned $500,000 million to an Indonesia theme park in the making. Trump’s company is part of the theme park. A Trump hotel, golf course, and condominiums.

A recent study re States and healthcare has Florida in poor standing. It ranked Florida 48th among all 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Two great white sharks traced near Florida Keys. Hilton and Savannah. Yes, they have names. They were tagged several months ago and are being followed.

Hilton a male, 12’5″, 1,300 pounds. Savannah a 8’6″ female.

They are moving north. Will travel up the Atlantic coast line. Expected to move closer to Key West the next few days.

Beware!

Enjoy your day!

 

SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL

Key West is in the middle of this year’s Songwriters Festival. The event began May 9 and ends May 13. Five days and nights of live music. The faces, voices and stories behind the songs.

Two hundred plus performers and fifty plus shows. To be seen and heard on parts of Duval and its side streets and in many bars and restaurants along the way.

Key West will be over run with music lovers from all over the world.

A post Irma report has just come out re tourism revenue. In the eight months since Irma, tourist revenue is down 11-24 percent depending on the month.

The ad agency representing Key West has recommended that more money be spent in advertising to attract the number of tourists lost.

I disagree. Key West is over touristed. The island is sinking beneath the added weight of too many visitors. Traffic is heavy, bicyclists a danger, pedestrians crossing streets without looking, etc.

Greed is killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Key West cannot continue to receive more and more visitors each year. There is a breaking point. We are reaching it.

Some things cannot be questioned. One, man needs water to survive.

As far back as Aristotle, water was a concern. Being the genius he was, Aristotle shared his thoughts and solutions for his time: “Salt water, when it turns into vapour, becomes sweet and the vapour does not form salt water again when it condenses.”

Aristotle also noticed that a fine wax vessel would hold potable water after being submerged long enough in seawater, having acted as a membrane to filter the salt.

Ocean going ships over the centuries had a desperate need for fresh water. Ways to desalinate were improved for vessels.

Thomas Jefferson came up with a better method to desalinate on ships. Decals with his instructions were prepared and placed on the back of all shipping permits.

Desalinization improved following World War II. So good that optimization became the goal.

Which brings me to the why I have spent this time on desalinization.

The Florida Keys need water. Especially, Key West. We pipe our water in from the mainland 150 miles away. Scarcity periodically a problem.

On this day in 1967, a $3.3 million desalting plant was constructed to assist Key West and its immediate surroundings. The new plant capable of producing 2.62 million gallons of fresh water a day.

The plant ended a critical water shortage at the time.

Trump and his staff show little respect for John McCain. McCain has brain cancer and is reaching the end of his days.

McCain qualifies as a torture expert.

One day after he announced opposition to Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel, a White House staff meeting was being held. Trump was not present.

It is claimed that during the meeting, Special Assistant Kelly Sadler while discussing the torture issue and McCain’s position said, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

Her comment has been perceived as mocking McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. Sadler says she meant it as a joke. However it was not received as such. It has been reported there was a dead silence in the room following the statement having been made.

Sadler apologized to one of McCain’s daughters following the incident.

A Pandora’s box has been opened. The $4.4 million Michael Cohen received following Trump’s election. The question arises: Where did the money go after leaving Cohen’s hands? Any of it to the President?

I mentioned yesterday how the new US ambassador to Germany on tuesday advised the Germans they should stop doing business with Iran. The Germans laughed at him.

Other European nations are reacting. France’s Finance Minster said yesterday that Europe is not a US vassal, not the world’s economic policeman.

I have followed Venezuela more than 5 years. Ever since Nicolas Maduro became President. Maduro is doing a lousy job. I cannot understand why the people have not revolted.

Starvation exists. Everyday. Little relief. The pets were eaten three years ago. Babies fed every other day with some sort of powder concoction. On it goes.

Several months ago, Maduro said something nasty about Trump. I do not recall what. The next day Trump said the US was considering invading Venezuela to relieve the poverty that had befallen its people.

On monday, it was announced that the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela. On 3 Venezuelans personally and 20 Venezuelan companies. The justification claimed was narcotics trading tied to Maduro.

Almost simultaneously, Pence appeared before the Organization of American States and told the audience that there was a need to take greater steps to isolate Maduro. The drug issue the justification again.

Something wrong here. How do you sanction a nation whose people are already starving? Who ate family pets? Whose babies get fed every second day?

The narcotics claim is disturbing. Venezuela is the other end of the Earth from the US. The real drug problem affecting the US is Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces 95 percent of the world’s heroin. Most of it ends up on our streets. Our people dying big time daily from its effects.

The US has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for 17 years. In that time, the poppy fields have grown, heroin exports increased dramatically. Little done by the US to stop it.

Something stinks and has stunk in Afghanistan re drugs since the US became involved with the country.

Enjoy your day!

KEY WEST AREA BORDELLOS BACK WHEN

The Key West area had its share of houses of prostitution back in the late 1940’s into the 1950’s. Going back 300 years, also. And since the 1950’s.

An age old business. Its roots traced to Biblical times. However, my house of ill repute comments are limited to the late 1940’s, early 1950’s time frame.

Today, a significant one in local prostitution history. On this day in 1953, Mom’s Tea Room on Stock Island was closed. A popular place. Open 11 years.

A forced closing.

The US Navy was upset its men were big time customers of Mom’s. Not that anything bad happened to them while they were enjoying Mom’s ladies. The Navy merely felt it was morally improper and leaned on local officials to close Mom’s down.

Mom’s was a local example of white slavery in operation. Mom was from Georgia. Her husband would travel to Georgia and abduct young Georgian ladies. Returned them to Mom’s to become working girls.

Mom and her husband felt this was not abuse since they made sure the girls were at least 17 years old.

There was another brothel on Stock Island at the time. Big Anne’s. However, I know nothing more about it than it existed.

Key West itself had many whore houses. Two on Petronia Street.

The Square Roof. White ladies available.

Another whose name I have not been able to determine. It provided primarily black women.

Sex was cheap in those days. Generally, $2. Not shocking when you consider a loaf of bread cost 2 cents and a gallon of gas 15 cents.

Between getting the blog out and working 3 hours with Sloan yesterday, I was wiped out. Decided to stay home. Never made it to Hot Dog Church or the Gardens.

Laid around watching the Masters.  Outstanding! Several could have won. One did. The leader for most of the day, Patrick Reed. He hung on to win by one stroke. A “dogfight” as he described it afterwards.

Big event later today. From 4-7. At the Grand Vin at 1107 Duval. A fundraiser for Commission candidate Mary Lou Hoover.

My candidate. A deserving person who based on prior performance will do much to help Key West.

The event is a Best BBQ Chef competition. Donation $20 and eat all the barbecue you can consume!

Trump and California Gov. Jerry Brown have been engaged in an ongoing battle re sanctuary cities. Brown recently used his Governor powers to pardon 5 convicts facing deportation because of their illegal status.

Well done, Jerry Brown! Trump had to be disturbed.

This day again one of significance. Sad historical significance. On this day in 1942, the US surrendered Bataan to Japan. Twelve thousand Americans and 66,000 Filipinos. Followed immediately by the Bataan Death March where many died.

We are engaged in another type war today with Japan. A tariff war. Tariff wars can lead to fighting wars. Recall that the primary reason the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor was the oil embargo imposed on Japan by the Roosevelt administration.

Roosevelt’s message to Japan was simple. Get out of China and we will withdraw the oil embargo.

China was not to be insulted by such terms. The result was Pearl Harbor.

War is all around us. Assad it is claimed chemically attacked his people again. A little town called Douma outside Damascus. Films of the event sickening. Gas bombing has been a no no for all nations since World War I.

Assad does not care. He has done it several times. Russia and Iran who support Assad do not seem to care. In fact, Putin does not believe it occurred. He wants proof.

TV film not enough for him. It can be rigged.

Trump said yesterday that Assad would have a “big price to pay.” He has drawn a line in the sand. He must do something. Otherwise Russia, Iran and North Korea will not believe we will do anything to them at any time regardless of what they do.

There cannot be another Obama situation. Recall after an Assad gas bombing, he “drew a line in the sand.” The next time it happened, Obama failed to follow up. He did nothing.

Trump should immediately get a few other nations on board. France has already indicated it will cooperate. Such must be done this week.

The retaliation must not be equal to, but rather even more harsh than merely gassing a population. What, I do not know. Outside my pay grade. But again must be severe. Like taking out every Syrian industrial area, bomb Assad’s quarters, etc.

I doubt Putin would get involved. At this point, he is all mouth. His military forces are old and lacking. He does have nuclear bombs, however.

Whatever, Putin cannot go to war with anyone with out China as a partner. China is not stupid. It is not in China’s best interest to engage in a fighting war with the US at this time. China believes it can beat us economically.

Tomorrow, a big day for Louis and Irma and Me. Our first book signing. From noon to 3. At Andrews Inn at Zero Whalton Lane. Come visit. My sense is it will be fun.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRICK OR TREAT

Happy Halloween!

One admonishment. Be careful driving tonight. The streets will be full with children of all ages.

Trick or Treat the demand.

When I was young, it was Guess or Give. I do not recall Trick or Treat till sometime in high school. Decided to give the two names a quick Google.

The phrase Trick or Treat appeared for the first time in a 1927 Canadian book. Picked up in U.S. along the way. World War II derailed the use of the term. The shortage of sugar the reason. It returned in the early 1950’s.

I was out knocking on doors beginning 1940. I only knew Guess or Give till about 1950.

Googled Guess or Give. Information sparse. Very. Could not find it utilized at Halloween time as part of the knocking on the door scenario.

Spent a good part of yesterday working on tonight’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

An abundance of interesting topics. Like Paul Manafort, Trump deportations extreme, 320 homeless children in the Florida Keys as a result of Irma, a Mississippi judge who refused to return a black woman’s baby for 14 months till she paid court costs.

Also, Trump and opioids, Puerto Rico and the Whiteface Energy contract, Saudi Arabia grants full citizen privileges to Sophia Robot, a Terri update, a nipple tattoo following mastectomy, and more.

Nine my time. A quick eye opening half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Lunched at Cuban Coffee Queen. Cuban cheese toast and coffee. Read the newspapers. Relaxing.

Yesterday, exciting. The first indictment/arrests in the Russian collusion inquiry. Regardless of what I was doing yesterday, I was always near a TV or radio so I could hear what was going on.

A big opening salvo by Mueller. Especially the news re George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea.

I will have more to say re the indictments/arrests at 9 tonight on my blog talk radio show.

The U.S.is not the only nation that has been subjected to major cyber attacks by Russia. Germany, France and the Netherlands some of the others.

The EU has a draft circulating among its members to define cyber attacks as “acts of war.” Weapons limited to conventional ones.

One of the purposes of cyber attacks is to destroy what is commonly described as the establishment. Its aim is to bring down post World War II accomplishments in political, economic and military areas. Russia behind the rebellion against established order.

Steve Bannon comes into play. A leader in the Trump victory. For a time Chief Strategist to Trump. Now all over the U.S. politicking against Senators scheduled to run next year. Bannon openly has stated and continsue to state his goal to bring down the establishment. Destroy it!

The man is mad.

Probably the tastiest fish in the Florida Keys is hogfish. So good, it has been over fished.

Commercial hogfish harvesting was closed down August 24. It will remain closed till January 1.

Recreational, from November 1 to May 1.

It is not just hogfish that is depleting in numbers. Most other denizens of the deep as well. For example, many are unaware that certain of our Keys’ fish are shipped as far as Japan on a daily basis.

With the world population burgeoning, fish someday will be the primary source of food. We must control what we take out of waters today so our grandchildren will be able to eat tomorrow.

Another example of depletion involves Atlantic salmon.

Atlantic salmon return yearly to the Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick, Canada. To spawn.

Not this year. Zip. Nothing.

Why, no one knows. Could be climate change. Whatever, the salmon have disappeared in the River. The Magaguadavic River not the only place. Other rivers in recent years, also. Suddenly and unexplainably.

Heard from the publisher. Irma and Me should be out by the end of the week.

Enjoy your day!