CONGRESS CONTINUES SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL

Congress continues spiraling out of control.

Marjorie Taylor Greene continues to be out of control. She introduced an amendment yesterday requiring members to “conscript in the Ukrainian military” if they vote for the Ukraine supplemental bill.

Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz thereafter proposed a further amendment appointing Marjorie Taylor Greene as “Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

A Catholic Bishop says Biden “doesn’t understand the Catholic faith…..I’m not angry at him, he’s just stupid.”

Does Bishop Robert Gruss of the Diocese of Saginaw believe Trump’s Christian/Evangelical faith outweighs Biden’s when it comes to propriety? The Bishop’s words re Biden are another clear example that religion and politics don’t mix.

Another example that some part of of our Nation has gone whacky involves certain prominent political figures. Generally, Republicans.

Rudy Giuliani has described legal actions against himself and Donald Trump as “like the trials you would have during Hitler’s era or Stalin’s era.”

His words speak for themselves.

Trump’s bubble deflated when Speaker Johnson worked a successful vote through the House re aid to Ukraine. Trump had made it clear he opposed aid to Ukraine recently and Republicans danced to his tune. Johnson finally decided to do the correct thing and he was able to maneuver passage in the House.

Canary Islands has “the balls” Key West does not.

Too much tourism, higher rents and home prices contaminate both vacation spots.

Two million people live in the Canary Islands. It hosted 16.2 million tourists in 2023.

Canary Island residents are fed up. As many Key West residents are. The Canary Islands protested Saturday by taking to the streets of Tenerife to demand action on tourism. The protesters are said to have totaled around 10,000.

This was not the first adverse reaction in Tenerife. Yesterday marked the tenth day of a hunger strike by residents to evidence their disagreement with excessive tourism.

Does Key West need to express its tourism displeasure in a similar fashion? Does it have the guts to go to such extremes?

Some things your parents had in their homes that you never see today: Shag carpeting, answering machines, retro TVs, sunken living rooms, hand mixers, fax machines, striped wallpaper, floral sofas, rotary phones, toilet rugs, teapots, ash trays, rolodexes, typewriters, record players, and rabbit ears.

Hillary Clinton appeared on Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket Friday night. She suggested Trump would be happy to “kill his opposition” if he’s reelected President. Clinton said Trump models himself after Putin and other dictators, calling the prospect of his return to the White House as “very scary.”

PNC Bank is closing 19 branches across the U.S. in February, including locations in Illinois, Texas, Alabama, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida and Indiana.

The bank plans to help clients “transition” to nearby branches.

A banking crisis in the making?

Some are blaming interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

I don’t know. This is big stuff and beyond me.

The opening of the Paris Olympics is July 26. Long standing Olympic traditions began his week. The Olympic flame was lit in a ceremony in Olympia, Greece. The torch is now making its way to Paris.

The history of the tradition is a bit complicated. While inspired by ancient Greek practices, the relay was first held in Germany, where the Nazis employed it as a propaganda tool.

Today, these dark roots are no longer associated with the event. The connection to ancient Greek traditions remains.

Enjoy your Sunday!

COULD BE GOOD BUSINESS JUDGMENT

Initially shocking news. 

Bloomin’ Brands owns Outback Restaurants. It announced it is closing down 41 Outbacks. Sales and traffic the primary reasons. At the same time, Bloomin’ Brands announced it plans to open 45 new Outbacks this year in the U.S.

Suggests good business judgment being exercised. Time will tell.

Full jury of 12 plus 6 alternates seated in Trump’s New York City hush money trial yesterday. The actual trial/battle begins monday.

A young man set himself on fire yesterday afternoon near the Lower Manhattan Courthouse where the jury was being chosen for the Trump trial. The individual doused himself with an accelerant and used a lighter to set himself on fire.

His body was totally charred following the fire being exterminated. He was rushed to a hospital where he died last night.

Interesting facts concerning two Founding Fathers. Paul Revere and George Washington.

Paul Revere famous for his midnight ride. His profession dentistry.

As the story goes, George Washington admitted to his mother when he was a young man that he had cut down the cherry tree. He never cut down a cherry tree.

A bipartisan coalition in the House led by Speaker Johnson is prepared to pass the bill that has been outstanding for months to fund Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The bill totals $95 billion.

Its passage may cause Johnson to lose the Speaker position.

Turtle Hospital in Marathon celebrates Earth Day monday with the release of two turtles at 9:30 at Sombrero Beach. Two ladies. Sherry and Pretty Girl.

Join the event! Always a happy one!

The roadblock established by the U.S. Border Patrol on April 19, 1982 is probably one of the best things to happen to the Key West tourism industry. The Conch Republic brand has filled a lot of hotel rooms!

Russia has recently supported Tucker Carlson and Speaker Mike Johnson. Tucker for his support of Putin and Johnson for blocking U.S. aid to Ukraine.

A new notable has surfaced. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. At first, not popular among Russians. Now is. Putin loves her claims that the U.S. is “supporting Nazis in Ukraine.” The Kremlin’s favorite propogandist Vladimir Solovyov proclaimed, “Thank goodness she exists.”

Small fleas in the bathroom. Very tiny. Near sink, toilet, and floor. Not fruit flies. Rather they are attracted to anything which goes down a drain with organic material.

Several methods available to remove. Detailed. Check internet for information.

U.S. Postal Service announced April 9 that the price of stamps will increase. Again. This summer. Included is a five cent increase to the price of a First Class Forever Stamp.

I can recall how impactful increases were before computers and e-mail. The simplest increase was horrendous. Heavy. I had a volume practice and know full well.

Enjoy you day!

 

CONCH REPUBLIC INDEPEMDENCE CELEBRATION BEGINS TODAY

The 42nd Anniversary of the Conch Republic Independence Celebration begins today. A whole week of events. Today’s include an opening ceremony and raising of the colors. Followed by a kick off party and Conch shell blowing contest at the Schooner Wharf Bar.

Big time fun every day and evening for the next week.

Trump criminal trial update.

A jury of 12 has been seated. Plus one alternate. Five more alternates sought. Total selections should be completed by the end of today or monday,

Syphilis is surging. Doctors are calling for more testing during pregnancy. Three tests recommended. A routine blood screening at the first prenatal visit, a screening in the third trimester of pregnancy, and a final one at birth.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s siblings are not supporting him in his quest for the Presidency. They are openly rebuking him and openly supporting Biden. Six of them made their support of Biden clear at a Philadelphia rally recently.

Brothers and sisters standing against their brother. Says something. They have been consistent that RFK Jr. is not qualified to be President.

America’s toxic water problem continues. Years ago it was lead. Today, arsenic.

One example is Sunland Park, New Mexico. The population of the city is Latino majority.

Is politics involved in the water cleanup in this city? Disgusting, if so.

Regarding funds for the Ukraine, Speaker Johnson is at a Chamberlain or Churchill moment. It appears he is leaning Churchill. Finally! Good for him! He’ll probably lose his Speakership. So what. Better he does the right thing and stands tall.

Rain beyond conception has flooded Dubai. The equivalent of two years rain fell in just one day. 

Enjoy your day!

NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE

My recent five week stay at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami where I underwent three heart surgeries did cause me to experience thoughts of death. My death. On two occasions, I thought I would never leave the hospital, that I was going to die.

Fortunately, I did not.

However death still runs through my thought process some of the days since my discharge. Marty Leshaw’s death did not help.

Two death comments by noteworthy persons come to mind. Benjamin Franklin’s: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Can’t argue with it. Saint Augustine came up with one that has a touch of humor: “Life is always fatal. No one gets out of it alive.”

This month’s Columbia magazine published by the Knights of Columbus has an interesting article touching on death titled “Spiritual Lifeboats on the Titanic.” The story of three Catholic priests who were on the Titanic and provided comfort and absolution to its passengers till the end. The three priests went down with the ship.

The title of today’s blog comes from the last paragraph of the article whose quote begins…..Nearer, My God, To Thee.

An elephant escaped its circus to roam the streets of Butte, Montana. A big female elephant took a quiet rambling walk down Butte’ streets. Neither injury to person nor damage to property occurred.

A safe and sound trip for the elephant.

The elephant is part of the Jordan World Circus. She was being washed when a passing vehicle backfired. Scared her. She broke free and began her meandering trip through Butte till captured unhurt.

Let’s stay with animals for a moment. This time camels.

Kenya is having a milk source problem. Cows are a diminishing breed in Kenya. A viable alternative are camels.

They are referred to as “the future” by the people of Kenya. They are being imported to replace cows.

Let’s hope it works!

Florida has given birth to some outstanding political leaders. Persons who are mentally and otherwise equipped to lead. Not DeSantis or Trump types.

One is Bob Graham. He died this week at the age of 87. Governor. Senator for nearly four decades. Respected. He made a short lived bid for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination. He was a fierce critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.

Florida and the Nation need more political leaders such as Graham.

Mount Sinai’s follow up with discharged patients is amazing. Overwhelming. Sometimes too much.

Yesterday’s was not, however.

One of the aortic valve team physicians is Dr. Luis Mourn. He finally was able to reach me yesterday. I was avoiding the call. Getting tired of so much follow up. Glad we finally talked, however. At length. Got into teeth repair following a valve surgery. Dangerous. Could die. That death thing again. He made sense, however.

I am facing heavy dental. Loss my upper plate when I first passed out. My lower implants got screwed up. Landed on my face. Two dentists involved. In fact, seeing one later this morning for the second time. He’s the plate man. Two days ago saw the implant dentist.

Dr.Mourn’s warning…..No dental work till May 22. Then only with an antibiotic taken 30 minutes before being worked on.

I did not know. Apparently neither dentist did either. They both knew of my heart surgeries and made no mention.

Good job, Mount Sinai! I shall see the rules are followed.

USA Basketball announced its men’s team for the Paris Olympics. Included are LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. A winning combination.

Enjoy your day!

TRUMP JURY BEING SEATED FASTER THAN ANTICIPATED

The Trump jury is being seated faster than anticipated. Yesterday was the second day of jury selection. At the end of the day, seven jurors had been seated.

Court resumes thursday. There is no court on wednesdays.

It is possible the jury could be fully drawn by friday and opening statements made monday.

An interesting comment in a Washington Post opinion piece yesterday: “Religion is declining in America overall but in some ways becoming an even more important force within the Republican Party. We have less religion but still very religiously influenced politics.”

The restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is five years in the making. Spire revelations indicate a gold chicken near the top of the new spire. Why a chicken? A rooster to be accurate.

A rooster was in the old spire. Not gold, however. Some form of metal. The rooster is considered a symbol representing the French people. Based on a play on words. The Latin gallus meaning Gaul and gaul meaning also coz or rooster.

The old rooster contained three relics: A small piece of the Crown of Thorns, a relic of Saint Denis, and a relic pf Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.

During the fire that devastated the Cathedral on April 15, 2019, the rooster was thought to be lost. However after the debris was cleared, the rooster was discovered intact and the relics recovered.

The find was considered a remarkable one and provided a glimmer of hope amid the destruction. The gold one represents a symbol of resilience and hope for the people of Paris and the world.

Roosters were used as weathervanes in medieval Europe. Often placed on top of churches. The rooster on Notre Dame’s spire served this function as well.

The Supreme Court must want to hang themselves. Crazy decisions are becoming their forte.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Fischer v. United States. The case involves whether the Justice Department has been over-prosecuting January 6 insurrectionists. The majority of the Court seemed to side with the insurrectionists.

We are a screwed up society. Most of the Justices likewise. Certain Justices seemed to think the Justice Department has been too hard on persons prosecuted, even though sentencing has been minimal in many cases.

We must get rid of the Justices who are as whacked out as the Republican majority in Congress. We cannot survive as a Nation if these mental deviates are permitted to remain in power and control decision making.

Echo test today at noon. Another follow up to the heart surgeries. 

Enjoy your day!

CIVIL WAR

Steve Thompson got me to go out. I joined him at 3 yesterday afternoon at the Tropic Cinema to see the new movie Civil War. A strange film. I highly recommend it, however.

During the course of my lifetime, I have noticed Hollywood always seemed to come up with a film today that would be a fact of life one year later. Civil War may be that type film.

The movie is a civil war occurring in the U.S. At this time in our history. Similar to our Civil war that happened in the 1860’s. State versus State. Friends and relatives killing each other. Citizens killing each other. Violently and disgustingly. Brutally.

Could it happen again? Will it happen?

Our Nation seems to be politically split 50/50. Rumblings heard maybe a civil war after the next Presidential election.

The answer to could it/will it happen…..Maybe.

Jury selection in Trump’s criminal case began yesterday in New York City. Ninety six potential jurors called. More than half raised their hands when asked by Judge Merchan if they could be impartial. They were excused.

Questioning of individual prospective jurors then began.

Somewhere along the way last night I read that one of Trump’s “outlets” claimed Trump “stormed” out of the courtroom before juror questioning had ceased. The claim proved to be false. Such never occurred. Typical Trump reporting, however.

The fact that Trump’s first criminal trial has begun proves the justice system does work. Equal justice under the law for all a fact, not fiction.

Another six year old podcast. This one titled RESPECT.

 

 

After the movie, Steve convinced me to join him at the Thai Island Restaurant. Cindy and Ellen and some other lady friends had been out boating all day.

I succumbed. Went. Recognize my drinking days are over. Every doctor who was involved with my heart surgeries made the same recommendation. I went. Enjoyed one diet Pepsi while everyone round me was freely imbibing. Those days are over for me. I handled it well. Such is life. My life.

It was good to be out. Ran into several persons I have not seen in ages. I love people and communicating. It was obvious to me how much I missed it.

Heart follow up attention never seems to end. At 10 this morning, one of the doctors who replaced my aortic valve is telephoning from Miami  to see how things are going. At 11:15, I am scheduled to visit Dr. Ayad at Mount Sinai’s facility in Key West. He comes down to Key West once a month to see heart patients falling within his specialty.

Dr. Ayad has been following my aortic aneurysm. The problems never cease. They talked at Mount Sinai re doing 3 surgeries at one time: Pacemaker, aortic valve replacement, and aneurysm removal. The doctors opted to pass on the aneurysm. Heavy surgery for a person 88. One of those where they have to crack a person’s ribs to get at the problem.

My numbers had risen. Suddenly there was a concern I might not survive the aneurysm portion of the surgery. So it was put off for a least six months. Today with Dr. Ayad is to see how things are going.

I have a sense I may never have the aneurysm surgery.

Enjoy your day!

LAW STUDENT IN 1719 LONDON NO DIFFERENT THAN ONE TODAY IN U.S.

Smithsonian Magazine ran an article that revealed a law clerk in his 20’s in London in 1719 lived a life basically no different from that of a law student today in the U.S. Hard to believe. Nevertheless, true.

A newly discovered collection of letters describes the life of a 27 year old law student, his job, social life, and financial concerns in 1719.

Ben Browne was the 27 year old law student. He moved from a small English town to bustling London to work as a law clerk. From 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening, 6 days a week. He mailed 65 letters to his father during his law clerkship period.  The letters have been turned into a book: “Letters From London.” Spells out young Browne’s work life, romance and local gossip.

The book clearly shows nothing has changed for a law clerk in 1719 London to a law student in some major U.S. city today.

Money an issue. Browne constantly wrote his father he was broke and in need of financial assistance. Yet, he maintained a lively social life. Eating and drinking with friends around Fleet Street, close to the Inns of Court. Better described as London’s bawdy, boozy neighborhood.

He wrote his father he met Mary Branch, fell in love and married. He begged for his father’s approval. Most of his father’s letters in return were lost so whether the approval was forthcoming is unknown. He wrote to his father of London’s violent protests on London streets. One major group having to do with silk workers who opposed calico imports from India. Money an issue regardless of the century.

Browne purchased many books. Created his own library. Included many Shakespearian plays. Accomplished the library creation while he was “broke” and writing his father for money.

Today’s podcast 6 years old. It is a repeat of one I have published several times. I do so because there is merit to the story. I title it Opium/Afghanistan. Believe you will enjoy that which I share.

 

 

This is the day! The beginning of Trump’s first criminal trial. Jury selection begins in the Stormy Daniels hush money case. The trial is venued in Manhattan. It is expected the trial will take 4-6 weeks.

Trump is trying to turn the trial into something he is doing for the American people. In a Pennsylvania rally saturday, he said, “I am proud to do it for you, have a good time watching. When I walk into that courtroom, I know I will have the love of 200 million behind me. I will be fighting for the freedom of 325 million Americans.”

Who is he kidding?

The Boston Marathon is today. Thirty thousand competing. The race began at 9 this morning.

Scottie Scheffler won the Masters! His second Masters victory! He is only 27 years old.

Unquestionably, a bright new star in the golf world.

Today is April 15. Tax day! File, even if you cannot pay.

Enjoy your day!

COVID A DEFINITE FLORIDA PROBLEM AT THE MOMENT

COVID is a definite Florida problem at the moment. Death toll near 2,300 thus far in 2024.

Experts urge updated vaccines.

Biggest risk is to persons 65 and older. They account for 91 percent of Florida’s COVID-19 deaths.

Netanyahu has to go if Israel fails to cease actions in Gaza. Netanyahu is conducting himself over and above any semblance of propriety. If he fails to stop, if he fails to heed Biden’s admonitions, the U.S. must cease supplying Israel with arms and money.

Enough is enough! In this case, more than enough!

This morning’s news indicates an example of what “enough” can amount to. Even more than the deaths and starvation being imposed on the Palestinian people. An expanded war.

During the evening, Iran launched an air raid on Israel involving over 200 missiles and drones. The attack pushing the Middle East to a regionwide war?

The U.S. assisted Israel in repelling the attack. Why I do not understand. Biden has been suggesting enough is enough. It is time for the U.S. to stop its assistance to Israel. Biden continues to support America’s Israeli friend. Sometimes assistance must cease when the one being helped is committing acts totally unacceptable.

On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln by shooting him in the back of the head while Lincoln was watching a show at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln was still alive following the shooting. He was taken to a lodging house across the street where he finally died a little after 7 the next morning.

I visited the Ford Theater and the lodging house. The theater a theater. The lodging house dismal then and even yet at the time I visited. The feeling of death permeated the room where he died. I sensed it mentally and physically.

I walked Publix again yesterday. Every aisle. Excites me I can do it!

As I was leaving Date & Thyme yesterday, ran inro Larry Smith. We have not seen each other in a couple of years.

A great conversation ensued. He was glad I did well with the surgery. He reads the blog.

Larry is getting on in years as I have, though he is not quite as old as I am. He slowed down playing a couple of years ago. He is back to it, however. He agreed with what I have said many times. One may retire, but cannot stop totally. I stopped practicing law. Was bored. Discovered blogging. Keeps me going. 

Larry returned to playing. Not as much nor necessarily as the lead act. Enough however to keep him feeling alive.

Enjoy your Sunday!

THE WALKER I’VE BECOME

It’s amazing! I am a walker again. Thanks to the aortic valve replacement last month. The cane is gone. I walk!

Not as far as I would like yet. I am taking things a step at a time. Do not not want to push my luck.

Yesterday, I began with a four block walk to visit Fred Klein. He lives two blocks from me. So it was two short blocks each way. A month ago, I could not have done it even with the cane. The two blocks in getting to his home would have wasted me.

It was back to Publix afterwards. Publix has been my real test. With the cane, I could only do one aisle one way. Then at least a 10 minute rest before the return trip down the aisle. Now I can walk the whole store! Every aisle! No rest! I only spend around $30 each time. I want to return more frequently to prove to myself that I can do it.

Saw Steve Thompson for the first time in two weeks. He was outside cleaning the shrubbery around the house. He is recovering well from his recent hernia surgery.

Measles were on the increase last year. They are on the increase in the U.S. even faster this year. Faster also world wide.

Measles are one of the world’s most contagious diseases. Best defense – get vaccinated!

This year so far the number of cases in the U.S. has nearly doubled from all of last year. Reason enough to be concerned.

Most cases involve unvaccinated Americans who traveled to the Middle East and Asia and brought measles back to the U.S.

Writing a blog for me is an interesting venture. My system for years has been to research, discover what turns me on, and write about that material. My time spent researching are hours. Some days I come up with too much material. Required to pick and choose as a result. Other times, nothing appeals to me regardless of the length of time spent searching. Those days, I tend to writ less.

This morning is one of those times.  Three hours of research, and all that appealed to me was the measles issue. I gave up researching after three hours as a result. Ergo, this morning’s blog ends here.

Enjoy your day!

O. J. SIMPSON DIED

O. J. Simpson died. Seventy six years old. From cancer.

His life strange. Marked with success and failure.

His criminal trial for allegedly killing his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boy friend Ronald Goldman was exciting to observe. Captured world wide attention. 

I was living at 1800 Atlantic on a yearly lease at the time.  I watched the trial every day for months. Since it was being tried in California, it began around noon or in early afternoon in Key West. I used to wake in the morning. Walk first along the ocean to the airport and back. Then a dip in the pool. Followed by a short nap on a lounge by the pool.

Then to the barcalounger and TV in the living room and the “show” of the season. For the lawyer in me, the trial was exciting.

Simpson had a multitude of top attorneys. His key attorney was Johnnie Cochran. A brilliant lawyer. His best move was the glove: “If it don’t fit, you can’t convict.” The cross examination of the liar police officer Mark Fuhrman outstanding. Barry Scheck’s DNA questioning innovative and spectacular. 

Simpson’s acquittal exciting. If there were sins he had to pay for, he did in the subsequent civil trial and later an unelated criminal case in Nevada which resulted in his spending several years in jail.

School districts confronting a major problem nationwide. One they are doing little to deal with. Involves normal photos of middle and high school clothe girls being transformed with A.I. apps into nudes showing breasts and genitalia.

A.I. is artificial intelligence. Relatively new. Male students take normal pictures of female classmates dressed appropriately and then apply the A.I. intelligence to the photos to expose bare breasts and pubic areas.

The problem a national one. Parents complaining. Most school districts slow to respond.

After the boys take photos of their female counterparts dressed, they then apply A.I. apps to “nudify” the photos. The exposed breasts and genitalia pics are then placed on walls in lunch rooms, in school buses, and group chats on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. These digitally altered images are known as “deepfakes” and “deepnudes.”

The photos have a tendency to harass, humiliate and bully young women. They harm their mental health, reputations and physical safety. 

The transformations are done by the boys without the knowledge, permission or consent of the girls involved.

The FBI has warned distributing such photos is illegal. 

The use of A.I. apps in schools is so new that most districts claim they are not prepared to deal effectively with the problem. Many school districts do not even report the situation to the police.

There can be no question but taking a normal clothed photo of a female student and then using A.I. apps to expose breasts and genitalia is wrong. What I find difficult to understand is why school districts are being so slow in correcting an obvious wrong. School districts that have been acting immediately and forthwith to ban a book if one parent considered one word or thought to be sexually explicit. Values are misplaced. The “denuded photo” is more harmful to a female student than one sexual  word or thought.

Is it because banning a book is less personal than punishing a today student? Is it because the shame of it all falls on a live student and his parents rather than another who wrote something years ago?

A disgusting situation that needs immediate and prompt correction.

If one of my daughters were so involved, I would have raised holy hell. Some parents are doing so today. The problem is correction/solution is slow, minimal or non-existent.

Fred Klein writes a weekly blog which publishes on friday. This week’s is titled The Chart Room.

As with me, Fred discovered the Chart Room many years ago. He refers to The Chart Rom as close to The Twilight Zone: “The center of the universe.”

He is correct. Or was so. Our group is the last to have experienced the Chart Room as it was for so many years. Now changed. Few of “our group,” if any, still go. Unfortunate.

My day yesterday a slow one. A smoothie at Date and Thyme. Followed by a haircut with Lori. Then a couple of hours on the beach.

Enjoy your day!