GASOLINE PRICE GOUGING IN KEY WEST

The topic familiar to those who live in Key West: The community gets ripped off at the gas pump.

Two comments in this morning’s Citizens’ Voice evidence what Key Westers know only too well.

“Current gas prices: Florida City $3.19, Largo-Islamorada $3.29, Big Pine-Summerland $3.59, Key West $4.25. In 50 miles the price goes up by almost $1/gallon…..A text book example of price gouging.”

“Key West gas stations what is your excuse for your fuel prices when just a very short drive will save you $.50 a gallon and a little longer drive will save over $1 a gallon? I smell something fishy! Shame on you!”

The United Way of Collier and the Keys issued a housing report. Spells out something we already knew. The price of housing is in the stratosphere. Way above reasonable.

The average needed to afford a 2 bedroom apartment in Key West is $33.54 per hour.

How many Key Westers make that kind of money?

Key Westers live in the most unaffordable area in the state.

About 7 last night, good Gov. DeSantis appeared (finally) and issued a statement. He urged Floridians to forego COVID testing even as the omicron case count skyrockets.

The man is Donald Trump reincarnated.

This is a sick story. A very sick one.

George Floyd’s 4 year old niece was shot while sleeping in her bed in her  Houston home. Her name Arianna. The shooting took place at 3 in the morning.

A group drove by and “bombarded the house with bullets.”

Arianna was taken to emergency surgery at once. A lung and her liver were punctured, 3 ribs broken.

She is in stable condition.

The police are investigating.

A tale involving MAGA supporters. Amanda Moore went undercover for a year with the far right groups working to take down the U.S. Her findings amazing. Her activities and findings published in the Daily Beast 1/5.

She claims the rise in right wing populism is primarily among the under 30 crowd. Those who participated in the 1/6 insurrection are proud of their part in it: “We did it. That was us…..It would have been cool had we gotten further…..The Founding Fathers would have been proud of us.”

Various group members are practicing an increasingly popular form of harassment. Against local moderate GOP officials.

Many attend “superspreader events” and as a result become infected with COVID. Many die “preaching to the very last breath – like, don’t get the vaccine.”

Amanda revealed that many of their messages make it to the West Wing.

She said, “Let’s go Brandon” is now passe. She advised to get ready for “Mass Formation Psychosis.” Whatever that means.

Cher appeared on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell show last night.

She spoke her mind.

She trashed Trump and tried to fire up Democrats.

Re the Democrats, she indicated they have to start moving their asses. The Party needs to “go on full tilt…..times a-wasting guys, and somebody’s got to light a fire.”

The Virginia I-95 tragedy has ended. Some were out on the road for 36 hours. Even when I-95 began moving, the side roads were full adding hours to the delay.

The cause appears to have started when two tractor trailers had an accident. The highway was extremely icy. There were other tractor trailer and automobile accidents thereafter along the way.

The situation horrible in itself. The failure of Virginia to offer ready assistance a disgrace. Heads will roll at some point.

Senator Tim Kaine was stopped on I-95 for hours. Somewhere in the teens. All he had to “eat” was an orange and a 16 ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper.

It was reported a mother had her children with her. She ran out of gas. No heat. She was walking the highway begging people in heated cars to take her children.

Ayn Rand was a world famous author. Also, a flaming nut.

Aaron Rodgers is the Green Bay Packers super star quarterback. He continues to draw fits among leftists far and wide.

Leftists lost it after he answered in an interview: “Atlas Shrugged is on my bookshelf.” Also “a lot of French poetry.”

The militant left totally disagree with Rand’s philosophy that the individual comes first. Screw the masses. Described as a “me-first” ideology. Those who are Rand followers believe her writings inspire and uphold individual freedom.

Rodgers is not the most popular of sport stars. Some are not fans of his way of thinking. He already once has been NFL MVP. Could be again this season. Probably not, however. One of the voters said, “He’s the biggest jerk in the league.”

I was a similar “jerk” in my younger days. About 2 years out of law school, I discovered Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead. Her book blew my mind. She was what I had sought not knowing I did. I became an immediate follower.

The Fountainhead pushed individualism and asked raised many questions. Rand answered those questions in her next book Atlas Shrugged. The one Rodgers had in his library.

It was at this time I became aware Rand published a weekly newspaper. I subscribed immediately.

The newspaper cured my newly ill begotten thoughts. Her newspaper writings made clear Rand was off her rocker. Crazy.

It was announced yesterday that Turkey’s rate of inflation is 36.1 percent. Turkey’s biggest in 19 years.

Off the wall! Inflation in my lifetime was the highest when Jimmy Carter was President. Hit 22 percent. It was tough economically. If you needed to borrow from a bank, the interest rate was 22 percent plus.

Turkey’s food and transportation prices/expenses rose last year. Even faster than the rate of inflation.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before the January 6 Committee at 2:30 this afternoon to speak with how his investigation, if any, is coming re January 6.

I fear what he may say.

When Garland was nominated, I wrote a lengthy blog advising I did not consider him a proper person for the position. He had been a federal judge for 20 plus years. Too long in that job. His thinking fixated.

A good judge does not necessarily make for a good prosecutor. Prosecutors go for the jugular. Kill the battle cry. If all the t’s are not crossed and i’s dotted, they care not. All will fall into place as time progresses. Whereas, a judge is concerned with the nitty gritty. Decision making slow and deliberate. His thinking changes, facilitates.

Garland has to move his ass. He has had close to a year. What has been his progress? What he has done is required to be silent. Unrevealing till generally indictment time.

The U.S. may not have much time in this case. If the Republicans take over the House in November, the January 6 Committee will be no more.

Do not misunderstand me. Garland is a good man. In my opinion however, the wrong man for the job.

Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou last night. Did a different type show format wise. Devoted the entire show to COVID. Properly so. It is the biggest item in the news. In the U.S. and world wide.

I mixed it up. Always stayed with the issue, however. Thought it went well. Look forward to the comments. May do a similar type show in the future re another topic.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

STORM OF STORMS

Wowie! What a backup on I-95 in Virginia!

Major snow storm. Cars backed up 17 miles. No one moving, going anywhere for 7 hours. During the night. Some cars running out of fuel which meant no heat.

Snow fall was not actually bad. Seven to twelve inches. Expected. No surprise.

Not a global warming problem. Man’s fault. Virginia has had snow before. The State failed to handle it well.

I lived 70 plus years in upstate New York. A real snow belt. Whether a major thruway or highway, the plows were out. Running over the same areas for hours till there was no more snow falling.

Sometimes things got to be too much. Cars were made to get into rest areas for a couple of hours.

Some interesting stories may come out of this. Like a baby or two being born. Hopefully no calamities.

Two days to January 6. A day that will go down in history similarly to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Two things we know will occur this year. Trump is making a speech. The rabble rouser from hell. Steve Bannon may also have his hand in some skullduggery. He has been promising things would happen for 2 weeks.

There may be a third impetus. People themselves who have given up on Trump. If so, they will be out doing their own dastardly deeds.

For whatever reason, talk of a civil war has been in the limelight a bit the past two weeks. I have been predicting one might come even before the January 6 insurrection.

Are we ready for the anticipated conflict? How many think there will really be one?

The North was not ready for the Civil War. They thought the South was all talk. Even as Fort Sumter was being attacked, they were not convinced what was to follow would be a civil war.

The North was surprised it was for real. The North won for the same reason the U.S. defeated Japan and Germany. We had the plants and manpower to operate them. Tied into American ingenuity in converting the plants into facilities for the making of weapons of war.

If there will be a civil war, I do not see it happening till 2024. Ergo, our government has more than sufficient time to destroy the people and things that seek the civil war.

Will we do it? I consider progress extremely slow so far. The enemy of the U.S. must be destroyed now. Not 2 years from now when it may be too late.

Repairs have begun on the Southernmost Point Buoy. They began saturday. Three or four more days required to complete.

The police advise they now have identified the criminals. Though no arrests have been made. The police would provide no further information claiming they “did not want to compromise the investigation.”

How stupid! They have the webcam video. They know the names of the villains.

Does not make sense to me.

Today’s COVID update.

Experts have described omicron as: “The fastest spreading virus in history.”

Makes sense. Look at the numbers. Recollect also that today is barely a month after omicron’s first case was detected in southern Africa.

Those refusing to get vaccinated are playing Russian roulette.

Florida. Hospitalizations this past weekend have resulted from 6,000 new cases. Deaths now 85,707.

Florida’s schools will remain open in spite of omicron concerns. DeSantis says, “Just let the kids be kids.”

Asshole!

Children’s hospitals across the country are reporting pandemic high numbers. The most ever. Unvaccinated the reason. Note children have not all received the ok to receive vaccines.

The FDA friday approved the Pfizer booster shot for 12-15 year olds.

I learned this morning a hospital somewhere in the U.S. has closed down its maternity ward. Insufficient staff available to care for the birthing mothers and baby.

School teachers are becoming a problem. Actually, all industries and businesses. The head of the Syracuse Teachers Association announced a Syracuse school had been closed because there were not enough teachers to staff the school.

Learned something new re teachers. The union head said fewer young people are entering the teaching profession and this was a contributing factor.

It was reported this morning that yesterday there were 1 million new cases in the U.S. Today expected to exceed that number.

Omicron acquirable from sex? Yes. First time I have seen it reported. Omicron reported to be more contagious than any STD.

The variant spreads from droplets in the air when persons are less than 6 feet apart. Makes sense. Sex requires a closer connection. Experts advise also that omicron spreads by mere touching of a surface recently touched by a person who has COVID-19.

Spoke with Donna this morning. On the mend. Returning to work tomorrow. Terri came down with the virus also. She is on the mend.

Tuesday again. Tonight by blog talk radio show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A fast moving half hour where I hit hard calling them as I see them.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

LIARS INCORPORATED

Ho, ho, ho! Who do I describe as Liars Incorporated? The Republican Party, of course.

Most illicit groups pick up a nickname along the way. During Prohibition, it was Murder Incorporated, the Purple Gang, etc.

They are all birds of a feather. except the mobsters of yesterday used guns whereas those of today lie.

Everyone is aware Trump lies. He’s the best.

A prominent follower is Kevin McCarthy. Over the weekend, he was whining that the Democrats are using the Capitol riot as a “partisan political weapon” to “divide our country.”

McCarthy is lacking in every decent component. His  twisted tongue hangs out in his quest to become Speaker.

His complicity in January 6? Time will tell.

A recent Vanity Fair article provided an apt description of Joe Manchin: “The grinch that stole the Democrats’ Christmas.”

Numbers are generally reliable. A new set has been reported. Statistics hard to believe.

One America is an Indiana Life Insurance Company. One America claims the death rate is up 40 percent from pre-pandemic levels among working age people. Working age people are those 18-64.

CEO Scott Davison said, “We are seeing…..the highest death rates in the history of this business – not just One America…..The data is consistent across every player in the business…..40 percent is just unheard of.”

Pictures of the Colorado wildfire are appearing with frequency. The wildfire aftermath unbelievable. The area appears to be as if a Category 5 hurricane had passed over.

One thousand homes destroyed. Thousands fled their homes and return with no home left to live in. Commercial complexes similarly destroyed.

Deaths uncertain. Yesterday the first number. Three. Injuries light, also. Seven.

The cause an extreme drought. Little rain in and since summer. Snow should be on the ground. Ironically, no snow till the day after the fire was out. The ground has been dry. Fallen foliage dry also as a result.

All an invitation to a successful wildfire.

Strong winds accompanied the wildfire. Downed power lines, overturned large rigs. Many residents were unable to open their garage doors to flee because power was unavailable. Literally had to run for the lives feet ahead of the encroaching fire.

The question: Global warming involved? Some experts are expounding the disaster would not have been as great were it not for global warming.

I don’t know. I recognize global warming and the impending doom it brings. However let’s be careful not to label all disasters the result of global warming till accurate data is available.

I have begun to do a daily COVid update.

Israel reports the first case of “flurona.” Flurona is a double infection. COVID and the flu at the same time.

Terrific! Things will continue to get worse before better.

There are many unhappy with vaccine mandates. An Australian has demonstrated his feeling in an exceptionally dramatic fashion. The Melbourne man set himself and his car on fire. He was in the car at the time. Poured gasoline on himself first.

Fortunately, his life was saved by the quick action of 5 police officers and some bystanders. Police were able to pour water on the individual while removing him from the car.

His injuries are described as “life threatening.”

The pandemic continues to be out of control in Florida. Floridians continue to ask where are you Governor DeSantis? What are you doing to help?

Governor, come home to Kew. It’s lilac time.

Enjoy your day!

 

SOUTHERNMOST POINT SET ON FIRE…..OFFENSIVE!!!

One of Key West’s most famous landmarks is the Southernmost Point. Sits on the end of South Street immediately on the ocean facing Cuba.

Two vandals set fire to the edifice. Damage extensive. Between 3 and 3:30 New Year’s Eve morning.

I consider their act personally offensive. I am sure most Key Westers feel the same.

The culprits should be burned at the stake. A just punishment for a hideous crime.

The two will be caught. They were videoed on a nearby webcam as they approached, started the fire by burning a Xmas tree they laid on the side of the monument, and then walked away.

Nothing less than a severe jail term befits the crime.

Pics popping up on the internet of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Key West. Most pics of the four droppings.

Pics outside Sloppy Joe’s and Bourbon Street. The streets were packed in every direction.

The last time I did a Sushi dropping at Bourbon Street was about 10 years ago. Crowded then. Significantly more crowded today.

Not one mask was visible in any of the pics. Failure to wear a mask like drinking the kool-aide. Kill yourself!

Benjamin Franklin wrote proverbs galore. Most he published in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Some published were from an earlier time and still popular when Franklin was publishing his own.

The proverbs are described as “witty aphorisms and printed proverbs.”

Amazing is the fact that most are part of our discourse today.

Examples: “Fish and visitors stink in three days” / “No gains without pains” / “Haste makes waste” / “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals” / “Beware of little expenses: A small leak will sink a great ship” / “Glass, china, and reputation, are easily crashed, and never well mended” / “He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.”

Respectfully, DeSantis lies. He and Trump birds of a feather in that regard.

After yesterday’s blog was published, I read a news item that appeared to be an attempt to explain DeSantis’ disappearance from public view since December 17.

FOX and the Daily Mail carried the explanation.

Mrs. DeSantis had cancer and the Governor was with his wife as she underwent chemotherapy treatments. One news item said he was with her on the December 19, the other December 29. Neither article listed more than one chemo visit attended by the Governor.

As I would not believe DeSantis and Trump on a stack of Bibles, I do not trust that reported by FOX and the Daily Mail.

Someone reported at the same time DeSantis was seen at the Orange Bowl New Year’s eve.

Had the information been available to me when I published, I would have said what I write now. Has to be a lie! Not denying the wife’s cancer. Her treatment times, yes. She would have been undergoing chemo beginning back in October when first diagnosed.

A pic was also run of DeSantis at a bagel shop in Ocala. At first suggested, looked like the Governor was in Ocala on December 17. Not true. Later in the, day it was reported the photo was taken earlier.

This morning’s news clearly reveals DeSantis’ deception. Shocks me he would use his wife’s cancer to cover his ass. Similar to what Ted Cruz did when he ran off to the islands following Texas’ disastrous storm. Cruz said he went for his daughters. Indicating their concern and he wanted to be the good father and with them.

Today’s news releases suggest DeSantis was in West Kendall. New Year’s Eve he was at a Christian concert in Miami which his wife attended with him.

No one yet knows where DeSantis was those other days between December 17 and New Year’s Eve.

Note that the COVID surge in Florida over the past 2 weeks has been horrible. Surging with no stop. Not once has DeSantis issued or appeared anywhere to tell the people Florida not to be concerned, he was on top of the problem, etc. At a time when one day alone last week the surging numbers of new cases were in the 75,000 area.

DeSantis did mention at the Christian concert friday night that Florida was the “freest state” as far as taking steps to impede the virus. A virus DeSantis denies exists and so does little or nothing to combat it.

The Governor is guilty of “nonfeasance.” Nonfeasance is guilt by having done nothing.

Senator Rubio is another “Florida winner” where COVID is concerned. He almost as wacky as DeSantis.

On friday, Rubio criticized the “irrational hysteria” over the surge in coronavirus cases due to the omicron strain. He attributed whatever was going on as mostly “sore throats.”

What would the good Senator say if his wife or one of his children became infected and died? It was a sore throat?

Omicron is the enemy as we enter the new year. The highly contagious variant is racing across the country. The U.S. is averaging 386,000 new cases a day. Experts suggest the number is unreliable. It is more. Vast undercounting is going on.

Puerto Rico has had a 4,600 percent increase in new cases in recent weeks.

Medical experts say omicron may peak around January 9 at 2.5 million new cases per week. They further indicate the number could be as high as 5.4 million.

Omicron is different from the first coronavirus strike and the Delta variant. It is more dangerous. Hospital beds will be in even worse supply. Unavailable. Medical staff shortages will be the worst yet as doctors and nurses get the virus and cannot work.

The problem has spread to all areas of our our daily lives. Lack of pilots a perfect example.

I close on a sad note. Not that what has come before is not sad. I add the straw that breaks my back. Syracuse basketball.

Syracuse lost again yesterday. To Virginia, 74-69. Syracuse’s record now is something like 7-6.

I have reached the point where I have stopped watching the games. Can’t handle it.

I have said and continue to believe this is Syracuse’s best team talent wise in 30 years. Great players. Play well. Can’t win.

The fabled zone defense is not holding up. Not the only reason. But, what else? There has to be more. I can’t see what though.

Frustrating!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

COVID BATTLE WORLD WAR III

We are entering the third year in our battle against COVID. A battle we are losing.

So different from World War II. Two years after Pearl Harbor, we were steadily beating back our enemies.

The COVID battle a strange one. We move one foot ahead and then fall back two. The U.S. and the rest of the world are working hard to discover the path to victory. Some victories. Many failures. Especially at this time.

Today’s blog is a detailed report where we stand. No need to read it with a grain of salt. It is real and true.

Observations/comments are written as they appear in my notes. No order involved.

The world is a tsunami of COVID infections. The U.S. experiencing 1 new case every 16 seconds. Mild compared to France where 2 new cases are popping up every second.

The omicron surge is affecting our young children big time. Hospitalizations increased 66 percent last week. Average new daily cases 378.

Deaths are considerably lower however when children are contrasted with adults. Whether it will continue so, remains to be seen. Children are relatively new in large numbers to the virus.

Children afflicted are obviously unvaccinated. Rules do not yet cover them sufficiently.

Question: I wonder how unvaccinated parents feel when one of their children become infected. Note recent cases involve babies also.

The ball drop last night in Times Square an absolute disgrace. Big deal the politicians cut the crowd back from tens of thousands to 15,000. Still enough to do considerable spread damage.

I admire Atlanta. Atlanta knew, as we all do, that a huge public gathering New Year’s Eve could, no would, result in additional surge. Atlanta cancelled its public events.

Many other cities world wide did the same as Atlanta. Acted  responsibly and cancelled their ball droppings, fire works, etc.

Politicians have to stop compromising with what is right and appeasing citizens. Leadership sometimes requires going against the mass. The COVID attack is one.

The New York City ball drop last night was at a time when New York City had experienced its highest single day number of new infections. At a time also when COVID hospitalizations had increased 67 percent during the week ending thursday. The week began  with 4,744. On thursday, new hospitalizations were at 7,919.

Eighty percent of the New York City hospitalized were unvaccinated.

Sixty two percent of Americans have been vaccinated with at least 2 shots. Where are the other almost 40 percent? Those that are significantly contributing to new cases. The number of unvaccinated hospitalized prove the point.

Gail Collins in her column in the New York Times this morning referred to America as the ‘land of the needle free.”

Another example DeSantis’ ineptitude is reflected in this morning’s Citizens’ Voice: “Florida has erroneously embarked on a program to incentivize people not to be vaccinated by extending unemployment benefits to those who quit their jobs rather than agree to private company requirements that employees be fully vaccinated. Without this program, these workers would be ineligible. What a waste.”

Employers are desperate for workers. Their staffs dwindling because of the virus.

Airlines an example. Thousands of flights cancelled over the weekend because of insufficient pilots to fly the planes and attendants to work them.

United has offered a solution which the Pilots’ Union has found acceptable. Work overtime for extra pay.

“Open flights” a constant the past several days. Flights where pilots are not available. Pilots have been offered 3 1/2 times their normal pay to fly open trips from 12/30-1/3. Triple pay 1/4-1/29.

Attendants will also receive incentive pay. The actual amount not yet available.

Some other carriers have also agreed or are in the process of agreeing. They have not yet been identified.

I mentioned about 10 days ago a leading physician in the COVID fight in Israel announced “fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh shots are on the way.” Israel announced yesterday that it has begun administering “fourth shots.” Limited at this time to those with weakened immune systems and elderly residents and employees in care homes.

It would not surprise me if we are into the “fourth shot” in the relatively near future.

It was reported this past week that COVID can result in “long term” illness in adults and children. The problem being “inflammation” that can damage the heart, lungs and brain.

I saw on TV yesterday the story of a COVID survivor with some residuals. He is deaf in his left ear and has lost most of his sight in his left eye. He also claims his brain does not function as before.

A few non related COVID items.

Betty White died yesterday at 99. One week short of her 100th birthday.

An exceptional actress, comedian and person. I recall her role in The Golden Girls. Outstanding! In addition to her part in The Mary Tyler Show.

Her third husband was Allen Lunden to whom she was married 18 years before he died. I recall his TV announcing work in the 1960’s. He hosted College Bowl and Password. College Bowl was one of my favorite TV quiz shows.

Ludden died many years ago. When Betty was asked why she never remarried, she responded when you’ve had the best, you don’t.

I watched Alabama/Cincinnati yesterday. Alabama won 27-6.

A no competition game. Alabama just too powerful and too experienced.

I did not watch Georgia/Michigan which Georgia won 34-11.

The two winning teams meet in 2 weeks in the championship game.

I cooked dinner again last night. My New Years Eve dinner.

I am not one to argue with success. Enjoyed a filet mignon and hash browns again.

Added apple cobbler and one glass of red wine.

Once again, a treat. A problem, however. Cleaning up. Don’t like it. Cleaned as I cooked. Still work left at the end of the meal.

Went to bed and sleep at 10. Thought I might wake at midnight. Didn’t happen. It was 2 am.

I thought I could get a rerun of midnight. Great pics on NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC. No audio, however. All other stations ok. Still without ABC audio this morning.

Enjoy your first day of the New Year!

 

 

 

WHAT BUM FARTO AND GOVERNOR DeSANTIS HAVE IN COMMON

Since Bum Farto disappeared in the 1970’s, people ask :”Bum Farto, where are you?” Today they ask a similar question of Florida’s Governor DeSantis: “Governor DeSantis, where are you?”

The public has not heard from DeSantis since December 17. Except for his immediate staff, no one knows where he is. Most believe he is on vacation with his family.

Whereas Bum Farto never reappeared, DeSantis will. He wants to run for President in 2024.

DeSantis should be in Florida working. COVID-19 is at its worst. Not off somewhere enjoying himself. He is pulling a Senator Cruz. Running of with his family to some tropical paradise following the horrible storm which hit Texas.

Florida’s case load exploded thursday. New cases 77,848. Governor, it is time to come out of hiding. At the moment, Florida needs a governor. As inept as I consider you, Florida needs you! Speak to your constituents! They want to hear from you!

Knock off the disappearing act!

Interestingly, a pic was run yesterday showing DeSantis at a bagel shop in Ocala saying how great the bagels were. Appeared current. Was not. Taken several weeks ago. Typical DeSantis.

DeSantis’ hero is Donald Trump. Understandable. They are birds of a feather. Sort of like “Trumpy see, Trumpy do.” Except in this case, “Trumpy see, DeSantis do.”

This past week Florida ran second to only New York in number of new cases.

Governor, where are you?

You have not had a personal appearance since December 17. As bad as you may be, Floridians are desperate. Looking for leadership. You are that leadership.

Today’s blog is obviously a COVID one.

I continue.

Wednesday reflected another COVID high. Every state in the Union was at its highest level of new cases ever. The day gave birth to 488,000 new cases.

Children. Our children and grandchildren. Omicron has become a tidal wave as far as young ones are concerned. Those infected are being referred to as “omicron kids.”

Dr. Matthew Harris is a New York pediatric emergency room doctor. He spoke regarding the night after Christmas. Thirty young patients came in. Twelve tested positive for COVID-19. Every child with a fever had been infected. Several were babies.

The shocking thing about Dr. Harris’ recitation was when he advised the child Covid cases were the first he had seen in 2 months. Not one positive case in that time.

All infected had an underlying condition such as leukemia.

The following by Dr. Harris shows the seriousness of what he believes awaits our kids: “What’s going to happen 3 weeks from now? These are the sickest kids I have seen in my career.”

Tonight New York City has some problems not considered by many. Thousands of New York Police and Fire Department members are already out sick. Part of the huge number being afflicted by the COVID surge.

On tuesday, 6,600 police officers were out sick. The number represents 20 percent of the police work force. The Fire Department was not much better. The Fire Department’s EMS workers were down 30 percent. Overall, 17 percent of the firefighters were sick.

Two examples of what is going on here in Key West.

We all are beginning to think the booster shot on top of 2 vaccine shots may not be the cure all. Some are personally finding out.

My lesbian wife Donna. Wednesday morning at 3 am she drove herself to the hospital. She was having great difficulty breathing. She was diagnosed with COVID. Given several medications and sent home.

I spoke with her yesterday. She sounded horrible!

Donna is exceptionally religious when it comes to taking care of herself. With Terri’s condition as it is, she must.

Donna had her 2 shots and then the booster.

Donna’s job a precarious one. She is a concierge at one of Key West’s busier hotels. Always wears a mask. She believes she was infected while working.

My grocery shopper is Michelle. She too received 2 shots plus the booster. Called me this morning. She would not be able to deliver my groceries today. She had coronavirus AGAIN.

Michelle had her 2 shots and booster. Then afflicted. COVID! She did her duty by God and country and yet has been infected again.

She told me she woke at 5:30 this morning not feeling well. Tested herself for the virus. She had it. No fever, however. Two hours later at 7:30, she tested again. No question. Two positive results. And her temperature was 101 degrees.

I may never leave home again!

We have heard many crazy things in the past two years. The best example was an injection of bleach to cure the virus.

Many many in our country do not believe the virus even exists. They come up with different “causes” for the spreading roaring illness. Instead of receiving the shots, the simplest way thus far to control getting COVID, they come up with different things to explain the new surge.

COVID does not exist. They are convinced the recent surge is the result of some persons who are spreading anthrax around.

An even better one is earlier this year when deep state non believers claimed it was plutonium which was causing the virus.

And people believe this shit!

Whatever, I am staying in tonight. As I did last New Year’s Eve and the one before. Too much at stake not to do otherwise.

Enjoy your day! Have a safe evening!

COVID SURGE CONTINUES

There is an old Christian tune that begins something like this: “Onward Christian soldiers, marching on to war…..” The world is marching through a war today. The COVID one.

Daily record highs are being set in the U.S. every day. Yesterday, the highest at 265,427.

The previous high was 252,000. One year ago on January 11.

My phone keeps ringing with personal updates. Friends who have had the 2 shots plus the booster. Now have coronavirus.

We have a way yet to go before we can put the COVID problem behind us. I hope the path is a short one, though I doubt it.

It is being described as “airport hell.” An additional 2,000 flights cancelled yesterday. Cause two-fold. Weather and crew shortages.

Got to be absolutely awful. I got stuck overnight years ago in Kennedy. Snowstorm of all snow storms. No motel rooms available. No way of getting to a motel if you could get a room. The snow had traffic all snarled up.

I rolled my coat into a pillow and went to sleep on the floor. Midst many others who had done the same thing.

No fun.

Imagine how bad it must be this Christmas holiday with families. All those young kids.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid died. A Democrat from Nevada. Regarded as one of the best ever to lead the Senate.

Obama commented Reid helped him get the nomination for President and then helped him again with his legislation. Especially the Affordable Care Act.

May he rest in peace.

Ever wonder how Washington, D.C. came to be? I never did. I doubt many others did also.

Came across the information the other day.

The land for the Nation’s Capital was cut off from Maryland. The year 1788. Maryland passed an act ceding an area “not exceeding ten miles square” to be the seat of the national government.

Two thirds of the area became the Washington, D.C. of today.

U.S. house prices have been surging. Dramatically. It is unclear if the rise is permanent or an aberration.

For a while, I thought house prices rising was common only to Key West and other popular vacation communities. Not so. The trend is evident in many communities, though not all.

In Key West, many buy today to renovate a bit and flip. Making a quick profit. Others to rent their properties as vacation homes by the week or month at exorbitant prices.

The surge is like COVID. Keeps surging.

The rise nationally in October was 18.4 percent. Up from the previous October. September was slightly higher. Up 19.1 percent from the previous September.

The hottest markets were Phoenix 32.3 percent, Tampa 28.1 percent, and Miami 25.7 percent.

Dr. Jack Norris is my primary care physician. They do not come better. He is a great diagnostician. Caring, besides.

The Key West Camber of Commerce annually hands out awards. The Best this and that. A Comment in Citizens’ Voice this morning decried the fact that Dr. Norris had not been selected.

The comment: “I was very surprised that the Chamber of Commerce overlooked Dr. Jack Norris when handing out awards. All through the pandemic he was out there testing people and making house calls whether they could pay or not and providing information how to stay safe. He is truly our hometown hero.”

I agree.

No blog tomorrow. Early morning doctor visit with Dr. Perry. He is dealing with my four trigger fingers on one hand.

The steroid pills are helping. I now have considerable bend. With pain, however. Sometimes extreme. The middle one also continues to lock.

Enjoy your day! Wear your mask!

THE SOCIAL SECURITY LIE

Eight years ago in 2013, I wrote a column entitled The Theft of Social Security. Five years ago, I retitled the column to The Rape of Social Security. At the same time, updated the column where appropriate and added additional reflections.

Today’s blog is the third time I update and publish the Social Security blog. This time titled The Social Security Lie.

My motivations in rerunning the column a third time.

First, I am sick and tired of hearing politicians continuing to cry for the cutting or privatization of Social Security. I am angered by their cries that Social Security is an entitlement increasing the national debt. They make it sound like the elderly are getting something for nothing.

Social Security is not an entitlement. Not one cent of U.S. monies has ever been spent making Social Security payments. Social Security payments come from the paychecks of working people over the course of their lifetimes, with an equal contribution by the employer added on.

I honestly believe that many of our elected representatives do not even know this. They are unaware. They believe the garbage the American public has been fed over the years that Social Security is breaking the back of the economy.

Second, I am aggravated every time one from a younger generation tells me it is not his or her responsibility to support me in my old age. They are totally unaware of where Social Security payments come from and the theft of Social Security’s surplus funds by the government over the years.

Third, Social Security is a very small part of Biden’s Build Back Better plan. The Social Security portion concerns itself with the treatment of lump sum Social Security benefits.

Fourth, some idiot Congressman made the claim a month ago that Social Security would be broke by 2026. No way. A false fact.

All of which compels me to republish my 2013 and 2016 columns. With what I perceive as a strong title also: The Social Security Lie.

October 2013

The U.S. Government has stolen significant monies from the Social Security Trust Fund. Legally, of course.

The theft of Social Security is not understood by many. Even elected officials whose business it is to understand a federal program as large as Social Security. Congressional persons have standard talking points which are not true. They erroneously represent to the American public that Social Security cannot support itself, that Social Security is broke, that Social Security benefits must be cut, etc.

These Congressional persons either know not that of which they speak, or are intentionally misrepresenting the facts.

You will find this column interesting. Guaranteed.

The United States is in debt to the tune of $31.4 trillion dollars. Who is the biggest creditor of the United States? To whom does the United States owe the most money?

If you believe Japan or China, you are wrong. The largest creditor of the United States, the entity the U.S. government owes the most money to, is Social Security. Specifically, its Trust Fund. $2.9 trillion dollars and going up each day. The second biggest creditor is Japan, the third China.. The United States borrows money from Japan and China sometimes on a daily basis. The United States owes Japan $1.26 trillion. China is close behind at $1.01 trillion.

The United States owes Social Security more than twice what it owes Japan and China individually. And more than its combined debt obligation to Japan and China.

Surprising. Shocking.

Social Security is not broken. It has worked well for 81 years. The United States government is broken. Government has been grabbing money from Social Security for years, has never paid a cent back, and from what I can determine, has no plan to pay any money back. It has been made to appear that Social Security is a noose around the neck of the United States economy. The people have been told that Social Security benefits must be cut so the economy may survive. Bunk!

Examine the pertinent facts.

Social Security comes out of every American pay check. An employer contribution added to it. The Government pays not one penny of the monies deposited in the Social Security Trust Fund.

The amount a person pays into the Trust Fund over the course of a working life time is substantially more than the benefit derived. A worker pays into the Fund generally for 40-50 years. The monthly Social Security check received by the senior citizen is peanuts in comparison.

Except for 11 years, Social Security has in every year of its existence taken in more than it has paid out. There is always a surplus. Since 1984, Social Security has taken in more each year than it has paid out.

The monies Social Security pays out include Old Age Retirement Benefits (the monthly check), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and SSI. All out of the Trust Fund. A surplus left over each year besides. Amazing! A terrific program Franklin Roosevelt put in place!

One problem exists. There should be a hell of a balance in the Social Security Trust Fund. Revenues annually are generally more than what is expended. There is no money in the Trust Fund, however. The Government has taken it all. Continues to do so. And never pays a cent back.

The genius for the legal looting of Social Security had its beginnings minimally with President Lyndon Johnson.  President Ronald Reagan and his financial advisor Alan Greenspan  jumped in with both feet.  As did President William Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Bush 2 made no contribution to the formulation of the plan. He simply took advantage of a program already in place. By so doing, he financed significant tax cuts for the rich, paid for the Iraqi War, and funded the 2008 bank bailouts.

The plunder of the Social Security surplus funds had been legalized. The procedure simple. The United States government was allowed to “borrow” the surplus monies. In return, the United States would give the Trust Fund what were termed  “special service non-marketable U.S. Government bonds.”

What are these bonds? Nothing. Non-marketable. They could not be used as collateral for a bank loan. No sane person would buy them. The bonds nothing more than IOUs.

Respectfully stated, good for use as outhouse toilet paper.

A scam

It was thought that if and when things turned adverse for Social Security, the government would redeem these bonds. In effect, pay back Social Security. After all, the commitment of the United States and Congress is to meet the country’s obligations.

The Government’s ability to pay depends on its power to tax and/or borrow. Congress reflects neither past nor present desire to pay. The Government refrains from even discussing these IOUs and their payment.

Where did all this surplus money go? How did certain Presidents and Congress spend the money?  In four areas.

First, to make up for the reduced taxes on the rich. Thank you Bush 2 and Trump. Second, two unpaid wars. Thank you again Bush 2, Obama, Trump, and to a minimal extent Biden. Third, the 2008 bailout of the banks. Thank you Bush 2 and Obama. Finally, other government programs that needed to be funded and for which there might not be sufficient funding without invading the Social Security Trust Fund.

The process again simple. Surplus Trust funds are borrowed by the United States. An IOU is given to purportedly secure repayment. The money goes into the nation’s general fund to help pay for the tax cuts, wars, etc.

Certain economic experts have suggested a simple 30 year program to repay the IOUs would correct the problem and pay off the $2.9 trillion still growing debt.

The real problem is no one cares about paying back. It is the old story of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Except, Peter never gets paid back. The Government takes Social Security surpluses and spends them like a bunch of college kids out on a night on the town.

Social Security and Medicare should not be touched in any fashion. Other than to perhaps increase benefits.  Another plan would be for the government to stop immediately removing funds from the Trust Fund. The surpluses would build up rapidly.

This sad scenario makes one wonder whether the Government even cares about the 99 percent. It appears to me that all our elected officials are concerned with are their images and friends. Not for anything or anyone else.

Make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

It seems to be working.

A NEW NAIL IN THE CROSS

The Atlantic reported on 12/26 about Donald Trump Jr.’s recent speech before a group of “young conservatives.” The title: The Gospel of Donald Trump Jr.

Trump told the crowd the teachings of Jesus has “gotten us nothing.” He added “turning the cheek” was holding them back.” In effect saying, “You want to gain more control and the Bible is getting in the way.”

Young Donald’s appearance was described as “both intensely unappealing and uninteresting.”

Donald Jr. representative of another situation where the fruit does not fall far from the tree. Like father, like son.

Donald Sr.’s first wife Ivana reported several years ago that during their married life, her husband kept a book of Hitler’s speeches on the nightstand. The books title My New Order. She claimed he read from it many evenings before falling to sleep.

Trump admitted he had the book. However denied ever reading it.

The former President gives every impression of being an authoritarian fascist. It does not surprise me he may have been a Hitler fan. Probably still is.

Hitler had trouble with the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the 1930’s and during World War II.

The Night of the Long Knives found many Catholics, including priests, being killed.

Dachau was not just a concentration camp for Jews. Catholics were imprisoned there and killed. Dachau in 1940 had a prisoner population of 2,720. Ninety percent were Polish Catholics. Many priests. One thousand priests died at Dachau.

Hitler was not opposed to religion because of its basic beliefs. His concern was that an organized religion provided a foundation group already organized that could at some point seek his downfall.

Hitler’s anti-semitism had nothing to do with Hitler’s concern of Catholics and Protestants. It was a hatred from another source.

Hitler claimed, “Nazism and religion could not co-exist in the long run.”

Goebbels had an inner dislike for Catholic priests. He added that hatred to those he had for Jews.

An interesting historical fact most are unaware of. Hitler and Goebbels were both raised Catholics.

Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Germany. Forty million protestants as opposed to 20 million Catholics.

The German Protestant Church was abused. However no where to the extent the Catholic Church was. The Protestants skillfully knew how to play the game from both sides.

Modern times are no different as far as the Catholic Church and Trump are concerned. Recall for some 2 years while Trump was President, Steve Bannon and Newt Gingrich were working to take down Pope Francis.

Both had offices in the Vatican. Both supporters of the U.S. Conference of Bishops which opposed Francis and continue to oppose him.

Recall also that Trump appointed Gingrich’s wife Ambassador to the Vatican.

The poison spreads Many drink the kool-aid. Trump constantly encourages openly or subtly actions not before accepted as norms. The Christmas cards this year showing family members holding AR-15s and other weapons.

The goal in every instance to destroy established values and replace them with authoritarian ones.

Wake up, my friends. It could happen. Things are 50/50 at the moment. However the ploy could move those few inches to make it work. It almost did January 6.

Enjoy your day!

 

THREE DAYS OF GREAT DINING AT HOME

I thought being alone for dinner this Christmas holiday was going to be a downer. Turned out not to be the case.

The food has been great. The Pope right on. Old TV movies exceptional. Interesting telephone calls with some I have not been in touch with in ages.

The food. So good I should be in solitary for a few more holidays.

Christmas Eve found me the chef. The filet mignon, as prepared by Louis, exceptional.

Christmas Day Lisa brought me left overs from her dinner the night before. For lunch, I had linguine with a great red sauce and Lisa’s home made Xmas cookies. Superior tasting.

Dinner last night were Maine lobster tails. Lisa went all out this Christmas. Outstanding! More Xmas cookies.

Today’s meals yet to come. Sloan my benefactor. She is due to arrive later this morning. Ham (cooked with the bone), potatoes and cobbler. My lunch.

Will begin tonight’s dinner with the rest of Lisa’s linguine. Followed by a shrimp dish specially prepared by Lisa. Tasted a couple cold. Different. Can’t wait to heat and try. Plus, Xmas cookies.

I suspect I will still have leftovers remaining from Lisa and Sloan to pick on over the next couple of days.

Not bad.

A frequent Commenter to the blog suggested I cook stone crabs. A special fit to Key West dining.

I love stone crabs! My favorite food. I have frequently commented over the years if I had a choice for a last meal, it would be stone crabs.

Stone crabs are common to our waters. The season runs 10/15-5/1. They are available to Key Westers all the time.

This season because of my COVID enforced incarceration, I have only had them once. Normally, once every 2-3 weeks.

The commenter suggested I cook stone crabs for New Year’s. No way then or ever.

They are so easy to purchase. Cooked, cold and shell skillfully crushed. Stone crabs can also be served warm. I had them, once. Do not recommend it. The flavor is gone.

I have enjoyed stone crabs so much over the years that on a few occasions I had frozen stone crabs flown from Key West to Utica. Invited 8-10 “lucky friends” and we pigged out.

Came across an interesting proverb this morning: “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22.

Cold during the night again. High today will be only be 71. Which means cold. The rest of the week will be in the high 70’s.

I feel sorry for the tourists when the weather is not the best. They come for sun and fun.

They know how to make up for it, however. Pick a bar and remain at it all day into the night. Eat oysters and drink. Before long, you and everyone around you become one happy family. As it is under normal circumstances in Key West.

Some COVID updates.

Florida achieved new record numbers for thursday and friday last week. The data is based on information forwarded by the State to the CDC.

Thursday Florida reported 31,758 new cases, friday 32,850.

Florida’s one day previous high was 27,614 in August when delta swept the State.

Florida’s positivity rate rose also in the one week time frame by 13.8 percent. The top 4 counties contributing to the rise included in the #4 position Monroe County. Our County. Up 15.3 percent. Note even higher than the State’s increase.

The surge is here in Key West. At least for last week. Why was it not reported by local news outlets? I discovered the information on a Google news item which had nationwide coverage.

Whatever, we must thank Gov. DeSantis at the very least. He has been trying to keep infection information down. He fears the truth.

Though he discouraged vaccinations, it appears he himself might have received even the booster shot. He was interviewed on TV last week and asked twice if he had received a booster shot. Each time he weasled and failed to answer the question.

The surge is evident throughout the country. Hospitals are overburdened.

Two Maryland hospitals examples of the problem. Each has declared health care a “disaster” due to the rising coronavirus tide. The hospitals are the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and the Hartford Memorial Hospital.

Between the two hospitals, COVID cases are up 458 percent thus far this month alone.

One hospital official said, “The demand for our services has outstripped our resources, which includes staffing.” He said “burnout” and “moral distress” are fueling the staff shortages.

Another administrator said and what I consider an important item in hospital overcrowding, “Between 75-80 percent of patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 infections have been unvaccinated.”

One of the regular doctors appearing on MSNBC is Vin Gupta. I have watched him for more than a year. His COVID reports clearly stated. He calls them as he sees them.

Dr. Gupta has called for hospitals to deny medical assistance and care to anyone who remains unvaccinated against COVID. He said, “Any unvaccinated person requiring medical attention should be last in line…..How do we rank – order that priority? We do it for organs, kidneys, livers, and lungs. We say ‘Did you smoke? Did you drink recently?’ If you did, you’re lower on the list even if you need it. We need to start thinking of that model.”

Back to Harry Truman again. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

The President died this day in 1972.

One of our greatest Presidents.

Key West and the President are closely allied because of Truman’s love for Key West. He spent 11 working vacations totaling 175 days in Key West while President.

Enjoy your day!