Since 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures
|[FTR] “14 NEW ZIKA CASES IN MIAMI” Miami-Dade asks for help from Monroe County in combating the ZIKA mosquitos.
“ZIKA NIGHTMARE HITS MIAMI” The Bloomberg News headline. The article chronicles the arrival of Florida’s first home grown cases of ZIKA.
“MIAMI BLOOD DONATIONS HALTED OVER ZIKA FEARS” The YAHOO NEWS head line. The article chronicles the fact that Federal authorities have called for a halt to blood donations in Miami as a result of local cases of Zika.
“ZIKA is here now” The New York Times reports that Dr. Frieden, Director of the C.D.C. affirmatively states: “Zika is here now.” He warns that there likely will be more Zika cases and urges precautions. He adds that the disease often displays no symptoms. Often the tragedy is not discovered until parents learn that their infant has suffered a horrible birth defect.
Months ago, Governor Scott declared Zika to be a public health emergency in Florida.
Zika is here. To wait another day to deploy every weapon at our disposal is insanity. It is malfeasance. We must wonder why there is no headline, no editorial, in our local papers demanding that Mosquito Control immediately begin using all the weapons that are at their disposal against Zika. Zika is here, but the Mosquito Control Board of Directors dithers, putting the health of Monroe residents and visitors at risk, especially the unborn.
It’s no mystery why the Board dithers. It is because of the influence of powerful local and up Keys real estate interests who have led an outrageous fear campaign against the use of genetic engineering in vector control. Some people are actually terrified that the technology will create what they call “Frankenskeeters.” Patent nonsense! “Frankenskeeters” are the stuff of Jurassic Park and puerile horror movies. Not a single day goes by wherein your life is not improved by genetic engineering.
The use of genetic engineering in vector control has been proven to be safe and effective in repeated overseas trials. Our own FDA has deemed the process as presenting “minimal risk.” And yet we still fail to use all the safe and effective weapons that are available. Why?
The real estate cabal will hear none of it. Why? Because they place their profits above public health. They fight fiercely against the use of GM vector control. Some realtors have taken to Facebook to push their narrative of fear. There are at least two Facebook groups that rail against the use of GM mosquitoes in Key Haven. They are the work of local realtors. At least one of these Facebook groups is “closed”, meaning that they ban the voices of anyone who has a contrary opinion. Apparently afraid of truth. One realtor has widely circulated an internet petition calling for the banning of GM mosquitoes to fight Zika.
The single most egregious act by the opponents of the use of GM mosquitoes to combat Zika comes from one of Monroe County’s most influential real estate investors: Edwin O. Swift III.
In a March 2015 email that was directed to the Director of FKMCB and to each commissioner, Mr. Swift, a Key Haven resident, demanded that the board scuttle any plans to use the GM process in his personal neighborhood. Mr. Swift specifically stated that the process would negatively impact his property values. Mr. Swift specifically stated that he would have no problem with the use of the process anywhere else but in his neighborhood.
Then, Mr. Swift threatened each and every member of the Board with political retribution if they did not bend to his demands. It is obvious that Edwin O. Swift III would have no problem with the use of GM mosquitoes to fight Zika in Bahama Village or in a trailer park on Stock Island.
He wrote: “At any rate, any board member voting yes (for the use of GM vector control in Key Haven) will have my guarantee that I will fund their opponent and in the next election will lend myself to defeat them.” Then, he wrote: “Should you feel strongly about this test, put it in your neighborhood, or anywhere out of Key Haven.
Edwin O. Swift III’s hubris knows no bounds. I suggest you read the entirety of Mr. Edwin O. Swift III’s email, appended hereto, that was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act demand from FKMCB.
Until Swift’s letter, the GM vector control program was proceeding smoothly and was very nearly ready to launch. Then it came to a screeching halt. The board began to waffle, to quiver, to dither.
There are two incumbent FKMCB commissioners standing for reelection. Steve Smith and Jill Cranney-Gage. Both voted affirmatively for nearly every issue concerning the use GM in vector control. Both supported the program. Then Smith and Cranney-Gage began to waffle.
The ditherer-in-chief on the FKMCB is Steve Smith. Smith originally was an ardent proponent for the use us of GM vector control. That is no longer the case. On receipt of Edwin O. Swift III’s threat, Steve Smith began backing away. Nothing had changed, only Edwin O. Swift III’s letter and the influence of big realty interests intervened.
It appears that Steve Smith values his job on the board more than he values public health. Steve Smith is a 20-year veteran of the board. He is a poster child for term limits. Most of the donations to Steve Smith’s campaign, to date, are from real estate and construction interests. Smith and Cranney-Gages’ campaigns are fueled in the main with large infusions of real estate money. The largest single contributor to Mr. Smith’s campaign is a local person who is in the construction industry and is heavily involved in real estate development.
The second largest contributor is Edwin O. Swift III, the author of the letter threatening FKMCB members. FKMCB incumbent and candidate, Steve Smith, apparently won the heart, mind, and wallet of Edwin O. Swift III. Swift’s influence in the local political community far outweighs the dollar value of his contributions.
A major contributor to Mr. Smith’s campaign is a Miami Democrat lawyer, Kevin Diaz. Diaz is a real estate practitioner, friend and mentee of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Diaz is also a Senatorial candidate running against Republican Senatorial candidate Carlos Curbello.
The influence of big real estate has now reached far beyond simply changing the face and ethos of the Florida Keys that we love. Big real estate is now acting out against public health.
While candidates Smith and Cranney-Gage dither, your health and the health of the unborn is put at risk. Mr. Smith has been on FKMCB for two decades, he does not deserve to be reelected. Ms. Cranney-Gage has served but one term–that is enough.
C’mon FKMCB get to work. Use all the weapons that you have to protect us from ZIKA. Ed Swift Email
|[Why I So Hate Mini Lobster Season] Friday was such a beautiful day that I wanted to go to the reef. It was the day after mini season so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad out there. I was wrong. I went out after 3 pm and all the buoys were filled with at least two boats each. The captain of one cattle boat signaled me that they were leaving soon so I hung around him until they left. It took longer than he said, but that was okay. As he left I pulled forward to grab the line and a 20-21’ lobster mobster boat loaded with eleven people pulled in front of me and moored at the buoy. He wasn’t aware of any other boats, he just zeroed in on getting there first. I was a few feet away from him and told him I’d been waiting ten minutes for the buoy. He ignored me. The mate on the head boat yelled to him, “That’s not cool, man!”|
[Name That Plant] This plant grows along the water’s edge, but I don’t know what it’s called or if there is a use for it. I think it’s an herb.
|County Mayor Pro Tem George Neugent found in violation and facing sanctions on three ethics charges. Link|
My wish is having to call a doctor for an erection lasting more than four hours.
|[FKAA Screwing Customers] I just received my water bill following hooking up to the sewer system. Last year the water base facility charge was $13.75. Water usage charge – $9.83. Total bill – $23.58.
The new normal: water base facility charge – $13.90, water usage charge – $12.85, wastewater charges – $51.32! However, true to their word, I did get a credit for the electric used by the eyesore of a grinder pump decorating my front yard. 97 cents off my bill! $77.10 water bill for one person who isn’t even home 7 am to 6 pm five days a week
|[New Heights] Good old Heather Caruthers is pushing to raise building heights again. This time to allegedly keep flood insurance down. Ha. This is another misdirect so people will not see that the real reason developers want to open the door to increasing the height limits is so they can add more floors to make more profit and squeeze more people into a smaller space. They are dying to build high rises in the Keys. She only wants five more feet, but in the future under some ruse like global warming, sinking land, affordable housing, etc. it will have to go up another five and then another five somewhere down the line. She says it will allow existing homes to be jacked up to keep flood insurance costs down. Jacking up a building is a very expensive process. I wonder how many years it would take for the savings in insurance to pay off the cost of raising the structure? I am guessing no one has bothered to calculated this simple payback, and probably never will because it is just a ruse to benefit developers. As the saying goes, the camel is trying to get his nose into the tent and the body will soon follow.|
|“The conventions are so exciting maybe I can use one of them as my opening act!” ~Don Rickles
(Yes he’s still alive)
|[Freedom] The law is the law. You obey it to the letter. Freedom is what’s left over.|
[Old Boat Blues] I saw this boat parked at the west end of the Channel 5 Bridge on my way to Islamorada. I pulled over to snap a photo on the way back, but a truck had connected and had just started hauling it towards Miami. I wonder if he lost his motor on the highway or in the water?
|[Tourons] Years ago while working at Winn Dixie a person asked me, “Where’s the Winn Dixie?” Keep in mind I was in uniform. Full Menu > Stupid Tourist Questions|
[“How come there are no tours of the Spam and Scrapple plants?”] There are, but not of the factory to see what really goes into that ‘food’.
|I am waiting for Florida Gov. Rick Scott to handle Zika the way he handles climate change by banning the official use of the words “Zika,” “virus,” and “mosquito.”|
|[“mercuriated chalk”] I Googled mercuriated chalk from the Diary post on Friday and for the first time in history Google was stumped, “Your search – mercuriated chalk – did not match any documents.”|
|[Crooks] County Commissioner George Neugent violated state statutes by not reporting a $6,000 annual golf membership he was receiving for free at a Marathon country club. He would not have received the free membership if he was not a County official. Neugent was also accused misusing his public position by steering the county’s Middle Keys animal control services contract away from Stand Up for Animals to a new organization allegedly founded by a friend of Neugent’s, but he was cleared of that charge. Like most politicians he explains away his corruption as “sloppy paperwork”.|
[Cleaning Keyboards] You have to watch the amount of suction which will increase with the smaller nozzle opening. You can suck chips off the mother board (in a desktop) or pull keys off any keyboard. I know, cause I did it once and had to find another keyboard to reinstall the mix of keys all over the place!
|Man was arrested for meth, but the crumbs in his car were Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze. What kind of police officer doesn’t recognize doughnuts? Link|
|[“Out-of-control burns”] “Prescribed fire in the Florida Keys Refuges is implemented by a highly qualified and trained staff of inter agency professional fire specialists.”
Yeah, right! The last time this team of “highly qualified and trained staff of interagency professional fire specialists” tried one of these fires, they burned down nearly 10 times as many acres as planned, destroyed two of their own nature trails, and had to evacuate an entire neighborhood. Was anyone held accountable for this major screw up? Nope. No one was fired, no one was suspended, no one was even reprimanded. Government competence at its best.
|[Generic Autos] Traffic was stopped and I noticed the car ahead of me did not have one of those logos that are supposed to identify the make This car looked about like all the other average late model cars, but no doubt cost more than most and is harder to get parts for when something inevitably breaks. Why bother? I’m just glad I didn’t rear-end it. My policy would probably not cover repairs to even a tail light!|
|[“Cuban rafters”] Great letter to the Coast Guard Commander. The writer should have included the FWC, Navy, Fat Albert, and Border Patrol. Someone needs to listen, watch and patrol. Once they are here it’s like, oh well …|
I like it when TV series end. So often they don’t and you have to hope there is another season to see how the resolve.
|[Three on a Match] That is supposed to be bad luck. And it’s only because someone thought it up like Conspiracy Man does.|
|[Crooks] Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Monday filed a $100 million lawsuit against Comcast, saying the cable and internet giant deceived customers into paying tens of millions of dollars in fees for a “near-worthless” service protection plan. Comcast committed more than 1.8 million violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act by charging improper service call fees and using improper credit screening practices.|
|[Zika] Government health officials warned pregnant women Monday to avoid a Zika-stricken section of Miami and get tested for the virus if they’ve visited the neighborhood since mid-June, after the number of people feared infected through mosquito bites in the U.S. climbed to 14.|
|[Banks] Thomas Jefferson said in 1802 “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property — until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”|
[Hemingway Look-alike Contest] The man was gorgeous before the extra poundage. That’s a contest we’d want to see!
|[The Movies] There are too many scenes where a dying person is laying on the floor and blood is slowly pooling from the head.|
If you lost a wedding ring out back, post a description and contact info. If it matches the one I found I will contact you.
|[“Zika is in Miami”] One more reason to not go to Miami. A friend of mine from Texas asked me if I’m excited about Cuba opening up; and if I’m going down there. I told her I don’t even want to go to Miami!|
|[Hospital Ratings] Lower Keys Medical Center did not score well and received just one out of five possible stars confirming what everyone already knows—that hospital sucks. “I think we can all agree this snapshot of our performance.” At Lower Keys Medical Center, the very expensive combination CT scans were ordered almost 6 times more than the national average.|
|They are moving the traffic signal at the entrance triangle to Key West. Humm. It only took 2 years to fix a f**k up they installed. Can someone tell me why or how department of transportation officials keep their jobs? Heads should be rolling up there. Wherever “there” is.|
|Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.|
Octopus have arms not tentacles. They don’t like it when you call them tentacles or testicles!
|[Motorized Picnic Table] This would be Perfect for Duval Street parades. ‘just need to make a fold up version that would fit inside my van. Video|
Who knew The Rolling Stones did a Rice Crispy’s commercial? Video
|[Zika] Baby’s with little heads. Baby’s that turn into drug addicts & thieves. Just stop having babies, people. This is not working out|
|[Ukeamania 2] Coconuts had a fun Uke night with the camera crew filming. We look forward to seeing the video shot by Channel 2 “Art Loft” spotlighting Big Pine Key & Coconuts. It will be posted ASAP.|
|[Tech Support] I found a list of secret reset and diagnostic menu power-on button combinations for Garmin GPS that might prove useful…. or damaging. If it ain’t working, you got nothing to lose? Link
Radio Shack fixed a ribbon cable problem inside my handheld chart plotter in a few minutes. It is much like a smartphone inside and my fingers are too big and eyes too dim for delicate work like that. Leave it to someone that has a clue what they are doing and has tiny tools and good vision.
|[Game of Life] The way I’m thinking, if I can get through the rest of my life without dealing with the cops or any lawyers, I won this game of life thing. Wish me luck will you?|
|Just when you thought Fishermen’s Hospital sucked, Lower Keys Medical Center gets a 1 out of 5 stars! Be careful people. I was not here yet, but someone told me that Fishermen’s first patient died|
|There’s a new 3-letter disease, HPV. It just popped up on TV with ads for the drug they just invented. You never heard of it before they made the new drug. Now everyone’s supposed to have HPV I reckon.|
[Computer Power Users] Free August issue. Link
|If Kim Kardashian and the FTR Guy were hanging off a cliff and I could only save one, I’d get Pokémon Go to see what all the hoopla is about.|
The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to double the normal rate to 150-200 shooting stars per hour. The peak of the meteor shower will be on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. According to experts, a darker sky will coincide with the meteor shower allowing a more favorable sky watching experience.
|Who are these people who are too important to prosecute? Why is the American justice system failing in dealing management crime? Management crimes are such that a person of responsibility who is or should be aware of a situation that they have the ability to influence and choose to do nothing or cover it up. A simplistic-example: a worker bee observers a manager perform an act that is a threat to national security. The worker bee Blows the Whistle. This creates a scandal, and in fear of his life flees to a non-extradition location while being crucified by the press. In the meantime, what about the Criminal–the manager? Well, it wasn’t intended, accidents happen, didn’t know, and besides “Historically” those things aren’t prosecuted. General Petraeus got a pass. So there you have it. We live in a country of Laws, where all persons are equal under the eyes of the law, Unless you’re too important. If this isn’t a mockery of Justice I haven’t a clue. How about a Supreme Court Justice who claimed the US Constitution is a dated document? Of the people, by the people, for the people — not anymore.|
|In 1869 Sir Henry Stanley while looking for Doctor Livingston observed: “Five doti, or $7.50, will purchase a slave in the markets of Ujiji that will fetch in Zanzibar $30. Ordinary menslaves may be purchased for $6 which would sell for $25 on the coast. We will say he purchases slaves to the full extent of his means—after deducting $1,500 expenses of carriage to Ujiji and back—viz. $3,500, the slaves—464 in number, at $7.50 per head— would realize $13,920 at Zanzibar!”|
|Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Most of all remember the true meaning of life. ~Coconuts Bar & Package Store|
|Cicero of the Roman empire wrote this about in 43 B.C., but is valid even today.
|[Enola Gay] Enola spelled backwards is alone. Coincidence?|
[Motorized Carry-On Bag] Ride your suitcase! Video
|[Sewers] Another reckless design feature that may be cause for north Little Torch sewer failure is that the design was based on each home using only 92 gallons per day of water- although they were taxed a special assessment based on 1 EDU being equal to 167 gallons per day. In other words, they “contributed” almost twice as much to construction as what their system is designed to handle, and almost twice what a heavy commercial user like, say Boondocks, was assessed based on their actual water use.
Had a Coral Shores single wide mobile home been forced to put in an approved on-site system, it would have had to handle 250 gals/day, not 92 (per 64E-6.006 Florida Administrative Code for Dept. of Health).
If the Coral Shores folks feel short-changed, they should. They overpaid and received sub-standard. This was a design-build contract, so the contractor-engineer is still on the hook to provide adequate sewers for the contract price. After a year, it will be all our rates paying to rebuild something that reliably works- not the contractor (see FL Statute of Limitations) and not infrastructure sales taxes. (see FKAA-MC Interlocal Agreement)
At least the Coral Shores homes have a gravity connection. Their situation could be resolved by replacing the multiple stupid and illegal residential pumps in the lift stations with 2 real lift station pumps, and adding one or two repumping (booster) stations along SR4A. The FKAA contract prohibited any repumping in the design before the master pump stations. This was blatantly to ensure the use of oddball, super high pressure E-One pumps forever. Pumps that are available to FKAA from only one regional sales office in the world, with no defined price-list. Tell me again why you think E-1 did not “buy” this design. The remedial construction needs to be ordered right now- not after people discover that a full house does not beat a straight flush.
Meanwhile, if you discover that the new sewers are not working right, please advise email@example.com. A video of failure is especially good, but at least get date and time. Even a log of alarms or FKAA guys busy at a lift station is helpful- especially if a pump-out truck is involved. We want to petition to keep our septic or other onsite system for emergency back-up and need to counter the FKAA lies about everything working great. An unused septic tank causes no harm whatsoever, but surely beats direct discharge or forced evacuation under a central system failure situation. Which is inevitable. You deserve better. Demand it
|[Free Exhibit Welcomes Visitors] The genius of Tennessee Williams, one of America’s greatest playwrights and thirty-four year resident of Key West, was recognized with multiple literary awards throughout his long career, including two Pulitzers and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Replicas of these and other awards are currently on display at the permanent Tennessee Williams Exhibit, 513 Truman Avenue, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admittance is free; donations welcome. For personal tours or more information, email Dennis Beaver at Link|
|Join the Sister Season Fund as they celebrate 11 years of Locals Helping Locals from 5pm – 8pm on Friday, August 5th at the Bottlecap with celebrity bartenders, snacks, games, a 50/50 raffle, and silent auction.
The Sister Season Fund was founded in 2005 to help locals employed in tourism-related industries when a temporary financial emergency occurs through no fault of their own. These individuals represent the infrastructure of the tourism industry in Key West and our island can’t afford to lose them. Many do not have the financial resources to remain in Key West while recovering from temporary adversity. Typically, these hard working individuals have very little in the way of reserves,with no insurance or employee benefits.
Under these circumstances, when qualified applicants need help keeping a roof over their heads and making sure their basic utilities are not cut off, the Sister Season Fund is here to help. For more information, or to make a donation, visit Link
[Lottery] I’m pissed! Not once did me or any of my friends win the stinking lottery. It must be fixed!
|It seems the Marine Sanctuary leader is not all he’s cracked up to be. You can bet he won’t lose his job, probably just be transferred. Don’t worry, the woman who’s taking his place specializes in expanding zones.|
|Great captive dolphin video|
|The The Voyager 1 space probe was launched on September 5, 1977 and after nearly forty years in space has traveled roughly 20,227,475,000 kilometers from Earth. While that may seem like quite a distance, in terms of interstellar travel, the hardy little probe has only traveled 19 light hours, not quite a full light day, and certainly nowhere close to a light year. was launched on September 5, 1977 and after nearly forty years in space has traveled roughly 20,227,475,000 kilometers from Earth. While that may seem like quite a distance, in terms of interstellar travel, the hardy little probe has only traveled 19 light hours, not quite a full light day, and certainly nowhere close to a light year.|
|Hipped at a trippyfest all weekend. Much love! tripfest|
This frigate bird was on a pole in the middle of nowhere off American Shoals Wednesday.
|“The morning mix” Radio for retards and the terribly boring.|
|Submit anything but National Politics to firstname.lastname@example.org For National Politics go directly to that page, log in, and post your comment. NATIONAL POLITICS|