Friday, January 15, 2021

The Biden American Recovery Plan

WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

President elect Joe Biden introduced his first phase of the American Recovery Plan Thursday evening January 14th, 2021 in an early evening nationwide address.

The plan, put together by Biden and his aides, includes stimulus checks for about $1400 for individuals, rent subsidy support, an eviction moratorium, increased food stamp benefits, childcare credits, child tax credits, emergency paid leave support, extended unemployment support, small business support, additional funding for vaccinations, state and local government support, and support for a nationwide 15-hour minimum wage.

In Biden’s address, there is no mention of where the money to fund all this is going to come from, instead a reasoning that a massive 1.9 trillion-dollar investment will ultimately pay for itself in a renewed and invigorated economy.

Metaphorically speaking, given the current state of the economy, the continued spread of the coronavirus and an uncertain Congress, even though the Democrats hold a slim majority, it's difficult to be sure if there are enough pots or enough chickens.

President elect Biden’s calls for coming together, unity, and working across party lines, are going to be difficult for a lot of Americans to digest as they watch an inauguration which is going to take place in what will look like an armed fortress.

It almost raises the question: who is really trying to take over this government by force The Democrats or the Republicans?

The pundits are preaching armed attack and insurrection; the President-elect is calling for calm and contrition as Democrats have finally managed to accomplish their greatest goal of the Trump presidency: impeaching him for a second time. The US Senate will likely take up the impeachment trial a short time after the president's inauguration.

We haven't heard much from the far left of the Democratic Party as they prepare to inaugurate the new president, but rest assured the far left have not abandoned their socialistic views, and their desire to move this country in that direction.

In many ways, Biden’s America Recovery Plan has hints of a socialistic approach to managing a domestic disaster. We need to approach the future cautiously.

It's going to be a very difficult first 100 days for president elect Biden. With the massive issues on the domestic front and our friends and adversaries abroad viewing us as severely weakened, the Biden administration is certain to have its hands full.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Rick Kriseman and BAIT GATE

WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

It all started out quite innocently. 

Saint Pete City Council member Robert Blackman wanted to refurbish the historic bait shop that was part of the Saint Pete pier which they originally constructed for the 1926-million-dollar pier.

Blackman wanted to refurbish the old bait house and put it on the new Pier. Blackman’s concept was to restore the old bait house and lease it out. He saw both a historical value and a revenue value from the rents.

 The old bait house was kind of a throwback to pier history.

Once mayor Kriseman and his inner circle discovered that the Councilman was serious about renovating the Bait House they sprang into action.

Follow the trail of intrigue with Tampa Bay Times Josh Solomon: With discussion looming, Kriseman ordered nearly century-old bait house destroyed.

Tampa Bay Times Josh Solomon: St. Pete Council member accuses mayor of ‘illegal activity’ in bait house demolition.

This isn't the first time that the mayor has taken a fairly aggressive action to get his way with his priceless waterfront and his special pier. Just for the record, let me recall for you in the following posts some of the actions that went on that led to the concrete box on the Bay and a park at or near sea level, which is destined to flood in the very near future if you listen to Kriseman's own climate-change rhetoric.

The Pier – who got us here

The New Pier a Project out of control

Funding St. Pete’s new pier

The good mayor invoked everything from the coronavirus to the city budget as an excuse for not wanting to do the restoration, but I think the real reason is poop.

Yep, just poop.  Actually, Pelican poop.

Kriseman holds his creation of the new Saint Pete pier as a holy mission. And I'm pretty sure the thought of an antique bait shop provisioned like the old one where the Pelicans walked around eating and pooping on the sidewalk is not exactly part of the mayor's concept. Some of the Pelicans took up almost permanent residence at the old bait shop. There are a lot of locals and winter visitors who came back to the pier and specifically the old bait house just to see their Pelican friends.

Just hard to understand what the mayor has against Pelicans.

Kriseman has never been afraid to walk the line of legality and good taste when it comes to getting his way with his Pier.

Quoting from the Josh Solomon article, “But email records show Kriseman knew about Blackmon’s initiative before demolition occurred.

Kriseman has also never been one to let facts stand in the way of a decision he thinks needs to be made.

I think it's time to draw the line. Council member Blackman, and the rest of his fellow council members should proceed quickly with a project to design and construct a replica of the old bait house.

So where is the money going to come from? 

The first effort should be to put out a go fund me request and see if the people of Saint Pete would like to see the old bait house back on the pier. Who knows, you might be able to raise enough money to do the whole thing and not affect the city budget one little bit.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Grand Old Party Not So Grand Anymore

WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

Like you, I suspect; I was absolutely appalled at the events this week in and around the capital.

There's not much sense in rehashing here what was done at the Capitol building in Washington DC.

There are some questions that I haven't heard ask yet or at least not ask too loudly, regarding what comes next for the GOP, the grand old party. It's still old, but it's not particularly grand these days.

The Republican Party and those who lead it have a lot of soul-searching to do in the next few weeks. There are some important questions that they are going to answer very privately and very publicly.

1. Will Donald Trump remain the titular head of the Republican Party?
2. How will the current batch of elected Republicans at the national, state, and local-level  deal with fervent Trump supporters?
3. How will major donors react going forward?
4. How will what happened in Washington effect current registered Republicans?
5. Will there be a significant number of people switching their party affiliation in the upcoming months as we head to the next round of elections?
6. Will newcomers to politics want to run for office under the Republican banner?  

These and many other questions, are surely on the table. I don't propose to have any of the answers at this point, but I can tell you this: I've been a registered Republican since I started voting at age 21, that's well over 50 years ago, and I'm seriously considering changing my Party affiliation.

I'm not sure how many people feel that way. I'm not even sure it's a good idea.

Maybe the right approach is to stay in the party and try to save it from itself. The problem is the Republican Party, the GOP; the grand old party is steeped in way too much tradition, run by a bunch of old white men with a lot of money, and so far out of touch with reality that they could not control somebody like Donald Trump.

Do you think that they’re ever going to change?  

There is no denying the fact that the rioters in Washington and President Trump himself have done significant damage to the Republican brand.

So, the real question seems to me to be, are there sufficient young Republicans with enough political stamina and wealth to wrestle the party away from the control of the people who got us to Wednesday in Washington DC? Or, will the battle for the salvation of the grand old party simply come down to a cat fight based on who's got the most clout and who's got the most money?

If that turns out to be the case, The Republicans have just written Joe Biden and the Democrats a blank check to do whatever they want.

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Disclosures: Registered Republican, for now

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Beleaguered FL Democratic Party Needs Real Leader

Tampa, Fl 
Tampa Bay Beat

By: Jim Bleyer
January 5, 2021 - 5:07 pm 


Ione Townsend: FDP’s best bet for relevance

In four days the Florida Democratic Party will choose a new state chairman.

The winner from a six-candidate field will have the Sisyphean task of overhauling a two-decades-old failed enterprise which culminated in twin 2018-2020 election disasters.

Two candidates have emerged as clear frontrunners: Hillsborough County Chairman Ione Townsend and former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

The choice could not be more stark.

Townsend is a dedicated Democrat, roll-up-the-sleeves worker bee, and a strong advocate of inclusiveness who has successfully led the party to a string of victories in Hillsborough while Democrats were getting buried around the state, especially in Miami-Dade.

Diaz once denounced the Democratic party, represents out-of-state money interests, and has no track record of helping anyone but himself.  He fumbles with articulating “LGBTQ,” inexplicably unable to select the correct five letters let alone putting them in the correct order.  It reflects his lack of interest in managing the Democratic party’s big tent.

If Diaz prevails Saturday, the most influential individual in Florida Democratic politics will be Michael Bloomberg—not a Floridian and, like Diaz, only a registered Democrat by convenience, not conviction.

Townsend has spent the past few weeks helping Georgians Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff try to unseat a pair of  Republican U. S. senators and swing that chamber to Democratic control.   She has used social media to articulate her vision for Florida Dems in the next election cycle.

Diaz was busy making endorsement deal for himself (from nonvoting Democratic officeholders), cajoling targets with the promise of financial help in their future campaigns.  He promoted his weak sauce candidacy on pay-for-play websites.

The man who aspires to lead the Democrats incredibly sponsored a fundraiser last year for Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez who defeated incumbent Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

Under Townsend’s leadership, Hillsborough Democrats have won supermajorities on the county commission and school board as well as six of the seven constitutional offices.  Diversity is a hallmark of her tenure.

Maria Torres-Lopez, founder of Diáspora y Resistencia and precinct committeewoman, asserted that Townsend “is committed to working with the Puerto Rican community like no other previous Chair has done.”

Sanjay Patel, state committeeman from Broward County echoed Townsend’s commitment to diversity, saying she has “created space to listen to young, diverse, progressive voices.”

Thomas Kennedy, a co-founder and former chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Progressive Caucus, said “I believe that Hillsborough Party Chair Ione Townsend is the right person for the job.  Just like she has led the Hillsborough county Democratic Party to success, we can count on her to do the same statewide and to lead on important reforms necessary to accomplish this, from building organizing infrastructure, holding the consultant cartel accountable, and democratizing our governance structure and rules.”

Improving rural outreach is another key Townsend objective.  Tracey Tapp, Democratic chair in Okaloosa County, asserted that Townsend “understands what it takes to build a party infrastructure from the grass roots up because she’s done it.”

Larry Snyder, state committeeman from Duval County, termed Townsend “an organizing and fundraising powerhouse.”

Diaz on the other hand, with “Geppetto” Blumberg pulling the strings, can only point to the potential for fund raising prowess as cover for a sketchy, if nonexistent record, of helping the Democratic party.

Reviews of Diaz’ history, far from glowing, point to a roadmap for failure should he become Florida Democratic chair.  Hear Al Fox, Cuban-American activist:

“If a Manny Diaz type is elected state chair, Democrats at all levels–local, state and federal–will suffer defeats. Electing a disloyal and “on again off again” Democrat like Manny will prove to be a disaster.”

Fox warned Florida Democrats not to elect Diaz who:

—strongly denounced and resigned from the Democratic party during the 2000 Elian Gonzalez saga

—advised his clients to break US immigrations laws.

—publicly ridiculed Attorney General, Janet Reno.

—contributed to Al Gore’s presidential loss in 2000 by denouncing the Democratic party five months before the election.

—held a fundraiser for Republican Carlos Curbelo against Democrat Joe Garcia.

Any one of the factors disqualifies Diaz from leading Florida Democrats, Fox maintains.

The other four candidates for the chairmanship include: Cynthia Chestnut, a former state House member and chair of the Alachua County Democrats; Democratic National committeewoman Nikki Barnes; Democratic Environmental Caucus chair Janelle Christiansen, and Wes Hodge, Orange County Democratic chair.

This isn’t just a perfunctory gavel handoff.  The viability of the Florida Democratic party is at stake.

The future should be led by a longtime successful loyalist who stresses diversity, not a self-centered Democrat (when it’s suitable) whom Republicans would cheer.

  Al FoxCarlos CurbeloCarlos GiménezCynthia ChestnutDebbie Mucarsel-PowellDiáspora y ResistenciaElian GonzalezFlorida Democratic PartyIone TownsendJanelle ChristiansenJanet RenoJoe GarciaJon OssoffLarry SnyderManny DiazMaria Torres-LopezMiami-Dade Democratic Progressive CaucusMichael BloombergNikki BarnesRaphael WarnockSanjay PatelThomas KennedyTracey TappWes Hodge.

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat

This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Herd Immunity Florida Style

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

Welcome to 2021 and the 2021 version of the Corona virus pandemic.

If you're over 65 and looking to get a Corona virus vaccination, the frustration level is through the roof.

First, the state's decision to put the vaccine distribution and vaccination process in the hands of County government was flawed to say the least.

What we have ended up with in Florida is a hodgepodge of approaches and botched efforts.

It's not really hard to understand how this is all gone awry if you've had any dealings with your local County government in the last few years. County governments tend to be far from the leading edge in the application of technology.

The whole concept of registering and administrating something as sophisticated as a virus vaccination program is well beyond the administrative and technical capacity of even the most advanced County government in Florida.

You do not have to be a technological genius to figure out, if you have thousands or 10s of thousands of people over 65 in your County, there is going to be something similar to a gold rush to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

There was not ample time to set up sufficient website capacity or telecommunications capacity to receive the phone calls, and the administrative staff and workers; for that matter, to deal with this sudden onslaught of vaccine requests.

Add to that the fact that most County health departments, which is where this responsibility was dumped, are way down on the budget list for new systems, new technologies and are usually not well staffed in the 1st place.

Governor DeSantis and his team should have been capable of determining that before they made the decision to pass this responsibility to local County government.

We are going to get through this, there is no doubt about that. However, there really is a significant lesson to be learned here. State and County governments need to be working much more closely in the area of public health. County governments need to provide more resources and more staffing to their County health departments because this is not the last time, we're going to see something like this.

For now, your best approach if you're trying to get an appointment for a Corona vaccination is to watch your local news media and visit their websites in your specific area. Look for the information that they are accumulating and publishing almost on an hour-by-hour basis regarding vaccination sites, times, and current conditions.

Finally, be patient, it is probably not a good idea to get in your car, go get in a line of 50 or 100 other cars and sit there for hours upon hours waiting to get a vaccination.

Like everything else in life, gathering a few facts, getting a little information, and applying some common sense will probably get you a vaccination quicker with less frustration than any other approach.

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