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Sadness.

We know and understand that times change. We know and understand that tastes and buying habits of people change.

As a company, Sears and their subsidiary KMart have been in financial trouble for years now. Company that produced the iconic “Sears Catalog” never could seem to get into the more modern economic brick and mortar models. Sears was so big they couldn’t pivot and change with the times, and their online presence often seemed more of an afterthought rather than a internet destination.

Even with all that going on, we never expected of foresaw this:

It’s the end of an era for Sears. The struggling retailer is selling its iconic Craftsman brand to tool maker Stanley Black & Decker.

But for those of you who still shop at Sears and love the Craftsman brand, fear not. Sears will continue to sell Craftsman tools in its stores.

Sears will get $525 million from Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) once the deal closes, another $250 million at the end of the third year and a percentage of annual payments of new Craftsman sales for the next 15 years

Sears not owning the Craftsman brand is going to be like Burger Kings “The Whopper” being made and owned by McDonalds. It is just surreal.

Don’t get us wrong. Stanley makes good tools and this to us is more about branding than the actual product. We just never envisioned the divorce, separation or selling of the iconic and historical brand.


And then there is this:
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Cocoa Beach: Montgomery Resigns.

Our ninjas told us and we have confirmed that the head of the Cocoa Beach Building Department / Head of Economic Development / former Acting Assistant City Manager Zach Montgomery has resigned.

We don’t know the reasons for his resignation and don’t care.

In our opinion, Montgomery had shown that his work was often sloppy and partisan, and that is something that you cannot have in the positions he filled.

Arguably the Building Department is one of the most powerful departments in the City government. It is that department that can make simple tasks such as putting on a roof, passing inspections, permitting. etc., a nightmare or a pleasure. The people deserve someone who can not only handle the workload in a professional manner, but without the partisanship.

We certainly wish Montgomery good luck in his future endeavors.



Protecting And Serving? Or Protecting Each Other?

There is no doubt that being an police officer is a difficult job. Within the past few weeks we have seen the “alleged” killing of a Orlando office by a lowlife named Merkeith Loyd.

Generally speaking, no one really wants to see a policeman in their day to day life. If they are at a store because it has been robbed, no one is happy they had to be called there. When the police show up unannounced at your door, it is generally not a good thing. It is also fair to say that most people are not happy to see the flashing lights of a police car behind them while driving.

That means that police seldom meet people when the person is happy. They seldom meet the best people while in the performance of their duties. Far too often, police have to meet the worst people in society.

That has to be wearing on a person.

Yet police and police unions have bargained for great power, authority and even rights that are not available to the average person.

An investigation by Reuters shows some of the problems:

Reuters, examining the fine print of 82 police union contracts in large cities across the country, found a pattern of protections afforded the men and women in blue:

• A majority of the contracts call for departments to erase disciplinary records, some after just six months, making it difficult to fire officers with a history of abuses. In 18 cities, suspensions are erased in three years or less. In Anchorage, Alaska, suspensions, demotions and disciplinary transfers are removed after two years.

• Nearly half of the contracts allow officers accused of misconduct to access the entire investigative file – including witness statements, GPS readouts, photos, videos and notes from the internal investigation – before being interrogated.

• Twenty cities, including San Antonio, allow officers accused of misconduct to forfeit sick leave or holiday and vacation time rather than serve suspensions.

• Eighteen cities require an officer’s written consent before the department publicly releases documents involving prior discipline or internal investigations.

• Contracts in 17 cities set time limits for citizens to file complaints about police officers – some as short as 30 days. Nine cities restrict anonymous complaints from being investigated.

So if you are a city worker in some cities, if you get something on your employment record, it stays there. If you an officer, it gets erased.
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Enjoy The Popcorn.

It’s the weekend and after a busy week, we are going to sit back, relax, read a book or two and pop some popcorn.

Popping Popcorn at 30,000 Frames Per Second Filmed in Ultra Slow Motion Macro with the Phantom v2512 Ultra High Speed Camera.

The slowest slow motion clip of popcorn being popped that I know of on Youtube slow mo vids, this is a simply beautiful clip and it shows us just how fast this process actually happens.




Cocoa Beach: Rules Don’t Matter.

If you have followed this blog over the last few weeks, we have been critical of Vice Mayor Karalyn Woulas’ comments prior to public comments at the Commission meeting of January 5, 2017.

To refresh your memory, Woulas said:

Now for public comments.

We give three minutes to each public comment and I just want to make a point that I’ll ask that there will be no personal attacks being made to or by anyone on the Staff, the audience or the public. We will not tolerate this and it will be dealt with accordingly.

The problem with the statement is that as we have documented, it is against the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution.

As we were reading the Commission Policies and Procedures, we noticed the following rule is in place:

III.PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING THE COMMISSION

h. Courtesy Speakers, Commissioners included, are to confine comments to the matter at hand, to act with courtesy, and to avoid negative comments of a personal nature targeted at any person or group.

We had hoped that the Commission would strike that rule as it has no value or use. While it should not be enforced, that doesn’t mean it won’t be enforced even though the rule does not met Constitutional muster. It is one of those things of “gee, we can do it because it is on the books and if you don’t like it, go fight it in the courts.”

Furthermore, the rule’s existence has a chilling effect on speech to anyone who actually reads the policies. There is also the concern that Boards will adopt the same policy.

Get rid of the rule. It’s a no brainer.

Before the public comments at last night’s meeting, Mayor Malik said this:
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Inauguration Day.


Today President Elect Donald Trump will become President Donald Trump as he is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Throughout our history as a nation, one thing we have always been able to count on is the smooth transition of power from one elected president to another. We may disagree with the old president. We may disagree with the new president. Yet as a people, we have always decided that the Constitution is bigger than our differences.

That long and worthwhile tradition may end today.

There are reports that people who are upset with Trump are planning violence during the inauguration. Yes, violence.

If you don’t like Trump and want to protest, go right ahead. If you know one thing about us, we are all for free speech and that includes the right to protest.

But violence? Violence against a duly and legally elected president?

That’s not free speech in any way shape or form.
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Cocoa Beach: Codifying Suppression Of Your Rights.

Tonight the City of Cocoa Beach holds a regular Commission meeting starting at 7:00 PM. If you cannot make the meeting, you can view it on the City’s website as well as Spectrum Cable channel 497.

The big items on the agenda are policies and procedures to the running of the City government itself.

As we perused these policies and in some cases, changes to the policies, we came upon this in the Commission Policies and Procedures:

III.PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING THE COMMISSION
h. Courtesy Speakers, Commissioners included, are to confine comments to the matter at hand, to act with courtesy, and to avoid negative comments of a personal nature targeted at any person or group.

This policy is certainly unConstitutional on many levels.

First, the Commission meeting itself is by law a “limited public forum” which is defined as:

a public forum created by the government voluntarily for expressive activity that may be restricted as to subject matter or class of speaker called also limited forum limited open forum compare open forum, public forum.

In the case of Commission meetings, the City of Cocoa Beach sets up a place for expressive activities in the form of comments and presentations. The restriction on the “subject matter” is when a topic may be discussed.

The City controls the subject matter by saying when in the meeting the comments / presentations may be made. For example, under “Public Comments” on the agenda, you will find this:

Comments will be heard on items that do not appear on the agenda of this meeting. Citizens will limit their comments to three (3) minutes. Per Commission Procedures, the City Commission will not take any action or discuss items brought up under the “Public Comment” section of the agenda. The City Commission may schedule such items as regular agenda items and act upon them in the future.

This means if a person wanted to talk about “apples,” and “apples” are not on the agenda, the comments would be made during the open comment period. If “apples” are an agenda item, the Commission can restrict the comments to that portion of the agenda.

However, even under a limited public forum, any restrictions on the subject matter must serve a legitimate governmental interest and is narrowly drawn (a bright line in the sand, if you will.) (See Carey v.Brown)

“We don’t want to hear that” is not a legitimate governmental interest.

There is another aspect to “expressive activities” in a limited forum and that is called “viewpoint discrimination.”
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The Snowflakes Of “Tamarrow.”

Katie Nash (Courtesy Facebook)

Allow us to introduce you to Katie Nash. The 33 year old mother was recently let go from her position at the Frederick County Public Schools (Maryland) District as the “web-experience coordinator.”

The school hired Nash because according to the Nash:

We had received feedback from some students in a focus group that our tweeting was a bit flat, they were looking for some more engagement,” Nash said. “They were looking for us to tweet back at them and I really took that to heart because I know that I am a little bit older and maybe not as hip as some of the student’s are, so I took that to heart and I took that feedback in.”

(They held a focus group concerning social media and Twitter? They really did that? “Social media” was somehow important to the School District?)

When winter weather was approaching the area, a student by the name of Nathan tweeted this: “close school tammarow PLEASE

Nash responded by tweeting “but then how would you spell tomorrow : )

Seems like a great response to us. It’s lighthearted, funny, and makes a point about education.

The exchange got “liked” and re-tweeted 1000’s of times and we assume eventually hit the desks of the head of the Frederick County Public Schools.

They held a meeting with Nash and ended her position with the school district.

“Dear Katie, this letter confirms our discussion today that your probationary period as a Web Experience Coordinator for Frederick County Public Schools will not be extended. You will be terminated from your assignment, effective January 13, 2017.”

Obviously, the tweet must have offended the student which is why the school took action, right?

Nope.
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