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Stupid Letter To The Editor: Complaining Without Seeking Answers.

Neil Mullins of Satellite Beach writes a letter to the Florida Today concerning the storm water management project along Cassia Boulevard in Satellite Beach.

Sidewalk built over ditch filled with wildlife

Shame on Satellite Beach city government for destroying a valuable ecosystem along Cassia Boulevard to build a concrete sidewalk.

I am speaking of the ditch that ran alongside Cassia Boulevard beginning at South Patrick Drive and running to Temple Avenue.

This ditch connected all the way to the river and was teeming with water fowl, fish, turtles, frogs and aquatic vegetation. You could sit and watch for hours as they interacted with each other.

All that is left now is a pond in front of the old library and a short stream that runs under South Patrick Drive. The concrete that now covers it is unattractive and unnecessary as there already was a sidewalk there before this “improvement.”

I am wondering whether permits were needed from state agencies overseeing wildlife protection and preservation. If not required, they should have been. Yet another step in destroying planet Earth.

We want to address the ecological issue Mr. Mullins raises. The drainage ditch that runs / ran along side of Cassia had some wildlife in it. There is no denying that. Where Mr. Mullins misses the boat is that he thinks the open drainage ditch is better for the environment than the closed storm water management pipes that are now buried under the Cassia sidewalks. The open ditches required more maintenance because of the growth of grasses and other fauna would clog the the ability of storm water to run through the ditches and into the St Johns’s water management district. The growth of that vegetation was over fueled by grass clippings and run offs of fertilizers from the surrounding area. That run off actually changes the pH balance in the water when it hits the river, causing more growth of grasses which choke of the natural habitats of many species.
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CRA Meeting “Pavers” The Way.

Thursday night, September 27, 2012 saw the members of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board come together to take care of some procedural issues on the CRA budget as well as look at a request for changing surfaces along Cassia Boulevard.

The first agenda item was to end the fiscal year by transferring remaining funds into the budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.

In our opinion, this should have been a simple thing but once again, we witnessed a minor clash between city staff in the person of Finance Director Brenda Raver and Board Member Sheryl Denan.

The clash centered around two things – the name of the resolution and $75,000 given to the city by the Hunt Pinnacle Company (Hunt) for a light masthead project.

Board Member Denan said she was “confused” as to the name of the resolution. In response, Raver pulled out precedence as well as asking “would you like me to read the statute?” Denan didn’t seem to us to be listening to the answer so Raver continued saying “Jeff from CGA said the name was correct…..” at which point Denan cut Raver off saying there was no need to bring CGA into answer.

We disagree.

If you are paying a company to advise the city on the CRA and that company gives an opinion, that opinion is part of the discussion.

The issue was eventually resolved without a change in the name.

The second issue concerned the “Hunt Pinnacle masthead.” Hunt Pinnacle gave the city of Satellite Beach $75,000 for a traffic light masthead. The problem is not only where to put the money in the budget, but which budget – the CRA or the City budget – does the money go into?
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Our Long National Nightmare Is Over – The NFL Referees Are Back.

According to some, it has been the closest thing to the Apocalypse since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The “regular” NFL referees were not on the field for the first three weeks of the season.

Call out the National Guard. This madness has to stop!

Luckily, (we guess) the NFL and the referees reached an agreement to span 8 years and the “real” referees were back on the field for Thursday’s Cleveland Browns at the Baltimore Ravens game.

There were a couple of problems with the replacement referees that were used for the first few weeks. First, they were not “crews.” Oh, they were a bunch of guys with the same funny looking striped shirts on, but a good “crew” is a team. Teams take some time to know the way each other thinks, reacts, etc. There are standards for where an official is supposed to be and what area they are supposed to watch, but as the game is so fluid, there are a lot of dual coverage areas. Knowing where your crew mates are looking, and where they are going to be is a trust issue and that takes time to develop.

The referees that were on the field never had the chance to develop that team work. How that translated on the field was the long conferences between the officials. Pundits, coaches, players and fans eviscerated the referees for conferencing forgetting they were conferencing to get the call right.

For all the people who always claim they want officials to “get the call right,” they only want the call “right” if it takes an amount of time they feel is appropriate.

Second problem was the speed of the game. The referees that were used were not from the FBS (formally Division I) ranks. These guys were from lower college divisions. There are a couple of reasons for this. When the strike became eminent. game assignors in the major college conferences sent out emails and letters informing conference referees they had a choice to either work the college conference or the NFL. They could not do both. These decrees were made for the purpose of supporting the NFL Referee union. Secondly if a FBS official wanted to work the NFL games, he would forever be branded as a “scab” by the referee’s union. He would literally have no future in the NFL at all.
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“True Democracy….”

True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be open without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people. – President Barack Obama in a speech to the United Nations on September 25, 2012.




“We’re Offended” Is No Excuse For Restricting The First Amendment.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln stood in front of the Republican Convention and accepted their nomination to be the Republican candidate for the Senator from Illinois. The speech came to be known as “the House Divided” speech. During World War II, Lincoln’s words of “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free” were paraphrased to be “This world cannot exist half slave and half free, work for freedom!” and appeared on posters throughout the land. The graphic to the left reflects that although time has passed, the sentiment remains the same.)

It has come to this.

In the wake of the attacks against the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya resulting in the deaths of three Americans – former SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty and US Ambassador Christopher Stevens – there have been calls for the limitation of freedom of speech from outside the country. These calls have been based on the false premise that a movie trailer incited the violence in Libya. Some here in the US have likened the movie trailer to “shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.”

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review lays waste to that argument from an intellectual standpoint:

And yet, it seems you can’t turn on National Public Radio or open a newspaper or a highbrow magazine without finding some oh-so-thoughtful meditation on how anti-Islamic speech should be considered the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a movie theater.

It’s an interesting comparison. First, the prohibition on yelling “fire” in a theater only applies to instances where there is no fire. A person who yells “fire” when there is, in fact, a fire is quite likely a hero. I’m not saying that the people ridiculing Mohammed — be they the makers of the Innocence of Muslims trailer or the editors of a French magazine — have truth on their side. But blasphemy is not a question of scientific fact, merely of opinion. And in America we give a very wide legal berth to the airing of such opinions. Loudly declaring “it is my opinion there is a fire in here” is not analogous to declaring “it is my opinion that Mohammed was a blankety-blank.”

You know why? Because Muslims aren’t fire, they’re people. And fire isn’t a sentient entity, it is a force of nature bereft of choice or cognition of any kind. Just as water seeks its own level, fire burns what it can burn. Muslims have free will. If they choose to riot, that’s not the same thing as igniting a fire.

Indeed, the point is proven by the simple fact that the vast majority of Muslims don’t riot. More than 17 million people live in greater Cairo. A tiny fraction of a fraction of that number stormed the U.S. embassy to “protest” that stupid video. And yet, the logic seems to be that the prime authors of Muslim violence are non-Muslims who express their opinions, often thousands of miles away.

The online satire magazine “the Onion” showed the fallacy of blaming the speaker for actions of others thousands of miles away in a more “Onion-esque” way by first printing this graphic, (WARNING: NSFW) and then writing:
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That Chevy Volt Is A Great Deal! (But Not If You Want To Make A Profit.)

From the Christian Science Monitor:

General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August – but that probably isn’t a good thing for the automaker’s bottom line.

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

This is the vehicle that GM continues to tout as a “success?” A vehicle that loses money on every sale?

The Chevy Volt has not met sales expectations of 40,000 cars sold and will probably end the year with sales of less than 20,000. Yet even the sales numbers seemed to be rigged a bit:
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WOO HOO!

Let’s see… 1 up in the Wild Card race, 1 game behind in the division race. Not too shabby. The O’s start their final regular season home stand of the year with games this week with 3 games against Toronto (66-85) followed by 3 games with the Red Sox (69-85).

The Birds finish the season with 3 games against Tampa Bay here in the Sunshine State.

The O’s continue to amaze having won a second all time best of 16 extra inning games in a row. It is as if they get to extra innings, yawn, and then win the game. At the same time, they still have been outscored by 6 runs over the course of they year while compiling a record of 87-65.

Amazing.

We can’t figure out how they are continuing to win and stay in the race. What we will say is that the two teams atop the wild card – the O’s and the Oakland A’s are loaded with good young talent. Both teams enjoy playing the game. There is a youthful enthusiasm in the way they take the field and enjoy the moments. Yeah, all three division leading teams dwarf the O’s and the A’s in payroll, so magic moments like this where it appears that you can’t buy a title are worth watching and savoring.

It is just fun to have the O’s back actually competing.

In another development…
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“Our Stripes.” More Than A Graphic?

There is some outrage in the political world over the Obama campaign “redesigning” the American flag into what you see on the left.

The graphic is called “Our Stripes: Flag Print” and was designed by Ross Bruggink and Dan Olson of Studio MPLS.

There are a couple obvious things here. First, we generally love graphics as they convey a message faster than words. There is a reason for the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” There are over 900 graphics (most of which are original) on this site. Some have obvious meanings. Some have “hidden” messages. The point is that graphics are a means of communicating a message. Secondly, as a means of communication, we believe graphics are a form of free expression and are covered by the First Amendment. The artist certainly has the right to make the graphic just as we have the right to say “that sucks.”

The “Our Stripes” graphic seems to have struck a deep chord for many. For some, it is the hubris of the Obama / Biden campaign “redesigning” the American flag. We agree to that somewhat. It has always disturbed us to see the US flag treated as some sort of trademark or design element. In fact, the US Flag Code prohibits many of the actions we see the flag being used for today:

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
….
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

A simple Google image search shows how well people adhere to the flag code.

Although there is no criminal or civil penalty to breaking the US Flag Code, it always seemed to us to be a lack of respect somehow.

The “Our Stripes” graphic has offended others due to its resemblance to the blood stained walls of the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
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