Best News Bloopers.

Live TV is not always easy. (But it can often be hysterical.)

Open The Books.

The group “Open the Books” has what we would consider to be an interesting mission statement:

Our Mission

Every Dime. Online. In Real Time.

Who We Are

At, we work hard to capture and post all disclosed spending at every level of government – federal, state, and local. We’ve successfully captured nearly 4 billion public expenditures, and we are rapidly growing our data in all 50 states down to the municipal level. We won’t stop until we capture every dime taxed and spent by our government.

As a government watchdog organization, we accept no government funding. is a project of American Transparency – a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible for federal or state income tax purposes to the fullest extent of the law.

Since 2011, the group, using public records has sought to document where federal dollars are spent. It’s a worthwhile project. First, there is an accountability issue. Taxpayers should know where their tax dollars are going. Secondly, there is a benefit to both the taxpayer and the government. If the government can demonstrate that the taxpayer money is being used for understandable and legitimate uses, the taxpayer is more likely to pay taxes or at least not complain about them as much.

The group has an interactive map on which you can track federal spending as well as searchable databases for whatever you want to look into.

The group has also released a report entitled “Mapping the Swamp – A Study of the Administrative State.”

It’s free, downloadable, and only 35 pages.

What a deal.

Here are some of the “highlights,” (“swamplights?”) from the summary page:

Palm Bay: Tres Holton Is Upset Chief Of Police Rogers Did His Job.

Palm Bay Councilman Tres Holton is back in the news again and again for all the wrong reasons.

According to Holton, he was stopped at a City Council meeting and asked by Chief of Police Jim Rogers if Holton was in possession of a concealed weapon. In a FaceBook post (seen below) Holton says Rogers is a “good man” who was “obviously set up to bust me.”

It appears that Holton thinks that Chief Rogers would not act outside the color of law. As that is the case, Holton should realize that Rogers, or any officer, cannot simply stop people without causes. Rogers was executing was it now typically referred to as a “Terry stop,” named after the Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio.

The case involved whether the police could stop and interrogate a suspect based on several factors such as the area, known criminal activity or a “reasonable suspicion that criminal activity had occurred or was afoot.”

One has to believe that Rogers had information or a belief that Holton was carrying a weapon into a Council meeting which is why Rogers stopped him otherwise Rogers would have been breaking the law and even Holton never makes that claim.

According to Florida Statute 790.06:

(12)(a) A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into:
1. Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05;
2. Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
3. Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
4. Any courthouse;
5. Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
6. Any polling place;
7. Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
8. Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
9. Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
10. Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
11. Any career center;
12. Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
13. Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;
14. The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
15. Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law. (emphasis ours)

If Rogers was acting on information he had been given, he had a duty to stop and ask Holton if Holton was illegally carrying a weapon into a Council meeting. Holton makes no assertion that Rogers searched or frisked him, which Rogers could have legally done.

In short, there was nothing illegal that Rogers or anyone did in this instance.

Yet Holton decided to play the victim.

We’re Number 46! We’re Number 46! (And That’s Not A Good Thing.)

A Harris Poll commissioned by the U.S.Chamber Institute for Legal Reform shows Florida ranking 46th when it comes to how businesses perceive courts within the state.

Participants in the survey were comprised of a national sample of 1,321 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue who indicated they: (1) are knowledgeable about litigation matters; and (2)
have firsthand, recent litigation experience in each state they evaluate.

There are a couple of troubling trends in this report. First, much of the country says the legal climate is improving with regards to lawsuits aimed against businesses. We have no idea why Florida has not followed that trend and moved up in rankings and perceptions of the legal system by businesses.

Most troubling is that Florida ranked 48th when it comes to competence and impartiality of trial judges. It’s pretty bad when participants in the legal process don’t trust judges to be impartial.

We would say that there might be a bias in this poll as no business wants to be sued and might think that any suit would be wrong. We are also troubled by the fact that smaller businesses were not included in the survey. Don’t lawsuits impact them as well? Don’t they face the same concerns of judges’ incompetence and impartiality?

Still, the poll is troubling in that it is estimated that the legal climate in Florida impacts hiring and expansion decisions as companies must spend more to defend lawsuits as well as keep a reserve fund for those defenses.

Right along this poll comes the annual list of “Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2017” as compiled by Faces of Lawsuit Abuse.

Yes Virginia, There Is A “War” Against Christmas.

There always seems to be a lot of discussion as to whether there is a “war” on Christmas this time of year. We aren’t sure that we would have declared the erosion of school plays mentioning Christmas, or singing carols, or government workers being told not to display anything about Christmas on their desks as part of a “war,” but it seems to us that it is definitely a part of a larger purpose to remove the holiday and its meaning and turn it into a secular and commercialized day off.

That being said, it is hard, if not impossible, to see this incident as an attack on Christmas.

The Reverend Jamie Wolfe, Sr. is a “bell ringer” for the Salvation Army who was ringing his bell, collecting donations and wishing people a “Merry Christmas” in front of a WalMart in Roseville, California.

Sadly, those two simple words got this bell ringer knocked out.

“He haymakered me, hit me, got me down on the ground and we started wrestling, at that point I’m fighting for my life,” Wolfe Sr. said.

The man wasn’t after the kettle money, but instead, his cheer.

“Definitely unexpected,” he claimed.


“Watchdog” Groups And The War On Toys.

We didn’t want to cover this too much before the holidays, but it seems that there are groups that think that they are better parents than you. Not only that, they want to make the world a place where someone else makes everything and everywhere a safe place. In other words, there is no learning by kids of what to do because they never can explore boundaries while playing because someone outside of their family won’t let them have toys they deem are not “safe.”

This year, the “World Against Toys Causing Harm” (W.A.T.C.H. Awwwww….aren’t they clever?) released a list of what the considered the ten toys with the most potential to cause harm.

Lenore Skenazy, Paul Detrick & Alexis Garcia over at go after the so called ratings on these toys.

The odd thing to us is that the WATCH group doesn’t test the toys. They just look at the toys and say “ummmmmm….UNSAFE!!!”

In that the toy industry is heavily regulated, this group’s intent almost seems to want more regulations on toys or at the very least substitute their uninformed judgement of what is appropriate for a child in place of a parent’s judgement.

We hope the people at WATCH who think they are far superior to you in judgement got coal in their stockings.

Merry Christmas!

We hope that you are having a wonderful and blessed Christmas surrounded by friends and family and those you love.

Our first year of being online, we posted Linus’ speech from “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” as it tells the meaning of Christmas and brings back so many fond memories. What we didn’t realize is that for years our friend William Teach over at the Pirate’s Cove had been doing the same thing – long before we thought of it. (Great minds think alike, we guess.)

Luckily for us, Teach even took the time to upload the video to YouTube and so we thank him for that.

Merry Christmas from all the writers, staff and contributors here at Raised on Hoecakes.

Luke chapter 2:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Silent Night – John Denver And The Muppets.

This year, as is our tradition every year, we end our Christmas musical celebration with John Denver and the Muppets singing “Silent Night.”

Years ago we watched the Christmas special called “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together.” One of our favorite parts was the singing of “Silent Night.” At the time, were weren’t familiar with the story behind the writing of song. John Denver explaining the origins of the song is a nice touch. (We have since found out that the reason the organ in the church was not working was that mice had chewed through the bellows.)

So while it sounds funny, this is our favorite version of “Silent Night.” Not only did we learn something, but it is easy to sing with and not feel out of place. After all, unlike singing with recordings of wonderful choirs, no one is ever going to accuse Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Waldorf and Stadler or any of the Muppets as having great voices, but yet it works.

This is the album version:

And the version as it appeared on the Christmas Special “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together.”

To all our friends, to all those who don’t like us, to those at home, to those away, to those surrounded with loved ones, to those who are alone, we wish you a Merry Christmas.

Sleep, in heavenly peace.

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