Some Lessons from the Great Population Migration

Tax the Rich until there are Rich No More

The UK is trying to introduce an ’emergency tax’ on the wealthy, because the government is running out of money and forecasts a class war, while  an Australian female billionaire who likes to say it as it is, stated this week “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.Australia is in uproar over this! She also said that when governments target the rich, they really hurt the middle and lower classes.

In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party, has proposed a one-time emergency tax on wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Britons. The details aren’t clear, but Clegg says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest.(???)

Governments across the globe are firing up an interestingly dangerous chapter of pushing the rich to pay more taxes. The rich in turn, knowing that this push is powered by the move towards all encompassing government control of our lives, are threatening to leave their native countries or for now -as already is happening in large numbers- re-invest their wealth elsewhere.

The lessons of the Great Migration

There is historic precedence for the potentially unfolding scenario of our future. The aftermath of the Western Roman Empire marked the beginning of the Middle Ages in what now is Western Europe. Chased by Atilla and his advancing Huns and greatly attracted by the wealth of the dying Western Roman Empire, huge tribal migrations took place around what was then known as the center of the World, the Mediterranean.

Europe as it migrated between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance

Centuries of political overreaching had weakened the Empire to the point were previous allies turned their back on Rome’s demands and when the Huns pushed the Visi-Goths west, they in turn pushed the Germanic tribes into the remnants of the Roman Empire. Wealth moved first, followed by settlers and finally workers.

Today’s Migrations

Don’t be surprised to learn that recent history actually paints an interesting picture of what we may expect in the near future in terms of people migrations.

Chinese millionaires, oh yes there are about a million of them (!), are increasingly looking to leave that country for reasons of upward mobility and growing political oppression. Chinese millionaires learned from Russian millionaires in the 1990s that the risk of staying is equal to the risk of not only losing their wealth, but they could quite likely end up in prison as enemies of the state.

So this year alone already 3,000 Chinese millionaires have opted to apply for US Millionaire Investor Visas, in order to flee their homeland. In a world of crappy and incomplete comparisons, they still see the US and even more so Canada as better alternatives to safeguard their wealth. US millionaires however, afraid of overwhelming government control here and a certain hyper-inflation in our future, are looking at Africa and South America.

As a result Africa’s overall economic output is growing rapidly these days, but that’s another story for another day. I have a good friend in Uruguay who is a human resources director for a global yachting company and she reports a remarkable increase in North Americans settling in that South American country. Patagonia in Southern Chile as well as many of the remote wine areas in Argentina are attracting large numbers of wealthy Americans to build a pied-à-terre. Friends in South Africa report substantial American investments in the slipstream of Walmart establishing itself strongly there a couple of years ago. Apple Computers, one of the most admired corporations in the world, has put huge cash reserves out of reach of Washington’s greedy fingers, mainly in Southeast Asia.

Before everyone jumps on the government sponsored global push to demand that the rich pay more taxes, it may be wise to read and draw conclusions from a story my dear New Orleans friend Brian put on his Facebook page last year.

The ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

This one is a little different …with Two Different Versions …and Two Different Morals
OLD VERSION
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE OLD STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
NEW VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all spring and summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’ ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright and all of Chicagoland stage a riot for the grasshopper’s sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview on MSNBC that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government GreenCzar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

After a while this expands to the whole field, etc and everything collapses bringing the rest of the free world down with it.

Me again. I consider myself a fair and mostly compassionate human being, the extend of which I do not feel I have to justify to anyone. Maybe this short Disney video can do that for me.

But imagine my irritation when a line in my utility bills urges me to donate an amount to compensate for the less fortunate in our society. Every time I read it, it makes me realize that we have given up on the free market notion that only production creates an economy and more production creates a better economy and that everyone’s involvement and contributions are needed to make that economic model of free enterprise work. Like the Queen Ant in the video says: “Only those who work can stay”.

Yes, there are no doubt less fortunate, less talented and less capable people, who for one reason or another are allowed disqualification from participation in the socio-economic process. Under the same qualifier, a genius like Stephen Hawking would be disqualified to contribute, while in reality he contributes to our civilization’s progress in a magnitude that renders me unqualified. Like the queen ant says: ” Only those who work can stay,” as she orders the Grasshopper to play his violin so he can stay.

Maybe when the other 997,000 Chinese millionaires and their families have (temporarily) re-located to North America, will we realize what made us great, and how easily and quickly we threw it out of the window in exchange for the promise that government (any government) would take care of all our needs and wants from the cradle to the grave.

Illuminati, Freemasonry and the Big Brother New World Order

Illuminati, Freemasonry and the Big Brother New World OrderApparently, I have been living under a rock! Recently, while listening to the words of a rap song (because I have children and want to know what they are listening to), I learned about the existance of self-proclaimed rulers of the world, The Illuminati, and their secret membership and pledge of obediance that has been controlling world events since 1776.

If you listen more closely to the music your kids are funneling into their minds with headphones, these Illuminati inspired artists and the tactics they use to share their message with our children just may frighten you.

According to NaijaGists.com some of today’s most popular entertainers such as Chris Brown, Angelina Jolie, Kanye West and Jim Carey, role models for our children, are using Illuminati symbolism to further their movement.

Since this is a secret society, I wonder where they obtained the names of those celebrities suspected of being Illuminati?

Illuminati Symbolism
The all-seeing “eye” in the pyramid (yep, the one on our dollar bill); the pinky, thumb and pointer finger salutation; the pentagram, and the image of an owl are all around us every single day. It is when I began to notice how these symbols are repeatedly flaunted in front of us, I wondered, “Is there something more sinister at work in the world, something evil accompanying these symbols?”

Those under the influence of The Illuminati are not necessarily Satin worshippers, but more so, they sold their souls to evil in exchange for fortune and fame. They don’t really believe in “God”. They believe they are entitled “Gods”. They intend to take over the world, influencing those in power and those who hold a degree of control over large groups of people. Those in government and entertainment are a natural fit for the Illuminati’s mission: to take over the entire world and torture and murder Christians.

Some conspiracy theories include perhaps John F. Kennedy’s assassination was allegedly orchestrated by the Illuminati and possibly Michael Jackson’s death, too, rumored he either would not join, or tried to separate himself from the cult. Whitney Houston supposedly turned against The Illuminati before her untimely death.

Freemasonry and the Illuminati
Conspiracy theorists have tried to make a connection between Illuminati, the New World Order (seeking a one world government) and the Freemasonry, also a society with secrets that has been in existance for hundreds of years. Freemasonry candidates must declare belief in a Supreme Being (without declaring which one), and discussing politics or religion is forbiddon within a Masonic Lodge or Temple.

The highest level of Mason is called a Mastor Mason, the Third Degree. Watch just a few minutes of the following Discovery/History channel episode and judge for yourself:

Cady Studios Senior Picture Promo Shot

Image found at CadyStudios.com

Current Events
Think about those making tons of money and then ask yourself, “Why?” I always thought some folks were just luckier than others. Maybe not?

Cady Studios for example makes a fortune taking images of our children for school pictures. My daughter’s senior pictures this year were ridiculously expensive, but I have no option other than buy their overpriced package (a future SearchAmelia article) or do without. The picture, shown here on the right, is from their online brochure… could this image be viewed as Illuminati symbolism?

Read this article about Lady Gaga. She is so talented it appears unnatural, but her use of symbolism is practically unquestionable.

Sasha Fierce

Sasha Fierce, image found at Beyonce.com

Beyonce A/K/A Sasha Fierce
Beyonce has taken on an alter-ego, Sasha Fierce, pehaps since joining The Illuminati? (Because I am a parent, I won’t touch the rumors surrounding the meaning behind the name of her daughter, Blue Ivy.)

Kanye West is outspoken about how he has sold out for fame. Take a look at the following video. At the 2 minute mark, listen close, not only does he admit selling his soul to the devil, but he takes a post mortum jab at Michael Jackson. Is this the jargon you really want your kids listening to? Then Parents, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee – because they are listening to Kanye, Lady Ga Ga and the rest of the Illuminati!

Caution – Explicit Lyrics

The song that originally brought my attention to The Illuminati Conspiracy Theory was Mercy, by Kanye West. In the chorus he includes ancient words much like those found in Mathew 8:12, “It is a weeping, and a moaning, and a gnashing of teeth”.

Mathew 8-11:12
(11) I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (12) But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The Rise Against the Machine
Then, there are artists rising up against the Illuminati, warning us of those in power.

Illuminati, by Korn
“They’re taking over now
Eating up our souls somehow
Taking over now
Parasites, they run around
The culprits won’t be found
They lie behind this mask of wealth
They’re taking over now
Illuminati they hide”

Sag my Pants, by Hopsin
“I’m just an idiotic, ironic, symbolic, Illuminati product
That’s gonna be killed if I talk about it (shhh)
This industry business is all screwed up
I have no favorite rappers because all you suck!”

Whether you think a secret society is trying to rule the world with the help of evil spirits or not, it is important that as parents, we know what messages are being given to our kids via today’s music, video and other media outlets.

Happy Parenting!

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Museum of History Speaks to Sunrise Rotary

Museum of History Speaks to Sunrise RotaryAmelia Island, FL – Phyllis Davis, Executive Director of the Amelia Island Museum of History, spoke to the Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise about the operations of the historic museum while Education Director, Gray Edenfield, shared his knowledge about the many programs the museum offers to our community.

The Amelia Island Museum of History will celebrate its 35th anniversary in November of this year. The museum is located in the old Nassau County jail house at 233 South 3rd Street in historic Fernandina Beach, Florida.

In 2003, the museum completed a nearly half million dollar renovation, creating all new professionally-designed exhibits throughout the first floor. The Museum has definitely matured with the recent opening of a modern research facility on the 2nd floor and the expansion of outreach programs to the community. Some of the museum programs include: An Oral History tour, Walking tour, Historic Pub Crawl, Ghost tours and a regular schedule of lectures, events, and special exhibits. Renovations are planned this year to create a children’s section of the museum, and adding children’s activity areas within existing exhibits.

As a non-profit, the Amelia Island Museum of History depends on grants, membership dues, and local community support to reach its yearly $350,000 budget. Four full-time employees and three part-time employees manage the daily routine of running the museum. Our local museum utilizes over two hundred volunteers and has six hundred members.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday at 7:30 am. at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information about the club please visit www.ameliaislandrotary.com

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Wild Amelia Nature Festival 2013 Begins with Turtle Release

Wild Amelia Nature Festival 2013 Begins with Turtle Release Saturday, September 1, at 11:30 a.m. at Main Beach in Fernandina, the Wild Amelia Nature Festival 2013 will kick off the Festival year with a sea turtle release. Three rehabilitated green sea turtles will be released into their native Florida waters by the staff of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. All are welcome to witness this heartwarming event. Parking is limited, so come early and get a great spot for photos and to wave goodbye!

The first in a series of monthly Wild Nite nature forums, sponsored by the Wild Amelia Nature Festival, will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM. The topic will be Florida Native Gardening, and the guest speaker will be Barbara Jackson of the Florida Native Plant Society.

The Wild Nites events are free and open to the public. The Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Dept. is co-sponsoring this series. The lectures will begin at 7:00 PM in the Peck Center.

For more information visit: www.wildamelia.com/Seminars.htm.

Here is a video by SearchAmelia of a turtle release in May 2011: www.searchamelia.com/maybe-there-is-hope-for-the-turtles-video

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Love, Loss and What I Wore at Fernandina Little Theatre

Love, Loss and What I Wore at Fernandina Little TheatreLove, Loss and What I Wore is presented by the Fernandina Little Theatre, featuring the talents of Shannon Shaw, Annette Rawls, Amy Dawkins, Doris Davis, and Susan Dahl.

Written as a collection of vignettes and monologues read by five women, the show just recently closed Off-Broadway after over 1,000 performances.

You can catch is acclaimed play September 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th at 7:30 PM, and on September 2nd at 2:30 PM.

The Fernandina Little Theatre is located at 1014 Beech Street, in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Tickets for all performances are $15.00, and can be purchased in advance at The UPS Store near the Publix grocery store on Amelia Island.

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Fernandina Farmers Market Moves to the Plantation

Fernandina Farmers Market Moves to the PlantationThe Fernandina Farmers Market is calling it a celebration as they change their name to Amelia Farmers Market and relocate to the shops of Omni Amelia Island Plantation on September 1, 2012.

Featuring the same award-winning farmers, food artisans and plant growers who formerly sold at the downtown farmers market, the press release indicates they have outgrown their previous 7th Street location.

The new location offers more open green space, gazebos for seating, room for additional vendors, accessible parking, and amenities which will make shopping at the Market more convenient and pleasant for everyone.

“While it is sad to leave downtown, we are proud of our new picturesque shopper-friendly setting where our community can meet and mingle while they shop for their just-harvested produce, gourmet foods, and beautiful plants.” said Smith, the Market organizer.

As part of the opening celebration, Omni’s Chef Robert Reinhardt will host a hand-made Buttermilk Biscuit Bar featuring cage-free scrambled eggs, farmstead cheese, a natural breakfast meat selection and more.

The Amelia Farmers Market opens Saturday morning from 9am-1pm, features farm fresh produce as well as a variety of organic products and specialty foods.

Discover gourmet baked goods from crusty breads to delectable desserts and prepared foods such as jellies, relishes and marinades.

The Market is also the perfect location to choose from a wide variety of specialty tropical plants and landscaping plants, including orchids, herbs, and garden flowers.

The Market is located at the Shops of Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

No pets, please.

For more information call (904) 491-4872 or visit www.ameliafarmersmarket.com

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How Do We Deal with Guilt?

Special Days and commemorations have a sneaky way of reminding our brain where we were and what we were doing in any specific year. Specific dates are even more profound. November 22, 1962 is forever etched in many people’s mind as the day the universe changed. So is September 11, 2001. Specific dates and Holidays act as a bridge to our past and sometimes they revive emotions we have be trying to mask, forget, hide or fade into something that never happened. Often however the memories stay with us and affect our current lives to the point that we wish we could go back and undo what was done, simply because living with the guilt is a burden of magnitude.

Every Labor Day, I remember a special counseling session I had in my office with a client named Tom (Not his real name) years ago. He had been coming to see me for about 9 months on a regular basis, but on this Labor Day he had to see me as soon as possible in my office. I reminded Tom that this was a Holiday and I had actually planned to attend a picnic, but there was tension in his voice, and he needed to see me “desperately”. Becoming a bit concerned, I agreed, and headed towards my office.

At first we talked about legitimate things (or so I thought) that seemed to bother him: the state of his marriage, trouble he was having with his kids, trouble he was having getting along with the administration of the school his children had been attending, and sometimes he had mentioned, problems with his anger. I thought each and all of these were legitimate things that bothered him, but a problem I had was noting his disenchantment at various times with his own problems, no matter what they were. Tom was not consistent. At some times one of these troubles had greatly bothered him, and at other points he just wanted to talk and “shoot the breeze” so to speak, not making any real counseling headway, at least in my mind, during that time. I attributed the changes to emotional temperament and whatever had affected him during the day.

Tom was a decent man, a good provider, and a good father to his kids. Anyone would enjoy sitting at the same table and having coffee with him as you would discuss the events of the day. You might even confide in him, seek a little advice, since he seems likable, and is a good, upstanding citizen. But suddenly I noticed a serious change in his voice inflection, and a light seemed to go on in my own head when he began to tell me a story about his past that I had never heard to this point.

It seems this story begins when Tom was 19 years old, and was dating Linda, a cute girl about to turn eighteen that same month, and they were together contemplating marriage. He was about to begin College and she was about to graduate from High School: It seemed like a perfect time to contemplate their future.

One day, on a bright sunny weekend in their noisy suburb, the couple was driving near a forest preserve, actually looking for a quiet place to be alone. It was about 11:30 AM. My own math calculations (which are often inaccurate) placed the story he was relating to me about thirty years ago. It seems this young girlfriend of his noticed a “Just married” sign on the car about two cars ahead. “Oh, hurry, let’s see if we can see the bride. Pull up closer.”

As Tom sped up the car, the two found that there were actually two cars, one with a young couple leading the married couple somewhere, linked together because they both had signs on the cars about the upcoming marriage. They surmised that the one car was leading the bride and groom to the church about to experience the blessed event. Tom continued to drive next to each car so his girlfriend, Linda, could gaze at both cars and visualize what might turn into their marriage day. Of course, Linda demonstrated romantic feelings and voiced them: “Oh, Tom, someday that could be us.”

When Tom felt they’d had enough highway romance, he started to pull ahead of the two cars and went back to looking for their private place in the forest. Linda continued to watch the cars as they passed ahead of both of them. Pulling into the right lane infront of both other vehicles, Tom suddenly saw a driveway to a forest road to the right. Not having expected the forest road, Tom made a quick and unexpected turn into the forest parking area, thinking more of the rendezvous he was about to have with Linda than the responsibility that comes with driving. He stepped on the brakes, making a sudden and totally unexpected turn, and just as he turned into the driveway, he heard a loud and harsh crash behind him, a sound he said he has never forgotten, and often hears it at the most unexpected times. At the time however, he continued to drive to under a tree in the beautiful and quiet park, wondering what the noise was.

As he parked, the two “wedding” cars limped into the same parking area, the car in front with a smashed trunk, and the bride’s car with a smashed front, barely moving on its own power, with smoke bellowing from under the hood. Fortunately no one seemed to be hurt. It dawned on Tom what had happened. He had pulled in front of both cars and than unexpectedly braked and made a quick turn that caused the two cars to smash into each other. Engulfed by the excitement of their wedding, both drivers were probably following each other too close and Tom’s sudden braking caused them to crash nto each other.

Both drivers stepped out of the car, still in shock. The women occupants of both cars remained in their respective destroyed cars, looking like zombies. At first Tom feared that maybe they had been hurt in the crash, but they slowly removed themselves from the broken vehicles and seemed to be physically all right, to which Tom breathed a great sigh of relief. Tom’s cohort remained silent.

It was obvious to Tom that both couples were very decent, as they stood by their broken vehicles, one of the cars still heavily smoking. Reluctant and feeling a bit guilty, Tom got out of the car and said, “Is everyone all right?” A thin, tall young man wearing a nice dark suit said, “Yeah, we’re okay. Just a little shook up.”

“I don’t know what to say,”  Tom apologized. There was silence for a moment, and then the tall young man spoke again. “Well, you better wait here until the police arrives.”

Tom returned back to the driver’s seat of his untouched car, and sat for a minute in silence. Linda looked at him and said, “How is everything?” Tom remained silent. He looked at both broken cars and the two couples standing outside their cars, one in a beautiful bridal dress. They appeared emotionless, faceless, a bit zombie like, still trying to get over the shock of the accident. Without a word, Tom reached for the ignition, gunned the engine and rushed the car out of the forest and into heavy traffic, almost causing another accident. After he joined traffic he slowed down to the speed of the other cars, blending in with the speed of traffic. He saw the police car flashing its lights and sounding its sirens, going the other way, heading quickly to the forest driveway.

I broke the silence between us after I had heard the story: “So what happened after that?” He stayed silent for at least a long minute. “Nothing. Nothing ever happened. I never got a phone call, no mail, evidently no one had ever taken down my license plate, I saw nothing in the news: Nothing.” “Okay then why are we reliving this story now?” I asked. “I never forgot it.” Tom responded. “Sometimes the incident still haunts me. Linda left me shortly after that, nothing to do with the incident itself, she claimed. I was older than her in years, but she was already more mature than me, and knew more about life than I did. But when I least expect it, this memory comes out and haunts me like a jump-out from a horror picture. Suddenly I hear the crash, or I will be at my desk talking with a customer at work and I will find my mind trying to re-experience that incident. Or if I start to remember Linda, and until then, we had a pretty good relationship, I thought, suddenly I will remember that day and with guilt, relive that incident again. It happened to me this morning and that’s when I decided to call you.”

Guilt is not always an easy thing to deal with, and in this case obviously Tom’s problem. The weird thing about guilt is it is adjustable to the personality, and has a lot to do with the morals placed into the individual through his beliefs.Yet guilt plagues all of us, some more than others.

Some people steal without conscience; others cannot steal a pencil from the employer because of their moral aptitude.  Obviously Tom’s problem was that he had guilt he could not get rid of, and it would plague him whenever he didn’t expect it, haunting him and affecting his actions and attitude. Guilt affects our actions, no matter what we think. In Tom’s case, he would get angry as a defense and not know why, wondering in the back of his mind if this was a problem he would never be able to solve.

And in a way he was right: He has no idea who these people were, and would have no idea how to get a hold of them. He cannot apologize, bring them restitution, and does not want to bring his action to the authorities and make his “crime,” if there was one, known. So he carries his guilt, and what it does to him affects other activities, the way he thinks, how he handles his relationships, and creates tension on the job that actually has nothing to do with his present responsibilities. Of course, what his confession to me does for him, is help to understand some of his unrelated activities concerning his own tension and stress.

We all live with guilt, which causes its own levels of stress and tension, and like Tom, we often share this guilt with no one, keeping our secrets inside of us, no matter how it affects the rest of our life. And many people, even our spouses and our parents, have no idea what causes us to act the way we do, which is unconfessed pain because we have never repealed or made justification for these inner problems.

Something all of us need to remember, especially before we judge Tom for his actions, is that we have all done things of which we are not proud. But some to these experiences, though unnecessary and caused by us, are parts of our passages into learning. Some of life’s education is doing wrong and feeling bad enough about it to change our activities to the better. There have been times when only the consequence of a wrong action teaches us the depth of the wrong we have committed. And sometimes, as in Tom’s case, we make a mistake that we will not be able to make right, and we will have to learn from it. And, indeed, sometimes the act will taunt us the rest of our life. There are two things we can do to try to right the guilt of our action:

1. WE CAN BE FORGIVEN RELIGIOUSLY (SPIRITUALLY).

Although best known in Christianity, most religions will accept our misgivings. Those of us who adhere to the Christian Message can go to their knees and confess their sin(s) to our God through Christ. “If we confess our sins, Christ is faithful and true to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Skeptics will criticize that this Christian method of forgiveness is a simple way to get rid of our guilt. They are right. Our philosophy is that God loves us so much, that no matter what we have done, when we return to our Heavenly Father, He welcomes and takes care of us. We are all made that way. Any father who has lost his children for any period of time and then has his children return, will understand that he doesn’t care what his children have done wrong, but is thrilled to have them back in the family.

So, the first place that I would take care of guilt would be internally, asking God for forgiveness and feeling like you have handled the spiritual problem, recognizing what you have done wrong and apologizing.

2. APPROACHING THOSE WE HAVE OFFENDED AND TRYING TO MAKE IT RIGHT.

As found in the Bible, getting right with God is not enough. You may take care of your eternal destination, but you still have to live on this earth. For this reason jail repentance is not enough to let a criminal out of jail. If you commit the crime, you may have to pay the time. Even if the offense is not law breaking, there are many activities that offend, hurt, and cause problems for other people. Just as we have an obligation to God, we also have an equal obligation to our fellow man, and it is possible to be forgiven by God and still have to answer to those people with whom we live on this earth. That’s why being right in your spirit does not always mean you are right with your fellow man, and although God may have forgiven you for stealing that ten dollars that was on your friend’s counter, there is still an obligation to return the money. This act has nothing to do with your salvation, but it certainly can help to build your character.

To deal with your own guilt, you need to approach those people you know you have offended and offer your apologies, and request what it would take to make things right. This is Tom’s problem: He can’t approach people he doesn’t know now, including who or where they are. He cannot apologize, or make things right, at least on this side of Heaven, and so he is stuck with some of his guilt. It is at this point that I saw some merit to the “Pay It Forward” movie. If you cannot find those that you have offended, you can take your obligation to help someone else who will benefit. It doesn’t erase the problem, but it does help.

I feel sorry for Tom having to carry that unresolved guilt, and I will continue to work with him, talking to him and being aware of this problem that he was finally willing to share with me. And Tom makes me aware of my own guilt, things I know I carry that I have done that I have never been able to resolve. We can be forgiven by God, but we cannot forget like He does, because we do not have the pure love for ourselves that He has. And as Tom leaves my office, I think about some of the things in my own life that cannot be resolved. I cannot fix them, some that have happened too long ago. But I can make this a good day, and in doing right to others during this day, I will make my life and this world a little better than it was before I arrived, or so I hope.

(Watch FOCUS ON JACKSONVILLE on COMCAST TV Channel 99 on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm hosted by Dr. Keith Johnson. See Dr. Johnson’s Videos at “YouTube/Keith Johnson” anytime.)

The Hidden Dangers of Getting Inked

The Hidden Dangers of Getting InkedMany, if not most, of my friends sport some type of tattoo. Even my mother has permanant make-up, which is a tattoo, too. While over the years I have considered my own tattoo, I have always decided against the idea, mostly because I am not a fan of pain.

The following is a press release I received from the Centers for Disease Control alerting the public to the problems possible when tattoo artists dilute their inks with non-sterile water.

Even though I don’t have a tattoo, I love to look at my friend’s tattoos and discover their motives and the meanings behind this beautiful art form. I do however, have a great tattoo joke that I cannot share here on SearchAmelia, but if you see me on the streets be sure to ask about my “tattoo joke” and I just might share it with you, especially if I’ve had enough adult libations.

Centers for Disease Control – The practice of tattooing has been around for thousands of years. These days, 21% of adults in the United States report having at least one piece of permanent artwork on their bodies. Many people who receive these lasting tributes to loved ones, to pop culture, to religion, or to whatever they’re into, generally know what to look for when selecting a reputable tattoo parlor.

    Does the artist wear gloves?
    Does the tattoo shop sterilize their equipment?
    Did the artist open a sterile needle in front of you?
    Are things like inks and ointments portioned out for individual use?

If the artist can pass this mental checklist, most people feel pretty safe.

One question few people may consider, however, is “What exactly went into that ink you’re about to inject into my skin?” And even if the question was asked, there’s no guarantee that the artist could answer with any great certainty.

Concentrated tattoo inks may be made from products that were never intended to be used for tattoos. Tattoo ink manufacturers may use products such as calligraphy ink, drawing ink, or even printer ink to make the products eventually used for tattooing. These manufacturers often sell their products online, and while their states may require them to hold a business license, there is no regulation or oversight of the product itself.

The Importance of Water
While the thought of sharing ink with your office printer might be unsettling all on its own, a key ingredient of concern is the water that is used to either create the tattoo ink product or to dilute the product in the tattoo parlor. Artists will often use water to dilute concentrated inks in order to get the specific shade the client requests. They may also use pre-diluted “gray washes,” which are black inks blended to produce different color intensities.

Some tattoo artists and tattoo ink manufacturers may believe that using distilled or reverse osmosis (a filtration method that removes large particles) water is sufficient to safely create or dilute tattoo ink products, but this is not the case. Any kind of non-sterile water can contaminate the ink with potentially harmful germs, which can lead to infections in those tattooed with the ink. This was the case earlier this year, when public health officials in New York received reports of non-tuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) skin infections in at least 14 people who had been tattooed with the same pre-diluted gray ink.

In January of 2012, the Monroe County Department of Public Health received a report from a dermatologist that a patient had developed a persistent rash on his arm after being tattooed by a local tattoo artist. Biopsy and culture confirmed that he was suffering from an NTM infection, and the tattoo artist reported that other clients had complained of similar reactions.

The artist noted that the rash seemed to follow the lines created by a pre-diluted gray ink and wasn’t present on areas of the tattoo that were created with other colors. This was an important observation because NTM infections typically don’t spread—the rash-like infection is usually localized to the area that was exposed. Using a list of all of the clients the artist could remember tattooing with the same gray wash, the health department was able to identify 18 additional infections, 14 of which were confirmed to be NTM infections.

The Ink Thins – The Plot Thickens
After being notified of the situation in New York, CDC issued a public health alert to try to identify additional tattoo-associated NTM skin infections. Two previously identified clusters were discovered in Washington, one in Iowa, and one in Colorado, and all were related to inks likely contaminated by non-sterile water either during the manufacturing process or during dilution by the tattoo artist just prior to tattooing a client.

Image of individual with NTM infection

Click to Enlarge Image

Contamination of tattoo ink products by non-sterile water is an ongoing problem, and this group of identified clusters may represent a snapshot of what we could expect to find at any given time. Until tattoo ink manufacturers and tattoo artists fully understand the dangers of using non-sterile water to manufacture or dilute tattoo ink, these infections will continue to occur, and they can be far more serious than just an annoying rash.

NTM skin infections are very hard to treat, and often require 4-6 months of treatment with drugs that can cause serious side effects. While some people’s infections may resolve just from treatment with medication, others may require multiple surgeries to remove infected tissue and may lead to significant scarring.

So what should people do?
Because tattoo inks are injected directly into people’s skin, CDC recommends that ink manufacturers produce sterile inks. To protect their clients, tattoo artists should do the following:

    Don’t use inks or other products that are not intended for tattooing
    Don’t dilute ink before tattooing; if dilution is needed, use only sterile water
    Don’t use non-sterile water to rinse equipment (for example, needles) during tattooing
    Use aseptic technique during tattooing (e.g., maintain hand hygiene, use clean disposable gloves properly)

To reduce their risk of infection, consumers should:

    -Use tattoo parlors approved/registered by their local jurisdictions
    -Request inks that are manufactured specifically for tattoos
    -Ensure that tattoo artists follow appropriate hygienic practices
    -Be aware of the potential for infection after tattooing and promptly seek medical care if skin problems occur
    -Notify the tattoo artist and FDA’s MedWatch program if you have a problem after getting a tattoo.
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Blue Moon Bash

Blue Moon BashEnjoy a low-country boil under the stars to benefit “Meals on wheels for Pets”.

August 31, 2012, 6:30 PM at the Amelia River Golf Course locatted at 4477 Buccaneer Trail.

Casual attire, music, cash bar and golf cart shuttles.

Tickets are only $25.00 and are available at www.mow4petsnassau.com, Amelia River Golf Course, Council on Aging and the NHS Second Chance Store.

Call (352) 284-6106 for ticket or other information.

Enjoy a fantastic dinner that helps to feed the pets of seniors receiving Meals on Wheels.

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Hot Air Stimulus from the Fed

QE3 is making some financial traders smile

Another hot air round of stimulus is rising up

Traders and people who try to predict the short-term movements of the stock market–that is, every market participant except real investors–pay a lot of attention to every utterance from the Federal Reserve Board. They eagerly try to read between the lines of the opaque comments in the Federal Open Market Committee minutes, hoping to see if the Fed plans to stimulate the economy a bit further and give stock prices a temporary boost.  Imagine their excitement last week when they read this obscure piece of FOMC wordsmithery:

“Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery.”

Okay, maybe that wasn’t exactly ‘plain’ English, but it’s about as clear as the Fed gets to saying that if the economy doesn’t get busy and start recovering at a faster pace, we’re going to get some stimulus come September.

The first surprising thing about this is that jobs growth was surprisingly strong in July–163,000 new jobs were created in a month when many people are on vacation.  Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously-owned homes jumped 2.3% in July, 10.4% over the pace seen in July 2011.

The second surprise is that it seems like the Fed has already done just about everything it CAN do to encourage economic growth.  A quick check shows that if interest rates get much lower, banks will be paying you to borrow from them.  The government is already experiencing this happy state.  In a Treasury auction around this time last year, the government’s Inflation-Protected Securities sold at an aggregate negative interest rate–meaning that borrowers were paying their Uncle Sam for the privilege of lending him their money.

In fact, there are several possibilities.  One is for the Fed to cut the interest it pays to banks who are parking their excess reserves, to encourage a lot of lazy money to get off the couch and get itself lent out to households and businesses.  The Fed could also engage in a third round of Quantitative Easing.  Under QE3, the Central Bank would invest its own money in longer-term Treasury Bonds, forcing down long-term interest rates.

But this might actually be an example of a more effective stimulus: hot air.  That is, the Fed can depart dramatically from its normal circumlocutions and include, in its minutes, a direct statement about how serious it is about boosting economic growth.  That gets traders and short-term opportunists excited. With such easy-to-read tea leaves in front of them, they call in trades, buy stocks, boost the market, generate a bit more optimism in the corporate sector–and the economy gets a quick jolt without the Fed having to reach into its pocket.  It hasn’t worked so far, but Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will make a widely anticipated speech on Friday–his second shot at creating a hot air stimulus for the U.S. economy.

The Original Drifters Come to Amelia Island

The Original Drifters Come to Amelia IslandThe Original Drifters are coming to Amelia Island! Well, since all of the original members have joined the great heavenly choir in the sky, these performing Drifters are honoring the legacy started when Clyde McPhatter recruited Bill Pinkney, and brothers Gerhardt and Andrew Thrasher to sign with Atlantic Records in 1953.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, you are sure to recognize some of the Drifters amazing hits such as Under the Boardwalk, Up on the Roof, This Magic Moment, On Broadway, Save the Last Dance For Me, and There Goes My Baby among others.

This concert will raise funds for Fernandina’s Interfaith Dinner Network, feeding the homeless and hungry four nights a week at the Salvation Army’s Hope House.

On Thursday, September 27th, the doors will open at 7:00 PM at La Tierra Promentida, the old First Baptist Church, at 5th and Alachua in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Opening the concert is Joey and Jeannie, an outstanding, local duet.

Reserved seating is $50.00, with general admission tickets at $40.00. Tickets are available at First Coast Community Bank branches in Yulee and Fernandina, and online (as of September first) at www.IDNFernandina.net.

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New Health IT Video for You

New Health IT Video for YouU.S. Department of Health & Human Services – A new, short animated video for consumers explains how widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information technology (health IT) is giving our health care system a 21st century upgrade: improving the way we communicate with our doctors, making sure health information is available when and where’s it’s needed, and helping us manage our health and wellness outside the doctor’s office.

Watch the video to learn more about the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools and the value of having secure, electronic access to your health information so you can make sure all your doctors are on the same page and that you get the best care.

This new video is one of several efforts by ONC’s newly created Office of Consumer eHealth to help convey the benefits of health IT and other consumer e-health tools to spur patients and families to ask for electronic access to their health record, and to use technology to better manage their own health or that of a loved one.

The goal of the video is to spark conversation with patients and their health care providers about how they can leverage technology to improve their care and to increase awareness about HealthIT.gov, a great resource for patients and families to learn more about health IT, including the benefits, your rights to access your health information, and tools that are available to help you manage your health.

Increased adoption by health care professionals of electronic health record (EHR) technology is transforming health care, converting the information in paper records into a digital format that can be available when and where it’s needed. There are also a plethora of tools and resources available to help you manage your health and health information. We hope to empower all Americans with greater access to their health data, tools to take action with that information and to shift attitudes so patients and providers work together as partners to improve care.

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Barnabas Center Announces Charity Navigator Rating

Barnabas Center Announces Charity Navigator RatingFernandina Beach, FL – Barnabas Center, Inc., a local non-profit charitable agency, has recently earned their sixth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator: www.charitynavigator.org.

Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates the organization adheres to good governance and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

Only 3% of the charities rated have received at least 6 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Barnabas Center outperforms most other nonprofit organizations in America.

Barnabas mission is to assist individuals and families in crisis throughout Nassau County. Barnabas thanks their community friends, donors, and volunteers for their time and treasure in supporting Barnabas services.

To find out more about Barnabas Center programs, visit their website: www.barnabascenterinc.org.

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USO Director Visits Amelia Island Sunrise Rotary

USO Director Visits Amelia Island Sunrise RotaryAmelia Island, FL – Jim Bury, a retired U.S. Navy veteran with 40 years of active duty and civil service, recently spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise about the services provided by the Greater Jacksonville United Services Organization, known to America’s soldiers, sailors, and airmen simply as, “the USO.”

The mission of the USO is to lift the spirits of U.S. military troops and their families. As Bury reminded the Rotary group, “no matter where in the world a U.S. military member may be, the USO is always there with a cup of coffee and a smile.” Of course, the USO does much more that bring coffee to the troops. Many veterans and their families recall the USO’s efforts to provide entertainment for military troops, with shows featuring noteworthy entertainers, such as Lena Horne, Marilyn Monroe, and perhaps most famously, Bob Hope.

As a non-profit, congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO is not part of the U.S. government. It relies entirely upon the generosity of individual people, organizations, and businesses to support its activities, as does the local Rotary club. For example, the Greater Jacksonville USO sent over 36,000 care packages to troops deployed overseas last year. Many of the items in these care packages are donated by local businesses.

“Your Greater Jacksonville USO is totally supported by citizens in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia and local corporations and private organizations,” says Bury. “Everything we do goes 100% to our troops.” The Greater Jacksonville USO serves an area that stretches from southeast Georgia through the Northeast Florida area. Despite this large service area, local USO staff and volunteers make sure that U.S. troops and their families have plenty support as they travel to and from duty stations, and especially when they return home.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday at 7:30 am. at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information about the club or to attend a morning breakfast meeting, please go to www.ameliaislandrotary.com.

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Community Redevelopment Advisory Board Oranizational Meeting

Community Redevelopment Advisory Board Oranizational MeetingIt appears the Community Redevelopment Are (CRA) Advisory Board for Fernandina Beach, Florida will be holding an organizational meeting Wednesday, August 29th at 4:00 PM, at City Hall in historic downtown.

Here is the agenda:

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL/ BOARD MEMBER INTRODUCTIONS

3. NEW BUSINESS
3.1. Review of Florida’s Sunshine Laws with City Attorney Bach
3.2. CRA Background and History (Staff Presentation)
3.3. Determine/ Elect Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary
3.4. Determine Regular Monthly Meeting Dates and Times

4. COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC. Members of the public are invited to address the
Board on items of concern that are not listed on the agenda.

5. STAFF REPORT
6. BOARD MEMBER REPORTS
7. ADJOURNMENT

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