The cr(AP)py Poll

Can someone please explain to me the thought process that goes on when picking the top 25 teams for the AP poll each week?

Year after year, week after week, I am dumbfounded with certain decisions that are made and I am sure I’m not the only one…

Let’s back up a little bit.
The 2017 season started off with what was supposed to be one of the biggest games in all of college football – #1 Alabama vs. #2 Florida State. This game was to set the whole season in motion and a loss for either team did not put them out of playoff contention. As we all know, Alabama came out victorious and FSU lost their starting quarterback to a devastating knee injury. The Seminoles held The Tide to only 24 total points, which is pretty impressive considering this is the lowest score for Bama we’ve seen through the first 7 weeks. With heavy hearts, Seminole fans all over the country carried on with their lives that following Sunday, waiting for good news and optimistic about the remainder of the season. That is, until the AP poll was released. FSU dropped 8 spots to #10, despite multiple reports stating that it wasn’t over and they are still a very powerful team. Granted, FSU has definitely not proven to be a top 25, let alone a top 10 team, but during week 1, a loss to the #1 team in the nation shouldn’t be the end-all be-all for ANY team.

Fast forward to week 7…with no top 25 matchups, honestly on paper this weekend didn’t look to be very impressive or entertaining. As a diehard football fan, I knew this could only mean one thing; UPSETS GALORE! What I didn’t know was that it would start on Friday night with #2 Clemson falling to unranked Syracuse. This was probably the most unexpected loss for me, personally, but since I graduated from FSU in May, I was not sad to see one of our rivals lose. I woke up Saturday morning to the news that Cal not only upset #8 Washington State, but ran all over them. Now, this is where things got interesting. Michigan pulled off an important win in OT, Miami barely skated by to an unranked team for the 2nd week in a row, #10 Auburn gave up a 20-0 lead and ultimately lost to LSU, Florida wore the ugliest jerseys of all time and still walked away with a loss at home, USC BARELY outlasted Utah on a failed 2-pt conversion to avoid OT, and Boise State and Arizona State handed San Diego State and Washington their first losses of the season, respectively.

All in all, this ultimately became one of the most exciting football Saturdays I’ve seen in recent years, so imagine my disappointment when the AP polls were released this afternoon.

Michigan WON and dropped 2 spots, the Miami Hurricanes moved up 3 spots after a 2nd last minute win against an unranked team, Clemson dropped 5 spots to #7 (WHAT? Need I remind you that FSU dropped much farther after a much more impressive loss??), USC moved up 2 spots, Washington State is still in the top 15 after an atrocious loss to an UNRANKED TEAM, and Georgia stomped all over Mizzou and only went up one spot. Penn State had a bye week this week so they were unable to prove their worth and with one of the toughest remaining schedules in all of the NCAA I don’t see them staying up there for much longer, so why didn’t UGA get the coveted #2 spot in the poll? Recent experience (when FSU didn’t play due to a hurricane and still descended down the polls) shows that bye weeks don’t stop the committee from dropping teams when others do well. With a true freshman starter and arguably the best running back duo in the country, I think the Bulldogs should be right up there with Alabama, who also show no signs of wavering any time soon.

Hopefully these upcoming weeks will be less controversial, and I will be the first to admit that I love upsets, but for the love of god, BE CONSISTENT. If a team loses to a someone ranked higher than them, there isn’t much surprise and they shouldn’t be punished too greatly for it, but when you have SEVEN top 25 teams lose to unranked opponents in the same weekend, maybe you should reassess your poll standings.

Explanation of Police Harassment From Chula Vista

Explanation of Police Harassment From Chula VistaFound on the internet, original author is unknown.

Recently, the Chula Vista, California Police Department ran an e-mail forum with the local community (a question and answer exchange) with the topic being, “Community Policing.” One of the civilian e-mail participants posed the following question: “I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?”

From the “other side” (the law enforcement side) Sgt. Bennett, obviously a cop with a sense of humor replied:

“First of all, let me tell you this… it’s not easy. In Chula Vista, we average one cop for every 600 people. Only about 60% of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “patrol”) where we do most of our harassing. The rest are in non-harassing departments that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60% patrollers are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 5,000 residents.

When you toss in the commercial business, and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 10,000 or more people a day.

Now, your average ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds long. This gives a cop one second to harass a person, and then only three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to this challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to help us narrow down those people which we can realistically harass.

The tools available to us are as follow:

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbor is beating his wife” is a code phrase used often. This means we’ll come out and give somebody some special harassment.

Another popular one: “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” The harassment team is then put into action.

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or no driver’s licenses and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.

RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them for hours to determine why they didn’t want to talk to us.

STATUTES: When we don’t have PHONES or CARS and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called “Statutes” – Criminal Codes, Motor Vehicle Codes, etc… They all spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the statute, you can just drive around for awhile until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them.

Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, there’s this book we have that says that’s not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy. It’s a really cool system that we’ve set up, and it works pretty well. We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.

Next time you are in my town, give me the old “single finger wave.” That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can’t harass me.” It’s one of our favorites. Hopefully sir, this has clarified to you a little bit better how we harass the good citizens of Chula Vista.

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Whacky Law Has Beer Lovers Growling

Whacky Law Has Beer Lovers GrowlingAnother great opinion from Dave Scott follows:

Because of a Florida law that State Senate President Don Graetz says he can’t explain but will continue to support anyway, beer aficionados awaiting the opening of a micro brew pub in downtown Fernandina Beach at the site of the now shuttered O’Kane’s, will not be able to purchase the popular half-gallon growlers, that are currently OK in 47 other states.

Long before six-packs became popular, most beer was consumed in a bar and folks who wanted to drink beer at home filled a small pail called a “growler” to carry it. According to when the beer splashed around in the pail it created a “rumbling” sound as gases escaped through the lid,” causing what sounded like a “growl.”

In an Associated Press story filed earlier this week Senate President Graetz says he doesn’t know why growlers are illegal in Florida and even admitted that the law appears to be overregulation, but added that a repeal of it isn’t in the cards because a close friend of his asked him to continue to support legislation that hurts the state’s fledgling craft beer businesses. That friend is Lewis Bear, a distributor of Budweiser products in Republican Graetz’s district and Graetz says he does what he’s told by his friend.

“We know we can’t compete with Budweiser, but we should have the opportunity to sell our own beer in a growler to our customers who want it,” says Al Waldis, who along with his Salty Pelican business partner, T.J. Pelletier, and Espana’s Roberto Pestana are opening the yet-to-be-named craft-beer pub on Centre St. “The big boys don’t sell growlers, since their product is available in every store. Growlers are sold strictly in brewpubs and brewery tasting rooms for customers who specifically would like to take a certain beer home from their favorite micro brewery,” says Waldis. “There is no other avenue for them to have this beer at home.”

I’ve never met Mr. Graetz but based on the AP story I don’t think I’d like him as he sounds like the kind of guy who invites you to join him for a cold one and then stiffs you with the check.

I’m sure the folks at Budweiser will do just fine as long as there are people around like my friend Pajama Dave Voorhees, an avid die-hard Bud Light drinker, but comments like the ones the senator made to the AP give members of the GOP a bad name, making them sound as foolish as District 5 Democrat Congresswoman Corinne Brown and her loony supporters.

Responding to Graetz’s position some influential local business folks are questioning state Republicans’ sincerity with one saying, “They’re the ones that preach competition in the marketplace; anti-regulation; always saying they are pro-business; and that small business owners are the ones who create jobs. But this law goes against all those values.”

Mr. Bear and his Belgian-owned beer company have been very generous with their monetary donations to Senator Graetz, the state GOP, and other state GOP candidates. And it appears that the state senate president favors folks that’ll pick up the tab for him and his pals over Florida’s craft beer bars, their employees and patrons.

A Tampa Bay Times article reported that a sign behind the bar in Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing sums up the craft beer community’s frustration with Florida’s growler law and attitudes of politicians like Graetz:

“We sell growlers in two sizes: 32 oz. and 128 oz. The industry standard in most states is the 64 oz. (1/2 gallon) growler but Florida law has a whacky, nonsensical law that prohibits us from selling them. Ridiculous, isn’t it?”

T.J. and Al have been wildly successful with their popular Front Street Salty Pelican despite indifferent, inept and incompetent city commissioners and town officials. They have survived impact fees that a district court ruled illegal in a case now headed to sure defeat in the Florida Supreme Court; a disputed sidewalk to nowhere that’s supposed to lead to their eatery; and railroad tracks that make reaching the Pelican on foot an adventure in athleticism. Meanwhile politicians like the Moe, Curly and Larry trio on the city commission, oblivious to what’s going on around them, continue to “Nyuk” it up as Public Utilities Director John Mandrick wrecks havoc with impunity on restaurant and bar businesses wielding his impact fee axe with the fury of a crazed Carrie Nation. And City Manager Joe Gerrity, who signed off on the fees while mayor, is missing in action.

I submit that a statue of these two entrepreneurs, Al and T.J., be erected in front of the old downtown train station as a tribute to overcoming adversity and as examples of perseverance. Imagine what they and other local businesspeople could accomplish if they were freed of these bungling bureaucrats and do-nothing, slapstick commissioners.

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Impact Fees Creating Empty Store Fronts in Fernandina

Impact Fees Creating Empty Store Fronts in FernandinaHere is another thought provoking piece by Dave Scott where he discusses Fernandina Beach impact fees and how this may be contributing to the empty store fronts in historic downtown.

“During a conversation at the Centre St. Amelia Island Coffee Shop the other day an acquaintance and life-long island resident told me that he counted 15 empty store fronts in the downtown area, a number he attributed mostly to the negative effect of the city’s reckless impact fees.

I may have missed it, but so far I haven’t seen a single letter, opinion-editorial or article in a local blog, online news site, in the bi-weekly News-Leader, or in a Jacksonville business or news gathering publication in support of Fernandina Beach’s controversial impact fees, just the opposite. In fact, I’ve never even met anyone who has voiced support for the fees and earlier this year even Circuit Court Judge Brian Davis ruled against the city’s fees in a bond validation case that is now headed to the state Supreme Court.

The only folks claiming they are beneficial are petty city bureaucrats led by its attorney, who have wasted some $600,000 of taxpayer money in legal fees trying to defend this indefensible “no-growth” formula.

Philip Griffin and Pat Keogh, two prominent local citizens, who are both active in area real estate development and have vested interests as well as the city’s best interests at heart, vehemently oppose the fees with Keogh calling them “highway robbery under the guise of government” and Griffin saying “they have contributed to the lack of reinvestment by the private sector in the city.”

City Manager Joe Gerrity was mayor when the fees were imposed and has been suspiciously silent during the controversy while Public Utilities Director John Mandrick continues his imitation of “It’s a Wonderful Life’s” Harry F. Potter, cackling and smirking as small businesses plead upon deaf ears for relief.

It is past time for the current crop of city commissioners who ran on “pro-business” platforms to do something: eliminate the fees and stop shoveling our tax money to lawyers to defend a no-growth and apparently illegal policy. Good grief folks, the law firm the city hired to defend these reckless fees isn’t even local.

Oh, at least the impact fee issue is masking another problem nobody at city hall wants to discuss, and that’s bringing the city’s future pension and employee benefit obligations in line with economic reality.

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High School Graduates Targeted on Graduation Day

High School Graduates Targeted on Graduation DayLet me start this with saying I am all for high school graduates finding jobs. As a matter of fact, all three of my kids had jobs during their years at Fernandina Beach High School, BUT – the high school graduation ceremony is not the place to be targeting graduates as recruits for a single-level direct sales company!

Our youngest daughter graduated in May 2013 and somewhere amidst Pomp and Circumstance lurked a direct marketing company, Vector. Inside an envelope handed to my daughter during the ceremony was a sheet of paper, a business card and a pen inviting students, graduates, to apply for their summer work program.

After what seemed to be a very busy summer, our daughter has begun college life and settled nicely into her dorm room. Yet today, I find myself sitting in front of my keyboard with an uncomfortable memory about the envelope that invaded Graduation Day. It still makes me cringe just a little, like having to deal with an intrusive door to door salesman or any other uninvited guest.

Vector Marketing is the company that sells CUTCO, The World’s Finest Cutlery. Sets of knives are sold by sales representatives that meet one-on-one with potential customers. Until now, I had only seen them exhibiting in home and patio shows.

Since they say on their website, “85% of our sales reps are students”, I certainly hope they paid a hefty donation to the Nassau County Public School System for this targeted audience!

Afterall, what teen wouldn’t be interested in:
-Full Time, Part Time and Temporary Positions.
-Customer Sales and Service
-Starting Base Pay of $14.50 per appointment
-Scholarships and Internships


The letter was signed by James McKinney, a branch office manager, and in the footer was an office number and a Yulee, Florida address.

I’ve worked in marketing and advertising for many years and honestly, it is hard to market to a desired demographic this effectively. The envelope was literally placed into our student’s hand, by a trusted authority figure she had respected during four years of high school. What an effective, silent endorsement!

McKinney, one of Vector Marketing’s top representatives, apparently opened one of the company’s additional 300 temporary branches they open each year, during their peak summer season, in Yulee.

The letter worked, teens called and were trained for positions in Nassau County.

My phone rang all summer long! Calls from friends of my kids, calls from the neighbor’s kids, calls from kids I didn’t even remember, all wanting to schedule a time to show me the knives. “You don’t have to buy them, just let me practice my demo and I’ll still get paid,” was the telemarketing pitch I heard again and again. I think they even looked at who my friends were on facebook, because one caller said I was referred by a friend of mine. When she “dropped” the name, I had no idea who she was talking about, until two days later when I found she was a friend on facebook. Not really a friend though, more like an acquaintance of an acquaintance’s friend.

I don’t know how successful the Yulee branch office was this summer, and no, I did not agree to a single demonstration of the knives. While it was nice to touch base with some of these kids I hadn’t seen in years, I was annoyed by the number of calls I received and the persistance of some of these young adults.

Anyway, like I said before, I hope the company made a nice donation to the local schools to directly advertise, into the hand of an impressionable mind… on Graduation Day!

Just like the SWAG Bags handed out on Oscar Night, maybe more businesses can get involved and graduating seniors could receive a basket full of treats, product samples and job opportunities; our kids could feel like celebrities at the Academy Awards. This year’s 2013 “Everybody Wins at the Oscars” gift baskets handed out at the Dolby Theatre were estimated to be worth just less than $48,000 each. Now that would be a nice “Congratulations!”

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Survivor Amelia Island

Survivor Amelia IslandContributed by: Amelia Dude

While watching some of the Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting from last Tuesday I was reminded of one of my favorite TV game shows, Survivor. The TV show’s motto is, “Outwit, Outlast, Outplay.” Now, this hardly seems like a good motto for a city government, but the similarities are incredible!

In the game, members form alliances and then get some of the weaker links to join them so they can have a majority to help vote people off the Island.

Does this sound familiar?

In the show Survivor participants often lie and cheat in order to get ahead and achieve their ultimate goal! Favors are often repaid when it comes time to vote. Rules are made and changed at will to further an individual’s whims, and good advice is asked for and completely ignored.

In past years, people who are voted off of the island are sent to Redemption Island. Competitors are not brought back in to the game unless they can win challenges against others who have been voted off, thereby earning the right to play again!

Does any one else see the similarities here?

Some of our esteemed commissioners voted for a 4-1 super majority, but when that no longer suited their goals, they changed the rule. They asked an expert for advice on a very important issue and then decided to throw it away and make their own decisions. And now rumor has it that they will bring someone back in the game to pay back some favors, totally ignoring the wishes of not only the tribe, but the whole viewership! Almost screams of “Good Old Boy Politics” doesn’t it?

I know there is always two sides to every story and everyone has their opinion, and this is just mine. I love our paradise here and hope that the ultimate goal in the Commissioner’s game is to make Fernandina Beach a better place for all.

Be sure to stayed tuned to the City of Fernandina Beach Commissioner meetings to find out “Who is going to get voted off next, and who will win the Million dollars?”

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Main Beach Dumpster Caper

Main Beach Dumpster CaperContributed by: Suanne Thamm

As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up. Just when we thought the Main Beach dumpster issue had been resolved, we discover we were wrong. After months of conversation, negotiation and threats of lawsuits, we are back at square one. Why? On a 3-2 vote at the March 20, 2012 regular meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) the FBCC refused to spend an additional $2,500. If you think your elected representatives might have better things to do with their time and your money, read on…

A few years ago, the proprietor of Sandy Bottoms agreed to let the city place a garbage dumpster temporarily outside his establishment while a permanent site was prepared. Unfortunately, the alternative site was not acceptable to the condo residents who would have been treated to the site and smells of garbage from their balconies. The condo residents complained to the city; but not to be deterred, the city moved ahead with a contract in the amount of $9,000 to construct a pad at the controversial site to contain 2 dumpsters and enclose the site with decorative brick. The contractor dug the footings for the pad, put in the rebar and purchased the decorative brick. With continued outrage from both Sandy Bottoms and the condo owners, the city served the contractor with a stop work order. Mind you, the contractor had already purchased brick and done work totaling $6,000. After considerable discussion at a previous City Commission meeting, thanks to Commissioner Poynter, the commission voted on a new dumpster site, this time for only one, not two dumpsters as originally planned, to be located in the median of the parking area at Main Beach, convenient to both the condo building and Sandy Bottoms. The condo owners agreed to pitch in $6,000 to pay for the work already done. Problem solved, right? Read on…

By issuing the stop work order on the original contract, the city in effect terminated the contract. There was never language in the contract that spoke to returning the abandoned site to its original condition. Nor did the language of the contract allow the city to say, “Oops!” Now we want you to start over in a new spot. Enter Glenn Semanisin, the city engineer. He exercised the city’s option to go out on an RFQ (Request for Quotes) to find a contractor to construct the new dumpster pad and wall surround. Firms he contacted responded with prices ranging from $5,500 (from the contractor who received the initial job) upwards. So, in recommending the FBCC award the contract to the low bidder, Semanisin asked for an additional $2,500 to add to the unspent $3,000 authorized for the first contract. That’s when the trouble began.

Commissioner Corbett kept insisting that approving such a recommendation would mean that the city was paying $11,500 for a dumpster pad. Commissioner Bunch said he was sure it could be done by a local for a lot less. Commissioner Pelican didn’t comment, but voted with them against the measure.

So where are we? Both Bunch and Corbett seemed to think city staff could easily handle this. Semanisin and the Mayor commented that with staffing cuts, the city no longer has the staff or the expertise to do brickwork. The city will, however, incur the expense of removing rebar and cleaning up the site that was abandoned. The final word was that of Vice Mayor Bunch, who directed Semanisin to “find someone cheaper”, even though Bunch passed on the opportunity to suggest any possible local firms qualified to do the work.

The next lowest quote Semanisin received was $6,000. But he has been directed to find something cheaper than $5,500, preferably local. Perhaps we can take up a collection? Or maybe we can let the Amelia Arts Academy work off their unpaid back rent by constructing the dumpster site?

But bear in mind that at the same City Commission meeting, a 4-1 vote (Vice Mayor Bunch dissenting) with no discussion authorized $500,000 for a new animal shelter. The Council on Aging also reminded the Commission that they will be coming back for the remainder of the $150,000 that the previous commission authorized for the new center ­ something like $66,000. I support both of these projects as part of the responsibility of the city to meet the health and safety needs of our residents and visitors.

Have you heard any calls for a public referendum on the animal shelter or the Council on Aging project from those who claimed that spending large amounts of money on special projects constitute taxation without representation?

Good luck on getting that new or renovated library building. By the time the FBCC gets through with that, paper will be obsolete.

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Voting as a Faithless Act

Voting as a Faithless ActBy: Agorist Don

I spent my earliest years, unwisely, voting as an act of faith.

    -Faith that the system worked, that the Democrats and Republicans chose the best among them as candidates to lead us.
    -Faith that if I chose one of those two parties’ candidates to lead, America would continue to advance in freedom and in opportunity for every citizen.
    -Faith that all I had to do was vote and the wise men in charge would take care of everything else.

No More!

I lived through the turmoil of the 60s and the 70s, and I became jaded. I no longer believed in the system. When, on rare occasions, I could find a candidate who believed as I believed, or at least seemed to, I supported them. Much more often, I held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils, reaping evil for my efforts, and wondering where I, and my country, had gone wrong.

Often, at the Presidential level, my vote went to the Libertarian candidate, since that party’s platform most closely aligned with the principles I supported. And time after time, I watched as that candidate drew some small fraction of a million votes, the voters cowed into believing that if they didn’t vote for one of the two “approved” candidates their vote wouldn’t count. And I watched as we the people lost our power, and the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington increased theirs.

No More!

No more will I vote for the lesser of two evils, then have faith that the system will sort things out. Before I walk into that voting booth, I’ll know not only the positions of the candidates I intend to vote for, but whether their record backs up those positions. If there is any candidate I can honestly support, I’ll vote for that candidate, regardless of their odds of winning. And if there’s no candidate I can support based on their positions and their record, I will withhold my vote in that particular race.

I recognize that no candidate is perfect; I also recognize that some candidates are less awful than others. But no longer will I ever vote for a candidate on the basis that the other choice would be even worse, and somehow the system will correct for their deficiencies.

No more voting on faith; faith in the politicians who make promises their record plainly shows they won’t keep; faith in the choices of the Democrat or Republican parties, just because the media tells me no one else can win; or faith in a system that has plainly shown it won’t correct for the failings of the candidates it offers me.

From now on, my vote will unerringly be for those candidates who I think, from examining both their records and their positions, will promote the causes that matter the most to me.

No more voting as an act of faith; my votes will be faithless, based on my knowledge of the candidates, the issues, and nothing more or less.

I’m a faithless voter.

Please join me.

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Proof Your Tax Dollars are Wasted

Proof Your Tax Dollars are WastedDo you need proof that your tax dollars are being wasted with too many assistance programs? Consider this: If you sign up with the government for assistance with your housing and then the money you receive from a subsidy program is spent on going out and partying, is that an abuse of the welfare system?

The following video from the television show, Judge Judy, shows us a college student who has a basic misunderstanding about what his assistance money is to be used for.

I love it when the Judge says she is sending a copy of the tape to Congress.

This link provides a clearer image of the video:

Rumor has it that CBS removed the video from YouTube, but it is still there as you’ll see below.

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Zombie Ants, Fungi and Politics

Zombie Ants, Fungi and Politics

Image Credit: David P. Hughes, Penn State University (Click to enlarge)

Contributed by Agorist Don

Of Ants and Fungi
EarthSky tells of Zombie Ants.

Image: A tropical carpenter ant killed by a parasaitic fungus in Thailand. The ant had bitten into the leaf in a “death grip,” and a fungal fruiting body with spores has emerged from its head. Image Credit: David P. Hughes, Penn State University.

It’s like something out of a horror movie. A parasitic fungus infiltrates the body of a tropical carpenter ant, feeding on it and manipulating its body. The fungus forces the dying ant to the forest understory, an environment more conducive to its growth. The invasion of this fungal body-snatcher culminates with it sprouting a spore-laden fruiting body from the dead ant’s head.

This brings to mind the eternal struggle between the economic means and the political means, as first delineated by Franz Oppenheimer in the early 1900s, and introduced to American readers by Albert Jay Nock in his book “Our Enemy the State” in 1935. There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.

The concept surfaced once again in 2010, with the publication of In Search of Self Governance, written by Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. Within he argues that it’s not wealth, or color, or any of the usual suspects touted on the nightly news to generate friction between groups that defines the real class structure in America.

In reality, it boils down to those who believe in governing themselves, and those who believe the masses must be governed. Those who seek to live by productive means, and those who seek to live by political means. Rasmussen lays out three questions that define the real class divide in America. Answer the three questions below in your mind before reading further. Score a one for each question you answer yes; a zero for not sure; and a -1 if you answer no.

(Edit: As pointed out in the comments, score +1 for answering “people” in the first question, -1 for answering “leaders.”)

    -Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more – the American people or America’s political leaders?
    -Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?
    -Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?

Also score a -1 if the question angers you, seems ridiculous, or seems too vague to be meaningful.

If you score a +1 or a -1, you may consider yourself as leaning toward the Productive or Political Class, respectively.

If your score is 2 or higher, consider yourself what Rasmussen calls the Mainstream, or, by Nock’s definition, what I choose to call the Productive Class.

If your score is -2 or lower, consider yourself what Rasmussen and Nock would both call the Political Class. I commend you for still reading, and not having dismissed this whole exercise as meaningless, because experience has shown me that is by far the most common reaction of those who score a -2 or a -3.

As Rasmussen explains:
Years of public opinion polls have shown a growing disconnect between the American people and the nation’s political leaders. Rasmussen’s conclusion: Americans don’t want to be governed from the left, the right or the center. They want to govern themselves. The American desire for – and attachment to – self-governance runs deep. It is one of our nation’s cherished core values and an important part of our cultural DNA. And right now, it needs to be saved.

Agorist (there’s that word again) Class Theory proposes that classes are defined along the same lines that Oppenheimer, Nock and Rasmussen have found. That it’s not about wealth, as the 99% believe, or about any number of things the 1% use to divide the rest of us through their news organs. It’s about using the coercive force of government to control outcomes in one’s favor.

And by now, I’m sure you understand why the lead-in of the Ants and Fungi triggered this column. My apologies to any of the Political class who haven’t yet thrown their computers across the room in disgust. I’ll try to be easier on you in the future, if you’re willing to hang in there.

…and that’s all I have to say about that.

Agorist Don’s Blog is dedicated to the Productive Class. He writes about issues from a Productive Class perspective, and exploring the history and philosophy behind the great divide between the Productive and Political Classes.

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Palatka News Article Suggests They Learn from Fernandina

Palatka News Article Suggests They Learn from FernandinaA news article printed in the Palatka Daily News in late December titled, Palatka commissioners might learn from Fernandina redo, suggests downtown Palatka should learn a thing or two from Fernandina Beach’s historic district. I found that comment interesting since our citizens disagree on funding the improvements needed in Fernandina.

I also found the date of the article interesting. It was published just a few weeks after the citizens voted out two commissioners in favor of once again revitalizing downtown with a loan that will be repaid by city residents on their utility bill. His public opinion printed before the election may have changed a few minds because the author is very familiar with our city.

Jody Delzell, the author of the article, was once the supervisor of the NewsLeader in Fernandina Beach and realizes that past improvements grow old. “Back around 1975, They practically rebuilt Fernandina’s Centre Street beginning with water and sewer lines, new pavement, improved parking, nice landscaping and lighting.” Mr. Delzell says.

Fernandina and Palatka face many of the same issues found in old towns everywhere. Large box retailers are driving traffic away from downtown and businesses are closing. Yes, Fernandina has an ocean, Fort Clinch and shrimp boats which help attract tourism, not to mention our old homes. In comparison, Palatka has a charming waterfront with wonderful visibility for water events and Mr. Delzell mentions …”a turn of the century hotel. (That may be one area where Palatka outshines them.)” This is likely in reference to The Keystone Hotel that was torn down in 1972 in Fernandina’s historic district. The author even mentions our Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival and how it has grown to become one of the best festivals in the Southeast.

While the article continues to compare the two towns, there is no doubt the bickering of citizens arguing over the source of funding improvements can be heard 90 miles to our south. Mr. Delzell believes we will get it worked out, and he adds that “Fernandina is making the most of its amenities,” something he is hoping for Palatka to do in this New Year. At least someone thinks we are getting it “right!”

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A letter to the One Percent

A letter to the One PercentBy: Agorist Don

Dear One Percent,

For many months, you’ve been hearing from the Ninety-Nine Percent. The Ninety-Nine Percent who don’t really understand what’s happened to their country, but know that something has gone terribly wrong. The Ninety-Nine Percent who for too long have continued to trust your leadership as you’ve driven the ship of state relentlessly into iceberg after iceberg. The Ninety-Nine Percent who’ve watched helplessly as you’ve shipped our jobs overseas and debased our currency to enrich your pockets. The Ninety-Nine Percent who’ve watched helplessly as you’ve shipped our children overseas to die, or thrown them into prison cells here at home, to enhance your power over others.

No More!

Now you’re hearing from that “irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds” that Samuel Adams long ago noted could prevail. Call us the Ten Percent. Over the last four years we’ve educated our friends and family, and you’re hearing from us, and from them, in each of the Republican primary elections. We are the Ten Percent that does understand what’s happened to our country. Our efforts to educate will not end until all the people understand what you’ve done, and how you’ve done it. Ten percent has become twenty, and will continue to grow relentlessly, until our country belongs to the people, and not the special interests, once again.

We understand how your global machinations, sold to the Ninety-Nine Percent as “Free Trade,” have destroyed jobs here at home, shifting the wealth of the country from the pockets of the middle class to your own.

We understand how you’ve destroyed the middle class through your currency manipulation, with the “Federal Reserve System,” which is not “Federal,” but owned by private banks, which has no “Reserves,” but prints money to debase that already in existence on demand, and which is, quite simply, a “System” designed to serve the One Percent at the expense of the Ninety-Nine.

We understand that a world-wide empire is not intended to keep us safe, but rather to constantly stir up resentment of our activities in foreign lands, manufacturing threats that we then must spend trillions of dollars to defend ourselves against. Trillions that, not surprisingly, end up in the pockets of the One Percent.

We understand that the War on Drugs is actually a War on Minorities, as the incarceration rate of minorities soars relative to those who use of a long list of substances “banned for our own good.” We recognize it as yet another way to funnel our hard-earned dollars to the private prisons and weapon manufacturers of the One Percent, and to empower your agents of force.

We understand where the trillions of dollars spent to engage these wars end up; the crony corporations whose pockets it lines, the votes it buys, the fear it engenders in the Ninety-Nine Percent that keeps them crying for protection from the very people who enslave them. We understand that your promises of protection and entitlements are instruments to keep the Ninety-Nine Percent reliant on you for our future security.

No More!

As our forefathers did long before, we have sworn “our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor” to returning this country to the ideals of liberty and justice they fought and died for. In this information age, the battle will be won, not with guns and bullets, but with the truth, and as we have been told, “Truth will Win.”

To the Ninety-Nine Percent: Join us. Learn what we have learned. Embrace what we embrace. Together, we are all-powerful. Divided, we are rival gangs for the One Percent to set against each other, battling for their amusement; reality-tv gladiators they can mock at their next cocktail party. Look for leaders who unite us in a quest for liberty, not gangsters who divide us in a quest for spoils.

To the One Percent: Your game is up. We will not choose between the Blue One Percent Candidate and the Red One Percent Candidate. We will choose a candidate that stands for the Ninety-Nine Percent. If you refuse us such a choice, we will desert your One Percent Parties and support others, exposing your crimes to the world for all to see. We will seek, through free associations with others who understand, protections for our future that do not rely on your largess.

“An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government.” – Ron Paul

The Ten Percent (and growing)

Follow this Tireless Agorist as we explore the history and philosophy that led to the creation of this letter. If it resonates, share it with others who care.

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We the Sheeple

We the SheepleHere is another one of those interesting reads for your Sunday. It is a bit thought provoking and I wonder how much of this will someday be true?

The original author is unknown, but the tease to the following says, “It is coming. The fourth sentence from the end pretty much tells the story. Americans are turning into ‘Sheeple’ being lead by the Pied Pipers.”

“Winston, come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband.

“In a minute, honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered. Actually, Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington. Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world”, Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting. Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston was uninterested in.

It was more the thought of eating another Tofu Turkey. Even though it was the best type of Veggie Meat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce, and mincemeat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Atonement” in 2020, to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster. Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated CFL light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold.

Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats, which were monitored and controlled by the electric company, be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter. Still, it was good getting together with family. Or at least most of the family.

Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of life-saving medical treatment. He had had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government health care program. And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort.

“The RHC’s resources are limited”, explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. “Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I’m sorry for your loss”

Ed couldn’t make it either. He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines, for everyone but government officials. The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn’t want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston’s brother, John, and his wife were flying in.

Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion. No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids.

Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added “inconvenience” was an “absolute necessity” in order to stay “one step ahead of the terrorists.”

Winston’s own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of 2022. That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for “unequal scrutiny,” even when probable cause was involved.

Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc…, had become almost routine, well, almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court composed of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact. “A living Constitution is extremely flexible”, said the Court’s eldest member, Elena Kagan. “Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example”, she added.

Winston’s thoughts turned to his own children. He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner. Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford. She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flu, terrorism, or any of a number of other calamities were “just around the corner”, but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility.

It didn’t help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being. Winston paid the $5,000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13.

The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to “spur economic growth.” This time, they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement. At least, he had his memories.

He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life “fair for everyone” realized their full potential.

Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2011, when all the real nonsense began.

“Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today if we’d just said ‘enough is enough’ when we had the chance,” he thought. Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

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Fernandina Beach Victimized By Local Newspaper

Fernandina Beach Victimized By Local Newspaper

Click to Enlarge Image

This is an informational commentary. I have researched resources that may be beneficial to anyone interested in learning more. I believe our community has been scrutinized, demoralized and victimized by its only source of commercial communication and information. This analysis spurred my desire to research its plausibility.

Our city managers turn over rate, from 1992 to 1998, was three in seven years plus one interim manager. In 1998 our then Mayor requested an analysis report to determine if the turn over in city administration was personal or political.

This report is disturbing. The most offensive finding from this report is on page 13, first paragraph, last sentence.

Even the editors of the local newspaper are focusing on the city manager rather than helping their readers see the entire picture.

The newspaper exploits the weaknesses of the city manager and causes a misguided understanding to our community of the actual role of the city manager.

I wanted to compare some commercial communications’ value/mission statements. These communication companies are similar in size and services and happen to have similar names.

Who’s in charge? What’s the mission? What’s the price?

Community Newspapers, Incorporated
CNI Corporate Office
2365 Prince Ave Suite A
Athens, GA 30606

CNI Mission

“Our Mission is to publish distinguished and profitable community newspapers. Among our overall goals are:

    -To publish newspapers whose focus will be excellence in terms of news and advertising content, reproduction and service.
    -To maximize profits consistent with product quality, but in no case less than required to assure long term growth and our editorial independence.
    -To be fundamentalists in our support of the public’s right to know, and the right of free speech and press.
    -To take a bias in support of the communities we serve: providing aggressive, visionary leadership.

This mission will be accomplished through the teamwork of professionals who are dedicated to truth, integrity, loyalty, quality and hard work. We believe that a community must first know about itself in order to act in its own best interest. We believe that strong newspapers build strong communities — ‘Newspapers get things done!’
Dink NeSmith, President

Another perspective:

The Independent, from Ashland, Kentucky, owned by:

3500 Colonnade Parkway Suite 600
Birmingham, AL 35243

Their mission states:

“Our mission… We are dedicated to providing our communities with a trusted source of useful information and pledge to do whatever it takes to satisfy our customers. Your newspaper… Our commitment.”

“Our community has been and will be a profitable resource for CNI.”

To compare other communication companies and their practices check out the Columbia Journalism Review Resources page titled Who Owns What.

Contributed by: Robin Rafloski-Childers

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Virginia Stimulus Sermon

My Grandma

My Grandma

My 91 year old grandmother sent me this Virginia Stimulus Sermon. While looking around the internet for the original author, it appears this was given in a predominantly black church. I could not find the original author, or the church involved. I don’t know if this is a real sermon or not; but either way, my grandmother felt the message was worth sharing.

“Good morning, brothers and sisters; it’s always a delight to see the pews crowded on Sunday morning, and so eager to get into God’s Word. Turn with me in your Bibles, if you will, to the 47th chapter of Genesis. We’ll begin our reading at verse 13, and go through verse 27.

Brother Ray, would you stand and read that great passage for us?”

Genesis, Chapter 47, Verse 13 through 27, King James Bible

Genesis 47:13 And [there was] no bread in all the land; for the famine [was] very sore, so that the land of Egypt and [all] the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread [in exchange] for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide [it] from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give [us] seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from [one] end of the borders of Egypt even to the [other] end thereof.

22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion [assigned them] of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, [here is] seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth [part] unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, [that] Pharaoh should have the fifth [part]; except the land of the priests only, [which] became not Pharaoh’s.

27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

“Thank you for that fine reading, Brother Ray. So we see that economic hard times fell upon Egypt, and the people turned to the government of Pharaoh to deal with this for them. And Pharaoh nationalized the grain harvest, and placed the grain in great storehouses that he had built. So the people brought their money to Pharaoh, like a great tax increase, and gave it all to him willingly in return for grain. And this went on until their money ran out, and they were hungry again.

So when they went to Pharaoh after that, they brought their livestock – their cattle, their horses, their sheep, and their donkey – to barter for grain, and verse 17 says that only took them through the end of that year. But the famine wasn’t over, was it? So the next year, the people came before Pharaoh and admitted they had nothing left, except their land and their own lives. ‘There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. So they surrendered their homes, their land, and their real estate to Pharaoh’s government, and then sold themselves into slavery to him, in return for grain.

What can we learn from this, brothers and sisters?

That turning to the government instead of to God to be our provider in hard times only leads to slavery? Yes… that the only reason government wants to be our provider is to also become our master?

Yes, but look how that passage ends, brothers and sisters!

God provided for His people, just as He always has! They didn’t end up giving all their possessions to government, no, it says they gained possessions! But I also tell you a great truth today, and an ominous one.

We see the same thing happening today. The government today wants to ‘share the wealth’ once again, to take it from us and redistribute it back to us. It wants to take control of healthcare, just as it has taken control of education, and ration it back to us, and when government rations it, then government decides who gets it, and how much, and what kind. And if we go along with it, and do it willingly, then we will wind up no differently than the people of Egypt did four thousand years ago, as slaves to the government, and as slaves to our leaders.

What Mr. Obama’s government is doing now is no different from what Pharaoh’s government did then, and it will end the same. And a lot of people like to call Mr. Obama a ‘Messiah,’ don’t they? Is he a Messiah? A savior? Didn’t the Egyptians say, after Pharaoh made them his slaves, ‘You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh?’

Well, I tell you this – I know the Messiah; the Messiah is a friend of mine; and Mr. OBAMA IS NO MESSIAH! No, brothers and sisters, if Mr. Obama is a character from the Bible, then he is Pharaoh. Bow with me in prayer, if you will…

    Lord, You alone are worthy to be served, and we rely on You, and You alone. We confess that the government is not our deliverer, and never rightly will be. We read in the eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, when Samuel warned the people of what a ruler would do, where it says ‘And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day…’ And Lord, we acknowledge that day has come. We cry out to you because of the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation. Lord, we pray for this nation. We pray for revival, and we pray for deliverance from those who would be our masters. Give us hearts to seek You and hands to serve You, and protect Your people from the atrocities of Pharaoh’s government. In God We Trust. Amen.

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