Most of you don’t know that soon to be 5th grader Catherine Hicks of 45th St. South, Gulfport made a heartfelt presentation to the City Council seeking their help in saving Clam Bayou and her feathered friends who live and die there. It was a wonderful presentation and we have provided the full text below.
Through Mayor Yakes, she received a patronizing response that the Council had acted on the issue and that work was underway to fix the problem. What they didn’t tell her was that precious little was being done to preserve the Bayou in Gulfport, the part that serves as her back yard. The only thing that is being done in Gulfport is to remove some silt that had created a blockage to the flow. They didn’t tell her that the 6-7 feet of nasty runoff from St. Pete’s streets that had accumulated for 50 years is going to stay right where it is and that, instead, a 35 acre “water feature” is being created in St. Pete as a replacement for Clam Bayou.
Good job, Catherine. Keep advocating -- it may take a little time, but people will listen!
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You know, given how big the intelligence industrial complex turned out to be, you think we would have already caught all of these hot spies and smugglers.
Memorandum to gigantic American spy network: it's called Facebook. Check it out.
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I was going to do a link to Thomas Ricks' underwhelmed reaction to the whole Wikileaks thing. He has a better post up I'll link to in a moment. But first, with respect to Wikileaks and the 90+ thousand classified documents they published out of the war in Afghanistan, I find it presents a fascinating question. Most sane people have had a similar reaction to Ricks's: so what? The war is going badly. Tell us something we don't know already. Yes, and what's the next step now that we are all sort of made aware of this ugly truth?
While you're unraveling the moral (not to mention legal) implications of Wikileaks, let me link here to the guest blogger Mr. Ricks had today. Blake Hall is a former Army Captain and a member of the Army Rangers. He is a co-founder of TroopSwap, and write about "PTSD," a term he says he despises.
Excerpting his post about the dangers and the national tragedy of post traumatic stress disorder and what it does to soldiers would not do it justice. Please read Captain Hall's important post.
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Indeed, read Captain Hall's post... then read this.
The package arrived at Cindy Lohman’s home in Great Mills, Maryland, just two weeks after she learned that her son, Ryan, a 24-year-old Army sergeant, had been killed by a bomb in Afghanistan. It was a thick, 9-inch-by- 12-inch envelope from Prudential Financial Inc., which handles life insurance for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Inside was a letter from Prudential about Ryan’s $400,000 policy. And there was something else, which looked like a checkbook. The letter told Lohman that the full amount of her payout would be placed in a convenient interest-bearing account, allowing her time to decide how to use the benefit.
“You can hold the money in the account for safekeeping for as long as you like,” the letter said. In tiny print, in a disclaimer that Lohman says she didn’t notice, Prudential disclosed that what it called its Alliance Account was not guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.
Lohman, a public health nurse who helps special-needs children, says she had always believed that her son’s life insurance funds were in a bank insured by the FDIC. That money -- like $28 billion in 1 million death-benefit accounts managed by insurers -- wasn’t actually sitting in a bank.
It was being held in Prudential’s general corporate account, earning investment income for the insurer. Prudential paid survivors like Lohman 1 percent interest in 2008 on their Alliance Accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to regulatory filings.
“I’m shocked,” says Lohman, breaking into tears as she learns how the Alliance Account works. “It’s a betrayal. It saddens me as an American that a company would stoop so low as to make a profit on the death of a soldier. Is there anything lower than that?”
Yes, Ms. Lohman, there is something lower than that.
Not cutting entitlements so Neel Kashkari can make a few billion more. It's always this "me first" mentality with you people who lose your sons in war. So shortsighted. The invisible hand of the free market will fix everything.
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The people who will bring you more of this evil apparently have a great shot at the U.S. House in November -- though the Senate is still looking elusive.
How is just beyond me.
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I really enjoyed this post from Mustang Bobby on Phyllis Schalfly, class and race. If you're looking for a steady diet of quality writing like Bark Bark Woof Woof, bookmark it and visit daily.
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Kendrick Meek as his first ad out.
It's an interesting strategy: attacking Jeff Greene. Most of the time what you see in a first TV ad is a nice, gauzy introduction to the candidate. Hi, I'm Kendrick. And this is my wife and kids. I'm from Miami! I like to do a lot of the things you do. I believe in these issues -- and I'll fight for them! There'll be a lot of good video montages with the usual clips included: Kendrick in a hard-hat at a jobs site. Kendrick nodding sternly at an old person in a VFW cap. Kendrick in a parade waving to kids. Kendrick doing that thumb-laid-over-forefinger-fist thing that Bill Clinton perfected (they actually call that "Clinton Thumb"), lecturing a bunch of people in suits. Kendrick looking hopeful at the American flag. And if you didn't have enough for the montage, a few seconds of Kendrick looking earnestly into the camera.
I mean, that's certainly the safe road. Or at least the usual road. Kendrick has had his critics (myself included). And there are plenty of people who don't like this -- who say that this is a terrible way for Meek to introduce himself to the voters (Pushing Rope and Saint Petersblog have ripped it good).
My take is, we got a few weeks until primary day. Kendrick's got no time to lose, so he's cutting through the bull-crap and getting to the heart of the message... and (hopefully) saving himself in the primary in the process. I think he will. And as the Reid Report noted, he's kicking off a big bus tour, so that'll help with the introducing himself to Floridians piece. I kind of like that -- introduce yourself to Floridians face-to-face, attack on TV. It's a new strategy, and I respect it.
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When the history books are written, the villians of the oil drilling fiasco will include the Republicans in the state legislature. They're cowards and crooks.
One hero, though, is Keith Fitzgerald. In the midst of war and oil spills and senate races and the larger political rat race, it can be easy to lose sight of people who are making a difference, who are having a good, positive impact. Who are making our state a better place, or at least working towards that end. Keith is one of those people -- help him out if you can.
-- More later --