The editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union’s Metro Section apparently didn’t get the memo regarding the paper’s Friday, July 25 edition as his was the only one of five sections that day that didn’t run a story on its front page about the city’s hapless pro football Jaguars along with an accompanying photograph. Even the Money section ran an almost half page article and a three column picture of a Jaguar player.
And it gets even goofier. Last Sunday, July 27, a “Second Coming” headline splashed across Page A1 screamed “THE BIG, BIG DEBUT” referring to the unveiling of the EverBank Stadium’s giant new scoreboards with almost the entire front page devoted to the 362-foot wide video screens with an article on the mayor’s budget squeaking in a few inches of space at the bottom of the page.
All of this is taking place before the team has yet to play a single game confirming my belief that the team’s ecstatic public relations guy has the one job in the organization that is secure. I can only imagine what the paper will look like once the season begins. And hold on to your hats if and when they win a game.
The paper’s never-ending, inexhaustible coverage with articles on the team’s training camp and practices, prospects for the upcoming year, player personality profiles, the new giant scoreboard, contract signings, stadium naming rights, position-by-position analysis, player misdeeds, etc. continues day-after-day, pushing the baseball pennant race, the Tour de France, Jacksonville Suns, the PGA, NASCAR, and other current sporting events deep into the recesses of the Sports Section where they reside alongside the greyhound track racing results.
Since the coverage doesn’t stop with the sports section and has spilled over into the other segments as well I can only assume that the paper’s editors are fed up with the IRS scandal, the Hamas-Israel war, the collapse of Iraq, the VA mess, the stock market’s continuing rise, the war in Afghanistan, airline crashes, American’s net worth declining, Russian aggression in Ukraine including a passenger jet shot out of the sky, a struggling US economy, the state governor’s race, and so many other pesky national, state and international events that T-U editors apparently think are a nuisance as they take valuable space and time away from the city’s professional football team that won a total of four games last year. The Times-Union spears to be the team newsletter and lead cheerleader all in one.
Don’t get me wrong. I like sports and started my career as a sports writer for the Tampa Tribune where I covered the first Miami Dolphins training camp. So if the paper wants to continue this massive coverage here’s a few story ideas the editors can chew on for other sections of their paper: Tips from wide receiver and repeat offender Justin Blackmon on how to decorate a jail cell to make it feel more comfortable and homey; How to roll a perfect joint and fool the NFL’s drug testing program; How to break your contract and word and still generate fan adoration; How to sell worthless crap from jerseys to baseball caps for outrageous prices to a gullible fan base; Ways to batter your wife, fiancé, girlfriend without leaving telltale marks; How to get through three or four years of college while reading at a third grade level; Player’s favorite DUI attorneys; Best bars and nightclubs to watch a player get arrested; Lists of player’s and coach’s favorite clichés; Investment tips from 21-year-old multi millionaires; Drunk while tailgating? Tips on how to sober up before the game; The best rehab centers to meet pro football players; The most lenient states in enforcing players’ child support payments; Tips on how to plead theft, battery, and sexual assault felonies down to misdemeanors; Selling autographs to kids for fun and profit.
Oh, by the way, the stadium improvements including the new scoreboards cost $63 million with $43 million of that coming from tax payers in the form of hotel bed taxes, so if you live on Amelia Island or in any of Jacksonville’s other surrounding communities and want spend the weekend in the city for a game or any other event, you’ll help foot the bill for this extravagance.
Daily News Scoreboards: Daily newspapers and news magazines should take a hint from vendors at ballparks who advertise their wares by yelling, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard” and run a regular “standings” feature for the Obama Administration like those on the sport pages for baseball, football, hockey, etc. that enables folks to keep track of the scores and positions of the various athletic teams. For example, remember the kidnapped girls in Nigeria and Obama’s pledge to go find them and actually sending a contingent of Americans other there to help? What’s the status of that? Or how about the Syrian civil war and the Dictator Assad’s chemical weapons? Or Lois Lerner and the missing emails and the alleged investigation into the harassment of conservative groups by the IRS? Or the Veterans Administration scandal? NSA contractor Edward Snowdon’s national security leaks and the missing Malaysian airplane? The shot down passenger plane over Ukraine? Or how about the ISIS terrorist army’s advance into Iraq and Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the Benghazi Congressional hearings? And where is Bowe Bergdahl, the Army deserter Obama so gleefully welcomed home? What’s going on with the Hamas-Israel war? What happened with the investigation of the Justice Department’s sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels called “Fast & Furious” and how about the illegal alien crisis on our southern border? The Obamacare problems and the Supreme Court’s rulings against the President? And what’s the status of the Keystone Pipeline? And what about North Korea’s nuclear missile program and the decline in American household net worth? We move from crisis to crisis and problem to problem until they eventually disappear from the pages of the newspaper and get no follow-up. But if we had constant “standings” to remind us and alert those in charge that we are still paying attention, maybe we could better address these critical issues. Hey, even, the last place Chicago Cubs baseball team’s progress is updated daily.
Creepy Newspaper Sales Pitch: I subscribe to the daily Atlanta Journal-Constitution and if I’m lucky I receive each issue about 10 days after it hits the driveways in the Atlanta suburbs, but pay the same hefty price as those who receive it on a timely basis. I’ve had numerous exchanges with the paper’s circulation department and even some of the senior editors, but prompting the US Postal Service to deliver my paper on a more timely schedule appears to be a task that even their editorial scolding can’t solve. The AJC supplements the lack of national and international news in my thinning daily Jacksonville Times-Union and its Metro section reporting on crime, corruption and decay provides me more factual justification than I’ll ever need for putting that Georgia city’s skyline in my rear view mirror as fast as I could. When my recent AJC subscription ran out, I received what I consider to be one of the creepiest pieces of sales correspondence I’ve ever read as evidenced by the following from that paper’s circulation department: “Hey, What happened to us? We used to be inseparable? Now it seems like we are so distant. I miss our time together. Sundays were the best. Remember how we would sit down over a cup of coffee and catch up…What do you say we start seeing each other again? I’ll drop by on Sunday’s and we can spend some quality time together. It would be just like old times. I know I’m not the best listener, but our time together always left us fulfilled. Bottom line….I miss you and want you back. I sure do hope you feel the same. Please give us another try. If you want to get back together I’m only a click away. Always yours, AJC.” I feel like I’m being stalked by a crazed ex-girlfriend.
Dredging Deal Underwater? The Fernandina Beach News-Leader’s Angela Daughtry reports that the permit application for Lynn Williams’ experimental water injection dredging machine, has been withdrawn by the city thus sinking Mr. Williams chances of doing whatever it was that he was doing with the $8,000 of our money the city commission generously handed him more than a year ago. According to Ms. Daughtry’s article the state Department of Environmental Protection said it wanted to see Mr. Williams’ device before it granted a permit and it appears there is no device but Williams says he will continue with the project and hopefully have it ready later this summer, which gives him about two months to put it all together.
Was the Question Too Difficult? Why wouldn’t a candidate for public office jump at the chance to address voters in a public forum? Beats me, but both Steve Kelley and George Spicer, who are running for Nassau County Commission seats refused the opportunity to respond to the Fernandina Beach Observer’s single simple question of: How would your election to the Board of County Commissioners be of benefit to people who live in the City of Fernandina Beach? They had plenty of time to think it over and craft a written answer and the on-line news gathering organization is as legitimate as any print publication. So why would they risk alienating the Observer’s readers and voters in Fernandina, possibly costing them the election? Their lack of response indicates to me that they may be just as unresponsive to their constituents if elected. Spicer acknowledged he received the question, but didn’t provide an answer and Kelley, despite being called, sent emails and snail mail letters, totally ignored the request. Kelley’s opponents for his District 2 seat, Mike Boyle and write-in candidate Eugene Alley, both answered it as did Barry Holloway, the incumbent District 4 candidate who is being challenged by Spicer. It also seems odd to me that the campaign signs of the two candidates – Spicer and Kelley – who both refused to answer the question, appear all over the county side-by-side. Just wondering.
Diagnosis Confirmed: There were many concerns about the potential for fraud in the Affordable Care Act. As part of a “secret shopper” investigation, according to a Government Accountability Office report, GAO created 18 fictitious identities to apply for premium subsidies through the federal health insurance exchange by telephone, online at HealthCare.gov and in-person. In all but one case, they got Premium Tax Credits and health insurance with fake information through telephone and online applications. The total amount of credits was $2,500 per month – $30,000 per applicant per year – and is currently being paid out for insurance policies for these fictitious individuals. Source: Accounting Today via Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Things I Wish I’d Said: “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” – Dave Barry.
Drinking & Driving? Do One, Not Both: If you’re planning on bar hopping in Fernandina Beach do your hopping on foot because if you get behind the wheel after hitting the town’s many watering holes the odds are good that you will probably spend the night in the slammer as for the second year in a row the Fernandina Beach Police Department was recognized as the top producer of DUI arrests in the State of Florida by a law enforcement agency of 40 officers or less. Chief Jim Hurley and his officers are no-nonsense about drinking and driving, dedicating a significant level of resources to impaired driving enforcement, awareness and training thus increasing your odds of sobering up in a less than pristine environment and costing you a great deal of money, time, embarrassment and maybe even your driver’s license and job.
Did He Really Say That? Department: While touting the swap of US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban terrorists President Obama boasted, “This is what happens at the end of
wars. That was true for George Washington. That was true for Abraham Lincoln and that was true for FDR. That’s been true of every combat situation, that at some point, you make sure that you try to get your folks back. And that’s the right thing to do.” “Really?” asks CNS News reminding us that the Revolutionary War ended in 1783 and George Washington did not become president until six years later in 1789. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in mid April of 1865. The last battle of the Civil War was fought May 13 and the war was not declared officially over until August 1866. He was still dead at that time. No deals were made to exchange prisoners after the war. All prisoners were simply freed. FDR died of a stroke before the end of WWII. Harry S. Truman made the decision to drop two atom bombs on Japan, ending World War II. The US made no deals for prisoners. The US military went in and released them where necessary. A lot of folks at the White House need some American history lessons, most of all a clueless President.
Beach Blanket Bingo? You won’t see Annette Funicello or Frankie Avalon, stars of the 1965 movie musical Beach Blanket Bingo, but you will actually play Bingo and, if you’re lucky win tickets to a local musical extravaganza as Amelia River Cruises & Charters is partnering with the Amelia Community Theatre (ACT) for special BINGO cruises in celebration of the upcoming production of BINGO! The Winning Musical. These special cruises will run on Wednesdays from 5-6 pm util August 27 and include a game of scavenger hunt-style bingo, “called” by the boat captains and crew and moderated by cast members of ACT’s production. During the one hour cruise, the crew and passengers will look for sights often seen on cruises, get a sneak preview of some lines and maybe even some characters from the play and enjoy an opportunity to mix and mingle with the cast/crew. It a BYOB event with the first and second passengers to correctly call BINGO receiving two tickets each to see the BINGO! The Winning Musical at ACT between August 14-31. Tickets for the BINGO! Cruises are available for $25 per person by going to www.ameliarivercruises.com or by calling 904/261-9972.
“Dave, *your* obviously jealous…”? Your? Seriously?
Dave, your obviously jealous that the Jaguars had more wins than your beloved Redskins last year (are they still called the Redskins these days?). I look forward to sitting next to you on September 14 as our local team takes on the team from D.C. !
Oh, I thought for a moment I was reading about the Bucs.