Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Columnist Says “Bidenomics Is Working”! Really? For Whom? Fernandina City Commission Session Resembled an AA Meeting

I assumed the “Bidenomics is working” headline in Friday’s November 24 News Leader was parody and was prepared for a few chuckles. They never materialized.

The writer, Mark Tomes, was as serious as an alcoholic in a beer chugging contest.

For older News Leader readers, “Bidenomics” probably brings back memories of the Jimmy Carter years that featured escalating gasoline prices, massive inflation, high interest rates and hostages in the Middle East. The only things missing today are Billy Beer, killer rabbits, and a whiney national address from the Oval Office about a nonexistent “crisis of confidence” or as the national media labeled it a “national malaise.”

Tomes praises vast government spending programs, “increased tax revenues”, and a more aggressive  IRS “going after wealthy tax cheats.” Nowhere does he provide examples of how any of that is helping the average American.

His thinking makes it obvious why we don’t see him in in the aisles of local grocery stores, at gas station pumps, shopping for a car, eating at local restaurants, or perusing storefront ads of downtown realtors. Based on his commentary he doesn’t get out much and has no idea how the average citizen is suffering economically.

Tomes says that Bidenomics is “fostering a bustling economy.” News Leader readers aren’t stupid. They know when they are being spun. Tomes fails to mention that the Biden administration’s economic programs have led to price increases from everything from housing to gas to groceries escalating well above where they were three years ago and that real medium household income continues to drop.

There’s a total disconnect between what Tomes writes and what everyday residents are experiencing. The average cost of dining out has increased by 5.4% from October 2022 to October 2023. According to industry trade publications the average price of a cheeseburger has increased 63% from $9.74 to $15.88.

I keep a stack of local restaurant menus on hand to give to our out-of-town visitors. Some are three and four years old, others more recent. They verify the increases. A burger I used to pay $9.50 for three years ago with a side of fries or at one of my favorite eateries is now $15 with no sides. At a popular downtown restaurant a cheeseburger that also came with a choice of one of seven sides went from $11 in 2020 to $16 today with a side but an upcharge of $2.00 for certain sides. Forget the days of a dozen wings for 10-12 bucks and a ½ pound of  peel and eat shrimp for $10. Those prices were devoured by Bidenomic along with two dollar happy hour beers.

Borrowers shopping for mortgages or car loans are experiencing sticker shock. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage carries a rate close to 8%, the highest in more than 20 years. Rates were 3% just three years ago. Buying a car is completely unaffordable because borrowers are mixing higher borrowing costs with higher prices.

Moody’s Analytic estimates that it now takes 42 weeks of income to buy a new car and the National Association of Realtors calculates that the typical American can’t afford to buy a medium-priced home.

If you carry a credit card balance you are experiencing the financial pain of a 20.7% interest rate, up from 14.6% in February 2022.  Some are as high as 28%. According to the Fed American’s collective credit card debt surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the first time.

Sure inflation has dropped from a Biden-generated high of almost 9% to 3.5% but that doesn’t mean prices are dropping. They aren’t. Folks realize that every time they go grocery shopping. As long as the inflation rate is going up so are prices. The fact that inflation has come down to 3.5% means that prices are still going up, just at a slower rate.

Tomes’s end-of-column biography says he originally hails from Florida but spent large chunks of his life living in the progressive socialist republics of California, New York, Oregon, and Hawaii, which may explain his thought process.

Apparently this guy is unaware that during his absence Florida has become notorious for silly things involving a mysterious swamp Yeti, giant pythons, Mickey Mouse versus the governor, and bewildered liberals floundering in a rising red sea of conservatives. Welcome back, Mr. Tomes, the local conservative majority of locals is delighting in mocking your misleading, inaccurate leftist commentaries.

Like the Carter years Biden’s tenure will be remembered as: “The not so good old days.”

(An abridged version of the above commentary appears in today’s News Leader’s letters-to-the-editor.)

***

A shirt no longer appropriate at the office.

“Hello, My Name Is _____ And I’m An Alcoholic”: Over lunch earlier this week at Coastal Pizza my friend and the local News Leader’s only conservative columnist, Steve Nicklas, told me that the City Commission session last Tuesday resembled an AA meeting.

Steve was referencing the silliness that occurred at the meeting following new City Manager Ty Ross’s apology for falling off his bicycle after an evening of drinking downtown on October 29.  Ross, who had been on the job less than two weeks, attributed his excessive boozing to the fact that he was lonely and misses his wife who has yet to join him here. Interesting, as I know a few guys hereabouts who blame their boozing on the fact that their wives ARE here.

Following Ross’s apology City Consigliere Tammie Back chimed in and turned the session into an AA confessional when she admitted she at times drank too much and offered Mr. Ross encouragement. I have no idea why she added that other than to fend off the usual disgruntled onlookers who she may have assumed would shake a finger at her proclaiming: “Well, what about her?”

There has been a rash of the usual loudmouth locals clamoring for Ross to resign. I don’t know all the details of what’s going on or if following adjournment they all met at Ross’s or Bach’s house for cocktails to hash it out. However, it does appear to me that the professional search firm that tax payer’s shelled out $60,000 to for recruiting this guy, should provide an explanation, a fix, or a replacement.

Did he come with a warranty guaranteeing our money back or a replacement? Maybe the Commission could body-surf him down the dais to Commissioner and chiropractor James Antun for an adjustment. Or, after Christmas do they plan on plopping him down on the agency’s return counter?

Pompous loudmouth and constant irritant, City Commissioner Chip Ross, requested a special meeting be held next week following the release of police body camera footage. That should be entertaining for everybody but the City Manager.

No matter what, we can always count on the City Commission sessions to provide a constant stream of amusing, albeit, pricey entertainment.

To assure similar issues don’t reoccur the city and voters may want to ignore any future employees and candidates named “Ross”, a name that should sound loud warning bells hereabouts.

***

Ken Timmerman

What It’s Like To Be A Hostage: Local author, national columnist, broadcast pundit, and former Time Magazine reporter, Ken Timmerman, is someone who knows what it’s like being taken hostage. He was one, held by the same brutal terrorists that kidnapped 230 in Israel October 7.

Ken recently returned from Israel where he is working on a film project and explained what those recently released experienced to a group of us last Wednesday evening at a gathering at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden.

After hearing firsthand stories from released hostages about their treatment he explained: “As someone who has been held hostage, they touched me to my core, because that is exactly what liberation felt like, being dragged out of darkness into the light.”

“The long war to secure Israel’s borders and eradicate Hamas as an organized force has begun. Many will seek to tie Israel’s hands, but they will not be restrained. Should the Prime Minister or anyone in his cabinet suggest that Israel should enter ceasefire talks – not the temporary pauses of the hostage exchanges, but an actual, lasting ceasefire that allows Hamas to fight another day – they would face a mutiny among the ranks of the IDF.

“Israelis have only just begun to mourn their dead and their wounded. And they have only just begun to fight. Hamas unleashed the hounds of Hell on October 7. Now they will pay the price.”

***

The three Ivy League university presidents that refuse to condemn genocide.

Poison Ivy: The appalling Congressional testimony by presidents of Ivy League universities, Harvard, MIT, and Penn should sound alarm bells for any parent considering sending a kid to one of those terribly misguided indoctrination centers.

Not a single one of the three women who head those universities would condemn genocide against Jews and they paid the price for their appalling  stances following their inexplicable comments. Nationwide calls for their resignations or firings are pouring in.

Ben Shapiro, a graduate of Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show”, and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com thinks these three should suffer the consequences for their outrageous positions.

“Now, imagine that instead of antisemitism, there had been a radical uptick in anti-black racism on campus: calls for genocide, celebration of terror attacks against black Americans, physical threats. Does anyone think the respective university presidents would have sat, grinning at the lawmakers quizzing them on their actions?”, asked Shapiro.

“But that’s precisely what happened. Here was Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York questioning the presidents of University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and MIT about genocidal language chanted on campus. None of the three was willing to say directly that calls for genocide against Jews violated university policy. All three said that context was required to answer the question.”

Shapiro suggests three remedies: First, donors ought to pull their money.

Second, businesses ought to start hiring directly out of high school and stop treating the bizarre credentialing process of major universities as worthwhile. It isn’t. Chances are better that you’ll get a great employee by selecting a high school graduate with 1500 SAT and a 4.0 GPA than by selecting a Harvard graduate with the same statistics.

Finally, parents ought to stop subsidizing this nonsense with their own children.

A chorus of calls for the three Poison Ivy Leaguers to resign or get canned is rising and I expect they will continue.

We are fortunate in Florida to have no-nonsense former Republican Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, to head the University of Florida. He was unequivocal in his response to Hamas terrorism saying: “I will not tiptoe around this simple fact: What Hamas did was evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn’t be hard.”

***

Good friend, Tampa Plant High School pal and writer for the American Spectator, Larry Thornberry, sent me the above with the following explanation: “That must be some magical ring, promising to do something that translators, Cray super computers, military code breakers, sophisticated algorithms, Talmudic scholars,  psychological profilers, distinguished gerontologists, professors of rhetoric, focus groups, mood rings, and Jill Biden working as a team can’t unpack. These worthies are badly overmatched against a voluble and rampant President Magoo in full garble. He demonstrates with certainty that artificial intelligence has no chance against authentic stupidity.”

Larry is 100% correct. It’s obvious from watching his public appearances that Biden will read whatever is placed in front of him; or at least make an attempt. Once other people decide what he thinks, he will mumble and slur a few conflicting and confusing statements.

Here’s how Louisiana Senator John Kennedy explains it: “The American people may be poorer under President Biden, but they’re not stupid,” Senator Kennedy said. “They see an open border, they experience inflation, they see the rampant crime. The American people look around and see the world on fire, the war in Ukraine, the war in the Middle East, the embers smoldering in China and they have concluded that fair or unfair, Martha, I’m not saying this is accurate but I can read a poll and the American people have concluded that President Biden is old and he needs soup and an early bedtime and they have concluded that Vice President Harris is not capable, that when her IQ gets to 75, she should sell.”

 

***

The Democrat Gift To Republicans That Just Keeps On Giving: Former bartender and New York Democratic “Squad” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “all” underage girls would be subject to “genital examinations” if biological males were excluded from women’s sports.

Ocasio-Cortez presented her argument during the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health hearing on Tuesday, which also included Riley Gaines, an advocate for women’s athletics and an NCAA swimming legend.

The New York Democrat twit said that several proposals aim to “marginalize” transgender Americans before alleging that women would be required to have their pants checked if their stated gender is disproven.

How did AOC qualify to get a job tending bar and how did this nitwit handle ladies’ night — buy a drink and get a free gynecological exam?

  • Comment (18)
  • Bidenomics is working so well that Joe Biden sports a 37% approval rating, according to the most recent poll by CNN … and that’s a fact, Jack !

    • How’d ya know my name? So who do you suggest as an alternative? Trump’s on his way to multiple convictions and DeSantis has already flamed out. Ya gonna pull for Ramaswamy?

      • I’d vote for a lamp post before Biden, so in my opinion, anyone’s better than him… Whatcha got now Jack?

  • “Tomes praises…. a more aggressive IRS “going after wealthy tax cheats.”

    Too bad Tomes could not see the headline a week later about the Prince Biden being indicted for tax cheating. I bet it would have been a different toon.

    • I guess that’s why the moderate majority, many of them registered Independents, applaud Hunter Biden’s getting caught and having to face charges. Not because he’s a Democrat and the son of the current President, but because no one should be able to escape paying their fair share. The IRS needs to refocus on high-hanging fruit, but with the cuts in IRS funding the Republicans are pushing, it will be near impossible. Penny-wise, pound-foolish.

  • Personally I feel the biggest cause for price increases is the idea of A Living Wage”. Every time a high school student gets paid $14/hr to clean tables in a restaurant it starts the pyramid chain reaction. Right up the ladder everyone expects to be paid an equal amount. That means your hamburger will go up $5 in cost to cover higher payroll. That means also the restaurant’s
    taxes to the government will go up as they are based on your payroll, that will mean next year your hamburger will cost an additional $2 or more, the restaurant can eat only so many costs. Or maybe you’ll be offered only fries, and fewer of those. And lets not forget the generous voters in Nassau Co who were duped into agreeing to a one mill increase in taxes on their homes. Our taxes went up over $400/yr and the teachers, who we were told would all get raises, got a whooping 19% of the money collected. So many are being prices out of Nassau Co, why? Their taxes went up, their insurance will go up as the insurance companies will figure the homes are worth more, and on, and on. The bottom line is there will never be a Living Wage. Biden is not totally to blame the causes are far more wide spread, and far more difficult to fix then just changing Presidents.

  • In his first blog of 2023, Dave wrote: “Florida led the U.S. with the fastest population growth and was ranked first in several rankings for freedom, educational opportunities, low tuition rates, and attracting a talented workforce.” The title of this particular blog was: “2022 A BANNER YEAR FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS THANKS TO DESANTIS; GOVERNOR LEAVES CONSERVATIVES CHEERING & THE LEFT SEETHING”

    According to the Department of Labor’s most recent data, the national inflation rate fell to 3.28 percent. Meanwhile, Florida has steadily maintained the highest inflation rate in the country at more than twice that number (7.4%). Why? Local economists all agree that Florida’s high inflation stems from the significant population growth in the state over the last two years, which has driven up demand for goods. Amanda Phalin, an instructional associate professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Management Department said, “Any time you have a population that is growing that is going to push up demand for everything whether its goods, services, food, clothing, vacations, housing, etc.” It’s simple-minded to confuse correlation with causation, but unfortunately, that’s the reality of our politics. A deeper dive into fiscal versus monetary policies, and the length of time it takes for changes to those policies to have an effect on our economy, would make for more informed opinions.

    • National inflation rate 3.28% LOL! Been to a grocery store, concentrated for services, done Christmas shopping lately? Obvious that it’s way higher. My cost are up about 40% during the Biden era.

      Inflation is due to mismatch of supply and demand, which is obviously happening in FL due to rapid growth, shortage of housing and services. It’s also due to gigantic government overspending running up $2 trillion dollar annual deficits for a $34 trillion dollar and counting total. This has also kited the annual federal interest payments over $1 trillion. It will go far higher with interest rates more than doubling and skyward deficits with no end in sight.

      Even locally, we have gigantic growth of municipal and education spending, far out of proportion to population growth.

      Many of the government bills pass call for absurdly high spending on unproductive projects.

      Yes, the short term effect of this is to lift the GDP and stock prices. So GDP is elected by borrowed money, higher interest rates and profligate spending on nonsense ideological pet projects.

      Real GDP is much lower, maybe even negative, when you filter out deficit spending with poor multiplier effect and true price inflation.

      The time honored technique of raising interest rates to quell inflation greatly raises debt service to government and private sector alike, siphoning productive capital out of the economy and enriching bankers.

      • Again, Florida’s rate of inflation is more than twice that of the national rate for the month of October. Your intellectual honesty takes a hit when you say your costs are up 40% “during the Biden era”. Unless you don’t live in Florida, then more than half of that 40% increase correlates to the DeSantis era.

    • 3.2% is for October not YTD for 2023. To stem in-migration should Florida raise our taxes to match the blue states everyone is moving away from? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

      • 7.4% is also for the month of October. My point is pretty clear – assuming you read this week’s blog.

        • I did read the blog and you are also refuting Mark Tomes’ article in the News Observer as Dave did. Glad you two agree.

          • I didn’t read Tomes’ article, but I’m not surprised that I’m refuting it in part or in whole if he’s giving Biden full credit for the falling inflation rate.

  • Bravo for your choice of Michael Ramirez for your theme cartoon. I’ve been a follower of his not-so-subtle artistry for years. He also has a great catalog of T-shirts available.

    Our ivy-covered indoctrination centers have organized a circular firing squad. These once-great centers for edification and research offer few skills for today’s reality. No business wants to hire the whining snobs these cesspools have indoctrinated. America haters who fear everything have nothing to offer our future. Like most spoiled and rotten things, they will cease to be useful. Their graduates will surely be living with their parents in “Safe Spaces,” complaining about how stupid the world is as they advance to dotage. Society and business will have no place for them. The institutions will be vacant, and the tenured will soon be unemployed as donors wake up to what they’ve been supporting and stop writing checks to support this subversion.

    The Anti-Semitism being demonstrated wouldn’t be worthy of comment here if it wasn’t so prevalent and being spewed by sources that should have the knowledge to know better. Systemic ethnic hatred is not acceptable today. Media and public figures such as AOC and The Squad should be run out of town. It’s sad that “Tarring and Feathering” is no longer in practice. So sad that ignorance is not an impeachable offense.
    Duke

    • Duke, we met on Flirt 4 Free website. Can’t believe you found this great site too. See ya again soon I hope.

  • I’ve been doing some research on Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi and I like his views, he talks a lot about what Iran should work on in terms of its Sunni population. And I came across this incident where allegedly protestors in Zahedan were fired on, because of a colonel allegedly r*ping a 15 yr old girl and also as an after effect of the Mahsa Amini event.

    So what is y’all’s version of this event? At least on Wikipedia most of the sources are Iran intl which is a fucking terrible source so I’m hoping yall have a different series of events and maybe some better sources.

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