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

Former Nassau County Exec. Joins DeSantis Administration

Laura DiBella, Former Nassau County Economic Development Director and head of the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County, has accepted a position this week in Florida Governor Rob DeSantis’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Commerce for the State of Florida. You read it here first.

In her new position, which she assumes July 25, Ms. DiBella reports directly to Governor Ron DeSantis as the position of Secretary of Commerce is vacant, essentially making Ms. DiBella the unofficial or acting Secretary of Commerce.

If she excels in her new job could the Secretary of Commerce job be hers? Why not, I haven’t heard of anyone else waiting in the wings to fill the position. But I’m getting way ahead of the story here.

Jamal Allen Sowell, the former Secretary of Commerce, resigned as Secretary to attend military training for the United States Navy Reserve.

Ms. DiBella, successfully served as Nassau County Economic Development Director from 2014 to October 2019 and unpaid Director for the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County. She resigned those positions to assume the newly created position as Executive Director of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association in Tallahassee.

The very professional, personable, and attractive Ms. DiBella, who looks like she just stepped off the pages of Vogue Magazine, is a tough lady who doesn’t back down when she knows she’s right.

Diplomatically dealing with a squabbling Nassau County board of Commissioners, an indecisive Port Authority Board, and the loopy Fernandina Beach City Commission prepared this tough-as-nails gal for anything that lays ahead.

In a letter announcing her departure from Nassau County in October 2019 Ms. DiBella was gracious, polite, and offered to assist in the transition to a new director and aid on ongoing projects. Her list of successes in attracting businesses and jobs to our community is lengthy and lasting.

There is no doubt this talented lady will be an asset to the state and its citizens.


Dumber & Dumber In DC: Joe Biden and his string pullers in the White House must think the American public is as stupid and inept as they are.

Biden lies about inflation, refuses to free up oil production and pipelines, tells us our southern border is closed and says the economy is doing great.

He told us he never spoke to his son Hunter about his business dealings, but a voice message on Hunter’s laptop contradicts that whopper. Biden lies about the most critical issues facing Americans, but nobody in the press says, wait a minute here are the facts, and they don’t support what he and his staff are saying.

Biden demands that independent mom and pop owners of gas stations lower their prices and “do it now.” He has no idea that oil companies no longer own the gas stations. Small independent business owners do. Here’s a guy who has never driven to work, or ever met a payroll. He has no idea how the economy works.

He refuses to allow energy companies to drill offshore or on federal lands and admits he wants to destroy the fossil fuel industry. He recently sold millions of barrels of our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to other countries including China. He’s either one of dumbest people in America or hates the American public, probably a combination of both.

He’s a lying liar who lies because it’s what comes naturally to him.


Speaking of Fossils and Fossil Fuels: If Biden and his frenzied Green fanatics were to get their way the consequences would be staggeringly awful for most Americans.

No matter how loud they yell about fossil fuels it doesn’t change anything.

Americans depend on petroleum not only for transportation and heating but for a critical array of vital necessities ranging from face masks, fertilizer, plastic containers, medical catheters and sutures, food packaging items and so much more.

Do you have an electric car or a bicycle? Streets are paved with asphalt which is made from petroleum bitumen.

November can’t get here fast enough.


Two Great Reads: The best baseball book I’ve ever read is Roger Kahn’s 1972 best-seller,  “The Boys of Summer”. It ranks as not only the best baseball book I’ve ever read, but one of the best books I’ve ever read.

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate it. It’s a book that prolific American author James Michener called “A work of high purpose and poetic accomplishment. The finest American book on sports.”

It’s a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers, growing up in Brooklyn, about newspapermen, about breaking the color barrier, about happiness, post war America, sadness, courage, victory, loss and more.

Looking back, if life were fair Los Angeles would have been awarded the new Mets franchise in 1962 and the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn. But sadly, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges,  Carl Furillo, Don Newcombe, etc. were on the roster on opening day in Los Angeles in 1958.

I’m currently reading another book about baseball that is equally hard to put down. It’s a compilation by its author, Joe Posnanski, of who he considers the 100 best baseball players to ever play the game.

If you’re  baseball fan this is a book for you. You may not agree with Posnanski but that’s OK, the book is crammed with facts and statistics and stories about players that I’d never heard or read anywhere else.

It is a doorstop 869 pages long and isn’t meant to be read at three or four sittings but left on the night stand and picked up when you want to be delightfully entertained by an excellent sports writer and story teller.

Number 100 on Posnanski’s list is Ichiro Suzuki, number 50 is Nolan Ryan. Number 1? Buy the book or get it at the library.


Neal Freeman

A Rare Opportunity: Amelia Island boasts some very talented and nationally celebrated authors, newsmen, TV producers, business executives, commentators, and policy makers.

Resident Neal Freeman is all of those rolled into one.

You will have an opportunity to meet and hear Neal, during one of his rare local public appearances Tuesday, July 19, at Walker’s Landing at the Amelia Island Plantation when he will be honored at a benefit for the Boy Scouts of America. A reception begins at 6 pm and dinner and the program at 7 pm. You can register online at or by calling Rick Grunz, 904/388-0591, ext. 124.

Neal was a friend and confidant of William Buckley, Washington DC Bureau Chief of the National Review, produced more than 1,000 TV programs and won Emmys and a Peabody, was a friend and appointee of President Ronald Reagan, producer of the “Firing Line” TV show, book author, CEO of a communications and investment company, and so much more.

For an evening you’ll spend many happy hours chatting to your bar buddies about make a reservation to attend this event. You will not regret it.


Go Away Or Add To The Conversation: Liberal Coleman Langshaw, a frequent commentor on this site, has worn out his welcome.

The snarling, pompous, holier-than-thou pretentious little nuisance, appears to think his role is to lecture me and readers in this space. His Miss Grundy liberal scoldings have worn thin, tracking the impotent rage of a four-year-old sprawled on the kitchen floor demanding a pre-dinner cookie.

“Stop or I’ll stop being outraged.”

In fact, he was so distraught last week that he demanded I tone my language down and threatened to cease commenting saying: “I think that I too should no longer participate in such a forum, unless the tone and tenor improves drastically, and immediately.”

He even demanded that I offer another disgruntled reader an apology adding: “Dave, if you are reading this, you owe Ms. Harbin a heartfelt and honest apology.”

His arrogance knows no bounds. If this is the last we hear from him so be it. All he has ever offered here is stupefied and angry indignation when someone disagrees with him or his viewpoints.

His constant state of pompous outrage offered an occasional chuckle but has become tiring and repetitious.


Drinking, Dining & Dancing:  Piano man John Springer and his drummer sidekick, Rob Taylor, will perform at an open-to-the-public American Legion Post 54 event Saturday, July 23 during the Post’s Italian night dinner from 5-8 pm. The duo will also perform Monday, August 15 at the Centre Street Alley, from 5-8 for an American Legion Post fund raiser.

  • Comment (27)
  • DiBella has had a dynamic career, as she has moved from one prestigious position to another. I’m certain her future is wide open. Congrats!!!!

  • Sorry to hear of Mr.Langshaws
    withdrawal from these pages.
    Not really! Although he did on
    occasion provide a bit of comic
    relief.Oh well life goes on.

  • Thanks for the heads up on entertaining and informative baseball books and “the way it once was” before the current woke anti-baseball Commish Rob Manfred took over. Growing up in St. Pete and where the Yankees held Spring Training for decades my old-time favorite book was “Ball Four” authored by former NYY pitcher Jim Bouton. The book exposed the many shenanigans of his teammates through the years with a lot of off field “action” by noted stars on the team (Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin etc.) Some of the “watering holes” mentioned in the book were places I frequented on St. Pete Beach. “Bull Durham” remains my favorite baseball movie as I can identify with it playing one season of Independent League in Central Florida in the mid-60″s.

    • Wow, a scientist convert from the Climate Church! I never believed one existed much less an informed guy who acknowledges and documents the many mistakes of the religion. All his data was knowable from the outset but cost unlimited billions to learn. This guy is an international treasure.

  • I find it incredibly interesting that you spend many words writing about Biden’s lies, and never mention the “Big Lie” that has done incredible damage to our country. Our former President has been the most prolific liar ever and you are never critical of him. Maybe it is time for you and so many others to admit Biden’s valid victory.

    • Could you give examples Nancy?
      In the meantime enjoy pumping gas, buying groceries, airline tickets, finding baby formula and hopefully your family is not dealing with the fentanyl crisis pouring into the country. Let’s focus on the president in office with the power.

  • Dave’s obsession with women’s looks comes across like the man at the bar throwing out compliments hoping to get lucky at closing time. There’s a time and a place. Congratulating someone on their professional career is not the time. But let’s be real, Dave’s time has long past. At his age, complimenting women half his age on their looks is just creepy.

    • Richard Norman, please do all of us a favor. Follow the lead of your liberal, gas bag buddy Coleman and do the same as he says he will do:

      Coleman, to quote: “HOWEVER, and I am shocked and dismayed at some or much of his commentary, and I think that I too should no longer participate in such a forum, unless the tone and tenor improves drastically, and immediately.”

      No one wants to hear from you, Richard Norman, or Coleman “Carnegie” Langshaw. Please go away, both of you.

      • I get it Waller, you find security in your bubble into which Dave blows hot stale air. It gives you reason and purpose for your hate of anyone who doesn’t swallow the same putrid vapors of gasbags like Dave. Speaking of gas, I’ll give you just one example of what I mean from this week’s blog. Dave wrote: “He [Biden] refuses to allow energy companies to drill offshore or on federal lands and admits he wants to destroy the fossil fuel industry. He recently sold millions of barrels of our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to other countries including China. He’s either one of dumbest people in America or hates the American public, probably a combination of both.”

        Regarding Dave’s first sentence, it’s hogwash. Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land with 9,000 unused but approved permits for drilling. US oil companies are refusing to invest in increasing domestic refining capacity, choosing instead to pocket their record profits to the glee of their investors. Those in the know understand that the price of a barrel of crude oil is set by the global market. A market that is in upheaval with the war in Ukraine. Hence, the shortage experienced by countries, such as in Europe that rely heavily on Russian oil, has driven up the price of crude oil worldwide, including here in the U.S. If the Biden administration were to restrict the sale of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to U.S. oil companies, there would be no buyers since they don’t have the capacity for refining it. And even if U.S. companies would buy the oil, they’d turn around and sell it on the global market thus driving the price even higher because of middleman costs and profits. So instead, by putting the SPR oil directly on the open market, it goes wherever it can be refined into products to meet an underserved overseas demand which in return will lower prices due to the laws of supply and demand in a global economy. Now, the proceeds from releasing the SPR for purchase by the global market? The DOE will use that money to replenish the SPR, at a lower price of course. You know, sell high buy low. This brings us back to Dave’s last statement that “Biden is either one of the dumbest people in America or hates the American public.” Clearly, Dave is in a heated competition with the likes of Tucker Carlson for the dumbest commentators/bloggers in America and definitely has no love for his readers in feeding them this garbage. So Waller, I won’t try to persuade you from the comforts of your ill-informed bubble. Nor will I allow you to dissuade me from enjoying the rewards of knowledge and truth.

        • Surely all of these SRI’s that you refer of are all driving EV’s and shouldn’t that decrease the demand of gasoline and drilling for oil. Especially since EV’s are green.

          • One of the largest US refiners announced recently that the plant will cease operations by Dec 2023. Reasons cited are persistent revenue losses and need to meet corporate decarbonization goals. The net effect will be high gas prices until a true economic alternative becomes reality. We are experiencing the 21st century version of the 19th century transition from horse/buggy to gas/car–that transition took decades.

          • When solid-state batteries begin appearing en masse in EVs, then you’ll see a sharp decline in demand for fuel.

          • The forces driving high gas prices are 1) the cost of oil which has been steadily rising, 2) loss of Russian oil (a top 10 producer) due to sanctions, 3) lower US refining capacity, which is down 900,000 barrels a day according to the Dept. of Energy, coupled with reluctance to invest heavily as EVs become more prevalent. Analysts expect refining capacity to increase but it will take time and it will be limited. Climate change activism and electric car technology will continue to discourage new oil/gas investment, leading to a future where gas is more expensive–how much, time and the market will tell.

        • I don’t need to fact check you, I can just use your facts:

          “Nearly 60% cited “investor pressure to maintain capital discipline” as the primary reason oil companies weren’t drilling more despite skyrocketing prices.” Corporations are owned by their investors/shareholders. If the investors are pressuring them to maintain capital discipline, then they have a fiduciary responsibility to the investors.

          “8% said they had difficulty getting financing” Financing is obviously important.

          “15% cited other reasons…Only 11% cited environmental, social or governance issues”

          • Look up Socially Responsible Investing, or SRI. The bottom line is, investors in gas and oil are no longer happy with the returns they made pre-pandemic. The obvious reason is because they took a bath when the pandemic severely cut demand. Now that demand has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, coupled with the shortage courtesy of the banning of oil imports by countries opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, investors are opposed to any measures that will drive down the price of a barrel of oil. Investors are reaping in record profits courtesy of consumer’s shelling out gobs of money for fuel. Investors want no part of any effort by oil companies to increase production, which of course would be funded by redirecting a portion of the profits now falling into the pockets of investors. Many people suffered financially because of the pandemic and now they’re also suffering at the gas pump. Why shouldn’t investors also share some of that suffering simply by accepting the same profits they made pre-pandemic instead of feeding on consumers? But if it makes you feel better, place the entire blame squarely on Biden’s shoulders.

        • Richard, if your man Biden would meet with the oil execs perhaps he could cause some movement. Sure the oil cos will enjoy the fruits of the kill-oil policy which gives them cover. I commend your extraordinary efforts to create logic–enjoyable reading.

        • Nice succinct reply. While it’s try that 9000+ permits have been issued, that’s just the starting point. Then you get into all of the red tape of the bureaucrats. Why would any responsible oil company invest millions in new drilling rigs, etc. when Biden’s stated objective is to put them out of business?

          • Here’s an idea. Why not get the information straight from the horse’s mouth? That’s what the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas did when they asked chief executives of oil and gas companies why they’re not drilling more. When they crunched the numbers they arrived at the following: Nearly 60% cited “investor pressure to maintain capital discipline” as the primary reason oil companies weren’t drilling more despite skyrocketing prices. Only 11% cited environmental, social or governance issues; 8% said they had difficulty getting financing; 15% cited other reasons. Feel free to fact-check me.

        • “Those in the know”, “know” major oil and gas company revenue and eventually profit is determined by the method of inventory evaluation used which is LIFO (last-in, first-out). A simplistic math exercise will reveal how the record profits are occurring. Leases and permits don’t mean there is oil or gas underground. Companies still must do the development which occurs in three identified stages (upstream, midstream and downstream). Each stage is regulated (i.e. requiring “time to comply”). Despite demand and availability, our refining capacity is severely limited (no new refineries since 1977). Finally, the Biden Administration’s stated policy is the elimination of dependence on fossil fuels. The industry has been openly targeted by Biden’s own public statements. When Biden was running for president, he promised to shut down oil producers: “No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period.” He has pledged to put the country on “an irreversible” path toward “doing away with” fossil fuels. And Biden (and you) want to know, “Why aren’t they drilling?

          • Nice story Christine. Of course it ignores the obvious, which is, Biden hasn’t followed through on his campaign promise to take on the fossil fuel industry – much to the delight of moderate Democrats but to the chagrin of the far left. If you want to point fingers, look no further than investors who are enjoying record profits and who would stage a revolt if revenues were instead redirected towards drilling on the 9000 unused leases already owned by U.S
            Oil companies. If, as you assert, U.S. oil companies were afraid of Biden’s campaign promise to wage war on fossil fuels, then why did the US produce more oil and gas during Biden’s first year in office than during Trump’s, and crude oil output is forecast to reach a record high in 2023, according to the US Energy Information Administration?

    • Dave’s OBSESSION? As a woman, who never disliked a compliment, I find NOTHING wrong with Dave’s comments!! Why does congratulating a woman on her professional career cancel out the possibility of giving her a compliment on her looks, as well?! How can you even suggest that just because a man is double the age of a woman, a compliment about her is “creepy”! Do you think men in Dave’s age bracket are BLIND? Or SHOULD be?? I know many women, and men as well, regardless of their age, who love compliments about their profession, their looks, or any of their accomplishments! Isn’t it a better world to be pleasant and complimentary, and not be worrying about WHY or WHEN a compliment is appropriate?!!

      • So I take it then that you’re ok with Dave’s dismissing some very successful and accomplished women as so ugly that even drunk men would spurn them? I’ll wait while you point me to any of Dave’s blogs where he either lauds or criticizes successful men while simultaneously judging their attractiveness – or lack thereof.

        And no, I don’t have a problem with men of any age finding women of any age attractive. What’s disturbing (and creepy) is their need to say it out loud in some ill-fated attempt to score some points. I’ve seen many men lose their jobs at my former company because of their inability to understand appropriate behavior towards women.

  • I don’t know how old you are Richard. I’m older than Dave and still find a compliment and a smile anything but creepy regardless of their age.

  • I worked as a vendor from 1958 to 1966 at the Yankee Stadium, Polo Grounds and and the then new Shea Stadium. It paid my high school and college tuition. My favorite “baseball” book is by an old colleague, Stewart Zully, “My Life in Yankee Stadium: 40 Years as a Vendor and Other Tales of Growing Up Somewhat Sane in the Bronx”. Stewart was also an actor back then and, now living in Hollywood, he still is. The greats I saw play! Even saw the best player ever, The Say Hey Kid Willie Mays, return to the Polo Grounds with the S.F. Giants to play the new Mets.

  • Hey Dave – congrats on another great blog post and also to Ms DeBella on her new position. She will be missed here in Nassau County.
    Looks like you stirred up some WOKE insanity also:)
    Keep it up brother!


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