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

Living In Florida Just Keeps Getting Better And Nassau County Is A Contributing Factor

Florida map flag on hex code illustration

An organization called The John Locke Foundation, a North Carolinian think tank, created an index to rate the freedom of individual states and if you live in Florida the results look terrific, and if you live in New York, they stink.

Look up John Locke, one of the good guys, even though he is considered the “Father of Liberalism” and since he ever met Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, he would be singing a different tune today.

Anyway, the ratings were determined by giving 50% weight to fiscal policy (a measure of taxation and budget policy), 20% to educational policy, 20% to regulatory policy, and 10% to health care policy:

  • The most free states in order from most free to 5th most free are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, and Georgia.
  • The least free states in order from worst to 5th worse are: New York, New Jersey, California, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
  • The most fiscally free states are: South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.
  • The most educationally free states are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, and Louisiana.
  • The states most free from regulation are: Iowa, Georgia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
  • The states most free in health-care choice are: Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Indiana.

Oh, and if you live in Nassau County it gets even better as the good news is that grades for the 2014-2015 school year have been released by the Department of Education (DOE) and across the district Nassau County scored an ‘A.’ Individually, the district had eight ‘A’ schools and three ‘B’ schools with grades still being calculated for Emma Love Hardy Elementary School.

This should be good news for Kathy Burns who is running for the Nassau School District’s office of superintendent. The results indicate to me that this district should stick with a professional educator such as Ms. Burns rather than her opponent, Janet Adkins, who is a professional politician and derives the majority of her financial backing for her run for the post from out of district donors, some as far away as California and Pennsylvania.

I’m not sure what all of this means but if it makes you feel good about living in the Sunshine state, then it’s all good.


Random Thoughts & Observations: While sitting in the Fernandina City Commission chambers the other day I noticed that Mayor Miller has changed his name plate from “Johnny Miller” to the more formal sounding “John A. Miller,” which may be a harbinger of his political ambitions. At even the highest level, however, Democratic Presidents Carter, Clinton and Truman and Republican T. Roosevelt all kept the abbreviated forms of their names while running for and holding the highest office, those being Jimmy, Bill, Harry and Teddy respectively. *** And speaking of running for higher office I read recently that professional politician and socialist Bernie Sanders, in his 25 years as a legislator had just three of his 353 bills passed and two of those were for renaming post offices in Vermont, a track record equaled only by his low-achieving opponent, Hillary Clinton.


Read All About It If You Trust It And Can Afford It: The Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union (aka The Jacksonville Jaguars Journal) sent me an invoice earlier this week notifying me that my renewal was due March 6. There were, however, two problems: First, I subscribed to the paper for 12 months last May 5 so it appears that they wanted to short me two months of my paid-in-full subscription. Problem number two is the fact that I paid what I considered an exorbitant $383.41 for their deteriorating product in 2015 and now they want $476.33 annually from me to make up for their falling advertising revenues for a product that has shown no improvement whatsoever. In 2012 an annual subscription was $222.30; In 2013 $291.25; and in 2014, $337.18. I can’t think of another company in an industry that is deteriorating as rapidly as print news that — instead of fixing its product — would design a business plan that calls for unwarranted price increases in an attempt to keep a failing operation afloat. Oh, and while they’re at it, apparently they’ll see if they can bamboozle their current customers by tricking them into renewing for more money for less of their inferior product. I voiced my displeasure in an email to TU Editor Frank Denton who responded saying this about the excessive Jaguars football team coverage: “I get your message about Jaguars’ coverage. Yes, we cover it heavily, as we believe a newspaper in an NFL city should. Not everyone appreciates it, but most of our readers tell us they value the coverage.” And this about the outrageous price increase: “Our newspaper costs more to the readers these days because the advertising that once subsidized the journalism has declined greatly. In order to maintain the journalism that is unavailable elsewhere and essential to our democracy, we are having to ask our readers to pay more.” He also said his circulation department would correctly adjust their invoice to reflect my 12-month subscription and went on to tell me that he rarely hears criticism of his paper declining and being inferior and outlined how good  it is “covering issues most important to our readers.” From my viewpoint the only person I’ve ever dealt with that is employed by this newspaper that is accurate, timely and fair, is the guy that delivers it each morning but I imagine he’ll suffer from this massive price increase with many subscriptions not being renewed.


It May Not Taste Good, But It’s Good For You: A  friend recently alerted me to an article by Danielle Wiener-Bronner in Fusion in which she refers to a study recently published in Nature Geoscience that says natural underwater oil seeps might actually aid marine life—tiny, photosynthetic, microbial life, to be specific.

The articles say that researchers from Columbia University’s Earth Institute examining phytoplankton in the Gulf of Mexico were surprised to find the microbes concentrated around the natural oil that swells up from the ocean floor. That’s not because the oil itself is good for the microbes, but because when the oil bubbles rise to the surface they bring nutrients with them. These are good for the phytoplankton say the researchers.

The oil itself does not appear to help the phytoplankton, but the low concentration of oil found above natural seeps isn’t killing them, and turbulence from the rising oil and gas bubbles is bringing up deep-water nutrients that phytoplankton need to grow… The result: phytoplankton concentrations above oil seeps are as much as twice the size of populations only a few kilometers away.

Study co-author Ajit Subramanian added: “This is the beginning of evidence that some microbes in the Gulf may be preconditioned to survive with oil, at least at lower concentrations… In this case, we clearly see these phytoplankton are not negatively affected at low concentrations of oil, and there is an accompanying process that helps them thrive.”

To reach this conclusion, the researchers used satellite images, water samplings, and something called chlorophyll fluorescence, a way to measure photosynthetic energy.


This Will Make You Sick: In a recent Georgia Public Policy Foundation thought piece, Dr. Hal C. Scherz, the Secretary of the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation and the managing partner of Georgia Pediatric Urology, provided his assessment of The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) that was passed with the promise of decreasing the high costs of health care and increasing access to care by making health care insurance more affordable. Dr. Scherz says: “Almost six years later, it appears that this experiment to remake American health care has been a failure.” Here’s why says the doctor:

  • The average American now pays over $4,000 more for health care insurance, with deductibles in the $6,000 range.
  • Meanwhile, 10-15 million Americans still lack health insurance.
  • The ACA has disrupted the health insurance market, making it difficult for healthy young Americans to purchase insurance.
  • Of the 23 Federal-state insurance co-ops, 11 have declared bankruptcy and all are in the red except one.
  • All insurance companies participating in the insurance exchanges are losing money on those products.
  • UnitedHealth projects losses this year of $450 million and is contemplating dropping out of ObamaCare.
  • The regulatory burden on physicians is excessive and has created a major upheaval in the medical delivery system.
  • Small medical practices cannot afford to remain open and doctors are either retiring or selling their medical practices to hospitals, which then shifts health care to the most expensive place in the health care delivery system.
  • Patients lose out because they no longer have the relationship with their doctor and instead get put into a system where they are just another number.
  • Doctors who remain in private practice face increasing pressure to remain economically viable, which means seeing more patients in a day and devoting less time to each one.


More Speaking Of History: With 2015 being the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and Jews in Israel still fighting for their existence, I thought a story told by author Elmer Bendiner appropriate.

In his book “The Fall of Fortresses” Bendiner, who was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II, tells the story of  a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany, and the unexpected result  of a direct hit on the plane’s gas tanks. “Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit. “On the morning following the raid, our pilot Bohn Fawkes had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of  unbelievable luck. “The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the  gas tanks. 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out  of the sky.

“He (Bohn) was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The  armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up and when they opened each of those shells they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured the base for a man who could read Czech and eventually found one to decipher the note. Translated, it read: “This is all we can do for you now. Using Jewish slave labor is never a good  idea.”


Karibo’s new patio

Drinking, Dining & Dancing: The City of Fernandina Beach aiding the Montessori School will once again conduct its annual chili cook off with this year being the 10th with almost 30 entries including me and my teammates Ken Wolff, Dan Broyles, and Tony’s Brick Oven Pizza & Restaurant Master Chef Mark Keller manning our Brick Oven Goomba Chili stand on 2nd Street South in front of Ricky Pigg’s Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro and next to Pajama Dave Voorhees’ Pajama Life shop and chili contestant stand. The event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. For just $10– if you can handle it —  you can taste all 27 of the entries, listen to live music and shuffle junior off to a kiddie area. Just remember to deposit your token for “best chili’ at the “Brick Oven Goomba” booth. Karibo’s attractive brick paved back patio that features a fire pit-place is almost ready for guests. But it needs a name say those in charge and they are looking for ideas, saying the winner just might receive a prize. Stop by the North 3rd Street eatery and brew pub, take a look and offer your suggestion. Be the first to taste one of the beers to be brewed by the new Centre Street Amelia Pub when it opens its doors when you attend the 4th Annual Amelia Island International Wine and Food Tasting hosted by the Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise, to be held Saturday, March 5, at the Coastal Aviation Hanger at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. The event also features international wines from A Taste of Wine by Steve, hors d’oeuvres from 11 local restaurants and music provided by the Crescendo Big Band of Amelia Island.  Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Library, to help equip the library’s technology center. In addition to the chow, music, beer and wine, there will be silent and live auctions and a raffle. Tickets are available online at VIP tickets are $125 a pop and  tickets for the regular proceedings are $65 with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. for the VIP Reception and 7:00 p.m. for the others. Tickets are available (cash or check only) at the Fernandina Beach Public Library, 25 N 4th Street, A Taste of Wine by Steve, 4924 First Coast Highway, and both local branches of First Coast Community Bank, 1750 South 14th St in Fernandina Beach and 463845 State Road 200 in Yulee, or by calling Cindy Jackson at 904/310-6086.



  • Comment (9)
  • I agree,it is way past time to drop the color differential in our country.However,getting people to go along will be a huge task.We are so diversified in race and origins it may never happen. Sadly,our president has been a poor leader in uniting the races during his term in spite of his early on words to the contrary.I wish the “Black Lives Matter” folks would address the real tragedy in the black communities and that is the killing of blacks by blacks.Yet,not a word from this group or so-called “Black Leaders” Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton about this carnage that continues today. A real shame.

  • From the St. Pete Times to the AJC (Atlanta Journal/Constitution) to the Jax Times/Union…my entire adult life I’ve had a daily delivered to my door. The JTU is one pay hike away from breaking my 40+ year run. I have better things to do with the $400+ I waste on this daily Jags rag. So many ways to improve this “local” newspaper that has no other daily competition. Savannah to Gainesville FL. to Orlando…more quality and at a cheaper price but too far away to matter leaving the JTU alone here to name their price.

  • Hey Dave,

    If the T-U wrote more about the Deadskins, I mean the Redskins, would that make you feel better?

    Just a hint here…the T-U is a Jacksonville paper, you know the City with the Jacksonville Jaguars (their NFL team)…As a lifelong Patriots fans, I find that the Boston Globe writes a great deal about the Pats, along with the Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution (you know the commie sport team called soccer…I thought that would help you know who they are) and I love it…because they write about the local teams. I have no problem, and expect a Jacksonville paper to write about their team, and in whatever volume they choose. As a journalist, I would think that you would get that, its apparently what most readers of their paper want.

    So…why do you get your undies in a wad over the T-U covering the Jags so much? All you have to do is not read the articles if you don’t like them, kind of like changing a TV channel.

    But then again, maybe you should just subscribe to whatever DC paper you prefer and continue being one of those who move down here, and then tell us how it is done back home…I would call you a damn Yankee, but you are not a Yankee, so I’ll just call you Damn Dave, is that ok?

    GO Jags, GO Pats!

  • Dave —

    That report about the B-17 and the “empty” shells prepared by Jewish slave labor is unbelievable. Why has it taken 70 years to be told? Great, great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Dave, once again you hit the nail on the head regarding Nassau County’s exceptional School District and the importance of continuing this level success by electing the Dr. Kathy Burns as our next Superintendent of Schools.

  • WOW! Florida is the “freest” state in the United States. But, we can’t rest on this achievement; there is more progress to be made!! We must lobby for more tax cuts and less regulations. Let’s not pay any taxes! Why do we need police and fire departments? After all, I’ve never called the police to help me. And, other than for a health issue, I’ve never needed the fire department/EMT’s. (Too bad, I guess, for those who do.) Clean streets, park maintenance, trash collection – who needs this? Furthermore, if we get rid of regulations, we can burn or bury our trash in our back yards. We could have block parties, and roast marsh mellows over the flames. If anyone gets drunk, no worries; there will be no police to stop them from driving home. As for those pesky environmental regulations, what do oysters, manatees, and other marine life do for us? Let industries dump their waste into our rivers – their waste will only go into the ocean. It’s big, and not our home. Added advantage: once again, island residents will be able to inhale that wonderful scent from the paper plants as these businesses will no longer have to adhere to air pollution standards. And, who knows, we may be able to attract other businesses – like concentrated animal feeding operations and strip mines. Yep, there is a lot to be done to insure our status as “most free” state!

    BTW – Does this mean, we cannot accept federal disaster aid in the event of a hurricane? After all, those funds come from taxes which we have not paid.

    PS; According to the US Census Bureau, compared with other states, Florida ranks #33 in population with high school diplomas, #31 in population of Bachelor Degree graduates, and #28 in populations with advanced degrees. Right on!


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