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

News Leader Writer’s Book Review Causes Mental Dyspepsia

Fernandina Beach News Leader columnist and former local car dealership owner, Rick Keffer, wrote in his Friday, July 29 “Keffer’s Corner” column (“A historic eye opener”) that he recently read a book, something he admitted he rarely does.

“Sign the sales contract today and I’ll throw in my favorite book.”

He wrote, “I am not a book reader” but “digested this one ‘bit by bit’ and ”learned about Black American history.” He would have been better off eating and digesting it bite by bite.

He says the book – “The 1619 Project”– by Nikole Hannah-Jones, was gifted to him six months ago and “…has changed my outlook.”

In his column Mr. Keffer wrote that the book so influenced him that he is now working with a local group called Nassau Racial Equity Coalition  (NREC) to “engage the business community, the medical community, our school system and law enforcement.”

Mr. Keffer said he wants “to stem a four-century tide of our minority history.” That’s frightening, because the book that influenced him to become a local activist promotes critical race theory, revisionist history and racial hatred.

The naïve and admittedly poorly read Mr. Keffer has been duped. He swallowed the book’s bunkum hook, line, and sinker.

Celebrated historians, journalists and educators have debunked the sloppy book’s theory, more than two hundred years of American literature disproves it, most alert parents know it’s false, and yet it is being promoted as part of grade school curricula and unquestionable orthodoxy on college campuses. Mr. Keffer, The naïve local columnist, says he intends to actively promote it here in Nassau County schools.

The “1619 Project” is not just bad history and hogswallop, it’s a danger to our national way of life, replacing the idea, goal, and reality of American unity with race-based obsessions that have played out in violence, riots, and the destruction of American monuments—not to mention the wholesale rewriting of America’s historical and cultural past. That’s not just my opinion.

In her 2021 book, Debunking the 1619 Project, scholar Dr. Mary Grabar, eloquently exposed the 1619 Project, showing in dramatic fashion, just how full of flat-out lies, distortions, and noxious propaganda the book really is. Dr. Grabar’s book is essential reading for every concerned parent, citizen, school board member, and policymaker. The “1619 Project” is not, as Rick Keffer thinks, a handbook for use by our school systems and law enforcement, just the opposite.

The book has been roundly criticized, condemned, and discredited by as many celebrated black authors, essayists, intellectuals, and educators as white ones. These include the late Walter Williams; civil rights attorney Leo Terrell; author and columnist Candace Owens; Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley; author, educator, and economist Thomas Sowell; author, and columnist Larry Elder; commentator and author James Golden; retired neurosurgeon and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson; and Robert Woodson founder of the Woodson Institute. These prominent blacks who disagree with Ms. Hannah-Jones have been called “race traitors” by leftists.

George Leef the director for editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal summed up the book writing: “The ‘1619 Project’ is the product of a faux newspaper (the New York Times) and a faux journalist (Nikole Hannah-Jones) meant to convince people that the U.S. is an irredeemably racist country. One of its claims is that the American Revolution occurred because the inhabitants of the colonies were afraid that Britain was going to abolish slavery.”

George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreau struck another blow. “The fact of the matter is that the 1619 Project is not really about history at all,” he says. “The NYT and Ms. Hannah-Jones want to instill animosity toward the U.S. in hopes that readers will adopt the ‘progressive’ mindset that the country must be transformed from a liberal (in the original sense of the word) republic into a tightly controlled socialist nanny state run by the elites.”

In his Washington Times review of Dr. Grabar’s book, Herbert W. Stupp, the editor of and a former New York City Commissioner (1994-2002) says: “Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the 1619 Project is the actual harm it can do to young people. Non-Black youth, if persuaded that racism is ‘in their DNA,’ might wrongly accept ‘collective guilt’ for what some evil whites did well before they were born. Such an acceptance runs headlong into long-accepted Judeo-Christian principles of individual responsibility for one’s actions and inactions. Even more harmful,” he points out, “is the likely impact on Black young people, who might waste potential if they believe a “racist system” is hopelessly rigged against them.”

Published earlier this year, Woody Holton’s new book about the Revolution, “Liberty is Sweet”, flatly dismisses the 1619 Project’s assertation that America’s founding should be shifted to the first arrival of slaves. Holton accurately shows that white southerners and other colonists did not support the revolution because they feared the growth of an antislavery movement in Britain.

Recommended reading for Rick Keffer

The next time Mr. Keffer decides to read a book about America’s founding and or slavery he should do some research and select one by an authenticated and respected historian and accomplished author. Some he may want to consider adding to his thinly populated bookshelf include: “John Adams” and “1776”, by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough; “The Day the American Revolution Began” by William H. Hallahan; “Founding Brothers” by Joseph J. Ellis; “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fisher; “Redcoat” by Bernard Cornwell; “The British Are Coming”, by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, and anything by the late Stephen Ambrose.

In his column Mr. Keffer says he is a “very conservative Republican.” Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Chaney said the same thing once. The News Leader’s self-described socialist columnist, Ron “Get Off My Lawn You Little Bastards” Sapp, must have a big grin on his face after reading Mr. Keffer’s claptrap.

Mr. Keffer may not be the most naïve person in Nassau County, but he should hope whoever is doesn’t die.


Attention Fernandina Beach City Commissioners! “Miami Mayor slashes city taxes” screamed a headline on FOX Business News last Friday.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appeared on Fox Business News’ “Varney & Co.” Friday, July 29 to discuss his plans to lower taxes to tackle inflation as the U.S. enters a recession.

He said lowering taxes to the lowest level in the city’s recorded history is the “only right thing to do.”

Here’s more of what Mayor Suarez said: “We charge the property tax. And we had incredible growth, the second most growth in recorded history. We grew 12% last year. And so, we decided that with inflation at historic highs, with food prices going up, you know, with gas prices going up, that the right thing to do, the only right thing to do was do exactly the opposite of what every other government is doing, which is to lower taxes. And so, we decided that the right message will be to lower to the lowest level in recorded history. And that’s what our residents are going to be benefiting from.”

Mayor Suarez is doing the exact opposite of what Fernandina’s City Manager Dale Martin’s proposed budget requested. Unlike Martin Mayor Suarez took into consideration the economic situation of Miami’s residents, not just a wish list of new stuff and additional employees requested by city department heads.

With the exception of Bradley Bean there appears to be nobody on the City Commission that understands how government works and the effects its actions have on the private sector. I thought business owner David Sturges did but I’m beginning to have second thoughts.

In an email to City Manager Dale Martin, and Commissioners Bean, Chip Ross, Sturges and Len Kreger, Dr. Gerald Decker, one of the  smartest people hereabouts, scolded them saying: “Why did you let things get so bad? Why?”

Dr. Decker’s email continued saying: “Mr. Kreger for eight years, Dr. Ross for six years, and Mr. Martin for seven years have been in a position to address asset repair and maintenance.”

“All of a sudden it is an emergency – seems more like a failure to address the problem.

“Gents, I absolutely blame both city staff and commissioners for being ‘asleep at the switch.’ You spent money adding staff, buying unneeded equipment, and generally futzing around,” said Dr. Decker, whose doctorate in mathematics makes him more qualified than most to figure out when things don’t add up.

“This feeble attempt to fix your failed management now, at taxpayer expense, is just not going to fly,” he continued.

“Live within the adjusted rate funded budget and get together a 5–6-year plan to fix assets that need repair….show some real planning and management. Please.”

The City Commission has been meeting this week in workshop sessions and a final budget to be funded by local taxpayers will be announced September 20. Residents have time to tell the Commission what they think before they get stuck with the tab.

Hopefully Commissioners will understand that they were not elected to sit in their fat leather chairs, stick their fingers in their ears, and pretend that residents have nothing to say, even while City Manager Martin suggests they stay seated, nod approvingly, and shut up.


New Rotating Award: A local Fernandina Beach gentleman, who once headed up a large media corporation gifted me the photo here of a headless chicken from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in St. Augustine.

He said he and his HR director surreptitiously presented a headless chicken framed photo monthly to the employee “who blew up and did something stupid.” He suggested I might want to do the same with the City Commission.

OK, but currently we’d have to pry it off the wall of City Manager Dale Martin’s office. I’m betting it’ll continuously bounce between Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich and Commissioner Chip “I Run This City” Ross who have no compunction about hosing taxpayers.

My correspondent says, “Bean is the only commissioner pushing on taxes, Kreger is at least asking questions, and Sturgis is a disappointment.”

We may have to get another headless chicken award for the Nassau County School Board for its “We don’t need no stinking citizens’ budget advisory committee” 4-1  vote with a wise Cynthia Grooms being the dissenting vote. Nope, the other four don’t want those pesky taxpayers looking over their shoulders while they hit them with a recommended one mill rate increase.

Hopefully they’ll reject anything that Rick Keffer’s loopy woke group plans to propose to them. This School Board crowd needs more exposure.


The Streets Of St. Augustine: Earlier this week when Linda and I visited St. Augustine to help celebrate a good friend’s birthday, we discovered that the streets of this legendary town are swathed in more than 450 years of history.

The homeless and vagrants have discovered America’s oldest continuously inhabited city creating an atmosphere we’ve never experienced in previous visits there.

Leaving a restaurant headed back to the St. George Inn we maneuvered around a number of  folks camped on the streets, sleeping, asking for change, and staring blankly into space.

The issue is relatively new to St. Augustine and the city is making an effort to fix it. The St. Augustine Police Department says there has been a notable rise in homelessness — especially since COVID-19. According to the city’s website, the St. Augustine Police Department pumped in $265,000 dollars to help correct the situation.

Merchants and the tourist bureau are anxious to solve the issue before it makes an impact on the city’s lucrative tourist industry. I hope they find a solution soon.


Overheard AT PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “The worst punishment the NFL could have imposed on quarterback Deshaun Watson would have been to sentence him to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.”


Just Curious: I may have missed it but I’ve yet to hear anyone explain the purpose of 82-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Asia and her controversial stopover in Taiwan. Can anybody out there enlighten me? Does she speak any of the Chinese dialects, Japanese or any other language of the region? If so, I hope she speaks them more coherently than she does English because I haven’t comprehended anything she’s muttered the past few years. And did she accomplish whatever it was she was supposed to do on this trip besides almost start a war with China? What would this doddering old woman have to say that anyone over there would want to hear?


Maude Frickert 

Thinking Out Loud: The United Sates is currently governed by three people who can’t string a coherent sentence together. The 79-year-old President Joe Biden is almost totally incomprehensible, unable to even read from a teleprompter. Cackling Vice President Kamala Harris’s material appears to have been written for her by the Monty Python staff and on a good day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, third in line for the presidency, sounds like the late Jonathan Winters character Maude Frickert.

It was good to kill al Qaeda’s terrorist leader Ayman al- Zawahiri but the real heroes are the CIA agents who made it happen, not Grandpa Biden.

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the tribute to late Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully by my talented Tampa pal, Larry Thornberry, in the American Spectator. Click here and enjoy the memorable clips as well as Larry’s crisp clear writing


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Monday, August 15 from 5-8 pm folks can enjoy the music of  tuxedo-clad piano man John Springer and his sidekick drummer, Rob Taylor, at 318 Centre Street’s Alley in downtown Fernandina Beach. For between $12 and $15 you can enjoy a spaghetti dinner with or without meatballs, a salad and a roll, and the music. Proceeds from the event will go to help pave the parking lot of American Legion Post 54 at South 3rd St. and Gum. The Alley is the site of the former Alley Cat, where Springer performed for many, many years. For more information contact Rob Taylor at 904/806-1269.


  • Comment (23)
  • Dave,
    Just read the Larry Thornberry article you recommended, what a great tribute to Vince Scully. You don’t have to be an avid sports fan to appreciate Larry’s admiration for Vince and the game of baseball.

  • Debunking the 1619 Project, perhaps Rick will read that one too, to get a rounded opinion.

  • A fantastic, honest and inspirational to read, for Mr Keffer and all those out-there who are confused is:

    We Were Born to Shine, but Ruth Stafford.

    Absolutely amazing book. THAT should be a “Must Read” for all whom think they know better.

  • I’d like to correct you on one point Dave. Joe Biden said himself this week that he is “vice” president. Who knew?

    • Maybe old Joe is instead President of Vice. he sure as heck isn’t a real President of the good ‘ole U.S. of A.

  • Dave: Good that you called out the 1619 project, one of the biggest historical frauds of all time, and a major component for the bizarre CRT crap making the rounds in what is left of our nation.

  • Dave:
    Mr. Keffer said in his column that he was given the 1619 book by Donna Paz Kaufman. I’m grateful she didn’t break Keffer’s book reading fast with Das Kapital. The 1619 author first published in the NYT and won a Pulitzer for that nonsense. Good to remember the Grey Lady also was Pulitizered for promoting the since debunked Russian Collusion hoax. Now that Keffer has acknowledged his lack of book reading experience we can only hope he will abstain from writing too.

  • I was surprised and disappointed to read
    of Rick Keffers endorsement
    of the 1619 Project book.
    Always had a high regard of
    him and his community spirit.
    However,guess this is where we
    are in today’s screwed up world.
    Not sure if he is a “Conservative
    Republican” as he claims to be.

  • How ironic that Mary Grabar escaped then communist-ruled Slovenia only to advocate for and support communist-styled censorship here in the US. Welcome to the Right Reich. If the likes of Grabar and Tom Cotton have their way, there will soon come a time when “The Handmaid’s Tale” will be reclassified as historical fiction rather than science fiction.

  • Re: The bums populating St. Augustine – whatever happened to enforcing vagrancy laws ? Wonder if St. Oggy city leaders visited San Francisco and got inspired ?

  • Dave, anyone interested in undermining a society knows that winning hearts and minds is key. The 1619 project was created to do just that. Rewriting history, ANY history is a fool’s errand. While slavery was an abhorrent part of our past, there are and continue to be lessons to learn from it. Thanks for calling out the 1619 project. Humans are a gullible group and the authors of this clap trap know full well Americans are especially so. Keep up the good work.

  • I will need 3 dozens headless chickens to begin with here in Carmel, Indiana.

    Another bell-ringing column, Mr. Scott.

  • Dave,

    Others have commented well on the substantive matters raised in your masterful writing. I will merely add a source of “swag” that might be useful in spotting “headless chickens”.

    Just Google “Mike the headless chicken” to learn the true story of fowl life after beheading. Mike is celebrated in an annual event that includes sale of shirts, hats and other memorabilia.

    You can head to Mike’s website at —


  • Something that I have observed over the years with respect to local politics. Now I really don’t know if there is any real substance to my musings but it would make for an interesting graduate thesis in sociology. I truly believe for the most part we elect honorable people of reasonable intelligence to our respective commissions, school boards, and the like. I also believe in the beginning they run for office with a genuine and sincere desire to do well for their respective communities. I have known some of them personally and they are all people one could easily call friend. But something happens once they are seated and as individuals and as a group they become prone to an overwhelming sense of what I cynically call “collective dumb ass.” They seem to quickly lose the feeling of being part of the community, one of the people, and it becomes us, the commission of knowledgeable ones, against them, the league of ignorant citizens. The needs and desires of the electorate become secondary to personal prestige, and common sense becomes elusive. This is not always uniform in function, but it sure seems to apply to many of our local decision-makers and the decisions they make impacting the community as a whole. May God help us to be saved from ourselves.

  • Dave…your contributor Gordon Reilly just hit the proverbial “nail-on-the-head.” His opinion was well stated and spot on in regards to what can happen to those decision makers voted on to sit in those ‘leather chairs of authority.’ Bravo!

  • Another great book that debunks the 1619 project is
    “1620, a critical response to the 1619 project”, by Peter W Wood.
    Peter is the president of the National Association of Scholars.

  • We hadn’t been to St. Augustine in several years, but when we met with relatives for lunch last May, the changes were immediately obvious.

    “Overcrowded tourist town” was our first thought. Multicolored rented motor scooters, golf carts and trolley trains crowded the streets, along with the accompanying loud speakers blaring historical information about every landmark except the fire hydrants.

    Once I took my eyes off the roadway, I noticed the abundance of (apparently) homeless people nearly everywhere. Certainly not the same as it was a few years ago. I hope that the city is sincere in finding a solution to this recent problem.

    After a nice lunch at Casa Monica, we were glad to get back on the road to “not so crowded” Fernandina.

    Sorry to read about Rick Keffer. He always seemed like a sensible guy. I hope he takes the time to read at least one rebuttal to the 1619 Project. Just because you read it on the internet (or in the NY Times) doesn’t, unfortunately, make it true.

  • I think it is easy to criticize/condemn a person like Rick Keffer, who chose to attempt to broaden his perspective regarding the history of race and slavery in the USA. Don’t get me wrong – I just finished reading “The 1619 Project,” and I found it to be an extremely biased opinion piece, most representative of playing “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where every social or societal issue essayed in the book was eventually tied back to slavery. To be fair, the book does contain quite a few historical citations, and I found that some of the points raised were ones I could agree with, particularly with regard to citizenship and legal rights. But most of the conclusions drawn to in the work I found disagreement with. It is a very anti-white, biased series of essays which pretty much amount to pleas of “God, ain’t it awful” and “Woe is me.”


Recent Posts


Recent Comments

"There are none so blind as those who will not see"
Paraphrasing Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in Democrats Dave. Hypocrisy is never…
To quote the famous Dan Aykroyd, Peg,Peg, Peg, you ignorant ——-. The venom and hate…
Considering the fact that Nassau county had an over 72% majority Republican vote in 2016…
Dave, It's too bad you can't also report on the other side of the coin…

subscribe to my blog