Island Issues

Tibetan Yak Herders & Hungry Laotians Beneficiaries of U.S. “Spending” Bill

Tibetan Yak Herders & Hungry Laotians Beneficiaries of U.S. “Spending” Bill

If Hillary Clinton had been elected she would have been thrilled with the “$1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill” signed last Friday by President Trump.

Let’s get the terminology out of the way first. Why are these D.C. bozos even calling this a spending bill? The country is broke. There is no money to pay for anything. It should rightfully be called “the $1.3 trillion “omnibus borrowing bill” because every dime in this monstrosity will be paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Donald Trump promised to do away with most of the garbage incorporated in this dreadful piece of legislation. Instead he signed a bill that includes $500 million for Planned Parenthood,  pay raises for the losers at National Public Radio, money for sanctuary cities, salary increases for congressional staffs and expense account increases for senators and congressmen, millions to prevent “elderly falls,” promote breastfeeding, and to fight “excessive alcohol use,” etc.

American tax payers are being milked to support Tibetan yak herders.

The legislators must have been using alcohol to excess when they wrote this nonsense because there are millions in this bill to promote yak herding in Tibet, the nutritional needs of people in Laos, and to strengthen the borders of several middle eastern countries. I didn’t make any of this up. Our tax dollars are actually going to Chinese yak herders and instead of enforcing our borders, it’s being spent for border security in Jordon, Lebanon, etc.

Following his signing of this dreadful bill, Trump said he regretted that DACA wasn’t included and lamented the fact he only got a little more than a billion dollars for the border security. The bill actually restricts the number of ICE agents that can be hired. What happened to the wall?  And DACA? All of a sudden he’s more concerned about millions of illegal aliens living on the tax payer dime, who shouldn’t be here in the first place, than he is the welfare of U.S. citizens who pay for all this foolishness. The Republicans said they wouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities and more, yet they voted to do just that. What the hell is going on here?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R), who voted against the bill, summed up the mess succinctly quipping: “A pox upon the whole of Congress including Democrats and Republicans. Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses – and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. 2,200 pages, with just hours to try to read it.” He also added that the voluminous text is so lengthy that even after two hours it hadn’t fully printed yet: “FYI- The 2,200+ page, budget-busting Omnibus has been printing for two hours in my office and still isn’t done.”

So the President signs a bill he hasn’t read, nor has anyone else in the Congress. Not even Evelyn Wood can read 2,200 pages in two hours.

Trump said he signed it because, as he tweeted prior to adding his signature: “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”

This isn’t what I signed up for. Everything is upside down. Something is dreadfully wrong when the Democrats are cheering Trump’s signing this awful legislation. I’ve overlooked Trump’s shortcomings as I was seeing progress since he appeared to be fulfilling his campaign promises. But I’m no longer sure.

A good friend disagrees. He says in spite of signing this appalling bill that we should look at what Trump has accomplished to date including putting millions back to work, exposing the Deep State, getting a huge tax cut bill passed, rebuilding the military, cancelling bad trade deals, getting the country out of the climate change hoax, and a situation in North Korea that will be determined.  He says: “I think we owe him one.”

And other than Rand Paul, what have the disgraceful Republicans in the Senate and House accomplished? Nothing! They control the House, the Senate and the White House. And other than making far left Democrats deliriously happy they’ve  realized zero!

Both Florida Senators, Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D), voted for this yak herder nonsense as did  recently elected local 4th District Congressmen John Rutherford (R) and Democrat Al Lawson of the 5th Congressional District. Voting “No” was 3rd District Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis (R) earning my vote for governor.

Look who’s running the country.

And look who’s in charge of all this chaos. In the Senate the Democrats have the dishonest, slimy, lying Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and in the House as their leader an aged, unhinged harpy, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). What do the Republicans counter with? In the Senate the winner of the Mr. Magoo look-a-like contest, the  mealy-mouthed, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and in the house a meek, low profile, do-nothing Paul Ryan (R-WI). All four of these losers voted for this dreadful bill.

We’re in deep trouble folks. The country is being run by the Marx Brothers.


Ignorance Is Bliss Department: Tampa Plant High School classmate and friend, Larry Thornberry, wrote the following about students marching to oppose gun violence for American Spectator March 25, which I thought worth repeating here:

“Watching large scrums of young people (and some old enough to know better) demonstrating across the country this weekend in the name of stopping gun violence, I couldn’t help but think of the incisive quote by the journalist, psychiatrist, and all-around wise fellow, Theodore Dalrymple, to wit: “There’s nothing like passionate ignorance to keep one young at heart.”

One can be sympathetic with the fear some students feel about the vulnerability they face from gun-toting monsters like Nikolas Cruz without excusing their blissful ignorance about the pointless nostrums they’re whooping up fortissimo, threatening to hold their breath until grownups do what they demand. And one can come down hard on their teachers and other school officials who not only don’t direct them into a more adult understanding and approach to a very real danger, but egg them on in their folly.

What we’re seeing now amounts to a national tantrum, which leaves elected legislators, too many of them careerist mediocrities, to count votes and decide how many pointless laws they will pass, laws that will inconvenience law abiding citizens, create paperwork for bureaucrats, and not come within a mile of heading off the next monster.”


Death By Cell Phone: Statistics I saw recently from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say that 11 teenagers die each day in the U.S. while texting and driving. Based on the left’s current logic about guns doesn’t it make sense to raise the age of owning cell phones and obtaining driver’s licenses to 21? Or how about banning cell phones that enable texting?


Speaking Of Guns:  One of the most informative, descriptive and entertaining letters I’ve seen in the local bi-weekly News Leader in a long time was in this past Wednesday’s edition. It was  from local resident, Mutt Daniels, who articulately commented on the local “March for our Lives” group that rallied here Saturday to argue for stronger gun laws. In his brief, but poignant missive, Mr. Daniels observed that most of the young folks he saw protesting appeared to be from out of town, but said he did see a handful of locals he recognized and wrote : “We just differ politically. I was amongst them (carrying of course). They were mostly polite and respectful.” He concluded, saying he’d rather have been fishing.


Les DeMerle and wife Bonnie

Amelia Island Cabaret: In the 1970s and 80s I spent lots of time in New York City on business where I always enjoyed visiting the clubs or restaurants there that featured live music, particularly jazz.

I was very fortunate to see Anita O’ Day, Julie London,  Nancy LaMott, Bobby Short, among others in places like the Carlyle Hotel, Blue Note, Empire Room, Village Vanguard, The Oak Room, Michael’s Pub, the tiny Italian restaurant Blue Skies, and other venues whose names I’ve since forgotten.

Those of us on Amelia Island who remember and enjoy this kind of informal cabaret atmosphere don’t have to go very far, as Horizon’s Restaurant has transformed itself into a New York style cabaret/super club featuring New York native and island resident Les DeMerle and his singer wife Bonnie on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Drummer and singer DeMerle played for many years with well known musicians including 12 years with Harry James. He has also performed with Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gene Krupa, Wayne Newton, The Manhattan Transfer, among others; produced 14 albums; formed his own 17-piece band; appeared on a variety of national TV shows including Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson and Mike Douglas; authored two educational drum books; led his band on cruise ships; lectures on jazz; teaches music; and is founder and artistic director of one of Amelia Island’s three major annual events — the Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

This talented musical duo will next be playing at Horizons Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7,  Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 from 6-9 p.m. as well as Friday and Saturday evening, May 4 & 5 and May 25 & 26 presenting their “Swing into Spring” weekends. According to Les tunes most often requested by his audiences are their Tribute to Nat King Cole medley from his “Jazz Party” CD.  They also perform most of the tunes featured on their “Jazz Portrait of Cole Porter”  CD “Your’e the Bop” plus “down home New Orleans renditions” of funky R&B and blues favorites by Ray Charles, Muddy Waters,  Harry Connick Jr., and more. Equally talented wife Bonnie sings romantic ballads in French, Portuguese and Spanish, plus renditions of Unforgettable, and When I Fall in Love as well as jazz classics by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Diana Krall and Keely Smith.

The atmosphere at Horizons is similar to the New York City cabaret scene featuring not only terrific music and a fun vibe, but fine wines and chef Courtney Thompson’s gourmet menu. Guests can also dance if they so desire.

To check on dates and make reservations call ’em at 904/321-2430. Horizons is located at  5472 First Coast Highway (A1A). Oh, they’re open for lunch too but without the music.


Physician Heal Thyself Department: The liberal media and unhinged Democrats are squealing that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s firing was “obstruction of justice” by the Trump Administration. They know all too well that it was nothing of the sort. No matter how much they dislike him and wanted him gone, it wasn’t Trump or anyone in the Trump administration that led to McCabe’s firing. It was McCabe’s own colleagues. The independent Justice Department inspector general said McCabe lied about a leak to reporters about an ongoing investigation. And a subsequent review by McCabe’s colleagues in the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) said McCabe “lacked candor under oath on multiple occasions.” Other people have been fined and gone to jail for these offenses. If the FBI expects those it is investigating to be honest shouldn’t we expect it from those within the FBI as well?


Picking Up Chicks: Both the online Fernandina Observer and NCFL Independent reported last week that the Nassau County Extension office had baby chicks for sale through March 23. The suggested donation price was $2.00 per hatchling and there was a two-chick minimum purchase. Proceeds from the sale were to benefit the Nassau County 4-H and an embryology program at local schools, according to a county news site. This reminded me of when I  was a kid and there was a country music radio station based, I think, in Memphis that advertised dozens of  baby chicks for sale for a few bucks plus mailing costs. I always wanted to order a flock of them but didn’t for a couple of reasons: 1- My mother and 2- My mother.


The Definition Of Friendship: Friend Fran Kane, a pal who is in the process of moving here, makes periodic trips between his current Tampa home and Amelia Island to check on the progress of a house he is having built on the island’s north end. Knowing that yesterday (Thursday, March 29) was baseball season’s opening day,  Fran made a special trip to St. Petersburg, Florida’s Ted Peters, home of the world’s best smoked mullet, to bring me two enormous fillets to enjoy while watching the games at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden. Smoked mullet, cold beer, baseball, and good friends.  Folks, it doesn’t get much better than that.


Speaking Of Baseball: In a piece in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal Bob Greene reminds readers of how dramatically free agency changed baseball’s salary structure and the game itself. In a a 1956 Collier’s Magazine article, Dodger center fielder, Duke Snider, admitted he played the game for the money. Snider made $50,000 that year including endorsements. The average salary then was $19,000 and the minimum was $6,000. Players also took the bus to the stadium along with the fans. Bobby Thompson, who hit the 1951 home run against the Dodgers sending the NY Giants to the World Series — “the shot heard around the world”  — took the ferry home to Staten Island after the game, after stopping at the local fire station to visit his fireman brother.  Today’s average major league salary is is more than $4 million and the  minimum $545,000.


Something To Think About Department: Adam Straub suffered a heart attack and died while swimming in his family’s pool 21 years ago. As tragic as Adam’s death was to his family and friends, the fact that he was an organ donor provided 27 people with life support. As a result of Adam’s passing his father, Bill Straub, vowed to memorialize his son and encourage others to follow in his footsteps with a golf tournament and dinner. And you don’t have to be a golfer to participate. Monday, April 15, there will be a charity donor program at the Main Beach Sandbar & Kitchen, starting with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. and a prime rib and seafood buffet until 9 p.m. The event includes an open bar and gratuity for $95 a person and $190 a couple.  The 88-year-old Bill Straub, who still plays three to four rounds of golf weekly, will also conduct the 21st Annual Adam Straub Memorial Golf Tournament the day after the dinner, April 16, at the Amelia National Golf Club, that features an amateur-pro paring. To ensure the pros are compensated appropriately, Bill contributed $10,000 of his own money. For more information call 904/491-0524 or email The web site is


Bill Dean - 30. Mar, 2018 -

Hey, Dave
We may not agree on some things in the political realm, but you sure hit the bulls eye with your characterizations of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel. And Trump, too. Time was, a CORE value of the Republican party was the importance of a balanced budget. All that changed with “dubya” but it’s been getting worse since.
No longer a Republican, but certainly not a Democrat either,
WCLS radio’s sparkling personality, and onetime Tampa Times Sportswriter,
Bill Dean

Steve Crounse - 30. Mar, 2018 -

Well Dave, Boy I’m sure it “Frosts your Butt” to have to call out Your Righteous Evangelical Fair Haired Boy, Mitch McTurtle, and Paul Ryan. To have to mention them in the same paragraph with Pelosi and Schumer? Why I bet you had to disinfect your keyboard. Are you hardcore trumpets finally figuring out what you bought in Nov. of 2016.? I’ll agree the swamp in washington needed cleaning, but y’all, just added a whole new species of ravenous creatures to the primordial stew. What this administration has done is cut out the middleman (political hack) and funneled all the monies straight into there own pockets. Well heck, lesson learned. No harm done .Right.?

Pat - 30. Mar, 2018 -

Donald simply got out negotiated. Congress passed the bill and promptly left town. He should have vetoed and called them back. But then he would have been accused of shutting down the government. So what? All “essential” services continue any how. I’m ok with closing the national parks if the country finally gets a more rational appropriations bill. He says he will never do it again. We’ll see. You blink once you will blink again.

Rtrox - 30. Mar, 2018 -

Agree with you Dave on Trump’s shenanigans, they are beginning to wear thin. It is a damn shame that this once great country has to vote on the lesser of two evils. He has done a few things that are noteworthy. But,I am wary of his willingness to make good on other campaign promises. He should have vetoed the bill and sent the message he is in charge. Hard to figure why since the GOP controls the House,Senate and White House they let the Dems run things. Didn’t we learn our lesson with Obama’s on the job training fiasco. Nuff said.

tony crawford - 30. Mar, 2018 -

Dave, At last we can agree. You are starting to figure out that Mr Trump has surpassed P.T. Barnum in his ability to say one thing and deliver another.