What’s new…

2020/02/07 – The Sun also sets relates the latest sad misstep in our local paper’s slow, steady decline.

2019/11/21 – Endorse me, endorse my dog bemoans how our local governments have become a self-perpetuating clique of the cool kids.

2019/11/21 – Free the news! reveals how to get around some of the paywalls and article-count restrictions blocking your access to popular news sites.

Oh, I almost forgot: I have no control over the ads. WordPress inserts them automatically, based on what? I don’t know.

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The Italian Front

I really hope I’m wrong about this…

But here’s what we know so far, as of March 19:

A month ago, Feb. 20, Italy had 4 confirmed cases of coronavirus, today they have had more coronavirus fatalities than China.

Today, Alachua County has 10 confirmed cases, 6 more than Italy had a month ago. The public knows very little about who these cases are, where they’ve been locally, how many people they may have exposed to the virus, how many of those exposed will eventually be diagnosed positive, and how many they, in turn, will have passed the virus to.

What we’ve seen is that the number of cases here has been doubling about every 3 days.

If that trend continues over the next month, and the number of cases doubles 10 more times, Alachua County will have 10,000 cases.

And in 2 more weeks, after 5 more doublings, it’ll be upwards of 100,000.

As I awkwardly tell people, “Say stafe.”  It’s way too soon to be overconfident.

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Filed under Breakfast epiphanies, Misanthropology

The Sun also sets

In case you were wondering how low the new ownership of the Gainesville Sun is willing to go, you now have your answer: There is no depth to which they will not sink!

Today’s edition (Feb 7, 2020) has a full-page ad promoting a book spreading some of the most despicable, ultra-rightwing demagoguery imaginable, David Horowitz’s Dark Agenda (talk about the pot calling the kettle black!). All you need to know is in the ad’s quotes from the book and in its blurbs from those paragons of civic virtue, Tucker Carlson, Mike Huckabee, and Alan Dershowitz.

Laughably, about them the ad shouts, “The critics are raving about this book.” They’re raving alright, but they aren’t critics; they’re stark raving sicko, psycho sycophants.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has long tracked Horowitz’s “Freedom Center” as a hate group. Here’s one of the key points the SPLC’s Hatewatch website has to say:

“Colleges and universities have been one of the main targets for Horowitz. His group is known for compiling McCarthyite lists of students, professors, and administrators and plastering campuses with posters accusing them of being subversive.”

You don’t have to take someone else’s word for how vile Horowitz’s extremist propaganda is. You can find more than enough of his own words in the SPLC’s profile.

And now the Gainesville Sun is complicit in furthering Horowitz’s Big Lies agenda: fomenting an ultra-rightwing uprising in America, this time by frightening and inflaming fundamentalist Christians, just in case they don’t already subscribe to his previous anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-liberal and anti-intellectual fearmongering, leaving no stomach unturned.

Freedom of the press doesn’t just mean the press can print what it wants, it also means the press is free to refuse to print hate-mongering viewpoints and the commercial enterprises and special interests that capitalize on them.

The Sun can’t expect to be taken seriously for its editorial positions when it gladly accepts a check for a full-page ad from an organization that sickeningly opposes everything the Sun purports to stand for. What WON’T they print ads for?

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Filed under Politics, Sunchokes

Endorse me, endorse my dog

RE the 2020 City Commission, County Commission and School Board races: With Thanksgiving approaching, potential candidates are finalizing their plans, to run or not to run. It won’t be long until the first wave of slick campaign ads arrives in the mail and early contributor reports are posted online.

(What follows was submitted to the Gainesville Sun in February of this year. I got the following response:

“Thanks for the submission. I’m not printing guest columns on the city races, other than from the candidates themselves, but would be happy to consider a 150-word letter to the editor on the subject.”

Oh well…)

To me the most remarkable thing about contemporary local campaigns is how flagrantly sitting commissioners endorse the candidacies of their colleagues. Candidates openly flaunt their endorsements by other current office holders, not without their enthusiastic permission, of course.

/Read the rest here/

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Filed under Local politics

Free the news!

How would you like free, nearly unlimited access to the online editions of The Gainesville Sun, New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker magazine, and just about every other publication that claims to allow you to view only a handful of articles per month?

Other sites block your access if you’re using a Web browser in “private browsing” mode because it offends some of their more predatory advertisers. (More about that in an upcoming post.)

Well, there’s a simple, non-technical way around both roadblocks. It only has three elements.

/Read how/

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Filed under General, Tech stuff

Below the Beltway

By now (July 2019) you’ve probably not seen The Front Runner, the movie about Gary Hart’s political rise and fall.(If so, you’re not alone.) Nonetheless, I thought I’d share a somewhat Gary Hart-related anecdote you might find amusing.

A couple of years ago my friend Harvey was running for a city commission seat here and sought my advice on campaign strategy. In the course of the conversation I mentioned to him that in politics there are no small decisions, a case in point being that had it not been for something he’d done nearly 40 years earlier, Gary Hart might well have been elected president in 1988 and the Clintons might never have occupied the White House, to be succeed by George W, the war in Iraq, etc., etc. All of American history since the 1990’s would have been radically different because of him.

As expected, he looked at me like I’d lost my marbles. So I explained. In 1978 he was one of three candidates in a race for an open seat in the Florida House. He was a relative unknown, but the other two candidates were well known local politicos: Maryanne Sherman, a long-time liberal activist, and Jon Mills, a UF law professor and good-government advocate. All three were barely 30 years old. In the primary election, Maryanne (my candidate, one of my first paid consulting jobs) came within a hair of winning outright, while Harvey was a distant third with 15% and Mills took the remainder.

For the runoff election, Harvey endorsed Mills, who went on to win by a razor-thin margin. And this is where the Gary Hart connection begins to take shape.

Mills quickly began a meteoric rise in Florida politics, becoming House Speaker after just two terms, a position that usually went to the most senior alpha male in the chamber. This also attracted the attention of the national Democratic party, who saw Mills as a rising star on the national stage. From this position, and still keeping his day job at the law school, Mills became an early supporter of Hart’s campaign, and through these roles was able to do Hart a huge favor by procuring a “guest lectureship” for him for the Spring 1987 semester at the UF law school while he mapped out his campaign strategy, and where he could escape the intense scrutiny of the national media. (Mills was widely believed to be in line for a major cabinet post if Hart were to eventually succeed Reagan.)

As it turned out, it became an open secret among the locals that Hart was rarely seen at the law school, but could generally be found hanging out at fraternity houses, conspicuously chasing sorority girl skirts. This didn’t merely fuel rumors of Hart’s dallying, it brazenly confirmed them.

And we now know how that turned out. (Hint: they made a movie about it.)

So, as I told Harvey, if he had instead endorsed Maryanne in that race long ago, it would surely have swung enough votes her way to give her the victory she came so close to in the primary. Jon Mills’s political career would have been sidelined if not aborted, Gary Hart would never have resided in Florida, and rumors of his womanizing tendencies might have remained within the Beltway. And the movie about his life would have a totally different script.

BTW Harvey went on to win the city commission seat, where he proceeded to make a series of small decisions with repercussions that ultimately cost him reelection.

Oh well…

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Move over, Beethoven.  Make room for Chuck Berry.  https://codex.wordpress.org/images/9/96/icon_cry.gif

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Attack of the bots?

The Sunday late news anchor on TV20 just read the wrap-up on a story about a house “far from the ‘kuh-BOT’ superfund site.”

Give her a break – she’s only been here for a year or so.

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Filed under Midnight confessions, Nitwitness news

Alexander Sha-Na-Na

I know you know who I mean:  THAT guy. The one who looks like he’s trying to fling the slime off his hands, but it just isn’t working.
His ads are everywhere on the TV – news, game shows, late night…
If you’re like me, you can’t grab the remote fast enough when he comes on, except I can’t decide whether to put it on mute or just hurl it through the screen.
Then yesterday I noticed this:

In the last shot of the ad, in the fine print near the bottom of the disclaimer: “Alexander Shunnarah is not licensed to practice law in the state of Florida.”

Really? Get a job!

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Filed under Midnight confessions

I Always Say…

In the check-out line at Publix they ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”

I answer, “Shopping is like life – if you find everything you’re looking for, you’re not looking for enough.”


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Filed under Personal

What if?


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Filed under Local politics