A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 77-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

These “Happy Gators” were filmed by me on The Anhinga Trail in The Everglades National Park

28Baltimore2-SS-facebookJumbo

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/us/baltimore-freddie-gray.html?_r=0

I am saddened and deeply concerned about the rioting that is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, today,  A lot of people – especially the Blacks and African Americans – say it is caused by the Racial Targeting of blacks by white American policeman, but I think that is not the real reason.  I think the problem lies much deeper than that.

On September 23, 1951, I was living and going to school in Miami, Florida, when the Carver Village Apartments were bombed by white supremacists acting under the dictator ship of the Klu Klux Klan (http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1990/90_1_02.pdf ).  As this article states, Catholic Churches were also reported to be targeted by the KKK, and the burning of crosses took place randomly around the city and outlying areas.

http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1990/90_1_02.pdf

Bombing of Carver Village Apartments, Liberty City, Miami , FL 9/3/1951

 It was an ugly time to be living in Miami.  I was 14 years old then, and often had to ride the Miami-Dade public transit system.  All the bus drivers were white in those days, and they carried revolvers in their cash boxes.  Signs posted and facing the entrance doors of the buses clearly stated that “Blacks” had to move to the rear of the bus.  If any black person tried to sit anywhere in the front 2/3 of the bus, the driver would stand and order that person to move to the rear.  If he or she made no effort to do so, the driver would open his cash box, pull out his revolver, and order that person to move to the rear or get off the bus.  One day I actually saw a very frustrated bus driver fire a round into the floor of the bus during this process.

Prior to moving to Miami I went to school in the southeastern part of New Jersey, in a small rural farming and fishing village.  Our neighbors represented many races and I went to school with Black, Hispanic, Italian, Irish and Japanese children.  It never occurred to me then that any person should be separated from others because of his or her race or religion.  But when my mother married my stepfather and moved me to Miami, we lived in an all-white neighbor and I went to an all-white school.  However, in those days no one used the term “Racial Targeting.”  What was happening then was just pure racial discrimination!

In 1960, while living in Miami, I married a lovely young Hispanic girl.  A few months later, I was notified that I was about to be drafted, so I voluntarily joined the US Army and took my basic training at Ft. Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina.  Upon completion of my basic training, my wife joined me and we rented an apartment in Columbia.  One day, upon returning home from the base, I discovered my wife in tears.  When I asked why she told me that she went into town to see a movie, and was not permitted to enter the movie theater because she was black.  SHE WAS NOT BLACK!  While living in Miami we both spent a great deal of time at the beach, and she was simply a well-tanned Latin lady (although labeled a “Caucasian,” I was almost as dark as she was from having spent many hours out in the sun with her).  HOWEVER, AND AGAIN – THIS WAS NOT RACIAL TARGETING, IT WAS JUST PURE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.  (I was actually quite surprised when she told me how she had been treated.  Men representing many different races and religions were housed together in the barracks at Ft. Jackson; we trained together,  ate together, played together, and bathed together without any obvious signs of discrimination, but in town, where the white women shopped, it was a different story.

About a year after the Baltimore Riot of 1968, I drove through the city of Baltimore with my mother.  Viewing the aftermath of those riots, the empty streets, boarded up shops, and vacant buildings with broken glass windows was unsettling to say the least.

Fire gutted buildings remain in 1969. Baltimore Sun

Fire gutted buildings remain in 1969. Baltimore Sun

Baltimore-Vert-Alley-1-1969

http://johnvanhornphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I0000ND3C5vlF0Is

  We were fortunate in that we did not need to stop for food or fuel because we would have certainly been afraid to get out of the car in that hostile environment.  Once again, the riot was not caused by Racial Targeting, but the out-and-out result of Discrimination.

Truthfully, I do not think that I had ever heard the words “RACIAL TARGETING” until George Zimmerman was accused of “targeting” Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Since that day, it seems to me that the words Racial Targeting are heard in the news on TV, or appear in print in our newspapers, almost daily now.

The BLACK LIVES MATTER RIOTS RACE that started in Baltimore on Saturday (April 25, 2015) protesting the death of Freddie Gray remind me of the riots that took place in  Watts, California, during August, 1965.  There are many similarities (http://crdl.usg.edu/events/watts_riots/?Welcome) In both cases peaceful protesting turned into extreme violence with burning and looting and tremendous property damage.   To me, the people who cause the destruction of property – the burning and looting – are not protesters, but criminals looking for booze and drugs and electronics; bad people taking advantage of the true mourners of the death of their loved ones.  I do not believe that these rioters have any interest in resolving the problems of what many consider Racial Profiling or Racial Targeting. 

In any case, I have become interested in trying to determine why there seems to be an increase in the incidents that lead to the charge of Racial Targeting.  My research leads me to believe that Blacks or African Americans are not being targeted by local white policeman, but that the cause is a matter of numbers  – percentages of total population, poverty levels, crime statistics.  The 2013 US Census indicates that Whites represent 78.4% of the total population; blacks or African Americans = 13.0%, and all others = 8.6%. (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html).  However, while the number of Blacks or African Americans living in the US is estimated to be 13.0% of the total US population, those living below the poverty level represent 25.8% of our total population (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr11-17.pdf).  According to the FBI, 9,014,635 cases of crime were documented in 2013.  68.9% were allegedly committed by White Americans, 28.3% were committed by Black or African Americans (double their percentage of total population), and 2.8% were committed by persons of all other races.  Finally, the FBI states that 868,693 crimes were committed in 2013 by persons under the age of 18.  Of these crimes, 63,0% were allegedly committed by Whites; 34.3% were committed by Blacks or African Americans, and 2.7% by all others (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-43).

You may all draw your own conclusions, but based on all of the statistics that I have compiled here, it certainly appears that the disproportionate percentage of Blacks or African Americans living below the poverty level here in the United States, and the disproportionate percentage of those same peoples committing crimes – especially those under the age of 18 – dictates that more Black or African American peoples will noticeably be arrested by White members of law enforcement at any given time and place.  In addition there appears to be a great discrepancy between the number of Whites employed in law enforcement vs. the number of Blacks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/14/racial-imbalance-exists-all-across-local-governments-not-just-in-police-departments/), consequently more Whites have to be arresting more Blacks on any given date or time.

CONCLUSION:  Something must be done to reduce the number of Black or African Americans living below the poverty level.  Improving education, better and more diverse employment, and subsequently better wages and better living conditions, should help a great deal to reduce the crime rates and alleged incidents of Racial Targeting.

HURRICANE TRIOLOGYA HURRICANE TRIOLOGY

HURRICANE WILMA struck Florida 9 years ago on October 24, 2005.  It was the final blow to occur in the destruction of the Flamingo Marina and Outpost Resort.  The Outpost Resort consisted of 3 one-story and 2 two-story concrete buildings (a total of 103 guest rooms plus the administrative offices) and 26 free-standing cottages (13 wooden duplexes).  These facilities were completely destroyed; wiped off the face of the earth, along with almost everything in the area, including two restaurants, a gift shop, a marina, maintenance shops and the employee housing area.  The concessionaire for this operation, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, usually housed a skeleton staff of about 45 or 50 employees during the slow season and up to about 150 during the peak of the winter season.  Housing consisted of 4 wooden dormitories, 2 newer concrete dorms, a fantastic fishing pier, a recreational building, several company owned old mobile homes, and parking for about 25 employee-owned RV’s.  All that remained after WILMA was the two-story concrete visitor’s center and the Marina Store and two buildings in the maintenance area (although theses building were severely damaged).  Fortunately all employees on sight were successfully evacuated prior to the arrival of the storm and no lives were lost. On June 6, 2010, I wrote “An Epitaph to the Flamingo Marina and Outpost Resort” which can still be found on this blog (thesumofme2.wordpress.com).  HOWEVER, the actual destruction of the resort began with Hurricane KATRINA in August of 2005.  It was the 5th deadliest hurricane in US history – and the 7th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded with winds up to 175mph.  Although Flamingo did not receive a direct hit from Katrina the resort did incur considerable damage.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina).   Katrina struck the Flamingo Resort on August 28, 2005 (see below photos)

Katrina Photos HOUSING 9 Marina 5 MARINA 47 MARINA 50 REC HALL 6 VIEW BACK OF 252 TO 240

  Then Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico, and came ashore again around Punta Gorda, Florida.  It then marched up the Peace River to Arcadia, Florida, destroying almost everything in its path.  I lived in Palm Harbor, Florida, then.  As I began the 98 mile drive to Arcadia after the storm, everything seemed normal for a while.  Then, as I turned off of US19 onto US70 and headed SW toward Arcadia the country side revealed the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Mile after mile I drove by telephone poles that had been snapped in half and shredded like toothpicks.  Beautiful old Live Oak Trees had been uprooted and tossed aside like toys.  As I approached the city of Arcadia, clean-up was already in progress, and torn and shredded aluminum siding from the vast number of mobile homes that made up a great part of this  communities residences was already piled about 20’ high in one storage lot.  (Pictures from the Cross Creek RV Park in Arcadia, Florida – where my cousin kept a 5-wheel RV, and of the children’s playground at the Myakka River State Park appear below).

Arcadia after Katrina 567 OVERTURNED RV2 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM2 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM4 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM5 CROSS CREEK UNK VICTIM6 CROSS CREEK UNKNOWN VICTIM Myaka River Park FL 70 Myaka River Park Pavillion FL 70 Myaka River Park Playground FL 70

Katrina was followed by Rita.  With winds up to 177mpg, Rita was the 4th most intensive Atlantic hurricane to ever hit the United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Rita).  Rita passed through the Florida Straights on September 26, 2005, on its way to Texas.  Since Rita did not pass directly over Flamingo the resort was spared any noticeable damage.  However, torrential rains continued to weaken the already damaged resort. Rita was followed by Wilma, the most intense Tropical Cyclone to ever be recorded in the Atlantic Basin, with winds up to 185mpg.  Although the eye of Wilma did not pass directly over the Flamingo resort, it passed over nearby Cape Romano with 120mph winds.  That was all it would take to complete the destruction of one of my favorite places on earth; a place that I fished with my family in 1947 and where I lived and worked from May of 1996 to September 2002.

Wilma, The Final BLow HU94D8~1 HU94E6~1 HURRICANE WILMA 001 HURRICANE WILMA 002 HURRICANE WILMA 003 HURRICANE WILMA 004 HURRICANE WILMA 005 HURRICANE WILMA 006 HURRICANE WILMA 007 HURRICANE WILMA 008 HURRICANE WILMA 009 HURRICANE WILMA 010 HURRICANE WILMA 011 HURRICANE WILMA 012 HURRICANE WILMA 013 HURRICANE WILMA 014 HURRICANE WILMA 015 HURRICANE WILMA 016 HURRICANE WILMA 017 HURRICANE WILMA 018 HURRICANE WILMA 019 HURRICANE WILMA 020 HURRICANE WILMA 021 HURRICANE WILMA 022 HURRICANE WILMA 023 HURRICANE WILMA 024 HURRICANE WILMA 025 HURRICANE WILMA 026 HURRICANE WILMA 027 HURRICANE WILMA 028 HURRICANE WILMA 029 HURRICANE WILMA 030 HURRICANE WILMA 031 HURRICANE WILMA 032 HURRICANE WILMA 033 HURRICANE WILMA 034 HURRICANE WILMA 035 HURRICANE WILMA 036 HURRICANE WILMA 037 HURRICANE WILMA 038 HURRICANE WILMA 039 HURRICANE WILMA 040 HURRICANE WILMA 041 HURRICANE WILMA 042 HURRICANE WILMA 043 HURRICANE WILMA 044 HURRICANE WILMA 048 HURRICANE WILMA 049 HURRICANE WILMA 050 HURRICANE WILMA 053 HURRICANE WILMA 054 HURRICANE WILMA 055 HURRICANE WILMA 056 HURRICANE WILMA 057 HURRICANE WILMA 058 HURRICANE WILMA 059 HURRICANE WILMA 060 HURRICANE WILMA 061 HURRICANE WILMA 062 HURRICANE WILMA 063 HURRICANE WILMA 064 HURRICANE WILMA 065 HURRICANE WILMA 066 HURRICANE WILMA 067 HURRICANE WILMA 068 HURRICANE WILMA 069 HURRICANE WILMA 070 HURRICANE WILMA 071 HURRICANE WILMA 072 HURRICANE WILMA 073 HURRICANE WILMA 074 HURRICANE WILMA 075 HURRICANE WILMA 076 HURRICANE WILMA 077 HURRICANE WILMA 078 HURRICANE WILMA 079 HURRICANE WILMA 080 HURRICANE WILMA 081 HURRICANE WILMA 082 HURRICANE WILMA 083 HURRICANE WILMA 084 HURRICANE WILMA 085 HURRICANE WILMA 086 HURRICANE WILMA 087 HURRICANE WILMA 088 HURRICANE WILMA 089 HURRICANE WILMA 090 HURRICANE WILMA 091 HURRICANE WILMA 092 HURRICANE WILMA 093 HURRICANE WILMA 094 HURRICANE WILMA 095 HURRICANE WILMA 096 HURRICANE WILMA 097 HURRICANE WILMA 098 HURRICANE WILMA 099 HURRICANE WILMA 100 HURRICANE WILMA 101 HURRICANE WILMA 102 HURRICANE WILMA 103 HURRICANE WILMA 104 HURRICANE WILMA 105 HURRICANE WILMA 106 HURRICANE WILMA 107 HURRICANE WILMA 108 HURRICANE WILMA 109 HURRICANE WILMA 110 HURRICANE WILMA 111 HURRICANE WILMA 112 HURRICANE WILMA 113 HURRICANE WILMA 114 HURRICANE WILMA 115 HURRICANE WILMA 116 HURRICANE WILMA 117 HURRICANE WILMA 118 HURRICANE WILMA 119 HURRICANE WILMA 120 HURRICANE WILMA 121 HURRICANE WILMA 122 HURRICANE WILMA 123

With great sorrow and regret, THE END!

(To the best of my knowledge, all of the photographs of Flamingo that are included in this blog were taken by the then General Manager  and late Peter Hulse * and forwarded to me by Jennifer Huber) except for those taken in Arcadia (by me).

In November of 2013, I posted this information under the heading, “WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM?”

WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS BORDERING ON BANKRUPTCY AND, ACCORDING TO THE 2012 U.S. CENSUS, 15% OF OUR OWN POPULATION (46.5 MILLION PEOPLE) ARE LIVING IN POVERTY (see below).

Today, March 3,2014, Secretary of State, John Kerry, made the following promised in Kiev:  In a demonstration of support for Ukraine’s fledgling government and a new swipe at Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in an American loan guarantee and pledges of technical assistance.

“The centerpiece of the American aid package is the $1 billion loan guarantee, which is intended to cushion Ukrainian households as the new government undertakes the wrenching economic changes demanded by the International Monetary Fund and contends with the reduction of energy subsidies from Russia, which has challenged the new government’s legitimacy and occupied the Crimean Peninsula.”  

(Quoted from:  https://www.google.com/search?q=Secretary+of+State+John+Kerry+in+Ukraine&rlz=1C1CHMO_enUS558US558&oq=secretary&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j69i59j0l4.4249j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8

WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?  Don’t we need to cushion our own households and resolve our own wrenching economic conditions, and, in the case of the money going to Palestine, don’t  we need to improve our own roads, schools and other infrastructure???

Is this guy a loose cannon, or what?

(AND 11.3 MILLION OF OUR PEOPLE WERE STILL UNEMPLOYED AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2013 ACCORDING TO THE U S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).

(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/)?

Well, According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State, John Kerry announced Wednesday that the United States will provide an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure. However, U.S. officials say the aid is designed to boost Palestinian public support for faltering peace talks with Israel by showing them tangible benefits from the process
(http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/06/21332498-grappling-with-troubled-peace-process-kerry-urges-israeli-settlement-limits).

With this additional USD$75MM, OUR government will now be giving a total of $100,000,000.00 to Palestine. WHILE I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS THIS IS SAD NEWS AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED; WE NEED THAT MONEY TO HELP OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!

WHY ARE WE GIVING PALESTINE ANOTHER USD$75MM WHEN OUR COUNTRY IS BORDERING ON BANKRUPTCY AND, ACCORDING TO THE 2012 U.S. CENSUS, 15% OF OUR OWN POPULATION (46.5 MILLION PEOPLE) ARE LIVING IN POVERTY

(AND 11.3 MILLION OF OUR PEOPLE WERE STILL UNEMPLOYED AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2013 ACCORDING TO THE U S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).

(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/)?

Well, According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State, John Kerry announced Wednesday that the United States will provide an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure. However, U.S. officials say the aid is designed to boost Palestinian public support for faltering peace talks with Israel by showing them tangible benefits from the process
(http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/06/21332498-grappling-with-troubled-peace-process-kerry-urges-israeli-settlement-limits).

With this additional USD$75MM, OUR government will now be giving a total of $100,000,000.00 to Palestine. WHILE I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS THIS IS SAD NEWS AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED; WE NEED THAT MONEY TO HELP OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Government+Closed

The Speaker of the House is paid $223,500.00 annually, and the House Majority and Minority Leaders and the President Pro Tempore are each paid $193,400 yearly; the rest of the gang, poor souls, only receive $174,00.00.

Did you know that they receive mileage from their home to Washington, DC?  The minimum amount paid for this benefit is $6,200.00!  (Is that for every time they travel to DC? I’m not sure, but I bet they do)!

THAT IS WHAT THOSE S.*.*.’s WHO JUST SHUT DOWN OUR GOVERNMENT AND PUT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE OUT OF WORK EARNS, AND THIS INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND IN http://www.nolabels.org/blog/congressional-compensation-how-much-do-members-congress-get-paid AND IT IS VERIFIED IN JANUARY, 2013, BY: http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=’0E%2C*PL%5B%3D%23P%20%20%0A

AND I JUST HEARD ON THE NEWS A FEW MINUTES AGO THAT ALTHOUGH SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS WILL STILL BE SENT OUT, THEY MAY BE SENT OUT TWO WEEKS LATE IN NOVEMBER!

It is my personal opinion that the pay and benefits to all of those representatives that voted to shut down our government be suspended immediately and until our government is restarted – and I hope that all of you who read this feel the same way!!!

(Photo from:  http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/09/government-shutdown-could-come-in-only-five-days-2775592.html)

ARE FOODS THAT CONTAIN GMOs SAFE TO EAT?

While listening to NBC News, Channel 8, in Tampa Bay this afternoon a discussion about whether or not foods containing GMOs are safe to eat caught my attention.   The commentator mentioned the five worst foods containing GMOs just before signing off, but moments later I could only recall 4 of them:  Corn, Soybeans, Canola Oil, and Sugar.  This caused me to go online to see if I could identify the fifth worst food.  That’s when I discovered how much confusion really exists today on this subject.  It does appear that most opponents of GMO foods would also include Papayas, dairy products, tomatoes, and zucchini and yellow squash in the worst GMO foods list, but the list can go on and on.

Being 76 years old I don’t think I need to worry about dying because I ate foods containing genetically modified organisms, however, I really do not like the idea of eating something that a worm will not eat!  When I was just a little kid growing up on a farm in English Creek, New Jersey, we raised and sold corn.   In those days, the corn was so sweet Corn Earworms attacked the ears of corn and one could almost always find one or more gnawing away at the small kernels just under the silk at the top of the vegetable when it was husked.  Nobody was upset by this; one just hacked off the top of the ear of corn, or cut out the part that was ruined by the worm.  This was a common practice in those days.  NOW that corn is being treated with GMOs even the worms won’t eat it!

One of the biggest issues concerning foods containing GMOs appears to be whether or not mandatory labeling should be required.  I found an excellent article regarding this subject, posted on October 17, 2012, in the Huffington Post. It is well worth reading:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-j-cederquist-md/prop-37-california_b_1971259.html.  While it seems that the issue of labeling may also go on and on, I think I have a simple solution to this problem.  Rather than have growers and packers explain on a label what GMOs are contained in their product, why not simply label the food that does not contain genetically modified organisms?  Perhaps something like this:

GMO FREE LABEL 001

Please remember, we are not only dealing with foods like those listed above when it comes to GMOs.  We also have FRANKENFISH, and who knows what else!  This information comes from an article posted in MSN News in May, 2013:

“Just in time for salmon season, the Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of approving genetically modified salmon, dubbed “frankenfish” by some and considered a wunderfish by others.

The salmon would be the first-ever transgenic animal (one that carries a foreign gene that has been inserted into its DNA) to be available to both U.S. and world consumers. It looks like any other salmon, but there is a definite twist.

Exacerbating criticism, current laws and initial reports suggest the fish would not be required to be labeled, a point the FDA has not yet determined. “A decision has not yet been made regarding labeling for AquAdvantage Salmon,” an FDA spokeswoman told MSN News last week.”

“. . . Detractors claim that the FDA, scientific and agency reviews fall short, and that there are several lingering health and environmental issues associated with the genetically modified (or GM) salmon. Environmentalists are concerned that AquAdvantage fish will escape and reproduce, threatening the wild population. Food safety and health activist groups feel that current testing can’t rule out unknown risks to human health. The Organic Consumers Union claims that AquAdvantage contains elevated levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.”

http://news.msn.com/science-technology/gmo-salmon-debate-frankenfish-or-wunderfish?stay=1

WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT?

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