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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Info ...

As provided to, and courtesy of, Councilor Kiester
--------------------------------------------------


- The virus is infectious for about 2 days prior to symptom onset

- Virus sheds more than 7 days after symptom onset (possibly as long as 9 days) (this is unusual)

- Since it is such a novel (new) virus, there is no "herd immunity," so the "attack rate" is very high. This is the percentage of people who come down with a virus if exposed. Almost everyone who is exposed to this virus will become infected, though not all will be symptomatic. That is much higher than seasonal flu, which averages 10-15%. The "clinical attack rate" may be around 40-50%. This is the number of people who show symptoms. This is a huge number. It is hard to convey the seriousness of this.

- The virulence (deadliness) of this virus is as bad here as in Mexico, and there are folks on ventilators here in the US, right now. This has not been in the media, but a 23 month old near here is fighting for his life, and a pregnant woman just south of San Antonio is fighting for her life. In Mexico, these folks might have died already, but here in the US, folks are getting Tamiflu or Relenza quickly, and we have ready access to ventilators. What this means is that within a couple of weeks, regional hospitals will likely become overwhelmed.

- Some of the kids with positive cases in Comal County had more than 70 contacts before diagnosis.

- There are 10-25 times more actual cases (not "possible" cases -- actual), than what is being reported in the media. The way they fudge on reporting this is that it takes 3 days to get the confirmatory nod from the CDC on a given viral culture, but based on epidemiological grounds, we know that there are more than 10 cases for each "confirmed" case right now.

- During the night, we crossed the threshold for the definition of a WHO, Phase 6 global pandemic. This has not happened in any of our lifetimes so far. We are in uncharted territory.

- I expect President Obama will declare an emergency sometime in the next 72-96 hours. This may not happen, but if it doesn't, I will be surprised. When this happens, all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days.

- I suggest all of us avoid public gatherings. Outdoor activities are not as likely to lead to infection. It is contained areas and close contact that are the biggest risk..

- Tamiflu is running out. There is a national stockpile, but it will have to be carefully managed, as it is not enough to treat the likely number of infections when this is full-blown. I don't think there is a big supply of Relenza, but I do not know those numbers. If I had to choose, I would take Relenza, as I think it gets more drug to the affected tissue than Tamiflu.

- You should avoid going to the ER if you think you have been exposed or are symptomatic. ER's south of here are becoming overwhelmed -- and I mean that -- already. It is coming in waves, but the waves are getting bigger.

- It appears that this flu produces a distinctive "hoarseness" in many victims. The symptoms, in general, match other flu's; namely, sore throat, body aches, headache, cough, and fever. Some have all these symptoms, while others may have only one or two.

- N-Acetyl-Cysteine -- a nutritional supplement available at the health food store or Wimberley Pharmacy, has been shown to prevent or lessen the severity of influenza. I suggest 1200mg, twice a day for adults, and 600mg twice a day in kids over 12. It would be hard to get kids under 12 to take it, but you could try opening the capsules and putting it on yogurt. For 40 pounds and up, 300-600 mg twice a day, for less than 40 pounds, half that.

- Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy, has been vindicated as quite effective in a large clinical trial in Europe, with an H1N1 variant. You can buy this at Hill Country Natural Foods, or the Wimberley Pharmacy.


----------
editor's note: I believe that Oscillococcinum was used succesfully to treat the Spanish flu pandemic at the turn of the century. It's name comes from the Latin (Latin test here ...) oscillating bacteria (i hope!?) ...

1 Comments:

  • Oscillococcinum was discovered by Joseph Roy, who, when looking with a microscope at samples of victims of the Spanish Flu, saw oscillating bacteria, and using homeopathy's "like treats like" law, decided that a homeopathic preparation of oscillating bacteria could be used to treat the flu. He found that duck liver contained the same oscillating bacteria, so used to for preparing the homeopathic remedy.

    However:

    1) He *also* found the same bacteria in cancer patients, in syphilitic ulcers, in the tubercles of tuberculosis patients in the pus of gonorrhea sufferers, people who had eczema, rheumatism, mumps, chickenpox and measles. These different diseases are *not* all caused by the same thing (most of them not caused by bacteria at all), so it's bizarre that he found the same bacteria in all these different samples.

    2) Swine flu is caused by a virus (as is mumps, chicken pox and measles), so there's no reason why "treating like with like" would work on a virus when the remedy was prepared from a bacteria.

    3) Given the track record that homeopathic remedies have had in clinical trials, I'd take any news that Oscillococcinum has been "vindicated" with a large grain of salt.

    By Blogger Matthew Cline, at Friday, May 01, 2009 7:19:00 PM  

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When Logic and Proportion Have Fallen Slightly Dead

LCEC
Background:
Excellent company with an excellent service providing electricity at the fairest price possible.

Syndicate’s Position:
Believes, without any evidence, that Marco Island residents are subsidizing other LCEC customers.

Syndicate’s Initiative:
Do and say whatever irrespective of the truth, to own its own electric “municipality” so they can benefit from a commercial enterprise.


High School Option
Background:
Marginal rating in a state that persistently ranks one of the lowest in the country providing a marginal education at a very high price.

Syndicate’s Position:
Despite irrefutable evidence that Marco residents subsidize every other student in the county given that Marco residents pay over 3 times as much per student as anyone else in the county, the syndicate believes that the present circumstances for education are acceptable and fair.

Syndicate’s Initiative:
Denigrate anyone that is trying to improve the education by affording a choice for exemplary education, and award themselves a land clearly deeded SCHOOL SITE so they can benefit from a commercial enterprise.


Summary:
What is good, make it look bad to the detriment of the community for the financial benefit of a few.
What is bad, make it look good to the detriment of the community for the financial benefit of a few.


(title by Grace Slick).

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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Governor’s Sham

In an attempt to sell the Seminole gambling deal to the legislature, media throughout the state quoted the following:

"Do this for the children of Florida." The governor said he believes the money should be dedicated to education and urged lawmakers to be open-minded.

Disregarding for a moment the question if the state should be in the gambling business vice – though it already is with the lottery monopoly – such feigned concern for education is an utter sham.

Florida teachers are one of the lowest paid in the country. If the governor was truly for education he and his cadre of politicos would have long ago dismantled wasteful programs and useless departments (FDEP, FLDOE to name but two) and funneled the saved money directly to the teachers.

The lottery was supposed to be for education – but that too was a lie. Instead of augmenting the educational budget, the lottery money simply replaced what the educational system was already receiving. Hence, zero net improvement to the education fund.

If your governor was truly for generating as much money as possible for education, why limit gambling to just the indian nations? Why not afford the pari-mutuels – that are already generating vice-based taxes from dog racing, horse racing, jai alai, and poker – the same opportunity as the indians?

For that matter, why not finally allow the resorts on Miami Beach to offer Vegas-style casinos? This move alone would cure the state's funding issue and arguably double every teacher's salary.

Last year, there was a measure on the ballot that if passed would have allowed individual counties to enact via voter referendum an automatically terminating sales tax increase for the sole purpose of funding education in that county. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated in every county, except for Miami-Dade county. In the time leading up to the vote, your governor was basically mute on this issue.

These cynical maneuvers on the back of the "children", and their one-sided application are as sordid as they are ineffective.

If the retiree state was desirous in improving education it would not fib as to where and how sources of funds are applied – assuredly an intractable task for politicians in general and this governor in particular.

The sad aspect to this educational bog is that there are means by which to improve education, many without the need of more money – namely, exclusive of further extorting the taxpayers or appealing to those that can least afford to gamble.

Here is but one of those ideas that the governor can enact with the stroke of a pen: no public school administrator in any school district can earn a salary that is greater than the lowest paid full-time teacher in that same district.

Don't hold your breath in ever seeing this directive making it to the light of day.

But if you know what to do with two aces when the dealer is showing a deuce and your count is negative, make it over to the nearest sovereign nation within Florida because you'll make some money while supporting education … NOT!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fun of Environmentalism

Today the EPA issued this statement:

(Washington, D.C. - April 22, 2009) As part of its Earth Month outreach efforts, EPA today launched "Pick 5 for the Environment," encouraging the public to commit to taking at least five actions to protect the environment.
Here are the list of 10 one is to chose from:

1. Use less water.
2. Commute without polluting.
3. Save electricity.
4. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
5. Test your home for radon.

6. Check your local air quality.
7. Use chemicals safely.
8. Reuse and recycle electronics.
9. Enjoy the outdoors safely.
10.
Spread the word to family and friends.

Putting aside the contradiction in actions by the EPA for a moment (failed to prosecute the environmental crimes on Marco Island), many of these ideas can be easily incorporated into our daily lives – and invite the city of Marco Island to do the same. Some comments on a few of the recommended actions:

On "1. Use Less Water":

  • The City can facilitate the cistern project.
  • The residents can ensure that lawn sprinklers are aligned (with the grass) and operate only when needed.
  • The City can fix the sprinklers on Collier Boulevard so that they irrigate the foliage as opposed to the street.
  • Install reuse water lines … or did that train already leave the station?

On "2. Commute without polluting"

  • Marco Island is an ideal place for bicycles. Leave 10 minutes earlier and take a bike. Due to the weather and the size, Marco is highly conducive for cycling.
    • Couldn't help but notice that at the well attended Easter Egg Hunt at Mackle Park last week there were only 5 bicycles in the bike rack (two of which belong to this author & progeny) but yet cars were parked as far away as the museum excavation site … if you could walk from the excavation site to the park, you can ride a bike a bit further, no?
  • Although one would not normally consider boating (oh, sorry, yachting) commuting, do they make outboard engines that don't generate as much smoke as a coal-fired plant?
  • Open up a high school on Marco Island and save approximately 400 students the daily to-and-fro commute of up to 3 hours (sorry, couldn't resist making the connection …). Give all of these students a bicycle – this is an actual idea being included in the high school initiative plan that can be funded by existing "green" grants.

On "3. Save Electricity"

  • Just a question: how can we save on electricity when there is this huge push for electric cars? Wouldn't biodiesel make more sense? (Every VW and Audi automobile with a diesel made since 2005 runs on either regular diesel or biodiesel). Given the obesity rates in this country, the amount of used vegetable oil available from all of the fast food restaurants can power every diesel car in America (and probably every non-nuclear navy ship too).
  • Grant the syndicate a monopoly on putting solar panels on every public building predicated on the following premise: the syndicate pays for everything, is liable for everything, and splits the derivative 50/50 with the City.
  • Since governments are rolling down the central-planning hill already, let's exacerbate the matter by mandating that all commercial establishments have solar panels. The syndicate can also have that monopoly.

On "6. Check your local air quality"

  • Dear EPA; We did that and proved that there was near-lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide gas being dumped into the air causing hundreds of residents to seek medical attention. Yet you did nothing, and prosecuted no one. So the next time we "check our local air quality", what exactly are you going to do about it? By the way, isn't it your job to check the air quality?

On "7. Use chemicals safely"

  • According to the EPA, millions of gallons of Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfuric Acid can be dumped into waterways. Dropping one teaspoon of your pool water into the same waterways will garner you a fine and potential imprisonment.
  • On a less serious note, most common household chemical cleaners are toxic. Pure orange peel oil mixed in with water is an extremely powerful disinfectant, cleans almost anything, is perfectly safe, is cheaper and is readily available.

On "8. Reuse and recycle electronics"

  • Instead of chucking an appreciable piece of electronics, donate it to a technical school that teaches kids how to repair electronic devices.
  • If you are discarding a computer and it still works and it wasn't built before the Neolithic Age, donate it to a school.
  • Don't use those new light bulbs that allegedly last forever and are highly energy efficient – they contain mercury and when they do fail – and they go bad a lot sooner than the propaganda claims – the bulbs wind up in landfills or who knows where else. Mercury is exceedingly toxic.

On "9. Enjoy the outdoors safely"

  • How does one enjoy the outdoors unsafely?
  • How does one not enjoy the outdoors safely?
  • Perhaps they mean that one should not walk by a lift station when it is malfunctioning.

On "10. Spread the word to family and friends"

  • Done!

All taken with a grain of salt, we can all do this without becoming enviroNazis, tree huggers or fanatics. And besides, many of these ideas will not only save money but in some prove beneficial to our health (especially the riding the bicycle idea).

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Educational Quagmire

By now, at least half of the readers that made it to this article have stopped reading. That's right – by simply parsing the dreaded "E" word in the title, many readers have checked out. Either from an aversion to being reminded of an intractable problem, or from utter indifference, or from the staid and common mind set of "it's someone else's problem", few readers will care to be engaged in the topic of education.

But yet, to sustain this great democracy, it is incumbent upon every citizen to promote education. It is not a choice, it is not a luxury, but a mandated obligation. Since few understand this obligation and even fewer comply, society becomes embroiled in the perfect storm of ignorance and apathy.

The pretexts for the apathy are legion. From blaming the teachers' union boogeyman to simply blaming the teachers, to deprecating the grotesque amount of wasted money are some of the self assuaging ruses by which many justify their inaction. Analogously, others believe that the education presently being afforded through high school is just fine, since their little gem survived some school or excelled in some sport, or made it to some prestigious college.

And to these latter folks, a simple question: Because your precious Billy or Mary made it, survived their experience with public education, can throw the football, is proud of their alma mater, had you to break the law in order to fake some address so your child can go to the "good" school, does that mean that every child made it, survived, can throw the football, went to the "good" school, is proud of their alma mater? How about those, who are the overwhelming majority, which fell into the drug trade, that became victims of inept teachers and self-serving bureaucrats, that were brainwashed with some fringe political ideology, that cannot understand basic arithmetic or are incapable of reading or communicating despite having "passed" some politically motivate test a la the FCAT? Do we simply abandon those children, because your precious offspring made it? How about all other offspring, as in the 25% of nationwide high school students that drop out, or how about the 27% of Florida's 9th graders that don't obtain a high school diploma? Don't these students count?

If hedonism were a virtue, many would be guaranteed that eternal salvation John spoke about. The taxpayers of Marco Island fork over more than $30,000 per student per year to the local school board, but absolution doesn't come that easy – it requires involvement.

Here on Marco Island we are deeply engage in the apathy/ignorance quagmire. We find the special interest group adverse to anything that doesn't generate them a profit, garners them power, or promotes their bombastic faux efforts; the misinformed that justify their apathy by affording an irrational credence to the rumor that a high school will raise taxes; the Neanderthal mentality of affinity to an experience; those that were educated long ago ipso facto it's not their problem; the majority that simply refuse to pay the price for living in a democracy.

But don't fret, for these folks are not alone in the seeming concerted plan of "at first, do no good".

The contagion is not just limited to Marco. Well intentioned or just misinformed legislatures succumbing to political pressure enact imbecilic rules such as the no child left behind act, and the FCAT, thereby ensuring that all children are left behind at the same near-Neolithic level, creating contest-like atmospheres in the schools to improve an ephemeral system thereby initiating the teaching-to-the-test modality, and making political hay how the test scores have improved – meanwhile the federal government can't give away billions of dollars in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) grant money because few American and even fewer minority college students are qualified to effectuate a sustained graduate level program in STEM.

Something's wrong here. Any time teaching is done just to help kids pass an exam, it's wrong. The purpose of teaching is to provide an education, not to help kids pass a test. Subjects like science, art, history and music are being taught very little in a lot of schools. We're going to raise a generation of cultural idiots - people who don't know Beethoven from Mozart, Cezanne from Van Gogh, or Albert Einstein from Charles Darwin. I don't know what you do about dumb kids, or kids who didn't get any help from dumb parents. -- Andy Rooney.

And around and around we go, but build that dog park, build out the veterans park, build a historical museum for an area with less history than every banana republic in Latin America, discuss ad nausea how the local vomitoriums require more parking, turn over a plot of land that is clearly and unequivocally deeded a "SCHOOL SITE" to the syndicate for some for-profit power generating scam, afford importance to the banality of the local pan-civic organization that is anything but "civic" since "civic" is from the Latin civicus for obligation to a city, citizenship, or community affairs, and where on the planet does one find a city or a community without a complete basic education but on Marco Island. And let's not forget to build out the "ol' towne centre" – as if the real ol' – natives – people would even be allowed in lest it includes a casino, all easily justified because after all "there be gold in them darn hills". And nearly a mention to education sans the genuine interest by the three independent councilors, albeit drowned out from the syndicate's cynically morbid comment that solar panels are educational because the "children" can take tours of the solar farm and watch the solar panels work – as the school superintendent nods his head in approval. Arguably, the school up the road is good in many aspects as one considers that all but one Marco parent that ever had their child attend this esteemed place ever volunteered after school, every day or any day, to help African-American or Hispanic 10-12 graders read. Get it … 10-12 graders … helping them to read? How many still go now that their precious Mary has long graduated and is enjoying her ping pong scholarship at some wonderful northern university? Too far to drive? Interferes with the nail salon appointment, or Billy's football practice? That's ok, we'll let the educational system handle it, don't worry, don't feel guilty because after all you pay taxes – the ones that your accountant can't scheme you out of. It's ok, really, we'll handle it.

So those of us that have taken a gargantuan pay cut and teach at the university level to become the recipients of these students: can't read at a high school level, can't write at a high school level, have no clue what an "average" is, think that "the median" in statistics means the yellow line in the middle of the road, and on and on. Are all students are like this? No. Are they the majority? Probably not. Are there too many? Absolutely. For those that aren't, maybe one of those proud Marco Island graduates of the place up the road, there is the Honor Society or THE GREAT SCHOOLS UP NORTH. For the rest, that's ok, we'll let the educational system handle it, don't worry.

Anybody wonder why we spend tens of billions annually on education with questionable results? Well, consider the amount of remedial work required to remediate the failings of the K-12 system. Consider the bloated administrative bureaucracies with inherent malversations implemented as a matter of policy. Consider the social engineering, new-age psychobabble programs that cost aplenty and deliver nothing educational. Consider that the system hires "educators" with "education degrees" and disparages teachers with passion. Consider that all of these abuses would not be possible if We the People were engaged, were not apathetic, were not content that their Billy played on the varsity tiddlywinks team and Mary "made it", were not the multitudes addicted to remonstrating against teacher unions and illegal aliens and everybody but themselves of course.

And around and around it goes. Today, the Florida legislature is cutting funds to colleges. No news here since after all, your solar governor and your elected officials stole the lottery money years ago. But what is of interest is this quote;

"In the end, someone's got to ask the question of, `Where's the support for higher education?' '' said University of Florida president Bernie Machen.

Good question, simple answer. The support for higher education has been subsumed in a sea of apathy caused by high taxes spent on frivolous unessential services by a kakistocracy answering only to special interest groups.

The response to this entrenched misfeasance is a collective yawn but for the 21st century indolent equivalence of activism by bombarding a distributions list with serial emails decrying how President Obama is taking us to socialism, how such a travesty is happening in front of our very eyes, how these "radical" actions are leaving us both raped and un-empowered to prevent the loss of liberties. But yet one is never treated to serial emails about the moribund state of K-12 education. So from the very apathy and disengagement that leaves education to others, that clings to vacuous allegiances that denigrate anyone attempting to improve education, comes the complaints against a government that is adversative to classical American idealisms. So, who exactly didn't see this coming?

The very same that demand the status quo in education caused the uneducated to elect a person that has antithetical values to those established by the Founders. The loss of liberty is directly proportional to the responsibilities relinquished.

The chickens have come home to roost, and the leave-it-be bunch, and the I'm-too-busy-right-now-crowd, and the I-support-the-existing-ABCDF-school enthusiasts made it happen.

How is it that those who enjoy liberty the most, are for the most part the ones largely oblivious to their obligation to persistently improve education? They love their freedom of speech, their right to peacefully assemble, their rights to own arms, and all of the inalienable and enumerated rights in the Amendments, but for some odd reason missed the very first line of that very hallowed document "… secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, …".

The point, apparently negated by many, is that people are blessed with liberty. To secure the blessings of liberty, and to secure that same blessing to successive generations, the Constitution was established as a mandate: rights to enjoy and rights to protect so as to secure liberty for ourselves and our progeny.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787.

The responsibility to secure the continuity of this great experiment has been abdicated, abandoned to bureaucrats emboldened by the protection afforded within the iron triangle. As if that crime was not enough, those that are tirelessly pursuing improvement in education for all students with novel ideas and suggestions that buck the statists are unsupported, and verbally bludgeoned with unconscionable, unending and exhausting criticism and ridicule.

When the day comes that not a highly educated straw-man president, but five highly educated bearded ragtag revolutionaries take away all that you have, check out where they went to school.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

$ to Finish STRP / $ for STRP Victims

EPA Announces More Than $132 Million In Stimulus Funds for Wastewater Infrastructure Projects in Florida to Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect the Environment

In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for the people in the State of Florida, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $132,286,300 million to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This new infusion of money will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to wastewater projects that are essential for protecting public health and the environment across the state.

“This award is significant because it marks the first investment of EPA stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Florida,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Atlanta. “With this investment, we are embarking on an unprecedented effort to protect human health and the environment and create green jobs.”

The funds provided by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, will go to the state's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. An unprecedented $4 billion dollars will be awarded to fund wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20 percent of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

Since the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program began in 1987, EPA has awarded more than $26 billion in grants, which states have turned into $69 billion of financial assistance for water quality projects. The revolving nature of the program ensures water quality projects will be funded for generations to come. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Feb. 17, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Recovery.gov.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Public Declaration of Inalienable American Rights

Public Declaration of Inalienable American Rights
Marco Island, Florida

We, the People of Marco Island, having found the actions of our government repugnant both to ourselves and to free people everywhere, and having been met with disdain, mockery and mental vacancy from those who profess to serve us unconditionally when we have attempted to air our grievances, have decided to assert what was always ours, what was never for anyone to take, and what we hold to be self-evident, inalienable, and eternal, therefore hereby assert, affirm and seek:

  • To ensure the permanence of American Democratic Principles as delineated in the United States Declaration of Independence;
  • To affirm and protect all of our rights against all affronts as afforded to us by the United States Constitution;
  • To aggressively and consistently demand and seek transparency in government;
  • To improve and further the education of our children;
  • To protect our environment and require that it be used only for the common good;
  • To Expose Government transgressions and assertively request their prosecution;
  • To hold accountable those in elected and appointed public positions, and compel that all government employees work solely for all residents;
  • To demand and expect that the local government obtains and provides only those services that are preordained by the Constitution, deemed vital and essential, or directed via voter referendum; and thereby ensuring that taxation is fair, equitable, unambiguous, and used expressly for these services;
And
To uphold and employ the Constitution of the United States as a shield against all accretions of power, and to secure the Constitution’s preeminence above local laws, rules and regulations;


Affirmed this 15th Day of April 2009

(written for the non-Tea Party on Marco Island and in appreciation of the four remaining Patriots on the island).

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dare to Ask?

Who wants to get insulted and ask the "staff" about how this gem applies AND applied to the city's water/sewer system? (Note the issue date).

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA Withdraws Water Permit Fee Incentive Rule

Contact: Enesta Jones, 202-564-7873 / 4355 / jones.enesta@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. – April 9, 2009) EPA is withdrawing a rule intended to provide financial incentives for states to use fees when administering a clean water permit program. The agency issued the rule in September 2008.


EPA will continue to encourage states to establish and expand their permit fees for their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) programs. Any funds that would have been used for incentive purposes will instead be allocated to states under an existing grant formula.

As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating municipal, industrial and related sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.

More information on the Water Pollution Control Program Grants: http://www.epa.gov/owm/cwfinance/pollutioncontrol.htm

R081

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Syndicate Smackdown

---- Original Message -----
From: Chuck Kiester
To: arcmi@comcast.net
Cc: citycouncil@cityofmarcoisland.com ; Steve Thompson ; WJM-TMP
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 9:39 AM
Subject: RE: Electric Rate Comments

Mr. Arceri,

If your letter below is intended to instruct and educate all of us in an impartial and unemotional way, then why did you get off-track by airing your disappointment with sitting City Councilors who have legitimate questions about spending more money on this project at a time when money is in short supply? Even worse is your denigration of the committee (of which, you were a member until you resigned---personally, I believed you resigned due to the number of members of the committee who have the credentials to challenge you) to ferret out the facts of the pros and cons of pursuing a quest which you apparently initiated in the first place.

You fail, in your comments to point out the FACT that electricity rates are mostly a reflection of rising energy costs; ergo, electric costs to the city’s operation of our water/sewer utility and residents are and will be mostly a reflection of that fact. And, you also fail to note the fact that the city’s ability to negotiate with power suppliers will be less than that of a larger system of which we are currently a part.

Chuck Kiester

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Can We …

Can we have a city government that is fully transparent?

Can we have a "staff" that understands transparency to mean that the citizens do not have to traverse through serial gauntlets to obtain answers and information, but transparency means that the citizens do not even have to search for such answers and information?

Can we have a city "staff" with a mindset to serve all residents, to represent the common good, to put forth with candor all opportunities, to guarantee openness in government, to forswear unlawful secrecy, to facilitate all investigations, and to publicly reject being manipulated by the island's special interest?

Can we have a city "staff" that aggressively seeks out opportunities benefiting the entire community, not just those that promote their agenda?

Can we get a city council that is not directed by one special interest group, and therefore can we get a "staff" that is directed by the city council?

Can we have county, state and federal law enforcement agencies uphold the laws by prosecuting any and all transgressions irrespective of the perpetrators' political connections?

Can we ask Councilors Kiester, Recker and Forcht to hold many physical and virtual town hall meetings? While these three interested and unbiased councilors should be applauded for always being available and embracing ALL residents, there is much more to be gained by all when there is a gathering.

Can we demand that the city not even consider any project that has not been fully analyzed, designed and vetted by parties not comprised of "staff" or syndicate operatives?

Can we demand that the city not be allowed to vote on, or adapt, any initiative without broad public notice using multiple venues by which public comment can be made throughout an extensive amount of time?

Can we have a long term vision for the city, and the strategy to implement same, without it being driven by the for-profit motives of one group?

Can we have a utility, and utility rates, guaranteeing that all users are treated and billed equally, fairly?

Can we ask those with the hidden agenda the simple question: what is the educational difference between supporting an elementary and a middle school on the island, but not supporting a high school on the island?

Can we require that the city be fiscally responsible with a simple change in mindset: determine what can be recovered via taxation in a way that encourages residences to stay and the local economy to grow, and then determine what can be spent? As opposed to the current mindset of creating programs and projects then figuring out how to raise taxes in order to pay for these programs and projects?

Can the residents deemed The Patriots stop blogging on the race tip sheets web sites; stop asking the four syndicate councilors for their input in a puerile attempt to embarrass them; stop crying foul whenever the syndicate comes up with another rape of the city; stop drinking the city water?

Can the residents deemed The Patriots then and only then finally come to realize that solely through acknowledgement does one convey power? So, why keep giving the corrupt power since communicating with the syndicate affords them an unwarranted recognition of power?

Can we then ask the residents deemed The Patriots to start coming up with their own positive initiatives for the three unbiased councilors to champion; and by the same token publicly and repeatedly thank these very same three councilors whenever they prevail, whenever they stand up to the syndicate, every time they work for all of us?

Can we ask the three interested and unbiased councilors to vigorously use the bully pulpit inherent in their office to continuously and forcefully decry the cronyism, special favors, obstructionism, wasteful spending, secret deals, runaway projects and profiteering endeavors that is the present modus operandi of the city?

Can we convince the three interested and unbiased councilors to expose the truth, irrespective of how long the debate takes, irrespective of how grueling the task is, irrespective if their vote is in the minority?

Can We The People save the city for All The People?

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Firing the Inept at the Top

Now that the President has fired the head of General Motors and threatens to fire others as a matter of policy, can we get the city manager fired? Better yet, can we get the syndicate fired? The public works director? For after all, they have proportionately done more economic and environmental damage that 1,000 General Motors.

Or, how about taking Ann Coulter's suggestion:
When is the government going to get around to firing 99 percent of public school superintendents? They're clearly turning out an inferior product -- i.e., America's public school graduates -- as compared to some of the foreign models now available.

[A] New York court ruled that graduates of New York City's public schools did not have the skills to be "capable of voting and serving on a jury." (Worse, some kids coming out of New York high schools are so stupid they don't even know how to get out of jury duty.)
Lesson: the new modality in America is to fire those that actually produce something, and keep those that are destructive. Perfect.

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