Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

As a military veteran, I'm proud to acknowledge my own military accomplishments and those of others before and after me.  God bless the families who are enduring the loss out brave men and women soldiers.

Let's celebrate their fight for our continued freedom!

Because there's nothing FREE about Freedom!

See you, soon.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll's Major Blunder


Forty years ago, the idea of having a woman as the Lt. Governor of Florida was a silly notion that few would entertain.  Take it one step further and make it a black woman?  That was unthinkably blasphemous to many.

Yet over the past few decades, the citizenry has come to better accept and understand that women deserve an equal place in society and politics as men.  And further, that race should have no bearing on a person’s abilities to do their job well.

Recently Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was accused of having an inappropriate office affair with a female subordinate.  Carroll rebuffed “black women who look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Though Carroll has broken through the glass ceiling to become the state’s first African-American female Lt. Governor, she kept her prejudices with her when she walked into the Capitol.

It’s ludicrous that anyone, particularly someone who has the job she does because we’ve overcome prejudice, would make such a comment disparaging women, gay or straight.

Carroll’s ought to be the photo parents point to when telling their children who not to be like.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another disaster in the making?

NASA/KSC is currently soliciting comments from those in the construction community on the potential use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the KSC Central Campus Phase 1: Replacement Headquarters Building for the Kennedy Space Center. It would be a huge mistake for NASA/KSC to fall for the hype that groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Builders and Contractors regurgitate about how PLAs will increase the cost of a large construction project. Nothing could be farther from the truth, in fact PLAs will save money in the long run.

Take for example the Lake Nona VA hospital project in Orlando. Because there was no PLA signed on this project which would have required skilled labor to be employed, the project is poorly built, is behind schedule, and will without a doubt go over budget to finish.

To avoid the problems that the Lake Nona VA project is experiencing, NASA/KSC should do the smart thing and sign a PLA. Otherwise they will find themselves in the same predicament that VA officials finds themselves in now. Trying to explain how they squandered taxpayer dollars for a shoddy product.

Politicians, prison privatization, and cold hard cash.

There are currently two bills being pushed through the Florida Legislature at breakneck speed. SB 2036 and SB 2038 are attempts to privatize government services, but in reality are huge give aways to companies that could stand to make millions at the expense of taxpayers.

In short, the 2 bill will privatize government agencies and services WITHOUT any public or expert input, and any cost analysis studies to justify the need for privatization. That's right, an agency can be privatized without any studies to show that it could be done cheaper than the government could. No hearings, no studies, and no justifications to show if privatization is a better option.

This give away of government facilities and services is so over the top, that Republican State Senator Mike Fasano spoke out against the rush to push these 2 bills through the process. Senator Fasano quite rightly pointed out that the way these 2 bill are being pushed through the Senate is wrong and not following the rules on how bills should handled. Because Fasano spoke out on the how this is wrong, Senate President Mike Haridopolis stripped him of his chairmanship of the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.

Haridopolis's actions lay bare his true intentions of giving away prisons and in the future, other government facilities and services to Private interests, and the reason for this is money. Not money saved for taxpayers, but money that will go into the pockets of private companies and politicians and we the taxpayers are paying for it. Once those prisons go private, owners will push politicians to impose mandatory sentencing for what are now petty crimes. That is the reason companies like GEO give so much in campaign contributions is that the see it as an investment that they intend to make up in spades by filling jails and charging taxpayers for it. Politicians like Haridopolis are only to willing to extend their hands when GEO is passing out the checks.

To those who think that there is nothing nefarious going on behind the scenes in Tallahasse, one only needs to look at the case of Judge Mark Ciavarella to get a glimpse of what will happen if Florida privatizes prisons. For years "cash for kids" Ciavarella took money from a private prison and in return, sentenced children to serve time for infractions like flipping off a police officer. To think that won't happen here is beyond foolish, it is stupid.

When honorable politicians like Fasano are punished for considering what is best for taxpayers, and politicians like Haridopolis are rewarded for selling out those very same taxpayers, the corrupt system in Tallahassee needs to be exposed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Matt and Me

I had a little smackdown with Matt Reed this morning on “Bill Mick Live” – a talk radio show on WMMB. Matt is a regular guest and generally I find his opinions on things legit and not too over-the-top. This morning was different.

First, Matt was discussing a piece he had written regarding an interview with a national ACLU person. I had not read the piece when I heard the radio show, but Matt began this segment calling the ACLU “kind of liberal” and “non-partisan.”

The topic then segued to new rules in Florida that require a voter to show a picture ID before they can vote. Matt called this a “poll tax.”

I called into the show and called him on these comments. I said that there is a long history of the ACLU being liberal and partisan. I noted that I was driving and couldn’t back my claims at that moment, but would surely be able to if I had computer access. However, I will not waste my time with that now – as it is surely fact, not fiction that the ACLU predominantly sides with liberal causes.

Secondly, I noted that since we provide people without means with safety nets, we could certainly provide those without means with a picture ID so that voter identity could be assured. I hung up so Matt could respond.

Smarmily, Matt started by saying (I’m paraphrasing), “I’m not getting into that liberal/conservative nonsense because it is tired and old.” Well Matt, you brought it up in the first place. I was responding to your off-handed remark about the ACLU. If you’re tired of labeling – then stop the labeling.

You see, it is the classic liberal ploy to decry labeling liberal-ness. Conservatives know who they are and proudfully self-identify. Liberals or “progressives” (since they post-modernly changed their name) like to change the subject.

Then Matt went on to even more smarmily say (and I’m paraphrasing), “That guy (that would be me) is driving and on a cell phone so he has no idea what poor and old people go through to get a picture ID.”

Well, Matt this “guy” is a school teacher with a kid in college and a kid in braces. I certainly know what it is like to be on the short end of a paycheck. Secondly, my cell phone is a free one.

Another classic liberal ploy – attack your opponent instead of confronting the charge. The fact that I have a job and a car and a cell phone does not mean that I don’t understand the poor and the elderly. And it doesn’t change the argument that it would be very easy to provide low income and elderly people with free IDs so that they can vote.

Since my conservative “Opinion" doesn’t "Matter” anymore for Florida Today – it is not surprising that Matt Reed now feels free rein to castigate success and expose his liberal/progressive agenda whenever and wherever he can.

Hate comes to Brevard.

On February 14th at 6:30 pm in the Brevard County facilities in Viera, there will be a meeting of people who hate Muslims based solely on Islam being a different faith. As harsh as that sounds it is the blunt and unvarnished truth. Although this blog may alert even more whackjobs to the event than before, I feel that it is imperative that sane and reasoned people who have more tolerance should be aware that the county facilities that their tax dollars paid for, are being used to teach hate.

Act! for America is a group who's founder has called all Muslims "barbarians", and thinks that anyone who practices Islam cannot be a loyal American. Even the publicist for one of her hate-filled books called her views "extreme". The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a report on the anti-Muslim activities of Brigitte Gabriel who is the founder and leader of ACT!for America.

That our county facilities are being used for such a bigoted and disgusting event is appalling. I would venture just 1 guess as to which Brevard County Commissioner offered up the use of county facilities for this meeting. Brevard County is better than this. We should be above demonizing an entire religion just because acts of terrorism were committed in the name of that religion. To follow that point of view to it's logical conclusion, Christianity is to blame for the Ku Klux Klan and a host of other radicals who interject God into their ideology.

As I said earlier, this blog may encourage even more of those who hate to attend the ACT! meeting, but I feel that it is important that rational and concerned citizens who love America and honor the Bill of Rights, should be made aware of the shameful way our government facilities are being misused. There is still time for the sane members of the County Commission to rectify this outrage.

District 1
Commissioner Robin Fisher
Ph: (321) 264-6750

District 2 (Chairman)
Commissioner Chuck Nelson
Ph: (321) 454-6601

District 4
Commissioner Mary Bolin
Ph: (321) 633-2044

District 5 (Vice Chairman)
Commissioner Andy Anderson
Ph: (321) 253-6611



District 3
Commissioner Trudie Infantini
Ph: (321) 952-6300

Opinion Matters Retirement

As some of my fellow bloggers have already posted, the Opinion Matters blog will cease to exist by next week. I have been on Opinion Matters and the FLORIDA TODAY Citizens Advisory Panel for the past two years. I have tried to convey my thoughts on things relating to military and politics in the most conservative yet moderate fashion.

I started on Opinion Matters in January 2010, just a few months after returning from Iraq. While I am sure not everyone agrees with my views, I enjoyed sparring with Pat Galbraith, Chuckwally, Jason, Faithful Catholic (i.e Dominique), Old Plt guy, and Richard White. I feel I provided a more rational and sane approach in my views, rather than emotion or hyperbole.

Thank you for your time and opinions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lake Nona VA Project disaster.

In April of 2010 I first wrote about the Lake Nona VA project being built that would service veterans in Central Florida. Our concerns then as now, have been that contractors were cheating workers out of the Davis-Bacon wages that they were entitled to by federal law. In short, contractors were breaking the law and any construction workers worth their salt would not allow themselves to be cheated thereby leaving the hospital to be built by unskilled and untrained workers. In fact the general contractor was found to be hiring and protecting undocumented workers as evidenced by an ICE raid where Brasfield & Gorrie supervisors were hiding those undocumented workers on the jobsite.

Since very few skilled workers were hired for this project in the first place, this led to a shoddy and poorly built facility which in turn will degrade the level of care that our veterans will receive when the hospital is finally opened. It was scheduled to open this year but VA officials have tentatively rescheduled for summer 2013 "at the earliest". We in the Building Trades had and continue to try and inform VA officials on the jobsite about what is happening under their very noses. VA project managers are tasked with all compliance matters on the job, but from the very start, did not seem interested in acting on the information we had provided them.

Now over 2 years into the project, the hospital is way behind schedule with reports of shoddy workmanship that has resulted in massive flooding inside the building. Sitting water has created mold throughout the building, including inside ventalation systems. Once the hospital becomes operational, any patients housed there will be exposed to the mold spores flowing throught the ventalation system. Is this how the contractors and the VA project managers show their respect and gratitude towards veterans who sacrificed so much for America?

Big win for Romney in Florida?



In what the GOP establishment is calling a "landslide", Romney won the Florida primary last night. What must be closely examined are the numbers leading up to that "landslide" win. To begin with, Republican voter turnout was down by 13% or 260,000 votes from the last Florida Presidential primary in 2008. Next, 894,520 people voted against Romney while only 774,942 for him. In fact, 21,614 voters so despise Romney to the "very core of their being", that they voted for candiates who are no longer even running! And this is called a "landslide"?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Helmets to Hardhats.






Today the Non-Commissioned Officers Association hosted a job fair in Cocoa Beach, and I was proud to help represent an organization that is training veterans for a career in the construction trades. Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) was established in 2003 and is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment (CMRAVE). The National Building & Construction Trades Council has partnered with H2H to help veterans transition into civilian life with a career path in the building trades.

H2H helps veterans who are interested in learning a construction trade by enrolling them in an apprenticeship which will train them for high paying jobs in the building trades. These apprenticeship positions are an "earn while you learn" combination of on the job training and classroom instruction. These apprenticeship programs are for the most part 4 years of intensive training, and are completely free to the apprentice.
I along with 4 representatives from various construction crafts met with many active duty, and prior military veterans who expressed interest in starting a career in the building trades. I am so glad that veterans have an organization like H2H to help them with career choices.

Up until last year H2H had received most of its funding in the form of grants from the federal government. Last year the Republican led House voted to completely defund this much needed organization and leave veterans with one less career option after separating from the military. Luckily the National Building Trades stepped up for veterans and funded H2H for the rest of this year. While despicable politicians are cutting budgets that hurt Americans who need the most help, we in the AFL-CIO are repaying the debt we ALL owe to our nations veterans which they so richly deserve.