It seems I do not receive too many telephone calls from humans anymore. Rather, most are from computers (aka "robo calls") either soliciting something or informing me of the schedule of a maintenance worker. Like a lot of you, I am not immune to the absurd spam calls. One of my favorites is, "Stop what you're doing and listen carefully..." Yeah, like I'm going to drop everything and listen to some dolt trying to sell me something. I can usually hangup on such calls within one second.
Well, we survived Irma... not just the hurricane, but a ratings-hungry news media, power and gas outages, and lack of reliable news. Frankly, I'm surprised we still have a sense of humor. Contrary to what the media told us, Irma was not the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida "ever, ever." Have we already forgotten Andrew of 1992 which wiped out Homestead and left thousands homeless? What about the legendary "No Name Storm" of 1993 which produced more debris, downed trees, boat damage, and power outages than Irma? Or 2004 where hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan criss-crossed the state, leaving a swath of destruction behind? Of the storms I have witnessed in Florida since 1985, I would place Irma a distant fourth.
Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you are probably now familiar with the term, "Antifa," but are not too sure what it represents. In a nutshell, it is an abbreviated form of "anti-fascists" and is at the heart of the violent protests plaguing America. Antifa was there at Charlottesville, VA, in Phoenix, AZ, for the Trump rally, at the desecration of several Civil War monuments, and more recently at the heart of the violent Berkeley, CA protests. These were ugly hostile environments the police had difficulty controlling.
Recently, I was asked to give a talk at a local Republican Club meeting regarding my experiences with the press. Actually, I was a last minute substitution for a gentleman who was suddenly called out of town. Having only 15 minutes to prepare, I jotted down some notes and "winged it." Fortunately, it went well and I was heartily congratulated afterward. Herein is the reconstructed talk based on my notes from the back of a cocktail napkin:
The attacks on our national monuments have less to do with history and social consciousness, and more to do with control over today's political climate. Allow me to explain. We hear of statues in the south pertaining to the Civil War being removed or defaced, particularly those depicting Generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B Stuart. As a youngster growing up in the north, I was taught of the evils of slavery and the costly war to end it. However, as I grew up and moved around for my profession, I learned of the culture of the South and the pride of its citizens. They knew they lost the war and learned to live with it. For over a hundred years, they honored their dead for their spirit. Now, suddenly, such symbols are under attack. Even this misplaced Yankee, who now resides in the South, is alarmed by the determined push to deface our history.
Day after day, President Trump is under attack by the mainstream media with alleged leaked information from anonymous sources. Whether the sources are legitimate or not appears to be inconsequential. They have become so common, the public has become skeptical and the credibility of the press has deteriorated. It is no small wonder people today overwhelmingly do not trust the press and prefer getting news from other sources, particularly social media.