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Preview: Wonking the Coast

Wonking the Coast

Pensacola, politics, policy, taxes, idiocy, weirdness, beer

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 16:30:46 +0000


The El Paso Miracle

Mon, 06 Jul 2009 23:13:00 +0000

An interesting article about the astonishingly low crime rate in El Paso, which would seem to be a candidate for a high crime rate, in light of what's going on just across the Big River.

Creaking back to life?

Mon, 06 Jul 2009 20:56:00 +0000

As my friend Cory pointed out the other day, it's been a LONG time since I posted anything here. In fact, it took me a while to even remember my password...

But, I'm feeling a bit like posting these days, so I may put some more stuff up. Or not. I suppose time will tell.

You said it, brudder...

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 13:40:00 +0000


Berkeley Breathed on, discussing his feelings about the current state of America, and why he's sending Opus "into the ages."

Watching the horror...

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 18:30:00 +0000

You can watch live web feeds of 4 Houston TV stations covering Hurricane Ike at

Reporters I can understand. The woman there on the seawall with her two small kids, looking to see what is going on, not so much. She doesn't want to leave her house, so she's exposing her kids to this. Aaaargh!

Galveston in the bulls-eye

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 18:15:00 +0000

Dr. Jeff Masters over at Weather Underground says "Storm surge heights of 20-25 feet are possible from Galveston northwards to the Louisiana border."

A 20-foot surge could make the island totally disappear (see this spooky animation created in 2005 when Rita came through, showing what a 20-foot surge would do to Galveston), so this looks to be bad. Like REALLY bad. Like Katrina-like bad. I hope I'm wrong...

Large Hadron Rap

Thu, 11 Sep 2008 01:55:00 +0000

To satisfy all of our advanced-particle-physics-rap urges (although I think MC 900-foot Jesus did this song already in about 1988):

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Heads up, Corpus Christi

Tue, 09 Sep 2008 21:19:00 +0000


I lived in Corpus Christi for about 3 years in the mid-1990s. It's a nice town. I hope they come through this okay, but they look to be on the "bad" side of the storm if it follows this track. There isn't a whole lot of population on the coast between Corpus Christi and Harlingen/Brownsville to the south, so if it does come in there hopefully they won't get too badly hit. Good luck y'all!

Thank you, Dr. Morale....

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 20:09:00 +0000

I usually like reading Dr. Jeff Masters WunderBlog over at Weather Underground. He really seems to know his stuff and he gives it to us straight. But then I read this about Hurricane Ike:

"Overall, I'd give the Gulf Coast a 70% chance of getting hit (including the west coast of Florida)."

Gee, thanks doc. Not his fault, of course, and he's giving it his best estimation, but considering we just got through with Fay and Gustav, I think I'm about ready for someone to just start lying to me and tell me everything is going to be okay...

Ike Ike Ike

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 16:08:00 +0000

"Ike." It draws varying images to mind. "I like Ike" bumper stickers (which I'm too young to really remember). The smiling, balding face gazing placidly down from the principal's wall as the gym teacher suggests calling in a sketch artist to draw the offending student's dingus from the shower scene in "Porky's." A young (but already creepy) Richard Nixon. The cold war.

Perhaps a Cockney quarterback (think about it...).

But it looks like "Ike" may soon mean something totally different to folks in these parts. I'm NOT liking the look of this:


Tax Watch website is down

Sat, 21 Jun 2008 23:49:00 +0000

Went to read the new Florida Tax Watch report and found their website is down. Crashed by the thousands of Escambia residents wanting to pore over the report? Kinda doubtful, but we can hope... Hopefully the website will be back up shortly.

Florida Tax Watch Report is up

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 16:32:00 +0000

Florida Tax Watch's report on Improving Transparency and Accountability in Escambia County Government (.pdf warning) is up on the Tax Watch website.

It looks to be about 40 pages long, so I'll have to wait until this weekend to be able to read it, but Rick Outzen notes on his blog that the report "finds that revenue and spending increases since 2000 are 'unsustainable.'" Not shocking.

Paradigm Shifting, part deux

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 03:53:00 +0000

So last November I complained about a tank of gas costing me less than $70.00. Ah, the folly of youth. That same tank now costs me almost $90.00. At Sam's club. Sheee-yit, mang. So the Tundra is officially for sale. If y'all know anyone who is interested in a very gently used 2001 Tundra SR5 with lots of the bells and whistles (sorry, no leather), lemme know. Gotta unload this albatross, y'know?

Same song, different year

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 03:46:00 +0000

I wrote almost exactly a year ago about my Rice Owls being eliminated from the 2007 College World Series after a couple of early wins. No such luck this year, though. Two losses and out. Ugh. But, hey, we can console ourselves with the fact that they've made the CWS 3 years in a row now, right? And that they won the whole thing in 2003? And, uh, um, aw screw it. I want a beer. Frackin' Owls...

Got a foghorn and a drum and a Hamer that's rockin' and a cord and a pedal and a life that'll do for now...

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 03:33:00 +0000

Some things just feel like home. I put on this record tonight, and even 20+ years down the road it still makes my spine tingle. If you haven't listened in a while, give it a go again. You won't be sorry.

Good Ideas Abound (not so much here, tho)

Thu, 19 Jun 2008 03:11:00 +0000

Poking around the Florida Tax Watch website looking for the still-elusive report on its analysis of Escambia County's tax and spending practices (I'm equally giddy and apprehensive about the results of that report), I came across their "Notable Practices" report (.pdf warning), which seems like a great resource.

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but it looks like a collection of really good ideas that it would make sense for us to consider here.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is only one "notable practice" from the Pensacola/Escambia County area, involving "urban infilling," which is described in the report as
us[ing] an urban infill implementation grant and funds from other programs to acquire 12 lots, construct seven homes, and pay for 1,700 overtime hours that were worked by police officers patrolling the urban infill and redevelopment area.
The report states that "[t]hese activities helped encourage private developers to build housing in this area." I'm not sure what project this refers to, but it sounds neato.

Maybe some of our local nabobs should read through some of the ideas coming from other areas in the state? Maybe? Anyone? Bueller?

Hello, TaxWatch? Hi, it's me, Patrick...

Sat, 24 May 2008 15:20:00 +0000

I've been sort of half-heartedly following the budgeting process for Escambia County (see Rick Outzen's blog items about the budget here). What I'm really eager to see is this year's TaxWatch report on Escambia County, but for some reason it's been delayed.

Back on February 4th, Florida Tax Watch indicated in a press release (.pdf warning) that the report would be out at the end of March. I sent an e-mail recently, inquiring about the status of the report, and received a reply from Kaye Kendrick, Senior VP for Research, stating that they are "still continuing to work out a few details," and that, although there is no official release date, I should "check back with [TaxWatch] during the second week of June."

Hopefully it will come in time to be considered in the budgeting process.

Sometimes you gotta wonder...

Fri, 23 May 2008 23:38:00 +0000

I haven't commented about the whole "Rustygate" thing before, but I've been thinking about it quite a bit. Rick Outzen has talked about it a lot, and the PNJ even picked up the story (finally). I don't necessarily share Rick Outzen's apparent view that anything sinister or underhanded occurred, but I certainly DO agree that the City Council (particularly Mike DeSorbo) screwed this thing up, and how.

I mean really.

How can city council-persons in THIS CITY, who have seen things like all but one of the county commission dismissed, sunshine law violations galore, etc., etc., etc., not understand the suspicion with which EVERY action they take will be viewed? In the atmosphere that prevails in Pensacola these days, WHY THE HELL would anyone agree to bag the whole attorney-selection process that was advertised and underway, all of a sudden, with no real notice to anyone, and just say "Ah, what the hell, let's just hire that guy, and to hell with everyone else who applied, qualified or not." WTF are they thinking? How can DeSorbo NOT think that he's gonna get his ass chewed for doing that? Does he just not care? Or does he really not know? Either way, it speaks poorly of him. I learned a long time ago that I never wanted to be in the position of being belived either incompetent or evil, 'cause neither one is good. One good thing was that MY city council-person, Jewel Cannada-Wynn, had enough sense to vote against this boneheaded idea. Good on her.

While I don't always share Rick Outzen's fervor for "regime change," I'm starting to warm up to the idea. We definitely need some new blood, if only to help assuage the public perception that things are mired in the "Good Ol' Boy" network of old. We need to identify some promising independent new local folks to take city council, county commission, ECUA and School Board posts. Sometimes change is good. Seriously.

Stop. Really. Just stop. Don't make me pass a law...

Thu, 15 May 2008 14:07:00 +0000

I'm all for the democratic process. I fully believe in the value and necessity of intelligent debate when we're passing laws that affect all of us. But, c'mon, aren't there a few things that can just be DONE, without the hassle and delay of the legislative process? I am speaking, this time, of making it illegal to f*ck your dog, m'kay?

Does anybody think this would be a bad law to pass? Would anybody argue against it? Apparently, it is still legal in Florida (and about 19 other states). And, inexplicably, it is happening.
Since 2001, there have been at least a dozen documented cases in Florida.


Sen. Nan Rich (D-Sunrise) introduced a bill this spring making such shenanigans illegal. The bill died in the Judiciary Committee.


Can't we just agree on this one? Can't the Governor just issue an executive order making this illegal? I'll even write it for him: "Dear Florida. DON'T F*CK YOUR DOG. If you do, we'll put you in jail. That is all."


Movie quote o' the day

Thu, 15 May 2008 01:16:00 +0000

I see in fight club the strongest and
smartest men who have ever lived --
an entire generation pumping gas and
waiting tables; or they're slaves
with white collars.

Advertisements have them chasing cars
and clothes, working jobs they hate
so they can buy shit they don't need.
We are the middle children of
history, with no purpose or place.
We have no great war, or great
depression. The great war is a
spiritual war. The great depression
is our lives. We were raised by
television to believe that we'd be
millionaires and movie gods and rock
stars -- but we won't. And we're
learning that fact. And we're very,
very pissed-off.

--Tyler Durden

Deep Thoughts...

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 21:16:00 +0000

"WAR IS PEACE." - George Orwell, 1984

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." - George W. Bush, June 18, 2002

"FREEDOM IS SLAVERY" - George Orwell, 1984

"Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." - Rudi Giuliani, March 16, 1994

"IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" - George Orwell, 1984

"We have to get away from the ethos that knowledge is good, knowledge should be publicly available, that information will liberate us. Information will kill us in the techno-terrorist age." - Prof. Arthur Caplan, University of Pennsylvania, 2002

I'm still giddy...

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 19:09:00 +0000

I'm still a little giddy from the Jayhawks' win on Monday night, for their first NCAA championship since 1988. Here is my bracket (which won me $80 in my office pool).


Sorry, try again...

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 11:52:00 +0000

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in the case of Emma Murray v. Mariner Health/ACE USA. The summary of the case provided by WFSU's "Gavel to Gavel" site describes the case thus:

"Ms. Murray, a nurse's assistant, was injured while helping lift a patient and had to undergo a hysterectomy and other surgical procedures. Her application for workers' compensation benefits was denied. After a hearing at which witnesses testified and evidence was presented, the Judge of Compensation Claims awarded her the requested benefits. Her lawyer then applied for attorney fees, seeking $16,880. However, the JCC found that a 2003 state law limited the fee that could be paid to $648. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the JCC. On appeal to this court, Ms. Murray argues the 2003 law was either misapplied or, if not, violates her constitutional rights to equal protection, due process and access to the courts. Mariner Health and Ace American Insurance Co. argue caps on attorney fees are not unconstitutional and are even found in the Florida Constitution."

The arguments were made by Richard Sicking, Esq. for the Claimant, and by Cheryl Wilke, Esq. and John Darin, Esq. for the Employer/Carrier.

The oral argument was what attorneys like to call "lively." Richard Sicking was about two seconds into his presentation when the questions started, and they did not stop for the entire hour presentation.

Attorneys around the state, both on the plaintiff's bar and the defense, are waiting to see what the Supremes do with this case. If they declare the 2003 amendments to the workers' compensation law unconstitutional, the law will revert to the pre-2003 status, and expectations are that there will be a flood of new workers' comp cases, as attorneys can finally make a living bringing those cases again, which has been very difficult to do since the new law went in place. Obviously, a flood of new claims means a flood of new work for the defense bar, so don't imagine that defense lawyers don't want this to happen.

Scuttlebutt is that the Supremes had pretty much already decided to declare the law unconstitutional before it was submitted yesterday.

See video of the oral argument here (scroll down to the April 9, 2008 entry).

Last one, I promise...

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 01:36:00 +0000

I probably should have just started with this one. This shows the last 23 seconds of Regulation, and the whole overtime.

Rock chalk, baby...

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Mario Chalmers' Game-Saver

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 01:29:00 +0000

The last video cuts off too soon, so here is Chalmers' clutch 3.

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