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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

1-25-2022 - Fooey on Floridah, a Tragic Murder and FOOTball

A Local Tragedy 

Sunday’s Palm Beach Post included a lengthy article about a local man serving a life term in prison who murdered his wife and young children about ten years ago. This tragedy stemmed from economic problems of his own making with which he could not cope and possibly from the medication he was taking to control his anxiety. Included in the article, by the Post’s Wendy Rhodes who covered the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium in Surfside, were several photographs, including one of the coffee table in the murderer’s and his victims’ home.

Among the material resting on the table was a copy of a self-help book titled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff,” which the murderer apparently had been reading for advice.  Obviously, he didn’t find what he was seeking from the book, but its presence somehow points up that this tragedy could have been avoided by more perceptive physicians, including those who were trying to help him with drugs, the effects of which may have contributed to his behavior.  The book’s presence indicates that the murderer was looking for help, if not crying out for it, but no one heard him.

Not mentioned in the article is the 2008 Supreme Court decision in D.C. vs. Heller which ruled against laws limiting the possession of weapons in one’s home.  True, there were, and are, no such laws in Florida.  Nevertheless, when the Supreme Court in 2008 legitimized the idea that possessing weapons at home for self-defense was totally permissible, that, in my opinion, contributed to the atmosphere which gave this troubled man the tool with which to murder his family.


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 Sports Page – FOOTball!

Well, the four teams that are playing for the two conference titles in the National Football League all got there by virtue of three-point field goals!  We’re now in the final stretch after which they all can go home and baseball’s Spring Training can start.

The Cincinnati Bengals, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco Forty-Niners defeated the Tennessee Titans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, by last-second field goals.  The Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime win over the Buffalo Bills was similarly made possible by a last-second field goal sending the game into overtime.  What this accomplishes is putting the “foot” back in FOOTball!  Incidentally, something will have to be done about the NFL’s ‘overtime’ procedures which seem less fair than what happens in college games.

And while I am about it, here’s what Jackspotpourri’s crystal ball says about this seemingly endless NFL season:  In the AFC, Kansas City will make short shrift of Cincinnati and in the NFC, Los Angeles will send the Forty-Niners back home. 

In the Super Bowl, don’t bet against Pat Mahones and the Kansas City Chiefs.  

And speaking of wagering, TV commercials are sucking in all too many fans who can least afford it into now-legal online wagering, at its heart no less unsavory than using a bookie to place bets. 



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Bitching and Moaning About Floriduh

In my opinion, why would anyone want to retire to a backward place which is governed by an irresponsible demagogue of a Governor and a political party which is basically anti-democratic, spelled with a small “d”?  It’s almost like moving to places like Russia or China or Cuba, but with the people not knowing what kind of rotten government they actually have!   

First, recognize that the people whom Florida’s government chooses to serve exclude minorities. That’s why, for example, available Federal aid for Medicaid remains refused.  Reducing the number of people who vote, and gerrymandering those districts in which they do, is part of their permanent agenda.  That’s how they manage to stay in power, year after year.  They find ways to get around what the people have voted for, such as returning the vote to felons who have served their time. 

The State’s governor openly attacks Covid19 vaccinations and testing, giving them a lower priority than boasting about the State’s individual freedoms, which allow Floridians to choose to do whatever they want, including spreading Covid19 or even dying from it.  

They reluctantly accept the existence of public schools but favor diverting a good portion of taxpayer dollars to “charter” schools and private, often religious, institutions. They are willing to attack free speech on the part of college faculty members and government officials, even ones they appoint.  The Governor even threatens to monitor what teachers do in classrooms as well as what goes on in polling places.  In a State with miles of coastline, they ignore the effects of climate change, real estate consideration coming first.  Flooded streets, a collapsing condominium burying 98 bodies, and the long-term effect of surrendering the shrinking Everglades and agricultural areas to development do not deter them. Air contaminated by sugar cane burning, banned elsewhere, flourishes in Florida.  Septic tanks where there should be sewer systems persist.  

In certain areas, these shortcomings may not be apparent because local governments may actually recognize and try to deal with them, but a backward State government in Florida usually has the final say and nothing gets done.  To this, I add preposterous automobile and homeowners’ insurance premiums made possible by State regulations designed to protect insurance companies rather than the public.  (More about insurance will follow in a subsequent posting.) 

In the past, I have lived in places where the Republicans were in charge (Nassau County, NY, New York State when Pataki was governor, New Jersey with Republicans in the governor’s mansion and running the legislature) but never have I encountered as corrupt, as contemptible and as dishonest a crew as the Republicans in the State legislature and governor’s office in Florida.  It is not an accident that a disproportionate number of those who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, were from the Sunshine State, from which the late Rush Limbaugh broadcast, where Newsmax is based, where you’ll find Roger Stone, leader of the riot at the Miami-Dade Board of Elections in 2000 and other G.O.P. political obscenities, and where the defeated former president resides.  Florida is a den of Republican iniquity.

Any retiree who chooses to move to Florida should be aware of all of this, and even more.  Its low taxes, pleasant climate, and numerous entertainment and recreational facilities are not really worth it when its shortcomings are recognized.  Eventually, its entire structure will come tumbling down, as most undemocratic societies eventually do when the people “wise up,” with uncertain results.  There are other places retirees should consider.  The climate may not be as nice there, but the sun shines on more places than just the Sunshine State.  Had I the opportunity to do it over, I would not be here, but frankly, I am now too old to make a change.  But I can warn others to stay away.


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