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Thursday, 06 April 2017 23:23


The American president was a romantic, a visionary, even a utopian. He was not without flaws; his racial views were offensive for his time, repugnant for ours. But he believed in human rights and the sanctity of human life. And he had a broad view of natural rights, and they included the freedom of the seas and the virtue of national self-determination. It was a toxic brew of ideas and ideals -- it would produce rhetorical majesty and personal and national tragedy -- but on April 2, 1917, he delivered the most important speech of his life, perhaps the most important speech of his time.

The son of a preacher, the product of Johns Hopkins and Princeton, a scholar and reformer, an introvert and an inveterate golfer, Woodrow Wilson strode to the podium of the House of Representatives that day, summoned every corpuscle of compassion and every calorie of energy he possessed, and bid the United States to abandon a century-and-a-quarter-old tradition of abstinence from the affairs of Europe and to join the Great War.

"It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts -- for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free."

These were brave words at a time when Russia was in revolutionary tumult, Europe was in exhaustion and despair, and the conflict across the Atlantic seemed far away.

The immediate implication was clear. Americans would travel beyond their home regions for the first time, and they, and the country they returned to when the war ended the following year, would be transformed forever: more worldly, more engaged in the world, and more regarded as an essential element in world affairs. World War I, as it came to be known after there was a second one, made a world of difference.

"The war made America more urban, more modern, more devoted to pleasure, licit and illicit," wrote Will Englund in his new book, "March 1917." It also made America committed to fighting dangerous foes and ideas on foreign lands, lest their evils -- Nazi genocide, Soviet tyranny and aggression, al-Qaida terror -- reach our own land.

None of that was known when the 28th president opened his remarks. What was known was that the economic output of the United States had just surpassed that of the British Empire -- an important fact for this war and for the following one -- and that whether it remained on the sidelines in the war or moved to the center of the European conflict, the United States was moving to the center of global affairs.

"Henceforth, down to the beginning of the 21st century, American economic might would be the decisive factor in the shaping of the world order," the historian Adam Tooze would write in his 2014 book, "The Deluge," perhaps the most imaginative and insightful interpretation of World War I in a generation. Tooze, a Briton who teaches at Columbia, argued that Wilson wanted peace without victory -- one of the president's signature phrases -- to assure that the United States "emerged as the truly undisputed arbiter of world affairs."

That is a matter of substantial scholarly debate, but what is beyond debate is that Wilson's war speech marked a significant inflection point in American life and politics. And, as presidents do when setting the nation on a course of conflict, Wilson spoke the language of grandeur and moral heroism -- grandeur and heroism that would be debased in the sodden, contaminated trenches of wartime Europe.

"Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for."

Not everyone wanted to enter this war. The isolationist Sen. William E. Borah of Idaho warned that once the United States was "in the maelstrom of European politics," it would be "impossible to get out." Even a few years of Warren Harding-inspired "normalcy" wouldn't disprove the Borah contention. The president knew that.

"Wilson knew full well war's awful consequences, and he was keenly aware of the terrible risk he was taking," wrote John Milton Cooper Jr., the University of Wisconsin historian and Wilson biographer. "Yet given his temperament, it would have been nearly impossible for him not to choose war."

The president concluded his remarks to Congress this way:

"To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other."

That last sentence was an adaptation of the famous exhortation of Martin Luther. "Mr. President," said Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, "you have expressed in the loftiest manner possible, the sentiments of the American people." Two years later the Massachusetts Republican would defeat the president's plan for American entry into the League of Nations.

One of the 50 House members who voted against entering the war was Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a pacifist and the first woman to serve in Congress. Decades later, she returned for a second term, and was the only lawmaker to oppose entering World War II. In her late 80s, she would lead a march against the Vietnam War.

The great British historian A.J.P. Taylor once reflected on the European turmoil of 1848 and said that "German history reached its turning point and failed to turn." The United States reached its turning point in 1917, and turned.

David M. Shribman

Any service member with teenagers knows it can be hard to keep them entertained, especially in the summer. That’s why the Department of Defense offers military teen adventure camps, and the schedule for the 2017 camps has just been announced.

The Office of Military Community and Family Policy has teamed up with Purdue University and the Land Grant University system to give military teens – who make sacrifices for their nation, just like their parents – support in the form of fun, games and adventure.

The teen adventure camps aren’t like the norm, though. Kids ages 14-18 can get experiences that aren’t typically available through military youth programs.

Would your teen like to hike to a 1946 B-17 Air Force crash site in the Rocky Mountains, or snorkel through crystal-clear springs in Florida? Maybe they’re up for learning survival skills like trapping, foraging and fishing in the Kentucky wilderness, or canoeing and sailing along the coast of Maine?

Aside from adventure, the camps also build teens’ self-esteem, team-building and life skills and their ability to plan and make decisions.

So far, the camps are scheduled throughout the summer of 2017 in four states: Kentucky, Maine, Georgia and Colorado. Families can choose camps by the date or location, and they’re all available at little to no cost. To find out more about a camp or to apply, visit the military teen adventure camps website. Click on “camps by location,” and that will take you to the contact information for each camp:

The camps were first offered six years ago and have become very popular. About 2,300 military youths took part in varying camps during 2015.

If high adventure isn’t your child’s thing, there are also Operation Purple camps you can check out that are offered by the National Military Family Association.

No matter what, see what options are in store for your child this summer. Because after all, when we invest in the well-being of the military family, we invest in the well-being of the nation!


Thursday, 06 April 2017 23:18


Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has been sharply critical of the panel's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, for visiting the White House to view classified documents that Nunes says show the Obama administration intercepted the communications of Donald Trump associates before the president took office in January.

Among other things, Schiff slammed Nunes for viewing the documents by himself and not sharing them with Democrats on the committee. So last week, White House counsel Don McGahn invited Schiff to come see the documents for himself. Schiff did so on Friday.

Now, both the Republican chairman and the Democratic ranking member on the Intel Committee have seen the documents. And now, the public has a chance to hear another assessment to balance Nunes' claim that he saw "dozens" of intelligence reports involving the incidental collection of Trumpworld figures in Obama administration intercepts, with the names of some of them "unmasked," and that none of it had to do with Russia. In other words, Nunes suggested the Obama administration misused its wiretapping powers to gather information on the Trump team.

So with Schiff's visit to the White House, a chance for balance. But after viewing the documents, Schiff has gone nearly completely silent about what he saw. He has kept up his criticism of how Nunes came to view the material, but on what's actually in the documents, Schiff has said virtually nothing.

On Friday, immediately after viewing the documents, Schiff released a statement in which he declined to say anything about substance and repeated earlier criticisms of Republicans' handling of the matter.

"While I cannot discuss the content of the documents," Schiff said, "if the White House had any concern over these materials, they should have been shared with the full committee in the first place."

Schiff made no public comments on Saturday, and then on Sunday morning appeared on CNN, where Jake Tapper asked Schiff if, having seen the documents, "can you understand why Chairman Nunes might have some issues with the surveillance that was going on?"

"I can't go into the contents of the documents, Jake," Schiff said, before a quick pivot to Nunes' methods. "I can say I don't agree with the chairman's characterization, which is exactly why it's so important you don't share documents with just one person or even two people. They need to be shared with both full committees."

Continuing, Schiff said "the most important thing" about the documents is not what is in them but how they were handled:

"But the most important thing people need to know about these documents is not classified, and it's a couple of things. First, the deputy assistant to the White House informed me when I went to see them that these are exactly the same materials that were shown to the chairman.

"Now, this is a very interesting point. How does the White House know that these are the same materials that were shown to the chairman, if the White House wasn't aware what the chairman was being shown?

"And the second point was also made to me. And this is -- I think was also underscored by Sean Spicer -- and that is, it was told to me by the deputy assistant that these materials were produced in the ordinary course of business.

"Well, the question for the White House and for Mr. Spicer is the ordinary course of whose business? Because, if these were produced either for or by the White House, then why all of the subterfuge? There's nothing ordinary about the process that was used here at all."

All the talk about intercepts, Schiff said, was just an attempt by Trump and Republicans to distract from questions about Trump and Russia.

By that time, anyone interested in the substance of the issue -- Do the documents show that Obama administration officials picked up Trumpworld figures in electronic intercepts and then identified them by name? -- was entirely frustrated. Schiff appeared determined to say nothing about substance.

"I guess the question that Nunes is asking or suggesting that we should be asking in the media," Tapper said to Schiff, "(is) who unmasked these Trump advisers, and is it possible that any of this unmasking was being done for political reasons, instead of for legitimate ones?"

"Well, first of all, I can't talk about, as I mentioned, the contents of any documents," Schiff said. "So at this point, I can't say whether anything was masked or unmasked improperly."

Schiff then pivoted again to criticize Republican procedures.

Monday morning, Bloomberg's Eli Lake reported that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice "requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter." If that is accurate, it seems unlikely that the "most important" thing about the documents is how they were handled.

After seeing the documents with his own eyes, Schiff had a chance to shed some light on what has become a key question in the Trump-Russia matter. He didn't take it.

Byron York

Thursday, 06 April 2017 23:10

Short Takes

No bull: Fearless Girl stands her ground

The defiant, burly, overly endowed bronze bull that adorns the entrance to Wall Street in Manhattan has been long overdue for a feminine touch. In honor of International Women's Day, an investment firm commissioned sculptor Kristen Visbal to install Fearless Girl directly in the 7,000-pound bull's path.It was meant to be a temporary installation, but tourists couldn't get enough of this unlikely duo. Fearless Girl's overwhelming popularity prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare that she's here to stay, at least for the next year. "She spoke to the moment. That sense that women were not going to live in fear," De Blasio said.Not everyone is thrilled. A spokesman for the Italian sculptor who created the bull denounced Fearless Girl as "an outrage" and an illegal interloper on the bull's sacred territory. Legal action could follow.Give it a rest, guys. There's no space on this planet where fearless girls should be blocked from taking a stand.

Another Webster chess team national title

The Webster University chess team won its fifth straight national championship last weekend in New York. St. Louis University finished third, behind Webster and Texas Tech. Webster's coach, former women's world champion Susan Polgar, who formerly coached at Texas Tech, now has seven national titles under her belt. That would be a monumental achievement in any sport.She said one weekend competition lasted a grueling 13 hours, which is enough to test anyone's patience and endurance.

2,750 foul shots, not one afoul

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Tom Amberry, a retired Long Beach, Calif., podiatrist, died March 18 at the age of 94. With him went the world record for most consecutive free throws.
Amberry was 71 on that day in 1993 when he made 2,750 straight shots from the charity stripe at a gym in Orange County. It took him 12 hours. "I could have made more -- a lot more," Amberry once recalled. "But they were closing the gym, so they kicked me out."
Amberry shot fouls every day for exercise. He shot them right-handed and left-handed alike. All it took, he said, was pure, locked-in concentration and muscle memory. And keep your elbows in.
He was on the David Letterman show. He was sought out by big-name coaches and players. He wrote a book on the subject. He's in the Guinness Book of Records. He claimed to have made 500 in a row on 473 occasions.
If you're obsessive enough to shoot them, you're obsessive enough to count them.

O'Reilly goes for offensiveness trifecta

Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly really does need to give it a rest. As in go home, kick off the shoes, and leave broadcasting behind. His employer had to settle a lawsuit reportedly in the high six figures after host Juliet Huddy accused O'Reilly of making inappropriate phone calls and trying to forcefully kiss her. When she complained, the network retaliated by demoting her to a 4:30 a.m. anchoring slot.
Last week, O'Reilly showed a clip of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., giving a speech. On a dual screen, O'Reilly could be seen pumping a black power fist while mockingly mouthing "right on." When the clip of the black congresswoman finished, O'Reilly said, "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig." Another Fox host immediately came to Waters' defense.
After viewers began calling for O'Reilly's ouster, he apologized. Kind of. Then he attacked her again. Also on Tuesday, two women in the network's payroll department sued, claiming they had been subjected to "top-down racial harassment." Anyone see a pattern here?

End of the splashdown

Thursday's first-ever launch of a previously launched rocket booster was a milestone in space exploration. The space shuttle program was the first to embrace the concept of flying reusable craft into space, but never before has the expensive first-stage rocket booster been recovered and used again in a subsequent launch. All that changed when SpaceX founder Elon Musk pioneered new technology that allowed rocket boosters to be guided vertically back to a landing pad rather than being unceremoniously ditched in the ocean.
The savings could be enormous and mark a dramatic step toward a human mission to Mars. Musk compares the waste of rocket boosters during launches as the equivalent to scrapping a 747 jumbo jet after a single flight. With space shuttles, it turned out, the cost of refurbishing after every flight made it prohibitively expensive to continue the program. Not so with rocket boosters, which could now lead to a 30 percent to 50 percent reduction in the $62 million cost of each launch.

By a 14-1 vote, the House Health Quality subcommittee approved a measure that would limit how Florida patients can use medical marijuana.

Not only would patients be prohibited from smoking medical marijuana, but they would also be barred from buying more than a 90-day supply. Edibles would be outlawed, and vaping would only be allowed for terminal patients. However, a limitation on types of ingestion is not the only issue within HB 1397.

The bill would severely curtail the market for medical marijuana. Only seven dispensaries would serve the entire state until 200,000 patients register. Only after the threshold number of patients is met would five additional treatment centers be permitted.

In November, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to expand the use of medical marijuana in Florida.

Now, lawmakers are going against this strong public support by ristrictiong the number of dispensaries and the possible types of Medical Marijuana available to recipiants that would be legal to receive it.

Simply put, this new bill, HB 1397 is too restrictive and is contradictory to the desire of 71% of Floridians.

While the bill still needs approval from two other House committees before heading to the floor for a full vote, now is the time to tell your representative to oppose this unduly burdensome implementation of Amendment 2!

This is exactly what we reported/warned about in our last Sun Bay issue.

Over $100K in "Campaign Donations" have trickled into the pockets of lawmakers from the dispensaries that have already been approved so lawmakers would limit the amount of providers in the state, looks like their tactic is working.

As Easter approaches, those of the Christian faith, by and large the largest religious faith in America, think about what it means to be resurrected. But there is another, more secular meaning to the word. Used outside religion the word is defined as "to bring back into use, practice, or reestablish something that has been lost."

Thanks to the heartfelt insight and patriotism of the Lani Kai Resort and its management and staff, here on Fort Myers Beach, this term has taken on a life of its own. This year, young people visiting our Beach for Spring Break or just to enjoy our hospitality, sun and friendly island folks will be treated to a gift designed to resurrect their pride in the USA.

It all started when "Mr. C" (a man who prefers to keep his actions out of the limelight) noticed a guest at the Lani Kai was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words - America the Beautiful.

"It made me feel a genuine love for our country and I also appreciated the young man who was wearing it so well," said Mr. C.

"I walked over, shook his hand, bought him a drink and thanked him for being so obviously proud of his country I also felt a deep desire, then and there, to help other guests at the hotel display their affection for our beautiful nation," he elaborated with conviction.

So after the hotel staff put their heads together, the Lani Kai commissioned their artist, Jason Fleenor of Brand 1 Ink out of Cape Coral, to put "God Bless America" on high quality T'shirts and give them away free to all hotel guests during this year's Spring Break. Staff members, immensely proud of this generous action, also decided to wear the T-shirt themselves during the month.

We visited Caity Simón, partner with "Dodo" in the Henna Shoppe. (Dodo is also the owner of the Beach's well-known Dodo's Gift Shop located in the thoroughfare underneath the Lani Kai, where as an added bonus for Hotel Guests, anyone who desired to personalize their shirt could stop by the shop and get their school or other distinctive, meaningful name or phrase printed on the T's also at no cost.)

Caity is an artist who does henna tattoos, creative artword and body painting. She also customizes T's, including the patriotic ones that the Resort is giving guests.

"Its really nice to meet so many great students and guests. They get really excited about having their T's customized and many of them have also expressed a love for their country - exactly what we hoped would happen. I'm happy to be part of such a cool effort to enhance pride in America," said the affable Caity.

Larry, the General Manager of the Lani Kai agreed.

"We have thousands of guests here for Spring Break during the month of March through the first half of April and these students really show appreciation for getting a T-shirt and personalization just for them," he told the Sun Bay Paper.

The Lani Kai has always been one of the more self-effacing enterprises on Fort Myers Beach. During my 12 years publishing both the Island Sand Paper and the Sun Bay Paper, I've had the opportunity to get to know "Mr. C" the owner and some of his staff, particularly management, quite well. They always insist on remaining out of the limelight. Heck, I'll probably get a call wanting to know why I even mentioned Mr. C or Larry. I'll take the call and tell them "I left out your full names." They'll most likely chuckle in a good natured way, share a personal moment with me and move on.

I'll willingly take the heat this time though because I've always left them out. But this time it's different for me. As a Vietnam era Veteran of the U.S. Army - one who volunteered, not drafted - I have a great deal of pride in my country I AM a Patriot. And I appreciate anyone else who is as well.

Far too often today disparaging remarks are being made about the USA It's almost as if some hate the very land of their birth.

It pains me when I remember those who have fallen to insure the freedoms we enjoy. By traveling extensively to other nations, I've come to more deeply respect those freedoms because they're absent in many places around the planet.

Once visiting a VA Hospital, I saw a sign that read: "The price of freedom is visible here."

How true that is.

Because of this The Sun Bay Paper and myself personally want to express our thanks to the Lani Kai for helping young people to remember what the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave really means.

If getting a patriotic T-shirt causes a single young person to reflect more deeply on the sacrifices made by those who went before them - if this simple gift brings a resurrected sense of belonging to the greatest, most generous nation on Earth - if it causes one guest at the Lani Kai to deepen their love for our country - then I say give the shirts out every year.

I know I'll be wearing mine with pride.

Article by Carl Conley. Emeritus Editor , Juris Doctorate:
Founder and Editor in Chief of
The Island Sand Paper 1999-2010
and later, Founder and Publisher of
The Sun Bay Paper 2015-2016

Thursday, 06 April 2017 23:00

Easter Egg Hunts

­HOP to it !! It’s spring and Easter is almost here! South West Florida has plenty of egg-tastic events for the family.

Looking for a fun Easter egg hunt for the kiddies? Here’s what’s happening this week on the egg hunt scene to celebrate Easter.

Centennial Park Annual
Spring Egg Hunt
More than 4,000 eggs will be scattered in the park for ages 6 and younger to collect. The Easter bunny will be there for photos. There will be a DJ playing kids hip-hop music playing and a sidewalk chalk area.
Where: Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., Fort Myers
When: Sunday, April 9, 10 am.
Cost: Free
Details: 321-7524

North Fort Myers Egg Hunt
Egg hunt through the park for ages 10 and younger. There will be special tags in some of the eggs that can be redeemed for prizes. Refreshments to be served. Registration required.
When: Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m.
Where: North Fort Myers Community Park, 2000 N. Recreation Park Way, North Fort Myers
Cost: $5 per child
Details: 533-7200,

Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt
Hunt for glowing eggs. There will also be games, crafts and snack. For ages 3-6. Registration required.
Where: Four Freedoms Park, 4818 Tarpon Court, Cape Coral
When: Friday, April 7, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: $15 for residents, $18 for nonresidents
Details: 574-0804, Somebunny Loves Me
Egg hunt and crafts for "little" ones ages 1-2. Registration required.
Where: Four Freedoms Park, 4818 Tarpon Court, Cape Coral
When: Friday, April 7, 11:15 a.m
Cost: $10 for residents, $15 for nonresidents
Details: 574-0804,
Bass Pro Shops Easter Event
Easter egg hunts, free photos and crafts.
When: April 8-16. Photos are taken 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 6-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 2-8 p.m. Friday. Crafts are 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. The egg hunt is Saturday, April 15; registration begins at 1:30 p.m. and hunt begins at 2 p.m.
Where: Bass Pro Shops, 10040 Gulf Center Drive, Fort Myers
Cost: Free Details: 461-7800,
Golden Gate Community Center Family Easter Event & Carnival
Children can play games and do crafts and activities to win eggs. The Easter Bunny will be posing for photos with children and handing out eggs. There will be bounce houses, food vendors, face painting and a fire truck. This year there is also a carnival April 7-9, with carnival food and rides such as a Ferris wheel, fun houses and mini games.
When: Easter event is Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m.; the carnival is April 7-9 (7-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. -11 p.m. Saturday and 7-10 p.m. Sunday).
Where: Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
Cost: $3 for Easter event. Carnival admission is free; tickets required for rides. Look for coupons in local stores. Details: 252-4180.

Vineyards Little Bunny Garden Party
Fun and games, treats and a spring craft. Register by April 5.
When: Saturday, April 8, 9:30
Where: Vineyards Community Park, 6231 Arbor Blvd., Naples
Cost: $10 Details: 252-4105

Read to Rabbits
Learn more about real bunnies, and then meet some. Have your picture taken with an English Lop bunny, also get a chance to read to a rabbit. Registration required.
When: Thurs., April 13, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Collier County Public Library Headquarters, 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples
Cost: Free Details: 593-0870

Bunny Make and Take
Crafts available. Registration not required.
When: Tuesday, April 11, 10 a.m.
Where: Estates Branch Library, 1266 Golden Gate Blvd., W.Naples
Cost: Free Details: 455-8088

Tween/Teen Eggstravaganza
Join an egg hunt on the lawn. There will be one special golden goose egg prize. For ages 11-16. Registration required.
When: Tuesday, April 11, 5-6 p.m.
Where: Vanderbilt Beach Library, 788 Vanderbilt Bch Road, Naples
Cost: Free Details: 597-8444

Braiding hair without a license could get you in trouble in Florida.

So could cutting and wrapping hair, manicuring fingernails, auctioneering property, landscaping, interior design and timekeeping at a boxing match.

If you want to earn money or start a business in dozens of job categories, Florida requires a state approved license – and they don’t come cheaply.

Barbers are required to complete 1,200 hours of training – equivalent to 25 hours a week for one year – to be eligible for licensure. Applicants then must pass an exam and pay a $223 fee.

A cosmetology license requires 1,200 training hours at an approved state Board of Cosmetology school, which costs between $5,000 and $20,000, according to

Interior designers need a combined six years of board-approved education and work experience under a licensed designer, then pass a three-part exam costing $1,065 to legally design commercial spaces.

Working without a license has its own costs: up to $500 fines per offense, restraining orders or court ordered injunctions against performing undocumented labor activities.

Critics say such regulations discourage would-be workers, and state lawmakers are considering a bureaucratic downsizing.

A bill that would rollback red-tape for nearly two-dozen professions passed an important House appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday at the Florida Capitol. The bill was approved with bipartisan support, 12-2.

“We’re trying to lower barriers in order to create jobs,” said Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, the bill’s sponsor.

The Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, pegs Florida as the fourth most restrictive state in the country with respect to occupational licensing regulations. In a study called License to Work, it identified 45 of 102 low-and-moderate income jobs as having burdensome licensing requirements.

“Occupational licenses, which are essentially permission slips from the government, routinely stand in the way of honest enterprise,” the nonprofit firm says. “Instead, they are imposed simply to protect established businesses from economic competition.”

‘Protect the public welfare’

About a dozen industry representatives appeared before the legislative committee, and stated independently that Florida’s occupational regulations ensure public safety and create jobs themselves.

“We regulate not to keep people out of business, or to create barriers to business, we regulate to defend the public and protect the public welfare,” said Owen Chad Johnson, secretary and treasurer of the Florida Auctioneers Association.

David Roberts, of the American Society of Interior Designers, told lawmakers that they’ll put people out of business if they deregulate. Stephanie Borras, owner of two Tallahassee salons, said the bill would increase the quantity of workers, but not the quality.

Curtis Austin, executive director of the Florida Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, said the bill’s proposal to reduce cosmetology training from 1,200 hours to 600 hours would cause a health crisis.

“We are moving in the direction not of red states and blue states, but in the direction of Turkey,” Austin told committee members. “If you look at those places where they deregulate these issues in cosmetology, up to 85 percent of people contract skin diseases.”

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, said he thought some of the arguments made sense and some did not.

According to bill’s staff analysis, the state Board of Cosmetology issued 28 disciplinary orders against licensed hair braiders, hair wrappers and body wrappers during the 2012- 2015 fiscal years.

“These actions generally did not involve consumer injury, but were technical scope of practice violations,” such as practicing with an expired license or failing to timely renew a license, the analysis states.

Beshears’ bill would eliminate all Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restrictions against interior designers, hair braiders, hair and body wrappers, boxing announcers and boxing timekeepers, and would reduce mandatory training hours for barbers, nail specialists and facial specialists.

The Department of Regulation would no longer regulate labor organizations, business agents, talent agencies and auctioneers, but established industry standards and civil and criminal actions would still apply.

Architects, landscapers, geologists and asbestos abatement contractors would no longer be required to obtain certificates of authorization in addition to obtaining their licenses.

Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, an outspoken critic of occupational regulations, said the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“I believe there are 366 occupational licensures in the state Florida,” Grant said. “I’ve yet to be compelled by any argument that any form of license or regulation is in any way as significant to make a consumer whole as an insurance policy.”

Insurance premiums are much less expensive than an entire bureaucratic scheme, he said.

‘A bunch of arbitrary hoops’

Grant also questioned the licensure education industry.

“One of the things aligned with occupational licenses that I have a very keen interest in exploring is the number of tax dollars that we spend subsidizing higher education for curriculums that are a requirement,” he said.

Lisa Waxman, chair of Florida State University’s interior design program, told lawmakers there are 19 design programs in Florida and urged the committee to “keep things as they are.”

“Florida is a model for the rest of the country,” she said.

Justin Pearson, a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, offered that Florida is one of only four states in the country that requires a license for interior designers.

Inconsistencies were also noted. Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs, need 34 days of training, while massage therapists are required to complete 117 days of training.

“I represent first-generation Americans, minorities, and lower-income individuals who want to pursue the American dream,” said Pearson. “But they can’t take a year off of work to jump through a bunch of arbitrary hoops.”

Sal Nuzzo, policy director at the conservative James Madison Institute, called the bill a “good first step,” and said that lowering employment barriers would help released prison inmates find work.

“What are the trades these individuals are learning when they’re incarcerated? They’re learning how to be barbers, cosmetologists and electricians,” Nuzzo said.

In his closing remarks, Beshears said his legislation would help people who can’t afford to pay $5,000 and take 1,200 hours of training before securing a job. “This is about giving that person an opportunity,” he said.

The bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee. A companion Senate bill passed its first committee stop, and is slated for review in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

William Patrick

During periods of greater Atlantic hurricane activity, a protective barrier of vertical wind shear and cooler ocean temperatures forms along the U.S. East Coast, weakening storms as they approach land, according to a new study by NCEI scientist, Jim Kossin. In his paper, “Hurricane Intensification along United States Coast Suppressed during Active Hurricane Periods” published in Nature, Kossin identifies this “buffer zone” and describes its relationship with both active and inactive periods of Atlantic hurricane activity.

Hurricanes depend on warm sea surface temperatures to power their warm cores with heat and moisture. But, vertical wind shear—changes in wind speed and direction from the surface to the top of the troposphere—removes the heat and moisture from a storm’s center, potentially breaking it apartcompletely. In the tropical Atlantic, where hurricanes develop, sea surface temperatures and vertical wind shear act together to either enhance or hinder hurricane intensification.

“During periods of greater hurricane activity, the sea surface temperatures are warmer and the wind shear is weaker in the tropical Atlantic,” says Kossin. “Likewise, during periods of low activity, the sea surface temperatures are cooler and the wind shear is stronger there. But, the opposite is true when we look near the U.S. coast. When conditions in the tropical Atlantic are good for hurricane intensification, they are bad for it near the coast and vice versa.”

So, when the environment is good for making strong hurricanes in the tropics, those hurricanes crash into more hostile conditions if they approach the U.S. coast, which weakens them. In this way, the pattern creates a hurricane buffer zone along the coast during periods of high activity. According to historical records from 1947 to 2015, hurricanes were roughly twice as likely to intensify along the U.S. East Coast when the buffer zone wasn’t present. And, they were two to three times more likely to rapidly intensify—by 15 knots or more in 6 hours—without the wind shear and ocean temperature buffer.

The absence of the buffer zone had an even greater impact on major hurricanes. Without it, major hurricanes were two to four times more likely to intensify and three to six times more likely to intensify rapidly. This presents major implications for forecasters, as rapid intensification near the coast is difficult to predict and shortens public warning time.

The period of high Atlantic hurricane activity over the past 20 years and the accompanying development of the buffer zone may help explain the present “drought” of major hurricane landfalls in the United States. The buffer also may have come into play when Hurricane Matthew headed toward the country. While Matthew’s rains were devastating for some areas, the buffer zone helped weaken the storm from a Category 4 as it advanced on Florida to a Category 1 when it officially made landfall in South Carolina. By keeping higher wind speeds at bay, the buffer zone likely helped prevent further compounding damages from Matthew.

In light of how the buffer zone affects coastal communities, scientists aim to further study its relationship with hazard risk in these areas.

Saturday, 01 April 2017 08:21

SoloTravelHer: Scotland

When the Delta Skymiles American Express sign up reward of 60,000 bonus miles hit my account, I immediately began plotting my next free adventure.

Though I’ve spent much of my time in the land I call home– home to my clan and my heart– I couldn’t think of a better way to spend some free miles. While most transatlantic flights cost 100k+ miles, by keeping my dates flexible and booking three months out I was able to get round trip from my home in Fort Myers to Aberdeen for that 60K. Three weeks in my favorite place in the world, the #1 safest place for a woman to travel alone? Absolutely! Let’s go!

I planned on camping most of the trip to conserve funds, but a distant cousin who was gun shy on solo travel and who had always wanted to go to Scotland asked if I would show her about during my time here, so I agreed. She picked up the tab for hotel rooms for herself with an extra bed, just in case I didn’t want to camp out the entire time, and I gave her an itinerary of my schedule.

While I always keep my plans fluid because I often indulge in whims, for the first week I planned to start around my favorite area -Inverness- and camp in a twelfth century castle known as Rait in the Highlands just south of Nairn on the Moray Firth, as well as my Cousin’s castle at Balvenie, then I planned on going to Orkney to visit neolithic sites and finally to the Hebrides and our home Isle of Skye as well as Lewis and Harris in the Western Hebrides. The standing stone circle at Callanish is a killer place to be on the Equinox!

Three months later, here we are. I’m camping Rait Castle outside Nairn. It’s a ruin dating back to the twelfth century which is now public access, coincidentally lying on the property of the Earl of Cawdor. Well off the beaten path, hardly anyone knows of the place, but its’ completely intact tower turret is an ideal place to shelter from the elements with a wee bit more protection from the elements than a tent, as Scottish weather is quite fickle in September. The views here over the Moray Firth are a huge bonus, especially during the gloaming and the autumn months.

Though in September I don’t have the luxury of the extended gloaming that occurs during the early summer months (18-20 hours of daylight this far north) there’s still plenty of time and warm weather left!

I’ve been lucky. The weather was exemplary, and thanks to my free second bag checking from Delta and American Express, I was able to cart over most of the things I’d need to camp successfully, and I bought the rest after I picked up my Peugeot at the Aberdeen airport. I’ll pass off the tent, sleeping bag and air mattress to a homeless person in Glasgow before I leave the UK.

So back to Rait. The castle is supposedly haunted, cursed; the MacKenzie clan and Campbell clans agreed on a banquet 800 years ago to end clan infighting and the Campbells, similarly to what they did at Glencoe, planned on murdering the lot of the Mackenzies. No one counted on the

MacKenzie heiress and Campbell Laird’s son trysting. When they were caught at it, the MacKenzie lass fled and was chased above stairs by her father. At some point during her attempt to escape she decided to go out a window and try to climb down.

Unfortunately the second story is quite high up with lots of rocks below, and her father decided to chop off her hands. She fell to her death and is rumoured to still haunt the place. The few locals who have either managed to spot Rait hiding in the woods off the B9101 or heard about it and trackedit down (It took me some effort the first time!) have either come up for an hour at night on a dare, or disregarded the fact that it’s one of the best preserved examples of a Scottish tower/hall-house left in the Highlands today. Ghost or not, it’s a special place and I’m happy to add it to my list of exotic locales camped! I made sure as always to leave a dead fire and a totally void space where I stayed.

I haven’t encountered the ghost, though. Not on any of my previous visits, nor the whole time I’ve stayed here, a Scottish American princess living in her very own castle. I can’t say I’m disappointed nor can I say it wasn’t a bit creepy a couple of times– that’s why building a fire is so important to boost morale, especially when you’re alone and staying in such a place!

Attached are photos of Rait, my tower room, and various other tidbits and from the Highlands around Inverness, including the Nairn beach and Balvenie Castle. I wasn’t joking about how not even locals know the place… most people I’ve met when I tell them where I’m camping do a double take and ask where, then say they’ve never heard of it. The only persons I’ve encountered during my stay at Rait were a photographer jockeying for shots of the Northern Lights when tipped off by AuroraWatchUK, and a sweet older gentleman who is set to show the place to some Americans with the surname of Rait at the end of the month. It’s been peaceful and quiet and beautiful, hadn’t cost me a nickel, and was the break from reality I sorely needed!

Waking up daily to gaze at ships coming into the Moray Firth from the North Sea… the birds singing and the mists rolling through the heather and gorse… it’s isolated yet enriching in a way I cannot describe. My cousin can have her hotel room in Inverness 20 minutes West. This is the way to see the Highlands! While I pride myself on camping in unusual locations, nothing, not even a deserted island in the Caribbean I camped on in 2012, could have prepared me for how wonderful this is. I highly recommend it… with the proper gear, protection and survival training. Things like gathering firewood in an area known for little timber… not easy. It helps to be as prepared as possible and to have contingency plans!

So far, though, it’s been utterly brilliant.

I remain the Princess in her very own castle. I can check this off my Bucket list now! Feel free to send me your travel bucket list at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. re: SoloTravelHer . I’d love to hear and perhaps pilfer some of them.-

Next week...part two: where to go and what to do in Scotland! Until then Saints Mhath! (Scots Gaelic toast to good health)

Sarah Nicholson



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