A Clearinghouse for Volunteers

At the recent Amelia Island Genealogy Society‘s board meeting Gloria Toomey introduced us to JustServe, a clearinghouse for volunteers (organizations needing volunteers/individual wanting to volunteer).  They have an Android & I-phone app in addition to the web site

Their about page:

“JustServe matches faith, nonprofit, community and governmental organizations that need volunteers with volunteers willing to help. JustServe.org links you to service opportunities in your community so you can make a difference wherever you are and however you want to serve.

Once we know what the needs are, we tell you about them here on JustServe then you can go and help get the job done. We make it easy to sign-up and show-up, on your time and in your way.

JustServe.org is provided as a service by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following the Biblical admonition to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” JustServe provides opportunities to relieve suffering, assist those in need of a helping hand, and enhance the quality of life in the community. JustServe is not for proselytizing or publicity–simply a service to help link community volunteer needs with volunteers.”

Currently there is only one project listed for “Fernandina Beach” Keep Nassau Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Mile project which needs volunteers to “Meet at the corner of North 14th Street and Franklin Street and park in the Baptist Church parking lot at 8:00 a.m. on the designated Saturday.” and work on cleaning North 14th St for Atlantic Ave to Bosque Bello Cemetery.

This appears to be a service that the volunteer driven organizations in Nassau County need to join.

Would a $275.00 Evacuation Hood Have Saved Chris Steven’s Life?

I have been in high rise buildings where there is a smoke hood in every office.  Wikipedia points out the Ready.gov website recommends them.

Preparedness lists, such as those presented by Ready.Gov, often recommend smoke hoods, although some lists use alternate names such as “fume hoods,” “respirator hoods,” or “self-rescue hoods.” As most modern construction contains materials that produce toxic smoke or fumes when burned, smoke hoods can allow people to make a safe escape from buildings when it might not otherwise be possible.

Why weren’t smoke hood available at the Benghazi diplomatic compound, as part of their emergency preparedness?

Are smote hoods part of the State Department’s current preparedness plans?

  • Maybe, this CBS news report shows State Department rescue training where the victim is wearing a smoke hood (time code 0.51 – 0.55).



10 Million Job Loss in Civilian Work Force During Obama Administration

In my opinion the best measure of economic recovery is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Civilian Labor Force Level which looks like this for January 1948 through July 2016.


The vertical axis in Number in thousands of  16 years and over workers in the Civilian Workforce.  The data is tabulated monthly.  I have overlaid a conservative trend line (red) from 1962 to 2016.  The red arrows indicate recessions documented in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia tells us there have been 10 recessions, red arrows above, since 1949. They cite the following definition of a recession:

The unofficial beginning and ending dates of recessions in the United States have been defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American private nonprofit research organization. The NBER defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than two quarters which is 6 months, normally visible in real gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.

Following the end of World War II and the large adjustment as the economy adjusted from wartime to peacetime in 1945, the collection of many economic indicators, such as unemployment and GDP, became standardized. Recessions after World War II may be compared to each other much more easily than previous recessions because of these available data. The listed dates and durations are from the official chronology of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  GDP data are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (after 1948). Note that the unemployment rate often reaches a peak associated with a recession after the recession has officially ended.


The recession of the Early 1980s is the closest to our most recent (2009) in peak unemployment (-2.7 vice -4.3) and length (1 yr 4 mo vice 1 yr 6 mo).  But if we examine the impact on civilian labor force we see a different story.

Looking at impact on the civilian labor force we see an impact in the 1960 – 1961 recession where there was a significant plateau in the growth of the civilian labor force.  Followed by a resumption of the growth rate with a net 2 M loss of civilian jobs.


We see this again in the recession of the early 1990s.  The plateau, followed by a reduce growth rate and a net loss of 2 M civilian jobs.


We don’t see this in the recession of the early 2000’s, if anything there is a spike in the civilian labor force in December 1999.   Likewise there is no significant plateau with the 2007 – 2009 Great Recession. F5

A plateau does occur post the great recession in 2009, which plateaued for 6 years (orange), before renewing an upward trend (blue), with a net loss of 10 million job.  The job loss is increasing because of the reduce rate of growth beginning in 2014 (blue).


Some Favorite Reads

Books about/by Richard Feynman

  • Surely Your’e Joking, Mr. Feynman
  • What Do You Care What Other People Think
  • Tuva or Bust!

Tom Robbins Books

  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  • Another Roadside Attraction
  • Still Life With Woodpeckers
  • Skinny Legs And All

Carl Hiaasen Books

  • Too many to list see his website
    • You may need to be a Florida native or long time resident to appreciate Carl.

Michael Connelly Books

  • Lincoln Lawyer Series
  • Harry Bosch Series
    • The Black Echo (1992)
    • The Black Ice (1993)
      The Concrete Blonde (1994)
    • The Last Coyote (1995)
    • Trunk Music (1997)
    • Angels Flight (1999)
    • A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
    • City Of Bones (2002)
    • Lost Light (2003)
    • The Narrows (2004)
      The Closers (2005)
    • Echo Park (2006)
    • The Overlook (2007)
    • The Brass Verdict (2008)
      Nine Dragons (2009)
    • The Reversal (2010)
    • The Drop (2011)
    • The Black Box (2012)
    • The Burning Room (2014)
    • The Crossing (2015)
    • The Wrong Side Of Goodbye (Coming November 2016)


Growing up in Fernandina

People frequently ask me what it was like growing up in Fernandina.

Some of my stock answers are:

  • Then – Living on the beach everyone had a dog, there were no fences and if you needed a leash you found a piece of rope.
    • Now – You will be fined if caught with your dog off leash on the beach.
      • Some unnamed people do break the law, Konna & Poppy on the beach video.
  • Then – Above the average high water mark was private property, therefore I was able to drive dad’s war surplus jeep on the beach when I was 10 years old.  From the north end of the island to the south end of the island because I was on private property.
    • Now – If, and only if, you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and are a county resident you can “drive/park” on about a 100 yards of the beach at Saddler Road, drive on limited stretches at Peter’s Point and the South End for free, otherwise you must obtain a Permit.
  • Then – Dad would land his Luscombe (airplane) on the beach in winter and park it in the garage.
    • Now – If you can’t drive on the beach I can’t imagine what would happen if you landed on the beach.
  • Then – If I was going to town and didn’t want to ride my bike or walk, I would stand on the corner of Fletcher and Atlantic and hitch-hike a ride.  To get home I would stand under the oak at 8th and Atlantic and hitch a ride home.
    • Now – No parent in their right mind would allow a child to hitch-hike.
  • Then – A Coke, out of the machine at Moore’s Grocery cost $0.05 cents, if you took it out of the store you paid Stella $0.02 deposit on the bottle.  I remember when the price went to $0.06.
    • Now – I recently paid $1.89 for a medium Coke at one of the fast food joints on 8th street.
  • Then – There were two stop lights on the island, and 5 or 6 restaurants.  Remember the Blue Seas, 5-J’s and the Sandbar?
    • Now – 4 stop lights on Fletcher Ave. and more Restaurants than you can count.  Why isn’t there a Cajun restaurant?
  • Then – We would sneak into Fort Clinch, to play, and eventually Mr. Decker would see us and yell at us.
    • Now – There are reenactors playing at the Fort.


Photo – Corner of 3rd and Atlantic (now Centre) looking southwest.  Hardee’s is now Fantastic Fudge ice cream shop.

Photo Credit: Holland, Karl E., 1919-1993. Fernandina Beach street scene – Fernandina Beach, Florida. 1972. Black & white photoprint, 3 x 3 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/86893&gt;, accessed 9 August 2016.





Hillary’s Handling of Classified Documents.


  • Special Access Programs SAPs
    • SAPs must be established and maintained only when absolutely necessary to protect the Nation’s most sensitive capabilities; information; technologies; operations; and research, development, test and evaluation; or when required by statute pursuant to Reference (b). Establishment must be consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13526.
    • SAPs must be protected at all times consistent with their classification and sensitivity.
    • employees who meet personnel access or prerequisite eligibility criteria and have assigned legal, fiscal, audit, investigative, operational, or statutory oversight or regulatory duties for DoD SAPs must be deemed to have need to know (NTK) for access and will be granted effective and sufficient access to those programs when determined necessary by an access approval authority (AAA) to meet their responsibilities.
  • Classified Information
    • Classified national security information is information created or received by an agency of the federal government or a government contractor that would damage national security if improperly released.
    • Information can only be classified if an official determination is made that its unauthorized release would damage the national security. Levels of classification correspond to levels of supposed damage. E.O. 13526 specifies that information whose release would cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security” is classified TOP SECRET; information whose release would cause “serious damage” is classified SECRET; CONFIDENTIAL is the lowest category of classified information currently in use.
  • Portion Markings
    • Identify the classification level of each portion.
      • A portion is ordinarily defined as a paragraph, but also includes subjects, titles, graphics, tables, charts, bullet statements, sub-paragraphs, classified signature blocks, bullets and other portions within slide presentations, and the like.
      • Portion markings consist of the letters “(U)” for Unclassified, “(C)” for Confidential, “(S)” for Secret, and “(TS)” for Top Secret.
      • The two paragraphs of this sample document contain “Secret” and “Unclassified” information, respectively.
      • The abbreviations, in parentheses, are placed before the portion to which they apply. Portion mark as illustrated in this example.
    • Example –

MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR From: John E. Doe, Chief Division 5

Subject: (U) Examples

1. (U) Paragraph 1 contains “Unclassified” information. Therefore, this portion will be marked with the designation “U” in parentheses preceding the portion.

• (S) If all sub-paragraphs are the same classification as the primary paragraph, then you do not need to portion mark the sub-paragraphs.

• (U) However, if the portions are not all the same classification, then all main and sub-paragraphs must be individually marked.

2. (S) Paragraph 2 contains “Secret” information. Therefore, this portion will be marked with the designation “S” in parentheses preceding the portion.

3. (TS) Paragraph 3 contains “Top Secret” information.  Therefore, this portion will be marked with the designation “TS” in parentheses preceding the portion.

FBI Findings (emphasis added)

  • From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.
  • seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails)
  • Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.

Bret Baier Interview

“Director Comey said that my answers were truthful and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.”  HRC answer to Bret’s question about her handling of classified information.

Hillary’s Clarification

NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Clinton about the “debunked” claim that she made during two separate interviews, noting that Comey actually contradicted many of her statements about her email. “Are you mischaracterizing Director Comey’s testimony, and is this not undercutting your efforts to rebuild trust with the American people?”

“Kristin, I appreciate your asking that, because I was pointing out in both of those instances that the Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That’s really the bottom line here,” said Clinton.

Video of interview is here, where she continues to explain that she “short-circuited”

I guess that “short-circuited” is Clinton Speak for Lied!

Evidently what she intended to  say was “Director Comey said that my answers, to the FBI,  were truthful and what I’ve said, to the FBI, was  inconsistent with what I have told the American people.”


Was the $400 M a Ransom?

A Ransom By Any Other Name Is A Ransom.

On January 16, 2016,  just four days before President Obama’s second term inauguration, it was reported that four US citizens (Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari) were released in return for the U.S. dropping charges against seven Iranians who had been convicted in the U.S. for sanctions violations.  The culmination of 14 months of secret negotiations. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, was also being released by Iran, U.S. officials said, but they said his release was not part of the negotiated prisoner swap. Senior administration officials said Trevithick was recently detained in Iran.

The Iranians told the U.S. during the talks they wanted a “goodwill gesture” and gave the U.S. a list of Iranians they wanted released. The U.S. officials excluded any names of anyone charged with terrorism or violence, insisting that they would only consider those who had been convicted of sanctions violations or violations of the trade embargo.

Fast forward to August 3, 2016 when we learned the $400 M was delivered to Iran.
“The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.”

Was this a pre-condition, or another “goodwill gesture” the Iranians required.  Well Pastor Saeed Abedini reported at the time of his release.  “They [Iranian police] told us ‘you’re going to be there [airport] for 20 minutes, but it took like hours and hours,’” Abedini said. “We slept at the airport.”  Abedini said the plane and pilot were there, and everyone was ready to go, but they didn’t leave until 10 a.m. the next day. They eventually flew to the U.S. in the plane that had been sitting at the airport overnight. Abedini said he and the others waited a full night in the airport. According to police, they were waiting for another plane [the $400 M?] to arrive.

Was the $400 M owed to Iran, yes.  Was it a pre-condition to the release of the 5 US citizens, apparently.  Was it ransom, if we assume that if the money plane hadn’t arrived that the release wouldn’t have happened then it was a ransom.