August 23, 2008

August 23, 2008
Thanks for checking out my blog today. It's a much better day here in Jacksonville, Florida today.

If you have been reading my blog entries, we just experience Tropical Storm Fay in my city and are now recovering from her wrath. Now all in all, we were very lucky especially since the experts were first saying she was going to be a hurricane by the time Faye got to us. We did have the misfortune of her being a very slow moving storm so parts of the city are flooded after having received almost twenty four inches of rain in a two day period. The beautiful waterfront homes in my neighborhood are mostly flooded. When the St. Johns River reached high tide after all the rain, the river overflowed into the yards and beautiful homes along River Road and up to Riverside Avenue. Fay also packed wind gusts up to 64 mph and constant finds around 30 mph. About 50,000 homes were without power at the peak of the storm and JEA has crews working around the clock to restore service. Gary and I went for a bike ride today and saw where our old home had a huge oak fall onto the roof of the house causing considerable damage to the front right side of the home. I am sorry for whoever is having to live through the trauma but I am glad it is not us.

But wait! It would not be Jacksonville without some type of scandal. Turns out Congresswoman Corrine Brown had some help from city employees who showed up to help sandbag her home which was threatened with flooding. What is wrong with them helping her you might ask? Well for one the city personnel did not offer to help other residents living around Congresswoman Brown. In fact in the news footage I saw her next door neighbor who was also flooding requested help from the same city employees and was denied help. Am I saying Congresswoman Brown received preferential treatment by the city? Since they refused to help other citizens, especially those living around Congresswoman Brown, it definitely showed preferential treatment for a local politician at best. The mayor already has a sacrificial lamb named Adam Hollingsworth whose job title is Chief of Staff according to the new coverage. Does the bs in politics ever end? It will be interesting to see if anything will come of the citizen complaints on this issue. Doubtful knowing our city's past.

And speaking of politicians, Senator Barack Obama introduced Senator Joe Biden of Delaware on Saturday as a leader ready to step in and be president. The newly named running mate quickly converted his debut on the Democratic ticket into a slashing attack on Republican John McCain. Before a vast crowd spilling out from the front of the Old State Capitol, Obama said Biden was what many others pretend to be which is a statesman with sound judgment who doesn't have to hide behind bluster to keep America strong. Democrats coalesced quickly around the 47-year-old Obama's selection of a seasoned veteran of three decades in the Senate. Bidden is a choice meant to provide foreign policy heft to the party's ticket for the fall campaign against McCain and the Republicans. Polls show Obama rates relatively poorly against McCain on foreign policy issues, and Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with extensive experience in that area. The 65-year-old congressional veteran emerged as Obama's choice after a secretive selection process that reviewed at least a half-dozen contenders. But evidently not Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady who was Obama's tenacious rival across the primaries and caucuses of winter and spring. Obama made a symbolic choice for the site of the ticket's first joint appearance. It was a brutally cold winter day more than a year ago when he stood outside the historic structure in the Illinois capital to launch his quest for the White House. He returned this day in sunshine, the party's improbable nominee-in-waiting, a black man in his first Senate term who outdistanced a crowded field of far better-known and more experienced rivals for the nomination. The Democratic National Convention opens on in Denver Monday to nominate him as president and Biden as vice president, the ticket that Democrats hope to ride into the White House after eight years of Republican rule. Polls indicate a highly competitive race at the end of a summer in which McCain eroded what had been Obama's slender advantage in the national surveys. McCain's convention opens on Labor Day in St. Paul, Minn. He has yet to select a running mate. Responding to Obama's pick, the McCain campaign quickly produced a television ad featuring Biden's previous praise for McCain and comments critical of his new benefactor. In an ABC interview last year, Biden said he stood by an earlier statement that Obama wasn't yet ready to be president and the presidency is not something that lends itself to on the job training.

Obama brought Biden on stage with his glowing introduction to the strains of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising." Thousands of newly printed signs bearing the words Obama/Biden sprouted in the crowd that waited in anticipation in 90 degree temperatures. Both men spoke for 16 minutes which was unlikely a coincidence given Biden's reputation for verbosity. Obama's remarks were carefully crafted to emphasize Biden's accomplishments in the Senate, his blue collar roots and above all his experience on foreign policy. So they have started their dog and pony show to try and woo voters especially given the recent polls showing the race a dead even. Pretty bad if you ask me since Obama had up to a double digit lead at one time. Could it be people want answers instead of promises of change? I know this American does. Much more to come, unfortunately. I will be glad when this election is over because once again I feel like I will be voting for the lesser of two evils.

As I said earlier, Jacksonville is slowly recovering back to normal. Besides the damage to our previous home, Gary and I saw downed trees and people cleaning up their yards during our bike ride today. Luckily we only had some limbs and leaves in our yard so the clean up was not that massive. I noticed some yards that will require a couple of days to get them back to normal. The flooding on the waterfront is subsiding so the homeowners can start drying out and accessing their damages. I guess that is the price they pay to live on the water and to have those gorgeous views every day. I personally do not know if I would be willing to pay the price of having my home flooded having gone through flooding myself many years ago. It did not help that I did not have flood insurance at the time. The only reason I do not have flood insurance now is because I live on the second story of a building. If I even began to think it was going to flood bad enough to reach the second floor we would have already left with our pets and valuables even if I had to rent a large vehicle.

I called Diane to see how they are doing over in Pensacola since Tropical Storm Fay is closing in there. Diane said besides constant rain that it really was not that bad so far. They still have most of the storm to endure but I am hoping the storm did not re-energize during the short period it was back in the Gulf of Mexico. The last thing she needs is to have any flooding. Her medical bills already eat up most of her disposable income so she does not need any new headaches like having her home flood. Diane is not sure whether her brother's home in Jacksonville flooded or not. Unfortunately, her nephew had to cancel his trip to come see his father here because of the storm.

That is about it for me today. How about you? Having a great weekend? Remembering to do something special for yourself I hope.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab