Clearwater Firemen - There has been much activity in the Clearwater Fire Department the past several years. It seems as though the fire union has fought to gain ground (much like the Clearwater Police Department) in areas such as compensations, benefits, equipment, etc.
Interestingly, I was once shown an historical analysis that compared compensation, benefits, etc., between the fire department and the police department. It was amazing to notice how the two major city departments were once close in department expenditures and today are significantly different.
Of course, one explanation might be the rise in police work over the years.
However, I think Police Chief Sid Klein had something to do with the continued growth of the Clearwater Police Department and expenditures related to such department. Does that mean the fire department lacked the leadership of a Sid Klein?
No, it may mean Sid Klein did a better job to advance police department needs over the past years and was allocated more in the way of city funding in most instances, without a fight.
The fire department?
They continue to fight for things they believe are necessary.
Good relations with city management?
Perhaps things will get better for both the fire department and city management in future union negotiations. After all, no one wants to think about necessary negotiations if the discussions are to be adversarial from the outset. Hopefully, this situation will change for the better. The city needs good management and good city departments.
Russia And Israel Send Message - If you are planning to kill or kidnap Russian or Israeli soldiers and you are radical terrorists, plan for a quick and powerful response.
In Iraq, terrorists bombed a Russian embassy with innocent people hurt. Russian leaders immediately said they would have Russian secret service soldiers search for the terrorists and capture (if they plan to let them live) those people involved with the plot. Will the Russians succeed? Time will tell, but their message is clear: we are sending in special trained troops to search for you.
In Israel, radical (Hezbollah) terrorists kidnapped an Israeli soldier on Israel soil. Israel asked for his immediate safe return. There was no reply. The Israelis attacked key buildings housing Hezbollah, in addition to bridges and airports..
What can we Americans learn from the Russians and Israelis?
A powerful response works best - much like the way America struck Iraq. (Of course, even then we gave advance warning before we confronted post-9/11 terrorism.)
No warning? Powerful retribution?
Do terrorists offer any warning? Will captured soldiers receive a fair, public trial by terrorists? (Much like America is planning to do for terrorists caught and currently held in Guantanamo!)
The way I see it, when you mess with a military regime you should expect to receive military justice. Can you imagine the amount of U.S. dollars that will soon be spent defending captured terrorists?
Mess with Israel? Russia?
They should be afraid to mess with America.
Soccer In America - Over 20 years ago I thought soccer would become a top American sport for both men and women. Even though I did not play soccer in school, I thought the game offered more participatory potential than football or basketball. I was wrong, not much as changed in the way Americans have accepted soccer at the highest level of competition.
Yes, there are more youth programs today than 20 years ago. In fact, I think the ladies have gone further than the men in developing American soccer.
With all of the many great young soccer players developing throughout America, success of the woman's program has been a delight to observe.
Clearly, Mia Hamm will long be remembered as one of the world's best female soccer players. The men? No equivalent to Mia Hamm. Yes, there have been good American soccer players, such as Claudio Reyna, but even Reyna never became recognized as a top world-class player, like Mia Hamm.
With some local soccer teams preparing to play regional and national playoff tournaments, it makes some people wonder why America can't embrace soccer like in England, Brazil or Germany.
Perhaps the same issue still plagues professional soccer in America - no money for top players. However, top American players can opt to play in other countries that offer more in financial compensation. There is money in the sport for top players, regardless of their country of birth. Fact is, top soccer players in Europe and Brazil play for soccer clubs in countries other than their home nation.
No, there is money in soccer. Why not more American stars?
Perhaps the sport will continue to grow in America until, one day, we will have our own Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo or Beckham.
Gallagher Vs. Crist - Folks who compile polling data say that Charlie Crist is ahead of Tom Gallagher for the Republican candidacy for governor of Florida.
If you have followed the political careers of these two gentlemen, then you know how they have changed political positions on certain topics over the years. However, and perhaps to the detriment of both candidates, neither candidate has taken a position on illegal immigration problems in Florida.
Which candidate is the conservative?
Gallagher is saying he is the real conservative and that Crist has liberal backing (such as trial attorneys and the Sierra Club.) Crist says his conservative voting record speaks for itself.
Should be a close race between two talented politicians for the GOP nomination.
On the other hand, Democrat Jim Davis seems to offer the best platform for the Democrats. What I like about Jim Davis is his willingness to confront issues, such as homeowner insurance reform. (But he, too, avoids illegal immigration reform.)
Keep in mind the primary is September 5 (the day after Labor Day).
Lobster Season to Begin - Even though lobster purists refer to Florida spiny lobster as crawfish, we Floridians anxiously await Florida lobster season to open.
Sport season, sometimes referred to as "mini-season," is open on the 26th and 27th of July - this is a two-day period of time when divers can obtain their limits of Florida lobster. Then, on the 28th of July, "mini-season" closes and does not open until August 6, the "regular season."
Therefore, if you are a local diver and expect to dive for lobsters, perhaps it is time to check your dive gear and make sure you have a lobster permit before chasing the tasty crustaceans on July 26.
What, dive for lobster off Clearwater Beach?
Absolutely. The only differences between our Clearwater lobster and those found in the Florida Keys are sizes and numbers. We have larger lobsters, but they are usually found in smaller numbers.
Of course, lobster enthusiasts will plan to make the trip to the Florida Keys for "mini-season." It is amazing how many boaters will be diving in the Florida Keys on July 26 looking for lobsters.
War - A bad peace is even worse than war. - Tacitus
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