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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



TBR&R is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyle and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.


Georgia on our mind


Depending on when you read this, the Georgia Senatorial race could be over. We call it the Georgia Senatorial race because we don’t know why they call it a primary. The results seem like they would be pretty final to us, but then we don’t understand the Iowa caucus either. Here are a couple of numbers to try to wrap your arms around - half a billion dollars. That’s what has been spent on two lousy Senate seats. As we reported late last year (TBR&R 11/15/20) - $14 billion was spent on the White House and Congress in the November election. Now approximately 5 percent of that amount is projected to be spent on just two races. As we pointed out in November, that money should be spent on much better causes. The second number is 36,000 – the number of voters who did not even vote in the Presidential election who have voted in this election. Why? Couldn’t they be bothered? There was a lot more than just the Presidency at stake last November in the Peach State. It’s hard to figure as we await the results of this very odd election.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


1. An appropriate post-mortem for the Trump presidency: All his troubles came because he neglected so many wonderful opportunities to remain silent.

2. We struggle to understand things like Sen. Marco Rubio’s getting a coronavirus vaccine shot is selfish while radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ vaccination is portrayed as “educational” even though she lives in a state where there is the greatest need in the country for vaccinations of nursing home residents. It all goes back to that “some animals are more equal than other animals” thing.

3. William Barr, our outgoing Attorney General, left office with his head held high. Contrast this with the previous administration’s Attorney General who left office just hoping she wouldn’t be indicted.

4. If you’re following the suit by 35 states against Google, you may have noticed that entering “Google suit” on their site most often auto-corrects to “Google Suite” and tries to sell you one of their products. What Google does daily may not be illegal, but it certainly is not for the benefit of the consumer.

5. $2.15 – This is a number we track every year – the year end cost of gas locally. At the end of 2019, it was $2.14 – pretty much the same, but not near the $1.97 of the beginning of 2018. Watch out for this year!


Sports, media and other stuff:


6. Sunshine, Clearwater and Countryside – the three indoor malls our city has seen. Sunshine is gone; Clearwater Mall became a sprawling outdoor mall anchored by a Costco and Target. Now Countryside is being taken over by its lenders, its future in doubt.

7. As the bowl season is winding down, many schools including Auburn are jettisoning head coaches. Auburn went 6-4 under Gus Malzahn. They play in a conference with Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Georgia to name a few. The problem isn’t the coaching.

8. Only Cy Young and Walter Johnson threw more innings in the 20th century than knuckleballer Phil Niekro who spent the majority of his career with the Braves, although he won 32 games in just two seasons with the Yankees. Phil passed away last week at 81.

9. The No Fun League (NFL) fined New Orleans Saints star Alvin Kamara five large for his neat combo red and green cleats on Christmas Day where he just happened to score six touchdowns. Is there any institution more tone deaf than the NFL and is there any player more underrated in the league than Kamara?

10. From TBR&R five years ago (1/3/15) The Bucs (and we taxpayers) will be spending $100 million dollars to upgrade Raymond James Stadium and presumably put us in line for another Super Bowl (it worked, sort of). The price of poker has gone up. Here’s what $100 million used to buy you – all of pre-developed Island Estates, 10 times over; Dodger stadium – four of them; 15 Fenway Parks, 100 of the Packer’s Lambeau Field and, in the spirit of the holidays, this year’s price for the items in the 12 Days of Christmas nearly 3000 times over including the partridge in a pear tree.


A thought for your pennies


We have an acquaintance who for the last couple of decades has crusaded for the elimination of the penny in our coinage. Hey, we all have our causes. But the penny - what’s it good for? Good for a very large copper company in Tennessee which makes the blanks for the 13 billion pennies our mints crank out each year – at the cost of 1.75 cents per coin. Do the math, that’s a big hit annually. We also take a loss on the nickel at 8.1 cents per, but we digress. Getting rid of the penny would not be that disruptive. We only need to look across the border to Canada who dropped the penny in 2012 with hardly a quiver. You simply round a total bill up or down to the nearest nickel i.e. .01 and .02 become .00 and .06 and .07 become .05. Likewise, .03 and .04 become .05 and .08 and .09 round up to .10. And it’s relatively simple to program cash registers to do the heavy lifting. Economists much smarter than us, say it’s an even split between consumer and merchant as far as who gets the break on rounding. There is no rounding, of course, on cashless transactions. Your penny doesn’t lose its value; you can turn them in at a bank or one of those machines you see at the grocery store. It really makes sense to follow Canada’s lead and unburden yourself of those mostly copper things you have in your jars and drawers. This is probably more than you wanted to know about the penny, but for geeks like us, there is a fascinating documentary Heads Up, Will We Stop Making Cents with even more thoughts on pennies.

NEXT WEEK: Five Points; Six Packs; Seven Swans



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