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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.


Pinellas pushing increased gas tax – bad idea


Idle question – why is it that every time a government entity (in this case Pinellas County) can’t meet their budget, the first thing they look to is increasing the gas tax? There is probably not another tax more regressive than a gas tax. Gas is a must have – particularly for folks who must commute to work. In many cases, those extra pennies per gallon add up and often mean choosing between paying more for gas and doing without another essential. With post Trump gas prices up over 50 cents a gallon and economists predicting a near future spike to three dollars or more, Pinellas County seriously needs to look in another direction to balance their infrastructure budget.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


Joe Biden seems mystified that the job rate isn’t higher. It simply comes down to people not so willing to work when they can get a check every week for not working.

Word is spreading that Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson will run for Agriculture Secretary when his term in the Senate expires in 2022. What a concept, an actual farmer as Agriculture Secretary. Simpson owns and operates an egg farm in Pasco County.

News note: U.S. consumer prices rose 2.6 percent year-over-year, the Labor Department reported, and 0.6 percent in March alone—the largest one-month consumer price index (CPI) bump the U.S. economy has seen since August 2012 during the Obama administration. The data has economists starting to worry about excess inflation. Is anyone surprised?

Number of the week: $1.9 trillion – the U.S. budget deficit. That’s up over 30 percent from a year ago – part of the price we will be paying for Biden’s giveaways.

With Georgia being the latest, over half the states in the nation have enacted legislation for permanent DST. What’s the holdup Washington?

Idle question: Why do so many issues-driven organizations adopt such secretive names like 350 South Florida, Florida Rising, and Local Progress etc.? Give us a name that tells us what you stand for – even if it’s as repulsive as Planned Parenthood.


Sports, media and other stuff:


The 1950s had a bevy of great major league catchers. Berra and Campanella stand out, but there were others like the White Sox’ Sherm Lollar, the Indians’ Jim Hegan and across the state of Ohio, the Reds Ed Bailey. Smoky Burgess hit just under .300 for three teams in the 50s. Then there was the tandem of Stan Lopata and Andy Seminik in Philadelphia. In Milwaukee, there was four-time gold-glover and three-time All Star Del Crandall. Crandall, who was the last surviving member of the Boston Braves, died last week at age 91- the last of that golden age of catchers.

30 years ago this month, a Cubs-Braves game was broadcast by the Carays – Cub icon Harry, Braves mainstay Skip and a young Chip Caray, then the play by play voice of the Orlando Magic. Harry and Skip have passed on with Chip now the voice of the Braves. Even he admits he will never replace his father – a legend with the Braves.  

Local airline news: Sun Country Airlines is returning to Clearwater-St. Pete Airport after a decade’s absence. Beginning this fall, they will be offering flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Is there any other destination in America less appealing?

A new word for dictionaries, compliments of a member of our elite focus group – scroller – a very old person who has to scroll down through dozens of dates in an on-line form to find their date of birth. The forms should start at 1920 and work their way up!

You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember the Seaboard Coast Line that stopped here at the station on East Avenue and terminated in St. Petersburg.


The definitive journal of 1930s Chicago


This week marks the passing of federal agent Eliot Ness some 64 years ago. The Chicago native never got to see the posthumous fame his book and subsequent TV shows and films brought. The week seems a good time to detail the definitive book on the city and the man written by Max Allen Collins and A. Brad Schwartz. There have been average books about the Untouchables like Ness’ own book, above average like Kenneth Tucker’s Eliot Ness and the Untouchables and downright awful books like Jonathon Eig’s Get Capone which, like many books, attempted to rewrite history - none of them can hold a candle to Collins and Schwartz’ 600 page opus Scarface and the Untouchable. It is truly one of the best researched books we’ve read. We could devote the entire week’s issue to describing the contents. Instead, we give you one little nugget – that Eliot Ness was the inspiration for the famed Dick Tracy strip. Collins should know – he wrote the strip along with creator Chester Gould for fifteen years. If you are a scholar of 20th century history, this work belongs on your bookshelf.

NEXT WEEK: Shows we loved; Kellogg mansion; Energy mess




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