The Biden Cabinet

As promised will be writing the next 3 weeks on the members of the Biden Cabinet of which there are over 20 members. In these blogs will write who these individuals are, where they hailed from, and a bit of their background. They are a diverse group.

As one of the internet sources states these individuals sit with the President around a mahogany table, and for those old enough to recall this is the same table which First Lady Betty Ford danced upon at the conclusion of her husband’s tumultuous term, (but aren’t they all?). While seating charts may change all who sit at the table hold a unique skill set with great powers.

Let’s start at the head of the table..

Ron Klain – Chief of Staff

As a political consultant, and former lobbyist Ron Klain has served 2 Vice Presidents, Al Gore 1995-1999, and Joe Biden 2009-2011. Born in Indianapolis, this 61 year old is Georgetown University educated with his law degree from Harvard.

As with many of these individuals they have been with or associated with Joe Biden for decades. Klain as well as several other cabinet members are rumored to be departing once mid-terms are completed as while the job is fascinating it is a 24/7 responsibility, and extremely stressful.

The commitment made by these members is for duty, as the salary is a pittance as to what could be acquired in the private sector.

Cecilia E. Rouse – Chair of the Counsel of Economic Advisors

This 58 year old hails from California, is Harvard educated (Ph.D.), and served since March 2021 as the 30th Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. She formerly was Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. A labor economist her focus is the economics of education and is the author of a myriad of papers on this topic.

And on the opposite end of the table..

Avril Haines – Director of National Intelligence

This American intelligence official, “spy,” lawyer, and first woman to serve in this capacity has a fascinating back story. A 53 year old from New York City, she was educated at the University of Chicago and Georgetown for her law degree.

She oversees 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, has a judo brown belt, and is an airplane enthusiast with an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Atlantic. WHEW! She has a vast interest in drones and for more on her background:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/26/avril-haines-director-of-national-intelligence, read it as her life is one of strength and courage.

Always in the room with President Obama, and now President Biden, she’s made controversial decisions, and remains a vital advisor and voice at the table.

Dr. Arati Prabhakar – Director of the Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) Policy

This woman immigrated from India at 3 to Chicago, then Lubbock, Texas, where she earned an electrical engineer degree at Texas Tech. She then studied at California Institute of Technology earning a Masters in Electrical Engineering, then a Ph.D. in applied physics.

She has led 2 federal research and development agencies, and worked in the private, educational, and non-profit arenas. She spent 15 years working in Silicon Valley. Her accolades and list of accomplishments are notable and endless.

Wow! This is the first blog and what a learning experience. Can’t wait to research more of these amazing folks who guide the President in his decisions.

Stay tuned..

St. Augustine, Florida ?First Thanksgiving

Mural showing life in first European settlement in St. Augustine in 1565 for Government House Museum in St. Augustine, Florida by Michael Rosato. Acrylic on canvas.

Recently received an email from the St. John’s (County) Cultural Council stating the first Thanksgiving occurred in St. Augustine, Florida in 1569. Here’s the email, I stand corrected. Read on, it is a fascinating account.

The First Real Thanksgiving: St. Augustine in 1565

Nov 24, 2020 SJCADMIN/

St. Augustine, Florida is the longest continuously inhabited European-founded city in the United States, and many historians have identified the meal following a celebratory mass in September 1565 as America’s first Thanksgiving feast.  


When Spanish Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore with 800 settlers, he asked that a meal of celebration was served from food provisions on the ship (yes, leftovers!) — cocido, a stew made from salted pork, garlic, and garbanzo beans, accompanied by hard sea biscuits and red wine. He invited the native Americans, the Timucua, from their Seloy village (located where the Fountain of Youth now stands). They would have contributed to the meal from their own food stores — wild turkey, alligator, venison, gopher tortoise, oysters, mullet, drum, sea catfish, maize (corn), beans, and squash. 


“It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land,” wrote University of Florida professor emeritus of history Michael Gannon in his book, The Cross in the Sand.

According to the memoirs of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, who celebrated the Catholic mass, once “the feast day (was) observed … after mass, ‘the Adelantado (Menendez) had the Indians fed and dined himself.” 

This feast of Thanksgiving held on September 8, 1565, in St. Augustine, 56 years before the pilgrims of Plymouth enjoyed a meal together in gratitude of their first harvest.

Some historians argue that while America’s first Thanksgiving indeed took place in Florida, it actually occurred 40 miles further north and one year earlier than the one in St. Augustine when French Huguenots — Calvinists like the Pilgrims — held a service of thanksgiving and feasted with the Timucuans to celebrate the June 1564 establishment of Fort Caroline along the St. Johns River in present-day Jacksonville. “We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching him that it would please his Grace to continue His accustomed goodness toward us,” French explorer Rene Goulaine de Laudonnière wrote in his journal.


Other first Thanksgiving claims? A historical marker erected by the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists outside Canyon, Texas, states that Father Juan de Padilla conducted a thanksgiving service there in May 1541 for an army of 1,500 accompanying Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Virginia and Maine have also put themselves forward as hosts of the nation’s first Thanksgiving in the years before the arrival of the Mayflower.

America’s Thanksgiving holiday was actually first recognized in 1843 by President Abraham Lincoln during the bitter struggle of the Civil War — on the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving, making it a national holiday. The President called on the “whole American people,” wherever they lived to unite “with one heart and one voice” in observing a special day of thanksgiving, and to “implore the interposition of the almighty to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it … to full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 and it was approved by U.S. Congress in 1941. 

See recipes below from Jonathan Millen’s A Taste of St. Augustine: Recipes of the Ancient City for coquina clam broth, alligator pilau, and swamp cabbage.

COQUINA BROTH

This delicate broth is a gift of the sea. The tiny coquina clams burrow into the sand as the tide washes them ashore during the summer months. Once scooped from the sand, rinse the coquinas and place them in a pot with enough water to cover. Cook over medium heat until shells pop open (usually about 5 minutes). Strain broth and discard shells. Add a little butter and light cream to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives to add color. No quantities are given, as the amounts are determined by the success of the coquina collector.



ALLIGATOR PILAU

After 53 years of protection, the alligator has made a remarkable comeback and alligator meat is available again. Since the body meat is too tough, only the tail meat is used. The best way to prepare alligator tail is to slice the meat across the grain into 1/4- to ½-inch strips. While alligator tail is delicious lightly breaded and fried, try this dish that includes the datil pepper for a little kick of heat.

2lb. alligator tail, sliced or cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 bay leaves
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken stock
½ fresh datil pepper or 1 tsp pepper sauce
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme


Saute alligator meat in a small amount of olive oil until tender, and set aside. In a Dutch oven, cook onions, bell pepper and garlic in remaining oil until soft. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, datil pepper or sauce and seasonings and simmer over low heat for five minutes. Add chicken stock and well-rinsed rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the alligator meat, stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings. Simmer an additional five minutes to combine flavors.



PLAIN OLD SWAMP CABBAGE


If ever the opportunity of a fresh-cut cabbage palm presents itself, here is a recipe for fixin’ it. For most folks, getting to the heart is more trouble than it’s worth. For old-timers and Seminole Indians, it was a way of life. If you want a true Florida adventure, try making it yourself.

Remove boots from the palm and peel down to the heart. Break heart into bite-size chunks and soak in cold water until ready to cook. Chop some onions. Fry ½ lb. salt pork, cut into small pieces, in a skillet. Add a handful of onions and some butter and cook until onions are soft. In a Dutch oven melt a stick of butter. Add a generous amount of cabbage and a fourth as much onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cabbage and onion in the same proportion until the pot is half full. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring to keep cabbage from burning. Serve when cabbage is tender.

To preserve our trees, please cut cabbages from palms that are growing in dense clusters, or from construction sites where they are to be removed. The best cabbage comes from trees that are from eight to twelve feet tall.

SOURCES

Black Friday

Black Friday didn’t originate as a retail term.

The term Black Friday first began with a financial crisis initiated by Wall Street tycoons, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk. These scoundrels worked in unison buying up as much of the nation’s gold as they could. By doing this they were hoping to sell and acquire enormous profit.

On Friday, September 24, 1869, the gold market crashed the stock market causing free-fall and bankruptcy for everyone from farmers to financial moguls.

So, how did this term get coined into the retail environment?

Nowadays stores which are in the red go into the black on this day after Thanksgiving due to shopper mania. Thus the use of the term.

Happy shopping to all!

Thanksgiving

The first American Thanksgiving began in 1619 in Virginia. Here 38 English settlers celebrated thanks and appreciation for making a successful journey across the Atlantic Ocean. It is believed they shared their celebration with Native Americans and turkey was served.

While George Washington initially began this day of thanks and prayer, it did not become an official holiday till 1863. In the midst of Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed this holiday to be celebrated in November of each year.

Since that time Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Germany, and Japan have also marked this holiday. While not all celebrate in November the theme of giving thanks for the blessings received is a common thread.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Let the games begin: First Victim Mayorkas? Bad Move.

As the new House majority has stated their 2 year term will dwell on investigations, reversing the Biden agenda, and impeachment of whoever they can find. Their first victim is the Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. Bad move by republicans as this man is a Cuban American immigrant. Cubans are known to be the strongest republican base of Latinos. Why? They never forgave Kennedy that he didn’t finish Castro off during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

They don’t forget.

As McCarthy calls for this man’s resignation he should think twice before agitating this portion of the republican base.

Besides being the first Latino and immigrant to be named in this role, he has a stellar 30 year career in law enforcement. He is a nationally recognized lawyer. Much of his career has been involved with citizenship, agreements with foreign governments, human trafficking, and cybersecurity, to name a few topics. In reviewing the http://www.dhs.gov web site it is laced with activities he is handling effectively. And to be perfectly honest no one has been able to handle the border problem and why?

There is no policy or direction. This must come from our legislative body.

Once again republicans are finger pointing rather than providing a solution.

Take Your Vitamins – Hunter Biden

…As it is going to be one heck of a roll with the repubs coming for you. Since the Dems did so much legislating this past 2 years the repubs have little left to do but to dismantle what was done. Hunter is #1, on their agenda. Their agenda for the next 2 years will be to investigate and impeach the Biden administration. Let’s hope they leave social security alone, but Biden already said he’ll veto anything in that regard.

Have read that Hunter already paid back $1. million in back taxes, and his case continues to be investigated by the DOJ, (Department of Justice), but was wondering what he actually did? Know he overcharged for consultant work, attempted to give his dad, (President Joe), a key to his office, and rode with him on a plane when he was going to Europe. But, the orange prez did the later often with his kids, and not the ones who worked for him, so what is the beef?

Here’s a more in depth explanation from what I can surmise:

  • The lap top shows Hunter paid for Joe’s home repair bills to his Delaware home as well as some utility bills. What accounts Hunter used to pay for this is in question.
  • Pundits state Hunter traded in on the family name charging client 6-7 times what the going rate was for consultations. Gee, if they are willing to pay that, let them.
  • Hunter was a womanizer, and during his substance abuse days he had a child with a woman who he doesn’t recall meeting, however, DNA proves the child is his and he is supporting the child.
  • On a trip to China he received a 3 karat diamond from his associate who he had begun a private equity firm with. His father as VP met the man after the firm was established, and shook his hand.
  • Hunter has recreated himself, and is now an artist selling paintings from $75,000 to six figures. Was unable to find who is buying these painting.

Gee, not bad and price is the going rate.

But, let us end on a happy note… This weekend Hunter’s oldest daughter, Naomi Biden, married Peter Neal, a guy from Wyoming who she met on a NYC blind date several years ago. Both are lawyers. While the ceremony was private here is a snap from an attendee. The bride wore much lace in her Ralph Lauren gown. What a lovely backdrop.

Much good wishes are sent to the happy couple.

Stay strong.

Another Tragedy in Colorado.

Sad to hear and read of the tragedy in Colorado Springs. 5 dead, 18 injured by a 22 year old with guns. A customer took the 22 year old down. Where does this hate come from? Easy to see considering our politicians with loud voices spewing hate.

I refuse to repeat these hateful comments, in fact Colorado just re-elected another hater. Living in Florida I know it well. Teachers afraid to teach, the christian militia in the state continue to brain wash their children, it starts early.

Would prefer to quote a steady mind.

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence,”

“We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”

Thanks, Joe.

St Augustine Festival of Lights – 2022

Once again the City of St. Augustine is ablaze with lights to celebrate the Christmas season. This free event runs through December 30th with trains, trolleys, electric vehicles, and horse drawn carriages wending their way through the lights.

Come take a stroll..

Found Santa was in town a little early.

And snow came down on George Street..

The lights and music in the square..

Varied transport to see the lights.

Museums decked out in grandeur.

The Lightner Museum

Bed and breakfasts were decorated. Sadly, the 2022 bed and breakfast Christmas tour has been cancelled this year due to staffing shortages. What an amazing tour! Let’s aim for 2023. However, the Film Fest is still on track. Come visit us January 2023.

Some final decorations from the event.

In closing, a festive pooch in this holiday season.

If in the area come and enjoy…

Welcome, Jack Smith..

Looks like every dad’s nightmare on his daughter’s first date.

All kid and aside, Jack is one competent dude, and I have decided to befriend him as he will need all the friends he can get. While his name is officially John L. Smith, friends call him Jack.

Perhaps we can start a tv show to support this guy?

Found little of his personal background in my internet search except he is a Harvard law school grad with vast experience, and credentials. He has prosecuted everything from NYC gang members to a sitting US senator, and even did a stint at the Hague working on war crimes. Am grateful he is anonymous personally after the Pelosi attack, and hope he and his family, if he has any, is well secured.

It is stated he can stay under the radar as well as be aggressive. His public service will certainly be tested in this position. He’d probably have better success catching an alligator in the Florida Everglades than getting the orange prez.

Let’s hope Jack succeeds, and this folly, (and man), can be put to rest.

Americans are tired of the craziness.

The listing of the cases Jack is charged to handle is voluminous and does not bear repeating. We all know. Sounds like A.G. Garland picked a good one, and Jack if you need a friend, I’m here. Would invite you down but best you stay out of Florida.

Don’t want the gators to get you!

Scammed Again – Wallet Genius?

Received an email from Amazon stating my account was closed. Reviewed it closely and while perfectly written, no typos, etc.. it was a fraud. Sadly, I had already inserted information, and they had my credit card number even though I had not pressed send. The alert which caused me to check further was the request for the social security number, the full monty. Gratefully, I did not insert that.

When they asked for the Social Security number I did an Amazon order then cancelled it. The order went through and I returned to the email. With FBI eyes I then reviewed the email, and noted the crazy email address. Thought I was okay, but it was too late as Chase notified me this morning of a Spirit charge for $360.

Spirit is not a go to airline of mine and hats off to Chase security for realizing..

Anyone who has ever flown Spirit known it to be a red flag airline.

In speaking with the articulate customer service rep I asked of an Experian charge of $21.95. Apparently I had somehow signed up for something which was known as Wallet Genius. Never recall doing this. It is vendor driven and costs $1. the first month and 21.95 each additional month. This is also being revoked, and refunded. New charge card numbers are not forwarded.

Reviewed the Chase article on fraud. Believe they need to add checking email addresses to their article in addition to the other alert information. These scammers are perfecting their skills and tis the season.

While many naysayers state companies don’t listen, they do. In India I only drank bottled water. On the airline home I had a cup of water with ice causing revenge of close to 6 weeks on my gi tract. The travel company added this tidbit to their India information.

Often wonder how many I saved?

This is one souvenir no one wants.

I digress.. Remember to check those emails closely, especially when they ask for any information.