Monday, March 30, 2015

Tomorrow: ANOTHER email from Dee McNamara to Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein

You thought Dee McNamara'a racist rant in City Hall was fading away? Think again. Stay tuned for more news later in the week. For your viewing pleasure, here is former Lake Worth Commissioner Retha Lowe's take on Mrs. McNamara's use of the 'N-word' in our City of Lake Worth City Hall:

Is a self-described reporter/editor troubled in our City of Lake Worth?

Why the fascination with the subject of suicide?
Note these facts about Margaret Menge's newspaper:
  • Her first paper, Vol. 1/Issue 1 was delivered to the unsuspecting public on Friday, January 16, 2015
  • Issues 4 (February 6th), 9 (March 13th), and 11 (March 27th) prominently featured stories on the front page about a suicide and a recent purported suicide
  • Issue 10 (March 20th) featured an editorial mostly referring to a recent purported suicide
One of the reasons responsible news outlets don't sensationalize suicide is due to the very real phenomena of "suicide contagion". Here is a reference site for journalists who report on incidents of, or suspected incidents, of suicide; there are many others. Any story published about a suicide (or if a suicide is suspected) should have information such as this for the public:

Note that Margaret Menge, self-described reporter/editor, included no such valuable information for the public in any issue of her 'newspaper'. She claims her newspaper is a 'community newspaper'; I've already bebunked that ridiculous notion, you can read about that here

City Press Release: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales

The Mayor and City Commissioners of the City of Lake Worth cordially invite you to a ribbon cutting ceremony for Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tuesday, April 7 at 4pm
3540 Boutwell Road
Lake Worth Park of Commerce
Lake Worth, Florida

Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales is the oldest family-owned irrigation supply house in the State of Florida, established in 1957, with headquarters located on Oakland Park Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale. The company’s expansion plans include opening six new locations over the next three years. The Lake Worth site was a perfect fit given the convenient proximity to I-95. Melrose’s 5,000 square foot building on 1.25 acres was completed from start of construction to certificate of occupancy in 119 days – a testament to the city’s aggressive approach to helping the business locate within the Park.            

All are invited to join and welcome Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales to Lake Worth and celebrate as they continue to build on 61 years of business success.

[UPDATE] City Manager Bornstein explains the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process, re: the Lake Worth Beach/Casino

[UPDATE (original post from 3/27): A Letter to the Editor in The Palm Beach Post today illustrates again there is still much confusion on this issue. Again . . . City Manager Bornstein explains the process and how we've reached this point:]

This is the account from the City Manager on the events leading up to the issuance of the Invitation to Negotiate for ideas on how to make the Lake Worth Beach financially self-sustaining. This was an item placed on last Tuesday's agenda, at the request of newly elected Commissioner Ryan Maier, that considered cancelling the ITN altogether. The motion failed 3-2, so the process continues. Mayor Triolo specifically asks if any commissioner requested that this ITN be issued and the answer from the City Manager was "no."

Kim Miller at Real Time blog: big news about All Aboard Florida

Below is an excerpt from Kim Miller's story at the Real Time blog (read the entire article here):
     The Florida Development Finance corporation, which will decide whether All Aboard Florida gets $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds, had three members appointed today [3/30] by Gov. Rick Scott.
     The Miami to Orlando express passenger rail hopes to use the bonds to supplement or replace a Federal Railroad Administration loan, which is still pending.
     All Aboard Florida must issue the bonds by July 1.
Not much time. As of today, 3/30, that is only 93 days away.

Video from PrideFest Parade 2015 in downtown Lake Worth, Florida

WARNING: If you find one or more of the following topics offensive, DO NOT WATCH the video below:
  • Overly exuberant, happy people
  • People wearing garish bright colors
  • Togetherness/equality
  • The term 'PrideFest'
  • Rainbows
  • People who look "straight" but aren't
  • Gay men on really big motorcycles
  • Confetti guns
  • Many ethnic groups together
  • Everyone from the young to older folks together for a purpose
If you're OK with the above items please proceed to watch the video below:

And, as always, thank you for visiting my blog.

Why Delray Beach isn't getting new school: Charter Schools one big reason why

A truly sobering article in the Sun Sentinel written by Scott Travis. Besides the school in Delray Beach being cut, 6 schools won't get needed roof replacements, and students will not have access to needed technology. The following quote sums it up:
"We postponed or cut projects out of the budget that we consider basic needs," Chief Operating Officer Mike Burke said. "Essentially all construction projects have been eliminated." [emphasis added]
[later in the article . . .]
     The district's maintenance budget also has been reduced, which troubles Board member Debra Robinson.
     "I'm afraid if we don't keep our facilities up to date, we'll be paying more in the long run," she said.
     The district's financial woes are a result of state cuts and restrictions as well as charter schools siphoning off students and state money.
     The state has reduced the amount of taxes school districts can levy in property taxes, from $2 per $1,000 of assessed value a few years ago to $1.50. The Legislature has instructed school districts which want more revenues to ask voters to approve it.
You can read about one of the most ridiculous ideas ever presented for a Charter School here. And here is a recent article written by Andrew Marra at The Palm Beach Post about failing Charter Schools in Palm Beach County.

Good triumphs over someone's idea of a community newspaper . . . pics


Pic harvested organically from Facebook, attribution unknown.
For background on this story read this here. Somebody, and we know who it is, at the last minute tried to ruin the party. However, the community rallied and fought back. Viva Lake Worth!

Does Sea Level Rise Frighten You? Calm Down! (Especially you easily frightened in Lake Worth)

Here is an app that will bring you some comfort. Do you know how many feet above sea level. . .
  • Lake Worth City Hall is? 15.99'
  • South Shores Tavern? 13.1'
  • A house for sale on the 400 Block of North Lakeside? 5.66'
  • St. Andrew's Lutheran Church? 16.27'
  • Too-Jays Deli? 11.51'
So relax and breathe deeply. It's OK, Steve. 

Read the post below where Larry the Lenz teaches his good friend Misty Meanor the facts about sea level rise. Larry the Lenz will be back soon. He was injured on special assignment for a story in Palm Beach Gardens. More on that later.

Continue to next blog post below

The education of Misty Meanor...

Re-post. Back by popular demand! Larry the Lenz teaches Misty Meanor on the facts about Sea Level Rise:

My intrepid roving photographer, Larry the Lenz, sent me some pictures and notes concerning his good friend, Misty Meanor. Here is the story from Larry's notes and photos. 
The lovely Misty Meanor.
Misty and Larry have known each other for many years now and Misty has been considering purchasing a house in Lake Worth. After a life of partying and causing trouble Misty wants to calm down and enjoy the slow pace for a while. Misty settled on a house west of Dixie not far from the Arts Lofts, a fixer upper and she can purchase the property at an excellent price. Here is the problem: Misty is concerned about the talk of rising sea levels that Commissioner McVoy keeps bringing up and some reporter called Pissant is writing about all the time. In fact, even an ex-city commissioner talked about the looming threat of rising sea levels. 

Larry invited Misty for a ride to the beach and he brought along some props and information for her.
First Larry showed Misty the 'Conclusions' from the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Action Plan of October 2012:

"Southeast Florida [Regional Climate Change Compact] require active learning OVER THE DECADES TO COME. The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact has developed the institutional capacity to enable the collaborative learning required to MEET THESE CHALLENGES OVER TIME."

So Larry was able to demonstrate there is no immediate threat from sea level rise. In fact, the property Misty is considering is 20 feet above sea level. 
Then Larry took out his visual aids. He brought along a slice of Kraft Singles American pasteurized prepared cheese. Actually Kraft cheese is one of Larry's favorite foods. Larry showed Misty that in any year the rising seas, over a year, MAY be as much as 3 mm or .119 inches. Larry even stood on the cheese slice and asked Misty if he looked taller, she laughed and said, "No!"
So, Misty was relieved and a little embarrassed she had been duped by the hysteria and misinformation. She was also a bit upset that people in positions of responsibility were misleading the public in such a fashion. 
Thank you, Larry, for getting the information out and getting us in Lake Worth a wonderful new resident!

Pics from PrideFest 2015—Bryant Park on Sunday, March 29th

Large crowd yesterday, I think more than ever at certain times of the afternoon. Video of the parade will be out later today.






Sunday, March 29, 2015

Margaret Menge's "New York attitude" and why she can't keep a job with a small town Community Newspaper

From a story by Brian Montopoli at CBS News on November 30, 2005 titled, "The Community Meets The Cosmopolitan";
A story Monday [Link no longer works] in the Boston Phoenix by Mark Jurkowitz shined some light on the issue. It's the tale of a reporter named Margaret Menge, who had contributed to U.S. News & World Report, the New York Press, and the New York Observer, and who took a job a few months ago at the Union Leader, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight weeks later, she was asked to resign. She told Jurkowitz that the managing editor for news told her that she came to the paper "with a New York attitude. We do community journalism here."
[later in the article. . .]
     Spending some time at a small town media outlet might, if nothing else, temper in an ambitious reporter some of the condescension that Rosen [New York University Associate Professor of Journalism Jay Rosen] says infects the cosmopolitan media. "Elite journalists want to believe that their counterparts in Des Moines or Oxford, Ohio are under pressure to print good news," he says. But Rosen says it's more complicated than that. He dismisses such an attitude as the "sentimental, self-flattering view of the elite."
     "In somewhere like Birmingham or whatever it's hard to think of yourself as not a part of the community," he says. "When you are in that situation the journalism you do and can do and want to do is just different. And to describe that as good news versus bad news or boosterism versus truthtelling is just a load of crap."
Consider this synopsis of Margaret Menge's career in "community journalism":
  • 2005: asked to resign from community newspaper in New Hampshire
  • 2007: forced out of job at community newspaper in New York State
  • 2010: details unclear but she left community newspaper in Key West, FL, on not the best of terms
  • 2012: starts short-lived "community blog" in Lake Worth, FL
  • 2015: starts her own "community newspaper" in Lake Worth, FL
This is how Community Journalism is defined in Wikipedia:

At the Emerging Mind of Community Journalism conference, participants created a list characterizing community journalism: community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells its stories; and it embraces a leadership role.
     “If you want more of a definition, I’m afraid it’s like when someone asked Louie Armstrong for a definition of jazz. The great Satchmo is reputed to have replied something like this: ‘Man, if you have to ask, it won’t do me any good to try to explain.’ You know community journalism when you see it; it is the heartbeat of American journalism, journalism in its natural state.” –Jock Lauterer
Now come to the line I don't want to cross but will, reluctantly. There's no better way to prove Margaret Menge is NOT a 'community journalist', nor a caring journalist and nor a caring resident in our City of Lake Worth: I'm referring to the terribly sad incident that happened to a young lady on Tuesday, March 10th.

There were many things happening that day in the City (it was Election Day) including a rumor that something terrible had happened at the Lucerne building early that morning. I received several calls and the details began to emerge: a young lady had fallen from the building and passed away. It was truly shocking to many people, myself included.

What no one expected was a story to appear in Margaret Menge's 'community newspaper' above-the-fold, on the front page, which included a picture of the family's condo highlighted with a white circle. It takes a truly thoughtless, uncaring mind to do such a thing to a grieving family. My heart truly grieves for their loss and for the terrible treatment they received from Ms. Menge. She published this story on Friday, March 13 in Vol. 1, Issue 9 of her newspaper.

I did research on the subject of journalism and how suicide (or if it's believed a suicide occurred) should be reported by a professional journalist: There is no ambiguity: when an incident such as this occurs and the person is not a public figure then the grieving family trumps the public's right to know. Period.

In other words, what Ms. Menge did was absolutely wrong by any standard of professional journalism. And it's absolutely not subject matter that should appear in any responsible Community Newspaper.

And it gets worse.

One week later, on March 20th, in Ms. Menge's Vol. 1, Issue 10, she continues this maltreatment of the grieving family in her editorial page. She published this correspondence with Teri Barbera, PBSO media relations:
     "I [Margaret Menge] need something that says what happened, to whom, where, when. . . This cannot be withheld under Chapter 119 F.S. Not in any other state, either."
While the family was still grieving their loss, Ms. Menge was trolling for a story. Is this what you call "community journalism" or a fascination with the macabre?

Here are FIVE HEADLINES in a true community newspaper here in Lake Worth, The Lake Worth Herald (its One Hundred & third Year, Issue 12):
  • LW Lifeguards...LW Heroes
  • Hudson Holding’s Principal Steven Michael Addresses Bryant Park Neighborhood Assn.
  • Pride Fest Celebration This Weekend In LW
  • FDOT To Begin Stormwater Improvement Project In LW
  • Part 3 Birthday Cake Castle - Red Cross Designers’ Show House 
In conclusion I offer this quote:
     "SPJ’s Code of Ethics tells journalists that they have an obligation to report the truth. They also have an obligation in minimizing the harm that’s done in the pursuit of that truth. When it comes to suicides, a careful and deliberate moral reasoning needs to take place aside from the First Amendment right to report.
     Families don’t care about your rights when they are grieving. That’s why compassionate and responsible journalism is necessary and why cautious deliberation is needed."

—Kevin Z. Smith, Deputy Director, The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism

Selected pics from today's (Sunday) PrideFest Parade—2015

Local, city streets painted for the event despite attempts to prevent it.






Congressional Representative Lois Frankel

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio

Yesterday at Bryant Park...

Friederike Mittner dedicated to preserving Palm Beach history

Click title for link to a Palm Beach Post article about one of Lake Worth's own and her work as West Palm Beach's historic preservation planner.

[REPOST] Suicide is never the answer

[NOTE: This is one of the most viewed posts of the entire month; it was posted just 2 days ago. The original post (unedited/unchanged) follows:]

If you think you're at a dead end and the world is better without you. . .you're wrong. 

If you live in Lake Worth, Florida, and read the sensational newspaper's account of a young woman's purported suicide and think, just maybe, that may be the answer? Suicide is never the answer to any of life's problems.

If you're seriously considering suicide you can:
The reason those in the responsible news media are reluctant to report and/or sensationalize suicide is the risk of encouraging others to do the same thing. Don't be manipulated into thinking taking your life solves anything.

The living will have to live with your decision with the rest of their lives. 

When a suicide is reported in the media the article should ALWAYS include information for those in distress with resources and phone numbers for help. Margaret Menge did none of those things. Irresponsible.

If I were Margaret Menge I would be hoping and praying no young person, male or female, takes their own life any time soon in our City of Lake Worth.

Don't be angry at Margaret Menge, pray for her soul.

Selected Pics from Saturday's PrideFest—Today's Parade begins at 11 a.m.

The PrideFest Parade is a hoot. I would suggest getting there early for a good spot. The parade goes down Lake Ave in downtown Lake Worth to Bryant Park where the days festivities commence with music, food and fun.

See you there!













From Facebook on Friday afternoon: unfortunate message from FDOT to PrideFest

Note that you can still see remnants of drawings on the streets from the last Street Painting Festival:
FDOT is a government agency and, as such, is required to follow strict guidelines for logging phone calls, emails, and must keep a visitor log. It would be much more neighborly for the person who logged the complaint to come forward and let us all know what is troublesome about chalk on the street. 

Is this an opening salvo against next years Street Painting Festival? 

The Lake Worth Herald editorial: Bad Behavior

This editorial appeared in the last edition of The Lake Worth Herald (LWHerald.com) on 3/26:
     Tuesday night [3/24], the decorum of the Commission Chambers took a big step back. The audience was disrespectful to the commission and the governmental process. Rudeness filled the room with loud comments being made at different commissioners from every direction. [emphasis added] This behavior is immature and has no place in a governmental meeting. 
     Those attending the meeting are given an opportunity, all be it two minutes to voice their concerns on any subject they choose, and another two minutes on each item before the commission. 
     Refraining from outbursts will make the meeting progress at a steady pace and will facilitate more business being accomplished. 
     This behavior is not tolerated in any other commission or council chambers in the area, and will continue in Lake Worth until people are removed for poor conduct. 
     Lake Worth Commission meetings will rapidly become the laughing stock they used to be if this behavior is allowed to continue. 
     It is time for the Mayor to take a firm stand and bring the meetings back to order. More respect will be gained for the City and the process when order is restored and the City will be able to accomplish its business in an orderly fashion. 
     Ninety-nine percent of those attending the meetings are adults and it is time everyone started acting like it. Speak when it is your turn and give others the courtesy to be able to speak when it is theirs.
Due to a prior commitment was unable to attend the last city commission meeting. From time to time was able to watch the meeting on streaming video and was appalled at the behavior of some in the chambers. The video stays framed on the dais and you cannot see who from the public is making the ruckus, although I can guess who two or three of them were.

On a completely different topic, below is a video from a city commission meeting on February 17th. This video comes from a post originally published on February 20th. During breaks at city commission meetings the video continues to record, however, the sound is turned off (the classical favorite Night on Bald Mountain is added for your listening pleasure). Pay particular attention to what happens starting at the 5:15 mark to the 5:45 mark.

Eliot Kleinberg: Q&A with Friederike Mittner, West Palm Beach historic preservation planner

In today's Palm Beach Post is a Q&A with a City of Lake Worth resident many of you will be familiar with. From the article
Friederike Mittner talks the talk and walks the walk. The historic preservation planner for the city of West Palm Beach lives with her husband and two daughters in a 1939 bungalow in Lake Worth, where she was preservation officer before moving to West Palm Beach in 2005. She grew up in a 1924 home in Coral Gables until she came to Palm Beach County in 1998. 
How did you get into the historic preservation business? I got my masters in preservation (Master of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Florida) after I realized historic buildings just have such a great story to tell and they’re much more authentic and interesting to me than modern architecture.
[later. . .]
Are there incentives? For private homes, we have an ad velorem tax program, where the increase in the property value is not taxed for a period of 10 years. That also works for commercial properties. And commercial properties can also participate in the federal tax credit program.

A Man of God or just a Bully With a Bible?

Below is an image from one of many 'news' stories that Pastor Olive inspired across the country. His claim against the City was untrue and he did nothing to stop this nonsense from spreading all across our nation. [Mostly unreported is Pastor Olive's $160 check to the City that all establishments have to pay, even churches.]
Below is a very interesting quote:

"And, you know, one of the things that we've tried to do at our church is to be one of those voices in the town. We've not tried to silence any other voice. But we've tried to just be a voice. To be that light, to be salt [sic] among that darkness, among those other voices and to trust God that the truth of that will set people free."
Pastor Mike Olive of the Common Ground (no 's') Church on the Colin Gunn podcast titled, "Pastor Mike Olive - Church Persecution" (March 13, 2015 at the 20:35 mark).

At the 15:00 mark on the podcast Pastor Colin Gunn likens the City of Lake Worth to "the mafia offering protection", a "protection racket", and the City of Lake Worth having "a vendetta against Christ will use this opportunity [the "persecution" of Pastor Mike Olive] to persecute His church."

Pastor Mike Olive (below): the most irresponsible 'Man of God' to ever walk our streets in the City of Lake Worth. 
This is the man who's given our little City such a big black eye. With help from people like Kathleen Walter at CBS12/WPEC.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Watch this satirical ad, “Indiana Is A Great Place To Be A Bigot” from Internet Action Force below:

Tall Buildings!! Tall Buildings!! - Clearwater Beach, Florida


Advisory: Do not try this at home. Avert your eyes if you are fearful of anything over 45 feet. If you can't resist, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. In and out, deep and slow breaths. Center yourself. Picture a peaceful two story, vacant building along Dixie Hwy. Your symptoms should clear up in five to ten minutes.

Palm Beach PrideFest 2015 Celebrates Victories and Looks Ahead to Ongoing Challenges | Local | News | SFGN Articles

Click title for link to South Florida Gay News story on this weekend's Palm Beach PrideFest. Great article. Here's something nice:
One thing that sets Palm Beach Pride Fest apart from other Prides, is the ongoing support and involvement of the Lake Worth and Palm Beach communities, said Zoellner.
Not only Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo, but all the city commissioners expressed an interest in participating in the event in one form or another.
“How often do you get all of the elected officials to want to be in your parade and want to speak? We’ve actually had to say no to some of them, but it’s so flattering,” said Zoellner.
Triolo and Compass CEO Tony Plakas, participated in the annual raising of the Pride Flag over Lake Worth City Hall on Tuesday, in the lead up to the festival.
In fact, all members of the City Commission were there and participated in the flag raising at City Hall on Tuesday.

Why Ryan Maier didn't get the PBCHRC endorsement...

[NOTE: when you read Ryan Maier quoted saying, "Lake Worth was not an LGBT friendly place to live", keep in mind the Lake Worth PrideFest is only short time away, March 28 and 29. The original post follows:]

Rand Hoch • 8 days ago

PBCHRC's Voters Alliance has been interviewing candidates and making endorsements since 1988. As a result of our efforts and our relationships with public officials, Palm Beach County has more than 80 ordinances and policies which benefit the LGBT community. (That is probably more than the other 66 counties in Florida combined). And we have done it with an annual budget of $25,000 - $50,000. In contrast, EQFL just sends out questionnaires which anyone can figure out how to answer. So, as long as a candidates sends in his or her boxtops, EQFL issues a recommendation. Until PBCHRC pointed it out to EQFL, EQFL had recommended an openly gay candidate seeking to serve on the Lake Worth City Commission. When we interviewed him, he told us that Lake Worth was not an LGBT friendly place to live and he was going to change it. We were shocked. Lake Worth currently has an openly gay City Commissioner. A few years ago, the City had an openly lesbian City Commissioner and a transexual City Manager. The City has had an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance for years, has a domestic partnership registry and offers city employees domestic partnership benefits. Each year the City hosts a two day festival, PrideFest (including a parade down the City's main street), Moreover, the City leases (at only a token amount) the space for COMPASS, Palm Beach County's amazing LGBT Community Center. Also, there are numerous LGBT-owned businesses in the City and you can't walk very far on the city's main drag without seeing a rainbow flag. And this EQFL recommended candidate didn't think Lake Worth was LGBT-friendly! Really? But since he filled out his EQFL questionnaire correctly, EQFL recommended him. His opponent, BTW, had a 100% voting record on our issues, including votes on the domestic partnership registry.

Click here for related article. This appears under comments.

In an email letter from the President of the PBCHRC, he is now claiming a victory.

The New York Times: "All the News That's Fit to Print": 36 hours in Palm Beach, FL

Friday, March 27, 2015

Margaret Menge: Irresponsible "community journalism" and disrespect for a life lost. . .

There is a big difference between community journalism and what's called Cosmopolitan, or "big city" journalism. Interestingly, only yesterday I wrote this long post on the difference and used Margaret Menge's mistreatment of a grieving family and their tragic loss. The incident that occurred on March 10th made the front page of Ms. Menge's paper on Friday, 3/13 (Vol.1/Issue 9), with a picture where the incident occurred, the condo highlighted in a bright white circle; as if that was important information for the public to know.

In Ms. Menge's next paper on March 20th (Vol. 1/Issue 10), she continued trolling for the story on this incident. Today, March 27th (Issue 11), a full 17 days after this tragic death, she continues her macabre trolling with a front page above-the-fold story on this woman who passed away. Here are a few low-lights from Ms. Menge's front page story:
  • Published the deceased woman's name and published her young daughter's name as well
  • Refers to the deceased woman's mother several times but includes no direct quotes
  • Menge writes of the deceased woman "leaving her daughter behind in Texas"
  • Menge cites someone who " 'saw her hit the ground,' he said. She rolled over, he said, and groaned." This is NOT ACCEPTABLE in a community newspaper
  • Menge quoted someone who said, "As soon as she got here, things just went downhill very fast for her." This person is not identified as a mental health expert and is both speculative and sensational
Remember, this is front page "news" in Ms. Menge's "community" paper. And if that wasn't enough, Ms. Menge published 3 pictures of the deceased woman while alive; one picture included the woman's infant daughter. Don't believe it? Here are those pictures Ms. Menge published with the faces, names, and other information blacked out to show some respect for the deceased.


And notice the caption for the photo above. My God! What a terrible thing to write. A complete absence of empathy.
By any standard at all, would you call this responsible "community journalism"? All of this is being delivered "free" to any Lake Worth household that hasn't indicated they do not want the paper any longer. I understand there is a list of houses where residents object to this horrible newspaper being delivered. Who can blame them?