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City of Four Flags? Mayor Hayward Removes Confederate Flags In Pensacola
By: Kelly Woodard

As controversy over the Confederate flag continues to grow all over the country, Pensacola’s own battle boiled over this week as Mayor Ashton Hayward ordered city staff to remove the flag from all government buildings. While some see the lowering of the “Stars and Bars” as a victory, others see it as a sign of disrespect to the heritage of our culturally rich and diverse city.
In a press release this week, Mayor Hayward defended his decision, saying, “While the Confederate Flag undeniably represents a part of Pensacola's history, to many it is a painful symbol of racial hatred and intolerance.” His announcement came on the heels of numerous government leaders all across the nation ordering the flag be removed after of the killing of nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.
While some agree that the flag represents racial oppression and intolerance, others say that it represents an important part of history and deserves to remain flying as part of the City of Five Flags. James Prichet of Pensacola said, “Like it or not, the Confederate flag has a place in Pensacola, as do the other four flags that represent us. There is blood on all of those flags. The blood of our ancestors, and to remove any one of them is a slap in the face.”
Jenae Williamson of Pensacola disagreed, saying, “It’s time to remove this symbol of hate and inequality from every city in our country. It is offensive and serves no purpose. It’s about time Pensacola separates itself from a history it should be ashamed of.”
Mayor Hayward said, “I proudly celebrate our great city's rich history, but I do not believe that we are defined by our history alone. We don’t want to represent who we are as a city with a divisive symbol, so it needs to be taken down.”
Greg Stewart of South Carolina, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the executive director of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, said of the widespread removal of the Confederate flag, “You’re asking me to agree that my ancestors were monsters. This flag doesn’t represent racism to us. It represents those who fought for their beliefs, land, and freedoms. Isn’t that what America was based on?”
Ben Stein, Hollywood author and former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, commented on the issue on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show”, saying, “Political correctness resulting in the banning of one thing or another is how totalitarian societies begin.” While Stein agreed to some degree that the flag should be removed from certain places, he didn’t believe in government agencies banning the flag in general.
“What harm is it to anyone to look at a flag? Really, what harm is it really doing? You don’t have to agree with it, but taking it away altogether is the beginning of the end. People should stop being so sensitive, and the government needs to stop stepping in every time someone gets their feelings hurt to take away the “culprit”. That’s called communism,” Stein said.
Local supporters of the Confederate flag came out to show their allegiance by painting the image on Pensacola’s graffiti bridge. While the image received attention from those on both sides of the debate, it didn’t last long. It was covered up by an image in support of “Love For All” within hours.
Mayor Ashton Hayward said as far as Pensacola goes, the Confederate flag will be replaced with Florida's state flag. He says the city will always be known as "The City of Five Flags," but it is time to look toward the future.
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Pensacola Beach Celebrates Freedom With Red, White and Blues Week
By: Kelly Woodard

Pensacola Beach’s Annual Red, White and Blues week is set to kick off this Saturday, July 4
th. This fun filled week kicks off with the much anticipated 4th of July Fireworks display at Casino Beach and keeps on rolling with fun-filled activities and live music acts that will take to the Gulfside Pavilion, as well as the Shell at Quietwater, to rock out on the docks as we celebrate the Blue Angels homecoming.
Join Bamboo Willies on the boardwalk on Saturday, July 4
th for the Annual Red, White, & Blue Bikini contest at 6 PM. The most beautiful ladies on the Gulf Coast will take to the stage to compete for over $500 in cash and prizes. This event is 18 and over and proper ID must be shown at the door. While you are there, cool off with one of Bamboo Willies signature frozen drinks while you dance the night away to the live house band.
Then on Tuesday, July 7
th, bring your beach chairs, blankets and boogie shoes to Bands on the Beach at the Pensacola Beach Gulfside Pavilion. The free outdoor summer concert series presents Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs beginning at 7 pm.
On Wednesday, July 8
th, come have ‘Breakfast With the Blues’! Visitors are encouraged to eat breakfast on Pensacola Beach and watch for the Blue Angels flying over at 8 am. Enjoy some of the gulf coast delicacies as the Blues pilots prepare for the Saturday's show with what they call their circle and arrival maneuvers, meant to familiarize them with the air space.
On Thursday, July 9
th, the Blue Angels will practice for the Saturday air show at 2 pm, performing their high-speed stunts and maneuvers over Pensacola Beach and the Gulf of Mexico.
The week continues on with the Blues performing their full-dress rehearsal show on Friday, July 10
th, at 2 pm. The 2015 air show line-up includes the Redline Sports Team flying RV-8 speed demons; Fat Albert, a C-130 Hercules that flies support for the Blue Angels; Gary Ward flying the MX2, an unlimited aerobatic aircraft that spins and rotates at high speeds; Kevin Coleman flying a one of a kind Extra 300SHP; and Skip Stewart flying Prometheus, a biplane that roars and races. This a great way to catch the show if you don't want to fight the crowds Saturday or will be heading home.
The official show will take place on Saturday, July 11
th with the Blue Angels full summer showcase beginning at 10 AM with various acrobatic routines from a variety of planes over the emerald waters of Pensacola Beach and ending with the Blue Angels taking to the skies for their annual homecoming show at 2 PM.
The shows are free and family friendly. The water will be cleared by the Coast Guard while the aircraft are overhead. Please prepare for the heat with umbrellas, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
For a full list of activities during Red, White, and Blues Week, visit
www.visitpensacolabeach.com or call 850-932-1500.
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Whining is For Duffers, Not Pros
Making Sense by Michael Reagan

Sometimes you just have to get away from politics, if even for half a weekend.

I did it last Sunday, and it felt great.

In the morning I didn't watch a second of George Stephanopoulos, Chris Wallace or any of the other TV talking heads, pundits, politicians or their professional mouthpieces.

I didn't hear a word about removing the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's statehouse grounds — which I think they should do.

I didn't hear the words "Charleston," "Putin" or "Obama" for the entire blessed day.

Thanks to a friend who gave me a ticket to the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open, I got to spend my Sunday walking around the Chambers Bay Golf Course on the beautiful Washington coast near Tacoma.

The only flags I thought about were the ones waving at me on a spectacular golf course that was so tough it turned some of the best golfers in the world into duffers like you and me.

Fellow golfers, don't believe the criticism you heard about Chambers Bay's unique layout and rugged terrain being unfriendly to spectators and unfair for the players.

Yes, walking the course as a spectator was a serious trek. And yes, it was not possible to follow your favorite golfer from hole No. 1 through hole No. 18.

But I and tens of thousands of others had no trouble getting an up-close look at the one of the most exciting U.S. Open finishes in history.

When Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy hit their long drives off the No. 10 tee, I was 20 feet away.

When McIlroy chunked a pitching wedge, I was so close I could feel his pain. We duffers all have that shot in our bag. It was nice to see that a super golfer has it too.

When Dustin Johnston missed that short birdie putt on 18, which would have forced an 18-hole playoff with Spieth, I could hear the collective groan of thousands of shocked spectators.

The 2015 U.S. Open — where Tiger Woods shot an opening round of 80 — could not have been more exciting if it had been scripted.

The last nine holes were full of suspense and drama. And the trophy was literally won and lost on the last putt of the tournament.

The 2015 Open was one of the greatest sporting events I've ever attended. I'm glad I didn't have to watch it on Fox TV, whose rookie broadcast team repeatedly shanked its coverage.

The only thing that ruined the full enjoyment of the Open for me was the whining done by the golf pros before, during and after the tournament.

They whined that Chambers Bay was too long, too dry, too hilly and weirdly contoured. And they whined that the brown-green greens were too slow, bumpy and just plain bad.

Ian Poulter, the Brit who finished 11 over par for the tournament, said the USGA should have apologized to the players for the poor condition of the greens. 

For a while there, I thought some of the best golfers in the world were going to petition the United Nations for relief.

Come on, guys. Man up.

Chambers Bay was supposed to be different. It was purposely designed and conditioned to make it as tough as possible, not as perfect as possible.

It was not supposed to be another Buick Open, where every green looks and runs like a pool table and every fairway is as flat as an airport runway.

I applaud the USGA for trying something different. The golf bosses made the 2015 Open as difficult as they did because they didn't want the winner to come in at 18 under par.

Their plan worked. Spieth finished at just 5 under. Instead of whining about the course like a duffer, he kept his head down, sunk the putts he needed to sink and won $1.8 million.
Copyright ©2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.
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Editorial By: Kelly Woodard

This weekend, my “child” becomes “man-child” as my husband celebrates his 30th birthday. Usually upon hitting such a milestone age, an adult will want something special to commemorate the occasion like a nice watch or new car, but not my man. When I asked him a couple of months ago what he wanted, he had one simple answer; “A superhero party.” I don’t know why I was surprised.
“You mean like a costume party, right,” I asked. “Well, yeah, but with a blow up slip-n-slide, a bouncy castle, and games,” he replied, like an excited six year old boy. So thus, my party planning adventure began.
But how do you plan a six year old’s birthday party and make it adult friendly you ask? Simple…..booze. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
My first awkward call was to the blow up rental place. It went something like this:
Me- “Hi, I’m interested in renting a blow up slip-n-slide and a bouncy castle.”
Them- “Great how many children are we expecting?”
Me- “Um…like 40 adults.”
Them- (long silence) “Okay. Well, our slip-n-slide weight limit is 300 lbs., and we only have a bouncy house that will accommodate 3 adults at one time.”
Me- “Bummer.”
Them- “And also, we do charge extra if someone vomits in it.”
Me- “Let’s just stick with the slip-n-slide.”
Them- “Good choice.”
My next awkward encounter was with the lady from the bakery. I wanted to get him a special three tiered, multi-superhero-awesomeness cake that featured one layer of Spiderman, one layer of Superman, and one layer of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thank goodness for Pinterest….otherwise I’d never have any good party ideas.
I explained to the baker what I was looking for, and a few minutes later she had sketched up exactly what I had in mind. Then she asked, “On the top layer we’ll put ‘Happy Birthday, Jonathan’ and his age on it in fondant. How old is the little guy?” I replied, knowing the look I was about to get, “Um….thirty.” She gave me a look at first like she thought I was kidding, then upon realizing that I wasn’t, she just burst out in laughter and said, “That is awesome.”
My next adventure was to come up with some adult friendly games that people might actually want to play. After hours and hours of YouTube and Google searching, I decided that we will have “pin the bikini top on the centerfold”, Battleshots (Remember Battleship as a kid?), and a slip-n-slide/flip cup team relay race. I ran the idea by a couple of friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Oh cool…..I want to be on your team.”
I’m pretty sure that I should be ashamed of that, because I run like a slow duck, but I can drink like a fish. After all, my days at FSU consisted of many beer pong and flip cup championships. Sorry, mom. I guess some things never change.
And in all honesty, I don’t want them to. I find it extremely charming that my husband is all grown up, but is still a kid at heart. He’s always fun and spontaneous, and while he takes care of me and our family the way every man should, he is never one to pass up a chance to be silly and adventurous.
As I sat here today sewing “scales” onto his Ninja Turtle costume, I realized that I’m lucky to have found someone who doesn’t take life too seriously and isn’t afraid to be a major dork. We may not always be perfect, but there is always a lot of laughter and love in our house. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.
Except for asking me to dress up as ‘Master Splinter’, which he did, and I said no. I draw the line at dressing as a giant ninja rat warrior. Not happening.
So, I want to take a minute to say happy birthday to my amazing husband, Jonathan. You are a hard worker, a great doggy dad, and the most perfect weirdo in the world. Here’s to the next 30…..I can only imagine what you’ll come up with for that shindig.