Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Losing it all to Irene

UPDATED Aug. 29, 2012 - From the Outer Banks Voice: "Irene a year later: Rebuilding an Outer Banks icon."


Billy Stinson comforts his daughter Erin Stinson as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood on August 28, 2011 in Nags Head, N.C. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Above is one of the more compelling images of Hurricane Irene's aftermath. Anyone who's ever lost everything in a destructive storm can relate to it.

From ABC News:
Captured by Scott Olson of Getty Images, it’s a photo of a devastated dad, comforting his daughter on a set wooden steps surrounded by water. The staircase is all that remains of their 108-year-old family cottage, swept away by Hurricane Irene.

The Stinson family – dad Billy, wife Sandra and daughter Erin – lost the cottage on Albemarle Sound at Nags Head, North Carolina, Sunday to the storm.



”We pretended, just for a moment, the cottage was still behind us and we were sitting there watching the sunset,” Erin Stinson said of the photo.

The Stinson’s turn-of-the-century home was built in 1903, one of the first vacation homes built on Albemarle Sound. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cottage found itself in the eye of Hurricane Irene, and the results were devastating. The hurricane first made landfall on North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, destroying vulnerable beach houses along the shoreline before ripping up the East Coast, causing 40 deaths and still untold amounts damage.

The Stinsons, the home’s owners since 1963, say their neighbors and the community are helping them get through this tough time.

A May 2010 story in Our State magazine tells the story of the Stinson’s family home.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is this the Miami Herald's new home?

Bertram Yacht yard, 3663 NW 21st St., Miami. (Click images to enlarge.)

The South Florida Business Journal's Oscar Musibay reports
The Miami Herald has narrowed its search for a new home to roughly a handful of locations that include the former Florida Power and Light headquarters [at 9250 W. Flagler St.] in west Miami-Dade and the Bertram Yacht yard on the Miami River, according to sources.
Former FPL headquarters, 9250 W. Flagler St., Miami.

In a story posted on the Journal's website last Friday, Musibay adds,
The Herald has been seeking between 80,000 and 100,000 square feet of office space for its administrative, editorial and other newspaper-related staff.

The scenarios publisher David Landsberg and the business staff at the newspaper are considering include relocating the administrative, editorial and other newspaper-related staff to be separate from the printing operation.

The company is also considering a joint printing operation in Miami-Dade with the Sun-Sentinel, according to sources.

[...]

The Herald hired Miami-based Blanca Commercial to find its new home. Through spokesman Tadd Schwartz, Tere Blanca, the firm’s principal, declined comment.

One of the sites the Herald is supposedly considering is property where the Bertram yacht company is located. The Bertram site, at 3663 NW 21st St., is more than 15 acres. It would involve a build-to-suit that may not include the printing operation. One source said Bertram currently has signs on the site on the factory side that states there is “space available”. It’s unclear how the Herald’s possible move there might impact the Bertram boat manufacturing operation.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Jeff Weinsier shakes up County Hall, gets results

Channel 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier has gained a colorful reputation in South Florida TV news circles by confronting local restaurant owners about rat sh*t and cock roaches in their kitchens.

But lately he's been setting his sights higher.

For the past few weeks he's been airing a series of reports on Miami-Dade County employees' use of government-owned take-home vehicles.
Miami-Dade County allows 3,011 employees to take county-owned vehicles home, Local 10 has learned.

Miami-Dade County sends more vehicles home with employees than Duval, Hillsborough, Orange and Broward counties combined.

Of those county-owned vehicles, 509 are driven to residences outside Miami-Dade. It's a practice costing the county $8 million at a time when budgets are bare.

Newly elected Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez plans on putting the brakes on vehicles going home.
In one of his reports, Weinsier caught a county employee using her take-home car to go to the gym in Coral Springs.

It appears his reports have struck a nerve.

Today Weinsier reported:
"Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez fired off a sternly worded letter (see below) Monday to all department heads.

In the letter, Gimenez ordered those department heads to review each and every county take-home vehicle in their departments by Sept. 9.

"Take-home vehicles that are primarily used to commute to and from work will be rescinded," the mayor said in the letter.
Great job, Jeff!

Gimenez Memo

More job cuts, furloughs announced at Miami Herald


Less than four months ago Miami Herald publisher David Landsberg announced the elimination of 15 jobs company wide at the Miami Herald.

Today, Landsberg announced he's cutting another another 12 positions.
In an email Monday, Herald Publisher David Landsberg told staff that the company’s efforts to develop new revenue streams aren’t enough to offset prolonged revenue declines.

Landsberg said 13 jobs companywide will be eliminated and about 20 other vacant positions won’t be filled. It wasn’t clear how many of those jobs were in the newsrooms of the Herald and the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald.

Also, all remaining full-time employees will be required to take a weeklong furlough without pay between September and the end of the year.

The company has already laid off more than 200 employees since 2009. It has also made significant cuts to save money, instituted news-sharing with other South Florida newspapers, reduced the physical size of its newspapers, consolidated sections, and raised prices for subscribers and newsstand buyers in an effort to find an economic balance. Remaining staff have endured pay cuts and furloughs.
In an email to staffers, executive editor Mindy Marques said the newsroom would suffer a "loss of 4.5 existing vacancies, three full-time positions, one part-time position and a reduction in hours for two positions."

Recent voluntary departures from the paper include tech writer Bridget Carey and staff writers Rob Barry, Robert Samuels, Jaweed Kaleem and James Burnett.


Michele Bachmann: Republican. Presidential candidate. Idiot. [UPDATED]



From New York Magazine:
Every time a natural disaster strikes, televangelist clown Pat Robertson is there to remind us that God is angry and the End Times are nigh. The recent earthquake and hurricane were no exception:

“It seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power. It has been the symbol of our great nation. We look at the symbol and we say ‘this is one nation under God.’ Now there’s a crack in it … Is that a sign from the Lord? … You judge. It seems to me symbolic.”

[...]

Of course, most people don't take Robertson seriously. Hurricanes and earthquakes have occurred regularly all over the world since before humankind existed. There was a time when they seemed to be the product of God's wrath, but geology and meteorology long ago provided much more plausible explanations. Nevertheless, there are still a few wacky cranks like Robertson to say things like this:

"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."

Whoops! That wasn't Pat Robertson ridiculously claiming that God created a (very minor) earthquake and a (relatively unexceptional) hurricane because he was upset about the government's finances. It was Michele Bachmann. She's running for president.



UPDATE: The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo tweets:



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Michael Putney follows up on a Random Pixels post


This morning, on "This Week in South Florida," Channel 10 political reporter Michael Putney aired a brief segment following up on my post two days ago that revealed almost 800 City of Miami employees - or about 20% of the financially-troubled city's workforce - earn over $100,000 a year.

You can watch the show by clicking here. The segment starts at about the 16:00 mark on the video.

I spoke with Putney after the show and he hinted that he may be working on an interesting follow-up that's sure to have tongues wagging at city hall. Stay tuned.



TV reporter does hurricane stand-up while covered in slimy sh*t!

hurricane:
 hur·ri·cane
[hur-i-keyn, huhr- or, especially Brit., -kuhn]

noun
1. a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec). Compare tropical cyclone, typhoon.

2. a weather phenomenon that causes normally rational television reporters to do really stupid things in order to report something their viewers can pretty much figure out on their own: hurricanes cause a lot of wind and rain.

Consider the following:

TV Reporter Gives Hurricane Irene Update While Covered in Toxic Waste
Below is a video of WTTG's Tucker Barnes casually giving a live report on Hurricane Irene today from Ocean City, Maryland while drenched in what he described as "organic matter" that "doesn't taste great."








Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane preparation Photo of the Day

Click image to enlarge

From the New York Daily News

One New York City resident apparently channeled his inner Christo when he set out to hurricane-proof his Land Rover by wrapping it in plastic....which should do just fine when a tree falls on it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Former Miami Beach top cop Donald DeLucca named Golden Beach police chief

Donald De Lucca
From the Miami Herald:
By David Smiley
dsmiley@MiamiHerald.com

Former Miami Beach Police Chief Donald De Lucca has been named the new head of Golden Beach’s troubled police force.

Mayor Glenn Singer selected De Lucca Friday afternoon over current Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega and Hollywood Police Major Allen Siegel.

“Chief De Lucca was selected for his 26 years of experience as a police officer and for having led the city of Miami Beach police department,” said Town Manager Alexander Diaz. “He has strong credentials that he brings to the town.”

De Lucca will earn an annual salary of $100,000 and assume his role as chief around mid-September, Diaz said.
Ordinarily news of tiny Miami-Dade municipality appointing a new police chief wouldn't rate a post here.

But Don De Lucca isn't just any police chief.

Even before he gets fitted for his new uniform and pins on a badge, he finds himself mired in controversy.

Gus Garcia-Roberts of Miami New Times reported Thursday that De Lucca helped arrange hotel reservations for convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro when he was Miami Beach's police chief.
"The Chief's good friend Nevin Shapiro needs two rooms for tonight (8/15/06) at the Ritz-Carlton. Would you be able to help him with that? Thanks for your help!"

So reads an email sent five years ago from then-Miami Beach Police chief Don De Lucca's assistant to a manager at the posh South Beach hotel. It's one of several instances in which Delucca arranged hotel reservations for the Ponzi schemer. It's all included in a cache of more that 37 emails between the two pals that Riptide obtained from a public records request.

One of the explosive claims Shapiro recently made to a Yahoo! reporter during prison interviews: He plied University of Miami football players with prostitutes and threw sex parties for the athletes in hotel rooms. The Ritz-Carlton was not named in the story.
Apparently De Lucca's relationship with one of the most notorious con men to ever run a scam in South Florida didn't deter Golden Beach from picking him.
[Garcia-Roberts] contacted Golden Beach mayor Glenn Singer this morning, before the hiring was announced, and asked whether De Lucca's queasy relationship with Shapiro would make him rethink the former chief's job candidacy.

"No," Singer told us. "First off, I haven't seen the emails. Secondly, this guy Shapiro duped the entire University of Miami faculty."
For DeLucca's sake I hope he's a tad more discreet in Golden Beach than he was when he was Miami Beach's chief. From Garcia-Roberts' story:
It was no secret in the police department that Delucca and Shapiro were close. "Nevin would be in and out of the chief's office so much that you'd think he was assistant chief," says Gustavo Sanchez, vice president of the Miami Beach Police union, adding that they would often hold court together at South Beach's Smith & Wollensky steak house. Sanchez claims officers openly expressed skepticism about the chief's association with a man of dubious wealth who often paraded around the police station with "women that were obviously hookers."

Read the De Lucca emails below.

shapirodelucca




The way we were...slow news day in Miami, 1964

One day in 1964, WYVJ sent a reporter and a cameraman out to Hialeah to investigate the the phenomenon of a TV set that changed channels when a dog chain was rattled. This was a follow up to a story a few months earlier about a woman whose TV set changed channels when she smacked her lips.

Yes folks, Miami and Miami TV news in 1964 was really this boring.



Here's a list of the City of Miami's top earners [UPDATED]

Click image to enlarge.

UPDATED 1x below.

Depending upon which Miami Herald story you read, the City of Miami is facing a $54 million shortfall for next year’s budget or a $61 million budget hole.

On top of that City Manager Johnny Martinez announced last Aug. 15 "he’s declaring a state statute called 'financial urgency'."

Last month, Miami New Times staff writer Tim Elfrink reported that the city has hired 782 people despite a May 7, 2009 hiring freeze was ordered.

Either way you look at it, they're screwed.

But don't try telling that to some of the city's top earners.

Budget shortfall? What budget shortfall?

Random Pixels has obtained a list of 758 City of Miami employees who earn over $100,000 a year.

Of those, at least 21 gross over $200,000 a year.

The highest paid City of Miami employee is City attorney Julie Bru, who grosses $297,888 a year.

Number two on the list: Miami police captain Richard Walterman, a 29 year veteran of the department whose gross salary is listed at $289,297 a year. That's more than Miami police chief Miguel Exposito and Miami fire chief Maurice Kemp make.

Exposito is number 4 on the list: $241,007 a year.

Rounding out the top five is Miami city clerk Priscilla Thompson.

UPDATED: The bright spot in all of this for city of Miami taxpayers? Tim Elfrink of New Times writes: "Worth noting for those who think the city hasn't made any efforts to trim salaries amidst the looming double dip recession: In 2008, the Biscayne Times found that 97 city employees, mostly from the Fire Department, had topped $200K."

Here's the list.

MiamiOver100K




Thursday, August 25, 2011

The saddest thing you will see today

photograph by Lisa Pembleton

From MSNBC:
Dog 'mourns' at casket of fallen Navy SEAL

Labrador retriever Hawkeye lies down with a sigh at funeral of his owner

Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson lay in a coffin, draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind.

Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson’s casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson’s hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end, reported CBS..

The photo was snapped by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton, and posted on her Facebook page in memory of the San Diego resident. Tumilson, 35, was one of 30 American troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, who were killed when a Taliban insurgent shot down a Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 6.

“I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn't make it or couldn't see what I could from the aisle,” Pembleton wrote on her Facebook page. “To say that he was an amazing man doesn't do him justice. The loss of Jon to his family, military family and friends is immeasurable.’’

Here's a short video of Hawkeye lying next to the casket that has been "looped for emphasis."





New York City gets ready to welcome 'Irene'

In New York City, you're nothing until you've landed on the front page of both of the city's tabloids on the same day.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miami Herald continues shielding its readers from unpleasant news

Daniel Cárdenas Sr. kisses the casket of his son Daniel, at the boy's funeral Tuesday. photo by Pedro Portal, El Nuevo Herald.

"News is the deviation from the normal." -Miami Herald executive editor Janet Chusmir, quoted in the Herald, Feb. 2, 1988
_______________________________


What Chusmir was talking about when she made that statement - almost 3 years before her death in December 1990 - is journalism's "man bites dog" rule. A rule that says, "an unusual, infrequent event is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence."

But if you looked at a copy of Tuesday's Herald you might have noticed at least two stories on page 1 that run counter to the "man bites dog" rule.

Taking up much of the front page, left, was a back to school story.

A story about kids going back to school at the end of summer. To most of us, that's an ordinary occurrence. Happens every year around this time. Yawn!

Another story gracing the Herald's front page Tuesday was about Haitian president Michel Martelly "having a hard time meeting expectations in his first months in office."

Stop the presses! Things are not getting done in Haiti!! As sad as that is, many would consider that another "ordinary, everyday occurrence." OK, so it's news. But page one news? I think not.

What isn't an ordinary occurrence is three teenagers - their lives full of promise - having those lives snuffed out in a violent, horrific and senseless car crash.

That's what happened Saturday night in Doral

A car driven by a 19 year old kid with an abysmal driving record, crashed into a light pole killing his three teenage passengers. The driver, Alberto de Jesús Coterón Oliva, survived and fled the scene of the crash. He later surrendered to police.

The Herald tried its best not to run the story. But the story - written by two El Nuevo Herald reporters - ran anyway, on page 4B....far from the prying eyes of casual readers of the paper.

To their credit, editors at El Nuevo recognized this story as an important one and it ran on the paper's front page. They followed up today with another page 1 story and photograph of the funeral of one of the victims. (See photo above.)

This is not the first time the Herald has attempted to protect its readers from the unpleasantness of death.

Late last year, the deaths of five Little Haiti teens in a Hialeah motel room barely made it to page one.

Last November, 20 year-old Michael Beatty was chased down a Liberty City street in broad daylight and gunned down by a thug with a Mac-10. The crime was caught on tape. But Herald editors thought this was more violence than their squeamish readers could handle and the paper never printed a word about it.

But Herald editors also shy away from other newsworthy stories.

A couple of weeks ago, an alert Miami police officer arrested two Miami men who were driving around Miami in a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville that was a rolling arsenal. Inside the car the officer discovered a loaded 45 caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine, a loaded AK-47 assault rifle and a 45 caliber Ruger handgun.

A Miami police officer told me, "these arrests probably prevented a drive-by shooting or a homicide."

Herald editors apparently decided that a story of two potentially violent felons being removed from the streets wasn't newsworthy enough. Nothing appeared in the paper.

Perhaps one of these days the Herald will return to its original mission as outlined by Janet Chusmir in 1988: printing stories of "unusual, infrequent events," which at most other newspapers is still known as "news."


The Miami Herald East Coast Earthquake Edition

At the Miami Herald, they know how to cover disasters. (Insert your own punchline here.)

Click image to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sara Sidner tells Libyan rebels: We're OK, please don't shoot sir.


CNN's Sara Sidner left her US competition eating her dust today with her amazing reports from Tripoli. Much of the gunfire is celebratory, but the bullets will kill just like any other.

Sidner, it turns out, is from Miami Lakes and is a former University of Florida volleyball player! Go Gators!


Why was Alberto de Jesús Coterón Oliva on the road?

Alberto de Jesús Coterón Oliva



A Miami tragedy...three young lives full of promise, gone in a flash. Enrique Flor and Melissa Sanchez of El Nuevo Herald reported the story for Tuesday's paper which was picked up by the Miami Herald.
Three teens die in apparent drag-racing crash

It was going to be a night of celebration before the first day of school on Monday.

The teens arrived at the Dolphin Mall Saturday afternoon. Friends gave Verónica Santiago, 17, and Isis Maciel Jiménez, 15, a ride there. The father of Daniel Cárdenas, 17, took him there thinking that the boy deserved a fun night. Alberto de Jesús Coterón Oliva, 19, arrived in his 1994 Honda Civic.

The four teenagers knew each other through friends, Facebook and frequent Friday-night outings to a skating rink in Kendall and dancing at the Dolphin Mall. Santiago and Cárdenas were sweethearts, as were Jiménez and Coterón.

That night, while their parents waited for them at home, the teens decided to leave the mall and go for a ride in Coterón’s Civic. Jiménez was riding on the passenger side. Santiago and Cárdenas were in the back seat.

Before 11 p.m., Coterón began racing against a black Infiniti near Northwest 12th Street and 99th Avenue. Witnesses told Miami-Dade County police that the cars were going at a high speed. At a curve, Coterón lost control. The Civic bumped over the curb and crashed into a light post, breaking in two, according to the police report. Three passengers died instantly. Coterón, who suffered cuts and bruises, ran away, police said.

It took hours for their families to learn of the accident.
Why was Coterón on the road? Was he, once again, driving with a suspended license?

Of Coterón's driving record, the Herald story says, "he has been fined 16 times for traffic violations, including driving without a license, driving with a suspended license and driving a noisy exhaust pipe."

But a closer inspection of his record shows that since 2007 he's been cited 7 times for having no drivers license or knowingly driving while his license was suspended. (see charts below.)

Perhaps, in time, we'll get some clear answers as to why he was allowed to continue to drive.

But, for three families and hundreds of friends and classmates, those answers will be too little, too late.



Click images to enlarge.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly makes a compelling argument for his own forced sterilization

From the Washington Post:
Machine Gun Kelly arrested after organizing flash mob

Cleveland rapper and P. Diddy’s newest signee Machine Gun Kelly was cited with disorderly conduct after he reportedly refused to get down from a food court table during a flash mob he organized at a suburban mall, police said Sunday.


MTV reports that MGK had told his more than 70,000 fans on Twitter to flash mob Cleveland’s South Park Mall on Saturday, and hundreds of them did — many of them running through the mall screaming as MGK spoke through a speakerphone and encouraged them to climb on mall tables.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The way we were...making Miami's streets safe for women

90 years ago today....

From the Miami Daily News, Aug. 22, 1921

Miami's police chief considers enacting a law that would target "male flirts who insult [women]" on Miami's streets.

The ordinance would "rid the streets of male loiterers who congregate in front of cigar stores, drug stores or restaurants or stand on the corners and whistle at passing women."


It's time to fire Bill Talbert

William Talbert, President of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. (Official GMCVB photo)

In 1999 when Bill Talbert was appointed president of the the quasi-private, publicly-funded Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, (GMCVB) he told the Miami Herald, "I'm honored, and I want to take us on to the next level."

On its website the GMCVB says its mission is to "attract and encourage individuals and organizations to visit Greater Miami and the Beaches."

And how does the GMCVB attract and encourage tourists and groups to visit Miami?

Talbert and his staff oversee the production of print ads, posters, brochures and videos that show Miami at its best.

Under Talbert, the GMCVB has made attempts to identify and market to specific niche groups such as Gay and Lesbian and African American tourists.

But how do Talbert and his staff of 60+ full-time employees measure up on a day-to-day basis?

Gus Moore of MiamiBeach411.com gives Talbert poor marks. Moore recently documented instances of Talbert publishing "misleading employment information" for South Florida's leisure and hospitality industry.

By now you might be saying to yourself. "perhaps that's just an aberration."

Surely Talbert - who makes over $258,000 a year running the GMCVB - must be doing something right.

Well, let's look at few examples of how Talbert has taken the GMCVB to the "next level" after more than 12 years at the helm.

It appears that the GMCVB has a spotty record when it comes to social media.

There is an iPhone app available on the bureau's website that purports to give visitors "the inside scoop on Miami – the world’s favorite tropical cosmopolitan destination."

But, what about Facebook? I'm not hitting this "like" button. And neither is anyone else. The GMCVB's Facebook page has 15 likes and not much else in the way of info.

Twitter? A little better. @MiamiandBeaches has over 36,000 followers.

YouTube? Surely the GMCVB, with its $24 million annual budget hires dozens of talented videographers to shoot slick, picturesque videos which are then posted on the GMCVB's YouTube page. Right?

Yes, the GMCVB does have a YouTube page. Let's look at one of their videos.



Is that it Bill? That's what $24 million buys? One embarrassingly bad video? There are kids in junior high school that shoot better videos that that piece of crap.

Question: How hard is it to find someone to shoot a professional-looking video that shows off Miami?

Answer: Not that hard.

Here's a video shot by a couple of videographers in their spare time while they were in Miami covering the 2010 Super Bowl for ESPN. One of the filmmakers, Joel Edwards writes: "So we're in Miami this year shooting for ESPN SuperBowl coverage.. and I'm blown away by so many different colors we're capturing... and then... Roache and I get on a couple of boats for water views... long story short.. we had so much extra footage... great footage... I figured I might as well put together a scenic mix with some crazy color correction and trance music."



Now here' a question for Bill Talbert: How many young creatives do you have on your bloated, overpaid staff? People who can produce videos like that because it's second nature for them? Perhaps the reason you don't have any talented and creative people on your staff is because it would serve to highlight your own incompetence.

By the way, here's a video shot in Miami Beach a few months ago that's getting a lot of views. It's not quite as slick or professional as Joel's video, but it's definitely generating a lot of talk about "Greater Miami and the Beaches."

<



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stuff we like

Nocturne


a short film by Vincent Laforet, Stu Maschwitz, and David Nelson. Shot entirely with available light using prototype Canon EOS 1D Mark IV cameras.



Friday, August 19, 2011

And the Random Pixels award for the most asinine statement of the week....

Attorney Evan Hoffman

...goes to attorney Evan Hoffman.

The Miami Herald's David Smiley is reporting that disgraced former Miami Beach cop ...
...Derick Kuilan, who faces two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two of DUI with serious bodily injury, wrote in a grievance filed with the city of Miami Beach that investigators wrongly took his blood after the July 3 crash.
[...]
Kuilan, 30, is demanding that he be reinstated with back pay and benefits.

Kuilan and his attorney attorney Evan Hoffman, are apparently hoping that everyone has forgotten that Kuilan, in addition to being drunk on July 3, was also reckessly tearing around a darkened beach on a police department ATV before crashing into "Luis Almonte and Kitzie Nicanor near Fourth Street." Nicanor underwent multiple surgeries.

Hoffman tells the Herald the case has "been sensationalized. People are assuming that’s what’s already been put out there is true, and I wouldn’t assume that.”

So, congratulations Evan Hoffman!

For that asinine statement and your defense of the indefensible, you are the Random Pixels Asshole of the Week.





Film: Not dead yet

This is for all you kids out there who have only shot digital and think you know all there is to know about photography.

You don't.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Miami Police Department Press Release of the Week

Gabriel Soto

C'mon Gabriel. Robbing a guy in a wheelchair? Didn't your mama learn you no manners??


WHEELCHAIR- BOUND MAN BEFRIENDED BY ROBBER

~ UPDATE ~


Today, detectives have arrested Gabriel Soto, D.O.B. 9/8/94 and charged him with one count of strong arm robbery and one count of grand theft.

See attached arrest affidavit. Officer Kenia Reyes

4/18/11
_________________________________________


On Friday, July 22nd, at approximately 11:35 AM, a wheelchair-bound man was aboard a Miami-Dade Transit bus, when he was befriended by a white Hispanic man riding the same bus. Minutes later, they both stopped at the Northwest 22nd Avenue and West Flagler Street bus stop and exited the bus. Once outside, the suspect asked the victim for a cigarette and as the victim pulled out his pack of cigarettes, his money also fell out. The suspect sought the opportunity and snatched the cigarettes, money and cellular phone, then ran westbound on West Flagler Street.

Fortunately, the victim was unharmed, but the cameras aboard the Miami-Dade Transit bus caught the suspects face, gestures, actions, and intentions.

The suspect is described as a white Hispanic man, clean shaven, approximately 20 years old, 5’7” tall, and weighs approximately 145 lbs. He was last seen wearing a black shirt, olive green shorts and white sneakers.

Detectives need assistance in trying to identify the subject.

Surveillance video is available at the Public Information Office today, from 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM and can only be filmed from the computer monitor.

The investigation continues…..
Gabriel Soto Arrest Affidavit

Before there were motor drives and digital cameras...

...Charlie Trainor was making great photographs.

I've written about legendary Miami News photographer Charlie Trainor before.

Tonight, his son Charlie Jr. - himself a Miami Herald photographer - is in Los Angeles for the opening of a showing of his father's great images at the Perfect Exposure Gallery.

Here's a short piece from the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles on how some of the photographs were made.


View more videos at: http://www.nbclosangeles.com.


Anderson Cooper can't stop giggling

So many things I could say about this video of Anderson Cooper having giggle fits last night....but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

The fun begins at the 2:40 mark. (Hint: It's so funny you just might pee your pants.)



Billy Corben talks about the University of Miami scandal on ESPN

Yesterday, Billy Corben, director of "The U," was the most sought-after interview in America; appearing on virtually every local and national sports talk show in the country talking about the Nevin Shapiro/University of Miami scandal.

While he doesn't say it in this interview with ESPN's Jim Rome, I did hear Billy on more than one occasion sum up the scandal perfectly with this line: "L.A. is where you go when you want to be somebody. New York is where you go when you are somebody. And Miami is where you go when you want to become someone else."


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who's in charge at the Herald?

Tonight, on the Miami Herald's homepage there's this....(click to enlarge)


Click on the link and there's this....

A San Diego cop's final act of kindness

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

SAN DIEGO — A surveillance video at a City Heights McDonald’s shows the poignant encounter between a San Diego police officer and local boy minutes before the officer was shot and killed by a suicidal gunman.

The Aug. 6 tape, which police released Tuesday, shows Officer Jeremy Henwood walking up to the counter at 5:24 p.m. He appears to take awhile deciding what to order. Moments later, a boy sidles up to the counter beside him and appears to look at his police belt full of equipment. The boy smiles as he and the officer exchange words.

Henwood buys the boy cookies along with a meal for himself, all the while talking to the boy.

After getting a soda at the fountain, Henwood walks out of the frame at 5:28 p.m.

Four minutes later, the officer was shot while driving east on University Avenue near 45th Street. Police found the McDonald’s bag in his patrol car, the food inside still warm.


Rick Perry is in love with America!

Just how much in love?

Jon Stewart demonstrated how much in a comedic tour de force on Tuesday night's Daily Show.

What she really meant to say was....



From Reuters:
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann offered a "happy birthday" message to the late singer Elvis Presley on Monday, even though August 16 is the anniversary of his death in 1977.

"Happy Birthday, Elvis!" Bachmann shouted from the stage at a campaign stop in the parking lot of The Beacon, a South Carolina drive-in restaurant famous for its fried food and sweet tea.

After her stump speech, the U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota told a group of reporters that she was happy to be in South Carolina "on the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death."

"He's still alive. He's alive in our hearts," Bachmann said.

Later, a campaign organizer who did not want to be identified said with a wink: "You celebrate Elvis because he never died."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yacht vs supertanker off Cowes, Isle of Wight

Who says yacht racing is boring?

In this match-up, the final score was Supertanker - 1, Yacht - 0.

Gov. Rick Scott gets a (fuzzy) new 8x10 glossy

Something happened yesterday that, once again, calls into question the competence of people Gov. Rick Scott has surrounded himself with.

Scott and his handlers have apparently decided that they are tired of seeing photos like this, (left), in newspapers and on websites. (That photo was shot by a wire service photographer last year on election night.)

So, Scott's office, as a part of the obvious ongoing campaign to soften the governor's image, released a new official portrait.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times reports:
Those experienced in dealing with the cranky, suspicious class known as hardcore news reporters know the best way to get journalists to do something, is to tell them they can't -- and vice versa.

So it's hard to understand why anybody in Gov. Rick Scott's office thought journalists would actually accede to their request that all photos of the new governor be supplanted by an official photo they distributed Monday (shown below, left).


It's as if they wanted to make sure we never used that photo ever -- except to make fun of it.

The email sent to news outlets said: "Please forward the attached photo of Governor Rick Scott to the appropriate people in your organization who handle graphics, layout and design.

Please use this photo of Governor Scott, rather than any others you may have on file."

Beyond the odd, controlling nature of the request, it's not even a photo of the governor in a suit and tie, which makes using the image for more official stories a tough sell.
But there's another reason why the photo probably won't get much use.

It's out of focus. (You can see the full-size version of the picture here on Gov. Scott's website.)

Out of focus pics are OK I guess if all you're going to do is post them on Facebook. But if you're CEO of the 4th largest state in the country, is it too much to ask to send out a portrait that looks half-way professional?

Especially if you're sending it to professionals "who handle graphics, layout and design."

I wonder if the person who approved the release of the portrait is the same person who dreamed up the governor's letter writing scheme or his workday at the donut shop? Or those annoying phone calls?

Note to Gov. Scott. If you're having trouble finding someone in Tallahassee who knows how to focus a camera, feel free to give me a shout next time you're in Miami and I'll hook you up wiith a professional, in-focus photo. It's the least I can do.

The Random Pixels 1960's Commercial Rewind

A couple of TV ads from the 1960's so wonderfully sexist they might even make Don Draper blush.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Tillman, the skateboarding bulldog



...has a new video our.

This guy does it all!

Tillman was in Miami back in February and the Miami Herald's Elinor Brecher spent a day with him.
He snorts like a pig, skates like a pro

BY ELINOR J. BRECHER
ebrecher@miamiherald.com

In human-canine relationships, generally it’s people who have dogs.

But if you are Tillman, the world’s fastest skateboarding dog — you can look it up in the Guinness Book of World Records — you have people.

You have an agent, a personal assistant, a driver, a pedicurist, publicists, and a guy named Ron Davis, who picked you out of a litter of six English bulldog puppies and made you an Internet star — which was the last thing that the former construction project manager had in mind.
[...]
Although he wasn’t breaking any records on Friday at the Westwind Lakes Skate Park in Kendall, Tillman still drew an excited crowd of mostly elementary and middle-school kids who had spotted his roadies’ bus, emblazoned with Tillman pictures.

Davis and Tillman arrived in a rented minivan with Tillman’s “posse’’: bulldogs Rose, Lyle and Sully. In various combinations of fawn and white, the duffle bag-shaped dogs spilled out of the van onto the lawn, where they did what a dog will do after a long car ride. Snuffling in the grass like truffle-seeking swine, they snorted and slobbered and took evasive measures, as kids tried to grab them.

They’ve all been neutered.

“Some of the best dogs I’ve had in my life were from shelters and rescues,’’ said Davis. “We didn’t want Tillman adding to the [pet overpopulation] problem.’’


August 15, 1969



42 years ago today the music festival Woodstock began.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

CNN's Don Lemon gets roughed up by ... two blonde bimbos?



This just in to the CNN Newsroom! CNN's Don Lemon got roughed up by a couple of blonde Tea Party bimbos in Iowa yesterday while he was trying to ask Rep. Michele Bachmann some questions. And then someone pushed him into a golf cart and people started spilling stuff. Oh, the humanity!

If this is the worst thing that ever happens to him in his career, then he'll be just fine.

It does seem, however, that this sort of anti-press hostility occurs more with Tea Party Republicans than with Democrats.

But, it also appears that Lemon has never been in the middle of a full-fledged, balls-to-the-wall media cluster-fuck.

Note to Don Lemon: Reporters and photographers have been dealing this for eons.

Stop whining. And next time you find yourself in the middle of one of these situations, don't chastise people for "being rude" and complain about "spilling stuff." Unless, of course, you want to come off sounding like a candy ass.

And Don; in case you're wondering what it's really like to get roughed up, here's the classic clip of Dan Rather at the 1968 Democratic Convention.


Dan Rather Fight Scene
Get More: Dan Rather Fight Scene

Indiana State Fair stage collapses [VIDEO]

Ongoing coverage at the Indianapolis Star.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The day the sheriff told Charlie Trainor to stop shooting Elvis


Fifty years ago today - on Aug. 13, 1961 - Miami News photographer Charlie Trainor and News reporter John Keasler were up in Yankeetown, Fla. chasing Elvis Presley who was filming a movie.

(Exactly five years and 10 days earlier - on Aug. 3, 1956 - Charlie had taken one of the most enduring images ever of a young Elvis.)


The movie company hired a deputy sheriff to keep away pesky photographers and reporters.

The sheriff threatened to put Charlie in jail if he took a picture.

What the sheriff didn't know was that a surefire way to get Charlie to take a picture was to tell him he couldn't.


Then the movie company press agent tried to keep Charlie from taking a picture.

Charlie hadn't come all the way up from Miami just to let some short guy in a pith helmet tell him he couldn't take a picture.


Then it was John Keasler's turn. Apparently, by this time, the movie people had given up on these two from Miami.

Keasler got an "interview" with Elvis.


Charlie Trainor died in 1987 at the age of 59. He was the greatest news photographer to ever work in this town.

(Next Thursday, some of Charlie's greatest and best-known images go on display at the Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles.)

Bill Talbert loves Miami...but why does he hate the cranes?

Bill Talbert does his best imitation of a crested crane. (Click image
to enlarge.)

Bill Talbert is the luckiest man in South Florida.

As president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, (GMCVB) his salary is somewhere in the neighborhood of $258,000 a year. At least that's what it was in 2009. That's the year his income dropped from the whopping $366,000 he made in 2007.

On its website the GMCVB is described as "a private, not-for-profit sales and marketing organization. It is a private-public partnership with more than 1,000 private business members and four local governments: Miami-Dade, City of Miami Beach, City of Miami and the Village of Bal Harbour." The GMCVB receives about 93 percent of its budget from tax dollars.

The GMCVB even has an office in the UK.

So, what does President Talbert do to earn that big, fat paycheck??

Well, as head of the GMCVB his job is simple: Make sure visitors and tourists come to Miami.  That's roughly equivalent to Seattle hiring someone to make sure it rains or the city of Anchorage, Alaska having someone in charge of ensuring they get enough snow in winter.

The job is a perfect fit for Talbert who's been a political hanger-on since the mid-70's when he was assistant county manager under Merrett Stierheim. Talbert then spent the next 20 years following Stierheim from one job to another.

But, in reality all Talbert has to do is oversee the creation of a few promotional TV spots a year and attend lots of cocktail parties where he extolls the virtues of Greater Miami while sipping dry martinis. Lots of dry  martinis.

And get his picture taken.


Talbert also  appears in videos - that no one will ever see - pretending to know what he's talking about.

Here's a scintillating Miami Herald interview with Talbert that's been on YouTube for two years and that's been viewed a grand total of 52 times.




Bill Talbert loves his job. Who wouldn't love a job that pays over a quarter million dollars a year to do nothing?

And Talbert loves Miami and everything about it.

Well, almost everything.

Gus Moore, publisher of MiamiBeach411.com, has discovered that when Talbert doesn't like something about Miami he just ignores it or changes it to support his version of what he believes the truth should be.

Moore writes that Talbert has been posting misleading hospitality industry employment statistics on his blog, TalbertTalksTravel.
This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about Bill Talbert deceiving the visitors. In January 2010, I brought to light how the employment statistics he was publishing on his blog were not adding up:

On the same day Matt Meltzer and Miami Herald published stories about the job turnout at Chik-Fil-A (the fast food restaurant received over 6000 applications for 65 jobs), Bill Talbert, President and CEO of the GMCVB, wrote a 59-word blog post how jobs remain solid in the Hospitality Industry.

Sadly, my concerns, back then, were not heard, because Mr. Talbert is still publishing the same misleading employment information, without backing it up with any facts.
Moore also points that Talbert will apparently go any lengths to portray a Miami that exists only in his mind's eye.
Why does Bill Talbert, the president of Miami’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, find it necessary to use a photoshopped image of the Miami skyline as the masthead for his blog? Is doctoring up a picture of our beautiful city really necessary to sell the destination? I don’t think so. As is stands, Wikipedia ranks Miami as having the third most impressive skyline in the United States. Why fake it?
And one sharp-eyed reader of Gus' post also notes that Talbert has gone so far as to Photoshop the Port of Miami cranes out of his blog's masthead image.

The cranes Bill? Say it ain't so!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Miami Police Department Press Release of the Week

Jovens Esperance, (left), and Christopher Jaime Sealy

The only thing I like better than a story of a criminal being taken off the streets is a story of a really stupid criminal being taken off the streets.

The Miami Police Department satisfied that need late this afternoon when it sent out a press release that tells the story of not one, but two really stupid criminals being removed from our streets. Enjoy!

OFFICERS ON HIGH ALERT DETECT ARMED MEN

Today, at approximately 7:30 AM, a Miami Police officer was working a car fire at NW 3rd Avenue and 11 Street, when he witnessed a vehicle go the wrong way on Northwest 11 Street. The driver and passenger exited the vehicle and walked towards the officers. The officer asked the driver for his license.

Shortly after, the driver, Jovens Esperance, D.O.B. 3/4/92, was placed under arrest and charged with one count of no valid driver license. The passenger remained on the scene.

Once Esperance was arrested for the traffic violation, the officer began to search the silver 2002 Pontiac Bonneville and found a loaded 45 caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine, a loaded AK-47 assault rifle on the rear passenger seat and a 45 caliber Ruger handgun on the front passenger floorboard of the car. Immediately, officers placed Christopher Jaime Sealy, D.O.B. 10/24/92, under arrest.

All three loaded firearms were confiscated. Detectives arrived on the scene and both Esperance and Sealy were taken to headquarters for questioning.

After detectives questioned both men and checked the serial numbers of the weapons, Jovens Esperance, D.O.B. 3/4/92, was charged with three counts of carrying a concealed firearm, two counts of grand theft and one count of possession of cocaine.

Christopher Jaime Sealy, D.O.B. 10/24/92 was arrested and charged with three counts of carrying a concealed firearm and two counts of grand theft. Two of the three firearms confiscated were reported stolen, one out of Miami-Dade County Police Department and another by Hollywood Police Department. Detectives are still waiting on a response on the AK-47.

See attached photographs and arrest affidavits.

Jovens Esperance Arrest Affidavit

The Random Pixels Culinary Adventure* of the Day: Deep-fried Butter on a Stick

What would we do without State Fairs and their contributions to the American diet...not to mention cholesterol counts?

Most of these delicacies seem to involve impaling some kind of fatty food on a stick and then deep-frying it.

The latest concotion is no exception.

Yesterday, Iowa TV reporter Eric Hanson found a vendor at the Iowa State fair who's selling deep-fried butter on a stick. Price: $4.

Oh, yum!

*with apologies to SFDB

The Random Pixels Thursday Commercial Rewind

From 1967: Swedish actress Gunilla Knutsson in a classic commercial for Noxema shaving cream...take it off, take it all off!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier



-from

Now this is one awesome dog!

If this video doesn't make you smile, then you don't have a heart!

Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier

Naples attorney who foreclosed on Bank of America gets face time on the Daily Show



I don't know how I missed this when it happened back in June, but Monday's Daily Show's retold the great story (above) of a Naples attorney who exacted sweet revenge from the Bank of America.

Here's the back story from the Fort Myers News-Press.
It was a foreclosure defendant’s revenge fantasy.

Two burly Collier County sheriff’s deputies and a homeowner’s attorney strode into the Bank of America branch on Davis Boulevard in Naples with a court order and an ultimatum for Manager Erich Fahrner.

Fahrner’s choice: Write out a check for $2,534 in attorney’s fees for the couple wrongfully slapped with a foreclosure lawsuit by the bank, or a William C. Hoff Storage moving crew waiting outside would start hauling out furniture to be sold at public auction.

“I’m leaving the building with either cash, a check or a whole lot of furniture,” attorney Todd Allen said just before walking in.