Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The way we were...1981: Dade County breaks murder record

From the Miami News 30 years ago.

On Nov. 30, 1981, with a month still to go before the end of the year, Dade County was well on its way to breaking 1980's record of 579 murders.

November's final weekend was particularly bloody.

From the Miami News story by Verne Williams:
The weekend toll was grim:

A man was stabbed to death this morning in a Miami drug store parking lot. A suspected burglar was shot to death last night by a Miami businessman. Six people were found bound and slain - two women shot, four men suffocated - inside a house in Southwest Dade Saturday afternoon. A woman who was shot Nov. 18 died in a Hialeah hospital when a life-support machine was turned off. She had been in a coma since being shot in the head when two robbers invaded her home.

Art Basel pic o' the Day

"Only at Art Basel."

Click image to enlarge.

Shot at the VIP lounge and Tweeted by Univision's Raul De Molina.

Miami Herald misses another important story

From today's Miami Herald:
The city of Miami paid assistant fire Chief Veldora Arthur more than $120,000 to stay home after she’d been federally indicted on mortgage fraud charges — despite a policy stating that non-union employees charged criminally should be placed on unpaid leave or reassigned.

For seven months, Arthur’s only work responsibilities were to be in her house 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with an hour lunch break, and to call the office twice a day.
Arthur, who hired two lawyers for her defense, took at least two vacations while she awaited trial. Court records show she was granted permission to travel to North Carolina and the Bahamas. She also cashed in 125 hours of accumulated vacation time, at the cost of more than $11,000 to the city.
In most American cities - especially cities with massive budget shortfalls - the news of a high-ranking city employee under criminal indictment being paid more than $120,000 to sit home and do nothing would be front page news.

The Herald ran the story deep inside the local section on page 3B.

Click to enlarge.

The Herald's sister publication, El Nuevo Herald ran the story - reported by Melissa Sanchez - on its front page Tuesday.

I first spotted the story on El Nuevo's website in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

When it didn't appear in English on the Herald's website by late Tuesday morning, I sent executive editor Mindy Marques an email asking when readers might expect it to be posted on the website. She responded by explaining that the story was missing because of a "mix-up."

But, it's not the first time the Herald has downplayed this story.

Editors at the paper, and Chuck Rabin, the Herald's veteran Miami City Hall reporter, have gone out of their way to ignore it, hoping perhaps, that it will just go away.

It's Rabin's job to ferret out stories like this. But, on this one, he's been getting his butt kicked by a young El Nuevo Herald reporter with decades less experience.

Lately, Rabin - who I'm told is also covering county government - has been missing in action on other important stories.

Back in October, he missed the story of the Miami cop who was stopped and arrested by an FHP trooper for speeding on Florida's Turnpike. Back then I wrote:
One of the most popular stories on the Miami Herald's website Saturday was the tale of Fausto Lopez, a lead-footed City of Miami cop who was arrested at gunpoint by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper earlier this month after he was spotted zipping along a darkened stretch of the Florida Turnpike in his patrol car at 120 mph.

However, for some unexplained reason the story wasn't available to readers of the print edition of Saturday's Herald.

But, the story did make it into print and was displayed on page one of the Saturday edition of El Nuevo Herald.

(The story finally appears - 24 hours late - in Sunday's Miami Herald...on page 1B.)

Meanwhile, readers of Sunday's El Nuevo Herald are learning new details related to this story that aren't available to readers of the Miami Herald.
Yesterday, I chatted with a friend about the stark differences between the Herald's and El Nuevo Herald's coverage of the Veldora Arthur story.

He responded by asking me, "Why don't you talk to someone in charge at One Herald Plaza and see if you can convince them to print an English language version of El Nuevo Herald. I'd subscribe to that paper," he told me with a sly wink.

Your (earlier than usual) lunch hour time waster

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bergdorf Goodman goes to the dogs

Swanky Bergdorf Goodman opens its doors to some very special shoppers who invade the store in search of perfect gifts for their owners.

Stephen Colbert slams CNN for firing 50 professional journalists

A couple of weeks ago CNN laid off 50 videographers and editors because they are no longer needed. A CNN vice president said that the proliferation of video cameras in the hands of amateurs made their jobs obsolete. After all, who needs professional video that you have to pay for when you can get amateur video for free?

And that's just fine with Local anchor 10 Todd Tongen.

I wonder if Tongen would so approving of using amateur talent if it was his job that was on the line.

According to Stephen Colbert replacing anchors with idiots on the street isn't so far-fetched.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hitting rock bottom

From tonight's 60 Minutes:
Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars in Seminole County, FL

Scott Pelley brings "60 Minutes" cameras back to central Florida to document another form of family homelessness: kids and their parents forced to live in cars.
Fact: there are 1100 students in the Seminole County School system in Central Florida who are homeless.

Fact: 16 million American kids live in poverty.

Fact: 1/3 of America’s homeless live in Florida.

Fact: Of all the homeless families in Florida, two thirds live on the streets.

Click to help.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Great Little Rock Waffle Iron Riot of 2011

At the Walmart Black Friday sale in Little Rock, Arkansas, one of the more popular items was a $2 waffle iron.

Guess what happened?

However, a close inspection of the video reveals that at least one of the shoppers does not need to be eating any more damn waffles!

(Click here for more Black Friday videos.)

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Random Pixels

Isn't this what Thanksgiving is all about?

From the Chicago News Cooperative via the New York Times:
Even for a farmer as strong as Glenn Bolander, with hands as rough as sandpaper and a stance that reaches 6-foot-4, emotions get rubbed raw with heartache. His wife, Carol, is battling cancer.

But harvest season still comes to farm country, and the beans and corn must be picked, no matter what. For all its poetic lore, the harvest is an intensely demanding time. A season’s work is at stake. Attending to his wife and her illness this fall had put Mr. Bolander behind schedule.

Word about their circumstances spread from farmhouse to farmhouse, and among the people at the grain elevator. Nearly 100 volunteers joined a convoy of tractors, trucks and combines to help the Bolanders clear the crops on their farm north of Sycamore.

“When I found out they were coming,” said Mr. Bolander, 47, “I climbed up in the combine, and I just sat there and cried.”

He said it took 30 minutes before he could compose himself enough to call his wife and tell her about the help. Mrs. Bolander, 45, a real estate broker, was grateful, but expressed concerns about the volunteers. “They’ve got crops to take care of, too,” she said.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pepper spray cop casually maces everything!

-via Pepper Spraying Cop tumblr.

Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis "Casually Pepper Spraying Cop" is popping up everywhere.

He's even got a Twitter account!

So, last night we decided to get in on the act and commission a few memes of our own.

I got a hold of my friend Eli, who's a top notch artist, and asked her if she'd Photoshop a few pics of 2011's Face of Evil.

Here's what she came up with.

First up ... Newt Gingrich's "family jewels" get a light dusting of the "hot stuff."

Click all images to enlarge.

Next, an impossibly cute kitten falls victim to Pike's nozzle.

Finally, there's no one who deserves a blast of super-rich Tabasco more than Gov. Rick Scott!

Facebook photo of the day

Click to enlarge.

Countdown to Black Friday.

Outside a Best Buy somewhere in Miami-Dade County, a very lonely soul is counting the days, hours and minutes until midnight Thursday.

-via my Facebook friend, Alejandro.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Raid on Zuccotti Park, by Casey Neistat

Casey Neistat writes:
My office isn't far from Zuccotti Park and when I heard it was being cleared I went down with my camera. I ended up filming for 18 hours until the Park was reopened at 6pm on November 15, 2011. The police presence was overwhelming, more than I've ever seen - more than during the blackout, more than the days after September 11th.
Stick with the film until the end for a scene which I never thought possible in this country.

the raid on zuccotti park from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

UC Davis police Lt. John Pike has earned a place in history

From James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic.
I can't see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute [of the video] and think how we'd react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We'd think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That's what I think here.

UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray on Occupy UC Davis protesters. Photo by Louise Macabitas

Less than two months ago, it seemed shocking when one NYPD officer cavalierly walked up to a group of female protestors and pepper-sprayed them in the eyes. The UC Davis pepper-sprayer doesn't slink away, as his NYPD counterpart did, but in every other way this is more coldly brutal. And by the way, when did we accept the idea that local police forces would always dress up in riot gear that used to be associated with storm troopers and dystopian sci-fi movies?

If you watch the whole clip, you see other police officers beginning to act "human" in various ways -- taking off their riot helmets, being restrained rather than unbridled in use of force, a few of them even looking abashed or frightened as they walk off. (More photos here.)
So, how did we go from a country that decries human rights abuses that occur in countries like Iran and China and Syria, to one that stands by idly as local law enforcement officers act like Gestapo storm troopers?

Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic writes that the kinds of tactics we are seeing at Occupy protests got their start right here in sunny Miami:
Then came the massive and much-disputed 1999 WTO protests. Negotiated management was seen to have totally failed and it cost the police chief his job and helped knock the mayor from office. "It can be reasonably argued that these protests, and the experiences of the Seattle Police Department in trying to manage them, have had a more profound effect on modern policing than any other single event prior to 9/11," former Chicago police officer and Western Illinois professor Todd Lough argued.

No one wanted to be Seattle and police departments around the country began to change. "In Chicago for example, paramilitary gear such as that worn by the Seattle Police was quickly acquired and distributed to officers," Lough continued, "and the use of force policy was amended to allow for the pepper spraying of passive resistors under certain circumstances."

9/11 put the final nail in the coffin of the previous protest-control regime. By the time of the Free Trade of the Americas anti-globalization protests in Miami broke out eight years ago this week, an entirely new model of taking on protests had emerged. People called it the Miami model. It was heavily militarized and very forceful. The police had armored personnel carriers.
In case your memory is hazy, here's what Miami was like in 2003 thanks to Miami police chief John Timoney:
On the news, [Miami police] Chief [John] Timoney spoke in sober tones about the tear gas that demonstrators fired at his officers. No, that is not a typo. Timoney said the protesters were the ones launching the tear gas. He also said the demonstrators had hurled missiles at the police. I got a lot of tear gas, Timoney said. We all got gassed. They were loaded to the hilt. A lot of missiles, bottles, rocks, tear gas from the radicals.

Seeing Timoney up close and personal evokes this image of Mayor Daley at the '68 Democratic Convention ordering his men to shoot protesters on sight. He is that kind of guy.
As Timoney was talking with his men, one of the guys on the bikes approached us with a notepad. Can I have your names? he asked.

I thought he was a police officer preparing a report. He had on a Miami police polo shirt, just like Timoney's. He had a Miami police bike helmet, just like Timoney's. He had a bike, just like Timoney's. In fact there was only one small detail that separated him from Timoney a small badge around his neck identifying him as a reporter with the Miami Herald. He was embedded with Chief Timoney.

That reporter was one of dozens who were embedded with the Miami forces (it's hard to call them police), deployed to protect the FTAA ministerial meetings from thousands of unarmed protesters. In another incident, we saw a Miami Herald photographer who had somehow gotten pushed onto the protesters side of a standoff with the police. He was behind a line of young kids who had locked arms to try and prevent the police from advancing and attacking the crowds outside of the Inter-Continental Hotel. He was shouting at the kids to move so he could get back to the safe side. The protesters ignored him and continued with their blockade.

The photographer grew angrier and angrier before he began hitting one of the young kids on the line. He punched him in the back of the head before other journalists grabbed him and calmed him down. His colleagues seemed shocked at the conduct. He was a big, big guy and was wearing a bulletproof vest and a police issued riot helmet, but I really think he was scared of the skinny, dreadlocked bandana clad protesters. He had this look of panic on his face, like he had been in a scuffle with the Viet Cong.

The Atlantic's Madrigal writes that "John Pike has become the new face of evil among people following the Occupy protests around the country."

And very soon, if it hasn't happened already, John Pike will suddenly realize that his cruel actions last week - instead of suppressing the Occupy movement - have had the reverse effect and galvanized it.

And thanks to the Internet and YouTube, Pike's name and the pictures of him pepper spraying peaceful demonstrators, are rightfully taking their place beside other historic images and accounts of brutality and oppression.

Kent State shooting. May 4, 1970. Photo by John Filo.

Civil rights demonstrator being attacked by police dogs, May 3, 1963, Birmingham, Ala.
Bill Hudson/AP

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nov. 18, 1963: President Kennedy visits Miami

President John Kennedy and Senator George Smathers 
greet well-wishers at Miami International Airport, 
Nov. 18, 1963. 
Photo by Joe Rimkus - Miami News.

Forty eight years ago, on Nov. 18, 1963, President John F. Kennedy flew into Miami to give a speech before the Inter-American Press Association at the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour.

Click to enlarge.

On Nov. 22, 1963 - four days after his Miami visit - the President flew to Dallas to give another speech.

Stuff we like

12,225 Mile Road Trip Around America in a 5-Minute Time-Lapse

Brian DeFrees spent two months between August and October of this year driving a giant loop around the United States on a 12,225-mile-long road trip. He captured a photo every 5 seconds using an intervalometer with his Canon 60D while in his car, and by creating individual time-lapse videos when parked or exploring an area. The result is this epic 5-minute long time-lapse.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Your TGIF late afternoon time waster

This will probably be showing up on your TV soon.

Jimmy Fallon's Favorite Commercials: The Jog Strap

Order now and get a second one free. Just pay separate shipping and processing!

From Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

Ron Paul gets the Bad Lip Reading treatment

"Give me Vaseline when I'm having these boring x-rays."

"If you refuse, I'll haunt your prostate."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Herman Cain stumps in Miami...ends up getting stumped by questions on Cuba

Overheard on the Herman Cain campaign bus shortly before its arrival in Miami Wednesday....
Cain: OK guys, tell me again about Miami.

Campaign aide: Well, Herman...Miami is very important. Cuban-Americans make up a good part of the population. Most Cuban-Americans are Republicans. Miami also happens to be in the state's most populous county. So, we need the Cuban vote if we want to win Florida.

Cain: So, what language do these Cubans speak? Cuban? I don't know any damn Cuban words.

Aide: Don't worry about that Herman...actually they speak Spanish. All you have to do when you meet a Cuban is say "hola." Say that a lot and you'll be fine.

Cain: What does "hola" mean?

Aide: It means "hello." Say "hola" and smile a lot. They eat that sh*t up. And if they ask you anything, just say "gracias" and smile some more.

Cain: "Grassy ass?" What the hell does that mean?

Aide: It means thank you.

Cain: Hmmmm, grassy ass...I like that word!

Cain: Now, one more thing...I want you to keep the f**king press away from me. Those Libya questions in Milwaukee had me sweating bullets.

Aide: Don't have to worry about that boss man. Most of the reporters in Miami are a bunch of rubes anyway. We'll take care of them. Besides, we learned our lesson in Milwaukee; what could possibly go wrong?
Marc Caputo
Well, this is what went wrong. Watch as the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo and Channel 10's Michael Putney catch up with Cain and ask him questions about the Cuban "wet foot, dry foot" policy.

Miami is the new Milwaukee.

(Click here to read Caputo's story on Cain's Miami visit.)

Channel 10 anchor Todd Tongen wants to see professional photographers lose their jobs

Todd Tongen
Last week, cable news giant CNN announced it was laying off 50 "photographers, editors and other staffers in Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Miami."

TV Newser reported that the lay-offs impacted "as many as 12 staffers in the Washington, DC bureau alone, four of whom are longtime photojournalists."

In a note to staffers, CNN Senior VP Jack Womack explained that "Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. This evolution allows more people in more places to edit and publish than ever before. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta."

Womack further explained that the network looked at the "impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company."

That last sentence says it all. Put another way, Womack is saying, "Because there are so many video cameras in the hands of amateurs [unpaid CNN iReporters], we are firing professional photojournalists who have spent years honing their craft. From now on, CNN will only air crap we steal from YouTube and poorly-lit, shaky amateur video. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Womack also mentioned "affiliate contributions" in his note.

CNN affiliates in Miami include Channels 4, 7 and 10. In addition to using video shot by photojournalists at those stations, CNN can avail itself of any video sent to the stations by unpaid amateurs.

At Channel 10, viewers are constantly reminded to send their pictures and video to What does Channel 10 pay for pictures and video? Nada, zero, zip.

So, tonight I was a little surprised to see one of Channel 10's long-time reporter/anchors invite his Facebook friends to send video to the station that could conceivably put some of his colleagues out of work.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Channel 10 anchor Todd Tongen noted that famous photographer Annie Leibovitz sometimes recommends the iPhone when she's asked what kind of camera to buy.

Click image to enlarge.

And then, commenting on his own post, he reminded his Facebook friends, "if you take ANY good pictures or video ...  please send to"

"YOU ARE the journalist of the future," he crowed.

I'm sure the hard-working professional photojournalists at Channel 10 struggling to pay mortgages and put kids through school might beg to differ with him.

Stay classy Todd!

The way we were...letters to the editor

Forty years ago in the Miami News.....

from the Miami News, Nov. 16, 1971

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'What kind of camera should I get?'

Every professional photographer has heard that question. A hundred times.

Or, "What camera takes the 'best' pictures?" I love that one.

Last night, NBC News anchor Brian Williams asked that very question of one of the country's most successful and prolific photographers, Annie Leibovitz.

Her answer may surprise you.

Surviving Art Basel 2011

Sketch by David Bolger.

It's almost time for Art Basel.

And you know what that means.

For five days starting Dec. 1, a few square blocks of Miami Beach will be packed with more pretentious a**holes per square foot than any other place on earth.

There are two ways to deal with Art Basel.

You can pretend you understand it.

Or, if you're like me, you can admit you don't.

Of course, if we had a real newspaper in this town, we might expect a couple of satirical pieces that poke fun at all the pretension. But we don't.

So we get Chamber of Commerce press releases instead.

Last year, after Art Basel left town, Gus Garcia-Roberts at Miami New Times cut through all the crap and put together a list of 25 reasons he was glad Art Basel was over: 22. "Parking in South Beach was already hell. During Art Basel, it's hell and you're dorming with Hitler."

Back then I asked Garcia-Roberts if there was anything he liked about Art Basel. He admitted that he enjoyed the free porridge and espresso at Jennifer Rubell's food installation.

Garcia-Roberts told me today he'll be attending Basel again but doesn't think Rubell will be serving porridge this year. "If they served breakfast every year, they'd be like Denny's."

But, if you've stayed away from Basel in years past because you were afraid of being intimidated by all the snobbery, Miami New Times has got your back.

Today on Riptide, staff writer Frank Alvarado posted a 21-page "Insider Guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2011."

Alvarado reveals the genius behind guide is "Miami Beach artist and City Hall gadfly David Bolger."

Alvarado says the guide "subtly mocks Miami's guest list party culture and a few of the city's most prominent art collectors like Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, Martin Marguiles, and the Rubells."

I'm not so sure about all that. But what I do know is that Bolger's wickedly funny sketches are probably better than anything you see at Art Basel this year.

Click here to see the guide in its entirety.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

Kristopher John Bieger. BSO photo

....Lauderhill police officer Kristopher John Bieger.

Last Saturday, Bieger fired 10 rounds from a Glock at his estranged girlfriend, Brittny Skinner.

Skinner is also a Lauderhill cop.

The two were boyfriend/girlfriend in a relationship marked by "jealousy, mistrust, following and harassment."
According to an arrest report read in court by Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley, Bieger fired 10 rounds at Skinner, who was in uniform in her patrol car outside of a now closed Denny's restaurant.

One of the bullets struck her protective vest, Hurley said.

Skinner was not physically injured and was not taken to a hospital, Lauderhill Police Capt. Constance Stanley said.

"She is on leave for a few days, which is routine when an officer is involved in a shooting," Stanley said. "We're doing an internal investigation. This is very unusual for us."
After the shooting, Bieger did what anyone in his situation would do. He bought some pizza.
[He] drove his pickup truck 16 miles south to the Regency Square Plaza at the corner of Griffin and Volunteer roads in Davie, officials said. He walked into Donato's, ordered the pizza, and then paced in front of the restaurant, all the while talking animatedly on a cellphone as his $3.90 order was in the oven.
Cops say Bieger planned to kill himself but ran out of ammunition after firing all 10 rounds at Skinner.

And that bit of miscalculation lands Bieger squarely, in this, the latest installment of the the Random Pixels Losers Corner.

Watch the SWAT team show up at the pizza place to arrest Bieger.

Republican candidates for president...dumb and dumber

Rick Perry can't count to three.

Michele Bachmann thinks America should be less China.

Herman Cain can't pronounce "Uzbekistan."

And today, Cain proved once again, that he's as a clueless as a blonde beauty pageant contestant when it comes to foreign policy. But give him a minute and he'll think of something.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In Wisconsin Monday for two fundraisers, including a tailgate fundraiser at tonight's Packers game at Lambeau Field, Cain met for a half-hour with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors. In the meeting Cain struggled to collect his thoughts and explain how his approach to the crisis in Libya would have differed from the actions taken by President Barack Obama.
Watch him squirm in his chair when realizes he can't bluff his way out of answering a basic foreign policy question.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Random Pixels ♥s the new Miami Marlins logo

Click image to enlarge.

Congratulations to the Miami Marlins on their new logo which was unveiled Friday night along with the new team uniforms at the Marlins Stadium in Little Havana. We love it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Your (earlier than usual) lunch hour time waster

Angry Cobra Cat Is Tired Of Your Attitude

h/t to Ch 10's Jason Martinez for the following summation:

"He doesn't always drink milk...but when he does....he prefers 2-percent. He IS...the most interesting cat in the world."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Watch Rick Perry's Campaign End Before Your Eyes

Rick Perry has an "Oops" moment in Wednesday night's debate.

"[He] wants to get rid of three agencies of the federal government."

Just don't ask him to name all three.

Miami cop ups the ante in the war with FHP

From CBS4:
The rivalry between the City of Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol may be heating up.

CBS4 News has learned that Miami Police officer Tom Vokaty has been put on administrative desk duty while his superiors try to piece together exactly what happened and why on the Florida turnpike extension Tuesday some time before midnight.

According to two high ranking sources within the department, Vokaty who lives in Broward County and was apparently heading home, pulled over a marked Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Sources say a conversation ensued and then supervisors were called in.

No charges were filed and no citations or tickets given.

Then both sources say as the incident came to a close Vokaty said to the trooper something to the effect of, “how does it feel to be pulled over”?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Miami Herald punk'd

Click image to enlarge.

UPDATED x1 below.

Even some of the best newspapers get had from time to time.

Yesterday, a Miami Herald photo editor was had.

The unnamed editor sifted through the hundreds of photos sent out by wire services following the guilty verdict in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

And the photo he selected made it to the front page of today's paper with this caption: "Michael Jackson fans react Monday in Los Angeles after Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter..."

Just one problem...the guy on the right in the photo ain't a fan.

Viewers of the Jimmy Kimmel show will recognize him as Jake Byrd, a comedian who acts up for the benefit of Kimmel's camera crews at celebrity trials in Los Angeles.

UPDATE: According to blogger Charles Apple, at least 9 other newspapers used a similar photo of Byrd on the front page.

Monday, November 07, 2011

French Bulldog (Frenchie!) plays with New York City Police horse on Wall Street

from who writes: "I saw this on my walk back to the office from lunch. It was a nice contrast to the perception everyone has of the NYPD in the area due to the Occupy Wall Street camp nearby."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Miami Herald ♥'s Rick Scott's publicity stunts

Rick Scott is still the least popular governor in the country.

Earlier this year, Scott's handlers - sensing perhaps their man was only slightly more popular than head lice or hemorrhoids - started re-making his image.

And so Scott, who during last year's gubernatorial campaign told Florida newspaper editorial boards to f**k off, has now done a complete one-eighty, embarking on a series of cleverly-orchestrated publicity stunts that all but guarantee the press will be eating out of his hand at every stop.

From the St. Petersburg Times, Aug. 4, 2011:
For three hours early Wednesday, Gov. Scott set aside matters of state to sell pastries — reviving an idea from former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham to spend time working alongside typical Floridians … and to have the news media eat it all up.

"Workdays" began as a gimmick to launch Graham's 1978 gubernatorial bid but grew into a signature piece of his career.

Scott announced this week that he would try the idea himself as part of a series of changes to repackage himself to Florida voters.
Scott's revival of the workdays is his latest attempt to recast himself to Florida voters.

Changes started in April, when Scott reversed himself on substantive issues such as erasing his spending cuts for the care of disabled Floridians and dropping his opposition to a prescription drug database.

On Monday, he allowed reporters into his Tallahassee office for the first time. Scott now plans to meet with newspaper editorial boards — another first — and even changed the way he dresses. A more casual open collar and khakis have replaced his suit and tie. On Wednesday, he wore a black button-down shirt with the state seal and his name on it.
On Friday, Scott showed up at the Port of Miami for his fourth "workday".

And the press ate it up.

Especially the Miami Herald.

Click image to enlarge.
The newspaper that can't seem to find any space on its pages for "real news," willingly devoted a full third of a page in Saturday's local section, to what one Herald insider called, "Gov. Scott's stunt".

The story on Scott's "workday" was written by Associated Press writer Jennifer Kay. The Associated Press also sent a staff photographer to cover the event.

However, the Herald chose not to use any of the news service's photos.

Instead it ran one supplied by the PR firm representing Scott's "employer" for the day, Carnival Cruise Lines.

The photo was shot, not by a journalist, but by Andy Newman, Senior Vice President of Newman PR, Carnival's public relations firm for 22 years.

Newman and the Herald have long enjoyed a warm and cozy relationship. Too cozy.

In 1993, Miami New Times revealed,
For nearly four years Newman has faithfully provided Herald readers with dispatches from Key Largo to Key West, despite having to endure a confusing variety of bylines: "Andy Newman, Special to The Herald," "Andy Newman, Herald Sports Writer," "Andy Newman, Herald Writer," and often simply "Andy Newman." But his humble status at the bottom of the Herald food chain hasn't dampened Newman's spirit A or his productivity. Since 1990 the paper has published close to 70 of his contributions.
[But] unbeknownst to guileless readers of the Herald's sports section, Andy Newman is being paid to promote the Keys, though not by the Herald. As vice president of his father's Miami-based public relations firm, Stuart Newman Associates, he handles the $306,000 annual PR budget for none other than the aforementioned Monroe County Tourist Development Council. His job: to generate as much positive media coverage of the Keys as possible.
Rick Scott will, no doubt, participate in more "workday" stunts in an effort to improve his image.

And if he does, hopefully our hometown newspaper won't be such a willing accomplice. But, if they do choose to cover it, hopefully they'll publish something that hasn't been run through some public relation firm's image-polishing filter.

Facebook photo of the day

One of my Facebook friends spotted this City of Miami police car marked with graffiti parked at 34th St. and North Miami Ave in Midtown.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Lincoln Road Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market this Sunday

Another Lincoln Road Antique Market takes place this Sunday, Nov. 6th.

The weather outlook? Do you have to ask?

See you there!

For a complete list of this year's dates, see the blue box in the right-hand sidebar. ------>>

Gov. Rick Scott needs a geography lesson

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is apparently clueless when it comes to Florida geography.

From the St. Petersburg Times:
News of the St. Petersburg Times' name-change to Tampa Bay Times was late in reaching the Governor's Office Tuesday. Gov. Rick Scott was having coffee and doughnuts with reporters in his chief of staff's office when he was told the news. "That's interesting," Scott said, munching on a doughnut. "Does the region call itself the Tampa Bay region? Is that what it calls itself? The region does?"

On his show Thursday night, Keith Olbermann singled out Scott for a special, well-deserved mention.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Surfer has close call with humpback whales near Santa Cruz CA

Watch as two humpback whales break the surface with mouths open as they go after a school of anchovies near Santa Cruz, CA. The woman surfer almost ends up as dessert.

-Video by Barb Roettger

Carlos Noriega out as Miami Beach police chief

From the Miami Herald's David Smiley:
Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega’s reign over his embattled police force effectively ended Thursday.

According to a city memo, [embedded below] Noriega will likely remain chief until his official retirement date Dec. 31, but in name only.

“Police Chief Carlos Noriega will no longer be responsible for day-to-day command and administrative oversight of our Police Department,” City Manager Jorge Gonzalez wrote Thursday to elected officials. “During this almost 60-day period, Chief Noriega will use his vacation and other leave days until his official retirement at the end of the calendar year.”

Assistant Chief Raymond Martinez will take over for Noriega as the city conducts a national search for a new chief.

LTC 270-2011 Police Chief Carlos Noriega_s Separation Date

Patience + 288,000 Jelly beans = Wow!

What would you do with 288,000 jelly beans? You could eat them.

Or, you could make a music video.

Want to see what pure dedication looks like? This music video for the song “In Your Arms” by Kina Grannis is a stop-motion animation done with a background composed of jelly beans. It’s a crazy project that required 22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, and 288,000 jelly beans. They could have used CGI, of course, but each frame was carefully created by hand and photographed with a still camera. It’s even more mind-blowing given this fact: none of it was done with a green screen.

The way we were...Hialeah politics and Miami cops

Miami News, Nov 3, 1971

40 years ago, Nov. 3, 1971:

Hialeah voters elect Henry Milander to a 14th term as mayor, despite the fact that he was on probation following a conviction on grand larceny charges the year before.

One of Milander's challengers, William Lockward, told the Miami News he would file suit to have the election returns inspected. "It's unbelievable. I don't think the people would endorse a convicted criminal," Lockward said.

Also victorious was Francis A. (Tony) Benedetto, candidate for the city council. The Miami News reported Benedetto "served on the city council for 15 years before he was convicted in 1969 ... of possessing untaxed cigarettes with the intent to sell them. He is currently under indictment on charges of accepting a payoff for fixing a traffic ticket."

Miami News, Nov. 4, 1971

Meanwhile, in other news 40 years ago, the Miami Police Benevolent Association decided to spend $20,000 to fight a lawsuit filed by black cops who were seeking admission to the all-white union.

Miami News, Nov. 3, 1971

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Spending wasting your tax dollars - a Guide for Dummies

Click image to enlarge.

Big shots at County hall getting $10,000 in "executive benefits."

Millions more spent on 3,000 "take-home cars" for county workers.

3,100 of the county's 27,000 employees hauling down six-figure salaries.

How many more ways could there possibly be to waste your tax dollars?

Frank Alvarado at Miami New Times knows and he's put together a list of eight of the most outrageous examples of wasted taxpayer money in Miami-Dade County.

He started off the series today with a look at how a traffic circle mysteriously appeared one day in front of Miami Commissioner Marc "The Shark" Sarnoff's Coconut Grove home
In 2001, Marc Sarnoff was president of the Center Coconut Grove Homeowners Association. He complained to city and county road planners that he needed a traffic circle to slow traffic in front of his two houses. Their response: the four way stop sign at Virginia Street and Shipping Avenue did a fine job. Six years later, newly elected City Commissioner Sarnoff made the circle one his top priorities.
Alvarado continues Thursday with a look at why the South Dade Cultural Center was a waste of $51 million.

On Friday he takes readers for a ride on the $50 million, 94-foot tall I-95 flyover.

Then on Monday he takes a tour of Raul Martinez's $411,000 monument to Hialeah.

Alvarado tells Random Pixels that the rest of the series will feature a $350,000 park with no parking for cars and a $1.8 million parking lot with no cars!

Follow the series daily at Miami New Times.

Aerial view of "Marc Sarnoff Circle" at Virginia Ave. and Shipping St. in Coconut Grove.

Miami Herald circulation dips slightly; St. Petersburg Times is still Florida's largest newspaper

From the St. Petersburg Times:
The St. Petersburg Times saw Sunday circulation increase 6.6 percent in new figures released for fall 2011 by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Weekday circulation dipped 1.4 percent in the figures, which were the second set of numbers this year released under new counting methods established by the ABC.
Some more numbers:

Sarasota Herald Tribune: 83,140 Sundays, 63,864 daily.

Miami Herald: 209,116 Sunday, 160,505 daily.

Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale):
224,763 Sundays, 147,860 daily.

Orlando Sentinel:
286,982 Sunday, 171,418 daily.
Here are the numbers for the same newspapers from May, 2011:
Tampa Tribune: 262,218 Sundays, 164,568 daily.

Sarasota Herald Tribune:
106,127 Sundays, 83,085 daily.

Miami Herald:
217,163 Sunday, 173,555 daily.

Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale):
253,247 Sundays, 174,641 daily.

Orlando Sentinel: 287,845 Sunday, 187,841 daily.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Your lunch hour time waster

Cute baby feeds Cheerios to the family dog.

Put all your calls on hold!

You're going to want to watch this one 20 or 30 times.