Sunday, May 29, 2016

Here's a video of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine sounding a lot like Donald Trump

Here's Donald Trump talking last February about how he'd like to sue the "failing" New York Times when they print "hit" pieces about him.

"One of the things I'm going to do if I win... I'm going to open up our libel
laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles,
we can sue them and win lots of money." –Donald Trump, Feb. 26, 2016.

And here's Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at a May 18 commission meeting - sounding a lot like Trump - talking (dishonestly) about how the Miami Herald made up a story about an escaped Miami Beach police dog "running amok.". Because, according to Levine, stories about police dogs "running amok" help newspapers sell ads.

Then, the mayor, like Trump, talks about how he'd like to take legal action against the Herald next time they print something he doesn't agree with. In this case he's talking about a Miami Herald story that reported Miami Beach was pumping human waste into Biscayne Bay.

"We lost a police dog about a week ago, 10 days ago, he escaped...ran
away from his trainer. You would have thought that somehow every police
dog in the entire city had run amok and was biting everybody. And the Herald covered it....and everyone covered it. And they covered it because it was Miami Beach." –Mayor Philip Levine, May 18, 2016.


What Levine conveniently left out of his rant was that not one media outlet in town - not one - ever reported, or implied, that police dogs were running amok in the city. What the Herald did report, along with Miami's TV stations, was that Miami Beach Police had asked the media's help in getting the word out to the public about the lost dog.The police never said the dog was vicious, and the media never reported it that way.

You would know this if you spent more time talking to your police chief, Mr. Mayor, and less time shilling for Hillary on the cable news channels.

But Mayor Levine would rather make up stuff....because when you come right down to it, he's not all that different from that blowhard with the bad hair.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Miami Beach City Attorney Raul Aguila may - or may not - know something about the law....

Raul Aguila

....but he definitely has no idea where the Miami Herald's offices are located.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine directed City attorney Raul Aguila "to respond to the Miami Herald’s misleading and damaging May 16th article regarding king tides and [the city's] flood mitigation system."

And respond he did, with a six-page letter that ends with Aguila requesting a meeting with the Herald and demanding a retraction of the May 16 article.

So while Mayor Levine and Raul Aguila are questioning the truthfulness of the Herald article, I'm having a little trouble believing anything in the letter given the fact it's addressed to the Herald's Pembroke Pines office that closed down at least a year ago.

And even when it was open, the Herald's executive editor never worked there.

Click to enlarge.

And what does Mayor Levine have to say about all of this? We'll ask him as soon as he gets back from Japan where he's learning how to make sushi.

Sushi, anyone?
(All travel expenses paid personally by Mayor Philip Levine. Batteries
sold separately. Void where prohibited by law. Please use stairs in case of fire.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

30 years ago Katie Couric went along with Metro Police as they raided a crack house

Thirty years ago WTVJ's Katie Couric accompanied a Metro Police SWAT team as they raided a crack house at 1621 NW 69th Terrace.

Thirty years later, not much has changed in the neighborhood.

1621 NW 69th Terrace in 2014.
(Click images to enlarge)

1621 NW 69th Terrace in 2015.

Jimmy Fallon & Adam Sandler sang a song for the troops and it was great

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Miami Herald sent Fabiola Santiago to Jacksonville to listen to some right-wing radio shows

Earlier this year the bosses at the Miami Herald made a decision to eliminate a column written by long-time freelance food writer Linda Cicero. The savings? $100 per column.

Exactly one year ago, the paper decided it could no longer afford the services of veteran outdoors writer Sue Cocking.

And in an effort to cut even more costs, the Herald recently offered buyouts to a handful of staffers, including photographer Walt Michot, and also photo editor Roman Lyskowski who joined the paper in 1988.

But for for some unknown reason, the Herald continues to pay a bloated salary to Fabiola Santiago, the paper's most fraudulent columnist.

To borrow a phrase from New York Times columnist David Brooks, "Santiago doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and she’s uninterested in finding out."

A little more than a week ago, filmmaker Alfred Spellman caught Santiago re-writing history.

In a column that discussed whether or not Cuban-American voters might punish Hillary Clinton over her husband's role - and that of his Attorney General, Janet Reno - in the April 2000 raid that reunited Elian Gonzalez with his father, Santiago dishonestly wrote: "The violent seizure was too much and carried out without exhausting other avenues — an affront to the freedom-loving, loyal Cuban-American community." 

Santiago apparently never bothered to check the Pulitzer Prize winning reporting of her colleagues before writing that sentence. 

The official line at the Herald is that all of Santiago's columns are looked at by an editor, but one Herald insider tells me that "if she wrote a column in Swahili, it would probably make it into the paper, untouched."

And just today, the Herald printed one of Santiago's more fraudulent and intellectually dishonest columns, ever.

The Herald, the paper that can't afford to pay a $100 freelance fee, apparently ponied up the money to send Santiago up to Jacksonville to listen to conservative talk radio hosts. 
JACKSONVILLE - Drive into Florida’s most conservative city – and hear an alternative reality emerge from the airwaves.

Radio show host Sean Hannity is discussing with callers the presidential election, but if it weren’t for the name Donald Trump, whose questionable conservatism is being swept under the rug as Republicans are urged to support him, you’d think it was the 1990s.
This is only one talk show on a Wednesday afternoon. Northeast Florida is also pounded daily with different approaches to the same narrative by Herman Cain and Rush Limbaugh. Besides the election, the topic of obsession at the moment is transgender bathrooms.

In making her case that conservative Jacksonville listens to conservative talk radio, Santiago conveniently omits the fact that the very same nationally syndicated shows can be heard on Miami radio station WIOD...or on the Internet.

In a post on, blogger A.G. Gancarski writes:
To read Santiago, you would think that as soon as you cross over the Duval County line, we all get Hannitized.

It’s a cheap, facile reference to sum up a place about which she clearly knows nothing.

With the word "facile," Gancarski succinctly describes everything Santiago has ever written for the Herald.

Gancarski concludes: "There’s no sense of place in [Santiago's] column. She writes it like someone passing through, with no depth, and no perspective, beyond that gleaned from a frolic through Google News. The Miami Herald should be able to do better."

Yes, A.G., the Miami Herald should be able to "do better."

But the "leadership" at the paper - from the publisher on down - is a gutless, morally bankrupt lot.

And that's too bad. Because there are dozens of hard working people who still care deeply about the work they do.

But by printing Santiago's garbage twice a week, the Herald bosses not only cheapen their product, they disrespect those at the paper who are doing great work and who bust their asses every day to produce quality journalism.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rashid Derissant, a member of Brooklyn's GS9 gang who participated in a drive-by shooting on Ocean Drive in October 2014, has been sentenced to 98 years in prison

Rashid Derissant in court. 

Via the New York Daily News:
A judge doled out a whopping 98 1/3-year prison sentence Tuesday to a Brooklyn gangbanger with ties to rapper Bobby Shmurda.

Rashid Derissant, 24, a member of GS9, was slapped with the almost century-long sentence, a tally of consecutive prison terms on gang-related charges including conspiracy, murder, attempted murder and assault.
Derissant, and co-defendant Alex Crandon, were found guilty of murder and attempted murder last April 15.

According to prosecutors, both Derissant and Crandon took part in the October 2014 drive-by shooting on Ocean Drive.

Read more at Miami New Times: Bobby Shmurda Associate Gets 98 Years in Prison After Ocean Drive Shooting


From the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York:
For Immediate Release April 15, 2016

Two Members of Violent Street Gang GS9 Convicted of Murder and Attempted Murder, Conspiracy, and Other Crimes
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, announced today that a jury has convicted RASHID DERISSANT and ALEX CRANDON for the February 2013 murder of a 19-year-old rival gang member in Brooklyn, and numerous acts of violence in New York City and Miami Beach. The conspiracy began with crack dealing in Brooklyn, spanned nearly two years, and was connected to the Crip gang known as “GS9.”

After an eight week long trial and four days of deliberation, a Manhattan Supreme Court jury found DERISSANT, 24 and CRANDON, 22, guilty on charges of Conspiracy in the Second and Fourth Degrees, Murder in the Second Degree, multiple counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Assault in the First and Second Degrees, Attempted Assault in the First Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, and Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Abraham L. Clott presided over the trial and scheduled sentencing for May 17, 2016.

“As indicated by their verdict, the jurors in this trial heard evidence describing a cold blooded murder, wild gunplay and a terrifying disregard for the safety of innocent bystanders as the defendants tried to violently settle scores with rivals in New York City and beyond,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. “When Rashid Derissant and Alex Crandon were armed, theirs was a neighborhood under siege. When they traveled to Miami Beach, they spread terror as they fired randomly at a nightclub. They took their New York City based grievances and rivalries to Miami, assuming that they could act with impunity there, claiming they were merely members of a music group. Their convictions on these crimes make our city a safer place.”

As proven at trial, DERISSANT, aka “Rasha” aka “Jordan 23,” and CRANDON, aka “A-Rod,” were members of “GS9” or “G Stone Crips,” a street crew based in East Flatbush Brooklyn, and conspired to engage in a pattern of gang-related violence between January 2013 and October 2014. Much of the violence detailed at trial stemmed from an ongoing dispute with members of the rival gang “Brooklyn’s Most Wanted” or “BMW.” The gang sold narcotics to make money, some of which went towards gun purchases.

As the violence escalated, members of GS9 sought to shoot members of rival crews, often discussing their efforts and plotting attacks in recorded phone conversations with incarcerated GS9 members. Retaliatory shootings took place in New York City and Miami, where the gang members recklessly shot into crowds of innocent bystanders.

McDuffie riots erupt - May 17, 1980

Miami News, May 19, 1980

Miami News, May 20, 1980

Friday, May 13, 2016

Miami filmmaker Alfred Spellman catches Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago rewriting history

Filmmaker Alfred Spellman has caught the Miami Herald's most fraudulent columnist rewriting history.  

In a post on Facebook today, Spellman writes:
Why does the Miami Herald continue to allow Fabiola Santiago to pen barely literate columns that are littered with non sequiturs, poor grammar and invented facts?

This week, she clumsily rewrites the history of the Elian raid:

"The violent seizure was too much and carried out without exhausting other avenues — an affront to the freedom-loving, loyal Cuban-American community."

Of course, that's not what happened at all. Carl Hiaasen set the record straight two weeks after the raid:
On April 12, shortly after meeting face-to-face with Attorney General Janet Reno, Lazaro Gonzalez made the following declaration about his great-nephew Elian:

``Our position is we will not turn over the child - anywhere,'' he said. The government ``will have to take this child from me by force.''

Thus, Lazaro Gonzalez and his handlers set the scene for what happened in the pre-dawn hours last Saturday. By their own obstinance, they brought INS agents thundering into that house as surely as if they'd sent out engraved invitations.

By force. Lazaro's words, not Reno's. ``Force'' doesn't mean saying please, pretty please, open the door. It means large, impatient men with badges and guns - a harrowing three minutes for Elian and everyone inside that house.

And they're right: It didn't need to happen. Up until the final hours, Lazaro and his family could have avoided the whole ugly mess.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Detroit gunshot victim saved by doctor, then becomes one


On a summer night just after midnight, Kevin Morton Jr. was in his car after work when someone emerged from the shadows and shot him.

Morton was 22, a student at Oakland University and working at an Arby’s in Eastpointe that night in July 2007 when a bullet passed through his stomach, diaphragm, pancreas and two main blood vessels.

A few miles away, Dr. Dharti Sheth-Zelmanski was the trauma surgeon on duty at Detroit’s St. John Hospital when she got a page that a Code 1 trauma patient was arriving. She and other surgeons worked for hours to remove the bullet from Morton’s abdomen and stop the bleeding. One resident doctor told Morton’s father he wouldn’t live through the night.

But Morton survived five surgeries, 58 days in the hospital and more than a year of recovery, inspiring him to become a doctor and help others as Sheth-Zelmanski had helped him.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Math anxiety: The Guido Menzio story

Guido Menzio.

This actually happened in the United States of America last Thursday.

According to the Washington Post, "A 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent" boarded a "regional jet making a short, uneventful hop from Philadelphia to nearby Syracuse."

From the Post story:
The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently if inscrutably scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate, a blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and a red tote bag, looked him over. He was wearing navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater – a look he would later describe as “simple elegance” – but something about him didn’t seem right to her.

She decided to try out some small talk.

Is Syracuse home? She asked.

No, he replied curtly.

He similarly deflected further questions. He appeared laser-focused — perhaps too laser-focused — on the task at hand, those strange scribblings.

Rebuffed, the woman began reading her book. Or pretending to read, anyway. Shortly after boarding had finished, she flagged down a flight attendant and handed that crew-member a note of her own.
The blonde, it seems, thought the "strange scribblings" were some kind of terrorist code.

They weren't. They were something called "differential equations," according to the Post story.

 And the man doing the scribbling? He's Guido Menzio, an Italian-born associate professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

An example of differential equations.

Menzio was taken off the plane and questioned by an "FBI-looking man in black." After showing the man his calculations, he was allowed to re-board.

The blonde never got back on the plane.

Menzio told the Post reporter he was “treated respectfully throughout.”
"Though he remains baffled and frustrated by a “broken system that does not collect information efficiently.” He is troubled by the ignorance of his fellow passenger, as well as “A security protocol that is too rigid–in the sense that once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks–and relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless.”

In an email to the Post reporter, Menzio wrote: “What might prevent an epidemic of paranoia? It is hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of [Donald] Trump’s voting base.”

Menzio also wrote about his experience in a Facebook post:

The Washington Post story has, so far, generated more than 4,000 reader comments.

And Twitter, of course, is all over this.

You can read the entire Washington Post story by clicking here.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Nathan Curry was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a killing a man who allegedly stole his mother's AK-47

Nathan Curry, left, and brother Benjamin Curry, in court in Nov. 2014.

 UPDATE: A retired Miami Herald staffer has asked me to add this comment about David Ovalle: "From the moment David arrived at the Herald as a newbie, there never was a doubt that, day by day, story by story, chat by chat, he'd master - and excel at - the craft of news reporting and writing. He did it the old-fashioned way - through hard work, long hours and supreme talent. David is a credit to himself, to the Herald and to his profession." Marty Merzer, Tallahassee


David Ovalle has seen pretty much all of what Miami's criminal justice system has to offer....and he's written about most of it.

In the past few weeks, Ovalle, the Miami Herald's courthouse reporter, has filed stories about an unrepentant 10-time felon who asked a judge for a take-out order of fried chicken before he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and rape, the arrest of three teens in the ambush murder of a 17-year-old Miami Gardens boy walking home from school, and the arrest of three other teen boys - all with criminal histories - who have been charged in the murder of King Carter, the six-year old boy who was gunned down in February while walking to a store to buy candy.

Back in January, Ovalle wrote about 18-year-old Will Campbell who served just one year in jail for his role in a mass shooting at a Liberty City nightclub that wounded 15 people. Released early on probation, Campbell was re-arrested after probation officers found a loaded gun and marijuana in his bedroom closet.

Nathan Curry, 17.
Ovalle also has written stories about inner city youth, who at some point in their young lives have decided it's a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to murder someone over a perceived act of disrespect.

But the story he filed today starkly illustrates how criminal behavior has become a thoroughly-entrenched, everyday part of life in some South Florida families...and how intractable and deeply-ingrained the problem continues to be in some communities.

"Fatal shooting over mother’s stolen AK47 lands Miami teen in prison for 30 years" is the headline on Ovalle's short story:
"A Miami teen convicted of murder is headed to prison for 30 years — for killing a man he suspected stole his mother’s AK47.

"A judge has handed down the sentence for Nathan Curry, 17, for the killing of Lonnie Reese, 24, who was gunned down in broad daylight on a street in Brownsville in September 2014.

Benjamin Curry, 18.
"Prosecutors said Curry and his brother, Benjamin Curry, 18, followed Reese as he walked away from a store because they believed he had stolen the weapon from their mother’s car."
A little further down in his story, Ovalle reports that Nathan's older brother, Benjamin, is "still awaiting trial for first-degree murder" in Reese's killing.

But the kicker?

Another brother, "Christopher Curry, 19, [below] is also in jail, awaiting trial for murder in an unrelated shooting," reports Ovalle.

Christopher Curry, 19, is awaiting trial for

In November 2014, Local 10's Glenna Milberg reported that the three Curry brothers were part of a family of eight siblings.

Ovalle doesn't say in his story what's become of the Curry brothers' mother, Cassandra, above in white.

But I'm reasonably certain she's not spending any sleepless nights, tossing and turning and asking herself, "Is there something I could have done to be a better parent?"

Sunday, May 01, 2016

If you missed the White House Correspondents Dinner last night, you missed this.... about 19 minutes into some very funny remarks, President Obama began to get serious. And then this happened.....

"Is this dinner too tacky for the Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home eating a Trump steak?"


And in case you've forgotten, here's a look back at some of Obama's best shots at Trump from the 2011 WHCD.

Here's a video of President Obama's complete remarks.