Sunday, July 31, 2016

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine corrects some shoddy, irresponsible reporting by the Miami Herald

via Mayor Philip Levine's Facebook page

Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine took to Facebook on Saturday to "correct" some sloppy and irresponsible reporting contained in a recent Miami Herald story.

Miami Herald, July 29, 2016 — Miami Beach Convention Center redo one month behind schedule — "The $600 million renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center is behind schedule.

"According to a memo from City Manager Jimmy Morales, contractor Clark Construction has run into snags with planning, permitting and design modifications that have put the large-scale project 45 days behind the original schedule.

"The project has two significant benchmarks to meet during the next few years of construction — to have all four halls available for Art Basel this December and next.

"The city maintains that the delays won’t impact Art Basel because Clark is developing a plan to catch up and shift some work to early 2017.

“The contractor had run across a couple of delays, but the way we’re mitigating it is some of the work is actually going to happen in 2017,” said Maria Hernandez, Miami Beach’s project director for the convention center district. “There will be four halls available. The show will go on.”


Mayor Levine corrects the record: "Contrary to recent reports in the media, The City of Miami Beach and Clark Construction Company would like to ensure you that Art Basel Miami Beach will take place as scheduled.

"There have been some misunderstandings and questions pertaining to the construction schedules for the Miami Beach Convention Center due to a recent article published by the Miami Herald.
"As with many major construction projects, there have been some minor setbacks in certain aspects of the construction which have caused delays of approximately 45 days. This, however, will not affect any of the upcoming events, including Art Basel." — Miami Beach Convention Center Scheduling Update

Thank you, Mayor Levine, for clearing that up.

h/t: Nick Nehamas

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Donald Trump is running out of people to attack... now he's attacking marshals?

That's right, fire marshals.

On Friday, Trump accused a fire marshal in Colorado Springs of being a Hillary supporter.

But that's not why I'm posting this item.


UPDATE: Trump is now attacking the parents of a soldier who sacrificed his life in defense of this country. Scroll down below the photo to see the update.

Look at the great shot of Trump that Colorado Springs Gazette photographer Stacie Scott took following rally!

The baby on the right is all of us.

The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO, July 30, 2016.
Click here to enlarge.



Via the New York Times:
Donald J. Trump reeled on Sunday amid a sustained campaign of criticism by the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq and a rising outcry within his own party over his rough and racially charged dismissal of the couple.

The confrontation between the parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and Mr. Trump has emerged as an unexpected and potentially pivotal flash point in the general election. Mr. Trump has plainly struggled to respond to the reproach of a military family who lost a child, and he has repeatedly answered the Khan family’s criticism with harsh and defensive rhetoric.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said Sunday that Mr. Trump had crossed another inviolable line. Like his comments about Mr. Curiel, Mr. Graham said, Mr. Trump’s jabs at Mr. and Ms. Khan were entirely unacceptable. “This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen,” he said.

“There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics, that you don’t do, like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier, even if they criticize you,” Mr. Graham continued. “If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism, and Mr. Trump can’t.”

Mr. Graham added: “The problem is, ‘unacceptable’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.”


Talking Points Memo: Trump Accuses Fire Marshal Of Voting Clinton After Restricting Rally Goers

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Donald Trump has a 'very good brain' and has 'said a lot of things'


If you listened today as Donald Trump invited the Russian government to cyber spy on Hillary Clinton, and then asked yourself the question: "Who is advising this moron?".... Here's your answer....

First, here's Trump inviting the Russians to meddle in our political process.....
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens.” -Donald Trump, July 27, 2016.

And now, here's Trump last March talking about who his advisors are.

Any questions?

“I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things. I know what I'm doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I'll tell you who the people are." -Donald Trump, March 16, 2016

donald trump, miami,. doral speech, hillary clinton, russians, emails

Fed up with politics? Here's a video of a cat hitching a ride on a swimming dog

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine attended a very important event this morning

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was Master of Ceremonies at a very important event on 41st Street today.

The reason we know it was important is because he wore his navy blue blazer, blue shirt and khaki Dockers combo.

Let's listen in on the conversation the Mayor had this morning with his loyal manservant, Raoul, as he got ready for his day.....

Levine: "Raoul, I think I'll wear my khaki Dockers and dark blue shirt with my navy blue blazer. And pick out a nice tie for me. I know it's Saturday....but this is a very special event."

Raoul: "But you wear that blue blazer and those khaki Dockers everywhere."

Levine: "Just do as I tell you, Raoul, or I'll ship your ass back to Camaguey on the next plane."
"Besides, Chico, I'm not going to Hillary's event...this is bigger...I'm cutting a ribbon at the new Burger King on 41st Street."

Unedited photo caption from Mayor Levine's Facebook page:
"Opening of the new cool Burger King on 41st on ‪
#‎MiamiBeach‬.  Burgerking was founded in Miami in 1954."

(Click all images to enlarge)


Here are more pictures of Mayor Levine looking very spiffy in his khaki Dockers and blue blazer!

Mayor Levine in Cuba a few moths ago.
(Yes, a fully grown man actually posted this picture on
the Internet.)

Mayor Levine gives blood at a mobile blood bank.

Levine at swearing in ceremony for new police officers in May.
Everyone's in uniform, including Levine.

At the re-opening of the Venetian Causeway in February.
Blue blazer? Check! Khaki Dockers? Check!
Red tie? Check!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Is Donald Trump on drugs?

Via Maggie Haberman of the New York Times:
If ever there was a moment for Donald J. Trump to share the spotlight, his formal announcement of his running mate on Saturday was it.

Instead, his introduction of Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana was a remarkable reminder that ultimately, the Trump campaign is about one person.

He called Mr. Pence his “partner,” but before the governor took the stage, Mr. Trump stood there alone and talked for 28 minutes, delivering a long and improvised riff that emulated his rallies instead of a traditional vice-presidential debut.

After roughly 20 minutes, Mr. Trump reached for his notes. “Back to Mike Pence!” he declared, turning to Mr. Pence’s record of job creation in Indiana. Then he used the reference to the Hoosier State to remind the 150 people in attendance that he had trounced Mr. Pence’s endorsed candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, in the primary there.

When Mr. Trump ultimately ceded the microphone to Mr. Pence, rather than stand beside him while he delivered his remarks, Mr. Trump patted him twice on the left shoulder and walked off the stage.


Via's Charles Pierce
By the time he finally got around to introducing Pence, this looked less like a campaign rollout than it did a proof-of-life video to Pence's family back home (again) in Indiana. (Look, mother. Mike is still alive! Pay the ransom!) By the time he finally got around to introducing Pence, he did it in one brief sentence and then he… left… the… stage.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Friday, July 01, 2016

Filmmaker Billy Corben schools Miami Beach Mayor and Commissioners on government transparency


Billy Corben
Miami Beach-based filmmaker Billy Corben was outraged after reading a story this morning by Miami Herald environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich on the City of Miami Beach's attempts to circumvent public records laws by attempting to charge the Herald an astounding $73,000 to furnish the paper with "emails dealing with water quality monitoring from Mayor Philip Levine and others over the past two years."

So he took  to Facebook and penned a blistering broadside calling out Levine and his colleagues at City Hall for their hypocrisy and arrogance.

You can read Corben's screed below, or on his Facebook page by clicking here - where you can also leave a comment.

Postscript: When I asked Corben for permission to re-post his letter, he said yes...and then said "you should remind the Herald that when they sue the city, which at this point appears inevitable, I hope they don't forget to demand all personal emails and text messages from city officials, as they regularly do city business using those accounts and are subject to public records laws. And they must be sure to include Mayor Levine's Hillary Clinton-esque private email server"


An Open Letter to: Mayor Philip Levine,

Commissioners Michael Grieco, Ricky Arriola, Joy V.W. Malakoff, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, John Elizabeth Aleman, City Manager Jimmy Morales

In Re: Miami Herald versus Bad Government

Dear Mayor Philip Levine, et al:

Bad government comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and political persuasions. I know you probably never envisioned it coming to this when you idealistically first ran for office (in the case of Mayor Levine, never having even voted in a local election before) or become a professional bureaucrat, but it's time to look in the mirror and take stock: YOU are now the bad government you vowed to repair. No transparency, no accountability and feebly attempting to cover it up by concealing public records from the public who pays for them. Which begs the question: what are you trying to hide?

The primary role of the media is to provide vital oversight on government. It is not their job to publish propaganda generated by your agencies. That is the province of chambers of commerce, politicians' monthly newsletters and wasteful “private-public” organizations like Visit Miami.

The Herald is not supposed to be a cheerleader, politician or cruise director (or all of the above, like Mayor Levine); they’re supposed to be fact-finders and truth-tellers. Without the press, who would we rely on to accurately report government goings on? Public agencies themselves? Politicians and bureaucrats like you? Clearly not based upon the article I’ve posted below.

If Commissioner Arriola was the Herald’s publisher, he'd run the same 1A headline daily: "IT’S A BEAUTIFUL SUNNY DAY!” Hey Ricky: stop worrying so much about the sunshine and start governing in it. Our public records laws (aka “Government-in-the-Sunshine” laws) are not simply statutory — they are enshrined in our state constitution. Access to our government and records is a fundamental right in Florida.

The Herald answers to the same people you do: their readers are your constituents. Blaming the press and attacking the messenger only serves your agenda of distracting the populace from your failure to take action on the shortcomings being reported on.

I know it’s easier to sit on a dais with your blinders on, declaring "everything is awesome" than to actually confront real issues and effectuate positive change. The voters don’t want mascots, we want leaders. Leaders who aren’t too thin-skinned to open their records and accept constructive criticism from the only people who matter: the people of Miami Beach. That's who you are supposed to work for and protect. Not your own fragile egos.

Holding public records for ransom is the ultimate arrogance of power. They DO NOT belong to you. They belong to us. This is a simple search of emails. It DOES NOT require $73,000 and 48 weeks of work. Shame on you. Shame on all of you. I repeat: What are you trying to hide? Is this just mindless vindictiveness against the Herald or is there something you don’t want us to know?

Michael Grieco, you publicly removed the door from your office at City Hall as a symbolic gesture of open government. Is that all that was? An empty gesture? Mayor Levine once told the very media he assails: "This government is going to be all about transparency." All talk?

If you ever intend to run for reelection or hold further public office know that this "us versus them" war you've senselessly declared against the media is not you versus the Herald. It's you versus the people and our right to know what our government is doing.

Understand, since you clearly do not, it is the duty of the Herald to its constituents to expose this. To expose you. They are doing their job. It's time for you to do yours.

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July Weekend (and please don't fire your guns in the air to celebrate).

Billy Corben