Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More questions than answers following deadly Memorial day shooting on Miami Beach

The Miami Herald's David Smiley is reporting that at least a dozen police officers were involved in the deadly Memorial Day shooting on Miami Beach early Monday morning.
More than 24 hours removed from a frightening pre-dawn police chase and shooting on South Beach that left a driver dead, four bystanders wounded and three officers injured, a number of questions remain.

Chief among them: Why police didn’t find a gun inside the bullet-riddled car, despite reports to investigators that shots rang out from inside the vehicle .

Sgt. Alejandro Bello, president of the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police, said a dozen officers — eight from Miami Beach and four from outside the department — were involved in the confrontation with the still unidentified driver and the subsequent shooting.
Smiley also reports that "police did not find a gun when they searched the bullet-riddled car."

Police have yet to answer other questions, "including the name of the man who was killed, why police were trying to stop him, the names of the four people who were shot and how the three officers who were hospitalized were injured."

In other developments related to the shooting, Smiley reports that, "a CBS affiliate in Palm Beach reported Monday that a Riviera Beach man filmed the shooting on his cell phone. But the man said an officer shoved him to the ground and then stomped on his phone."

On Tuesday, Miami Beach police released arrest figures for the four-day weekend. Police made a total of 431 arrests this year: Sixty-six arrests were for felonies and 365 for misdemeanors. That's up from the Memorial Day weekend in 2010 when police made 341 arrests.

Did Miami Beach police confiscate bystanders' cameras after Monday shooting?

-via CBS12.com
A Palm Beach County couple, Narces Benoit and his girlfriend, were enjoying a night on the town in Miami Beach when they happened to be on Collins Avenue and witnessed this police shooting, which was caught on video by a photographer and posted on You Tube.

Benoit recorded that same shooting with his cell phone camera. But he says a police officer ran over and grabbed his camera phone and smashed it.

"He didn't say nothing. He just snatched me by my head and threw me on the ground and stepped on my back, threw it on the floor, stepped on it and was cussing me out the whole time," said Benoit.

Benoit says he feels when police opened fire on that car in Miami Beach early Monday morning they overreacted, putting the lives of innocent bystanders in jeopardy, because someone could have been hit by stray gunfire.

"Yes they were runnin' and duckin'. A lot of people could've got shot. But thank god, a lot of people didn't," said Benoit.

The two of them say they had a very close call. But luckily were not hit by any gunfire.

Benoit says he plans to file a complaint against Miami Beach police for what he feels was excessive force. He says police also took cellphone cameras away from other bystanders nearby who had recorded the police shooting incident on Collins Avenue.

Monday, May 30, 2011

They said it

Here are some comments left on a forum frequented by Miami Beach police officers regarding the Miami Beach Memorial day weekend and this morning's shootings.

There's no way to verify if all the comments were posted by cops, but judging from the terminology and tone used, I'm sure that they are.

Some of the comments were posted before the excitement, and others after.

Memorial Day Weekend 2011
Post by guest!!! on 05/15/11 15:55:50
Before the Invasion starts any thoughts?
Post by Lebron Hernandez on 05/15/11 17:41:04
take care of each other. Remember there are camera phones everywhere. Don't rush into any situation without back up. Oh, and most important; stay away from the catered food (Though the cupcakes are to die for).
Post by Guest on 05/15/11 19:10:53
Make sure your tasers are charged.
Post by Guest on 05/24/11 13:08:43
Most agencies are limiting the number of officers they send this year due to events occurring in their own jurisdictions. Hotel occupancy is up nearly 30 percent county wide compared to the same time last year. All we can do is watch each other's backs and when it is time to take action, do it as a team and then move on to the next one. We can only deal with one call at a time. This is where have a Sergeant with leadership skills is so important. Sgts need to step back and ensure that his guys are taken care of no matter what kind of chaos is falling in around them. At the same token, Officers need to take care of their Sergeants and address issues as a team and keep their Sergeants informed. I don't care what anyone says, a strong squad can handle any problem without the brass getting involved and fking it up. You give me a leader as a Sergeant and I will follow him (or her) anywhere!
Post by Common Sense on 05/30/11 16:40:01
I think we all realized how we need more officers on the payroll here on the Beach. Most of us think twice before we 39 (arrest) somebody because of the response time for more 15`s (back-ups) and the potential for a mob scene. For the first time ever I felt helpless at times this weekend. Hire more manpower or risk getting this city overrun and officers hurt.
Post by Guest on 05/30/11 18:13:21
Would have been nice to see the Chief using this opportunity to tell it how it is and hold City Hall and the Ocean Drive Associations feet to the fire. The Citizens would have loved to see their voice heard for once. And if it came from the PD would have been an awesome opportunity. Public Safety should always trump associations and their twisted agendas.

Deadly Memorial Day weekend shooting on Miami Beach caught on video

UPDATED @ 10pm, June 6 with newly released cell phone video of the shooting.

UPDATED @ 4:45pm:
Miami Herald's David Smiley tweets, "ok so who was shooting b4 the car even stopped” it's possible cops did all the shooting."

UPDATED @ 4pm: Miami Herald's David Smiley tweets, "Still no gun found in #southbeach police shootout. Cops investigating accounts that passengers ran from car, and driver fires out window."

Miami Beach commissioner Jerry Libbin posts this on his Facebook page: "The mayhem on the streets of Miami Beach last night [leads] me to believe that the best solution for the safety of our residents and tourists for next year is to consider an imposed curfew. I will work with both residents and business owners to establish the appropriate guidelines, however, I will not stand by for another Memorial Day tragedy such as this weekend"

PANIC IN THE STREETS! A WSVN camera captures terrified revelers running for cover at one of the two shootings on South Beach early Monday morning.

Looks like the people who every year call for an end to Memorial Day weekend festivities on South Beach now have a stronger argument thanks to two shootings on South Beach Monday morning.

One of the shootings was videotaped by a man from an apartment window above the street. In the incredible video, a black car comes to a stop after firing shots at passersby. Police surround the car and after a brief standoff blast a number of rounds into the vehicle which can be heard at 1:13 on the video.

From CBS4:
The incident took place around 4:00 a.m. on Collins Avenue between 13th and 16th Streets. Police say there was a tense situation between some officers and a man driving a car when the man tried to hit officers with that moving car.

The home video opens with the sound of four loud gunshots and a dark-colored vehicle zooming down the street before stopping at an intersection.

The man shooting the video tells a companion, “Stay right there, don’t come to the window,” as sirens and screams are heard from below. The man tries to explain to his female friend what was going on and he said “He was shooting people from inside the car.” About one minute into the video, at least a half dozen people, apparently police officers, approach the stopped car and a barrage of bullets rings out. One officer can be seen approaching the car shining a flashlight into the driver’s side window as the man on the video continues to say “Oh my Gosh.”

The man inside that car was killed.

“If you’re driving a vehicle and you aim that at someone and drive towards that person with the intent of causing injury, that’s deadly force,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega.
Two Miami Beach officers and one Hialeah officer were taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center with unknown injures.

Four bystanders who were wounded in the crossfire were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where witnesses talked about their frightening experience.

One witness from New York said, “The Miami Beach Police Department shot her. That was not right. There was a drive by going on. And the Miami Police shot her. It was by accident but they shot her.”

Another New York tourist described what happened. “We were just walking going to our hotel. We seen a drive by going by. We ducked down. The police came out with their guns. They were like this and they started shooting.”

Witness Jose Vazquez said it was chaos. “We were about to turn the corner when all the sudden we heard gun shots. Maybe about 5 to 12 gunshots. In the chaos we heard a girl got hit,” explained Vazquez. “Everyone was running. I was kind of scared. It was sporadic. Then you had more gunshots. It was kind of frightening. All the sudden the police started running with their guns drawn.”
From the Miami Herald:
Three police officers are in the hospital Monday after they emptied several rounds of bullets on a driver who opened fire on South Beach.

The driver was killed and four bystanders were injured.
From WSVN:
Police said two shootings occurred on Collins Avenue, between 13th Street and 14th Street, and another occurred on Washington Avenue and 14th Street. Police said four gunshots rang in the latest shooting, which occurred at about 5:20 Monday morning. According to Miami Beach Police, large crowds of people celebrating Memorial Day weekend were in the street when the shots rang out.
A witness at Jackson Memorial Hospital said her friend was injured when police opened fire on that vehicle. "We were just walking, going to our hotel. We saw a drive-by go by; we ducked down," said the unidentified woman. "The police came out with their guns and they started shooting. It was a drive-by going on and the Miami police shot her. It was by accident but they still shot her."

Witnesses said police also sprayed bystanders with Mace as they tried to determine the subjects responsible for the shootings.

Officials do not know what led up to the shootings.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sarah Palin brings her fake presidential campaign to Washington

Now that Donald Trump has abandoned his fake presidential campaign, the media is turning its attention to Alaska's Quitter-in-Chief, Sarah Palin, and her fake presidential bid.

Palin showed up uninvited Sunday - dressed in black leather, and presumably carrying that fire in her belly - at the Rolling Thunder veterans' bike rally in Arlington, Virginia.

(Some political bloggers are reporting that Palin is up to her old tricks again, showing up at the rally with notes written on her hand.)

-via CBS News
Sarah Palin causes stir at Rolling Thunder
Riding onto the scene on the back of a Harley-Davidson, Sarah Palin made a dramatic entrance Sunday at a much-anticipated appearance with the Rolling Thunder bike rally in Arlington, Virginia, an early stop on her recently-launched national bus tour.

The annual motorcycle ride, part of a two-day effort by the Rolling Thunder nonprofit organization, means to draw attention to American troops who have gone missing in combat and remain unaccounted for. Hundreds of participants ride in support of the cause yearly.

Palin did not give a speech during her appearance, but said, when asked about the significance of the event, that it was important to honor men and women in uniform.

The former Alaska governor was joined by her husband, Todd, and daughters Bristol and Piper, the whole family riding in on motorcycles. (Todd helmed a black and burgundy cycle with Piper on the back, and Bristol and the former vice presidential candidate each rode on the back of separate bikes.)

Speculation has been building in recent days about Palin's intentions regarding a presidential bid - particularly in light of her announcement regarding the bus tour, as well as the revelation that she cooperated in producing a full-length documentary about her political rise.

But when asked whether or not she was planning to jump into the race, Palin said, "I don't know yet."
he former governor's participation received mix reviews from Rolling Thunder organizers and participants, according to the Washington Post.

"I'm very not appreciative of the way she came in here," Ted Shpak, Rolling Thunder's national legislative director, told the Post. "If she wanted to come on the ride, she should have come in the back."

Rolling Thunder rider Mark Posey added, in an interview with the Post, that the event was not the place to launch a presidential campaign: "I think she has no reason to be involved in this," he said of Palin. "If she's launching her campaign to run for president, I don't think this is the place to start."

In case you're wondering if Palin will actually throw her hat into the ring...the answer is no. Why? Because the Democrats would love to see her run!

But I'll let MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell break it down for you. O'Donnell explained last Thursday that the political press has learned nothing from Trump's fake campaign and is now turning its attention towards Palin's fraudulent bid.

From The Huffington Post
One line in the article--about Palin's rumored purchase of a house in Arizona--proved to be especially amusing for O'Donnell. It said that the house "could serve as a base for a presidential campaign."

"My house, in theory, could serve as the base for a presidential campaign," O'Donnell said. " ... But most $1.7 million homes in Scottsdale, Arizona serve as a base for retirement of very rich white people who enjoy the company of other retired very rich white people. The Palin home is actually minutes away from the home of Dan Quayle, where Palin can easily obtain authoritative advice on what life has in store for losing vice presidential candidates who will never be president."

O'Donnell also scoffed at the Times' quoting a local Republican Party chair in Iowa, who said that Palin's followers think she will run.

"We called him today and he confirmed my suspicion that he has never met Sarah Palin, and has no idea about what she may be thinking about anything," O'Donnell said. His conclusion? Palin is simply trying to keep her name in the national spotlight. He pointed to Fox News' quick assurance that it is not removing Palin as a contributor as evidence that she will not run.

A Memorial Day story

Re-posted from May 31, 2010

Photograph by John Moore/
Getty Images.
On Memorial Day 2007, photojournalist John Moore visited Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60.

There he encountered Mary McHugh, sitting at the gravesite of her fiance, James J. Regan.

Read about his encounter with Mary and how he came to make one of the most heartbreaking and widely published Memorial Day images of the past few years.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweetwater...still dirty after all these years

The tiny town of Sweetwater was founded in 1941 by retired Russian circus midgets.

Sweetwater's first mayor, a 6-foot tall show business promoter named Joseph Sanderlin, was married to one of the midgets.

By 1946, most of the midgets had left town. Sweetwater hasn't been the same since.

On May 31, 1966, a quarter-century after Sweetwater's founding, "Bud" Curlee won election as town mayor.

Curlee trounced opponent James Milton Roberts, winning by 276 votes to Roberts' 110.

"We're going to clean this city up," he told the Miami News following his election. "We're going to try to get rid of the bad name this city's got."

Curlee had his work cut out for him.

His tiny town - less than a square mile in size - had a big reputation for trouble.

For years the city's only businesses were two rowdy bars and an auto inspection station.

In 1953, the station sold 8,500 inspection stickers in a town of 400 residents. Word around Dade County was that if you couldn't pass inspection elsewhere, all you had to do was drop by Sweetwater's inspection station where they didn't even bother to use brake testing machines.

In 1979, Miami News reporter Bill Gjebre noted some of Sweetwater's other low points:
* Two grand juries urged that the city be abolished because it existed "solely to permit the existence of two liquor licenses" for the town's two bars, both on SW 109th Avenue near the Tamiami Trail.

* Drunks were regularly placed in the old city jail overnight and released without any record kept of their having been incarcerated.

* In 1973, the city council voted to abolish the police department and spend the money on a swimming pool. Residents responded by throwing eggs at several councilmen.

* A story that made the rounds for years was that a goat found wandering the streets one evening was placed in a jail cell because the police didn't know what else to do with it.
A 1984 Miami Herald story ticked off a few more items from Sweetwater's checkered past:
* A one-time Sweetwater police officer quit to become a thief, then became a city council member, only to be kicked off when he punched the fire chief and then returned to burglary.

* One of the city's early mayors was forced to change jobs because the townspeople didn't think their mayor should be a bartender.
In the decades since its founding, Sweetwater - located at the western end of Flagler Street - had become a seedy version of TV's Mayberry.

Today, the Russian circus midgets are gone; replaced by Nicaraguan immigrants.

But, Sweetwater just can't seem to shake its shady past or its penchant for scandal.

In 1981, three Sweetwater police officers were charged with brutality, false imprisonment and filing false reports after they beat motorists they had stopped for traffic infractions.

One of the three Sweetwater officers, Manuel Pardo - a cop with a history of violence - would be sentenced to death in 1988 for murdering nine people.  (Pardo was executed by lethal injection in Dec. 2012.)

In 2003, three Sweetwater cops - Allen St. Germain, George Alvarez and Catalino Rodriguez - were accused of beating a teenage theft suspect so severely that he sustained internal injuries. St. Germain and Alvarez stood trial on charges related to the beating but were found not guilty.

In 2005, Roberto Fulgueira, a veteran Sweetwater cop with 22 years on the force, was sworn in as chief of the historically troubled department.

Now, Fulgueira is enmeshed in his own brutality scandal.

CBS4's Jim DeFede, has obtained surveillance video from April, 2010 that shows a Sweetwater reserve officer grabbing a handcuffed suspect by the neck and throwing him to the floor of the station house.
The suspect, Alberto Dominguez, hits a metal chair and then lands face first on the floor, resulting in a large cut over his right eye. The department’s surveillance cameras capture Dominguez bleeding profusely as the officer, Paul Abreu, continues to grab him by the head and neck, twisting and turning him, until he gets Dominguez on his belly. A second officer enters the picture and grabs Dominguez by the shirt, dragging him into a nearby cell, leaving him face down and bleeding – his hands still cuffed behind his back.

DeFede also reports that:
Sweetwater Police Chief Roberto Fulgueira defended Abreu, saying while his “technique” in subduing the suspect was not ideal, it was not illegal. He said he sent a copy of the video to the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office which concluded there was no “criminal intent” on the part of Abreu.

But other questions are raised by the officer’s sworn arrest affidavit from the April 17, 2010 incident. The report documents that Dominguez was initially arrested for criminal mischief for allegedly puncturing the tires of a car parked near his trailer. The report then notes Abreu was transported to the Sweetwater Police Department.

Abreu claimed that once they arrived at the station, he ordered Dominguez “4 to 6” times to place his hands on the counter inside the police department. He said Dominguez refused to comply with his demands. Abreu also swore that “suspect launch forward toward officer” and that as a result the suspect was “taken down to floor.” Abreu added the charge of resisting arrest with violence against Dominguez.

A review of the video, however, shows that Dominguez, 38, could not possibly comply with Abreu’s command to place his hands on the counter because his hands were cuffed behind his back. Also nowhere on the video is Dominguez seen launching himself toward the officer. On the contrary, Dominguez was standing still when Abreu grabbed him and threw him to the ground.
DeFede told me on Friday that he intends to stay on top of this story.

One thing is clear, however. Exactly 45 years after "Bud" Curlee's election as mayor of Sweetwater, the tiny town still has a way to go before it's "cleaned up."


Read Part 2 of "Sweetwater...still dirty after all these years" by clicking here.

Is that cop in your rear view mirror really a cop?

Don Van Natta writes in Sunday's editions of the New York Times of a troubling new problem facing South Florida drivers: "In South Florida, seemingly an incubator of law-breaking innovation, police impersonators have become better organized and, most troubling to law enforcement officials, more violent."
A black BMW flashing red and blue lights suddenly filled Alexandria Armeley’s rear view mirror one evening last month. At a stoplight, the BMW’s driver pulled up next to her, waved a gold badge and told her “I’m a cop.”

But Ms. Armeley was suspicious. Before she pulled over, she called her stepfather, Alex Hernandez, a police detective in Biscayne Park, Fla., who warned her that the man was probably not a police officer. Speed away, he told her.

A terrified Ms. Armeley took off and was chased by the BMW for several miles through southern Miami-Dade County. Detective Hernandez had jumped in his car to help and eventually caught up to them.

So the real officer arrested the fake officer, whose name is Daniel A. Barros. Asked why he had tried to pull over Ms. Armeley, a 23-year-old college student, Mr. Barros, 22, told officers, “She was speeding.”

The BMW 7 Series car, outfitted with police lights and a siren, was “lit up like a Christmas tree,” Detective Hernandez recalled about the midnight encounter. “There are a lot of guys walking around with phony badges, but this guy had the whole works. Who knows what he would have done if he had gotten my stepdaughter to stop?”
And in another case,
Last October in Boca Raton, Fla., Andrew Novotak, in his white Crown Victoria with flashing green lights, pulled over motorists and quizzed them about whether they had been drinking alcohol, the police said.

When the police questioned him, Mr. Novotak was wearing a police badge and carrying a loaded gun. He also had a German shepherd in his back seat, which he insisted was a police-trained dog. After arresting him, officers said they smelled alcohol on his breath. He was charged with impersonating an officer and driving under the influence.
So, is that cop pulling you over, really a cop? These days, it seems, it's getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The Random Pixels feel-good story of the day

-via TIME.com Newsfeed

Dog with Two Broken Legs Survives Tornado, Crawls Home to Find Family

Three weeks after a series of tornadoes blew through Alabama, leveling everything in their path, a family in North Smithfield returned to their damaged home to sift through debris. Miraculously, they found their missing dog Mason waiting for them on the porch.

With both of his front legs broken and his fur matted and dirty, Mason had obviously been through a terrible ordeal. According to MyFox Alabama, the terrier mix was hiding in his garage when the storm picked him up and blew him away. For weeks, his family searched but found no sign of their scrappy pup.

"This is probably the most dramatic we've seen as far as an injury in an animal that's survived this long," Phil Doster of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Animal Control Shelter told MyFox Alabama. "For an animal just to show up on someone's porch after this time was pretty remarkable, especially with the condition he's in."

They said it

Quotes from Miami Herald reporter David Smiley's story on this year's Memorial Day Weekend on Miami Beach...

“There’s still a gulf between the crowd we’re attracting and the crowd we really want to attract and need for future business.”
-David Kelsey, president of the South Beach Hotel & Restaurant Association

“You hear all this rhetoric, but the people who are coming are buying plane tickets and hotel rooms. And they’re not 18 anymore. They’re 25, 30 and 35 years old.”
-Carlene Sawyer, former president of the Greater Miami chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union

“They’re making it seem as if it’s because of the hip-hop community and the shows, but all we’re doing is keeping people off the streets and having good, clean fun and entertainment. They’ve got it misconstrued.” -rapper Scott “Scotty Boi” Conille

“I would not want anyone that I know, a friend or visitor, to be outside on South Beach after 11 p.m. on this weekend because it is dangerous despite what seem[s] like thousands of police officers at every corner.” -Miami Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin

Friday, May 27, 2011

LeBron James silences the haters!

"We want to watch the last four minutes of the game, because we don't really know what happened." -LeBron James, May 26, 2011

Okay, so last July, LeBron James was also a little hazy on where the Heat play...but all is forgiven!

Check him out as he makes two clutch shots in the fourth quarter, giving the Heat the lead and eventually the win over the Chicago Bulls, bringing Miami back to the finals for a 2006 rematch with the Mavericks.

-video via NBA

One Herald Plaza...then and now

from the Miami Daily News, Oct. 16, 1937: Control of Miami Herald Passes to Ohio Publisher
Control of the Miami Herald was transferred at noon yesterday to John S. Knight, widely known Ohio editor, and his associates by Col. Frank B. Shutts.
from the Miami News, Aug. 17, 1958: Miami Herald announces plans to build $20 million plant on Biscayne Bay.
The new building, according to the announcement, will be geared to a projected circulation of more than 1,000,000 copies daily by 1980.
from the Miami News, July 29, 1966: News and Herald sign agreement
The Miami News has concluded an agreement to have its newspaper printed and distributed by the Miami Herald.
[James M.] Cox, [publisher of the Miami News] said: "To make certain that Miami in the future will not be a city where only one newspaper voice speaks, The News and The Herald have signed an agreement ... The savings from this common arrangement will provide the sound economic base which is essential to free, aggressive, independent newspapers."
from the Miami Herald, May, 27, 2011: Miami Herald parent company McClatchy sells land for $236 million.
Asia’s third largest casino company is paying $236 million for the 14 acres of waterfront land surrounding The Miami Herald, a deal that means a new home for the publishing company and a major new player in downtown Miami’s development boom.
The Herald’s parent company, McClatchy, announced the sale and said both The Miami Herald and El Neuvo Herald would move to another location within two years. Until then, the papers can operate in the current waterfront building for two years. The building also houses Brown Mackie college, which presumably would relocate as well.

The deal brings an infusion of cash for the Sacramento-based company, which has met declining advertising revenues with staff cuts at its newspapers across the country, including the Herald. McClatchy will use the $163 million from the sale to bolster the company’s pension plan and $65 million to pay down debt. The remaining $2 million will be used to pay for taxes associated with the sale.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's official...Rick Scott is crazy!

The other day we learned that, according to a poll, Florida's Bat Boy look-alike governor, Rick Scott, is the most unpopular politician in Florida.

My first reaction upon hearing that news was, they needed a poll to tell them that?

"So, how did he get so unpopular?" asked the Washington Post.

Well, perhaps the little stunt Scott and his handlers pulled today may help answer that question.

From the Orlando Sentinel:
THE VILLAGES – Gov. Rick Scott put his signature to a $69.7 billion state budget today but not before vetoing a record $615.3 million in what he termed "short-sighted, frivolous, wasteful, short-term special-interest projects" backed by lawmakers.
Appearing before a crowd of about 500 people in this heavily Republican retirement community, Scott clearly relished the opportunity to slash projects approved by legislators who had largely ignored his call for $1.7 billion in tax cuts and $600 million in new economic development money.
Shortly before Scott's scheduled 1 p.m. appearance, Sumter County sheriff's deputies ordered about 20 Democratic sign-carrying protesters to move across a street from where the governor was to speak.

Lt. Tim Nordle said that the public square at The Lake Sumter Landing had been "leased" – he said he didn't know by whom – and that the sheriff's office had been advised to move protesters to a designated area about 50 yards behind the stage where Scott was to appear.One protester, Charlene Walker of Lady Lake, who carried a "Support Teachers" sign, told Nordle that she would not leave and said she'd have to be carried out.
And there's this from the Miami Herald:
One group, The Villages Democratic Club, was barred from the event, told by a staffer of Scott’s that it was a “private event.” Other staffers and Republican operatives scoured the crowd and had sheriffs deputies remove those who wore liberal-looking badges.

You "otter" watch this video!

Today's soon-to-be viral video.

A young boy races an otter at the San Diego Zoo.

The way we were

Army recruits outside the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road, Miami Beach,  
in November, 1942.

Army recruits standing in line entering the Poinciana Hotel on Miami Beach
which was taken over by the military in 1942.
-via LIFE magazine archives

related story from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 5, 1942

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Evan Longoria's crazy bare hand catch on YouTube....real or fake?

The St. Petersburg Times' Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact website usually investigates claims and statements made by politicians.

But in a recent post, PolitiFact editors try to figure out if a video that's gone viral on YouTube is real or fake.
The video, if you haven't seen it, is amazing.

Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is talking to a television reporter along the first-base line. Their backs are facing the baseball diamond, and the two are standing about 125 feet from home plate -- where a fellow Ray is taking batting practice.

The teammate sprays a line drive directly at them. Instinctively, Longoria wheels around his head and torso, extends his right arm and catches the ball barehanded.

The television reporter gasps, Longoria shakes off the pain in his hand and tosses the ball back toward the pitcher's mound. "Keep it on the field," he says, nonchalantly.

The :24-second clip was first posted on YouTube May 6, 2011 by MrSprts12 and has since been viewed more than 3.8 4 million times.

The biggest question: Is the video real? Or is it fake?

PolitiFact Florida decided to take a break from politics to put the now viral video -- and the Rays superstar third baseman -- to the Truth-O-Meter.
So, what do you think...is it real or fake?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Miami Beach gets ready for Memorial Day crowds

UPDATED May 31, 2011: Miami Beach police have released arrest figures for the 2011 four-day Memorial Day weekend. Police made a total of 431 arrests this year: Sixty-six arrests were for felonies and 365 for misdemeanors. That's up from the 2010 weekend when police made 341 arrests.

The Miami Herald's David Smiley reports that Miami Beach officials are gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend crowds.
Beginning Thursday, Miami Beach will begin ramping up staffing levels.

Code enforcement officers will be out in large numbers, along with sanitation workers. And the city’s entire police force will work 12-hour shifts, aided by outside police agencies.

“It’s a tremendous, tremendous effort by our department,” Chief Carlos Noriega told commissioners this month. “An exhaustive effort.”

And expensive.

Last year, the city spent an estimated $1 million to handle the Memorial Day crowds, which typically begin arriving Thursday.
As in years past, the majority of the people who come here for the weekend will have a good time and go home with great memories.

But also, as in years past, a small percentage of visitors will push their luck and end up spending part of the weekend in a jail cell.

In the 10 years since visitors have been coming to Miami Beach for what's officially called Urban Beach Weekend, over 4,000 revelers have been arrested, hundreds of guns seized, and thousands of cars towed.

(Here are the Memorial Day arrest reports since 2001.)

But, if you follow a few simple rules, you'll have fun on the beach during the 3 or 4 days leading up to Memorial Day.

One of those rules? If you're driving down Ocean Drive with rap music blaring from you car; you'll probably definitely be stopped by the police.

Chris Rock has a simple tip on how to avoid that pitfall: "Turn that shit off!"

Here are some other tips from Chris Rock on how to avoid problems over the weekend - or worse yet - getting your ass kicked by Miami Beach's finest this weekend.

If you don't follow these tips; you'll probably be spending part of the weekend at the Gray Bar Hotel.  And you might also get your ass kicked!

Dunder, the German Shepard goes from puppy to one year-old in 40 seconds

Meet the Internet's newest sensation: Dunder, the German Shepard.

He's even got his own Youtube channel.

In this video, Dunder goes from an 8 week-old puppy to one year-old in about 40 seconds.

Dunder's owners created the video by taking a photo a day for a year and then splicing them together.

-via Peta Pixel

Bob Norman has a new blog

Former Broward-Palm Beach New Times staffer Bob Norman's new blog is up and running at WPLG Local 10's website. Writes Norman:
This blog isn’t about me. It’s about you — and about this odd and awesome place where we live. Thanks to you the old blog truly became an intrinsic part of the town, like a little online revolution. It was a gathering place, sometimes a hearth, sometimes a madhouse, like a costume party where everyone is saying whatever the hell they want to say, no matter how brilliant or boorish. It’s a community, with solid regulars (I won’t start to list them because it will get too long), and I hope you’ll get to know them here too and join in when you feel the urge.
At first glance, it appears that Channel 10 is sparing no expense as they roll-out their new franchise. Norman's blog sports a spiffy new logo with the catchy name, "Bob Norman's Blog."

Norman, a staff writer at BPB New Times for 13 years, moved to WPLG Channel 10 late last month.

Station honchos are hoping that loyal readers of his wildly popular Daily Pulp blog, will now become loyal viewers of Local 10 News. WPLG will, no doubt, also experience a spike in their web traffic.

Channel 10 has not announced when Norman will appear on the air.

Meanwhile, BPB New Times has renamed Norman's old blog, "The Pulp." Much of the content for the blog is being written by BPB New Times editor Eric Barton.

Random Pixels recognizes...

...Miami Herald staff photographer Charles Trainor Jr. for his great shot of a pumped-up Chris Bosh on the sports front of today's Herald. (Scroll down to see pic.)

Oh, and congrats to Chris Bosh, too, on a great game!
Chris Bosh brings the noise for Miami Heat

By Greg Cote
He is by any definition the least of the Big 3, to a degree the nickname for the Heat’s troika of stars often seemed rather generous this season. On Sunday night the number fit, the math was right — except that the least of the Big 3 was the biggest by far, the best, and the reason why Miami’s downtown bayside arena was shooting sparks and electricity all over South Florida.

Chris Bosh’s 31st and 32nd points came on a slam dunk, after which the sometimes mild-mannered No.1 beat both fists onto his chest and, scowling, screamed, “C’mon!” into the joyful, sonic din.

“I just wanted to make some type of imprint on this series,” Bosh said afterward.


You know when you know you have a championship-caliber team, Miami?

When you are certain beyond any doubt?

On a night when your second- and third-best players are named LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Click image to enlarge

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whatever happened to Andrew Meyer?

Andrew Meyer
Whatever happened to who? you're probably asking.

Come on! Surely you remember Andrew Meyer!

Maybe this video will refresh your memory.

That's right. Andrew Meyer will forever be remembered as the guy who, at a student forum at the University of Florida in 2007, coined the immortal phrase, "Don't tase me bro!"

Here's how the Miami Herald's Marty Merzer began his account of the incident:
By Phil Long, Jennifer Mooney Piedra and Martin Merzer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

“Four score and seven years ago.”

And now, add this to the lexicon of American democracy:

“Don’t Tase me, bro. Don’t Tase me.”

Andrew Meyer, the University of Florida student from Weston who tested the limits of free speech during an address by Sen. John Kerry, walked out of jail Tuesday and into cyberspace history-an instant, if likely fleeting, celebrity…
Merzer told me by email that it was "one of my favorite ledes....I actually laughed out loud when I saw what my fingers typed..."

Today, the Washington Post reports that Meyer
"...graduated in August 2008, but instead of pursuing a career in journalism, the telecommunications major enrolled in Florida International University’s law school.

“I got a taste of the system,” says Meyer, who is in his second year. The experience made him “want to know how to defend myself. Want to be able to help people.”
One legal blogger is thinking ahead to the day when Meyer hangs out his shingle and starts running TV ads.
I’m rooting for Meyer for one reason and one reason only: his television lawyer ad will be top material. There are so many possibilities:

  • “They tased me, but I won’t let them tase you, bro.”

  • “Have you been tased? Call me once you are grounded enough to use a cell phone.”

  • “I’ll get tased so you get paid.”

  • Footnote: Meyer, it should be noted, has one of the most hideous websites on the Internet.

    Armageddon / Rapture / End of the world newspaper headline of the week

    Here it is: Random Pixels' choice for the best Armageddon / Rapture / End of the World / Judgment Day, May 21, 2011 / Doomsday newspaper headline of the week...and a strong contender for the best newspaper headline of the year.

    New York Daily News front page via the Newseum

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Goodbyes at One Herald Plaza

    The Miami Herald continues to say goodbye to some its best and brightest.

    These memos were sent out to Herald newsroom staffers last Friday.

    In addition ro these departures, the Herald will be saying goodbye to long time staffer Margaria Fichtner at the end of June. I'll have more on Margaria later.

    From: Hirsch, Rick - Miami
    Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 7:48 AM
    To: MIA Newsroom
    Subject: A sad but fond goodbye


    We say goodbye today to two longtime staffers who have made major contributions to our success.

    Sara Frederick started her career out of the University of Miami as a copy editor and was an excellent one for several years, both on U Desk and Neighbors. But it was in Features where she made a memorable mark. She joined the department as the Operations Manager, the person who made things work, and quickly masters the ins and outs of the sections and the people. She brought Features editors and designers into the world of pagination, planned numerous thoughtful remakes of the TV Book, puzzles and Comics pages, did a long and successful stint as Weekend editor and at various times edited the People page 8A, Sunday Arts section and several daily Tropical Life sections. She planned and edited special sections including Season of the Arts and the outstanding series of Art Basel magazines. She was the principal planner and executor of coverage of Art Basel, the MTV Music Awards, Super Bowl festivities and many other South Florida entertainment events. Her work ethic, vast knowledge of pop culture, sense of humor and smarts endeared her to many across the newsroom.

    Dave Fitzpatrick, known to everyone as "Fitz," has been an ever-present production force at our newspaper for nearly 40 years. He has worked every technology newspapers have known: first working the huge hot-type machines when he started as a high-schooler, then slicing and dicing waxed cold type to make up pages in the composing room, and finally putting it all together with colored shapes on the computer screen through pagination. Along the way, he has earned scores of friends and fans in the newsroom who turned to him for help, a laugh, handfuls of chips and cookies (which always seemed to be in huge bags on his desk) and inspiration from a leader in the ranks. Fitz was a tireless member of the design team, sometimes stringing together many days of work in a row to put out the sports section. He also expanded his production work in recent years to the news pages and has always been on hand late at night to get us out of jams as we fixed or updated the pages as the presses started to rumble. Back in the day, Fitz was an accomplished amateur jai-alai player. But that's a whole other story. Please wish Sara and Dave the best.

    Rick Hirsch
    Managing EditorThe Miami Herald

    From: Marquez, Myriam - Miami
    Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 5:25 PM
    To: MIA Newsroom

    The editorial board is losing a wealth of knowledge about South Florida's political landscape with the retirement of Kathleen Krog.

    Kathleen didn't want any big announcements upon her retirement, but her colleagues can't let her go without acknowleding her contribution over almost 30 years at the Herald to excellent journalism and thoughtful, thorough opinion-writing.

    Her love and passion for Florida's environment -- from Biscayne Bay to the Everglades and beyond -- has helped guide our positions. Her no-nonsense defense of the most vulnerable and for equal treatment of women and minorities under the law -- and her straight talk about corrupted politicians from Palm Beach to the Florida Keys -- have kept elected officials on notice from Tallahassee to Washington.

    Kathleen will be enjoying some of Florida's natural beauty once she leaves One Herald Plaza, but she also will be traveling and enjoying her grandchildren, who live out of state. Despite her protestations, I couldn't let her go without praising her contributions.

    Her colleagues on the board wish her the best, Myriam

    Myriam Marquez
    Editorial Page Editor
    The Miami Herald
    Mike Kinerk's name may not be known to many Miami Herald readers, but one Herald staffer tells me he was one of the people who made things happen. "He was the go-to guy whenever you had a computer problem. I don't know what we're going to do without him."
    From: Mendoza, Cesar - Miami
    Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:35 PM
    To: MIA Newsroom; MIA El Nuevo Newsroom; MIA Systems
    Subject: Mike Kinerk

    After 34 years of service Mike Kinerk will retire from Miami Herald Media Co. effective June 1, 2011. His last day in the office will be Friday, May 20.

    Mike began his journalistic career in high school and then graduated from Indiana University with a double degree in computer science and journalism. He worked for three years at the Herald-Times Co in Indiana, and installed their first electronic editing system and their classified ad billing system. He joined the Miami Herald in July 1977, holding positions as a senior editor in the newsroom, and more recently as Director of News Technology.

    Mike’s contributions have been key in the many projects he has been involved with, from the launch of El Nuevo Herald, to countless redesigns and font/style updates, to leading the implementation of SII in 1981, leading the newsroom conversion to electronic pagination in 1997, and most recently his participation on the implementation of CCI.

    For the immediate future he will remain in Miami Beach, and will continue to pursue his life-long interest in historic preservation, architecture and art. He was a founder of the Miami Design Preservation League and helped lead efforts to create the famed Miami Beach Art Deco District. He has written three books on architecture and art and will continue to lecture and write.

    Please, join me in wishing Mike well.


    César Mendoza
    VP Information Technology
    Miami Herald Media Company
    From: Rojas, Jorge - Miami
    Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 2:56 PM
    To: MIA Newsroom
    Subject: Farewell Beasley


    We're sorry to announce that Adam Beasley's career is taking another turn. He is leaving The Herald to become Director of Public Relations at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

    Adam has done a little bit of everything here over the past five years, but he is perhaps best known for landing provocative stories on 1A, whether news, business or sports.

    Adam's greatest hits included a front page story that helped a homeless man gain a $25,000 inheritance; the exploits of the "hooker bus'' on Miami Beach; exposing Club Mansion bouncers' nasty habit of beating up patrons; and reporting on the Fort Lauderdale police chief being shot at by his wife.

    Most recently, Adam was the FIU sportswriter, where he tracked the football's teams journey to its first bowl game, chronicled Garrett Wittels' hitting streak and then helped break the news of Wittels' rape charges in the Bahamas.

    Adam leaves with a great track record, so we'll wave him goodbye with checkered flag. His last day is Friday.

    We intend to fill the FIU beat reporter's job quickly. If you are interested, please contact me ASAP.


    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Man vs. Food....Fond du Lac, Wisconsin edition

    I've been getting a lot of email lately asking me why I never post anything on the blog from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

    Well, I think I've found something from Fond du Lac that's bizarre enough to post on Random Pixels.

    Last Tuesday was a big day for Don Gorske, 57, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

    Gorske, a retired prison guard, showed up - dressed in shirt and tie - at the McDonald's in Fond du Lac, and ordered a Big Mac.

    Not just any Big Mac.

    His 25,000th Big Mac.

    Gorske has eaten a Big Mac, every day, since 1972. On some days he has two Big Macs. He even eats a Big Mac on Thanksgiving.

    On Tuesday, as camera shutters clicked and video camera rolled, Gorske opened his pie hole and proceeded to devour the hamburger.

    And after 25,000 burgers, Gorske knows precisely how many bites it takes to finish off a Big Mac: 16.

    Between bites 4 and 5, Gorkse asked his adoring fans, "How can people not eat these every day?"

    "I plan on eating Big Macs until I die," Gorske told the Associated Press. "I have no intentions of changing. It's still my favorite food.... I look forward to it every day."

    Don, you are a great American!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    The perfect gift for the right-winger in your life

    I'm not sure I'd trust anyone who told me they only had friends with political views that mirrored their own.

    How boring would that be?

    Like many, I have friends whose views run the political gamut.

    Two close friends of mine watch nothing but FOX News.

    I love them dearly, but it's so hard picking gifts for them.

    Well, our Commander-in-Chief has solved that problem very nicely.

    According to Jake Tapper of ABC News,
    President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign today started selling “Made in the USA” t-shirts featuring images of both President Obama and the long-form birth certificate he released copies of last month.

    “Wear your support for this campaign with an official Made in the USA T-shirt,” his website advertises. Donate $25 or more today and we'll send you your limited-edition shirt.
    Yep, great gift for sure. But I can't see any of my FOX News watching friends wearing one. Why? One is allergic to cotton, the other is allergic to the truth!

  • Related New York Times story here.
  • Stephen Colbert asks Tea Party member if she'd raise taxes to save eight million lives

    Stephen Colbert asks Amy Kremer of the Tea Party if she'd raise taxes to save eight million lives from a ticking nuclear bomb.

    Her answer is predictable.

    The Arthur McDuffie verdict and riots...May 17, 1980

    Cartoon by Don Wright, from the Miami News, May 19, 1980
    (Click all images to enlarge.)

    Thirty-one years ago this week, on Saturday, May 17, 1980, a Tampa jury reached a verdict on Case no. 369-7432-Z.

    The jury ruled that four Metro cops were not guilty of the Dec. 17, 1979 beating death of motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie and the subsequent cover-up.

    A few hours later, Miami erupted in flames.

    On the Monday following the verdict, the Miami News reported the human toll: 15 dead, hundreds arrested, 5 cops shot.

    "Dade County fire officials estimated that 100 to 150 fires were set in the first two days of rioting," Miami News reporter Milt Sosin wrote.

    Miami policeman Pablo Camacho stands guard in front of gutted store
    on NW 54th Street; neighbors claim police sprayed cars. Miami News photo
    by Charles Trainor

    For the Miami News chronolgy of the Arthur McDuffie case, click here.

    from the Miami News, May 19, 1980

    from the Miami News, May 20, 1980

    Cartoon by Don Wright, from the Miami News, May 21, 1980

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    I hope this doesn't screw up your weekend....

    Author of 'The Doomsday Code,' Robert Fitzpatrick, poses in Staten Island next to a bus stop ad he purchased warning of the end of the world.

    ....but the world as we know it is scheduled to end this Saturday. Repeat: the world will end on May 21, 2011.

    Too little, too late for me though. As far as I'm concerned, life hasn't been worth living since Shaquille O'Neal left town. But that's another story.

    For many, however, May 21st is known as "Judgment Day."

    Sure, go ahead and laugh; but one guy in New York City is taking this very seriously.

    The New York Daily News reports that
    Robert Fitzpatrick is so convinced the end is near he's betting his life savings on it.

    The retired MTA employee has pumped $140,000 into a NYC Transit ad campaign to warn everyone the world will end next Saturday.

    "Global Earthquake! The Greatest Ever - Judgment Day: May 21," the ad declares above a placid picture of night over Jerusalem with a clock that's about to strike midnight.

    "I'm trying to warn people about what's coming," the 60-year-old Staten Island resident said. "People who have an understanding [of end times] have an obligation to warn everyone."
    Thanks for the warning Robert! I guess I'll go ahead and cancel the dinner reservations I had for this Sunday.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Donald Trump still has no shame

    image via Gawker.com

    Donald Trump "officially ended his fake presidential candidacy" Monday, and in the process he deprived the nation's late night comedians the chance to tell the thousands of jokes they had loaded up and ready to go had The Trumpster actually announced he was running.

    But even as he ended his bid, he served up this line...which I predict Jon Stewart will make good use of in the days to come.
    "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election."
    Of course, most intelligent Americans over the age of 10 never really believed Trump was serious about running or that he had a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

    Especially MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell.

    O'Donnell correctly predicted months ago that Trump would end his bid today.

    Tonight, on his show "The Last Word," O'Donnell took a well-deserved victory lap declaring, "Everything about [Trump's] campaign was fake."

    After O'Donnell got finished with Trump; he heaped a healthy dose of scorn upon the only adults who believed that Trump's "fake campaign" was the real thing: the political pundits who perpetuated Trump's fraudulent bid and gave it momentum.

    So why did Trump choose to bow out? Don't look to him for a truthful answer to that question.

    But MSNBC's Chris Matthews thinks he knows the precise moment when Trump decided not to run.

    See if you don't agree.

    Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden can't keep a secret

    What would happen if the Navy SEAL who killed bin Laden found that keeping the secret was just too difficult after a few drunks?


    via Funny or Die

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Russia's Vladimir Putin takes "Europe's cheapest car" for a test drive

    The Lada Granta, which is manufactured in Russia, is marketed as Europe's "cheapest car."

    Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin found out how it earned that name when he tried to take one for a test drive on Wednesday.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    President Obama 2012 bumper sticker

    Barack Obama's 2012 campaign is gearing up.

    One page on the president's website asks, "Are you in?"

    Well, I'm in...but I'm not crazy about that catchphrase. And I can't see on a bumper sticker.

    But this might work.

    -via The Political Carnival

    Late night takes on Osama bin Laden

    Late night comedians Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel and fake news anchor Jon Stewart offered up their analysis Monday night on the killing of Osama bin Laden. Apparently, the writers at the Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel were thinking along the same lines. Watch Kimmel and then watch Leno at 1:20.

    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

    Jimmy Kimmel Live

    Tonight Show with Jay Leno