Friday, September 30, 2011

The way we were...Castro closes last Cuban casino

Fifty years ago.....

From the Miami News, Sept. 29, 1961:
HAVANA (AP) - The last of Havana's gambling casinos closed down quietly within minutes after Fidel Castro had announced his government is cleaning up the city, once wide open.

Addressing a huge rally at Havana's Square of the Revolution, the prime minister promised measures to rehabilitate Havana's prostitutes and drive out white slave racketeers.

He warned dealers in the vice they face stiff penalties and told them to "go to Miami if they want. We will even pay their plane tickets." This was greeted with cheers.
Also on page one of the paper that day: How to survive a hydrogen bomb attack.

Daily Show spoofs pepper spraying NYC cop Anthony Bologna

Jon Stewart thinks the exploits of the now-infamous pepper spraying cop, New York City Police Inspector Anthony Bologna, (AKA Tony Baloney), might make a great TV show.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lincoln Road Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market is back!

Autumn in South Florida; there's a nip in the air, the leaves are changing color to brilliant yellows and oranges and the squirrels are stocking up on acorns.

OK, so this is Florida and I made all that up.

But fall is approaching and that can only mean one thing.

The The Lincoln Road Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market is back.

The organizers of the event have released the 2011-2012 dates. I've posted them in the right-hand column.

The first show is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9th.

And you know what that means.

For starters, some of the best people watching in South Florida.

People watching outside the Victoria's Secret store.

And lunch at some of Lincoln Road's fine restaurants like The Cafe at Books & Books; a long-time Random Pixels supporter.

As for the antique show itself, more than 100 vendors offer everything from vintage one-of-a-kind clothing items to old, hard-to-find magazines and books, jewelry, bric-a-brac, tchotchkes and, of course, antiques.

So, save the date, come early, find a good parking spot...and have fun.

And don't forget to bring the dog!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here's why people groan at the mere mention of the Miami Herald

On October 26, 2010, Aminda "Mindy" Marqués Gonzalez was named executive editor of the Miami Herald.

Shortly before noon on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010 - a mere two and half weeks after Marqués became the Herald's new boss - a video camera outside the Brotherhood Market in Liberty City captured images of 20 year-old Michael Beatty being chased down the street by a man brandishing some sort of automatic weapon.

The gunman chased Beatty into an alley and fired his weapon ending the 20 year-old's life.

Beatty had just turned 20 two weeks before.

Every TV station in Miami covered the cold-blooded murder of Michael Beatty.

But his death didn't even rate a mention in Marqués' newspaper.

Fast forward to last August 11.

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

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

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

Cop takes a couple of potentially dangerous men off the streets without firing a shot.

The Miami Police Department sent out a press release to all Miami media outlets. including the Miami Herald. Not one word of the arrests made it to the pages of the Herald.

There's no disputing the fact that both of the incidents described above involve firearms in the possession of those who can best be described as irresponsible.

Even the most jaded observer would have to admit that both incidents were newsworthy.

Except the jaded observers at the Herald.

But, some random displays of firearms are apparently considered newsworthy by the Herald's newshounds.

Thursday's paper will carry a story by Herald courts reporter David Ovalle, who curiously strays off his beat to cover an incident involving Miami-Dade Schools police chief Charles Hurley.

Here's how Ovalle describes the incident:
During a staff meeting last week, Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Charles Hurley pulled out his .40 Glock pistol, unloaded the magazine, and placed the bullets on a meeting room table.

He says it was an impromptu demonstration to stress the dangers facing officers and students during a recent spate of shootings. Some in the room, however, say they felt it was a display meant to intimidate.

The episode happened Sept. 22 at the Miami-Dade Schools Police headquarters, 6100 NW 2nd Ave. The meeting, attended by more than a dozen command officers and civilian employees, was to discuss staff issues.

Hurley insisted that the pistol was just a prop meant to underscore the need to step up policing. About an hour earlier, a gunman had emptied a high-powered magazine in an incident near Northwestern High, rattling the neighborhood.
The Sept. 22 incident was recounted in detail this week in an anonymous e-mail sent to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office, the county ethics commission and the county inspector general’s office. It was unclear Wednesday whether the matter will be reviewed.
Presumably this incident might have gone unreported had an email not been sent and subsequently leaked.

Ovalle got a hold of the email, whipped out his notebook and voila! We've got instant controversy, all conveniently manufactured by the Herald.

The Herald is obviously trying to show that Chief Hurley engaged in some kind of reckless "gunplay."

Fair enough.

But here's a question for you Mindy.

How can you justify giving space to Ovalle's story, but make no mention in the paper of the other two incidents? Chief Hurley's behavior may or may not have been a lapse of judgment. But it certainly wasn't criminal.

A few weeks ago, one of your reporters Tweeted that people at a Miami city commission meeting groaned at the mere mention of the Herald.

Perhaps now, you have a better understanding of why that happened and why the Herald is steadily losing what little credibility it has left.

It pains me to watch you and others take part in the destruction of a paper I've read for almost half a century.

Why am I telling you this Mindy? Because your name is on the masthead.

But, hopefully not much longer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who's in charge at the Herald?

Mindy Marqués and Rick Hirsch
Who's in charge at the Miami Herald?

That's the question many on the fifth floor at One Herald Plaza are asking these days.

On paper, Aminda "Mindy" Marqués Gonzalez is the boss.

She was named executive editor of the Herald in October, 2010.

But a source tells me her role of late is that of an "absentee landlord."

"[Managing editor] Rick Hirsch runs the paper," the source told me. "Mindy's never there and when she is she can't seem to find the time to address any problems."

Said another source, "She's in over her head."

One Miami journalist tells me that some see Marqués as the Herald's first editor who didn't come up through the ranks in the traditional sense.

A close examination of Marqués' résumé backs up that observation.
Starting with The Herald in 1986, she spent nine years as a reporter, covering a Hialeah Santeria case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. She then became an editor, overseeing government coverage as well as other news operations.

In 2002, she became Miami bureau chief for People magazine. She returned to The Herald in 2007 for the launch of the entertainment site, before becoming executive features editor and senior editor for news.
Bureau chief of a gossip mag and executive features editor? Fluff and more fluff.

Perhaps that explains her aversion to hard news.

Mindy may not have been our first choice to run Miami's only daily; but here at Random Pixels we are a strong believer in the old Texas saying, "You dance with the one that brung you."

Sure, her résumé is a little spotty. But we think we have a solution.

A crash course in old school journalism courtesy of some great filmmakers.

Here's the plan Mindy.

Sometime between now and Friday, log on to Netflix and order 6 or 7 movies from this list of Top 10 Great Newspaper Films.

Next, hit Publix and lay on a supply of snacks: nacho chips and salsa might be good. Three or four pints of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia would be better.

Then go home and curl up in front of telly and watch some great film treatments of good old-fashioned American journalism the way it used to be done. Sure, some of them are fictional. But they also show newspapers in their heyday.

Some of the scenes in "All the President;s Men" still give me goosebumps.

I hope they do the same for you.


Ace in the Hole (1951)

Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

Every story has a Miami connection....

An FBI agent delivers ransom money to hijacked Delta Airlines jet at Miami
International Airport, July 31, 1972, Photo by Phil Sandlin/UPI.
(Click image to enlarge.)

...even 39 years later.

George Wright, a killer, turned prison escapee, turned airplane hijacker has been nabbed in Portugal, more than 39 years after he hijacked a Detroit to Miami Delta Airlines flight on July 31, 1972.

From the FBI press release:
On July 31, 1972, five adults, accompanied by three small children, hijacked Delta flight 841 en route from Detroit to Miami. Subsequent investigation identified [George] Wright as one of the hijackers.

Upon landing in Miami, Wright and his associates demanded a $1 million ransom in exchange for the passengers—the largest ransom of its kind at that time. After releasing the passengers, Wright and his associates forced the plane to fly to Boston for refueling and the addition of another pilot, and then proceeded across the Atlantic to Algeria where they sought asylum. At the request of the United States government, the money and plane were eventually seized and returned by Algeria to the Unites States. Wright and his associates were briefly taken into custody but were eventually released after a few days.
FBI agent wearing only swim trunks, delivers ransom money
to hijacked Delta jet in Miami on July 31, 1972.
(AP Photo by James Kerlin)

The story was front page news in Miami.

One journalist who covered the dramatic events on that sweltering day in 1972 was Phil Sandlin, then a staff photographer for United Press International.

Sandlin, who's retired and now lives in central Florida, told me by phone today that he remembers taking up a position at a fence near NW 36th Street and 57th Ave.

Working with almost no information, Sandlin framed the plane with his Nikon fitted with a 560mm Leitz telephoto lens and waited.

After an indeterminable wait, an FBI agent dressed only in swim trunks appeared with a suitcase stuffed with a million dollars in ransom.

As blistering heat shimmered off the tarmac, Sandlin captured an image of the agent handing the ransom to the hijackers.

Watch the videos from NBC and CBS News below.

Here's what happened while you were at work today

I was never a fan of Michael Jackson and I'm definitely not a lawyer.

But I've sat through a few trials. Most of the time I was bored to tears.

Not so today.

David Walgren, the prosecutor in the manslaughter trial of Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, gave what some are calling a "masterful" opening statement.

But, what will have everyone talking is a photograph Walgren used in his PowerPoint demonstration .

As Walgren spoke, what appeared to be a photo Michael Jackson's body on a hospital gurney flashed on the screen accompanied by the word "HOMICIDE."

From ABC News:
A photo of Michael Jackson lying dead in a hospital bed was shown in a courtroom today and jurors heard a shocking audio tape of a drugged Jackson slurring his words so badly that he was barely understandable.

The photo and the audio were part of the opening statement prosecutors made at the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the king of pop.

Attorney David Walgren showed a photo of Jackson dancing at the Staples Center the night before he overdosed on propofol and put the picture side by side with a picture of Jackson lying lifeless in a hospital bed wearing a hospital gown.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why does the Miami Herald continue to ignore an important story?

An open letter to Miami Herald executive editor Aminda "Mindy" Marques.

Dear Mindy

Hope you had a great Sunday.

How 'bout them Dolphins?

Actually, while I was watching the game today, I received a press release from the Miami Police Department.

Seems there was another shooting in Liberty City at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
A little before 2:00 PM, several shots were fired in the area of, N.W. 10 Ave & 55 Street. Officers arrived to the scene to find two black men critically wounded from gunshots, in a silver Nissan Altima. According to Detectives, the offenders fled the scene in an older model, black four door, Buick with dark tints. The vehicle has damage to the rear right passenger side. Both victims were transported to Ryder Trauma Center, unfortunately one of the men died as a result of his injuries. A black Buick was recovered in the area of N.W. 7 Avenue & 58 Street.
I know you're aware of these shootings because your paper occasionally reports on some of them on page 4B.

Here's my question: How many more innocent people have to die before your paper starts treating this cycle of violence like the important story that it is?

The paper has spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars covering the Jan. 2010 Haiti earthquake and aftermath.

I've even heard reports that the Herald has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000 just to rent a villa to house reporters and photographers covering the story. (If that figure is off, feel free to correct me.)

So, I was wondering; any chance you could spend the same amount of energy and a fraction of the resources covering a story a little closer to home? A story about an epidemic of violence that's occurring daily on streets just a short drive from your office.

We're not talking about an isolated shooting or two.

This is a cycle of violence that seemingly, has no end. The people of Liberty City, Wynwood and Overtown are being terrorized by a criminal element that has no regard for human life.

Imagine, for one minute Mindy, living with that kind violence on an almost daily basis. Year in and year out with no hope of escaping it.

Yet, the Herald sits idly by and does nothing to probe the root causes of the violence and its long term effects on residents. Especially the children.

I can't imagine you ignoring a similar pattern of violence in well-heeled sections of Coral Gables or Pinecrest.

Here's my suggestion: Why not assign a team of two or three reporters who will do nothing for the next six months but examine the violence and its causes in these neighborhoods? Perhaps include a couple of reporters from El Nuevo Herald and make a project out of it.

One question that might be examined: Why is the almost daily violence confined to this one section of the county? Or, how does living with violence on a daily basis affect children over a period of five, ten or 15 years? Is a child more likely to get involved with violence after being exposed to it for so long?

I'm not optimistic. It seems as if someone in charge at the paper has decided the people who inhabit Liberty City, Brownsville and Overtown don't matter.

But, who knows? If you decide to go forward with this, your reporters might even come away with some answers that will make a difference. And perhaps, grab the Pulitzer that the paper came so close to winning for its Haiti coverage.

Good luck. I'll be watching.

Chris Paciello back on South Beach at Delano

In today's Miami Herald, gossip columnist Jose Lambiet offers further proof that South Beach has officially run out of ideas.

Lambiet reports that some are hoping that aging, former mobster Chris Paciello can help bring the glamour back to South Beach.
For the first time since he was released from federal prison five years ago, Miami Beach’s fallen nightscape overlord has returned to where it all started.

Chris Paciello, now 40 and described by some who have run into him as “subdued and humbled,” is settling down at the Delano Hotel.

He’ll be living there for the next few months as he works to give back to the legendary beachside resort its No. 1 ranking among hipsters and celebrities.


“He’s a very bright, capable guy who has learned a great deal over the years,” said Al Malnik, owner of The Forge. “He’s going to bring back a lot of stars who wouldn’t otherwise be here.”
The question many will be asking, "just how 'subdued and humbled' is Paciello these days?"

In 2010, the New York Post reported "Paciello was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon after a nightclub brawl at Voyeur in West Hollywood."

Today, I spoke with a source familiar with Paciello's reign in 90's South Beach.

The source was reluctant to say anything negative about Paciello. "I don't want to beat up in the guy. He was just the driver," he said referring to Paciello's role in a 1993 robbery and shooting death of a Staten Island housewife that ultimately sent him to prison.

But, what will Paciello's return mean for South Beach I asked my source?

"I always felt that [Paciello] was a metaphor for the South Beach value system. That if you had style - no matter what the substance - you were a hero. Paciello had both," said my source.

More details on Paciello's time in South Beach can be found in an excellent series of four articles titled "Goon Over Miami," written by Miami New Times staff writer Tristram Korten.

In part one, in the December 23, 1999 issue of New Times, Korten described Paciello's ascendency to the pinnacle of South Beach night life and his fall from grace.
Chris Paciello, the dangerous darling of the South Beach nightlife set, came to Miami a scant five years ago as a 23-year-old from Brooklyn. In no time he transformed himself into a smooth entrepreneur by opening two decadent nightclubs, Liquid and Bar Room, and a permanently in-vogue restaurant, Joia. He bought a million-dollar waterfront home, dated pop diva Madonna and supermodels Niki Taylor and Sofia Vergara. His face, impassive as granite, popped up on the pages of glossy magazines across the nation. Even as authorities planned his arrest, Paciello was preparing to expand his empire by opening a third nightclub, the Liquid Room in West Palm Beach. It was an improbable rise, given his age and experience.

Now the glitterati who welcomed Paciello, including basketball star Alonzo Mourning, actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, and billionaire Donald Trump, have a morning-after taste in their mouths. They realize they've been had. Not by Paciello, who couldn't hide his barbaric nature behind fancy cars and beautiful escorts, but by their own blind gravitation to power. Instead of a romantic gangster, it turns out they've been cozying up to a goombah the feds say was a member of a gang that killed Staten Island housewife Judith Shemtov during a 1993 robbery. Not much honor in that. The fall from gangster to goon has been sudden. The sheen of glamour on Paciello has vanished as quickly as a line of coke up the surgically sculpted nose of a Gucci model.
Read the rest of the stories:

Goon Over Miami, Part Two

Goon Over Miami, Part Three

Goon Over Miami, Part Four

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Awesome! Wingsuit flyer soars through hole in mountain in China

American wingsuit flier Jeb Corliss soars through a hole in Tianmen mountain near Zhangjiajie, Hunan province central China.

Here's what happens to a newspaper after everyone is fired

Shortly after midnight, Random Pixels reader Alfred sent this link to the above Herald story.

Alfred asked, "Is it possible the Herald doesn't know the difference‏ between Miami Beach and North Miami Beach?" Possible. We all make mistakes.

But, the scary thing is that as I write this 11 hours later, the mistake has not been corrected.

A few days ago Gretchen sent this flub. Seems the writer didn't know the difference between "coup" and "coop."

There is some good news. Not all Florida newspapers are ready to throw in the towel.

On Friday, the St. Petersburg Times announced it was bolstering its investigative unit with the hiring of Chris Davis, a Pulitzer Prize winning editor.

Meanwhile, back in Miami, Herald honchos still haven't said if they plan to fill the void left by the recent departure of county hall reporter Matt Haggman.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Rick Perry campaign sign we'd love to see...

Click image to enlarge.

However, chances are we won't be seeing it anytime soon.

The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

Luther Henry

....37 year-old career criminal, Luther Henry.

At rush hour Thursday evening, Henry led police on a high speed chase south on I-95.

The wild pursuit started shortly before 6pm and was quickly picked up by local news choppers, thus guaranteeing Henry a spot on every evening news show in South Florida. And that was his undoing.

And it lands him squarely, in this, the first installment of the Random Pixels Losers Corner.

From NBC Miami:
The lead-footed suspect who led a chase down I-95 discarded cocaine as he fled authorities on foot when he reached Downtown Miami, Miami-Dade Police spokesman Roy Rutland said.

Rutland said even more cocaine was found in 37-year-old Luther Henry's socks after he was taken into custody.

The incident unfolded after 5 p.m. when police responded to Henry reportedly driving a white car erratically in the area of NW 68th Street and 19th Avenue.

Henry tried to hit at least one officer with the vehicle, authorities say, causing pursuit as he drove off.

Henry then drove north toward Opa Locka before heading south on I-95, with what appeared to be marked and unmarked police cars initially in pursuit.

Police vehicles dropped back as media helicopters pursued the vehicle on the Interstate.

Henry bailed out of his car near NW 5th Street and 7th Avenue, fleeing on foot about 6:13 p.m. through a back door into an apartment with a woman and little girl inside. He discarded the drugs on the way, Rutland said.

City of Miami police had been monitoring the live feed from the choppers and went to the front door of the apartment, guns drawn.
Henry faces a laundry list of charges including, assault on a police officer, fleeing a police officer, possession of cocaine and marijuana, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

View more videos at:

View more videos at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Does this mean Michele Bachmann's presidential hopes are 'dead meat?'

In 1988, Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was portrayed as soft on defense.

What better way to fight a charge like that than to jump in an army tank, take a ride and get your picture taken?

It didn't work.

Political insiders use the 1988 Dukakis tank incident as an example of a campaign photo-op that's to be avoided at all costs: "Never let the candidate be photographed in a ridiculous-looking situation."

Tuesday, for some unexplained reason, Michele Bachmann allowed herself to be photographed standing alone in an Iowa meat packing plant with sides of beef.

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., looks at hanging beef carcasses during a plant tour at Amend Packing Co. in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011.

Oh well, I guess she can write off the Peta vote.

Gutter politics, Rick Perry style

Texas governor Rick Perry is an American.

How do I know this?

It says so right there in his slick, new ad.

One has to wonder why Perry or the ad's creators thought it necessary to bring this up.

There are no spoken words in the ad's script that say that Perry is "an American."

But, at the 1:08 mark, the words "an American" flash on the screen for less than a second.

The inference is inescapable.

Didn't we settle this already? Apparently not. But, I guess when you hang around with Donald Trump, some of that "birther" slime is bound to rub off.

Thinking out loud....

UPDATED: May 8, 2012 with video from


Kelly Thomas in a family snapshot, (l.) and in the hospital following a July 5th beating by Fullerton, CA police officers.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Kelly Thomas: D.A. charges two officers with murder, manslaughter

Two Fullerton police officers have been criminally charged in the violent confrontation that left a homeless man dead, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas announced Wednesday.

Officer Manuel Ramos has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the beating of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, a homeless schizophrenic man. Officer Jay Cicinelli has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

Booking photos of Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos, left, and Jay Cicinelli.

Rackauckas said the department reviewed 151 witness statements, videos of the beating, medical reports and police statements.

The district attorney's office had been awaiting the coroner's determination on the cause of death before deciding whether to file charges.

Officers approached Kelly Thomas on July 5 at the bus depot in downtown Fullerton while responding to a report of someone trying to break into cars. According to witness accounts, Thomas ran when officers attempted to search his bag. Exactly what happened next is unclear, but witnesses said they saw multiple officers hitting Kelly and shooting him with a Taser while he was on the ground.

Officials from the district attorney's office have said they were awaiting toxicology and other test results from the coroner before making a decision on the case. That report was handed over to the district attorney's office Tuesday, but the findings were not made public.

Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, was a regular presence in downtown Fullerton. He died five days after the confrontation, after being removed from life support.
As I watched District Attorney Rackauckas make his announcement on live TV today, I couldn't help but wonder if the outcome of the Arthur McDuffie case might have been different had there been a videotape of his beating in 1979. Sadly, we'll never know.

Fullerton Police, Jay Cicinelli, Manuel Ramos, Kelly Thomas beating video and photos

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Die-hard Dolphins fan banned from Sun Life Stadium

Nelson Walker

While most Dolphins fans were heading for the exits at Sun Life stadium Sunday, die-hard fan Nelson Walker was busy stuffing two Dolphins jerseys down his pants according to police.

Miami New Times writer Kyle Munzenrieder reports that Walker showed up for his first court appearance Monday .... wearing a Dolphins jersey.

It's not surprising that Walker has chosen to back a losing team. With 29 prior arrests, he's a bit of loser himself.

Judge Diane Ward set Walker's bond at $5,000 and ordered him to stay away from Sun Life stadium.

Video from:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Club Nocturnal shooting in Miami - One dead,6 wounded

Video from:

Brandon Marquis Mcghee
From the Miami Herald:
Bursts of gun fire sent patrons fleeing for their lives for the second time in two months in downtown Miami’s hottest round-the-clock nightclub scene.

This time, one partier didn’t make it.

A 3 a.m. Sunday argument in Nocturnal, one of a handful of popular after-hours dance clubs in Miami’s Park West Entertainment District, left one man dead and sent hundreds of people inside the cavernous club scurrying for the exits.

About five hours later, with the pounding music from adjacent Club Space still faintly audible on Northeast 11th Street, Miami police wheeled out the body of Brandon Marquis McGhee, 26, of North Miami, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.
What's not included in the Herald story is that the victim, McGhee, had a lengthy rap sheet for offenses in Miami-Dade county that include grand theft auto, resisting arrest and burglary. Last November he was arrested by Boca Raton cops for illegal use of a credit card and possession of marijuana.

Some might ask, "What does McGhee's arrest record have to do with anything?" Oh, I don't know...except maybe the kinds of people these places attract. In the NBC6 video above, the witness says he saw gang signs being thrown just before the shooting.

Five years ago, Miami Herald contributor Lesley Abravanel addressed the subject of club violence in a column that quoted a publicist for Nocturnal:
Some people go to great lengths to get their groove on. In Miami lately, that has meant braving some random spurts of nasty violence - specifically in the area of Northeast 11th Street, where the likes of Club Space, Nocturnal , Twilo and Studio A are located. While people aren't yet donning Gucci-designed bulletproof vests in the neighborhood, this summer, four separate shootings have occurred in the vicinity, leaving one man dead and nine others hospitalized. Another clubgoer was stabbed to death in Club Metropolis in May. A big meeting recently took place in which many club owners discussed the escalating violence. ``It was a very hot topic,'' says Denise Grant, publicist and special events point person at Nocturnal . ``Everybody is concerned.

`` Nocturnal has worked diligently to bring a different, more discerning upscale crowd downtown,'' Grant tells us. ``Our concern is that the negative press that some of our nightlife neighbors are receiving is going to drown out the positive buzz that we've generated.''
Five years later, I'm not sure if Grant is still Nocturnal's publicist. What I am sure of is that when acts like this are booked it all but guarantees you won't be drawing a "more discerning, upscale crowd."

Last year, Miami New Times staff writer Natalie O'Neill tackled the subject of club violence:
At 3 a.m. inside Studio A, a man with no shirt and a black scull cap chest-bumps Darnell. The guy is only five-foot-two, but he wears an intense facial expression. One female friend overhears him say, "Don't worry about it — I got something for you," according to police reports. Then he pulls out a black handgun. From the center of the club, gunshots pepper the smoky air — crack-crack — and the crowd scatters.

A female bartender ducks for cover under the bar and then faints. Girls drop their purses and run outside. Clubbers leave behind high heels, crack rocks, and bags of weed, according to cops on the scene. Darnell's lifeless body is left behind on the floor.

Outside, Officer T. Jones sees customers fleeing and reports there's "a male down inside" the club.

The club closes two weeks later.

On another note, Miami police have a real problem here. Apparently not many of the hundreds of patrons inside the club stuck around to talk with them following the gunfire. The Miami Police Department press release doesn't even have a description of the shooter or shooters.

Public Information Office, 400 NW 2 Ave., Room 220, Miami, Florida 33128

Today, shortly after 3:00 AM, Miami Police officers responded to Club Nocturnal located at 50 Northeast 11 Street, after learning that several people had been shot inside the club.

According to the on-scene investigation, several patrons inside the club began arguing, minutes later gunfire erupted. As a result, seven people were struck by the gunfire. In fear for their lives, hundreds of patrons from inside the club began running out front and exit doors.

Miami Fire Rescue transported five wounded victims with non-life threatening injuries to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Unit. One other wounded victim was taken by friends to Jackson Memorial Hospital as well.

The fatally wounded victim, who died on the scene has been identified as Brandon Marquis McGhee, D.O.B. 1/28/85.

Miami Police Homicide detectives need to speak with patrons who may have left Club Nocturnal immediately after the incident. The number to call is (305) 603-6350. Others with potential information are urged to contact detectives at (305) 603-6350 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

The investigation continues

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The best car crash description ever!

George Lindell was driving to the supermarket in Phoenix when he lost control of his SUV, causing it to roll over and eventually crash into a utility pole. The force of the crash caused power lines to fall onto the SUV, trapping Lindell inside.

He was eventually freed by firefighters and, trooper that he is, was soon able to share his story with local reporters. In vivid details. With a few enthusiastic grunts and dance moves thrown in for good measure:

Well, I was driving down Northern Avenue, getting ready to pull into Albertson’s, and all of a sudden I was just minding my own business – BAM! Hit me hard, right from the back! I was glued to the seat and I was like “Wuuughghghghgh!”
Reality hits you hard, bro!

After watching Lindell describe the crash, it occurred to me that he was doing his impression of Frank Caliendo doing an impression of John Madden.


Friday, September 16, 2011

The slow, painful death of a once majestic beast

A few days ago, Miami Herald investigative reporter Matthew Haggman told colleagues he was resigning to take a position as program director with the Knight Foundation.

And just today, the Herald's Dolphins beat reporter Jeff Darlington, announced he's leaving the paper to become’s national reporter.

No one's blaming Haggman or Darlington for jumping ship.

The Herald, like the lion in the National Geographic video above, is slowly dying.

And as someone who's read the Herald for over half a century, it's as difficult and painful to witness its demise, as it is to watch the video of the dying lion.

Coincidentally today - for anyone who cared to look - there was more evidence that those in charge at the paper have lost their way and are doing their best to hasten the Herald's death through incompetence or indifference.

A day after Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, held a press conference and revealed parts of an accused 17 year-old killer's chilling confession that everyone in town was talking about, there was no evidence of it on the front page.

Instead, readers got another casino story, something about Palestine and a hurricane season story chock full of titillating facts like, "But overall, he said, the patterns that spin up a lot of storms remain in place. Those include a continuing cycle of favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions that have increased storms since 1995, warm Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean temperatures, and the redevelopment of La Niña, a weather pattern that tends to help more hurricanes form by reducing the windshear that can weaken or shred developing systems."

One long-time Herald reader thinks he knows why you won't find crime stories on the Herald's front page these days: "They're trying to push casinos and the new Marlins stadium. You don't think they're going to muck-up their front page with stories about cold-blooded killers, do you?"

The paper that once employed tough-as-nails reporters like Edna Buchanan, Gene Miller, Arnold Markowitz, Joan Fleischman, Marty Merzer and Henry Reno, has now become a purveyor of fluff and soft news.

A veteran Miami journalist told me tonight: "This surprises you? They don't care about hard news. There are people in charge at the Herald who couldn't have gotten a job at the paper in its heyday cleaning bathrooms. There's an obvious crisis of leadership."

But some Miami newspaper editors aren't going down without a fight.

Someone at the Herald's sister publication, El Nuevo Herald, thought the killer's confession was a front page story.

It's nice to know that some journalists at One Herald Plaza haven't forgotten the lessons taught by former Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan.

In 1986, Buchanan told New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin that her idea of a successful [story] "is one that might cause a reader who is having breakfast with his wife to "spit out his coffee, clutch his chest, and say, 'My God, Martha! Did you read this!'"

Time-lapse Road Trip: A Photo Every 90 Seconds from Seattle to Maine

via PetaPixel:
YouTube user smithje77 and his dog recently embarked on a cross-country road trip from Seattle to Maine (3,000+ miles!), and he decided to document the journey by programming his Droid X to snap a photograph every 90 seconds (the script is available here). Afterward, he took all the stills captured and combined them into one epic time-lapse video that shows what it’s like to drive from coast to coast.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The face of an animal

Eric Ellington

From the Miami Herald:
When Miami Gardens police asked Eric Ellington, 17, why he shot an unarmed man numerous times at a gas station, he gave a simple, chilling response:

“He didn’t look scared enough,” ...  Ellington replied.

Seated nearby at a press conference Thursday, the mothers of the two victims heard those words and began to cry.

Ellington and two other teens are now in a Miami-Dade County jail, held without bond and accused of killing the man and his companion nearly two months ago during a robbery.

The Tea Party's newest hero is Miami Herald sportswriter Armando Salguero

Click image to enlarge.

Oh, the irony!

The Tea Party's newest hero is a card-carrying member of the lame-stream media: Miami Herald sports reporter Armando Salguero.

On Wednesday Salguero jumped to the defense of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin after his paper posted a story on its website that quoted a National Enquirer story about an alleged 1987 tryst between Palin and former Miami Heat star Glen Rice when he was a college player.

In an email to his colleagues, Salguero asked: "Do we know this story to be TRUE? Are we certain it is TRUE because we’ve done the work or have a reasonable certainty that is TRUE? Did anyone actually try to confirm this story before giving it Herald front page credibility? Did anyone call Glenn Rice to get independent confirmation? He lives in Miami, you know." posted Salguero's email under the headline, "The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero Slams His Own Newspaper for Printing Lies About Governor Palin."

The Tea Party Nation is also praising Salguero on Twitter for his defense of Palin.

Miami New Times writer Kyle Munzenrieder has cataloged some of the Tweets:
  • @ThomasSSchmitz: .@ArmandoSalguero Thanks 4 speaking out against the cutting & pasting of Creepy McG's (@JoeMcGinniss) pervy #YellowJournalism

  • @Ohio4Sarah: @ArmandoSalguero Props to you for displaying courage and shiing the sunlight on the biases in the "newsroom" #Palin

  • @IanLazaran: @ArmandoSalguero You also could have asked your colleagues why they didn't report on the Obama/Vera Baker story in the Enquirer. [Ed note: The Enquirer reported in 2010 that Obama had a 2004 affair with a campaign staffer named Vera Baker. No smoking gun was produced, and Baker herself denied the allegations.]

  • @britcomeback09: @armandosalguero thank you for your basic humanity & demand for fairness when it comes to Sarah Palin. Truth always wins out & she has that.

  • Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Webcam 101 for Seniors....

    "Maybe this recorded us!"

    Bingo! You're the Viral Video of the Week!

    Sarah Palin / Glen Rice sex story divides Miami Herald newsroom

    The Miami Herald's Dolphins beat reporter Armando Salguero is pissed!

    He's not happy with the Herald's decision this morning to post a story about an alleged 1987 tryst between Sarah Palin and former Miami Heat guard/forward Glen Rice when Rice was a college player and Palin a TV sports anchor in Alaska.

    (Miami New Times blogger Kyle Munzenrieder summed up Salguero's anger this afternoon: "Herald Reporter Angry Paper Reported on Sarah Palin-Glen Rice Rumors and Not Obama's Gay Affair and Martian Athletes."

    Salguero voiced his objections in an email to the entire Miami Herald newsroom this morning.

    His colleagues have responded with their own emails.

    First, here's Salguero's missive.
    From: Salguero, Armando []
    Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 09:57 AM
    To: MIA Newsroom
    Subject: Palin and Glenn Rice

    The Naked Politics blog is repeating the "reporting" of the National Enquirer about Sarah Palin having an affair with former Miami Heat basketball player Glenn Rice.

    It is on the FRONT PAGE of The Herald website.

    So as a journalist, I ask:

    Do we know this story to be TRUE? Are we certain it is TRUE because we've done the work or have a reasonable certainty that is TRUE?

    Did anyone actually try to confirm this story before giving it Herald front page credibility? Did anyone call Glenn Rice to get independent confirmation? He lives in Miami, you know.

    Is it now OK to repeat any "report" from the National Enquirer on the front page of the Herald's website without actually reporting even one fact independently? The blog calls The Enquirer's sources "solid." How do we know the Enquirer's sources -- plural? And if we know the Enquirer's sources, can't we work them ourselves to see if they're truly solid?

    Question: Can I repeat on my blog any allegation made by the Enquirer culled from any book just because, well, if it's in a book or in the Enquirer, Herald policy is now to assume it must be true?

    There have been a couple of good Enquirer stories on athletes coming from other planets. Those are in bounds now?

    If this Rice story, unconfirmed and unreported by us, can be published on our site, do the alien stories not meet the same standards?

    These, by the way, are my questions relative to journalism. But there are other things at play here. The Herald, like it or not, admit it or not, is widely viewed as a liberal newspaper. Palin is a conservative.

    So we put this story on our website and conservatives that read us ask why The Herald didn't report the stories of President Obama being gay in 2007 and 2008? Those stories were in the Globe, a competitor to the Enquirer. The allegations were brought by the person who said he had a drug-crazed, gay affair with the President.

    Obviously this is tabloid fodder. And we rightly never gave the Obama stuff any play because, I suppose, there was no confirmation or independent reporting done on the story.

    So why is it OK to do the right thing on behalf of one presidential candidate having an unconfirmed affair but not on behalf of another potential presidential candidate having an unconfirmed affair?

    We ignored the one back in 2008 and continue to do so to this day. But we run out and repeat the other first chance we get? They call that a double standard in my country.

    And that also is bad journalism.

    I remember when the Herald broke the Gary Hart affair story. I've been proud to work at a paper that did that kind of work. But this cutting and pasting and unprincipled gossiping we're doing on this National Enquirer story is a journalistic embarrassment at best and comparative agenda writing at worst.

    Just my opinion,
    Armando Salguero
    Forty minutes after Salguero sent out his email, Herald political reporter Marc Caputo responded:
    From: Caputo, Marc []
    Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:37 AM
    To: Salguero, Armando
    Cc: MIA Newsroom
    Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

    There's a lot here to respond to, and hopefully future correspondences will be strictly made to the reporter/editor who has blogged/posted the topic that has drawn your attention. Though I'm neither the reporter/editor involved in those decisions, I feel it incumbent upon me as a political reporter to weigh in.

    To answer your question: I don't think we "know" this story about Palin to be true. We do know it has been reported and it is a topic of political conversation. So we have displayed what we "know" so far. This is common in newsrooms. Even in your department, sports. For instance, we don't "know" if all the allegations vs. the Miami Hurricanes are true. But we posted the information and worked from there. When the Yahoo! story broke, we had very little by way of original reporting. Yet we credited Yahoo and continued on.

    I find it curious you didn't raise this as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

    I do think this is different from an alien story. Yes, it appears to be from/tied to the Enquirer, which also broke the John Edwards baby-story. I remember at the time that we posted this information as well. Edwards, as you know, is a Democrat.

    I find it curious you didn't raise this as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

    As for the perception issue of liberal vs. conservative, I think you might be betraying your own potential biases rather than dispassionately presenting evidence. Since you've noted the Naked Politics blog, I'd invite you to peruse it and come up with an objective measurement showing political bias. Today's post by me on Rick Perry is pretty straightforward and for the last few weeks I've posted poll after poll showing Barack Obama is in dire straights. There's very little Democrat-happy/liberal-leaning stuff here.

    I find it curious you didn't raise this bad-news-for-Obama theme as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

    As for the gay-Obama vs. Rice-Palin affair, I'll confess to having little knowledge of either. So I'm open to some criticism here on the particulars. Yet, I do think there's a difference between the frequency of gay affairs and straight affairs, making the Obama tale statistically less likely. The Obama affair also was claimed by an unknown person. In this case, there's a known sports star who allegedly claimed he had an affair with Palin. Also, that sports star has a close association with Miami, as you know, so that also differentiates the two stories. It's worth a blog post.

    Also, please know that there is a man in Austin right now, whom I know, who has told the Daily Kos that he had a gay affair with Rick Perry. The story has yet to run. I mentioned this to my editor because I'm extremely uncomfortable running that story. So, if the Perry affair matter comes up (more of an apples-to-apples comparison), we're not likely to run it.

    I'm not sure if you're being absurd about the Enquirer athletes/aliens story (sure that's not the Weekly World News?), but I'd be curious to see them. Still, there's a difference between martians and affairs.

    As for this being a "double-standard," I hope the above points (the difference between the qualities of the alleged affairs, the differences in the quality of the sources, the differences in the provenance of the sources) shows that there's a qualitative difference.

    Lastly, though I haven't checked your registration, I'd imagine you're a conservative who therefore has certain biases of his own. Please understand that the failure to share your biases, doesn't mean we're biased. The failure to see unrelated news stories as related isn't a double standard and isn't. And the failure to share your arguments isn't bad journalism.

    Beam me up, Scotty.

    Marc Caputo
    Miami Herald Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas jumps in with her 2 cents:
    From: Mary Ellen Klas []
    Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:54 AM
    To: Erika - McClatchy DC Bolstad ; Sergio Bustos ; Marc Caputo
    Cc: MIA Newsroom
    Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

    As Marc point outs in his response to Armando, we do our share of strong, original reporting on presidential candidates to hold our own. For that reason, I don't really see the need to post the work of a news organization whose standards we know to be often far below ours.

    However, Erika's post put their reporting into context. That is new and that is newsworthy. I vote to modify the post and focus on the McGinness book. We should also give him a call, if we haven't, to see how he feels about this and to tell us if the Enquirer had it right. If he says so, then we can say it.
    And finally, the Herald's TV critic Glenn Garvin weighs in:
    From: Garvin, Glenn []
    Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 11:09 AM
    To: Caputo, Marc
    Cc: Salguero, Armando ; MIA Newsroom

    Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

    I'm not entirely ready to sign onto Armando's argument. But I think he raises serious questions about the standards we apply to this type of story -- questions that deserve a more intelligent response than "beam me up, Scotty."

    A few weeks ago, a website called Gawker -- which, I'd venture to say, is at least as reputable as the National Enquirer -- ran a long story alleging that a cabal of homosexuals had taken over the Miami archdiocese of the Roman Catholic church and were turning the place into a kind of frontier town for priestly misbehavior.

    Outraged parishioners, the story said, had compiled evidence into a report "Miami Vice: A Preliminary Report on the Financial, Spiritual, and Sexual Improprieties of the Clergy of the Miami Archdiocese" so damning that the church ordered a crackdown by senior officials.

    The story relied mostly on on-the-record sources, bolstered in several cases by legal documentation. The Herald was aware of the Gawker story, which caused an enormous buzz on the web, but as far as I know never reported it.

    Now we ARE reporting that the National Enquirer says a new book -- which we haven't seen -- quotes anonymous sources saying Sarah Palin, decades ago and before her marriage, had sex with a basketball player.

    The degree of documentation seems considerably less than the Gawker story, and the degree of relevance considerably less. I would be very interested in an explanation from a senior editor of what considerations went into these decisions.

    I'm also interested in what other newsroom people think, but without a lot of snide remarks sprinkled in. Armando presented his argument straightforwardly and without gratuitous insult. It would be nice if those who oppose him could do the same.

    Glenn Garvin

    Glen Rice says he had sex with Sarah Palin in 1987

    Sarah Palin — then Sarah Heath — as she anchored the sports in 1988 for KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska.

    From Miami New Times:
    Stop us if you've heard this one: Miami Heat great Glen Rice had a "steamy" one-night stand with Tea Party queen bee Sarah Palin back when he was a University of Michigan star and she was a local TV sportscaster. Wait, no one has ever heard that one before because it's INSANE.

    Yet it may just be true. Pieces of an epic new biography of Palin by Joe McGinniss have leaked to the web today and supposedly Rice himself confirms this actually happened.

    The mind-bending hookup between the 6'8" forward who'd soon become the Heat's first real superstar and the Lord of Hockey Moms happened back in 1987, according to the copy of "Going Rogue" leaked to the National Enquirer. (Yeah, yeah, but they were right about John Edwards!)
    A publishing source told The ENQUIRER that McGinniss claims Sarah had a “fetish” for black men at the time and he quotes a friend as saying Sarah had “hauled (Rice’s) ass down.”

    At the time, Rice was playing in a tournament in Alaska with the Wolverines and Palin was a sports reporter (see video above) at KTUU in Anchorage, the book says.

    Less than a year later, Palin would elope to marry Todd, her current husband -- but not before shagging Rice! The biography supposedly "quotes Rice as confirming their one-night stand."

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Stuff we like

    2012 Beetle High Five Volkswagen Commercial

    Music: The Clapping Song. by Shirley Ellis

    A week's worth of popular posts

    Last Friday, a friend's status update on Facebook turned into the most popular post ever on Random Pixels.

    On her Facebook page my friend wrote, "Enter this address into Google maps. You won't believe it."

    By Sunday, the post had spread like wildfire thanks to an assist from Gus Garcia-Roberts at Miami New Times, the Drudge Report, a blog on C/, a host of smaller blogs and countless Tweets and re-Tweets.

    Today, the story showed up on a Wall Street Journal blog, NPR's news blog and CBS

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

    Rounding out the week's top posts: An examination of the record of Miami's interim police chief, a critical look at the self-appointed, holier-than-thou, clueless gatekeeper of South Florida's blogging scene and a look at a funny Miami New Times blog headline.

    Here are the links:

    Trying to keep clean in Miami [UPDATED]

    Meet Manuel Orosa, Miami PD's new acting chief

    It's a Hialeah wouldn't understand

    Miami New Times Riptide 2.0 Headline of the Year