Thursday, June 28, 2012

Miami Herald fails on Obamacare ruling story

Click image to enlarge - Photoshop by Gary He.

For those of you needing any more proof of just how badly things have deteriorated at the once venerable Miami Herald, we offer this Twitter screenshot courtesy of Tim Elfrink at Miami New Times:

That's right folks; the Miami Herald gets its news from CNN...not the wire services.

 And that's too bad; because CNN got it wrong. Big time!  So did FOX News.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Miami Herald posts that cannibal video again in case you'd forgotten about it

The fine line between informing Miami Herald readers and offending them

By Aminda Marques Gonzalez

June 17, 2012

When Miami police shot a naked man to stop a vicious, public and unprovoked attack of a homeless man in the shadows of The Miami Herald building, our journalists were confronted with almost daily questions:

How much information is too much information? Which photos do you publish?
As we work to provide the details, we’ll continue these discussions in the newsroom as we straddle the fine line between informing and offending our readers.

-Miami Herald executive editor Mindy Marques on the challenges her staff faced in covering the horrific Memorial day weekend attack on Eugene Poppo. June 17, 2012
Wednesday, Marques and her staff finally crossed that "fine line" between journalism and exploitation with this tweet.

Nothing like a little Cannibal Face-eating to drive up those page views, eh, Mindy? Stay classy, mamita!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your early afternoon time waster...Lolo Jones and Louis C.K. on the 'Tonight Show'

Comedian Louis C.K. and Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones talk about Jones' virginity on last night's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Via Bleacher Report:
The Olympic hurdler then claims there is backlash for her being a virgin, which beguiles the red-headed jokester. Then he offers:
I think it’s nice, I think it’s good. You’ve got something to look forward to. You’re going to like it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I hate to rain on your parade, but...

Excited Miami Heat fans lined the parade route along Biscayne Blvd. Monday.
Photograph by George Martinez for Miami New Times.

Hey, we love to party, don't we?

And "we" sure threw a party for "our" Miami Heat, today...didn't we?

But as I watched bits and pieces of today's love fest, not one TV talking head bothered to remind viewers that the American Airlines Arena where the Heat play, is essentially "a playground for millionaire athletes and their billionaire owner."

That's how CBS4's Jim DeFede described the Triple A in 2011 when he reported "in the late Nineties as the Heat’s owner Micky Arison lobbied for a new arena, he sweetened the deal for county officials by promising that if the arena generated more than $14 million a year in profit they would share 40 percent of that money with the county."

But DeFede discovered that... the last eleven years, Miami-Dade County has not received a single penny from the Miami Heat under the revenue sharing provision of their arena contract.

According to the financial statements the Miami Heat provides to the county every year, the arena just isn’t profitable enough – at least not on paper.

Last year, the arena generated more than $53 million in revenue – that includes everything from those over priced hot dogs to the luxury suites that circle the court to the $6.4 million in subsidies county taxpayers provide. This includes revenue that comes in not only for Heat games, but also concerts, the circus and corporate events.

On the other side of the ledger, the arena showed $32 million in expenses.

Now you might think that means they had $21 million in profit last year and the county was therefore entitled to some of that money. But unfortunately for Dade County the Heat took a $14 million in amortized arena costs.

What is that? Well, CBS4 asked the county that question, a county spokeswoman sent us the following response:

"County staff cannot answer why Basketball Property Limited (BPL) amortizes items as they appear in the financial statements. You can contact Eric Woolworth, President of Business Operations, Basketball Properties Ltd., for clarification."
The most fascinating aspect of that answer is the willingness of the county to simply abdicate any responsibility they might have in making sure they are not losing a possible source of money.
That last sentence is important. Because that's exactly what a Miami-Dade inspector general’s audit concluded in a report released last month.

From the Miami Herald:
A Miami-Dade inspector general’s audit of the AmericanAirlines Arena operating agreement with the Miami Heat blasts the county for “poorly performing” administrative oversight and paying little attention to the Heat’s annual budget.

The pointed, 60-page document released Thursday faults Miami-Dade for having “little idea” about whether the team has met financial benchmarks that would trigger profit-sharing from the county-owned arena.

Though the Heat’s operating budget is consistently submitted late, it has never faced repercussions from the county. And the county apparently wasn’t aware the Heat was required to submit an annual budget for big-ticket capital expenditures, the audit states.

“The county’s hands-off approach to an operation that now generates more than $60 million a year is perplexing, especially an operation that has yet to produce sufficient profits to result in profit-sharing,” Inspector General Christopher Mazzella wrote.
So, who's to blame for this fiasco?

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says don't blame him.

“We found out really the previous administration did not have the proper oversight, when the reports came in nobody looked at them, nobody questioned them,” the mayor told CBS4’s Jim DeFede. “But we’ve already changed those procedures and it’s not going to happen under this administration.”

That's great Mr. Mayor! And that means the Miami Heat is finally going to start paying its fair share?

Right after they build that park they promised us. Right?

You can read Miami Dade Inspector General Christopher Mazzella's audit of the AmericanAirlines Arena operating agreement with the Miami Heat below.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday afternoon at 'Robert is Here'

It's been a good, long while since I've been to "Robert is Here," the 52-year-old tropical fruit stand in Florida City.

The place appears to have grown a bit since I was last there.

They still don't have valet parking...although they could have used it today.

There's a reason why the parking lot was jammed.

Click to enlarge.

A few of the customers I saw looked like tourists, possibly drawn by word of mouth...or curiosity after seeing a busy parking lot in the middle of nowhere on the way to Everglades National Park.

Perhaps some, like me, made the long trek south for a tangible reminder that something so simple and uncomplicated once existed in South Florida.

But whatever your reason for stopping; you can't go wrong.

Once inside, I was greeted by bin after bin, full of avocados, mangos, limes, oranges and tomatoes.

Some of my fellow customers seemed genuinely surprised by what they found: "Hey Dottie, come here and look at these guavas!"

Vidalia Honey Mustard Salad Dressing.

Does this really need a caption? I  went with a coconut milkshake.

Mangos, peaches, tomatoes. Sure, I could have gotten these at Publix...
but why?

Robert is Here
19200 SW 344th St.
Homestead, FL 33034
Phone: 305-246-1592

La Carreta: The Miami Celebration Spot

After watching the insipid, childish cheerleading that took place last week on many of Miami's TV stations; I was beginning to despair there was no one left in Miami who remembered how to tell a story with a camera without getting in the way of the story.

Thankfully, a few still remember.

From Belvedere Stories:
Throughout the Heat's playoff run, the city has been on edge. Miamians wanted a championship so bad they could taste it. This was our year, and we were all confident that our team could do it.

But the one thing we could be sure of was that if and when they won, La Carreta on Bird Road would be flooded with people celebrating. The sounds of banging pots, honking horns and Spanish music blasting from cars would fill the streets and impromptu parades and conga lines would jam the sidewalks.

Last night, Miami did not disappoint! The Heat ended their glorious Finals run against OKC 4-1, and the Miami community did what it does best: jubilant unapologetic celebration.

La Carreta: The Miami Celebration Spot from Belvedere Stories on Vimeo.

Thanks to Chuck Fadely for the heads up.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Would you like fries with that?

Split-screen comparison of a store-bought McDonald's Quarter Pounder and
one constructed from the same ingredients in a photo studio.

Ever wonder why that McDonald's quarter-pounder you buy never looks quite the same as a quarter-pounder in a McDonald's ad?

From the L.A. Times:
That McDonald’s burger from your neighborhood drive-thru is never quite as luscious-looking as its juicy, dripping, not-quite-doppelganger in advertisements.

Now customers can see why in a new behind-the-scenes video produced by the fast-food giant.

Hope Bagozzi, director of marketing for McDonald’s Canada, walks viewers through the studio magic used over several hours to plump and primp a Golden Arches burger to its mouthwatering max.

First, Bagozzi picks up a Quarter Pounder with cheese -- likely made within 60 seconds -- from a street-side McDonald’s for comparison. The “steam effect” from the box “makes the bun contract a bit,” she said.

Then Bagozzi heads to the Watt International photo studio, where the same ingredients are being used to carefully craft a similar burger from scratch.

Then food stylists and photographers labor over the sandwich, melting down the cheese with a warmed knife, strategically applying mustard and ketchup with a syringe, slanting the bun to highlight the ingredients.

“It’s like you’re a surgeon in there,” Bagozzi says at one point.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whatever happened to professional courtesy? - The MBPD Edition

What started out as nothing more than a nasty argument outside a Pennsylvania Avenue apartment on South Beach last April, quickly escalated into a full-scale donnybrook, fueled by alcohol and testosterone and possibly exacerbated by some Miami Beach cops who were in no mood to extend a little professional courtesy to a fellow officer.

When it was over, the cops ended up taking a West Palm Beach police officer and his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend - herself a former West Palm Beach police officer - to jail.

The episode began as one Miami Beach cop - in full Inspector Clouseau mode - hid behind some shrubbery and observed "a loud dispute which appeared to be domestic in nature," according to an arrest report. (Embedded below)

The argument "corrupted the sense of public decency and disturbed the peace on an otherwise quiet night in a residential neighborhood," the indignant officer wrote in his report.

After he'd seen enough, the cop popped out from behind the bushes and confronted Julian Santana, a West Palm Beach police officer. Santana responded by refusing to show his identification.

Christina Arroyo
While this is going on, the cop's "on-again, off-again" girlfriend, former cop Christina Arroyo, started taunting other Miami Beach cops who had responded to the fracas, asking them - according to the arrest form - "If we drank on duty at the Clevelander, if we've run over any tourists with ATV's recently, and if we have shaken down any club owners lately."

When cops finally got the squabbling duo separated and in handcuffs, they charged Arroyo with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. Santana was charged with hindering/obstructing justice (because of his refusal to show his identification) and resisting arrest without violence.

Today, Miami Beach attorney Michael Grieco told me by email that....
Both of defendants' cases went away after or during trial today.

Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman found Ms. Arroyo not guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting without violence after the court determined that her underlying conduct, which was simply constitutionally protected speech, was legal.

Mr. Santana had his case was dismissed mid-trial after the Court determined that he was legally entitled to refuse the officer's demand for identification. Any subsequent resisting by the defendants was deemed legal, as their arrests were not.
So there you have it boys and girls.

You can talk loud outside your apartment all you want - the Constitution says have the right to do so.

And if you haven't done anything wrong, the police don't have the right to ask for your identification. But if the cops show up and start asking questions...please be nice. That way they'll go away quickly.

I wonder how much this bogus arrest cost the taxpayers of Miami Beach?

According to the arrest reports, at least four Miami Beach police officers, two sergeants and a crime scene technician responded to the April 25, 2012 incident.

God only knows how much the couple spent on legal fees.

I hope that officer Santana and his "on-again, off-again girlfriend" don't get into it again and that they've kissed and made up.

However, officer Santana would do well to heed a few of Chris Rock's tips on how to avoid confrontations with the police...something he should already know, i.e.: Be polite and stay away from crazy women!

Santana Arroyo Arrest

Santana Arroyo Arrest2

Your lunch hour time waster

This Ukraine fan at the recent Ukraine vs. France soccer match at Euro 2102 just might be the worst dancer in the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

Brittany Glaid.

...Brittany Glaid of Pembroke Pines.

We launched the Random Pixels Losers Corner in September of last year.

In that time the Losers Corner has welcomed a few dumb criminals, a lovesick cop who fired his gun at his ex-girlfriend who also happened to be a cop, a couple of Coral Springs cops who got caught falsifying a police report, and a Miami cop who was stopped and handcuffed last year by a Highway patrol trooper after he blew by her at 120mph.

But in this installment, we're welcoming snotty, self-absorbed 26 year-old Brittany Glaid of Pembroke Pines.

Brittany popped up on my TV the other night as I was watching Channel 7 News.

We've all met someone like Brittany. South Beach is full of people like her. You know...the ones who think the universe revolves around them.

Brittany was featured on an episode of "Help Me Howard" because she's suing an 8 year-old girl. You heard that right: she's suing an 8 year-old girl.

The 8 year-old was out riding her bike in her neighborhood when she accidentally bumped into Glaid's car which was blocking the sidewalk. The car sustained a minor scratch.

The girl got off her bike and knocked on Glaid's door to tell her what had happened.

Glaid responded by calling the cops. Then she called her lawyer. She's suing because wants the 8 year-old to pay the $200 cost of repairing the scratch.

Watch the "Help Me Howard" segment below.

Congratulations Brittany. It normally takes a monumental act of stupidity to get into the Losers Corner.

But you are the first inductee who got here by simply being yourself: A Snotty Bitch!

Monday, June 18, 2012

THIS JUST IN: It's okay to take pictures of the Miami Herald building

Feel free to take all the pictures you want of the Herald building from the
sidewalk that's directly underneath the elevated Metromover tracks.

Today I followed up on a blogger's claim that he was told by a security guard last week that he couldn't take pictures of the Miami Herald building.

This afternoon I talked by phone with the Herald's senior v.p. for operations. He told me he has talked with he guard involved. The executive told me that the guard merely told the blogger that he was on the Herald's property and was advised that it was okay to take pictures from across the street.

The executive stressed that there is no ban on the taking of pictures of the Herald building and "there never has been a ban. But we would prefer that people confine their picture taking to the public sidewalk and not trespass on Herald property," said the executive.

While he didn't say it so in so many words, I have a strong suspicion that the executive has talked to or will be talking with his security guards to let them know that it's perfectly legal for people to take pictures of the building at One Herald Plaza.

I've learned from another source that the Herald apparently uses a combination of staff security guards and guards hired from a private security company.

A personal observation if I may: I think what's needed here is a healthy dose of common sense and common courtesy from both parties: Herald security guards and Miami's budding architectural photographers.

Happy shooting!

Dogs In Cars: California

Dogs in Cars

Thanks to Jose for the "heads up" on this

Friday, June 15, 2012

Aventura S.W.A.T. to al Qaeda: 'Bring it on!'

Don't could happen! And Aventura's SWAT team is ready.

What follows, is the story of what happens when a tiny police department in a relatively crime-free town gets an unlimited budget to buy all the razzle-dazzle crime-fighting gear it wants but doesn't need.

The City of Aventura in North Miami Dade County has a population of about 35,000.

But don't let the tiny size of Aventura (about 3.5 sq. miles) fool you. This ain't Mayberry.

Crime is rampant in Aventura.

There are all those red light runners on Biscayne Blvd. and the curfew violators at Aventura Mall. Okay, so I exaggerated a bit. Aventura is a relatively safe place to live. But that doesn't mean something bad won't happen.

And if it does, the Aventura Police Department is ready for anything.

According to the city's website, its police department has 80 full-time police officers, 39 civilian employees, and 15 volunteers.

Additionally, the department has a K-9 unit, a dive team and a S.W.A.T. team.

Yup, you read that right.

The police department in tiny Aventura has a ten-man SWAT Unit complete with a Command vehicle "to handle tactical operations which may be outside the scope of normal patrol activities. The team includes a SWAT medic, two snipers, and two team leaders," according to one description on the Internet. (Click here to see one of Aventura's "snipers" in action!)

Actual Aventura Police Dept. S.W.A.T. bumper sticker. (Click to enlarge)

That makes sense. Because, as we all know, when al-Qaeda finally comes to South Florida, they're probably heading straight for Aventura.

After all, what better way to bring America to its knees than by hitting the Cajun Grill or Cheesecake Factory at the Aventura Mall or the target-rich fairways at the golf course at the Turnberry Isle Resort?

Aventura's SWAT commander is so proud of his elite, battle-hardened band of brothers, he recently commissioned a professional photographer to take some sexy glamor shots that show off his team's steely resolve.

Photographer Jaime "Nisso" Chalem says on his website that shooting pics of the SWAT team was an "amazing experience."

Photograph by Nisso Studios.

The photos "Nisso" shot are unintentionally hilarious. (Click here to see all of "Nisso's" amazing shots of Aventura's SWAT team.)

"Not only did I get to spend the day with these guys, but I also got to see first hand how they train in order to accomplish their very dangerous missions," says "Nisso."

Dangerous missions?


The most serious hazard an Aventura cop faces is a severe case of writer's cramp after a day of writing traffic tickets on Biscayne Blvd.

"Nisso" also photographed the police department's dive team and K-9 unit.

About the dive team "Nisso" writes, "Besides having all kinds of cool equipment and toys, access to two boats and the super human ability to breath (sic) underwater, these guys do things that would almost make the Navy Seals jealous."

Aventura Police dive team member emerges from a water hazard on the 9th
hole at Turnberry Isle Golf Course. Photograph by Nisso Studios.

Really? Make the Navy Seals jealous? Jealous of whom? This guy?

I don't think any military unit is going to be jealous of Aventura's drugstore cowboys. 

Any idiot can pose for a camera. It's a little more difficult to produce results, though.

Almost two years ago Aventura's elite SWAT team managed to let a gunman escape in broad daylight after an hours-long stand-off on Biscayne Blvd. Just imagine the outcome had we sent these guys in after Osama bin Laden.

And the rest of this Keystone Cops-style police department ain't much better.

This is, after all, a police department that embarrassed itself on national TV and f**ked-up a major murder case because the department's lead crime scene investigator was screwing the lead homicide detective assigned to the case.

But, how dangerous a place can Aventura be when the address of its police department is 19200 West Country Club Drive and within spitting distance of a world-class golf course?

Note to Aventura SWAT's Sgt. Cosimo Castronovo: If you and your boys think that posing with all your toys makes you bad-ass, you're sadly mistaken. If you're really in charge of a macho, combat-ready outfit, why not arrange to hang out with some guys who are the real deal?

How about you and the boys spending a month or two training with these guys?

Can you cut it? I doubt it.

Until you do, Sarge, no matter how many pretty pictures you pose for, you and your crew will still be mall cops.

The way we were...The Watergate break-in and the Miami connection

40 years ago this week...

"June 17, 1972 - Five men, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 a.m. trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex."

They say all big stories have a "Miami connection." The Watergate story was no different.

(In addition to the Miami burglars, Martin Dardis, an investigator for Dade County State Attorney Richard Gerstein played a major role by connecting the burglars to President Nixon's Committee to Reelect the President.)

5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats' Office Here

By Alfred E. Lewis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 18, 1972

Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2:30 a.m. yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here.

Three of the men were native-born Cubans and another was said to have trained Cuban exiles for guerrilla activity after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Left to right: James McCord, Jr., Virgilio Gonzalez, Frank Sturgis,
Eugenio Martinez, and Bernard Barker.

The five men were identified as:

* Edward Martin, alias James W. McCord, of New York City and perhaps the Washington metropolitan area. Martin said in court yesterday that he retired from the CIA two years ago. He said he presently is employed as a "security consultant."

* Frank Sturgis of 2515 NW 122d St., Miami. Prosecutors said that an FBI check on Sturgis showed that he had served in the Cuban Military army intelligence in 1958, recently traveled to Honduras in Central America, and presently is the agent for a Havana salvage agency. He has a home and family in Miami. Sturgis also was once charged with a gun violation in Miami, according to FBI records.

* Eugenio R. Martinez of 4044 North Meridian Ave., Miami. Prosecutors said that Martinez violated the immigration laws in 1958 by flying in a private plane to Cuba. He is a licensed real estate agent and a notary public in Florida.

* Virgilio R. Gonzales [Editor's Note: Spelling was corrected in subsequent stories to Gonzalez] of 930 NW 23d Ave., Miami. In Miami yesterday, his wife told a Washington Post reporter that her husband works as a locksmith at the Missing Link Key Shop. Harry Collot, the shop owner, said that Gonzales was scheduled to work yesterday but didn't show up. "He's done it before, but it's not a regular thing," Collot said. He said he thought Gonzales came to America about the time Fidel Castro became well-known, and began working for Missing Links sometime in 1959. He described Gonzales as "pro-American and anti-Castro...he doesn't rant or rave like some of them do."

* Bernard L. Barker of 5229 NW 4th St., Miami. Douglas Caddy, one of the attorneys for the five men, told a reporter that shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday, he received a call from Barker's wife. "She said that her husband told her to call me if he hadn't called her by 3 a.m.: that it might mean he was in trouble."

All were charged with felonious burglary and with possession of implements of crime. All but Martin were ordered held in $50,000 bail. Martin, who has ties in the area was held in $30,000 bail.

In court yesterday, prosecutors said Sturgis also used the alias Frank Fiorini -- an assertion confirmed by Miami area police.

In 1959, the Federal Aviation Agency identified Fiorini as the pilot of a plane that dropped anti-Castro leaflets over Havana. Described in newspaper clippings as a "soldier of fortune," Fiorini reportedly was head of the International anticommunist Brigade, after the Bay of Pigs invasion, that trained 23 Cuban exiles who in 1962 landed by boat in Cuba's Matanzas Province and set up guerrilla operations.

Miami News, June 19, 1972. (Click to enlarge.)

Miami News cartoon by Don Wright, June 20, 1972.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Proof that fast food makes you stupid - Guy calls 911 to complain about sandwich order

From The Gothamist:
It's completely ridiculous for someone to call 911 to inquire whether it really is illegal to grow marijuana for personal usage. But it's completely reasonable to do so if you're in the middle of a SANDWICH EMERGENCY. Which is exactly the situation Rother McLennon found himself in yesterday when his local deli gave him a hard time over his order.

“I specifically asked for little turkey, and little ham, a lot of cheese and a lot of mayonnaise and they are giving me a hard time," McLennon told the 911 dispatcher, complaining about the Greatful Deli in [Connecticut] on Wednesday afternoon. "I wonder if you can stop by and just…” Instead of calling in their elite Sandwich Rescue Service, the incredulous dispatcher just recommended he not buy the sandwich there. But this is not just about today's sandwich: "She's telling me she won't make it for me again, and it's because of that. I just want to solve this the right way...So I'm just wondering if you could come by."

Listen below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Daily Show examines Gov. Rick Scott's 'voter purge'

The Daily Show examines "Florida Governor Rick Scott's voter purge [which] is aimed at clearing registration rolls of non-citizens -- people who live in fear of deportation yet insist on voting."

Don't feed the alligators

video via NBC2, WBBH, Ft. Myers.

There's a reason why the State of Florida has a law that prohibits the feeding of alligators.

That's because alligators are most dangerous when they associate humans with food.

"Captain Wally" found that out the hard way.

From the Miami Herald:
Alligator bites off hand of airboat tour captain

An airboat ride with six tourists turned tragic Tuesday when an alligator bit the hand of the captain in Everglades City.

Witnesses told WINK News they saw the man, known as Captain Wally, feeding an alligator around before the attack.

Florida wildlife officials say they captured the alligator, dissected it and removed the hand from its belly.

Wally and the hand were taken to a Naples hospital where doctors hoped to reattach it.

video alligator bites man's hand, video alligator attack florida, video alligator eats hand

Saturday, June 09, 2012

And the envelope please....

My friends at the Miami Herald commemorated  the selection of Random Pixels
as "Miami's Best Blog" with a special souvenir edition! (Click image to enlarge)

All this week, the staff at Miami New Times has been revealing some of their Best of Miami® 2012 picks in advance of posting the full list which will be online June 12.

Yesterday, I learned that the weekly paper has selected Random Pixels as Miami's Best Blog for 2012.

It goes without saying that I'm honored.

Thanks to everyone at Miami New Times who took part in making this happen. And thanks for the recognition. It's nice to know that someone is noticing what I do here.

Click here to see what Miami New Times had to say about my blog.

And pick up the Best of Miami® issue June 14 at newsstands.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

169 detainees still being held at Guantanamo at a cost of $140 million a year

On Thursday evening's NBC Nightly News, Michael Isikoff reported that "the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, [once] targeted for closure by Barack Obama ... is instead quietly undergoing millions of dollars of upgrades that could allow it to remain open for years as a prison for suspected terrorists."
Among the recent improvements to the facility commonly known as “Gitmo”: a heavily guarded soccer field for detainees known as “Super Rec,” which cost nearly $750,000 and opened this week; cable television in a communal living quarters and “enriching your life” classes for detainees, which include instruction on learning to paint, writing a resume -- even handling personal finances.
Many of the improvements have been made at the most modern facility in the detention center, known as Camp VI, a communal living compound that houses about 80 percent of the 169 detainees currently held at Gitmo. There, detainees who are deemed to be compliant with the rules and therefore eligible for more privileges are able to watch 21 Cable TV channels, DVD movies, read newspapers and borrow books from a library.
But for the remainder of the detainees – including some who are eligible for release but have no country willing to take them – there is little prospect of leaving Gitmo anytime soon.

And that means U.S. taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for their presence in a U.S. prison that costs $140 million a year to operate – or some $800,000 per detainee.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Florida's national parks are free Saturday, June 9

Looking for something to do this Saturday?

Florida reminds us that Saturday, June 9 is Get Outdoors Day, and Florida's national parks - along with all of the country's national parks - will be waiving admission fees.

(The other free entrance days this year are September 29 and Veterans Day weekend, November 10-12.)

Click here to visit the National Park Service's Florida page which has a quick-reference map showing all of Florida's national parks.

So, get out and do something this Saturday. And don't forget the mosquito repellant and sun screen!

The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

....former Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Brent Wooddell and wanna-be South Miami thug Juan Felipe Rodriguez.

It's been a while since we've posted an installment of the Losers Corner.

So today we're pulling out all the stops and giving you two losers for the price of one.

First up is suspended Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Brent Wooddell.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Wooddell....
...was arrested in September 2011 after a sting operation allegedly caught him in the act of stealing $1,340 from an oxycodone dealer he had just arrested. The dealer was actually an undercover Miami-Dade police officer. According to the Sheriff's Office, the phony suspect had pills and $7,340 in a blue bag when he was taken into custody, but Wooddell only turned in $6,000 when he got to the Deerfield Beach substation.

Officials said the undercover operation was captured on video and audio recordings.
The Sun-Sentinel says Wooddell was suspended without pay and remained free on bond while awaiting trial.

Assistant State Attorney Adriana Alcalde-Padron has argued twice for a revocation of Wooddell's bond. Once for not reporting a traffic accident he was involved in and once for sending intimidating text messages to a witness in his case.

But the third time may be the charm.

Police arrested Wooddell Monday evening at the Cheetah strip club in Pompano Beach. He'd gone there after removing his GPS ankle monitor.

On Tuesday Alcalde-Padron told the Sun-Sentinel, "We have moved to revoke his bond twice. This is his third violation. Hopefully, he will now remain in custody at least until it's time for his trial."

Next up is 19 year-old Juan Felipe Rodriguez.

Yesterday, Rodriguez got into an argument with a parking attendant over an $8 parking fee at Sunset Place in South Miami.

Instead of paying, Rodriguez "lunged from his seat and stabbed the parking attendant twice." Over 8 bucks.

Last night - accompanied by his father - Rodriguez turned himself into South Miami police.

One look at his mugshot and you can instantly see that this guy is a loser.

Congratulations to both Wooddell and Rodriguez. You're both the newest inductees into the prestigious Random Pixels Losers Corner.

Car alarm symphony

100 people park their cars in a shopping center in Staten Island and then all 100 activate their car alarms on cue.

But not without a few problems.

Will this fad travel to South Florida?

Probably not.

Miami blogger Carlos Miller says on Facebook, "The only way we can get that many people in South Florida to do anything in unison is to convince them that it will somehow topple Castro."

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The destruction of CNN is nearly complete

via the Daily Show: "Only CNN went full-flotilla with two solid hours covering the orgy of excitement that is Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee."
John Oliver: "It's impossible to look at what's happening here and not think about what it represents: the sad last gasp of a once powerful empire, its best days long behind it, desperately trying to conjure up a happier time when it was something more than a decaying relic."

Jon Stewart: "That is obviously a pretty harsh thing to say about your own homeland."

Oliver: "Oh no, Jon. I was talking about CNN."

Odds and ends

Things are slow this morning, so I thought I'd take some time to alert regular readers to a change I've made in the way posts are archived here at Random Pixels.

With over 2,000 posts in more than four years of posting, it can sometimes be a little tricky to find something specific.

I believe I've made that task a bit easier.

If you're in a hurry, there's still the search box in the extreme upper left-hand corner of the blog. Just type in a key word or two and hit "enter."

But if you've got some time on your hands and you're in the mood to browse, the newly re-configured Blog Archive is just what the doctor ordered.

You'll find it midway down the right-hand column - just below "Most viewed posts last 7 days."

Just click on the arrow to the left of the desired year.

And then click on the arrow next to the month you wish to browse and you're all set.

If you're new to the blog, this is a great way to look up old posts and get caught up on what I've done here.

If you're a regular reader who's been with me for a while, then this is a great time to thank you for sticking with me.

There's a lot of stuff vying for your attention on the Internet and I'm flattered and grateful that some of you make Random Pixels a part of your day.

In that vein, there are two readers I'd like to single out for a special thanks.

First, I'd like to thank John Nykolaiszyn who blogs at

John says he can't start his day without checking my blog first. Thanks, John! I'm honored!

Next is Johnny D. at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Johnny recently moved back to Miami after working a few years at the Boston Globe.

Johnny is originally from Miami Beach and during his time in Boston he checked my blog on a daily basis to keep up with all the craziness.

Now, he's back and he still stops by. Last month, I noticed Johnny was reading the blog while he was vacationing in Germany. Said Johnny, "I follow your blog from around the world."

Now that's a loyal reader! Thanks Johnny!

Finally, let's wrap this up with a look at May's most-viewed posts.

With the exception of the post at the top of the chart, the other four were all related to Memorial Day weekend on Miami Beach. Interesting, but not surprising.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sun-Sentinel: '36 Miami cops to be punished for speeding'

Miami police chief Manuel Orosa says he plans to discipline 36 Miami police officers who were named in a South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation as being habitual speeders.

From the Sun-Sentinel's Sally Kestin: "The Sun Sentinel's investigative series, published in February, used SunPass toll records to determine how fast cops [from various South Florida police agencies] were driving and found almost 800 hit speeds above 90 mph in a 13-month period. Miami officers were among the worst speeders, driving up to 55 mph over the speed limit outside city limits."

Kestin reports:
Fausto Lopez
In the most sweeping crackdown on police speeding yet, Miami's top cop announced on Monday that he is taking action against 36 of his officers for driving off duty at speeds sometimes exceeding 100 mph.

The first wave of disciplinary action includes South Florida's most notorious speeder in uniform, Officer Fausto Lopez. The six-year police veteran is being suspended for a month and will lose his take-home car for three months for leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase through Broward County in October.

Lopez's headline-generating traffic stop prompted a Sun Sentinel investigation that found widespread off-duty speeding by officers at a dozen South Florida departments. All began internal investigations.

"What the Sun Sentinel has done is a service to all police agencies because if they did not know they had a speeding problem, now they do," said Miami police Chief Manuel Orosa. "I, like most chiefs around, if you ask them everybody's going to tell you, 'We didn't know it was this bad.'"

The chief said he plans to fire one or more officers identified by the newspaper as habitual speeders and is equipping 40 police vehicles with GPS devices to make sure the worst offenders slow down. "The individuals that are in your report will be the first ones to get them," Orosa said.
Asked if Lopez will lose his job over the speeding, the police chief said, "Stay tuned."
Read the entire Sun-Sentinel story by clicking here.

Your mid-morning time waster

Woman takes picture of herself every day for five and half years.


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Instagram pic of the Day...

...comes from my friend Aleksandra who stopped by Robert is Here on Sunday.

This is her receipt.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Never-before-seen police dash-cam video of Mitt Romney traffic stop!

First, the confession from presidential candidate Mitt Romney that he once strapped the family dog to the roof of his car. Now, for the never-before-seen police dash-cam video...