Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here are the latest circulation figures for major Florida newspapers

Via the Tampa Bay Times:

Click to enlarge.

Audit Bureau of Circulations: The Top U.S. Newspapers for September 2012

Watch NJ Gov. Chris Christie's epic smackdown of FOX News host Steve Doocy

Hurricane Sandy has killed at least 35 people in the U.S., caused billions of dollars in damage and left millions without power.

So, when NJ Gov. Chris Christie went on the FOX News channel to talk about the storm this morning, what was on host Steve Doocy's mind?

Why, a photo-op, of that would have Gov. Christie and presidential candidate Mitt Romney touring storm-damaged New Jersey.

Via Raw Story:
(@ 2:10) “Over the last couple of months, you have appeared throughout the country, Governor, on behalf of Mitt Romney,” Doocy remarked to Christie. “[W]e hear that perhaps Mr. Romney may do some storm-related events. Is there any possibility that Gov. Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?”

“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” Christie replied, immediately shutting down the idea. “I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could [sic] care less about any of that stuff.”

Photos: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall

The Atlantic's In Focus photo blog has a gallery of images showing the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York City and elsewhere.

Blackout conditions in Manhattan, after Hurricane Sandy hit.
(Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Rising water, caused by Hurricane Sandy, rushes into a subterranean
parking garage in New York's Financial District. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The way we were...'War of the Worlds' broadcast, 1938

74 years ago tonight, on Oct. 30, 1938, invaders from Mars landed in New Jersey.

Happy Halloween!

Palm Beach Post, Nov. 1, 1938.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bal Harbour police chief Tom Hunker and his department come under federal scrutiny

UPDATED at 10:00pm, Oct 30, 2012: 

-via the Miami Herald - Feds to Bal Harbour: Hand over $4 million in seized drug loot. The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour’s celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals and payments to informants across the country. Click here for details. 

Bal Harbour Police Chief Tom Hunker, left, and Al Capone.

The Bal Harbour Police Department’s V.I.N. (Vice Intelligence Narcotics) Unit works closely with other agencies to crack down on this serious problem plaguing our country. On a yearly basis our V.I.N. unit recovers thousands of dollars in illegally obtained drug currency and conducts many investigations that most often lead to the arrests of those polluting our streets with narcotics.

In addition to the aggressive stance against drugs, our undercover officers are involved in various operations both within Bal Harbour and outside the city limits.

The funds siezed in these operations, allow BHPD to fortify the department with the best tools and technology available, at no additional cost to the tax payers, whom we are dedicated to protecting.
-Bal Harbour Police Department website

In just one month, the village’s police helped reel in $3 million — and by the end of the year, they took more dollars from drug dealers than any police force in Florida.

While small police departments rarely venture beyond their borders, Bal Harbour’s force has become a massive cash generator, infiltrating drug organizations across the country with no connection to the coastal village.
-Miami Herald, Oct. 28, 2012.

In hindsight, it appears as though the clues were hiding in plain sight on the Bal Harbour Police Department's website: "On a yearly basis our [narcotics] unit recovers thousands of dollars in illegally obtained drug currency..."

But, it turns out the money recovered was a bit more than "thousands."

The Miami Herald's Michael Sallah and Daniel Chang are reporting in a page one story in this morning's paper that Bal Harbour's police department seizes "more dollars from drug dealers than any police force in Florida."

Visit the crime stats page on the Bal Harbour PD's website and you'll learn that the tiny town - which measures about a half square mile in size - has issued almost 3,000 traffic citations and a little less than 700 parking tickets so far this year. The town's 27-man police force has also made about 40 arrests. But there's no mention of how many of those arrests were for drug-related offenses. And there's only the one hazy mention on the website of "thousands of dollars in drug currency" seized.

And perhaps that's what caught the attention of the feds.

The Herald's Sallah and Chang report that Bal Harbour's vice and narcotics unit.... under federal investigation for its handling of millions in seized dollars.
Federal agents are looking at the flow of money into the town — including plainclothes cops toting bags stuffed with cash on airliners and later counting it in a police trailer.

For years, the department of 27 officers, serving a village of 2,574 people, has run its forfeiture program like an ATM machine, tapping into a network of informants who led police to the cash.

And for years, the money rained on Bal Harbour: $100,000 for a 35-foot boat powered by three Mercury outboards, $108,000 for a mobile command truck equipped with satellite and flat-screen TVs, $25,463 for next generation Taser X-2s.

There was $7,000 for a police chiefs’ banquet, $45,839 for a Chevy Tahoe, $26,473 for Apple computers, $15,000 for a laser virtual firing range and $21,000 for an anti-drug beach bash

Bal Harbour's police chief, Tom Hunker, blames the investigation by the feds on "jealousy."
Sometimes we give them cases. Sometimes we don’t. If we don’t give them a big case, and we get a big hit, they get pissed. It’s competition.
Last spring, Hunker somehow beat out dozens of more qualified candidates to become one of four finalists for the job of Miami Beach's police chief.

Many Miami Beach cops were incredulous that Hunker made it as far as he did in the selection process. Some still blamed him for his role in a botched 1988 drug sting that left a much-admired Miami Beach undercover cop dead.

Other officers took to law enforcement internet message boards and wrote posts derisively labeling Hunker as "Al Capone," an allusion to his management style.

Hunker didn't get the job.

This morning one source familiar with the inner workings of Miami Beach's police department told me: "I hate to tell you that I told you so, but I told you so. Looks like Al Capone...or should I say Tommy? in a heap o' trouble."

Read the complete Miami Herald investigation by clicking here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obama says feud with Trump ‘dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya’

Via Yahoo News:
[Donald] Trump's offer—$5 million to the charity of the president's choice in exchange for the release of Obama's college and passport applications—was mocked mercilessly on Twitter.

On "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," President Barack Obama laughed it off, joking to Leno that the bad blood between him and the real estate mogul turned "birther" conspiracy theorist "dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya."

It's not the first time that President Obama has made Trump look like the fool he is. Here he is owning Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.

obama zings donald trump, obama owns trump

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

The organizers have released the 2012-2013 dates. I've posted them in the blue box at the top of right-hand column of the blog.

The next show is this Sunday, Oct. 28th.

People watching outside the Victoria's Secret
store on Lincoln Road.

As in years past, more than 100 vendors will 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, October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe's 'Back to Blood' ... 'Miami deserves a better novel'

I've read quite a few books in my life. But, I've never read anything by Tom Wolfe.

I know Wolfe has written a book called "Bonfire of the Vanities" and that he wears white suits. And that's about it, I think.

But, in the past two weeks I've heard more and read more about Wolfe and his work than I have in the past 40 years.

And that's because (in case you haven't heard) he has a new book out that's set in Miami. It's called "Back to Blood."

And because Tom Wolfe is Tom Wolfe, there's a lot of buzz surrounding this volume. There's this, for instance: the book is 700 pages long. Wolfe received a $7 million advance to write it. That works out to $10,000 a page.

At one point in the book, the fictional mayor of Miami tells his police chief, “[I]f you really want to understand Miami, you got to realize one thing first of all. In Miami, everybody hates everybody.”

(I wonder if someone actually said that to Wolfe while he was doing research for the book or if that's the conclusion he reached after spending some time perusing the reader comments section of our local paper's website.)

I hadn't planned to write anything about Wolfe's book. But all that changed when I heard him talk about it on WLRN today.

Listen (starting at 2:10) as Wolfe recounts how he came up with the idea of doing a book set in Miami:
Then I heard about Florida. The first thing that caught my ear is that Miami is the only city — the only one I can find — in which people from a foreign country with a different language and a different culture have taken over a metropolitan area politically at the voting machine in slightly over one generation. Of course that's the Cubans.

My first thought on hearing that was: Wow! Cubans have taken over Miami? When did that happen? For this he got $7 million?

Listen, also, at the 6:00 mark of the interview as Wolfe - sounding a bit confused - tries to explain what he calls the "dry-foot, wet-foot" Cuban immigration policy. In a somewhat astounding revelation, Wolfe actually admits he has no idea when or how the policy came to be!

There's no question that Wolfe is an American literary giant. He founded a style of writing called "New Journalism." But some of the reviews of "Back to Blood" cut him down to size.

Here are the last few paragraphs of a review of the book that appeared on NPR's website.
The book is a 700-page, headlong and disorienting rush of events and characters: the publicity-hungry psychiatrist who treats wealthy porn addicts, a near-orgy at a Columbus Day regatta and a reality show for Masters of the Universe gone bust, among a torrent of other plot points.

It is much too much.

The combined effect is not some panoramic view of Miami's present or a vision of the future of American cities. Instead, it feels like Wolfe pummels readers with image after insight after interior monologue to pound them into submission.

No más, already. Tom Wolfe deserves a better editor. And Miami deserves a better novel.
I won't be buying "Back to Blood." I have better uses for the $30 this book costs.

However, I'm sure many in Miami will gladly pony up the money for the book.

And Wolfe will probably be speaking to a standing-room-only crowd when he appears at the Miami Book Fair on Nov. 11. Most in the crowd will probably be there, not because they love Wolfe's work, but because they'll be able to tell their friends they saw Tom Wolfe. 

If  you're not one of those people, but you still want to read about Miami, now might be a good time to get reacquainted with one of Carl Hiaasen's  novels or Edna Buchanan's crime classic, "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face."

YouTube: Trailer for the documentary, "Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood"

Miami Herald: Tom Wolfe’s ‘Back to Blood’ revels in excess — just like Miami

Curbed Miami: So, How Well Did Tom Wolfe Do Depicting Miami?

NPR Books: ¡No Más! "Back To Blood" Is Much Too Much

NPR Books: "Back to Blood" excerpt

USA Today: Tom Wolfe’s ‘Back to Blood’ needs a transfusion

Wall Street Journal: A Wasp With No Sting

The New Yorker: Tom Wolfe's "Back to Blood"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012


Click to enlarge.

The Commander-in-Chief schools Romney on the military: "We also have fewer horses and bayonets."


Fidel Castro is doing just fine, thank you very much...

...but if you're not convinced, this headline on the website of El Nuevo Herald should clear up any doubts you may have - "Fidel Castro asegura que no le duele ni la cabeza" - which I'm told translates to "Fidel assures that not even his head hurts"

Need more proof?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Random Pixels Sunday Page One Sampler

After you've finished with your local Sunday paper, you might want to check out these interesting stories that made the front pages of Sunday newspapers in the rest of the country:

Naples Daily News: The lost sons of Fort Myers: Police struggle for solutions amid record-high body count
FORT MYERS — At Cedric Robinson’s gravesite, friends left two bottles of Ciroc, one bottle of cognac, four pots of fake flowers and a Florida Marlins hat embroidered with the message “RIP SUGA CED.” He was 20, death by bullets.

As he lie dying on the sidewalk of Clemente Park on June 6, 2011, the people who shot him took out cellphones and snapped pictures. They posted them on Facebook and forwarded them to friends.
Last year, Robinson was one of 20 victims in a two-decade-high death toll. An equal number have died in 2012’s homicides, making it likely that by New Year’s Eve, both the victim count and the homicide rate will at the highest level in 20 years, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data that goes back to 1991.

Los Angeles Times: Caught in the current of reverse migration
Thousands of U.S.-born children now live throughout Mexico as a result of deportation of a family member. Disoriented, they struggle in a society that views them with a mix of envy and pity.

Birmingham News: Armed in Alabama - Permits show guns increasingly prominent
Nearly 160,000 men and women are licensed to carry concealed handguns in Alabama's largest metropolitan areas today, according to the sheriffs who issue the annual permits and rely on the fees they generate to keep their deputies equipped and rolling. (More here.)

Orange County Register: For homeless O.C. drug addicts, this is the 'last chance' ranch
For homeless addicts, the Double R Ranch represents a retreat from life's troubles and perhaps a final chance to save their souls.

Maine Sunday Telegram: Sex scandal clashes with image of small-town Maine
KENNEBUNK - For most residents here, the biggest news of the fall was expected to be the completion of a beautification project on Main Street resulting in wider brick sidewalks, new plantings and a new bridge over the Mousam River.

That was before a mix of illicit sex in an upscale small town, rumors of a list of prominent prostitution clients, the slow release of the names of suspected "johns" and even a hot new fitness routine turned Kennebunk into the setting for "a pretty potent formula for a tabloid story," said Max Read, a blogger for Gawker, a New York-based website with the motto: "Today's gossip is tomorrow's news."

The story of Alexis Wright, the 29-year-old former Zumba instructor accused of using her business in downtown Kennebunk as a front for prostitution, clearly has taken hold, not only with residents but outside the town as well. It has been a much-discussed topic on television shows, Internet sites and newspapers, in part because the scandal seems so at odds with Kennebunk's reputation as a quaint tourist destination.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Edna Buchanan takes a swipe at environmentalists, greedy developers and the Miami Herald

UPDATED at 12:05pm, Oct. 21, 2012: Miami Herald environmental reporter Curtis Morgan has responded to Edna's Facebook post.
I wrote that piece and I didn't take any bait, Edna. Of course it was a stunt and yes the tides flooded the streets. But it's not simply the moon at work here. That high tide and others are higher than they were in the past - eight inches or maybe more over the last century. That's why the city is spending $200-plus million to fix a system that handled those same seasonal tides fine 20 to 30 years ago but no longer does. Trust me, moon or not, Miami Beach's drainage system was never designed or intended to pump sea water into the streets - just ask the city's engineers and consultants. As I wrote in a story two months ago or so, the sea level rise in South Florida has compromised far more than Miami Beach's sewers. You've also got coastal drainage structures on the mainland that no longer function at certain tides but worked fine decades ago. They have and will continue to lose a large chunk of the capacity to handle flood water and it's going to take hundreds of millions of dollars to fix them. This sort of street flooding is easy to dismiss now because it doesn't amount to much more than rusty cars and signposts but, pardon the bad joke, it's just the tip of the ice berg if some future predictions hold true.

Retired Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan used Facebook on Friday to launch a broadside at an assortment of people, including some wacky environmentalists, greedy developers and (surprise!) the editors at the Herald.

I share the concerns about polar bears, penguins, baby seals and all other creatures aboard this shrinking and increasingly sweaty planet.

However, [a rally by] environmental activists at South Beach on Thursday, October 18, was contrived, disingenuous and no credit to their cause. They posed for photos, barefoot in ankle deep water, as one cried: "Nowhere else is the reality of climate change more visible than right here, right now ..." The Miami Herald bought it hook line and sinker with a story and four-column color photo splashed across today's local section, under the heading: "With Miami Beach streets flooded by sea water as a backdrop, environmentalists called on presidential campaigns to deal with the touchy topic of global warming."
Miami Herald, Oct. 19, 2012 - page 1B

Shame on them.

They lied. It's not global warming. Look up for heaven's sake. What do you see? It's the moon! South Beach floods each and every October when the moon is at perigee. It always has. Always will. The moon was at perigee on Wednesday October, 17. The rally was clearly planned to coincide with that date. They think we're stupid.

The path of the moon around the earth is an ellipse with a closest approach, perigee, and farthest point apogee. The additional increase in lunar gravitational force on the earth at perigee can lead to higher tides than would normally occur. Especially in a sea level city built on a mangrove swamp surrounded by water. Happens every fall. Without fail.

Back in the sixties, I had to wear fireman's boots to make it to the back door of Epicure and the West Avenue Post Office every October at perigee. 2012, as my husband drove off to Publix Wednesday, I warned him to watch out for the flooding on West Avenue. I'm not psychic. It happens like clockwork every October.

I was born on the full moon, grew up fascinated by the night sky. It comes in handy to know when the full moon is about to rise. It certainly did when I covered crime for the Herald. Seriously. The moon controls the tides, imagine the effect it has on human bodies, which are sixty percent water.

Miami Beach did nothing as the city grew from a small town to a concrete canyon. Its infrastructure is crumbling, outdated, overwhelmed and way overdue for upgrading. I'm glad they're doing some of that now, but the city will always have moon-related flooding in October.

I am not saying global warming doesn't exist. I'm just saying that it's definitely not responsible for this week's flooding. We may even have more on the full moon, Monday the 29th. But it looks like the worst is over for this fall.

The city, of course, is far hotter than it has ever been, but that's not global warming either. It's the greedy developers who overbuilt, (with the eager cooperation of our city fathers and mothers) cut down all the shade trees and replaced them with skinny palms, paved over almost every green space, and blocked all the sea breezes with their concrete canyons. Thanks to them, a resort city where temperatures never rose above 86 degrees year-round is now 110 degrees in the shade -- in October.

Keep looking up.

Edna B.

From July 16, 2012: Edna Buchanan is pissed!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Miami-Dade 'transparency website' lets taxpayers view county employees' salaries

On Monday, I sent an email requesting salary information for a county employee to Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County's Assistant Director of Communications

Thirteen minutes later, Trutie responded: "All County employees’ salaries are available online on the Transparency page, ."

Click on the link and you'll learn that, "The employee salary search lets you search County employee bi-weekly gross pay and adjusted gross pay as well as year-to-date gross and adjusted gross pay."

I'm not sure why this hasn't been reported by the Miami Herald, but it was mentioned in a post on back on August 15:
About one month after he won election, Gimenez unveiled a transparency website to the public on Aug. 1, 2011. The website has county budgets, financial reports and bondholder reports -- information that was already available on the county's website. But it also has a new component: an online checkbook showing disbursements. We tested out the checkbook, which shows amounts disbursed to various individuals and companies but doesn't provide an explanation of the expenditures. We can guess what some expenditures were for -- such as payments to Florida Power and Light or Bellsouth Communications -- but we have no idea from simply looking at the online checkbook what the expenditures for "HMF FL A LLC" or the "Cigarette Racing Team" were for. (The website does contain some warnings including that the data is unaudited and that the search is not a substitute for a public records request and provides a link to contact the county.)

The county plans to add more details to the checkbook -- including brief descriptions of expenditures -- but doesn't have a target date set, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said in an e-mail interview. Gimenez also plans to add salary information for all employees -- but no launch date has been set.

Gimenez doesn't get all the credit for the online checkbook. In 2010, Commissioner Bruno Barreiro was the prime sponsor of a resolution directing the county to post the register. Gimenez, county commission chairman at the time, was one of multiple co-sponsors and spoke in favor of it.

08.21.12 Public Records Expansion Website Plan

Your late morning time waster

German guy tries to cannonball into a frozen pool...fails miserably.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Florida lawyers shamelessly exploit man's best friend to get your business

Warm and fuzzy aren't words that immediately come to mind when the subject of personal injury lawyers comes up.

But, here are two Florida attorneys who are working hard to change that.

Here's a two year-old ad for the Florida law firm of Morgan and Morgan.

Not to be outdone, Mark Nation, of the Nation Law Firm, posted a commercial last August that stars his two pooches.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your early morning time waster

After failing to get any media outlet to take her seriously, Fargo, ND resident Donna decided to take her longstanding grievance to the Y94 Morning Playhouse radio show.

Poor Donna has been involved in three separate car accidents involving deer over the past few years, and she thinks she's nailed down the root of her misfortune: Deer crossing signs in high-traffic areas.

"Why are we encouraging deer to cross at the interstate? I don't get it," a very puzzled Donna told the equally puzzled morning show hosts.

Her solution: Move the signs to low-traffic areas, where it's safer for deer to cross.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Secret Service agent arrested in Miami after being found drunk and passed out

UPDATED: Aaron Francis Engler Arrest Affidavit

Via CBS Miami:
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — U.S. Secret Service agent Aaron Francis Engler was found early Friday morning passed out on the sidewalk near the intersection of Brickell Avenue and 7th after President Barack Obama had left South Florida.

According to the arrest report, Miami police officers were in the area on an unrelated call when they noticed Engler passed out. When the officers checked on the man he grew combative and started to fight with officers, according to the police report.

The officers then took Engler to the ground and handcuffed him. Once secured, sources said the officers went through Engler’s pockets and discovered his Secret Service identification.

Daily Show Flashback - Oct. 9, 2008

via The Daily Show - Oct. 9, 2008: Four years ago, the idiots at FOX News were talking about everything....except the economy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quote of the day

“Think about a Starbucks model. If each day you went into Starbucks and plunked down $4 for a latte, and the cups got smaller and the content got weaker, chances are you’d stop going to Starbucks. That’s basically what newspapers have been doing as a way to deal with decreases in advertising revenue.” -Orange County Register editor Ken Brusic The Orange County Register is hiring dozens of reporters, focusing on print-first expansion

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

Peter Alexander Rosello on the red carpet with his mom, Alexia Echevarria, left,
and in a slightly less glamorous Miami-Dade County Jail booking photo.
(Click image to enlarge)

...Peter Alexander Rosello.

Twenty year-old Peter Rosello has had a pretty good life.

His parents are well-known and successful. His mother, Alexia Echevarria, - aka the "Cuban Barbie" - is a cast member on the Bravo TV series, "Real Housewives of Miami." When she's not making a fool of herself on TV, she's the executive editor of something called Venue Magazine.

Rosello's father is Herman Echevarria, "a former Hialeah City Council president, former chairman of the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce and Industries and a well-connected marketing executive" according to this March 2011 Miami Herald article.

Rosello, a graduate of Monsignor Pace High School, lives with his parents in their $1.2 million home on Miami Beach. Life is good.

Since graduating from high school, Rosello hasn't done much of anything. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy.

It appears that young Rosello spends most of his time posting pics on his Facebook page.

And now, because of one of his childish Facebook postings, Rosello is facing some very serious, grown-up criminal charges.

According to the Miami Herald, last week, Rosello posted a YouTube video on his Facebook profile that showed him punching a sleeping homeless man in the groin.
The video, which shows Rosello addressing the camera, saying “punching a hobo in the nuts,” was posted on Rosello’s Facebook page.

On his page, Rosello also apparently wrote: “I feel bad for those people. didn’t mean to offend anyone. they got my love, i always give them like 5 bucks or weed.”

Today Rosello surrendered to Miami Beach police and is now facing a single count of felony battery (arrest affidavit embedded below) in connection with the attack. His parents have retained flamboyant - and high-priced - attorney Richard Sharpstein to defend their son.

Two days ago, Rosello's mother, Alexia, tweeted, "My husband and I are saddened by the situation we find ourselves in, involving our son Peter. We know very little at this stage, but we are confident that this circumstance will be resolved. This has been a very difficult year for our family and together we will get through this. I just want to thank all of our friends and family for their continued support."

Perhaps one way Rosello's mom can "resolve" this "situation" is to get him some counseling. It appears her son has some issues with homeless people. Scroll through his Facebook photos and you'll see series of four photos of another sleeping man, who appears to also be homeless.

But, picking on those less fortunate might be something that young Rosello learned by watching and listening to his mother. Looking down on people who aren't fortunate or successful seems to run in the family.

Last year, on an episode of "Real Housewives," Alexia dissed Hialeah residents by calling them "lower" and wanting "to live vicariously through the socialites portrayed in [the pages] of her magazine."

So, welcome to the Random Pixels Losers Corner, Peter. And don't worry...weve saved a seat for your mom, too. After all, it's probably her fault that you're such a loser in the first place.

Homeless 32

I'm Lorenzo the Cat and I approved this message

Lorenzo the Cat

The following post was written by a cat...yes, a cat!

Come on Miami, Give it Up for the Cats and Dogs
Vote Yes for the Pets’ Trust in November

There's an important measure on the ballot in the November General Election and I don’t mean the Obama/Romney showdown. No, it’s much bigger than that. It’s the vote that will determine whether or not 20,000 cats and dogs are unnecessarily killed each year in Miami-Dade County.

That’s right, killed. Not “put down” or euthanized because they’re suffering from a terminal illness. They are killed by lethal injection often because their owners can’t afford to keep them, are moving to a place that won’t allow them, or just don’t want them anymore. We all know that Miami is a deadly city with a high murder rate, but imagine if 20,000 people were killed here each year. Would that grab your attention?

The big vote is the Pets’ Trust, a legislative initiative that will tax property owners about $13 per year to generate revenue for our Animal Services Department so it can protect unwanted animals and offer low-cost spay/neutering services. And about that neutering thing—to those of you humans who think it’s emasculating to neuter your male animals, I say: get over it. Trust me, I’ve been fixed and the babes still love me.

As a cat that was tossed in a garbage can at birth in Coral Gables, let me tell you that it’s rough out there on the mean streets of Miami-Dade County. My fellow felines are in dire need of help, especially the feral ones—they’re roaming the streets, making kittens, and going hungry. Others are being tossed out of car windows and dumped at shelters—sometimes just because they once peed on a rug. Dogs don’t have it an easier, not that I’m a big fan of those guys. They get dropped at shelters too—sometimes just because they bark.

In Miami-Dade County, it’s estimated that there are 500,000 dogs, 500,000 pet cats and 500,000 feral cats. We know that our human population—which also comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and proclivities—loves animals or these numbers wouldn’t be so high. But Miami, we have a problem. We—the animals—need your help. What’s $13 a year? I’ll tell you what it is: less than the cost of two bottles of beer at the new Marlins Park stadium.

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals,” said Mahatma Gandhi. And the same is true for counties in Florida.

Please, open your hearts and vote YES for the Pets’ Trust - #240 - on November 6th. Vote meow!

Yours truly,

Lorenzo the Cat

Monday, October 08, 2012

West Palm Beach man dies after eating dozens of roaches

More proof that as a society we've finally hit rock bottom.

A 32-year-old West Palm Beach man died over the weekend after eating a dozen cockroaches and worms during a roach-eating contest in Deerfield Beach according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The competition was organized by the Ben Siegel Reptiles store, and the winner was to get a python.

Now, Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the death.

The victim was identified as Edward Archbold.

Minutes after Friday night’s contest, according to a BSO spokeswoman, Archbold started feeling ill. He started regurgitating and later collapsed shortly after exiting the store.
Click here to read the entire story at

Meet the Miami News reporter who broke the story of Russian missile bases in Cuba

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The way we were...South Beach's 'Bucket of Blood' closes - 1986

Tommy's Deck Bar, 627 Fifth St. (1980)
Photograph by Walter Smalling via the Library of Congress.

September, 1986: Tommy's Deck Bar, South Beach's "most dangerous bar," closes.


Sunday, September 21, 1986
by IRENE LACHER, Herald Staff Writer

Tommy's Deck Bar, a draw for drug dealers and prostitutes that was once dubbed "the neighborhood bucket of blood" by its owner, was due to close at dawn today.

Bernie Toll, who owns the controversial bar, at 627 Fifth St., said he decided to shut it down because police were preparing to have his liquor license pulled.

"Rather than have them go through all this unnecessary, embarrassing type of legal actions, I felt that it was in the best interest of the neighborhood and my best interest to walk out clean."

Police have answered 168 calls at Tommy's this year alone. Complaints from neighbors prompted undercover officers to compile evidence of drug deals there, police say. And when Patrol Maj. Jack Mackie and Mayor Alex Daoud inspected the bar on Thursday, Daoud called Toll, who promptly announced he would close the bar .

"Basically the biggest problem was drug dealing," Mackie said. "That was the straw that broke the camel's back."

"It's long overdue," Daoud said. "That place has been an absolute cesspool for crime and criminal activity. I'm hoping we'll start closing down a lot more of these bars ."

On Friday afternoon, a handful of regulars drank at the faded Art Deco bar whose walls were designed to resemble a luxurious cruise ship. An owner who boxed at Madison Square Garden lent his name to the nearly 50-year-old bar , which once played host to such lights as Jimmy Durante and Dean Martin.

Customers idling over beers said they'd miss Tommy's, which evolved into one of the most dangerous bars in town.

"The bums will be depressed," said Diane Donlon. "I'm depressed myself. The poor misfits, where are they going to go?"

But even Tommy's biggest boosters acknowledged that the place turned into a nest for hookers and drug dealers at night.

"You wouldn't want to tangle with the people who come in here at night," Donlon said. "Real scumbags."

Said Toll: "I bought it because redevelopment was going through and I wanted to own a bar down in redevelopment. And then redevelopment went into the toilet and slowly my bar became the toilet. If I cleaned out my bar I would have no customers."

Despite it all, Toll waxed nostalgic about the bar he bought nine years ago.

"Years ago I had some pretty nice skid row characters there who were very pleasant. I shouldn't say skid row. Damon Runyon- type characters. It was fun, the bragging and lying that went on because every customer was either an ex-ballplayer or an entrepreneur or a corporate executive.

"But, in actual fact, they were all working stiffs who used to fantasize. I used to chuckle to myself that they were really nice people. They either died or moved on."

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

After watching Marc Caputo question Sen. Marco Rubio, I'm convinced Rubio is guilty of something

Marc Caputo
Last year, I offered this free advice to Florida politicians:
If you're under criminal investigation and a reporter confronts you with a video camera...for God's sake, don't run.

Especially if that reporter is the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo. Running away while you're being filmed by Caputo just makes you look twice as guilty.
Today, I'd like to amend that advice to include politicians who happen to be close friends of politicians under criminal investigation.

Watch what happened yesterday when Caputo showed up at the Versailles Restaurant with a video camera and tried to interview Marco Rubio about the ongoing criminal investigation of his buddy, Rep. Ravid Rivera.

Caputo wrote in a blog post:
Sen. Marco Rubio preferred to get rained on Monday than answer questions about a criminal investigation into his long-time friend and ally, Congressman David Rivera.

In that short 90 second clip, Caputo manages to put Rubio on the defensive and one gets the impression that Rubio is the one under investigation, and not Rivera.

But, with a friend like David Rivera, who can blame Rubio for getting nervous and defensive when someone shoves a camera in his face?

Rubio now joins a small, but exclusive club of politicians who have been "interrogated" by Caputo and lived to tell the tale.

Here are two more Caputo Classics:

Nov., 2011: Caputo asks Herman Cain about the Cuban refugee "wet-foot, dry-foot policy."

Aug., 2009: Caputo grills Denis Morales, who as Chief of Staff to Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez, was making more than the governor of Florida.

'Broke' premieres tonight on ESPN

"You got champagne taste, but you only got beer money. That's not good!" -Herman Edwards, former NFL cornerback


Tonight at 8pm on ESPN: From the producers of "Cocaine Cowboys" and "the U," comes "Broke."

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. For 78 percent of NFL players, it takes only three years. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it.

Director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paint a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes' bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris. A story of the dark side of success, "Broke," is an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.

Wall Street Journal "Bankruptcy Beat" blog: Pro Athletes Go ‘Broke’ in New ESPN Documentary

Monday, October 01, 2012

Note to police officers everywhere! [UPDATED x2]

UPDATED at 1:20pm, Oct. 1, 2012 - has identified the officer:
Law enforcement sources identified the officer as Lt. Jonathan Josey, a 19-year veteran of the force who is currently assigned to Highway Patrol unit. Josey was cited for bravery by the Citizens Crime Commission for fatally shooting an armed robber in 2010 while he was off-duty. Josey happened to walk into a Bala Cynwyd 7-Eleven in 2010 while Kenneth DeShields, an Iraq war veteran, was holding up the store. He was cleared of any charges in the incident.
City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, a central organizer of the parade, said she spoke with Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey this morning, and that Ramsey was particularly upset because the incident involved a commanding officer.

UPDATED at 1:00pm, Oct. 1, 2012 - has this update:
Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers said the department is "fully aware" of the video and what it depicts. He said the officer involved has been identified and Internal Affairs opened up an investigation in to the incident this morning. He said Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who is in San Diego at a conference, is also aware of the video.

Evers declined to publicly identify the officer, but did say he is a supervisor in Highway Patrol. He did not know if the officer had been placed on desk duty.

Police also declined to identify the woman, who was given a disorderly conduct citation for the incident. According to Evers, the 39-year-old woman's citation states "liquid and some other objects were thrown at a group of officers causing a large crowd."

She was the only person given a citation for the incident, Evers said.

Almost three years ago I passed along this friendly advice to cops everywhere:
In case you haven't noticed, there are more cameras being carried by more people than ever before in history.

So if you're planning on packing heat at the next neighborhood snowball fight; you might want to rethink. Your random act of stupidity might end up being flashed around the world for all the world to see.
But as you can see in the video above, some of you weren't paying attention.

Gisela Valentin caught a horrifying act of police brutality of camera that would otherwise be brushed under a rug. A man with a water bottle can be seen spraying what’s left of his on a group of police.

The actual ‘water guy’ walks away, but when the (assuming) sergeant (or officer of even higher rank) turns around, he immediately assumes it was a woman who sprayed him with water. Worse yet, instead of properly arresting her, he sucker punched her right in the face!

Not only that, but it is obvious from the evidence that lower ranking officers saw that she was not the culprit. As the woman is being hauled away, you can see the blood dripping from her face.

Philadelphia Police Sergeant Punches Woman In The Face Puerto Rican Day Parade