Friday, May 30, 2014

Welcome to Miami Gardens, where every citizen, even a 5-year-old, is a suspect

Click here to enlarge.
Via Fusion:
In the summer of 2010, a young black man was stopped and questioned by police on the streets of Miami Gardens, Florida. According to the report filled out by the officer, he was "wearing gray sweatpants, a red hoodie and black gloves” giving the police "just cause” to question him. In the report, he was labeled a "suspicious person.”

He was an 11-year-old boy on his way to football practice.

A Fusion investigation has found that he was just one of 56,922 people who were stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD) between 2008 and 2013. That’s the equivalent of more than half of the city’s population.

Not one of them was arrested.

It was all part of the city’s sweeping "stop and frisk” style policy that may be unparalleled in the nation.

According to a review of 99,980 "field contact” reports, they were stopped, written up and often identified as "suspicious” -- but just like the 11-year-old boy -- the encounter was recorded in a public database, and they were let go.

Thousands more were arrested after being stopped by the police, raising the total number of people ensnared by the policy to 65,328 during the five-year period.

"I have never seen a police department that has taken the approach that every citizen in that city is a suspect. I’ve described it as New York City stop-and-frisk on steroids.” said Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez.

Last year, a Miami Herald report exposed how the MGPD repeatedly stopped and arrested employees and customers of a local convenience store including, Earl Sampson, who was stopped more than 200 times.

Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be "suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a "suspicious person.”

Click here to read Fusion's complete report and to see more videos.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The way we were...Work Downtown, Lunch in Kendall

Via the Wolfson Archive: 1984: Meet the Metrorail Lunch Dash Bunch

"Work downtown and dine at Dadeland? That's the outlandish opportunity Al Sunshine reports on in this WTVJ news clip. It seems that the shiny new Metrorail hadn't been running a week before intrepid workers were hopping the train, headed for lunch destinations far from their workplaces downtown."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's with the 'stink-eye,' Sgt. Wirth?

Miami Beach Police Sgt. Phil Wirth, far right, stares down 
a photographer as officers arrest a man last Saturday 
on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. 
 Photograph by Carlos Miller.
(Click here to enlarge)

Click here to find out what caused Sgt. Phil Wirth to lose his happy face this past weekend in Miami Beach and also to see a video of what happened after this photo was snapped.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

50 Cent just threw out one of the worst first pitches in the history of baseball

Needs no laugh track. 50 Cent throws out the first pitch at Mets/Pirates game.

'I am not a racist'

Earlier today I posted a video of President Obama taking an unannounced stroll through a park last week.

There was nothing political about the was just a nice, unscripted* moment featuring the most powerful man in the world out for a walk. (*As unscripted as you can get with a phalanx of armed-to-the-teeth Secret Service agents in tow, and a bullet-proof limo parked a few yards away.)

But having spent more than a few minutes on Internet forums, I'm aware that the mere sight of this President enjoying himself brings out the worst in people.

Well, it didn't take long for someone to respond to me by email.

Less than four hours after I posted the video, a casual acquaintance who also happens to be a semi well-known Miami-based blogger, sent this: "Was there a point [to this]?"

I responded, "Yes."

Here's how the rest of the exchange went:
Blogger @11:28am: "I missed it then."

Me @11:40am: (Patiently) "Let me explain it then...

"1) It's extremely unusual to see the President walk in public these days.

"2) You can dislike Obama for his policies, but he is still the President of the United States=My Country and My President.

"3) The alternative this last election was a man who avoided service in Viet Nam by going to France while I served in Viet Nam. And while more than 59,000 of my brothers and sisters died there. And he's passed his "patriotism" on to his five sons, none whom have ever served their country in uniform. That turns my stomach

"4) No president is perfect and I don't always agree with everything Obama does...but he's 10,000 % better than Romney.

"Any other questions?"

Blogger @11:49am: "Oh.

"I dislike Obama for his policies.

"I do not dislike him because he's black. {Emphasis mine.]

"I was not a fan of Romney, however I voted for him because I dislike Obama for his policies.

"I am not a racist. [Emphasis mine.]

"So there."
So I wrote back and asked this person why they felt the need to point out they're not "racist" when I never brought up the subject.

Fasten your seat belts, folks, this is where it gets good.

Blogger @12:38pm: "I pointed it out because the standard liberal response to people who don't like Obama's policies is, "You're a racist."

"I did not dislike the video. I just didn't get it."

So there you have it...the President of the United States can't even go for a walk on a sunny day and say hello to some folks without some right-winger getting their panties in a bunch, spitting venom and accusing me of being a liberal.

'The bear is loose'

Here's what happened when President Obama took an unannounced walk outside the White House last week.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day Story

Re-posted from May 31, 2010

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

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

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

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Question for Miami Beach residents: Did Mayor Levine invite you to go for a ride on a Coast Guard boat this weekend? No? That's probably because you're not one of his millionaire friends.

On the biggest weekend of the year, Miami Beach Mayor 
Philip Levine pretended he was driving a Coast Guard boat, but 
he instead ended up looking a lot like Michael Dukakis. 
(Click images to enlarge.)

One frustrated Miami Beach resident spent the good part of an hour on Saturday simply trying to get home.

He left this message on Miami Beach Mayor Levine's Facebook page.

If Levine saw the message, he didn't respond.

And the reason he didn't respond is because he spent much of the weekend taking a ride on a U.S. Customs helicopter and playing sailor on a Coast Guard boat.

All of this on one of the busiest and most important weekends of the year for the City of Miami Beach....and the most frustrating for many Miami Beach residents.

Today, Levine took a ride on a Coast Guard boat with Scott Robins, a millionaire developer who owns half of Miami Beach, apparently.  Oh, and I almost forgot...Robins is also Levine's business partner.

A 2013 Miami Herald story called Robins "a prolific Miami Beach developer."

Miami Beach's millionaire Mayor Philip Levine took his millionaire friend,
developer Scott Robins, left, for a ride on a Coast Guard boat on Sunday.

And last Friday night, the first big night of the Memorial Day weekend, Levine Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco and Levine's chief of staff, Alex Miranda, went for a ride in a U.S. Customs helicopter...a ride that you and I, as taxpayers, paid for.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioner Michael Grieco pose
in front of a Customs Blackhawk before the chopper took off and buzzed

 the homes of Levine's constituents. 

After Grieco posted the photo on his Facebook page, Miami Beach-based filmmaker Billy Corben asked him...

Grieco never answered Corben.

And at least one Miami Beach resident let Levine know on Facebook what she thought of the chopper ride.

Elaine Wright Loved having MBPD helicopters buzzing over my house on the Venetian Causeway at MIDNIGHT, shining search lights on our backyards!!!! Makes us feel SO protected!!! Really great!!!! Oh, and LOVE the street closures and how most of my fellow Beach residents NEED to flee from the madness that is this weekend! Can't wait for next Memorial Day!

Other Beach residents shared their frustrations, also. But the Mayor never answered any of them. He was too busy having fun.

Alana R. Rothlein Mayor, do you know that Miami Beach residents trying to get home from the [Heat] game are forced to sit in 30 min traffic jam on the Tuttle because of police checkpoint?

Reggie Ann Make this weekend go to another state. Do we need to use our entire police force for this weekend. I feel sorry for the businesses there that have to suffer. And Mr Mayor would you normally be out at this time to check our streets??

By the way, the video below shows what happened to another politician who pretended he was in the military.

Bunny Yeager | March 13, 1930 - May 25, 2014

"What's My Line?" - July 14, 1957.


Back before photographers used film instead of pixels, and relied on lighting and technique instead of Photoshop, Miami pin-up model turned pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager, photographed real women who had real curves and not a touch of silicone.

She died today in North Miami at age 85.


Via the New York Times:
Bunny Yeager, a model-turned-photographer whose images of a scarcely clad Bettie Page, embodying feral sexuality and winsome naïveté all at once, helped propel Ms. Page to international stardom as a midcentury pinup queen, died on Sunday in North Miami, Fla. She was 85.

Bunny Yeager self portrait. 
(Harold Golen Gallery.)

Bunny Yeager built a racy career on a talent for snapping photographs of shapely young women stripped to their lacies. Ms. Yeager’s 1950s and ’60s boudoir shots, especially those of Bettie Page, the era’s most popular pinup, are influencing fashion photography to this day. As are, increasingly, a slew of pictures of Ms. Yeager vamping provocatively for her own lens.

Ms. Yeager’s women are “real,” said Harold Golen, who exhibited Ms. Yeager’s photographs at his gallery in Miami last spring. “None of them are spray-tanned,” he said. “Their breasts aren’t ballooned.

“They have curves, and even a bit of cellulite.”
-New York Times, March 15, 2012.

Miami News, Feb. 4, 1951: Posing cost her three boyfriends.

Here's why you should never believe anything you read on Facebook


Here's what Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco posted last night on Facebook:

Photograph by Commissioner Michael Grieco.
(Click image to enlarge.)


And here's what Channel 10 reporter Glenna Milberg posted at about the same time:


And then this happened:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is a big, fat liar

Entrance to 5 Star Island. 

On Dec. 6 of last year, down-on-his-luck, soon-to-be bankrupt millionaire Thomas Kramer was hosting an Art Basel-themed party for some 250 guests at his multi-million dollar, soon-to-be-foreclosed-on, Star Island home.

Somehow, word of the party leaked out, and soon the street outside his home was filled with hundreds of would-be party crashers and dozens of cars. By midnight the crowd had become, in Kramer's words, "an out of control avalanche of people" that prevented late-arriving guests from entering his property.

One of those caught in the scrum was Miami Beach's new mayor, Philip Levine. Sworn in less than two weeks before, Levine, according to one source, arrived with a sizable contingent of friends.

Click to enlarge. 
Unable to get in, Levine texted Kramer.

Kramer responded by calling police and parking enforcement officers to his home.

Cops showed up and talked to Kramer. He told them he wanted the party crashers gone and their vehicles removed.

Cops then went back outside and told the crowd to disperse. The unruly mob responded by ignoring the order, and some continued to attempt to get inside. A few in the crowd "physically pushed the officers."

At some point, one of the officers, Giordano Cardoso, unholstered his Taser, and after removing the cartridge, aimed it at the ground and fired three short bursts or "warning arcs."

According to a just released police department Internal Affairs report on the incident [embedded below], after hearing the Taser, "the crowd began to disperse and obey the officers."

And then, according to the report, this is what happened next....

Click to enlarge. 

A story on the incident in this morning's Miami Herald says:
[An] investigation of the Dec. 6 incident was instigated by then newly elected Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who told a police supervisor on the scene that officer Giordano Cardoso’s actions were "out of control" when he used his Taser to disperse a crowd trying to get into Kramer’s Star Island home.
Though Levine initiated the investigation into Cardoso, the report said he chose not to speak to investigators or give a formal statement. The mayor told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that he spoke with someone at the police department the day after the incident, but did not recall who. The internal affairs report said police made several attempts to talk to the mayor.

But Herald reporter Christina Veiga didn't aggressively question Levine on why, after filing a very serious complaint against a police officer, he went out of his way to avoid talking to Internal Affairs investigators, despite their repeated attempts to reach him.

Christopher Korge.
Perhaps the reason Levine wasn't anxious to talk with investigators is that after sobering up, he realized his less than truthful version of events that night might not mesh with other witness accounts.

Every witness - including Kramer, and a hostess hired by Kramer - gave police investigators essentially the same version of the incident:  Officer Cardoso acted properly and defused a potentially volatile situation.

Here's what another witness, Miami Beach police officer Michael Angulo, told Internal Affairs investigators. The "male" he refers to is Mayor Levine's friend, millionaire lobbyist Christopher Korge.


And here's what parking enforcement officer Dante Zirio told investigators. The "belligerent male" he refers to is Christopher Korge.


And here's part of a statement given to investigators by Parking enforcement supervisor Eduardo Marquez. Marquez describes the actions of Levine's "friend" as "very strange."

But despite witnesses describing Korge's behavior as "belligerent" and "very strange," he told the Herald yesterday that he "wasn't disrespectful."

But how strange is it that Levine files a complaint against one of his police officers, and then dodges investigators who want his side of the story?


Political Cortadito: How convenient it must be to be able to order the police around to investigate anyone who bothers you — and twice if you don’t like the outcome the first time.

The same Levine, by the way who has no problem whining to the Herald: “You pull out a Taser, you have to be clear that you’re in the right,” Levine said. “I can’t imagine that pulling out a Taser at a Star Island Art Basel party is in the handbook.”

The Herald's story ends with Levine descending into a rabbit hole with more lies, telling the paper,
He’d have no problem with new Beach police chief Dan Oates reopening the internal probe.

That way, the mayor said, "we’ll see what’s going on."

And finally, Mayor Levine, if, in the not too distant future, you find yourself interacting with one or more your police officers who put their asses on the line for you and Miami Beach residents everyday, instead of ratting them out, you'd do well to remember this:


Metrorail opened for business 30 years ago today

Miami News, May 21, 1984.

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Canadians are coming!

Click here to enlarge.


"Some Miami Beach police officers...decided to substitute the word 'Canadian' for 'black' in radio transmissions, as in, 'There's a large group of Canadians gathered on Washington and 14th.' " -Tristram Korten, Miami New Times, June 7, 2001

"What will happen, I don’t know. Hopefully everything will be fine." -Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower in 2012


It's time for another installment of Urban Beach Weekend.

What does the weekend hold in store for Miami Beach residents and visitors?

It's simple: A replay of last year and the year before:
Street closures, strict enforcement of open container laws, zero-tolerance for illegal parking, a Friday night DUI checkpoint on the MacArthur Causeway, and a possible closure of the MacArthur if traffic becomes unmanageable, "enhanced enforcement of obstruction of traffic" and a "traffic/cruising loop" that's was cleverly devised a few years ago to "route [non-resident] traffic through and out of the city."

Miami Beach police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez tells Miami New Times a little more about the traffic loop that anyone driving to South Beach via the MacArthur Causeway will encounter: "You're going to stay on this carousel the entire time all the way until you leave Miami Beach again."

Of course that all depends on whether or not you actually get to Miami Beach.

The DUI checkpoint on the MacArthur begins at 8 p.m. Friday evening for eastbound traffic heading into Miami Beach. In addition, causeway traffic will be narrowed to one lane before drivers even get to the checkpoint, which this year will be set up just before the Fisher Island/Coast Guard base entrance.

And according to New Times, just like last year, "Automated license plate readers will be used on the MacArthur, Venetian, and Julia Tuttle causeways to search for wanted persons or stolen vehicles attempting to enter Miami Beach."

I asked Miami Beach police spokesperson Bobby Hernandez what alternatives there are for drivers who want to avoid the MacArthur and all the problems associated with it.

"Take the Julia Tuttle,"said Hernandez.

You've been warned.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Your lunch hour time waster

In light of General Motors' recall of 11 million vehicles and recently-leaked public relations memo, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver made a new, honest ad for their cars.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Micky Arison has a step-brother who once belonged to Star Island's pot smoking cult

Square Grouper - The Zion Coptic Mansion on Star Island from rakontur.


"He sat and read the bible all day long, and he chanted. His eyes were glazed, and I was saying, 'Michael, what is it you are on?' He looked like a zombie." -Lin Arison

In 1979, Micky Arison's father, Ted, named his son, a 30-year-old college dropout, president of Carnival Cruise Lines.

The senior Arison had started Carnival seven years before in 1972, "with one ship that ran aground on its maiden voyage."

In a 2003 interview with Fortune magazine, Micky described the Saturday night parties he threw for Carnival employees in the late 1970s in his 900 square-foot apartment: "We had wild parties, a really good time."

9th grader Michael Arison,
Fisher Jr. High
yearbook photo, 1975-76.
But a year before Micky became Carnival's president, it was his step-brother, 17-year-old Michael Arison, who was making news.

Ted Arison adopted Michael at age 7 when he married the boy's mother, Marilyn B. Hersh Lin, in 1968.

The day after Thanksgiving in 1978, Florida newspapers carried an Associated Press story that laid bare, in ghastly detail, the family nightmare that Ted and Lin Arison had been going through for much of the year with Micky's step-brother, Michael.

Youth Cultist Home for Holiday; Family Not Sure How Long

MIAMI BEACH (AP) -- Ted and Lin Arison were thankful to have their son home for the holiday. Now they say they must convince him not to return to the religious cult he's lived with for most of the past seven months.

A haggard looking Michael Arison, 17, returned to his parents penthouse home at 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, raided the refrigerator and spent most of the day sleeping, his mother said.
The last several months have been a nightmarish montage of their handsome, athletic son's transformation into a blank staring, disoriented cultist; "deprogramming" attempts, telephone calls from "Brother Louv," and finally, police intervention.

Mrs. Arison, wife of a cruise line owner, recalled that Michael became interested about seven months ago in the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, a group whose members smoke marijuana in rituals.

A research paper for a Miami Beach High School sociology class gave him an excuse for studying the cult.

"He and four very close buddies decided to go down to the (local cult headquarters on Star Island) and take a look," she said.

Mrs. Arison said Michael began spending time at the church, ostensibly to further his research. His parents didn't worry, she said, because the cult believes three hours or less of sleep a day is sufficient. It begins 10 hours of chanting daily at 5 a.m.
But Michael, provided with marijuana at the church, began coming home "smoked out," she said. "The first time he made the five o'clock chant, I knew we were in trouble."

The AP story recounts several ploys the Arisons used to try to get Michael to leave the cult. At one point they hired a nationally-known "deprogrammer."

The AP story ends with Miami Beach police pressuring the cult's leader, Brother Louv, into talking Michael into returning home.

In the 36 years since the AP story's publication, there's been no almost mention of Michael Arsion in news reports.

He was so successful at dropping out of sight, that he was initially omitted from his father's obituary in 1999.


Associated Press, Nov. 24, 1978. 
(Click here to enlarge.)

Meet 'Ninja Cat,' America's newest superhero

Bakersfield Californian front page via the Newseum.
(Click here to 

Video: Boy Saved by Hero Cat Sleeps Through Today Show Interview

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Do you have room in your heart for one of these guys?

Click to enlarge.

“These are great, sweet, loving dogs that really need a home.” -Gloria Rodriguez, student at Felix Varela Senior High School.


A plea from former Miami Herald staff writer Elinor Brecher:
The Felix Varela High School vet-tech program has to place all of its animals by early June-- foster or adoption-- because of renovations on the classroom and shelter space. There are 80 dogs and puppies. Fostering would be for about three months. Many of these dogs were rescued from horrible abuse/neglect situations.

I wrote about this program several times for the Herald and was dumbstruck with admiration for Yleana Escobar, the teacher who runs it. I've never met a more dedicated educator and rescuer. Her classroom reminds me of old episodes of M*A*S*H. She's the colonel. Everyone of those kids is Hawkeye and Trapper John. Any time -- day, night, weekend, holiday, hurricane-- she and those kids are there caring for animals that come out of horrendous situations of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Miss Escobar is not only teaching these kids skills they'll need to have a satisfying career; she's teaching empathy, compassion, responsibility, selflessness and collaboration. One kid at a time, she is chipping away at Miami-Dade's abysmally low collective conscience about animal welfare (hence the nightmarish intake rate at the county's high-kill shelter and even more nightmarish problem of dumping in the Homestead area).

Please read this excellent story by my former Miami Herald colleague Carli Teproff, spread it around, and if you can, give a dog or puppy safe harbor or a new home.

The way we were...Art Deco District added to National Register of Historic Places

700 Block Ocean Drive, 1980.
Photograph by Walter Smalling
via the Library of Congress. 

(Click to enlarge)

Thirty-five years ago tomorrow, South Beach, with "the largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s resort architecture in the United States," becomes a historic preservation district.

Miami News, May 14, 1979.
(Click to enlarge.)


Monday, May 12, 2014

The way we were...Cuban MiGs buzz Coast Guard helicopter in the Bahamas

Thirty-four years ago in the Miami News...

Miami News, May 13, 1980.
(Click to enlarge.)

Miami News cartoon by Don Wright.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Miami Beach Police are still being forced to waste time and taxpayer dollars responding to calls at the city's two towing companies

In an interview with the Washington Post last January, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine talked about his city's strengths, comparing Miami Beach to Monaco: "We also think there's great opportunity for us to attract hedge funds and private equity groups, because what do they need? They're looking for, number one, quality of life. We have it. Number two, they want beautiful places to live, Miami Beach, we have it. Number three, they want tax savings. You move from New York to Florida, you're going to save probably almost 10 percent on your income. So we're a little bit like the Monaco of America, and that's who we are."

Last March Levine told Miami Today: "Picture that Dade County is a big jewelry store. Miami Beach is Rolex. Everybody wants Rolex in their store. And the reason you want Rolex is because it brings people into the store, and, uh, I think we're Rolex. And I think that we have a lot to offer."

Last weekend, Levine was back in Washington to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, and to, in his words, "promote Miami Beach."

Levine likes to use the term "world-class tourist destination" when describing Miami Beach.

What Levine never mentions, and what he never told the Washington Post or Miami Today - and I'm 99% certain he didn't mention it last weekend in Washington - is that Miami Beach is home to two city-sanctioned businesses that extort hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from residents and visitors alike.

On paper the two businesses are called towing companies. But in actuality they're companies that engage in legalized auto theft.

Exactly six months after winning the mayor's seat, Levine has yet to keep a promise he made during his run for office:
[S]hould I become Mayor, I will conduct a thorough assessment of all city services and operations during the first 90 days. During the course of that review, should I uncover a problem with the towing vendors I will implement corrective actions forcefully and fairly, including any necessary sanctions upon them in accordance with our city code.

How's this for a "problem," Mr. Mayor?

Last July I reported that in 2012, Miami Beach police officers were called to the city's two towing companies more than 750 times, mostly due to complaints from people who had had their cars towed.

Year in, and year out, Miami Beach Police are tied up on an almost daily basis mediating squabbles, breaking up fights and investigating reports of other crimes at the tow yards belonging to Tremont and Beach Towing.

And according to a list of calls dispatched by Miami Beach Police to Tremont and Beach Towing in the first four months of this year, 2014 looks to be on track to equal or surpass the number of calls received and dispatched by police in previous years.

List of calls received and dispatched by
Miami Beach Police to Beach Towing in Jan. 2014. 

List of calls received and dispatched by 
Miami Beach Police to Tremont Towing in Jan. 2014.

Between Jan. 1 and April 30 of this year, Miami Beach Police have responded to Beach and Tremont Towing a total of 256 times, according to records obtained by Random Pixels.

Cops were called to Tremont Towing on Bay Road 115 times in the first four months of 2014.

And police were dispatched a whopping 151 times to Beach Towing's lot on Dade Blvd during the same period.

As I noted last year, in 2005 the Miami Herald reported:
The calls and the complaints have become a public relations dilemma for the city and a drain on police.

"It definitely takes away from our resources, especially because we have to often send two officers to respond to a call," said police spokesman Bobby Hernandez.

So, how's that "thorough assessment" coming, Mayor Levine?

Six months into his term of office, Philip Levine appears to be no different than his predecessors.

Like those before him, he's more interested in protecting the thugs who run Beach and Tremont Towing, instead of doing what he should be doing: Looking out for the interests of the people who put him in office.

And in that respect, he's really no different than the dirtbags at Beach and Tremont Towing.

Most cities in the United States have a term for businesses that police are called to hundreds of times a year: "nuisance."

But if you run a "nuisance" business in Miami Beach, you get a "reality" show and a subsidy from the city.


Random Pixels: Meet some of the thugs and goons who control South Beach's towing Mafia

Random Pixels: Miami Beach Police responded to the city's two towing companies more than 750 times in 2012

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Q: Whatever happened to the family newspaper?
A: What's a family newspaper?

John Mitchell: [on phone] You tell your publisher, tell Katie Graham she's gonna get her tit caught in a big wringer if that's published.
Ben Bradlee: [later] He really said that about Mrs. Graham?
Carl Bernstein: [nods]
Ben Bradlee: Well, I'd cut the words "her tit" and print it.
Carl Bernstein: Why?
Ben Bradlee: This is a family newspaper.

-Scene from "All the President's Men." - 1976


Years ago, newspaper editors were often heard to say, "Our paper is a family newspaper."

Prior to the 1970s, Miami's two daily newspapers refused to run ads for X-rated movies.

Then, in the late 70s, ad managers at the Miami Herald and Miami News relaxed their policies but limited the size of such ads to one column wide by two inches deep.

That was then.

Here's an ad that ran on the front page of today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Click here (ahem) to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Your lunch hour time waster

Can the death penalty be executed humanely?
Should we even be implementing it at all?
Why are we talking about this on a comedy show?
John Oliver tackles the tough questions.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Dan Oates, Miami Beach's new police chief, will get $207,500 salary plus a $2,000 monthly housing allowance

Via the Miami Herald's Christina Veiga:
Miami Beach’s new police chief will be one of the highest-paid employees in the city.

Commissioners on April 30 approved Dan Oates as the Beach’s police chief. Oates will be paid $207,500 in salary. His five-year contract [embedded below] includes other perks, including a $2,000 monthly housing allowance, city car and an iPad.

Oates replaces outgoing Chief Raymond Martinez, who announced his early retirement in March. He pulled a $191,000 salary.


According to his contract, Oates will get $2,000 a month to offset housing expenses. He is required to live in the city — and his contract provides him with up to $20,000 in one-time moving expenses.

Additionally, the chief gets to use a city car, for which the city pays all gas and other expenses, and $100 per pay period for his cell-phone bill. The city will also give Oates a notebook computer and an iPad.

Read the complete Miami Herald story by clicking here.

Your lunch hour time waster

Happy dogs (and a cat) in Australia.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Philip Levine, Miami Beach's not-ready-for-primetime mayor, traveled to Washington DC this weekend and made a complete ass of himself

Click to enlarge.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine proved this weekend why he just may be South Florida's most hypocritical politician.

Levine traveled to Washington to participate in some of the activities surrounding this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Mayor Dickhead spent much of Saturday posting pics of himself to Facebook and that showed him at his douchey best.


Every photographer - myself included - who's ever covered an event like this has had to deal with someone like Levine: Pompous and obnoxious jerks who spend half their time constantly jumping in shots they haven't been asked to participate in, and then spend the other half of their time sucking up to famous and powerful people they've never met in order to get them to pose for a picture.

Wouldn't you love to have been a fly on the wall and been able 
to eavesdrop on the conversation that preceded 
this wonderful Kodak moment? 
Eric Holder's expression says it all.

Question: Why is Wolf Blitzer not smiling?
Answer: Because he just realized this picture is going to
be posted on Mayor Levine's Facebook page. 

By now, you're probably asking yourself: Okay, so Levine does come off looking a bit like a douchebag, but how does any of this make him a hypocrite?

A long-time Miami Beach resident summed it up rather nicely in an email this morning: "For someone who completely disdains the press, it's ironic that he is celebrating at their big dinner. And I love that he keeps saying he is promoting Miami Beach. No. He is promoting Mayor Dickhead."


Random Pixels: And now, a few words from Mayor Dickhead...

Political Cortadito: Philip Levine goon boots blogger from 1st Amendment event.

Political Cortadito: Candidate Philip Levine’s handlers threaten political blogger.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Memorial service announced for 'Sounds of the Caribbean' host Rich Davis


A memorial service celebrating the life of Richard “Rich” Davis, formerly host of “The Rich Davis Show” on WAVS 1170 AM
radio and most recently Host of WLRN Radio’s “Sounds of the Caribbean” will be held on Sunday May 4, 2014 at the Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church 18900 NW 32nd Avenue Miami Gardens, Florida 33056, at 4:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting a donation be made to the COVENANT Seventh-Day Adventist Church Building Fund.

For further information regarding the memorial service, please contact Martin Anderson at 954-588-3928 or

Put your hands together, everyone, and welcome Megan Barrow

The Miami Herald just hired an "audience engagement editor" who has 133 followers on Twitter.

Megan Barrow will be joining the paper from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where she was digital news editor.

After learning of the Herald's newest hire, one veteran South Florida journalist had this to say: "Yikes, and check out her Twitter feed. Double yikes! I give her two weeks before she tweets something so dumb that she ends up on Romenesko."