Monday, November 30, 2015

A Miami Police substation was once home to a cartoon factory

Miami Police Department's Grapeland Heights substation at
1701 NW 30th Ave. 
(Click to enlarge)


Today it's a squat, nondescript government building that houses the Miami Police Department's Grapeland Heights substation.

But in the late 1930s it was a cartoon factory.

A 1939 newspaper story reported that the Fleischer Studio "is the only major movie concern to be established successfully outside the Hollywood area."

The story noted, "although [the studio] has one of Florida's largest payrolls, most Miamians don't even know of its existence," and adding that it took "500 girls" to create one cartoon character.

The short film below from 1939 offers a fascinating glimpse of what went on inside the studio.

FOOTNOTE: In case you're wondering why the film's narrator, Gayne Whitman, is speaking in that old-timey voice, it's because that's the way narrators and film stars were taught to speak back then.

Video: Why Do People In Old Movies Talk Weird?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn't possibly get any nuttier more despicable...

....he does this:

That's Trump mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski.

Kovaleski suffers from a congenital joint condition that limits movement in his arms.

After Trump was widely criticized for that display, he countered by saying he has no idea who Kovaleski is.

So, let me see if I have this straight: Donald J. Trump - the man who says he has the "world's greatest memory" - and says he "remembers" seeing something that didn't happen (thousands of people in NJ celebrating on 9/11), now says he can't "remember" reporter Serge Kovaleski, although he's met him a dozen times.

Yeah, that makes sense.


Earlier on Random Pixels: Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn't possibly get any nuttier....

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Who isn't thankful every day of the year for the bounty of wonderful videos that YouTube provides?


Monday, November 23, 2015

Donald Trump's campaign events are starting to look more like KKK rallies

The video above shows Donald Trump supporters attacking a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally this past weekend in Birmingham, Alabama...while Trump eggs them on from the podium: "Get him the hell out of here."

As I watched the video, I immediately recalled a famous news photo taken on September 23, 1957.

The photo was taken by Will Counts, a photographer for the Arkansas Democrat newspaper in Little Rock.

Counts' photograph shows African-American Memphis newsman L. Alex Wilson, being attacked by a white mob in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he'd been sent to cover the events surrounding the desegregation of Central High School.

Photograph by Will Counts. 
(Click here to enlarge.)

Newspaper editor Alex Wilson is attacked by white mob in 
Little Rock, Sept. 23, 1957.
(Click here to enlarge.)
via LIFE Magazine. 

In a 2000 article, Emory University professor Hank Klibanoff wrote about the events of that day:


Video: Interview with Professor Hank Klibanoff

On the warm Monday morning of Sept. 23, the integration stalemate broke and the story changed. The National Guard, following a federal court edict, had withdrawn. The white crowds stayed, however, leaving the school’s grounds and perimeter beyond the control of authorities. Black students on their way to the school in a station wagon were heading into an unpredictable mob scene.

At the same time, in a separate car, intent on witnessing and covering the moment firsthand, were four seasoned black newsmen. Their leader was the tall, dark-skinned and serious L. Alex Wilson, the editor and general manager of the Tri-State Defender of Memphis, Tennessee—the newspaper that was the southern outpost of the Chicago Defender, one of the foremost black newspapers in the United States.

Wilson, the most honored of the black journalists on the story and, at age 49, the senior member of the group, was behind the wheel. He was accompanied by Jimmy Hicks, editor of the Amsterdam News of New York City, Moses Newson, formerly of the Tri-State Defender and now on his first assignment for the Baltimore Afro-American, and Earl Davy, a commercial photographer carrying a Graflex camera who was taking pictures that day for the local black newspaper, L.C. and Daisy Bates’ Arkansas State Press.

Wilson parked the car and led the way as the four newsmen started walking toward the school. His height, 6-foot-4, and darkness made it impossible for him to enter the scene unnoticed. He carried himself with dignity but without a hint of haughtiness. As tall as he was, he was not imposing. His shoulders were somewhat sloped and he carried himself slightly bent forward, in the manner not of a black man trying to make himself less intimidating to a white world, but of a tall man trying to negotiate a world of shorter people.

Wilson was dressed smartly, but not flamboyantly, in a dark, crisp suit. He kept his coat fastened at the middle button and wore a tan, wide-brimmed hat. As Wilson and the other newsmen walked, he could see they were approaching a crowd of white people that numbered in the hundreds and was growing, it seemed, with each step forward. Within moments, he could feel the angry presence of white men gathering behind him and gaining ground.

Get out of here! Go home, you son of a bitch nigger. Two men jumped in front of the newsmen and spread out their arms. You’ll not pass, one said. We are newspapermen, Wilson responded. We only want to do our jobs, said Hicks. You’ll not pass.

With anger and chaos seething all around him, with racist hatred running wildly out of control and with the possibility that he and his colleagues would die on the streets of Little Rock, Wilson would come face-to-face with a vow he had silently made to himself many years earlier: He would not, under any circumstances, show fear or run. The day would be as fateful for Wilson as it was for the nine Little Rock students and for the nation.

Let's be clear, the protester who interrupted Trump's rally over the weekend is "a well-known activist who said he has been tased at least 30 times and just recently marched heavily-armed through a Birmingham neighborhood to teach people about gun rights," according to

Wilson, on the other hand, was a respected journalist who began his career as a teacher and principal at high schools in north central Florida.

But the larger question is why do Trump's rallies so often degenerate into violence, or spawn thuggish, racist behavior?

But Trump-inspired violence doesn't just take place at his campaign events.

Last August, two Boston brothers were arrested after they urinated on and beat a homeless Mexican immigrant.

Following their arrest, they told police, "Donald Trump was right; all these illegals need to be deported.”

Told of the incident, Trump's reaction was, "I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

So one doesn't need a very vivid imagination to picture Trump and his supporters joining in with the crowd in Little Rock 57 years ago as Alex Wilson was kicked and beaten.

Via "Donald Trump's white fascist brigade: His rallies are now 
a safe space for racism."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Republicans are plotting to sabotage Donald's Trump's presidential bid...and their secret weapon is Rosie O'Donnell

In case you haven't been following political news all that closely, let me bring you up to speed in 9 words: Donald Trump said some more stupid sh*t this week.

The good news is The Donald only says dumb sh*t on days that end with the letter "y."

This week he said something about establishing a database to keep track of Muslims...or maybe he didn't. Who knows with this clown?

In the five plus months since Trump announced he was running for president, he's said enough stupid sh*t that in years past would have disqualified him 10 times over.

But Trump is the Teflon Don. No matter how much stupid sh*t he says, he continues to lead the pack.

And that's starting to make some Republicans very nervous.

GOP Operative Plans ‘Guerrilla Campaign’ Against Donald Trump


The Republican establishment, increasingly alarmed by the enduring strength of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, is ratcheting up efforts to knock him out of the race, including the first attempt to unite donors from rival camps into a single anti-Trump force.

A well-connected GOP operative is planning a “guerrilla campaign” backed by secret donors to “defeat and destroy” the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, according to a memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal. A super PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich is airing a series of ads attacking him. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is striking out with his bluntest attacks yet.

The sense of urgency has mounted in part because Mr. Trump continues at or near the top of GOP polls, even after many predicted that the Paris terrorist attacks would lead voters to turn to a more seasoned candidate.

The most-concerted effort yet is Trump Card LLC, the guerilla campaign being launched by Liz Mair, former online communications director of the Republican National Committee.

“In the absence of our efforts, Trump is exceedingly unlikely to implode or be forced out of the race,” according to the Trump Card memo. “The stark reality is that unless something dramatic and unconventional is done, Trump will be the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton will become president.”

Opposition research, grass-roots organizing and donor outreach has been going on for weeks, Ms. Mair said, while declining to name any backers. “It’s loosely organized and highly confidential,” she said. “I certainly know donors who are very happy that their fingerprints will be kept off things.”
Ms. Mair’s anti-Trump effort is planning an especially blunt and direct approach. The group’s memo said it would be pitching opposition research to media in early-voting states, as well as radio and television ads and Web videos that attract media attention based on their “outrageousness and boundary-breaking or bizarre nature.”

One possible ad would link Mr. Trump’s views and style to his celebrity foe, Rosie O’Donnell, in hopes of provoking a reaction from Mr. Trump, according to the memo.

Other possible tactics include fake pro-Trump ads that show him supporting socialized medicine, seizing property through eminent domain and taking other positions that stray from GOP orthodoxy; using a Trump impersonator to show him insulting people; and attacking his business record in “stark, nasty terms.”


Fake ads and ads that compare Trump to Rosie O'Donnell....

Who wants popcorn?

 ....and a "guerrilla campaign" against The Donald? What could possibly go wrong?

But how ironic is it that Republicans now want to destroy the Frankenstein monster they created all by themselves?

As one Internet commenter wrote yesterday, it's time for Republicans to "take a bow."

  • You fought for unlimited money in elections, since money = free speech.

  • You mocked community organizers and yearned for a businessman who would run government like a business.

  • You detest civility and "political correctness" in favor of crudely and obnoxiously "telling it like it is."

  • You reject the spirit of compromise in favor of misleading attack ads and the politics of personal destruction.

  • You want a president you can have a beer with, and who doesn't talk like he's smarter than you.

  • You attack public education, teacher's unions, the arts and humanities, academics and the "cultural elites" in favor of dumbed-down and simplistic "common sense."

  • You attack mainstream media and public broadcasting in favor of ratings-driven hate radio shock jocks and Fox News.

  • You reject cultural and ethnic diversity in favor of "real Americans." and demonized immigrants as violent disease-infected marauders who steal jobs from Americans.

  • You celebrate intolerance, bigotry and hatred as "religious freedom" and "traditional family values."

  • You elect clueless, unaccountable anti-government motormouths with no loyalty to their constituents in a misguided effort to rein in the "government overreach" of "career politicians."

  • With each new iteration and election cycle you have managed to further coarsen and debase the level of civic discourse and political participation.

  • Having made "liberal" a slur, you now have made "moderate" an epithet worthy of derision.

  • And now, as your party leaders cringe powerlessly, you cheer on the unprecedented spectacle of a yahoo and vulgarian, a cartoonish reality TV "boss" with national name recognition, notoriety and multi-billions at his disposal making a mockery of not only your primaries but the country's entire electoral process.

    Congratulations, Republicans, on the fulfillment and culmination of your efforts.

    At long last, take a bow.

  • Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    The big, steaming pile of hypocrisy that is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

    U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
    (Click to enlarge)

    Turn on any cable news channel today and you'll see story after story about the mounting opposition in the U.S. to relocating Syrian refugees in this country.

    News item: More than half the nation's governors say Syrian refugees not welcome.

    News item: More Governors Seek to Ban Syrian Refugees After Paris Massacre.

    News item: Christie on refugees: Not even 5-year-old orphans.

    One of those contributing to the growing chorus of opposition is South Florida's very own Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

    This morning the South Florida congresswoman went on MSNBC to proclaim that the United States shouldn't allow refugees "unless they are thoroughly vetted."

    Ros Lehtinen, who came to the United States from Cuba at the age of 8, told MSNBC's Jose Diaz Balart:
    "And I know we are a nation of refugees and we've welcomed so may people...the United States welcomed my family...but we didn't come to the United States, or our background was to destroy this country so all it takes is one terrorist to really destroy this great program."

    What Ros-Lehtinen fails to mention is that after the United States accepted hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees, many of those same refugees repaid U.S. hospitality by unleashing a decades-long reign of terror in South Florida.

    But that's one subject Ros-Lehtinen will never bring up, much less discuss.

    In an article posted last December on Foreign Policy magazine's website, journalist Tristram Korten writes:
    For decades, Miami has been a city with its own foreign policy. Local politicians could not get elected unless they towed the anti-Castro line, and their complicity enabled a violent history. Since the 1970s, there have been more than 30 bombings in and around Miami, against individuals and press outlets that dared to broach the subject of rapprochement, not to mention death threats and physical assaults. Too often, it seemed, those pushing for freedom in Cuba were willing to suspend them here. As a result, civic life, the free exchange of ideas, art, all suffered.


    Miami News, Oct. 19, 1960.

    Miami News, Nov. 20, 1962. 

    Miami News, June 11, 1965. 

    Miami News, April 2, 1966. 

    Miami News, Sept. 16, 1968. 

    Miami News, Sept. 19, 1968. 

    Miami News, May 29, 1974. 

    Miami News, Oct. 20, 1975.

    Miami News, Oct. 31, 1975.

    Miami News, Dec. 4, 1975.

    Miami News, May 1, 1976.

    Miami News, Sept. 19, 1977.

    Miami News, Feb. 24, 1978.

    Miami News, Jan. 14, 1980.

    Miami News, Jan. 5, 1981. 

    Miami News, Jan. 5, 1981.

    Miami News, Sept.12, 1981.

    Miami News, Feb. 22, 1982.

    Miami News, May 28, 1983.

    Miami News, Feb. 21, 1984.

    One of those Cuban terrorists was Orlando Bosch, who in 1968 shelled a Polish freighter docked at the Port of Miami.

    When Bosch died in 2011, the Associated Press reported:
    Federal attorneys told a judge in 1990 that they had tried to deport Bosch to 31 countries, but all had refused to admit him. Cuba wanted him returned there to stand trial, but Washington refused that request.

    Eventually in 1990, Bosch was released, thanks in part to a very public campaign on his behalf by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican member of Congress for Miami. "He was a freedom fighter for Cuba and passed away without seeing his beloved homeland free of the Castro dictatorship," she said.

    Others cast him in a different light. "Orlando Bosch lived a life of unrepentant terrorist violence," said Peter Kornbluh, head of the independent National Security Archives' Cuba project. "The verdict of history, rendered by formerly secret CIA and FBI intelligence reports, and court records, is that he was a mass murderer masquerading as a freedom fighter."

    Kornbluh noted that his organisation declassified CIA and FBI intelligence documents that link Bosch to the 1976 bombing.

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn't possibly get any nuttier....


    Last night in Iowa, Donald Trump compared Ben Carson to a child molester.

    Yeah, that Donald Trump...the man who once said this about his daughter: “Although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps, I would be dating her.”

    From the Washington Post's Jenna Johnson:
    FORT DODGE, Iowa — As Donald Trump took the stage in a community college theater on Thursday night, something was off.

    The usually punctual executive was nearly 40 minutes late. His voice was hoarse, his hair mussed, his tone defensive. He promised to take questions from the audience but instead launched into a 95-minute-long rant that at times sounded like the monologue of a man grappling with why he is running for president — and if it's really worth it or not. Even for a candidate full of surprises, the speech was surprising.

    He scoffed at those who have accused him of not understanding foreign policy, saying he knows more about Islamic State terrorists "than the generals do." He took credit for predicting the threat of Osama bin Laden and being right on the "anchor baby situation," a position he says "these great geniuses from Harvard Law School" now back. He uttered the word "crap" at least three times, and promised to "bomb the s---" out of oil fields benefiting terrorists. He signed a book for a guy in the audience and then tossed it back at him with a flip: "Here you go, baby. I love you."

    Trump called Republican rival Carly Fiorina "Carly whatever-the-hell-her-name-is," accused Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the "woman's card" and said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is "weak like a baby." He then devoted more than 10 minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, saying the retired doctor has a "pathological disease" with no cure, similar to being a child molester.
    Trump said Carson has a "pathological disease" with no cure, comparing it to the incurable mental conditions of child molesters.

    "A child molester, there's no cure for that," Trump said. "If you're a child molester, there's no cure. They can't stop you. Pathological? There's no cure."


    Here's a video showing part of Trump's almost 10 minute Ben Carson rant.

    The only thing scarier than the video is knowing there are people in this country who actually believe this clown is qualified to be president.

    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    Otto the skateboarding bulldog just set a world record

    Otto, a skateboarding English bulldog, just set a world record by skateboarding under the legs of 30 humans.

    Not a big deal, you say?

    You try it.

    Stephen Colbert tackles the 'kill Baby Hitler' conundrum


    In an email, someone asked Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, "If you could go back in time and kill baby Hitler, would you?"

    His answer? "Hell yeah, I would."

    Well, that's all Stephen Colbert needed to hear....

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Some things I found today on the Internet

    In no particular order, here are some items that grabbed my attention today....

    To paraphrase George W. Bush, "Is our children learning the First Amendment?"

    via the New York Daily News:
    The University of Missouri professor caught on camera calling for “muscle"to remove a student journalist from a protest continued harassing him for several minutes, and even boasted about her role as a media teacher, as seen in extended video of the infamous confrontation.

    Assistant Professor Melissa Click earned national scorn Monday after a video showed her joining students in browbeating photographer Tim Tai, who was freelancing for ESPN to cover the racially-charged protests that led to school president Tim Wolfe stepping down.

    Click is heard yelling with students for Tai to stop taking photos and step away from an encampment on school grounds. The protesters repeatedly push Tai as he tries explaining how the First Amendment works.

    At the end of the video, another student reporter, Mark Schierbecker, tries talking to Click. She tells him to “get out,” hits his camera and yells: "Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.”

    Schierbecker posted a longer video Tuesday morning, showing that Click kept confronting him and rallying students against the media.

    When Schierbecker reminds Click he’s filming on public property, the professor puts her hand over his lens and drops her voice to a mocking tone.


    After the video of her rants went viral, she made her Twitter account private and removed her photo from it. Her voicemail box was full Tuesday morning and she did not return requests for comment.

    Mizzou Journalism School Dean David Kurpius slammed Click on Twitter, making sure his followers know she is not a part of his school.

    "We stand by journalists and our students," he wrote.

    Here's the video of the students confronting the media. Click here to fast forward to the section of the video where Professor Click tries to intimidate the videographer.

    Bottom line, kids, if you're going to get involved in some newsworthy event, you should know that lots of people with notebooks and cameras will show up and write down what you say and take your picture. As someone in The Godfather once said, "It's business, not personal."


    The word for today is, "micro-aggression"

    via The Atlantic:
    The Coddling of the American Mind

    In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.


    Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

    Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless. For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American. Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response. For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.


    Mayor Philip Levine's $400 million band aids

    via Vanity Fair:
    Can Miami Beach Survive Global Warming?


    In the summer of 2013, one of the leading candidates in Miami Beach’s mayoral race, a businessman named Philip Levine, released a TV commercial that showed him kayaking his way home through traffic in a Paddington hat and a plastic poncho, accompanied by his boxer, Earl, who was kitted out in a life jacket. “In some parts of the world,” Levine said in the spot, “going around the city by boat is pretty cool. Like Venice. But in Miami Beach, when it rains, it floods. That’s got to stop. Because I’m just not sure how much more of this Earl and I can take.”
    By the time I actually met Philip Levine, earlier this year, he was in Miami Beach’s City Hall. “You know how some people say they got swept into office?” he said, sitting at the head of a conference table, with Earl lounging serenely at his feet. “I always laugh and say I got floated into office.”

    Two years ago, Levine won the mayoral election, having made the city’s constant flooding a central issue of his campaign. (As this story was going to press, he was running for a second two-year term and was widely expected to be re-elected.) A chipper 53-year-old native of Hollywood, Florida, 20 miles north of the city he now oversees, Levine is a self-made multi-millionaire who earned his fortune in the cruise-ship business, starting out in the late 1980s as an onboard lecturer who filled in passengers on the exciting things to see and do in each port of call—“I was kind of like Julie on The Love Boat,” he said. He parlayed this experience into a successful company called Onboard Media, which handled the duty-free shops, in-cabin magazines, and in-cabin TV programming for big ocean liners. In 2000, he sold his company to LVMH Mo√ęt Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury-goods conglomerate, for a reported $300 million.

    Levine models himself after Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013—as a first-time officeholder whose wealth and outsider status allow him to bypass an entrenched political culture of intransigence and inaction. After he took office, in November of 2013, Levine fast-tracked a program to install electric pumps along Alton Road and other prime flooding spots on the city’s west side so that, during a storm surge or high tide, the pumps can be switched on, suctioning water off the streets and out into Biscayne Bay.

    The cost of the program is huge, in the range of $400 million—for perspective, nearly the size of the city’s annual budget. So far, the results have been encouraging. In October of 2014, with just a handful of the 80 or so planned pump stations installed, the streets stayed dry during the season’s king tide, and, this season, the results have been much the same. Still, Levine told me, “We don’t declare victory. It’s one small step in a long war that we know we’re facing.”
    By Levine’s estimation, these moves are buying Miami Beach 50 years, during which time, he is convinced, scientists will develop ingenious new ways to combat the problem.
    To Harold Wanless, such talk is foolishness. In his view, it is already too late; even if everyone in the world stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, humankind has already set in motion a chain of catastrophic events that we can’t innovate our way out of. Miami Beach’s new pumps, he said, are “just the tiniest little Band-Aid for a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, and they certainly won’t get us to the middle of the century.”

    Filed under "hypocrisy" and "stupidity"

    North Miami Beach Senior High graduate, and Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave a speech at the Air Force Academy in Colorado last week.

    From the Colorado Springs Gazette:
    Corporate America and the military are sexist and show racial bias, a leading businesswoman told cadets Friday at the Air Force Academy.

    Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the book "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," told a crowd of nearly 3,000 cadets that society tells women they are less competent and capable. She described the military as one of "the worst" organizations for bias during a 30-minute speech.

    "Women and minorities face barriers white men don't face," she said.

    Meanwhile, over at Facebook: "Facebook only hired seven black people in latest diversity count"
    Facebook is still dominated by white men despite Mark Zuckerberg’s repeated promise to get serious about building a workforce that better reflects the diversity of its 1.4 billion global users.

    In its diversity report released on Thursday the social network company revealed that more than half of its US staff are white, with the proportion dropping slightly from 57% to 55%. The proportion of Asian employees increased by 2% to 36%, but the shares of hispanic and black people or those of “two or more races” remained flat at 4%, 2% and 3% respectively.

    Facebook’s senior leadership is even more homogenous, with 73% of the most important positions filled by white people.


    Please don't feed the trolls

    Monday, November 09, 2015

    Last May, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's 2 a.m. Ocean Drive alcohol ban took effect. So how's that working out for you, Mr. Mayor?

    Illustration by Cindy
    (Click here to enlarge)

    “This place [Ocean Drive] has turned into a very challenging area that requires a tremendous amount of our police resources to enforce and create safety. We’ve had this conversation many, many times. It’s turning into a Bourbon Street. It’s turning into a terrible place that’s become a blight, a cancer that spreads to our entire city.” -Mayor Philip Levine, quoted in the Miami Herald, April 15, 2015


    “I personally walked there at 10:30 at night on a Thursday two weeks ago and I didn’t see one cop.” -Commissioner Michael Grieco


    The day after Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine won another two-year term, the Miami Herald reported that Levine had a "to-do list" that included a streetcar system for Miami Beach.

    What wasn't mentioned in the Herald story was what Levine planned to do about the continuing deterioration of Ocean Drive...although it was clearly on his mind back at an April 13 commission meeting when he called the street a "blight" and "a cancer that spreads to our entire city."

    "Whenever you bring up Ocean Drive anywhere, people are very negative. No residents go there. Locals aren't going there. It's a dangerous place," Levine said.

    Levine's solution to clean up Ocean Drive was to propose a ban on 2 a.m. liquor sales at outdoor cafes. Stop selling liquor at 2 a.m. and crime will be eliminated, Levine reasoned. (The ban was approved by the commission and took effect last May 30.)

    But while Levine and Grieco say they want more policing on Ocean Drive, the reality is that there are now fewer cops on the street than there were before Levine took office two years ago.


    As I reported on this blog a year ago this week, the Miami Beach Police Department is still having trouble finding officers who want to work off-duty jobs at Ocean Drive night spots.

    From my Nov. 5, 2015 blog post:
    In a letter sent yesterday to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and the city commissioners, City Manager Jimmy Morales writes:

    The following five Ocean Drive clubs, all of which participated to some degree in the previous off-duty program, continue to go without coverage because officers have not volunteered in sufficient numbers to make these work details practical for the Department:

    1 The Clevelander - 1020 Ocean Drive
    2 Fat Tuesday's - 918 Ocean Drive
    3 Mango's - 900 Ocean Drive
    4 Ocean's Ten - 960 Ocean Drive
    5 Wet Willies - 760 Ocean Drive

    Through the Ocean Drive Association, these five clubs have sought to begin off~duty coverage again. They have expressed their willingness to pay for up to four officers a night to cover these clubs. However, despite repeated offers to our police officers of such work and despite several adjustments of the hours and assignments to entice interest, the Department has been unable to get sufficient numbers of officers to volunteer for this nightclub work on Ocean Drive. [Emphasis mine.]

    (Less than a month before Morales sent his letter, a drive by shooting occurred at Fat Tuesday on Ocean Drive. Early reports suggested that several members of a notorious Brooklyn gang were involved in the shooting.)

    But Levine says there's a plan in place to clean up Ocean Drive and neighboring Washington Avenue.

    After a video surfaced last week week that showed a woman being beaten by employees at a Washington Avenue burger joint, Levine told NBC6, "I hate to say I'm happy that things like this are happening because they're horrible and they're sad and we don't want anybody to get hurt, but it brings attention to the people of Miami Beach, let us move forward to clean Washington Avenue up and clean Ocean Drive up."

    But just this past weekend, three tourists from Japan say that while walking near 8th Street and Ocean Drive at about 11 p.m. Saturday night, they were robbed of jewelry, a computer and other property valued at $30,000. The tourists didn't report the crime to police until Sunday afternoon.

    via Miami Beach Police Dept.
    (Click to enlarge)

    So how's that 2 a.m. drinking ban working out for you, Mayor Levine?

    Friday, November 06, 2015

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine redefines 'democracy'


    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. -Abraham Lincoln

    UPDATED today at 2:45 pm. - A Miami Beach City Hall insider who wishes to remain anonymous sends this comment: "This jerk is moving into the Richard Nixon orbit. I can't wait to see him get so angry/vengeful/full-of-himself that he will do something really stupid and ruin his small time political career. I cannot wait."


    Newly re-elected Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine apparently has never heard of the old saying, "Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat."

    If you live on Miami Beach and want to know how hizzoner will govern the city now that he's won a second term, you'll find some clues in this Miami Herald story by Joey Flechas:
    Hey, Mayor Levine...
    Some longtime activists and vocal residents who in 2013 voted for Levine this year backed his opponent, David Wieder.

    Levine called this group a “a tiny minority that shows up at City Hall every day and screams and yells.”
    "They do not represent the majority of Miami Beach residents who voted [Tuesday],” he said.

    To his strongest detractors, Levine offered this statement: “You know what my feeling for them is? This is a democracy. The system is the system. And in two years, they’ll have another chance.”

    And this is why Levine is despised by so many in the city.

    Only a delusional narcissist like Levine would characterize the 6,839 residents who voted for him as a "majority of Miami Beach residents." Someone needs to remind Levine that Miami Beach has a population of more than 90,000.

    And in Levine's universe, if you exercise your First Amendment rights BUT don't agree with him, then you are part of a "a minority" that "screams and yells."

    Maybe the real reason Levine wants his critics to shut up is that they make it hard to hear the screaming and yelling that takes place on the dais when he's running things.

    Thursday, November 05, 2015

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine won another two years in office because 33,000 Beach residents chose to remain silent

    Why is Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine smiling?
    Because he just succeeded in conning a tiny fraction of Beach voters
    into believing that he just wants to make Miami Beach a better place.
    (Miami Herald photo by Charles Trainor)


    Yesterday, retired Miami Herald reporter and long-time Miami Beach resident, Edna Buchanan, posted the following on Facebook. (I've added the button with the Thomas Jefferson quote.)

    Edna H Buchanan

    Click to enlarge. 
    Voter Alert! Being wined, dined and courted by the Mayor DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO VOTE FOR HIM! He provided free transportation, t-shirts, parties etc for registered voters, many of them senior citizens, in exchange for their applause, support, and cheers at campaign events. I'm hope you enjoyed his attention. I received his invite to a campaign event at a favorite restaurant. It offered free food and "Free Wine!" No contributions necessary. Okay. You did your part and showed up. But we have been around long enough to know it's wrong and unhealthy for our city to permit a super-rich politician with his own personal agenda to buy the mayor's office. Sure, you took what he offered. Who wouldn't? But it doesn't mean you're dumb enough to vote for him. We still have a secret ballot! Please vote your conscience today! It's clear he does not want us living here. His goal is to shape our city into an exclusive, high-priced private playground for his fat cat friends: developers, celebrities, and superstars. Protect what's left of this city. Protect Rebecca Towers, already targeted by developers. Protect our neighborhoods. Don't allow him to turn North Beach into another concrete canyon! Allow NB's coming renovation to be done right, thoughtfully, and according to a common sense master plan. Otherwise, 11 historic buildings will be demolished. You know what happens next. Be smart. Please vote. You know right from wrong. Just saying.

    In case it's not clear, the "Mayor" she's referring to is Philip Levine.

    Too bad no one took her advice.

    Miami Beach has about 80,000 residents with about 44,000 registered voters.  But just slightly more than 10,000 voters took the time to vote for mayor.

    Levine won with 6,839 votes to challenger David Wieder's 3,308. (Levine's total campaign expenditures according to his latest filing, amounted to almost $802,000...which means he spent $117 per vote. )

    Total votes cast in the mayor's race was 10,477.

    Which means that more than 33,000, or about 3/4ths of Beach voters apparently had better things to do yesterday.

    Paraphrasing one of my Facebook friends, "it isn't government officials, or flooding, or traffic, or parking that is the main issue on Miami Beach," it's voter apathy.

    Previously: Millionaire populist Philip Levine is 'so happy' he's Miami Beach mayor!

    So now, for the next two years, Beach residents are stuck with one of the most pompous, narcissistic, and morally bankrupt politicians to ever hold office in South Florida.

    "The mayor is someone who needs to be watched," Wieder told the Herald last night.

    Indeed, in the past two elections, Levine - a millionaire many times over - has poured almost $3 million of his own money to win an office that comes with almost no power and a relatively tiny salary of $10,000 a year....a sum he refuses to take. But he's never fully answered the question why he spends his personal fortune on a piss-ant job.

    A majority of Miami Beach voters remained silent yesterday. And now, sadly, they'll learn first-hand what it's like to be governed by a tyrant.

    Click here to enlarge. 

    Tuesday, November 03, 2015

    Is the Miami Police Department using sexism to attract recruits?

    UPDATED today at 6:45 p.m.: Up until late this afternoon, assistant Miami police chief Jorge Gomez had the recruiting poster on his Twitter page.

    Shortly after my post went public, Gomez deleted the image from his Twitter feed.


    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
    Via Local 10 News, Sept. 3, 2015.


    Click here to enlarge.

    On an official Miami police recruiting poster, a tanned, attractive female Miami police sergeant looks over her shoulder with a "come hither" look.

    Currently, the Miami Police Department needs to fill 120 vacancies for sworn police officers.

    (Police departments nationally face the same problem as Miami. Too many vacancies, and not enough qualified applicants to fill them.)

    More than three years ago, the Miami-Dade Police Department used a slightly different strategy to lure recruits.

    But Miami Police FOP president Lt. Javier Ortiz thinks the Miami Police poster sends the wrong message.

    "The poster is unprofessional and sexist. The images on the poster do not accurately reflect what a Miami Police officer experiences on a day to day basis," says Ortiz.

    Meanwhile, someone within the department has produced another version of the poster that's being circulated by text message.

    Click here to enlarge. 

    Earlier this year Ortiz blasted Miami police brass for allowing sworn police officers to participate in a pilot video (below) that was apparently shot for a reality show.