Sunday, February 28, 2016

Donald Trump caught lying ... again

I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don't know. I mean, I don't know — did he endorse me or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about." - Donald Trump to CNN's Jake Tapper, Feb. 28, 2016

From the New York Times, Feb. 14, 2000:
Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics.

"The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani," he said in his statement. "This is not company I wish to keep."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Apparently Reince Priebus wasn't watching the same debate the rest of us were



30 seconds of chaos at the GOP debate

Here's where the GOP debate went completely off the rails.

Posted by Ezra Klein on Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

No more marches or candlelight vigils, please. We need a leader.

King Carter.

His name was King Carter. He was 6 years old, a first-grader at Van E. Blanton Elementary School.

The little boy who wanted to be a police officer when he grew up, was killed Saturday afternoon while playing outside with friends at his Northwest Miami-Dade apartment complex.

Let that sink in. Read those three heart-wrenching sentences again from this morning's paper, if you have to.

Now, read this sentence from a Dec 27, 2015 Miami Herald story: "Through November this year, 30 children and teenagers have been killed by gunfire in Miami-Dade County and more than twice that many have been shot."

Yes, it's happened again...another child has been shot and killed.

And the community's response?

From this morning's Miami Herald story: "anti-violence activist Tangela Sears, whose own son was fatally shot, is organizing a march at the complex Sunday at 2 p.m."

I'm sorry, Ms. Sears, but we don't need another goddamned march or candlelight vigil. Or any more speeches, editorials, hand holding or prayer meetings.

It's been almost 10 years since 9-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins was caught in a crossfire and shot dead.

At an event held two years ago to mark her death, they read the names of children who were homicide victims in Miami-Dade County during Jenkins’ short life.  There were 108 names on the list.

The 10th anniversary of her death is a few months away...but nothing has changed. Kids are still dying.

So, no more marches, please. What the community needs is a leader.

After Hurricane Andrew devastated much of South Dade in 1992, one man stepped up and took charge.

From a December 2008 Miami Herald story
Alvah Chapman.
[Alvah] Chapman's influence was certified soon after Hurricane Andrew, when he answered a phone call from President George H.W. Bush, who urged Chapman to assemble a citizens' task force that would help direct recovery efforts.

Already retired — although engrossed in crusades against drugs, crime and homelessness — Chapman reluctantly agreed.

"I thought it would be good if somebody else led the effort," he confided in a rare interview. "This town shouldn't be dependent on someone who is retired."

He insisted on learning firsthand how the storm had disrupted lives. One day, driving through a predominantly black area, he saw an elderly woman on the porch of her wrecked home.

Chapman introduced himself to Dollie Buxton. Soon a small crowd of Buxton's neighbors came to share their Andrew horror stories.

This ramrod straight, vastly wealthy, unmistakably Southern gentleman listened intently. Finally he asked: "What are you going to do?"

"We're going to rebuild," Buxton said.

"Maybe we can help," Chapman replied.

From that conversation came Chapman's name for the task force: We Will Rebuild.

Alvah Chapman is no longer with us.

So who's going to step forward this time and fix things? Alberto Carvalho? Alonzo Mourning? Carlos Gimenez? Michael Putney? Luther Campbell? Delrish Moss? Mike Grieco? Xavier Suarez? Philip Levine?

Someone needs to step up and organize something along the lines of 1992's "We Will Rebuild" effort.

Who wants to step forward and build a coalition of leaders, law enforcement heads and business people who maybe, just maybe, can come up with some solutions?

Any takers?

How many more kids have to die before someone gets off their ass and decides that enough is enough?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Nelle Harper Lee | April 28, 1926 - Feb. 19, 2016


Rick Bragg: This Book Changed My Life
My first copy was dog-eared and sunbaked, the pages brittle and brown, as if the paperback had rested in the back window of an old Pontiac instead of on a library shelf. Some kind of pestilence—water bugs, I believe—had gotten to it before I did, and it was hard to tell, as I turned to that first page, which of us would get more from it. I was an ignorant teenage schoolboy and read it because a teacher told me to, prodded as if by pitchfork down the hot, dull streets of a town called Maycomb in the desolate 1930s, and pressed into the company of a boy named Jem, a mouthy girl named Scout, and an odd little chucklehead named Dill whom, I am fairly sure, I would have beaten up and relieved of his milk money. I would have preferred the Hardy Boys, preferred to gallop alongside the Riders of the Purple Sage, but I was afraid of teachers then, and so I read. “Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town … Somehow, it was hotter then … There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go …” I missed a few words, bug-eaten or besmirched, but I read on, to a shot-down rabid dog, and a neighbor, Boo Radley, in hiding, and a young black man named Tom Robinson who is wrongly accused of raping a young white woman. And, of course, there is Atticus Finch, the lawyer who offers reason, and kindness, and some thin hope. He tries to save Robinson, but, as the pages turned, I saw that it would take more than one good Alabama man to make this sorry world all right.

To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, but it was the middle 1970s before it reached the Roy Webb Road in Calhoun County, Alabama, and me. I began reading Harper Lee’s novel in the skimpy shade of a pine outside my grandmother’s house, fat beagles pressing against me, begging for attention, ignored. At dark, I kept reading, first on the couch, a bologna sandwich in one hand, then in my bed, by the light of a 60-watt bulb hanging from the ceiling on an orange drop cord. When my mother came in from her job as a maid and unplugged my chandelier, I replayed the story in my head until it was crowded out by dreams. I woke the next morning, smelling biscuits, and reached for the book again.

Continue reading by clicking here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

An open letter to Miami's TV station news directors

TO: Liz Roldan, CBS Miami
Migdalia Figueroa, NBC6
Tom Gonzalez-Diego, WSVN
Bill Pohovey, Local 10

Hello all

Following last night's news that President Obama plans to visit Cuba next month, I'm sure you're all very busy this morning making plans to send crews to the island.

But I'd like to take a moment of your valuable time to ask a favor.

I'm sure part of your coverage will be local reaction to the President's visit to Cuba.

And predictably, most all of you, will dispatch a reporter or two to the Versailles Restaurant.

But here's a newsflash: In my more than 50 years in Miami, I've discovered that Cuban-Americans don't just congregate outside the Versailles. They can be found almost anywhere. Trust me, I've seen them.

So here's my request: Next month, instead of tying up live trucks, reporters and photographers at the Versailles whose job it will be to beam back pictures and sound bites that we've all seen and heard thousands of times before, why not think outside the box and have your reporters fan out across the county and get reaction from a cross section of South Floridians?

As I wrote last August, the only people you'll find at the Versailles when a Cuba-related story breaks, are a "small group of demonstrators [who] represent no one but themselves. They show up because they know the TV cameras will be there. And the TV cameras show up because they know the demonstrators will be there. It's lazy journalism." 

I'm surprised that none of you have figured that out by now.

Put another way, pictures of Miguel Saavedra screaming into a bullhorn contribute nothing to anyone's understanding of the story. Zero, nada, zilch.

At this point the only pictures we need to see of Saavedra are those that show him setting himself on fire.

Thanks for your time. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Miami Beach cop relieved of duty in theft investigation gets a 'second chance'

"There's nothing more important than for our people to have confidence in our Police Department and for our residents and visitors to be safe." -Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

UPDATED at 2:15 p.m., Feb. 17: A Miami Beach Police Department spokesperson says: "Officer Haughton is on administrative duty in a non-law enforcement capacity. The internal affairs investigation is ongoing and nearing completion, waiting on decision by Chief [Daniel] Oates."

A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office said if Haughton was still under investigation by his office, there would be no comment forthcoming. I'm awaiting a final reply. 


UPDATE #2 at 4:30 p.m., Feb 17: The Miami Dade State Attorney's office closed out its investigation of Officer Haughton last October without charging him.

From the close-out memo: "Though it is clear that the subject [Haughton] had property that did not belong to him, we cannot prove that he had Mr. Mayes' property. Accordingly the criminal investigation is closed. The matter will be handled administratively by the Miami Beach Police Department." [Close-out memo embedded below.]


A Miami Beach Police Officer who was relieved of duty last year after it was alleged he stole property from someone he arrested, has been quietly reinstated.

A source at Miami Beach City Hall tells me that Officer Gary Haughton is back on the job and working in Support Services.

Last year, the Miami Herald's David Ovalle reported that Haughton was being investigated by Internal Affairs "for stealing a black book bag from a shoplifting suspect..."
When he came under internal investigation for stealing a black book bag from a shoplifting suspect, Miami Beach Police Officer Gary Haughton offered to return the satchel, court records show.

But when Haughton took detectives to his apartment, they got a surprise. The black bag in his bedroom was different, according to the documents — and actually belonged to yet another man whom the officer once arrested for thievery.

The department has now relieved Haughton of duty with pay as detectives and prosecutors investigate him for stealing from at least two men while on duty.

The existence of the probe was revealed in a search warrant recently filed in Miami-Dade court. The potential charge: grand theft.

The investigation is the latest black eye for a police department hoping to restore its image after a slew of embarrassing episodes involving officers in recent years, including last month’s firing of a sergeant for getting drunk while on duty.

Deputy Miami Beach Police Chief Lauretta Hill

My source tells me that Deputy Miami Beach Police Chief Lauretta Hill went against a disciplinary board's recommendation that Haughton be terminated, and instead reinstated him saying that he "deserves a second chance."

I've requested comment from a department spokesperson on Haughton's return to  duty and I'm waiting to hear back.

Here's a video of Donald Trump comparing his sexual exploits to serving in Vietnam

Via the Daily Beast:
Draft-dodger Donald Trump once said that the danger he faced from getting sexually transmitted diseases was his own “personal Vietnam.”

In a 1997 interview with shock jock Howard Stern, Trump talked about how he had been “lucky” not to have contracted diseases when he was sleeping around.

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era,” Trump said

donald trump sexual exploits, viet nam, vietnam, sexual exploits, howard stern

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ace meets Pluto at Disneyland...Ace loses his sh*t

Via Local 10: "[Guide dog in training] Ace was at Disneyland for a socialization experience as part of his guide dog training. When he saw Pluto, he couldn't resist. The video shows Ace coming up to Pluto and licking him. You can hear his volunteer trainer, Sandy Steinblums, saying "stay" and "down," which he does."

So Cute!!! Service Dog in training gets to meet his favorite character Pluto!
Posted by Disney Dorks on Monday, February 8, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was proud that he harassed the driver of a Fed Ex truck ... so he posted a video on YouTube

Miami Beach Mayor Philip "Dickhead" Levine is gunning
for double-parked delivery trucks.

UPDATED on Feb. 12 @ 9:30 a.m.

After Mayor Levine confronted the Fed Ex driver, he called City Manager Jimmy Morales who then called someone in the police department. An officer was dispatched to look for the Fed Ex truck.

Armed with the truck's tag number, Officer Eric Dominguez tracked down the truck less than a mile away.
From: Chong, Hyok
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 3:26 PM
To: Causey, Mark
Cc: Dominguez, Eric; Jones, Wayne; Robinson, Ian
Subject: Blocking Lane of Travel


Officer Eric Dominguez conducted a traffic stop in the 1400 & 1500blk Washington Avenue ref. double park violation.

It was the FedEx white truck bearing FL tag GEYC77 from the Mayor’s video from Alton Road.

Thank you,


Hyok Chong, Lieutenant
Operations Division | Traffic Operations Unit
1100 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139


From: "Causey, Mark"
Date: February 11, 2016 at 3:41:31 PM EST
To: "Levine, Philip"
"Morales, Jimmy"
Subject: FedEx truck Blocking Lane of Travel

Mr. Mayor,

In response to the FedEx truck and driver that you videotaped earlier today blocking a lane of traffic along the 1400 block of Alton, Road, we were able to identify the driver, locate him doing the same thing along Washington Avenue. The FedEx driver received two separate citations.

Capt. Robinson and or Lt. Chong will be contacting the regional manager of FedEx and asking them to send out a directive to all drivers coming to our city and ask them to comply with rules or they will be cited.



Mark Causey, Major
Operations Division Commanding Officer
1100 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305-673-7776, ext. 5662 / Fax: 786-394-5023

Ironically, Officer Eric Dominguez has first hand knowledge of what happens when citizens with video cameras hit the record button.

Four years ago, Dominguez was videotaped racing down the sands of Miami Beach like a NASCAR driver.


The City of Miami once had a commissioner whose city car was equipped with a police radio. It wasn't long before some started calling J.L. Plummer, "Commissioner Kojak."

From Miami New Times:
In 1975 the commissioner helped arrest three men who had beaten and robbed an elderly man downtown. Plummer spotted the attack, radioed the cops, and used his Cadillac to pin one of the hoodlums. He handcuffed the miscreant to a pole until Miami cops arrived. The other two robbers were later nabbed by police.

In 1981, the Miami Herald reported that Plummer and one other Miami commissioner regularly wore ankle-holstered guns into City Hall. The same story reported that Commissioner Joe Carollo kept a machine gun in the trunk of his car.

Miami Beach doesn't have any politicians who carry guns or handcuff miscreants.

But there is Mayor Philip Levine who seems to be on a mission to rid the streets of double-parked delivery trucks.

Here he is in action today haranguing a Fed Ex driver for daring to double park on Alton Road.

Levine was so proud of his crime-busting prowess that he posted the video on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

The Miami Herald reports that Levine texted Miami Beach city manager Jimmy Morales and that the driver was later cited.

There's a reason why I call Levine, "Mayor Dickhead." And that's because he's a dickhead.

Here's a guy out busting his ass trying to earn an honest living, and a chauffeur-driven, multi-millionaire douchebag politician is busting his balls.

But this is Levine's modus operandi. He's like Miami Beach's low-rent, flea market version of Donald Trump: a loud-mouthed bully.

This kind of behavior is not out of character for Levine. Last year he climbed into the cab of a double-parked Coca-Cola truck and snatched the keys from ignition and made the driver wait until cops arrived and ticketed him

On Facebook, some criticized Levine for his behavior towards the Fed Ex driver. 

Levine's been making an ass of himself lately.

Last week while stumping for Hillary Clinton, he actually went on national television and said "I understand now Senator Sanders is going to be offering free Uber, free Netflix, free Starbucks coffee."

Levine fancies himself as Miami Beach's version of Michael Bloomberg. But it's hard to imagine Mike Bloomberg when he was mayor of NYC, running down the street screaming like a ninny at a Fed Ex driver while filming the entire thing with an iPhone.

Memo to Mayor Levine: In case you've forgotten, Florida once had a Governor who earned the respect of voters by literally walking in their shoes.

He didn't disrespect and harass men and women who earned their daily bread by the sweat of their brow.

In 1977, Bob Graham spent the first of what he would come to call his "workdays."

Well into the 80s, Graham toiled beside ordinary working men and women, completing hundreds of workdays.

You should try it sometime, Mr. Mayor.

You might even learn a thing or two.  And you won't come off looking like a complete ass.


Related reading: Miami Beach threatens to confiscate bikes locked to street signs

Monday, February 08, 2016

Here's a video of a baby panda climbing a tree for the first time

The Smithsonian's National Zoo's baby panda, Bei Bei, climbed a tree for the first time today.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The most awkward debate intro in the history of debates

Click to enlarge.

What happened in that awkward intro at the GOP debate?
We were all confused.
Posted by Washington Post on Saturday, February 6, 2016

And then this happened....


Donald Trump and Eminent Domain...a brief history.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Miami-Dade's Transit Nightmare: Poor planning and broken promises

WTVJ, May 21, 1984


"In Miami, the $1 billion subsidy helped build a system that serves less than 10,000 daily riders. That comes to $100,000 per passenger. It would have been a lot cheaper to buy everyone a limousine." —Ronald Reagan, March 1985


"By the year 2000, people will be saying, by gosh, how did we live without it?" —Dade County Commissioner Beverly Phillips in 1985


"This is huge for generations to come. Twenty years from now, this community will look a lot different. You will have Metrorail and Metrobus to every corner of Miami-Dade County, and even into Broward County." —Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas quoted in the Miami Herald, Nov. 6, 2002, after voters approved a half-penny sales tax to build a multi-billion dollar mass transit system


"During the next decade, thanks to the tax, commuters and transit riders can expect a steady stream of improvements in bus and rail service that should culminate in the inauguration of the first two new Metrorail lines since the rapid-transit system opened in 1985, county officials said.

"Just a hint of what that will mean, if all goes according to plan: People will be able for the first time to reach Miami International Airport by Metrorail from North Miami-Dade, from West Miami-Dade, from Kendall, maybe even from South Beach.

"By then, county officials say, a dense network of Metrobus routes will blanket the county, with minibuses reaching into neighborhoods and full-size buses running at short intervals, many of them around the clock." —TRANSIT-TAX BENEFITS KICKING IN RIGHT AWAY, Miami Herald, Nov. 7, 2002


"These days, weekday ridership of Metrorail is 75,000, almost four times what it was in 1985, but only a third of what was predicted." GRIDLOCK,  by John Dorschner, Biscayne Times, Feb. 2016


In 2002, Miami Dade voters approved a half-penny sales tax "to stop traffic nightmares because, in return, politicians promised 90 more miles of Metrorail and almost double the bus fleet," writes former Miami Herald reporter John Dorschner in a cover story in this month's Biscayne Times.

So how's that working out? 

"Well," Dorschner reports, "Metrorail expanded 2.4 miles, an extension reaching Miami International Airport. The number of buses is about the same now as it was then."

Here's a little more of Dorschner's reporting. You can read the entire Biscayne Times piece by clicking here.
Promises quickly collapsed. In 1985, a year after the system opened, I wrote a cover story for the Herald’s Tropic magazine titled “Metrofail,” remembered mostly for its cover of white circus elephants walking in a line along an elevated track. After a year, Metrorail was carrying just 20,000 riders, one-tenth of projections. Operating costs were pushing the county deep into the red.

A half-dozen academic transportation experts I talked to at the time said the county would have been better off with a vastly expanded bus system running in express lanes; rail, they maintained, didn’t fit Miami’s urban sprawl. Many noted that the ridership was far heavier on the south end, favoring the white suburbanites going downtown, and was much sparser in the blue-collar areas of black Liberty City and Hispanic Hialeah. A Harvard transportation professor called Metrorail “the laughingstock of the nation.”

As deficits mounted, voters were asked three times in the 1990s to approve a penny sales tax for transit. The rejections were overwhelming.

In 2002, county Mayor Alex Penelas tried again. He lowered the request to a half-penny and increased promises, not only for huge expansions of Metrorail and buses, but also for free rides for seniors on all transit and no charges for anyone on the downtown Metromover. In addition, each city in the county would get a slice of the half-penny, with allotments based on population. Sweetening the pie even further, the referendum promised the tax would finance “improving major neighborhood roads and highways.” This time the measure passed overwhelmingly.

Six years later, the Herald’s Larry Lebowitz wrote that much of the half-penny had gone to relieving operating deficits, adding 1000 transit jobs, and spending $2 million for new office furniture.

“At the heart of the matter,” Lebowitz wrote, “the 2002 campaign avoided any mention of chronic financial problems that had plagued the transit agency, and it promised far more improvements than the tax could possibly deliver.”