Thursday, December 29, 2016

Jerry Iannelli of Miami New Times has figured out why so much bizarre behavior originates in Florida

Jerry Iannelli of Miami New Times is the paper's "daily news reporter."

According to his bio he moved to South Florida in 2015.

But in that short time, he's managed to solve a mystery that has bewildered Sunshine State journalists for decades: Why does so much bizarre behavior seem to originate in Florida?

When two South Florida-related post-Christmas fight videos popped up on the Internet today, Iannelli immediately knew who to blame: "Harry the meth snake."
Most people don't know this, but Florida has its very own version of Santa. Some know him only by the choking, smog-like mist that shrouds him whenever he appears or by the warm scent of stale Coors Light that wafts through the air when he's especially close. Those who have seen the deity's physical form typically refer to him by one name: Harry the Meth Snake.

Unlike Santa, Harry the Meth Snake, who is made equally of meth and snake, works year-round. He does not deal in physical gifts — instead, Harry the Meth Snake flies from town to town, pumping Floridians full of coke, alcohol, and amphetamines and goading them into doing dumb shit in front of video cameras.

Harry does put in a bit of extra oomph around the holidays, perhaps in a goodnatured competition with Santa Claus. Take, for instance, this year: The Florida gift-giving gods have bestowed upon us not one, but two delicious Miami fistfight videos in a single December day.

It's almost impossible to decide which of these clips better represents the state of Florida.

The first, posted yesterday evening, depicts an employee at a Steve Madden store at Sawgrass Mills walloping a Swiss tourist who demanded to enter a closed store and then dumped a bottle of water on her. The Swiss woman, who quite clearly instigated the fight, then shouts, "I am going to sue youuu!" in an accent so comedically French she could pose as Inspector Clouseau's aunt in a Pink Panther reboot.

Great work, Jerry. Your parents must be very proud.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

George Michael filmed the 'Careless Whisper' video in Miami in 1984

George Michael who died Christmas day, filmed parts of his "Careless Whisper" video in Miami in 1984 when he was just 21. 

He can be seen in the video below (at the 4:34 mark) walking along a balcony at the top floor of the Grove Towers in Coconut Grove.

h/t Brian Tannebaum

Thursday, December 22, 2016

When Philip Levine ran for mayor of Miami Beach in 2013 he promised to get the city's finances under control....

"As Mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levine will, fix flooding, get the city's finances
under control [and] end corruption." [via Youtube] how's that working out, Mr. Mayor?


Headline: Someone Stole $3.6 Million From Miami Beach's Bank Accounts
Someone was able to rig that account, Morales says, to set up automatic payments to a variety of other accounts at other banks. He describes the city as being a victim of "bank fraud" in the scheme and says SunTrust has already requested the funds back from the other banks.



"What if Miami Beach’s city commission worried more about the public till and less about Ocean Drive partiers?" - Politico's Marc Caputo

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday artichoke dip goes terribly wrong on-air

What's left to say when someone on the morning news crew whips up an artichoke dip that causes a burning sensation?

How about, "let's go to a commercial?"

leslie horton artichoke dip global news canada

Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's world, everything is 'AMAZING!'

If Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is depressed about Hillary Clinton - who he campaigned for non-stop - losing the election to a spray-tanned, failed mail-order steak salesman, he certainly isn't letting it show it on Facebook or Twitter.

Because in Phil Levine's world, the glass is always half full, the skies are always sunny, and on his Facebook page everything is AMAZING! And Levine apparently - unlike Donald Trump who knows the best words - knows just one word: "amazing."

This probably means that the mayor didn't get the memo that a 2012 survey recommended the word "amazing" be banished from the English language due to its overuse.

(It should also come as no surprise that "incredible" is another one of Levine's favorite social media adjectives.)

Here are a few recent posts on Levine's Facebook page where he demonstrates that he knows how to turn a frown upside-down.

And a check of of Levine's Twitter feed finds that everything is also AMAZING!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trump 'doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out.'

Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. -David Brooks, New York Times, March 18, 2016

I recalled the paragraph above from David Brooks' March 2016 column as the news filtered out today that Donald Trump told an interviewer that he doesn't need a daily intelligence briefing when he becomes president because, you know, he's smart, really smart.

Donald Trump Ties C.I.A. Reports on Russian Meddling to Democrats’ Shame
He also indicated that as president, he would not take the daily intelligence briefing that President Obama and his predecessors have received. Mr. Trump, who has received the briefing sparingly as president-elect, said that it was often repetitive and that he would take it “when I need it.” He said his vice president, Mike Pence, would receive the daily briefing.

“You know, I’m, like, a smart person,” he said. “I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”

He added that he had instructed the officials who give the briefing: “‘If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on a one-minute’s notice.’”



But that's not to say that he won't be briefed in some fashion once he takes office. A Washington Post story from last July revealed that his secretary brings him a pile of printouts every morning that contain news articles about The Donald.

Donald Trump doesn’t read much. Being president probably wouldn’t change that.
He has no time to read, he said: “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.”

Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, (see video above) and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk. But there are no shelves of books in his office, no computer on his desk.


Monday, December 05, 2016

This is what real journalism looks like


Local TV stations spend millions of dollars a year to bring you the news. Or what they like to call "the news." But in fact, the stuff they produce bears almost no resemblance to actual journalism.

A better name for what appears on local TV news these days would be "crime scene porn." 

This may be considered "news" by some, but it's not "journalism."
(Click image to enlarge)

Those same stations also spend tens of thousands of dollars a month putting helicopters in the air that beam back live pictures of a car chase or a bunch of police cars at a crime scene, red and blue lights flashing.

But there's very little information contained in a shot of a crime scene taken from a camera a thousand feet in the air that helps a viewer better understand the story. 

But while most local TV news consists of non-stop coverage of shootings, car crashes and stories showing surveillance videos of convenience store robberies, and more shootings, it's reassuring to know that there are still places you can find real old-fashioned journalism...stories that actually impact your life. 

Want proof?

 Look no further than Sunday morning's South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald for just two stories that didn't require the use of a helicopter. 

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dec. 4, 2016.
Click image to enlarge.
Inmates died, but jail logs showed them safe in their cells
By Stephen Hobbs

If Broward Sheriff's Office records are to be believed, a mentally ill jail inmate was alive in his cell 18 hours after he died and another received dinner six hours after he hanged himself.

Documents obtained by the Sun Sentinel raise questions about the accuracy of Sheriff's Office records and how closely some mentally ill inmates were monitored before they died.

Inmate Raleigh Priester died soon after collapsing in his cell about 12:45 p.m. on July 10, 2012. Though he was rushed to the hospital, deputies continued to document, about every 30 minutes and until 8 a.m. the following morning, that he was alive and inside his cell at the North Broward jail.

"I think it's very difficult to explain how several of your employees are claiming that they were checking on somebody at 30-minute intervals when that individual was not in your facility," said Greg Lauer, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represented Priester's family in a federal lawsuit over his care in jail.

Turning code violations into payoffs, the Opa-locka way
By Michael Sallah and Jay Weaver
Miami Herald staff writers

His life savings poured into his struggling business, Francisco Pujol stood in the bathroom at Opa-locka City Hall in February and turned to the lone man who could make his problems disappear.

With every cash payment to the city manager, Pujol was guaranteed he would get the occupational license that he needed to finally open.

Already, David Chiverton had dismissed dozens of code violations on the property where Pujol had set up his sprawling tire recycling center.

Now, for $2,500 — all in large bills — he would do it again.

More recent examples of journalism from around the state:

Via the Palm Beach Post: HEROIN: Killer of a generation
Former assistant state attorney, potential star is lost to epidemic
By Joe Capozzi - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Jessica Rose had the credentials of a rising courtroom star: a lawyer with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, an assistant public defender in Jacksonville, a private practice on Clematis Street.

A young attorney brimming with talent and promise, she also struggled with an addiction to drugs, a battle that shattered her career, scarred her family and ultimately took her life.

Via the Miami Herald:
After Florida inmate’s lethal gassing, claims of cover-up
By Julie K. Brown

Randall Jordan-Aparo died weeping and gasping for breath on the concrete floor of his prison isolation cell, naked except for his white boxer shorts.

Incensed that he had cursed at a nurse, guards at Franklin Correctional Institution in the Panhandle fired nine blasts of noxious gas into his 13-by-8 cell through a slot in the door and, ultimately, left him there, sobbing.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t take it no more, please help me,’’ he pleaded.

Five hours later, the 27-year-old was found lifeless, face-down on the bare slab. His mouth and nose were pressed to the bottom of the door, as if trying to gulp fresh air through the thin crack. His hair, legs, toes, torso and mouth were dusted with a faint orange residue, a byproduct of the gas.

A paperback Bible was under his shoulder.

Via the Tampa Bay Times:
WALMART - Thousands of police calls. You pay the bill.

Police come to shoo away panhandlers, referee parking disputes and check on foul-mouthed teenagers.

They are called to arrest the man who drinks a 98-cent iced tea without paying and capture the customer who joyrides on a motorized shopping cart.

The calls eat up hours of officers’ time. They all start at one place: Walmart.

Law enforcement logged nearly 16,800 calls in one year to Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis. That’s two calls an hour, every hour, every day.

Local Walmarts, on average, generated four times as many calls as nearby Targets, the Times found. Many individual supercenters attracted more calls than the much larger WestShore Plaza mall.

When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes.

“They’re a huge problem in terms of the amount of time that’s spent there,” said Tampa police Officer James Smith, who specializes in retail crime. “We are, as a department, at the mercy of what they want to do.”

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Here's a video of Trump on his 'thank you' tour

Shaquille O'Neal is just one American who says we need to give Trump a chance.
"He won fair and square. We have to give him a chance,”said O'Neal.
But if you're one of those who also says we should give Trump a chance, here are a few facts. 

The day after the election he said, "Now it's time for Americans to bind the wounds of division."

He forgot to mention that it was he who caused the divisiveness in the first place.

But kicking off his "Thank You Tour" in Cincinnati the other day, this happened:
"He sneered at the opponents he had vanquished. He disparaged journalists and invited angry chants from the crowd, grinning broadly at calls of “lock her up” and “build the wall.” He ridiculed the government’s leaders as stupid and dishonest failures."
So much for "binding the wounds."

Thursday, December 01, 2016