Monday, July 31, 2006

Breaking: Fidel Cedes Power To His Brother

Could this be the beginning of the end?

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has temporarily ceded his presidential power to brother Rául Castro due to illness, according to Cuban national television.

The unprecedented announcement came in a communique read over state television. It said that Fidel Castro would be undergoing surgery. The precise nature of that surgery was not immediately known.

The champagne is being chilled in Little Havana.

-Link to story

UPDATE: AP sources are reporting that Castro has suffered intestinal bleeding.
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Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



Med Pizza, Washington Ave., Miami Beach

-via f0dder's Flickr

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Why Men Never Ask For Directions

Sad.

Same as it ever was...same as it ever was...same as it ever was.



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A New Week, A New Poll

So 47% of the 34 respondents to last week's poll that asked the question, "Do You Plan on Going To A Movie Theater to See the New Miami Vice Movie?", answered in the affirmative and said that they would indeed shell out the cash to watch the movie in a theater. And by the looks of it, some already have. A total of 41% said that they wouldn't be seeing the movie or would wait until it came out on DVD. 12% said that they were straddling the fence. Not exactly a strong endorsement of a movie that was supposed to showcase South Florida.

This week's poll question is directed towards those who have seen the movie or will see it during the next week. Now that you've seen Miami Vice, what grade would you give it? Take the poll!


How Would You Grade The New "Miami Vice?"
A
B
C
D
F
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




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Coach Sabin's Saban's Priorities

You gotta love Nick Sabin's Saban's priorities...

When the White House called with an invitation to dine with President Bush, Dan Marino took it. But the coach of his former team said no.

Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Monday that his obligations at training camp took priority over a chance to meet the president.

"It was really a tough decision," Saban said. "I feel like my first responsibility is our team. That in no way disrespects the importance of the opportunity I would have loved to have had to spend dinner with the President."

Good for Sabin Saban. I'm glad to see that he's not just another "average American." His attitude that breaking bread with this president isn't worth losing one single football game scores him all sorts of points with me.



-via MiamiSportsDudes

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Trip Wrap-Up

Before anything, I want to thank Gansibele for filling in for me over the weekend. Assuming the responsibility for someone else's blog is not one of the easiest things in the world to do and something he could have certainly declined. So mucho thanks go out to Gansibele for holding down the fort for me.

Maryland was actually hotter than South Florida so I didn't get a respite from the tropical weather by going north. Despite the temperatures, my father and I got in a couple rounds of golf together. On Sunday we both played exceptionally well. I tied a personal lifetime low round of 71 (35-36) and my 70-year-old Dad fired a 75 (39-36). It was a day that neither one of us will soon forget. Other than that, it was a weekend filled with good food and abundant relaxation that helped recharge the batteries like any good weekend getaway should.

Southwest Airlines, my airline of choice for this trip, performed exceptionally well with on-time arrivals/departures and courteous and professional service. But no one can ever convince me that their idiotic boarding procedures using general seating and corrals at the boarding gate is anything but a huge pain in the butt. No matter how good they are in the air, not having an assigned seat before I head to the airport and making me stand in one more line in order to fly is enough for this traveler to consider other carriers before selecting Southwest. It may not be a big deal for other people, but then those folks are probably not 6'4" tall.

So it's good to be back and blogging. I'm going to wade through my Blogline feeds, see what's been happening around town and try to catch up on the things I've missed. And sometime tomorrow I'll say something about the SotP Blowin' In The Wind Contest that has concluded.

Onward.

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Back Home Again

I have an empty refrigerator, a yard that resembles Jurassic Park, and a distinct feeling that a miserable failure is somewhere close by.

Be back later, but in the meantime, tell me what I've missed since last Thursday.

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Quote of the day

"Miami is one of the poorest cities in the country,'' Ros-Lehtinen noted, "but it is also a rich area for fundraising.''

All business as usual, then.

President Bush visited Miami yesterday and today, as part of a tour to "meet average Americans". About 7 years too late for the most out-of-touch with reality President ever. Of course, for him and Jeb "average Americans" mean fat cats at Armando Codina's house and "community leaders" at Joe's Stone Crabs. Or perhaps he was just fraternizing with his base.

On an aside note: welcome back Rick. Hope you don't find the house too messy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

What I'm doing in L.A.


I thought you guys may get a kick out of this. I'm shooting a campaign for one of my clients, and the set is basically a full size store built in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.

It has been a Herculean task. I had no idea assembling store fixtures and stocking a store was so challenging. They couldn't pay me enough to be a merchandising planner. This is by far the biggest job I have ever done.

But the set is looking good and the spots will be killer. It may cost me my job (my client is pissed at me big time for all the trouble they are going through) but it'll be worth it. It comes with the territory. I had the bright idea, so I'm the one responsible.



Los Angeles is full of characters. So many weird people, even more so that NYC. This guy spent the whole day hanging by our set. The funniest part is that he had a cel phone and was talking on it all the time, in Tibetan I guess. Not only that, it was a late model Palm Treo. I got a huge kick out of it.

Noted without comment...

Most days, Jim Morin is the best part of opening the paper.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I love "The Smoking Gun"

No site is better at feeding your voyeuristic instincts. Case in point this letter, which all of LA is abuzz about. I'm no fan of poor Ms. Lohan, but boy, the letter sure stings.

Friday afternoon music break

Play it with the windows open this afternoon, on the drive back home.

Payback


Gabriela Pacheco could have laid low, fly under the radar, not rock the boat. Instead she chose to follow the time-honored American tradition to speak out and became an advocate for inmigration rights. And now her family will be deported as punishment.

Immigration officials say the operation was a routine action. ''We acted on information that a fugitive was living in house,'' ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said Thursday. ``We found that the fugitive was not located there, but discovered a family who was in the country illegally.''

The article doesn't mention if Ms. Gonzalez then excused herself and rushed to finalize the sale of the Brooklyn Bridge to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

The legality of the government's action is not in question. Of course legally her family has no right to stay. But morally - isn't Gabriela's attitude what makes the kind of citizens we want? Are we going to condone selective enforcement and vindictiveness? Would have been better if she just went to the mall, played Playstation, danced to reggaeton an generally act like every other disinterested teenager? Shouldn't citizenship be earned as well as given?

L.A. traffic sucks


I know this tidbit goes on the "Tell me something I don't know" file -along with "Lance Bass is gay" and "the Earth is round"- but man, does it ever suck. After four days of commuting from West Hollywood to downtown LA and then to East LA, I'm missing I-95. At least in Miami you know you'll get there at some point. Yesterday we tried three different routes to get to a warehouse before 5 pm and finally gave up. No wonder Angelenos pioneered the TV in the car idea.

On an aside note, before I leave for more torture of the same: try to catch "Tell Me Cuba" Sunday 9 pm at Lincoln Road Theather, part of the Rewind/Fast Forward movie festival.

Sailing away

Yesterday we had reports in several news channels about Kerry Gruson, a 58 year old paraplegic sailor who is training to compete in the Skandia Cowes Week, one of the largest regattas in the world.

Tucked inside most of those articles were references to Shake-a-leg Miami, an organization that teaches disabled kids to sail, but also does much more to benefit the community, including a program to clean areas of Biscayne Bay. Led by the truly indefatigable Harry Horgan, a paraplegic himself whose energy and spirit puts many able-bodied people to shame.

I used to volunteer at Shake-a-leg a while ago, and it's a great place to learn how to sail while at the same time helping some really amazing kids and enjoying the sun and the ocean which are the reason we live here. And the fees are affordable. I'm a world-class cynic, believe me it takes a lot to make me endorse a non-profit or charitable organization, but Shake-a-leg is just as billed. I'm coming back to volunteer and I encourage all of you guys to give it a try as well.

More information at shakealegmiami.org

Is it just me...

...or are a lot of other people just as confused trying to tell the differences between the four candidates in the governor's race?

Their positions in most issues are so carefully tailored to their parties' platforms you can't tell what they really think. Their records (except Crist's I guess) are largely bland and uninteresting. Their ties came from the same sale bin at Macy's. Their pictures could have come from a search for "politician" on a stock photo website for all I know (well, except for Crist's again). And articles like this don't help.

In a state where you could root for Graham, Chiles, Jeb, even Reno, now I can't make myself care for any of the four. I'm sure I'm being unfair and/or shortsighted, in which case, kindly set me straight. Because so much is at stake -offshore drilling, for example- to elect somebody on the "yeah, he'll do" platform.

Well on our way to become a "world-class city"

What does Miami need to feel more like New York? Its very own Times Square, of course.

Of course, first we have to go through the pretense of public "input":

Activist Judith Sandoval called the billboards ``extremely ugly and tacky.''

But board member Donna Milo, after raising questions about the impact of the signs, added: ``It can be done tastefully.''

Seriously though, this new development, coupled with the Carnival name sponsorship, makes me question the intended direction of the Center. How long before a Bayside-to-CCPA-tourist-corridor wetdream makes our civic leaders give a sweetheart deal to Cirque de Soleil, for example? This squirmish has the potential to become the "Home Despot" battle for Midtown. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A true Miami pioneer

Charles Pawley passed away a couple days ago.

The news affects me directly, because he was part of my newly adquired family. Being the frustrated architect that I am, I knew of his work before I met him. I have a friend who lives in his former house and another who owns a townhouse in the Lemon Tree complex in Coconut Grove; and always admired the simplicity of the details and how the houses seemed to have that something extra that made then stand out from the cookie clutter environment we see too often in Miami. You could also see they were not transplanted architecture (Mediterranean, etc); but genuine, well tought-out buildings that took advantage of Miami's climate. Then I learned he was the designer of Little Haiti's Caribbean Marketplace, which earned him the AIA national award and so far is the only building in Miami to be awarded. He was also a dedicated preservationist and was instrumental in the SoBe Art Deco resurrection of the late 80s.

Before Architectonica, before Kobi Karp and Chad Oppenheimer; Pawley was one of the most influential figures of Miami modern architecture. Here's the Herald article.

Moreover, he was somebody who lived life with an insouciant intensity that endeared him to everyone. His house has a great, eclectic art collection. I didn't have the chance to know him that well and I'm sorry I won't have that chance now.

Hola!

Guys, I'm real happy to be here with you. All I hope is not to make SOTP lose the best blog award.

Blogger has decided to welcome me with software malfunctions, plus I'm in LA, 3 hours behind. I hope to catch up later today and post as much as you and I can bear.

Meet The New Boss

About 9 months and 1,549 posts ago on a cool November day (remember those?), SotP was born and there hasn't been a day since when there wasn't something posted here. So when I decided to to head out of town to visit Dad this weekend, I wasn't quite sure what to do with SotP. Do I let it sit and stew for the weekend? Do I get a sitter? Do I try to post from my father's place in rural Maryland where the main street is actually called Main Street and the internet connection is a slow 56K dial-up?

The problem was solved when I learned that it's possible to team blog on Blogger. And with that, the solution was easy.

Gansibele has been a great commentator not only here but all around the South Florida blogosphere. I like his style of writing and the way he articulates his points but most of all, I have yet to disagree with the guy. So I'm handing the SotP keys over to him until Monday afternoon when I return, hopefully no worse for the wear after spending a weekend with my right-wing father and step-mother. I've given him the green light to post whatever he wants however many times he wants, so I really can't tell you what to expect. But whatever it is, it should be very well-written. Good luck on finding anything to correct, mkh.

I couldn't leave town without wishing one of the cutest Miami blogomommas a Happy Birthday. Have a good one, Tere. The Gucci is in the mail.

Enjoy your weekend, folks. See you back here sometime on Monday.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



-via f0dder's Flickr

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Bacardi 151 Defective?

This story has me thoroughly confused.

A woman who was allegedly severely burned by flaming rum during a Bacardi promotion sued the wine and spirits producer, claiming the product is defective and dangerous.

Danielle Alleyne, of Miami, suffered horrific burns after she was hit by the flaming rum at a Miami night club in August 2002, according to the lawsuit filed yesterday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court.

[...]

A bartender, who was not identified in the lawsuit, was pouring shots when a customer lit a menu on fire and placed it in the stream of alcohol. A bottle of Bacardi 151 that was being used to pour the shots turned into a flame thrower and sent flaming rum all over Alleyne.

I can envision the alcohol catching fire as a result of the carelessness of the customer, but describing the bottle of rum as becoming a "flame thrower" is a little extreme, I think. Flame throwers propel a flammable liquid under pressure, don't they?

And, of course, the argument that the rum is "defective and dangerous" is just plain stupid. I mean, the stuff is used to treat colds, for God's sake.

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Somewhere, Osama Is Laughing

From the Miami Herald:

The discovery of a white powdery substance at the Broward County Courthouse this morning led Broward Sheriff's Office deputies to shut down portions of the courthouse, apparently as a precaution.

BSO later gave the all-clear, stating that the substance was probably from dry wall.

[...]

The incident began shortly before 8 a.m. today when a Broward County maintenance worker discovered some white powder sprinkled on the floor outside a locked courtroom on the fourth floor of the main courthouse, 201 S.E. 6th St. in Fort Lauderdale, BSO said.

Following their normal protocol, BSO Homeland Security and a BSO hazardous-materials team responded, according to the sheriff's office.

Buffalo Springfield was right:
"Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep, it starts when you're always afraid."


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The Ultimate Collectible

Forget the signed helmets or footballs. If you want the ultimate Dan Marino collectible, you gotta have this:

Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has put his long-time home on 4.3 acres of prime land up for sale and he says it is a "bargain" at $15.9 million, news partner NewsChannel 5 reported Wednesday morning.

Marino and his wife, Claire, bought the land on Stallion Lane in the gated Windmill Ranches neighborhood in 1994 for $370,000 and built an almost 20,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style home on it.

That's grown to include 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, three half-baths, a pool, a spa, a putting green, a playground, two separate guest homes, a five-car garage and staff quarters.

Dan and his family have recently moved to a new house in Parkland, according to the report.

Take a tour of the house with this CBS4 video.

Lobster Mini-Season

Channel 10 and Miami Metroblogging remind us that today is the fist day of lobster mini-season. Lots of lobsters and and a few divers who haven't checked their equipment are routinely harvested during this two-day event.

If you are a diver, please check your equipment before heading out. If you are a lobster, call in sick for the next two days, stay at home and chill out to some B-52's. You know the song.

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CBS4's The Real Miami Vice Continues

CBS4 continues to impress with the latest installment of their week-long series called The Real Miami Vice. This clip explains the rejuvenation of Miami Beach in the 80's and 90's.

How cool was it for reporter Maggie Rodriguez to pose outside the Avalon with her daughter like her mother did years ago?


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AM Chuckle



People freak out when a guy walks into their store with pantyhose over his head.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



The American Airlines Arena, Miami


-via sunblazer's Flickr

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Return To Sender

Don't you just hate it when the UPS guy tries to deliver a real important package to you and you're not around? Ralph knows that feeling, too.

Employees at a GE Supply warehouse in Pompano Beach were surprised to find a package containing 39 pounds of marijuana Tuesday morning, news partner NBC 6 reported.

The package delivered by UPS was discovered after a receptionist noticed it had no invoice. She took it to a salesperson who opened it. They then called the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The package was addressed to someone named Ralph. The warehouse currently employs no one named Ralph, reported NBC 6's Carlos Vergara.

39 pounds? Damn! If I were BSO, I'd be looking at the GE Supply employee with the most friends.

-Link story

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CBS4's The Real Miami Vice

All week, CBS4 is doing a series entitled The Real Miami Vice about the reality behind the TV series and the movie premiering this week.

This clip gives a quick, concise history of that reality and makes liberal use of footage from rakontur's upcoming movie entitled Cocaine Cowboys.

CBS4 does a good job with this.

-via The Midnight Rambler

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Gadling's Dinner At Little Palm Island Resort



Gadling, "The Traveler's Weblog," has a nice post up documenting one writer's dinner experience at the Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in the Keys.

Lots of pictures and some descriptive writing makes this an interesting read. The meal cost approximately $300 so if you plan on going, make sure you stop by the ATM.

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Chasing The Little White Ball




Just got in from the blazing heat after shooting a 73 (38-35) at Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club. Not the lowest round I've ever shot but pretty damn close. It's a beautiful day and the course was in pristine condition but, man, is it hot.




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Your "Only In Miami" Moment For The Day

Isn't it great that the U of M football team is once again receiving national attention? From today's USA Today:

In the wake of a shooting incident last week near the Miami (Fla.) campus, Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said he plans to discourage players from owning handguns.

"I don't really want our players to have firearms. I'd rather they would dial 911 to come and handle those type of problems," Coker said at ACC Football Kickoff media days Monday.

[...]

Coker said he didn't know how much he could enforce a no-gun rule if players own guns legally off campus but said, "Now obviously on campus — you're out of school, you're done. But I really don't want our players to have firearms."

Coker also said he didn't know how many players had firearms and said it wasn't something he planned to find out. "I'm not going to take a head count on firearms, but I'll address it and discourage it, let's put it that way."

Coker also reminded players that raping women and robbing banks were additional activities that he "strongly disapproved of."

Coker added that, "This isn't the Miami Hurricane football team of old."

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AM Chuckle



Redneck rollercoaster.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

2006 Rewind /Fast Forward Film & Video Festival



You might want to make plans to attend some or all of the events that are going to be taking place as part of 2006 Rewind /Fast Forward Film & Video Festival this coming weekend at The Colony Theater on Miami Beach.

Two worth highlighting are Saturday's world premiere of a 90-minute film named "Tell Me, Cuba"....

Why is Cuba off-limits to US citizens? A Miami based terrorist, a Mafia chauffeur, ambitious members of Congress, and a secret negotiator unravel the complexities behind a punishing 40-year old embargo. Through bombings to political strong-arming, this richly textured documentary reveals how a determined exile community hijacked US foreign policy. Today’s conflict is traced from the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, to US intervention in the Cuban Wars of Independence, through the 1959 Revolution. Exile veterans feeling betrayed by the US government then take matters into their own hands and fight Castro on all fronts, culminating in the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner. The film ends in conflict. Those fighting for peaceful resolution are louder and clearer than ever. Those in opposition…never more powerful. Filmmaker Megan Williams and producer Deborah Irmas will present this world premiere screening.

...and Sunday's "Clips and Conversations."
The making of the acclaimed documentary is revealed in this “clips and conversation” session with director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman (“Raw Deal: A Question of Consent”). The filmmakers discuss their latest "Cocaine Cowboys" and their unprecedented use of archival images from the Wolfson Archive. In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine Cowboys" is the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen.

If I weren't heading out of town this weekend, I would actually venture from my Broward County enclave and take in at least the Cocaine Cowboys discussion. Have I told you I think that movie is going to kick some ass? Yes, I think I have.

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Hellacious Crash In North Miami-Dade Today


A new mother was killed Monday after her Honda collided with a Hyundai, flipped and wrapped around a telephone poll.

According to authorities, the Honda was traveling north on County Line Road when the Hyundai traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn into the Honda's path at about 7:30 a.m. The driver of the Honda died at the scene.

Andrea Colis, the sister-in-law of the victim, identified her as 40-year-old Colette Nelson. Colis said Nelson was probably on her way to work at her check-cashing job. Minutes before, Nelson had dropped off her 8-month-old baby at a day care center, Colis said.

"She's always late and she was probably just trying to get to work in time," Colis said.

The car's steel top and the woman inside didn't stand a chance against that reinforced concrete telephone pole.

As a side note, doesn't County Line Road run east-west?

-Link to story and video

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And On We Go....

That was quick.

A series of children's books about foreign countries -- including the controversial Vamos a Cuba -- must remain in school libraries until a lawsuit about the books is tried, a federal judge ruled this afternoon.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Miami-Dade school district not to remove the 24 books while the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Miami-Dade Student Government Association is pending.

The judge had heard arguments from both sides on Friday.

A copy of the 89-page order issued by the judge is here (.pdf).

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Quote Of The Day

"We hear of Middle Easterners — they could be fundamental extremists — taking Hispanic names and coming into our country. We do not know where they are. This is a matter of great national security," she said.

-U.S. Senate hopeful and Republican U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, during Sunday services in Stuart


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Bloggered

Sorry....either this...



....or this...




...on and off all day.

On another note, Gansibele and Nicfitkid, please email me at gwizzzatgmail.com.

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Butt Shot

Last Friday's shooting of a Miami Hurricanes football player in the ass has the media once again raising the specter of a thug-like football program at the U of M. From today's Washington Post:

The days of the University of Miami acting like a hellion football program, one worthy of the "Raising 'Canes" moniker it earned in the late 1980s and early '90s, have largely ended. The residue of that era, fair or not, remains.

So when reports surfaced Friday about a shootout involving Miami linebacker Willie Cooper and defensive back Brandon Meriweather, it might have seemed another instance of Miami acting like, well, Miami.

I think the media has it all wrong. The story isn't so much that Willie Cooper caught one in the keister. Hell, that can happen to anyone in Miami-Dade County. No, no, no. The real story is that Cooper's roommate was just lounging around the house with a loaded handgun in his pants pocket.
After Cooper was shot, teammate and roommate Brandon Meriweather pulled a pistol from his pants pocket and fired three times at the person, who jumped a fence and fled with another person in a car, police said. It was unclear if the assailant was hit.

Police said Meriweather used his gun legally.

Maybe it's because I live up here in Broward County and I'm naive to these things, but let me ask my Miami-Dade readers: Do you sit around the house packing heat?

And, if so, when was the last time you had to use it?


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A New Week, A New Poll

Based on the results from last week's poll, it appears as though there may be more people out there without emergency generators, for one reason or the other, than I thought there might be. If you combine all the "no" responses, 70% of SotP readers are not equipped with an emergency generator. I suppose I thought that number might be lower based upon all the travails people experienced after Hurricane Wilma and the tax-free opportunity that was offered earlier this year. Apparently not.

One of the big events in South Florida this week is the premiere of the new Miami Vice movie. Time takes a look at it here, but it's hard to tell, really, what they thought of it. In any case, this week's poll question is pretty simple: Do you plan on going to a movie theater to see the new Miami Vice movie? Take the poll!


Do You Plan on Going To A Movie Theater to See the New Miami Vice Movie?
Yes.
No.
No. I'll wait until it comes out on DVD.
Haven't made up my mind.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




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AM Chuckle



Commercial for DHL featuring the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday End




-via Mark_Twells' Flickr

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South Beach Magazine



Didn't even know there was such an animal. Check out their "Best of South Beach" here or the main homepage here.

I don't know how long they've been around but you can now find a link to them in the sidebar under the South Florida Media Sites section.

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South Florida Cartoons



-Don Wright, The Palm Beach Post

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Sweatin' To The Oldie

The Miami Herald's Howard Cohen gives last night's Madonna concert a mixed review:

For this tour, the star's latest peccadillo is to insist that the venues must stifle the air conditioning because singing in a room heated like a Bikram yoga studio is better for her voice. Or so she believes.

Perhaps the uncomfortable heat is symbolic. The stylistic theme of the tour evokes a nightclub, so, there you go: exorbitant cover charge, sweaty conditions, lavish decor and throbbing dance music inside. Think of it as the complete South Beach experience in a tidy two hours -- but without goonish bouncers and no bottle charge.

Virtually no A/C in a Miami arena filled to capacity? Now that's a show I would pay a premium price for!

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Cars Into Canals...Redux

Divers are resuming their search this morning for two people who are believed not to have survived the latest car-into-a-canal incident in South Florida.

Two young people likely died early Saturday evening when their car careened off Alligator Alley and plunged into the rushing water of a drainage canal about 25 miles west of the toll booth.

One shaken 15-year-old managed to crawl out of the back seat, swim to safety and scramble up an embankment to flag down a truck driver around 5 p.m.

At least three divers from the Broward Sheriff's Office tried for about two hours to recover the other two boys and the car, believed to be a Ford Taurus, but the rushing current made it impossible.

This is the second fatal accident this week of this nature but unlike the one that sadly claimed the life of 23-year-old Tiffany Perreca of Pompano Beach, this accident occurred in the alligator-infested waters of the Everglades.
The accident occurred on the Miccosukee reservation, and tribal police were on the scene as well, but there was little anyone could do. A Miccosukee officer with an A-4 rifle stood by to protect the divers who struggled to find the car in the dark water.

Tow truck operator Frank Fonseca was called out about 6 p.m. He's familiar with the canals along I-75, and referred to them as hostile waters, infested with alligators and snakes.

"It's a whole different kind of canal than what they have in the city," Fonseca said.

Ironically, one of the gators that might be out there is Crusty.

CBS4 has more on this story and a video.

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Sunday Start



-via Ylwstonegirl98's Flickr

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Night Music Break




World on Fire

Sarah McLachlan

Hearts are worn
In these dark ages
You're not alone,
In these stories' pages
The light has fallen
Amongst the living and the dying
And I'll try to hold it in
Yeah I'll try to hold it in

The world is on fire
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
Try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more than I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able ...

I watch the heavens
But I find no calling
Something I can do to change what's coming
Stay close to me
While the sky is falling
I don't wanna be left alone,
Don't want to be alone...

The world is on fire
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
Try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more than I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able ...

Hearts break ... hearts mend ... love still hurts
visions clash ... planes crash
Still there's talk of saving souls
Still the cold is closing in on us

We part the veil on our killer sun
Stray from the straight line
On this short run ...
The more we take the less we become
The fortune of one man means less for some

The world is on fire
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
Try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more than I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able ...

The world is on fire
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
Try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more than I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able ...


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Miami Craigslist Classic

Never underestimate the wrath of a spurned woman...

Moving back to Miami to stir up some shit 4 husband - w4m - 36

Hey peeps, I'm currently living in DC area. Looking to meet new people in the area who like to stir up trouble. My middle name is trouble so I plan on raising all sort of hell when I arrive on August 5th. I have children but my nanny is moving with me to keep an eye on the little boogers while mommy tortures daddy.

I just got a huge settlement from a law suit and what am I going to do with all this money? Make him pay. I bought a nice new house and I'm going to throw the ultimate hate his sorry black ass party!

I just got the address where he's living and I can't wait to see his face when I distribute flyers all over his neighborhood calling him out for being an absent deadbeat.

I have some fun in store for his entire family, won't you join me in making life even more miserable for my bi-sexual husband who is still living a lie?

See ya soon South Florida . . . She's back!

Interested reply back with phone number and name and I will call you to discuss all the fun things we can do to torture him.

Duck and run, dude....

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Notable Reads and Blogroll Updates

  • Mark your calendars: Cocaine Cowboys NY/LA/Miami release date is set for October 27th.
  • Hidden City shares his cold remedy with us. The tissues are, no doubt, for the drool.

  • Fort Lauderdale tourists love parrots.

  • A Grand Illusion links to Stephen Colbert's hilarious interview with Congressman Wexler of South Florida's Fightin' 19th Congressional District.

  • I was wondering where Marc's After Sunrise had gone to. Good news, he's back.

  • Transit Miami lays it all out.

  • Another movie that won't get the The Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority's seal of approval.

  • Blogroll Addition: The Florida Masochist. Bill is a long-time resident of Palm Beach County whose blog covers a little bit of politics and a little bit of current events. And, best of all, it looks like he's a frequent poster like myself! Welcome, Bill.

  • Blogroll Deletion: Boca Raton-based Assorted Babble gets thrown off the blogroll. And take your alarmist, bigoted, and decidedly hypocritical non-Christian views of the world with you, Suzie.

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Programming Alert

The original 3-hour Miami Vice pilot is being shown on NBC (Miami's Channel 6) tonight from 8-11. Here's DirecTV's synopsis...

Miami police detective Sonny Crockett reluctantly teams with New York-bred newcomer Ricardo Tubbs to track the murderous drug-dealer Calderone.

....and Channel 6's...
The original TV pilot of "Miami Vice" is presented during this special hosted by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, who star in the upcoming feature film based on the 1980s series. Also included: a clip from the movie; and behind-the-scenes footage.

Might be fun to catch a glimpse of the Miami of over 20 years ago.

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Driving Around South Florida



Southbound Florida Turnpike, 1:15 PM today, approaching Hollywood Blvd. and a wall of water coming north out of Miami-Dade County.

Got my golf in.

UPDATE: Woooaaaahhhhh. Take a look at this picture of the same storm as it passed over downtown Miami on its way north. Thanks, James!

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Bad Cops

Regular SotP readers know that I am very supportive of law enforcement officers and the tough jobs that they have to do day in and day out. So when I see a story like this one, it's disappointing on the one hand but encouraging that some apparent bad apples won't be wearing a uniform anymore.

Three Boston police officers accused taking $35,000 in exchange for protecting a cocaine shipment were arrested in Miami on federal drug charges in an FBI sting operation, authorities said Friday.

Roberto Pulido, 41, describe by authorities as the ringleader, and fellow officers, Carlos Pizarro, 36, and Nelson Carrasquillo, 35, were arrested late Thursday in Miami.

For Pulido at least, it wasn't just the drug trafficking that he was involved in.
The investigation into Pulido started in November 2003 when authorities discovered he was buying and selling fraudulent retail store gift cards from stores including Home Depot and Best Buy, Sullivan said.

In a court affidavit, authorities alleged that Pulido bought the fraudulent gift cards from an identity theft ring operating along the East Coast.

Pulido allegedly provided names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to the group of more than 160 people, according to the affidavit. He is accused of getting the information by running the license plates of people he stopped or arrested.

Authorities allege that Pulido also participated in a wide range of criminal activities, with Pizarro and Carrasquillo taking part in some. The allegations include protecting drug shipments, identity theft, sponsoring illegal after-hours parties with prostitutes, money laundering and insurance fraud.

Save the comments about all cops being low lifes. We know they aren't and are as human as the rest of us. What's important is when they screw up, like these three idiots supposedly did, they need to be held to the same standard as everyone else and given no special consideration because of their profession. Arguably perhaps, because of their position of public trust, they need to to be held to an even higher standard.

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Quote Of The Day


They got a chance to come to America because someone died.

-Coast Guard spokesman Chris O'Neil, defending the government's decision to bring 28 Cuban refugees onshore yesterday.


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



Florida Everglades Dusk.

Man, I don't know how many times I've seen a view like this on final approach into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl. Airport.

-via Jonathan, where you really need to click over and see the larger version of this photo.

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So What Are You Doing This Weekend?


I'm going to be heading up to Pompano Beach tomorrow morning to play some golf, as usual. The rest of the weekend will be devoted to household duties and watching the British Open. I'm really looking forward to lounging around Sunday morning and catching the final round.

So what are you doing this weekend?




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Friday Fun





Donkey Kong. Makes me feel young again.













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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Nicfitkid's day.

All is quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 211510
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1130 AM EDT FRI JUL 21 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS ISSUED THE LAST ADVISORY ON BERYL...BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL ABOUT 215 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH SATURDAY.

Because no one picked any days after July 31st (!!), effective midnight, July 26th, Kevin Cerino of Miami Catfish, will be exalted the winner of the The SotP Blowin' in the Wind Contest. However, we will hold off awarding the prize until July 31st to see if he's able to secure the bonus.

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Taking A Ride To Funkytown

Miami-Dade County is testing two hybrid buses with the intent on purchasing a total of 139 new ones in two years.

The two test buses, built by General Motors, use diesel fuel backed up by battery power, and come in both small and full-sized models. Miami-Dade is testing two of the new buses for a month, and if they perform as expected, plans to buy more as it modernizes it’s bus fleet.

“This particular bus, and hybrid buses in general, emit 50% less pollutants into the air,” said Miami-Dade commission member Carlos Giminez. “They are about 5 times more reliable than normal buses, and they use about 25% less fuel."

Personally, I like the funky new look of the buses and who can really complain about their green factor. According to a Channel 10 report (that I can't locate right now), the looks and the technology do come with a price tag that is about $200,000 more per bus than the old versions. But that extra cost is recouped within 4-5 years due to the cost savings the new buses provide.

-Link to CBS4 story and video

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Dry Feet and High Expectations

So the 28 Cuban migrants who were being detained at sea by the Coast Guard are now "dry foot:"

The Coast Guard brought the 28 Cuban migrants ashore after detaining them off shore since July 8. The migrants will be material witnesses in the alleged smuggling case in which Anei Machado Gonzalez suffered fatal head injuries during a high-speed chase to reach Florida.

The migrants were allowed to stay so they can testify directly against three men charged with the smuggling attempt that caused the 24-year-old woman's death.

But yet, some of those involved are sticking to their story that this wasn't a classic smuggling run.
Juliette Escandon was one of five on board the boat who were treated for injuries. Escandon, who is pregnant, insisted that they were not part of a smuggling operation and couldn't say for sure whether Gonzalez had been hurt before or after the Coast Guard intercepted them. She did say that the boat operators intended to stop when ordered by the Coast Guard, but didn't after the passengers saw how close they were to land and said they wanted to keep going.

I'm not quite sure what is going on here but I do know that Juliette, pictured right, would certainly get my vote for "Hottest Cuban Refugee."

But seriously, if that's even possible at this point, one of a number of things might be happening. Here is my list of potential scenarios:

-The Cubans are afraid of publicly stating what actually happened, for any number of reasons, but plan on testifying truthfully when necessary. Unfortunately, the statements that they are giving to the media in front of the cameras are going to hurt their credibility and the government's case.

-The Cubans have played government investigators and said they would testify for the government to get "foot dry," but now that they're here, they've changed their story. This would be very stupid on their part as giving false statements to investigators is a crime in and of itself and would probably result in their deportation.

-Some Cubans have one version of what happened, other Cubans have another. Unfortunately for the government, all the Cubans are now available to the defense, including those, like Juliette, as caliente as she is, whose version of events may be in disagreement with the government's allegations.

-The government is not hanging its hat on the smuggling charges but is more interested in charging the boat drivers with the death of Machado-Gonzalez. This may be something that is a little easier to prove given the politics of this event.

I'm thinking the last scenario is the one the USAO is going with. I'm not sure what kind of time the alleged smugglers would be facing with either charge, but causing the death of Machodo-Gonzalez would have to be worthy of the same kind of time that human smuggling carries, I would think.

I'll be watching to see what happens with this one.

-Links to Channel 10 and the Miami Herald

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AM Chuckle



Funny commercial.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Driving Around South Florida







10 AM this morning, Florida Turnpike, southbound, around Okeechobee Blvd., Miami-Dade County

At least he wasn't in the passing lane.

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Did You Feel It?



Of course, the whole thing was bullshit. But it was fun to think it might work.

And no, I didn't.

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Black Female Miami Police Officers Have No One To Date

The Miami Herald is reporting today that a black female police officer who used to be employed by the Miami Police Department is contesting her dismissal from the department after she carried on a relationship with a known felon.

A Miami police officer is appealing in court her firing for violating a department rule that forbids associating with known criminals.

Officer April Hardemon was terminated in October for living with Gregory Elliot Barnes, who served 11 years in federal prison on a drug trafficking conviction.

Despite repeated warnings, she broke a rule designed to maintain integrity, protect sensitive police information and uphold laws designed to keep guns away from convicted felons, the department said.

The firing has been contested since it occurred last October and is getting ready to be heard in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. If Hardemon loses, her union-appointed attorney, Richard Cohen, says they'll appeal on the grounds that the rule is unconstitutional.
"Out of the clear blue sky, they decide to enforce some vague rule," said Cohen, who also said the rule targets black female officers because black men are statistically more likely to face convictions.

Wow. I find Cohen's thinking here extraordinary on two levels. One, it assumes that Hardemon, who is apparently black, can only date black men. Two, it infers that it is very difficult to find a black man who hasn't been convicted of something or the other. Yikes. That's a pretty contentious argument to be made by a black woman anyone in a court of law.

Hardemon, who has since married the guy, is also arguing that she didn't know the man had a criminal record. Being that the police department maintains that she was warned on numerous occasions, that, too, seems like a pretty ridiculous defense.

As kind of a side note...
Critics have also alluded to [Miami Chief John] Timoney's adult son, who in December pleaded guilty to trying to buy drugs in New York. The rule does not generally apply to immediate family, police said.

"And he doesn't live with me," Timoney said.


Heh.

UPDATE: The New Times has more.

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The Desperation of Frank Bolaños

The Florida Masochist points out a story in today's Miami Herald that should make the South Florida blogosphere smile.

It appears as though Alejandro Rizzo, a Miami-Dade school assistant principal and staunch supporter of Frank Bolaños, has filed to run as a write-in candidate for the general election in November, thus closing the September primary to Republicans only. Of course, we all know who makes up the majority of Republicans in Miami-Dade County and we also all know who Bolaños has been pandering to these last few months with his book banning campaign. I'll let you read the entire article to get a full appreciation of what political low-lifes Bolaños and his minions really are.

But the highlight of the story came about midway through with this one sentence:

Bolaños spokesman Michael Caputo said he didn't know of Rizo's maneuver, but said the campaign welcomes the help.

Well, well, well. Michael Caputo. The same Michael Caputo who cowardly spammed the South Florida blogosphere with Frank's Miami Herald editorial without identifying himself or explaining his political allegiances. The same Michael Caputo that Hidden City exposed as nothing more than a Republican Party public relations shill.

This is dirty politics at it's best, folks. I have to admit, I get a certain amount of enjoyment in watching the Republican Party eat its own, but these maneuvers also provide Miami-Dade voters a very clear picture of the type of man that Frank Bolaños really is at heart and the man he'll be if he gets elected.

Come September's primary, Miami-Dade Republicans should make their choice accordingly.

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AM Chuckle



TV reporter freaks out when lizard jumps on him.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

South Florida Cartoons



-Don Wright, The Palm Beach Post

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Bloggers: A Portrait Of The Internet's New Storytellers

I'm thoroughly underwhelmed by the study the Pew Internet and American Life Project has put together on blogging called "Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers." The Miami Herald links to the study and does a lead in that includes a quote from Miami's Val Prieto of Babalu fame.

Although the report is fairly comprehensive in the areas they examine, they sampled only 233 bloggers. In the study's Methodology section, they admit that this limits the accuracy of their data. They even reveal that some of the people sampled were not active bloggers at the time of the interview.

So keeping in that in mind, the resultant findings include things like:

-59% of bloggers spend just one or two hours per week tending their blog. One in ten bloggers spend ten or more hours per week on their blog.

-57% of bloggers include links to original sources either "sometimes" or "often."

-Only 18% of bloggers offer an RSS feed of their blog's content.

There's a heckuva lot more, of course, but I lost interest real fast when I came to this graph showing what "Blog Tools" (!!) were being used by the study's participants.



13% of respondents used Live Journal, 9% used MySpace and a full and astounding 38% had no idea what they were using.

Case closed. Read this study if you must. But in my opinion, the data Pew collected and used is utterly worthless.

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R-Rated Summer Camp

A Miramar parent is understandably upset after a busload of 12 to 15-year olds, including her daughter, were treated to an R-rated movie as part of a city-sponsored day camp.

City staffers said the kids were supposed to see the animated Pixar movie Cars, which spins the tale of a hot-shot race car who finds friendship in a dusty old town. But on June 27th, the camp counselors took about 50 kids to Waist Deep, a movie about an ex-con whose son gets kidnapped during a carjacking. The main character, played by Tyrese Gibson, uses 'hood tactics to reclaim his son.

Parents may have never found out about it had the kids kept to omertà. Fortunately, the "snitch" isn't going to end up swimming with the fishes because of it.
On the bus ride home from the the movie, the students made a pact not to tell their parents they had seen it. But because her daughter broke her silence, [12-year-old Christina] Ortega said she has had Gatorade poured over her head and was cursed out by the other kids.

To their credit, the City of Miramar freely acknowledges their mistake and has taken disciplinary action against six city employees involved with the trip.


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Quote Of The Day

"He has name recognition. And the fact that he was never indicted means that while there may be a cloud over his campaign, it may not be that significant."

-FIU political science professor Dario Moreno on Howard Gary's return to Miami-Dade politics.


There aren't too many places in the world where being caught up in an infamous public corruption investigation is good for your name recognition and can increase one's chances of being placed back into office by the electorate.

Miami-Dade County so deserves Howard Gary.

Again.

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AM Chuckle




Get blown away on the beach adjacent to Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Carnival Center For The Performing Arts

No, I'm not kidding...

The new Miami performing arts center got a multi-million dollar name change today, courtesy of two separate gifts from Carnival Corporation and the Knight Foundation.

Carnival, which earlier had given the center $10 million for the naming rights to the concert hall, contributed an additional $10 million and received the naming rights for the entire center, now dubbed the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.

There's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York. There's the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. There's the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC. There's the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

And then there's the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

How kitschy.

How appropriate.

Thank God Chicken Kitchen, Pollo Tropical or Burger King didn't come up with a bigger donation than Carnival.

-Link to story

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Flashbank South Florida



Larry "Zonk" Csonka, Miami Dolphins Hall of Famer



-via slowernet's photostream Flickr

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Today Was Milton's Day



87-year-old Milton Katz didn't stand a chance with 84-year-old Iola DeSanto behind the wheel.

TAMARAC – An 84-year-old woman backing up her car ran over and killed a 87-year-old tenant who was sitting in a lawn chair in a grassy area at the base of her driveway Tuesday morning.

Iola DeSanto did not know Milton Katz was there, said Gerry DeSanto, her daughter.

She backed over him, and then while horrified witness yelled for her to stop, she ran over him a second time, then a third.

[...]

Witnesses said DeSanto backed over Katz and then pulled forward over him, then back again as they yelled at her to stop. When she got out of her car and saw what had happened she said "Oh, my God," and went into her house, said Gilberto Lopez, who was installing tile flooring at a nearby home.

[...]

Tenex President Hamid Fouladi said Jones was driving a Volvo loader with a bucket used to dig up the street. He got the car off Katz with the bucket.

Imagine living your whole life and consider everything that can go wrong. Somehow you make it all the way to 87 and you're sitting around in a lawn chair just enjoying another day when your landlady runs you over. Once...twice...three times, before she leaves the car parked on top of you and walks away.

No one can tell me that life is fair.

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Justice, Sweet Justice

I love reading stories about criminals getting their asses handed to them by their intended victims. But this one is especially gratifying:

WEST PALM BEACH – Mom, dad and their four kids wrestled a thief to the ground Monday night, then used a jump rope to hogtie him after he tried to steal a wallet, police said.

The bizarre incident began around 10 p.m. Monday. Mateo Perez was parking his van outside his house on the 600 block of 28th Street when he was attacked by a man. Perez yelled for help as the suspect struck him, tore at his clothes and tried to steal his wallet.

Perez's family heard his cries for help. His wife, Candaleria, accompanied by their four children -- ages 8, 11, 12 and 15 -- ran outside, said Ted White, spokesman for the police department

The family ganged up on the thief and pulled him off of Perez, then knocked him to the ground and struck him several times. As the suspect struggled, the family used the kids' jump rope to tie up his feet until police arrived, White said.

Tied up with a jump rope! Ha!

The would be robber, Craig Mack of Loxahatchee, is pictured above. No doubt, even now Craig is bearing the brunt of jokes being made by his fellow loser inmates in the county lock-up.

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A Time Of Innocence?

There's a Dick Cheney joke in here somewhere but with all the kids that have been getting shot and killed in South Florida this summer, I'm just not in the mood.

Troy Baker told BSO detectives he drove the car and gave the others his shotgun to use during the robbery. He drove to the Broadview Park area looking for someone to rob, according to BSO. They saw a man sitting on a car, parked their car and approached him "announcing a robbery."

Phillip held the shotgun on the man while Hill searched his pockets, the report states.

The shotgun discharged and everyone ran, including the robbery victim.

After the smoke cleared, Reid, Baker and Phillip saw Hill on the ground and placed him in the car. As they drove to Plantation General Hospital, they stopped at a canal and threw the gun in the water. They concocted a tale to tell police about how Hill was shot.

Yeah, they were robbing. And, yeah, the shooting victim could well have been the guy getting robbed. But the bottom line here is that 17-year-old Cosmo Hill is dead and the lives of 3 Broward County teenagers are forever changed because some punk had a hair-trigger finger.

And that's a damn shame.

-Link to story

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AM Chuckle




A monkey that likes living on the edge. Be patient with the picture quality.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

"Dogs Gone Wild" At China Grill

Showing their support for Florida's new "doggie dining bill" that allows dogs to eat outside at restaurants, China Grill on Miami Beach is holding a "Dogs Gone Wild" party every Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the summer, according to this report by NBC6.

Personally, I don't have any problem eating with well-behaved dogs, so I welcome people bringing their dogs along to dine with them. As long as the dogs behave, are clean and aren't lhasa apsos. I can't stand lhasa apsos.

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"I Have To Fight This Or Move To Switzerland"

You just knew that when Broward County resident David Rosenthal's complaint against the book Cuban Kids was dismissed by the Miami-Dade School Board, it was only a matter of time before the Cuban-American community jumped in and picked up the "struggle" where Rosenthal had left it.

And true to form....

The complaint against a controversial children's book was given new life today when an anti-Castro activist and his daughter asked for Cuban Kids to be removed from two Miami-Dade schools.

Former Cuban political prisoner Emilio Izquierdo filed the complaint at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, one of six Miami-Dade schools that owns the book. His adult daughter, Dalila Rodriguez, filed a similar complaint at Christina Eve Elementary in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Who better to lead the fight against free speech than a person who has been jailed for expressing himself freely! Right? Okay, so maybe that doesn't make much sense but you have to be pretty impressed by former political prisoner Izquierdo's resume against freedom of expression.
...Izquierdo, best known for leading protests against the Latin Grammy Awards in 2001 and for being arrested outside a 1999 performance by Cuban dance band Los Van Van.

Taking a non-wavering, definitive and persistent stance against award shows, dance bands, and books. Izquierdo should certainly be proud of his contribution to America since arriving in the Land of the Free.

Heh. The Miami-Dade School Board thought they had put this issue to bed. Let's see what happens now.

-Link to story

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Headline Of The Day




Ummmmm...puts a whole new twist on the term "going postal."



-via The Miami Herald

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Miami Beach Apple Store Opens On Friday

Pictures of the exterior of the store can be found at the newly reformatted Critical Miami and Fanless.

Apple plans to open its newest retail store in Miami Beach, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2006 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time. The new store, located on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, is Apple’s tenth location in Florida.

The store’s grand opening will be celebrated with a giveaway of 1,000 t-shirts to the first visitors. A Grand Opening Sweepstakes will award one winner a Digital Lifestyle Collection valued at $2,229, including an iMac, printer, iPod nano, video camera and digital still camera.

For real, this time.

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Beach Things

Cool....

The Cabana Islander is a float that can accommodate you and a few friends. It has a nylon top to shield you from the sun and an anchor to keep your grounded. A center porthole provides a place to swim out and the float has a boarding platform. Best of all is the floating 16-quart cooler which is attached. The float sells for $299.

-via Luxist

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Wide Lawns Subservient Worker's Day.

There's some rumbling going on.

AN AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS...ASSOCIATED WITH A DEVELOPING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM...CONTINUES A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE COASTS OF NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE FOR THIS SYSTEM TO GRADUALLY ACQUIRE TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS...AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO AS THE SYSTEM REMAINS NEARLY STATIONARY OR DRIFTS SLOWLY NORTHWARD. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM TOMORROW...IF NECESSARY. INTERESTS ALONG THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. COAST SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.


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Quote Of The Day


Zo coming back for another year makes everyone smile.

-Dwayne Wade, commenting on Alonzo Mourning's intention to resign with the Miami Heat.



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A New Week, A New Poll

I found the results to last week's poll intriguing. When posed with the question, "At What Age Do You Plan To Retire?", 35% of respondents claimed that they were planning on retiring before the age of 50. That figure makes me curious as to what some of my readers do for a living. In today's times of big mortgages, high medical and insurance costs, and an eligibility age for Social Security that will only go up, you have to be putting away some serious cash to be able to throw in the towel before you're 50. The only way I'm going to be able to do it at 56 (knock on wood) is by moving to an area with a lower cost of living and living much more simply than I do now. If I had a wife and/or children to support, working into my 60's would be a real possibility.

The other 65% of the respondents stated that they planned on retiring after 55. Sadly, 20% said that they would never retire. I can't imagine working my entire life. Actually, I can. And I can imagine me being one miserable SOB if I did.

This week's poll is simple and doesn't call for any predictions. We're well into the hurricane season and all of of us should have done something, no matter how small, to prepare. One of the things that is now looked upon by many South Floridians as a necessity is an emergency generator. Do you own one? Take the poll!


Do You Own An Emergency Generator?
Yes. I have one that can power up the whole house.
Yes. I have a smaller portable version.
No. But I'll make do like I did before.
No. I'm leaving and coming back when there's power.
No. My living situation does not allow it.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday End




-via Bisbohemian's Flickr

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Sunday Afternoon Dreaming



Deer Creek Ranch, Big Fork, Montana.

Another gorgeous Montana hideaway, Deer Creek Ranch is nestled at the foothills of the Swan Mountain range near Bigfork. The 73-acre private estate has both a large log home and a private guest cabin. The home is being sold fully furnished including a collection of western art. The home's style is the classic log cabin gone luxe with rough-hewn details like stone fireplaces and raw timbers. It also has a decidedly western turned upscale feel with details like a formal dining room with a log ceiling and a billiard room that includes a log-framed bar.

$19.9 million.

-via Luxist

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National Ice Cream Day




I know it's probably snuck up on you this year, but today is National Ice Cream Day.

Celebrate accordingly.





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Begging To Bury

No matter what your station in life may be, in the end it should never, ever come to this:

The family of Markese Wiggan didn't know how they were going to pay for their slain son's funeral so they stood on Sunrise Boulevard near the Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday begging for money.

Clad in T-shirts emblazoned with Markese's photograph and the words "In Loving Memory," his father, stepmother and brother walked up to cars and, with plastic containers in hand, explained to passersby that they needed money to pay for the boy's funeral. In five hours, they collected $250.

And on Saturday, with that money and the promise of help from a distant relative, they laid Markese to rest.

In a nation more and more defined by those that "have" and those that "have not," you would think that providing a decent funeral for a 14-year-old would be exempt from being subjected to that definition. Apparently not.

-Link to story

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Sunday Start




-via ianarridge's Flickr

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Night Music Break



Raul Midon, live on Letterman.

UPDATE: As Jodi points out in the comments, more about Raul can be found here. Thanks Jodi.

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World's Lamest Excuse

As I reported here earlier this week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is conducting a special enforcement effort this weekend in the Everglades that is targeting the Einsteins who like to feed alligators.

Undercover officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be out this weekend to snare people feeding the gators, a second-degree misdemeanor.

[...]

As of late Friday afternoon, officers had cited 13 people for feeding gators since July 1. The charge can carry a sentence of 60 days in jail or a fine of up to a $500, but Pino said the cases are usually settled for about a $200 fine.

One of the brain trusts cited was Jeffrey Bush:
Jeffrey Bush brought his son to a dock in the Everglades on a hot Friday afternoon, trying to kill some time fishing.

The two had been casting their lines from the spot for about 30 minutes when Bush threw a fish toward an alligator lurking nearby.

That's when he got cited -- for feeding the gator.

[...]

Bush said he knows it's against the law to feed alligators and that he was just tossing things, including a fish, in its direction.

"I was trying to throw things at him to get him to move, and one happened to be a fish," said Bush, of North Lauderdale. He said he'll contest the citation.

Save it for the judge, Jeff.

No word yet on whether Jeff is related to these two knuckleheads:



You know I just can't resist an opportunity to post that picture.

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Second Chances

If you work for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Palm Beach County, stripping down on the Howard Stern Show is apparently worse for your career than having a child that you're responsible for wind up dead, in part, due to your negligence.

The child abuse investigator who closed the state's case on Charles Edward Tyson Jr. before he was killed can keep his job but got a warning this week that he is one mistake away from termination.

Department of Children and Families reviews found that investigator Omar Yarce and his direct supervisor, Michele Fuhrman, did not do enough to protect the boy, known as C.J., before he was killed.

C.J. was 9 months old in April, when he was smashed on the hood of a car and thrown into a canal to die.

[...]

Supervisors recommended that Yarce refer the family to an agency that helps new mothers, consult with child abuse experts at the Child Protection Team and submit the case to attorneys to see if the state had enough evidence to take custody of C.J.

Yarce failed to do any of those things before closing the case, the letter said.

SotP was able to listen in when Yarce was called to his supervisor's office. "We're warning you, Omar. If any more of your children are violently killed by a parent because of something you may not have done, that's it! Our limit is one. You only get one second chance with DCF when it comes to dead babies."

Which reminds me.
The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.

-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan


-Link to story

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Miami Transit Man's day.

All is quiet.

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Communist Propaganda Remains On School Shelves

A day in South Florida wouldn't be complete without a new chapter in the ongoing saga of dangerous children's books being written. And so it is today.

The Miami Herald is reporting this morning that the Miami-Dade School Board has chosen to listen to its legal counsel this time around and has denied a Broward County resident's request to ban Cuban Kids.

The Miami-Dade school district summarily dismissed a complaint seeking to ban a controversial children's book from library shelves, saying the activist who filed it had no legal standing.

In a letter dated Thursday, the principal at Henry Mack/West Little River Elementary said that activist David Rosenthal lives in Broward County and has no children at the school, where he filed the complaint against Cuban Kids. "Upon consulting with the School Board attorney's office, I have been advised that I cannot process your request," wrote principal Reva Vangates.

The school board counsel reasoned in a memo to school board members that only citizens of Miami-Dade County can file complaints against books contained in the Miami-Dade school system even the rule clearly states that "any citizen" can file a complaint. The complainant, David Rosenthal, isn't happy with the ruling.
"It's either ignorance on their part or a disingenuous attempt to quash the complaint," said Rosenthal, who was been a leading voice in the successful campaign to remove another children's book, Vamos a Cuba, from school libraries.

[...]

"If they don't change their minds, I'll file suit or attempt to talk to the [School] Board members and see if they can't try to influence the attorney," he told The Miami Herald.

The Miami-Dade School Board "disingenuous?" Pray tell.

How hilarious would it be to have the school board defending itself from lawsuits to allow a book and to ban a book at the same time?

This is a story that just won't stop giving.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



-via Pichichi's Flickr

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Friday Fun



Create your own Jackson Pollock masterpiece.

Here.


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Sea Turtle Nesting: Live Webcast

If you don't have any plans for this evening, you might want to tune into the live webcast of a sea turtle nesting at Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge in southern Brevard County.

Tonight people may witness a sea turtle nesting live on local beaches by going to their computers and logging on to a free Web site. The site is linked to a night-vision camera that will attempt to show a turtle laying eggs on the beach north of the Sebastian Inlet.

Likelihood: Very high. The nesting area is at the epicenter of the leading loggerhead sea turtle nesting area in the Western Hemisphere.

The camera will be on the beaches near the Bonstelle Park in southern Brevard County. The area is part of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge for sea turtles.

When: 9:30 p.m. and will last for up to two hours. Programming begins at 9 p.m. with a recorded educational talk about sea turtles.

Web site address: www.megotta.com.

Interactive: Viewers may send questions to a turtle expert at the nesting site. Answers will be broadcast on camera.

What viewers will see: A loggerhead sea turtle after it has come out of the ocean and started digging a nest in the sand. Egg-laying normally lasts about one hour.

-Link to story (reg. required)

UPDATE: The Miami Herald has more.

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Quote Of The Day

A lot of people are offended by the name. I've heard feedback.

-Phyllis Chmara, treasurer for the now defunct Palm Beach County-based charity group, Friends of Retarded, discussing the reasons why the group had to disband.

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So What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Introducing a new weekly feature to SotP called "So What Are You Doing This Weekend?" There's so much going on and so many activities to get involved in around South Florida, I'm hoping that this feature provides some information and ideas to readers that they might be able to use for their own weekend plans. Additionally, it provides a valuable service to the stalkers among us.

We already know that Wide Lawns Subservient Worker is heading to Key West and Tere is visiting Opa Taverna tonight. I'm taking a rare weekend off from golfing and making a point of catching up on some desperately needed sleep. I really don't have anything else planned except the usual weekend chores and some house maintenance items. Exciting, huh?

So what is everyone else doing?

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Creep

I can think of a few more tattoos Michael Davidson might want to add to his body.

A Missouri man accused of severely beating a 17-year-old girl in Coconut Creek has had five of the six charges against him dropped in exchange for agreeing to testify against his co-defendant. Michael W. Davidson, 27, who was facing life in prison if convicted, pleaded no contest to aggravated battery. Prosecutors dropped attempted murder, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, aggravated child abuse and robbery charges.

Davidson, who was identified by a tattoo on his neck that spells "CREEP," faces from 45 months to five years in prison, contingent upon testimony at Dustin J. Morter's trial on Aug. 28.

So you may think the guy is indeed a "creep" after reading those paragraphs, but you don't get a full appreciation of what a worthless piece of crap this moron is until you continue on with the story.
According to the arrest affidavit, Davidson and Morter offered to drive the girl home from Geronimos Bar and Grill in Davie on Nov. 30, 2004. On the drive home, they claimed they were lost, stopped in the parking lot of a Coconut Creek church and demanded sex.

When the girl refused, Morter punched her in the face and Davidson kicked her in the face. During the beating, she pretended to have passed out in hopes of getting them to stop. They attempted to sexually attack her, repeatedly slammed her head on a curb and then fled.

The girl managed to walk to a nearby apartment for help. She was beaten so severely that she could not see for four days and could not give a statement to police until six days after the beating.

I wonder if there's any way we could get Mike and his buddy shipped over to Abu Ghraib?

-Link to story

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Somewhere In The Middle

Robert, from 26th Parallel, provided the following comment to yesterday's post, "We're Talking About Our Community." While it's not exactly the response I was looking for or something I entirely agree with, I think Robert does a good job at articulating what might be considered a middle ground on the issue.

It's unfortunate, very unfortunate indeed, that politics has gotten messed up in the book banning debate. Because if you push aside all the rhetoric and political BS and consider this case solely on its merits, very good and valid arguments can be made for both sides. Some of you may not agree, and that's fine with me.

Yes, this conservative Cuban-American is torn by this issue, and I admit I'm straddling the fence here. This case could have been handled much better than it was. However, I think Alesh said it best, and I'll paraphrase: being ambivalent about an issue can often reflect a greater and deeper understanding of its complexities. Beth Reinhard wrote an excellent column in the Herald a couple of weeks back, you all should read it again to gain a better understanding of what I'm trying to explain.

I would venture to say that a slight majority of Cuban-Americans agree with the School Board's decision. That would make Bolaños correct in stating that he has the Cuban-American community's support. If some C-A's feel disenfranchised by that, then they should continue to make their voices heard. Start blogs (hint... Gansibele), write letters to the editor, scream from the tops of small buildings, do whatever it takes. If you're fortunate enough to live in the district in which Bolaños is running for state Senate, as I do, you can even vote against him (I just might myself).

But also, please realize that there are smart and reasonable people out there who actually...gasp... support the book ban. What's bothered me this whole time is the often condescending tone that both sides have shown in response to each other. You have the Bolaños "you're either for the ban or you're against the Cuban community" crowd, and you have the "This is America, learn the First Amendment" crowd on the other side screaming at each other. Neither side is winning points nor making a convincing case in my opinion.

Thanks, Robert.

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AM Chuckle




From The Man Show, a kid running a beer stand.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Driving Around South Florida



NW 41st Street and NW 107th Ave., Doral

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$20 Mill

What does $20 million get you in Fort Lauderdale? Luxist points us to this big-ass house with 6 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms on the Intracoastal. From the listing:

Introducing the formal living areas, the spectacular rotunda foyer highlights a hand-painted domed ceiling, a mosaic-inlaid floor, and hand-carved marble colonnades. Stone fireplaces appoint the elegant living room, crowned by a gilded dome, and the handsome mahogany library. Luxuriously accommodating family, staff, and guests, five bedrooms include the grand master suite and self-contained guest suite, housed in the separate carriage house.

Accessed from all first-floor principal rooms, an expansive waterside loggia provides a superb setting for outdoor gatherings, leading to the dramatic pool, tropical gardens, and sweeping waterway vistas. One of Fort Lauderdale's finest properties, this distinguished estate affords the pinnacle of luxury waterfront living.

So I'm wondering how much it would cost to insure this monstrosity. That's assuming, of course, that you could find an insurance company willing to do it.

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DeFede's "Score One For The Little Guy"

Jim DeFede hails the prosecution of Dania Beach City Commissioner John Bertino, pictured at right, after he allegedly keyed the car of a guy who had taken a parking place he wanted.

DeFede suggests a fitting punishment for Bertino if he's convicted of the criminal mischief charge.

I say put him out there with a bunch of teenagers cleaning graffiti off of walls. That way Commissioner Bertino could finally do something that betters his community and the kids could learn that stupidity knows no age limit.

Nice!

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Ode To Arriola



In honor of Joe Arriola's last day...

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"We're Talking About Our Community"

Miami-Dade School Board Chairman and State Senate hopeful Frank Bolaños trotted out his loyal minions and held a news conference in Little Havana's venerable Versailles Restaurant yesterday in an obviously transparent effort to keep the controversy of Vamos a Cuba alive and kicking. Bolaños maintained that he had the support of the community:

The feedback that I get back from taxpayers from all segments from our community is that public dollars and taxpayer dollars should not be used to buy Communist propaganda. Thank you.

He then backed away from the microphone.

Of course, as we all know, that is not even close to the issue here, but instead of spending time on the obvious, let's move on to what happened next.

Channel 10 reporter Alex Alvarez asked the following questions that dramatically changed the mood in the room.
"Where are they today? Where are they today besides the Cuban community? Mr. Bolaños, where are they? They are taxpayers."

The Cuban-Americans standing in the front of the room momentarily appeared confused and startled that someone was actually questioning the legitimacy of what they were saying. After all, here they were in the center of Little Havana putting on a little dog and pony ostensibly against communism. Who would dare question their words?

An older gentleman then emerged from the pack to take the microphone as Bolaños tried to hold him back while advising that it "wasn't a debate." The older guy finally gathered himself and responded to Alvarez, saying:
Wait one one second. You're trying to make a divide. You're trying to divide the community. As you can see around here, we are Cubans. We're Cuban-Americans. We're talking about our community.

First of all, I find it interesting that this guy initially refers to himself and the others in the front of the room as "Cubans" before clarifying himself in the next sentence.

Secondly, what a great opportunity for Cuban-Americans who don't believe in book banning to step forward and denounce Bolaños and the others who say they represent a unified Cuban-American community. I'll be looking for passionate writings from Miami's Cuban-American bloggers and journalists and watching the television in anticipation for the news conferences of the community leaders whose views differ from those who gathered at the Versailles yesterday.

Because we all know that not every Cuban-American feels the same way. I'm sure there will be plenty of voices that rise up in the next few days and say loud and clear, "These people don't represent me and my views."

Let's watch what happens.

-Link to video

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AM Chuckle



Why the Spanish Army will never win a war.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



Corner of Washington Ave. and Espanola Way, Miami Beach

-via South Florida Photographers Flickr

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Weatherman And Author

For those of us who lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Bryan Norcross needs no introduction. The Channel 4 weatherman talked South Florida through that devastating storm and became somewhat of a hero to a number of Miami-Dade residents who sufferred the brunt of Andrew.

And now, as Joan Fleischman points out in today's Herald, Norcross has just finished writing a book. Called Hurricane Almanac 2006: The Essential Guide to Storms Past, Present, and Future, the book is described as follows on its own website:

In this important new book:

LEARN: Highlights the fascinating history of hurricanes interacting with civilizations as well as reviews the catastrophic season of 2005, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Are we in the middle of a 25-year storm cycle?

PREPARE: How to find accurate information before and during a storm and how best to interpret it.

SURVIVE: Checklists of items needed to make homes, businesses, pets and people safe during storms.

REACT: Whether and how to evacuate or sit out a storm. How to find and offer help.

RECOVER: How to best use the resources of insurers and government agencies. Should you rebuild in the same place?

As you might be able to gather from the title, Norcross plans to make this a yearly thing with updates and additional information included in the new editions.

Norcross will be signing copies of Hurricane Almanac 2006 on Thursday evening at 7 pm at Kiehl's, 832 Lincoln Road.

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South Florida Cartoons



-Don Wright, The Palm Beach Post

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Prove It

Governor Jeb! Bush is claiming that Florida's reduced crime rate is attributable, in part, to:

...tougher laws, increased financial support from the Legislature and law-abiding citizens with guns...

[...]

"This report shows that staying tough on crime works," said Bush. "Law-abiding citizens that have guns for protection actually probably are part of the reason we have a lower crime rate."

Jeb! added, "Chicken soup helps cure a cold. The number 13 is unlucky. An apple a day helps keep the doctor away. Only eat shellfish when there's an "r" in the month. Red sky at night, sailor's delight, and Saddam had WMD's. Thank you all for listening."

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Quote Of The Day

"The boat was zigging and zagging up the Intracoastal, going north, and then started doing doughnuts."

-John Choynowski, owner of a 100-foot-yacht that was taken for a joyride by a drunken Benjamin Mami, pictured right, in Hollywood this past weekend.

The Sun-Sentinel has the story, Channel 4 has a video.

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Homo Imbecilius

Believe it or not, some Broward County residents think that wild alligators are sort of like blue jays or muscovy ducks.

Florida wildlife officials have a message for the people of Broward County: Stop feeding the alligators. Really.

Concerned with how comfortable the reptiles are becoming with people, officers will spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday trolling certain areas for the not-so-elusive species of homo imbecilius, also known as gator feeders.

They will be handing out tickets that could lead to fines or even jail time for the second-degree misdemeanor.

Despite a series of deadly attacks this year, including one at Markham Park, people continue to dangle chips, raw chicken and marshmallows over canals and ponds.

[...]

"I would imagine, because gators' brains are the size of a pea," [Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge] Pino said, "we are the superior thinkers."

And you would be wrong, Jorge.

-Link to story

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New Heights In Hypocritical Thinking

"We must remember that no matter how peaceful many Muslims seem to be, their core religion's doctrine allows for no other faith to exist peacefully alongside them."

-The not very Rev. O'Neal Dozier of the Worldwide Christian Center explaining last night why neighborhood Christians do not want Muslims to exist peacefully alongside them in Pompano Beach.

For more information on Dozier, please proceed immediately over to The Daily Pulp.

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AM Chuckle



The Peanut Butter Disaster. If you have kids, you'll definitely appreciate this one.





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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Miami Craigslist Classic

If you ever feel like you're getting a raw deal in life, there's always Craigslist personals to remind you that maybe, just maybe, things aren't all that bad.


Disillusioned and losing my youth - 22

I’m sitting here completely drunk at 2:22pm wishing I had someone to share some chair spinning substance abusing fun with. I’ve never done drugs, who am I kidding, but I want to.

Are you intelligent, disgruntled, bored, wanting fun, f****ed up, and have lots of free time?

Want get drunk and walk to the beach in the rain? Want to play videos games. Want to listen to really loud music and do absolutely nothing. I do.

I’m married, thus the strictly platonic. I need a life though, come play with me and be happy. I need to feel alive again.

I bet this won’t get as many responses as the booty calls. It is a shame. I’m sure there is someone out there that feels the same way. I'm a girl, by the way.

Yowzah.

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The Drive Home

My commute from work to home has thankfully been without major incident for the 8 or 9 years that I've been making it. I travel the very clogged but very predictable NW 41st Street to the Turnpike and then zip north, around the Big Curve, and under I-75 to the Red Road exit. From there it's about 10-15 minutes through moderate traffic to my house in Pembroke Pines.

I can count on one hand the times I've had major disruptions on this route. There's been one or two serious accidents that have shut down the roadway and even a couple fires, but for the most part, it's the exception to the rule down here in SoFla when you're talking about traffic.

Of course, all bets are off when it starts to rain, like it did today. Walls of water came down just past the 41st Street toll plaza on the Turnpike. It was so bad that I was even tempted to turn on my emergency flashers like every other Miami-Dade resident does in a hard rain. Okay, so I would never do something that idiotic, but you get my point.

Just south of the Okeechobee Road exit, DOT has erected one of those signs that tells drivers what traffic conditions to expect ahead. For the first time in a long time, the sign was on and there were words on it. "Oh, boy," I muttered to myself, knowing that this now meant that many of my fellow commuters were going to have to slow down, waaaaaayyyyyy doooowwwwwnnnn, to read and digest the contents of the sign. Sure enough, speeds decreased until we all were going 25 mph in a 65 mph zone. I could imagine dozens of confused drivers looking at the sign, pointing at it, turning to a teenager in the car and asking "Qué?" and then immediately slamming on their brakes to avoiding hitting the driver ahead of them who was doing the same thing.

Having nothing else to do while crawling along at 25 mph but read the sign, I learned that the Okeechobee Road exit ramp was blocked and drivers were being advised to "seek an alternate route." So how surprised was to see a huge line of cars sitting, just sitting, in the exit lane for Okeechobee Road waiting for FHP and about 5 tow trucks to right a cement truck that had tipped over? Not very. This is South Florida. Those cars are still sitting there waiting for the exit ramp to open. Papa John's is making deliveries to them as I write this.

After passing Okeechobee Road, speeds picked up a little to 45 because there were no more twinkling signs on the horizon. But after about a 1/4 mile, the brake lights came back on. Not for an accident on our side of the road, but for the southbound rear-ender that is pictured below. Northbounders had almost come to a complete stop to observe this wreck and watch the unfortunate drivers huddle under an umbrella in the driving rain. Given the circumstances, I did the thing that comes most natural for me. I took a picture of the carnage.



Once drivers could no longer see the wreck, they drove as if they had been shot out of a cannon, trying to make up for all the lost time they spent looking for bodies along side the road. This scene bore a lot of resemblance to what it looks like at the start of a race when the pace car pulls off the racetrack and the green flag is dropped. Without the skilled drivers, of course. Within 200 yards of the accident, we were all doing 70 again.

The rest of the commute was as regular as it is any other day. The whole ride took a little more than 45 minutes or about 10 minutes longer than usual. No too bad, considering.

And tomorrow I get to do it all over again.

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Psst....




There's a rumor going around.






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Feeling Gassy?

The South Florida Business Journal is reporting that gasoline prices are at their highest level of the year and close to the all-time record set shortly after Katrina blew through New Orleans last year.

The motorist organization put the nationwide average price for self-serve regular gasoline at nearly $2.97 a gallon.

[...]

AAA said Hawaii has the highest average gas price in the nation at $3.37 a gallon. California is next at $3.25 a gallon, followed by Connecticut at $3.19 a gallon.

[...]

The lowest statewide average gasoline prices in the nation are in South Carolina, at $2.79 a gallon, and Tennessee, at nearly $2.75 a gallon. Mississippi has the next lowest average price at $2.80 and a half cents a gallon.

Locally, MiamiGasPrices.com has the South Florida average pegged at about $2.95, but check out the $.46/gallon difference between regular unleaded in Miami and the same across the causeway in Miami Beach.

Ouch.

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Miami Vice Wallpapers






Here.








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South Florida Cartoons



-Jim Morin, The Miami Herald, who is obviously a big fan of Klotz.

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SotP Thought For The Day




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The Daily Pulp Takes Down Controversial Reverend



Who says blogs can't make a difference?

Following some controversial remarks on radio about Muslims, the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, a Gov. Jeb Bush appointee, resigned from a panel responsible for nominating judges in Broward County.

Dozier said Monday he was asked to step down from the nine-member Judicial Nominating Commission after he characterized Islam as a "cult" on a radio show.

[...]

His comments were first reported on an Internet blog written by Bob Norman, a columnist for New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

You da man, Bob!

-Link to story

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AM Chuckle



Balloons.


-submitted by Manola

If you see anything that you would like to have considered for the SotP AM Chuckle, please send it to me at gwizzzatgmail.com.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Notable Reads

Ocean Drive Magazine reviews Cocaine Cowboys and it's all good.

Fanless photographs Italians on Ocean Drive. At least they say they're Italian.

Yo, man, that's my yo-yo.

Miami Mommas are mad for mangos.

Your "Only in Miami" news story of the day.

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Hey Ladies



Jason Taylor contemplates what it's going to be like to be a free man once again.

-photo via Lali Michelsen's Flickr

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Free Stuff

It's not every day that you are able to get into a really good movie for nothing. Click on over to greenerMIAMI and tell Rebecca why you would like to see An Inconvenient Truth and chances are, you and a friend will be going for free.

The deadline for submitting your entry is tomorrow so don't waste any time.

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Your "Only In South Florida" News Story Of The Day

Parakeets causing power outages.

Rich Geissinger, of Delray Beach, contacted the Sun-Sentinel about monk parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots, that have built a large nest on the utility pole that brings electricity to his home. The birds, which live in groups, can build nests that weigh up to 200 pounds. Geissinger said he has lost power eight times in 10 years because of blown circuit breakers caused by the nests. Geissinger contacted Florida Power & Light in June about extracting the nests. The company has removed them before, he said.

[...]

FPL has spent $300,000 trying to find ways to keep the birds off the poles. FPL has used scarecrow-like figures, sprays and birth control from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Removal of the nests is usually a temporary solution. The monk parakeets often return and rebuild their nests in the same spot.

People think, "Parakeets! How cute." I play golf at a couple courses that have these things living on them and let me tell you, these are loud, obnoxious and dirty birds.

Good riddance, I say.

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A Boy Named Sue

No matter how tolerant you are of other's lifestyles, this is still very weird.

One little girl entering Broward County kindergarten this fall is actually a boy.

Few will know this genetic truth, because the 5-year-old's parents and school administrators have agreed that it's in his best interest to blend in as a female.

Mental health professionals have diagnosed Pat -- not his real name -- with gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes that he or she is the opposite gender. After two years of examination, they have determined that he is not simply effeminate or going through a phase.

[...]

The soon-to-be kindergartner looks quite feminine, cartwheeling around the yard and playing with dolls. Pat says he hates his penis, and he refuses to wear boys' clothing.

[...]

At the school, teachers and the principal are prepared. The child will use unisex bathroom facilities, will be addressed by a unisex name -- not Pat -- and has been asked to dress in gender-neutral clothing, such as shorts or pants and a shirt.

And I thought I had a lot of issues growing up. Sheesh.

UPDATE: Tony Ortega, editor for the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, points out in the comments that the New Times covered the same story (much more in depth, in my opinion) almost two months ago. You can read it here.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Blogging South Beach's day.

All is quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 100808
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 AM EDT MON JUL 10 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A TROPICAL WAVE...ACCOMPANIED BY CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS IS LOCATED ABOUT 1000 MILES EAST OF THE SOUTHERN WINDWARD. THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO MOVE TOWARD THE WEST OR WEST-NORTHWEST AT 15 TO 20 MPH AND DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...WILL BE SLOW TO OCCUR.

DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS BETWEEN HISPANIOLA AND BERMUDA ARE PRIMARILY ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW. TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH TUESDAY.


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Miami Blogs In The Herald

Transit Miami and The New Miamian get some well-deserved attention by the Miami Herald's Larry Lebowitz in his column today.

Other South Florida blogs, including this one, are linked to in an accompanying sample of "transportation blogs and sites." According to Lebowitz, SotP should be checked out "for the title alone." Well, thanks, I think.

Congrats to Gabe and Jamey (we know your name now!).

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A New Week, A New Poll

I'm not sure I did a very good job of constructing last week's poll. Seems to me, I had some redundancy built into the answers. In any case, a full 73% of the respondents indicated that they read South Florida blogs whenever they have the time or at all times. Only 26% pointed to a specific time of the day and no one limited their reading to just the afternoon.

I'm really not sure what all that means, but I do know that SotP gets most of its readers in the late afternoon and at night on the weekdays. On the weekend, all bets are off as it seems like the few people that do drop by do so at all hours of the day and night. The disparity in traffic between the week and the weekend is a source of wonderment for me ever since I switched from political to local blogging. Politics was 24/7 while local blogging seems to take a vacation every weekend. I'm still trying to get used to that.

This week's poll concerns a question I spend a lot of time thinking about. Perhaps it's because I'm over 40 and often times find there's not enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do. Maybe it's because time seems to pass by much more quickly these days. Whatever the reason, I think a lot about my retirement plans and the goals that I have set for myself in that regard. How about you? Have you given it any thought? At what age do you want to retire? Take the poll!


At What Age Do You Plan To Retire?
Before 50
50-55
55-60
60-65
Older than 65
Never
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com



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AM Chuckle



Gerbil cannon.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday End



-via Mr Geoff's Flickr

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Six Feet Under

What famous people are buried in South Florida? I know this is a question that has been on everyone's minds recently so, as a public service, I did some checking on Find A Grave and came up with some you may recognize.

Miami-Dade

Eddie Arcaro: Horse racing jockey, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery

Jackie Gleason: Entertainer, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery

Meyer Lansky: Mobster, Mount Nebo Cemetery

Mitzi the Dolphin, aka "Flipper:" Animal actor, Dolphin Research Institute And Center

Joe Robbie: Miami Dolphins owner, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery

Anastasio Somoza Debayle
: Nicaraguan President, Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum

Pedro Zamora: MTV "Real World," Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum

Broward County
Danny Joe Brown: Singer for rock band "Molly Hatchet," Lauderdale Memorial Park Cemetery

Rocky Marciano
: Boxer, Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery

Esther Rolle: "Good Times" actress, Westview Cemetery

Find A Grave also gives you a short biography of the person and, in most cases, a picture of the gravesite.

Kind of interesting in a weird sort of way.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Amy's day.

Everything is quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 091457
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1130 AM EDT SUN JUL 9 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A LARGE TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED ABOUT 1300 MILES EAST OF THE SOUTHERN WINDWARD ISLANDS IS ACCOMPANIED BY WIDESPREAD CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS. ANY DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS LIKELY TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH.

DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS EXTENDING FROM NEAR HISPANIOLA...PUERTO RICO...AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS NORTHWARD INTO THE ATLANTIC FOR A FEW HUNDRED MILES ARE PRIMARILY ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM. SURFACE PRESSURES ARE HIGH AND TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED IN THIS AREA. HOWEVER...THE SYSTEM WILL LIKELY INCREASE SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY OVER HISPANIOLA...PUERTO RICO AND THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO AS IT MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWESTWARD.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH MONDAY.

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Miss Miami Is Miss Florida 2006

Miss Miami, 23-year-old Allison Kreiger, pictured at right, won the Ms. Florida beauty pageant last night in downtown Miami. You can check out all the other losers contestants here.

Allison is not to be confused with the current Miss Miami USA, Meg Perkins, who will be competing in next week's Miss Florida USA pageant.

Jeesh.



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The Funeral For Sherdavia Jenkins

Leonard Pitts says it. I agree. Everyone should be outraged.

"Where I live, no 9-year-old girls will be shot today," said incoming Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio. "Or tomorrow. They never will." People in South Florida, he said, would spend this day on their boats or in the malls or at the movies, then come home and watch this funeral on the news "like something happening somewhere else in the world."

". . . And yet," he said, "in our very midst, we sit on a crisis of epic proportions." A crisis we fail to recognize.

Let three people get bitten by sharks, he said, and we sound the alarm about the shark crisis. Let three people get chewed by alligators and there are headlines about the alligator crisis. Yet, "this happens, and it's just . . . the way it is."

But where is the outrage?

Pitts is right. South Floridians are too busy with their own little lives in (name the neighborhood) to concern themselves with kids, no wait, toddlers, getting shot and killed in Liberty City.

It's amazing to me. Not one word is being said.


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Deadly Policy

One women died yesterday during the latest known attempt by human smugglers in South Florida.

Another dramatic sea chase off the coast of South Florida -- this one deadly -- ended early Saturday morning, again highlighting the dilemma and danger of human smuggling from Cuba.

Using a shotgun armed with special rounds, a U.S. Coast Guard marksman shot out the engine of an escaping boat, as one person aboard apparently tried to use himself as a human shield.

A young woman died of apparent head injuries. Three suspected smugglers were in custody, their roles again drawing the ire of law enforcement and Cuban exile leaders.

During the chase, the fleeing boat made several aggressive maneuvers against the Coast Guard vessel.
During the chase, Coast Guard officials said, the reported smugglers ignored commands to stop and tried unsuccessfully to ram their boats at least five times.

The boat tried to spray the Coast Guard boat with "prop wash" kicked up by its engines, then one man could be seen leaning over the engine in an apparent attempt to cover them from Coast Guard fire.

It appears as though the fatality may have been the result of the conditions aboard the smuggling boat.
The unnamed woman -- described only as young -- suffered bruises to her face and severe head injuries. She was speeded ashore aboard a small Coast Guard boat but died en route.

An autopsy was scheduled for this morning.

"She clearly does have some head trauma, but we're going to be looking at that," Monroe County Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter said.

Ramón Saul Sánchez, leader of the Democracy Movement exile group, blames the wet foot-dry foot policy for these tragic deaths on the high seas. I agree with him.

Illegal immigrants from Cuba realize that if they just make it "feet dry" on American soil, they're golden. More times than not, when they're interdicted at sea, they make reckless and foolish attempts to evade capture in order to get to dry land. If they were treated like every other illegal immigrant, I tend to think that these chases would end and lives would not be jeopardized. Why would there be any need to try to make a mad dash for shore when you're going to be captured and sent back to Cuba anyway?

Of course, Sánchez would argue that all immigration barriers between Cuba and the United States must fall in order for these smuggling attempts to end. As we all know, that isn't going to happen any time soon, so it might behoove Sánchez to "get real" and start investing his time and efforts into a solution that's a little more realistic and productive.

-MSNBC has the video

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Sunday Start



-via Tigole Bitties' Flickr

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Night Music Break



One of my favorite songs, performed live...

Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

Enjoy.

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The D-Train Goes Downtown

Grand slam, baby!

The Marlins already had gone up 3-0 on the Mets when Willis stepped into the batter's box in the fourth with the bases full. Willis said he sensed that Lima, who was sent down to the minors after the game, was having problems locating pitches and decided not to mess around.

"I just told myself I was going to swing at whatever he threw up there with the first pitch," Willis said.

The ball was struck with such authority, leaving no doubt as to its destination and outcome, that the crowd of 41,276 gasped. The ball struck the top of a billboard above and beyond the Mets bullpen.

The Marlins win at Shea, 7-3.

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Beach Patrol Miami On Court TV



Fanless reminds us that there is a new South Florida-based reality TV show starting up this Monday on Court TV called Beach Patrol: Miami Beach:

If you think Miami Beach is sizzling, wait until you follow the real, red-hot action of the Miami Beach Ocean Rescue team. From the water's edge to South Beach's Ocean Drive, this series brings you the real stories of the heroic lifeguards who protect this beautiful (and often outlandish) beach community. Working hand-in-hand with the Miami Beach Fire Rescue and Police Departments, watch as the team encounters unpredictable and sometimes volatile situations – from drunken brawls on the beach to dangerous ocean water rescues.

Could make for some interesting TV. 8:30 PM, Monday.

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Connecting The Dots

I wasn't connecting the dots.

Why would the Chairman of the Miami-Dade School Board, a man with impressive credentials, ignore the advice of the school board legal council? Why would he ignore legal precedent? Indeed, why would Frank Bolaños ignore the U.S. Constitution in his spirited drive to ban a children's book from Miami-Dade Public Schools?

This morning's opinion column in which Frank threw out a number of comically outrageous statements didn't help things much. In fact, in my post I questioned Frank's common sense.

And then there was last night's comment posted by Michael Caputo. I had done a cursory Google on Caputo before I went golfing and found this and this which led me to believe that Caputo, if it was the same Michael Caputo, was a Republican Party loyalist.

But still, I couldn't connect the dots.

And then I read this post over at Hidden City and it all makes sense to me now.

Politics is politics, folks. We all know that both parties are up to their respective little tricks. But things have reached a new low when candidates are willing to abuse the U.S. Constitution and their constituency in order to get elected. Is Bolaños and the Republican Party that desperate to get him into office that they would go this far?

Yes. Because any party who has members who are willing to sink to these depths, would think nothing of walking all over the United States Constitution in order to further advance their own political agenda.

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Frank Bolaños Responds

In his comments to this post, SotP reader Republican Party hack Michael Caputo directs our attention to an editorial written by Miami-Dade School Board Member Frank Bolaños that appears in today's Miami Herald.

If the Newark, N.J., School Board decided to issue Little Black Sambo as a third grade reader, how would that largely African-American community react?

Famed progressive educator Carl L. Marburger posed this question in 1974, when he said controversial schoolbooks in rural West Virginia showed the public school system's "astonishing insensitivity to local cultural values."

Those aggrieved local folks endured the insults, catcalls and jeers of the liberal elite until Marburger, a self-described liberal's liberal, spoke up and gave them pause. Today, the Miami-Dade School Board and I are being accused of censorship for our efforts to remove from school libraries Vamos a Cuba, a children's book that paints a false and distorted portrait of life in communist Cuba.

If the teachers' unions, Miami Herald columnists, the ACLU and Fidel Castro himself are to be believed, the School Board is pillaging school libraries, burning books, oppressing the intellectual freedom of helpless children and stomping on the First Amendment.

None of this is true; this is not a First Amendment issue. Censorship occurs when government refuses to allow people to purchase material, not when it refuses to provide that material at no charge.

It's early and I have a tee time in a couple hours so I don't have a lot of time to devote to this right now but I've got to say that it takes a special kind of school board member to write an opinion column in a national newspaper and provide views that are so totally contradictory to the school board's own legal counsel and the U.S. Supreme Court. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when that opinion is so clearly opposite to established legal precedent, you have to start questioning that person's common sense.

I have to run but I'll leave it up to my readers to continue the discussion. Go read the whole column.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Edmundo's day.

All is quiet.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



South Beach

-via f0dder's Flickr

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Only In Miami

MiamiNights provides us with our "Only In Miami" moment of the week.

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Friday Fun




It's Friday. Play a little trash can basketball.

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Nicky O




22-year-old Nicky Hilton will open her own hotel on South Beach in November, according to Luxist.

We already knew that Nicky Hilton was planning to launch her own hotel chain, but now the hotel heiress officially has an opening scheduled for the first in a chain of boutique hotels. Nicky O (her middle name is Olivia) will open its doors this November in South Beach, Florida. Hilton is a self-described fashionista and her intent is to have her hotels focus on design and designers. In keeping with this, she has had several famous designers decorate the suites. Roberto Cavalli will be doing the 5,000-sq. foot penthouse in the SoBe hotel in a gold theme that mimics his retail stores.

Zilbert Realty, who is apparently handling sales for the hotel, promises more information on Nicky O on July 13th at their website.

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Notable Reads

And while we're at it, let's have a rodeo in Little Haiti.

Critical Miami reveals that you better bring your hiking boots and apply plenty of deodorant before attending an MPAC performance.

If you haven't already, take GreenerMiami's poll on recycling.

Brick's comes to Brickell.

No wonder my ATT/Cingular phone sucked.

Lots o' funny money.

Freckle Face Girl gives us a Spanish lesson.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Sleepless's day.

All is quiet.

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CBS4 Makes Correction...Sorta

Updating a previous post, CBS4 has half-heartedly corrected this story from this:




To this:



The headline reflects the correction but the story is still originating out of Hialeah.

And that doggone twin-engine plane remains.

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AM Chuckle



Bush's Sunday, Bloody Sunday

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Katherine Harris Does Little Havana


Harris said "Hola" and "Gracias" as she walked into the landmark Versailles restaurant, then began her short speech with a sentence in Spanish thanking those in attendance for their support.

"When they said the president couldn't win, the governor couldn't win, or when I couldn't win as secretary of state, you helped me do it," she said in English.

[...]

Harris also made appearances on Spanish-language talk radio, an influential and indispensable tool for any politician seeking the Hispanic vote in South Florida. Harris also invoked the name of Martinez, who is wildly popular among many Cubans in Miami.

Next stop: Pollo Tropical!

-Link to story

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"They Can Hear That Ocean..."

The Palm Beach Post reported today that:

About 170 sea turtles were released off the Treasure Coast Thursday after spending about two years in captivity.

The U.S. Coast Guard and biologists with the National Marine Fisheries Service released 123 loggerhead turtles about 15 miles east of the Fort Pierce Inlet. The remaining 50 turtles were released into the Indian River Lagoon near the Sebastian Inlet.

The turtles were collected as hatchlings near Fort Lauderdale, raised in Texas, then transported to Panama City last month, where they were used in a nine-day study of turtle excluder devices.

Accompanying this story is a very cool slideshow that documents the June release of an injured sea turtle that was rescued by a Boca Raton lifeguard and nursed back to health. I had blogged this story back then but at the time, the Post's slideshow had not been put together.

It's definitely worth a watch.

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South Florida's Dirty Restaurants

Local10 has apparently expanded their coverage of ice quality at restaurants to tracking what South Florida restaurants are being closed on a weekly basis by health inspectors.

Before you go out to dinner, check this list to find out what was going on in -- or crawling around in -- the kitchen. Watch for weekly updates of this list and Jeff Weinsier's special reports.

This week's list includes a Cozzoli's Pizza in the Grove which was closed several weeks ago for "roach activity."

Local10 makes a point of letting you know that all the restaurants on the list "have made corrections and reopened."

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The Daily Pulp Interviews Leonard Pitts

The Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts talks to Bob Norman about his approach to writing and confirms the reasons why I enjoy reading him so much.

Pitts, who has been a columnist for the Herald for 15 years and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, said he decided long ago that he’s going to write what he thinks, not what others think he should write.

“You don’t get to tell me how to write this column based on how black I’m supposed to be,” he says. “I am not black in the sense that I am not 38 million black people. This is one black man’s voice.

“When I first started doing the column I called it ‘adjust the negro.’ That’s what readers and even editors were trying to do, adjust the level of black in me. And you’re starting out and you’re eager to please, but after you’ve gotten battle scars and all these people have built these preconceived ideas that are not based on who you are, you have to just stop listening. At some point you have to tell them all to go to hell, the editors, the readers and whoever else who wants to tell you what you need to be as a black columnist.”

It's easy to be ambiguous or straddle the fence on issues. You risk nothing. You appeal to almost all your audience and you never make waves. But you never wind up putting your true feelings to paper and people will never know how you really feel.

Pitts takes the higher road, in my opinion, and not always the easier road by laying it all out there and letting the chips fall where they may. Which, for me, is the only way to write. Because anything short of that is really just a waste of time.

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Another Book To Be Challenged



Next on the hitlist, Cuban Kids.....

Another children's book about Cuba will be challenged in Miami-Dade County schools, with a formal complaint expected to be filed today, The Miami Herald has learned.

Political activist David Rosenthal said the book Cuban Kids "is nothing more than a series of falsehoods and distorted information, published with the intention of misleading children, and their parents, relatives and friends, about the reality of the totalitarian Castro regime of Cuba."

Besides the cover of the book showing Cuban children smiling, the problems are:
[Author George] Ancona's 40-page book, intended for third- to fifth-graders, paints a largely flattering portrait of life under Fidel Castro. A few photos and some of the text hint at the deep poverty, but the majority of the book focuses on free healthcare, housing and education.

A man interviewed in the book said the "best houses" were owned by "American bosses" before Castro's 1959 revolution.

"After the Revolution, the houses were given to the workers," he says. "Now this is my house and when I die my family can stay here."

[...]

The book also contains some inaccurate information about José Martí, the father of Cuban independence, saying Martí was exiled in 1880 at age 17. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Martí was exiled in 1871 and again in 1879 -- by which time he was 26.

Now that the school board has set a precedent with Vamos a Cuba, it should be interesting to see how they address this one.

I'm really not sure how much more of this nonsense I can take.

-Link to story

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For Some, It's Just A Piece Of Paper

Miami-Dade School Board Member Frank Bolaños is being rewarded nicely by South Florida Republicans for, in part, recently spearheading efforts to ban Vamos a Cuba from Miami-Dade Public Schools. Bolaños, who is a State Senate candidate, is also benefiting from the conservatives blacklisting of current Senator Alex Villalobos, who has fallen out of favor with the Republican Party because he dared disagree with Jeb! on a couple issues.

Bolaños' rapid haul is a stunning amount to raise against an incumbent who, until recently, was the Senate's Republican majority leader and its future president. But then came this spring's legislative session.

Villalobos forfeited his leadership post after he helped defeat a Bush-backed proposal to water down the constitutional amendment limiting class sizes. He also opposed a proposal the governor hoped would help revive private school vouchers for students of struggling public schools. The Florida Supreme Court has declared vouchers unconstitutional.

So South Florida Republican Party loyalists are working hard to unseat an incumbent who was against Bush's unconstitutional school voucher program by backing a candidate who has led the fight to unconstitutionally ban a book from public school shelves.

Does anyone but me see a pattern here?

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AM Chuckle



Soccer's Cheapest Goal...Ever

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



Port of Miami

-via tigerheronFL's Flickr

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Souvenirs From July 4th

Well, you knew it would happen. No matter how many times people are told, they just can't help but go outside on July 4th and New Years Eve and fire a few shots into the night sky to commemorate the occasion in their own special Neanderthal way.

Of course, while these jokers are back in their living rooms drinking a Bud Light and watching highlights of past Daytona 500's, others are left dealing with the results of their idiotic celebrations.

One bullet fell through a woman's kitchen, moments after she left the room. Another plummeted through a roof, 2 feet from a woman's head A third tore into Becky Wursten's shoulder as she watched Fourth of July fireworks in her neighbor's backyard.

There were at least three reports Tuesday night in Broward County of stray bullets falling during fireworks celebrations.

It's so unfortunate that these bullets rarely come straight back down.

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Palm Beach County SAO: Soft On Crime?

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has declined prosecution of Rush "Limpy" Limbaugh.

The State Attorney's Office said today that it will not file charges against conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for possessing a bottle of Viagra prescribed to his doctor.

Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours last week at Palm Beach International Airport after customs agents found the pills in his luggage.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Paul H. Zacks wrote in memo that Dr. Steven Strumwasser agreed to have his name on the label to avoid "potentially embarrassing publicity" for Limbaugh.

Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction.

"Thus, the medication contained in the subject pill bottle was legitimately prescribed to the suspect by his physician," Zacks wrote in the memo.

Zacks added flacidly, "This was an easy decision. It was not a hard one. Although the evidence was good, we were not able to get it up to the level of a prosecutable case."

Zacks stopped short of accusing Customs of pulling a boner by searching and questioning the contents of Limbaugh's luggage. "Straight up," Zacks stiffly said, "Customs did a bang-up job."

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The Herald Misses An Opportunity

An editorial that appears in today's Miami Herald laments the recent shooting deaths of young people in the northwest section of Miami-Dade County. And while the piece is heavy on getting a stronger police presence in the neighborhood...

Yes, the killing must stop, but that won't happen until the shooters are behind bars for good. It's time for a unified police crackdown in the county's increasingly violent northwest area.

...it says nothing about the residents themselves taking an active role in helping the police find, arrest and convict the neighborhood's criminals. Strange, because it seems like after each shooting the Herald reports that no one is talking to police about these crimes.
So police departments, give these neighborhoods a fighting chance. Go after the dealers, the shooters and other criminals. Do it for Sherdavia and the other innocent victims.

Yes, the police need to be aggressive and, by all accounts, they are trying their hardest to solve these crimes. But if the community does not want to participate, it makes law enforcement's job virtually impossible.

It's too bad the Herald squandered a great opportunity to show some leadership on this issue and urge Miami residents to assist the police in their investigations. Instead, they chose the easier and more popular route of putting the onus on police to solve crimes without having witnesses.

Meanwhile, kids continue to die.

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A Little Out Of Whack

One of my life's little frustrations is picking my car up from having it serviced and having to take the time to readjust the seat, steering wheel and mirrors to my own personal positions.

This guy had a simalar problem with his car in Miami this weekend.

The victim was crossing Northeast 79th Street near Miami Avenue about 9 p.m. Sunday when he was hit by the four-door, tan Lexus, Miami police said.

Police said the man darted across four lanes of traffic and that an eastbound van had slowed as the man moved in front of it. The Lexus, also traveling east, veered to try to avoid the man, but struck him and the van, police said.

The driver of the Lexus stopped briefly to adjust his side-view mirrors, then continued driving, police said.

Man, I hate when that happens.

Oh, yeah. The pedestrian was killed. Police found the Lexus abandoned at an apartment building nearby.

The Miami Herald is reporting that a suspect is in custody this morning.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Manola's day.

All is quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 050907
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 AM EDT WED JUL 5 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS LOCATED OVER THE BAHAMAS...CENTRAL AND EASTERN CUBA... AND EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA...AS WELL AS THE ADJACENT WATERS... ARE ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW AND A BROAD SURFACE TROUGH. THIS WEATHER SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DRIFT SLOWLY WESTWARD OVER THE FLORIDA PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ALTHOUGH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE UNFAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION AT THIS TIME... THEY MAY BECOME SOMEWHAT MORE CONDUCIVE FOR SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THE SYSTEM DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH THURSDAY.


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Quote Of The Day

From the Palm Beach Post:

"It turned into a triathlon. But our officers were not going to participate in the swim portion."

-Lt. Gary Chapman, Riviera Beach PD, describing the chase of a carjacking suspect who dove into a canal in a an attempt to escape pursuing officers.

Not to take anything away from the fine work of the Riviera Beach PD in this case but, technically, the foot chase and the swim by the suspect would only constitute a biathlon.

Nevertheless, excellent police work done by the good guys. A picture of the "triathlete" carjacker, Calvin Barkley, appears to the right.

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AM Chuckle



1960's "Miami Go Go" National Airlines Commercial

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Freshly Done Fireworks Over Biscayne Bay



Not perfect, but posting them this quick gets him lots of points.

-via sphereboy's Flickr

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Dulled Senses?

Yovy Suarez-Jimenez, the young woman who was fatally attacked by an alligator in Broward County in May, had inordinately high levels of alcohol and Xanex in her bloodstream when she was killed.

A woman who was killed by an alligator in May had toxic levels of alcohol and an anti-depression drug in her body, authorities said Monday.

Yovy Suarez-Jimenez, 28, was apparently dragged into a canal and eaten by an alligator in early May. Her dismembered body was found May 10 by construction workers. She did not return from jogging the previous night.

[...]

The Broward County Medical Examiner's Office found Suarez-Jimenez had high levels of alcohol and Xanax in her system, but it was the alligator that killed her, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper said Monday.

"There are injuries from the alligator, which indicate she was alive at the time," Perper said.

A person is considered too impaired to drive in Florida with a blood alcohol concentration above .08. According to the autopsy, Suarez-Jimenez had three times that amount in her system at the time of her death. She also had twice the amount of the highest prescribed dosage of Xanax in her blood, said Harold Schueler, chief toxicologist.

I'm really not sure what significance to attach to this new information. Why anyone would feel the need to go jogging in such a state of impairment is mystifying to me. And does this really help clarify or explain anything that happened on that day? I don't think so.

If anything, it may be somewhat comforting to those who knew Ms. Suarez-Jimenez that she was probably unable to fully comprehend exactly what was happening to her in the last few minutes of her life and, we can only hope, felt little pain.

-Link to story

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Bahamamama's day.

All is quiet.

000
ABNT20 KNHC 041501
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1130 AM EDT TUE JUL 4 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SHOWER ACTIVITY OVER THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS AND ADJACENT WATERS IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW AND A BROAD SURFACE TROUGH. THIS ACTIVITY WILL MOVE GENERALLY WESTWARD TOWARD THE FLORIDA PENINSULA OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO...BUT TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT IS NOT EXPECTED.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH WEDNESDAY.


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4th Of July Google



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Quote Of The Day

"People have the tendency to go outside and crank a few rounds off,"...because, among other reasons, "it makes noise and brings attention to them."

-West Palm Beach Police Captain Allan Ortman, describing South Florida's residents time-honored tradition of wandering out into their densely populated metropolitan neighborhoods and firing their constitutionally-protected firearms into the night sky to celebrate our nation's independence.


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Happy 4th Of July

SotP would like to wish everyone a happy, but most importantly, a safe, 4th of July.

Being a former trombone player in high school, I think I may appreciate the following rendition of the Stars and Stripes a little more than most people, but regardless, you have to admit, the girls are good. Enjoy.



-via, the very patriotic Miss Cellania

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Monday, July 03, 2006

UnderSea Resort

So this evening I come across this news item:

Monday, Cala Corp. (CCAA.PK) said that it has completed its plans to build a $400 million destination casino three miles off the Miami coast. The Under-Sea Resort will feature 600 luxurious suites, a 0.5 million square foot casino, a 0.5 million square foot world-class spa, 6 food and beverage outlets, an on-site golf driving range, approximately 1 million square feet of meeting space, an on-site 2 helicopter service and around 0.5 million square feet of undersea aquarium observatory space.

What the....."the Miami coast?" Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

So I start exploring the WWW and find out this ain't no fooling around. Check this out.



The website is riddled with all sorts of grammatical errors (sorta like this blog) but that may be attributable to the fact that the developer seems to be a foreign company.
Cala has started the pre-sale of the UnderSea Resort and Residences, a new ocean living concept incorporating the elegance of a luxury cruise ship atmosphere. The UnderSea Resort and Residences will also include the largest spa ever built. The world renown ship's designer is Mr. Ray Francis

Future projects will be anchored off the shore of paradise islands and beautiful beaches including major metropolitan cities such as San Francisco, Laguna Niguel, San Diego, Miami, Palm Beach, New York City, Boston, Montecarlo, Rome and Venice of Italy.The UnderSea Resort and Residence will. give our future guests the opportunity to enjoy our Creator's best art without destroying it or developing it, but with its original and natural beauty preserved. The resort will be within walking distance of the shore. Guests will access the resort via a skywalk where they will be welcomed into the grand lobby.

The prices of the residences appear to range anywhere from $2.5 to $30 million. Other specifications of the boat and the resort residences can be found here.

I'm nothing if not a Doubting Thomas, so this thing sounds way too much like someone's pipe dream. Although it sure looks like they're pouring a lot of effort into making the fantasy look somewhat legit.

What say you?

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Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club

I took the day off work today, drove up to Plantation and played the brand new Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club. The City of Plantation purchased the 211-acre parcel of land the course sits on for $7.2 million from an H. Wayne Huizenga company in 2002 and spent another $10 million to build the course. The result is a masterpiece.

I have a feeling most of my readers aren't avid golfers so I'll save the details but I will say that the environmentally friendly and sensitive Plantation Preserve is nothing short of fantastic. I would even venture to say that it is the best public course in South Florida at the current time.

There's a few things that sets this course apart from others:

  • Audubon Certified: Indeed, I saw a number of waterfowl and unique birds on the property. The wetland areas and habitat are distinctly marked and strictly off-limits to golfers.
  • Linear Park: A 1.5-mile linear park runs right through the middle of the course. Designed to keep bikers and walkers safely apart from golfers, the park allows visitors to enjoy the surrounding wetlands and a Tequesta Indian burial mound. Plantation Preserve is the only golf course in the country to have a park like this.
  • Special Grass: Plantation Preserve is the first golf course in Broward County to use SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum grass. This grass requires up to 50 percent less water for irrigation
    and up to 75% less nitrogen for fertilization. And most amazingly, salt can be used as a herbicide with this grass. This is significant because of the tendency for fertilizers and other chemicals used in maintaining golf course turf to run off into the surrounding lakes and canals.
Because it just opened in April, the trees on the course are not mature and the rough has not thickened and grown long enough to be "rough." Nonetheless, Plantation Preserve offers a true test for golfers of all skill levels and abilities. The word is out in South Florida, so getting on the course can be difficult. My group had been trying for the past month to secure a tee time before getting one for today.

As for my game, I had a good front nine and shot a 1-over-par 37 but lost it on the back and carded a 43 for a total score of 80. Not bad for the first time on the course but I hope to do better next time. With any luck, that will be soon.

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Quote Of The Day

"You cannot simply shoot up a neighborhood and remain free unless the neighborhood itself allows it to a certain degree, by allowing it in their silence."

-Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss, after Sherdavia Jenkins, the latest in a string of more than a dozen Miami-Dade County children, ages 2 to 18, was killed on Saturday in broad daylight.

Sherdavia was digging a grave for her doll in the front yard of her house when she was struck in the neck by a bullet and died in her mother's arms.

-Link to story

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Where We Live: A South Florida Pictorial



Florida City

-via Jonathan's Photoblog

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A New Week, A New Poll

As The Dude predicted, the Miami Dolphins retained their #1 position as the favorite South Florida professional sports team amongst SotP readers. But the Heat made a significant gain in their status, no doubt due to their national championship win. You can view the full results here. The most surprising thing to me is that the Marlins actually got a couple votes. Die hard fans, those guys. 20% of those voting didn't have a favorite or thought they all sucked. It might be interesting to run this poll yet again after the Dolphin's 2006 season is wrapped up.

There's been a lot of talk here, here, and here, about the significance of blogs in South Florida. We already know that you read blogs because, well, you're here. But I'm curious as to when you read them and at what frequency. So this week's poll will try to measure that. I already have my idea as to how this is going to pan out based upon what I see with my statistics, but I want to see if my theory holds true. Go ahead. Take the poll!


When Do You Spend The Most Time Reading South Florida Blogs?
Morning
Afternoon
Night
At all times
Whenever I have the time
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




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AM Chuckle




Check out what happens when all these birds decide to share one tree.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday End




-via Arnold Pouteau's' Flickr

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A Grain Of Salt

CBS4 blows this story. Big time.


***click for larger version***

Okay, so two problems. One, Hialeah is maybe 20 miles south of where the plane landed. Two, the aircraft pictured is a twin-engined plane.

The Miami Herald gets it right.

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SotP Blogroll Updates

Being that there is next to no news being made this weekend (Groom flies high on wedding day!), I've taken the downtime to make some minor adjustments to the blogrolls listed in the sidebar.

You may notice that Miami Foodie and Don Jeffrey's Miami have been removed. Miami Foodie, although very promising when it first launched, hasn't updated since mid-May and Don Jeffrey signed off a couple weeks ago.

A couple additions that I've made include the newly discovered site for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Blog and Miami-based Freckle Face Girl, who I found through Miamigirl.

I also added Miami-based film producer Alfred Spellman's blog, The Midnight Rambler, to the South Florida blogroll only to have him shut it down and direct us to his new, under construction site. As soon as the new place is at 100%, I'll make the necessary updates.

Mark Lanes's primarily political Flablog gets a link in the Linkage blogroll. Mark has been around a long time (in blogger years, at least) and does an excellent job at covering the Florida and national political scene.

You'll also find a much-belated link to the Flash-heavy Ocean Drive Magazine and a link to City Link in the renamed South Florida Media Sites blogroll. I was unaware of City Link until Dan commented on SotP and linked back to his City Link blog. City Link describes itself as follows:

City Link is South Florida's premier youth culture magazine. Our major focus is get out, get involved, get happy, go, see and do. Every week, we bring you the best, most topical coverage of pop culture, music, events and features that speak to you and the life you live, along with the most accurate and focused listings of what you want, and need, to be a part of the scene every week. We're packed with everything you need to know to make life in South Florida a kick-ass good time.

Might be another good resource for checking out some of the goings-ons around South Florida.

Would all these updates be necessary if Miamians didn't read blogs? I don't think so.


UPDATE: And while you're at it, check out this article on how Jacksonville has "discovered" blogs. It's a good read featuring Urban Jacksonville, but it goes to show you how minute an audience bloggers command. Exhibit One:
A blog, short for weblog...

We're talking basics, folks.

UPDATE 2: The DoD has discovered blogs...or should I say, is discovering blogs with $450,000 of taxpayer money. Earth shattering stuff, so far:
“Blog entries have a different structure,” Ulicny said. “They are typically short and are about something external to the blog posting itself , such as a news event. It’s not uncommon for a blogger to simply state, ‘I can’t believe this happened,’ and then link to a news story.”

Wow.

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Blowin' In The Wind



Today is Rebecca's day. All is quiet.


FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUE OVER THE EXTREME WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO THIS MORNING IN ASSOCIATION WITH A SURFACE TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE. ALTHOUGH UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE CURRENTLY NOT FAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT...THESE WINDS COULD BECOME SOMEWHAT MORE FAVORABLE OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO WHILE THE SURFACE TROUGH LINGERS IN THE WESTERN GULF. PLEASE CONSULT STATEMENTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE...AS LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ARE LIKELY OVER NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHEASTERN TEXAS OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH MONDAY.

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Sunday Start




-via h2okatcher's Flickr

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Saturday Night Music Break



Nothing But Flowers, Talking Heads

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

And Another One

CBS4:

Miami police are investigating the shooting death of a 9-year-old Liberty City girl who was struck in the neck by a stray bullet.

The incident took place at 1242 Northwest 65th Terrace in the Liberty City area of Miami a public housing project nicknamed the "pork and beans" project known for its violent deaths.

Police believe the little girl, Sherdavia Jenkins, was caught in the crossfire of bullets during an gunfight.

According to witnesses, the child was playing with two younger girls on the front stoop of her home when one man started firing rounds from a high powered weapon not far from where the children were playing. Police say one round struck Jenkins in the neck killing her instantly.

And the adults, the parents of the kids who play in the neighborhood, aren't saying anything. Again.
The officers on the scene told CBS4's Dave Malkoff that only a handful of residents were willing to talk about the incident for fear the suspects involved would retaliate.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. The shooting and the killing of innocent children will continue in these neighborhoods until the residents of these communities wake up to the fact that they are making a conscious decision to sacrifice a certain percentage of their young to violence by refusing to assist police in locking up the shooters. They are in essence saying, "My butt is more valuable to me then my child, my sister's child, or my neighbor's child."

With the adults thinking like that, those kids in Liberty City don't stand half a chance in this world.

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Miami SunPost Best Of 2006



It's up.

And it also gives me an excuse to post this most wonderful cover shot.

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That Ain't No Seashell, Vern

Who doesn't enjoy a stroll along South Florida beaches? The waves lapping at your feet. The smell of the salty air. The endless expanse of ocean. The pipe bombs.

The pipe bombs?

An early-morning walker along Jupiter Beach spotted an unusual contraption by the water's edge - a device the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office later confirmed to be a pipe bomb.

[...]

After receiving the call at about 7 a.m., Jupiter police notified the sheriff's office Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, which blocked off the area.

Sanders said the device was detonated by the sheriff's office without incident.

Going to beach, kids? Don't forget your suits!



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Setting The Tone



You know, sometimes I feel like I do more than my fair share of criticizing and complaining here at SotP. To make up for some of that, I offer you this video this morning that is guaranteed to make you smile and get you started on a positive note. And if it doesn't, well, there is no hope for your heartless soul.

I'm off to chase the little white ball around. Be back this afternoon.

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