Monday, November 9, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sad Music Note

South Florida has a lot going for it in terms of cultural expression: good museums, a lot of theatre, and a lot of places to see and hear art and artists.  We have a Design District, an area called Wynwood that is part of the Art Basel events, and a new performing arts center that includes a concert hall, ballet stage, and a theatre big enough to stage opera and host national tours of Broadway musicals.  We’re not exactly Lincoln Center, but we do all right.  But what it can’t seem to hold on to is a classical music radio station.

About fifteen years ago the commercial classical station WTMI was sold off to a “dance” music format which was basically endless nightclub noise.  Those of us who like a little Mozart or Copland with our day had to do without.  Then in 2007 a Christian non-commercial station was sold and switched over to be a repeater for the Classical 24 format put out by Minnesota Public Radio and PRI, and classical music was back on the air calling itself Classical South Florida.  It was not a station in the sense that it had live DJ’s here in Miami or Fort Lauderdale sitting in a studio and playing the music.  Frankly, that style of radio went off the air years ago in favor of packaged satellite formats covering everything from rap to oldies.  But it was classical music (albeit a limited variety; lots of the same warhorses played over and over), and it made a nice contrast to the noise on the FM band.

Now the word has come down that Classical South Florida will end its run tomorrow and revert to the “Christian music” format.  (I have always thought that “Christian music” has been an oxymoron since the end of the 19th Century, but that’s just me. YMMV.)

I’m sorry to see it go.  I was an early supporter of the station and it provided a touch of class even if it was just a repeater.  Its demise also adds to the myth that classical music can’t make it as a broadcast format.  I’ve lived in cities and towns big and small, and everywhere else, including Denver, Albuquerque, and Petoskey, classical music was available either through commercial or non-profit outlets.  It works if it’s done right: with local people who know their music and care about what their audience likes to hear.  Perhaps that’s one reason this latest effort failed; you can only hear Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks so many times.

Fortunately there are outlets available to me via the internet, and while my cars are still mired in 20th century technology, I can listen to Interlochen Public Radio at work and at home, and the stylings of jazz station WDNA.  But it’s sad that once again South Florida shows that when it comes to class, we have a lack of it sometimes.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marco Rubio’s Driving Record

Marco Rubio likes to portray him as someone who’s just like the rest of us.  Well, here in Miami, he’s doing a bang-up job, so to speak, of being like a lot of the drivers in Miami.  And his wife is even worse.

According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.


The Rubios have spent more than $1,000 paying traffic penalties over the years, but after Mr. Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 they took a different approach to handling their tickets.

Mr. Rubio hired Mr. Hanna, a Miami-based lawyer and donor, whose website sales pitch says, “Have you received a traffic ticket? Don’t pay it.” With Mr. Hanna’s help, Mr. Rubio’s last two citations were dismissed and seven of Ms. Rubio’s last eight were cleared.

I can disagree with Sen. Rubio on a lot of his policies and his views on how this country should be run and still respect him, but it’s stories like this and the “rules are for the little people” attitude that prove that he’s just a dick.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Summer and Schvitz

ANTIQUE_FAN_1_734_800South Florida has two seasons: wet and dry.  The astronomical calendar has summer starting around the 21st of June.  Here the wet season starts about Memorial Day, followed soon thereafter by the start of the hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November.  The air temperature doesn’t vary a lot: it can be 90 in January and in July.  The difference is the moisture: not just the rains that come on a regular basis between May and November, but the humidity.  It keeps the orchids happy, but it can be trying if you want to keep your clothes from getting soaked by your own perspiration.

I’ve lived in temperate climates of northern Michigan, alpine climates such as the Rockies, the desert of New Mexico, and in between.  I appreciate them all: snowfall in Michigan is beautiful, the mountains are magnificent, and the colors of a New Mexico sunset are beyond belief.  But I like it here, too, and I don’t mind a little schvitz as long as the hurricanes go someplace else, preferably out over the Atlantic.  And you don’t have to shovel the heat.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marriage Equality Comes to Miami-Dade County

From the Tampa Bay Times with reporting by Patricia Mazzei and Steve Rothaus, Miami Herald:

Gay Marriage Miami-Dade 01-05-15

Miami-Dade County became the first place in Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry on Monday, half a day before a gay-marriage ban that has been ruled unconstitutional is lifted in the rest of the state.

Weddings began around 1:30 p.m., less than three hours after Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel lifted the legal stay she had placed on her sweeping July decision declaring the ban discriminatory.

Two of the six couples who had sued — Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello of Coconut Grove, and Jeff and Todd Delmay of Hollywood — were the first to be married, by Zabel herself.

The couples exchanged rings surrounded by family, friends and a pack of television crews at downtown Miami’s historic civil courthouse following Zabel’s 11 a.m. ruling.

“In the big picture, does it really matter whether or not I lift the stay or leave it until tomorrow?” Zabel said from the bench. “I’m lifting the stay.”

The elected clerk of courts, Harvey Ruvin, at first said same-sex marriages would begin at 2 p.m. But once his office received a signed copy of Zabel’s two-page order at noon, he let couples could apply for marriage licenses immediately.

“All of our offices are now fully prepared to follow the judge’s order, and everyone will be treated equally,” said Ruvin, a Democrat in a nonpartisan post.

Same-sex couples are now be able to marry in 36 states and Washington, D.C. The ruling also means gay marriages performed outside Florida will be recognized in Miami-Dade.

Cheers erupted in the courthouse with Zabel’s decision. Some of the couples who were plaintiffs in the case cried tears of joy. Outside, surrounded by a throng of reporters and photographers, they held hands and raised their arms in victory.

“I feel good. I am relieved. I feel vindicated,” said Pareto, of Coconut Grove. She and her partner of more than 14 years, Arguello, arrived in cream-colored dresses, ready to get hitched. They were the first couple to obtain a marriage license Monday.

“Finally,” Arguello said. “Finally, our family will not be treated any differently.”

Outside of Miami-Dade, most Florida court clerks will start marrying gay couples Tuesday — some of them at 12:01 a.m. — following a federal judge’s order. Several counties in conservative North Florida have stopped marrying people in their offices, in part to avoid marrying same-sex couples, although they will still have to issue marriage licenses.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee declared the state ban unconstitutional in August, but stayed his decision through Monday to give some time for legal appeals. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, sought extensions of the stay from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, but both turned her down.

The ban was approved in by 62 percent of Florida voters in 2008 as part of Amendment 2, an initiative organized by the Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council.

In a statement issued Monday, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was “deeply disappointed” by Hinkle’s decision and by the appeals courts’ refusal to grant Bondi an extension.

“Marriage based on the complementarity of the sexes is the lifeblood of family, and family is the foundation of our society,” the bishops said. “The crisis that sadly the family is experiencing today will only be aggravated by imposing this redefinition of marriage. Society must rediscover the irreplaceable roles of both mother and father who bring unique gifts to the education and rearing of children.”

Last year, Zabel was the second state judge — after Judge Luis Garcia in the Florida Keys — to overturn a 2008 voter-approved amendment to Florida’s Constitution that required marriages to be between a man and a woman. In all, four South Florida judges sided with same-sex couples who either sought to marry or divorce, or to have the state recognize their out-of-state marriage. The other two judges hailed from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

In the Keys, Judge Garcia vacated his stay Monday afternoon, but made the order effective at midnight, which means same-sex couples will be able to marry there beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin’s office plans to open at that time to marry 100 couples. First in line will be Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones of Key West, who filed the case that prompted Garcia’s ruling.

Broward Clerk Howard Forman also plans to grant licenses beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, with a mass wedding scheduled for 3 a.m.

Zabel ruled in favor of six same-sex couples from Miami-Dade and Broward, and the LGBT-rights group Equality Florida Institute, who sued last Jan. 21. They were the first plaintiffs to challenge Florida’s ban in court.

On Monday, Zabel kept her decision short: “The Clerk of the Court is hereby authorized to issue marriage licenses forthwith to prospective spouses of the same gender,” she wrote.

In addition to Pareto and Arguello and the Delmays, the other plaintiff couples were Jorge Isaias Diaz and Don Price Johnston of Miami; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price of Davie; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier of Hollywood; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber of Plantation.

Pareto’s and Arguello’s mothers, who accompanied their daughters to Monday’s hearing, later stood on chairs to see over the crowd as their daughters signed their marriage license.

Ruvin’s office had no time Monday to print new license applications, so Pareto signed as “groom” and Arguello as “bride.”

“Take lots of pictures,” said Marlene Pareto, who was tearing up. “My daughter looks prettier today than ever.”

Miami Herald staff writers Audra D.S. Burch and Carli Teproff contributed to this report.

I once said I thought Florida would be the last state to grant equal rights to everyone.  Once again, I am very happy to be very wrong.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Artists Jam

For the second time this weekend, protestors in Miami blocked traffic on a major highway. Via Tim Elfrink at Miami New Times:

For downtown-area commuters, the peak weekend of Art Basel is ending this afternoon much like it began: With 195 shut in both directions by protesters participating in the #shutitdown movement against police violence.

The protesters marched from Wynwood onto the highway around 5 p.m. This time, police had apparently already blocked off traffic before the protesters arrived.

The protests are fueled by the lack of indictments in the police killings of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, as well as local cases like the death of Israel “Reefa” Hernandez, a teenage graffiti artist, at the hands of Miami Beach police.

The Miami rallies have echoed similar moves in NYC, St. Louis and elsewhere to shut down local highways.

On Friday, traffic snarled for miles in both directions as evening commuters and those trying to get to and from Art Basel events were halted by the action.

Today’s protests look to be smaller in number, but no less disruptive to highway traffic.

There are pictures of the demonstration at the link above.

Interstate 195 is one of the major links to Miami Beach from the mainland; part of it is the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and it is always bumper-to-bumper during rush hour even without Art Basel or public displays of anger.  Therefore I’m not too sure if the people got their point across without pissing off a lot of people miles away who had no idea why they were inching along I-95 from U.S. 1 to the Golden Glades.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Miami-Dade Bans Trans Discrimination


After a four-hour public hearing Tuesday and months of debate, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted 8-3 to add protections for transgender people to its four-decade old Human Rights Ordinance. The move extends legal protections prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on gender identity or gender expression.


Opposition groups, mostly from the religious right, launched a campaign to squash the ordinance that included scare-tactic fliers and accusations that Communists supported the amendment.

The opponents had to be grasping for straws if they had to whip out the old Commies-are-for-it trope.  It isn’t 1950 anymore.

Needless to say, good for the county commission.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Reading

Predicting the Inevitable — Jenali Brown in The New Yorker on the reaction in Ferguson to the grand jury finding.

New Yorker 11-30-14What transpired in Ferguson last night was entirely predictable, widely anticipated, and, yet, seemingly inevitable. Late last week, Michael Brown, Sr., released a video pleading for calm, his forlorn eyes conveying exhaustion born of not only shouldering grief but also of insisting on civic calm in the wake of his son’s death. One of the Brown family’s attorneys, Anthony Gray, held a press conference making the same request, and announced that a team of citizen peacekeepers would be present at any subsequent protests. Ninety minutes later, the St. Louis mayor, Francis Slay, held a press conference in which he pledged that the police would show restraint in the event of protests following the grand-jury decision. He promised that tear gas and armored vehicles would not be deployed to manage protests. The two conferences bore a disturbing symmetry, an inversion of pre-fight hype in which each side deprecated about possible violence but expressed skepticism that the other side was capable of doing the same. It’s possible that, recognizing that violence was all but certain, both sides were seeking to deflect the charge that they had encouraged it. Others offered no such pretense. Days ahead of the announcement, local businesses began boarding up their doors and windows like a coastal town anticipating a hurricane. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a preëmptive state of emergency a week before the grand jury concluded its work. His announcement was roughly akin to declaring it daytime at 3 A.M. because the sun will rise eventually.

From the outset, the great difficulty has been discerning whether the authorities are driven by malevolence or incompetence. The Ferguson police let Brown’s body lie in the street for four and a half hours, an act that either reflected callous disregard for him as a human being or an inability to manage the situation. The release of Darren Wilson’s name was paired with the release of a video purportedly showing Brown stealing a box of cigarillos from a convenience store, although Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson later admitted that Wilson was unaware of the incident when he confronted the young man. (McCulloch contradicted this in his statement on the non-indictment.) Last night, McCulloch made the inscrutable choice to announce the grand jury’s decision after darkness had fallen and the crowds had amassed in the streets, factors that many felt could only increase the risk of violence. Despite the sizable police presence, few officers were positioned on the stretch of West Florissant Avenue where Brown was killed. The result was that damage to the area around the police station was sporadic and short-lived, but Brown’s neighborhood burned. This was either bad strategy or further confirmation of the unimportance of that community in the eyes of Ferguson’s authorities.

The pleas of Michael Brown’s father and Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, were ultimately incapable of containing the violence that erupted last night, because in so many ways what happened here extended beyond their son. His death was a punctuation to a long, profane sentence, one which has insulted a great many, and with damning frequency of late. In his statement after the decision was announced, President Barack Obama took pains to point out that “there is never an excuse for violence.” The man who once told us that there was no black America or white America but only the United States of America has become a President whose statements on unpunished racial injustices are a genre unto themselves. Perhaps it only seems contradictory that the deaths of Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford and John Crawford and Michael Brown—all unarmed black men shot by men who faced no official sanction for their actions—came during the first black Presidency.* Or perhaps the message here is that American democracy has reached the limits of its elasticity—that the symbolic empowerment of individuals, while the great many remain citizen-outsiders, is the best that we can hope for. The air last night, thick with smoke and gunfire, suggested something damning of the President.

Artless Miami — Brett Sokol in the New York Times reports on why Art Basel hasn’t made Miami the art mecca it once dreamed of becoming.

MIAMI BEACH — “It was a really devastating message,” the Miami art dealer Fredric Snitzer said, recalling the personal impact when Emmanuel Perrotin’s 13,000-square-foot outpost closed in 2010. “If he couldn’t make a go of it, what I am doing here?”

The opening of the Perrotin gallery on the eve of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair in 2005 was a high-water mark for the city’s cultural scene, anticipating its imminent status as an art mecca second only to New York and Los Angeles. Art Basel itself was billed as the economic tide that would lift all artistic boats, not just for a week every December, but year-round, too. Why else would a top-tier contemporary-art player from Paris like Mr. Perrotin expand to Miami?

“This is Paris in the ’20s and that guy down the block is Picasso,” Mr. Snitzer said at the time.

Yet by 2009, Perrotin had ceased regular exhibitions in Miami, turning off the lights completely the following year. Several other leading galleries that opened in the wake of Art Basel’s 2002 arrival have also shut down, while many of the city’s most promising younger artists have decamped to New York and Los Angeles in search of greener career pastures.

More than a decade after Art Basel’s debut, the city’s cultural milieu has been undeniably transformed. But beyond the splashy galas surrounding the fair’s kickoff on Wednesday, and the expensive new centers for art like the waterfront Pérez Art Museum Miami and the planned home for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, many local artists and art dealers remain deeply dissatisfied.

Some blame rising rents that have scattered a once-cohesive art community, while others point to a dearth of local collectors and visiting Basel-ites interested in owning their work. Without that bigger pool of buyers, they say, there’s no way to sustain artists amid the continued expansion of the art scene.

“I couldn’t support myself,” said Bert Rodriguez, a conceptual artist, in a phone call from his new home in Los Angeles. After appearing in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Mr. Rodriguez became one of Miami’s hometown heroes.

Yet despite awards and commissions, he felt stuck. “All the collectors there who were going to support me had already bought my work,” said Mr. Rodriguez, known for prankish projects that include burying himself up to his neck on a museum’s front lawn. “I had tapped into every well I could, and it just wasn’t enough.”

But now that he’s in Los Angeles, he said, advertising agencies and Silicon Valley clients who once ignored him are lining up. This winter, he will get $50,000 from a company behind a new travel app to drive cross-country and “virtually” write his name across America. “I’ve made more money in the last three years in Los Angeles than in the previous 10 in Miami,” he said.


“Too many people are obsessed with chasing the next hippest, newest thing,” said Kristen Thiele, an ArtCenter board member as well as a former resident artist there. Ms. Thiele cited the core ideas first laid out by Mrs. Schneiderman: Artists need cheap studio space, the ability to sell their work — out of those same studios, if necessary — and, not least, “the genuine sense of community that comes from being surrounded by your fellow artists with trained eyes.”

There’s nothing especially revolutionary about Mrs. Schneiderman’s thinking. Still, for the Miami painter John Sanchez, it’s been more than he could have ever hoped for. Originally represented by Emerson Dorsch, he felt his rain-slicked urban landscapes were falling out of step with that gallery’s turn toward an art-theory laden program.

“I’m a realist painter,” he said. “I’m trying to paint everyday moments as beautifully as I can. It’s not rocket science.” By contrast, at the ArtCenter, just by dint of being on a heavily trafficked street, he said, “I got a vast amount of exposure to people from everywhere, not just those in the know.”

He’s since picked up both sales and fresh brushwork techniques. Having found a formula for survival as an artist, he’s hoping to move into the ArtCenter’s remaining Lincoln Road building.

“I want to be like mold,” he said, laughing. “I want to stay.”

Doonesbury — No deposit, no return.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quiet in Miami

Miami, which knows a thing or two about the tense relationship between African Americans and law enforcement, had a quiet night after the news from Ferguson.  Via Michael E. Miller at Miami New Times:

A grand jury’s decision not to indict the cop who three months ago killed unarmed teenager Mike Brown sparked protests across the country last night.

Ferguson, Missouri is still smoldering this morning after looting, teargas, arson, armored vehicles, and gunshots turned the St. Louis suburb into something resembling a war zone. Despite demonstrations in other major American cities, Miami remained calm, however.

“No, nothing,” said a Miami Police sergeant reached at 1 a.m. “It’s actually been very quiet.”

Miami-Dade Police indicated that they also had no reports of riots or protests.

“I haven’t called out any PIOs in the last few hours,” said a MDPD officer. “That should tell you something.”

Perhaps anger has given way to resignation.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Short Takes

Big banks face new round of charges from Justice Department.

Nobel in medicine goes to brain reserachers.

Nurse in Spain infected with Ebola.

Arrest made in Miami shooting that left 15 injured.

Kid brings over 400 bags of heroin to daycare.

R.I.P. Marian Seldes, stage star, and Geoffrey Holder, actor/dancer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Reading

Please Sir, I Want Some War — Charles P. Pierce on the Senate voting to fund the war against IS and then beat it out of town.

The Congress did a ring-and-run on increased United States involvement in the whatever-the-hell-it-is against ISIS-or-ISIL-or-OASIS-or-whatever the hell it is. It took a vote. The Senate passed the bill to “arm and train” the Syrian rebels vetted personally by John McCain, and then everybody beat feet out of town for the homestretch of the campaign. To their eternal credit, both Edward Markey and Senator Professor Warren voted against the bill. (Nice job getting photographed in the Times walking into the Capitol with Bernie Sanders, Senator Professor. Very, very well-played.) If you’re keeping score at home, four “vulnerable” Democratic senators voted for the bill, including New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, which can be seen as somewhat ominous. Mark Begich of Alaska voted against it, which can be seen as more than a little brave. Joe Manchin, who had serious doubts about the whole thing two days ago, felt very strongly both ways and voted for the bill, which can be seen as Being Joe Manchin.

(My favorite Informed Speculation is that Senator Professor Warren’s vote is a “good contrast” to Hillary Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War in 2002, and will help SPW with the party’s progressive base, wah-dee-doo-dah, when SPW runs for president, which she is going to do no matter how often she tells us she’s not. These people are worse than the old guys who used to hang out at the OTB on Eighth Avenue.)

And, because this is the Senate, and because the Republican party is insane, the vote for arming rebels in the Levant also was a vote against allowing the likes of Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions to have another tantrum and shut down the government over…immigration.


And then the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body took a powder. The permanent ruling council of brass hats, however, remains unconvinced. (Although The Washington Post story is very curiously sourced. The only on-the-record military dissenter it cites is a retired general who doesn’t work for the administration any more. There is an oblique reference to an incident involving a battle in Iraq a year ago, and a quote from Rep. Buck McKeon, who, as far as I know, is not a general. That General Martin Dempsey left open the possibility of ground troops at some future date is hardly proof of a permanent “rift,” and neither are a couple of quotes from former Secretaries of Defense and from elsewhere in the national-security peanut gallery. And, just so we’re all clear, when there’s a disagreement between the president and a current military commander, the president wins. Every time. Don’t like it? Move to Myanmar.) I think the whole notion is a trifle nutty as presented; we’re going to arm people to fight both the Assad government and ISIS? More guns to that part of the world? It feels to me like the mission has already begun to creep. And it also feels to me like foreign policy is being made from the precincts under Lindsey Graham’s bed.

A Poor Place to Live — Kyle Munzenrieder in the Miami New Times reports on the gap between rich and poor in Miami.

As Miami’s real estate market has boomed to glittering new heights of luxury since 2010, the area’s median household income remains the second lowest of any major metro area while poverty has continued to increase. It’s embarrassing, if not depressing.

According to new data released this week from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area is just $46,946 in 2013.

That’s the second lowest level in the nation’s top 25 metro areas. Only Tampa has a lower median household income. In fact, the two Florida metro areas are the only areas on the list where the median income is less than $50,000.

The median income is actually down from 2012, when it was $47,154. Though, it’s slightly up since 2010 when the median income was $45,352.

Meanwhile, poverty levels in the city have only gotten worse since 2010, with 17.7 percent of South Floridians now living below the poverty line.

In fact, 7.4 percent of South Floridians live on an income of less than half of what’s considered poverty (compare that to the national average of 7 percent). Another 10.3 percent live on an income that is 50 percent to 99.9 percent of the poverty line (compared to the national average 8.8). An additional 5.7 percent live above the poverty line, but make no more than 125 percent of the poverty threshold (nationally it’s 4.8 percent).

Miami has the second highest level of those living in poverty or near poverty, behind only Riverside, California.

In 2012, 17.5 percent of South Floridians lived in poverty. In 2010 that number was only 17.1 percent.

Miami certainly seems to be proving that old cliché: as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

The Queen Accepts — Andy Borowitz on Her Majesty’s largesse for an errant child.

LONDON (The Borowitz Report) – In the aftermath of Scotland’s “no” vote in the referendum on becoming an independent country, Queen Elizabeth II, of Great Britain, took to the airwaves on Friday morning to inform the people of Scotland that she “graciously and wholeheartedly” accepted their apology.

“Although the matter of independence has been settled, one question remains very much open,” she said in an address televised across Scotland. “And my answer to that question is this: yes, I forgive you.”

The Queen made only scant reference to her obscenity-laden tirade on Thursday, in which she reamed the Scots for even considering breaking away from the United Kingdom.

“Like any parent with a naughty child, I became a little cross,” she said. “I forgive you for provoking me.”

The Queen ended Friday’s address to the Scottish people on a conciliatory note. “Let us all, each and every one of us, move forward now as one great nation, enjoying the benefits and the history of our glorious and historic union,” she said. “Even the forty-five percent of you who are wankers.”

Doonesbury — Catching a break.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miami Bids on Democratic Convention 2016

From New Times:

Miami may be the site of the first part of Hillary Clinton’s coronation …or as it’s officially known, the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

After local leaders officially let the DNC know that they would be interested in hosting the shindig, the DNC selected Miami as one of 15 cities that it sent a “request for proposal” late yesterday.

According to CNN, other cities in the running include Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio), Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City.Back in March, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami Mayor Tomás P. Regalado, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and tourism bureau head William D. Talbert II all banded together to send DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (whose Broward-based district dips into some northern parts of the county) a letter signaling their interest.

Wasserman Schultz told CNN that in addition to logistical concerns, the committee would also take into account a city’s relationship with organized labor and key constituencies.


Local leaders have indicated that their plan would call to host the convention at the American Airlines Arena.

That’s about five blocks from my office.  Parking will be a nightmare.

The last time there was a national political convention in the Miami area, it was 1972 and it was a two-fer: both Democrats and Republicans held them at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  From them we got McGovern/Eagleton Shriver and Nixon/Angew redux.  Both ended badly.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly and they can be aggravating, but every once in a while, things work out for the best.

This week saw full vindication for attorneys Michael Tein and Guy Lewis as the Florida Bar closed out the complaints with a no probable cause finding and began an investigation into the attorneys for the Miccosukee tribe. The comparison in criminal court is like getting a not guilty and then having the cops arrested for lying. It was a truly remarkable feat of lawyering and one worthy of praise.

So there you have it. A few lessons learned, two lawyers have their reputations restored, and one damn fine job of lawyering. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Full disclosure: Mr. Lewis is my attorney and a good friend.  That doesn’t mean I can’t say that I think he and his partner got screwed royally by some members of the legal community and the press (*cough The Miami Herald cough*).

I never doubted for a minute that he and Michael would be exonerated, but it’s nice to see at least some people acknowledge their vindication.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Boring Job

The initial work on building the tunnels to the Port of Miami was completed yesterday when Harriet, the tunnel-boring machine, emerged on Watson Island, back where it started in 2011.

The tunnel project should be completed within a year, which will be a great relief to those of us who have to contend with truck traffic on the streets of downtown Miami as they make their way to and from the port.  And I’m sure the truck drivers will be happy, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Push Polling

The Miami Dolphins want to renovate their football arena, now known as Sunlife Stadium.  (It has been called several different names because it seems that they will sell the naming rights to anybody.)  They want the state and the taxpayers to come up with some of the money, promising that the newly-refurbished venue will attract a lot more tourism and a lot more business.

I haven’t been keeping up with all the machinations to make this happen, but apparently the team owners feel that it’s necessary to poll the residents of Miami-Dade County in order to find out how we feel about it.  I got the second of two such poll calls last night, and it’s clear that they are pushing us voters to back the proposal.

I endured the call, but I think I made it pretty clear to the pollster that I’m not in favor of taxpayers coughing up a part of the cost unless a few things happen:

  • Every citizen of Miami-Dade County gets into a football game for a reduced price since we’re already paying for the fix-up.  Make it a flat $5 for any seat.
  • Make the Dolphins refund some of the money to the county if they have a losing season.
  • Change the name of the stadium back to the original name it had when it was built: Joe Robbie Stadium.  After all, Mr. Robbie built it all by himself without any help from the taxpayers other than them coming to see a game.

Oh, and tell the polling company that not everyone is awake at whatever hour it was that they called.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Short Takes

Grenade attack in Pakistan kills ten.

The first funerals for the Sandy Hook victims were held yesterday.

Pro-gun Democrats are moving towards tighter controls.

Meanwhile, the NRA Facebook and Twitter accounts are virtually blank.

Slight progress is reported on the cliff talks.

Rep. Tim Scott is appointed to fill Jim DeMint’s senate slot.

Gas prices keep falling.

So long — The on-line version of the Miami Herald goes behind a paywall.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Short Takes

Israel plans new settlements on the West Bank.

Egyptians protest after the vote on the new constitution.

Syria — Airport reopens; internet still down.

Mexico gets a new president today.

Train derailment in New Jersey sickens dozens.

Miami may have to choose boats over football in the Superbowl bid.

Hurricane Season is officially over, so this little Invest doesn’t really exist.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Short Takes

Hugo Chavez reelected in Venezuela.

Pakistan halts drone protests.

Europe still working out the bailout funds agreement.

Mitt Romney wants U.S. to intervene in Syria.

Case count rises to 91 in meningitis outbreak.

Hold It — No more toilets or sinks allowed in Coconut Grove businesses.

The Tigers beat Oakland again in the ALDS.