Thursday, October 30, 2014

I need your help

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Thank you for your support and continued readership.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Miami Beach Police Officer Kenneth MacLeod just learned the hard way that everyone has a camera

Miami Beach police officer Kenneth MacLeod chats with Albert Valdes:
“I’ll throw your ass in jail. You want to be a sarcastic bitch, 
I’ll be f**king a bigger bitch.”

You can add Miami Beach police officer Kenneth MacLeod to the growing list of cops who have been caught on camera acting like assholes.

Miami New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink posted a video this morning of MacLeod launching into a profanity-laced tirade after a young man he'd ticketed for a license plate infraction said "God bless you."

The video was uploaded to YouTube two days ago by Albert Valdes...and it's quickly going viral.

Now, MacLeod is being investigated by the Miami Beach police department's Internal Affairs unit, according to a police spokesperson.

Here's a partial transcript from the video of MacLeod's interaction with Valdes courtesy of the Photography is not a Crime blog:
“Have a good day. Get out of my face before I decide that this may not be the best judgement that I’ve made,” MacLeod says.

“You have a great day, too, sir,” Valdes responds.

“Trust me, I will,” the cop responds.

“God bless you,” Valdes says.

“You know what?” MacLeod responds, clearly annoyed. “I’ll throw your ass in jail. You want to be a sarcastic bitch, I’ll be f**king a bigger bitch.”

They stare each other down for a couple of seconds with Macleod holding his handcuffs before he continues laying into him.

On a personal note, 6 or 7 years ago I witnessed first hand, one of MacLeod's tirades.

I was with a group of 4 or 5 paparazzi who were parked in a grassy area at the east end of the Julia Tuttle Causeway. After about 10 minutes of taking pictures of some houses across the bay, MacLeod suddenly appeared, rolling up in his police car, getting out and asking us what we were doing.

After we told him we were taking pictures, he immediately started berating us in much the same manner and tone as you see in the video above, ending his tirade with something like "You f**king paparazzi make me sick," or words to that effect.

MacLeod, a K-9 officer who joined the department in 1990, is described by one colleague as a "very good street cop."

MacLeod received his department's Medal of Valor in Feb. 1992, a month after being shot and seriously wounded in a shootout.

From the Miami Herald, Feb. 6, 1992:
A tearful Kenneth MacLeod , the 24-year-old Miami Beach police officer seriously wounded in a Jan. 3 shootout, was greeted with a standing ovation in the City Commission chambers Wednesday after he was presented with the Medal of Valor.

"If you realize that just four weeks ago this man was shot four times with a .45 pistol, I think he's in remarkable condition," said Police Chief Phillip Huber, who described MacLeod as "one of the bravest men I know."

The rookie officer was working an off-duty assignment at the intersection of Collins Avenue and 31st Street when he approached a motorcyclist who had been acting suspiciously, Huber said.

The motorcyclist pulled a handgun and quickly fired four shots, shattering bones in the officer's left arm, right leg and lower back, police said. The fourth bullet struck MacLeod 's bulletproof vest.

The officer managed to pull his own handgun and squeeze off 16 shots, disabling the suspect, identified as Morgan Russell, 25, of Minnesota.

Three bystanders who quickly moved to assist MacLeod after the shooting were also honored at Wednesday's meeting: Kevin McFarland and George Dukes, who subdued the suspect and handcuffed him, and Steve Alvarez, who grabbed the suspect's gun.

"There is not a police officer in the world who could hope to perform more admirably," Huber said.

MacLeod 's voice broke as he answered all the praise. "I'd just like to thank everyone on the Police Department, the commission, Fire-Rescue and the three people who came and helped me . . . that's all."

Your lunch hour time waster

Two very guilty dogs.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

'We was legends, an’ we didn’t even know it.' -Jerry Lee Lewis


If you plan to attend this year's Miami Book Fair International, you might want want to mark down noon, Sunday, Nov. 23rd.

That's when Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Bragg is scheduled to speak about his new book, "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story." (The book hits bookstores on Tuesday. Click here to read an excerpt.)

In the early 90s Bragg was the Miami bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times. He returned to Miami 10 years later as the bureau chief for the New York Times.

Here's Bragg in Garden and Gun magazine talking about meeting Lewis for the first time and getting him to open up about his life:
It was hot that first afternoon, hot for all the weeks to come, as if the dog days had settled hard on DeSoto County and stuck like flies on the lid of a jelly jar. The big iron gates—the ones with a piano on them—swung open from the middle, creaking and shuddering like something from a scary movie. I drove up to the big brick ranch-style house, built on the edge of a man-made lake. I had interviewed a million people, but not a legend before, not the living history of rock and roll, not one of the last true troubadours.


Video via


And here's Lewis himself, talking about his favorite live album, “Live at the Star Club,” [embedded below] recorded in 1964 in Hamburg, Germany:
“Live at the Star Club” from 1964 is my best live recording. That Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, was a wild deal. We cut that live, and the audience wanted to tear up the stage. It was a big hall and wide open as a case knife. The best thing about playing there was the equipment—the mics, the amplifiers, guitars, fiddles and piano. We didn’t have that kind of high-quality gear back home. In other places where they’d give me a bad piano, I’d usually finish it off anyway.
(Rolling Stone magazine once described the album this way: "Live At The Star Club, Hamburg is not an album, it's a crime scene: Jerry Lee Lewis slaughters his rivals in a thirteen-song set that feels like one long convulsion.")

Jerry Lee Lewis, live at the Star Club, Hamburg Germany, April 5, 1964.
Backed by The Nashville Teens.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

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

Miami Beach Mayor Philip 
Levine's official portrait. 
(Click here to enlarge.)
There's an interview with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine in the October/November 2014 issue of Worth magazine.

If you've never heard of Worth, that's okay, I haven't either.

According to its website, it's a magazine that "addresses the relevant financial, legal and lifestyle issues unique to high net-worth individuals." (That definitely leaves me out.)

Levine is getting ready to mark one year in office. But in that year, he's never given an in-depth interview to the Miami Herald, a newspaper he despises. On the other hand Levine has no problem asking the Herald to print his op-ed pieces. He likes getting his message out minus the annoyance of a reporter asking a lot of pesky questions, so the Herald's op-ed page is perfect for him. In other words, he's a hypocrite.

Levine also likes to reach his constituents on platforms that he can control completely: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Leave a comment he doesn't like and you get blocked.

So when Worth magazine contacted him for an interview, Levine was more than happy to cooperate. Because, as you'll see below, there weren't that many tough questions.

But aside from that, the interview is both intriguing and revealing. Levine opens up to writer Richard Bradley in a way he hasn't with the Herald or any South Florida reporters.

(In response to one question, Levine says that while campaigning door-to-door early last year, he got "thrown out of many buildings," presumably for trespassing.)

Below are some of the Bradley's questions and Levine's answers...along with some analysis - in blue - by yours truly.
Introduction: Five years ago, Worth profiled Miami Beach businessman Philip Levine, who had stumbled into a job giving talks to cruise ship tourists and parlayed that into a company called Onboard Media, which created content—everything from magazines to in-cabin TV programming—for cruise lines. In 2000, Levine sold Onboard to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy for a reported nine-figure sum. He lived well, invested in some real estate and acquired a reputation for dating models. The question our profile asked: What would Philip Levine do for his second act?

It took a while, but last year we finally found out: Levine ran for mayor of Miami Beach. Decrying the incompetence and cronyism of local government, Levine, who had never run for political office before, spent $2 million in his quest to govern a city of 90,000. In November 2013 he won with just over 50 percent of the vote.

Actually, he squeaked by with 50.48% of the votes cast...hardly a mandate. 
Worth: So if the business is fun and profitable, why run for mayor?

Levine: I just always thought it’d be something I’d like to do when the time was right for me. And then, of course, I have a tremendous friendship with former President Clinton. Being around him and around world leaders, and seeing all the good that he’s done with the Clinton Global Initiative, everything else that he’s done in his life….
Name dropper.
Worth: What I was really driving at was the personal life aspect of running for office. You’re a single guy with a reputation for dating beautiful women. Did that give you pause?

Levine: I’m not married, so for me, it’s not an issue. I don’t have a criminal record. I’ve got a great credit history.
A mayor who dates beautiful models, who is not a criminal, and who has a great credit history. What's not to like?
Worth: Other than Clinton, were any politicians a model for you?

Levine: [Former New York mayor] Michael Bloomberg. If I could be 10 percent as good as him, I’d be very happy. He’ll go down, in my opinion, as one of the greatest American mayors.
Name dropping again. But he forgot to mention Winston Churchill, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. 
Worth: Who were your opponents?

Levine: I was running against a gay Hispanic commissioner named Michael Góngora, who was my main opponent. A comedian named Steve Berke. And an Israeli gentleman who’s very unique.
A prominent Miami Beach resident emailed me this observation: "I HATE to be politically correct but his description of Michael Gongora is...offensive to me. Would he have said 'a black commissioner?' Or 'a white commissioner?' Come on."
Worth: Was there a watershed moment for you in making the decision?

Levine: I was so sick and tired of seeing people run for office or people in office who have two characteristics. Number one, they’ve never been successful at anything in their lives. Number two, they want to run for office to help themselves. These are both horrible characteristics.
Interesting. So if we're to believe Levine, he spent $2 million of his own money to get a job that pays $10,000 a year...and he doesn't want to help himself? He wants nothing in return? Really?

Also, Levine recently hosted a reunion of former Miami Beach mayors. According to Levine, they all ran for office because they'd "never been successful at anything in their lives and wanted to help themselves."

Oct. 8, 2014: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine hosted a group
of former Miami Beach mayors who, according to him, had "never been successful at anything in their lives," until they ran for office.
(Click image to enlarge.)

Worth: How long does it take to knock on 6,000 doors?

Levine: It took me about seven months. I went through cans of suntan protection spray.
What in the hell is "suntan protection spray?"
Worth: You didn’t get a lot of union support during the campaign. Why not?

Levine: I knew I was getting no endorsements. What’s amazing about unions and media is, they love the status quo. The police union supported my opponent. The fire union supported my opponent. The AFL-CIO supported my opponent. The Miami Herald couldn’t have been more against me.

Worth: How do you explain that?

Levine: Failing businesses usually fail from the top. I used to laugh and say that when I started my new business, I made more money in my first year than the Miami Herald made in the last 10. But their editorial board was aggressively against me. They saw a rich guy.

Worth: You got Bill Clinton’s endorsement, though.

Levine: Two weeks before the election, President Clinton came down and did a press conference with me. The Herald was like, “Are you sure it’s President Clinton?” (Laughs.) These are fakakta companies.
There's a reason why I call Levine, Mayor Dickhead. He's earned the name. In three questions, he manages to diss the Miami Herald, not once, but twice. Good luck in getting the Herald to print your next cheesy, blowhard op-ed, Mayor Dickhead.
Worth: You’re taking on some forces that have more tangible structural power than the office of mayor here does.

Levine: Well, that’s the beauty of being a Bloomberg-esque type mayor.
You're name dropping again, Mayor Dickhead.
Worth: Policy goals aside, are you enjoying the job? Are you having fun?

Levine: I love every minute.

Worth: Every minute? There’s nothing about this that you don’t like?

Levine: I wake up every morning and I’m so happy I’m mayor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine engages in a little 'hero self-worship'

In this rare, un-retouched photo, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine visits 
paratroopers on June 5, 1944, moments before the troops boarded 
transport planes bound for Normandy and the June 6 D-Day invasion. 
Photo courtesy of the Office of Miami 
Beach Mayor Philip Levine. (Click image to enlarge)

South Florida's most self-important and narcissistic politician, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, recently penned an op-ed piece for the Miami Herald that talked about his city's fight against sea level rise.

The reason I know this is because he's been endlessly promoting it on Facebook.

But Levine doesn't provide a link to the piece on the Herald's website.

Instead he posted the op-ed on a website he uses to communicate with his constituents.

A possible reason for not linking to the Herald may be that some unknown editor at the paper appears to have performed a little surgery on Levine's grandiloquent prose.

Perhaps channeling Mahatama Gandhi, Levine begins his piece in his usual modest style:
The truest measure of any society, or any person, is the willingness to protect a future they will never personally experience.

Call it what you will - caring for others, having a conscience, paying it forward - but this is precisely what defines and motivates the best in all of us. This is especially true when the cause is universal, the effects are close to home, and the outcome is uncertain.
So far, so good.

And then come these three lines:
Like America's "greatest generation," who, at a critical moment in time, stood together to defeat the terror of Nazi Germany.

Like President John F. Kennedy, who stared down Kruschev-like dictators banging shoes on tables to claim what was never theirs.

Like President Ronald Reagan, who inspired a nation to believe again after a prolonged time of doubt and despair.
No, you're not hallucinating. Philip Levine is actually comparing his city's fight against sea level rise with the fight against Nazi Germany.

However, it's unknown why those lines didn't make it in the paper. A bit much, even for the Herald? We'll never know.

But Levine saves the the best for last with these two paragraphs that did get in the paper:
[T]here's nothing I won't do, no place I won't go, to seek the answers to one of the greatest challenges society as we know it has ever confronted.

As Great Britain faced an impending invasion during World War II, Winston Churchill said, "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Modesty is not one of Mayor 
Philip Levine's strong suits. 
(Click image to enlarge) 
In just 726 words, Levine manages to compare himself to "America's greatest generation," John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Winston Churchill.

Really, Mayor Levine? Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy?

You can't be serious.

I suggest you look up "megalomania" or "narcissistic personality disorder" in the dictionary and then seek out the services of a competent psychiatrist. You have some serious issues.

Previously: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is now a published author!

Philip Levine, Miami Beach's not-ready-for-primetime mayor, traveled to Washington DC this weekend and made a complete ass of himself