Monday, October 05, 2015

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Thank you for your support and continued readership.

VIDEO: Motorcyclist texts while fleeing police

Posted by Martin County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine may not be a dictator....but he's mastered the art of looking like one

Photography was invented sometime in the early 1800s.

But it wasn't until the early to mid-20th century that politicians realized the power of photographs and their ability to sway opinion.

Adolf Hitler was probably the first to use photographs on a regular basis for propaganda purposes.

Starting in 1936, Hitler never went anywhere without his personal photographer in tow.

In the late 1930s, very few photographers were using color film. German photographer Hugo Jaeger was an early adopter, and when Adolf Hitler was introduced to Jaeger’s work, he liked what he saw.

“The future,” Hitler reportedly told Jaeger, “belongs to color photography.”

Between 1936 and 1945, Jaeger was granted unprecedented access to Hitler, traveling and chronicling, in color, the Fuhrer and his confidants at small gatherings, public events and, quite often, in private moments. 

Hitler is long gone, but dictators and despots still use photographs to burnish their image.

There's no shortage of images of brutal, sadistic tyrants posing with smiling children, adoring adults, pets, and men in uniform.

I started thinking about this early this morning after looking at some photographs of an event that Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine hosted for seniors last night.

Now no one is saying that Phil Levine is a dictator...although at times he acts like one.

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

But as I browsed the photos he posted on Facebook, I couldn't help but notice the similarity to  historic photographs of some of history's most despised dictators.

The caption for the photo below reads: "Amazing campaign Gala with our ‪#‎MiamiBeach‬ seniors! Salsa dancing and wonderful music. ¡Simplemente Hazlo! ‪#‎VoteLevine‬ ‪#‎LevineForMayor‬"

Click this and all images to enlarge.

Notice how similar Levine's expression is to that of Chairman Mao's in the Communist propaganda poster below. I also love how the photographer has masterfully framed the shot that shows Levine surrounded by ecstatic supporters.

Here's another shot from last night's event....

....that bears an eerie similarity to this Soviet-era poster.

Spend any of amount of time looking at Levine's photos and you come away with the feeling that he's being advised by someone who once worked as a political advisor for a Banana Republic dictator, and someone who believes that the occasional use of Photoshop is OK just as long as it's done badly.

Bad Photoshop is better than no Photoshop!

Here's another shot from Levine's Facebook page....

Pair the image above with this shot of North Korea's Kim Jong Un....

Dictators are also fond of posing with men and women in uniform. Levine is no exception.

An absolute must for any dictator's portfolio are shots that show he loves and connects with the little ones!

Fidel Castro with children in 2002.
Fidel Castro with schoolchildren. (1959)

You can't call yourself a dictator unless your subjects whip themselves into an uncontrollable frenzy while in your presence.

Dictators are also fond of showing that they love their four-legged subjects just like they were people.

So, if you're a Miami Beach voter, you should stop by Levine's Facebook page as often as possible and look at the photographs.

After all, you're paying for this crap.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A sneak peek at Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine's latest campaign ad

When Philip Levine ran for Miami Beach mayor in 2013, he pledged to fix the city's streets and "stop the flooding."

Less than two years later and up for re-election, he's claiming victory with ads like this.

But for the past few days, South Florida newspapers and TV stations are showing pictures of flooded Miami Beach streets.

And social media is lighting up with residents posting pictures of streets in front of their homes that look more like lakes.

But Phil "Just Get It Done" Levine didn't get to be mayor of America's most water-logged city Winter Playground by listening to a bunch of crybabies.

When life gives him lemons, he makes lemonade.

Behold his latest campaign ad!

Click here to enlarge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

An open letter to Miami Herald executive editor Aminda 'Mindy' Marqués

Miami Herald, Sept. 17, 2015, page 2A.
Click here to enlarge.

Dear Mindy:

 In your Sept. 17 column about the Herald's new look, you wrote:
We packaged all news in the A section to underscore our emphasis on local news. This is what we do best and a key reason why so many of our readers turn to us. Our reporters and editors produce coverage unmatched by any local source — from the halls of municipal governments to the state Capitol and across the Caribbean and Latin America. These are the stories we are uniquely poised to bring you.


Come on, Mindy, why not tell the truth? The Herald's local news coverage is almost non-existent....especially on weekends.

It's time to level with your readers and tell them the Herald is no longer able to adequately cover local news.

I'm sure by now, you've read attorney Roy Black's critique of the Herald's local news coverage. On the re-design, Black had this to say: "I think they merged the sections to cover up the reduction in local reporting."

I'm afraid I have to agree with Black.

This is a screen shot of your website this morning.

The story, posted yesterday, talks about flooding on Indian Creek drive in Miami Beach.

The problem is that the photos used to illustrate the story are 6 years old.

Click image to enlarge.

Really, Mindy? This is your definition of "emphasis on local news?" Six-year-old photographs?

This morning's paper has four pages devoted to yesterday's Dolphins game. Sports coverage is fine, I suppose.

But local news is important too.  The Herald couldn't find a photographer to take some pictures of the flooding? You had to resort to using 6-year-old old file photos?

But wait. It gets worse.

In this morning's paper, the Miami Beach flooding story was relegated to page 6A...paired with a photo of the moon taken in Berlin, Germany. Whose idea was that?

So, how about it, Mindy?

Why not write an honest column that tells the truth about the current state of the Herald? Here, let me help you: "We killed the local section and buried what's left of our coverage inside another section to underscore our emphasis on local news."

But please stop blowing smoke up your readers' asses. Instead, why not shine a bright light on the Herald's failings. Your readers aren't stupid.

Tell your readers that the days of the Herald producing "coverage unmatched by any local source" are a thing of the past.

And while you're at it, why not include a paragraph or two on how your ineptitude cost the Herald a Pulitzer this year?

Come on, Mindy, let it all out. Tell the truth for a change.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Miami Herald staffer responds to Roy Black's criticisms of the paper

Miami Herald employees pose in front of One Herald Plaza, circa 2003.
Click here to enlarge.

Roy Black loves reading newspapers.

Roy Black
Over the weekend the famed criminal defense attorney shared that bit of information with his Facebook friends and followers. Black also let it be known that he wasn't happy with the new look the Miami Herald unveiled last week. "The paper as I knew it for the past few decades has passed away. I will mourn its demise," wrote Black.

More than a few in the Herald newsroom read Black's rant and commented on a Facebook page frequented by current and former Herald staffers.

Yesterday, a current Herald staffer penned a rebuttal to Black's rant that somehow made its way into my inbox.

To local attorney Roy Black and the others who are crying crocodile tears "mourning" the death of the Miami Herald:

Congratulations to you. You have uncovered the Herald's dirty little secret: We are not particularly well. We have hemorrahged staff, and now we are cutting off newspaper body parts to meet our budget. Worse, you say, newspaper leadership is doing what all other corporate leaders do. They are telling you the patient could not be healthier, despite that gaunt, sunken look you have observed with your own eyes.

But here is what you also know, and choose to ignore, while you blast away at that fish in the barrel: Nobody at the Herald woke up one morning and decided it would be a good idea to move to a warehouse in Doral. Nobody at the Herald thought it made sense to lay off most of the paper's reporters and copy editors. Nobody chose to dismember the print edition. Nobody wants to watch helplessly while the institution we've loved suffers and dies.

Mr. Black, all the retired Herald people who are trashing us on Facebook, and everyone else who claims to care about quality local journalism in Miami: Your sadness and outrage won't eliminate that $1 billion debt that hangs over our corporate owners like an albatross. Your sadness and outrage won't cause those corporate owners to reorganize the company so that the newspapers have a fighting chance -- though at the expense of their million-dollar bonuses.

If you care about local accountability, if you care about the quality journalism you are mourning -- if you care about any of it -- dig into your own pockets and buy us. But only if you also believe in editorial independence. Otherwise, all your whining is just so much noise.

After reading the rebuttal, one former Herald staffer sent me a few thoughts:
"It is unbecoming for news people - who regularly explore the failings of other institutions - to whine when others detect failings in their institutions.

"Why are they so sensitive and defensive? No one has taken a shot at the rank and file there - no one. Everyone who ever worked there knows that it's primarily corporate's fault. The critics and what's left of the newsroom are actually all on the same side, trying to get the same message to corporate."

Miami Herald employees in front of the paper's
Doral headquarters in 2013. (Click here to enlarge)