Friday, May 22, 2015

ISIS is "everywhere" in Palmyra, meanwhile in Alaska ... by gimleteye

This week's news from the polar south: "Scientists have expressed alarm at the rate of ice loss at the Southern Antarctic Peninsula, which had shown no signs of change until 2009, when it started suffering rapid destabilisation. Now new research has revealed that glaciers along the peninsula have been melting at accelerating rates, causing the mass of ice there to reduce. The loss of ice in the region is so large that it has caused the gravitation field of the Earth to change, according to some measurements conducted by scientists."

Thanks to my FB friend, Doug Lee, for pointing out what is happening near the northern polar extreme, in Alaska. View it in context of Karl Rove -- Republican strategist to Jeb Bush and George W. Bush -- and his brilliant 2004 assertion to NY Times reporter Ron Suskind: "... that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality… We're an empire now,” Rove told Suskind, “and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." (“Without a Doubt”, NY Times, October 17, 2004)

And today, Jeb Bush calls climate science believers, "arrogant"? Wow. Jeb must not be familiar with poet Paul Valéry's dictum: "Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them."

So have a happy Memorial Day weekend, all, but first a quick glimpse what is happening in Alaska. The Alaska DOT calls this, "a very unusual situation", and "a first". Luckily we are far away! LOL.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe 1964. By Geniusofdespair

And you thought only men were rockers....

Thursday, May 21, 2015

When the Everglades Is Only Good For a View From a High Rise. By Geniusofdespair

You know those two towers near Sawgrass Mills? This is the view from the top of one of them.  I went up there knowing I would need these photos someday and today is the day. A developer in Broward wants to develop 65 acres with high rises (he says with views of the Everglades) bordering the mall. And he will be building another shopping center within it.

I am going to say, it is not much of a view, but of course I would never live this far West. A big city bordering the Everglades, what else could you hope for...massive flooding??

The Miami Herald reports:

The first phase of the mixed-use project, scheduled to open in early 2017, will include a 263-unit residential tower with views of the Everglades and a 480,000-square-foot mall anchored by the luxury cinema iPic Theaters, as well as two hotels, an apartment building and office space. It will be centered around a 21-acre park.

Completing the massive development, called Metropica, could cost more than $1 billion.

“We’re creating a downtown for southwest Broward,” said developer Joseph Kavana. The project’s neighbors include the 350-store Sawgrass Mills mall and the BB&T Center arena.
Here it goes: Metropica Sucks!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Angry at Audrey: We didn't elect a Queen! By Geniusofdespair

Audrey Edmonson thinks she is queen of her district. Juan Zapata had a resolution to increase the rent on Parcel B and she balked that he should not be doing things in HER district. It was determined by a consultant that the rent was 1/3 of what it should be.

Wow now I am glad Audrey Edmonson did not get elected Chair of the County Commission. She might go back on our Unreformable list just when I was getting to like her.

AUDREY WE ARE ONE COUNTY NOT 13 DISTRICTS. When it comes to the Miami Heat, Parcel B and MONEY you do not reign supreme. Commissioner Juan Zapata is soooo right. Even if it is not a Countywide issue you are wrong. Last time I checked Parcel B was a county property. It was not purchased by District 3 was it? Look at the Money Audrey. Look at the money.

We didn't elect commissioners as overlords of Fiefdoms. YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR DISTRICT and you don't control all the issues within it. We don't have a Feudal regime in downtown.  Everything you vote on is for the good of the people, all of the people. Isn't the money in one big pot called the general funds? Isn't that where rent on this property would go?

How could you possibly threaten the other commissioners with your vote:
"If this goes through, then I think every single one of us will now have to worry about each others crossings the lines and coming in and just doing what they want to do in everybody's district"
That is what they SHOULD BE DOING Audrey. As long as there is one money pot,  everyone has a stake in everything in your district.

 When we have 13 separate accounts, go for it Audrey.  Your district will be a rich district. You should vote for 13 accounts. I would love to either cut the County cord or for you all to do the job you were voted to do:

Govern us all equally.

I don't mind subsidizing some districts if my Commissioner has an equal say to EVERYTHING in that district.  We should not need an at large commissioner, you all should be at large commissioners. Juan Zapata doesn't own the UDB line because a lot of it is in his district.  Moss doesn't own the Zoo. STOP the nonsense and govern in the best interest of the whole community: Which means you should have gotten more money from the Heat for the VIP Parking lot for all of us.

P.S. All the rest of you that voted with her: You are dickheads. You should have gotten the COUNTY more money.

FPL, New Nuclear at Turkey Point, and the Great Escape ... by gimleteye

This morning, according to Reuters, President Obama is planning to address the graduating class of the US Coast Guard Academy:
"You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us," Obama is set to tell the 224 graduating cadets, according to excerpts from his prepared remarks.

"Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term," Obama will say.

The Pentagon is assessing the vulnerability to climate change of its 7,000 bases, installations and facilities, many of which are on the coast, the White House said.
So why isn't what is good for the Pentagon, also good for the nation's electric utilities?

Here is a question for FPL and for NextEra Energy, its corporate parent. If the Pentagon is being required -- as a matter of common sense economics and national security -- to assess its assets for vulnerability to climate change, why aren't you (FPL) requiring the same of your nuclear facility and planned new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point?

The question of vulnerability is not just to the nuclear infrastructure. FPL has prepared an environmental impact statement for its new nuclear reactors, saying there is "no vulnerability" since the reactors are being elevated on enormous pads more than twenty feet above surrounding sea level. Vulnerability assessments, though, to sea level rise in South Florida need to take into account what will happen to the rate payer base from which both FPL's assets and profitability depends.

Why is this important? Because someone (ie. FPL) will have to be responsible for maintaining the economic viability of nuclear reactors. A vulnerability assessment ought to contemplate what happens to the FPL ratepayer base in South Florida that will begin to buckle under the pressure of climate change long before sea levels rise to intolerable heights. Why? Poor planning on roadways, sewerage, and water infrastructure could have drastic impacts on real estate markets in South Florida within the service lifetimes of the new $26 billion reactors.

The failure of FPL to adequately plan for environmental problems at its existing Turkey Point reactors is enshrined in the public record. Consider that FPL cannot deal with just a small rise in temperatures in its cooling canal system for its existing nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, for which its engineers have no solution except to tap into Florida water resources that are already committed to people's drinking water needs in South Florida. (That is also today's story in the Miami Herald.)

With such unplanned and un-manageable crisis at hand, why isn't anyone asking the tough questions of FPL now, or, is it just the case that FPL considers itself and its planning even more protected, sacrosanct, and immune to the influence of climate change or accountability to the public than the Pentagon?

The answer is that there is too much money being made, right now, from early cost recovery of the planning and marketing of its new nuclear reactors. For this, thank Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the rest of the Executive Branch and the Florida legislature. FPL needs to be held accountable. Hello? Anyone?

Perhaps President Obama ought to consider an Executive Order requiring the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to require the nation's electric utilities to provide vulnerability assessments to its business models based on climate change scenarios. My guess is that many of the utilities have already undertaken such analyses: they are just being held secret behind corporate veils ... you know, the kind that aren't available to people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 ... who is representing Big Sugar? ... by gimleteye

There are 56 lobbyists registered in the Florida database to represent Big Sugar in Tallahassee. There are 40 state senators. By that number alone, we can see who runs the shadow government of Florida. But we can't see what they do.

The database maintained by the State of Florida does not show issues and legislation that motivate corporations to spend hundreds of millions a year in Tallahassee. Why not?

With only a little effort, a mobile APP could be developed to fix that omission. As a requirement of lobbyists registration, each lobbyist would have an app connected to an online database showing every time they discuss a new bill or issue with a legislator.

By requiring lobbyists to show bills they are lobbying for or against (this information/data is not in the Floridalobbyist database, presumably because lobbyists find managing this data too "burdensome"), citizens would at least have details of the corporations-are-people legislature.

While we are on the subject of using technology to track our own government, our government-in-the-sunshine state, how about requiring lobbyists to be restricted to a single large waiting area -- like arrivals outside security for international flights at MIA. This would be a low tech solution to making visible the shadow government of Florida.

Extending this fantasy, the lobbyist waiting area would be videotaped as they meet "in the open" with legislators. The lobbyist waiting area could be surveilled by drones fitted out with GoPro cameras broadcasting directly to the web.

Forget about using drones to find terrorists: how about using drones just to see our own government "at work"?

US Sugar Corporation

Brian D. Ballard
Gregory K. Black
Carol L. Bracy
Matt A. Bryan
Chip Case
Robert E. Coker
Carlos M. Cruz
David T. Daniel
James R. Daughton Jr.
Charles F. Dudley
Stephen D. Dyal
Cory Guzzo
Jeff Hartley
Richard J. Heffley
James P. (Jim) Magill
Frank P. Mayernick Jr.
Tracy Hogan Mayernick
Kimberly F. McGlynn
Jim A. Naff
Andrea B. Reilly
John M. (Mac) Stipanovich
Margaret M. Timmins
William Gregory Turbeville
Malcolm S. Wade Jr.
Screven H. Watson
Derek A. Whitis
Amy J. Young

Sugarcane Growers Cooperative of Florida

CHARLES David Goodlett JR
Mohammad O. Jazil
Frank E. Matthews

Florida Crystals Corporation

Melissa Akeson
Albert Balido
Frank S. Bernardino
Michael G. Cantens
Kevin Cleary
Michael C. Corcoran
David R. Custin
Isaac H. Dean
Julie H. Fess
T. Martin Fiorentino Jr.
Richard E. Gentry
Thomas Griffin
Meghan A. Hoza
Gary K. Hunter
Jeffrey M. Johnston
Lee M. Killinger
Darrick D. McGhee
Joseph G. Mobley
Rhett E. O'Doski
Mark Pinto
Ken Pruitt
William D. Rubin
Jeffrey T Ryan
Sean C. Stafford
Amanda Stewart
Heather L. Turnbull

Monday, May 18, 2015

To the Miami Herald on "Traffic", welcome to the traffic jam a little late ... by gimleteye

Time for a Reform Party in Florida: a state-wide ticket of first-time citizen legislators: Take Back Florida ... by gimleteye

Absolute power rarely knows how to self-correct when it overplays its hand with the public. That is the situation today in Florida, where an immoveable GOP state legislature handed over the keys to government to dominant insiders and special interests and now is thrashing around in turmoil.

The stalement between radical conservatives and even more radical conservatives in Florida fulfills no mandate from voters. It is a government pushed off the rails by the overconfidence of special interest puppeteers.

The state legislature is, today, in the grip of crony capitalism. How we transformed from an aspiring democracy to a shadow government run by insiders didn't happen all at once.

It took years of insider dealing -- primarily around the rights of Big Agriculture and Florida's development industries -- to destroy any pretense of fairness, equity, and balance. The history may be subject to interpretation but the net result is not: checks and balances? Pfft.

And Florida voters are steaming mad.

There is an opportunity today in Florida, if leadership among the state's tattered watchdog groups can be found, to raise a ticket of first-time candidates to the state legislator who could run -- together -- as a Reform Party, "Take Back Florida". Who can argue that first-timers could do worse than the GOP legislature?

State-wide newspapers, whose editorial boards have been routinely ignored by legislators for many years, could also rally around a Reform Party. What the media could help voters understand is how this effort is fundamentally different from the nascent, mid-2000's Tea Party that turned into a red herring, easily manipulated by the conservative right.

The goal of the Reform Party would be to break the chokehold of special interests on state government, nowhere more obvious than the refusal of special interests to allocate Amendment 1 moneys, voted as a constitutional amendment with 78 percent of the popular vote last November, to be used for environmental land purchase; such as the US Sugar lands required to cleanse Lake Okeechobee's toxic soup.

Before the November 2014 elections, the Tampa Bay Times reported on secret trips to the King Ranch in Texas, paid for by US Sugar, for GOP lobbyists and leaders including Ag Secretary Adam Putnam and Gov. Rick Scott. Although voters at the time failed to object to the crony capitalism marring state government, its results are crystal clear.

Big Ag's coordinated strategy to defeat the public took the predictable strategy involving tactics like disinformation (ie. pollution is from little people's septic tanks and not Big Ag's fault) and propaganda (ie. voluntary pollution standards as opposed to mandates requiring industry to clean up its own pollution), forming fake environmental groups, hiring actors to masquerade as Tea Party activists to discredit real citizen activists, deploying Big Sugar's own editorial content in a faux news entity (cf. Sunshine State News), and using Gov. Rick Scott's appointees to the South Florida Water Management District governing board to thwart, insult and marginalize civic opponents.

Watch this video to see how bad it was at the water management district last week:

Send the video to your lists. Talk with friends about whether people would be willing to put up their names to run for public office as part of a Reform Party. With enough public visibility, a Reform Party of citizen candidates would appeal to Florida voters.

It is time for a Reform Spring in Florida fueled by a legislature of citizens to correct Florida's dismal course.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slapp Suits Suck. By Geniusofdespair

The best antidote for Slapp suits (frivolous lawsuits meant to cost people big bucks) and developer harassment, is a lawyer getting Slapped, a lawyer from a prestigious first amendment law firm. You rock Dennis Olle!!!

Olle said, according to an article in the Miami Herald about harassing behavior by the developer who bought the endangered pine-rockland area where a rare butterfly was found:

Finding out who sent the picture may provide evidence for a legal claim, but it still doesn’t get around the fact that the butterfly was found, Olle said. 
“You’re going to sue me because I told someone I found an endangered species on your property?” he said. “Bring it on.”

Readers Beware. By Geniusofdespair

I am about to do away with the Saturday editorial page, not enough readers. How about being a blog ambassador for Eye on Miami? Put your friends emails in the box at right. Tell them you did it and urge them to accept the blog email request they will get. Our advertising revenue is way down. Oh wait, that is a lie, we don't take advertising. If you want us to continue this public service, get us more readers. I am going to monitor the Saturday Editorial page today. Get on it you lazy bastards...I mean valued readers.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

New sign of global warming: fish species native to Florida migrates to Indiana ... by gimleteye

Researchers erred this week believing they had discovered a brand new species of cave-dwelling fish in Mammoth Cave's southern Indiana regions. A fish with an anus on its forehead -- endemic in Florida -- has migrated from Florida waters to Indiana. Read about it here.

Florida anus-headed man-cave fish
The Hoosier cavefish displays an anus on its forehead just like the endemic Florida man-cave fish. Unlike the "walking" catfish which is evolving human-like motor skills, Florida's anus-headed man-cave fish is adapting toward reasoning skills.

Researchers will now be examining man-caves in other Southern states for signs of global-warming induced migration. Eye On Miami will be setting up a hot-line to report any anus-headed creatures found in the region.