Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Stories of the Year … by gimleteye

Miami-Dade County:

The top story in Miami-Dade County is an exception to the rule that low voter turnout favors incumbency: Daniella Levine Cava, county commissioner for District 8.

The victory of a first-time candidate for public office is great news for a new generation of engaged citizens considering public office: yes you can!

Daniella Levine Cava won, because she was a credible candidate with significant community accomplishments and a dedicated base of well organized volunteers from within and outside her district.


Traffic. Traffic nightmares in Miami reached a tipping point in 2014. Miami cannot be viable, by economic measures, unless there is a massive effort to fix transit.

State of Florida:

Top Republicans fight Fair Districts. The constitutional amendment, passed by more than 60 percent of Florida voters, seems inarguable: that political districts should be drawn fairly and not gerrymandered to achieve predetermined outcomes in favor of one party or another. So why have Republican leaders in Tallahassee spent millions, tens of millions, continuing to fight Fair Districts?


The power of corporations and money in politics has sapped the vitality of our democracy. Along those lines, when Cuban American friends say there should be no rapprochement with Havana until there are free and democratic elections in Cuba: let's fix what is wrong with our own political system -- ie. the domination of money in elections -- before telling others how to run their own.

There are Subpoenas on Mayor Gimenez and Chair Rebeca Sosa to Reveal Their Conversation. By Geniusofdespair

It appears the PBA got a hearing officer from the Public Employees Relations Commission to make Rebeca Sosa and Mayor Gimenez testify on a conversation they had regarding a collective bargaining impasse during a commission meeting. The County fought the PBA on this but lost out.

Good reading material Order Authorizing Issuing of Subpoenas...


Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Vote is in: County Commissioners Gave The Nail Clipper Building $9 Million from Us! A Bond means we are borrowing the money. Guest Blog by Juan

Skyrise Miami - "The Nail Clipper Building". Who will pay to maintain it?
Who is watching the store for us?

Where is the Beacon council on the nail clipper as a "game changing" project worthy of lots of bond money? Readers do you know?? A joke question right?

The folks now leading the Beacon council are so afraid of their own shadow -- like Peter Pan -- they need their shadow to be sewn on too.

They are indeed puppets led by the puppeteers and  Captain hook Giminez and his  band of pirates..Osterholt and Lopez…the Board at Beacon is in Name only as they will do whatever captain Hook wants for fear of losing their funding.

But if they are merely a bunch of "lost boys" who needs them? Ginimez and his lobbyist friends  are in the hip pocket of Gentling and anyone  else with a the Nail Clipper folks. Captain Hook  made a statement when he made the former Beacon  President walk the plank for taking a stand against him on the gambling gang and several other issues as well. No on at Beacon will stand up for fear of the same fate.

Beacon has not taken a position on any of the  major economic development issues before the community in the last year..the new president continues to use the excuse that he is new..Really?? he has been here for over a year. Beacon is no longer independent but is now merely an extension of the Captain Hooks band of pirates. The Board for the most part get along by going along as many have a vested interest in keeping the chief pirate happy. Maybe it is time however for Captain Hook to walk the plank along with his lobbyist “pirates."

Daniella Levine Cava, Rebeca Sosa and Xavier Suarez voted against it December 16th. I suppose they did not want to sully the waterfront with whimsy. If the Beacon council continues to be not  a beacon of light" for the Commission but a group of sycophants -- afraid of their own shadow -- they will render themselves useless, as yes men only. Oh, that has already happened. Unfund them now, save some money!!!

Area slated for the nail clipper building.
There Won’t Be A Backlash To Ending The Cuba Embargo
538 Blog/ Nate Silver

Nearly 15 years ago, President Bill Clinton authorized federal agents to return Elian Gonzalez, who had been rescued at sea and sent to live with relatives in Florida, to his father in Cuba. The outcry from the Cuban community in Florida was loud and may have cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000. But we shouldn’t expect anything close to the same political ramifications after President Obama’s announcement that the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana.

Opinions on U.S.-Cuban relations have changed vastly in the past 15 years. The Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University has been polling Cuban-Americans living in South Florida since 1991. On the embargo question, Cuban-Americans had favored maintaining or strengthening it; today, a slight majority oppose it.

Only 48 percent favor the embargo. That compares with 87 percent when the question was first asked 23 years ago and 62 percent in 2000. Although all generations have turned more against the embargo in recent years, opposition to it is especially strong among those who have recently arrived from Cuba. Only 42 percent of those who came to the U.S. in the past 20 years are in favor of keeping it, compared with a majority of those who came before 1994. Cuban-Americans older than 65 favor continuing it; all age groups below 65 oppose it.

The American public overall has also grown more favorable to Cuba in recent years. Going back to 1999, Gallup has always found that more Americans have been in favor of ending the embargo than continuing it. And in Gallup’s 2009 survey, the most recent available, 60 percent of respondents said they favored “re-establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba.”

Finally, Cuban-Americans in Florida made up only 6 percent of all Florida voters in 2012. That means for the embargo to have much of an electoral impact, there would have to be a big backlash from the Cuban-American community. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

COMMENTS Add Comment

HARRY ENTEN @forecasterenten

Harry Enten is a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CHRISTMAS 2014: Is everyone having an Amazon Holiday? By Geniusofdespair

Hallandale Beach - Gulfstream Park, Better than that ugly big tree in New York City. More at human scale and the three are better than  virtual trees: Not real but there.

This video was taken December 17th about 4pm. Yes I was go to a movie. I took a quick video of the shopping scene. Are we all shopping on line? and what is with the lack of interest in Santa? Me, I am just giving money, the key to happiness for everyone I know.

Watch on YouTube

How about a little sugar for the Director/Producer/Cameraman/Musical Director on the 270 videos I have posted on YouTube for your pleasure and information? Grant it most of them are really stinking quality but this one isn't that bad.

It is only 2 minutes: Watch the damn video! The pope wants you to. 

BTW I am going away for the holidays.

Musing on Cuba and the U.S. … by gimleteye

In Miami New Times, Chuck Strouse writes, "Obama's words were beautiful, but he's wrong about Miami".
"This is where President Obama failed to understand the city," Strouse writes. "It is not just "a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve." These days, Venezuelans fleeing a failed economy play a role almost as large as the Cubans. Brazilians, whose economy is also flagging, have bought up huge blocks of downtown condos. Colombians, Nicaraguans, Argentines, Haitians and others all have their piece of the city, too."

Fair enough. The expanding influence of other Hispanics in South Florida has been well noted throughout our economic and political life. Strouse continues,

"… I wish, as the president said, that Miami were "a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth." It is not. It is one of the nation's most segregated cities and one of the most extreme when it comes to rich and poor. Blacks have complained for decades of their inability to get good jobs here and many of the best African American minds have departed."

Strouse is right on point, of course, but I have a different interpretation. By singling out South Florida Cuban Americans, President Obama's speech acknowledged the outsized influence on Florida and national politics. (The New York Times ran an analysis along this line, yesterday.)

On this blog, over many years now, we expressed this point less tactfully but more truthfully: how hatred of Castro in Miami moves elections through an orthodoxy as rigid as that in Havana.

The purpose of this orthodoxy -- that manifests in political campaigns and regular broadsides (Spanish language AM radio in particular) -- is economic. By fixing the pecking order in city and county government, Cuban American elites in Miami achieved spectacular results. Not so good if you care about the quality of life.

But times change. Baselines shift. The Cuban American orthodoxies that Bill Clinton responded to in 1992 and Bob Graham even earlier have faded. Antagonists grow old. They disappear.

Every morning at Miami International Airport, in queues to ticket counters of outbound flights to Havana, the failure of the embargo is on full and visible display.

One reaches a simple conclusion ignored by the GOP: the Kabuki theater of US-Cuba relations outlasted audience preferences.

In yesterday's blog post, I called out Republicans for opposing Obama's historic initiative as "fighting yesterday's war". Along this line, angry Senator Marco Rubio, who repudiates reconciliation and science (global warming), ought to have a prayer session with the Pope.

In the meantime, the economic elite in Miami's Cuban American community -- mostly Republican -- if they haven't already visited Havana, will be buying their tickets now.

Fidel Castro's passing will feed a Miami audience hungry for any kind of catharsis, but change in Cuba -- when it comes -- whether slowly or quickly, will not be "democratic" for a long time. In the meantime, our Republican Congress would do well to get our own house in order; never mind Havana. Let's start with campaign finance reform. Imagine the celebrations in the United States, if we had fair elections and fair districts.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

GOP and Cuba: fighting yesterday's war … by gimleteye

With the November 2014 election in the balance, President Obama and Charlie Crist, then candidate for governor, sent up trial balloons on the issue of normalizing relations with Cuba. Crist, who had publicly stated his intention to visit Cuba, attended a Miami Beach fundraiser filled with Republican donors, ready to break ranks with the GOP on Cuba. (We blogged the event.)

But subsequent polling showed how volatile the issue remains, and the White House sat on its hands until the results were in.

Yesterday, the Cuba lobby lashed out at Obama and demonstrated the cards it would have played if the announcement had preceded the election: that Democrats "acquiesce", that the world is "less safe" as a result, that Obama is weak and that "rogue regimes can murder Americans, have US courts and juries duly convict those involved and see justice aborted by a stroke of the President's pen."

Our hearts go out to those who have suffered. There is no easing that pain. I know: my grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust.

There is no argument that holds up this remaining relic of the Cold War. President Obama pointed out yesterday that China and Vietnam have thrived and American companies have benefited from bilateral agreements even though they maintain their own forms of communism.

Yes, Cuba is only 90 miles away but the 2016 elections are even closer, and as a result of yesterday's decision, the GOP should be troubled by using Congress to continue to foment antagonism to Obama and Democrats, and by rigid positions that sound already like yesterday's war.

Let's Ask The Pope. By Geniusofdespair

All these good Catholics (Marco Rubio) have to reconcile their rhetoric with their religion.  Reporters should be asking Rubio again and again about this.  Maybe he hates Obama but the Pope??? What can Marco say about  the Pope who is actually leading the charge:

The Pope made a personal plea to President Barack Obama and Cuban leaders in a letter this summer, writing that the two nations should try to reset their relations after decades of friction.

"I want to thank His Holiness, Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is," Obama said Wednesday as he announced the U.S. policy shift on Cuba.

When Obama met the Pope at the Vatican in March, the discussion turned toward moving U.S.-Cuba relations into a new era. White House officials said the Pope specifically addressed the case of jailed American contractor Alan Gross, who was freed Wednesday as part of the new detente between the two countries. The Vatican also hosted talks between U.S. and Cuban delegations in October, where details of Gross' release and aspects of the new U.S. trade policy were hashed out.

Okay Marco Rubio, you think the Pope is wrong? Then slap him around. Let's see if that gets you elected anywhere. Stupid mainstream media, focus on this you idiots don't let Rubio and any other of the big mouth Obama bashers off the hook.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba releases Alan Gross from prison: US relations headed toward normalization … by gimleteye

According to news reports, Cuba has just released Alan Gross from prison in Havana. President Obama is due to address the nation on Cuba at noon.

It will be interesting to hear what the Cuba lobby has to say about this … right?

One observer noted, "Everything Obama could have done to win elections for Democrats in November, he's done after the election." It is an interesting point. Before the election, polling suggested that normalizing relations with Cuba would hurt Democrats' chances. On this blog, we argued to the contrary.

Whatever the calculus leading to today's decisions -- and notwithstanding the harsh pushback from longtime Senate leader Bob Menendez (D-NJ) -- it is indisputable that the relic of the Cold War had outlasted its purpose.

Congratulations to the Gross family on an historic day and thanks to President Obama.

What is this nonsense about Jeb Bush being "too moderate"? … by gimleteye

Inventing reality by way of rewriting history is a signpost of the extremist GOP. Exhibit One: Jeb Bush.

As governor, Jeb Bush was narrow-minded and to his opposition; mean spirited. Dan Gelber, senate minority leader for part of Jeb's eight years in the executive mansion, told the Wall Street Journal recently, "… on issues including guns, taxes, education and abortion, the former governor led from the right. “Anyone who woke up in Florida every morning knew that Jeb Bush was not a moderate,” he said. “You could check every single box." Gelber is 100 percent correct.

So why does the media persist in maintaining the public perception that Jeb Bush is a moderate Republican?

Bush's handlers have two problems gaining the White House. First, he has to survive the carnival show of a Republican primary if 2012 was any example. Then, he has to prevail in a general election with voters who, nationally, are far more moderate.

For Jeb to win a general election, he has to be recast and judging by its recent performance -- marked mostly by laziness -- the media will help him.

To the Republican base who vote in the primary, Jeb will prove he is conservative enough. That's hardly a stretch if judged by his willingness as governor to draw and quarter his political opposition in order to achieve predetermined results. Expect a lot of "code" during this first phase of the Bush operation.

Unless the mainstream media casts a more critical eye on Jeb's true history -- instead of what's made up by consultants, advisors and loyalists -- in 2016 the Jeb Bush campaign will be framed around a "joyful" moderate Republican who never existed in his previous political life: reborn, rebranded and unrepentant.