Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

2008 Hallandale Beach Hurricane Preparedness Forum tonight

I'll have more observations on the preparation for this year's event a little later in a separate post.
Trust me when I tell you, based on my experience last year, the actual discussion won't start until after about 45-60 minutes after the ritual community/crony kibitzing starts at 6:30 p.m.
Once it actually starts, I plan on asking some questions at the forum that I think will make me seem, for a bit, like a bull of in a china shop.
But this being Hallandale Beach, more like crashing their poorly publicized tea party.

And don't forget, after the special encore with new footage at 8 p.m., the LOST season finale, "There's No Place Like Home" is from 9-11 p.m., so don't stay at the meeting after 8:30 or you'll be sorry!
The big rumor that's gaining currency, courtesy of the estimable Michael Ausiello, still of TV Guide, but soon to be of Entertainment Weekly, http://www.tvguide.com/Ask-Ausiello/080528 is that THREE, count-em THREE original cast members will go buh-bye for good tonight.
And where the hell exactly is Penny Widmore? http://tviv.org/Lost/Penelope_Widmore

"He wants us to move the island."
-John Locke to Hurley and Ben

The Hallandale Beach Blog post prior to last year's HB hurricane preparedness event:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sydney Pollack's Hoosier Roots

It's not germane to anything having to do with South Florida, but since I'm probably one of the few people down here who's likely to connect-the-dots on this point for ya, I thought I'd share this with you.
Hollywood film director and sometime actor Sydney Pollack went to South Bend's Central High School, the real-life "big" school opponent that Gene Hackman's "Hickory" team had to play at the climactic end of Hoosiers, based on Milan High's famous David-over-Goliath upset of them in 1954.
As I note near the top of my blog South Beach Hoosier, since the day I started it, at the end of
Dave's Intentions for South Beach Hoosier:

"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."
-Preacher Purl encouraging the Hickory basketball team before the title game against South Bend Central in Hoosiers, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091217/

Late tonight, at 3 a.m., TCM is airing one of my favorite films of his, 1975's Three Days of the Condor http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=4274
"A CIA researcher uncovers top secret information and finds himself marked for death," with Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Cliff Robertson.

Please also see John Young's remembrance of Pollack at Variety:
Sydney Pollack dies at 73, Multihyphenate won Oscar for 'Out of Africa'
http://www.variety.com/VR1117986467.html and Variety's video retrospective at: http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=videoBC&bcpid=713438541&bclid=713073358&bctid=1576205579

excerpt from South Bend Star-Tribune http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080526/Ent/16035212/1038/Ent

Renowned director Pollack dies at 73, Hollywood icon grew up in South Bend, graduated from Central High School.

"...Pollack graduated from South Bend Central High School, where he developed a love of drama. Throughout his long career, he credited his director at Central High, the late James Lewis Casaday, for making an artistic life beyond his blue-collar town seem possible.

Instead of going to college, Pollack moved to New York and enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. He studied there for two years under Sanford Meisner, who was in charge of its acting department, and remained for five more as Meisner’s assistant. He also served 21 months in the U.S. Army.

After appearing in a handful of Broadway productions in the 1950s, Pollack turned his eye to directing. Before settling into the film industry, Pollack directed television series, including “Ben Casey” and “The Fugitive.”

Although Pollack has no relatives still living in South Bend, he occasionally visited the area.
“I didn’t dislike South Bend,” Pollack said in a 2002 Tribune interview. “I understand that it’s gotten much more culturally oriented. At the time I was there, there was really nothing outside of what Mr. Casaday did. “I want people to see things the way I did when I was a kid growing up watching movies,” Pollack said just prior to a 1977 trip to South Bend. Pollack was the guest of honor at the Indiana premier of his film “Bobby Deerfield” as part of the 1977 grand opening festivities for Century Center..."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thoughts on Memorial Day 2008

Iwo Jima Statue, U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery
Looking east towards The National Mall.

No matter how often you've been there, the view and the monument's significance always takes your breath away. The east-facing slope is especially awesome for photos and snow rides in the winter, whether on snowboards, or going 'old-style' on cardboard.
My sister Linda, a 1986 IU SPEA grad, chose as her first marathon to run in, the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon, and raised $4,000 for Marines injured in Iraq & Afghanistan.
2003 Photo by Werner J. Bertsch, www.wernerjbertsch.com

I thought the chattering class had already decided that using war metaphors to describe public policy -War on Poverty, War on Drugs, et al- was verboten? That was what the memo I got said. I actually found this recent cover more off-putting than the 'Dark O.J.' cover of 14 years ago.

Above: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage ; Best 500 coverage at:

Just wanted to share some random thoughts on what's shaping up to be yet another steamy, miserably hot day in South Florida.

Fortunately, it's race day in Indianapolis, so I'll be in the house most of the afternoon, and needn't concern myself with the weather outside for awhile. http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

At 1:11 p.m. Friday afternoon, after showing dueling taped comments by Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain regarding military service and religion, with McCain pointing out for the record that he'd never been to Rev. Hagee's church -and to the church of another very conservative religious supporter whose name I forgot- much less, been a regular attendee for 20 years, highlighting the contrastwith Obama and Rev. Wright in Southside Chicago.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd once again showed that despite being a smart and pretty well-informed guy, the former Roll Call-er has, for my mind, a disquieting propensity for conveniently forgetting facts that would undermine his on air talking points.

Todd told Andrea Mitchell that McCain had often defended those who had never served in the military, including "Cheney and Bush..." an obvious reference to the whole Chicken Hawk syndrome, which was written about to death in just about every magazine, popular and otherwise, that you could ever hope to find at Borders or Barnes & Noble.

While it's true that over the years McCain has done that for people like former Sen. Trent Lott, it's equally true that McCain has just as frequently said that he doesn't support the notion that not serving in the military should disqualify someone to run for president.
But he never had to do that for President Bush.

While you can argue whether G.W. Bush flying planes over Texas and Louisiana during the Vietnam War was much of a deterrent to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, or whether he should've just enlisted, clearly Todd is wrong, since why have so many liberal groups rather quixotically spent so much time and money trying to figure out where Bush was for months at a time, when he apparently wasn't with his Texas Air Reserve group???
(Campaigning for Republicans.)

You remember, back when liberal activist groups didn't blanch at saying that the Reserves were really little more than the cozy redoubt of White "weekend warriors."

But once we invaded Iraq, in large part due to the important role of Reservists, and they saw lots of action -too much?- it became a case of "Oh, well, never mind."

Suddenly, it wasn't such an easy uncontested lay-up for these groups to parrot their old nostrums and knock the contributions of Reservists, and expect the TV/radio/print reporters to just let it slide and not call them on it.

Just to give some point of reference for my remarks here, I'm the son of someone who was Air Force active duty and Reserve for over 25 years, before Hurricane Andrew blew away Homestead AFB, and someone who shares Sen. McCain's belief that not serving does not disqualify someone for running for president.

My thoughts are also informed by the fact that my mother was the secretary for the Base Commander at Kelly AFB in San Antonio (where I was born), Col. Howard J. Bechtel, and my father was in the Medical Corps there.

Both of my parents saw President and Mrs. Kennedy in person the day before he was assassinated in Dallas, when Air Force One landed in San Antonio at Kelly AFB and they did the inevitable one hour meet-and-greet tour.

Later, once LBJ became president, Air Force One always stayed at Kelly whenever he and Lady Bird flew home to the Johnson Ranch.

Speaking of lack of military service and letting others make the sacrifices on this Memorial Day weekend, do you know how many female Members of Congress have actually served in the military?

Almost ten years ago next month, Republican Heather Wilson of New Mexico was elected thru a special election and became the first female veteran in the U.S. Congress.
I was still living in D.C. then, of course, and recall how Wilson's unique story was one that many publications covered with great interest, if for no other reason than to highlight the shrinking percentage of Congressional Members who had any ties to the U.S. military, compared to earlier eras.
Nearly everyone in the Beltway punditocracy at the time agreed that it was only a matter of time before there'd be Persian Gulf War vets serving in Congress at some point, adding their own unique perspective to congressional discussion of military and foreign policy, and that the Congress would be better for it.
That some of them would turn out to be be DLC Dems, maybe even women, seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Certainly many of my friends and I hoped that'd be the case, so as to keep the party more reflective of the country as a whole, and not its élites.
One particular hyper-active DLC Dem friend of mine even went so far as to say that, given the demographics of who actually serves in the military, she was convinced that the first female Dem vet in Congress would likely be an African-American military officer from the Detroit area, where she herself was from.

Someone who got fed-up with the same old familiar faces representing Michigan in DC -decade after decade! (The Dingell family has held one Michigan congressional seat continuously since 1932, when FDR was elected President.)
Someone who could articulately argue that there was a crying need for some new blood in Washington that more accurately reflected changing times and persepctives.

Based on our own knowledge and first hand experience in dealing with the various Members from Michigan, my friends and I were quite convinced that these points would have great resonance in a place like Detroit, but, of course, first you need an actual candidate.

Which brings us back to Heather Wilson, a bright, able and personable woman, an Air Force Academy grad, a Rhodes Scholar, the Ranking Member of the important House Energy and Commerce Committee -a committee that I followed very closely for many years while in D.C.-
AND a U.S. Senate candidate for the seat of longtime and retiring Sen. Pete Domenici.
Ten years later, she is STILL the only one.
So, on Memorial Day Weekend 2008, I ask you two questions:

1. How is it that in the year 2008, an accomplished woman like Rep. Wilson is never on the Sunday morning network TV chat shows, while the usual and oh-so predictable political suspects continue to mouth the same ol', same ol' platitudes?

2.) Where are all the Private Benjamins and Sergeant Yorks in Congress, and the Democratic Party in particular?
Meanwhile, as if to prove my point, here's your diversity-laden roster of talking heads on the Sunday morning chat shows for Memorial Day Weekend 2008:
Sunday news show lineup
By The Associated Press
May 24, 2008; 2:25 PM
Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:
ABC's "This Week" - Karl Rove, former White House deputy chief of staff; David Axelrod, campaign adviser for Sen. Barack Obama.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Howard Wolfson, campaign adviser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton; Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Panel discussion of 2008 presidential election.
CNN's "Late Edition" - Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq;
Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and David Dreier, R-Calif.; former Labor Secretary Robert Reich; Gene Sperling, Clinton campaign adviser; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, campaign adviser for Sen. John McCain; Mary Tillman, mother of deceased Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe; Reps, Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
Yeah, that very reflective of the country as a whole.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coming soon: more photos of Village of Gulfstream construction

Later on Saturday afternoon, while watching the NCAA Mens Lacrosse Semifinals up in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on ESPN 2, I'll be posting some more digital photos I've taken of the area over the past two weeks, including many of the rapidly-changing U.S.-1 view of Gulfstream Park Race Track and Casino, which now, seems so very jarring now that the Palm trees alongside the eastside sidealk have been taken down.

This has been done to make it easier for construction to continue apace on the new retail shops of the Village at Gulfstream.

Until then, why don't you read what I posted earlier on parent blog South Beach Hoosier:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Aaron Deslatte adroitly zeroes in on CSX and trial lawyers

There's not much that I can add to this excellent Central Florida Political Pulse blog post and Orlando Sentinel post mortem from Aaron Deslatte on the political aftermath of the Central Florida commuter rail imbroglio, other than that based on what I've read in the Orlando and Tampa Bay newspapers and blogs, there were a lot of supporters of the Central FL commuter train who wondered why there was, apparently, so little discussion among Florida Democratic legislators of pursuing the Amtrak angle months ago.

You know, a credible Plan B?
Central Florida Political Pulse
Trial lawyers and the CSX saga revisited
posted by Aaron Deslatte on May 20, 2008

When Sen. Paula Dockery needed friends to help derail Central Florida's commuter-rail deal, she did something once unthinkable for a Republican legislator: She appealed to the state's trial lawyers.
Dockery was up against a political dream team. Central Florida supporters of commuter rail and Jacksonville-based CSX Corp. had public-relations firms in Tallahassee, Orlando and Tampa. The city of Orlando employed uber-lobbyists Southern Strategy Group.And two powerful legislators -- Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster of Winter Garden and Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park, in line to be speaker in 2010 -- were leading the charge.
"I couldn't fight them all off. They were attacking from every single angle," said Dockery, who opposed the deal because it meant more freight trains running through her home city of Lakeland.
So Dockery seized on a little-noticed element of the $650 million deal...

For the rest of this story go to:
More from Deslatte on the above story along with some great graphics -and reporting of the sort that you never saw on this issue on local South Florida TV:

Cash & Threats: How trial lawyers wielded new power to help block commuter rail at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-csx2008may20,0,1130274.story

Prior Orlando Sentinel stories on the Central Florida commuter rail plan are at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-commuterrail-sg,0,3785419.storygallery and well worth checking out if you're at all interested in mass transit in Florida. _______________________________________
Also see this story on the SFECC:

Treasure Coast planners all aboard plan to draw passenger train service
By Derek Simmonsen
April 19, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Next HB Resident Forum on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

If you've had ideas, gripes or questions that you've been meaning to get off your chest the past few months, or have questions about items scheduled to be discussed at the next Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 21st at 1:30 p.m., please keep in mind that Tuesday night's Resident Forum meeting will be the last one hosted by Comm. Keith London until August.

I've been meaning to mention this here for the past two weeks, but on the chance that you didn't know it or don't read the newspaper regularly, both Comm. London as well as Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober were named to the Miami SunPost 50 list at the beginning of the month.

Also named to the list was the late George Berlin of Aventura, one of the original partners of Turnberry Associates, who was so instrumental in so many aspects of that part of NE Dade becoming something more than just the weird no-man's land between Greynolds Park and Gulfstream Park Race Track, when I was growing-up in North Miami Beach in the 197o's, since there wasn't much around there besides a few Turnberry buildings.

As to the idea of the forums, which I've been to three of so far, it's politically self-evident that smart and pro-active information outreach and sharing throughout the community is an important element of both effective governance and electioneering, yet given what I've seen over the last four years, it seems to be a point lost on all but a few people in Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura, save Keith London, Peter Bober and a handful of others.

This is a great example of what Hollywood's doing: http://www.miamisunpost.com/050808newshollywood.htm

I knew the race track best as the home of the Broward County Youth Fair -SO MUCH closer than the Dade County Youth Fair, way down in Tamiami!- where I went on what I think was probably the first blind date of the 3-4 I ever went on, with a friend's cousin down from Chicago for the holidays.
When he first broached the idea, perhaps at his mother's suggestion, I do recall asking why he'd never mentioned her before. Hello, literary foreshadowing!

But the good news was that she turned out to be funny, bright AND gorgeous, and resembled nothing so much as a blond teen version of Pamela Sue Martin, then of the Sunday night ABC-TV show, "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries"

(Later when I was at IU, she played "Fallon Carrington Colby" on "Dynasty.")

I think the word SMITTEN was invented to describe my feelings for Pamela Sue Martin!

When she pulled up to my house in my friend's (her cousin's) Camaro, dressed in her sharp-looking cheerleader varsity jacket, with the megaphone pin on her school letters, I was positively dumb-struck.

The only real downer for the evening for me was that she was SO obsessed with then-popular teen heart-throb Leif Garrett, who was the featured performer the night we went to the Fair, that we spent most of our time hopping from one seat to another, trying to get a better vantage point, which was her idea, not mine.

It wasn't a total loss, since we did some things together the rest of the time she was visiting, but I lost the early opportunity to develop some rapport because of her desire to invest so much time and effort in moving around the stands.

By the way, speaking of the area that later became Aventura, I still remember when the Service Merchandise catalog store near Loehman's Plaza was THE place to go in NE Dade for nice radios and stereos, especially once the Gold Triangle store at Skylake Mall that I once worked at, closed for good. (I worked in sporting goods.)
The 2008 SunPost 50
April 24, 08
Keith London
The Rabble-Rouser

The 2008 SunPost 50
April 24, 08
Peter Bober
Fresh Blood

The 2008 SunPost 50
April 24, 08
George Berlin
The Pioneer

Chelsea Clinton channels 2007 Julie Hamlin -no campaigning on federal property!

Came across this small news story regarding Chelsea Clinton campaigning on federal property in Puerto Rico while scouring the Washington Post online Saturday afternoon while watching the first two games of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse tourney on ESPNU.

(I took particular note of how tenacious the UVA Cavaliers were in coming back to beat the Maryland Terps 8-7, with 31 seconds left in overtime in their quarterfinal game in Annapolis, their second game in a row won by one goal, after defeating UMBC 10-9 last weekend.
Next up for UVA, Syracuse in the Saturday 12 Noon semi-final up in Foxborough, with top-seeded Duke taking on Johns Hopkins in the 2:30 game, a rematch of the 2007 and 2005 NCAA title games, both of which the JHU Blue Jays won.
They've already sold over 40,000 tickets for next weekend's game; hope there's no rain.)
http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3402330&categoryId=2491548&n8pe6c=3 )

The story and the principle behind the Chelsea story made me recall my HBB post of March 12, 2007, below, regarding Julie Hamlin and a friend of hers campaigning for city commission votes in the U.S. Post Office branch off of Hallandale Beach Blvd. and Layne Blvd., while I was in line. If only I'd had my digital camera with me then!
Election Day picks; Julie Hamlin's campaign tactics

Hamlin went on to place third in the March 2007 Hallandale Beach City Commission race for the two seats available that went to Keith London and William Julian.
London led the way with 1,077 votes, Julian placing second with 942 voyes, and Hamlin
edging out Hallandale Beach native and community activist Terri Dillard for third place, 759-695.

Chelsea Clinton denied access in Vieques
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Navy has denied Chelsea Clinton permission to campaign for her mother on a former bombing range on a small Puerto Rican island.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign wanted to use the land Wednesday as a setting to discussthe candidate's clean up plan for the region and call to give some areas to local residents.

But Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lara Bollinger said no one is allowed to campaign on federal property.

Chelsea Clinton is making her second campaign visit to Puerto Rico in the last three weeks. The U.S. territory has 55 delegates at stake in its June 1 Democratic primary.

The Navy closed the range in Vieques in April 2003 following years of protests after two errant bombs killed a security guard.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Why did Pellicano conviction get so little attention?

What gives?

Nightline did an interesting segment on Anthony Pellicano and his practices back on April 4th, and yet didn't even mention the conviction in passing last night.

It seems like everyone in the national media is groggy/jet-lagged/sleepwalking, and already on summer vacation judging by their attention span.

Locally, I guarantee that nothing about the Ben Kuehne story will be mentioned by South Florida media over the weekend.

Shocker! The Miami Herald has run nothing on the Kuehne situation since April 19th.

If you didn't already know it, Julie Kay of the South Florida Daily Business Review is easily one of the top ten reporters in South Florida.

Yet, sadly most people have never heard of her, even while Channel 10's Dwight Lauderdale, who is retiring next week after 32 years at WPLG, is being given huzzahs and props for simply staying put so long.

Nice guy to be sure, but nobody can point to any actual reporting he's done in eons that's made a tangible difference.
It's bewildering.

I say that as someone who grew-up down here with him and the late Ann Bishop at Channel 10, when they had the number one news program in the state -
by far!
Defamer gets it just right!

Remembering Anthony Pellicano: The End is as Good as it Gets

New York Observer
Vanity Fair's Burrough: 'Everyone in Hollywood Got an Advance Copy of That Article'
by Matt Haber
April 7, 2008

Los Angeles Times
Private eye to the stars is guilty
By Carla Hall and Tami Abdollah
May 16, 2008

See also:
LA Observed
Anita Busch links Pellicano and Times
By Kevin Roderick

New York Times
Investigator to the Stars Is Convicted in Wiretaps
By David M. Halbfinger

Associated Press
Hollywood Private Eye Convicted in Wiretap Scheme
By Greg Risling
May 16, 2008
The National Law Journal
Miami Criminal Defense Group Rallies to Embattled Attorney's Cause
Julie Kay
May 16, 2008

See also: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/05/16/florida-bar-group-to-honor-indicted-miami-lawyer-ben-kuehne/

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Democratic Party Super Delegate Steve Geller of FL on the not-too-bright Donkeys and their decision to move up the date of the 2008 Florida primary

Above, state Senator Steve Geller and Channel 4's Michael Williams outside of Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 7, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier

State Senator Steve Geller, the erstwhile Florida Senate Minority Leader and Democratic Super-Delegate, representing the Oasis project, spoke to WFOR-TV's Michael Williams
following the Commission's approval on second hearing of his client's project on the 1100 block of East Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Zoning and Land Development by Hallandale Oasis Limited LLLP, located at 1100 East Hallandale Beach Boulevard, concerning the following:
-Applying the Planned Development Overlay District
-Application for a Conditional Use Permit to construct 250 Residential Units
-Application to Construct a Mixed Use Development and Build a Residential/Retail Building
-Resolution Assigning 250 Residential Flexibility Units.

Geller's comments on the DNC aired later that afternoon, the same day that state Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, also a Super Delegate, finally threw in the towel of neutrality and formally endorsed Sen. Barack Obama.

Among the other nuggets of news that Geller revealed that afternoon were that the FL Dems had three law firms working on getting their vote counted, and that the last DNC plan for a FL recount was a (laughable) proposal for 150 caucus sites throughout the states, which I think(?) Geller said would represent only 6% of FL pop.

I originally posted the above photo during a 40-minute lunch break of last Wednesday morning's Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting.

Once I raced home, eager to post a few shots before getting back for the meeting, I found out once again just how incompetent I was with the new digital camera my sister Jennifer recently gave me, witness the wrong date on the photo, which I'd neglected to set correctly when I put in new batteries.

When I initially came out of the city hall chambers and threw on my sunglasses, I was going to dash home, but when I spotted Sen. Geller getting ready to be interviewed, my nose-for-news gene kicked in, and I thought I'd snap about 6-8 real quick shots shots, figuring that at least one or two would turn out pretty well and I'd post it while home for lunch.
The best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft a-gley....

(South Beach Hoosier trivia: One of my favorite all-time films is the original 1939 Lewis Milestone-directed Of Mice and Men, starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr., which I've only seen about thirty times. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031742/

The opening scenes just grab you from the word go, and you are immediately caught up in the crazy drama of George and Lennie running to catch a moving train and stay one step ahead of the law, with Aaron Copland's great music just sweeping you up in case you stumble.
The scene of the two of them them pulling the train coach door shut, only to reveal the original line of Robert Burns poetic genius, from whence the title comes, is sheer magic!
In my opinion, it's one of the best and most-stylized film scenes ever shot.

Not that I didn't really enjoy the 1992 version with John Malkovich, Gary Sinise and charter blog favorite, Sherilyn Fenn, too.
I absolutely adore Sherilyn Fenn, who STILL makes me dizzy when I watch Chiller specifically to see her in Twin Peaks repeats, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105046/)

As I watched the action, I could literally feel my lunch break ticking away, and because the friendly Channel 4 cameraman was right near me, I had to wait a bit until after he switched rolls before I could shoot this scene, since I didn't want get in his way or distract him.

Yet because it was SO sunny outside that afternoon, every time I got off the building breezeway, and tried a different angle, getting the three of them in the shot, the light and darkness contrast thru my viewfinder was blinding, so I just bided my time, and started taking mental notes.
Sadly as it turned out, this so-so effort was the mediocre best shot of the lot.

Among the things Geller revealed that I'd never heard or read elsewhere was that the FL Dems had three separate law firms working on their behalf to get their vote counted and/or have the 100% disqualification penalty lifted, and that the last DNC plan for a FL recount he'd seen was a (laughable) proposal for 150 sites throughout the state, which I think(?) Geller said would represent only about 6% of FL's population.

My comments on the hearing itself, where I spoke during the public participation segment on the topic of the City's employees longstanding and very unprofessional follow-up on matters previously discussed, will be posted here soon.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale OKs more downtown development
By Thomas Monnay
May 8, 2008
Another large retail/office/condo complex is coming to the new downtown, less than a mile from the $1 billion Village at Gulfstream Park, now under construction.

The City Commission this week approved the site plan for Hallandale Oasis, at 1100 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. Beacon Investment Properties LLC., of Hallandale Beach, will tear down the office building on the 5.28-acre site and replace it with a four-story retail and office building, a five-story parking garage and a 26-story, 250-unit condominium.

Ariel Bentata, a Beacon managing partner, said his company chose Hallandale Beach because "there's a lot of demographic expansion."

The property is zoned commercial, but city commissioners gave Beacon permission to build the condos because it's in a district that allows a blend of commercial and residential development, Commissioner Keith London said. Bentata said Beacon will build the project's commercial component first. He said he couldn't give a specific timetable for the condos because of the housing downturn.

"We don't have a crystal ball," Bentata said. "We don't know how long it's going to take the housing market to recover."

London said Beacon has four years after completing the project's commercial phase to build the condos, or it will have to start the permission process over again.

But London said, "We're not worried. They have a lot of money invested into this project."

The project site is just east of Hallandale Square, an $85 million development planned for the southeast corner of Hallandale Beach Boulevard and Federal Highway.

The area includes the Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino property, where Forest City Enterprises is building its Village at Gulfstream Park, with 70 stores, 1,500 condos, a 500-room hotel, a 2,500-seat theater and dining facilities.

London said the company will pay a one-time, $2.97 million fee for water, sewer and traffic improvements. The $2.97 million will also cover the developer's required contribution to the city's affordable housing trust fund.

Vice Mayor Bill Julian said the project will incorporate water conservation features. Its wide sidewalks should help make the area pedestrian-friendly, he said.

"It's quite an upgrade to the area," Julian said. "It's something that we don't have now on that side of the boulevard."

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.__________________________________
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/sfl-flfgeller0501sbmay01,0,3905987.storySouth Florida Sun-Sentinel
Florida Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, leaving office after 20 years
By Linda Kleindienst
Tallahassee Bureau Chief
April 30, 2008

Steve Geller walked into the Legislature 20 years ago as a member of the "Broward Mafia," one of the Democrats from South Florida who controlled the state House and, in many ways, the future of Florida.

Now 49, he leaves the Capitol because of term limits and as a member of the minority party, outgunned in the Senate by Republicans who control 26 of 40 votes, but by most accounts at the peak of his power and performance.

The senator from Cooper City is one of the "Gang of Three" — along with Majority Leader Dan Webster and Budget Chairwoman Lisa Carlton, both Republicans — who decide which bills will make it to the Senate floor. It's a position of power that few Democrats enjoy in Tallahassee these days.

"It's kind of like you reach your pinnacle at 49 and it's all downhill from there," Geller said recently, as he sat in his cluttered Senate office, rows of certificates of appreciation covering his walls.

"What is that saying, better to be a 'has been' than a 'never was?'"

Among Geller's friends and sometime political allies are Webster, a social conservative from the opposite end of the political spectrum, and Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. Geller can even claim to be the first to have encouraged Crist to run for political office, when they were students together at Florida State University.

Colleagues and lobbyists call Geller talkative, egotistical, boisterous, over-confident, bright, softhearted and persistent."

He is so persistent in the things he believes in, but you can't get along up here without being persistent because people don't necessarily do what you want them to do," Webster said, adding that every day this spring Geller has pestered him with questions about boosting funding for Tri-Rail, South Florida's commuter rail line.

With his sometimes-rumpled allure, Geller is a wisecracking quotemeister with a gift for simplifying arcane subjects into easy-to-digest sound bites.

"It's a shame it's his last year," said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, a former Senate president.

"He's matured in the process and he's become a whole lot more statesman and a lot less oracle."

Geller, a lawyer, also has become an acknowledged specialist on insurance and gambling.

Founder and president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, he has promoted expanded gambling in Florida, especially to benefit Broward County's dog and horse tracks, and in turn they have helped finance his re-election campaigns.

He's the only legislator in decades who has managed to get often-warring pari-mutuels to talk to each other.

Geller, who has won election to five House terms and three Senate terms, is used to being in the heat of the political battle, and has proven a tough opponent.

In 1990, although hospitalized with pneumonia, he made it to a Broward Legislative Delegation meeting in a wheelchair, with an oxygen tube, to help Ben Graber defeat Peter Deutsch in a race for vice chairman. "Let that be a lesson; you don't cross Steve Geller," said Sen. Dave Aronberg, D- Greenacres.

In the past two years Geller has been in the thick of the Legislature's thorniest issues, negotiating legislation aimed at cutting government spending, helping to write a constitutional amendment to make it easier for Floridians to take their property tax breaks along if they move and influencing a property insurance package to rein in premiums.

But ask him for his top accomplishment and he'll recall 1988. Shortly after his election that year, Christy Schafale, a 17-year-old Cooper City High School senior, died on a ride at the Broward County Fair. Geller's first bill called for tougher fair ride inspections. It passed.

"No one will ever know the exact number of children saved by that law," said Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, as he presented Geller on Wednesday with a framed copy of that bill, the "Amusement Ride and Attraction Act."

"When somebody tells us, there oughta be a law, frequently, there's a law," Geller told a hushed chamber of his colleagues. "Being a legislator for 20 years means a lot to me. I think I helped a lot of people."

While he may be leaving the Capitol, Geller said he's not ready to quit politics. He promised his sons, Marc, 11, and Ben, 8, that he wouldn't run for any job that would keep him away from home for long.

So, next on his agenda: a race for the Broward County Commission in 2010.

"I'm not quite ready yet to be put out to pasture," he said.

Reader comments are at:

Village Voice 
Runnin' Scared blog
How Howard Dean's Florida Ambiguity Helps Obama and Hurts Hillary
Posted by Wayne Barrett
May 2, 2008

My favorite excerpt:
...Dean clearly hopes that his evasions on this elemental question of fairness will be seen as a demonstration of his unwillingness to take sides between the warring camps within his own party. It is the opposite. In the absence of an unambiguous statement clarifying the limits of the DNC’s delegate ruling, he is siding with Obama, whose recent conflating press releases have argued that “without the rogue states”—Florida and Michigan—“Obama is still up by 500,000 votes.” Everyone involved understands that it is Obama who is benefiting from the media decision not to include Florida’s vote in the popular vote boxscore that runs across every American television screen, on virtually every news channel, everyday.

Of course, the endlessly repeated omission of this vote, and Dean’s abdication, is not just affecting the candidates. It’s doubling the pain for Florida Democrats—not only are they invisible in the delegate tabulations, which the courts have ruled is clearly within the powers of the national party, they are phantoms in the popular tally, a nullification unsupported by any legal authority...

Rest of post at:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Short media memories of horrible local events...

And on Sunday, the 12th anniversary of the tragic crash of ValuJet Flight 592, west of Miami in The Everglades, with 110 victims, many from South Florida and The Bahamas, I didn't hear it
mentioned even once in local South Florida media, TV or print.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ValuJet_Flight_592 and http://www.cnn.com/US/valujet.592/

Just in case you hadn't gotten the earlier memo, this is the kind of media market this is. But if you want photos of Jen and John... well, that's a different story.

See also:
Wall Street Journal
Airlines Are Safer Than Ever

April 19, 2008

Some day in the not-too-distant future, I'll post some thoughts of mine over at my South Beach Hoosier blog on an interesting afternoon I once spent with former American Airlines CEO and President Robert Crandall in the mid-1980's, after literally (and fortuitously) running into him on a sidewalk in the verdant southern part of campus at Northwestern, a few hours before
he was to speak to a class at Kellogg. (KGSM) http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/

Though I don't agree with him on everything, of course, Crandall's a tremendously impressive guy. Especially in person!

As I close here, the thought occurs to me that the local media apathy towards a tragic date is reminiscent of all the times I ever woke up in Arlington on December 8th or 9th, walked out to the sidewalk, picked up the WaPo, and shortly thereafter, read a nasty Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post -for once again completely ignoring the significance of December 7th.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Heinz-like Obama recognizes 57 states, inc. State of South Florida

Was just going thru my email and started reading my daily LA Times email of Top of the Times, which is one of my favorite papers.

After noticing that pop music singer Dido was selling her home, I came across something in their political blog, Top of the Ticket, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/ which yesterday had the world exclusive about Barack Obama wearing a lapel pin of the U.S. flag -with 57 stars.

Top of the Ticket, Politics Coast to Coast, With The LA Times: Patriotic Barack Obama lapel pins unveiled honoring all 57 states
"Yesterday The Ticket broke the stunning news of America's acquisition of seven, maybe eight, new states, according to future president Barack Obama.

He was speaking at the start of a two-day swoop through Oregon, which is already a state.

In Beaverton, which is not a state yet, the Democrat let it slip that during this marathon 16-month party presidential nomination struggle against a bunch of dropouts and this female political zombie from New York who won't surrender short of a silver stake, he had already visited 57 states with one more to go..."

To read the rest of the fascinating post, go to:

To make more sense of it: http://www.somecrankyguy.com/?p=1660

Below, the Obama State of the Union, perhaps now featuring the State of South Florida:

Following an exhaustive internal investigation involving the Obama brain trust, it was announced that the idea for the 57-star U.S. flag lapel pin was originally thought up by what the Obama press office described as "some well-intentioned Obama volunteers in Scranton, PA."

What Obama officials seemed loathe to report was that the so-called 'Keystone State Korps' volunteers were personally vetted by Obama brain and would-be White House Chief of Staff David Axelrod.

(See March 12th South Beach Hoosier post, Florida primary mess: Maggie Williams writes "Dear David, re Florida" http://southbeachhoosier.blogspot.com/2008/03/florida-primary-mess-maggie-williams.html )

Additionally, at first blush, it would seem self-evident that at a minimum, the volunteers in Scranton -who, unbeknownst to their boss, used their work office at night- committed a violation of in-kind financial contributions, which could result in some significant fines for struggling paper company Dunder-Mifflin...

Dunder Mifflin Inc. (stock symbol DMI) is a micro-cap regional paper and office supply distributor with an emphasis on servicing small-business clients. With a corporate office in New York City, Dunder Mifflin has branches in Buffalo, Albany, Utica, Scranton, Akron, Camden, Nashua and Yonkers.

For organizational chart, please see:

DM-Scranton Assistant to the Regional Manager Dwight K. Schrute rejecting sales rep Jim Halpert's suggestion that the flag pin lapel only consist of existing U.S. states.

The FEC is currently unable to launch an election-year investigation due to internal Senate wrangling over commissioner vacancies, so chances that this probe will be wrapped-up before Election Day appear unlikely.

See official site at http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/ ,

Full episodes at http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/video/episodes.shtml#vid=241392

Season finale preview at http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/video/#cat=new

LA Times articles on The Office at http://topics.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/the-office

LA Times Showtracker for The Office http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/the_office/index.html

Steve Carell will be the host for the season finale of Saturday Night Live on May 17th, which will likely feature lots of knowing comments about his upcoming film, Get Smart.

Perhaps the film will surprise me, since I like both Carell and Anne Hathaway, but an ominous sign from my point of view is that the film's director, Peter Segal, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0781842/ is someone whose previous directorial efforts I've made a conscious effort to avoid at all costs, largely Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy star vehicles.
I've never paid money to attend a Peter Segal-directed film.

I really loved the old NBC TV series, so I'll hope for the best and keep my fingers crossed.
In reading the comments of LA Times readers who wrote in -keeping in mind that they wrote in from all over the country, not just The Left Coast- it was hard not to notice how many Obama supporters made a point of bringing up Guantanamo, saying that surely one of those additional stars on the flag pin lapel must be for that U.S. outpost in Cuba.

But these folks then neglect to mention the poor ol' District of Columbia.
Once again, D.C. gets the shaft!

There's elite and effete thinking in action for ya!

You might also want to take a look at the thoughtful Times' story that ran today titled Barack Obama faces an untested set of hurdles by Doyle McManus, the Times Washington bureau chief and regular Washington Week TV guest and Diane Rehm Show guest,
http://wamu.org/programs/dr/ and reporter Peter Wallsten,

...Obama has "handicaps and potential problems, race being one of them, [but] it's not the only one," Pew Center President Andrew Kohut said. "He is perceived as a liberal. He is perceived by many voters as not well grounded on foreign policy and not tough enough . . . and he has a potential problem, distinct from race, of being seen as an elitist, an intellectual."

Taken together, that's a formidable catalog of vulnerabilities. In an ordinary election year, and with a more traditional candidate, it might make a Democratic victory hard to envision. But 2008 is not an ordinary political year: Republicans are weighted down by an unpopular incumbent, a presumed nominee who supports an unpopular war, and economic troubles that threaten voters in their homes, their jobs and their pocketbooks.

See the rest of the article at: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-dems11-2008may11,0,71247.story

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

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