Hallandale Beach Blog -A common-sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, the U.S. & South Florida, in particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach & Hollywood.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

That's why he's Michael Barone and you're not: When Liberal Leaders Confront a Centrist Nation

I've been reading and following columnist and pundit
Michael Barone since even before I moved to D.C.
in 1988, or even before he was a regular on the original
McLaughlin
Group, when that was the only
syndicated political chat show, and everyone I knew
watched it religiously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Barone_%28pundit%29

It's still a LOT more popular in the Beltway area
than in the uninformed burbs of South Florida, plus,
now that I think about it, I rarely see a promo for it
on WPBT-Channel 2 -why is that anyhow?-
where it runs on Fridays at 8:30 p.m.
http://mclaughlin.com

(At various times while I lived in the greater D.C. area,
especially the Clinton years of the go-go Nineties,
I used to bank at the Riggs Bank, specifically, the
branch on 17th Street, N.W. & Eye St., three blocks
north of The White House and the OEOB.

This was the sort of place where on payday, Fridays,
you'd regularly see very well-heeled K Street D.C.
defense lawyer or lobbyists doing their weekly
transactions, like transferring money into their college
daughter's checking account so she can continue
living the McLean or Potomac lifestyle while they
were away from the financial Mother Ship.
No doubt while their daughter's roommate has to do
a 'Work Study' job like I did at IU.

Almost like it was a game, one of the persons who
always seemed to just beat me into the bank was
a highly-visible someone who always seemed to be
just 2-3 customers ahead of me in line: McLaughlin
Group regular Eleanor Clift of Newsweek magazine.)

In D.C, McLaughlin aired on the NBC affiliate,
WRC, and was part of my regular routine on
Saturday night before heading out for the night.

This essay was part of my daily email this from
Rasmussen Reports this morning.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com

The big news this morning there was that American
voters now give the GOP first-time lead on health
care.
That comes as no surprise to me given what we've
all seen the past few weeks, with so many uninformed
members of Congress unable to explain what
Obamacare would and would not entail, to voters
who have actually read the bill, or, explain away the
logic of so much secretiveness surrounding 1/6th
of the American economy.

For all the MSM talk in January and February of
David Axelrod's folks being so oh-so smart and
Chicago street-savvy, it's as if they never learned
the fundamental lessons of President Bush's
failed
(irresponsible) immigration amnesty plan of two years
ago, which also featured no congressional hearings
that voters (and members of Congress and the
media
) could watch or follow to become better
acquainted with the actual facts and provisions.

But when you insist on NOT having congressional
hearings where representatives of The White House
have to make their case publicly, and then have groups
opposed speaking against those policy ideas but for
others, you're asking for trouble.

But then you compound that fatal flaw by also insisting
on doing everything behind-the-scenes, even to the
point of refusing to publicly release the names of health
care leaders meeting with West Wing types, just as
was the case with Hillarycare in 1993, or groups
like La Raza working on the Kennedy bill at the
Bush White House, it's perfectly logical that people
would be very suspicious, especially middle-class
people who are usually apathetic -and proud of it-
about most aspects of American public policy.

People who find it easy to tune out discussions o
f the
legal ramifications of McCain-Feingold
or redistricting
-see www.FairDistrictsFlorida.org- while they eagerly
wax philosophic, blog and Tweet about the particular
merits of one singer over another on a TV show I never
watch like American Idol.


(I used to see the last two minutes when they bleed
over to
HOUSE's time-slot.)

Given that predicate, what's really surprising is that
The White House, DNC and Beltway press are so
surprised at the reaction of the American people.

It was entirely predictable.


Here's what I wrote on the Herald's webpage last
Thursday to the dreadful -what else is new?- Beth
Reinhard
column about the town meetings on health
care.

Tempers flare in South Florida over healthcare overhaul

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/1173602.html

To me, this town hall/Obamacare issue has really
pinpointed the Herald's central identity problem,
in that they are now so short-staffed and so very
poorly edited -but still more smug and arrogant
than reality ought to allow
- that they now cover
local South Florida stories like they're parachuted
out-of-town reporters who arrive with their misplaced
preconceptions, false stereotypes and condescending
know-it-all persona, who want to treat everything
down here in South Florida as either precious,
eccentric or unique, even if it isn't.
It's the Iowa Caucus Syndrome.

Like our crime and corruption isn't really crime and
corruption, with an emotional and physical toll
on
victims, like other cities and regions, but rather
just
a local lifestyle choice.


That's the same attitude and response I run into when

I try to explain just some of the many unethical and
shady things are going on at Hallandale Beach City Hall,
and they turn to me and say,
"That's just Hallandale Beach."

In the
Herald's case, that has been made all the worse by
their increasingly wasting half their
column space by writing
about how other reporters
elsewhere have characterized
similar events,
contaminating the local perspective, rather
than
accurately reporting and illuminating what happened
right in front
of them -HERE!

This is both insulting
AND infuriating, besides being bad
journalism that doesn't serve local
readers, that no matter
how much I want to give
Herald Executive Editor
Anders Gyllenhaal the benefit of the doubt, at some point,
you can't help but wonder when is the bad dream going
to end?


When is the Herald finally going to shape-up?
Would it be better for the long-term if the Miami Herald
went kaput and something else emerged
from the ashes
that was
actually interested and able to cover local
stories properly?
Or, to use a particularly apt sports
metaphor, addition-by-subtraction?


Just recruit some smart, savvy and enthusiastic grads
from Medill and Ernie Pyle and elsewhere and let 'em
loose on all the unsuspecting pols and crooks
hereabouts.
People with smarts and skills who don't care who
lobbyists
Ron Book is or who he knows or whom he
and his daughter
bankroll with campaign contributions,
or even who
rides home to South Florida on his plane
from
Tallahassee.

I used to think no, but as I stated a few months ago
here
on the blog, and even said in an email to Gyllenhaal
last year, that he responded to, the question of the
Herald's future is increasingly not a rooting matter for me,
but more an
academic or sporting proposition.
When does it all fall apart for good?

HallandaleBeachBlog wrote on 08/07/2009 04:54:25 AM:

What do these Obamacare stories and the tea-bag stories have in common? The Herald being VERY late to the party in covering them, and reporting on something in their own area like they were tourists, sporting cliches we've all heard on TV for days already.

Not surprising given that the Herald NEVER wrote a single thing about the 4,000-plus turnout at the Orlando "tea party" on March 21st. No articles, no photos, no nothing.

That's really surprising since any time you get that many people in an apathetic FL city to do anything at one time, it's newsworthy.

Just NOT to the editors of the Miami Herald, apparently, a paper that never used the phrase until March 21st, weeks AFTER the topic had gained national currency.

What do the candidates seeking to succeed Meek think about Obamacare or 'cap and trade'?

Can't say, the Herald's reporters and the rest of SoFL media won't ask them.

Maybe I should just call them and put their answers on my blog, so people in SoFL will know their views, huh?

And now, the feature presentation...
-------

When Liberal Leaders Confront a Centrist Nation
A Commentary
By Michael Barone
Augusts 13, 2009,

There are more conservatives than Republicans and more Democrats than liberals. That's one of the asymmetries between the parties that helps to explain the particular political spot we're in. The numbers are fairly clear. In the 2008 exit poll, 34 percent of voters described themselves as conservatives and 32 percent as Republicans; 39 percent described themselves as Democrats but only 22 percent as liberals.

Read the rest of the essay at:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_michael_barone/when_liberal_leaders_confront_a_centrist_nation

Michael Barone archives are at:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_michael_barone

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Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog
Hallandale Beach Blog/South Beach Hoosier's crimson-colored Indiana University cap. If you see someone at a South Florida govt. meeting or public policy discussion wearing this IU cap, scribbling notes furiously -and shaking his head in disbelief- don't be afraid to come over and say hello or pitch prospective story ideas. Photo by South Beach Hoosier. Move your mouse over the cap and be sent to the IU Athletic Dept.'s YouTube Channel.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.
____________________________________________
Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.
If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
"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 underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091217/
Audio of pregame speech:
_____________________________________________

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

Ordinary people can make a difference in fight against corruption in Broward County

The next time you hear someone in Broward County, like one of the usual "experts" or pundits or maybe a self-interested lobbyist like Joy Cooper's supercilious pal Judy Stern repeat the Conventional Wisdom that nobody really cares about ethical behavior, transparency and accountability in Broward cities, except a handful of people, just keep this in mind.
As of March 6, 2014 at 12:30 p.m., in the 84 weeks since I first wrote my October 15th 2012 post titled, "Ethics? Not for us! Follow-up to my post re Hallandale Beach's unethical "business as usual" attitude, with "special rules for special people" if they are named Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders; What ethics? What rules? @MayorCooper, @SandersHB" it's been viewed 183,914 times. That's MORE than TWO THOUSAND page views a week! Imagine that!
That total doesn't even include the number of people who saw it the day it was first posted, when it was the default post of the blog. That's a lot of people who now know a lot more facts about the truth regarding the corruption and incompetency that have been commonplace in Hallandale Beach all these years while Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz and his staff did NOTHING. Just saying...
The South Florida I Grew Up In
Excerpted from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:
In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administrations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly. At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accommodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated...

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect
The public beach that is "North Beach" in Hallandale Beach, FL. June 19, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

So this is where our tax dollars go to die?

"So this is where our tax dollars go to die? My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, perhaps wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew.
Instead, we get rusty pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free but which city employees can -for their holiday parties." Click photo to see many more photos of the site and the original post, or http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html; 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Just as true now as it was when it was written in June 2012!

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line
Looking south towards The Beach Club and the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A from the beach, near the Hollywood cityline, May 2, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Looking east  on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd., over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway bridge, toward the iconic Hallandale Beach Water Tower and the three condo towers comprising The Beach Club. September 8, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive. Located below the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive, on the south side (right) is the "Community Center" that HB City Hall, thru their gross incompetency, has made impossible for HB citizen taxpayers to use now for 41 MONTHS as of January 2011. (And where's the American flag on the Fourth of July weekend? Missing in action as it had been for months!) July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach
Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, Westin Diplomat, Crowne Resort. Looking NE towards Hollywood on State Road A1A from the 2500 block of East Hallandale Beach Blvd./State Road 858 just before crossing the Intracoastal Bridge: (l-r) Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach. March 25, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers
The Beach Club. Looking SE at The Beach Club from the Hollywood side of State Road A1A. May 12, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL
City of Hollywood City Hall. An early morning shot of the east side of Hollywood City Hall the morning of the Johnson Street Redevelopment RFP Evaluation Committee meeting, where presentations were heard; October 14, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. For more info on what's going on with this important project, see http://www.hollywoodfl.org/html/JohnsonStBeachRFP.htm

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is
"[Chicago Mayor] William Hale Thompson was defeated Tuesday after a campaign which he alone made disgraceful. The election was an ejection, a dirty job, but Chicago has washed itself and put on clean clothes. Thompson recognized the [Chicago] Tribune as his chief enemy. The Tribune was glad to earn that opinion. It certainly tried to do so. It has taken the fight to him on every occasion during the long and depraved course of his administration. It is unpleasant business to eject a skunk, but someone has to do it. For Chicago, Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In his attempt to continue this he excelled himself as a liar and defamer of character. He’s out. He is not only out, but dishonored. He is deserted by his friends. He is permanently marked by the evidences of his character and conduct. His health is impaired by his ways of life and he leaves office and goes from the city the most discredited man who ever held place in it."

-Excerpts from April 1931 Chicago Tribune editorial following Republican "Big Bill" Thompson's loss to his Democratic rival Anton Cermak. A friend of organized crime during the Al Capone era, Thompson was the last Republican elected mayor of Chicago. But less than two years later, Mayor Cermak was shot while shaking hands with President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt at Miami's Bayfront Park. He died from gunshot wounds to his lungs three weeks later.

See
http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/3686.html

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl

Championship banners

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.
Perhaps you'll enjoy this view more!

We Are IU (Official Version) 2013

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

Here's the first banner of the Crean Era

Our five NCAA Basketball Championship banners are on the north side of the court; I was there for 1981's.
H/T Hannah Ongley @hannahongley http://instagram.com/youdidnoteatthat