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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things to look for in the future on The Real World: D.C.; no future for "Blonde Charity Mafia"

Tonight, at 10 p.m. Eastern, is the
premiere of the 23rd incarnation of
MTV's The Real World, a show
I once followed very closely but
have not watched in quite a while,
much like this season's Desperate
or Heroes, despite
having invested a lot of quality prime
time with them in the past.

Video from The Washington Post:
D.C. cast members of 'The
Real World' show off their house


Washington's Newest Monument, Courtesy of MTV

In fact, I hadn't watched a second
of MTV at all this year until I went
to check out their coverage of the death
of Michael Jackson just moments
after TMZ first reported it, even while
the LA Times dawdled and kept their
online version of the story the same until
even lame MSNBC was reporting the
Breaking News of his death and
not merely word of his hospitalization.

(I was on my computer at the time
TMZ broke the news, which is why
I mention that pertinent fact about
the slow-poke

My interest in flipping over to MTV
was simply the curiosity factor to see
what their Breaking News coverage
might consist of on a day when their
audience numbers ought to have been

Would it simply be old clips or would
they actually conduct live interviews
with some serious and thoughtful music
professionals and journalists
-like certain IU grads I could name-
or would it consist largely of cringe-worthy
blather audio/texts from teenage girls,
run over countless video shots of guys
Moonwalking outside the Apollo Theater
and other well-known international locales,
as long as the TV camera lights were on?

What makes me mention The Real World
at all, of course, is that this season will be
based out of a former mansion in Washington's
quirky and often exasperating Dupont Circle
neighborhood, north of the downtown core
where I and most of my friends worked,
along K Street and Connecticut Avenue.

That's an area I know very well from having
lived in Washington and Arlington County
for 15 years, and since that's the case,
I wanted to share a few thoughts here
and mention some things you may want
to look for, because of where they've
chosen to situate the show, knowing that
the producers cast it with certain plot
narratives and sub-plots clearly in mind,
or, at least, with fingers crossed..

So, that said, based on my own experiences
and those of friends and former colleagues,
here are a few things you might want to
be on the lookout look for in the weeks
ahead, which might tell you if the show is
even more heavily edited than usual, say,
if by the fourth or fifth episode:

a.) Someone in the house is not shown
bitching or cracking wise about how
f----ed-up the local D.C. govt. is, with
a glaring example of the nonsensical
outrage, and everyone else in the house
finally realizing that the horror stories
they'd heard about D.C. govt. were
all too true.
Welcome to D.C.!

b.) Some friend of theirs arrives for a
weekend visit -and someone always is!-
and when they drive over to the Adams
Morgan area to go to a bar or restaurant
after driving around DC showing their
friend the sights, they don't show some
unknown guys, either African-American
or Salvadoran, suddenly jumping out
of nowhere and suddenly standing in a
street parking space -IF they can find
- who want to be paid for finding
and/or watching the spot, as if they're
Columbus or The Secret Service.

The implicit warning: If they don't pay,
something WILL happen to the car.
Welcome to D.C.!

It'll no doubt remind some of you of the
famous "No Radio Inside" sign days
in New York of the '80's, sometimes
punctuated by a note near the broken car
window, hours later, with someone having
thoughtfully scrawled, "Just checking!"

c.) There isn't at least one segment or
two of a cast member discussing something
of theirs that was stolen, and the DC Police
telling him or her that it was their own fault.
Welcome to D.C.!

d.) Someone doesn't say in a condescending
way that DC's Chinatown, while perhaps
having a few very good restaurants, isn't
as nice as New York or San Francisco's
Yes, because it's MUCH, MUCH

On the other hand, Arlington County's
Little Saigon area on Wilson Blvd.,
next to the Clarendon Metro, couldn't
be beat for VERY GOOD and inexpensive
Vietnamese food, and very friendly
service, to boot.

That was a Day-after-Thanksgiving
tradition for me if I and my friends
were hanging around town and weren't
out-of-town with family or significant
others doing the turkey thing.

After which, thoroughly stuffed, we'd
head back to my place to watch the
annual grudge match between
Texas-Texas A&M, with yours truly
playing navigator, and explaining
to the others where these small Texas
towns the players were actually located.

Talk about something from my
regular routine
in DC that I really
miss here in South Florida

(Two weeks ago, thanks to the wonders
DirecTV, I watched the Abiline-Katy
5A High School football championship
at The Alamodome, LIVE on
Fox Sports
Southwest, Channel 676.
Their excellent coverage and production
values put that of of the
Miramar -Deland
FL 4A state title game in Lakeland over
Fox Sports Florida/SUN to shame.
It was night-and-day, like the difference
between MLB and the
low minors.)

For more on The Real World, see:







Also, in other Washington area reality news,
TheWrap TV Editor Josef Adalian reported
yesterday that, as he aptly put it,

CW's 'Blond Charity Mafia' Sleeps With the Fishes

America's distaste for all things Washington apparently extends to "Blonde Charity Mafia."

After months of delays, the CW Tuesday confirmed that it will not be airing the soapy reality docusoap after all. The decision isn't much of a surprise: After originally slotting the show for a six-week run in July and August, the network then pushed the show to "the fourth quarter."

Said quarter ends Thursday. And there's no sign of the "BCM."

Read the rest of the story at:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays from Hallandale Beach: A taste of chutzpah, hypocrisy and incompetency with your eggnog; Joy Cooper's change of heart after getting elected is just another one of those things that makes us all shake our heads

December 25, 2009

Dear faithful readers: 

On this day, as any other, a trip on Hallandale Beach Blog's Time Machine is never for the faint of heart or the intellectually dis-honest.

First, the set-up piece:



South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Thomas Monnay
October 8, 1997

Arnold Lanner wanted to please Jews and Christians when he persuaded his fellow commissioners to approve funds for a menorah and a Christmas tree for the city's holiday lighting display.

The move, however, has landed the city in church-and-state hot water

Several upset residents, including Alan R. Griffith, a lawyer, have warned officials against using taxpayer's money to erect religious symbols on public property.

The lighting display, the city's fifth in a row, kicks off Nov. 22.

"We hold both the city and its employees responsible for making such an unwise decision accountable," Griffith told commissioners in an Oct. 1 letter. "Please be advised that we take the Constitution very seriously and will, if necessary, seek help of the courts to protect its provisions."

Joy Cooper, an activist who also criticized the proposed use of religious symbols, said she would be willing to sue the city.

"The government has no right to get involved in religion," Cooper said.

She is concerned that city officials might some day add a cross or a nativity scene to the display.

Fearing a nasty court challenge from the residents, commissioners on Tuesday backed down from their plan with a 4-1 vote, leaving Lanner an angry man.

The symbols would have cost the city $3,000.

"I'm very unhappy about it," Lanner said. "I feel it's a holiday that denotes the two major religions [Christianity and Judaism)."

When commissioners unanimously approved Lanner's request in January, they thought the city was "mature" enough to deal with the change. But the public protest continued to mount as the holiday season approached.

City Attorney Dick Kane has told commissioners that it is probably illegal to use tax dollars for such purposes, but Lanner is not so sure.

Lanner said he could not understand why the federal government can spend tax dollars to erect a giant Christmas tree on the White House lawn and Hallandale can not do something similar.

He pointed out that Broward County's main library, a tax-supported facility, also displays a Christmas tree.

"Where do you draw the line," Lanner said. "It's kind of saying Christmas doesn't exist; it's kind of saying Hanukkah doesn't exist."

Commissioner Sonny Rosenberg said many Jewish residents requested that a menorah be part of the holiday display. But the latest uproar made him realize that there are more people who don't want one.

"If it's illegal, I think we ought to obey the law," Rosenberg said. "We don't always [do that), but in this case we will."

Lanner is still not convinced.

"I think we have to be more lenient as far as religion is concerned in the city of Hallandale," Lanner said.

City officials launch the display each year with a lighting ceremony and entertainment in the Diplomat Mall's parking lot. It illuminates Hallandale Beach Boulevard with thousands of colorful lights.

Cooper and Griffith, who have small children, said they love the event. But they want it to remain a holiday display _ not a religious celebration.

"I like it the way it is now," Cooper said. "I don't think it needs to be bigger, I don't think it needs religion in it.

In the City of Hallandale Beach, though there are literally dozens of self-evident public safety and Quality-of-Life issues that city employees really ought to be spending their time on first, something I only mention here constantly, city employees are often dispatched to work on matters that seem to have very little to do with the real priorities of a living, working city.

In my opinion, that's the case with the city's annual holiday lights display on Hallandale Beach Blvd., often BEFORE Election Day in the first week of November, as was the case last year.


Above, South Beach Hoosier photo of holiday light display on HBB, looking southwest from in front of Boston Market, November 6, 2009, a month before the official ceremony.

This attitude by HB City Hall is nothing new, though, as the year of Hurricane Wilma, three years ago, city employees were busy working on putting-up holiday lights in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall (on the U.S.-1 side, due to road construction on HBB) even while there were complaints

about piles of garbage and debris on city streets and curbs all over the city, even right near City Hall, many of which I saw for myself.

In fact, even as I saw the lights go up, the STOP signs in the city's very own parking lot were lying on the ground, where they'd remain for WEEKS.

Because that's the way they like to do things.
Logic and reason?
Where do you think you are?

Who has time to deal with public safety when there are holiday lights to go up?

In fact, the first day that they city started putting those lights-up three years ago -a three day process as it turned out- I was talking on my cell phone to a Miami Herald reporter about the city's rather dismal cleanup effort compared to next door Aventura and Hollywood as I came across the workers wrapping lights around palm trees.

And what about the Sun-Sentinel article at the top of this post from 12-years ago, that revolved around city residents' concerns about the city placing religious items, to wit, a menorah and a nativity scene, on city property, including "activist" Joy Cooper among others?

When push came to shove, though, what has history shown us has actually happened in the intervening years?

Well, since I've been living here, it seems like every mid-December, I suddenly see a giant menorah emerge out of nowhere, placed near the entrance to the city's beach at State Road A1A and HBB.

It's NOT sponsored by some private group, it's the city's.

(And in any case, it's PUBLIC property.)

No, there's nothing there that says a generic "Happy Holidays" nor are there cheery plastic candy canes, but rather an actual menorah, often propped-up by sand bags as I recall.

Frankly, it looks both sad and pathetic, especially after it's fallen and is just lying there on the ground.

What do you know, here's a photo I snapped of the menorah from last year, Dec. 26th to be exact.

Above,looking east from State Road A1A/S. Ocean Drive sidewalk.  December 26, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier

And more recently you ask? Well, how about Dec. 19th, last Saturday?December 19, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier

And what about the situation right in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall itself?

Here are some photos I took on of light displays there, one of a menorah and the other of a three-piece silhouette that, to my eyes at least, looks exactly like your standard generic Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus.

Not exactly Sugar Plum fairies or Nut Crackers or reindeer...
Or am I wrong in my description?

Above, December 24, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier looking west at entrance to Hallandale Beach City Hall on U.S.-1 from the sidewalk in front of Village at Gulfstream.

December 22, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
Directly in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall.

Dec. 22, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. Directly in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall.

Dec. 22, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. Menorah decoration in front of Chabad of South Broward, on HBB, which suffered a lot of flooding damage a week ago.
Nobody cares about this one being here since it's on private property.

Dec. 20, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
The U.S.-1 sign right near the religious displays in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall.
To the right is the near pitch black HB City Hall parking lot, a recurring Guest Star of so many
previous posts here on the blog for obvious safety reasons.

Not that that the city has shown the slightest inkling to resolve the self-evident public safety
problem there they all know about...

That's how they do things in the City of Hallandale Beach under Joy Cooper and Mike Good.

Thanks for taking this trip aboard the Hallandale Beach Blog Time Machine.

What is it with the City of Hallandale Beach and American flags? The city's DPW perpetually seems unable to handle the small things and the big things. It's long past time to outsource some of their responsibilities since they are not performing satisfactory and not meeting taxpayers expectations

Above, another shot of the missing American flag in front of the Hallandale Beach Water Tower and the HB Fire/Rescue Station at the intersection of State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive and Hallandale Beach Blvd. It's next door to the so-called North Beach Community Center that average HB taxpayers haven't been able to access since it was given to them, not the HB City Commission and PAL, on August 3rd, 2007, 28 months ago. The person most-responsible for this: Mayor Joy Cooper.
The same person who won't allow a public meeting about the building's future to be held because her interests are in complete conflict with the community's, who want to actually be able to use their city building steps from the ocean and with a great view of the ocean. 
December 19th, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. All photos on this page © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Just the latest in a never-ending series of missing American flags at that site over the years, in this case, missing since August.

Just saying...For those of you who've been paying close attention to what I've written here on the blog over the years to the damage done by the longstanding gross indifference to the importance of first impressions, appearances, aesthetics and public safety by Hallandale Beach City Hall, to say nothing of ethics, laws and proper procedures, the following bit of old news will not surprise you a whit.

You may recall my specifically commenting
here five weeks ago on the truly embarrassing situation involving the American flag at the Hallandale Beach City Hall and the HB Fire/Rescue Station on Three Islands, where I even had video.

See my November 16th blog post

Oh, say can you see... Guess which city's
 flag ignored Fort Hood and Veteran's Day?


And that criticism itself only dovetails with the longstanding, year-after-year problems with the
American flag next to the HB
Fire/Rescue Station at the intersection of State Road A1A/South  Ocean Drive and Hallandale Beach Blvd., in front of the HB Water Tower, which I've written about after first speaking to people in the city nominally in charge, who did NADA.

As it happens, as of last week, the American
flag over on A1A has been missing since August.

Well, that sort of general indifference and turning a blind eye to what's patently obvious has been par for the course under Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good since I returned to the area, as well as under HB Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan & Company, and to prove that point, I include here now some photos that I meant to run on Nov. 16th to show that very fact pattern.

These photos are from Oct. 26th of 2008 and show rather conclusively that the sort of thing that would be completely unacceptable in most American communities, continually flying a badly-damaged American flag for WEEKS above a government building, is just a normal day for officials of the City of Hallandale Beach.

They just shrug their shoulders and move on,
pretending they're busy earning their salaries.

They're not, and we know it.

Below, photos taken on October 26, 2008
by South Beach Hoosier.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coming Soon: Children's Letters to Santa & Hallandale Beach Blog about Hallandale Beach, Joy Cooper, Mike Good, et al

Coming Soon: Children's Letters to Santa and
Hallandale Beach Blog about Hallandale Beach,
Joy Cooper, Mike Good, et al.

Failed hit piece in 12/23/09 LA Times on Ileana by a hipper-than-thou Iranian regime apologist; WaPo's Robin Wright is correct about Iran

December 23rd, 2009

I'm neither a fan or opponent of Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, per se, but I know a hit piece
when I see one.

You know everything you need to know about
the essay below that appeared in Wednesday's
LA Times when you discover that author
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
's "associated" with
some group called Campaign Against Sanctions
and Military Intervention in Iran

So why is that NOT mentioned at the bottom of the
LA Times Guest Op-Ed, when a quick five-second
Google Search tells you that?
You know, since it actually has something
to do with the subject of the essay, sanctions?

Just more proof, as if needed, that the LA Times
isn't nearly what it used to be when I read their
great D.C. edition almost daily in the '90's, which
was nothing but news articles, opinions and essays,
with no ads -for a dollar.

It was fantastic for news junkies readers, even if it

was a loss-leader for Times-Mirror in their efforts

to have more influence in official Washington.
(I had a couple of friends in their DC bureau,
above the Farragut West
Metro station.)
Their separate Foreign Policy section on Tuesdays,
usually with something insightful and original by
then-foreign affairs correspondent Robin Wright,
now at the Washington Post, was always
MUST READING for me and my friends
interested in foreign policy and strategy.

See also: http://robinwrightblog.blogspot.com/
http://www.robinwright.net/ and

Her latest column in the WaPo, on her being
underwhelmed by Obama's West Point speech,
was this one from Dec. 10th appropriately titled

The real stakes in Afghanistan


That column includes the following about Iran:

Obama's strategy will deeply affect India, the world's largest democracy. Long-standing tensions between Pakistan and India have taken the world closer to the brink of nuclear war than any conflict has since World War II -- and still could, since Pakistan has failed to contain extremists responsible for terrorist atrocities in India, including the Mumbai attacks last year. U.S. failure to help nuclear Pakistan expand or shift its military focus from India to the more immediate threat from its internal extremists risks allowing those tensions to deepen.

Just as worrisome are the stakes with Iran, which borders both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has become for Iran what Iraq once was: a surrogate battlefield with the United States. Once Afghanistan's rival, Shiite-dominated Iran has reportedly supplied the same weapons and explosives to Sunni Taliban fighters that it provided Shiite militias in Iraq, on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- at least for now.

Iran manipulated (and often fueled) the problems that ensued after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In the process, it has become a regional superpower rivaled only by Israel. U.S. failures in Afghanistan and Pakistan would further strengthen Iran's position as its increasingly authoritarian government cracks down on a legitimate opposition movement and threatens to expand its nuclear program.
Since those of you who have always lived
in South Florida or the East Coast may not
be too familiar with it, t
hat the Times Op-Ed
author is a grad of the USC Annenberg
School for Communication
is nothing
to be impressed by, esp. if you've
ever met
some of the grads I met in D.C.

It's no SAIS, that's for sure,
http://www.sais-jhu.edu/ which is apparent if
you've ever met some of the Annenberg
grads in Washington that I have, who seemed
to specialize in sounding-off at public policy
forums, bars and coffee shops by repeating
things smarter people once said and wrote.
And getting it wrong.

Remember that pompous ass of a Harvard
grad student that Matt Damon's character
in Good Will Hunting made mincemeat of
in his verbal barrage in the bar, about the
evolution of the 18th Century market economy
in the Southern Colonies?

If you forgot it, it's here:


That's what I'm talking about!

(Somewhat unexpectedly, I actually had to play
Matt Damon role a few times while I lived
in the D.C. area in order to put some
wannbe grads who thought they were all that,
in their place.
That usually involved both politics, history and,
shocker, sports.)

Characterized by a real lack of intellectual honesty
and heft to say the least, regardless of what they
-or their anxious parents- paid for USC tuition.

Growing-up in South Florida in the '70's, I often
marched with my Iranian friends and their families
in the late '70's in anti-Shah rallies near the
Freedom Torch on Biscayne Blvd.
-back before that had been thoroughly rendered
into a tired
South Florida media cliche, like the
Versailles Restaurant- and we were positive
that there were Savak agents taking photos of
everyone, since they were a little too obvious and
we could sometimes hear the cameras whirring.

That's why my friends and their relatives
wore masks.

Many of my friends' parents and relatives had
been unlawfully imprisoned by the Shah, and
had the permanent scars and injuries to
prove it.

Iran as a modern, secular democratic country

wasn't an abstract idea to them, certainly not
the same way it seems to have been for so
of the apologists of the Shah, or the
current crew
of well-dressed apologists who
shop at
The Beverly Center
in LA.

I realize that my circumstances are unique
in that I know a LOT more about Iran
and its people and history than the average
American, have many friends who have
Iranian-born spouses, so when I come
across this sort of agitprop in the LA Times,
an intellectually dishonest effort that will
hurt not help the likelihood of that secular
democratic Iran from ever coming into
being, you understand that I really don't
need to hear yet another round of verbal
intellectual gymnastics from the newest hip
crowd of Iranian regime apologists wearing
Ann Taylor

Sometimes, things are exactly what they
appear to be.

Just saying...

Los Angeles Times

The hypocrisy of American bluster toward Iran

A U.S. representative who accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism has a track record of supporting terrorists herself.

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

December 23, 2009

By now there is little doubt that hypocrisy has become Washington's standing policy on foreign affairs. What is astounding is the lack of shame in such overt duplicity as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's (R-Fla.) accusations in the Dec. 14 Times Op-Ed article that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorists -- when she herself has a track record of supporting terrorists.

In February 1988, Orlando Bosch was arrested in Miami and implicated in the 1976 plot to blow up Cubana Flight 455, a terrorist act that killed 73 passengers. Joe D. Whitley, the associate U.S. attorney general at the time, called Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims." Bosch, however, had the distinct advantage of having Ros-Lehtinen make advocating for his release one of the cornerstones of her 1989 congressional campaign. Bosch had another advantage: Ros-Lehtinen's campaign manager was Jeb Bush, President George H.W. Bush's son. In 1990, after lobbying by Jeb Bush and Ros-Lehtinen, the Bush administration went against the Justice Department's recommendation to deport Bosch and authorized his release. Since then, Bosch has become a permanent resident of the United States.

Ros-Lehtinen also supports the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a group by the State Department as a foreign terrorist group. Leading up to the Iraq war, in October 2002, Ros-Lehtinen circulated a letter in Congress expressing support for the MEK. She continues her support.

Common sense dictates that Iran would want security in its two neighboring countries given the spillover effect. By now, it is also common knowledge that the Sunni Taliban and Shiite Iran have been hostile toward each other for years (several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in 1998), and no doubt this hostility led to Iran's decision to assist the Northern Alliance and the U.S. in efforts in the overthrow of the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks -- efforts that were rewarded with the infamous "axis of evil" brand. Yet Ros-Lehtinen would insult the American public's intelligence by telling them that Iran, without mentioning any history, has a hand in Afghanistan. Does Ros-Lehtinen ever wonder if other countries simply do not welcome occupation by any foreign force?

One has to question what motivates Ros-Lehtinen in her push to put financial sanctions on foreign and domestic companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran. Doing so could lead to more job losses in America and more hostilities between U.S. allies and Iran. This is a time when our policy makers should be thinking about America and Americans, period.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer living in Glendale.

Meanwhile...closer to home

December 17th, 2009 Miami Herald Editorial

Getting serious with Iran -


Stronger sanctions needed to persuade regime to drop nuclear-weapons program

It should be clear by now that Iran is on a collision course with the United States and other Western nations over its quest for nuclear weapons.
Years of diplomatic engagement, proposed deals and three rounds of sanctions by the United Nations have failed to deter Iran from getting closer to acquiring the capacity to produce nukes.
Indeed, the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has grown more defiant.
In the last few weeks, it has dropped all pretense of wanting to work with U.N. inspectors and Western nations, angrily refusing to comply with a U.N. demand to cease work on a nuclear-fuel enrichment plant and vowing to construct 10 more plants as soon as it can.
The latest bad news involves reports that Iran is getting closer to solving the most difficult aspects of making nuclear weapons.
The Times of London reported that Iran appears to be working on a ''neutron initiator,'' a device that could trigger an explosion in a nuclear warhead.
This means Iran is becoming self-sufficient in nuclear weapons technology and has no intention of putting an end to its clandestine weapons program.

Since the West can clearly not do business with this regime, it is time to get serious about sanctions.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin (412-12) approved a measure that dramatically increases the economic pressure on Iran by curtailing its ability to import refined products, such as gasoline.
Its key provision requires the president to impose sanctions on any company here or abroad that helps to supply Iran with refined petroleum.

Because Iran relies on imports for 40 percent of its refined petroleum, this would oblige the regime to consider the consequences of its continued defiance of the international community.

The effort was led by U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, the ranking minority member of the panel. As a rule, multilateral sanctions are far preferable to unilateral moves, but it's hard to blame the House for deciding to take action.

Iran has a long record of deviousness and duplicity and the clock is ticking toward the day when it will become a nuclear power unless its leaders become convinced that the nations arrayed against it have finally lost all patience.
The Obama administration has shown little enthusiasm for Congress' action, but it is working on its own set of sanctions, which officials hope will gain international support.
Both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said in recent days that a broader package of sanctions is in the works.

As described by Mr. Gates, the point would be ''to persuade the Iranian government that they would actually be less secure with nuclear weapons'' because ''their people will suffer enormously'' from sanctions.

Clearly, the time has come to take such measures.

Reader comments at:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wow! Just saw new trailer for Disney's/Tim Burton's 3D "Alice in Wonderland," starring Johnny Depp

Above, actress Mia Wasikowska as Alice
Walt Disney Pictures forthcoming
Alice in Wonderland.

Over the weekend, I saw the new trailer for

newest little dividend that'll keep
on giving,
Tim Burton's 3-D Alice in
, starring Johnny Depp,
Ann Hathaway
and Helena Bonham
, with twenty-year old Australian
Mia Wasikowska starring as

(She'll also be playing Jane Eyre in a new
film out in 2011 produced by BBC Films.
Once Alice comes out, her life of relative
anonymity disappears forever.)

Alice is slated to come out March 5th and
based on what I've seen thus far, it's a
safe bet I'll be among those
in line to see it
the first weekend.

It's really the damnedest thing I ever saw,
and the music by
Danny Elfman is both
weirdly and instantly familiar once you
hear it, like so many other memorable
Disney TV/film
scores and themes in my
head and yours, though mine, necessarily
ones from things you may well
have forgotten, like, say, well,
The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh,
starring Patrick McGoohan.

The particular Alice trailer link I have here
is the one that I believe has the most context
of the various
trailers on the Internet, since
it includes the very reason she is trying
escape from things in the first place:


Looks like the Mouse House has invented
a new
Billion $$$ printing press again!

I actually spent a good 45 minutes on the
ingenious movie website over the weekend
trying different things out, and it's just
amazing how ridiculously clever they are:


Really looks like film director
Tim Burton
is firmly back in the
GENIUS camp -again!
This time, to stay.

Speaking of 3D films, at her her Wax Word
blog today, Sharon Waxman, editor of
The Wrap, the best new addition to the
Hollywood scene this year, waxes about
some well-known Hollywood film directors
with a strong hankering to make some 3D
films in the future -and she names the

Hollywood Seized by 3D Mania


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Scopes Monkey Trial was never like this! Alyssa Milano's Evolution: Jersey Shore.

Originally, there was Dove Evolution.
Some folks thought it was great, while
others found it preachy and self-serving
in the extreme, not unusual for TV ads
pitching products geared to women.

Now comes before us for our perusal
and analysis, Alyssa Milano's Evolution:
Jersey Shore
. Alyssa Milano prepares
for a new role.

See her popular NFL-themed clothing line,
Touch By Alyssa Milano:


Inherit the Wind:
Long trailer with director Stanley Kramer

Short trailer

As always, Spencer Tracy's a good defense attorney
to have on your side!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

At 2:43 a.m., Hallandale Beach approves First Reading of controversial Diplomat Country Club LAC, 3-2

Above, the 1923 Abraham Lincoln 3-cent stamp

Thursday December 17th, 2009
3:20 a.m.

You know how at the top of this blog of mine it
says that you are NOT in the Land of Lincoln.
That's still the case.

Not that you'd asked, just saying...
Sadly, that was proven by the past 6-7 hours here
in Hallandale Beach, when an opportunity to do
the right thing for the future of the majority of people
who actually live here right now, was missed.
Missed because of a lack of leadership and a chase
for imaginary city taxes that may never materialize.

Five hours and forty-three minutes after the
agenda item came up at 9:03 p.m. Wednesday
night, starting barely thirty minutes after a
marching band walked thru the packed HB
Commission Chambers, to the great confusion
and consternation of many arriving attendees,
the Hallandale Beach City Commission approved
Diplomat Properties L.P.'s LAC proposal
largely along the lines I feared it would when
I arrived at 6:45 p.m.

Comm. Dotty Ross made the motion for approval
at about 2:36 a.m. and Mayor Joy Cooper
seconded the motion after having previously
handed the presiding gavel over to Comm.
William Julian.

Voting for the approval:
Dotty Ross
, Joy Cooper, Anthony A. Sanders.

Voting against: Keith London, William Julian.

I'll have more to say about this meeting later today.

I'd really been looking forward to being able to
bring you video of the most important parts
of the evening, both to clarify some points I've
been making here on the blog for a while,
as well as to show you the lighter-than-air
quality of many of the promises made on
behalf of the project, but due to both the length
of the meeting and more importantly,
some secondary problems associated with
my camera and I getting thoroughly soaked
in a torrential thunderstorm on Friday
afternoon, that's not likely to happen unless
I can salvage some video and photos.

Many people arriving at 7 p.m. for the Public Comments
portion of the meeting for non-agenda items were very
surprised to see that Holiday Decorations prizes were
still being given inside a packed Commission Chambers.
Not me -I expected it.

So instead of going over their three-minute comments
in their head from their seats inside, everyone milled
around in the dark.

You only see these movers-and-shakers because of
camera flash -when it was working.
December 16, 2009 photo by
South Beach Hoosier

See I told you there was a marching band!
This is a shot of the marching band lining-up inside
the City Hall breezeway to go inside the Commission
That's Becker & Poliakoff attorney
Alan B. Koslow on far right, facing you.
Again, you only see them all because of
the camera flash.
December 16, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier

You remember what I said yesterday about the
messed-up ceiling, don't you?
See, I wasn't exaggerating about that, either.
Those public parking lot lights in front of Hallandale
Beach City Hall were still out, too.
But then you probably guessed that, right?
Now you're catching on...

Below, the marching band coming out of the Hallandale
Beach City Commission Chambers around 7:45 p.m.
or so, Wednesday night.

Seeing is believing.
That's why it's Hallandale
Beach, oui?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slipshod Broward Schools continue to deteriorate, and irritate and obfuscate Broward taxpayers at every opportunity

In the case of the controversial Lincoln Park school in Hollywood,
Elementary School C, is the stage being set for Jennifer
and Ann Murray, both running for re-election next year,
to come to the rescue, or for them to be shown as ineffectual,
once again?
I know which side of the equation I'd bet on.

This issue comes before the Hollywood City Commission at 6 p.m.
Excerpt from http://www.hollywoodfl.org/docdepotcache/00000/941/R-2009-392.PDF

6:00 PM
24. R-2009-392 -
Resolution - A Resolution Of The City Commission Of The City Of Hollywood,
Florida, Approving And Authorizing The Appropriate City Officials To Execute
The Attached Second Amendment To The Lease Agreement Between The
School Board Of Broward County And The City Of Hollywood For The Property
Known As Lincoln Park. Staff: Director Of Parking And Intergovernmental Affairs

(Rules of Procedure Attached to Agenda)
6:00 PM
25. R-2009-393 -
Resolution - A Resolution Of The City Commission Of The City Of Hollywood,
Florida, Approving An Amendment Of Concurrency Notation On The "Lincoln
Park/Elementary School "C" Plat", Revising The Restrictive Note On The Plat
From A 110,506 Square Foot Public Elementary School And An Existing 3.51
Acre Park To A 110,506 Square Foot Public Pre-Kindergarten To 8th Grade
School And An Existing 4.7 Acre Park, To Reflect The Proposed Uses Thereon.
(P-10-01) Staff: Director Of Public Utilities

Logically, South Florida TV stations should send someone
to cover this story and then head over to Hallandale Beach
for the contentious vote on the Diplomat Country Club,
but I suspect that Hollywood will get the coverage and HB
will once again get zero.

I'll take photos of any reporters I see and recognize -if any.

View Larger Map

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

School Board, Hollywood differ over school
City wants more seats than board approves

By Akilah Johnson, Sun Sentinel

December 15, 2009

Hollywood Commissioner Heidi O'Sheehan warned the School Board on Tuesday that it may have a fight on its hands because it isn't providing the city enough seats in a new Montessori magnet school opening next fall.

At first, Elementary School C, at Lincoln Street and 24th Avenue, was going to be a traditional neighborhood school serving students in the Lincoln Park area. Now the magnet school will educate students in kindergarten through eighth grade; students must apply to attend the school and live south of Interstate 595.

Hollywood is the landlord. The School Board amended its lease with Hollywood on Tuesday, changing the school's grade levels and program model. But the board didn't approve the city's request for more seats.

Hollywood is getting space for 150 children who live there. The capacity of the new school will be about 750 students.

"What we're asking for is a very reasonable — higher — number of choice seats," O'Sheehan told the board. "We're asking for half."

Who attends the school — and how many attend it — are the school's most critical issues, said Steve Welsch, president of the Hollywood Council of Civic Associations.

"Not only is this fair to the residents of Hollywood, it also addresses some of the traffic and safety issues resulting from school bus congestion," Welsch wrote in a letter to the city.

But the school attendance area is an issue better dealt with during the district's annual school boundary review, not from the dais, board members said.

Board member Ann Murray, who represents Hollywood, said the competitive, high-end new school could be a draw for students to attend traditional schools

Hollywood also wants to set 3:30 p.m. as the start time for the city to use the park after school lets out. That request also was rejected, in favor of no definite time.

If the School Board and the city don't resolve their differences soon, O'Sheehan said, the situation could deteriorate to "a contentious battle."

The city is set to amend its part of the lease agreement Wednesday. Welsh asked Hollywood to reject the lease if the board didn't agree with the changes the city wants.


Broward Beat
Witch Hunt Against Broward Principal Fails

By Buddy Nevins

Imagine working for 35 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Then right before you retire, you are called in front of the school cops. You are told you are being investigated.

You are ordered not to talk about the investigation. The cops refuse to tell you what you are being investigated for.

It was the start of a 22 month-long nightmare for Rebecca Dahl, former principal at Sunrise Middle School, that ended just weeks ago.

North Korea? East Germany? Cuba?

No, this Kafkaesque scene was the work of the Broward County Schools Special Investigative Unit – the school cops.

Read the rest of the story at:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Schools education blog

Former principal gets apology from Broward School Board

by Kathy Bushouse on December 15, 2009

Unpopular Diplomat Country Club LAC set for vote tonight in Hallandale Beach; lots of Hollywood residents also expected to attend

Above the city's ad that ran in the Herald for tonight's
meeting on the Diplomat Country Club LAC.

Below, the ad that ran in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
this morning on p. 9B

If you're coming to tonight's meeting in HB,
don't forget to bring a flashlight with you,

since so many of the public parking lot lights

at HB City Hall are still out, as they have been
for most of the past TWO YEARS.
This includes
3 of the 4 lights closest to the
U.S.-1 public
entrance to City Hall.

But despite multiple warnings, City Manager

Mike Good, City Attorney David Jove and
Police Chief
Thomas Magill have consciously
n to ignore the self-evident safety and

And for those of you who don't live within the
33009, that's what passes for normal here.

And what about that ceiling in the City Hall
still messed-up two years later?

Per my friend Csaba's suggestion, if you're
opposed to the Diplomat project, you're
encouraged to wear
something RED tonight.

Google Map of Hallandale Beach City Hall and
400 S. Federal Highway,
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

View Larger Map
excerpt from:
PUBLIC HEARINGS (to be heard at 7:30 P.M.)

A. An Ordinance of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida Amending the City’s Future Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan by Changing the Land Use Designation of a Portion of the Diplomat Country Club Located Generally at 500-501 Diplomat Parkway From Commercial Recreation (86.8 Acres), General Commercial (5.24 Acres), and Low Density Residential (1.45 Acres) to Local Activity Center; Containing a Provision for Inclusion in the City’s Adopted Comprehensive Plan; Providing for Severability; Repealing Conflicting Ordinances and Resolutions and Providing an Effective Date (First Reading) (Staff: Director, Development Services) (See backup) CAD #009/08





DATE: December 1, 2009

TO: D. Mike Good, City Manager

FROM: Richard D. Cannone, Director of Development Services

SUBJECT: An Ordinance of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida Amending the

City’s Future Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan by Changing the Land Use Designation of a Portion of The Diplomat Country Club Located Generally at 500-501 Diplomat Parkway From Commercial Recreation (86.8 Acres) General Commercial (5.24 Acres) and Low Density Residential (1.45 Acres) to Local Activity Center; Containing a Provision for Inclusion in the City’s Adopted Comprehensive Plan; Providing for Severability; Repealing Conflicting Ordinances and Resolutions and Providing an Effective Date.


To amend the City Comprehensive Plan by amending the Future Land Use designation of a portion of the Diplomat Country Club located at 500-501 Diplomat Parkway (approximately 93.49 net acres) to Local Activity Center (LAC).


On November 2, 2009, the applicant held the required Community Meeting to present the project in a public forum. On November 17, 2009, the Planning and Zoning Board held a public hearing on the application. The Board recommended approval of the application by a vote of 5-1 (Cooper, No); subject to staff’s recommendation as follows:

1. The applicant shall reduce the intensity of the development;

2. The applicant shall work with staff to modify the building location proposed on Parcel F to address concerns with compatibility;

3. Applicant shall be required to apply to rezone the property to Planned Local Activity Center (PLAC) within 3 months of the City Commission approval of this amendment on First Reading;

4. The applicant shall be responsible for developing an alternative plan in lieu of utilizing 75% of the City’s remaining flexibility units; and

5. The applicant shall provide a minimum of 15% of the proposed number of units be considered affordable.


Subsequent to the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, staff met with the applicant and representative to discuss the conditions and has provided the following responses:

  1. The applicant will address the intensity of the development at the time of the Planned Local Activity Center (PLAC) rezoning.

  1. The applicant will address the building location of Parcel “F” at the time of PLAC rezoning.

  1. The applicant has agreed and anticipates filing the Planned Local Activity Center (PLAC) zoning district application in late January 2010.

  1. The applicant agrees to work with staff to develop an alternative plan in lieu of utilizing 75% of the City’s remaining flexibility units. It should be noted, currently, there are 905 Flex Units available in Flex Zone 93; 605 of these flex units are proposed to be allocated to the City’s Regional Activity Center (RAC) presently being processed. The resulting balance of units available in Flex Zone 93 will be 300 Flex Units.

  1. The applicant will provide 15% of the units as affordable housing or contribute financially to the City’s affordable housing program in an amount to be negotiated with the City and incorporated into a Development Agreement at the time of rezoning to PLAC.


Staff has further evaluated the proposed amendment relative to its impact on the City and public facilities and determined there is sufficient capacity as to water, sewer and parks and recreation. The student impact of the project on overcrowded schools would be four (4) students to Hallandale Elementary. (Please see attached staff report to the Planning and Zoning Board dated November 17, 2009 for a detailed analysis).

The applicant was also required to submit a Traffic Analysis to analyze the trip generation increments created by the land use plan amendment (LUPA) as part of their application. This study was prepared by Kimley Horn and Associates. The City’s traffic consultant for this project, The Corradino Group, reviewed the report and concluded the proposed LUPA will result in a net increase of 302 trips in the PM Peak hour. The current land use designation for the site generates a total of 348 trips in the PM peak hour. The net external trips after the LUPA will be 650 trips in the PM peak hour. At this time, the trips distributed to the transportation network include the net increase generated for the land uses of the proposed amendment. At the time of rezoning to PLAC, the applicant will be required to submit a traffic study which will show the total trips generated by the project to the traffic network.

A review of the traffic analysis provided by the Applicant revealed that the project impact is significant on the following roadways:

Table 1

Total Net Project Trips per Roadway

PM peak Hour


Total Maximum Net PM peak Hour Trips

NE 14th Avenue


Atlantic Shores Boulevard


Hallandale Beach Boulevard






As the City is located in an Urban Infill Area, development projects may not be denied based upon concurrency, however, they are required to mitigate their impacts. The applicant has offered the following mitigation:

  • Signal improvements at the intersection of NE 14th Avenue and Hallandale Beach Boulevard.
  • The construction of an additional westbound right-turn lane providing for dual right-turn lanes at Atlantic Shores Boulevard and US-1.

Based upon the Applicant’s traffic studies, the mitigation program will alleviate the impact of the trips allocated to NE 14th Avenue and Atlantic Shores Boulevard. City staff will continue working with the applicant to provide for a mitigation program for trips allocated to Hallandale Beach Boulevard, A1A and US-1.

The applicant will also be required to mitigate for traffic and transportation impact as set forth by Section 32-794, “Traffic and Transportation Facilities.”


The City Commission consider adoption of the attached Ordinance changing the land use designation of the Diplomat Country Club property to Local Activity Center and authorize transmittal to the Broward County Planning Council (BCPC) and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The Ordinance will be brought back for Second Reading after A compliance determination by appropriate agencies.

Prepared by:


Christy Dominguez,

Director of Planning and Zoning



D. Mike Good, City Manager Date

_____Approved _____Disapproved _____Hold for Discussion



Item 12A - Agenda for 2009-12-16

SUPP_DOCS / Documents
Document 1 - Ordinance
Document 2 - Staff Report to Planning and Zoning Board
Document 3 - Attachment 1- Diplomat Country Club Parcels A-F
Document 4 - Attachment 2- Design Guidelines
Document 5 - Diplomat Application to Broward County
Document 6 - EXHIBIT A- Diplomat Map
Document 7 - EXHIBIT B- Legal Description

#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!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

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

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on