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, Europe 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. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tonight I'll be posting and sharing some 'common knowledge' and common sense about Sweden on the eve of President Obama becoming the first U.S. president to ever visit it for a bilateral meeting. Yes, you will get fascinating factoids and amusing anecdotes you will be NOT be seeing over the next few days on TV or online, when Obama sees Sverige and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt "Up-close and Personal" and later meets with other Nordic leaders; @sweden, #stockholm





Final approach on runway 26, Stockholm Arlanda Airport. 
Välkommen till Sverige -Welcome to Sweden.

To give you some perspective on how far north Stockholm really is, the air miles from Washington, D.C. to Stockholm, about 4134, is less than 50 miles farther than a flight from Stockholm due south to the Equator.



Above, screenshot of early Monday's Aftonbladet online coverage on this week's trip.
Meanwhile, Dagens Nyheter has one of those great graphics they do, this time about the official limo, which always fascinates people no matter what country it is in:
http://www.dn.se/sthlm/grafik-sa-skyddas-obama-i-sverige/


SVT news video: Så skyddas Obama. 
This news segment about the president's protective detail, featuring comments by former Washington Post reporter and author Ron Kessler, ran during Monday night's evening news and is mostly in English.

On Tuesday night I will be uploading my blog post about some things that President Obama really ought to know about Sweden in advance of his flight to Stockholm on Wednesday, but which I'm pretty sure that he will not be briefed about by the State Dept., owing to certain cultural and myopic weaknesses.
But I've got it covered.

Not so much a Top Ten list, per se, since I'm not sure how many things will make the list, but don't be surprised to see some things mentioned here that you didn't know, or thought you knew about Sweden -but didn't.

But as just as a bit of a teaser, I'll remind you, again, that Sweden is NOT Switzerland.

(Switzerland is where American actor, social activist and jet-setter George Clooney chooses to live, on Lake Como, and Sweden is where the shining example of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, a man who made a huge difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people, in that he made it possible for them to actually stay alive, quite contrary of the wishes of the Nazis.
But in a sign that no good deed goes unpunished, he died in a Soviet prison for his heroic efforts, yet lives forever in the hearts of his countrymen.)

But Tre Kronor, the Swedish National Mens Hockey team did defeat Switzerland 1-0 in the IIHF Championships in May in the Gold Medal game played in Stockholm, which prompted lots of celebrating in the hours and days afterwards, including at Sergels Torg, one of my favorite places in all of Stockholm.




Tre Kronor på Kungsträdgården, Stockholm; The public celebration ceremony the day after winning the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championship 



Marcus Jerräng ‏@blisk: Samtidigt på Sergels Torg

I listened to the game LIVE online via Sveriges Radio despite my lack of knowledge of the words for many hockey terms in Sweden, and watched the game when it was finally televised -NOT LIVE- in the U.S., but rather late the next night on NBC Sports Network with no build-up, which sucked.


SVT news video: Early on Monday morning Foreign Ministry Chief of Protocol 
Caroline Vicini appeared on SVT's Gomorron program and spoke about what events would be taking place and ironing-out things logistically so everything is smooth sailing. 

Here's a copy of the email I received last week from the City of Stockholm:

Heavy traffic problems expected during President Obama's visit (Stockholms stad: Kraftiga trafikstörningar väntas i samband med president Obamas besök)


City of Stockholm

Heavy traffic problems expected during President Obama's visit

Stockholm - August 29, 2013 11:25 EDT
Following President Obama's visit to Stockholm on 4-5 September expected heavy traffic problems in many parts of the Stockholm area.
In particular, the inner city and the main roads to and from the airport will be affected.
Some parts of the city is completely closed to traffic. This applies primarily to the area around Nybrokajen, Harbour Street, Finland - Old Town, around the castle.
All modes of transport are affected: automobile, public transportation; mainly bus, plane and to some extent also boating.
Motorists urged to leave their cars at home and use public transport.
Public transport travelers are recommended to first use of rail transport ie subway and / or train.
All road users can expect delays.
Those scheduled travel days to / from Stockholm and Arlanda should contact their tour operator for details of current departure times
Current traffic information will be provided via Trafik Stockholm. Radio Stockholm and at the following websites:
Current traffic Trafik Stockholm, www.trafiken.nu
City of Stockholm, www.stockholm.se
Transport Administration, www.trafikverket.se
Police, www.polisen.se
SL, www.sl.se

Contact: Mats Freij, Traffic
Telephone 076 1226160
mats.freij @ stockholm.se 

Below is Police Dept.'s info page on changes to auto, bus, rail, bicycle and pedestrian traffic patterns related to the Obama visit.

Long story short, they want people to avoid going into downtown area if they can avoid it, and even encourage people to work at home if possible.

Because Stockholm is, of course, a series of many islands with connecting bridges and has an extensive subway system, the authorities will NOT allow any trains to run under areas where escorts are taking place, which means that train passengers, both local and regional, will be adversely affected.

Translation -strong possibility that train passengers can and will be stuck on trains for quite some time.
Just saying...

 Så påverkas trafiken under Obama-besök

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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, Hollywood and Aventura.

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. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered 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 tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners 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 for others to solve in the future.

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 of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, 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 in public policy and goivernment engagement. 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 of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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.

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.