Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is it finally clear to voters that the Florida Republican Party is a radical fringe? Maybe. ... by gimleteye

What is wrong with Trump supporters/ the Republican Party? Have they entirely lost their minds? The answer to that, is a resounding YES. Watch this amazing clip from CNN:

RUSSIA FOUND OUR VERY WORST AND IS STILL EXPLOITING THEM: this Florida woman, who ran a Trump supporters page that unwittingly promoted a Russian-coordinated event on Facebook says she doesn’t believe that she was influenced by Kremlin-linked trolls.

Then, this: the GOP majority state legislature yesterday argued that porn is more dangerous than semi automatic weapons in schools. Really.

The news is splattering across the web. From GQ Magazine:
One is a threat to public health and should be investigated, the other is an AR-15.

On Tuesday, less than a week after the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, students who survived the massacre looked on as Florida's House of Representatives voted along party lines to shut down a bill banning assault rifles.

According to Florida's legislature the real threat to the health and safety of the state's teens isn't how easy it is for their classmate to legally purchase an AR-15. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the pressing, immediate danger is in all those erotic Tumblrs out there:

The state's House of Representatives approved the resolution by a voice vote on Tuesday. The resolution states a need for education, research and policy changes to protect Floridians, especially teenagers, from pornography.

Republican Rep. Ross Spano says there is research that finds a connection between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, forming and maintaining intimate relationships and deviant sexual behavior. Spano is also a candidate for attorney general.

The most twisted part of this is the demands by Florida Republicans to research the public health impact of porn, while the CDC is implicitly banned from doing research on gun violence. The 1996 Dickey Amendment specifically blocks the CDC from using its budget to "advocate or promote gun control," and since objective, peer-reviewed, scientific studies consistently show effective gun control would reduce gun violence, there's no research the CDC can do that won't sacrifice its funding.

This is a clear example of Republican priorities, where gun control isn't a public health issue or a matter of literal life and death, but rather it's a political wedge issue that lets you clobber Democrats or out-rightwing other Republicans in primaries. This is the political world where news of 17 people shot to death in a high school is received gladly by a president's administration because it means their incompetence won't take up as much space in the news cycle.

Most people would probably be ashamed to basically kill a gun control bill with teenage survivors in the room with them. But shame isn't enough of an incentive to get a legislator to flip on such a lucrative and politically useful issue. Unfortunately for them, these students are organized, angry, and soon to be voting age.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Make MARCH 24th the biggest March ever on Washington. By Geniusofdespair

Do you really want change on guns well now is the time. We have this small window of opportunity: The March in Washington on the 24th. Sponsor a kid, help rent a bus, go yourself. Local marches are fine but there has to be one mega, killer march. If you really believe -- you can make it happen. It is an easy round trip in one day. I did it for the women's march last year. Can't afford it, give a young one $5 towards their trip.

Do it right, don't be lazy and say, I will just march here. That is a last resort. Good, but not good enough. Get to Washington! Get your kids to Washington. Make reservations now before the prices spike. Look for bus rides. I reserved a one bedroom suite, it cost $239. Just to have it. Can fit a lot of people.

Remember it wasn't the New York, Chicago, Miami, Boston Tea Party. One Place = most impact.

State Legislature: From The Annals Of Government Designed To Fail ... by gimleteye

If you've been at this, as long as we have: nothing surprises you.

Gov. Rick Scott, raising money to take on Senator Bill Nelson, and the aspirants to fill in behind him -- including Representative Matt Caldwell who wants to be Ag. Secty and Ag. Secty Adam Putnam who wants to be governor -- are all poised to do the maximum damage to the public interest that they can. Practically speaking, that means taking full advantage of President Trump's agreement to shovel federal regulatory authority, in whatever shape, form or size, into the dustbin of history.

The triumph of "states' rights" puts Florida Republicans in the drivers seat, which is a much more comfortable position to be than the roller derby where team sport rules apply.

SB1402/HB7043, as originally filed, would allow the state of Florida to pursue wetland permitting under the federal Clean Water Act Section 404. These bills pave the way for the state of Florida to take on the federal Clean Water Act authority of issuing 404 “dredge and fill” permits (the authorizations needed to destroy wetlands for development).

The measure is being proposed in the name of streamlining and efficiency, (jobs! jobs! jobs!) but if it is passed into law, would virtually guarantee that environmental review and protections of wetlands will disappear.

Florida is already witnessing the efforts of the state to marginalize federal consent decrees and agreements protecting the Everglades. There is far worse ahead, if the state (and big campaign funders) get their hands on the wetlands permitting process.

Click this link for the contact information for the Miami-Dade legislative delegation.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Big Sugar lobbyist now making dietary guidelines for United States ... by gimleteye

Donald Trump -- the most ethically challenged president in US history -- recently granted a waiver for a former corn syrup lobbyist to write the nation's dietary guidelines for the USDA. (Prior to that, she worked for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on sugar subsidies, and earlier, cut her teeth working for the Koch Brothers.)

Kailee Tkacz represented the Corn Refiners Association, which consists of the four biggest corn syrup producers in the nation: Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, Ingredion and Tate & Lyle Americas, whose European operations were sold to the Fanjul's Florida Crystals empire in 2010.

The New York Times points out today in an editorial, "Trump's 'Best People' and Their Dubious Ethics":
President Trump’s White House has been so scandal-plagued that controversies involving cabinet members and other high-level officials that would have been front-page news in any other administration have barely registered in the public consciousness.

Floridians health and environment is being sacrificed for sugar, one of the most heavily subsidies agricultural commodities in the US Farm Bill
There should be no need to remind that the costs to US healthcare from over-consumption of sugar exceed $1 trillion ANNUALLY, or, that excess sugar consumption can trigger inflammation of all kinds, from diabetes to cancer. At Eye On Miami, we've written extensively on the corrosive influence of Big Sugar on Florida politics and, in particular, a water management system converting once pristine natural resources into pale and toxic remnants.

According a recent report by the International Business Times:
(Kailee) Tkacz was director of food policy for the Corn Refiners Association, a trade group for corn syrup manufacturers, for two years before immediately leaving for the Trump administration in July 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. Before that, she lobbied for the Snack Food Association and the National Grocers Association. Prior to her lobbying days, she spent a year as a research analyst on tax policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of corporations and conservative lawmakers that work together to craft business-friendly model legislation, and a year at the Charles Koch Institute, named after its billionaire founder and the CEO and part-owner of the global fossil fuel and materials conglomerate Koch Industries.
Voters for Republican office-holders are to blame for the Trump and GOP fiasco.

But Democrats are under Big Sugar's spell, too. Outgoing Florida state senate president Joe Negron complains the absence of Democratic support, except for Jose Javier Rodriguez from Miami-Dade (now running for Congress), caused his 2017 Everglades reservoir bill to pass without sufficient storage and cleansing marshes to guarantee protection of water quality from Big Sugar's toxic farm runoff. Big Sugar hit the Democrats hard, like senate minority leader Oscar Braynon.

The cost of the Negron misadventure, not to mention delayed decade, to fix the badly damaged Everglades and estuaries? At least $1.6 billion.

Remember Michele Obama's campaign "Let's get America moving!", to reduce childhood obesity through healthy school dietary programs? Big Sugar killed that initiative, too, thundering in the White House political office it wouldn't hesitate to use its political muscle in key midwestern states where corn syrup in king. (The Dems who lost, anyway, might consider developing a pair of balls when it comes to Big Sugar.)

In the Farm Bill Florida's sugarcane growers cannily tie their own subsidies to the price of corn syrup, guaranteeing that they have the protection of the midwest voting bloc to protect their corporate welfare.

It is a system that stinks to high heaven, all for a commodity that is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar. Republican voters -- and Dems, too -- should remember that, next time they head to the polls.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Florida’s sugar industry just posted one of the best years in its history, even as the Everglades and virtually everyone in South Florida suffered one of the worst. It’s not a coincidence. Managing water in Florida means picking winners and losers. When there’s a drought, losers go thirsty. When it rains, losers drown. In 38 years of public records, sugar has yet to lose.
The Everglades lost on both sides in 2017. Barely a trickle flowed south into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay for the first five months of the year. River mouths dried up, brackish estuaries became saltier than the ocean, seagrass meadows collapsed. Guides reported miles of lifeless, stinking water where some of the most productive shallow fisheries had thrived for years.
The Caloosahatchee and its massive Gulf coast estuary and the seagrasses that support it weren’t getting enough freshwater, either. But locks from Lake Okeechobee stayed closed, holding water back for the only customer getting all it needed. Even as residents around the region faced watering restrictions, sugarcane fields stayed wet all spring. As South Florida went brown, all signs in the Everglades Agricultural Area pointed to a record sugarcane crop.
Meanwhile the Florida state legislature delivered more good news to the industry, rewarding its relentless lobbying campaign to block relief for the Everglades and estuaries by forcing the EAA reservoir to use public land and suspending eminent domain for the project. That limited the reservoir’s capacity to send more water to the parched Everglades and absorb discharges like the surge that wiped out the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries a year earlier.
Then a foot of rain ended a six-month drought almost instantly, leaving the sugar growers with more than 100 billion gallons of water they wanted off their fields, because sugarcane can’t thrive in standing water for even a few days. Off it went, overwhelming treatment marshes and Water Conservation Areas, flooding into the Everglades, drowning everything that couldn’t swim, trapping the rest on a handful of tree islands without enough food to survive. Then-FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron said at the time, “This event is so catastrophic that if we don’t act, we may not have anything left to save.” We’ll never know how much wildlife was sacrificed for the 2017-18 sugarcane crop.
The chart below traces the water that the industry's 395,000 sugar-producing acres got, needed, and dumped during the 2017-18 growing year. Water levels stayed high as the industry needed to flush roughly 250 billion gallons of runoff into the Everglades between May and August. Then the hurricanes came.
Chart: Sugarcane used up all the water, then flooded the
The estuaries had no chance. Lake Okeechobee had been rising all summer. The sugar industry didn’t need any more water--its runoff was already filling the flood control system. When Irma sent lake levels above the dike’s safety threshold there was nowhere else to put the water, so it went to the rivers. In the St. Lucie, lingering oyster populations that somehow survived the Toxic Summer of 2016 died off completely. The Caloosahatchee sent black water deep into the Gulf, pushing the estuary miles offshore.
While continuing to pump runoff into the Everglades and into the lake--even as USACE conducted daily inspections for signs of a breach--sugar executives claimed their lucky run was over. They asked for almost $400 million in hurricane relief--more than half the total value of their annual crop.
Doubts about the claim surfaced in December when a commodities trader told Reuters his firm expected strong production from Florida’s sugar industry, saying I don’t think the hurricane had any impact.” Last week USDA confirmed it: the industry’s production of 1,992,000 tons was third-best in the past 15 years and seventh-best since USDA records began in 1980. Even better, the crop yielded 5 tons of sugar per acre--fifth-best on record. If 2017-18 turned out to be a sugar yield for the ages, it still didn’t stop the industry from keeping its hand out for federal aid. Add its reported $382,603,397 insurance claim to the annual take, and Hurricane Irma might have given the sugar industry its best year ever.
Meanwhile the collapse of Florida Bay continues. Clearing water in the St. Lucie has revealed a sprawling moonscape where grass flats used to be. The Caloosahatchee is in crisis. And phosphorous levels on Lake Okeechobee are spiking with resuspended nutrients stirring to the surface after decades of accumulating in bottom sediment, providing far more fuel for toxic algae than in 2016. Florida’s water managers picked one winner and a host of losers last year, and their decisions will be felt for years to come.
The sugar industry is a legitimate stakeholder in South Florida’s water management system, and no one seriously questions its right to protection. But we should question, at the highest levels, what and who should have to die for its profit?
-Bullsugar.orgP.S. If you can, please click here to join today and become part of the solution.

We need your children and your grandchildren to be responsible For Change. By Geniusofdespair

Get them off the video games and phones long enough to talk to them

The coddled masses between 18 to 25 have to be coerced now. Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad -- they have to vote in EVERY SINGLE DAMN ELECTION. Take away the car, the cell phone, the video games. They have to start standing up. When I was young I was out there with impeach Nixon signs and going to Washington getting pepper sprayed, shouting: "We don't need your fucking war." What are your spawns doing? The government is not listening to older folks and they are betting on the young not to do shit because that is what most of them do: Nothing to help on important issues. Yet, the young are 10 times more effective.

What are your kids doing? Are they voting in every election? No? Sit the damn kids down and teach them how they can make change happen. We don't need assault rifles on the street. No one needs such a weapon. No one.

Do you see these jokers below. We need them out of office. Let the kiddies read what they said. Even they can comprehend how stupid they are. Send this blog to your kids. Tell them an old lady thinks they are lazy do nothings.

And you my adult friends, do what my friend Kenny did, he sent a campaign check saying in the amount line "a quote from them that you think is appropriate". Or a quote from you if you would prefer. We need to start a movement. Vigils are nice but this has to be sustained. If we can outlaw pitbulls in Miami Dade, we can get rid of assault rifles in Florida. You don't even have to know how to shoot with an assault rifle, you just aim and it fires so many bullets you are bound to hit someone.

People are denying Sandy Hook--calling it the "Sandy Hook Hoax". The tragedy of 20 dead elementary children and 6 adults: a hoax. Do you think that is okay? What are you going to do about it, go to a vigil, shake your head, post on Facebook? We need action not stupid bullshit.


Educate your children and your grandchildren so we can live happily without the worry of OUR kids getting murdered at concerts, clubs, schools and movies.

This just came out:

“People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that,” Kasky added. “Here’s a time. March 24th in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives.”

Called "March for Our Lives...


Friday, February 16, 2018

Traffic Study Conducted When Schools Are Closed? WHAT? By Geniusofdespair

We previously reported on traffic studies paid for by developers. Here is a questionable study. Were nine schools actually closed for the summer in the study area? How is it possible that Homestead Hudstead allowed and accepted this study? The Kingman Commons Traffic Study for SW 152nd Avenue and SW 320 Street in Homestead -- dated August 1st 2014. The Study is 252 pages long. It looks very official (Scrolling through it, I am sure no one read it). I wasn't going to read the damn thing, am I assuming too much from the date of the study and the (July 17th date I found) that schools were closed? I don't think so.

Traffic studies are just cover for developments.

Transit: Metro Mover Sucks. By Geniusofdespair

First time I took the metro mover was last night about 7 pm. The metro mover I was on stopped at a station and remained stopped. The minutes passed. It turned to a quarter hour. People were leaving in drips and drabs. My though turned to the Clash Song: "Should I Stay or Should I Go." No information to speak of, like an announcement that it will be rectified shortly. Giving up, I decided I should go. No sooner did I get out of the car, the doors closed and it went. Why not an announcement like "We are resuming service"? There is only one track up there so you are at their mercy. You either go back to the street in some zany place or you hope the line starts running again.

Roulette with commuters. Can't do that. I was due somewhere at a certain time. Remember: MY FIRST TRIP. I ended up taking a Lyft through traffic. Streets were closed all over the place. It took me an hour to get a few blocks. Why didn't I walk you might ask? I was with a person afraid to walk in downtown. Nightmare!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This works for me, watch the damn video: Sums it all up. By Geniusofdespair

End of the World Part II has been updated to include today's problems, it is TRUMP, climate change, Russians, it is all here (it is hysterical and tragic rolled into one) You will want to share it.

Send your friends a link to my blog, put on facebook. Want to test our faithful readers. Just hit below on Facebook or Twitter, that will share it.

Michelle: It doesn't look like you. By Geniusofdespair

Michelle Obama's bottom lip is bigger, her eyes are also larger, chin too broad in painting, amount of skin between eye and hair line too broad in painting, cheek bone almost goes to her mouth, not in painting, eyebrows lift at middle of eye then more sharply descend in the photo..... etc., there are other problems.

As a portrait painter I think a portrait should at least be recognizable of the one it portrays. I don't think it has to look exactly like the person you are painting but I think it is incredulous that likeness seems unimportant here, that this very important portrait doesn't look like the person it represents. If the painting weren't in the National Portrait gallery, I would not know it was our former First Lady.

Definition: a likeness of a person, especially of the face, as a painting, drawing, or photograph.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Philip Stoddard is Still South Miami's Mayor. By Geniusofdespair

With 6 precincts in, I would say it is a slam dunk for Philip Stoddard. I guess Disbarred Steve Cody's misuse of the Me-Too movement in a robocall turned other people off, not just me. I didn't like the Me-Too card played so blatantly to try to get a political advantage.

Final tally 929 Feliu and 1,227 for Philip. In group one might be a runoff don't know how South Miami works. But Luis J. Gil was the top vote getter, final at 28.89%. Sandra DiMarie-Vivar got 20.87%.  In group four neither candidate got over 50%. Walter Harris got 49.26% (1,028) and Mark Lago got 47.01% (981). I guess that is a run-off too.

Mayor of South Miami Philip Stoddard

Not final, one precinct missing - Close enough.