Monday, March 27, 2017

Florida, The Sunshine State, Clings To Gov. Rick Scott's Hostility To Solar .... by gimleteye

The UK Guardian publishes a damning indictment of Florida's failure to adopt solar energy at the consumer and business level.

The reason ties to the antipathy of Florida's political elite, welded at this hip to the state's top contributors to political campaigns: regulated utility industries.

"The gloom of renewable energy and climate advocates in Florida is exacerbated by envy at the solar boom occurring in the north-east states and out west in California. “You see states with snow and far more cloud than Florida and they have more solar than us,” said Alissa Schafer, communications and policy manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “That can be a bit frustrating. These other states are kicking our butt, to put it bluntly.”

This disparity is no longer a mildly diverting quirk. With Donald Trump’s administration gleefully crushing any federal policy with any whiff of climate change about it, the urgent task of emissions cuts is starting to depend more heavily upon cities and states. Currently, Florida derives less than 1% of its electricity generation from solar."

Florida's climate of denial tracks both political fortunes and the determination of the statez's electricity producers to box out competitors from solar, irrespective of benefits to taxpayers. The UK Guardian quotes FPL, a routine corporate expression of plausible deniability.

It is literally a shameful performance by all concerned, but especially voters who refuse to tie their choices for political office to what's best for their wallets: rapid adoption of solar energy at the base level of homes and business rooftops.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Is Rebeca Sosa Turning into a Bully? By Geniusofdespair

A Bully in the making?

I have always practiced the benefit of the doubt with Ms. Becky Sosa. She was the first to address Sea Level Rise on the County Commission. I always cut her slack EVEN on votes I didn't like because there were good votes too. But as she prepares to run for Mayor of Miami Dade County in 2020...I am very worried. Usually the bullying trait comes AFTER the power is obtained not before. Mayor Philip Levine is a bully and Mayor Carlos Gimenez is a bully. Donald Trump is a Bully. By the way Philip, even though you are a Democrat, I would not vote for you for Governor...because you are a bully. I hate bullies!!

We all know that the Ethics Department and the Inspector General's office are there to help us the citizens by keeping our leaders ethical.  Conmissioners making threats against either is very dangerous as it looks SOOOO BAD to us the Voters.  These two are off limits. Criticize them maybe, but do not be so bold to bring up their funding. That to me is so off limits. According to Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald:
Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa was furious to see her sister’s name in a county ethics report last month critical of elected officials using VIP services at Miami International Airport, including the occasional security bypass for a relative.

This week, Sosa grilled the county’s ethics director on why Miami-Dade should continue fully funding his watchdog agency in light of an investigation she found to be a waste of money since it found no evidence of any policy violations at the county-owned airport.

“We have to approve the budget of every department,” Sosa told Ethics Commission director Joe Centorino during a Monday meeting with fellow commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Sally Heyman. “How will I feel to approve the budget of a department when you are telling me that department had investigators for more than a year investigating a rule that doesn’t exist?”
A rule that doesn't exist? Wasn't there indeed a "policy violation"? How about the MIA PROTOCOL PROCEDURES MANUAL Rebeca? Taking advantage of a costly service is important to us. Do you need a rule to tell you that? And it is the job of the Ethics Commission to investigate complaints. That is what they do.  Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald said on Sunday:
To be sure, MIA does indeed provide protocol escorts to guide certain dignitaries through the airport. The county’s “Protocol Procedures Manual” lists the kind of grandees who rate this VIP service: Heads of states (“including reigning kings, emperors, queens, empresses and heads of dukedoms and principalities”) presidents, vice presidents, cabinet officers, ministers of state, their various chiefs of staffs, ambassadors, and immediate family members of reigning royal families rate the airport express lane.
I’m looking. I’m looking. Nope. No mention of “county commissioner."
Apparently, some local grunt, stewing in the security line, was not pleased to see a county commissioner getting the royal treatment. A complaint was filed with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. The ethics commission investigated and issued a report last month. “In an age when security issues abound at airports, including those related to possible terrorist activities, a policy of routinely offering such unnecessary courtesies that create diversions from necessary security activities is highly questionable,” the investigator (former Miami Herald columnist Robert Steinback) concluded.
Maybe. Maybe not. But then Steinback got at what drives us commoners crazy, suggesting that “the image of local public officials being specially escorted through security lines for non-emergency trips, including personal family excursions, while other taxpayers wait patiently in line, is likely to be offensive to the traveling and taxpaying public.”
Honestly, I think all the County Commissioners that threatened the funding of the Ethics Department over this, owes Joe Centorino an apology for overreacting.  Bullying by dangling funding is offensive to me and has no place in Miami Dade County. We adhere to the the Home Rule Charter that favors Citizens 'the governed' over 'the governing body.'

We know Carlos Gimenez is a Bully now, Is Rebeca Sosa Catching the Affliction?

Trump launches attack against Democrats he needs to get anything done through Congress ... by gimleteye

Trump launches attack against Democrats: a visual representation. follow me on Twitter: @gimleteyemiami
A post shared by Alan Farago (@alanfarago) on

@realDonaldTrump: 'I never said repeal and replace Obamacare'

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Demonstrating 101: The sign should match the purpose of the rally. By Geniusofdespair

Sign that was targeted, prepared for the event.
If you are demonstrating to ask Norman Braman to influence  MARCO RUBIO to meet with you, your sign should say something close to that.  YOU NEED TO MAKE NEW SIGNS FOR EVERY DEMONSTRATION.  It is not one sign fits all. People wanted to know why you were in front of Braman's Bentley Dealership. After all, people on the street and inside the dealership might not know that Braman gave Rubio Millions and Millions of dollars to fund his failed Presidential campaign and certainly has the ability to influence him.  This was a very good strategy to put pressure on Braman but competing signs didn't help. If you arrange a demonstration, makes signs the night before.

Get a few pieces of oak tag and one large magic marker and keep it on hand. You will need it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

At Noon Norman Braman got a Rowdy Bunch of Us, and not to Buy a Bentley. By Geniusofdespair

Protesters outside Norman Braman's Bentley dealership.
Activist Marvin Dunn organized a rally at Norman Braman's dealership today at noon. About 40 people were there. Here is Dunn's original letter to the Miami Herald:
Glenn Terry at Rally
Where’s Marco?

Several weeks ago, representing a group of about 50 people, I sent a letter to the senator’s office requesting a meeting. The letter was ignored. I sent another letter that also was ignored. This is unacceptable from an elected official.

Consequently, our group, Team Preserve America, is sponsoring a “Where Is Marco?” rally just after noon Friday, March 24 at the Braman car dealership at 2020 Biscayne Blvd., in downtown Miami. Norman Braman gave millions to Rubio in his failed bid for the presidency and remains one of his chief financial supporters. That makes Braman a player. We hope that Braman can convince Rubio to come out of hiding and meet with his constituents.

It is regrettable that citizens have to do this in order to be heard by their representatives in Washington.

Photo By Kathy Hersh, Marvin Dunn is on the right pointing to Braman's sign.
Braman gave tens of millions to Rubio's presidential campaign -- now as Senator he is Mr. Missing in Action. It makes sense that Billionaire Norman can pressure him since we sure can't get a meeting. He even has Rubio's wife doing part time work (for probably $1,000 an hour).  Isn't your wife Irma a Democrat Norman? Maybe we should be talking to her Mr. Braman. OMG, I just looked at her donations, gave me the shivers,  she is so far from a Democrat although she did donate to Patrick Murphy when he was running against Alan West.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

With Florida’s 2017 legislative session under way, an onslaught of journalists are striving to keep Everglades restoration on our minds. Their stories are claiming front pages partly because the decades-old fight for clean water has its most formidable fighting chance yet. 
The best recent stories clarify the complicated language surrounding our history of water (mis)management (thanks, Kate Stein!); highlight the threats to Florida’s statewide economy, public health, and the drinking water supply for 8 million Floridians (thanks again, Kate Stein!); and remind us of our elected representatives’ responsibilities and our responsibility to hold them accountable (thanks, Carl Hiassen!).
Leaders in the media call on the average Floridian to get involved and to get angry at the crises that have been normalized by corrupt politicians and self-serving special interest groups lining their pockets (thanks, Karl Wickstrom and Florida Sportsman!). “After all,” saysWickstrom, “our outdoor resources and quality of life are much, much too valuable to treat with anything less than a collective expression of outrage and demand for change.”
Maybe most important, their coverage reminds us that not all hope is lost. The answer to Florida’s water management crises is not complicated or experimental. In fact, through bold leadership, we have our best chance in years to finally get this right, providing we resolve to fix this now – not later (thanks, Nathaniel Reed!).
Residents from all over Florida continue to fuel the Now or Neverglades movement, united in their quest for change (thanks Eve Samples, and your readers!)
It’s possible that Everglades restoration, the fight to save our estuaries, and the push to fix Florida’s broken plumbing and win clean water for future generations has never had the public attention it’s getting today. Please keep reading, keep speaking up, and keep pressure on our community leaders at every level to listen to voters and do the right thing. It’s working.

Does a spoonful of sugar help the toxic algae go down? Nope.

Political cartoonists know they’re on the mark when their targets blow up. Herblock drove Nixon crazy. Thomas Nast did the same to Boss Tweed. Garry Trudeau enraged tobacco companies. Here in Florida, Andy Marlette infuriates Big Sugar.
A Spoonful of Sugar, by Andy Marlette/Pensacola News Journal.
Reprinted with permission.
His work is honest, clever, and deeply troubling for politicians and sugar company operatives who’d rather operate in the shadows, out of public view. Shining a light on the industry’s dealings earned him a recent visit from US Sugar’s goon squad and a public smearing from the company’s director of spin, Judy Sanchez -- both high compliments.
Sanchez is clearly frustrated that her henchmen’s re-education efforts didn’t take: Marlette wasn’t buying their alternative facts. So she repeated them. Without belaboring the point, here’s where they’re untruthful:
  1. Lots of water can and did flow south through existing structures between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, even last year, even with added restrictions for endangered species. It’s true that water storage in the EAA was maxed out in 2016, but don’t worry -- the sugarcane fields stayed dry and safe, even if the communities along the rivers didn’t.
  2. As for why the existing storage was maxed out, the sugar industry’s farming practices have contributed to the EAA sinking down more than 15 feet in places, and because the high-yielding strain of sugar they grow needs more drainage than other varieties, they pump so much rainwater off their fields that there isn’t room for excess lake water. So it goes to the coasts, and not to the Everglades.
  3. A dynamic reservoir isn’t limited by its dimensions. It’s called that because it lets water flow through to Florida Bay, so it can be refilled over and over, simulating the timing and quantity that existed before we dammed the River of Grass and choked off the Everglades. To pretend that it’s a hole in the ground, and not an active outlet, is to knowingly spread misinformation.
  4. Pretending that reservoirs “deal with” quantity vs. quality is also spreading misinformation. And gibberish. The EAA plan has always been to store, treat, and send clean water to the parched Everglades and Florida Bay.
  5. Claiming that sugar hasn’t polluted Lake Okeechobee recently (because they wereordered to stop back-pumping a few years ago) is a childish half-lie after the industry flushed tons of fertilizer into the lake for decades. If the water flowing into the lake were as pure as Evian, sugar's legacy pollution would fuel toxic algae blooms for another 80 years.
  6. Talking about “local basin runoff” (measured in dry years, and including a quarter-million acres that were artificially added to the St. Lucie watershed by drainage canals to redirect agricultural runoff into the river) while “forgetting” that more than 200 billion gallons of lake water spewed into the estuary--enough to cover Stuart in more than 100 feet of water--is untruthful at best.
  7. Blaming algae on local sources while satellite photographs show a toxic bloom the size of New Orleans on the lake, and national news media film it blasting through the locks and into the Atlantic, coating everything in its path in what reporters call “guacamole?” That approaches delusional, except that it’s intentional.
There’s more, and Andy Marlette heard it all, live and in-person. His response to bullying and sleaze is to draw a picture of it. A really funny picture. Too bad Big Sugar doesn’t have a better sense of humor. We do, though. (Thanks, Andy!
Allie Thank you to everyone contributing to Your generosity has kept us sharp and independent as we fight for clean water. If you haven't given, please click here to make a donation today to help us fix Florida's plumbing for good.

UNDERWORLD - the Big Kahuna at ULTRA Music Festival Bayfront Park. By Geniusofdespair

Remember that The Ultra Music Festival is as much about lights as electronic music (and massive traffic jams downtown).

Underworld is the headliner of the show. I put this on full-screen and cranked up the volume. It was pretty good. Probably better if you are stoned.

I like this one a lot, it is also higher definition (FULL-SCREEN IT):

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Five Easy Steps: #Resist on Facebook ... by gimleteye

It takes five min. on Facebook to understand 1) how Trump-friendly pages are linked like ropes of a net, and 2) that they are manufactured and comment section populated by trolls, bots, and writers organized in boiler rooms in Lithuania, Mumbia, Moscow or just under-employed Americans with an internet connection.

On Facebook, Trump-friendly pages spread like germs. Many look to be created by the same template passed around like a virtual hypodermic needle in a heroin crash house.

A quick exploration in the FB commenters' section of a Trump-Friendly FB page shows that many of the commenters have barely concealed, fictional identities too. They are not real, but these fictions have a real purpose especially with voters inclined to get their information from Facebook and other right-wing sources.

Here is a list of just a few of the Facebook pages that post to the mothership, "Trump Friends".

World political community
Conservative today
United States Daily Politics
News from politics
The Times Of America
Team Donald Trump
The Science of Mind With Political Turning Point
The Daily Watcher
Liberty Writers
Never Again Canada
Fox & Friends
I Believe the Jesus Path
Donald Trump United Fans
Modern Life News

There are hundreds more. The unifying theme of the network is Trump, Christianity, Violence, and Fear. What is the purpose of creating a network of so many pages?

Fishermen use chum -- ground up bait thrown into the water behind their boats -- to attract fish. These pages are click bait.

The network has another feature, asking readers to vote "yes" or "no" on Trump-friendly questions. What click bait does is aggregate sympathetic FB users whose preferences can then be sorted for other message-driven political activities by data mining and artificial intelligence.

Trump-friendly FB pages are like strands woven together to form a net; a drift net catching mullet. The mullet would be voters charged up by biased media commandeered by the extreme right.

So here is one way you can push back in five easy steps.

1) Log onto Facebook.

2) "Like" Trump Friends page on Facebook or any open pages listed above. (You can try to join "closed" Trump pages, but these are more closely monitored and your invitation may not last long.)

3) Find a news story from a non-firewalled source like Reuters that captures the Trump centipede of deception, lies, fraud, etc. Don't worry: there are exactly ZERO days that Trump has not been a national embarrassment, so you won't go far before tripping over a good story to share.

4) Click and "copy" the URL (internet address) in the search bar.

5) Return to the Facebook Trump-friendly page and in the comment section, click on "paste". Click, 'return' key to finish.

What you have just done is a small step, but an important one: you have seeded fake news Facebook pages with truth and fact.

The point isn't to deter the teams of social media marketers in boiler rooms, using Facebook to advance extreme right causes. The point is to share this method with as many of your friends as possible and to build an opposition movement on social media like Facebook to push back against the gut-level reflexes that are twisting democracy into an unrecognizable shape.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

All Red States are Not Actually Inhabited by Stupid People - Even Though Living in Kansas Would Not Inspire Me. By Geniusofdespair

This map I made based on Washington Post 2015 data shocked me.

Alaska 37
 I just assumed that historically Blue State were comprised of smarter people. (This red blue map is not this election - as we all should know). Apparently I am wrong. The red states are not all stupid.

I put the Washington Post findings on a blue-red map, to see how my theory worked about stupid people,  it didn't hold water. Look at pathetic Florida. How embarrassing.

50 states ranked by intelligence scores

The Washington Post ventured to rank each state based on intelligence. Specifically, the rankings were determined by IQ, 2015 SAT scores, 2015ACT scores and the percentage of college graduates in the state (you can see where all that data came from here.)

Using those factors, Massachusetts came in as the smartest state; Hawaii the dumbest.

Mayor Cindy Lerner, on Facebook: FPL fights to over-ride local government thanks to Miami-Dade state senator Frank Artiles

For those of you who joined in the fight against FPL and their devious efforts to deprive us of Solar access and expansion last year with the No on 1 amendment; we fought and won!

Well FPL is at it again, on another issue that some of us have been fighting for many years; that is the Power plant siting act and their efforts to run industrial size Transmission lines through our neighborhoods and through the Everglades!

The Cities of Miami, South Miami and Pinecrest took them to Court and won. We are finding that our last vestiges of justice these days is with the Judicial branch of government, isn't that the truth! But in an act of incredible hubris, FPL has just filed bills in the Florida legislature, (SB 1048 and HB 1055) to do an end run around our Appellate Court, ( upheld by the FL S CT.). Court victory, and they are racing through the legislature. They would allow the utilities to ignore local government planning and zoning codes that are there to protect our neighborhoods from over reaching by utilities.

You can blame Sen Frank Artiles for standing with FPL and advancing their agenda!

We must unite to FIGHT against the FPL agenda once again. Please contact the Senate Community Affairs committee (Chair is Sen Tom Lee, the bill's Sponsor). Hearing these bills tomorrow , Wednesday.

Also on that committee is my own wonderful Senator, Sen Jose Javier Rodriquez, who has been supporting our side of the fight all along, and Sen Daphne Campbell who unfortunately already voted for FPL previously. Let her hear from you!!

Also let your own legislators know how you feel.

The bills are described below.
1. SB 1048 and HB 1055 limit the ability of local governments protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents.
a. It expands “development” exceptions thereby no longer requiring the utility companies to comply with local land use and development requirements because construction and operation of power plants and transmission lines are no longer considered “development.”
b. Allows utility companies to be granted variances for the following reason:
“To relieve or prevent hardship of a kind other than those provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b). Variances and renewals thereof granted under authority of this paragraph shall each be limited to a period of 24 months, except that variances granted pursuant to part II may extend for the life of the permit or certification.”
This is a “catch all” provisions that sets no real standards on how to determine whether a variance should be granted and allows for variances to be granted for any reason and can allow
c. The intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act was to balance the need for additional electricity against the need to minimize adverse effects on residents and the environment, without undue conflict with the goals established by applicable local comprehensive plan. These bills prioritize the need for additional electricity over all else and essentially negate the goal of minimizing adverse effects on residents and the environment, to the extent those goals are furthered by the local land use regulations the power companies will now be free to disregard
2. SB 1048 and HB 1055 are in conflict with other priorities of the Miami-Dade Delegation
a. The bills make it easier for FPL to build poles on its preferred corridor which includes the Underline and Ludlam Trail which are seeking state funds
b. The polls range from 80 ft. to 105 ft. and would affect or eliminate the construction of the Underline and Ludlam Trail
3. SB 1048 and HB 1055 do have economic impacts
a. 80 ft. to 105 ft. polls will limit the ability for developers to build on their properties due to the large base of the poles and swaying lines
b. Developers would be forced to pay for the undergrounding of the lines and therefore makes it more expensive to develop properties
c. Underdeveloped properties lead to lower ad valorem tax revenue