Friday July 1, 2005

The Critical Miami Guide to Sharks

[contributed by Camilo Santana]

Sharks are nearly blind, but they can make out shapes. When they look up and see a surfer with their appendages hanging out over the sides, it looks just like a seal, their favourite food. So they attack by mistake — literally.

The only real danger is that a shark can enter into a frenzy — they go berserk and eat anything, including other sharks, even their own tails. The way to trigger a frenzy? With blood. A shark can smell a single drop of blood a quarter mile away. So you never wanna be in the water with a chick who doesn’t know her period is on – ahem, 14-yr old girl.

(It’s an ugly probability but one that can’t be ruled out simply because we like to avoid that topic of conversation. Lets see FOX handle that angle.)

Oh, and about the second attack? Knee deep in a sandbar 200 yards out. Umm . . . he was fishing (sounds of distressed fish flapping in the water), and I’d gather them fish bleed when hooked and they weren’t using live bait . . . or perhaps they were LOL?

If I go out into the Cali mountains (they’re five miles to the East here) and start dragging a whimpering rabbit behind me while crouched with fish oil smeared all over my skin I think the chances of me falling prey to a vicious mountain lion attack are pretty high. These people need to practice basic safety.

And for the record, I’ve been in the waters of South Beach (back in ’87 or so) within 10 yards of two rather large sharks. I removed myself from the ocean as fast as I could without splashing. It wasn’t that big of a deal. You do get plenty of warning with sharks.

[Previously: Easy there, Little Shark]

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Thursday June 30, 2005

Miami Circle

View of Biscayne Bay, Miami Circle in foreground

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been seven long years since Miami Circle was uncovered. Coinciding with the original boom of the internet, the controversy around the site was something old experienced in a new way. Everybody got to freak out when a reputable archeologist dared to point out that there was a possibility that the site was a septic tank. The BBC made a documentary.

And then . . . nothing. Here we are, years later, and the site is just as it was then. What has Miami Circle done for us lately? Granted, it is a nice green patch of primo turf that the developers can’t touch; something tasty about that. But it sits there, behind two layers of chain-link, very very innanimate. Apparently there is no way to open it to the public — we would destroy the treasure.

Well, ok, one nice thing happened — the Circle’s influence is spreading. In addition to making its own site undevelopable, it is now effecting development on adjacent sites:

Circle acolytes are . . . pressing its developer, the Related Group of Florida, to make design changes to lessen the project’s impact on the 2,000-year-old circle, including moving a proposed 50-story waterfront tower that would loom over the site and partially block views of Biscayne Bay. Archaeologists believe the water views were important to the site’s builders, the extinct Tequesta Indians.

Miami Cricle shrine, today For now, the developers are at least paying lip service to said “acolytes,” but the real issue is the ultimate fate of the Circle. There are vague plans to open the site to the public, but if it hasn’t happened in all this time, when will it happen? We’re voting for never. For Bicentennial Park to sit useless and empty for decades was a tragedy; it’s a huge site with huge potential. Here’s a little site, with serious historical import. Maybe it deserves to sit in limbo, a monument to bureaucracy’s inability to confront its own past injustices.

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Miami Police vs. US Department of Justice

Impressive gear for dealing with unarmed protesters This article in the New Times is a must-read. It concerns a struggle between the City of Miami and the Civilian Investigative Panel. Now, the CIP was created in 2001, when the Miami police were running amok, shooting people and planting guns on them, and whatnot. Well, we all remember the crap that went down during the FTAA meetings in 2003. So naturally the CIP is investigating. In order, we suppose, to determine where the blame for the horrible handling of the protests belongs, the CIP requested the police plan for dealing with the protests, which the City promptly refused to let them see. The CIP sued for it, and won. That’s where the New Times story picks up:

After losing to the CIP in state court, Miami officials contacted various federal agencies and “stated the order might implicate federal documents,” without mentioning which ones, according to the federal motion. Federal officials had to investigate for themselves which documents the police were referring to. And that’s when they learned a seven-page U.S. Coast Guard memo was included in the operational plan. The Coast Guard was responsible for securing the Port of Miami during the FTAA. The memo detailed where personnel would be deployed and what specific tasks they would perform.

Turns out, the CIP isn’t interested in that memo. Oh, ok…

But Miami city attorney Jorge Fernandez decided to play hardball.

“Despite the clear statement from the Panel that it is not seeking access to the Coast Guard memorandum, and although federal law prohibits disclosure of that document, the city nonetheless informed us through its counsel that it will release the memorandum (along with the rest of the Operational Plan), unless a State appellate court reverses the trial court’s disclosure order,” the motion states. “Because of the city’s position, the United States can protect this federal sensitive security information only by intervening in this appeal.”

Hey, that’s great! The City Attorney is bullying the Department of Justice, and toying with our national security, to protect it’s brutal police department.

Fernandez’s tactic of strong-arming the feds into helping him by threatening to reveal sensitive information is hardly improving his popularity. In fact the feds have in essence declared him a potential lawbreaker. After all, when the feds claim in their motion that the U.S. Government has to insert itself into this matter “to prevent the unlawful disclosure of a federal document,” it is Fernandez they are talking about.

I guess you have to admire his chutzpah. CM can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

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