Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tweeter in Chief. By Geniusofdespair

Today's wacky Trump tweet:

  • Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!

Why is Donald Trump so obsessed with irrelevant matters? How do these things pop into his  head? The election is way over. 

You must read a book on grammar Donald. You could be studying instead of tweeting nonsense from the past. Of course, the Russians are responsible for this old news... that should be your issue.  And you calling Bernie "crazy" is certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. "Unfair to Bernie", like you give a rat's ass about Bernie.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Make Political Candidates Choose Between Your Vote and Polluters ... by gimleteye

I wrote the following for

Make your choice at the ballot box a referendum FOR candidates who will support disclosure and fixing the extent and cause of neurotoxins in our waterways, rare pediatric cancer clusters in our communities, and the spread of methyl mercury through the application of sulfur on more than half a million acres of sugarcane.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Remember how Big Sugar said the problem in Florida’s estuaries was septic tanks adjacent to the Indian River? They say the same about the mercury problem in the Everglades and Florida waterways: it’s someone else’s fault. Not of course that Big Sugar fails to clean up its pollution.

Florida has warned fishermen about mercury contamination for
The same sort of wizardry applies to how Big Sugar talks about mercury. Let’s break it down:
For mercury contamination to pollute aquatic ecosystems, the mercury must first be transformed to the powerful neurotoxicant methylmercury. Once methylmercury is formed, it can readily enter the base of aquatic food chains and accumulate at increasingly higher concentrations up the food chain from algae to predatory fish and ultimately to terrestrial wildlife such as wading birds and mammal species, including the endangered Florida panther.
This process is known as bioaccumulation and can easily result in concentration increases of methylmercury in fish by factors of over one million relative to methylmercury concentrations in the water column of the Everglades. How does it happen?
  1. The bacteria largely responsible for producing methylmercury require sulfate to support their metabolism.  
  2. Sulfate concentrations are elevated across much of the Everglades. The magnitude of this contamination can reach factors up to and greater than 50 compared to background levels, depending on location. Those excess concentrations of sulfate are largely due to one source: farming practices involving the drainage of flooded soils and the use of elemental sulfur as a soil amendment in the Everglades Agricultural Area.
In short, sulfate is a primary driver of the production of methylmercury. The pervasive and high levels of sulfate contamination–largely due to EAA farming practices–are believed by most scientists to have greatly exacerbated the methylmercury problem.
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Just like water policies protecting Big Sugar first are wrecking our estuaries, rivers and bays, farming practices tolerated by the state of Florida are spreading pollution into Florida’s most treasured wetland.
Because the muck soils in the EAA are both low in essential micronutrients, and because limestone present in the soils binds phosphorus, the farmers need to apply sulfur to acidify the soils and release these nutrients.
The problem with sulfur is that it doesn’t stay on sugar fields; it flows into the Everglades. So, how have the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District reacted to the scientific realities of methylmercury?
Sugar’s position, as usual: "Don’t tell us how much water we need or when we can have it, don't tell us we can't drain our fields dry even if it endangers local communities and causes toxic discharges, and don’t tell us how to use sulfur or any other soil additive.”
The simple truth is that, either through benign ignorance or willful indifference, the state of Florida and the district do not even require sugar farmers to report how much sulfur they are using.
High levels of sulfate are commonly found flowing out of the EAA
Big Sugar represents a secret sulfur source: "The amount of total sulfur used in various soil amendments, fertilizers, and fungicides in the EAA is unknown.” ('Sulfur in the South Florida Ecosystem,' Orem et al., Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 3 March 2011, page 262.) A more recent estimate of the amount of sulfur applied to the EAA is nearly 19,000 tons per year (Landing, 2014).
When you consider that the practice of applying sulfur as a soil amendment has been occurring over a period of many decades in the EAA, you get the idea. 
"Overall, it appears that much or most of the sulfate present in EAA canals originates from the EAA lands. The broad use of sulfur in agriculture (present and legacy sulfur in soil), and the elimination of other sulfur sources (groundwater, wet/dry deposition) as inputs to canals suggests that soil oxidation and present sulfur use in the EAA accounts for the major proportion of the sulfate load to the Everglades." (Orem et al, page 263)
Methylmercury is one of the most potent toxicants known to man. It is so powerful that “do not eat” fish warnings are posted throughout the South Florida landscape. Methylmercury is particularly damaging to fetuses and young children. But it not just infants who are at risk.  Indigenous peoples living in the Everglades and relying on fish for food, people in glades communities who depend on fish to supplement their diets, and recreational anglers also are at risk.
Methylmercury is especially dangerous to developing babies and
young children

So why aren’t the facts of methylmercury more widely broadcast to the public?
For the same reason that the state ignored the science of water quality and allowed Big Sugar to dictate a deep reservoir in the Everglades in the recent session of the legislature, and not the addition of significant lands for water treatment and cleansing purposes.
Big Sugar makes money at your expense, literally, from your wallet and in threats to your health. Not idle threats. Methylmercury is deadly serious business, and Big Sugar routinely buries its cost in your waterways.
-Alan Farago

P.S. supporters have already made a difference in Florida's fight for a clean water future. If you can, please click here to make a donation to help us hold our government accountable for the promises they made this year.




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Say hello to Generic Drugs because you won't get anything else. By Geniusofdespair

On my plan they stuck all the drugs in tiers. And, they move them to a higher more expensive tier at will. One of my generics doubled in price because of a tier move. And brand name drug I want, $400. A lidocaine patch 1% stronger than over the counter ($7.99) is $400. And then they remove your drug from the plan altogether. I now get my drugs through Romania and Turkey. I only get antibiotics through my drug plan United. They suck. So unless you want a generic or antibiotics, or you are expecting to use a drug with no generic equivalent, you are screwed.

Doctors are so tired of writing letters to try to move your drug to a cheaper tier, they are supplying patients with cheaper pharmacies--- no drug plan involved.

What is your experience?

 We are getting screwed even in our plans! And I have great insurance, just a lot of drug bills.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Donald Trump is Gloating...and why not? By Geniusofdespair

Trump's two GLOATING tweets today after the two election wins for Republicans yesterday:
Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare,Tax Cuts,Security. Obstruction doesn't work!

Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0
Are we the clueless party like Donald Trump thinks? There is in fighting going on in the Florida Party. Idiots. Egos are what it is about. You shouldn't have egos, you are NOT the imperial party you are the ones hanging onto the lifeboat. You locals can't even win in your own State: Both houses and the Governor are all Republicans.

Democrats need a Presidential candidate to start campaigning, anything to get the people's mind off all the dysfunction.

Trump was in Miami last week. Where was a massive demonstration? Why wasn't anything planned by anyone? I have my pink hat do what? WHERE WAS THE DEMONSTRATION??? Thousands should have come out.

Democrats can't win even with millions of dollars. I am so sick of this party.

"It's my party and I will cry if I want to: You should cry too."

How Trump broke the trust of Americans and lost his legitimacy ... by gimleteye

According to a Reuters analysis of Trump-related properties in South Florida, “Moscow on the Beach: Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings”, (June 20, 2017), "... at least 703 – or about one-third – of the owners of the 2044 units in the seven Trump buildings are limited liability companies, or LLCs, which have the ability to hide the identity of a property’s true owner. And the nationality of many buyers could not be determined.”

The eye opener is that 63 Russian nationals identified are only about 8 percent of Trump property investors who are LLC’s. "Russian-Americans who did not use a Russian address or passport in their purchases were not included in the tally." In other words, what facts could be established in a legitimate news report -- that nearly $100 million of Russian money is in Trump-related buildings in South Florida -- is the tip of the iceberg.

Limited liability corporations are legal tax pass-throughs that have the collateral benefit of shielding ownership from public view. It is no wonder that the Reuters investigation “found no wrong doing” and turned up only a few first-tier Russian players (for example, "a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities").

Hiding financial assets is part of the rigged system that prevent Americans from understanding the true facts of the Trump/Russia connection.

People complain about “fake news” and the mainstream media. The ability of influence peddlers to conceal identities is a major reason, why. The whole story can't be told. (We are intimately familiar with this problem, at Eye On Miami. See for yourself, by typing "LLC" in the search bar of our blog and read how frequently this issue crops up in our efforts to do detailed analyses of pressure politics in Miami and Florida by insiders and special interests.)

Dedicated readers can draw their own conclusions from an incomplete set of facts. Journalists can't. You can take it to the bank that the $100 million cited by the Reuters investigation is the tip of the iceberg. Reuters won’t say so, because it will only go so far as legitimate fact-based journalism will go. But we will venture our opinion: within the high number of LLC’s and concealed buyers of Trump related properties in South Florida, there are many big investors from Russia.

In 2016 Eye On Miami described the Obama administration initiative requiring disclosure of real estate transaction principals in a few test markets, including Miami: "The Best news of 2016"!)

The Obama White House move had big banks and real estate interests swearing under their breaths. It tacitly acknowledged foreign capital was distorting real estate markets. Obama wanted Americans to know, how much and by whom. Unfortunately, the program simply flagged bad actors to “stay off the streets” until it ended.

The Russians who invested in Trump South Florida properties know Trump knows, even though their identities have not been disclosed. You can be certain that Ivanka, Jared and Donald discussed these transaction as a routine matter of business. And Trump knows that LLC laws shield American voters from understanding his relationships to Russia just like tax laws prevent the public from knowing how much money Trump owes to Russia.

Here is the key: how much interest expense does Donald Trump claim on his tax returns? Who and what banks is he indebted to? The FBI, the special investigator Robert Mueller, and US Department of Treasury know.

According to Reuters, "The White House referred questions from Reuters to the Trump Organization, whose chief legal officer said the scrutiny of President Trump’s business ties with Russia was misplaced.” That is not true. Period.

The absence of disclosure — indeed, the reality of so many concealed identities, shielded LLCs and sources of investment in Trump properties — is one reason so many American voters have no confidence in Donald Trump.

Full financial disclosure is integral to the bond of trust between American voters and their presidents, and it has been for a very long time. By retreating behind the high walls of corporate law -- hiding identities of his Russian investors -- and refusing to disclose his tax returns -- hiding how much and who he owes money to -- Donald Trump fails the test of legitimacy Americans require for their president.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cooking Peacocks: Tasty! By Geniusofdespair

In Miami Dade County we are at a crisis with non-native species. Between the Peacocks and the Iguanas it is a surprise we have any native foliage left. Peacocks are a fowl so let's cook them and eat them (not just murder them as was done last week). The best recipe is at this link.

From the recipe:
After an arduous two and a half hours of blanching, plucking and a quick gutting it was done. The old boy was a lot harder to pluck than a young bird, that’s for sure, as I needed a needle-nosed pliers to finish the job. After that I even shaved it with a straight razor to get it perfectly smooth since lets be honest: if an animal’s got skin that can be rendered a salty, crispy, golden brown, you want to eat that, yes you do.
Do I have a recipe for feral cats? I do, if you don't like artichokes skip this one. We had a popular recipe for Iguana Stew in 2008.

Heavens, "No Donald wait till the Peacock is cooked".

Carol, an Aide to  Former County Commissioner Katy Sorenson had this to say about the Peacock infestation in Katy's district:
I worked long and hard on this very issue when I was w/Katy Sorenson. First, they are called "Peafowl"...(and many agreed: Foul) you learned they are either beloved or hated. If I recall we FINALLY found someone who wanted them...not easy there. In other areas, such as here in Hot Springs, AR, they are desired for their beauty. Our botanical gardens just have introduced a few...wonder if they know what they are in for. I understand that they do eat snakes, so that's a plus. My best suggestion is to find someone who will 'export' them to other areas. It was a huge challenge to find a solution

The Ten GOP Commandments On Climate Change ... by gimleteye

I went back to review the 10 GOP Commandments On Climate Change after learning about the worst forest fires in Portugal's history. And more:

1) "Rick Perry just denied humans are the main cause of climate change."

2) and a massive heat wave in the Southwest where, in Arizona, temperatures will top 120 degrees. American Airlines is cancelling flights in and out of Phoenix as a result of the heat.

3) and in the Washington Post, a report of rapid melting in Antartica, now, including the first ever report of rainfall. ("Scientists stunned by Antarctica rainfall")

So here are the 10 GOP Commandments On Climate Change. My Republican friends, tell me where I'm wrong:
1) Climate change is like the weather: there is nothing we can do about it.

2) We will adapt economic behavior to climate change as it happens, not before.

3) Dissenters will be isolated from decision-makers.

4) We know what is best for you.

5) Man is top predator: adapt, die or engineer.

6) If some part of climate change is man-made, whatever happens is God’s will.

7) As the party of limited government, environmental regulations are self-defeating.

8) As the party of capitalism, climate-driven policies must satisfy our donors’ interest first.

9) If one size does not fit all, then existing energy subsidies will be protected first.

10) If there is a dispute on climate change, suck it up: cry your Libtard tears. We won.

This ... by gimleteye

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bad Behavior: The Two Faces Of FPL ... South Miami Aims To Lead Florida In Solar Adoption For New Residential Construction ... by gimleteye

Thanks to South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, the city commission will consider a new ordinance promoting solar power on new residential construction. FPL, naturally, wants to dictate to consumers and to prevent consumers from adopting their own choice. One commenter observed, "
I am perpetually and simultaneously amazed and yet not surprised at what lengths FP&Lies (can we borrow that one from Delaney as it is very apt?) will go to to stop people from generating their own power. ... we will continue to work to expose the lies and bad behavior ... A bit of good news is that Gov. Scott signed SB 90 into law ... another step forward having our tax policy in a much better place. That along with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the declining cost of solar (even better with the co-op pricing), we will all be able to move solar along. I love the solar ordinance and requiring solar in new buildings. Makes perfect sense unless of course you make profits (11 1/2% return to be precise) keeping captive customers addicted to natural gas."

FPL is a monopoly and it acts like a monopoly: attacking at every and at any point where its control of the marketplace is threatened by consumers.

Instead of constantly investing in opposition, FPL should be that friendly supplier of electricity its advertisements and marketing campaigns portray.

Did you get a robocall urging you to oppose a solar ordinance in South Miami?
Many people did.  Let me explain what’s going on.
South Miami is on the verge of making history, becoming the first municipality in the Sunshine State to require at least some solar energy production on new residential construction (not on existing houses).  The idea was first rolled out in four California municipalities, beginning in 2013.  The results in California have been positive: “The most transferable lesson may simply be the readiness with which Lancaster residents adapted to solar requirements, said industry officials, especially because the city is largely Republican.” [Marketplace].  Encouraged by the municipal experience, the State of California, an independent signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, is considering making solar a statewide requirement for new construction [Greentech Media].
When South Miami first went public with a draft of our ordinance, modeled after those in California, the City received a phone call from FPL, warning us to check the Florida Statutes (which of course we already had).  No surprise FPL was anxious.  In the last election cycle, electric monopolies led by FPL and Duke energy spent $29 million to fight the development of solar energy in Florida [Tampa Bay Times].
Our ordinance took a year to develop and was approved on first reading by the City Commission.  It went on to the City’s Planning Board for further review, where, after an evening of intense exploration and discussion, the five community members who comprise the board unanimously approved the ordinance.  It will come before the Commission for second reading on Tuesday..

Hello FPL - it's hard to fool South Miami
In advance of the Commission meeting, South Miami residents were bombarded with robo-calls from a lobbying firm in D.C., misleading residents with claims that the City was proposing to require solar power on existing residential construction.  One resident wrote me: “Hey, Phil!  Got a robocall from this outfit today badmouthing the City’s proposed solar ordinance.  States that it ‘will require solar on all new houses and existing houses in the city.’  FPL highjinx?”
Despite all their slick ads about promoting solar energy, FPL is planning to increase our dependency on fossil fuels over the next 30 years, while providing only 1% of our power from solar by 2025 (up from their current 0.1%)  [Energy and Policy Institute].  FPL received state approval to charge their rate-payers for new gas “peaker” generators despite their parent company, NextEra Energy, stating that solar power with battery backup is now cheaper than natural gas-powered peak load generation.  FPL’s plan for Florida will charge us more money to increase our CO2 emissions!  Their plan should be outlawed, but don’t hold your breath.  Florida’s governor, cabinet, and most of the legislators receive big campaign contributions from FPL.  If we in South Miami don’t do something ourselves, nobody will.
Sure, but why make solar mandatory?  South Miami made it mandatory to install large numbers of native trees and shrubs on new construction.  Good for the climate, good for the City.  Nobody complained – not even FPL which has to trim trees away from the power lines.  We require expensive protection or relocation of big trees during construction – a larger expense than solar panels.  No complaints.  The fact is, rooftop solar is a benefit to residents, not a hardship: residential solar is now cheaper than utility power.  Solar is even cheaper yet if its installed during construction, rather than as retrofit.  Financing solar on new construction is much cheaper than as a home improvement.
Residents with rooftop solar save a lot of money, while helping slow climate change and sea level rise.  We do it not only for our pocketbooks, but to help the climate and make a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
We are also developing a new program with non-profit partners to provide free solar and other energy efficiency upgrades for veterans, disabled persons, and low income residents.  These new programs will benefit our residents and won’t cost South Miami taxpayers a dime.
Interested in solar for your home?  Best prices are currently available through the co-op
If you are interested in getting solar at these prices, the South-Central Miami-Dade solar co-op will remain open until 25 August.  Solar buying co-ops obtain group prices below the regular retail rate.



Most County Contracts Need a Closer Look. By Geniusofdespair

We all want to get the best traffic flow and there is now software available to monitor traffic at lights and change the lights to accommodate what is going on in real time. But do we want to get ripped off in the process with this $11,852,000 contract? No Bid contracts suck.

The County is ready to approve this no bid contract. However, the perks within it will cost us. They want to charge us licensing fees yearly. We are paying $2,280,709 for the software and $987,236 for installation documentation. Why don't we pay the licensing fee only once the OIG review asks? There is a $716,550 cabinet fee (85 of them). We already have cabinets. Why can't their devices fit in our cabinets? Here are the 4 main concerns the Inspector General had with the contract:

1. Software and Documentation Fees should NOT be on an annual basis.
2. The Contract includes the option to purchase Econolite Cabinets that are neither FDOT nor Miami-Dade County approved. (ROLY MARANTE IS THE LOBBYIST FOR ECONOLITE - REBECA SOSA'S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF.)
3. The installation of video detection cameras necessitates a high degree of routine maintenance, whose costs should be included in the contract pricing.
4. The arrangement between Miami-Dade County and WAZE is not clear, even though a $127,100 enhancement to interface with WAZE is included in the price of the BW9872-1/20.