Saturday, September 6

News Update From Florida -

A reputed drug lord has been convicted of laundering $20 million from his cocaine profits by using "straw buyers" to purchase high-priced condos and other real estate in
South Florida.

# A 14-year-old Florida girl set fire to her family's home after reading about the fictional Internet character Slender Man.

# Digital Composite Sketch Software
can help victims to better describe suspects.

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What I've been watching lately . . .

Have enjoyed some DCI Banks and some Inspector
George Gently. Happened to catch the Max Payne movie again, and it benefits from a second viewing.

Sorry for my absence, but my roommate's little canine companion of ten years became gravely ill and passed away. It's been a bit stressful and tumultuous here for a while.

Hope to get back to more
regular blogging again soon.

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Sunday, July 27

Among FLA's Recent Victims of Violence -

Did your parents deliberately expose you to harm or try to get you killed while you were on summer vacation from high school?

It seems to me, a fifteen-year-old juvenile should be out mowing lawns for senior citizens in his own neighborhood to earn some pocket money or working as a caddy on a nearby golf course.

I've been rather busy lately, but have been very concerned about the news that Tariq Khudair, a 15-year-old Tampa teenager, was recently injected into the middle of a violent conflict zone by his parents who deliberately put him in harm's way in an effort to get him killed or celebrated as a martyr.

It's been my longstanding belief that Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP) is significantly under diagnosed in the American medical system because they have a financial profit incentive to treat even imaginary illnesses. Perhaps, the parents' behavior in this case is a form of this disorder.

Unfortunately, Florida has a notoriously inept Department for Children and Families; nevertheless, Tariq Khudair should be removed from his parents' custody.

The only cogent question left is whether the youngster is going to survive long enough to finish high school at the Universal Academy of Florida.

Meanwhile,
further north in this state . . .

The recent murder of a Florida Law Blogger is still unsolved and baffling those who knew him.

Dan Markel, 41, taught at FSU. He was fatally shot July 18th at his home in the Betton Hills neighborhood of Tallahassee.

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Thursday, July 17

Hand-Wringing Optional -

Poynter recently reported that women still constitute only a small percentage of Op-Ed writers in the institutional American media such as newspapers.

This simply underscores the important contributions being made by independent female bloggers.

Angles and Agendas: In a past era, a senior editor might assign a reporter or news columnist to generate a new angle for a story being covered by a dozen other publications.

Today, Agendas have largely replaced Angles. And, looming heavily among those agendas, the Marketing Department has become a dominant influence.

Also weighty among the dynamics in play may be demographic trends in the region or advertising considerations.

Bunko, Babes and Basketball: This void of female news commentators may be why the ongoing Donald Sterling story has seemed to be more of an Elder Abuse and Exploitation story for me than the currently prevailing dogmatic propaganda suggests.

Can You Hear Them Now? South Florida has become the epicenter of cell phone store burglaries lately.

Not coincidentally, pervasive illiteracy in this region has necessitated a widespread dependency on oral communications culture here, making these new smart phones an expedient crutch for many.

Each One Teach One: Speaking of Literacy, word has come to us that Rachel Jeantel has achieved some level of reading and writing skills in English over the past year, having earned her high school diploma or GED with the help of lawyer Rod Vereen.

"When people see Rachel Jeantel now, I want them to say, 'Wow, there was something good that came out of something so tragic,'" Rod Vereen said.

Off The Cuff and Sneakernet: Google's Eric Schmidt has visited Cuba? I thought Americans were not allowed to visit Cuba. Anyway, I don't think the Cuban GeezerComs would buy American technology for internet connectivity even if they could because of their entrenched paranoia.

You're Nicked! When the Policewomen of Broward County cable TV series was originally aired, I wasn't able to catch it, although I don't remember why. Some repeat episodes were recently aired on the OWN channel which I was able to belatedly catch.

The series attracted a lot of criticism from Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, but I don't see anything worthwhile to be gained from criticizing the women; I believe the problem with the situation lies elsewhere.

+ Dodging thunderstorms around here.

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Monday, June 30

Sidebar & Other Links -

I am updating my sidebar,
which I know I should do
more often, but better late than never . . .

In the upper section: I am replacing Martin Stabe with Jack Shafer. Stabe may have become too busy in his current professional activities to maintain his blog.

In the local section I am adding Tim Smith who writes a hyper-local blog based in Fort Lauderdale.

*  *  *  *  *
"Thanks to infamous run-ins with vulgar and sometimes violent defendants, Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley is garnering a huge online following."

Even if you are not interested in this particular judge, some readers may find something else at this website of interest.

# Meet Bina, the Activist Android.

# Felix Dennis has passed away.

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Monday, May 26

Closed System Catastrophe -

There has been a flurry of media coverage of Amanda Knox again, but it is mostly running on vapors this time. Nevertheless, there are a few points I want to address.

# Knox appeared on Cable TV with CNN's Chris Cuomo who gave her the opportunity to roll through her repertoire of emotional affectations as if she were trying on a disjointed series of blouses. Worse yet, she continued to erupt in laughter and smiles at inappropriate moments - seeing this habit for the first time can be jarring to a viewer. What's going on here?

I believe that Knox's use of the phrase "mask of an assassin" is useful in understanding these emotional affectations. I had already formed the impression from her many previous appearances that she is an emotionally disturbed person, and my impression of her in this regard has not substantially changed.

# Perhaps you can see this only in retrospect: There came a moment in the course of this unfolding crime scenario when this case went south for Knox. It was the moment when Law Enforcement initially arrived at the cottage, but they were not brought there by Knox; instead, they were summoned by someone else entirely. It was like a bolt of lightening out of the blue.

I believe that their unexpected arrival threw Knox off balance and that ever afterward, she kept trying to regain control over the situation, but to no avail.

Why couldn't she succeed?
A crime scene is not a closed system . . .

If you believe in God, it is subject to the Hand of the Almighty. If you don't believe in God, it is vulnerable to existential contingency. Even insurance companies allow for "Acts of God."

This means that there is always the possibility that a plane could crash into the building or a tornado could blow it away. Knox's imaginary closed system over which she could exercise absolute control, in effect, collapsed on top of her.

# Is there one piece of evidence that is a "clincher" here? No. The evidence in this case is a large mosaic or jigsaw puzzle.

The odd thing about this case, however, is that it is Knox herself who was the author of much of the evidence against her, and I believe it is important for the reader to understand why. Knox's persistent efforts to "regain" absolute control over a situation she believed to be a closed system impelled her to make foolish mistakes.

:: CNN: Knox and Cuomo ::

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Saturday, May 17

Some Recent Media Notes -

Recently happened to catch a TV interview with Jim Born, the FDLE agent who also writes mystery adventure novels. He's got a new one coming out called Border War which he co-wrote with Lou Dobbs. It is described here by Dirk Robertson.

# Jill Abramson has been fired as the executive editor of the NY Times. She is being replaced by Dean Baquet, the newspaper's first African American top editor.

# Havana-based Blogger Yoani Sanchez is launching Cuba's first independent digital newspaper next week called 14ymedio, according to Reuters.

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Monday, April 28

Dragon's Teeth -

I never watched Miami Vice when it was first broadcast on TV, but recently I discovered the series is being aired again once a week on a cable channel and I caught a couple of episodes. It holds up pretty well!

Of course, South Florida has come a long way since the debut of Crockett and Tubbs - much more of it is being paved over with concrete and equipped with hi-tech security provisions.

Still, once in a while, we have incidents
evocative of the old days . . . like this one:

The other night, a Lamborghini, which allegedly was going in excess of 100 miles per hour on the MacArthur Causeway, became involved in a crash with an SUV.

Why was the Lambo going so fast?

# Can a leaking corpse damage your condo?
Attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger responds.

# The sentencing report by Judge Nencini for
the Amanda Knox appeal situation is expected
to be issued by Wednesday.

+ I'm still experiencing some connectivity problems.

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