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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy to be back Part 3

PART 3: Looking into Blogs and Other Dark Places (Part of a Series as Miamista the blog wends its way into Permanent Abeyance. I'm too big for my audience duckies!)

1. A number of South Florida blogs have died and soon this will be on the list. I am close to creating an in memoriam section. Don Jeffrey, Miamity, Kordor, Miami Muse, Fort Lauderdale, The Daily Sketch, immediately come to mind. Blogs are dying in Miami as fast as they are being replenished. What I found funny was that Don Jeffrey referenced this thread in one of the best all around blogs in Miami about why he is off into the sunset. The Herald also mentioned this blogger which has made me like the paper more. (In truth the Herald isn’t that-that bad of an AP outlet/"news"paper, relatively speaking.) I linked to the New Miamian post months ago and I still get comments sent to me about it, so I know Carolina is tired of them and tired of my compliments. Anyway, Don Jeffrey referenced two television shows from Brazil, "America" and "City of Men" (also see City of God) that I like and which I understand will be shown on Bravo or IFC. (I understand it is popular in Cuba, where I initially heard of it.) I suspect that Miami could one day look like Sao Paulo if our economy and population increased tenfold and our city leaders/city planners continued to be as inept. I take that back Paulistas (and my buddy Joabim now in Miami), Sao Paulo does have some park space and a pretty good subway system (better than New York’s).

2. Someone who works for a college in Miami is arguing with Bob Norman about Leonard Pitts. (I won't link to all of it, I'll leave it to you to go back a few links.) I know because the person used something that I wrote and then cleared it (with my editing) with me. It’s a great guy who I’ve know for a while, one of my best, best friends in Miami, who has contributed ideas, material and information for Miamista. We are in 90-98% agreement usually and we are in 80% agreement. Let me take this moment to say that he really should start a blog. Unfortunately I think he will be leaving Miami soon. I chipped my own response in (which won't appear until Bob approves comments on Monday) because Bob is becoming an asshole about the whole Hip Hop thing, which is heartbreaking. (Pitts' ignorance of music, as a former music writer, is just as startling as his inability to penetrate issues as a n opinion columnist.)

Then check the comments in the Daily Pulp for the Rev. "Black Community Pimpin' Republican" Dozier articles; here is the latest. Dozier is such bum-scrape. Sticky Dozier stridently believes that in these times of the Black community's woe and want, people are looking for answers and he knows the only book that's gottem. Okay, he doesn't know that book. But he knows that he should be able to do the deciding about holy books and religion, even though he apparently can't understand any of them himself. Dozier has spoken to Jesus and this is what Jesus wants him to be a Muslim hater and vocal lackey of the Chrisitan extremist. Who am I to argue with a super-ignorant, hate spewing, faith-dictating zealot who apparently has Jesus' blessings? I think my feelings about him are properly illustrated in the picture to the left.

3. So someone will explain why I find myself gloriously entertained and in alarming sympathy with White Dade who gets some guff sometimes, I think unfairly. The why’s don’t matter, he is a must read. And if you want a little more serious policy stuff with your sharp humor try another Miamista fave.

4. I'm sure some of you picked up my indirect reference to criminal violence and the rash of killings in Liberty City and Little Haiti in my last post. By referencing a larger history I wanted to put the violence in perspective. So often people speak about "those neighborhoods" with "those people". Again, there is history, continuation and conditions. Being victimized, btw doesn't make you a better person. Continued vitimization makes people self-loathing, frustrated, ignorant, and all other sorts of maladjusted. Why do you think Black kids without prospects and opportunity value their life and those like them so little? Why do you think they try to cover up their lack of self worth by valuing hyper consumerism? Why do you think kids are ready to kill because they have been disrespected by those that look like them? Why do you think kids would be so willing to risk life and freedom in a drug/street crime culture when they are more aware than anyone of the consequences and likelihoods?

What are your parents, with no education themselves going to do? Kids won't respect what parents say as they began to comprehend reality through their own eyes and that of the outside world's. I mean, their advice hasn't done them or their community much good. And there is a truth to what they see on the streets. Violence is, afterall, what ultimately controls society. Even Rawls and Nozick (or Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton) can/could agree on that. What these kids don't understand is how community, political and social organization can be manipulated through the implied control of violence/disorder. Neither do their parents.

I read Burnettiquette and Stuck on the Palmetto religiously. (Okay, you see the links at the right.) Rick seems to be having some genuine and righteously motivated difficulty in understanding why Black people in Miami might be afraid to trust police. James thinks that parents are a potential bulwark against community violence.Let me offer my highly esteemed and deeply respected bloggers a differing read.

Blacks have every reason to be distrustful of police and violent criminals. What if residents do cooperate? (Which I don't believe is always in the best interest of the community considering the rate of convictions, incarceration and lack of rehabilitation programs.) And after someone "snitches", where will the police be? (Picture of reunion of Miami residents displaced because of city demolition, still not compensated, or rehoused.)

The police are in a position to change this. Recruit from the neighborhood, hire Creole speaking officers, more importantly put them in situations where they interact positively (like PAL’s and youth centers as well as walking the beat). Develop youth courts, alternative sentencing and diversion programs that provide support for realistic and viable alternatives to street crime.

The Miami-Dade Association of Community Development Corporations say that though Blacks are a quarter of the county’s population, predominantly Black neighborhoods are receiving less than five percent of county spending. The same government that stole everything from funds for the development of an entire section of the city (Model City) and bulldozed most of the housing stock from owners without compensation and lets slumlords break every law in the book while having the police evict tenants regularly is not a recipe for trust.

I should pause for a moment here to note that Cuban Americans and other Hispanics in Miami actually are as bad off as Black youth. Hialeah would, after all, be the poorest large city in America, rather than Miami if it had enough people to qualify. Hialeah High School has a 95% family qualification for free or reduced lunch, which is among the highest in the state. Neverthe less, for reasons I won't pursue here, there are differing circumstances between the groups.

Honestly sometimes I wish a hurricane would hit the Northside of Dade and FEMA pays money willy nilly to any and everybody in an orgy of money grabbing and mass exodus (in the way that Andrew did in South Dade, allowing Whites to flee en masse.) Oh wait, Uncle Sam doesn’t do that anymore…

5. If we are looking to find our humanity while reading a well written, thought provoking blog there is only one place to go . If you are talking about writers and people I have immense respect for, there you are.

6. I also read Hidden City (which is like good West Coast Jazz- intelligent, cool with occasional sparks and sustained depth). Kevin is about to ban me for commenting too much. Steve Klotz has simply been doing some of the best blogging in Miami and possibly the entire Southeast, when not attacking soccer, the French and everyone’s sensibilities. Here is the proof .

7. I plug her and you say “she’s not a Miami blogger…” So what. Btw, Spoke in the Wheel's latest about Gay marriage proves that Albany is to Tallahassee as Miami is to New York. Hold on, Mayor Alvarez said Gay people have “sexual problems” and still won. Hmmm.

8. Speaking of, here is something I owe Manola, though she did pretty well herself. Sometimes I read Manola and I feel guilty because she is so bad but the blog is so good. If I was a girl I’d channel her.

9. Miaminights stays really cool and Miamist has stepped up their game, but still haven’t connected to Miami. Neither seem organic yet but I can’t put my finger on it. I’m really positive on Miamity’s efforts and promise but it seems like they need someone to blog that knows Miami from squat and has an opinion, preferably an informed one. (I’ll volunteer to write and you’ll have an uninformed one!) So we can't forget Critical Miami as the omniblog of Miami.

10. Look at the blog of hope and struggle for Miami, 6/21, 6/24, 6/27, 6/30 entries on why U.M. SUCKS. (It really doesn’t, it just seems to be losing it way, descending incrementally into suckitude.) I mean in fairness I have problems with NYU and Cornell fighting grad assistance attempts to unionize but that would be precedent setting. That sucks too.

11. In the battle of one upmanship in conservatism (though I reject the accuracy of this term as popularly applied) Crist who seems to be a rational sort of guy with some sense of morality is joining his campaign foe Gallahger in an implacable anti-abortion platform. I thing this is a good time to explore beyond our borders for comparative policy in modern times. And who better to look to but our Latin neighbors.

Latin American law enforcement shining light in dark places... Did you know that it is not only a felony to get or perform an abortion in El Salvador, but that the state actively investigates offenders.

There are other countries in the world that, like El Salvador, completely ban abortion, including Chile and Colombia. El Salvador, however, has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus -- the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor's office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating an unusual kind of criminal.

For those who were wondering how a basal right to privacy becomes a derivitional right to abortion, "vagina inspector" pretty much serves as a logical bridge. I wonder, does a Salvadoran vagina inspector need a warrant? Or is a badge and probable cause enough? (The Picture to the upper left is my attempt to shoehorn picts from the WC in. I also know that she will kick a vagina-inspector's ass. Oh how I miss the Brazilian fans!)

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