The Miami-Dade County police are investigating the death of Dr. Isaias Lerner Biber from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was found inside his Bay Harbor Islands home on Thursday afternoon. Biber was arrested on Wednesday for repeatedly hitting his brown and white beagle with a hammer and impaling the animal with a screwdriver. Bieber was free on $five,zero bond. Biber's body was discovered by a relative with authorities suspecting suicide. Earlier this week two witnesses saw Bieber repeatedly hitting a dog tied to a tree with a hammer. Bieber then used a screwdriver and with a "grinding motion" impaled the dog in his throat and ear area. The
If Fox News anchors are right (they're not) and Barack Obama is secretly a socialist (he isn't), the president sure is doing a pretty shitty job spreading his collectivist creed in the Sunshine State. On Friday, for instance, Florida's Secretary of State informed the Socialist Workers Party that it would not be on the ballot for the first time in sixteen years.But all is not lost, comrades. SWP senatorial candidate Naomi Craine is holding a rally tomorrow to protest the decision. "This is an attack on the democratic right of working people in this state," she says. "My campaign demands the state reverse its decision." Craine says she learned of the decision to block the party from the ballot on Friday. She wasn't actually going to be on the ballot (Craine is a write-in candidate), but the decision did scratch the SWP's national ticket of James Harris and Maura DeLuca.Riptide left a message with Florida's Elections Division. If we hear back from them, we will update.Craine blames Rick Scott for ballot-blocking her party. Aside from unconstitutionally restricting voter registration and curtailing early voting, Scott's two thousand and eleven election law narrowed the definition of "a national political party" (like the SWP) to one that is registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a "national committee." The SWP doesn't meet the new criteria, and so was dropped from Florida ballots.Craine is holding a meeting Saturday night at eight p.m. at SWP headquarters (seven hundred and nineteen NE seventy-nineth St.) to denounce the decision."We are consulting our attorneys about any legal steps we can take on this," she says. "We're not a frivolous party."Follow
are turning to sophisticated data mining, direct mail, the Internet and other strategies to register voters typically underrepresented on the rolls, including young people and ethnic minorities. Others are simply targeting those who favor their political goals, such as conservative Christians.The shift away from more traditional voter registration drives -- like volunteers with clipboards in front of a supermarket -- is driven as much by restrictive state laws as it is better technology. Several states including Florida have recently passed legislation setting tight deadlines for groups to turn in voter applications, so groups like the NAACP were looking for ways to get the applications directly into the hands of voters. And they also have to rely on voters to turn in the applications themselves."This is a new effort since the two thousand election," said University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith. "Technology has made it more cost-effective. ... When you have upwards of forty percent of eligible populations not registered, there is a market for this kind of work."Florida is a particularly important area for the groups, as it is the largest swing state in the presidential election. Other battleground states on the center's list include Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.The increased focus on direct mail and data mining comes as the campaigns themselves increasingly use online data to raise money and persuade voters. The campaigns of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have spent hundreds of thousands on digital strategies. And Romney's campaign began a secretive data-mining project this summer to sift through Americans' personal information -- including their purchasing history and church attendance -- to identify new and likely wealthy donors.The new Florida law set a forty-eight-hour deadline for turning in applications once they are completed and various registration and reporting requirements. Organizations or individuals could be fined $fifty for every late form up to a maximum of $one,zero in a given year. A judge has since blocked that part of the law from taking effect, though Smith said that until then it did have a chilling effect on new voter registrations.Florida is just one of twenty-three states that have laws restricting traditional registration drives, according to Project Vote, a Washington-based nonpartisan group that promotes voting in historically underrepresented communities.Requirements in various states run the gamut from tight deadlines like Florida's to limits on how many registration forms a group can obtain. Some require groups and volunteers to register with the state and undergo state-approved training. Several states prohibit paying individuals based on the number of applications they turn in, and Maryland requires participants to be at least eighteen years old."We have seen a systematic coordinated attack on voting rights across the nation," said Marvin Randolph of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "We've had to work harder to make sure that people have access to the ability to register and vote and we've had to be more aggressive and innovative."As a result, the NAACP is partnering with the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, which helped pioneer direct mail voter registration in two thousand and four, said Randolph, vice president for campaigns at the organization's national headquarters in Baltimore.The Washington, D.C.-based Voter Participation Center is mailing nearly four million registration applications targeted to minorities, unmarried women and young people in twenty-eight states, including nearly three hundred and fifty-three,zero being sent to Florida. That's in addition to six.six million applications sent out in three prior mailings since September two thousand and eleven.Other organizations partnering with the center for the first time this election cycle are the National Council of La Raza and the League of Conservation Voters Education fund. A group called United in Purpose also is using data mining as it strives to register up to five million conservative Christians across the nation this year. Companies that do data mining for businesses to influence consumers and political campaigns and interest groups to sway voters now are tailoring their services for voter registration drives as well.The Florida Family Policy Council intentionally avoided traditional registration drives because of the state's restrictions, said John Stemberger, the group's president. The group's website includes a registration form that people can fill out, and allows volunteers to find unregistered citizens who have been identified as likely to favor the council's views. Those volunteers can then call, email or personally visit those people. Among other things, the council opposes abortion and same-sex marriage."We are going both old school and new school," Stemberger said. "The kind of not-your-father's-Oldsmobile version of voter registration, things that we're doing, are direct mail and we also have an automated program."That doesn't mean traditional drives have been abandoned. Data-driven techniques are viewed as a supplement for some groups, while others, such as the League of Women Voters, still are conducting only traditional face-to-face registration drives.And avoiding new restrictions isn't the only reason for alternatives to traditional registration drives.Page Gardner, president of the Voter Participation Center, said she chose the list-based approach when the group, then known as Women's Voices, began its efforts in two thousand and four because that provides near-universal reach and targets people by demographics instead of geography."The advantage of this program with mail is that we can reach out to broad universe of people very quickly and to those people that we may not be able to meet in front of a grocery store or canvassing and talking to people at a door or at an event," said NAACP's Randolph.Commercially available data such as magazine subscription and mail order purchasing lists are used to identify people in various targeted groups and match them against voter registration rolls to identify which ones are not registered. The lists also are cross-checked with Social Security data to exclude people who have died.So far, nearly eight percent, or about four hundred and seventy,zero, of the applications the Voter Participation Center sent out before the current mailing have been turned in. It may seem like a small number, but "that's huge in terms of direct mail," Gardner said.One or two percent is the norm, although a key difference is the only expense for turning in a registration form is the price of a postage stamp.Regardless of what approach is taken, there are still millions of eligible people not registered to vote. The Pew Center on the States issued a report in February saying twenty-five percent of those eligible to vote are not registered. The study found one of every eight registrations is out of date, mostly because of people moving.Pew Director of Election Initiatives David Becker said the organization has been working with eight states to modernize their registration activities and plans to expand that effort after this year's election."We are still using paper, pen and postal mail to drive our voter registrations in the twenty-onest Century," Becker said. "You don't do it with taxes. You don't do it with parking tickets. You don't do it to renew your driver's license."
partnering with state and federal agencies to provide nutritious snacks and supper meals to children before they go home each day. The commission-funded "TEAM UP Nutrition Program" will begin Monday. It is offered in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Health/Bureau of Child Nutrition Programs. The program will serve about nine,zero children. Nine new sites were added, which brings the total to fifty-six throughout the city. The meals are provided through the Child Care Food Program (CCFP), a USDA-funded program. To qualify as a site through the CCFP program, fifty percent or more of the children attending the school must be on the free or reduced lunch program and the after-school program must include both academic and enrichment components. The sites include the following:thirty-threerd Street Police Athletic League, two thousand, one hundred and sixty-five West thirty-threerd. St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and nine A.L. Lewis Center, three thousand, six hundred and fifty-five Ribault Scenic Drive, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eight Alden Road ESE School, eleven thousand, seven hundred and eighty Alden Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and forty-six Arlington Middle School, eight thousand, one hundred and forty-one Lone Star Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eleven Eugene Butler Middle School, nine hundred Acorn St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and two Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, two thousand, three hundred and thirty-four Butler Ave., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and nine Florence N. Davis – Community Connections, three hundred and twenty-five E. Duval St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and two East Side Police Athletic League,one thousand and fifty Franklin St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six Highlands Middle School, ten thousand, nine hundred and thirteen Pine Estates Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eighteen Hyde Grove Elementary School, two thousand and fifty-six Lane Ave., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and ten Jeff Davis Middle School, seven thousand and fifty Melvin Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and ten John Love Elementary School,one thousand, five hundred and thirty-one Winthrop St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six Justina Road Elementary School, three thousand, one hundred and one Justina Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eleven Laurence F. Lee Boys and Girls Clubs, three hundred and thirteen E. tenth St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six Long Branch Elementary School, three thousand, seven hundred and twenty-three Franklin St.,thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six Mallison Park Police Athletic League, four hundred and forty-one Day Ave., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and fifty-four Matthew Gilbert Middle School, one thousand, four hundred and twenty-four Franklin St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six NFL YET Boys & Girls Club, five hundred and fifty-five W. twenty-fiveth St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and six Normandy Center – Community Connections, one thousand, seven hundred and fifty-one Lindsey Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and twenty-one North Shore Elementary School, five thousand, seven hundred and one Silver Plaza, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and two Northwestern Middle School, two thousand, one hundred West forty-fiveth St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and nine Oak Hill Elementary School, eight thousand, nine hundred and ten Daughtry Blvd. South, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and ten Palm Avenue ESE School, one thousand, three hundred and one West Palm Ave., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and fifty-four Pickett Elementary School, six thousand, three hundred and five Old Kings Road North, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and five Pinedale Elementary School, four thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine Edison Ave., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and fifty-four Pine Forest Elementary School, three thousand, nine hundred and twenty-nine Grant Road, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and seven Reynold's Lane Elementary School,eight hundred and forty Reynold's Lane thirty-two thousand, two hundred and fifty-four Jean Ribault Middle School, three thousand, six hundred and ten Ribault Scenic Drive, thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eight Rutledge Pearson Elementary School, four thousand, three hundred and forty-six Roanoke Blvd., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and eight S.A. Hull Elementary School, seven thousand, five hundred and twenty-eight Hull St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and nineteen Sable Palms – Community Connections, two thousand, one hundred and fifty Emerson St., thirty-two thousand, two hundred and seven
Buoyed by big payoffs from its eleven red-light cameras, the city is considering adding five more.It also plans to turn over processing to community service aides after concluding the expense of tying up officers ate most of the revenue.Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, the private firm behind the cameras, studied traffic at five approaches: Boynton Beach Boulevard and Northwest Eighth Street (two directions), Woolbright Road and Northwest Eighth Street, Congress Avenue and Gateway Boulevard, and Boynton Beach Boulevard and Seacrest Boulevard, next to City Hall.It determined that the five combined already generate one,six hundred and eighty red light violations a month.The company has recommended adding the five cameras in two thousand and thirteen, with two coming on line in April, two more in June and the last in August.For the two thousand and twelve-two thousand and thirteen budget, presuming the additions, the now-sixteen cameras would bring in $two hundred and ninety-three,five hundred. The city would propose moving $two hundred,zero of that to reserves.In early August, the city reported a study it did showed the number of vehicle crashes at the four intersections dropped fifty-five percent overall in the first six months after the red-light cameras were installed, compared to the six months before they began operating.Boynton Beach gets $seventy-five of each $one hundred and fifty-nine fine; the state gets the rest. But the city has to subtract the $four,seven hundred and fifty per month it pays ATS to lease each camera.By the time the budget year ends at the end of this month, the existing cameras are expected to have generated a net of $three hundred and sixty-four,seven hundred and seven. Of that, $three hundred,zero will go back into reserves.But the city also has concluded the time traffic officers spend processing fines takes up pretty much the equivalent of one officer position; eight thousand, two hundred and twenty;one,two hundred to one,four hundred hours in a year, doing nothing but that,eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-one; Interim City Manager LaVerriere said at Tuesdayeight thousand, two hundred and seventeen;s city commission meeting.Because of that, LaVerriere has proposed that, in the two thousand and twelve-two thousand and thirteen budget year, the city hire two community service officers just to process infractions. Their salaries combined would be about the same as a traffic officer. Instead of coming from the general police budget, their pay would come from what the city earns from the cameras.For now, LaVerriere said sheeight thousand, two hundred and seventeen;s not recommending the additional cameras.Commissioner Steven Holzman also was opposed. He said he suspects people doneight thousand, two hundred and seventeen;t know which corners have cameras and eight thousand, two hundred and twenty;they just assume every corner does now.eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-one;Commissioner Marlene Ross said also would favor the added cameras depending on the staffing situation.eight thousand, two hundred and twenty;Ieight thousand, two hundred and seventeen;m for it,eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-one; interim Mayor Woodrow Hay said. eight thousand, two hundred and twenty;The whole idea is for traffic safety, not for generating revenue. But it is what it is.eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-one;The issue will come back to the commission when it holds its final budget workshop and vote at its Sept. eighteen meeting.Vice Mayor Mack McCray, meanwhile, drew laughs when he confessed, eight thousand, two hundred and twenty;I know the red light camera program works. I got a $one hundred and fifty-nine ticket.eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-one;
Florida health and disability administrators have been systematically dumping sick and disabled children — some of them babies — in nursing homes designed to care for elders, in violation of the youngsters’ civil rights, the U.S. Justice Department says.Hundreds of Florida children are spending their formative years in hospital-like institutions, sometimes growing up in the equivalent of hospital rooms with virtually no education or socialization, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division wrote in a twenty-two-page letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi’s office is defending the state against a previously filed lawsuit that claims the institutionalization of children violates federal law.The letter, written by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, is the federal government’s first attempt to weigh in on the controversy. At the end of his letter, Perez outlined a series of steps the state could take to reduce its reliance on nursing home beds for frail children. If state leaders fail to “correct” the practice, Perez wrote, “the Attorney General may initiate a lawsuit” of his own.Some youngsters remain in nursing homes for much of their lives: “a number” of kids, the report said, have spent a decade or longer institutionalized, including some children who entered the facilities as infants and toddlers.“Indeed, the state has planned, structured and administered a system of care that has led to the unnecessary segregation and isolation of children, often for many years, in nursing facilities,” the report said.Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities or medical conditions must be housed and treated in community settings whenever possible, not in large isolated institutions as most states did in previous decades. Since the law was passed in one thousand, nine hundred and ninety, advocates for disabled people and children have used it to shut down often squalid institutions and to move disabled and mentally ill people into their own homes or into group homes that are part of larger communities.In recent years, however, Florida health administrators have relied upon nursing homes to house hundreds of children who could safely live at home with their parents — often at less expense to the state, advocates claim. In his letter, Perez said the state has cut millions from programs that support the parents of disabled youngsters, refused $forty million in federal dollars that would have enabled some children to stay or return home, encouraged nursing homes to house children by increasing their per diem rate — and even repealed state rules that limited the number of kids who could be housed in nursing homes with adults.Such policies, the Justice Department says, are not only contrary to federal law, they hurt children: Housed in nursing homes that are ill-equipped to care for them, youngsters often are deprived of an education, are unable to see their own parents and siblings — many of whom live hundreds of miles away — have no ability to socialize with typically developing peers, and sometimes are forced to sit for hours in front of a television for lack of recreation or other activities.In court pleadings, and in a statement Thursday to The Miami Herald, state health regulators say they are complying with all provisions of the landmark law. The state provides all services that are “medically necessary” to sick and disabled children — including skilled nursing care and home health aides — “up to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” said Shelisha Coleman, a spokeswoman for the state Agency for Health Care Administration, or AHCA, which is a defendant in a two thousand and twelve lawsuit that makes the same claims as the Justice Department.Health administrators chided the Justice Department for essentially ambushing the state Thursday by releasing the strongly worded report on a DOJ website without first providing the state with copies of documents, transcripts of interviews and nursing home inspection reports upon which the Justice Department based its findings.The state, Coleman said, does not have any policies or rules designed to force children into nursing homes. Advocates for sick and disabled children, she added, are complaining about individual decisions made solely on the basis of what is most appropriate for each child, she added.In a court pleading last June, AHCA said federal law allows the agency to “place appropriate limits on a service based on such criteria as medical necessity” and cost-cutting.In its report, though, the Justice Department said such individual decisions — some of which are “applied irrationally or without appropriate consideration of the child’s needs” — reflect a systemic policy that forces families to institutionalize their loved ones. During its investigation, the DOJ visited large nursing homes that collectively house more than two hundred children in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg, interviewing families and caregivers along the way.The parents of one eight-year-old girl who is “medically fragile” and lives at home, though both parents must work, have seen medical services for their daughter denied or reduced thirteen times since two thousand and six, the report said, even though the girl’s condition has not improved or changed. “It’s a fight and a battle all the time,” to avoid institutionalization, the girl’s mother told investigators.Matthew Dietz, a Miami civil rights attorney who already is challenging the state’s practices in federal court, called the report a “stinging indictment” of the state’s policies governing disabled children. “It’s a story of a systemic attempt by the state of Florida to deprive families and children with disabilities of the care needed to merely survive in a community-based setting,” Dietz said.“The state’s reliance on nursing facilities to serve these children violates their civil rights and denies them the full opportunity to develop bonds with family and friends and partake in educational, social and recreational activities in the community,” Dietz added.Deborah Linton, who heads The Arc of Florida, an advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities, said members of her group were “alarmed, as well as saddened” that warehousing children in nursing homes had “become an acceptable practice” among state social service administrators.Other states, Linton said, have developed and funded programs that allow families to care for sick or disabled children at home — often at less expense than nursing homes and institutions.“Florida can do better by these most vulnerable little ones,” Linton said.
Obama formally accepted the Democratic Partythirty-nine;s presidential nomination Thursday, urging his supporters to rally behind him for the final two months of the U.S. presidential campaign.It was Obamathirty-nine;s most important campaign speech to date, and Democrats gave him a thunderous ovation in the convention hall as he defended his economic record and asked for a second term in the White House. “But know this, America. Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And Ithirty-nine;m asking you to choose that future,” he said.Obama said this yearthirty-nine;s election between himself and Republican Mitt Romney offers Americans the clearest choice in a generation, on the economy, taxes, energy and issues of war and peace.