This Week in Florida

Titty Twisters and Striptease Turkeys

By Billy Corben

Sorry I went Earl Sweatshirt on you for a few months. But I'm back.

You haven't missed much. We had another humiliating presidential election, but this time, fortunately for the rest of the country, our results didn't matter. As I was quoted in the New York Times, "After this, Florida is worse than a laughingstock. We’re now an irrelevant laughingstock."

We also learned that a "Tampa socialite" named Jill Kelley was the person behind the David Petraeus scandal. We also learned that there is such a thing as a "Tampa socialite" (for some reference: Tampa is where Magic Mike takes place).

But perhaps even more embarrassing is the ongoing debacle of the Miami Marlins baseball franchise, which is playing out on the national stage. Basically, the Marlins gulled the city of Miami and the state of Florida in to paying for a $500 million fancy new stadium. Then, after a few rough months, the team purged itself of every decent player on its roster. Needless to say, people are pissed. But most disturbingly, and least covered, is how the city paper, the Miami Herald, abdicated its responsibility to ask tough questions and instead served as the Marlins' Ministry of Propaganda. You can’t fault owner Jeffrey Loria for trying to negotiate the best deal for his organization. But you can fault the local media when they run headlines like “NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO BUILD A STADIUM,” instead of investigating the Marlins management’s claims about the benefits of a new baseball park.

The Miami Herald spent years misleading the community by publishing an endless stream of pro-Marlins and public financing bile. Now they are flaccidly climbing aboard the anti-Marlins bandwagon. One Herald columnist, aptly named Fred Grimm (considering his paper's future prospects), hobbled together a laughable piece of hindsight. In the article, he explains that anyone who knew anything about these deals would have known Miami-Dade was agreeing to, what the Miami New Times called, the “worst deal for taxpayers of any stadium in America.”

Grimm essentially confesses the abject failure of the Herald by quoting from a 1997 Brookings Institution study that found, “no recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues... The economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimis.” How could the Herald fail to report information like this prior to the Marlins Park public financing vote?

Grimm also cites a letter from an unidentified Marlins vice president who wrote the Herald, “back when the County Commission was debating the stadium deal… describing how baseball stadiums transform urban areas ‘into major entertainment districts.’” This was exactly the kind of false information furnished by the team that the Herald published verbatim, while failing to task their reporters merely fact-checking the information.

Grimm’s column fails to address his paper’s role as a co-conspirator in the scheme to transmit misinformation to an unwitting public. No wonder the Herald is going the way of the Costa Concordia. This is the kind of "journalism" the Herald expects readers to pay for when their paywall goes up at the end of this year? Perhaps traded Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle summed it up best: “Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions.”

Welcome to This Week in Florida.

- Once again a Miami pro sports team and their venue made national news for the wrong reason after the sprinklers went off in the middle of the Dolphins-Seahawks game at the Sun Life Stadium last Sunday. I suppose it’s nothing a publicly financed retractable roof can’t fix.

- Also back this week is the Pine Hills Chinese restaurant China Wok, rechristened China Chef. Back in September, an employee was shot and killed by robbers because he couldn't understand their demands. Their haul was less than $100. In addition to the new name, Chine Chef also now has friendly security bars and guards to welcome customers.

- Miraculously, Florida managed one of our less embarrassing Black Fridays—compared to the rest of the union, anyway. But it was not without incident:

Retailers whipped consumers into a frenzy to shop early and often and then this Best Buy in Pembroke Pines called the cops to remove anxious shoppers from their property for camping out too soon. Taking bets now: What year will your local Best Buy become a Halloween Store?

A woman repeatedly cut the checkout line at an Altamonte Springs Walmart and, after warnings from police to wait her turn, she started screaming and throwing her items on the floor.They put her in handcuffs and let her cut to the front of the line at Seminole County Jail.

Two people were shot outside a Tallahassee Walmart in a dispute over a parking space. This led to a high-speed police chase that crossed state lines into Georgia, where the suspects were apprehended.

- In Miami Beach, it was White Friday, where the Coast Guard unloaded nearly a ton of cocaine—with an estimated street value of $22 million—that was seized during drug patrols in the Caribbean.

- Two men stole a Gulf Breeze family’s pet turkey from their property and killed it for Thanksgiving dinner.

- A terrier was found hanging from a tree in Buckingham. There is evidence that it was hung alive and may have struggled to escape before it died.

- Kim and Kourtney Kardashian were turned away by the City of Miami Beach for their latest “reality” spin-off, but were welcomed with open arms by North Miami and even presented with the keys to the city by not-yet-indicted Mayor Andre Pierre. When the Kardashian sisters heard they were getting two keys from North Miami, they thought it was going be something else.

- A 16-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the eye in an Orange City Library. Can somebody please tell me what that poor boy was doing in a library?

- A registered sex offender approached a Tampa police officer at a traffic light to let him know that he just murdered a man near the University of South Florida.

- The mystery woman photographed riding a manatee at a St. Petersburg beach last September has been identified, arrested, and charged with… riding a manatee. She faces a $500 fine, six months in jail, and a lifetime of internet infamy.

There are a variety of methods the constitution affords criminal defense attorneys to have a defendant's confession tossed out. This Lakeland drug suspect took matters into his own hands, recanting his confession by flushing the detective's recording device down the toilet at the police station. He's now charged with meth trafficking and destroying evidence.

- Hell hath no fury like a (Florida) woman scorned:

After their first date, a Boca Raton woman grabbed a kitchen knife, threatened her date, and smashed his apartment windows with rocks when he disagreed that she was his girlfriend. No word on whether or not there will be a second date.

In Pompano Beach, a woman attacked her boyfriend after he decided to watch Sunday Night Football instead of "fooling around" with her.

A Jacksonville woman going through an (obviously) emotional divorce found a creative, though illegal, outlet for her heartbreak: by spray-painting broken hearts all over the new $350 million county courthouse.

- A man posing as a dentist in Hollywood administered an injection to a patient complaining of pain and, as any medical professional would, sealed it with a kiss to her buttocks. Turns out, none of this is legal.

- The City of Miami Beach has been crumbling into the Atlantic Ocean under the weight of its own corruption. In one of a slew of recent federal cases against Miami Beach officials, a former lead code compliance officer was sentenced to 51 months in prison for a nightclub shakedown scheme.

- A 27-year-old New Port Richey man was “playing rough” with a two-year-old boy that he was babysitting and twisted both his nipples off. Doctors say his skin will probably not grow back.

- After an argument, Pinellas County Deputy Tamara Morgan spiked another deputy's coffee with hand sanitizer in an effort to poison him. She's been suspended for six weeks. Because, you know, poisoning is bad.

- Everglades City airboat Captain Wally Weatherholt pled no contest to feeding an alligator during a tour earlier this year where a boat-full of tourists witnessed him get his hand chomped off. #FloridaProblems

- A Tampa mother confessed to drowning her five-week-old son because she believed the baby was the devil.

- A Florida Highway Patrol trooper missed a date to testify in Volusia County Court. The trooper was admonished by the judge, who sentenced the officer to five days in jail. The woman on trial for DUI was acquitted.

- Casselberry strip club Rachel's went family-friendly for its annual Thanksgiving tradition where, for the ninth year in a row, they served 400 free meals and gave away Christmas trees. This is in addition to their annual free flu shot and buffet for senior citizens.

Previously - Square Groupers and Manatee Orgies

@BillyCorben

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