Category Archives: Miami

2016 Ballot Recommendations – Federal Races

People seem to want my recommendations in the judicial elections. I’m working on them, and have already talked myself into one perhaps surprising recommendation. But this year I’m doing the whole ballot because so much is at stake. So today it’s the big stuff – the federal races.

Important note if you’re voting early before I get the next two installments up: as well as voting in the top ticket races, be sure to vote NO on Florida’s deceptively worded Constitutional Amendment 1 – that’s important too.

Federal Office

US President: Hillary Clinton.

I am not a big fan of the neo-conservative and militaristic foreign policy, but on almost any other policy metric, Clinton scores from fairly well to great, depending on the topic. And on the one, most critical, issue she is transcendentally wonderful, that being the issue of Not Being Donald Trump. This may be the most important vote you cast in this lifetime; and we need to not just win but run up the score both to make a point, and to avoid any chance of subsequent civil unrest on claims of a stolen election.

US Senate: Patrick Murphy.

Marco Rubio is an empty suit. So, alas, is his opponent. On policy there is much less difference between them than one has a right to expect, as Murphy is a former Republican. Even after switching parties Murphy continued to vote more like a Republican than most Democrats – at least until he decided to run for Senate, at which point Murphy toed the party line a bit more.

I had planned to vote for neither.  I’ve reconsidered because so many members of the GOP have vowed to obstruct Clinton on judges and everything else.  In normal times we might be able to risk divided government, and in normal times I’d suggest not voting in this one as both candidates are depressing. But we don’t have that luxury: Florida’s Senate seat may be the swing between the parties that determines if we will have a fully functioning Supreme Court, or a gradually shrinking one. Hold your nose and vote Murphy.

House of Representatives (FL-27)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has earned admiration both for constituent services and for her principled and very early separation from Donald Trump. Her opponent, Scott Fuhrman, has good positions on the issues but also has a checkered past. There are probably few if any Republicans in the House who more clearly have earned re-election in a normal year than Ros-Lehtinen; that result is also pretty much a forgone conclusion unless we have a wave election the size of which remains hard to imagine. The case for Furhman is like the case for Murphy – it’s about who runs the House. That said, in Murphy/Rubio you have two dispiriting candidates so it makes sense to vote the national consequences as a tie-breaker.  In Ros-Lehtinen you have an admirable politician who happens to caucus with the wrong guys, and votes wrong on financial issues of importance to her constituents – but votes her district on gay rights and immigration.

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | 1 Comment

Nothing Here

South Florida escaped Hurricane Matthew essentially unscathed when the storm zigged instead of zagging.  I read that 50,000 people, mostly in the county north of us, Broward, lost power.  Here the lights flickered a couple of times and surged once despite our house-sized surged protector.

Now to take the patio stuff back outside.  Meanwhile, the radio suggests that the northern part of the state is still at risk of landfall, and that a ten-foot (!) storm surge may hit some places.  Plus waves.

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

Uh-oh

capture

Tropical storm and/or hurricane watches are likely for portions of the Florida peninsula and Florida Keys later this morning.

The track of Hurricane Matthew has been drifting west as the northward motion slows.  Currently poor Haiti is under it.  If the track doesn’t drift West any more, Miami should be fine….but if it does shift a bit more West…this is a very big and nasty hurricane.

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Sign of the Times

Spotted this truck outside the local grocery store.

truck3Note that the feds are doing next to nothing around here because Republicans in Congress blocked the money — they demanded defunding a women’s health program (Planned Parenthood) in exchange for saving babies.

Yes, this election is literally a motherhood issue.

Posted in 2016 Election, Zika | Leave a comment

Early Returns from South Florida (Multiple 11pm Updates)

Most, but not all, of the returns are in for the Florida primaries and non-partisan elections, and there are some surprises:

(UPDATE) Incumbent Debbie Wasserman-Schultz beat Tim Canova by 14%: she got 28,250 votes and Tim Canova got a very respectable 21,476 votes.

Daisey Baz (D-114) romped in her primary for state rep, but Ross Hancock (D-115) cratered, which is a shame. Scott Fuhrman easily won the right to run into the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen buzzsaw.

(UPDATE) Marco Rubio won big in the Republican primary, and will face Republican Democrat Patrick Murphy. Pretty final tally is Murphy 59%, Grayson 18%, Keith 15%, Roque De La Fuente 5%, Reginald Luster 3%. It will be hard to vote for Murphy. Rubio makes it conceivable, though.

(UPDATE) One of the most exciting local races is the non-partisan Mayor’s race, where at 11pm with 760 of 783 precincts reporting, Mayor Gimenez has only 47.64% of the vote – not enough to avoid a runoff against Raquel Regalado (32.01%). That’s a surprisingly poor showing for him given his enormous financial edge.

And in FL-26, with all but 8 of the 197 precincts in, Joe Garcia is just edging Annette Taddeo by under 4% of the vote. It’s only an 800 vote gap which is a weak showing for Joe who nonetheless seems likely to be the one to go on to face the vulnerable one-term Republican incumbent. I hated this race as I like both candidates as people; on the issues Taddeo seemed a little better. On electability, I just don’t know; Joe has slightly longer roots in the district, which could be a help.

Judges

The judicial races are often odd and this year is no exception. Judge Bloch is losing – has almost certainly lost – to Marcia Del Rey in Circuit Court Group 9. He had a bad campaign, and filed (and is now appealing!) what seemed to me an ill-advised lawsuit, but she shows no sign of being qualified. This is the worst outcome of this set of judicial races by far.

The four-person race in Group 34 is clearly headed for a runoff, and Mark Blumstein (28.73% with 723/783 precincts counted) looks sure to be one of the candidates. The other three candidates are all very close to each other. At this moment, Luis Perez-Midina is ahead by 2,000 or so votes over Renee Gordon in the race for second place, which would mean the runoff would be between the people who I thought were the two less-attractive candidates in a strong field. The votes here were all split nearly evenly: 28.73%, 24.57%, 23.58%, 23.11%. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone asked for recount before it’s all over.

(UPDATE 11pm) No major changes here.  Blumstein 28.69%, Perez-Medina 24.53%, Renee Gordon 23.69%  The gap between the last two is almost 2000 votes, and only 23 precincts left.

In Group 52, Rosy Aponte, the worst candidate, lost but took a quarter of the vote, forcing the two good candidates (Breece and Rodriquez-Fonts) into a runoff. Whoever wins in November, we already won this one.

Judge Luck won re-election in Group 66, as did Judge Sarduy in Group 74.

In the County Court races, Judge Newman seems likely to have won re-election in Group 7; he’s ahead by 8,000 votes – which is about 3% of the votes counted so far– with 60/783 precincts to go. Judge Graham romped in Group 35. Linda Luce won even bigger in Group 15.

(UPDATE 11pm) But Group 5 is the nail-biter: at 11pm Milena Abreu has 49.87% and Judge Seraphin only 50.13% and the gap between them is 525 votes, with 23 precincts to go.

(UPDATE) Forgot to say, Amendment 4 passed overwhelmingly, with 74.22% of the vote at this point.  Of course now we have to fight the poison-pill of Amendment 1, which undermines solar power.  And if they both pass they arguably contradict each other in part — will the second in time prevail?

(UPDATE) Looks like a runoff for School Board District 6, as Maria Teresa ‘Mari Tere’ Rojas wasn’t quite able to buy the election, only getting 48.07% of the vote so far.  Although Modesto ‘Mo’ Abety is clearly second, he was very far behind with only 24.91% of the vote (87/90 precincts). But it’s a different electorate in November.

Meanwhile in the County Commissioner race for District 7, no surprise that Xavier Suarez took 72% of the vote.

(UPDATE 11pm) Only 23 precincts to go, and Judge Seraphin is ahead by 525 votes, a slight gain. But still close.

Bloch remains 9,000 votes behind Del Rey. Let’s hope the rumors are true and she is angling to be the next Judge Judy on TV.

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.sig File Upgrade: Variable Weather Reports

codesnip(tl/dr: Michael is a geek.)

For a very long time I’ve had a comment about the Miami weather in the last line of my email .sig file, something like “It’s hot here” or “It’s cool here” or occasionally “It’s @#$@#$ hot here.”  This started out largely as reaction against the pretentious .sig files I ran into surprisingly often in the early days of the net.  But it was also driven in part by our remarkable weather in Miami: way too hot six months of the year, lovely five months of the year, and pot luck on the balance.

I had imagined that the right way to do a .sig file modifier on a unix box would be to do something to the mailer daemon to instruct it to pull the weather data in real time.  But because my mail is on a university machine, I don’t have the privileges to do that, and even if I did I don’t think I’d mess with their mailer.

So for 20+ years I did the weather line by hand, changing the last line of my .sig file a few times a year to reflect the change in the seasons, at least when I remembered to do it.  And from  time to time I wished for something automated that would check the weather every time I sent an email.

This summer I finally broke down and took a few hours and wrote a little script that grabs weather data from a public source  and re-writes the text of my .sig file every hour based on the temperature and humidity.  It’s not elegant, but modifying the text of the saved version of the .sig file means I don’t have to tangle with the mailer itself. It also means I use a lot fewer system resources when sending mail, plus it limits my lookups of the weather data.

It shouldn’t have taken a few hours, but I had to learn about how to handle arrays in PHP, plus my data source was badly documented and somewhat inconsistent in what it returned.  Overall, a silly thing to do, yes, and rather late to the party, but I’m happy about it anyway.

Posted in Internet, Miami, Personal | Leave a comment