The holidays are upon us, and there's no better way to celebrate than to partake in juicy nourishment from a dumb animal and settle into the couch to soak up a heap of entertainment. Luckily, your South Florida neighbors provide all of the above, in spades. Here are the top turkeys of 2015. Open wide!
The Donald has managed to piss off just about everyone during his presidential campaign. Back in June, none wanted at the hopeful's throat more than the hardworking, very legal, contributing-to-society immigrants of South Florida. Trump, in an obvious (and, sadly, thus far successful) effort to cater to a certain demographic, took the most ridiculous stance of his platform and then spat venom at it. Elaborating on his stated desire to build a literal wall across the Mexican border, he threw out a generalization that, even by his standards, was plumb dumb.
Mexico, he said, was "sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with them. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Cool story, King Donald.
Trump would go on to tell some half-assed stories about how he has this long history of talking to border patrol agents and how they tell him about the sort of people they are chasing around all day. Riiiiight. Let's not forget when he called a breastfeeding mother "disgusting" or whined about Megyn Kelly asking him tough questions: "She had blood coming out of her wherever."
This is the Year of the Trump... until it's not. We won't deny that his run for president is highly entertaining, but many of his comments have consisted of nothing more than ignorant and hateful rhetoric, disguised as "straight talk."
Donald Trump is a turkey, which might be the nicest thing anyone has called him this year.
Bro... you had one job.
This past Fourth of July, the New York Giants' defensive end — then in the midst of a contract negotiation and a month away from the start of training camp — did what any sane person on the verge of signing a multimillion-dollar, long-term NFL contract would do: He bought a U-Haul truck full of illegal explosives and used his hands to light up the Broward County sky. Wait. No. What?
Things did not end well for Pierre-Paul, who grew up in Deerfield Beach. He ended up blowing off a pair of fingers and hiding it from his team for months. Once the Giants took a gander at the damage, they pulled any form of long-term contract, though they eventually signed him to a one-year deal prior to the team's sixth game, and he hit the field in early November.
While we feel for Pierre-Paul — who said he had been trying to entertain neighborhood kids on America's birthday — we must point just how boneheaded a move it is to gamble with your future on the hope that massive explosives don't backfire. The 26-year-old changed his entire career — and more important, his entire life — based on one immature night of recklessness. It's sad, and he's a turkey... but we are rooting for him.
The Al Golden era at the University of Miami ended mercifully on October 25 after a humiliating 58-0 defeat at the hands of the Clemson Tigers. The loss was the worst in Miami football history and the final straw for Golden.
In the end, the football coach's stubborn ways did him in. Refusing to change his game plans to fit the talent he recruited resulted in his never capturing a signature win and in finishing below .500 in the ACC. No Coastal titles. No ACC Championship games. No wins over FSU. Nothing but a 32-25 record at a university that not too long ago would have been embarrassed to lose 25 games in two decades combined.
In Golden's last season, he asked players to "be more consistent, like a McDonald's cheeseburger" — and consistent they were. Consistently bad, that is. On Golden's watch, the Miami Hurricanes' proud tradition of football excellence saw lows that no one could have ever imagined. With his firing comes the hope that someone — anyone — can saunter down to Coral Gables and restore the program back to what it once was: the greatest in the country.
Racist Fort Lauderdale Cops
This has not been the best year for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. In June, an officer, Jeffery Feldewert, was found to have posted a photo to Facebook of a black man being arrested with the caption "Typical hoodrat behavior." It was just one image in a thread of racist posts under a section labeled: "Black People. Because without them the evening news wouldn't be as much fun to watch." Feldewert was fired... but later reinstated.
This was the second time this calendar year that the department had seriously stepped in it. Back in March, three officers (James Wells, Jason Holding, and Christopher Sousa) were fired and one (Alex Alvarez) resigned after they were found to have sent racist text messages among themselves, apparently meant as "jokes." Alvarez had also made a video — a mock movie trailer — that depicted Barack Obama as a thuggish villain with gold teeth and the cops as "savage hunters." Alvarez's ex-fiancée is the person who turned in the texts and video to the police chief. In an interview, she also said that Alvarez "was obsessed with the KKK and would call a number to listen to 'jokes' or a 'white power message.' " She also noted that he refused to see a remake of the movie Annie because it featured black actors.
This is not the behavior one would think law enforcement officers would engage in, but then again, nothing surprises us anymore. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has a lot of work to do on its relationship with the community, because it was one helluva turkey this year.
Ben Carson has a lot of opinions, and most of them suck. They suck so very hard. He quite honestly would have to try especially hard to have suckier opinions or to seem any more cartoonish. In a race that features Donald Trump, he's making it tough to determine who the worst candidate is. That's actually impressive, if you think about it.
Between comparing homosexuality to bestiality, calling Obama a psychopath, suggesting that the Holocaust could have been avoided if the Jews had guns, and saying that prison "turns people gay," it's been a banner year for
Carson is the grandpa you can't take anywhere because he talks way too loud and you're never quite sure what he might say. It's beginning to feel like he's an undercover SNL member just doing this all for ratings.
Recently, Carson said he would catch baddie terrorists by using "things-they-don't-know-about resources" and explained how it's actually possible for the president to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court, because "whatever, nerds!" Pictures surfaced from the inside of his Maryland house showing that it is decorated with portraits of him and Jesus, hangin' like they do.
But perhaps most absurdly, this person who is running for the most powerful office in the world has been insisting that stories from his biography are true: He really did try to attack his mother with a hammer and stab one of his friends! (None of his childhood classmates remember his having a bad temper.)
In polls, this man is going back and forth with Donald Trump as the top GOP frontrunner. Do better, America.
RIP, Joe Philbin. You will be remembered for... well, you won't actually be remembered.
Joe Philbin could do no right as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, and as a result, he's been trying to sell his South Florida home smack-dab in the middle of the NFL season. Philbin's continued lame motivational tactics and dry personality wore thin on the team, and following an embarrassing start to the 2015 season, owner Stephen Ross was forced to fire the coach just months after having given him a contract extension.
To this day, we aren't really sure what Philbin did here, and we may never truly know the answer to that question. Philbin didn't pick the players, he didn't call the offensive plays, and he definitely didn't give locker-room speeches that lit a fire under players' asses. He basically walked around constantly nervously checking whether his headset was working.
To sum up Joe Philbin's time in South Florida, we must only be reminded of the time he was photographed eating a salad all alone and unmolested at Chipotle. Nobody knew who he was, and he ordered a burrito bowl salad at Chipotle.
Nobody does that!
The Dolphins instantly performed better once Philbin kicked the bucket as Fins coach, going 2-0 at first under new coach Dan Campbell (before falling to 3-3).
Good luck, ol' Philbin. You seemed like a nice man, but your coaching will not be missed.
Drunk South Florida Judges
Nothing says Florida like a drunk judge. Well, after symbols of sunshine and oranges, then come drunk judges.
If you really wanted to take a deep dive into impaired-Broward-judge history, we could talk about that judge who in 2001 was drunk and naked at a conference or that one who smoked pot in a park in 2007. But let's just stick with recent history. In 2013, Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato was busted on her way home from a social gathering with — of course — fellow judges and lawyers. The group had just left Maggiano's restaurant in Boca Raton. Imperato admitted she'd had two glasses of wine there but denied she was drunk. She refused a sobriety test, because she's a judge, you see. Dashcam footage, however, showed a visibly drunken Imperato wobbling toward a police car, which would escort her to jail.
She ultimately received 20 days' house arrest and 12 months' probation for her DUI and spent much of this year fighting to keep her judge's post. Last month, the panel that supervises judges recommended a three-month suspension and a $20,000 fine.
By keeping her job, she's doing much better than her fellow drunk-judges-in-arms, though. Imperato's ordeal continued a troubling trend of Broward County judges getting popped for being exactly like the criminals they scold all day: substance abusers operating vehicles.
Broward Circuit Judge Gisele Pollack — who has a history of substance abuse, including that time when she showed up to the bench drunk as a skunk — was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Plantation. Pollack resigned in January to seek help for her addictions. Last year, Broward Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal was arrested after she smashed her BMW SUV into, of all things, a parked police car in the Broward County courthouse parking lot. That's an all-timer, right there. Rosenthal had no choice but to resign in October.
Ladies and gentlemen, the one, the (thankfully) only... Jeffrey Loria! Hey, stop throwing trash!
The Miami Marlins owner makes this Top Turkey list even during a year when he auctioned off one of his multimillion-dollar paintings for cystic fibrosis research — that's how crappy he is. Loria is perpetually hated for a litany of hellish behaviors — selling off good players any time the team starts to rise above suckitude, sticking taxpayers with a gazillion-dollar stadium — but this year, Loria's terrible things were extra special in their awfulness. Loria was just a few months removed from giving manager Mike Redmond a contract extension through 2017 — then fired his ass after fewer than 40 games and promptly picked the best candidate to turn the team around: his friend Dan Jennings, the team's general manager, who had never managed a day in his life.
That decision predictably failed, and the team went up in flames, burning a slow, baseball-y, 162-game death. Thankfully, Jennings could resume his role as general manager once the season ended, after taking one for the team. Ha! Nope! Fired him too! Sawwwry 'bout that!
Jennings got kicked to the curb once Don Mattingly, the new Marlins manager, was let go by the Dodgers. This is what you get when you enter the Jeffrey Loria circle of trust: a slow, painful, unjust death by 1 million two-faced paper cuts. Jeffrey Loria is quite possibly the worst man in South Florida, which is saying so, so, much.
Margaret Blume had a unique idea, dumped $500,000 into it, then literally dumped it onto the bottom of the ocean.
Blume set out to create an artificial reef off the coast of Deerfield Beach. It would be made up of statues designed to look exactly like the famous moai sculptures — those funky, giant stone heads — on Easter Island. Blume spent half a million dollars to hire a sculptor and buy an old barge. Her team ended up getting that part right, and that's about it.
The media and the public were invited to witness the spectacle of these sculptures being lowered to the ocean floor. But instead of using, say, a crane and some scientists, the planners relied on some divers and a dash of let's-see-if-this-works.
Let's just say that it didn't quite work out: The barge flipped upside down and landed on top of the sculptures, crushing them. So the fishies didn't get a beautiful underwater playground. They got themselves 600,000 pounds of concrete to swim around, though!
After the failure, the Rapa Nui Reef team explained that all was not lost.
"Margaret Blume had two goals," said a spokesperson. "One was to create underwater public art. Two was to encourage marine and environmental research. That goal was reached — it will attract fish and grow coral. Her goal of public art is what is interrupted at this point."
Blume was said to be "all smiles" after the mishap, and her team said it planned to come back and accomplish its mission — but this time, not on her dime. They would ask for public donations for the next sculpture-sink mulligan! Good luck with that, Margaret.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Three hundred and four Florida black bears were killed this October after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, stocked with Rick Scott appointees, approved a hunt of the species — an odd and perplexing development for a critter that just three years ago had its status downgraded from threatened.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The justification for the hunt was specious. Officials kept claiming it was for "management" purposes, but the state doesn't even have an accurate count of bears in the state (its data is from 2002), and it was a sharp diversion from the state's 2012 management plan, which called for maintaining or growing bear populations through at least 2022. The go-ahead for the hunt came only after four women had been attacked by bears (none fatally) around the state in the two years prior.
In any case, it showed that the agency is beholden to hunters. The state sold 3,778 bear hunter permits — more than the estimated number of 3,200 bears in the state. The hunt was supposed to last two weeks, but the "harvest quota" was met in a mere two days. Seventy-eight percent of kills were made on private land, where proponents of this "sport" could easily shoot bears accustomed to eating from feeders filled with food set out for deer.
Robert Ruderman, of the group Animal Hero Kids, said, "The Florida black bear hunt is a well-calculated, thinly disguised power play by right-wing Governor Rick Scott and his faithful servants on the FWC Commission at the behest of powerful special interests; namely, the gun and hunting industries and lobbies, influential land developers, and wealthy trophy hunters."
Basically a bunch of hunters had an itch for bear murder, so bear murder is what they committed. Shame on the turkey-ass FWC for allowing such a thing to go on, then selling tickets for it like they were owners of a carnival ride.