By Sylvia Gurinsky
Memo to local police: When one side shows up to protest the Israel-Hamas conflict, assume the other side will be there, too.
Miami police may have not anticipated that the number of people coming to Biscayne Boulevard yesterday was going to be quite so large, particularly since members of the Jewish community had a protest earlier at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach.
However, they should have taken a look at what happened in Fort Lauderdale last Tuesday. When a pro-Palestinian crowd showed up, a pro-Israel crowd began to show up as well. Fort Lauderdale police handled it well, but the crowds last Tuesday were relatively small.
Yesterday was a different story. Palestinian supporters were protesting outside the headquarters of the Israeli consulate. It was announced in advance, and logic would have dictated that protesters on the beach would have come to Miami to support Israel.
They did, and as The Miami Herald and local television stations reported, things got heated:
As the Herald story also reported, tourists visiting the area were caught off guard.
This isn't the first time Miami police have had issues with protestors. For all the emotions yesterday, it was a lucky thing that more serious injuries and skirmishes weren't reported.
This conflict has crossed the Atlantic. More vigilance will be needed.
Some have referred to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as Gov. Blabbermouth. A better label would be Gov. Chutzpah.
That's what he showed in appointing longtime Illinois politician Roland Burris to that vacant Senate seat. Some have said Blagojevich is being savvy in playing the race card. But he's just being racist (assuming they will seat Burris just because he's black), selfish and uncaring of the interests of his state.
Burris, who has criticized Blagojevich for previous actions, should have said "No" when he was offered the seat. He's being selfish, too - and hypocritical.
For a while last week, it appeared as if common sense might prevail in New York: There was a story that Gov. David Paterson wanted to appoint a "caretaker" senator - someone who would serve until the next election, but not run for the U.S. Senate seat Hillary Clinton will vacate if she is confirmed as secretary of state. It would have avoided the pre-election politics going on in that state.
Alas, Paterson has said no, because it wouldn't allow a senator to build up seniority.
So, more political fights in New York for a couple of weeks.
Remember just a few weeks ago, when Minnesota was the looniest state in the nation because of the recount in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman Senate race?
I didn't mention Caroline Kennedy, who hasn't exactly wowed the masses with her "campaign" for that New York Senate seat......OK, now I've mentioned her.
As she's done for the last few years, she again hosted the Kennedy Center Honors (A few years ago, she replaced legendary newsman Walter Cronkite, who was sorely missed on PBS' New Year's program from Vienna this year, although Julie Andrews did a fine job as host.).
The Kennedy Center Honors is in need of some change.
Most of the giants, the immortals have already been honored (Those who picked the honorees proved they have a malicious sense of humor by picking Barbra Streisand this year, and having her a few seats down from President George W. Bush, instead of waiting for a new administration.). In recent years, in honoring favorites of the baby boomers, the selectors have made some big blunders, including not picking the great - and probably greatest - American baritone, Robert Merrill.
Meanwhile, with five people being picked each year, here's a frightening thought: Madonna as a Kennedy Center honoree. It may come sooner than you fear.
So here's a suggestion: It's time for the Kennedy Center to come up with a program that can honor people they missed (like Merrill) and people who died before the honors began in 1978, and combine it with a scholarship for promising students in the field of the posthumous honoree.
The Kennedy Center set a precedent this year with its Mark Twain Award for comedy, when George Carlin was honored posthumously (The award had been announced just before his death.). The center can go back...and forward.
A brief tip of the football helmet to the Miami Dolphins, who came back from the depths to have a fine season this year.
With all the attention going around, here's another tip of the helmet to Head Coach Tony Sparano, who doesn't seem to get enough credit for the team's success. He certainly deserves it.
Finally: Reason 498 the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a horrible piece of legislation: The demise of Love 94.
WLVE 93.9 in Miami is owned by that bastion of democracy known as Clear Channel. Before the station started its endless repeats of five Christmas carols in early November, it was a jazz station - not perfect, but at least a solid sponsor for jazz programs in the community.
But after the holiday ended, 93.9 came back as a junk station - otherwise known as a dance music station, which we all know South Florida doesn't have enough of.
Supposedly, Love 94 is headed to something called "HD 2," which isn't available for most radio listeners, particularly those who can't afford it. So, it's effectively dead to most of us.
Wish the Telecommunications Act was, too.