Archive for January, 2006

Peru Endorses Miami as FTAA HQ


Last week I went on a trade mission to Lima, Peru. Our Governor, Jeb Bush led the mission, with the purpose being to receive Peru’s endorsement of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and also to support Miami as the headquarters of the entire 33 country trading region stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. The Miami Herald has a detailed story. The Governor is a true international statesman and provides great leadership in US – Latin American affairs, since Washington’s attention is elsewhere these days. It is Miami, more than any other city that creates and benefits from policy in the region. Securing the FTAA leadership would make Miami to the Americas as Brussels is to Europe. It will also provide about 100,000 new jobs here.

I imagine that some of the Miami Metroblog audience thinks trade is bad, that it only benefits greedy multinational corporations. Actually it helps create millions of jobs in many small and medium size companies (as well as large ones) especially in Miami.

Above is a picture of Governor Bush and President Toledo taken outside the Presidential Palace in Lima, after the joint announcement last Thursday.

Sunset on The Western Edge of The Miami Empire


Taken this evening in Lima,Peru, overlooking the Pacific. I’m here on a mission promoting trade for our City.

Miami As A Center of Free Trade

Miami is the Gateway of the Americas. All Latin countries have trade missions here, Latin banks have US headquarters along Brickell and elsewhere, millions of tons of cargo move to and from the Port of Miami and along the Miami River. I moved here from New York because the company that I am starting ( link later upon launch ) has a lot to do with Latin trade. I know that there are some of you out there who may have objections to international commerce. Here’s a lottle self-promotion : I have started a blog ( slowly at first, but now to be daily ) , that will discuss many subjects,especially the positve aspects of free trade. Please take a look from time to time.

I’m sorry, I take it back

I thought Miami drivers were out of control, but I just got back from Taiwan, and Miami drivers have nothing on these guys. My cab driver, prevented from turning left, went through the intersection and immediately did a U-turn, stopping the oncoming progress of three lanes of traffic. Incredibly, nobody honked. That’s the thing – people drive with no respect for the law, but they’re extremely polite.

The motor scooters were the worst. I saw a scooter drive against the direction of traffic, in the spaces between the cars. I saw a family of four on another scooter: dad driving, mom hanging on dad, junior hanging on to mom, and littler sister standing between dad and the steering column, facing backwards, hugging his waist. Of course, no one was wearing a helmet.

So I take it back – Miamians are not the worst drivers on the roads of the earth. They’re the loudest. Maybe the dumbest. But not the worst.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Stuff.

Yesterday, I was at a chain bookstore with my kid. The store has a wooden train playset for kids to use. Children will typically rush to the table and try to comandeer a train for themselves. Frequently, they have to negotiate with other children who were there previously. Parents tend to stand close by, while keeping themselves at a remove, to better give thier kids an opportunity to solve the property and territory disputes themselves. There were two kids yesterday who were not playing with the trainset, though they were standing right next to it. While my kid played trains with another, these two were being looked after by a nanny (in uniform), who was handing them various trains from the shelf, asking them which one they wanted (to buy). Their mom was dashing around the store finding books that she needed.

As a mom, I am sympathetic to the mom with the nanny. There’s no way I could get any book-shopping for myself done with kid-in-tow, let alone two. But the nanny was not doing the kids (society?) any service. Instead of developing their social skills, the kids in her care were developing consumer skills.

I suppose it’s the sad mall-ification of life.

Miami Sunset

While driving out to the Key Biscayne docks to pick up some ultra-fresh swordfish late this afternoon, I snapped this shot at 70 mph. Its been in the low 80s every day for almost 2 weeks, but now we are about to get a cold snap, with highs only in the 60s.

An FCC – Free Lifestyle

About one year ago I said goodbye to Bell South and MCI , signing up for Lingo. – My landline bills dropped from $100 to $19 a month. More than $25 of the old charges were FCC mandated fees and taxes !

On Christmas morning I activated my new Sirius receiver and said goodbye to FCC censored/Top40 controlled radio. Sirius makes those long Miami car rides quite enjoyable.

Now the only FCC extortion I still have to deal with is the 20 % tax on my cell bill – I can’t wait for WiMax phones to be invented!

Thanks, guy!

Last month, on the 24th, I was out at a nearby mall with my mom. We dipped into a chain clothing store for women to browse. The style of the clothes in the store is pretty much American traditional–not too stuffy but definitely not hip. As we were snacking on a sample of cashmere, a tall guy with longish frosted hair and some kind of a tan (real sun or lotion, I couldn’t tell, but he definitely started out paler) came over to us.

What’s the word for using mechanical and chemical means to make jeans have some type of non-new jean surface? I’m sure there’s a word the fashion industry has been using lately, but I can’t recall what it is . . . . whatever that word is, it was done to his jeans. He was also wearing an open, untucked button down shirt and some soft loafers or moccassins, I can’t be sure.

Anyway, he looked at me and said “Hey”. He offered me some papers in his hand and said “Do you want this store credit?”. I gave him a confused look. In a tired way, he said “It’s okay, you can have it. I’m never coming back here. Ever”. So I took the reciept and card in his hand and said thanks. After glancing at it for less than half a second, I said “thanks a lot!”.

He finished a transaction at the register as my mom and I continued to wander around the store. I was weirdly stunned, they way you can be when a total stranger gives you something for no reason you yourself can figure out. I mean, sure, altruism is a possibility, but this is Miami! Altruistic people in Miami are like manatees in canals; maniacs in speedboats abuse the manatees’ gentle nature and leave nasty prop tracks on their backs.

Besides, there was something about the way he said “Ever”. I don’t know if he was fed up with the store, with himsef, with the person for whom he had originally purchased the things he returned or if he had to catch a plane to somewhere else. Whatever his motivation, I want to say “Thanks, guy, for the $107 store credit!”.

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