By John Dorschner

Miami Web News

While most Dixie highways in Miami-Dade are still in the midst of a struggle to be rebranded, a stretch of 3.5 miles in North Dade has officially been renamed Harriet Tubman Highway for more than a year — and almost no one knows it.

The reason: The signs from NE 163rd to NE 215th streets still read West Dixie. No mention of Tubman, the revered conductor of the Underground Railroad.

To make it more complex, West Dixie has already been named for others. In North Miami, just north of 125th, it’s the Phares Duverne…


By John Dorschner

Almost 40 years after Arthur McDuffie was killed by Miami-Dade police after leading them on a wild chase, a disturbingly similar case has popped again, this time in suburban Hialeah.

The latest case involves a 10-minute late-night chase that stopped when Lester Machado crashed. Even though his car was smashed and airbags deployed, cops put more than 100 rounds into the car. Veteran police chiefs understand what happens in this kind of situation: The cops get worked up, enraged, and they take it out on the source of their anger.

In this case, one of the Hialeah…


By John Dorschner

How does a cop get convicted for killing a Black man? It certainly doesn’t happen very much, and so when it did in New York City, Independent Lens produced a public television documentary about it. It’s entitled Down a Dark Stairwell, and I believe it missed the main issue entirely.

It’s a crucial issue — one that’s also at the core of the two current police cases in Minnesota: Officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, and Officer Kim Potter, charged with shooting Daunte Wright with what she thought was her Taser.

The facts about the…


By John Dorschner

The battle over new nukes is heating up in Washington. As Biden’s Defense Department continues to pursue what Trump’s started, some in Congress are pushing back.

A bill has been filed to spend the money on fighting the pandemic, not new missiles. “The Investing in Cures Before Missiles Act,” is led by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.

They want to stop the government from spending tens of billions to develop new missiles — a program oddly named Ground Based Strategic Deterrent — which are intended to replace the half-century-old Minutemen III buried in…


Celebrated Miami Attorney Gerald Kogan Dies at 87

Gerald Kogan, a renowned Miami attorney-judge who defended one of the McDuffie cops in the momentous 1980 trial, died Thursday. He was 87.

Early in his career, he was chief of major crimes as a prosecutor for Miami-Dade State Attorney Richard Gerstein. He went on to become a Miami-Dade circuit court judge and eventually rose to chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. In his later years, he was celebrated for his work against the death penalty.

In the McDuffie trial, Kogan defended Ubaldo “Eddie” Del Toro, a Miami-Dade cop who was…


First military test for Biden: Spend $1.5 trillion to replace nukes?

By John Dorschner

Looking ahead: A crucial early military test for the Biden Administration will be deciding whether to fund a new generation of nuclear missile decades after the Cold War ended.

A bunch of progressive and anti-war groups urge dropping the effort, first financed during the Trump administration.

The issue is one of the “Pentagon’s largest, most expensive, and controversial modernization efforts,” according to Breakingdefense.com, an industry news website,

Altogether, modernizing the “nuclear triad” — missiles delivered by land, air and sea — will cost $1.5 trillion —…


The Search for “Ethical War”

By John Dorschner

One of the most bizarre approaches to modern warfare — and perhaps the most revealing — comes in a recent New Yorker story Clean Hands, by Anand Gopal.

Raqqa after the bombing

The issue is the search for ethical war, as odd as that idea might sound to some of us.

Gopal’s lead example: The American-led bombing of Raqqa, Syria, in 2017, which killed thousands while “not a single American died.”

The usual question is how many of those thousands were civilians. The answer, of course: A lot. …


By John Dorschner

In this highly polarized America, a fascinating trend is emerging: A growing dissatisfaction with the country forever flexing its military might around the world.

That’s particularly true among the young. A recent survey found that more than half of 18- to 29-year-olds believe the United States “is not an exceptional nation” — compared to one in four over the age of 60.

“That’s a big wow,” says Trevor Thrall of the Cato Institute.

These youths have come of age not only after World War II and the Cold War, but also after the 9/11 catastrophe that sparked…


Tampa Bay Rays: Most wins for fewest bucks

By John Dorschner

The smartest team in baseball is the Tampa Bay Rays — once again.

In all three years I’ve measured this, the Rays have every time did the best in seeing how little money it takes to produce each win.

Their 2020 payroll of $28.3 million produced 40 wins — meaning each win cost them $707,500.

Once again, the worst performing team was the Red Sox — $83.7 million in payroll got them 24 wins. That’s $3.45 million for each win.

The other super big-spenders: Yankees at $3.3 million, Mets…


By John Dorschner

The astonishing story of the Miami Jackson High chess team has become a movie, Critical Thinking, with John Leguizamo directing and starring as coach Mario Martinez, whose passion drove a bunch of lower-income Black and Hispanic kids to a national tournament.

It’s available on Fandango Now or Amazon Prime streaming for $6.99. The movie “has a sweetness that softens its flaws,” says the NY Times. Rotten Tomatoes reports 91 percent positive from critics.

I did a big take-out on this team for Tropic magazine of The Miami Herald in 1997 — a year before the setting of…

John Dorschner

A Miami journalist for a half-century dedicated to peace, equality and environmental protection. Author of Verdict on Trial, available on Amazon.

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