AT&T released a statement Monday morning that it had fired an employee who had mistakenly issued rapper Pitbull a 786-area code number at one of its Miami stores.

The incident went viral after a customer tweeted a video of a perplexed and angry Pitbull, who bills himself as “Mr. 305,” rejecting the offensive area code. “What is 786? Is that New York? I’m Mr. 305!” shouted a frustrated Pitbull at the 22-year-old store clerk. 

Tensions escalated after the clerk suggested the singer change his moniker to “Mr. 786”, a proposition that not only angered the superstar singer, but also Geraldo Arroyo, a local businessman who uses the title to promote his Kendall-based used electronics and furniture rental business. “The ordeal has been very upsetting,” said Mr. Arroyo before offering to rent us a Blu-Ray player for only $8.99 a month.

At one point during the video Pitbull approaches the store clerk for what appeared to be the initiation of a well-deserved beat down, but in a stunning display of forbearance, the gracious singer simply sternly requests to speak to his manager. The video concludes with the singer pacing around the store shaking his head in disbelief for several minutes as he waited for the store’s shift supervisor to return from her meal-break at the Jamba Juice next door.

In its statement, AT&T reports that it has issued Pitbull a 305 area code, and confirms that it had fired the employee and would be using the incident as a “teaching moment” for store managers. The Plantain reached out to Daniel Tellerman, the AT&T employee who lost his job because, who says he holds no hard feelings toward Pitbull and reports that he has taken a new job at a sports-ticketing agency. “I’m really excited for what the future holds,” said Mr. Tellerman. “Dale!”

Update: The Plantain has learned that Mr. Tellerman has been fired from his job for offering to sell Daddy Yankee New York Mets season tickets. “I’m Daddy Yankee!” said the die-hard Orioles fan in a statement to the Plantain.

By Manuel Del Fango IV

Citing fears of mass-contamination from the Coronavirus, the Ultra Music Festival has been canceled.

The Plantain spoke to several elderly homeowner’s association members who, while nervous about a global pandemic, were happy the noise and traffic typical of Ultra weekend would be avoided. “It’s a shame this thing didn’t catch on a few months ago, we could have avoided Basel traffic as well,” said Ari Fautbreath of Sunny Isle before apologizing and admitting he is very scared.

But not everyone is happy about Ultra’s cancellation. “Tsk tsk tsk tsk era era voooooooooom, robot noise,” went a track “written” about the cancellation by DJ HotStuffRiot AKA Derek Walters, from his parents’ Aventura home. Mr. Walters was supposed to make his major festival debut at Ultra but will now be doing nothing that weekend because he has no other plans or girlfriend or friends because he has put all his time into his fledgling music career and everyone he knows is just sick of hearing about it.

“Vava va va, robot noise, electronic static, BROOOOOM,” he played before stopping to tell us how electronic dance music “literally saved his life” and how important Ultra is to the community of drug users and tank-top wearing frat boys who attend every year.

Guest post by Vermont Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.

Sure, during the Cuban revolution, the Castro regime systematically violated the rights of its citizens. They murdered dissenters, stole private property, and wrought so much hell on Cuba that to this day the island still suffers. But it wasn’t all bad! Here are my personal 5 favorite good things about the Cuban Revolution!

1) Literacy. When Castro came into power he implemented a literacy program. Learning to read is a good thing if you ask me, and being literate certainly came in handy when the people of Cuba received written notice from the government that their property was being seized and their relatives were arrested and executed by the secret police.

2) A low obesity rate. We have a real problem with obesity in this country and we could learn a thing or two from post-revolutionary Cuba, whose people have a very low body weight as a result of widespread poverty and mandatory food rationing.

3) Cool cars. I don’t know about you, but when I walk around Burlington I see a lot of Toyotas and a lot of Teslas, but not a lot of 1952 Studebakers. But when I visit Havana I see lots of great classic cars that frankly do a great job of distracting visitors from the subgrade infrastructure Cuba has maintained over the last 60 years.

4) Hats and beards. Say what you want about Castro, but in my opinion, he was a pretty, pretty, pretty…handsome guy and I don’t think he gets enough credit for originating a look that lots of authoritarian apologists try to emulate. So, I guess while I’m saying I would condemn his authoritarian tendencies, I wouldn’t necessarily kick him out of bed even though Cuba’s communist government still believes LGBT behavior is subversive.

5) No media saturation. All-day long I see young people twittering and googling this and that, a problem they don’t have in Cuba where people are more likely to engage in a conversation offline because they don’t have access to a free internet. Now, just imagine how happy you would be if you didn’t have the countless voices of the internet in your pocket and instead just had a steady stream of state-run propaganda telling you things are great even though your lying eyes don’t agree, traitor.

Drivers rejoice! The Florida legislature has suspended tolls on the 826 leaving drivers with a few extra bucks in their pockets while they sit in traffic questioning why they decided to move to Doral in the first place.

“There are so many places in the world to live, why would I choose here? said 40-year-old Arturo Diaz who spends an hour each morning on the 826 driving behind an overheated car driven by a street rooster to his Wynwood office. “Fuck it, bro — 305 til I die,” said Mr. Diaz who has a 786 area code.

The Plantain asked freshman University of Miami psychology student Vanessa Broder why people like Mr. Diaz are willing to move to areas that require they spend so much of their lives in Miami traffic to the detriment of their overall mental health. “Um, it’s like a lot of factors probably — maybe their parents live close by or maybe it’s more affordable or maybe they just made a bad decision and don’t want to admit it so they yell out “305 til I die, bro” as a way of drowning out the persistent thought that they could probably have a better standard of living if they moved.”

I thanked Ms. Broder for her impressive level of insight, which was frankly at odds with the party-goer mentality of most University of Miami freshmen. The 19-year-old thanked me for the compliment but said that UM’s reputation as a party school was overstated and that she takes her studies very seriously and also if I knew where she could score some coke because her connect was stuck in traffic coming from Doral.

Breaking news out of Cuba: Fidel Castro is still dead. 

Despite conflicting reports, the A.P. confirms that maximum leader Fidel Castro is still dead, although he is feeling better and better each day. The news, which is still developing, has been confirmed by several independent sources who report that they have spoken to Fidel Castro since his death and can confirm that he is, in fact, still dead. 

The Plantain has not been able to reach Castro for a statement on his death on account of his death. More as this story develops. 

Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation this morning to consider relocating Florida’s capital from Tallahassee to President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in West Palm Beach. The move is being hailed by Republican lawmakers as an innovative new revenue stream for Trump to exploit and has even found support among Democrats who would very much never like to go to Tallahassee again.

“While I strongly oppose giving more tax dollars to Trump’s resort, it would be nice not to spend so much time in Tallahassee which is really just about the worst place in the world,” said Democratic Senator Annette Taddeo, adding “You can’t get a decent meal in that entire place and everything closes at 6:00 PM.”

But not everyone is happy about relocating the capital. John McKintlock, the lone TSA agent at Tallahassee International Airport who said he will miss all of the lawmaker and lobbyist friends who he sees fly into the airport. The Plantain spoke to Matt D’Amore, a big sugar lobbyist who has seen John at least twice a week over the last 10 years about not being able to see his friend at the TIA anymore.

“Who? I’m just happy I don’t have to fly up to that shithole again. Mar-A-Lago has a great golf course,” he answered.

As you know, for nearly 35 years the Plantain has worked very hard to bring you honest, up-to-date news about life in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, and Duluth. We used to also serve the community of Vero Beach but stopped in 2008 after an incident that I think needs no further explanation or commentary. It is with this long history in mind and with great sadness in my heart that I inform you that the Plantain’s annual coverage of the South Beach Food and Wine Festival has been canceled because it now costs $60 to park on the Beach and $125 to eat some watery ceviche from a plastic cup while Guy Fieri stands around awkwardly waiting to be recognized.

And it’s not that we at the Plantain don’t like to spend money on things that are fun. I recently bought some insulin and am very much considering paying rent eventually. But for the promoters to hawk some undercooked fancy-ass burgers with truffle bullshit on it for $250 when I can literally buy the most delicious cheeseburger in the world for like $6 at 5 Guys is unconscionable. Plus, at 5 Guys I rarely have to witness Guy Fieri, a man who looks like what would result if Fred Durst and a Mango had a baby that went to college at a Jimmy Buffet concert, whisper fight with his wife in a corner while fans wait for autographs. “Don’t do this right now!” he sternly shouts before wrapping his arm around an old man who thinks he is Smash Mouth.

The Plantain reached out to the Festivals promoters and asked them for complimentary tickets and a parking pass, but was told that the Plantain was not welcome because we are “fake news.” While that is technically true, it is still very hurtful.

So in conclusion and in summation, the Plantain will not be able to report on the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, or the staggering amount of times Guy Fieri awkwardly throws his hands behind his back in an attempt to catch the Oakleys he has on backward from falling to the sand.  

Suck it, haters! The Plantain has been ACQUIRED by mother-fuckin McClatchy and will be joining the Miami Herald family!

When we started the Plantain in 2016 we had the goal of making lots of money by providing Miamians with daily reminders that Joe Carollo beat his wife in front of his daughter. We were unsure whether that was a sustainable business model and for a while were worried we would never turn a profit. We never did turn a profit, but that doesn’t matter now because WE HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED!

On March 1st The Plantain will be turned over to McClatchy and I will be getting $3,000,000 in highly valuable McClatchy stock! How do you like them apples, The New Tropic?

So long suckers!

Milo

UPDATE: I’ve just been informed that McClatchy has filed for bankruptcy and that I will remain poor for the time being. Sorry for telling all of you haters to suck it and my sincere apologies to my friends at The New Tropic.

The Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) announced today that it has plans to create a bumpered “texting lane” along the Dolphin Expressway.

“This is a necessary step we must take as a community to ensure public safety,” said MDX spokeswoman Anne Hinga, noting that educational campaigns about the dangers of texting while driving has failed to curb the ubiquitous behavior.

“Our roads are filled with millennials raised in front of a cellphone screen. We cannot realistically expect these young drivers not to text and drive,” said Ms. Hinga. “The bumpered texting lane is our attempt to mitigate the dangers of texting while driving and is a plan that we believe will save thousands of lives.”

MDX says it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a national road consultant to draft plans for installing bumpers along each side of the middle lane of the Dolphin, an improvement expected to cost the County upwards of $75 million dollars. The Authority says it has already started to assess the viability of installing additional texting lanes on other County thoroughfares.

Sixteen-year-old Gulliver student Kelsey Gutierrez said she supported the new lane, admitting that she has already been in eight minor traffic accidents caused by phone-related inattentiveness since receiving her S-Class Mercedes at her Sweet-Sixteen party last February. The young driver noted, however, that “only old people text” and questioned whether the lanes could also be used for drivers “sending snaps” or “Instagramming cute traffic pics.” She also noted that she was “not a Millennial”, who are at this point pushing 40.

The Plantain reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department to ask whether the texting lanes would also be available to drivers who were making Snapchat videos, Instagramming, or watching Youtube. A local law enforcement officer who asked to remain anonymous advised the Plantain that highway officers will have quite a lot of discretion about who can or cannot use the new lanes and noted that individual decisions will likely come down to officer’s mood and the driver’s race.

A new report finds that roughly 11 1/3 out of every 21 Cubans identify as White. The result comes from a Pew Research report released Friday that compared White identifying voters with their Country of origin. It found that 54% of Cubans living in Miami-Dade think they are White. Researchers believe this explains why Cuban voters were about twice as likely as non-Cuban Latinos to vote for Donald Trump

The Plantain hit the streets to ask local Cuban-Americans who are definitely either Hispanic or Latino but for sure non-White whether or not they think they are White. The results were mildly shocking.

We spoke with 72-year-old Fulgencio Suarez, a Cuban refugee that escaped in the early sixties who says he cast his ballot for Donald Trump. “I see in Donald Trump a white man just like myself,” said Mr. Suarez as he wildly gesticulated with an unlit Cigar in his hand, pausing only to harass a woman walking by who was 50-years his junior. “Oy! Si cocinas como caminas, me como hasta la raspita.”

When confronted with the fact that he is, in fact, a Latino immigrant, Mr. Suarez agreed: “Yes, I am a Latino immigrant, of course, I am from Cuba.”

“But you identify as White?”

“Yes. Of Course! We assimilated into this country as melting pot,” he said, causing this reporter—himself an assimilated Cuban-American to wonder whether assimilation means becoming white and, if it does, whether cultural assimilation is a mere euphemism for the annihilation of cultural traditions by a domineering and repressive majority.

We wondered, so we asked Ricardo Trujillo a White identifying Cuban immigrant who came to the United States on the Mariel Boatlift when he was 19 and now owns several Hialeah luggage stores whether he was proud of his Cuban heritage.

“I am very proud to be a Cuban-American,” said Mr. Trujillo. “I am the American dream. When I came to this country I had nothing, now I have my own business. Just like El Donald. If you work hard in this country you can accomplish anything.”

When asked whether identifying as white helped him achieve success, Mr. Truijillo was adamant that his being white had absolutely nothing to do with his success — an admittedly very white thing to say. We reminded him that his whiteness could not have been an actual contributing factor to his success because he is empirically “not White”, but he seemed confused by the logic and then offered to sell us a rollerbag for $7.99, which we agreed to purchase because that is an undeniably good deal.

Still puzzled, we reached out Arturo Jimenez, a Cuban-American professor and poet at the University of Miami who also identifies as White.

“All of these labels: White, Black, Oriental. We are all of one race: The human race. We should not continue to divide ourselves by race.”

“Then why do you identify as White?” we asked. “Would you say that your experience is one of a White man?”

Professor Jimenez sat in silence for a moment and chuckled: “Well yes, while I am in Miami I experience all of the privileges and none of the bigotry that comes from my heritage. So, in Miami, I guess I am White.”

When asked what ethnicity he would identify as outside of Miami, he said “obviously Hispanic, non-white Latino”, adding that outside of Miami all Hispanics and Latinos are assumed to be Mexicans, which he said “is great if you’re from Puerto Rico but a racist insult if you’re a Cuban.”

“But if that’s the case,” we asked, “why would so many Cubans support Donald Trump when his policies are decidedly anti-Mexican?” to which the Professor said “because Cubans aren’t Mexicans and we don’t support Communist Democrats like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” adding that “the choice is easy.”  

By Peter Mir of Villain Theater