Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Alabama Governor: Child molester better than a Democrat



From the Friendly Atheist:

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey accidentally gave away the Religious right’s secret yesterday when she was answering questions about fellow Republican Roy Moore.

She said of his accusers, “I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them.” She added: “There’s never an excuse for or rationale for sexual misconduct or sexual abuse.”

Then, when asked if she was voting for Moore, she made a shocking revelation:

“I’m going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I’ll vote for,” Ivey said. “I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions. So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.”

By her own admission, then, she would rather have a Republican child molester representing her state in the Senate than an intelligent, squeaky-clean Democrat.

Usually, conservatives don’t admit that. They’ll waffle over believing the accusers. They’ll say something like, “The Roy Moore I know would never do such a thing.” They won’t answer the question about who they’re voting for, hoping that people will eventually just stop asking them...

To Kay Ivey, even a child molester with an “R” after his name is worth voting for as long as it stops a reasonable Democrat from taking the seat...

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Supervisor Ronen should be recused on Hairball appeal

The area of Highway 101 near Cesar Chavez Street and Potrero Avenue, with its many many on- and off-ramps, is known to Mission and Dogpatch residents as the “Hairball.” Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle
Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle

FROM:
Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law for 
Coalition for Adequate Review

TO:
Angela Calvillo, Clerk, and 
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Room 244 City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

DATE: November 17, 2017

RE: BOS File No. 171147

REQUEST FOR RECUSAL OF SUPERVISOR HILLARY RONEN FROM PARTICIPATION IN APPEAL OF CEQA DETERMINATION AND DISPOSITION ON "HAIRBALL INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT"

Appellant objects to any participation by Supervisor Hillary Ronen in the above-described CEQA appeal to the Board of Supervisors due to her predisposition to deny this appeal and her personal interest in, and promotion of, the Hairball Project.

Ms. Ronen has publicly stated that both she and her husband have a personal interest in the "Hairball" Project. For example, Ms. Ronen has stated that her husband "regularly bikes across the Hairball on his way to work in the public defender's office." (See Rachel Swan, "S.F. Supervisor pushes to untangle freeway Hairball," San Francisco Chronicle, 8/4/17).  Contrary to the public interest, Ronen states that she "has refused to let cost projections get in the way of her vision. 'I don't want us to be limited by finances,' she said. 'I want to think big.'" (Id.) 

In pushing for her "vision," Ronen has also stated that she "drives past the Hairball every day while taking her daughter to school." (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, "New plan to ban encampments at 'Hairball' emerges as homeless and cyclists clash," San Francisco Examiner, 10/1/17). Ms. Ronen further announced her self-serving motivation to evict homeless people who may be camping near areas where she, her husband, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition wish to install new bicycle "improvements" as part of the Hairball Project, stating: "'We're going to do everything we can to block off and make it impossible to camp in the Hairball.'" (Id.) 

CEQA requires that this Board determine any CEQA appeal objectively. Ms. Ronen has already publicly stated that she is committed to approving the Project. Such predisposition violates CEQA's requirement of objective decisionmaking by public agencies. (See, e.g., Citizens for Ceres v. Superior Court (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 889, 917-919 [agency must objectively conduct environmental review before approving a project]; Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood (2008) 45 Cal. 4th 116, 132-134 [CEQA prohibits agency's commitment to a project before environmental review has been completed]; Laurel Heights Improvement Assn. v. Regents of University of California (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376, 394).

Ms. Ronen should therefore recuse herself from participating in this Appeal and any other determination on the "Hairball" Project.

Mary Miles

Rob's comment:
No mention of the homeless in the MTA's post on the proposed Hairball "improvements."

See also Hillary Ronen and Jason Henderson: Big Thinkers.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017



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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Our "decision-makers" gentrify San Francisco

Noah Berger, The Chronicle

John King throws a bouquet to the horrific Salesforce tower in downtown San Francisco:

For anyone who wonders how an edifice of such height rose in a notoriously height-wary city, there’s a simple answer. Decision-makers got their wish. “We’re doing what every international city is doing,” Dean Macris, the city’s planning director from 2004 until 2007, said last month. “We’re rethinking density"...

“The uglification of San Francisco continues apace,” read one letter to The Chronicle after images of the three contenders were made public. Another complained: “The San Francisco skyline has already been ruined once by Manhattanization. Why do it again, only worse this time?”

John King, who writes about planning issues for the Chronicle, has long favored highrise development downtown, and he also inexplicably has been infatuated with Octavia Blvd., a planning/traffic fiasco created after the city voted to take down the Central Freeway overpass in the Hayes Valley neighborhood.

But, alas, King's highrise dreams are now coming true for San Francisco. I laughed out loud when he gave credit to Chris Daly, the boorish ultra-left former city supervisor:

But the mood among a younger generation was different. For them, the measurement of a tower is the advantages it might bring. There’s no better example than Chris Daly, a former tenant activist who represented South of Market on the Board of Supervisors from 2001 to 2011. He also served on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority when it voted to embark on the design-development competition.

“My views on height were a different take than the older progressive approach,” Daly, now a union organizer in Nevada, said this month. “For me, it was never about whether or not there was a tower — I’m not a planner. The question was, how do you make sure that when you increase density there are benefits for the community that I represent?”

Oh, yes, giants strode the streets of the city in days of yore! 

Daly---and his "progressive" comrades on the board of supervisors, including Aaron Peskin---paved the way for the present highrise boom in the city by endorsing the Rincon Hill project.

Still waiting to learn about the "benefits" those highrise condos for the rich provided to, say, people in the Tenderloin. 

And "I'm not a planner" is a weasel-worded cop-out, as if the decision to allow that project was a technical issue, not a political decision about what kind of city was being created. See Rincon Hill revisited.

See also Chris Daly and the progressive agenda and Chris Daly: A retrospective.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Memorial Stadium: A "misbegotten boondoggle"

Construction crews were putting the finishing touches on the seismic retrofitting and renova
tion of UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium in 2012. The stadium today carries a $314 million debt. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Becky O'Malley
November 09, 2017

It’s either the good news or the bad news that if you’ve been around as long as I have you get to say “I told you so” more and more often.

The good news is that it’s satisfying to find out that you’ve been right all along.

The bad news is how long it takes for being right to make a difference in what happens—and sometimes it turns out to be never. 

The first time I remember being right as an almost-adult was in May of 1960, when I joined a bunch of my fellow Cal students and others to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee. Yes, granddaughters, there was such a thing, and they witch-hunted a whole lot of patriotic Americans, including family members of some of my friends, for being some flavor of leftist. Even then critics of the committee were multiplying, but the final nail wasn’t put in its coffin for 15 years. 

I was prematurely right again in 1964 in Ann Arbor, when we started organizing against a war which was underway in Vietnam, a place no one had even heard of, and it was more than a decade before public opinion and ultimately Richard Nixon got the word. 

Lots more happened in between of more or less importance. Recently there’s been an “I told you so” moment which is of lesser importance but even greater annoyance. 

It turns out (who knew?) that the hugely expensive transmogrification of the football stadium at Cal (oh, excuse me, U. C. Berkeley) is a giant bust. For the gory details, read Nanette Asimov’s coverage in the Chronicle.

Money quote: 

“The deal commits a vast amount of UC Berkeley’s future academic revenue to a nonacademic purpose: stadium debt...Cal unveiled its rebuilt and earthquake-retrofitted Memorial Stadium and brand-new Simpson Training Center in September 2012. Total debt on the complex is $438 million — a figure the athletics department doesn’t expect to pay off for more than a century.” 

And why would that be? Well, in the first place, it seems that no one really cares that much about football any more...Or at least the fancy-schmancy premium seats are not selling. 

But even more than that, if you choose to make at least an attempt to retrofit an old edifice smack-dab on top of an active fault, it costs a whole lot, and even then the results are considered dicey by many. 

We told you and we told you and we told you that the project was a very bad idea. 

A google search on the words “Memorial Stadium” in the Berkeley Daily Planet archives from about 2007 and on yields more than 1600 hits, of which at least half, from stories by Planet reporters Richard Brenneman and Riya Bhattacharjee and many op-ed writers, document the community opposition to this no good, very bad, misbegotten boondoggle...

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

What real American leadership looks like


From Daily Kos:

Donald Trump went to China and became the first U.S. president in 25 years to accept the Chinese demand not to take questions from reporters. He also praised China for exactly the trade and economic practices he campaigned against back in the U.S. In general, he made himself look like a quivering toady. 

By contrast, in 1995, over the objections of some at the National Security Agency and the State Department, and facing concerns that her presence would legitimize China’s human rights abuses, Hillary Clinton went to China to speak at the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women and said this:

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely---and the right to be heard.

Women must enjoy the rights to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure. It is indefensible that many women in nongovernmental organizations who wished to participate in this conference have not been able to attend---or have been prohibited from fully taking part.

Let me be clear. Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly. It means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions...

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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Watershed moment on sexual harassment? Maybe


From Vice:

Today, the New York Times unveiled another investigative story—a little more than a month since its bombshell report on Harvey Weinstein—outlining accusations of sexual misconduct from five women against comedian Louis C.K. Two of the accusers, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, told the Times that the comedian took off all his clothes and masturbated in front of them.

“We were paralyzed,” Goodman recalled. Afterward, “He was like, ‘Which one is Dana and which one is Julia?’”

In the last few weeks, the sheer number of sexual harassment and assault allegations in Hollywood and beyond has been dizzying. Earlier this week, two women posted on social media that they’d been sexually assaulted by former Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick in 2014. A Washington, DC-based woman came forward to share her experience of Entourage star Jeremy Piven allegedly rubbing his genitals on her and ejaculating “all over my white turtleneck.” (She’s the third woman to claim being assaulted by Piven.) A former Boston TV news anchor yesterday accused Kevin Spacey of groping her 18-year-old son in 2016. (At least 14 people have alleged the actor behaved inappropriately toward them.) 

Also yesterday, actress Portia de Rossi tweeted her own #metoo story of sexual harassment, alleging that during her last audition for a Steven Segal movie, the actor “sat me down and unzipped his leather pants. I ran out and called my agent. Unfazed, she replied, ‘well, I didn’t know if he was your type.’”

The outpouring of survivor stories and allegations goes well beyond these high-profile accounts. According to RAINN, the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, victims of sexual assault and harassment have been reaching out in record numbers. More than 19,000 people—an increase of 21 percent—contacted RAINN for support in October...(Is This Our Watershed Moment?)

Rob's comment:
I guess for an old man I'm naive. This sort of thing---and how apparently widespread it is---shocks me. Before I posted this, I didn't have a label that fit the topic. I thought about just using "Sex," but much of this behavior is really about power, not only sex. Powerful men did this sort of thing because they could get away with it---until now, that is.

When I was a young man before the Civil Rights era, other white men would say shockingly racist things to me on the apparent assumption that, as a white man, I would naturally agree. When I got a little older and during the Civil Rights movement, this stopped happening. Of course living in liberal San Francisco and Northern California made such encounters less likely. Growing a beard was probably also a deterrent.

When I was in prison in the Sixties for refusing to report for military service, creepy sexual conversation by some inmates was routine. I figured that it was not unexpected coming from those guys, since they were by definition a criminal demographic.

I was wrong about minimizing that, just like a lot of us were wrong that having a black president showed that racism in the US was becoming a thing of the past. Millions of our fellow Americans voted for a racist candidate, not to mention one that also bragged about assaulting women!

What bothers many Donald Trump supporters about "political correctness" is that they can no longer count on getting away with talking like that, including calling black people "niggers" and gays "queers."

The only consolation we liberals have: Hillary got almost three million more votes than Trump. Only our archaic electoral college system allowed that creep to become president.

But, dudes, we still have along way to go.

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Let's get serious about traffic safety

Collision at dore and brannan by r27d

My comment:

Instead of just visiting accident sites and invoking Vision Zero---which is just a slogan, not a safety policy---the city should do an in-depth study of every injury accident on city streets to determine why they happened and what can be done to prevent them in the future.

And then publish that information to inform the people of San Francisco about what's really happening on the streets of their city.

The city surely has enough manpower to do this, since the Public Health Dept. has 7,769 employees, and the MTA has 6,263 employees.

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Even Fox News hammers Repug tax plan

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Obamacare enrollment

Brainwrap_ACA.jpg
acasignups.net

Thanks to Daily Kos.


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Monday, November 06, 2017

The New Yorker

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The leaning tower of San Francisco

Aaron Peskin was on 60 Minutes last night (beginning at 14:16). From the transcript of the program (The Leaning Tower of San Francisco):

...When the Millennium hearings opened to public comment, it brought some livelier moments. This, after all, being San Francisco---a city once described as 49 square miles surrounded by reality. Aaron Peskin has a certain vitality himself. A long time city supervisor, he starts most days with a swim in the Bay then meets constituents at a North Beach coffee shop, where the Millennium Tower is a popular topic. Peskin is leading hearings into what is causing the trouble.

Jon Wertheim: You subpoenaed some of the engineers involved with Millennium Tower. Why?

Aaron Peskin: We don't generally like to subpoena people. That power has not been used by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for some quarter of a century.

Jon Wertheim: 25 years, you've never issued a subpoena before?

Aaron Peskin: That's correct.

Jon Wertheim: When you got them in here, what did you learn?

Aaron Peskin: Their answers were less than satisfactory. Nobody has owned up to why this building is not performing...

Aaron Peskin

...Courtroom circus aside, we asked Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor, simply: what's going on here?

Aaron Peskin: Everybody is afraid to tell the truth. Because if we get to the bottom of this, they are worried that it is going to, in some ways, slow down the building boom that is happening in San Francisco.

Jon Wertheim: Time is money in construction, and we don't want to stop this frenzy.

Aaron Peskin: Absolutely. Absolutely.

This drama has hardly had a chilling effect. Everywhere you look in downtown San Francisco, they're building another skyscraper. And the latest must-have amenity for all these new constructions: bedrock. In what might be the first act of building on building bullying, tech giant Salesforce stuck it to Millennium via Twitter.

Aaron Peskin: "Bedrock, baby."

Jon Wertheim: You think that was in reference to what's going on across the street?

Aaron Peskin: I don't think it was in reference. I know it was in reference 'cause I know the people who built that building...

[Larry]Karp told us he can see the tilt from the middle of Mission Street a few blocks away. We couldn't see it so we asked Jerry Cauthen if he could.

Jerry Cauthen: No, I don't. It's very hard to see. It's not enough of a tilt to see. This is not like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

And there it is: the inevitable comparison to that greatest engineering gaffe of them all. Not the landmark any present-day developer wants to be associated with. Millennium Partners declined our request for an on-camera interview but pointed out their tower was built to code. They blame their neighbors, specifically construction of the Transbay Terminal---San Francisco's answer to Grand Central Station---right next door. 

Transbay declined an on-camera interview too but told us Millennium had already sunk 10 inches before work began on their project. And right on cue, here come the lawyers. Lawyers for Millennium Partners, for the Transbay Terminal next door, for the tower's structural engineers, and geotechnical engineers, for the architect and the builder, for the homeowners association and for the city, and yes---even for Joe Montana. There are 20 parties to various Millennium Tower lawsuits and counting...

Rob's comment:
Obviously, as 60 Minutes points out and Peskin implies, the building is "not performing" because its foundation doesn't even come close to reaching bedrock, only post-1906 debris and sand.

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Surprise! Repug tax plan favors the rich

Click image for larger view

From the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy:


...Some of the provisions in the House bill that benefit the middle-class — like lower tax rates and fewer brackets, an increased standard deduction, and a $300 tax credit for each adult in a household — are designed to expire or become less generous over time. 

Some of the provisions that benefit the wealthy, such as the reduction and eventual repeal of the estate tax, become more generous over time. The result is that by 2027, the benefits of the House bill become increasingly generous for the richest one percent compared to other income groups...

Even when measured as a percentage of income, the richest one percent receive a larger average tax break in 2018 and 2027 than any other income group. As illustrated in the graph below[above], the richest one percent receive an average tax cut equal to about two and a half percent of their income in 2018 and 2027. The middle fifth of income-earners receive a break equal to 1.4 percent of their income in 2018, falling to just 0.6 percent of their income in 2027...

Thanks to Daily Kos.

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Sunday, November 05, 2017

Jim Morin


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Saturday, November 04, 2017



Impeach Trump

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Trump administration is literally toxic

Nancy Beck, chemical industry stooge

Donald Trump is not only politically toxic, he's now actually poisoning us.

From the NY Times:

For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems.

So scientists and administrators in the E.P.A.’s Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it.

The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the E.P.A.’s toxic chemical unit in May as a top deputy. For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.

The changes directed by Dr. Beck may result in an “underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment” caused by PFOA and other so-called legacy chemicals no longer sold on the market, the Office of Water’s top official warned in a confidential internal memo obtained by The New York Times...

Priceonomics


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Friday, November 03, 2017

Bill McKibben

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Directly contradicting much of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes, the report says. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” it says, and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The report was approved for release by the White House, but the findings come as the Trump administration is defending its climate change policies. The United Nations convenes its annual climate change conference next week in Bonn, Germany, and the American delegation is expected to face harsh criticism over President Trump’s decision to walk away from the 195-nation Paris climate accord and top administration officials’ stated doubts about the causes and impacts of a warming planet.

“This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center. “It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from their own scientists”...

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

The lameness of official responses

Sayfullo Saipov

There's something almost as distressing as the terrorism itself about the stupidity of the responses by government officials.


Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, “Based on information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Accusing Muslim terrorists of being "cowardly" is irrelevant, since they act on the assumption that their psychopathic god will approve of the murder of random unbelievers. And in some alternate universe do guilty "civilians" exist who deserve to be murdered? And what, for that matter, does the term "civilian" mean in this context? We aren't dealing with anyone in uniform.

The Governor of New York does no better:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned at a news conference, “There’s no evidence that suggests a wider plot or a wider scheme.” In the aftermath, city and state law enforcement agencies increased security at high-profile locations.

That there was no "wider plot" is not exactly comforting, since that only emphasizes the reality that these "individual jihad" attacks are impossible to prevent. The individual fanatic no longer sees the need to conspire with others and increase the risk of discovery---or get an automatic weapon or explosives; all he needs is a motor vehicle and a busy city street to inflict a lot of damage on us unbelievers:

The attack added New York to the growing ranks of cities around the world where terrorists have struck crowds with vehicles, a blunt and simple form of violence recommended on militant sites. Eighty-four people died in an attack in Nice last year. An attack on a bridge in London killed eight. Another in a Stockholm shopping district, four. Most recently, in August, attackers in a van killed 13 people in Barcelona.

And surely everyone now understands that "increased security at high-profile locations" after one of these attacks is futile and strictly cosmetic.

“We’re not safe anywhere,” said Cecilia Lovecchio, a tourist from Argentina, the home of a group of visitors who lost five of their number in the attack. “It can be a bomb or a truck. A truck could very well come at us right now as we speak. What can you do?” Those words were seemingly unpacked and thought through across the city Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Trump can thump his chest and demagogue the issue, but there's really nothing much the authorities can do to stop these attacks, as the late Christopher Hitchens warned years ago:

We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. 

They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims...The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. 

The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war"...(emphasis added)


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Thanks to Daily Kos.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A gay marriage tale told inaccurately

Armistead Maupin has visited the Coachella Valley often,
Armistead Maupin

People like to cite this pseudo-profundity from William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Yes, it is past. It's just that people keep digging it up and misinterpreting it.

Like Armistead Maupin yesterday in the Chronicle on Gavin Newsom's 2004 gay marriage initiative:

"The equivocation of certain liberals has driven me crazy for years," said Maupin, recalling Dianne Feinstein's "too much too soon" response to then-Mayor Newsom's 2004 same-sex marriage action and President Clinton's "atrociously named 'don't ask, don't tell'" policy (Maupin delves into untold tales of life).

Maupin's memory is faulty. The issue was only about the timing of Newsom's initiative. All Feinstein and other Democrats were saying: instead of doing it in February, 2004, why not wait until after the national elections later that year? John Kerry lost a close election to George W. Bush that November:

One openly gay member of Congress, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts...was opposed to the San Francisco weddings from the start and told Mr. Newsom as much before the ceremonies began. He urged the mayor to follow the Massachusetts path, which involved winning approval for the marriages in court before issuing licenses.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. Frank said he felt vindicated by the election results. In Massachusetts, every state legislator on the ballot who supported gay rights won another term. By contrast, constitutional amendments against gay marriage won handily in 11 states---including Ohio, an important battleground---in large part, Mr. Frank said, because of the "spectacle weddings" in San Francisco...(Some Democrats Blame One of Their Own)

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fundraising advice

From the above...

...to this suggestion for a new Counterpunch fundraising ad:

Before he released all those classified documents, Bradley Manning read CounterPunch every day!

Counterpunch wants your cash so it can remain pure of capitalist contamination and not have to run ads!


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Pic of the Moment
democraticunderground.com

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Monday, October 30, 2017

San Francisco: A predatory government

Average price of a parking ticket in San Francisco neighborhoods:

A new app from the startup SpotAngels helps drivers avoid parking fines by sending them notifications about street cleaning, meter expirations and more. Photo: SpotAngels
SF Chronicle

Last year the City Treasurer in a Chronicle op-ed: San Francisco has become a predatory government

Cisneros wasn't focusing on parking tickets, but we can put that important source of City Hall "revenue" in that context. See my Predatory government from earlier in the year putting this policy in perspective. The city makes more than $140 million a year on its parking meters and parking tickets. 

The city makes a lot more on parking tickets than it makes on the meters alone, which is why it likes to put more parking meters in city neighborhoods. No parking meters means no parking tickets can be issued.

See also MTA's new transportation fact sheet for more context.

In this morning's online Chronicle: The worst neighborhoods for parking in San Francisco

In San Francisco, parking regulation enforcement helps ensure that spaces are turned over, bus zones are not blocked, street sweepers can do their job and residential spaces are reserved for residents.

But they also have another purpose — making millions for the city.

Recently we wrote about a new app that pinpointed the 10 most parking ticket-prone blocks in San Francisco.

Now we're looking at which neighborhoods hand out the most parking citations — and reap the most money.

A new app from the startup SpotAngels helps drivers avoid parking fines by sending them notifications about street cleaning, meter expirations and more.

The SpotAngels app attempts to help people navigate the city's parking options with an app that shows all of the city's public parking, metered and free spots. The company analyzed SFMTA data and compared it to their proprietary data to find the best and worst places to park.

As some of the worst city blocks for parking tickets are located in the South of Market neighborhood, it comes as no surprise that SoMa is San Francisco's biggest cash cow in terms of generating revenue from parking tickets.

SoMa's parking enforcement officers write tickets that bring in more than $11.3 million for city coffers per year. That's about $2 million more than the entire 2017-18 operating budget for the Marin County town of Fairfax (emphasis added).

A new app from the startup SpotAngels helps drivers avoid parking fines by sending them notifications about street cleaning, meter expirations and more.

But SoMa is not the worst neighborhood for parking in San Francisco. You're about 50 percent more likely to get a parking ticket in two other neighborhoods than in SoMa. The above slideshow ranks the 10 worst neighborhoods for parking. Included is the annual ticket revenue for each.

The best neighborhood for parking is Twin Peaks, despite its relatively low number of spaces. Each parking spot in Twin Peaks averages less than one ticket per year.

A new app from the startup SpotAngels helps drivers avoid parking fines by sending them notifications about street cleaning, meter expirations and more.

Street cleaning is the most common parking violation in the city, with 539,980 tickets issued per year, more than double the No. 2 offense: parking meter violation. Residential parking violations account for nearly 130,000 tickets, good for third place.

SpotAngels claims to have saved its users in cities across the country more than $2 million in parking fines by sending notifications to drivers. Eighty-six percent of those savings were for the three aforementioned violations.

Rob's comment:
You need to view the online article to see all the graphics provided for different parts of the city.

Interesting to note that, instead of publishing this more informative story on a citywide pattern of predatory behavior in the hard copy edition this morning, the Chronicle instead published the story on the worst block in the city for tickets, as if the issue was all about confusing signs and city incompetence, not outright predation as City Hall's intentional policy.

Add some comedy: the MTA was recently rebuked by supervisors for failing to spend money fast enough! The MTA itself has billion dollar budget and, as of 2015, 6,263 employees.

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Technology and political violence



From today's New York Times:

...This past week, my colleagues at The Times reported on the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in Myanmar that has been subjected to brutal violence and mass displacement. Violence against the Rohingya has been fueled, in part, by misinformation and anti-Rohingya propaganda spread on Facebook, which is used as a primary news source by many people in the country. Doctored photos and unfounded rumors have gone viral on Facebook, including many shared by official government and military accounts...

Information wars in emerging markets may not represent as big a threat to Facebook’s business as angry lawmakers in Washington. But people are dying, and communities are tearing themselves apart with the tools Facebook has built. That should qualify as an even greater emergency in Menlo Park.

Rob's comment:
The story also tells of Facebook's similar negative influence in India and South Sudan.

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