Thursday, June 22, 2017

SF Examiner

From the SF Examiner:

City College of San Francisco’s likely new chancellor will make tens of thousands more a year than his predecessors at the fiscally troubled college if his contract is approved Thursday at the Board of Trustees.

Mark Rocha, a New York bureaucrat who has a long and at times controversial history of leading community colleges in Southern California, will earn $310,500 annually before benefits — about $45,000 more than Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb and $21,000 more than the last permanent chancellor, Art Tyler.

The news comes as City College continues to reduce its class schedule by 5 percent a year because of a $35 million loss in state funding this fiscal year, when stability funding meant to offset the decline in student enrollment ends...

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"People will die"



Thanks to Daily Kos.

Jonathan Chait:

The Senate bill, like the House bill, would represent the largest setback in public health and low-income support in the history of American government. That will remain true regardless of what concessions any “moderate” member might obtain. Any Senator who negotiates within its established parameters is accepting its monstrous moral calculus.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dumb rail project in trouble 2

Alternative uses for Honolulu rail

Since Honolulu is $5 billion short to finish its $10 billion train boondoggle, Caleb Hartsfield proposes possible uses above for the half-finished project.


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The Giants are having fun losing



The San Francisco Giants are 20 games out of first place, and the season isn't even half over.

From today's SF Chronicle:

Before the game, Giants players had a quick meeting, and laughter was heard from a distance. “What’s amazing is, the clubhouse before the game, it was loose,” Bochy said. “They were still having fun, trying to keep each other loose doing some things. You could hear them laughing.”

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In today's NY Times:

To the Editor:

The Trump administration should be pressed hard to explain how it is consistent to oppose improved relations with Cuba while promoting improved relations with Russia. 

Is one type of oppressive regime better than the other? For President Trump, the answer is obviously “yes.” Mr. Trump seems to hate oppressive regimes that convert private property into public goods for the benefit of the people, but he loves oppressive regimes that convert public goods into private property for the benefit of a few rich friends.

Stephen Gillespie
San Francisco

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Monday, June 19, 2017

57 homeless deaths in 2016

57 homeless people died on city streets in 2016, a bad year when compared to 41 deaths in 2015, 31 in 2014, 23 in 2013, 25 in 2012, 27 in 2011---I apparently missed counting 2010---15 in 2009, 26 in 2008, 44 in 2007, and 86 in 2006.

100 homeless deaths every year used to be routine until the city started doing more aggressive outreach. 

My annual count is based on the Homeless Death Form the city created more than ten years ago that makes a more precise count possible.

Name: Ian Sheffield
Date of Death: 1/01/16
Place of Death: Ocean Beach
Circumstances of Death: Drowning
Birthdate: 2/24/68
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Mark Mansky
Date of Death: 1/03/16
Place of Death: On Derby Street
Circumstances of Death: Drug related
Birthdate: 8/11/68
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Juan Sarabia
Date of Death: 1/04/16
Place of Death: St. Francis Hospital
Circumstances of Death: Possible 187[murder] assault
Birthdate: 7/20/97
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic


Name: Thomas Connors
Date of Death: 1/05/16
Place of Death: CMPC-Pacific-ER
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 1/18/62
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Kenneth Goodteacher
Date of Death: 1/10/16
Place of Death: Bayshore Blvd.
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 5/13/59
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Native American


Name: Phillip Monsky
Date of Death: 1/13/16
Place of Death: St. Francis Hospital
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 5/4/56
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Michela McFarland
Date of Death: 1/14/16
Place of Death: St. Francis Hospital
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 5/31/73
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Jeremy Andrews
Date of Death: 1/21/16
Place of Death: CMPC
Circumstances of Death: In custody
Birthdate: 3/02/85
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Kevin Reynolds
Date of Death: 1/24/16
Place of Death: Girl friend's res.
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 6/19/63
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Diane Diggs
Date of Death: 2/14/16
Place of Death: St. Francis Hospital
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 4/03/65
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Louis Nitschke
Date of Death: 2/10/16
Place of Death: UCSF Mission Bay
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: Not provided
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Other/Undetermined


Name: Eugene Jarrell Jr.
Date of Death: 2/24/16
Place of Death: NB 280 Between Monte
Circumstances of Death: Ped vs Auto
Birthdate: 10/26/66
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Other


Name: Franz Hockenbrouch
Date of Death: 2/26/16
Place of Death: Across 150 San Bruno
Circumstances of Death: App. 801 Asphyxia
Birthdate: 4/26/78
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Karen Henderson
Date of Death: 3/06/16
Place of Death: In front of 1979 Mission St.
Circumstances of Death: IPV[intimate partner violence]
Birthdate: 1/17/57
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Susanne Stevenson
Date of Death: 3/26/16
Place of Death: Sidewalk
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 8/10/68
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Patricia Vanaskey
Date of Death: 4/03/16
Place of Death: IFO 3150 16th Street
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 4/06/53
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Luis Gongora
Date of Death: 4/07/16
Place of Death: SFGH ICU
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 4/25/70
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic


Name: David Black
Date of Death: 4/09/16
Place of Death: CMPC Pacific Campus
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Assault
Birthdate: 11/19/51
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Exquille Luna Sabido
Date of Death: 4/11/16
Place of Death: SFGH
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: Not Provided
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Undetermined


Name: Kito Fields
Date of Death: 4/21/16
Place of Death: IFO Asian Art Museum
Circumstances of Death: 187 Stabbing
Birthdate: 9/27/78
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Angela Lawrence
Date of Death: 5/03/16
Place of Death: Across from 3 Embarcadero
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 1/26/68
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Willie Tucker
Date of Death: 5/11/16
Place of Death: South Van Ness Avenue
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 5/13/53
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Tim Jessup
Date of Death: 5/14/16
Place of Death: On Stevenson at 7th
Circumstances of Death: Natural vs Drug
Birthdate: 10/01/43
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Margaret Binion
Date of Death: 5/16/16
Place of Death: IFO 50 Gordon
Circumstances of Death: Possible Drug Related
Birthdate: 2/23/67
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Cedric James
Date of Death: 5/21/16
Place of Death: St. Francis ICU
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 2/22/55
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Stephen Williams
Date of Death: 5/24/16
Place of Death: Alvord Lake
Circumstances of Death: PC 187
Birthdate: 10/13/49
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Peter Winterowd
Date of Death: 5/25/16
Place of Death: St. Francis
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: 2/03/66
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Ariel Martinez
Date of Death: 6/04/16
Place of Death: SFGH ICU
Circumstances of Death: App. Natural
Birthdate: 9/18/71
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic


Name: Michael Alexander
Date of Death: 6/15/16
Place of Death: Market Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 7/05/56
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Samuel Sample
Date of Death: 6/15/16
Place of Death: CMPC ICU
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Drug OD
Birthdate: 7/07/45
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Sarah Smith
Date of Death: 6/15/16
Place of Death: CMPC ICU
Circumstances of Death: Poss. 801 Ingestion
Birthdate: 4/20/83
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Joshua Lockmier
Date of Death: 6/17/16
Place of Death:
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Drug Related
Birthdate: 6/29/81
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Shanna Moreno
Date of Death: 6/19/16
Place of Death: CMPC
Circumstances of Death: Probable Drug
Birthdate: 2/19/69
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Rainer Thielmann
Date of Death: 6/21/16
Place of Death: CMPC
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 9/14/51
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Malia Thompson
Date of Death: 6/22/16
Place of Death: St. Mary's Square Park
Circumstances of Death: 801 Hanging
Birthdate: 12/03/79
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Richard Sorling
Date of Death: 6/27/16
Place of Death: IFO 233 Geary
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Assault
Birthdate: 8/26/62
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Taron Coran
Date of Death: 7/05/16
Place of Death: IFO 3271 18th St.
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 4/15/52
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Dwain Hunter
Date of Death: 7/16/16
Place of Death: UCSF Parnassus
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: 7/30/65
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Other


Name: Dani Long
Date of Death: 7/20/16
Place of Death: Staircase IFO 776 Market
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Assault
Birthdate: 7/25/71
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Donovan Renshaw
Date of Death: 7/27/16
Place of Death: UCSF Medical Center
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: 10/27/67
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity:


Name: Richard Boggs
Date of Death: 8/30/16
Place of Death: In Front of #3 Dodge
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 3/30/76
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Parker East
Date of Death: 9/19/16
Place of Death: IFO 101 Grove Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 2/26/85
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Gary Goldie
Date of Death: 10/09/16
Place of Death: 44 McAllister Street
Circumstances of Death: Drug Related

Birthdate: 3/28/53
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: David Cappello
Date of Death: 10/12/16
Place of Death: San Jose Ave.
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 11/19/68
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Steven Raggio
Date of Death: 10/15/16
Place of Death: SFGH
Circumstances of Death: Indigent
Birthdate: 3/03/59
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Shiv Kumar
Date of Death: 10/21/16
Place of Death: IFO 68 Golden Gate Ave.
Circumstances of Death: IPV/Drug
Birthdate: 2/22/82
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Robert Kelly
Date of Death: 10/22/16
Place of Death: St. Mary's Medical Center
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 10/30/57
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Marcus Polk
Date of Death: 10/24/16
Place of Death: 137 Addison Street
Circumstances of Death: 187 GSW
Birthdate: 12/23/70
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Veronica Fitzgerald
Date of Death: 10/24/16
Place of Death: 75 Dore Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 3/02/68
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Myron Hooker
Date of Death: 10/27/16
Place of Death: NW Corner of Funston
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 11/21/58
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Lonnie Burton
Date of Death: 11/06/16
Place of Death: In Front of 575 Eddy St.
Circumstances of Death: IPV Poss. Drugs
Birthdate: 5/06/67
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Alfred Cole
Date of Death: 11/08/16
Place of Death: CMPC Pacific Campus
Circumstances of Death: Drug Related
Birthdate: 3/06/60
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black


Name: Alejandro Padilla
Date of Death: 11/16/16
Place of Death: NW Corner Oceanview
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 4/24/88
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic


Name: Gregory Howe
Date of Death: 11/19/16
Place of Death: 350 Bay Street
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 2/06/54
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Roberto Castillo
Date of Death: 11/25/16
Place of Death: SFGH
Circumstances of Death: Remote Assault
Birthdate: 9/18/61
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic


Name: Henry Decelles
Date of Death: 11/26/16
Place of Death: Public Sidewalk on 5th
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 12/11/38
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


Name: Levi Borowitz
Date of Death: 11/30/16
Place of Death: Corner of Maiden Ln. 
& Grant
Circumstances of Death: IPV vs Drugs
Birthdate: 9/10/81
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White


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Right-wing propaganda on PBS

Getty Images

Diane Ravitch on Huffington Post:

...This month the Public Broadcasting System is broadcasting a “documentary” that tells a one-sided story, the story that Betsy DeVos herself would tell, based on the work of free-market advocate Andrew Coulson. Author of “Market Education,” Coulson narrates “School, Inc.,” a three-hour program, which airs this month nationwide in three weekly broadcasts on PBS.

Uninformed viewers who see this slickly produced program will learn about the glories of unregulated schooling, for-profit schools, teachers selling their lessons to students on the Internet. They will learn about the “success” of the free market in schooling in Chile, Sweden, and New Orleans. They will hear about the miraculous charter schools across America, and how public school officials selfishly refuse to encourage the transfer of public funds to private institutions. They will see a glowing portrait of South Korea, where students compete to get the highest possible scores on a college entry test that will define the rest of their lives and where families gladly pay for after-school tutoring programs and online lessons to boost test scores. They will hear that the free market is more innovative than public schools.

What they will not see or hear is the other side of the story. They will not hear scholars discuss the high levels of social segregation in Chile, nor will they learn that the students protesting the free-market schools in the streets are not all “Communists,” as Coulson suggests. They will not hear from scholars who blame Sweden’s choice system for the collapse of its international test scores. They will not see any reference to Finland, which far outperforms any other European nation on international tests yet has neither vouchers nor charter schools. They may not notice the absence of any students in wheelchairs or any other evidence of students with disabilities in the highly regarded KIPP charter schools. 

They will not learn that the acclaimed American Indian Model Charter Schools in Oakland does not enroll any American Indians, but has a student body that is 60 percent Asian American in a city where that group is 12.8 percent of the student population. Nor will they see any evidence of greater innovation in voucher schools or charter schools than in properly funded public schools...

I watched the documentary twice, preparing to be interviewed by Channel 13, and was repelled by the partisan nature of the presentation. I googled the funders and discovered that the lead funder is the Rose Mary and Jack Anderson Foundation, a very conservative foundation that is a major contributor to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which advocates for vouchers. 

The Anderson Foundation is allied with Donors Trust, whose donors make contributions that cannot be traced to them. Mother Jones referred to this foundation as part of “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement.” 

Other contributors to Donors Trust include the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

The second major funder is the Prometheus Foundation. Its public filings with the IRS show that its largest grant ($2.5 million) went to the Ayn Rand Institute. The third listed funder of “School Inc.” is the Steve and Lana Hardy Foundation, which contributes to free-market libertarian think tanks. 

In other words, this program is paid propaganda...

The Diane Ravitch blog.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017



Gee, who would do such a terrible thing? Surely not an adherent of the Religion of Peace?

Later: Wrong! Turns out it was an Islamophobe, not Muslim on Muslim terrorism.


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Something small children do

In today's NY Times:

Olivia Wilde: But I’ll ask my son, “Did you brush your teeth?” He’ll say, “Yeah.” And I’ll say: “You did not. I was standing right here.” 

It’s funny. Kids lie without any real strategy. That’s why Trump seems so much like a toddler sometimes. His tendency to lie when it’s clearly a lie is something small children do. They also bully and take toys from each other. It’s something you’re supposed to grow out of by the time you’re 70.

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“There can be no peace until they renounce their Rabbit God 
and accept our Duck God.”

Thanks to the Friendly Atheist.


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Typical week in Gun Nut nation

Twelve of 133 guns found in carry-on luggage by TSA agents at airports throughout the country, during the two-week period from April 3-16, 2017.
Daily Kos

GunFail in Daily Kos:

...A fairly typical week, by the numbers. Sixteen people accidentally shot themselves, eleven people were killed in gun accidents, nine kids were accidentally shot, six people accidentally fired guns they claimed they were cleaning or otherwise “inspecting,” four people were accidentally shot during their target practice (one more just couldn’t wait to get to the range, and was accidentally shot in the car on the way there), four people accidentally fired their weapons into neighboring properties (plus one more incident in which a passerby in golf cart was struck by a stray round), three people accidentally shot family members or significant others, and two people accidentally fired their weapons while shopping at neighborhood Walmart stores...

See also Police Shooting Innocent People Is One of the Most Common Forms of Gun Violence.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Portland: City that loves to spend money on transit

Randal O'Toole on Portland:

In 2007, the New York Times called Portland “the city that loves mass transit.” The Antiplanner took issue with that claim then, and it is even less appropriate now. APTA’s latest ridership report reveals Portland’s transit agency, TriMet, carried 1.6 percent fewer trips in 2016 than in 2015. The American Community Survey says that the share of commuters taking transit to work fell from 8.1 percent in 2014 to 7.9 percent in 2015.

In reality, as the Antiplanner wrote in 2007, Portland is “the city whose officials love to spend money on transit.” That also remains unchanged, as TriMet is preparing a regional transit strategy that calls for more streetcars, more light-rail lines, and exclusive busways. To top it off, TriMet wants to build a light-rail subway through downtown, which will probably cost almost as much as all of Portland’s previous light-rail construction combined...

Rob's comment:
San Francisco does a lot better than Portland, since Muni has 702,000 boardings every weekday, and 34% of city commuters take public transportation (2015 Fact Sheet, page 3). On the other hand, 7.2% of Portland commuters cycled to work, compared to San Francisco's 4% (2015 Fact Sheet, page 3).

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Jason Henderson and anti-carism

Market & Octavia Plan

The hed on this Chronicle story trivializes important issues: Parking-space spat may halt $400 million tower. Since both parking and housing are important issues in San Francisco, calling the parking allowed for new housing units a mere "spat" is way off.

Whoever wrote the hed took the lead from the story: "But as is often the case in San Francisco land-use fights, disputes over the biggest projects often come down to disagreements over seemingly small details."

Since building new housing and traffic congestion in the city are now more important than ever, calling it a "small detail" trivializes the issues.

Not surprising that anti-car bike guy Jason "Zero Parking" Henderson tried to get even fewer parking spaces for a project with an already low ratio:

In the case of the One Oak Street tower, which goes before the Planning Commission on Thursday for approvals, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association is pushing the developer to trim the number of parking spaces by 60 spots, from 136 to 76. This would represent a reduction from .45 to .25 parking spaces per unit, or from nearly 1 for every 2 to 1 for 4.

Henderson:

Neighborhood association member Jason Henderson says that the disagreement is about more than 60 spaces. It’s about precedent and following planning rules. He argues that the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2007, specifically calls for a 1-for-4 parking-space ratio for the four corners of Market and Van Ness. The idea is that the area is as well-served by public transit as any in the city. To exceed that requires a conditional use authorization, which the developer, Build Inc., is seeking from the Planning Commission...

The developer had a different view:

The developer says the 136 spaces it is proposing is as low as it can go and still obtain financing for the project. Furthermore, it argues that the .45 parking ratio is precedent-setting: No San Francisco high-rise condo tower — defined as being taller than 25 stories — has had such a low parking ratio. “This will be the single lowest parked high-rise residential condo tower ever approved or built in San Francisco — period,” said Build Inc. partner Michael Yarne. “Nothing comes close.”

The average high-rise condo project in San Francisco has had a parking ratio of 1.04 per unit, according to Alan Mark of the Mark Co., which markets condominiums. Two downtown projects that are under construction — 706 Mission St. and 181 Fremont St. — have ratios of 1.37 and 1.25, respectively, and the recently completed Lumina at Rincon Hill came in at 1.07. The tower with the lowest ratio, Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St., has .85 spots per units.

But the story tells us that Yarne is himself a Henderson-style anti-car guy:

That parking has become the most contentious issue facing One Oak Street is somewhat ironic considering that Yarne, who is heading up the project, is something of an anti-car crusader — he has never owned a vehicle. Yarne said that he expects — and hopes — that the 136 parking spaces won’t generate a lot of traffic because residents will get around mostly by foot, bike and public transportation.

Henderson couldn't have said it better himself. Serves Yarne right. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. It will be interesting to see how easy it will be for Yarne to sell those luxury condos without parking ("Honey, I'm taking the bike to Union Square for lunch and some shopping!").

Of course Streetsblog coordinated with Henderson by posting a story on the Planning Commission hearing on the project:

“It should be zero parking,” said Jason Henderson, Professor in Geography & Environment at SF State, author of "Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco," co-author of "Low Car(Bon) Communities: Inspiring Car-Free and Car-Lite Urban Futures," and occasional Streetsblog contributor (link added).

Henderson is what passes for an intellectual in anti-car circles: See my posts on "Street Fight" here, here, here, and here.

Not surprising that the Planning Commission rejected Henderson's call to reduce parking even more for that project. 

Streetsblog is bitter: Parking Wins Again at One Oak.

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Pic of the Moment
democraticunderground.com

See also Trump’s Derangement Deepens.

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Pat Bagley

Thanks to Politico.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jim Morin

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fear is nature sending a message

A cyclist crosses the M60 orbital motorway in Manchester.
A reader's comment to the Guardian story: I love cycling. But I drive---because I fear for my life:

After trying cycling short distances in urban environments I quickly and independently came to the conclusion that fear is nature's way of telling you that you are doing something stupid. Yes, it's nice to cycle, on a fine day---not too hot, not too cold. When you have the time, don't need to carry anything bulky, won't encounter any 1-in-5s and don't mind sweating like the proverbial when you arrive at your destination.

But I am not an extremist. I do not think that the freedom to cycle is a cause worth risking my life for. I do not want my tombstone to read "Here lies Graun, a keen cyclist but flattened by a lorry on the A406, even though he was in the right"

So I will surround myself with computer designed steel cages, crumple zones, collapsible doo-dads and improved visibility. Airbags, safety belts and every other safety device that is mandatory or optional. And I will do so in the knowledge that these are the major factors why accidents now are 3 times more survivable than they were 20 years ago.

But not for cyclists---no matter who's fault it is.




Bike guy Jason Henderson thinks Zero Parking is the way to go. Of course Henderson is a teacher at SF State and doesn't own a business or work downtown.

Thanks to Streetsblog

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Controlling your life



Tristan Harris's site: Time Well Spent.

On 60 Minutes last Sunday.

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Working for Apple in China



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Image


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Monday, June 12, 2017

Quentin Kopp: Ethics Commission is "baring its teeth"

quentin-kopp
By Ethics Commissioner Quentin Kopp in the Westside Observer:

...The [Ethics]Commission has been revitalized with inspirational assistance from a citizens’ association, Friends of Ethics, led by Larry Bush, ex-aide to Mayor Art Agnos, and ex-Deputy Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing during President Bill Clinton’s administration. 

An enormous backlog of complaints, caused mainly by the feckless District Attorney’s insistence of claiming he was investigating a complaint and, therefore, the Ethics Commission should wait for him to authorize it to proceed, and some one-and two-year-old complaints arising from inaction by the City Attorney have now been reduced substantially. 

The Commission adopted two months ago a rule that if the District Attorney (or City Attorney) requests we suspend investigation until he has finished his investigation, the Commission will honor the request for 90 days only. If there’s been no action by the District Attorney (or City Attorney), the Commission will proceed. 

Incidentally, did you know the District Attorney has over $1,000,000 budgeted at his request for prosecuting corruption? He has pending but one corruption case against City employees hired during Willie Brown’s mayoralty, and I’ll freely predict no conviction will occur because two superior defense lawyers, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and John Keker represent the defendants.

Next month, I think I’ll be able to relate the story of a Planning Commissioner who is the Executive Director of the vaunted San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association (SPUR), which claims to be a “think tank,” but is nothing more than a building and development organization which gained nonprofit status years ago and spends money to support or oppose ballot measures which affect benevolently or adversely the business interests of its architects, engineers, contractors, real estate tycoons, City Hall lobbyists, and other members. I promise you’re going to like it, and by next month there will be more titillation to report. 

The Ethics Commission is alive and baring its teeth!

For more on Friends of Ethics Larry Bush, click on "Larry Bush" below.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

On Jared Kushner

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Muhammad: "The perfect man"?

PerfectManMo
Billboard in Indiana

David G. McAfee on The Friendly Atheist looks at "the specific claims made on the sign":

Did Muhammad marry a six-year-old girl? This one is false. Although it was culturally acceptable for parents to marry off a girl of that age during Muhammad’s time and in that region, he actually didn’t marry Ayesha until she was at least nine (and able to bear children, according to the story). I despise child molestation. Still, to hold Muhammad accountable for that, we’d have to do the same to Christians and Jews since the Old Testament condones girls getting married at as young as three years old. Truthophobes, which fights to “#KeepCHRISTinChristmas,” does not do that.

Did Muhammad behead 600 Jews in one day? It is true that Muhammad and his army together executed between 600 and 900 males who had reached puberty, but that isn’t the whole story (as is usually the case in these debates). The beheadings took place as part of a military dispute, an invasion, and that is not at all unusual among religious groups. Again, if you look at the Bible, we can see even the most noble heroes engaging in similar behavior. In fact, King David was said to have personally slaughtered more than 200 non-Jews, then collecting their foreskins.

Was Muhammad a slave owner and dealer? Yes, Muhammad bought, sold, captured, and owned slaves. That’s not surprising, though, because the Bible (on which Islam is based) condones slavery. It was common practice back then. It may be strange to think about, but many U.S. Presidents have also owned slaves. That doesn’t make it right, but faux selective outrage at tragedies from hundreds of years ago must be put into perspective. For the record, Muhammad also insisted that slave owners treat their slaves well. If that reminds you of anything, it should: “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result.” (Exodus 21:20)

Did Muhammad have 13 wives? Muhammad had between 11 and 13 wives (there is a debate over whether two concubines ultimately became wives), but since when is this a problem in religions? Polygamy is popular in the Old and New Testaments, and King Solomon actually had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. Solomon is one of the 48 prophets, according to the Talmud (1 Kings 11:1-3).

Was Muhammad a rapist? From what I can tell, this claim is made based on 1) the fact that Muhammad married a young girl and 2) inferences made based on female slaves taken in battle. If that is the standard we are using, again, Christianity and Judaism are going to have to take the criticisms, too. In fact, according to Deuteronomy 22:28-29, rape is okay if the attacker pays the victim’s father fifty shekels of silver and marries her (the Bible says nothing about what the woman wants).

Did Muhammad torture and kill unbelievers? I know Muhammad ordered the killing of some non-believers during wartime, but that also seems consistent with the Old Testament on which his faith was based. Deuteronomy 17 instructs believers to stone non-believers to death, and Deuteronomy 13 says those who worship other gods should be “put to death.” Religions do this because it helps them spread — it helps foster the us vs. them mentality on which faiths often thrive.

After looking at the facts behind these claims, we can conclude two things: 1) they are mostly accurate and 2) there is a ridiculous double standard when it comes to similar issues in Christianity and Judaism...

Rob's comment:
Which is a good argument for rejecting all three major superstitions.


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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Img 6075
140 Maiden Lane

Odd that Curbed SF posts a story on Frank LLoyd Wright without mentioning the only building in SF he designed, probably because the story was written to be posted in Curbed's 15 different city editions.

Some views inside the building.

As a very young man, I slogged around the muddy construction site of the Wright-designed Marin Civic Center building:

File:Marin Civic Center.jpg
Wikimedia

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A Vietnam veteran looks back


It’s hard to believe that 50 years ago I was a 19-year-old kid in Vietnam sitting on a mountaintop near the Cambodian border in the forests west of Pleiku trying to locate equally young North Vietnamese radio operators with a piece of WWII RDF equipment I’d been told was obsolete...

As I’m wont to do these days, I like to ask anyone who expresses anything positive about the war, can you tell me anything — anything! — that the Vietnamese did against us here in the United States? Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh guerrillas were our ally in World War Two against the Japanese who had driven the colonial French army into its barracks as the French government collapsed and collaborated in Europe. 

Terrorist acts? Not a hint. Well, they were communists, weren’t they? Yes, but they also quoted the US Declaration of Independence at the end of WWII, hoping the US would support their liberation from French colonialism. It was not to be; we supported French re-colonization, which led to 30 years of terrible war on the Vietnamese. And a US retreat based on the war’s ultimate immorality...

When I came home from Vietnam, I submerged and began haunting used bookstores, reading things like The Tale of Kieu and books like Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall and his other books on the French war against the Vietnamese and the insidious transition to the American war. Slowly, I began to understand what I’d been floundering around in in my charmed youth. I began to feel a sense of mission to tell this story, which to this day is like pissing up a pole in our mainstream American culture...

While I have zero trauma from my Vietnam experience, as you may have noticed I have a pretty bad attitude about the military and the war itself. I also have a whopping case of survival guilt. One, because I made it home without a scratch. And two, because I had it so easy. 

My thinking now is all wrapped up in atoning for what I’d call my moral cluelessness at the time. Most Americans not active in the antiwar movement were guilty of this moral cluelessness during the war and many still are guilty of it. It’s a failure — more a willful refusal — to recognize the tremendous suffering we caused the Vietnamese. We obsess on our own losses and our own suffering, our 58,000 dead on the wall in Washington. Not that we should not honor and mourn these dead; it’s that the Vietnamese lost so many more and suffered so much more than we did. 

And when distilled down to its essence, the war really makes little sense except as an expression of Cold War hysteria. We talk about “lessons” learned that never seem to really get at what should have been learned. Few dwell on the fact we slaughtered somewhere between two and three million Vietnamese and Indochinese people. And that’s not counting the immense destruction of infrastructure and upheavals in family life and the legacy of Agent Orange in the ecosystem and a host of other areas of suffering...(emphasis added)

The historian Mark Moyar recently suggested in an essay in The New York Times series Vietnam 1967 that the Vietnam War was “winnable” — if only we had done this or that differently. To me, that kind of what-if, alternative history is an utter waste of time that amounts to fiction like Phillip K. Dick’s famous novel The Man in The High Castle, an alternative history that imagines the Nazis winning World War Two. 

Rambo was that kind of alternative history as pop cinema entertainment. A malaise-ridden nation was presented with the macho Hollywood hero Sylvester Stallone — a man who spent the Vietnam War teaching in a girls school in Switzerland — giving us his trademark sneer all decked out in greased-up pectoral muscles. Brandishing a huge Bowie knife and hand-held M60, John Rambo did what the United States Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy and Air Force could not do. He emotionally won the Vietnam War inside a darkened theater inside our hermetically-sealed minds...

The Vietnamese beat us fair and square. They didn’t beat us in the capacity for mass, hi-tech slaughter; there’s no question we could have “won” if life was only about the ability to kill people by the thousands or millions. They beat us on moral grounds. They were right; we were wrong. As Ho Chi Minh reportedly said: “We can lose longer than you can win.” 

Or another famous line told to Robert McNamara by a Vietnamese diplomat in the 1990s: “We knew you would eventually leave. You Americans could leave; we lived here and we could not leave.” Or as Ward Just put it in a great little book written in 1968 called To What End: Report From Vietnam: “Of course the war was unwinnable. It was useless to fight the Vietnamese. They would have fought for a thousand years”...

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democraticunderground

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Friday, June 09, 2017

First female USF NCAA champ

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More people on bikes means more people injured


Ghost bike

A recent study in Injury Prevention is described last week in an article on the UCSF website:

“The costs of bicycle injuries have risen steadily since 1997, with a significant increase in emergency department visits and hospital admissions, especially with older men,” said first author Thomas W. Gaither, a UCSF medical student. “In the past, many bicycle accidents stemmed from non-street incidents. But now, street crashes with motor vehicles represent a greater proportion of the total costs. These crashes, which primarily occur with motor vehicles, increase the velocity of the crash impact and, as a result, the severity of the injury.” (emphasis added)

Cycling has many well-documented health benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and decreased all-cause mortality. But along with the positive effects of riding, there are risks due to serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries, many involving accidents to riders 45 and older. Previous research by the investigative team has shown that over the last 15 years in the U.S., the incidence of hospital admissions due to bike crashes increased by 120 percent (Soaring Medical Costs from Bicycle Accidents, emphasis added).

More from the UCSF article:

Annual costs over the study period increased by 137 percent for non-fatal injuries and 23 percent for fatal injuries. There were approximately 6,500 more adult cycling injuries annually. Medical costs increased by 137 percent for non-fatal bike crashes. Bicycling deaths increased by an average of 19 cases a year.

Okay, it's not surprising that when more people, including "older men," ride bikes there will be more people injured in cycling accidents. 

But surely the rise in medical costs isn't the most important consideration but the damage to the people injured themselves

What's questionable is this: “In the past, many bicycle accidents stemmed from non-street incidents.How can someone have a bicycle accident without being on a street? 

Gaither may be referring opaquely to what are generally called "solo falls" by cyclists that don't involve motor vehicles, which experts say is what most cycling accidents are. (I sent him an email asking for clarification with no response). Later, June 11, Gaither responds: "Street incidents refer to accidents that occur specifically on a road where cars have access (i.e. there are both cyclists and motor vehicles). Non-street incidents are crashes that occur where cyclists have access but cars do not. Some examples would be bike paths or trails. "

In fact a study by Gaither's own colleagues at UCSF found that solo falls by cyclists are both routinely under-reported and often just as serious as cycling accidents that involve motor vehicles.

Cyclists in SF seem to think that City Hall can/should make their transportation "mode" safe which is clearly impossible. To that end they play the victim card, as if every cyclist injured or killed in an accident on the streets of the city could have been prevented by improved "infrastructure."

For its part, City Hall is irresponsible to encourage people to take up cycling without any caveats about the risks involved. The city is even encouraging children to ride bikes on city streets.

Long time bike messenger and author Robert Hurst:

Is cycling dangerous? Yes. Yes, it is. Deadly, no, but definitely dangerous. This is actually a controversial thing to say. There are those who bristle at any suggestion that cycling is dangerous, because they fear it will scare noncyclists away from ever ditching their cars and trying a more healthy form of transport. This is a good point, but it doesn’t change the fact that cycling is dangerous. This is not some urban legend that needs to be debunked. It is reality, and we need to embrace it (The Art of Cycling, page 69).

Well put, except that cycling can also be "deadly."

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