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RandySF

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 7,102

About Me

Husband, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

CA: Leland Yee should be a lesson to progressives.

For the benefit of people outside San Francisco, Leland Yee was a local politician who got his start on the San Francisco School Board and moved his way up to the State Senate, running this year for Sec. of State. Throughout his careen he championed many causes dear to our hearts. And because of that, many people closed their eyes to the many warning signs about the guy, like walking out of a Honolulu store with a bottle of suntan lotion down his pants, or how he was stopped by police while taking "walks" through streets well know was "strolls" for hookers while championing laws against human trafficking. But we kept looking away because the alleged offenses were minor and charges were never pressed against him. And now he is being charged with attempting to sell guns supplied from Mindanao, a hotbed of terrorist activity in the Philippines.

Those of us who DID pay attention to Yee's activities are not at all surprised. I don't know if this habit of looking the other way is unique to the SF progressive movement or a flaw common with politics in general, but it's got to stop. I thought we learned our lesson a long time ago with Jim Jones.

CA: Daly City Dentist Accused Of Arms Trafficking In Scandal Involving Leland Yee

DALY CITY (KPIX 5) — A Daly City dentist was among the 26 people indicted in a corruption scandal involving State Sen. Leland Yee. Dr. Wilson Lim is accused of setting up an arms deal that involved militants in the Philippines.

According to the complaint, Yee identified him to an undercover FBI agent as the source of the illegal weapons he wanted.

“Gun smuggling? That’s a big thing,” said Fernando Austria, a patient.
According to the FBI, the 60-year-old dentist met with Yee and the undercover agent on March 11th at a restaurant in San Francisco. That’s where they allegedly began setting up a $2 million arms deal for M16′s and shoulder launched weapons.


http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/03/29/daly-city-dentist-accused-of-arms-trafficking-in-scandal-involving-leland-yee/

House GOP Says It's Too Late To Pass An Unemployment Extension

WASHINGTON -- Republicans in the House of Representatives say it's just too late to pass legislation restoring unemployment benefits to the 2 million workers who've missed out since December.

The Senate advanced a bill reauthorizing the benefits in a procedural vote on Thursday, setting up passage as soon as next week. Then the ball would be in House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) court.

Boehner has voiced opposition to the bill. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees unemployment insurance, elaborated Thursday on Boehner's recent argument that the Senate measure would be "unworkable" even if Congress approved it -- so lawmakers shouldn't bother.

While Congress has reauthorized federal benefits after allowing them to lapse before, the House GOP argument goes, it hasn't reauthorized them after allowing them to lapse for this long. In 2010, congressional dithering caused the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to lapse for almost two months. The Democrat-controlled House had passed a benefits bill, but GOP filibusters tied it up the Senate.

"Given that both the House and Senate were officially on record supporting an extension BEFORE the program expired, States and recipients had a strong signal that an extension would eventually be reached," Ways and Means Republicans said in a press release Thursday.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/unemployment-extension-_n_5043679.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

CNN Wanted To Rent A 777 For Their Missing Plane Coverage

CNN initially sought to rent a real 777 airplane for its coverage, but found it impossible. Individual airlines were also reluctant to make their simulators available. So CNN arranged time with the company uFly, from Mississauga, Ontario, near the Toronto airport, which has a simulator that is the same model of the plane lost in Asia.

Savidge, who had been vacationing in Australia when the plane went missing on March 8, was sent to Canada for one day on March 14 and returned home for the weekend. The response to his reports was so positive, CNN sent him back on March 17, and he's been there since. Other media organizations have sought to use the simulator but CNN blocks them by keeping it booked (the company won't say how much this is costing).

Instead of creating graphics, Savidge said it's valuable to show what instruments like the transponder that are talked about in news reports actually look like and where they are located in relation to a pilot.

Mostly, they use the machine to simulate what might happen under certain scenarios. This week, he asked Casado off-air to show what might happen to a 777 if it ran out of fuel. It proved horrific: lights flashed, alarms sounded, the nose pointed skyward while gravity pulled the plane down. It fell backward toward the ocean.


http://bigstory.ap.org/article/cnns-savidge-not-ready-bust-out-cockpit

California Senate suspends Calif. state Sen. Leland Yee

Yee was one of 26 people caught up in a five-year federal investigation that targeted Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a Chinatown gangster who had claimed to have left a life of crime behind, officials said. Investigators made the investigation public Wednesday after Yee, Chow and others were arrested and several locations from Sacramento to San Francisco were raided.

Yee - whose alleged crimes contradict his public image as an advocate for gun control, open government and limiting youths' exposure to violent video games - is out on $500,000 bail and has not commented on the charges. DeMeester says Yee plans to plead not guilty.

Investigators say Yee took bribes from undercover agents in exchange for political favors to pay off a $70,000 debt from an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor in 2011 and to raise money for his secretary of state campaign, which he abandoned a day after the allegations were made public.

Yee had raised $800,000 for the state race and, according to recent campaign finance filings, has spent all but $134,000, which he can now use for his legal defense. Despite withdrawing, Yee's name will remain on the ballot for the June 3 primary.

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Senate-suspends-Calif-state-Sen-Leland-Yee-2-5357627.php

Unusually Intense El Nino May Lie Ahead, Scientists Say

Partly as a result of these wind bursts, ocean buoys and satellites have detected the movement of unusually warm ocean waters from the western Pacific to the east. Ocean surface currents, which normally move westward across the Pacific basin, have reversed as well. El Niño forecasters have taken this as a further sign of a developing El Niño, and these conditions were a key reason why an El Niño Watch was issued on March 6.

Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, said conditions are changing rapidly in the Pacific, going from 50/50 odds of an El Niño, to a setup that eerily resembles the circumstances that preceded the monster El Niño of ‘97-'98.

“It’s something we haven’t really seen since the '97 El Niño,” Blake said of the westerly wind bursts and ocean observations. Instead of having trade winds blowing from the east at five to 10 mph, some locations in the western Pacific have had winds from the west blowing at up to 30 miles per hour, Blake says. This is important because it has ripple effects on the sea and below the sea surface.

“ not that we can’t step away from it, but with each passing day becoming more likely,” Blake told Mashable.

Paul Roundy, a meteorology professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, said that the westerly wind bursts have been extremely strong compared to historical records. Two of these events in particular, Roundy says, “were of similar amplitude to the events that preceded the 1997 El Niño.”

http://mashable.com/2014/03/19/intense-el-nino-maybe/

Clean Tech pits Republicans against each other.

The Republican-eat-Republican battle over Tesla mirrors another clean energy fight playing out nationwide. Conservatives aligned with large utility companies are squaring off with the solar power industry and libertarian-leaning Republicans over rules to allow homeowners with solar panels to sell excess power back to the grid, a policy known as net metering, which is allowed in more than 40 states. Some utility companies, however, worry the practice will disrupt their business model as more and more homes go solar. That fight has been particularly vicious in Arizona, where the son of conservative icon Barry Goldwater has led the pro-solar charge on free market arguments.

"In a lot of ways, is an existential crisis" for Republicans, said Marita Mirzatuny, a Texas-based energy analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund. Some "are fighting on behalf of old entrenched regulations, which seems counterintuitive," because at the same time "there's a lot of money and momentum moving into the clean tech realm."

With Tesla's battery factory on the line, the stakes are now higher than ever, and Arizona is poised to become the first state of the four in line for the factory to clear its regulatory hurdles.

"For Texas to lose out because of regulation like that is the ultimate irony," Mirzatuny said.



http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/03/gop-lawmakers-scramble-green-energy-cash

Opposition to Tesla comes from the left as well as the right.

I was talking to some friends from Detroit not long ago when I brought up the topic of Tesla, and to my surprise, my friends (who are active in Detroit area Democratic politics) turned their thumbs down to a Bay Area company that I happy to be very proud of. Their response was that, if people want an electric or hybrid car, they should buy a union-built model from one of the "Big 3". I didn't want to start an argument, so I dropped the subject but it left me with a lot to think about. Yes, Tesla is currently, non-union, but it is also very new. Should we, as a country and a party, be in the business of hurting NEW ventures because they do not start off as UAW from day 1? Or do some people (like some Detroit-area Congressmen) just want to find any excuse they can to any squash competition to major regional employers?

I'm not sorry to say I believe in Tesla. Do I want the UAW there? YES! But let's not kill a promising new business before it all has a chance to play out.

Did Christie Go Easy on a Human Trafficker Just to Bust a Small-Time Pol?

The U.S. Attorney's office cut a deal with Medrano. She got a light sentence, and in return gave up information -- some of which was about a local politician that Christie would use to burnish his image as an enemy of corruption. The upshot was that a human trafficker got off easy, in part, so that Christie could jail a small-town mayor.

The deal, critics charge, was at best a bad one and at worst, a callous political move. Christie's defenders respond that it was a necessary move to help catch other criminals -- just another one of the unpleasant compromises that prosecutors are routinely forced to make in the name of justice. At the time of Medrano’s sentencing, Christie’s spokesman, Michael Drewniak, said Medrano assisted with the convictions of eight other people who part of the smuggling ring.

However, Medrano’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, told me that she “never testified about human smuggling” and court documents clearly state that “Luisa Medrano did not testify before the grand jury” regarding the human trafficking ring. The U.S. Attorney’s office would not provide information about what convictions Medrano allegedly assisted on, or how many. Reached for comment for this story, a spokesman for Governor Christie referred me to Drewniak’s 2009 statements.

Absent any concrete evidence to the contrary -- and there certainly could be some evidence that has yet to publicly emerge -- it appears that Christie’s office all-but-excused one human trafficker that he considered to be “vile” in order to convict someone for comparatively petty crimes.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/17/did-christie-go-easy-on-a-human-trafficker-just-to-bust-a-small-time-pol.html

CNN’s Don Lemon wonders whether God took the plane to Heaven.

CNN anchor Don Lemon and Decoded host Brad Meltzer bandied about the idea Sunday afternoon that something “beyond our understanding” happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370, that “something” being perhaps supernatural maybe?

“Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural,” Lemon said. “We go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?”

“People roll their eyes at conspiracy theories, but what conspiracy theories do is they ask the hardest, most outrageous questions sometimes, but every once in a while they’re right,” Meltzer said.

“You can say, ‘Oh, it crashed into the ocean,’” Meltzer continued. “But where are the parts? Where are the pieces? Why did it keep going for seven hours? Why do you have a guy on board who gives his watch and his ring to his wife and says ‘Keep these for my boys in case something happens to me’? And that’s not some stranger, he was a mechanical engineer. Something smells wrong.”

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/don-lemon-cnn-guest-wonder-whether-something-supernatural-happened-to-malaysian-plane/
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