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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: 6,725

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

There’s a Kind of Workplace Discrimination No One’s Talking About

As the executive director of Philadelphia’s non-profit Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE), Diane Menio’s job is to improve the quality of life for older people. Through advocacy, education, training and counseling, her organization helps older people in an increasingly challenging landscape, providing “direct assistance to the elderly, their families, and professionals in the aging field.”

How much of an issue is ageism today?

Ageism has always been out there and we don't talk about it much. I think there's more of an effort lately to get older people in the media and so on, but I think most of us aren't feeling positive about aging, period. When I was young I looked at older people and never thought I'd be there. But guess what? It happens. Even people who are getting older often don't think kindly toward other older people. A lot of volunteer programs are bringing younger people together with older people and hopefully that's helping a little bit. But who knows?

How about workplace discrimination against older people?

You only have to look at the unemployment numbers to see that the numbers of people over 50 who are unable to find another job are greater than those who are under 50. I work at a non-profit and I'm happy to hire older people and there are other non-profits that are as well, but in the private sector it's much more challenging to get a job.


Finally watched "Waiting for Superman", and here is what I come up with..

The movie gets one point right in that in larger school districts like my own, with a few really good schools, quite a few bad ones and a whole bunch in the middle. It also show the lengths many parents are willing to go to get their kids out of genuinely bad schools. However, the movie begins and ends with a large set of incorrect assumptions:

1. Every parent cares equally about their children's education.
2. Every kid is equally ready and willing to learn.
3. Kids never come to school smelling like their parents' pot (as I personally smelled on kids' clothes when my son was in kindergarden).
4. Kids never come to school hungry.
5. Every public school teacher puts in the same minimal effort.
6. Kids never come to school with bruises on their faces.

In other words, the movie assumes every teacher is working with the same blank canvas and, with the right tools and creativity, they should be able to achieve the same results.

Washington Election Observer Free To Carry His Gun

A certified election observer in Washington freaked some people out when he showed up to his county auditor's office last month carrying a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, but the law's the law.

Election workers in Clark County, Wash. had expressed misgivings over Gerald "Rick" Halle's decision to work last month's primary while wearing his weapon, but the "state has preempted the area of regulating firearms," Chris Horn, the county's chief civil deputy prosecutor, told The Columbian.

The were no incidents with Halle, who apparently wears his firearm on his hip every day, but the county staff members will ask election observers in the future "to voluntarily put their firearm in a newly purchased gun safe," according to the Columbian.

If they should decline, county auditor Greg Kimsey, a Republican, said that "they will still be welcome to carry out their responsibility."


For the first time, a White House fence jumper was able to get to the building.

What's so different about this president? Hmmmm.....let me think.

Scotland’s referendum: Why the “no” vote was still a stunning watershed

As for the waverers, there’s no doubt that a good number were scared into voting no by Cameron’s dark warnings of the economic risks of secession. But much more significant is the number who were swayed by the package of concessions that the prime minister was forced to offer as part of his desperate effort to keep the U.K. intact, giving Scotland much more authority to set its own policies on taxation, public spending and social welfare. So this was something much more subtle than just a crude yes/no split. While Scotland clearly rejected outright secession, it demanded, and will now gain, a much greater degree of autonomy. Cameron’s promises of devolving new powers to Scotland were so explicit that he is now bound to honor them, and he has said as much.

But the real key to understanding what happened yesterday is how the vote broke down by age and geography. Only two of Scotland’s 32 council districts voted yes, but one of them was Glasgow, by far the biggest city, and the other was Dundee, the fourth-largest (and coincidentally my grandmother’s hometown). The core of the no vote was older and rural. Voters over 65 favored staying in the U.K. by an overwhelming 73 to 27 percent. But younger voters were radically different. Fifty-nine percent of those between 25 and 34 said yes. In the 35 to 44 age band, 53 percent voted for independence.

These people are Scotland’s next generation of leaders. For them, nationalism is no longer about kilts and bagpipes and haggis (though whiskey doesn’t seem to have lost its popularity). This generation is liberal, green, edgy, cosmopolitan. Its coming of age coincides with the emergence of Glasgow and Edinburgh as distinctive, internationally renowned cultural centers. Young adults and those approaching middle age have grown up with a strong sense of European identity, one big reason being the devolution of power away from Westminster that has already occurred, rooted in the rebellion against Thatcherism and the collapse of the Tory vote in Scotland. Since its creation in 1999, the Scottish Parliament has been vigorously internationalist, strengthening its commitment to a Scandinavian-style social safety net and pushing the EU to set more ambitious goals for a transition to renewable energy. Now it will have control over taxes, expenditures and social policies as well.

So the fat lady did not really sing in Scotland yesterday. David Cameron said last night that the matter was now settled for a generation. But in the context of 700 years of history, a generation is nothing. More significant is what the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, said in conceding defeat: “Let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short, let us dwell on the distance we have traveled.” And I have a feeling my grandmother would have agreed.


ISIS and Christian fundamentalists can agree: Charles Darwin is bad.

ISIS and Christian fundamentalists can agree on something: Charles Darwin is bad. In Mosul, Iraql, the militants have explicitly banned teaching the theory of evolution in new school curriculums, despite the fact that it wasn't taught in Iraq previously. The terrorists have also cut history, literature, art, music and Christianity classes from schools. Many parents have been keeping their children out of class as a form of resistance to the new academic programs.


Doctor Strange: Marvel Studios Filming in Europe Next Year.

With director Scott Derrickson having been announced months ago (with sources saying that he's likely been tied to the project since as early as January), and Joaquin Phoenix rumored for the lead role as well as being reported to have purchased a handful of Doctor Strange comics in person recently, it only seems fitting that the next part of the process would be to begin planning out locations and the film schedule.

According to new reports, Marvel Studios will begin production in May 2015 for the July 16th, 2016 release date, which while the date is not confirmed, connecting the dots between what Studio President Kevin Feige has revealed has lead us to believe so. May 2015 will be a very busy month for Marvel Studios, as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Marvel's Daredevil will be getting their premieres, which one can only expect to have massive repercussions throughout the combined cinematic universe. Earlier this year, Feige stated:

So Strange is very, very important, not just because it’s an amazing character study, and a journey of a man who’s gone from this very arrogant surgeon to somebody who is quite zen and literally keeps all of reality together on a daily basis, but it also is going to open up a whole other side of storytelling for our movies. So we’re about to hire a writer to redo a draft, and we think we’ll be casting probably in the next month or two, and announcing an actor, and then we get into production in the spring of next year.


New governor’s race poll shows Walker leading Parnell by 8 points

Hays Research Group, an Alaska-based polling firm, released a poll which shows that in a head-to-head match up, Bill Walker, the gubernatorial candidate for the “Unity” ticket, is beating Republican Gov. Sean Parnell by 8 percentage points. A whopping 31 percent are still undecided. The poll didn’t include the names of each candidate’s lieutenant governors, and it described Walker as an “Independent.” On the ballot, he will be described as “unaffiliated.” The Alaska AFL-CIO paid for the poll. The umbrella union organization supports the “Unity” ticket and was instrumental in bringing Bill Walker, a Republican, and Democrat Byron Mallott together on one ticket. The poll, conducted between Sep. 13-14, surveyed 500 registered voters in the state of Alaska who had voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percent.


Why is America not nearly outraged at Adrian Peterson as it is with Ray Rice?

Even here on the left, it's much more muted when a child is beaten.

Officer Given Paid Leave After Killing Teen, Participates in NRA-Sponsored "Killer Cop Competition"

Around 3am one night in May 2011, 22-year-old Alan Gomez was outside his brother Eric’s house in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nervous because she believed Gomez was acting erratically, Eric's girlfriend called the police. After about an hour, Albuquerque police officer Sean Wallace arrived.

Wallace saw Alan Gomez leave the house and then turn to go back inside. According to a subsequent Department of Justice report, Gomez was unarmed and did not pose an immediate threat to the officers or anyone inside the house. Sean Wallace, however, fired a shot, striking Gomez in the back. Gomez died on the scene, while Wallace was never punished.

Wallace is a K-9 officer, part of a team that works closely with paramilitary SWAT units. He doesn’t have a reputable record. In 2004, he shot and killed an unarmed man while with the New Mexico State Police. The victim’s family received $235,000 from a wrongful death lawsuit. By 2007, Wallace made a "lateral transfer" to the APD—meaning he wasn’t required to undergo background checks or psychological evaluations. (Last March, the APD officer who shot and killed James Boyd, a homeless man suffering from mental illness, was also a lateral transfer.) In 2010, Wallace wounded another unarmed man.

When Mike Gomez heard Sean Wallace was going to represent the Albuquerque Police Department in an annual National Rifle Association-sponsored tournament this week, he was horrified. The Albuquerque Police Pistol Combat Tournament, which is being held September 10-18, is designed for public and private law enforcement, as well as select U.S. military members, to compete against each other, shooting human silhouette targets in a wide range of scenarios. Past scenarios include “Drunk Buddies,” in which friends of a drunk individual getting arrested approach the cop wielding knives and “shouting ‘kill the cops.’” Another scenario, “School Gang Violence” takes place in a high school. The event also includes a weapons expo show and concludes with an awards ceremony in which officers are given trophies and certificates.

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