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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
December 31, 2013

SF: Panhandlers are getting aggressive out there.

I've noticed over the past few months that the panhandlers (I won't call them homeless unless I know they are actually homeless) around Union Square are more have become a lot more aggressive and belligerent than ever. They've started fallowing more, asking more lousy, even demanding that you give something. I was even grabbed just the other night. I wonder what's going on out there.

December 31, 2013

How the rise of Occupy and decline of the neoliberal narrative helped shape the “de Blasio moment”

King’s emphasis on the zeitgeist ran the risk of diminishing Parks, who in fact was serving as secretary of the Montgomery NAACP chapter at the time and actively participated in planning the civil disobedience campaign. Likewise, de Blasio has a long record of social and economic progressivism, with a grassroots sensibility that winds all the way back to his youthful activism on behalf of the Sandinista government. As chair of the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee and later as public advocate, he was a staunch progressive, supporting increased taxes on the wealthy, greater investment in social services, racial justice and workers’ right to organize; as a candidate for mayor, he was unwavering in his commitment to chart a new course.

Yet his forthright advocacy of a new model of bottom-up government activism cannot be traced solely to his personal history. It can be fully understood only in the context of long-term, deeply rooted developments in the national, even global, political economy.

Others have noted this broader historical significance. In the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart argued that the de Blasio campaign reflects the political crystallization of a generation of young people who have grown up in an era of dismal economic prospects and a tattered government safety net. This, Beinart predicted, will give rise to a new mass anticorporate politics that will benefit populist politicians like de Blasio and Senator Elizabeth Warren at the expense of more conventional centrists like Cory Booker and Hillary Clinton. Similarly, Harold Meyerson has written that de Blasio’s victory signifies the potential breakup of “the Democratic Party’s romance with Wall Street.”

But I would argue that the de Blasio moment reflects something deeper than shifting generational political allegiances or a delayed backlash against the Democratic Party’s Wall Street love affair. It represents a potentially profound challenge to the dominant economic policy arguments of the last two generations, a long overdue electoral response to the corporate offensive launched by the global elite in the mid-1970s.


December 31, 2013

Sun Kil Moon - Like The River

December 31, 2013

Jamie Dimon’s daughter falsely uses Mideast photo to smear Flint, MI as ‘apocalyptic’

The daughter of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is hot water over a recent column that alleged Flint, Michigan, was “apocalyptic” and used a photo of a run-down Israeli street as evidence.

In her PolicyMic article titled “This is America’s Most Apocalyptic, Violent City — And You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It,” Laura Dimon writes that Flint — which was the birthplace of General Motors — “drowns in the hell that has become of much of America’s Rust Belt.”

The article includes a number of photos that show Flint in shambles, but readers soon discovered that several of those photos were of other locations.

A Reddit thread criticizing the article first pointed out that something wasn’t right.

“I thought I was hallucinating at first, but this picture is not actually from Flint,” Redditor samiam25 wrote. “I know this because I lived in the place pictured almost my entire life. It’s a city in Israel called Ramla. I’m really confused as to why this picture is featured in the article and I’m a little creeped out.”

A Google street map view proves that the photo matches the street in Ramla.

Dimon was also forced to replace a photo that turned out to be of Detroit after an email exchange with the website Deadline Detroit.


December 31, 2013

Home Depot founder worries Pope Francis neither loves nor understands rich Americans

In an interview on CNBC on Monday, Home Depot founder and devout Catholic Ken Langone said that the Pope’s statements about capitalism have left many potential “capitalist benefactors” wary of donating to the Church or its fundraising projects.

According to Langone, an anonymous, “potential seven-figure donor” for the Church’s restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is concerned that the Pope’s criticism of capitalism are “exclusionary,” especially his statements about the “culture of prosperity” leading to the wealthy being “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

Langone said he’s raised this issue with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who yesterday praised Pope Francis for “shattering the caricature of the Church.”

“I’ve told the Cardinal,” Langone said, “‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country.’”


December 31, 2013

Doctor who testified to keep brain-dead teen on ventilator is a religious quack.

If you live in the SF Bay Area, you are probably aware of the heart wrenching story of the Oakland family fighting to keep the brain-dead teeanger on her ventilator even after Neurology from Stanford made it clear there is no hope to bring her back. I understand the family's difficulty to come to terms, but I hate it when religious nuts and other quacks give them horrible advice that just make things worse in the long run.

In a declaration filed with the federal action by Jahi's family, Dr. Paul Byrne, a pediatrician who has questioned the definition of brain death, said he visited Jahi's bedside and observed her responding to her grandmother's voice and touch with a squirming movement.

"In my professional opinion, she is not a cadaver," Byrne said. "Her heart beats thousands of times a day."


It took VERY little time to discover what kind of "doctor" this guy is.

Dr. Paul A. Byrne is a neonatologist and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics. He is past President of the Catholic Medical Association. He is the producer of the film Continuum of Life and the author of Life, Life Support and Death, Beyond Brain Death, and Brain Death is Not Death. Dr. Byrne has presented testimony on life-death issues to nine state legislatures beginning in 1967. He opposed Dr. Jack Kevorkian on Cross-Fire, and has appeared on Good Morning America, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary, “Are the donors really dead?”, and public Television in Japan. He is the author of many articles in medical and law journals and the lay press.

Dr. Byrne and his colleagues recently held a conference at the Vatican on this very subject.

Dr. Byrne spends many spare waking moments in defense of those unable to communicate on their own behalf. He is available for speaking engagements and radio and television interviews at a very minimal, or donations only, cost to audiences and organizations around the country. This is a topic that the general public must continuously be made aware of before it happens to them.

December 31, 2013

PPP: Dems still lead in generic polling.

-PPP's newest national poll finds Democrats leading the generic Congressional ballot 43/40. That 3 point lead is down just slightly from the 5 point one they had at 46/41 during the height of the government shutdown in October. Congressional Democrats (-25 at 35/60) have a net approval rating 19 points better than their Republican counterparts (-44 at 25/69) although both parties remain quite unpopular.

-Americans narrowly support the budget deal that was passed in the House last week, 37/30. 33% of voters with no opinion one way or the other may serve as a reality check on how closely a lot of voters are following this. Democrats support the deal by a pretty wide margin (45/23) but Republicans oppose it 29/33, which may help explain why so many facing Senate primaries next year have voted against it. One aspect of the deal that's not popular is ending extended unemployment benefits for 1.5 million workers on December 28th- just 35% of voters support that happening to 50% who are opposed.

Overall just 25% of voters want to see another government shutdown to 67% who are opposed. With GOP voters though there is 34% support for a shutdown repeat with just 56% against the concept.

-Congress has just a 7% approval rating, with 85% of voters disapproving of it. But when it comes to voters' own Representatives their feelings are a lot more mixed- 41% approve of the job their member is doing to 44% who disapprove. Democrats (49/36) are more inclined to be happy with their rep than Republicans (37/47) are.

-Barack Obama has only a 41% approval rating with 55% of voters disapproving of him, the weakest numbers we've found for him in his entire time in office. With independents he's at just a 27/69 approval spread. 63% of voters think the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been unsuccessful to just 33% that label it a success. Overall 37% of voters say they support the ACA to 54% who disapprove of it. Americans are closely split on whether the ACA (46%) or the government shutdown in October (43%) has been worse for the country.


December 31, 2013

2013: The year in whiteness

Maybe it was the very fact of enjoying a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends, against the manufactured backlash to a nonexistent “War on Christmas,” that let me appreciate the perilous mental state of a small but noisy and paranoid swath of white America. Somehow over the holiday it became clear: 2013 was the year white grievance mongering became an uglier and even more lucrative racket.

Fox News has been peddling the phony “War on Christmas” for years, of course, but it took new Fox phenom Megyn Kelly to give it an explicitly racial cast. Not only did Kelly wage war against the menace of a black Santa – declaring nonsensically that the fictional character of Santa Claus “just is white” – but when she was called on it, she made herself out to be the victim of politically correct bullies, race-baiters and Fox haters. Suddenly it was clear: The imagined war on Christmas has become an equally farcical war on whiteness in the minds of those sad right-wing warriors.

The next week, “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson also became a martyr for the white right, after A&E briefly suspended him for holding forth on the nastiness of gay sex while insisting African Americans were happy in the Jim Crow South.

The new hysteria and hypocrisy was crystallized by one surreal fact: While paranoid white righties were fighting for their allegedly endangered right to celebrate Christmas (with their white Santa), they could watch a “Duck Dynasty” Christmas marathon on A&E, underscoring that there’s neither a war on Christmas nor on bigoted pseudo-Christians like Robertson. But there’s a lot of cash to be made, and fear to be stoked, by claiming both.


December 30, 2013

Steve Stockman: 'Liberal Tears' Are The Best Gun Lubricant

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) has a recommendation for cleaning your gun: liberal tears.

Stockman, who's a longshot candidate running in the Republican primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), tweeted out a picture of a gun with a spray can that read "liberal tears." The text with the picture read: "the best gun lubricant."

Gun control is one of the topics Stockman has been trying to win support among Texans on by being to the right of Cornyn. Although Cornyn was endorsed by the National Rifle Association earlier in December Stockman has been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America, a more aggressive pro-gun group.


December 30, 2013

Virginia Gun Owners Not Pleased With ‘No Guns Permitted’ Sign Outside Toby Keith’s New Restaurant

Country music star Toby Keith is facing some backlash from gun owners after one of his new I Love This Bar And Grill restaurants in Woodbridge, Virginia posted a “No Guns Permitted” sign outside its premises.

“I’ll never eat here. Lawfully armed and spending my money elsewhere,” read one of many disgruntled reviews on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

The furor spurred a response by the restaurant, explaining, “While we understand and respect every person’s right to own and bear arms, we at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, with guidance from the State of Virginia and based on insurance regulations, have adopted a no weapons policy. It is our desire to provided a safe, enjoyable and entertaining experience for our patrons and staff.”

That did little to quell the ire of gun owners, one whom responded to the restaurant’s Facebook message by saying, “Your post regarding your stance on not allowing patrons to defend them selves should the need arise is a total cop out to the bad publicity that your bad policy has initiated.”

But gun owners may actually be legally allowed to carry loaded weapons in Keith’s restaurant under Virginia law, irrespective of what the sign says. Virginia is one of at least six states — the others being Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona — that explicitly allows loaded guns in bars. “No Guns Permitted” signs don’t actually have the force of law in Virginia unless the state specifically lists the facility as one where people cannot carry guns.


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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: 62,792

About RandySF

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