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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
December 24, 2013

I will listen, but I will not "shut up and listen".

Not until someone fully explains the difference between leering and admiration, or when someone explains why my younger female boss kept me in her office for a half hour leaning over in her very low-cut dress.

December 24, 2013

Team Hillary to build on Obama's high tech success.

The network of super PACs functioning as a sort of wink-and-nod Clinton campaign-in-waiting are at the center of the data tug of war. The hub, Ready for Hillary, is working on data initiatives that are unprecedented for a candidate-specific super PAC — let alone one planning for a presidential campaign that’s still two years off. Sources with knowledge of the initiatives describe them to POLITICO as:

1. A 50-state voter file that will merge granular historical data for every registered voter in the country with social media and email information being collected by Ready for Hillary. While the super PAC intends to deploy the new database as early as January to mobilize supporters, its real utility would come in building and executing a model of voter coalitions and messages to win a presidential campaign.

2. A direct mail program that would use Clinton’s likeness and testimonials from high-profile surrogates to raise cash and collect supporter data. It’s expected to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2014, say sources in Democratic direct mail circles.

Clinton hasn’t endorsed Ready for Hillary, but it has at least the patina of a Clinton imprimatur, having won the backing of several high-profile Hillaryland insiders. It’s expected that any data it collects would be rented, swapped or sold to Clinton’s campaign, meaning contracts for the projects — especially the voter file work — are being closely watched as a symbolic foot in the door to the 2016 effort.


December 22, 2013

We just might have our own Koch!

But in Steyer, liberals have a billionaire on their side. Like the Kochs, he is building a vast political network and seizing opportunities provided by loose campaign finance rules to insert himself into elections nationwide. In direct contrast to them, he has made opposition to fossil fuels and the campaign against global warming the center of his activism.

The former financier is an unlikely green icon. Steyer built his fortune with a San Francisco-based hedge fund of the sort that drove protesters to occupy Wall Street. Some of the investments that landed him on the Forbes list of America's wealthiest went into companies he now says are destroying the planet. Adversaries and, in private, at least some erstwhile allies call him a dilettante.

Yet, unlike many others in a parade of super-rich Californians who have made forays into politics, Steyer has proved himself skilled at bringing attention to his cause and himself.

He has amassed impressive victories: helping persuade recession-weary Californians to pass a $1-billion annual tax hike; creating a gusher of money for energy efficiency; and this year playing a star role in destabilizing plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline with a campaign that has sown doubt about the project inside the administration and mobilized influential Democratic donors and business leaders against it.


December 15, 2013

"Don't you know Santa Clause is white? Why are you wearing that?"

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico high school teacher has been disciplined after a parent says the man told his black son that Santa Claus is white.

Officials at the school in Rio Rancho, about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, announced Friday that the teacher recently was disciplined for his comments to the student, but they declined to say how, KOB-TV reported (http://goo.gl/GYqcJr).

The move came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

Michael Rougier said his ninth-grade son, Christopher, arrived wearing a Santa hat and beard, and the teacher asked the boy: "Don't you know Santa Clause is white? Why are you wearing that?"

The teacher's name was not released, and attempts by The Associated Press to reach school officials Saturday were unsuccessful.


December 14, 2013

No, Jesus wasn’t a white dude

The historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth was not “white. He was not European. Based on the scholarly consensus, the historical Jesus would be a Middle Eastern Jew of medium, if not dark, complexion. He was certainly dark enough to have spent time in the Middle East and elsewhere, and not to have had his skin tone commented upon or noted.

This Jesus would be hounded and harassed by the TSA, looked at as a de facto “suspicious” person in post-9/11 America, and be racially profiled by the national security state. The historical Jesus would likely be subject to stop-and-frisk policies by the New York police and others. If it were too late at night, and the historical Jesus was trying to get a cab–especially if he were not attired “professionally”–he would be left standing curbside because brown folks in their 20s and 30s who look like him are presumed to be criminals.

Despite the “common sense” depiction of Jesus in the (white) American popular imagination, the historical Jesus Christ is not a white surfer dude with blue eyes, long flowing hair, and tanned and toned skin.


December 14, 2013

Ayn Rand-loving CEO destroys his empire

Once upon a time, hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert was living a Wall Street fairy tale. His fairy godmother was Ayn Rand, the dashing diva of free-market ideology whose quirky economic notions would transform him into a glamorous business hero.

For a while, it seemed to work like a charm. Pundits called him the “Steve Jobs of the investment world.” The new Warren Buffett. By 2006 he was flying high, the richest man in Connecticut, managing over $15 billion thorough his hedge fund, ESL Investments.

Stoked by his Wall Street success, Lampert plunged headlong into the retail world. Undaunted by his lack of industry experience and hailed a genius, Lampert boldly pushed to merge Kmart and Sears with a layoff and cost-cutting strategy that would, he promised, send profits into the stratosphere. Meanwhile the hotshot threw cash around like an oil sheikh, buying a $40 million pad in Florida’s Biscayne Bay, a record even for that star-studded county.

Fast-forward to 2013: The fairy tale has become a nightmare.

Lampert is now known as one of the worst CEOs in America — the man who flushed Sears down the toilet with his demented management style and harebrained approach to retail. Sears stock is tanking. His hedge fun is down 40 percent, and the business press has turned from praising Lampert’s genius towatching gleefully as his ship sinks. Investors are running from “Crazy Eddie” like the plague.


December 14, 2013

Megyn Kelly says critics are 'race bating'.

After touching off a firestorm of controversy over her suggestion earlier in the week that Santa is white, Megyn Kelly took on her critics Friday, reminding them that her comments were tongue-in-cheek.

“Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless,” Kelly said on “The Kelly File.” “This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society, in particular, the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful Fox News Channel.”

The backlash began on Wednesday, when Kelly and several guests discussed on “The Kelly File” a Dec. 10 column by Slate writer Aisha Harris entitled “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore.” In the light-hearted piece, Harris suggested a penguin replace St. Nick as a Christmas mascot so as to appeal to children of all races.

“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa,” Kelly said on Wednesday. “But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it.”


December 14, 2013

Every Republican In This Statewide Race Wants Creationism Taught In Public Schools

Science advocates in Texas won a battle last month after the State Board of Education voted to approve new science textbooks that teach evolution. However, they don't seem to have won the war.

During a debate Thursday, three of the four Republican candidates in the state’s lieutenant governor race said that they think creationism should be taught in public schools, according to The Texas Tribune. While the fourth candidate, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, did not specifically state his beliefs on the subject, he later told The Dallas Morning News that he thinks creationism should be taught in schools, just not in science class.

According to the Morning News, none of the candidates referenced the education board’s textbook vote. However, candidates Todd Staples, who is currently serving as the state agriculture commissioner, Senator Dan Patrick and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst all stressed the importance of religion in the classroom.

"Our students ... must really be confused. They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can't talk about God," said Patrick, per the Tribune. "I'm sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God."


December 12, 2013

Hillary comforts the crying bankers.

Ordinarily these masters of the universe might have groaned at the idea of a politician taking the microphone. In the contentious years since the crash of 2008, they’ve grown wearily accustomed to being called names—labeled “fat cats" by President Obama and worse by those on the left—and gotten used to being largely shunned by Tea Party Republicans for their association with the Washington establishment. And of course there are all those infuriating new rules and regulations, culminating this week with the imposition of the so-called Volcker Rule to make risky trades by big banks illegal.

But Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish. Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman’s Jim O’Neill, the laconic Brit who heads the bank’s asset management division, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank. (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton’s minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).

Certainly, Clinton offered the money men—and, yes, they are mostly men—at Goldman’s HQ a bit of a morale boost. “It was like, ‘Here’s someone who doesn’t want to vilify us but wants to get business back in the game,’” said at an attendee. “Like, maybe here’s someone who can lead us out of the wilderness.”

Clinton’s remarks were hardly a sweeping absolution for the sins of Wall Street, whose leaders she courted assiduously for financial support over a decade, as a senator and a presidential candidate in 2008. But they did register as a repudiation of some of the angry anti-Wall Street rhetoric emanating from liberals rallying behind the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). And perhaps even more than that, Clinton’s presence offered a glimpse to a future in which Wall Street might repair its frayed political relationships.


December 10, 2013

Navy promoted officer who admitted molesting daughter in lieu of investigation

A Navy officer who admitted to Virginia’s Child Protective Services (CPS) that he sexually abused his 13-year-old daughter has yet to be punished by the service for his actions.

CPS found that the allegations made against the officer — whose name is withheld because his victims are minors — were credible. Though he only confessed to molesting his 13-year-old daughter, his 10-year-old son alleged that the officer had tied him to a chair and forced him to watch as he had intercourse with his current girlfriend.

The charges against the daughter were severe — CPS gave them a Level 1 designation, indicating that the sexual abuse caused the child to “severe harm.” He settled with CPS by admitting to Level 2 sexual abuse, meaning he confessed to having caused his daughter “moderate harm.”

According to the daughter in statements obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, the officer actively molested her for two years before the night he took her into a bedroom, pinned her down and raped her.....

Despite the CPS’s findings and the severity of the punishment it handed down, the Navy declined to prosecute the officer internally, effectively clearing him of all charges. He has received two promotions since being cleared.


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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: 61,782

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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