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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
December 31, 2014

Oregon's First Lady Used Staff for Personal Use

Gov. John Kitzhaber's office Monday released select email records showing his fiancé, Cylvia Hayes, tasked his staff with mundane personal responsibilities ranging from helping sneak cats into a hotel room to complaining over a delayed flight.

The 500 pages of records capture communications between Hayes on her personal email accounts and a scheduler in Kitzhaber's office. They were released as the governor's office continues to whittle away at a months-long backlog of public records requests.

The emails, spanning 2013 and part of 2014, are largely routine. In many of the emails, Hayes signs as first lady but also included her company name and contact information.

Earlier records have shown Hayes blurred the line between her public and private roles, such as claiming reimbursement for expenses that appear related to her private business. The records have also suggested that Kitzhaber's office has relaxed its ethical guidelines to allow Hayes more freedom to pursue her work in ways that the governor's attorney, Liani Reeves, considered questionable, such as the use of state-owned Mahonia Hall for Hayes' personal business meetings.


December 31, 2014

N.H. Democrats Prep Kelly Ayotte Challenge

The Republican tide that resulted in a nine-seat Senate gain nearly crested New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen held off a well-funded challenge from former Sen. Scott P. Brown by just 4 points. Combined with the possible Senate candidacy of two-term Gov. Maggie Hassan in a presidential cycle, Shaheen’s ability to hold on despite the midterm headwinds has Democrats in the state feeling an extra dose of optimism about their chances against Ayotte — who Republicans say is a formidable incumbent.

“We withstood the Republican national wave, so there’s a good feeling that in a presidential election year — where lately New Hampshire has been leaning and voting Democratic up and down the ballot — we really have an opportunity in 2016 to take that Senate seat and elect someone who we think will be more in tune with New Hampshire values,” said Kathy Sullivan, a Democratic National Committee member and longtime state party leader.

The person most often mentioned as a likely Democratic challenger is Hassan, who was just re-elected to a second two-year gubernatorial term. Hassan would follow in the recent footsteps of other New Hampshire governors who made the leap to the Senate, including Shaheen and Republican former Sen. Judd Gregg.

Hassan is already being included in head-to-head polling with Ayotte. A New England College automated survey of registered voters on Dec. 1 found Ayotte ahead 48 percent to 43 percent.

Other names floating in Democratic circles as potential candidates include former Gov. John Lynch and Rep. Anne McLane Kuster. When asked in the Capitol last week whether she was thinking about her options for 2016, including running for Senate, Kuster said, “Not yet,” before dashing into an elevator.


December 31, 2014

China watchers see soft landing for economy in 2015

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — For years now, China has been haunted by the spectre of a possible “hard landing,” with fears including a financial collapse and bad-debt crisis, crippling deflation and sharp drop in economic growth that could lead to political instability.

But listen to some of the financial community’s top China-focused analysts, and the situation doesn’t sound so dire.

Yes, the government’s efforts to balance reform with growth may exert a downward pressure, but it will be a “soft landing,” a moderation rather than an outright contraction, with prices to remain stable, or so say the analysts.

Société Générale economist Wei Yao is one such voice predicting a manageable deceleration, describing it as the “new norm,” with “slower economic growth but of better quality.”

While she sees reforms as weakening the government’s long-standing backstop for the economy and markets, “thus adding downside risk,” she also sees Beijing as willing to “mitigate the pain” of such reform via stimulus.


December 31, 2014

My predictions for 2015

Pulled right out my favorite orifice:

1. There will be a significant stock market correction, followed by new highs as the price of oil recovers.

2. Jeb Bush will be a frontrunner for the GOP nomination, but will not break away from one or two others.

3. Barbara Boxer will announce she is not running in 2016, setting off a crowded primary in both parties.

4. Bernie Sanders will fizzle as an alternative to Hillary.

5. Asian economic recovery will be slowed by a stagnant Japan.

6. Left wing parties will be successful throughout Europe.

7. The Liberal Party will win enough seats to form a government in Canada.

8. Ant Man will be the first Marvel movie to flop.

9. Star Wars will disappoint at the box office.

10. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie will fade away as presidential contenders.

11. A Democrat will be elected Gov. of Louisiana.

12. The U.S. job market will heat up as employers find it necessary to hire.

13. New England Patriots will win the Superbowl and Golden States Warriors NBA Champs.

14. Much of the public will tire of social media.

15. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron will dominate the box office.

December 31, 2014

Rep. Loretta Sanchez doesn't rule out bid for U.S. Senate if Barbara Boxer retires

Speculation is growing that Sen. Barbara Boxer, 74, may not seek re-election in 2016, prompting Time magazine to list potential candidates for the job.

Missing from the list is Rep. Loretta Sanchez, but don’t count out the Santa Ana Democrat.

Roll Call reported in 2007 that Sanchez was considering a U.S. Senate run if Boxer stepped down in 2010. And in 2005 Sanchez opened an exploratory committee for a possible 2010 gubernatorial run. So it’s natural she might be considering another statewide bid, such as a run for Boxer’s seat if it’s open.

“We’ve been asked to look at it and it never hurts to look,” she said. “I enjoy my current job representing the people of the 46th Congressional District, but nothing is off the table.”

Time magazine’s online site named 11 possible candidates, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.


December 31, 2014

Wall Street celebrates Occupy's suppression in Hong Kong.

Occupy Central failed to have a lingering effect on Hong Kong. Retail sales grew 4.1% from a year ago to 41.3 billion Hong Kong dollars, much better than the Bloomberg consensus estimate of a 0.2% year-on-year decline.

The gain was broad-based. Retail sales in almost all categories registered faster growth in November versus October. Jewelry and watches saw a 2% year-on-year decline in November, much better than the steep 11.5% decline in October. Clothing and footwear sales fell by 2.6%, versus the 8% decline seen in October. Department stores sales improved by 4.9% in November, versus 0.9% in October. Medicines and cosmetics growth continued to pick up pace, growing by 10% in November, versus 7.6% in October.

Back at the end of August, in a column for Barron’s weekend magazine, I suggested Hong Kong’s retail names were starting to look cheap. I recommended the world’s largest jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook (1929.Hong Kong), department-store operator Lifestyle International (1212.Hong Kong), which runs the Sogo brand, and suggested we avoid cosmetics discounter Sa Sa (178.Hong Kong). See my August 30 column “Hong Kong Retailers on Sale “.


December 31, 2014

Latest email fundraising pitches: You didn't do your part.

Actually, it's more like "We didn't hear form you all year." Yeah. well, I don't have the same job when I used to donate so much money, my kid wasn't in school and I am trying to be more careful with my credit card these days. So until they stop the guilt-trips, I'm taking myself off their mailing lists.

December 29, 2014

If it wasn't for Medicare, my family would be bankrupt.

I just learned that could have happened to my family if not for Medicare. My recently deceased mom had a 10-day hospital stay before she passed and, based on the medical tally, it would be a long, long time before we could have paid it off, if ever. Of course, they had supplemental private insurance to pick up some of the lack, but the vast bulk was covered by a program Republicans love to hate: government medicine (on a sidetone, my dad's friends are urging him to make greater use of some very good VA doctors in Michigan). I will never, EVER tolerate any attack on our core programs or the people who administer them. Thank you, Medicare!

December 22, 2014

Will right wing admit that cop killer was a violent gang member to begin with?

According to Baltimore County police, a female victim described as a former girlfriend of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, was shot , allegedly by Brinsley, inside her apartment on the 10000-block of Mill Run Circle in the early hours of Saturday morning. She had been shot in the abdomen and is expected to survive.

Late Sunday morning police identified her as Shaneka Nicole Thompson, 29, and said she was shot with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. She remained in critical but stable condition at a nearby hospital. Because of her condition, police said detectives have not yet been able to interview her. They, along with NYPD detectives who are on their way to Baltimore, hope to be able to interview her later today if her condition improves. She is expected to survive her injuries.

According to police accounts Brinsley fled the scene before police arrived after the shooting. Detectives later got a hold of Instagram posts by Brinsley that indicated that he had gone to Brooklyn and was posting threats about killing police in retaliation for the choking death of Eric Garner by a NYPD police officer in July.

Unfortunately, as Baltimore Police were contacting the NYPD, Brinsley, 28, was ambushing officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as they sat in their parked squad car. He shot them both in the head.


December 16, 2014

We SF residents in District 3 STILL have no representation.

As mayor of San Francisco, it is Ed Lee's duty to fill the vacancies of supervisor seats. He has yet to do so in this case. And it's not exactly clear why.

Some have said he is waiting because he has yet to figure out who to appoint -- although the rumored top choice is Planning Commission Chairwoman Cindy Wu -- or that he is timing it so his appointee could potentially serve 10 years instead of a mere six.

For the latter to happen, the mayor would need to wait until the afternoon of Jan. 8 to appoint someone so that person can not only serve 10 years but also vote on the board president later that day, according to the City Attorney's Office. A supervisor can only serve two consecutive four-year terms. Under the City Charter, if someone is appointed to serve out a vacated term, it will be counted as a full four-year term only if it the time left is longer than two years.

The president's post is currently being filled on an interim basis by Supervisor Katy Tang, who represents the Sunset.

The board on Nov. 18 elected Tang amid protest that it should wait until Supervisor David Campos was present (he was on vacation) or until Chiu was off the board. The prevailing argument in favor of making a decision early was to ensure there was a seamless transition in leadership.

That rationale seemingly is not shared by the mayor when it comes to appointing vacancies on the board. The board will hold two meetings this month, including Tuesday, without a supervisor representing District 3. The Mayor's Office did not respond to a request for comment Friday.


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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: 62,898

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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