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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
February 6, 2014

San Diego Mayoral Race Will be Close

Though early returns of absentee ballots put Councilman Kevin Faulconer in the driver's seat for the Feb. 11 runoff election for San Diego mayor, the race will be close, according to a study released Monday.

A strong Democratic turnout on Election Day will be needed for his opponent, Councilman David Alvarez, to win, said Vince Vasquez, author of the report for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, a San Diego-based think tank.

He based his conclusion on data gathered from the November special election, in which Faulconer gained the most votes and Alvarez nosed out Nathan Fletcher, and compared them with returns of absentee ballots for the second round of voting.

Political observers have suggested the mayor's race would come down to how many voters Alvarez's candidacy could draw to the polls on Election Day and how many Fletcher voters would opt for Faulconer.

According to Vasquez, increases in the rate of mail ballot returns as of Jan. 31 were greater in precincts that favored Faulconer and Fletcher in November than in neighborhoods that supported Alvarez.

The uptick is more than 10,000 in Faulconer and Fletcher precincts and nearly 6,800 in Alvarez areas, he said.

Also, about 49 percent of GOP ballots were already returned by year's end, compared to 36 percent for Democrats and 28 percent of independents. However, more Democratic ballots overall have been sent back to the county Registrar of Voters office.


February 5, 2014

Anti-gay speaker moonlights as author of violent porn novels

Prominent anti-gay activist and conservative commentator Robert Oscar Lopez has self-published his second book of fictional gay erotica, filled with deeply disturbing depictions of gay sex and rape.

Lopez has become a popular fixture in conservative intellectual circles over the past few years. As a self-identified bisexual whose mother was in a same-sex relationship during his childhood, his extreme brand of homophobic commentary has made him a unique and useful spokesperson for some of the America’s most notorious anti-gay groups and publications. He even testified in opposition to Minnesota’s marriage equality law.

In March of 2013, however, Lopez began self-publishing a series of gay fiction novels titled “Mean Gays.” According to Lopez, the series is meant to encourage gay people to examine their interactions and stop being mean to each other. He even developed a website, Twitter handle, and UStream account to promote the series.

The first book in the series, Johnson Park, is a story about “five gay boys” in New York caught in a ridiculous web of sexual drama and violence. The novel depicted gay men as lonely, depressed, deceptive, and, of course, pedophilic.


February 5, 2014

I have to tip my hat to school janitors.

I don't know anyone else brave enough to clean a boys elementary school bathroom.

February 4, 2014

Kansas pageant winner calls tweets over Coke ad a mistake.

On Monday, Knowles deleted the Coke-related tweets from her Twitter page. She also changed her profile picture and removed the “Miss Kansas” reference. She later posted a statement on her Facebook page:

“I wanted to take a moment to sincerely apologize to anyone that may have been offended by my words. I in no way meant to hurt anyone’s feelings and humbly ask that you please accept my deepest apology,” she wrote.

“Social media has made it even easier to broadcast your opinions faster than you have time to say them out loud. I accept my fault in this action but also ask others to grant me the freedom of that mistake,” she said. “As Ghandi once said, ‘Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.’ ”

Knowles could not be reached for comment Monday.

“I ask that during this time you please respect my privacy,” she wrote. “I am fully aware of the articles, tweets, and Facebook posts and have been monitoring them closely but at this time I feel this should be my only response.”

Knowles’ earlier tweets remained on the Public Shaming blog and continued to be circulated online Monday, prompting one tweeter to post, “Who knew #MissKansas was such a racist?”

Knowles has no affiliation with the Miss Kansas organization in Pratt, the official state preliminary for the Miss America pageant. Officials with the Miss Kansas organization did not return calls or e-mails for comment.

But Monday afternoon, the group posted on its Twitter and Facebook pages: “Miss Kansas 2013 (An Official Miss America State Preliminary) is the beautiful Theresa Marie Vail.”


February 3, 2014

Btw, the woman who wrote American the Beautiful was a lesbian.

Probably best known as the author of the words to "America the Beautiful," Katharine Lee Bates was a prolific poet and a professor of English and head of the English department at Wellesley, where she had been a student in its earliest years.

Her father, a Congregational minister, died when Katharine was less than a month old. Her brothers had to go to work to help support the family, but Katharine was given an education. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1880. She wrote to supplement her income. "Sleep" was published by The Atlantic Monthly during her undergraduate years at Wellesley.

Bates' teaching career was the central interest of her adult life. She believed that through literature, human values could be revealed and developed.

A trip to Colorado in 1893 and the view from Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem, "America the Beautiful," which was published in The Congregationalist two years after she wrote it. The Boston Evening Transcript published a revised version in 1904, and the public adopted the idealistic poem quickly.

Katharine Lee Bates helped found the New England Poetry Club in 1915 and served for a time as its president, and she was involved in a few social reform activities, working for labor reform and planning the College Settlements Association with Vida Scudder. She was raised in the Congregational faith of her ancestors; as an adult, she was deeply religious but could not find a church in whose faith she could be certain.

Katharine Lee Bates lived for twenty-five years with Katharine Coman in a committed partnership that has sometimes been described as a "romantic friendship." Bates wrote, after Coman died, "So much of me died with Katharine Coman that I'm sometimes not quite sure whether I'm alive or not."


February 3, 2014

Why the Coke ad matters.

I know we folks here at DU like to pat ourselves on the backs for being more sophisticated than the rest of the country, but we often lose sight of why a simple thing like a commercial matters as a turning point, Coke has something that most other companies will never have. It's an American institution, for better or worse, with a 100% market penetration. It's as much an national symbol as the flag. And the right wing is melting down because, one by one, their 'merca' is disappearing. And, by the way, not only was it multi-lingual. It also showed a gay family.

February 3, 2014

Feminismís Toxic Twitter Wars

In the summer of 2012, twenty-one feminist bloggers and online activists gathered at Barnard College for a meeting that would soon become infamous. Convened by activists Courtney Martin and Vanessa Valenti, the women came together to talk about ways to leverage institutional and philanthropic support for online feminism. Afterward, Martin and Valenti used the discussion as the basis for a report, “#Femfuture: Online Revolution,” which called on funders to support the largely unpaid work that feminists do on the Internet. “An unfunded online feminist movement isn’t merely a threat to the livelihood of these hard-working activists, but a threat to the larger feminist movement itself,” they wrote.

#Femfuture was earnest and studiously politically correct. An important reason to put resources into online feminism, Martin and Valenti wrote, was to bolster the voices of writers from marginalized communities. “Women of color and other groups are already overlooked for adequate media attention and already struggle disproportionately in this culture of scarcity,” they noted. The pair discussed the way online activism has highlighted the particular injustices suffered by transgender women of color and celebrated the ability of the Internet to hold white feminists accountable for their unwitting displays of racial privilege. “A lot of feminist dialogue online has focused on recognizing the complex ways that privilege shapes our approach to work and community,” they wrote.

The women involved with #Femfuture knew that many would contest at least some of their conclusions. They weren’t prepared, though, for the wave of coruscating anger and contempt that greeted their work. Online, the Barnard group—nine of whom were women of color—was savaged as a cabal of white opportunists. People were upset that the meeting had excluded those who don’t live in New York (Martin and Valenti had no travel budget). There was fury expressed on behalf of everyone—indigenous women, feminist mothers, veterans—whose concerns were not explicitly addressed. Some were outraged that tweets were quoted without the explicit permission of the tweeters. Others were incensed that a report about online feminism left out women who aren’t online. “Where is the space in all of these #femfuture movements for people who don’t have internet access?” tweeted Mikki Kendall, a feminist writer who, months later, would come up with the influential hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

Martin was floored. She’s long believed that it’s incumbent on feminists to be open to critique—but the response was so vitriolic, so full of bad faith and stubborn misinformation, that it felt like some sort of Maoist hazing. Kendall, for example, compared #Femfuture to Rebecca Latimer Felton, a viciously racist Southern suffragist who supported lynching because she said it protected white women from rape. “It was really hard to engage in processing real critique because so much of it was couched in an absolute disavowal of my intentions and my person,” Martin says.


February 3, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier!!

I love this teaser.

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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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