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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
November 11, 2014

When Liberal Causes Don't Stand a Chance in Washington, Activists Go Local

The same day that brought a slew of new Republican lawmakers into both houses of Congress also saw a host of liberal measures pass in the very states that were voting for GOP candidates. Successful ballot measures legalized marijuana in Oregon and the District of Columbia, raised the minimum wage in four states, and introduced stringent background checks for gun purchases in Washington state. In Colorado, an antiabortion measure to add "unborn human beings" to the state's definition of personhood failed by a margin of more than 20 points.

There's a reason these liberal causes fared well on local ballots, even as more conservatives were voted into Washington. Left-wing activists are pouring their time and money into smaller-scale fights—statewide or more local still—as the prospect of passing federal legislation becomes less likely.

"Given the gridlocked and polarized nature of Washington, it is the states and cities that are leading the way," says Paul Sonn, legal codirector of the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for a higher minimum wage.

Sonn says his organization is spending more and more of its energy on these smaller-scale reforms. "As Washington has proven less functional and able to tackle serious public policy issues, the share of our organizational focus toward state and local campaigns has certainly increased," he says, a trend that he thinks will "absolutely" continue.


November 11, 2014

Motorhead - "1916" (VIDEO)

November 10, 2014

In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

November 10, 2014

Can Republicans hold on to Senate majority in 2016? There’s reason for doubt.

Congratulations, Republicans! You won the Senate majority! Now, can you hold on to it for more than two years?

Looking at the 2016 Senate map, there’s reason for doubt. Republicans will have to defend 24 seats, compared with 10 for Democrats. And the raw numbers don’t even tell the whole story. Seven seats held by Republicans — Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — were carried by President Obama in 2008 and 2012. And there is chatter about potential Republican retirements in Arizona and Iowa. If either John McCain or Chuck Grassley decided to call it a career, each of those races would be major Democratic targets.

On the other side of the coin, Republican takeover opportunities are few and far between. By far, the most endangered Democrat is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived in 2010 but could face Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who won a second term Tuesday with more than 70 percent of the vote. Reid has said he will run again, although his demotion from majority leader to minority leader might make him rethink those plans. The only other Democrat who starts the 2016 cycle in serious jeopardy is freshman Michael Bennet (Colo.), who, like Reid, was a surprise winner in 2010. The convincing win by Cory Gardner (R) over Sen. Mark Udall (D) on Tuesday in the Rocky Mountain State will undoubtedly energize Republicans, though it’s less clear what the GOP bench looks like in a race against Bennet.


November 10, 2014

SF Mayor Ed Lee potentially vulnerable in 2015.

Just weeks after we wondered if anyone of note might oppose Mayor Ed Lee in his 2015 bid to remain in Room 200, we might have an answer. And it's an interesting one: State Senator Mark Leno.

Leno's San Francisco beginnings are humble: he moved to SF in 1977, and opened Budget Signs, a small SF sign company, in 1978. In 1998 he was appointed to the Board of Supes by then-MayorWillie Brown, repping District 8.

From 2002-2008, Leno held the 13th District seat in CA's State Assembly, one of the first openly gay men to do so. Then in 2008, he moved over to the state Senate, covering District 11.

The polls, were this to happen, don't look great for Lee, with a recent survey suggesting a Leno over Lee result of 40 to 36 percent. But, as I have learned from faithful viewing of The Good Wife, poll numbers often favor a non-incumbent when they haven't announced a campaign yet. So grain of salt, etc.


November 10, 2014

David Campos Concedes To David Chiu In Race For San Francisco Assembly Seat

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Supervisor David Campos has conceded the race for the District 17 state assembly seat, his rival Supervisor David Chiu said Thursday evening.

Campos called Thursday to concede, Chiu said in a statement posted to Twitter and Facebook.

“We had a positive conversation and agreed to worktogether in the future for the good of San Francisco,” Chiu said.

According to the San Francisco Department of Elections, Chiu led with more than 51 percent of the vote as of Thursday evening with all precincts reporting.


November 10, 2014

What Marvel's 'Black Panther' Superhero Movie Really Says About America

The Earth didn't shift on its axis last week, so it's safe to assume most people missed the news that Marvel is releasing a Black Panther movie in 2017. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the iconic superhero will be played by Chadwick Boseman, best known for his roles as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up.

The film is slated for a Nov. 3, 2017 release. This is no minor event: When it comes out, Black Panther will represent the first time Marvel Studios — the most prolific comic book movie producer in the U.S. — has released a live-action theatrical feature starring a black hero (Blade, based on the Marvel comic and starring Wesley Snipes, was produced by New Line Cinema.)

This move speaks volumes about the overwhelming whiteness of an industry whose output is consumed by an increasingly multiracial audience. Of course, comic and media consumers have always been a diverse group, but the absence of non-white, LGBT or female main characters has been a special point of contention in recent years.

When T'Challa, king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, made his 1966 Black Panther debut — mere months before the real-life Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was established in Oakland, California, according to Slate — he was the first black character to get his own series with the company.


November 10, 2014

It's been a year since I got rid of my Facebook account.

It was a good decision. I had no idea what a time-suck it was.

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Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
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Current location: San Francisco, CA
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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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