American taxpayers officially on the hook for a 1.7 mile tunnel in SF

I blogged earlier this week about the fact that San Francisco, which is broke, was trying to find $137 million so that the feds would provide it with almost $1 billion dollars in funds to build a 1.7 mile subway tunnel.  Federal money, of course, is your money.  This is not money belonging to beleaguered San Francisco taxpayers, who could move elsewhere if they no longer want to fund the madness.  This money — almost $1 billion — comes from you, the American taxpayer, no matter where you live.  There’s nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.

Of course, had San Francisco been unable to find $137 million in its empty coffers, the feds would have kept the money to spend on some other boondoggle.  But we, the taxpayers, weren’t so lucky.  By hook and by crook, SF has located the cash:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and transportation officials say they have found the $137 million the Municipal Transportation Agency needs to secure $942 million in federal funds for the Central Subway project.

Read more here.  And if you’re a Californian, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that $106 million of that $137 million came from state bonds.  Oh, yeah!

Just so everyone is clear here, we’re talking about a $1.6 billion cost for a 1.7 mile stretch of subway — or, almost $100 million per every one-tenth of a mile to dig a long (and functional) hole in the ground.  Also, as I mentioned in my earlier post, all of this building and funding and boondoggling comes at a time when public transportation ridership in San Francisco is dropping.  Oh, yeah!

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

We’ll spend your money no matter what

I wasn’t paying attention to this, but it turns out that San Francisco, which already has a fairly comprehensive public transportation system, wants another 1.7 miles underground — at a cost of $1.6 billion.  Think about it.  That cost is almost one million one hundred million for every tenth of a mile.

Now, I know you’re all thinking what I’m thinking:  If San Franciscans are fool enough to spend that kind of money on 1.7 miles, that’s their problem.  Except it isn’t.  You see, the feds have stepped in.  They committed $942 million of that amount (way more than half), and have already given the City $72 million.

What makes it even worse is that (a) the City has no money to meet even its own obligations; and (b) the City’s public transportation ridership is falling, not rising.  What’s fascinating is that, despite these hurdles, which one would assume would doom the project, San Francisco is working hard to find the funds (where, I don’t know), and go forward.

As I said, if San Francisco wants to dig a deep economic hole in order to dig another hole under the City, so be it.  What hacks me is that I’m funding this Progressive boondoggle.  Arrgh!

Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco

From today’s Chron:

Soon-to-be-dethroned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have been a favorite target of Republican candidates in the midterm elections Nov. 2 – by one count more than 400 of their ads featured her as the enemy – but voters in her famously liberal home turf of San Francisco still love her.

A look at election results in the city showed her with the highest support, percentagewise, of any candidate running for state or federal office. Pelosi, who is vying to become the House minority leader in the 112th Congress, claimed 79.97 percent support in her re-election bid.

That was a tad higher than incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who secured 79.85 percent of San Francisco’s vote, according to the latest election results.

Jerry Brown, in his bid for governor, grabbed 78.71 percent of the vote. Support dropped for Mayor Gavin Newsom. He secured 75.41 percent of the San Francisco vote in his race for lieutenant governor.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, meanwhile, won 70.87 percent backing from city voters. By the way, with the exception of Harris, all the Democratic candidates mentioned above won. The outcome of Harris’ race against GOP rival Steve Cooley is still too close to call.

Keep those numbers in mind as you peruse Zombie’s latest post, this one taking you on a wild ride through behavior not only tolerated, but encouraged, in Pelosi’s San Francisco. (Serious content warning: Do not read Zombie’s post in a public place or with children around. Be aware, though, that every single picture Zombie includes took place openly on the streets of San Francisco.)

All of the ugliness Zombie documents takes place in a City that is falling apart, clearly with the active encouragement of the vast majority of its citizens.  Last week, I had occasion to make four separate trips to the City.  Each was unpleasant.

The first trip, I got a flat tire from broken glass in the street.  I know that can happen anywhere, but it’s more likely along the Market Street stretch I had to travel.

The second trip, I found myself at a corner that boasted both a stop sign and a red light.  This was ludicrous, confusing and, therefore, dangerous.  This is manic control run amok.

The third trip, I almost got a ticket when I parked at what appeared to be a non-metered space.  Half the block had parking meters; half the block, the part where I was parking, didn’t.  It was only because a nice pedestrian warned me that I learned that there was an electronic kiosk about 25 feet away from my car that sold parking passes for the car’s dashboard.  Other than that word of mouth tip, there were no signs at all warning that, while half the block had old-fashioned meters, the other half had switched to a computer system.

The fourth trip, my husband and I were walking down Gough Street towards the Opera House at dusk.  Between the failing light and the broken and dimmed street lights, it was impossible to avoid the hazards of pitted, jagged, broken uneven sidewalk.  It was only because we’re in good shape, with decent balance, that the two of us avoided a painful tumble.  I won’t even describe the smell of urine and sewage that kept wafting up towards us as we walked along.

Welcome to Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco.

No circumcisions in SF?

If one man has his way, San Francisco voters will be able to ban circumcision in San Francisco:

His proposed measure would “make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18,”

[snip]

Under the proposed measure circumcising a boy would result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Right now it’s a weird little story but, this being San Francisco, I actually don’t see him having that much trouble getting the 7,100 signatures he needs to make it a ballot initiative.

For those of my readers clutching their crotches right now, it’s worth noting that, in addition to being an integral part of the Jewish faith, not to mention a very ordinary American practice, that there is one distinct advantage to circumcision:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, circumcision has been associated with a lower risk for HIV infection in international studies and clinical trials, and serious complications with circumcision are rare.

I recognize that the nature of circumcision is such that the baby has no say in a procedure that affects him for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, I can’t escape the feeling that this is not a matter that should be legislated away, regardless of whether one is pro- or anti-circumcision.

Socialist governments just LOVE to control food

As Jonah Goldberg pointed out in Liberal Fascism, socialists, as part of their ongoing effort to perfect mankind, are obsessed with food intake.  The Nazis were especially focused on purifying the Aryan body.

Now, I’m not likening the San Francisco Board of Stupidvisors to the Nazis — God forbid! — but I am pointing out that they are completely in line with the socialist obsession with controlling humans, not just from cradle to grave, but from mouth to rectum as well.  How else to explain that the Stupes have voted overwhelmingly to prevent San Francisco consumers from buying McDonald’s Happy Meals if they feel so inclined.

First they came for the salt, and I didn’t say anything, because I’m dont’ use too much salt in my food.  Then they came for the Happy Meals, and I didn’t say anything, because I prefer McDonald’s chicken strips.  And then they came for the chocolate, and there was no one left to speak, because they’d all been sent to food reeducation camp and were completely apathetic from hunger and sensory deprivation.

Info about friends of Israel gathering for a counter-protest in San Francisco

Word got out that ANSWER, a Communist front group, is planning a protest at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco today (June 1), so Stand With Us in San Francisco is trying to gather for a counter-protest.  So, the email you see below is from a group friendly to Israel, giving information about ANSWER’s protest, and what to expect:

Of course, everyone is aware of the recent events involving Israel’s interception of so-called “peace activists” on the Gaza flotilla; some of these “peace activists” attacked Israeli soldiers with knives, crowbars and poles which led to deaths and injuries.

Anti-Israel groups led by International ANSWER are holding a protest in front of the Israeli Consulate building in San Francisco (456 Montgomery Street) Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 PM. SWU/SF Voice for Israel is going to be there to counter them. We will have some flags and signs, please feel free to bring your own as well. If you choose to bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians in general. Signs in violation of our policies do not help the pro-Israel cause and will not be allowed.

Please be aware of the possibility that some of the so-called “peace activists” here in the Bay Area may not be any more peaceful than their counterparts on the Turkish boat; use common sense and avoid engaging with those on the other side as you arrive or leave the area.

We will be updating you on the status of protests at Israel in the Gardens as we become aware of them. We hope that the SFPD will recognize the need to keep anti-Israel protestors away from the gates of the festival.

Finally, we are including this excellent summary prepared by the Northwest (Seattle) chapter of StandWithUs as an information resource.

Friends,

As most of you have already heard, there was a major altercation at sea between the Israeli navy and a flotilla of vessels attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

This flotilla was purely a PR effort by groups that support Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel currently allows 15,000 tons humanitarian aid per day into Gaza, more than a ton of aid per person in Gaza every year.

After Israel issued numerous warnings before the flotilla left the Turkish portion of Cyprus that it would stop the flotilla and after numerous warnings at sea by the Israeli naval ships that intercepted the vessels (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4&feature=player_embedded to see a video of the Israeli navy warning the flotilla ships to stop), the flotilla refused to change course. Israel had told the flotilla that if they docked at Ashdod, Israel would transport all the humanitarian aid on their ships to Gaza, but that Israel would not let the flotilla carry the goods to Gaza because it had to inspect the cargo to ensure that there were neither weapons nor weapon-producing or tunnel constuction materials on board.

The flotilla ignored these numerous warnings. After the flotilla continued toward Gaza despite of the warnings by the Israeli navy that they would board the flotilla, Israeli navy commandos did begin to board the flotilla ships.

When the Israeli commandos boarded the ships, demonstrators attacked them with live gunfire as well as with knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators threw at least one of the Israeli commandos from the top deck to the deck below (a 30 foot drop). All the while, the Israeli commandos were yelling to each other “No shooting! No weapons!” Only after what you can see in on YouTube (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU12KW-XyZE&feature=player_embedded#! to see this astonishing video), did the Navy authorize the use of weapons.

Tragically, it is reported that at least 10 demonstrators died and others were wounded. All wounded were flown to Israeli hospitals. Numerous Israeli naval commandos were gravely wounded as well. They, too, were taken to Israeli hospitals. The ships were escorted in to Ashdod, from where any humanitarian aid will be taken to Gaza by Israel.

For StandWithUs’ s statement on the Gaza Flotilla incident, go to http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1444.

For background facts and videos from Honest Reporting Canada showing “Gaza Flotilla” members attacking Israeli naval commandos, go to http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/specialhralert53020.aspx.

For an eye witness account “A Brutal Ambush at Sea,” by Ron Ben-Yishai of Ynet News, go to http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html

For an excellent summary and background, see the materials put together by The Jewish Federations of North America go to http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=221579.

A message for San Francisco GOPers

I’m not a San Francisco voter, nor am I familiar with the GOP in that District.  (All I know is that stalwart SF GOPers must truly be of hardy stock.)  Having received this email, however, I wanted to pass it on to you, for what it’s worth.  It’s not an endorsement (because I don’t know Ed Sheppard at all, so any endorsement would be meaningless), but it’s certainly information those of you in the City should have:

Hello,

I know you have all probably been getting a lot of political emails lately, so I apologize for adding one more to your inbox. But as many of you know, during this June, along with voting in primaries for Governor, Senate, Congress, Assembly and other offices, Republicans everywhere will be electing their county Central Committees, including here in San Francisco. These races usually do not get much attention, but they are important, because these 25 people who are elected will be in charge of the SFGOP for 2 years. And since all politics are local, its very important that our local party is a strong one.

As many of you may also know, I am running for the SFGOP. And I would like to ask for your support in that run. Normally in a election, when someone running for ANY office asks for your support, they are really asking for money. Not me. I will only be spending $100 on online advertising, and not one dime will come from me begging people for cash. So then what do I mean by asking for your support?

1) If you’re in my district, please vote for Edwin G. Sheppard (yes, that is how my name will appear on the ballot)
2) Forward the link to my “campaign” website to your SF Republican friends: http://eshep2010.wordpress.com/
3) Check out my website. It was completely free.

As I mentioned previously, Central Committee races, especially the Republican one in San Francisco, do not get much attention. This is probably the only email you will receive about a Central Committee race; if you tell a friend about it, it might be the only time they hear about a Central Committee race. Word of mouth, therefore, plays a big role in Central Committee races; even telling just 5 people about it is a big contribution.

Thanks in advance (hopefully) for you help and support!

Ed

Saner heads are trying to prevail in San Francisco

At least one less extreme Democrat in San Francisco is very worried about the hardcore Leftism that has taken root and flourished in the City.  A City that was always to the lefter side of the political spectrum now has the potential to devolve into the kind of ideological Leftism that will destroy the City’s financial infrastructure:

Moderate Democrats in San Francisco often complain that far-left politicians don’t represent their values. Middle-class families are frustrated that their concerns – like safe streets – are undermined by ideologues with wild claims of a “police state.” Developers are exasperated when their projects are subjected to endless delays, even when the property has been a vacant eyesore for years.

[snip]

The next two months will see a battle for the political soul of the city. It will pit the progressives against the moderates in a face-off that will have huge implications in the November elections and, perhaps, the election of the next mayor. The key is control of an obscure but incredibly influential organization called the Democratic County Central Committee.Rather than complaining about the direction of the city, middle-of-the-road Democrats have to get active. They have to vote in the June DCCC election and they have to do their homework on the candidates to learn if they represent moderate values.

[snip]

The DCCC endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean a win in every election – it just seems to work out that way. In 2008, the DCCC went 6-for-6 in supervisor races (the seventh, Ross Mirkarimi, used to belong to the Green Party and was not eligible for a Democratic endorsement) and 3-for-4 in the school board elections.

That’s no surprise. San Francisco is a liberal Democrat town. When the official voice of the local Democratic committee sends out recommendations in mailers – and it has a nearly unlimited budget to do so – voters listen.

[snip]

“Aaron Peskin is building a political machine that would make Willie Brown blush,” Wiener said.

Campos scoffs at that idea.

“We don’t sit around trying to figure out what we, as a machine, should do,” he said. “I talk to everybody.”

Maybe so, but with the DCCC’s unmistakable power, a progressive voting majority will guarantee endorsements of far-left candidates in the November elections for supervisor. And remember, if Gavin Newsom leaves office as mayor, the supervisors will elect his successor. The stakes are huge.

The election for the DCCC is in June. You should be sure to vote. And you should make sure you know who you are voting for.

You can read the whole thing here.

Only San Franciscans, of course, can appreciate a world in which Obama is a centrist.  You and I think of him has having grabbed the country and dragged it far left, but San Franciscans understand that, at the local level, it can get even worse.

San Francisco protests on a silver platter

I’m all for reducing pollution, but we don’t need a trumped-up excuse like “climate change” in order to achieve a cleaner environment. Minimizing pollution is a legitimate goal which stands on its own merits; concocting hysterical disaster scenarios (such as those shown in An Inconvenient Truth) only serves to undermine any credibility the environmental and conservation movements once had.

That’s Zombie speaking, in the first of a four chapter journey through a day of protests in San Francisco.  Zombie covers environmentalists protesting environmentalists, madcaps trying to crash a Tea Party, the Tea Party itself and an SEIU Immigration Amnesty protest.  One can say many things about the City (and I often do), but it’s certainly never boring.  Find out for yourself.  Pull up a comfortable chair in front of your computer, and let Zombie do the walking.

P.S.  If you’d like more visuals and some audio of the SF Tea Party, check out Fund 47.

Sometimes it takes a little while for the illogic to sink in

I’m in San Francisco on a fairly regular basis, which has given me ample time to see, repeatedly, ads on the side of MUNI buses.  I can’t remember the wording, since I only see these ads for instants at a time, but they pretty much say, “Fill out the census, so that we know how many buses we need.”  I’ve hated the ad since I first saw it but, as I said, I only saw it in microseconds driving by and, until yesterday, couldn’t put my finger on the flaw in it.

Then, it hit me:  the number of buses needed is driven by the number riders, not by number of citizens.  No matter the number of citizens, if they’re not taking the bus, you don’t need new ones.  MUNI’s own ridership statistics should be driving bus purchases or disposal.  If MUNI is relying on the census to determine the size of its fleet (sort of a bus quota), it’s yet another government organization that is not functioning at maximum efficiency.

Who knew that downtown San Francisco had a protectable ecosystem?

I spent many years working in downtown San Francisco.  Indeed, more to the point for this article, I spent many years working in the Transamerica Pyramid.  I know the area well.  It is entirely urban, in that it is an amalgam of high rises, low rises, and some trees planted on the sidewalks in little patches carved out of the cement.  The Pyramid building itself has behind it a small, man-made garden featuring some redwood trees.  They are nice redwood trees, but they are mere trees, as opposed to the ancient giants found in Sequoia National Park, Muir Woods, or Redwood National Park.  The Pyramid borders on North Beach, the City’s Italian district, as well as what remains of the old Barbary Coast.  It is a nice area but it is, again, decidedly urban.

You’d think, therefore, that environmentalists would find the Pyramid and its environs uninteresting.  If you thought that, though, you’d be wrong.  Just yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Stupidvisors knocked down a planned development for an area next to the Pyramid in significant part on environmental grounds.  That is, they didn’t just vote it down on aesthetic grounds (reasonable given the Pyramids now-iconic stature, not to mention the proximity of historic North Beach and the Barbary Coast), nor was traffic a primary consideration (also reasonable given existing transportation chaos downtown).  That would have been too easy.  Instead, they denied an urban building in an urban area in large part because of ecosystem concerns.  I’m not kidding:

A developer’s plan to erect a 38-story condominium tower next to San Francisco’s landmark Transamerica Pyramid was knocked down by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday night.

After nearing five hours of public testimony from dozens of speakers on both sides of the debate, the board voted 10-0 to overturn the Planning Commission’s determination last month that the project’s environmental impact report was adequate, accurate and complete.

“This EIR is fatally flawed,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “It doesn’t acknowledge the significant cumulative impacts of wind, of shadows, on transportation, on parking, on transit, on aesthetics,”

[snip]

Among the project opponents were the Sierra Club, San Francisco Tomorrow and Aaron Peskin, the former president of the Board of Supervisors who got his political start in the city’s development wars. They said the state-mandated environmental impact study submitted by the developer did not adequately address such issues as the creation of new shadows, wind tunnels, the effect on migrating birds, the fate of nearby redwood trees, traffic and visual aesthetics.

Shadows?  Migrating birds?  Redwood trees?  This is an urban area.  It already has shadows, the migrating birds have successfully dodged buildings for decades, and the redwood trees are a man planted garden.  For those reasons, though, the Stupidvisors are going to stop a project that could otherwise be a very delightful and useful addition to a neighborhood that is a nice amalgam of housing, business, residential and shopping.

I don’t have a problem with zoning restrictions.  I think it’s nice that my home isn’t near porn shops and heavy industry, nor do I need to worry about those businesses moving in some time in the future.  I don’t have a problem when a city that has a “cute/historical” franchise, one that attracts tourists because it’s lovely to look at, works hard to maintain the city’s unique character.  That character, after all, has a cash value.  I also don’t have a problem with protecting our environment to a reasonable extent.  Putting aside the loopy-loo Global Warming crowd, there is much to be said for clean air, clean water, and a civilized sharing of space with nature.

Having said all that, though, I do have a problem when a city treats it’s downtown as if it’s a national park, rather than a cement filled, heavily built-up, decidedly urban area that hasn’t been a real home to nature for more than 100 years.  Once a city does that, one begins to suspect that those who think this way are not motivated by love for the environment but, instead, wish to see humans reduced once again to the level of Stone Age cave dwellers.

Latest word on the San Francisco Tea Party

The beauty of a Tea Party in San Francisco is that this is home turf for Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein.  It makes a real impact if their own home town makes a showing against the policies these three gals advance.  Here’s the latest news.

SAN FRANCISCO TEA PARTY UPDATE

1.  VENUE

  • The San Francisco Tea Party will take place at Union Square on April 15th from 4 pm until 7 pm.
  • I suggest arriving before 4:00.  Some folks are even making a day of it with shopping and lunch, followed by TEA, of course.

  • If anyone has any doubt as to the significance of a Tea Party in San Francisco, just remind them that Speaker Pelosi “represents” this district.  Given the close ties between socialism and San Fran, the more we have, the more noise we make, the stronger our message.  Spread the word and bring your friends.  Make an effort to stop by after work–we arranged the time this year to accommodate working tea partiers.   Don’t ever think YOU won’t make a difference.  EVERY BODY COUNTS!

2.  SPEAKERS AND GUESTS

  • Political Satirist, Eric Golub, will entertain us with his keen sense of humor and believe me, we could all use some humor right now.
  • Officer Vic from KSFO will join us as well!
  • Melanie Morgan, former KSFO talk radio host and patriot extraordinaire, who was with us last year, will rally with us again! She’s baaack!
  • ALL of YOU will have time to step up to the astroturf and take to the mic!
  • Lukas Hansen will sing the Star Spangled Banner and Celestial City, from the GroupaPalooza, will also entertain us with their sublime voices.  

3. THEME

  • One Year Later…Are you better off?
  • All of the usual: limited govt, lower taxes, individual liberty, free markets, fiscal responsibility and NO to ObamaCare!
  • No inappropriate signage–stick to the message.  No matter how much you personally might want to focus on O’s birth certificate or his fascist tendencies, this is not the event for that and, as experience has shown, the press will only focus on the one or two signs like that and miss the point of the protest completely.  We will ask you to leave or put down your sign if you show up off topic or with inappropriate signage.

4.  TRANSPORTATION

  • Union square is accessible by BART.
  • You can take the Ferry from the North Bay and then walk about 10-15 minutes or take BART.
  • Drive and Park:
    • Union Square Garage

333 Post Street (between Powell and Stockton, entrance on Geary). 397-0631.

Underneath Union Square and can take elevator right up to the event.

($3.50 up to 1 hr; $7.00 for 1-2 hrs; $10.50 for 2-3 hrs; $14 for 3-4 hrs; $18 for 4-5 hrs; $22 for 5-6 hrs).

  • Sutter Stockton Garage

444 Stockton Street

($3.00 up to 1 hr; $6 for 1-2 hrs; $9 for 2-3 hrs; $12 for 3-4 hrs; $15 for 4-5 hrs; $18 for 5- 6 hrs).

  • Try to carpool! I know the parking is an added cost, but it costs money to be in Pelosi’s hometown.  Some tea parties are requiring hefty donations so it could be worse! If you REALLY want to come and cannot afford it, please let me know and we’ll try to help by either finding you a ride or helping you with a contribution.

5.  TEE SHIRTS

Please wear your BAP T-shirts not only to show solidarity but to help us control and identify infiltrators.  You can also wear your own red T-shirt.  If you want a BAP T, but cannot afford one, let me know. Why red?  We’re taking the country back and we’re taking red back…away from the socialist and ACORN!

Tees will be on sale at the event, but I strongly suggest you pre-order. They sell out fast!

If you want to pre-order, send an email to me at sally@bayareapatriots.comcastbiz.net, put Tee in the subject heading, give me your name, the quantity and sizes (S, M, L, XL and XXL).  Order early so I can order more if necessary.  Cost: $15 per Tee.

6.  WHAT TO BRING

–BAP or other red T-shirt.

–A video camera if you can.  [Bookworm speaking:  We know from the protest in Washington that everything needs to be documented to prevent slander.]

–Great, witty, poignant, respectful signage.

–A sense of humor.

–A love of country.

7.  BATHROOMS

There are no bathrooms in the square, BUT, there are some great ones conveniently located in the following locations:

Macy’s: Enter Macy’s main entrance on Geary and proceed to elevators.  Go 2 floors down.  You are in the food court.  It’s behind Ben ‘n Jerry’s.

Saks:  Enter Saks on the corner of Post and Powell.  Take elevators to 3rd floor and make a left.

Westfield Center: This is much further but if you feel like a good stroll, go down Powell and cross Market.  Downstairs in the food court.

8.  HANDICAPPED/ADA ACCESS

There is ADA access on all the corners except Geary and Stockton.

9.  ENTRANCE AND T-SHIRT PICK UP

Try to enter on Powell Street.  Look for the big KSFO tent. We will be there!

10.  CANDIDATES

Candidates! Bring Your Own Table and set up your campaign literature/interface with attendees–free of charge!  You must RSVP to me and receive confirmation from me in order to set up your table. We only have a certain amount of space, so I will take names in the order received and will let you know if you can set up the table.  Tables must be no larger than 4 feet…and I recommend bringing a light one that is easy for you to carry.

11.  RESET 2010

If you have RESET 2010 merchandise, wear it! The upshot of this tea party is “No, you are not better off!  The solution is to Reset the Congress in 2010!!”  If you are interested in purchasing RESET 2010 merchandise, there will be a table at the event.   You can pre-order by contacting info@RESET2010.org.

It sounds like it will be a wonderful and inspiring event, and I greatly regret that I cannot be there.

If you’d like to protest gay activists who support Islam (which wants to kill them)

You and I know the incredible peculiarities of the Leftist world, which sees feminists ignoring sharia’s worst outrages and gay activists who are out in full cry trying to establish a fully Muslim Middle East, a place in which the only good gay activist will be a dead gay activist.  As to the latter, there is a protest in San Francisco, so I’m forwarding this email for those who are interested in attending:

1. Counterprotest this Thursday, April 8, 6 PM, Roxie Theater, 16th and Valencia, San Francisco.

“Out in Israel” is an LGBT cultural festival taking place in San Francisco during the month of April, sponsored in part by the Israeli Consulate, the San Francisco and East Bay Federations, JCRC, BlueStarPR, and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. “Out In Israel” showcases some of the best of Israeli LGBT cultural creation: art, literature, film, drama, food, dance, progressive thought and intellectual debate. The celebration includes a Hebrew language LGBT film series, theatrical and musical performances by prominent Israeli artists, cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, literary readings, and panels discussions on LGBT culture in Israel and Zionist perspectives.

This Thursday, April 8 a local anti-Israel group called QUIT (“Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism”) will be protesting outside the Roxie Theater (16th and Valencia Streets, San Francisco) where the festival will have its opening night films. Yes, an LGBT group will be protesting Israel, the one country in the region that does not persecute LGBT individuals and groups. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, a place where LGBT Palestinians flee to seek refuge from the Islamists who harrass, torture and kill them. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, the country that that has openly gay members in its government and military. They will be supporting the agenda of Iran, a country whose leader claims it has no gays– while it publicly hangs them.

They hate Israel so much that they will not say one word about the persecution that they themselves would suffer in Gaza or Ramallah.

StandWithUs/ SF Voice for Israel will be there to stand up for Israel. We will meet at 6 PM in front of the Roxie. Look for the Israeli flags. We will have appropriate signs for this occasion as well as lots of flags. If you bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians. Signs in violation of our policies will not be allowed.

We understand that some of our members do not agree with Israel’s policies towards LGBT rights. However, we will continue to support Israel in this regard and, at the same time, we look forward to your support in our other activities.

Please note that parking in this area is very limited. The theatre is one block west of the 16th and Mission BART, and 4 blocks from the Church Street Muni Metro.

GENERAL NOTES FOR RALLY BEHAVIOR- PLEASE READ:

Please BE PROFESSIONAL for Israel.

Please avoid signs that are offensive and will alienate press and passers by.

We will have enough signs with strong messages for you to hold, and you can choose from many messages. Please return all signs and flags at the end of the rally.

Please follow police orders.

Please don’t engage the other side.

Please avoid shouting epithets across the street.

They cannot hear you, and it really makes us all look like we are extremists or unreasonable. REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE THE EXTREMISTS– LET’S MAKE THEM LOOK THAT WAY!

At no point should you stand in the street.

If you will talk to press, please be professional and only speak to them if you are very knowledgeable.

We will have designated people prepared to speak to the press, it would be better if you would please refer press to designated

people who will be identified.

At the end of the rally people should leave in groups and avoid engaging those on the other side who may be prone to violence.

GOALS:

To get half of any media coverage that might show up.

To educate people about Israel’s strategic threats, and Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

To specifically educate people about LGBT rights and freedoms in Israel.

To let the other side know that they will not have a free pass as they organize to attack Israel on the streets of the Bay Area.

We will bring educational materials about the Gaza War for distribution as well.

THANK YOU and we will look forward to seeing you this Thursday. Bring your friends!

San Francisco Tea Party on April 15

Here are the latest details on the San Francisco Tea Party, from Tea Party organizer Sally Zelikovsky.  Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town (I always am when these roll around, and it’s truly not on purpose), but I urge any of you within reasonable distance to attend.  After all, San Francisco is Nancy Pelosi’s home turf:

1. LOCATION AND TIME

  • The San Francisco Tea Party will take place at Union Square (NOT Justin Herman Plaza) on April 15th from 4 pm until 7 pm. We changed the location as a favor to the City of SF, building good will and providing them w/ an opportunity to make a considerable amount of the money for a weeklong event at JHP.
  • I suggest arriving before 4:00…from around 3:00 on. Some folks are even making a day of it with shopping and lunch, followed by TEA, of course.
  • There are nice bathrooms in Macy’s and Sak’s–exact location details will follow closer to the date.
  • If anyone has any doubt as to the significance of a Tea Party in San Francisco, just remind them that Speaker Pelosi “represents” this district. Given the close ties between socialism and San Fran, the more we have, the more noise we make, the stronger our message. Spread the word and bring your friends. Make an effort to stop by after work–we arranged the time this year to accommodate working tea partiers. Don’t ever think YOU won’t make a difference. EVERY BODY COUNTS!

If you cannot make it to SF, there are other tea parties in Sacramento, San Mateo, Pleasanton and San Jose.

2. SPEAKERS

  • Political Satirist, Eric Golub, will entertain us w/ his keen sense of humor and believe you me, we could all use some humor right now. That doesn’t take away from the seriousness of this event–just enhances it!
  • Someone from KSFO will join us as well and I am working on one other.
  • Of course, the people will have time to speak and participate.
  • Lukas Hansen will sing the Star Spangled Banner and Celestial City, from the GroupaPalooza, will also entertain us with their sublime voices.

3. THEME

  • One Year Later…Are you better off?
  • All of the usual: limited govt, lower taxes, individual liberty, free markets, fiscal responsibility and NO to ObamaCare!
  • No inappropriate signage–stick to the message. No matter how much you personally might want to focus on O’s birth certificate or his fascist tendencies, this is not the event for that and, as experience has shown, the press will only focus on the one or two signs like that and miss the point of the protest completely. We will ask you to leave or put down your sign if you show up off topic or with inappropriate signage.

4. TRANSPORTATION

From North Bay: Drive and Park (details to come) or take the Ferry and walk (about 10 minutes).

From East Bay: Drive and Park or take the BART.

From South Bay: Drive and Park.

The politics of City budgets in liberal cities *UPDATED*

I’ve noted before that San Francisco (consistent with Democratic-run cities and states everywhere) is terribly cash-strapped.  But politics will always trump practicality.  Exactly one month ago, despite the fact that the school district is pretty much broke, the Board of Education voted, not just to cut education programs quite drastically, but also to put into place a brand-new, expensive gay rights program.

Now, despite trembling on the verge of fiscal bankruptcy (I think it’s already crossed the verge into moral bankruptcy), the city is planning on sending good money after bad by keeping afloat a LGBT community center that has been a money loser since the day it opened:

Eight years after opening with great fanfare, San Francisco’s city-subsidized, $12.3 million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center is on the verge of foreclosure – and is asking the cash-strapped city for a $1 million line of credit to help bail it out.

And from the looks of things, the center will probably get it.

The thinking: The city has already spent about $5.7 million on the building at Market and Octavia streets and needs to “make sure it doesn’t go under,” said Supervisor David Campos, who along with fellow gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty is seeking approval of a $1 million “mortgage relief” fund.

Even that, however, might not be enough to save the center.

According to a new report by the Board of Supervisors budget analyst, the center could need even more public funds to cover the nearly $3 million that it still owes on its mortgage.

“Clearly, it’s unprecedented,” Campos said of the bailout proposal. “But I do believe there is something unique about the role the LGBT Center plays – not only in the life of the community, but the entire city.”

Located at the gateway to the Castro district, the LGBT Center and its staff of 24 offers everything from counseling and job training to HIV prevention and arts programs. Of its $1.8 million budget, $777,000 consists of city contracts.

But the center has never made the money it expected from renting out rooms to community groups, and with the recession there has been a drop-off in contracts and in contributions from foundations and individuals.

This is the difference, of course, between the real world and the tax payer supported political world.  In the real world, if something doesn’t work, even something beloved and symbolic, the person in charge of finances (whether household or business) bids that something, whatever that “something” is, a reluctant farewell.  In the world of politics — or, at least, the world of liberal politics, which sees every taxpayer as an endless money spigot — finance-draining programs just keep going on going.

We see the same thing in the protests regarding cuts at the University of California.  Unlike the protests in the 1960s, which were at least draped in vaguely altruistic colors (never mind that the college boys were mostly trying to avoid the draft as they opposed the “imperialist” Vietnam War), the current round of protests has simply seen a lot of spoiled kids whining that less government money will flow to them.  They seem unperturbed that there is, simply, less government money to flow anywhere.  These kids have been raised with their mouths firmly latched on to the government teat, and they’re going to be damned before they stop demanding an unending flow.  That the animal attached to the teat is dying from being over-milked is a petty inconvenience.

UPDATE:  Per the Wall Street Journal, we learn that those college kids would have done better to picket union headquarters.

San Francisco School Board cuts academic programs to fund gay rights at school

Two days ago, I brought to your attention the fact that the San Francisco School Board — despite facing a $113 million dollar budget shortfall over the next two years, despite its admission that it will be cutting summer school and academic programs, and despite the fact that there has not been a sudden outbreak of extreme prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) students in San Francisco’s public schools — was seriously contemplating putting into place a whole new program aimed at tracking discrimination against the GLBT crowd and at educating the San Francisco student population to drop words such as “dyke,” “fag” and “queer” from its insult lexicon (although I’ll just note here that all those words are very “in” with the Queer activist crowd).

I was careful to point out that this program was simply the subject of debate at the Board meeting.  To be honest, I thought it would die on the vine, because even San Francisco politicians can’t be so crazy that they’ll openly undermine academic programs during a budget shortfall while simultaneously creating a whole new layer of costly victim class bureaucracy.  But as Mencken should have said, “No one ever went broke underestimating Progressives’ pathological need to tax the public to obtain reparations for self-defined PC victim groups.”  And so, in a turn of events that appears to have surprised even the SF Chronicle‘s reporter, the San Francisco School Board turned its back on the academic needs of the majority of the students trapped in San Francisco’s mediocre public schools, and pandered:

The San Francisco school board added to the district’s massive $113 million shortfall over the next two years by voting Tuesday night to fund a substantial increase in instruction and services related to gay and lesbian issues.

Though the district is facing layoffs and significant program cuts, board members unanimously agreed that the estimated $120,000 annual price tag was worth it to support gay and lesbian students – children who are more likely to experience bullying and skip school because they are afraid.

The resolution calls for adding a district position to manage “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” youth issues. It also requires the district to keep tabs on harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute educational packets every year to parents encouraging them to discuss sexuality, gender identity and safety with their children.

The measure, sponsored by the city’s Youth Commission and Human Rights Commission and the district’s Student Advisory Council, requires district staff to seek outside funding to cover the costs, but guarantees at least a half-time position and other services regardless.

About 13 percent of San Francisco’s middle school students and 11 percent of high school students self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a district survey.

Read the rest here.

(As an aside, the last paragraph I quoted has a very high level of self-identification compared to national numbers.  One reason there might be such a high level of self-identification is that GLBT kids in SF do feel fairly safe, despite the fact that they are bullied more than their peers — or, at least, safe enough to explore and recognize their sexuality.  It could also be that gay parents raise gay children, something that does not answer the nature/nature debate about gayness, but that seems to happen fairly often to the extent I’ve observed gay parents.  San Francisco, of course, has a lot of gay — and, I might add, loving and wonderful — parents.  It could also be because the constant focus on gay sex in San Francisco’s schools and streets affects youngsters’ sexuality, pushing them in experimental directions they might sublimate, happily or not, in a slightly more repressive environment. )

But even with a high 13% GLBT self-identification, and even accepting that these kids are less happy than your average teenager (who is often plenty unhappy), and even accepting that GLBT youth are the subject of greater bullying, it strikes me as unconscionable to for a School Board, which is tasked with the well-being of all students in the district, to engage in this type of touchy-feelie programing when the district as a whole is going broke. The fact is that bullying should be unacceptable regardless of the nature of victim.  Heck, I got bullied unmercifully at some rough schools because I was short and wore glasses.  The solution is to de-rough the schools, many of which are worn out and gang-ridden, rather than to focus on a specifically identified victim group.  This is a weird version of the Left’s obsession with equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity.  Rather than making a better, safer environment for all, the Progressives are trying to ensure that GLBT students are picked on at precisely the same statistical rate as their non-GLBT peers.

As I pointed out the other day, San Francisco isn’t alone in this desire to appease minority sensibilities at the expense of the majority.  Berkeley, right across the Bay, garnered significant headlines when its school district proposed cutting science programs (that is, solidly academic programs) because not enough minorities were signing up for them.  After an uproar from parents who care more about their children’s education than parading them as sacrificial lambs to Progressive politics, the school district has backed off the plan, at least for now.

Fundamentally, this isn’t about GLBT safety, no matter how the School Board dresses it up.  This is simply the Progressive mindset at work:  minorities are victims; victims need reparations; within the context of public education, reparations come in the form of denying academic opp0rtunities to all students (including, of course, the victims themselves).

San Francisco mulls expanding gay rights program at expense of academic programs *UPDATED*

[UPDATE:  The school board stopped mulling and decided to act.]

Last week, I wrote a long, ruminative post questioning how far a democracy must go to protect its minorities.  Stepping in, right on cue, the San Francisco School District, which is facing a disastrous budget shortfall, is considering a huge expansion in a program aimed and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth within the school district.  Put simply, the City is seriously contemplating further destroying academic opportunities for the many in order to engage in statistics and psychobabble for the few:

With everything from art classes, summer school and jobs on the chopping block this year, the San Francisco school board will decide this week whether to greatly expand school services, support and instruction on issues of sexual orientation.

The decision could cost the school district, which is facing a $113 million budget shortfall over the next two years, at least $120,000 a year – enough cash to cover the salaries of two classroom teachers.

The school board is expected to vote Tuesday on the fiscally controversial resolution calling for San Francisco Unified to add a new full-time staffer to manage “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” youth issues in the district’s Student Support Services Department.

It also would require the district to track harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute an educational packet to parents, encouraging them to discuss “the issues of sexuality, gender identity and safety” with their children.

That commitment probably would cost about $90,000 a year for the staffer and maybe another $30,000 for the rest.

Read the rest here.  It is worth remembering at this point that, even by generous estimates, those gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students constitute only a very small portion of the San Francisco student population:

Various estimates of percentage of US population that is gay:

Average guess by polled Americans: 21% of men, 22% of women

Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male: 10%

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: 3% to 8%

The Family Research Report: 2% to 3% of men, 2% of women

The 2000 US Census Bureau: less than 1%

It’s also worth thinking about how San Francisco’s school system currently ranks (and this ranking is before the projected cuts to academics have gone into effect).  Out of 752 school districts in California, San Francisco comes in at 382 — a little over halfway to the bottom. It could certainly be worse, but considering San Francisco’s prestige and sophistication, that’s a pretty pathetic showing.

Of course, San Francisco isn’t alone in this desire to appease minority sensibilities at the expense of the majority.  Berkeley, right across the Bay, garnered significant headlines when its school district proposed cutting science programs (that is, solidly academic programs) because not enough minorities were signing up for them.  After an uproar from parents who care more about their children’s education than parading them as sacrificial lambs to Progressive politics, the school district has backed off the plan, at least for now.

What’s so fascinating about these Progressive initiatives is that they are not being put in place to address manifest wrongs.  That is, I don’t see any argument that black and Hispanic students are being discouraged from taking science classes in Berkeley, or that they are the subjects of rank discrimination.  Likewise, the San Francisco school district isn’t using an epidemic of anti-gay violence to justify redirecting funds from academics to a designated victim group.  Instead, this is simply the Progressive mindset at work:  minorities are victims; victims need reparations; within the context of public education, reparations come in the form of denying academic opp0rtunities to all students (including, of course, the victims themselves).

I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but I’m beginning to think that, provided Obama doesn’t bankrupt us or Iran bomb us, Obama’s election may be a blessing in disguise.  Progressives outside of power managed to convince vast swathes of America that Progressives were interested only in the good of all, while inherently evil conservatives were dedicated to the destruction of everyone but white males (plus a few pro-Life pseudo-females).

The election, however, has gone to the Progressives’ heads.  They are revealing themselves in all their ugliness.  When it comes to education, their goal isn’t to educate children, but to indoctrinate them in an anti-American, anti-Israel curriculum that elevates victim status over academics.  On abortion, they’re not pro-Choice, but pro-Death.  On national security, their anti-Bush diatribes proved to be rooted in an affinity with the terrorists over the interests and security of Americans.  Their ostensible concern about the economy is merely an umbrella to transfer all wealth to the government.

You can add to this list, ’cause you know where I’m going.  Before the election, we saw the eternally pure and youthful Dorian Gray; now we see the picture in which reposes all the actual ugliness and evil.

Americans cool on abortion, appropriately given the societal damage it both causes and reflects

My views on abortion have changed mightily over the years.  The selfish, immature side of me still longs for a pro-choice label, but the mature, moral side of me has concluded that, subject to a few exceptions, pro-Life is the way to go.  I won’t expand on that right now, but you can see more on my views here.

On the subject of abortion, I want to draw your attention to three things:

First, if you somehow managed to miss this headline story, let me be the one to tell you that the Superbowl, of all things, is at the center of an abortion controversy.  Tim Tebow, super-duper college quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, is going to be in a television commercial that is slated to air during the Superbowl.  In it, he and his mother talk about the fact that she elected to go ahead with a difficult pregnancy, even though the medical establishment assured her that the baby was likely to be dead or damaged at birth.  Tebow, of course, was neither.  Women’s groups are outraged (h/t Soccer Dad), although they sound more foolish than persuasive in their anger:

A national coalition of women’s groups called on CBS on Monday to scrap its plan to broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, which critics say is likely to convey an anti-abortion message.

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year — an event designed to bring Americans together,” said Jehmu Greene, president of the New York-based Women’s Media Center.

[snip]

The protest letter from the Women’s Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad in part because it was conceived by Focus on the Family.

“By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers,” the letter said.

Hmm.  While I know that large sectors of the American public watch the Superbowl (I guess that’s the coming together part), I always considered it a rather divisive thing, considering that half the audience is devoutly hoping that the other half turns off the television set in deep despair.

But more to the point, I found interesting the fact that the women’s groups state, with no authority, that celebrating a successful life that resulted because the baby’s mother made a choice, is something that will “damage [CBS's] reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.”  I think the women’s groups are backing the wrong horse.

Which brings me to my second point about abortion.

The invaluable Zombie was out on the streets of San Francisco this past weekend, documenting the annual pro-Life rally held in that bastion of radical liberalism.  What you’d except from a photojournalist is a series of photos showing a few cowering pro-Lifers, surrounded by screaming pro-Choicers, all carrying “keep your hands off my uterus” signs and wearing kuffiyahs (because who doesn’t go to a feminist rally wearing the clothing symbol of the most repressive, misogynist culture on earth?).  But there you’d be wrong.  In a stunning combination of photos and text, Zombie reveals that the rally was a blow-out for the pro-Life crowd.  As Zombie says:

[W]hen the anti-abortion group Walk for Life staged a march in San Francisco last Saturday, January 23, they turned out an overwhelming and jaw-dropping 40,000 pro-life activists, who were met by a well-advertised counter-protest which managed to draw no more than 80 (that’s eighty, eight-zero) pro-choice advocates. 40,000 vs. 80 is a 500-to-1 pro-life advantage, something that seems inconceivable in the sex-positive liberal stronghold of San Francisco. How did this happen?

Talk about must-read journalism.

And the third and last thing I want to discuss about abortion isn’t really about abortion at all, it’s about the culture that supports unfettered, unlimited abortion.  As you probably read somewhere the other day, the teen pregnancy numbers rose a bit higher in 2006.  Robert Rector tells us that (a) those numbers are not what they seem and that (b) more seriously, those numbers reveal, not about a problem that can be corrected with ever more birth control and abortions, but a fundamental societal breakdown amongst young Americans.

As for me, with one pre-teen  and one very observant 10 year old, I spend a lot of my time talking about values and self-respect.  I’ve learned that, in a wired world, I cannot protect my kids from exposure to our sex saturated culture.  All I can do, over and over, is talk about the value they should place on themselves, the respect they owe others, the moral forces in favor of marriage and abstinence, and the risks associated with disease and young, out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  I hope, devoutly, that my kids take these messages to heart, because I really don’t have much else in my armament.

My parents always complained that, raising children in the late 1960s and 1970s, they had a hard time parenting against societal trends.  They couldn’t have imagined how much worse it would become.  Yes, they had to deal with hippies and self-actualization, but pop culture was still reasonably traditional.  The Brady kid actors may have been getting into trouble behind the scenes, but the message to the viewing audience was still one of traditional values.  Who would have imagined then MTV, YouTube, Lady GaGa, Adam Baldwin Lambert (isn’t that the crotch-grabber from American Idol?), and the whole parade of degradation that oozes out of every pore of American society?  Looking around, it’s clear that abortion is both a cause and a symptom of a society that has lost its sexual bearings, bearings that should be grounded in respect for the opposite sex and reverence for human life.

Helping Haiti *UPDATED*

I am distrustful of television, since it often creates a false reality.  When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in 1989, I was out of town.  The images shown on CNN made it look as if the whole city was in ruins.  I was terrified about what had happened to my family and friends.  It was only when I carefully watched the endlessly looped images of destruction that I realized that only three areas had been hit, albeit hit horribly badly:  the Marina District, the Oakland freeway, and a one block area in downtown.  Yes, a section of the Bay Bridge had collapsed; and, yes, houses in the Sunset District had sustained some damages; and yes, people were without power and incredibly frightened and had things broken in their homes and offices, but it was not the 1906 style conflagration the media tried to present.

I resented the media hysteria, but understood it.  TV is a purely visual animal, and you need good visuals.  The buildings that didn’t fall down make for bad TV.

All of which gets me to Haiti.  I’ve been sitting a little bit on the sidelines with this one.  Yesterday’s print stories were rather vague in terms of casualties and, as always, I doubted the visuals.  It’s becoming clear, though, that the earthquake was one of devastating proportions.  In a city with expensive building codes, it might have been bad; in a city built in as haphazard a manner as 17th Century Lisbon, it’s proving to be every bit as disastrous as that fabled quake.

If you would like to help out the Haitians, the Anchoress has complied a long list of charitable organizations.  Also, a friend whom I greatly respect has been urging contributions to a Haitian based organization called Beyond Borders.  Given Haiti’s long-standing structural problems, I have no doubt that vast amounts of the relief money will simply vanish, never to be seen again.  Nevertheless, in a country that poor and damaged, anything that gets through to the people is going to be a good thing.

UPDATE:  It turns out that this quake wasn’t unexpected, at least if one was paying attention.

UPDATE IIPictures from the scene.  And, rickety special effects not withstanding, this scene from the 1936 movie San Francisco is as good an imagining of a big earthquake as any I’ve seen (starting about 1 minute in):

It’s very obvious to those familiar with pictures taken immediately after the earthquake that the film’s special effects people relied upon them closely as a guide.

Here’s original footage of San Francisco after some of the clean-up had already begun:

Progressives and their poopy mouths

Years ago, when I first became aware of the blogosphere, I noticed a single huge dividing line between Progressive and conservative political writers:  the former have dirty mouths.  Their blogs are filled with references to human waste and human sexual acts, all spelled out in the crudest terms.  Interestingly enough, I see that at home too, although it may just be the difference between boys and girls.  I, a conservative, never swear (except when some idiot driver almost t-bones me), whereas my husband, a liberal, swears with increasing fervor as he ages.

Now, for the first time, in San Francisco, swearing has become the official public policy for at least one Progressive stupidvisor.  This would be the execrable Chris Daly, who has announced that, henceforth, he will make sure to drop the F-bomb at every single Stupidvisor meeting in 2010.  The really sad thing is that, on the list of political transgressions Daly routinely commits, this is probably the least harmful.  It may offend the refined, but it won’t have an actual impact on poor, battered San Francisco.

San Francisco as it once was *UPDATED*

Here’s a great video from 1940, highlighting some of the wonders of the City of San Francisco as it once was:

I have a few comments:

[UPDATE:  Welcome, Instapundit readers!  Now that you've seen SF as it once was, you may find interesting my post about SF as it now is.  In it, after describing the City of my own memories, I examine how the current Progressive City government tightly controls law abiding citizens and businesses, while allowing special interest groups to function without limitations.  The result is a dangerous blend of totalitarian anarchy.  And now back to my regularly scheduled post.]

Union Square is no longer a grass covered and palm treed oasis in the middle of the City.  Because of the homeless, who saw the grass as a comfortable bed, the City removed all greenery.  A good architect made the site rather elegant, but it’s still a cold, hard square compared to the lovely park it once was.

The grassy area and long fountain in front of City Hall are also gone — they too fell victim to the homeless.  Rather than routing the homeless, the City routed the greenery.

Market Street too has changed.  It’s definitely not a glittering, lovely thoroughfare, and hasn’t been in my remembered life.  It’s worse now, though, then it was when I was growing up.  For most of its length, it is filthy, with the corners manned by legions of homeless.  I’d love to avoid it but, unfortunately, one of my carpools routinely takes me along a few unlovely blocks.  My goal, always, is to avoid hitting the winos who weave through the streets, with no regard for street lights or cars.

The last shot of the western-most waterfront of San Francisco, at Ocean Beach, gives a hint of the vast, Coney Island-like park that was once there.  When I was a child, all that remained was Playland at the Beach, an old fun house with wooden slides, rolling barrels and, of course, Laffing Sal.  That’s all gone now too, with condos in place where fun once reigned.

The Legion of Honor and surrounding golf courses are as lovely now as they were then. The Museum has a really lovely, not quite first class, but almost first class, collection of European Art and objects, going back to the early Middle Ages.  If you’re ever in the City, I highly recommend it.  Then, walk around outside and admire the exquisite view looking north, over the bridge and into the Marin Headlands.

The Mint has long been closed.  It sits there still, a silent, hulking shell.

The De Young Museum that I grew up with, and that appears in the video, has been torn down, and another one has taken its place.  The new De Young is lovely on the inside, with flowing, well-designed galleries.  On the outside it looks, I think, like a giant chicken coop.  I have to admit to missing the old museum a lot, especially the Egyptian wing, which used to have mummies (very cool to a kid).

The guy narrating the video has the goofiest accent I’ve ever heard.  He is not a San Franciscan.

San Francisco: America’s homegrown anarchic totalitarianism

A quick, and personal, history of San Francisco’s decline from the 1960s to the present

I was born and grew up in San Francisco.  My very earliest memories of the City just predate the advent of the hippies.  At that time, the City was a solid amalgam of working class people, middle class people, and a nice handful of the very, very rich.  Barring the inevitable slums (and all cities have them), San Francisco was a well-maintained, fairly safe place.  Trips downtown (usually triggered by a visit to the doctor in the medical building at 450 Sutter) always ended with a visit to the beautiful City of Paris department store to admire the rotunda (which you can still see in the new Nieman Marcus on the same site), a stop at the marble bathrooms in I. Magnin’s (where Macy’s stands now), and treats at Blum’s Restaurant.  Women and men still wore hats in public places, and the women usually wore gloves too.  The sidewalks were clean, and there were no beggars.

I remember, too, when the hippies came along.  Initially, at least from a child’s point of view, it was kind of fun.  During the Summer of Love in 1967, colorfully dressed young people would be dancing in Golden Gate Park, waving banners, blowing bubbles and handing out flowers to all who passed by.  Of course, when they left the Park at the end of these pretty love-ins, the grass was torn to shreds, the flower beds were destroyed, and a few overdosed teens always lay scattered in the detritus left behind.  Soon, though, the magic (such as it was) vanished, and all that was left behind was the miserable slum that was the Haight Ashbury.

Because San Francisco was notorious for her hippies, whenever out-of-town friends came to visit, they’d insist on a tour of the Haight.  As a child, therefore, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, I often found myself in that blighted neighborhood.  The streets were filthy, covered with a disgusting mixture of garbage, urine and feces.  Collapsed on the sidewalks, holding up the walls, were the drug addicts — stringy-haired, bleary eyed and smelly.  Because sidewalks are hard and cold, a lot of the druggies would migrate to the green strip of the Panhandle or into Golden Gate Park itself.  While the Panhandle quickly became off limits for us children, we still went to the Park quite often — but were always carefully warned about needles in the grass and bums in the bushes.

The hippies weren’t just an aberration.  They were the beginning of a deep rot that set into the City.  Some of them remained as anchors for the homeless who still pepper San Francisco’s streets, making those streets unsafe or just very, very unpleasant for ordinary people.  Others reformed their lifestyles, but kept their Leftist, SDS influenced politics.  They grew up, got jobs, bought homes, and became people of influence in the City.  Their influence wasn’t immediately obvious.  During the 1970s, the City just drifted along.  Self-realization and self-actualization and general self-involvement hit the middle class with a bang, with the result that everyone was running around seeking his bliss, pausing only periodically to do some navel gazing.

The City’s gays, contrary to the film Milk, weren’t in a perpetual state of political activism during the 1970s.  Instead, they were glorying in the hedonism that was part-and-parcel of escaping the dark closet in which they’d lived for so many years.  I can’t say that I blame them — it was a giddy feeling to be free to express a long-hidden sexuality — but the results were deleterious.  It’s not healthy for a City to have a neighborhood that’s dedicated to sex, a rather obvious principle that is entirely separate from the fact that the Castro and its myriad bathhouses proved to be perfect Petri dishes for a burgeoning fatal disease that would soon sweep the world.

I was gone from San Francisco during much of the early and mid-1980s, returning to the City only in the late 1980s.  Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was living a wonderfully self-absorbed yuppie lifestyle, but I still managed to figure out that several things had changed since I’d last lived in San Francisco.  The most obvious change was the presence of homeless people, not just in the Haight and in Golden Gate Park, but everywhere.  The City was no longer making any effort whatsoever to control the homeless problem.

A walk down Montgomery Street, the main artery in San Francisco’s business district, meant one was perpetually under siege from panhandlers, most of them odoriferous and many of them crawling with lice and fleas.  Many, if not all, were obviously mentally ill or deeply in thrall to drugs or alcohol.  I couldn’t blame them for being where they were.  The City’s temperate climate and unenforced vagrancy laws made San Francisco a natural environment for such people.

As for me, I’ve always thought it’s the hallmark of a civilized society that it doesn’t leave its sick and deranged people begging on sidewalks and sleeping in doorways.  The ACLU, however, begs to differ.  And yes, I know that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the idea first came to de-institutionalize the inebriate homes and insane asylums that were once part of the American landscape, it was an unholy alliance of both the Left and the Right that led the charge.  In the years since, however, as the damage to urban areas from de-institutionalization has become clear, the ACLU has come to own the issue, and has routinely insisted that America must allow the helpless insane to live in the street and grub in the garbage.  Apparently Leftist civil rights include ensuring that those least able to care for themselves get no help from the rest of us.

The City had also lost what limited control it once had over the worst neighborhoods in town.  Nowhere was this more apparent to me than in the area surrounding the venerable Cow Palace.  Admittedly, that area was never a very nice one, but I remember as a child going frequently to events at the Cow Palace, going to gymnastic meets at the neighborhood schools, dining on delicious Middle Eastern food at a family-owned restaurant, and visiting people’s houses in the area.  Although I didn’t have the vocabulary at the time, looking back I would characterize the neighborhood as lower working class.  By the late 1980s, it was just plain scary, with the housing projects dominating and blighting the area.  (The worst of those housing projects, incidentally, became so unsustainable that the City eventually destroyed them in an effort at urban renewal.  Those that remain are still appalling.)

By the late 1990s, I had left San Francisco for the Marin suburbs, and I’ve never looked back.  Marin is ridiculously overpriced, but it’s also beautiful, exquisitely well-maintained and very safe. Although separated from the City by only 12 miles and one bridge, it is another world.  The people here may be politically liberal (voting overwhelmingly Democratic), but they’re hardheaded, NIMBY-esque pragmatists when it comes to preserving their own expensive lifestyles.

For the first decade of my Marin life, my visits to the City were very targeted because of the children:  I pretty much went only to Golden Gate Park and the Marina District.  The Marina District has always been lovely, remaining peculiarly untouched by the City’s ongoing turmoil (perhaps because large parts of it have been under Federal control).  There are few things nicer than walking from the Marina waterfront to Fort Point.  Also during those years, Golden Gate Park, while unpleasant around the fringes, underwent a renaissance at its center that begin with a completely rebuilt De Young Museum, and ended with a completely rebuilt Academy of Sciences.  At times, the City, as Herb Caen would say, still knows how.

San Francisco establishes itself as the cutting edge city of America’s homegrown anarchic totalitarianism

As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, I find myself in the City more and more often.  I don’t visit the well-maintained spots that still charm tourists, though.  Instead, my children’s activities take me to parts of town other than the little Potemkin neighborhoods, neatly preserved for the tourists or the affluent liberals concerned with preserving lovely enclaves for themselves.  On these journeys, consistently, I am appalled by what I see.  The City has morphed into a crazy combination of anarchy and Leftist totalitarianism, all neatly wrapped into a package called “political correctness.”  This matters, not just because we’re witnessing the death of what used to be one of the most beautiful, desirable cities in the world, but because it perfectly represents the American Leftist paradigm.  In other words, San Francisco is the future of American Leftism, and it’s a very scary future indeed.

Before I go further, it’s useful to define some of the terms I’ll use here, particularly as they apply to San Francisco.  San Francisco would characterize itself as a “liberal” city.  “Liberal,” of course, is a misnomer.  Modern liberalism completely rejects the notion of individual freedom that is inherent in the linguistic root of the term (from the Latin līberālis, from līber, free).  Instead, today’s liberalism is a socialist movement that is predicated on placing all power in government.  And when all power resides in the government, you end up with totalitarianism or, as some people call it, fascism.

People who aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in the U.S. today think of totalitarianism solely in terms of Nazi Europe, Fascist Italy or, if they’re being honest, Soviet Eastern Europe.   If you play a word association game with most Americans, especially American liberals, and feed them the words totalitarian or fascist, they’ll come back with references to concentration camps, gulags, Gestapo and KGB agents.

Jonah Goldberg, however, in his splendid book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, figured out that modern western totalitarianism, of the kind practiced by Western European and American progressives/liberals has a more maternal cast than that practiced in Germany, the Soviet Union, China, or other non-Western countries cursed by all-powerful governments.

Unlike their Asian, Latin American or Eastern European counterparts, modern Western socialist governments aren’t going to round us up and shoot us.  Instead, they’re going to love us to death.  They’ll control what we buy, what we eat, how we get our health care, how we educate our children, what we watch on TV, what light bulbs we screw in, what cars we drive, what phones we use, what shopping bags we use, etc., all with the most beneficent of intentions.  We won’t be murdered by gun toting government-funded thugs in concentration camps.  Instead, we’ll just be infantilized to the point where we’re incapable of functioning without a Nanny state at our backs — and our fronts and our sides, and wherever else the State can insert itself into a citizen’s life.  (By the way, if you want to know what that will look like, just cast your mind back to images of Hurricane Katrina.  The self-reliant middle class sat on their porches with shotguns, protecting their families and homes.  The welfare classes, destroyed not by their race but by their decades-long dependence on government handouts, were incapable of even moving off the side of the road.)

The one thing that Jonah Goldberg’s book misses is the fact that the New Age, crystal-gazing American socialist utopia does not allow itself to control all people within its political borders.  Instead, in the name of political correctness, American socialist cities have a two-tiered system:  law-abiding citizens are on the receiving end of heavy-handed government control, while politically correct protected victim classes are removed from any controls whatsoever.  The result is the worst of all possible worlds, with law abiding citizens beaten down both by their own government and by those whom the government allows to roam free.  San Francisco provides a perfect example of this Western socialist dynamic.

San Francisco’s intense hostility to capitalism

Some of the contrasts between intense government control versus anarchy are very obvious in San Francisco.  On the control side, the City’s mandates pry into every area of business and even personal life.  At a macro level, the City is very, very hostile to business.  It has its own minimum wage law (SF Admin. Code, Secs. 12P, 12R, & Appx. 68), which controls anyone doing business in or with the City of San Francisco.  The City apparently feels it’s not a big enough burden on businesses to have the feds set wages too.  The minimum wage laws are great for those who can get jobs; but lousy for those who discover that, as a result of the hostile environment, there are fewer businesses around to provide jobs.

San Francisco has long had stringent rent control laws (SF Admin. Code, Sec. 37.1).  This is one of those things that benefits renters in the short term, by forcing below market rates for rental property, but that is a disaster in the long term.  Because it means that landlords cannot make reasonable money on property, cannot alienate property, and cannot evict tenants, there is no incentive to be a landlord or, if one is a landlord, to maintain the property beyond the bare minimum.  By interfering in the marketplace, San Francisco has ensured that there are fewer properties available, and that those available are minimally maintained.  It’s therefore lousy to be either a landlord or a tenant in the City.

San Francisco doesn’t just stick its liberal nose into the real estate market.  In the name of political correctness, it also makes doing business in and with the City very, very expensive.  For example, in its endless effort to promote business that are owned by women and minorities, the City mandates that women and minority owned businesses, when bidding for City work, get the benefit of a special discount in the bidding process (SF Admin. Code, Sec. 12D.A.)  While this might have made sense as a short term incentive to allow new businesses to break into a field that had become limited to a few permanent, old-time contractors, it’s now become a permanent and costly boondoggle, funding politically protected businesses on the San Francisco taxpayers’ collective backs.

San Francisco’s need to control its law-abiding citizens

The City also likes to make sure that its residents are environmentally pure.  In 2007, the City banned plastic shopping bags, a sop to environmentalists, but a burden to ordinary people:

“We need to get rid of a hell of a lot of this stuff,” Ora Gosey, 56, said outside an Albertsons in the Western Addition. As the retiree spoke, she inched away from a case of grape soda she had placed on the ground as if it didn’t belong to her. It was double-bagged in plastic.

“I needed something,” she admitted, “because it’s so heavy.”

Plastic checkout bags are pretty convenient, Gosey and others said. You can carry them easily down the sidewalk or on a bus, and they’re less prone to ripping than paper. At home, they come in handy for packing trash. And in the park, they’re good to have when you walk the dog.

According to the Film and Bag Federation, a plastics industry group, the bags can also be used to keep things dry in a canoe, make Christmas wreaths and kites, and assist in the nearly impossible task of putting on a wetsuit.

I know that I, personally, never, never throw away those plastic bags.  They have more uses in my household than I can count.  If I stop getting them free from stores, I’ll just have to go out and buy heavier, less environmentally-friendly plastic bags to use for the same purpose.  And sadly, that may be my future too, since Marin is planning on banning both plastic and paper bags.  I’ll soon have to become one of those crazy Marin bag ladies who marches into a grocery store carrying an armful of mismatched, costly, inconvenient bags of my own, all of which I have to remember to return to my car once I unload my groceries.  Feh!  I don’t mind it when serious-minded conservationists, whether liberal or conservative, do this because they want to.  I just don’t want to be forced to do so.

The City reserves special animus for smokers.  Now, I have to confess here that I loath the smell of cigarette smoke.  I don’t have a problem with a person making the decision to smoke, although I think it’s a foolish decision, both in terms of expense and health, but I’m still enough of a libertarian to allow people to make their own bad decisions.  The problem with cigarettes, though, is that the smoke doesn’t stay near the smoker.  If I’m in a room with you, and you’re smoking, I suddenly find myself enveloped in that foul smelling stuff, which makes me crazy.  Even when you leave the room, I can’t get rid of the smell, which has permeated my clothes, my hair and my skin.  I therefore don’t have a problem with San Francisco’s original smoking ban, which banned smoking in the workplace.  (SF Admin. Code, Appx. 8.)  The problem is that the Nanny City, not content with protecting me from your smoke (which I find reasonable), is now intent on protecting you from your smoke, which I find unreasonably intrusive.  Thus, a proposed new law would shut down smoking in the great outdoors too (among other venues within the City’s borders):

San Franciscans would see a bevy of more “no smoking” signs in The City if legislation introduced Tuesday is approved.

As The Examiner reported in November, Supervisor Eric Mar reignited the stalled legislation that would forbid smoking in a slew of new settings, adding to existing bans in bars, restaurants, parks, transit stops and taxis.

The bill would expand no-smoking zones to include farmers’ markets, outdoor seating areas of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, and common areas of multiunit housing complexes.

Smokers would have to light up farther away from entrances, exits, windows and vents of all buildings. And smoking would only be allowed at the curb of sidewalks, streets and alleys. If there is no curb, smoking would be prohibited within 15 feet of entrances or exits, according to the bill.

Smokers also would have to be at least 20 feet from transit shelters, boarding areas and ticket lines, including those for cable cars.

The legislation would ban smoking while waiting in lines at ATMs, theaters, athletic events, concert venues and cab stands.

Another way in which the City makes life difficult for the law abiding is parking.  It costs two dollars an hour to park at a downtown meter, which means carrying around a lot of quarters.  The high cost is necessitated, in part, by the fact that the City has handed out so many handicapped parking waivers, many meters make no money at all.

As it happens, the insanely expensive meters are the least of the parking problem.  The City is also hell on wheels for parking because of all the signs.  I’ve driven down blocks that have six or seven different parking control signs per block.  Clipping along at 25 or 30 miles per hour, trying to read all the signs, it’s impossible to tell whether you’re going to be barred from parking by the sign limiting parking to residents, the sign limiting parking to businesses, the sign limiting parking to certain hours of the day or night, or the sign limiting parking to certain days of the week because of street cleaning.  Decoding the signs might eventually tell you that it’s okay to park on the northern end of the block, but woe betide you if, at the wrong hour of the day, you park at the southern end.  And all this doesn’t even count the signs hidden in untrimmed trees, so that you have to guess as to what they say.

As part of its relentless drive to purify itself into a “liberal” paradise, the City also keeps trying to outlaw guns (SF Admin. Code, Appx. 73), ban the Blue Angels, bar the military from San Francisco schools (SF Admin. Code, Appx. 74), shut down JROTC (although a few stalwarts have managed to hold the line), impeach Republican administrations (SF Admin. Code, Appx. 76), and generally work to shut down avenues of protection or expression for any but the most liberal residents.

San Francisco extends special protections to law-breakers

While piling law after law after law onto the already law-abiding, San Francisco goes out of its way to protect the law breaking.  It refuses to enforce laws against marijuana (SF Admin. Code sec. 12X), a bit of civil disobedience by the city that ensures that every drug dealer within miles views San Francisco as a sort of commercial Mecca.  Whether one believes anti-drug laws are a good thing or a bad thing, I think all reasonable people recognize that, when a single city carves itself out as a dealer’s paradise, it’s setting itself up for drug usage problems of a more serious kind.  The same guy who comes here peddling pot isn’t going to leave his harder drugs far behind, since he knows that the wise police officer will ignore everything rather than get into a politically correct wrangle.

More seriously, San Francisco refuses to enforce federal immigration laws.  It has classed itself as an official “City and County of Refuge.”  (SF Admin. Code, sec. 12H.)  The practical effect of this is that, in the City’s own words,

No department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City and County of San Francisco shall use any City funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law or to gather or disseminate information regarding the immigration status of individuals in the City and County of San Francisco unless such assistance is required by federal or State statute, regulation or court decision.  (Sec. 12H.2.)

The City has effectively announced to the world that anyone whose first act upon entering America is to break American law is welcome in San Francisco.  As with the City’s refusal to enforce drug laws, people whose crimes go beyond “merely” entering the country illegally know that they are also welcome in San Francisco.  Anyone with half a brain (meaning no one on the SF Board of Stupidvisors) could have figured out that this sanctuary policy would end in tragedy.  The latest, and most horrible example, of the inevitable tragedy occurred when Edwin Ramos, who came to San Francisco illegally from El Salvador, committed a gangland murder against a father and his two sons, Anthony Bologna, 48, Michael Bologna, 20, and Matthew Bologna, 16, all three of whom were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at Ramos’ time.  The real horror wasn’t even Ramos’ illegal status.  It was that the City knew about his illegal status and his criminal propensities, but did nothing because of the Sanctuary Law:

The case prompted public outcry after it emerged that Ramos was convicted of two gang-related felonies when he was 17, but local officials did not contact federal agencies to determine his immigration status.

The Bologna family — or, I should say, what’s left of it after Ramos’ massacre — is suing.  I wish them luck, but even a lawsuit won’t change the City’s progressive mindset, one that, as a matter of political ideology, elevates lawbreakers over the law-abiding.

When San Francisco does have laws aimed at making life better for the ordinary citizen, it ignores them.  Although it has an official ban against aggressive solicitation (SF Admin. Code, Appx. 25, 69, which the voters forced on the City), that ban is seldom enforced, and the failure to enforce occurs entirely for PC reasons.  For example, on an annual basis the local paper reports about the Hell that is Haight Ashbury, a miserable situation that results, in large part, because of the aggressive homeless:

Haight-Ashbury may be its own worst enemy. The neighborhood that hosted the Summer of Love 40 years ago has developed a nasty edge. Sleepy stoner panhandlers have given way to aggressive street punks who stand in the path of pedestrians and demand payment. Park Station police Capt. Teresa Barrett suggests watching “Haight Street” on YouTube to see the mind-set. One kid says if you have the money to shop on Haight, you’d damn well better kick in $20.

The problem with the Haight isn’t lack of funds, or lack of laws.  Instead, the neighborhood is besieged because of the “liberals” who have bought into the whole root cause ideology when it comes to crime.  These anarchic nanny staters are certain that the bad behaviors that distress the Haight’s residents and visitors alike are a result of the malefactors’ victim status, and have nothing to do with the fact that the City puts no brakes on crime and brutality:

But the city – particularly Haight-Ashbury – has clung to its image as understanding and tolerant. Attempts to install a sit/lie law that would prohibit camping on the sidewalk for hours at a time have gone nowhere. Too mean, too restrictive, critics say.

This kind of urban horror story isn’t limited to the Haight.  Golden Gate Park, which also never recovered from the Summer of Love, is periodically in the papers too, again because the Liberals in the City, unable to break away from the theory that the homeless are all victims who just need to be left alone,  just can’t bear to get tough on vagrancy, begging, and out-and-out crime.  Sure, there are the periodic crackdowns when things become too terrible to contemplate, but then the liberal cycle of letting “victim classes” run the show begins all over again.

Because the City relentlessly defines the drug addicts, alcoholics, and crazy people as victims who can’t be touched, these people live on the streets in filth, eating out of garbage cans, terrorizing ordinary citizens.  Whether riding BART, walking down Montgomery Street, trying to catch a show at the Orpheum on Market Street, visiting the public library, going to City Hall, or going to Costco, the law-abiding, taxpaying Average Joe is assaulted by smells, disease, aggressive begging and, sometimes, actual assaults.  Still, in liberal eyes, it’s the perpetrators, not the solid citizens, who are defined as victim.

San Francisco ignores existing decency laws to protect sexual “victim classes”

The last thing in my litany of complaints about San Francisco’s reverence for law breakers and burdens on law abiders is the special status it accords licentious behavior.  In theory, the City has an obligation to enforce laws supporting public decency.  These are the laws that ban public nudity and public sex acts.  In fact, because the violations of these laws are routinely committed by gay men, the City turns a blind eye to them.  In the City, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals are a protected class, and that means that they get to break laws with impunity.  Incidentally, what follows is not meant to be a tirade against homosexuality.  The fact is that most of San Francisco’s gays are not running around naked, peeing in the streets (and on each other), or having sex in public.  Only a small percentage are doing so — but the kicker is that they do so because the City lets them!  This is, therefore, a tirade against a City that refuses to enforce public decency laws because of political correctness.

I’m not going to pollute this post with pictures of the truly appalling orgies that routinely take place in San Francisco’s streets.  Zombie has created long photo essays showing the Folsom Street Fair, and the Dore Up Your Alley Fair, both of which involve, not just nudity, but some perverse sexual practices I bet some of you haven’t even heard of — and all of them take place out in the open, on public streets.  The police are present (Zombie documents them), but it is obvious that they are under orders not to interfere.

It is possible (although difficult) to argue that two street fairs, which take place in a limited number of blocks in a carefully defined neighborhood should be ignored.  It’s much more difficult to ignore public licentiousness that takes over a long-standing San Francisco tradition, and that drags nudity and bizarre sexual practices right into Golden Gate Park.  Last year, my family went to see the crowd at the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race — a race that was started 96 years ago to commemorate the San Francisco Earthquake and that, for many years, was a fairly straightforward race, starting at the Bay, traversing the City (including Golden Gate Park), and ending at the Pacific.  About a decade ago, it became an occasion at which San Franciscans celebrate their joie de vivre, with many of them turning the event into a giant costume party.  Having heard about the fun costumes, my husband and I thought it would be fun to take the kids.  Boy, were we wrong!

What’s interesting about San Franciscans is that, when they get into costume, so many of them opt, not for charm or cleverness, but for perversion. Of course that doesn’t go for 100% of the race’s participants. It probably applies to only about 3% of them — but 3% of 100,000 is still about 3,000 people parading through San Francisco’s streets and parks celebrating their peculiar sexual fantasies.

That’s why, within seconds of entering Golden Gate Park, my children were confronted with the fascinating spectacle of an aged gentleman who had wrapped rings around himself, hugely inflating his scrotum, which he then proceeded to shake at the crowd. In a normal environment, he would have been arrested. Here, he was just part of the scenery.

This man wasn’t the only naked one. There were lots of naked people. Probably 90% of them had embarrassingly ugly bodies. Why is it always those with the most avoirdupois, the most pendulous breasts, the most bizarrely tufted body hair, the most mottled skin, and the smallest penises who feel this peculiar compulsion to parade around well-attended public spots in the altogether?

Was it any surprise then, that it was these exhibitionists, despite the vast array of porta-potties, who also felt the irresistible compulsion to pee in the bushes?

There was also a lot of drinking, lots and lots.

So, in the space of a few very painful minutes, we were confronted with public nudity, public urination, and public drunkenness — and the cops did nothing.

I don’t blame the San Francisco police officers for doing nothing.  Most of them, I know, are family people who probably find the spectacle of public nakedness, drunkenness and urination as off-putting as you and I do.  The fact is that they do nothing because they are instructed to stand aside and let politically correct classes — in this case, people who get a kick out of deviant exhibitionism — do their own thing without fear of civil retribution.  The fact that ordinary people are assaulted by the sights and the filth is irrelevant because, in the New Age, crystal gazing, politically correct Progressive world of American Leftism, ordinary people count for nothing.  They exist to be taxed and controlled, so that the others can live free.

Conclusion

This has been a really long post — the longest, I think, that I have ever written.  I write it as a tocsin, warning Americans that there is nothing benign about American Leftism, and that it is even more dangerous than the nanny state some people seem willing to accept as the price of living in the modern world.  Because American leftists are as committed to elevating the rights of the criminals, the crazies and the perverts as they are to taxing, quashing and directing the middle and working classes, we can anticipate the worst of all possible worlds:  an America in which ordinary people live under totalitarian control and socialist taxation, while the worst elements in every society are allowed to run rampant.

Keep this in mind as you head to the polling place in 2010.

The law of unintended consequences

I don’t know if it’s a local, state or federal tax, but when I go into a restaurant that provides both eat-in and take-out services, I always order take-out, regardless of whether I plan to sit at one of their tables or hit the road.  Why?  Because the government imposes a tax on food that’s eaten on the premises.  I don’t know why.  But there you have it; that’s what the government does.  It’s common nowadays to sit at a restaurant and see people hunched over their foam containers at one table, while the unwary, paying a significant premium, sit at the next table eating off a plate.

What’s doubly funny about this stupid system is the fact that it ought to enrage the greenies.  You see, it creates vastly greater amounts of trash.  My plate doesn’t get rinsed and reused.  Instead, it goes straight into the garbage, expanding landfill use and requiring the constant creation of new disposable cups and plates.

My weekend, much of which was spent in San Francisco, has me thinking more than ever about government interference in day to day life, and all the costs, both obvious and hidden.  I’ve got a post slowly growing in my mind, but I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do with it.  I know I’m going to borrow heavily from the comments many of you left in my earlier post about the insanity that is San Francisco.

Open Thread

You know how, every holiday season, there’s that one weekend that is the busiest weekend of the whole year?  That’s my weekend.  We attended a show last night in the City, my son has a concert today in the City, we have a business dinner tonight on the Peninsula, tomorrow my son has another performance in the East Bay, and in the afternoon we have the pleasure of attending a friend’s open house (in Marin, thankfully).  Since about 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon, I haven’t had a minute to string a thought together.  All of these activities are nice — some, indeed, are very nice — but they stifle coherent thought.

The one thing that I can tell you have spending more time than I want in San Francisco (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), is that it has gone from being a nice, mostly working class city, to a City that is half anarchic, and half overregulated.  It is also a perfect example of liberal fascism at work:  law abiding citizens are regulated to death, to the point where one City block may have 8 or 10 parking signs, all spelling out different — and sometimes conflicting — information.  Meanwhile, the City supervisors refuse to allow police to pick up illegal aliens (some of whom are killers), contemplates “public sex tents” in the street, and generally allows complete license to the homeless and debauched.  I grew up in a liveable City.  It is now the worst of both worlds, thanks to the lust for governance that guides liberals, along with their passionate leniency for behaviors that are destructive and morally reprehensible.

Some liberals admit the $1.8 trillion health care takeover will not provide universal insurance

Liberals are very gung-ho for a health care bill that will see the government take over 1/6 of the American economy, that will dramatically raise taxes, that will (if all goes according to plan) destroy private sector insurance, that will force Americans to “buy” insurance or pay a penalty, that will force all Americans to fund abortions whether they believe abortions are murder or not,* that will not exclude illegal immigrants, and that will cost an estimated $1.8 trillion dollars over the next decade.  The justification for this economically back-breaking, totalitarian approach to health care is that the care will be universal.  Everyone in America will finally, at long last, be covered.  Except that they won’t.

You see, even liberals are admitting that this draconian, unbelievably expensive, revolutionary step towards socialism and away from the liberty that has long characterized America will not accomplish its stated goal, or at least it won’t at any time in the near future:

Health experts say it would be great if national health reform legislation would render San Francisco’s groundbreaking health program unnecessary – but they don’t see that happening anytime soon.

None of the bills under consideration in Congress promises to cover everyone living in the United States, leaving some people without coverage. Those include new immigrants who can’t afford coverage but are not yet eligible for public programs, low-income people who wouldn’t qualify for subsidies, and illegal immigrants.

These are among the groups of people who have health coverage under Healthy San Francisco.

[snip]

With Healthy San Francisco, which began in July 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the country to guarantee basic health services for its uninsured residents. Eligibility is not based on immigration, employment or health status.

Now covering some 43,000 San Franciscans, it is paid for by a combination of state and city money, patient co-payments and fees from employers who don’t provide health insurance for their workers.

[snip]

The proposals in the House and Senate include expansions to the Medicaid program, particularly for low-income childless adults who currently don’t qualify for Medicaid.

But “depending on which proposal gets passed, there are still going to be a significant number of people who won’t be insured,” said Jean Fraser, former chief executive officer of the San Francisco Health Plan who is now in charge of the San Mateo County Health System.

Even if a federal law requires people to have health care, illegal immigrants won’t be included and some people will choose not to purchase it or won’t be able to afford coverage.

These include people who may find it cheaper to pay a fee or fine than buy health insurance, said Lucien Wulsin Jr., director of the Insure the Uninsured Project in Santa Monica. He added that some may seek and receive hardship waivers, exempting them from the mandate.

Read the rest here.

In other words, no matter which $1.8 trillion plan is passed, and no matter how much our taxes are raised, and no matter how many working Americans are forced at gunpoint to buy a product they don’t want, there still won’t be universal insurance.  Even worse, if I read the above correctly, the Progressives in San Francisco are planning on making sure that gainfully employed San Francisco residents get stuck with a treble socialized medicine burden:  they will have to pay for it at the federal, state and local level.  Which leaves one wondering how many gainfully employed San Francisco residents will still exist in the hear future.

____________________________

*I have to add here that my understanding is that the House bill removed the abortion funding provision, while the Senate bill has it prominantly displayed.  I believe that, if both houses of Congress finally pass a health care bill, abortion will be included, either directly or indirectly.