Thursday, March 29, 2007

Make 'em beg

That's one way to keep poor people from collecting meager rations:

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS) -- More than half of the poor who are eligible for food stamps in Santa Clara County have not tried to apply, according to a new government survey.

Some $51 million set aside for food stamp benefits goes unused by Santa Clara County each year, according to Lynn Crocker with Second Harvest Food Bank.

“Some of it does have to do with the thought of going into a government office and filling out a bunch of paperwork. It’s always been a very time consuming process. Sometimes they’ve had to go back two and three times,” she said.

Acknowledging how challenging that situation can be for anyone without easy access to transportation, the county's has launched a new awareness campaign among the homeless.

Just work hard...

...and you'll get ahead. I know so, it's the American Dream, and it's what Republicans spout at every opportunity. Too bad Republicans are full of shit:

An anonymous reader writes "Circuit City said yesterday that it had fired 3,400 of its highest-paid sales staff — 8% of its employees — and will replace them with lower-paid workers. Sign On San Diego called this 'a risky strategy to cut costs that goes beyond the layoffs, buyouts and hiring freezes commonly used by struggling companies.' The fired workers have a chance to apply for lower-paying positions after a 10-week wait, the company said. Quoting a Circuit City spokesman: 'This is no reflection on job performance... We deeply regret the negative impact. Retail is extremely competitive, and if we're going to thrive and operate a successful company... we just have to control costs.' So: work hard, become the best in your field, and get fired so they can offer you a new job 10 weeks later at a lower salary."

Carlin said it best.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Racism in Texas?

Who'd a thunk it...

Under the sentence handed down by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, she will remain at the facility until she meets state rehabilitation standards or reaches her 21st birthday.

But her family and civil rights activists say they want her home now. They are condemning the sentence as unusually harsh and say it shows a justice system that punishes young offenders differently, depending on their race.

Creola Cotton, Shaquandra's mother, and activists argue that while Superville sent Shaquandra to the state's juvenile prison system, he gave a white 14-year-old arsonist probation.

As many as 400 people marched and rallied in Paris on Tuesday, the second such protest in as many weeks by civil rights groups.

Meanwhile, the Paris school district fiercely denied claims of racism and chided the girl's mother for "playing a game" to start controversy.

Animal Rights Big Win


In what animal-welfare advocates are describing as a "historic advance," Burger King, the world's second-largest hamburger chain, said Tuesday that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates.

The company said that it would also favor suppliers of chickens that use gas, or "controlled-atmospheric stunning," rather than electric shocks, to knock birds unconscious before slaughter. It is considered a more humane method, though only a few slaughterhouses use it.

I guess that whole activism thing really works.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Paul Graham on Sprinters

His foreword to Jessica Livingston's book doesn't make a whole lot of sense:

Apparently sprinters reach their highest speed right out of the blocks, and spend the rest of the race slowing down. The winners slow down the least. It's that way with most startups too. The earliest phase is usually the most productive. That's when they have the really big ideas. Imagine what Apple was like when 100% of its employees were either Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak.

Is that bad satire? Sprinters reach their highest speed right out of the blocks?

Maybe he read something about a sprinter's acceleration, not speed?

Paul Graham seems like a smart dude. Lots of people worship him. Fine. But how did this text actually make it into a published book?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Chiquita executives, terrorists


The Cincinnati-based fruit company Chiquita has admitted to paying off the group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Chiquita has agreed to a $25 million fine on the condition that it doesn't have to reveal the names of the executives involved. Chiquita says it fell victim to an extortion racket that threatened its employees. But Colombia's attorney general has said he will seek the extradition of eight Chiquita employees over what he calls "a criminal relationship." [rush transcript included]

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Get your graphics on:

Gallery Phone: (818) 677-2156

Your Sneakers, your iPod or Your Life. Branding has never been hotter. Adults and children alike are targeted by ads and pressured by peers to buy the right clothes, the right toys and the right cars, and often pay extra for the privilege of being a walking advertisement. Many items have become worth killing for just for the logo.

Throughout the world, political artists are taking advantage of highly marketed advertising campaigns to bring diverse social causes to the forefront. An iPod ad becomes an image of torture in Abu Ghraib prison. Insecticide Raid becomes anti-immigrant spray Fraid. Tony the Tiger becomes Frankentony. Whether they are protesting the Viet Nam or Iraq wars, drawing our attention to sweatshop labor, or opposing the use of pesticides and genetically modified foods, these posters provide an alternative view of reality.

For more information or to schedule a tour of the exhibition, p

Trapped in the Closet - Hypocrisy

I guess R. Kelly put this 'hip-hopera' together in part based on his experience in getting lots of bad karma based on his pissing on young girls. Hypocrisy - don't do it. I think that was R. Kelly's underlying theme - people were dissin him for his freaky behavior. I only diss him for messing with underage girls - if that was the case.

I have to say this, SFist let me know about this event, and for that they deserve mad props. But SFist is the worst blog on the internets, except for all the other ones. They truly are horrible.

I have to figure out how to avoid details of Gavin Newsome's ass-wiping sesssions. I use Google Reader - if you know how, please let me know. Thanks. I'm sure SFist thinks his shit is sparkling shiny cool, but I'm just not interested.

Too drunk, still, to detail what happened, but it was brilliant. There was singing. Dancing. Lots of laughing. '8-mile'-type rapping nonsense. More laughing. A *very* lively crowd. Singing out the wazoo. (For once in my entire 1.5 yrs or so in the Bay Area, I was proud of an SF audience - they at least pretended to be alive - that was a minor miracle, I thought.) It was stupid. A night like tonight could make one almost unafraid to claim the Bay Area as a hometown. Almost. On the whole, a brilliant experience. Totally. Completely. Fun. and Cool.

...fixed spelling/links/etc. That Mezzanine joint was legit.

And because this event page doesn't seem to have a permalink, here is the ad text for future ref:

SF360 Film+Club: Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along

On March 21, SF360 Film+Club returns to Mezzanine with Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along. The night will be an exploration of R. Kelly's artistic canon, complete with audience participation throughout (starting with a rapping contest). The event will feature R. Kelly's 45-minute hip hopera video Trapped in the Closet; a remake a high school student made for a class project; several of R. Kelly's classic early videos like "Sex Me" and "Bump and Grind;" and, of course, general R. Kelly celebration. It all starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $8 at the door, but you can email for $5 tickets.

Trapped in the Closet is a hip-hop opera released by R. Kelly in 2005. It is an astonishing creation—both for its creative music and equally creative narrative—and, as R. Kelly himself says in the director's commentary, a work for the ages. This show is guest curated by our good friend Henri Mazza of the Austin, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. SF360 Film+Club is presented by the San Francisco Film Society, Mezzanine and Rehab. It is sponsored by SFWeekly and 7x7. SF360 Film+Club is a monthly event, and past events have included NEXT: A Primer on Urban Painting, Wholphin and Colma: The Musical.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An Evening with Barbara Ehrenreich

Saw Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel & Dimed, at Stanford last week. She was pretty darn good. Pretty darn good.

With a pretty bad cold and all, she toughed it out. Props.

Some folks from the audience gave her some cough drops. That was cool.

She was pretty funny - definitely entertaining. She seemed very down to earth - very chill - laid-back.

She mentioned how our health care was tied to our jobs, but how our jobs were not tied to us. I thought that was a good point. Go without working in America, and you go without healthcare. And having a job is still no guarantee having healthcare - not by any stretch.

Her 'white collar' union organization, United Professionals, seems very cool.

She gave big props to SLAC, the Stanford Labor Action Coalition, for doing great organizing work surrounding their 'Living Wage' campaign. A couple of girls from the group spoke briefly after Ehrenreich's talk.

I asked a question at the end - 'what is it about the U.S. and Israel that makes them #1 and #2, respectively, in wealth disparity? (Ehrenreich mentioned this.) Is it racism? Militarism?' She said something to the effect, 'they have nearly the same exact fiscal policies.' Wasn't exactly the type of answer I was looking for, but somewhat helpful. I was more looking for an underlying reason why Israeli and U.S. citizens were so willing to accept such extreme levels of corruption, wealth disparity, etc.

Misplaced my notes for the meeting, so lots of stuff gone forever. Sorry. :(

...SLAC has a couple of good videos:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SF Anarchist Book Fair

Good scene downtown. Check the other blog for more details.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fishing Hurts

What say you?

Many people have never stopped to think about it, but fish are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities—just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with. Did you know that fish can learn to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group and that they can recognize individual "shoal mates"? Some fish gather information by eavesdropping on others, and some-such as a type of South African fish that lays eggs on leaves so that they can be carried to a safe place—even use tools.

Even if you're a fish-eater, like me, you should be honest about it. If you believe humans feel pain, and animals, why not fish?

And yes, insects, etc., too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Corrupt Cops

Imagine that:

Juan Catalan, 28, was arrested in the May 2003 murder of Martha Puebla, 16, outside her Sun Valley home, even though he told detectives that he was innocent and had been at a Dodgers game with his 6-year-old daughter at the time of the crime. Catalan's defense attorney, Todd Melnik, went through footage of crowd shots from the televised game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, but he did not find his client. Then he learned that Curb Your Enthusiasm had been shooting at the ballpark that day. Sure enough, there he was on the cutting room floor, eating a hotdog. Juan spent nearly five months in jail for a crime he did not commit — he filed a suit for police misconduct and today he was awarded $320,000. Catalan was not a fan of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" before his time in jail. "He is now," Casselman said. Well, duh.

Friday, March 02, 2007

'N' word banned in NYC

1984 in NYC, apparently:

The city council of New York has voted to ban the use of the word "nigger".

The resolution to ban the so-called "N-word" is largely symbolic as it carries no weight in law and those who use the word would face no punishment.

Chomsky has this:

"Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech." Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I'm about to whip somebody's ass

Pretty incredible Ze Frank episode today:

I'm not one for religion, but some good religious folks can make you forget about all the evil religious folks in an instant.

Well, Ray, I been tryin to look out. A couple of days ago I helped some old lady who'd fallen down to get up - myself and a couple of other passers-by - I was driving; and today on my way home from work some dude's older Honda Accord died in the left turn lane of Alma Rd heading into Palo Alto during rush hour, so I pushed him into a nearby driveway after parking my own car around the block.