Friday, October 29, 2010

Unemployment News: United We Stand - in the Unemployment Line that is

With the “Silly Season” of political discontent nearing an end and our most recent Terror threat (delivery via UPS from Yemen), the term “United We Stand” should have special meaning to all Americans. These days, any unemployment news we hear is how more of us are standing united all right - in the Unemployment Line that is.

Of those experiencing the heartbreak of unemployment, the most desperate by far are known as the 99ers. There are over 5 million Americans who have been without any income from UI benefits for 8 months. With no jobs in sight for these long term unemployed “exhaustees” - the rapidly approaching holiday season will be nothing to celebrate.

It is not just about no gifts from Santa (but a Tier 5 from Congress would be nice), it is the threat of winter approaching with so many living in their cars or on the streets. No Tier 5 before Thanksgiving = a Death Sentence for many 99ers.

For many of us who are frantically holding on, barely one step ahead of eviction, there are more subtle dignities being stripped away the longer we are without any income. For some it is the isolation unemployment brings. Others like me are stripped of the ability to give this holiday season and that hurts everyone.

Nearly every year since I can recall, I have spent my holidays serving the down and out, holiday meals in whatever soup kitchen needed volunteers. I always contributed to the local food banks and gave volumes to the United Way and Toys for Tots campaigns. I volunteered at local women’s shelters to create gift baskets for the adult women and wrap gifts for the children. This year, I may well need to eat my holiday meal at one of the soup kitchens where I used to serve food to others.

I do not say this for sympathy. I am blogging on this subject to reach out to those like me who feel devastated by this reality and yes - even ashamed to be in this situation. Actually, I am one of the most blessed of the 99ers as I still have my apartment, (for now). I have a very busy schedule of job hunting, blogging, host my own weekly (non-paid) Blog Talk Radio Show [Jobless Talk], Facebook groups and a host of other activities that keep me in touch with really great people in my same situation. One such great person made the cartoon you see here. His name is Bud Meyers and is a 99er in Vegas.

I have been actively campaigning for a variety of candidates, determined to do what little I can to avoid a Tea Party/Republican take over of Washington and other state and local offices. I keep up with baseball and cry or often curse at my beloved San Diego Chargers. I am just like you (if you are a 99er) and no I am not a which. LOL

With over 5 million Americans unable to support themselves with UI benefits and a few more million soon to lose their weekly checks as of November 30, 2010 - America has begun to view us as invisible, lazy or worthless. I can tell you I am none of the above.

I do not have time to be lazy, I refuse to be invisible and the only worthless folks in this country are those who call the unemployed “bums, drug addicts and whiners.”
If you have ever expressed this view when commenting on the blogs or feeling frustrated with a relative you feel might have been unemployed too long - take heart. You could be next in the unemployment line.

The next time you find yourself agreeing with selfish losers like Glenn Beck (who only 3 months back said unemployment was natural selection and those who could not find work deserve to starve to death) thinking that 99 weeks is long enough to help Americans who have worked 30 years or longer, if you do not wish to help the 99ers get their Tier 5 through Congress - just remember that by this Christmas there may well be nearly 8 million unemployed in America without a dime of income to spend in their local communities. This hurts everyone. It hurts those of you who own businesses, wait tables, build houses, do landscaping, farm, suppliers, truck drivers, insurance salesmen, hotel workers, travel/tourist businesses, cashiers, investment brokers, landlords, local parks and zoos and the list goes on.

If you think that 5 million people over the past 8 months being incapable of contributing into the economy does not hurt you - you are WRONG. Take the average of $300.00 per week UI check and multiply it by 5 million and you realize that depriving the 99ers of means to support themselves over the past 8 months has cost America and our economy the stimulative equivalent of more than $2.7 billion each and every week. (based upon the Congressional Budget Office estimate of $1.78 economic return on each $1 spent on UI benefits). That is nearly 100 billion dollars lost to our economy forever!

So before you think to judge harshly the scruffy looking man or woman in the parking lot of your supermarket (who may well be a 99er) holding a sign and looking very hungry, remember - without a Tier 5 and the extension of the filing dates for those who have not collected all UI available the them - YOU may be next in the unemployment line and others may well treat you the way you treated those hurting Americans just down on their luck and victims of this horrible economy.

And while you are here, please take a look at this powerful and entertaining video by singer/songwriter James Mcmurtry called We Can't Make It Here Anymore. If it does not touch you with the hard truth of America today, nothing will.

Oh, if anyone reading this wants to hire a talented, smart, dynamic, hardworking go getter with a great attitude and superb work ethic anywhere in the San Diego area (or for online work) Please leave me a comment with how to contact you! You will be glad you did!

Maria Viramontes, Myrna Lopez, Receive Key Endorsement From The West County Times For Richmond City Council

Richmond City Council candidates Maria Viramontes and Myrna Lopez secured a crucial endorsement this week from the West County Times.

According to the West County Times, “…incumbents Viramontes and Lopez understand the city’s finances, the need to work with the business community and the need to protect the environment.”

Receiving the sought after endorsement of the West County Times is crucial for Lopez and Viramontes, who both claim to have the economy as their first priority in this election. Voters will be going to the polls on Tuesday to cast their vote, choosing from a diverse group of ten candidates and this endorsement will be sure to make Viramontes and Lopez stand out as the best candidates for the council.

The website has more information on both Lopez and Viramontes including mail pieces that describe their stances on the economy, public safety and education in Richmond.

The economy is definitely playing an important role in this year’s election and Lopez has proven to make the right decisions for the people of Richmond as a City Councilwoman in the past. According to a recent mail piece that describes Lopez’s work to improve the economy in Richmond, “Myrna was one of the chief architects of an agreement with Chevron to create 1,200 new jobs and reduce pollution by upgrading the refinery’s equipment.”

The future of children’s education in Richmond is an important factor in this year’s election as well. A recent mail piece for Viramontes describes her passion for maintaining quality schools for Richmond’s children to learn: “When West Contra Costa School District tried to close three Richmond schools, last year, Maria Viramontes was one of the first to stand up to oppose the proposal. She helped develop a comprehensive financial plan to keep the schools open and provide necessary funding to core programs. She understands our youth deserve the resources they need to succeed.”

For more information on both candidates, please visit:
Myrna Lopez:
Maria Viramontes:

Gawker Paints Christine O'Donnell As Horny Virgin Cougar Seeking Sex

According to an anonymous Gawker blog writer, who posts his photos of her, Delaware GOP Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell's had a one-night-stand three years ago and was a horny virgin seeking sex with a 25-year-old man.

O'Donnell was 35 years old at the time, and had just come off one losing campaign for the Senate.  She and a female friend showed up at the writer's doorstep asking to change into their Halloween outfits. In Gawker, he writes:

We'd met for the first and only time three months earlier when my two roommates and I signed the lease on our apartment: Christine's aunt owned the place we were moving into, and she happened to be up from Delaware visiting at the time. But we'd only spent about five minutes together that day and we hadn't spoken much, and I hadn't thought of her since.
Yet here she was standing outside my door with a friend. And both of them were pretty tipsy.

He continues to explain an encounter that's not unlike any one a healthy young man has had in his life.  Part of it are totally funny and very revealing about Christine. Actually, she reads like a lot of fun, frankly.   And her first male target reads like a jealous guy who wasn't worth her time; yet she went after him.

When she didn't get what she wanted, she dated his roommate.  So, in what seems to be a retaliation for that, he's outing her sex life.


Now, the Republican woman presented as fearful of sex, and then a witch, is now dealing with what some claim is a smear campaign on the part of Gawker against her. But sexual harassment? That's what O'Donnell's campaign claims it is. Note, they do not deny the blog post. It's true.

Whatever one says, it's clearly an explosive story, one that emerged just five short days before the November election. Here's the Christine O'Donnell campaign response:

Wilmington, DE – Communications Director Doug Sachtleben stated in response to the universal condoning of the Gawker story:
"This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine's political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks — all with the aim of distracting the press from covering the real issues in this race. Even the National Organization for Women gets it, but Christine's opponent disturbingly does not. As Chris Coons said on September 16th he would not condone personal attacks against Christine. Classless Coons goons have proven yet again to have no sense of common decency or common sense with their desperate attacks to get another rubber stamp for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda. Such attacks are truly shameful, but they will not distract us from making our case to Delaware voters — and keeping the focus on Chris Coons' record of higher taxes, increased spending, and as he has done again here, breaking his promises to the voters."
The National Organization for Women (NOW) on Thursday condemned the tabloid website Gawker for publishing an anonymous account: NOW issued a statement late Thursday stating that "sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate's political ideology."
"NOW repudiates Gawker's decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere," said NOW president Terry O'Neill.

The problem is, the encounter's not a sexual harassment issue. Sexual harassment is defined as
"intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors."

The Gawker article is certainly not appropriate.  But if it was meant to smear Christine O'Donnell and cause her to lose the campaign, it will work.   Say, it paints her as reckless with her public image.  But it also shows her as human.  Frankly, part of me feels sorry for her to have met a guy who did this to her.  It's an obvious violation of a private act, only it's OK because now O'Donnell is a full public figure.  Gawker can do this and get away with it.

But, hey, Christine's not bad looking at all.  Let's see how this plays out.  

More on this, including blog reactions, later.  Here is the full blog post at Gawker.

Oakland Mayor's Race: Don Macleay Interview #2

Followers of this space will remember that this blogger interviewed Oakland Mayor's Race candidate Don Macleay earlier in the campaign, and for about 20 minutes in front of Merritt Station Cafe at 614 Grand Avenue. But Don wanted to talk again, and this space doesn't refuse such requests. The result is the funniest and most fun of all of the interviews I've conducted thus far.

It is so, because the Green Party candidate who calls himself the "People's Mayor," has a good, natural sense of humor that smooths over a wonkish tendency. That quality makes him accessible across race and class lines. Regardless of how the election turns out, Don Macleay has created a good foundation for his political future.

The Mayor Of 40th Street

Already, Don Macleay is arguably the Mayor of 40th Street, where he lives on 40th and Opal. He's right next to what he calls the "new Temescal Neighborhood." Don owns what could be called a compound on that corner, marked with his lawn sign and another in support of Measure BB. Don's tan building houses his East Bay Computer Services, his apartment, and several other tenant businesses. He moved there in 2008, and has what he calls a "Walk, Bike, neighborhood lifestyle."

Across 40th Street from Don Macleay's home is what he laughingly refers to as his entertainment: a green building housing a laundry business, where "you can buy crack on certain days...This candidate does not live on Skyline Drive." That's a friendly shot at Oakland Mayor's Race competitor Greg Harland, who does live on Skyline Drive.

Unlike the other mayoral candidates, Macleay does not have an office with an adress; he has a "virtual office" with cell phones being the communications and information exchange system. "We have our network in the cloud, Don says. "We work with smartphones. We keep both the company and the campaign on these smartphones."

Darth Vader On The Campaign?

In his first room, Macleay has an interesting collection of "stuff," like a UCLA cup (which should be a Cal cup) and including a Darth Vader helmet because his son's into Star Wars. But that doesn't mean Don thinks there's a Darth Vader in the Oakland Mayor's Race: "I think..A lot of people want to paint Don Perata as Darth Vader and I think he's the standard American politician."

The campaign has "just been great" for Don. He's having a lot of fun going from forum to forum (there were 30 of them) and spreading his message of reform. Don says Oakland Government is not "representative enough." He thinks the Oakland City Council is not accessible to the grassroots Oakland activists and wants to change that.

The Pension Reform Issue

Don says the way to reduce the Oakland Pension Deficit is to cash it out on a sliding scale. "It's the members money. What we have set aside belongs to them, first and foremost." What Don wants to do is to give the pension system members all of their money up front, and then start a new system of pay-as-you-go. He says Oakland's government and unions don't like the idea, but it's one he's ready to go forward with should he become Mayor of Oakland.

The People's Mayor

Our talk continued with a tour of his compound and home. It's a machinist's dream, with all kinds of drills and equipment appropriate for everything from bike repair to metal sculpture. He does all of the unlicensed work on his place himself. Don's also ran a number of businesses and says that his experience "puts me in touch with about 60 percent of the economy."

The Parking Issue And The Greens

This blogger originally met Don when we worked on what was to be an initiative to change Oakland's predatory parking laws and system. One that Oakland PUEBLO said was a violation of an Oaklander's civil rights. He reports that "got him into a lot of trouble with the Greens." But Don says he was able to convince many Green Party activists that the City of Oakland's measures didn't provide a public transit alternative, just worked to feed the city's coffers at the expense of the poor.

"We do not have the transit infrastructure we should," he says, and wants a moratorium on new roads; something he will push for even if he's not Mayor of Oakland.

Don's Mayor's Office and Morale

Unlike many of the candidates, Macleay says he will have the same size of Mayor's Office as present. Rearding organizational structure, Don says he's like to keep Mayor Dellums fundraising system and staff. Overall he sees no need to expand the office, and wants to leave the matter of policy advise to the Oakland City Council.

On Oakland city employee morale, which has been poor for years, Don says he will work to make it easier for Oakland employees to talk freely about what they don't like around them. He also wants to help Oakland employees succeed at their jobs.

Don Macleay Has Matured

In closing, Don Macleay has come a long way as a mayoral candidate. At first, I didn't think he was really serious about winning this thing. But over the past few months, he changed. Don became much more engaged, present, and active as a campaigner. He's honed and refined his message and deliberately positioned himself as more a "man of the people." Macleay's an excellent listener and perhaps has the smallest ego of any of the choices for Mayor. It will be interesting to see how he performs on election day in Oakland.

2010 World Series Fight in McDonald's After Giants vs Rangers Game One

The 2010 World Series Giants vs Rangers Game One was marred by a giant fight in the McDonald's located on Brannan near 3rd Street and just one block from AT&T Park. This is the fight the SFPD Officer mentioned as being "70 persons" when we talked on the AT&T Park Muni platform last night.

According to the decription on YouTube channel gtothebomb's video page, this is what happened:

This was taken at the McDonald's right next to AT&T park. Some chick was arguing about their order, the chick with the yellow thong tells her, she shouldn't talk like that in front of her daughter. Chick says she's not my daughter and throws soda at the yellow thong chick. then all hell breaks loose.

The fight was mostly female, and mosly white, Hispanic, and a few African American women. It's not clear why the black women got involved in the fight, but one of them seemed to jump into it, then was helped by her friends as they hit another woman to the ground, then they backed off.

Then a blonde haired woman threw what seemed to be a chair at the woman in yellow. Then, some rather heavy-set Latino man got involved and punched someone else. Then next to him, two other women started fighting.

At that point, you can hear sirens go off as the SFPD comes to the scene. That seems to explain why the camera person is leaving the scene, along with a large number of people who presumably didn't want to be arrested.

It's a pretty safe bet to say that none of the people in the video had tickets to the 2010 World Series. It's also a good reason why this blogger doesn't walk into McDonald's much, if at all, down there.

While that was happening, I was at the Paragon Bar and Grill, just one long block, and a demographic world away.

MC Hammer vs Jay-Z?? An Open Letter to Hammer as He Sets Oct 31st Deadline

A lot of buzz around this ‘beef’ between Jay-Z andMC Hammer. For those who don’t know Jay-Z took shots at Hammer last month about his past financial woes. He did a song where he spit a verse about Hammer losing 30 million. This is while Jay-Z is reported to have brought an island or something like that. Hammer wasn’t feeling the slight and made his disapproval known via twitter with a promise to release a video reposnse on October 31st.

A few things to consider..on one hand Hip Hop has always had the ‘battle’ element. Taking shots or responding to disses have long been a tried and true method of getting on. 5o Cent blew up doing this. KRS made his name early on coming after folks. Hammer himself came up taking shots at all sorts of folks explaining that Hip Hop was like sport. It’s team vs team and when you stepped into the arena it was on you to bring the ruckus so to speak. I recall when he challenged Michael Jackson to a dance off. It was all about the battling on stage, on vinyl and everywhere else to establish your position. So back in the days when folks like Run DMC, 3rd Base, Ice Cube or LL took shots, Hammer got at them both on and off record. Very few emcees especially those who were popular would get a dis off and he not address them.

Jay-Z on the other hand has been interesting with his disses. He’s long known that responding to slights gave folks a chance to come up. He talked about this when he had his famous battle with Nas back in ’01. Folks forget that a lot of times he ‘brushed the disses off his shoulder’ and ignored them not allowing himself to be a free meal ticket. He did that with Jayo Felony and even Game. So why he took shots at Hammer is curious to me.

On another level when cats become elder statesmen in the rap game it just doesn’t seem right to have any sort of battle. It should be about building. It would’ve been dope if Jay-Z helped Hammer get that 30 million back and they embarked on a lucrative long sustaining project together.. It would’ve been good if Hammer shines it off and stepped to Jay privately, But respect is respect, and Hammer is not letting up as we can see in this recent video called Better Run Run.So we’ll see what happens on the 31st.

In the meantime, folks have been speaking out trying to stop this from moving forward. Below is a letter from a local Oakland based author Harry Williams.

An Open Letter To MC Hammer

Author Rev Harry Williams

Dear Brother Hammer:

The black nation is in a state of chaos. According to the Sentencing Project, oneout of every three black men can expect to see the inside of a prison cell ifcurrent trends continue. The CDC tells us that black men are ten times morelikely to contract HIV/AIDS than white men. Black women are twenty times morelikely to contract AIDS than white women. The leading cause of death for blackmen between the ages of 15 and 34 is homicide. In the computer age, theManhattan Institute tells us that only 48% of all black males in America will earn ahigh school diploma. We are in trouble; real trouble.

There are no shortage of professional race leaders to address these issues. Letme tell you where they fall short. They lack a voice that young people will listento. No young brother sitting in front of a television rolling a blunt is going tosay, “Gee, let me turn on the radio and see what Reverend So and So is talkingabout today.” No, they are going to turn on their favorite mc.

Hip hop artists have a unique power to speak into the lives of young people. Thenext Martin Luther King and the next Malcolm X are not going to show up withBrooks Brothers suits and wing tip shoes. The untapped power in ourcommunities belongs to hip hop artists. That is why it is so disheartening to seepowerful African Americans divert their tremendous potential to save lives to thepettiness of tearing down other blacks.
Brother Hammer, recently you became the victim of such an attack. Sir, youhave nothing to prove to anyone. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down into apit. There are some people who will say mean things just to extract a negativereaction out of you. When they succeed in making you frown, their day is made.Turn your back to them.

God gave you a gift that caused hip hop to explode on the face of the earth. Ifthere had been no MC Hammer, a lot of rappers would still be serving crack infront of the projects or slinging burgers, if they could get a job at all. You createdan industry. How many people can lay down tonight and before they close theireyes say to themselves, “I changed the world.”

I know that you are from Oakland. Homeboys in the place they call “da Town”are suffering from the reverberating shocks of the Great Recession. Gangwarfare and gun violence are out of control. People are hungry and desperate.They need voices of hope. For so many years, you have owned such a voice.Come back to these streets. Leave the hatred to the haters. Perhaps God’s
greater purpose for your life is that you speak hope in the valleys of the shadowof death and despair. Come home. You name is still quadruple platinum in thesestreets.

My prayers are with you.


Reverend Harry Louis Williams, II – East Oakland, CA (

World Series 2010: San Francisco Celebrates Giants Game 1 and 2 Wins

Wow. The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series Game 1 and World Series Game 2. The combined score of 20 runs to just 7 for the Texas Rangers would be a blow-out if it were a football score. And while the scene at AT&T Park is electric inside, it was nuclear outside of it, especially on the first day.  Here's the video:

Over at, this blogger reported:

According to San Francisco Police Officer Greg Shur, the crowd, with the exception of just two arrests, was well-behaved. It was a vastly different and more controlled, yet electric feeling for World Series Game One than for the NLCS or the NLDS before that. The 21st Amendment was packed and orderly, and funny.

There was some guy behind me who yelled like a weird animal. A high pitched KIYYEEEEEEEEE sound. Then there was the man with the "Beat Texas" sign. And there was a lot of beer. It's great to see the businesses around the ballpark pick up so much business from the World Series.

Well, that was true, except that by World Series Game 2, things did get a little ugly. A SFPD Officer keeping an eye on the celebration from his perch on the Muni AT&T Park platform said, in response to the comment that there were just two arrests, laughed sarcastically and said "There were a lot more than that. There was a 70-person fight at the McDonald's (on Brannan, just a block from the ball park), someone lost $4,000 on a set of phony tickets, and Texas Rangers fan got pummeled inside their (pointing at the stadium)."

People Coming Just To Hang Out

There must have been 20,000 people hanging out outside AT&T Park without tickets on the first day, and a good 10,000 the second day.  There was one couple who flew in from Indiana, and two party girls watching the game from a line next to Momo's.  One of them said her favorite celebrity was Brett Favre and also said she would take a text from the Vikings Quarterback - and she said this on video to come on Friday!  

There were a lot of happy people, but it's sad to learn that the environment overall isn't as safe as it was reported to be on the magical World Series Game first day.

World Series Game 2: Giants Beat Rangers Again; Matt Cain, Edgar Renteria, Cody Ross Star

World Series Game 2 from AT&T Park in San Francisco is history as the SF Giants beat the Texas Rangers again with the improbable score of 9 to 0. It was tight for most of the contest until the 8th inning when the Giants exploded, causing the Rangers to leak runs like a cracked dam. The Rangers gave up a whopping seven runs in that one inning.

Overall, the game was won by Giants Pitcher Matt Cain, Shortstop Edgar Renteria, and outfielder Cody Ross, who's stop of a 6th inning base hit that could have caused extra runs made the difference.

But Matt Cain gets the win as he pitched seven and two-third scoreless innings and 21 in the post season according to The MLB Network. Cain can also tip his hat to Giants Shortstop Edgar Renteria.

Renteria's live bat produced the game's first run, as he hit a solo home-run in the fifth inning to push the SF Giants ahead 1 to zero at the time. Then, Renteria drove in another run in the dramatic eight inning. After Edgar's heroics, Ross' play in the sixth inning saved the game.

Texas Rangers movie-in-the-making Outfielder Josh Hamilton hit the ball into the right field in the sixth inning. Cody Ross had a bead on the ball, started to dive for it, realized he was too late, so stopped the balls advance past him with his body.

At the time, Texas Rangers Michael Young was at 2nd base, headed to third, but then say Cody's play on the ball, and remained at second. Had the ball gone beyond Ross, Young would have taken 3rd, and may have even scored. And the next pitch was wild, so if Young was at third, he would have scored. Instead of a 2 - 1 Texas lead, the score remained 1-0 Giants at the time.

Game Three In Texas Is  Pivotal

Now, the scene shits to World Series Game 3 in Arlington, Texas, and the Rangers are placed in a must-win position.  If they drop the first World Series game in DFW Metroplex history to the Giants, San Francisco could win it all in Texas and even sweep the Rangers.  The Giants are just two wins from World Series victory.