Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Car Crashes Into Closed Virgin Record Store In San Francisco (VIDEO)

A car crashed into the closed Virgin Record Store on the corner of Market and Stockton just before this blogger arrived at that point this evening about 90 minutes prior to the writing of this blog entry and video installation. That time was about 9:50 PM PST and just after the showing of True Grit at The Metreon.

At the time, no one seemed to know exactly why it happened. But from appearances the driver of the car is still in it. As you can see from the video, the door that was the entrance to the once active "megastore" was shattered. The store had been closed and abandoned for some time.

It looks as if the driver was either the victim of breaks that failed, or, as someone said, he or she fell to sleep. Even San Francisco Police officers, who arrived on the scene, were asking each other questions. Paramedics were arriving to see to the driver of the car, as you can see in the video above.

As I left to produce the video and this blog post, SFPD were talking about closing off the entire Market and Stockton intersection from traffic.   That is the perhaps the busiest intersection in the Union Square Shopping District, which was teaming with people just 10 days before Christmas.

Stay tuned.

True Grit With Jeff Bridges - Hailee Steinfeld Steals The Show

For those of you who remember True Grit, the 1969 movie with the late John Wayne, the modern version of True Grit, with Jeff Bridges in the same role that Wayne made famous - Rooster Cogburn - will delight you. For those of you who never saw the old True Grit, you will love the new one.

The 2010 version by The Coen Brothers is an outstanding movie. A modern classic. It is the best and latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen and has few peers among the Oscar contenders for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

While Jeff Bridges is outstanding as Rooster Cogburn, young Hailee Steinfeld steals the entire movie. It's simply hard to believe someone created an actress who could play a 14-year-old with the tenacity of a 40-year-old, but there she is in the form of Steinfeld. She takes the role of Mattie Ross and makes what could so easily be a campy effort into an Oscar-worthy one. But even beyond her performance, True Grit is a lovely film to watch.

The cinematography is something, and the two-color terrain scenes will add to the buzz about the film's hidden messages. Epecially the starry sky toward the end.

You'll have to see True Grit for yourself, but this is not the last blog post I'll write about it.

$900 Billion HR 4853: The Big 13 month UI Extension LIE and the 99ers Big Push for Tier 5

Breaking News - $900 Billion HR 4853: The Big 13 month UI Extension LIE and the 99ers Big Push for Tier 5

The Lame US Senate may have passed this travesty of a bill called H.R.4853 -- Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 today - but the US House of representatives could save us all...if they choose to and do not cave in themselves - Come On Nancy Pelosi! Stick to your guns and hold your ground. This is how You will be remembered as the first Woman Speaker - The last Stand.

According to the Huffington Post yesterday:
A decision was made not to vote on the resolution, a setback for advocates of amending the tax cut deal. Negotiations, however, were ongoing, they said.
"I think that's unsettled at this point," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said.
Under the current bill, the unemployed would get a 13-month extension, while the wealthy would get two years worth of tax cuts. Extending unemployment insurance beyond the 13 months will be difficult with the GOP in control of the House next year.
What the Huffington Post and MOST ALL of the Media refuse to report is that 13 month extension Obama is so proud of negotiating DOES NOT HELP over 7 Million unemployed Americans. Only 4.5 million of those are UI “exhaustees” now. Most of the other members of the “13 month extension screws us” Club will exhaust their benefits within the first 6 month of 2011 - and will NOT be helped at all by this bogus 13 month UI trade off for hundreds of $ Billions going to the wealthiest Americans.

Reposted from my previous articles:
  • The 13 month extension in this compromise does NOT guarantee your benefits continue for the entire 13 months
  • If you have exhausted all available Tiers of benefits already, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU AT ALL.
  • If you are on Tier 2 now (or soon will be) and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4 - HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU AT ALL and after 14 weeks of Tier 2 you will have no more UI at all.
  • If you are collecting in Tier 1 and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU COLLECT past the additional 14 weeks of Tier 2 = 3 months NOT 13 months.
  • If you are collecting now on your original 26 weeks of State benefits and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU COLLECT past the additional 20 weeks in Tier 1 + 14 weeks of Tier 2 That = 36 weeks or a about 8 months NOT 13 Months.
There may, however be some hope as the House drafted the resolution below yesterday: (for what that may be worth).
December 14, 2010

House Democratic Caucus Resolution
Honorable David Wu

The Democratic Caucus shall vote to consider a bill in the House where the extension date of all Bush tax cuts is equal to the extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefit;

The House shall vote only on legislation that extends unemployment benefits for at least as long as it extends tax cuts for the wealthy; and

The Democratic Caucus opposes legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans for longer than it extends much-needed unemployment benefits for middle-class families.

The only text I could find anywhere for this Obama “Bend Over” was the House bill passed on December 1, 2011. H.R.4853 -- Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010

This clearly is NOT the bill passed by the US Senate today, as it mentions nothing about any 13 month UI extension. Why is the Senate voting on a bill that they have not yet published exactly what is in the bill? What ever happened to transparency Mr. President?

And wasn’t it the GOPigs who demanded the Health Care Reform bill be published completely before voting on such? Hypocrites! The fact is nobody in Congress has even read the bill, because according to Rep Alan Grayson (D-FL) who appeared on The Ed Show Tuesday: “Nobody even knows what is in the bill...” [See video below]

This is a very important point as there are hundreds of millions of dollars of earmarks in this phantom bill - per the Ed Schultz Radio show this afternoon.

The House is where the battle will be for the 99ers and the country. If Pelosi caves in and screws the 99ers - once the NON 99ers figure out what I wrote above is true and that this bogus 13 month extension does not help the vast majority of the unemployed - once they get it that this 13 month extension IS A LIE- I suspect that rioting in the streets will soon be unavoidable.

Before this happens, the 99ers and non-99ers alike MUST concentrate on a massive united effort to slam the House, Nancy Pelosi, David Wu and the Congressional Black Caucus in a non-stop effort from now until the end of this Congressional session, DEMANDING our Tier 5 be included in this “compromise” or NO DEAL at ALL - Period!

This is our last chance 99er Nation - so let's make this happen NOW!

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Top 5 Problems with the Tax Deal per

The following are the "Top 5 Problems with the Tax Deal" - according to Nita Chaudhary of, a Political Action group:

Problem #1: The deal is a stealth attack on Social Security. The deal will lower the payroll tax—the tax that funds the Social Security trust. This is a trap for Democrats. Republicans have been coming after Social Security for years and this cut is the biggest threat to the vital program in decades. It will cut one-third of Social Security's funding this year alone and when we need to restore the payroll tax back to its current level, Republicans will cry "tax increases" and could gut it permanently.

Problem #2: For nearly one in three workers, it's a tax increase. Nearly 50 million working Americans—including all workers making less than $20,000 per year—and millions of federal, state, and municipal workers will see their taxes go up because of the deal.

Problem #3: The deal has not one but TWO millionaire bailouts. In addition to extending all the Bush income tax breaks for the top 2%, the deal will slash the estate tax. If Congress did nothing, next year the estate tax would be 55% and apply to everyone inheriting $1 million or more. But the deal reduces it to 35% and only people who inherit more than $5 million will have to pay. This second bailout will give a gigantic tax giveaway to a few thousand of the richest families in the country and add hundreds of billions to the national debt.

Problem #4: Unemployment help is insufficient and inadequate. While the deal extends unemployment benefits for another 13 months for ****SOME (see below) of the people currently receiving it, millions of unemployed workers who've struggled the most and been out of work more than 99 weeks—since the giant Wall Street banks wrecked the economy—will get no help at all under the deal.4 It's a gamble that there will be jobs in the next 13 months when the insurance runs out, but the tax cuts will go well beyond that. Better to just pass a stand-alone unemployment extension to help all struggling Americans.

Problem #5: Tax giveaways to the rich are a terrible way to create jobs. Tax breaks for the rich are the least efficient way to create jobs and help the economy grow. In fact the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says extending all tax cuts would lower unemployment only 0.1% to 0.3% over the next year5 and that the cost of the tax deal would be $900 billion over the next five years.

We've got to stop this deal and make sure everyone understands what's really in it. This is a real problem (as I will reveal in my next article) because Congress is voting on a bill that nobody has even seen. Even Washington does not know what is in this bill - let alone the American people...

What the email from fails to state is passage of this BAD DEAL for America will almost certainly lower America's credit rating throughout the globe.

Moody's warned on Monday, if President Barack Obama's tax and unemployment benefit package becomes law - the consequences would be dire. America could see a once unthinkable downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, which could balloon U.S. borrowing costs and make our financing position much more costly.

"Unless there are offsetting measures, the package will be credit negative for the US and increase the likelihood of a negative outlook on the US government's AAA rating during the next two years," Moody's said.

For the United States, a loss of its AAA credit rating, will reduce the appeal of U.S. Treasuries, which currently rank as among the world's safest investments. "From a credit perspective, the negative effects on government finance are likely to outweigh the positive effects of higher economic growth," Moody's analyst Steven Hess said in a report sent late on Sunday.

After Obama announced his plan, Treasury prices fell sharply in volatile trade last week and yields have hit a six-month high, in part due to concerns over the effect the package will have on government debt levels.

If the bill becomes law, it will "adversely affect the federal government budget deficit and debt level," Moody's said.

***TRUTH about "so called" 13 month extension:

FACT: The 13 month extension in this compromise does NOT guarantee your benefits continue for the entire 13 months

FACT: If you have exhausted all available Tiers of benefits already, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU AT ALL.

FACT: If you are on Tier 2 now (or soon will be) and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4 - HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU AT ALL and after 14 weeks of Tier 2 you will have no more UI at all.

FACT: If you are collecting in Tier 1 and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU COLLECT past the additional 14 weeks of Tier 2 = 3 months NOT 13 months.

FACT: If you are collecting now on your original 26 weeks of State benefits and your state does not meet the state UI % threshold for Tiers 3 and or 4, HR 4853 WILL NOT HELP YOU COLLECT past the additional 20 weeks in Tier 1 + 14 weeks of Tier 2 That = 36 weeks or a about 8 months NOT 13 Months.

WAKE UP AMERICA and STOP this Republican destruction of America's middle Class so the Rich can keep their gardeners and pool boys. Unbelievable!

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette to KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you.]

Rex Better Be Ready To Hit The Mark

Rex Better Be Ready To Hit The Mark
(Photo Credit Sanchez at his NFL draft Presser-By Dr. Bill Chachkes for FRO)
by TJ Rosenthal-NY Jets Reporter-Football Reporters Online

The New York Jets are Mark Sanchez’s team. Now AND going forward. Coach Rex Ryan made that clear during a press conference this week. Sanchez is just in his second year after having played only one season at USC before become a top ten selection for the Jets in 2009. Yet should the coach get “that feeling” again, it may be the right time to move to Mark Brunell for a flash. If only to see whether the Jets backup quarterback can restore order to a unit that despite all of their weapons, turns the ball over too much, can’t score points, and has begun to lose faith in itself.

Sanchez, the Jets franchise quarterback has played very well and very clutch at times over his almost two year career. Thrust into action from the start of his rookie year, he recovered from a personal midseason swoon to lead the team to an AFC Championship appearance, after guiding the club to two impressive road playoff wins.

This year he has guided four late road comeback wins, and thrown for over 300 yards in games for the first time as a pro. Yet there have been very rocky moments for Sanchez along the way, especially lately. Instances filled with indecision,  interceptions, and a loss of confidence. 

Call it immaturity call it emotional disposition, the Jets stand at a crossroads NOW. This week. They were 9-2 and to themselves and many others, a Super Bowl contender.

They are now 9-4, still wondering how they lost 45-3 in Foxboro, and seen as a fraud to those same experts who now frame those last minute comebacks as luck, rather than ability driven. 

Aside from their league leading nine win start, Sanchez and the offense for much of the year have been ineffective. None more than over the past two weeks, where the club has failed to score a TD. His early season 11TD’s to zero interceptions ratio have been replaced by a myriad of picks without the TD’s to balance it. Two early mistakes last week by the QB led to ten Miami points. The only points the Fish scored, and needed in order to beat the Jets 10-6.

Rex Ryan mentioned after the game that he “considered benching Sanchez,” but decided against it after coming to terms with the notion that the scoring problems were not all Sanchez’s fault. Ryan was correct. There was plenty of blame to go around. The receivers were dropping passes. The line, missing key piece Damien Woody for much of the afternoon pass protected poorly. Failing to spring open holes for the sagging Jets run game.Yet that notion of making a brief signal calling switch may have to come to fruition soon if things worsen early.

Ryan has to be on HIS game Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Jets need a change of energy. If Sanchez plods along, making poor throws, scary choices, and tossing interceptions that lead to say, a 17-0 deficit, there would be nothing wrong with changing it up for a drive, a quarter, or a game with Brunell. 

The Jets can’t afford to sit back and become witnesses to their own collapse. Many Jets fans are not huge Mark Brunell fans at this point in his long career. His play was erratic during the Summer, the most recent look anyone has had of his current skill set.. He is certainly not the top ten NFL quarterback he was when the Jets faced him in the AFC divisional round back in 1999. A time when Brunell led the Jacksonville Jaguars to places they’ve not returned to since. Nonetheless, the once fleet footed Brunell has seen it all, and may provide a calming presence to what has become a jittery huddle. The veteran backup’s viewpoint from the sideline might also provide an example of how to spread the ball around and who to spread it around to. 

In last week’s loss, one drive might have been enough to win that game. It might be enough as well in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers and their 27th ranked red zone offense are struggling to find the end zone too, and stand only slightly better as of late than the Jets 30th ranked red zone offense. 

What Ryan and the Jets CAN’T do is fear change or damaging the young Sanchez’s view of himself. The luxury of a nice cushion is eroding quickly. The Jets are only two games up on a playoff berth with three games left. The hard charging Colts, Chargers and Dolphins, all at 7-6, are hanging around praying for more disasters from Gang Green. 

Ryan’s fear that Sanchez will lose confidence in himself going forward is NOT the reason to sit on the idea of short term relief with Brunell anymore. If Sanchez’s lack of trust in himself IS the cause for more shoddy play that is burying the team in Pittsburgh, Ryan has to go to the bullpen for a few innings. The scoring drought has NOT been all Sanchez’s fault, but a lack of field leadership in part, has been. That’s the job of a quarterback. To exude confidence. Through thick and thin. A bad emotional and physical stretch by Sanchez against the Steelers, the NFL’s best defense, may finally force Ryan’s hand. Sometimes you just need a spark.

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Burger King Down-Low Commercial Racist Toward Black Men

That Burger King commercial's getting a lot of negative buzz on forums and blogs around the Internet.  And it was aired during the Oakland Raiders game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.  As you can see in the video, it shows two black men with earings, and the taller one is behind the shorter one and they ask a light-skinned black woman to dance.

At the same time, they're promoting a "two-for-one sandwich" deal at Burger King, by having the forward short black guy holding the sandwich, while the back guy grinds on him and then they all, the woman included, dance.  She says to him "This is a little weird," and he says "It can get weirder."


Look.  What went through my mind was the only way this commercial idea got this far was some idiot who's black and male and has a negative self-image came up with this idea, and the whites and others (I assume there's some diversity in the Burger King brass) green-lighted the idea.

I can hear someone at Burger King saying "Well, it must be OK. This black guy came up with the idea."

That does not make it OK. There are tons of negative images of black men; do we have to add the one that's the fear of every black woman, the down-low black guy?  (And down-low means he's actually into sleeping with men, but dates women.)

And if you're white or Asian or Latino and see this, don't be stupid enough to think a commercial like this is OK, just because someone black does.  It's not OK!!

If Burger King had to make a commercial, why not a good, interracial family story with a man, a woman, and two kids, instead of this garbage?

This commercial's another good reason (aside from the food) to bypass the Burger King at Atlanta Harsfield Jackson Airport, or the one at San Francisco International's United Airlines Terminal 3. Or the Burger King at 13th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland.

Forget getting my business, Burger King. This garbage is an outrage!

City of Oakland News: Oakland Gang Injunction And John Russo

The hot news topic in the City of Oakland is the Oakland Gang Injunction and its impact on two Oakland Neighborhoods, North Oakland and Fruitvale.

This video blogger created this follow-up to the original video by Michael Siegel that attacks Russo for being too interested in politics, and says the Gang Injunction is racist.

Here's the interview (click here) and the video itself:

John Russo On Oakland Gang Injunction and Gangs in Oakland

This video blogger talked with Oakland City Attorney John Russo about his response to a video featuring Michael Siegel of the Oakland civil rights law firm Siegel and Lee, and the focus of a blog entry of last week. One that got under the skin of Russo and his assistant Alex Katz.

Within two days, John and Alex called to ask for this blogger to come and conduct a video interview to get their side of the Oakland Gang Injunction issue. The result is the 20 minute video.

In 2010 Oakland became the third city in the San Francisco Bay Area to implement injunctions against a specific set of street gangs, the North Oakland Crime Organization and another called The , which, according to Russo, is a terribly violent gang.

What Is A Gang Injunction?

To start, we got out of the way just what a gang injunction is. "A gang injunction is a civil court order that the city pursues against a uh, known criminal enterprise," Russo said. "It's defined, the term "gang" is used - a street gang is the state law. It's a law that was passed in the 1980s by the California Legislature." Russo - who's level of understanding of the details of the history of the gang injunction "tool" shows how involved he's been in the issue - explains that the law was upheld as constitutional by the California Supreme Court in 1997. "It is a civil order in the manner of a restraining order," he says, "It allows a city attorney or a district attorney to bring an injunction against a group of individuals who have conspired to commit crimes or otherwise terrorize innocent people in a community." (Photo by CBS Channel 5, San Francisco.)

Russo says Oakland has had two such injunctions, one approved by the Alameda Superior Court in June after being created in February and is called The North Side Oakland Injunction.

The second injunction request filed in October impacts Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood and involves a gang called The Nortenos.

Oakland's Better Injunction

Russo asserts that Oakland's injunctions are formed with a concern for due process and civil rights, a bit of a slap at the injunctions of other cities. "The others are constitutional. A city can go to a court and say 'We're going to prove this gang exists,' and leave it to the police to determine on the street, who's part of the gang. By contrast, Oakland uses the court system and what Russo says is "clear and convincing evidence" to say that a person's part of a gang. That, at least is supposed to, eliminate the possibility of racial profiling or at least reduce the chance of such habits working in this case.

In Oakland's system, the objective is to prove that the individual is part of the criminal organization. John says that in many cases the persons of interest self identify via Facebook, YouTube, and other ways.

Are Federal Dollars The Objective?

Michael Siegel contends that the gang injunction is a way to sweep more people of color up into the police prison system and gain Federal dollars in the process. Russo says that the idea that's true springs from Siegel's head. Russo says they don't get Federal or State dollars from using the gang injunctions. Russo blasts both Michael and his dad Dan Siegel for deliberately mis-reporting what the law says.

An Open Door To The Riders Case?

Russo says that the gang injunction is not an open door for another "Riders" case. In that unfortunate year 2000 episode in Oakland's history, four officers - Frank Vazquez, Clarence Mabanag, Jude Siapno and Matt Hornung - were accused of beating gang and crime suspects in West Oakland, and planting evidence on them.

Called "The Riders," their actions were revealed by a whistle-blower Oakland Police Officer, Keith Batt,  (who is that no more) and resulted in a $10.5 million payout by the City of Oakland to West Oaklanders who were terrorized by the cops, and a Federal consent decree governing the Police Department that was to remain to 2010.

Again, Russo says that because Oakland's Gang Injunction System calls for in-court identification of suspects using judge, jury, and law, it takes the issue of determining who's part of a gang our of the hands of the Oakland Police on the street.

Injunctions Working?

Russo says the Oakland injunction's will be successful because they're focused on the individual. But the basic point is it's too early to tell if the injunctions are totally successul or not. It's in the process of being applied and is new. Russo says "It's not a be all end all. It's a tool." He says it comes up via the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils which are neighborhood watch groups like the one for Lake Merritt's Adams Point we call 14x. That group uses a Yahoo Group to share crime information with the Oakland Police representative for that area.

Gang Injunctions Racist?

On the idea that the Oakland Gang Injunction is racist, focusing on black and brown in poor Oakland neighborhoods, Russo gets pissed. "It's racist," he charges," to allow innocent people to be terrorized," by criminals in the areas that happen to be black and brown, and do nothing about it for fear of being called racist for taking action.

But Russo saves his greatest venom for the Siegels Dan and Michael and their law firm Siegel and Lee, who he says are going to Oakland Schools with bullhorns and openly lying to teenagers about the Oakland Gang Injunction saying that it's directed at them. "There's no one under 18 on the injunction list, and there never will be anyone under 18 on the injunction list," Russo blasts.

A Better Way

To this blogger, the real problem is that Oakland lacks a systems approach to deal with this problem. A crime is more than a police issue, it's an economic development and housing issue too. We should know if the people involved had jobs and if not, why not. Then work to get them employed. Instead, all we do is lock people up. It's massively stupid and only temporarily effective at best. The Oakland Gang Injunction is but one tool, the problem is the City of Oakland doesn't know how to use the other tools at its disposal, like Redevelopment, together with it. And by Redevelopment, I do not mean population removal, but population resource improvement.

Stay tuned.