Monday, March 14, 2011

Gilbert Gottfried Fired By Aflac For Tsunami Jokes On Twitter

Gilbert Gottfried, best known as the voice of the duck in the now-famous Aflac commercials, has ducked up. Aflac, the insurance company, wasn't too secure with his Twitter tweets about Japan and the Japanese in the wake of the worst natural disaster in that nation's history. So, Aflac fired Gottfried.

Apparently Mr. Gottfried knew he was wrong and wanted to maintain his job because he removed the offensive tweets. But that was too late, as they were picked up by a number of blogs, of note, The Huffington Post. Here are the Twitter tweets of concern:

I just split up with my girlfriend. But like the Japanese say, "They'll be another one floating by any minute now."

Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them.

One thing's for certain, Gottfried is out of a job. But this blogger has to question Aflac, because from reading his remaining Twitter tweets, it's OK to insult black men! Witness:

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
@.@LisaLampanelli Black convicts are RMAO (ramming my ass off)!
11 Mar

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
@.@LisaLampanelli Maybe no more black convicts for you, but I constantly visit Rikers Prison for a good ass fuck.
11 Mar

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
.@LisaLampanelli You married a white cop! Does he mind you fucking black convicts?
11 Mar

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
@Abner_Malitee What did he say this time?
10 Mar

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
My doppelganger or my Sammy Petrillo, which ever you prefer. Marlee Matlin's interpreter, Jack Jason. #Roast
10 Mar

RealGilbert Gilbert Gottfried
Me backstage at the #DonaldTrump #Roast with a very large black gentleman.
10 Mar

Good for Gilbert Gottfried getting fired, but couldn't Aflac have been more comprehensive in its reasons?

Oakland Marathon and Running Festival 2011: Gene Brtalik Interview, Lake Chalet, Oakland

Gene Brtalik and this blogger got together again and for the second time in a year to talk about the Oakland Marathon and Running Festival 2011 to be held March 26th and 27th 2011. We met for lunch on a beautiful Friday on the dock at The Lake Chalet; a perfect lake shore backdrop to talk about the running race that will pass by it on March 27th.

Gene's the Director of The Oakland Marathon, and has settled in to being a Bay Area resident and head of a successful event that promotes the city. He moved here two years ago, noticed that Oakland didn't have a race, and talked to the head of Corrigan Sports Enterprises back east in Maryland about starting one in Oakland. The result was the 2010 Oakland Marathon that drew 6,300 runners. A good 20 percent of them from outside the Bay Area.

The race course they run, as Gene points out on the video, takes in much of central Oakland, from Jack London Square, to Lake Merritt, then the Oakland Hills, and finally downtown Oakland; 26.2 miles for the full run, 13.1 for the half marathon. And all along the course, music groups played, and will be there again.

Changes For 2011

Gene says that many of the Oakland Marathon's changes for 2011 center around making the course more "driver friendly." For example, last year they went down Fruitvale; this year they're going down Coolidge. And this time the course avoids Bellevue for those who want to go to Children's Fairyland.

The Runners Expo is bigger this year, and the 5K this year is at Jack London Square, where as it was at Lake Merritt in 2010.

Registration At 7,000 Runners

Already there are more runners registered this year than last year: 7,000 as of the writing of this blog post. You can still register at the website here:

Oakland Marathon: The Best Of Oakland

Gene reports that a post- 2010-race survey revealed that 90 percent of people surveyed said that they left with a positive image of Oakland.   One person saw Lake Merritt and loved it so much, he bought a house there.  That's the best news of all because, as Gene says "Oakland's not as bad as members of the media have made it to be."

Atlantis Found in Spain

Time magazine online reports that researchers are claiming that they may have found the lost city of Atlantis in Spain:

"The new proposed site of Atlantis is 60 miles inland, submerged in the swampy Dona Ana Park north of Cadiz, Spain."

Discovery Channel's show Finding Atlantis aired last night, Sunday, showed that the city which was swamped by a tsunami may be found. Reuter's reports that the U.S. led research team used satellite images:

""This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.

To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis."

It will be interesting to see what more is found as the series progresses.

Pi Day

Today is March 14 - 3/14 - 3.14, which is also the first three digits of pi, which is a never ending number non repeating. Pi represents the relationship between a circle's circumference and diameter and is used in equations for solving.

In schools across America students celebrate pi-day with eating pies and playing games in the classroom. This is the 22nd annual pi day as reported on the Pi Day web site Exploratorium.

The site includes all sorts of fun activities, because it is the one day where math can actually be interesting and entertaining; as well as delicious.

So eat some pie and enjoy the day.

SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi On SF Police Surveillance Video Scandal

The San Francisco Police video Surveillance Scandal has hit the media and led to what ultimately could be a sweeping investigation and eventually a wholesale change in how police work is done. This blogger met (for the first time) with San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi to talk about the scandal and its implications on Friday for this video interview.

Mr. Adachi presides over an office of 90 lawyers, a budget of $24 million, and has handled about 25,000 cases over his tenure since he was elected in 2002. Adachi explains that the one truism is "everyone has an eye on you."

That "eye" is the camera, be it a camcorder, standard photo camera, a camcorder, or in the case of the surveillance scandal, a surveillance camera. What happened is a couple of weeks ago, we had a case where the client said the police came into my room without a warrant." Adachi says the police filed a police report that claimed otherwise - that they had consent to enter the place.

What the San Francisco police officers filing the report didn't count on was the existence of a video right in the hallway and which captured their every move and "directly contradicts what the police said."

The Public Defender says "police have to have a warrant in order to go into your home. This is America. This is the constitution." The officers were caught on camera violating the basic constitutional rights of the very people who's homes they broke into. "In one of the videos, you can even see one of the police officers, who knows the surveillance camera is there, put his hand over the surveillance camera." Then the officer took it away once the police were ready to leave. The trouble is, he didn't keep his hand up long enough.

This is the video Adachi's referring to:

"The bottom line," Adachi says, "is the conduct the officer did is illegal and it contradicted what he put in the police report." Jeff says that when an officer writes a police report there's a box that writes "under penalty of perjury." That means if the report is false, the officer has lied to the court with the stroke of a pen.

Even with that, Adachi says the officers don't take the issue of perjury seriously. In the Surveillance Video Scandal, the officer gave testimony consistent with the police report, even as the video contradicting him was shown in court.

Eventually, that, and other videos, led to the San Francisco District Attorney dismissing 57 cases last week. And there may be more.

That's because once an an officer is found to have committed perjury in one case, or officers involved in 57 cases here, that can be applied to other past cases. So this scandal is what Mr. Adachi describes as the "Pandora's Box" that could lead to discoveries of other San Francisco police misconduct examples.

Former Police Chief Backs Off Investigation

The announced investigation that was to be ran by Former SF Police Chief and now San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, but Gascon has announced he will not lead the investigation of the SFPD on this matter. The FBI will take charge of the investigation. (And while they're supposed to, Jeff Adachi says that as of this report, the FBI has yet to contact him. Adachi wants to be kept informed by the FBI.)

On The Matter Of A Master Key

In another case that came to Mr. Adachi and involving the Lutx Residential Hotel, San Francisco Police went to the landlord's office and pushed and intimidated him, demanding a master key. The police used the key on six different occasions to enter rooms, again without a search warrant.  The landlord says he believes in the police, but they can't use him to go into people's apartments, as they have done.

Even with Adachi's public complaint, and the video scandal, San Francisco Police Chief Jeff Godown says his charges will continue to use a master key in drug busts. In a press conference Friday, at about the same time as I was talking with Adachi, Godown said "We're not doing anything (different)," and argued that a "pass key is no different than someone booting down the door with their foot or using a ram."  Adachi has said he would seek legislation to make the police stop their current practices.

The San Francisco Riders Case?

To this blogger, the San Francisco Police Surveillance Video Scandal has all of the marks of Delphine Allen v. City of Oakland, known as The Riders Case in Oakland.  In that famous episode in Oakland Police history, four Oakland Police Officers, beat, intimidated, and abused West Oakland residents, then lied about their activities in their police reports.

It cost the City of Oakland $10.9 million in paid settlements to 119 Oaklanders and their lawyers, and sweeping changes in how the Oakland Police conduct activities with potential suspects. And the OPD is under the watch of an independent monitor, who reports to the Federal Court on a regular basis.

Adachi is not prepared to go as far as to suggest the San Francisco Police have a "Riders" problem with rogue police officers, but that was before Godown's statements. Overall, the appearance is that the San Francisco Police Department's not going to change its practices on its own.

A Hotline To Call

Mr. Adachi says if you have an incident of police misconduct to report, call 415-575-4290. Another practice is to purchase and wear a tiny pen-mounted video camera or use a camera-equipped clock that can rest on your desk.  A cyber walk to reveals a wide variety of cameras, many at affordable prices.

Another way is to use your Samsung Android smartphone and download  You can activate the app, and use the smartphone to livestream any illegal police activity happening before you, then send the video out to you Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts.  If you leave the app on for about five minutes, it will broadcast a true livestream video to your viewers.

It's the only way one can protect themselves against illegal police actions and obtain evidence.   Technology is the ultimate disruptive force that can protect the civil rights of innocent San Franciscans.

Stay tuned.