sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

November 4, 2014

Did You Have a Guilt-Free Halloween?

Filed under: Bay Area politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:15 pm

Today I had a party of NO.  I went into the voting booth and voted straight Republican ticket (plus Marshall Tuck) and NO on every proposition on the ballot.

But Friday was Halloween, which went fabulously, except that some schools in our area were encouraging kids to trick-or-treat for UNISEF.  Michelle Obama would be proud: instead of asking for candy, they walked around with orange boxes asking for money.  So nutritious!

Halloween is the Bay Area Christmas, and parties here are a lot of fun.  Some homeowners keep their decorations up for weeks after the holiday.  Unfortunately, instead of instead of congratulating themselves on being so paganized, local liberals can’t help but to be killjoys.  Is it necessary to remind kids that they are brats on a day like Halloween? Can they just have fun without thinking of the Third World?  Just once?

September 30, 2014

Suspected East Bay Area Pacifism Outbreak

Filed under: Bay Area politics, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:13 am

From the Department of You Just Can’t Make It Up, all italics are mine:

Those who know Alameda resident Stephen Michael Petersen were stunned to learn Monday that their friend — a guitar player who fronts a folk band — was one of two men arrested on suspicion of setting a string of fires in the city that damaged or destroyed several homes and businesses.

Petersen, 27, is a well-liked musician who hosts an open mike night in Alameda and keeps a strict vegan diet, according to his friends. But he was nabbed by police at 2:43 a.m. Sunday in front of his apartment amid a rampage of fires that began to break out within a 7-block radius just before 1 a.m., authorities said.

“I’ve known him for five years and consider him a friend,” said 28-year-old Jesse Strickman, a musician who has performed several times with Petersen. “He’s a very nice guy. He is extreme, but I don’t think he would do anything that would hurt anyone.”

Petersen’s brother, Eric Marcrum of San Diego, said police arrested the wrong person.

“It does not sound like anything my brother would be involved in. He’s a pacifist. He abhors violence,” said Marcrum, 40. “I want to see these charges dropped, and I want to see him released.”

Right.  And he hasn’t been tried yet.

The other suspect, 22-year-old Andrew Resto Gutierrez, said to be a transient who frequents Alameda, was arrested at 4:49 a.m. Sunday, police said. A day later, authorities were working to see how the men were connected, said Alameda police Lt. Jill Ottaviano.

No one was injured in the fires that ultimately racked up $3 million in damage and displaced four families, Alameda fire officials said.

No one was injured?  It could be the first known case of pacifist arson.

The first fire was reported at 12:56 a.m. — a trash bin blaze on the 1300 block of Regent Street that crews quickly extinguished. Soon crews from multiple East Bay agencies were responding to a rash of fires that they would spend hours putting out, said Capt. Jim Colburn of the Alameda Fire Department.

At 1:39 a.m., someone set the back of a two-story home on the 1100 block of Regent ablaze, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage. Then a two-story Victorian duplex on the 2200 block of San Antonio Avenue was set on fire, Colburn said. Four sleeping children escaped from the rear unit, but there was $300,000 in damage.

Children are a burden on mother Earth, aspiring musicians and transients.

The most devastating fire was reported just after 4 a.m., after Petersen’s arrest. At least five businesses were damaged when a fire spread from the alley behind a commercial strip on the 1600 block of Park Street, Colburn said.

The fire destroyed Angela’s, a Mediterranean-style restaurant, and Brite 1-Hour Cleaners. Investigators estimated $2.6 million in losses.

Are Brite 1-Hour an eco-friendly chain?

‘Out of character’

Justin Vanegas, 29, another musician in the Alameda scene, said he is one of Petersen’s closest friends. The two trade off doing sound engineering at Rooster’s Roadhouse on Clement Avenue. On Saturday night, Vanegas said his friend was working at the bar and got off his shift around 1:30 a.m. before walking home.

“This is completely out of character,” Vanegas said. “I think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This whole thing just doesn’t add up. I’m really confused. None of this makes any sense at all.”

According to his friends, Petersen graduated from San Francisco State University and is straight edge, a hard-core punk subgenre whose adherents refrain from using drugs or alcohol.

On the other hand, if he’s fronting a folk band, he has to be a drinker.

On Aug. 25, Petersen posted a picture on his Facebook page of a Germanic rune on an anarcho-communist flag, which he said shows he is a “pagan but anti-fascist.” 

The Germanic rune symbols was used by the Nazis and continue to be used by the neo-Nazis.  There are all sorts of anarcho-Nazis running around Ukraine now, mostly fighting monuments, but killing people, too.

In a line describing himself, Petersen wrote, “I believe in non-violence adamantly, I’d rather let you hit me than try to hurt you, for in the words of Gandhi: ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’”

Me, I’m for self-defense and against destruction of property.

‘Not a violent person’

Strickman, who fronts the band Dear Indugu, had Petersen sing on his most recent album.

“I opened for him, and he’s opened for me,” he said. “He’s not a violent person. He is very political and really believes in animal rights.”

Hitler was a vegetarian.

Vanegas added, “He definitely has the protester in him, but he’s never violent in any way, shape or form.”

September 9, 2014

Things I Learned This Summer

1. The reassuring wisdom of Darling Husband is immense. Darling Daughter won a coloring contest this summer. She’s not without an artistic streak, but in the case of this particular project, she dialed it in. When we turned in her work, we thought she would learn a lesson when she finds out that she blew it because she didn’t do her best. Imagine our surprise when DH received a message that she got first place in her age category. Oh no, is she going to rest on her laurels now?
We congratulated her, but then told her that she needs to consider that not enough kids entered the contest, and that she needs to try harder next time if she wants to keep winning. I guess I have my issues. After a few days DH told me to chill: She learned an important life lesson, that, as Woody Allen said, 90% of success is showing up.
“Although,” DH quickly added, “Woody Allen tried to take his words back and made an entire documentary to repudiate it. Not to repudiate that he slept with his daughter or anything like that, but to repudiate that he believes that 90% of success is showing up.”
2. To further quote my husband, if open concept homes are such a good idea, how come nobody thought of it before? These days flippers try to demolish every wall in the house, save bedroom walls. Open concept houses look nice and zen, and they sell like hot cakes because buyers find it easy to imagine themselves living in spacious, light-filled homes.
The reality of living in them is different, and once moved in, owners begin carving out rooms of their own, mancaves, and other areas to escape family members. Also, open concept homes are not good when it comes to containing mess.
3. Who is Joel Gott?
4. Local governments can be pretty darn ridiculous. We decided to remove an old chimney on our roof, and the contractor told us that because it’s visible from the street, he’s not comfortable working without a permit. So I went to the City Hall and payed a hefty fee. The clerk told me about the paperwork I’m required to submit.
“Do you know Photoshop?” She inquired. She asked me to take pictures of the roof from various vantage points and submit them for review together with the pictures where the chimney is photoshopped out.
After I turned in my paperwork, they sent letters to our neighbors asking if they don’t mind if we remove the chimney. Next they told me to post the permit application in front of our house and mail them the picture of the posted permit.
Finally, the City Hall also wants to know if I plan to close the gaping hole in my roof and how.
5. Who is Joel Gott?
6. нет пророка в своем отечестве. I’m Putin’s troll. Or so say some of my compatriots when I point out certain… Problems with their understanding of the place where I happen to be born and raised. The place happened to be eastern Ukraine.
Everything Ukraine is pretty much inside baseball. What I hear again and again that there once was a country called Ukraine that Russia took over, starved a whole bunch of Ukrainians and brought Russians in their place, and that’s how Russians ended up in Ukraine. It’s true about Holodomor.
I do believe that we should had dispatched Kissinger to negotiate unified unaligned Ukraine and to assure Russia’s assistance in the Middle East. To risk a nuclear war (or even an economic downturn) over strongly Russian-leaning regions in a country with intractable corruption and social problem and no unifying national identity does seem a bit excessive to this blogger — and that’s why I’m Putin’s troll.
DH, again, quips that he’s still waiting for his paycheck from ZOG, and now where is his paycheck from FSB?
7. We have a new neighborhood school now. It the old one was Tijuana meets Hanoi, the new one is Portlandia. I have to say I prefer the latter because something like education does take place in it.
8. My children got in trouble this summer for simulating a gun with their hands and saying “Poof!” Daddy explained that when he was young, he had a holster with two guns in it and he played World War Two with his brother. Ah, the good old days!
9. Encouraging an ostensibly independent 7-year-old to walk down the block on her own can be a challenge these days. At first DD like the idea, but after some consideration she said “who’s going to watch me?” I told her that when I was her age and I wanted to play, I didn’t pester (ok, I used different language) my mom about my availability (her language) for play dates, I just went outside.
Next thing I know, she rolled on her scooter out of the park. That’s more like it.
…we are not fully moved in and unpacked. My desktop is not configured yet, and I hate typing on my mini, so I can’t say I’m back to blogging.

November 20, 2013

Berkeley Freedom Report

Filed under: Bay Area politics, whatever — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:59 am

Last Sunday, I dropped off DH at Golden Gate Fields to bet on the ponies and drove a few blocks south to the very posh radical chic shopping area of 4th Street in Berkeley where the East Bay Anthropologie store happens to be located.  I opted to avoid the congested I-80 both because my rout was so short and because the highway is, well, always congested.  And why is I-80 always jammed?  Well, to drive from a high-trafficked Golden Gates Field and Target area to a fairly high-trafficked 4th Street one needs to cross Gilman, which is nearly impossible.  There is a stop sign on every cross street, but the traffic on Gilman itself practically never ceases.  I’m sure there is a back rout I can take, but all I keep thinking about is that somebody out there has to buy the City of Berkeley a traffic light.

The City of Berkeley can’t be bothered with petty issues like traffic, because those involve cars, and cars are not “the people”, and neither are the drivers.  Bicycles, on the other hand, those are “the people”.  But that, dear readers, is a totally different subject.

The City of Berkeley is preoccupied with significant issues, like whether or not to permit smoking in single family homes — because freedom is something that government allots to individuals.  For instance, it’s been agreed that multi-unit residencies public spaces should prohibit smoking.  But what does the City Council think about family homes?

A City Council member says a proposal to ban cigarette smoking in apartments and condos, where smoke can waft through ventilation systems, is not tough enough or fair.  Councilman Jesse Arreguin says his fellow council members should consider expanding the proposed ban to include single-family homes where children, seniors or lodgers are present. [emphasis mine, --ed.]

Tough and fair, eh?  He is a benevolent ruler, little father, the government.  Is that the kind of thinking that lead this country to the presidency of Barack Obama?

The above exercise in toughness and fairness is not free of charge, of course.  The enforcement of the ban is estimated to cost the city 120K a year, a sum to be offset by a $5 rental unit tax.  (Did I mention that the City of Berkeley is the 4th largest employer in the city of Berkeley?)  And what will the enforcement look like, exactly?  Knocking on doors to make sure nobody is smoking?  Or are the tobacco-related issues going to come up once the individuals residing in family homes file for divorce?

Needless to say, marijuana has long been legal in the municipality in question.  Several “medical” pot dispensaries are located within it’s limits today, and as early as 1979 the residents passed the initiative that made marijuana law enforcement the lowest police priority, effectively legalizing the drug.  Shouldn’t cigarette law enforcement have a lowest priority as well?

Tobacco prohibitionists inflate the dangers of second hand smoke, and, I think, it’s safe to assume that the poorly studied marijuana with its 420 chemical components is probably just as bad for user’s lungs and has the same negligible effect on second hand pot smokers.  Plus the later does have psychedelic effects that may or may not be detrimental to user’s well-being in both long- and short-term.

Berkeley smoking laws only make sense as a power grab.  Run the white male heterosexists Christian patriarchy out of town while replacing it with it’s own brand of new age control apparatus: “Cigarette smoke?  Oh no, can’t have that!  Think about minority children! I have to take my clothes to [eco-friendly] dry cleaners every time I pass by a bar where patrons smoke!  Oh no!  Every time I pass by a smoker, I give him a look!  Good thing we have all the stores we need here, on 4th Street, so I don’t have to venture to cities where people have freedoms and such”.

Handsome and conservative. Hey Berkeley, what’s there not to hate?

And by the way, I don’t know how Asian students are coping with UC Berkeley’s anti-smoking crusade.  Should said students opt to apply to a university friendly to smokers, what will happen to the Cal’s prestigious STEMs programs?

UPDATE: Reblogged on Blackmailers Don’t Soot — thank you!

October 28, 2013

A Horizon Organic Model of Medical Care?

Filed under: Bay Area politics, fashion, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:24 am

Eyeing my neighbor, sitting on his porch, eyes glazed over, I think: Are we going to sit like that, getting stoned every afternoon and blasting MSNBC, all because we gave up on finding a job and are now on disability?  How sad is the life in Obama’s America, particularly when it comes to individuals who are, despite being taken to the cleaners by their leaders, really quite bright.

The middle aged are set in their worldviews, and even though the sight of apparently stillborn Obamacare should be an Earth-shattering moment for many liberals, nobody expects them to switch party affiliation anytime soon.  What conservatives living in liberal areas can hope to accomplish is to shape the liberal thought exploiting the schism in their ideology.  Roger Simon has some ideas, and here is my 2 cents.

Mild-mannered liberals dislike all things large.  We no longer build skyscrapers in San Francisco, for instance, because those are too intimidating.

The distinguishable San Francisco skyline is Diane Feinstein’s legacy, one of the reasons the former mayor is a-OK in my book. San Francisco’s political culture of the day favors mediocre mid-rises that we slap on the streets South of Market.

The way I see it, when the late Andrew Breitbart inaugurated his “Bigs”, he was toying with the libs and their suspicion of big business.  A liberal thinks that big corporations are evil, and his consumer choices reflect it.  We don’t shop at Wall-mart around here, and prefer locally-owned coffee shops to Starbucks.  It’s an easy choice, to be sure, because Wall-mart doesn’t cater to upper middle class customers, and those local coffee shops serve fresh salads topped with home made dressing.  Some of my neighbors like the fact that they can bike to a local toy store to buy a present for their child, but not to Wall-mart.  In the end, our choices are more about aesthetics than morals.

My shopping and dining preferences are not very different from those of my neighbors (if anything, I might be pickier — or at least I hope I am), but that’s mainly a lifestyle choice.  I do have an ideology that props up my tastes.  If I patronize a business, it’s not because the owner nods enthusiastically every time I open my mouth about politics.  I reward producers for offering the best product at the best price, and small local businesses have an edge there because, as a rule, small works better than big.  Locally grown produce won’t feed the hungry world, but it does taste better then tomatoes that were picked green in Mexico.  The lady who runs my favorite consignment store, for instance, knows what kind of clothes I buy, so she keeps me in mind when she sorts through the bags other customers bring in.  All of that is done without any kind of creepy internet surveillance algorithms.

Because of his innate distrust of big, a liberal can be open to the idea that small generally delivers better quality products.  My daughter was born in the happier Bush times.  A new mother, I was bombarded with suggestions to use organic foods for my baby.  At the same time I was cautioned to be careful with products labeled organic because, I was told, the newly minted USDA Organic certification was insufficiently rigorous* (in the Bush years liberals were considerably more skeptical of the federal government).  One lady I know advised me to purchase Horizon Organic dairy because “those guys are local and somebody keeps an eye on them”.  Local?  Horizon Organics is the largest distributor of organic milk in North America!  BUT they partner with local farms whose products they deliver to local retailers.

I think I can put an idea out there that health care should operate like Horizon Organic, from the ground up.  Obamacare failed because is too big to succeed: “Dude!  Can we drop a half a billion dollars on a website AND expect it to work?” “Yes, yes, I know there is government healthcare in Israel and Israelis are happy with it.  But Israel is a tiny country!  It’s one thing to provide 7  million people with healthcare, but 300 million — that’s a whole different story!”  Medical services should be organized on the local level, maybe state level.  What we need to do is to de-centralize… and [gasp] privatize.

—–

*Speaking of which, organic purists can turn to multiple private entities issuing certifications that fit their standards.  There is a lesson here as well.

August 22, 2013

Bay Area Liberals to Bay Area Blacks: Stay Away

Filed under: Bay Area politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:59 am

An In-N-Out hamburger contains 19 grams of fat. What would Michelle Obama say?

Residents of Alameda, a middle class Bay Area suburb, don’t patronize politically incorrect food joints, but, being caring, gentle people, they are concerned that someone else will. Particularly, Oakland Blacks:

Plans to build a new In-N-Out Burger at the foot of the Webster Tube have sparked concerns that the hamburger restaurant will attract crime, with hundreds of residents voicing their opposition to the planned restaurant over crime, traffic and other concerns. Even District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has weighed in, asking the Planning Board on July 23 to consider the crime she thinks the restaurant could bring.

The n-word is not mentioned anywhere in the news item, but we all know what they mean:

“We have people coming to what can be considered a vulnerable site in Alameda. It’s easy in and easy out, no pun intended, with the Alameda tube,” said O’Malley, who noted the high number of robberies in Oakland [italics are mine, --ed.] and said that city’s high crime impacts surrounding cities too.

We all know that virtuous people don’t eat fast food, but does hamburger consumption lead to crime? Not according to police:

“There’s no absolutes. We won’t know for sure until it’s in there,” Acting Police Chief Paul Rolleri said. “Based on what I know, at this point, I’m not concerned that it’s going to be a big problem for us.”

[...]But police in four East Bay cities that are home to In-N-Out Burger – all four of them near major freeways – said the restaurant hasn’t been a bigger problem than similar businesses.

“I can tell you it hasn’t been a burden in that regard. And it certainly hasn’t generated more calls for service than any other like businesses in the city (that) I am aware of,” Pleasant Hill Police Sgt. David Downs said of In-N-Out, which he said has been in Pleasant Hill for a year.

“As far as the business in our town, they’ve been a good business,” he added. “They haven’t caused us any undue problems, and I don’t anticipate any in the future.”

Fremont Police Detective Bill Veteran said his department gets “very few” calls for service from In-N-Out Burger. “It’s no different than any late night fast food restaurant that we have,” Veteran said.

Veteran said that any type of business open late could be “more problematic” than one that closes earlier. Still, he said Fremont’s In-N-Out is “not a problem.”

A staffer with the Livermore Police Department also said that city’s police haven’t had an issue with In-N-Out.

San Leandro Police Lt. Randy Brandt said that city’s In-N-Out, which sits on what he called “probably one of the main arteries of the East Bay,” hasn’t generated a lot of police calls. He said the department does get a lot of shoplifting calls from the city’s nearby Target. (The San Leandro In-N-Out sits in the same shopping center as a Walmart, and a strip mall is across the street; Target is about a mile up the road.)

Brandt was loath to draw a connection – or to say there isn’t one – between In-N-Out and crime.

“The correlation between In-N-Out and crime would be really hard for us to figure out,” he said. “I haven’t heard any negative stuff at all.”

Truth be told, gastronomic hostilities go both ways around here. For instance, a friend of ours who once went to buy BBQ in a non-diverse area of Oakland was received unenthusiastically and returned home to find they had served him basically a bag of  bones. He shrugged it of, as most whites around here shrug this kind of stuff off.

UPDATE: Welcome Legal Insurrection readers!  many thanks to Professor Jacobson for linking.

July 15, 2013

Hipsters, Rachel Madow (But I Repeat Myself) The Only Winners in Zimmerman Verdict

Filed under: Bay Area politics, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:21 pm

14th and Harrison? I lived there in my wasted youth. Wow! I feel like part of history

Those were the days.  If I happened to catch a BART train late at night, and had to walk home in that mixed neighborhood, I made sure to cross the street if I saw black men in hoodies walking towards me.

There was a bit of political activity in the neighborhood back then (in the 90s that is).  I found blacks with their racialism creepy and white radicalism embarrassing, so I generally avoided that scene.  The themes of the neighborhood radicals were pretty hard to miss, however.  One of their favorite slogans was Free Mumia.  I hadn’t the faintest clue about that Mumia fellow, and if I cared to find out, I’d look for source other than my neighbors.  But there was something I could appreciate about this Free Mumia shtick: the radicals wanted to free somebody.  Give him the benefit of the doubt.  In the struggle of a man against the State they sided with that man.

Now they are demanding incarceration of a man on whom the prosecution had nothing and who probably should not had been tried at all.  Ah, the leftie radicalism in the age of Obama.  Not only it’s statist, it’s more violent, too.  When Clinton was in the Oval Office black panthers and nerds distributed leaflets.  When Bush won the election, there were “anti-war” rallies — mostly in San Francisco.  But there was nothing, nothing, like the insidiousness of Occupy or race-themed riots in honor of Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman can now breath a sigh of relief, but his life is probably ruined.  He and his family should never been put through it.  Neither should Martin’s parents or that girl that the prosecution dragged to the witness stand who obviously didn’t want anything to do with her “friend” Trayvon.  I don’t see how getting all worked up about the trail could in any way help most black people — unless the are attorneys for the family of the slain young man.

Quite a few whites participated in these early riots, and, as DH says, they were probably happy that the verdict came “not guilty” because it gave an excuse to smash windows and burn flags (not to say that white kids were the only ones destroying property).  From their point of view, they still have their trust funds, but they are seizing the opportunity to show that they are down with the blacks.  Behold “I’ve Been Tired” by Pixies (language warning):

The important thing is to get the outrage on.  Rachel Maddow among others declared that the Zimmerman verdict must mean open season on black boys.  She finally noticed.

It must be surreal to be Hispanic (or any other kind of “brown” fellow) and observe the whole Zimmerman ordeal.  Any viewer who cast a glance at the TV, and I don’t care how poor the coverage, must know that the defendant is Hispanic.  And we are asked to believe that he’s some sort of  Klansman reincarnate.

Mexican kids educated in this country are taught to believe that their skin color and the country of origin of their ancestors are the key component of their identity.  As far as I know (and help me out here, I might be misinformed) there was no movement on the part of Hispanic communities to vindicate Zimmerman.  Am I suppose to infer that when people of Latin American heritage move into gated communities and aspire for careers in law enforcement they are to be considered white outs?  Or that in some kind of perverted grievance hierarchy blackness trumps brown skin and demands from Hispanics identification with blacks (with predictable results)?  Or that when the chief executive pronounces that he personally identifies with Trayvon the game is off?  It’s all awfully confusing.

Oakland last night

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