sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

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

March 19, 2013

“Bang!” The Ban

Before I start this post, let me explain the title.  I wrote a bit about the plastic grocery bag bans sweeping California towns, and in the process discovered an excellent website that accumulates resources for the opposition; it’s called bag the ban.  I doubt any of my readers came across the website.  So why did I choose a title referencing a website my readers know nothing about?  Because I’m crazy, that’s why!

Which brings me to this.  Leslie Eastman noted that in California, the state uses its power to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens using the most tenuous mental health reasons (spending money we don’t have in the process):

Just last week, the California Senate approved a $24 million funding bill to expedite the process of collecting guns from owners in the state who legally acquired them but have since become disqualified due to felony convictions or mental illness.

Such was recently the case for one woman, who had been in the hospital voluntarily for mental illness last year that she says was due to medication she was taking. Lynette Phillips of Upland, Calif., told TheBlaze in a phone interview Monday she had purchased a gun years ago for her husband, David, as a present. That gun, as well as two others registered to her law-abiding husband (who does not have a history of felonies or mental illness), were seized last Tuesday.

“My husband is upset that they took the right from us that should never have been taken, Phillips told TheBlaze.

But according to the state of California, that doesn’t matter.

“The prohibited person can’t have access to a firearm” regardless of who the registered owner is, Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, told to Bloomberg News.

What’s “crazy” anyway?  In the 90s, the lawyer for the Unibomber was talking about the insanity defense.  In the Soviet Union, dissidents were shipped off to mental wards.  The GOP, I hear, can use less “nutters”.

The perpetrator of the Sydney Hook massacre, the massacre that caused the latest round of anti-gun hysteria, is said to have had Asperger’s.  Maybe he could had been diagnosed with something else, or perhaps he’s just evil, but arguably, Asperger’s is a form of normal male behavior, often revered throughout history — Pierre Bezukhov in War and Peace, for instance, was probably modeled on a person with autistic traits.  Today, 1 in 54 boys is diagnosed with autism, most of them have mild symptoms, and quite a few will outgrow their diagnosis.  How many “crazies” (and their relations) are we prepared to disarm?

A politically insane individual like myself is weary of denying the “crazy” their Second Amendment rights.  Sure, there are people out there, very obviously scary people, like the perpetrator of the Aurora mass shooting, who should not had been able to have access to firearms.  The problem with people like him is larger than possession of weapons.  The man should have been involuntarily hospitalized, and we do need to have laws for that.  In his case, a mental health checks to buy a gun would be like putting a band aid on a wound that cuts to the bone.  It does not address the underlying problem, and does not prevent him from, say, picking up a hammer and cracking a few people’s heads.  Furthermore, many people obviously in need of mandatory psychiatric treatment (take a walk in downtown San Francisco) are not violent or at least not capable of actually getting themselves to a sporting goods store and not freaking out the clerk.  What would gun checks do for them?

It’s very much possible that the Sandy Hook murderer would slip through the cracks and not be hospitalized.  But no system is perfect and life is full of unpredictability and danger.  And yet, despite the impression we get from the evening news, mass shootings are rare.  Parents of the Sandy Hook first graders can be consoled by the fact that their beautiful children died in an extraordinarily rare event, but it was an extraordinary rare event.

Lets look at the mass shooting in perspective.  The same people that are rallying against the Second Amendment are typically environmentalists, also rallying for grocery bag bans.  In San Francisco such ban is linked to a 46% increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses.   According to CDC estimates, 3000 people died of foodborne diseases across the United States in 2011.  If we are to implement a similar plastic bag ban on federal level, we should for 1380 dirty bag deaths — and I hope the turtles are worth it.  Sixteen mass shootings were perpetrated in the US in 2012, leaving 88 people dead, meaning that grocery bag bans are quite likely to be nearly 16 times deadlier than mass shootings.

“Oh, that’s just mass shootings,” my readers may say.  “But what about the murders committed with ‘assault’ rifles?”  Actually my readers would never ask a question that stupid.  They know that according to the FBI, in 2011 323 people were shot to death with rifles.   This means that grocery bag bans are probably more than 4 times deadlier than bad guys with rifles.

Clearly, some residents of “reality-based community” need to have their priorities straightened out.  Or else, their political convictions are more about identity, about sticking it to the bitter clingers, and not so much about saving life.  Or else they prefer to return to “natural” pre-industrial living, the one characterized by high birth rate and low life expectancy.  That’s totally sane.  And get this, if we actually subsidize birth control and stop breading, the Earth will be returned to the animals.  In this case nobody will be shooting those AR-15s.

So, dear friends, support life and liberty, our Second Amendment rights and oppose government’s intrusion into personal matters!  (Crazy, I know.)

UPDATE: Related: anti-vaxxers kill. (Via Instapundit.)

March 15, 2013

My Kitchen — My Rules

Filed under: Bay Area politics, education, environmentalism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:41 pm

What I love about Victor Davis Hanson is the breadth of his knowledge.  In his recent column Hanson described the emerging medieval social and political organization of California (via Leslie Eastman).  This structure rests on a “medieval” Pacific Coast state of mind, with environmentalism being one of the key orthodoxies of the increasingly unenlightened Golden State.

I have the misfortune to watch the environmentalist indoctrination in making.  The recent grocery bag ban enacted by the Alameda County is the most recent sour spot.  The ban, designed to eventually supplant all “single use” grocery bags, stirs residents of our counties (actually many municipalities in our state are heading this way) towards the use of grocery totes.  Considering that the practice creates a public safety hazard, the fact that the now illegal plastic bags are probably more environmentally sound than any alternatives looks like a minor point.  But the most egregious aspect of the prohibition is the effect on individual liberty.  All of a sudden, what I do in the privacy of my own kitchen becomes everyone’s business.

Scratch that.  Not “all of a sudden”.  Personal has long been political, and our kitchens have been sniffed out by the PC police for quite some time.  The government on all levels throws its weight around in favor of particular classes of appliances.  American law requires food labeling, and these requirements are becoming increasingly more extensive.  Considering the amount of social pressure to buy local and/or organic products, and the political outlook of the individuals who put this pressure on each other, a law prescribing the sale of politically correct groceries will be cheered on by a large segment of the California population.  Just as well.  We, California women, bought into the personal is political doctrine, so we have to reconcile with the political in our personal.  The kitchens, traditionally a personal domain of women, are now invaded by the PC police.

If a mom is not careful, her kids might act as an arm of the PC police — kind of like the kosher police.  An essentially secular in-law of mine enrolled her son in an Hasidim-run Jewish school with the reputation for academic excellency.  In a short time the boy took to inspecting her pots and giving her advise on how to run her kitchen.  Although she resented it then, towards the end of her life the auntie turned pretty religious and started keeping kosher.  Now, environmentalism is unlike a religion in that the older we get the less likely we are to accept it.  And so mothers of students enrolled in public schools might find themselves going through some dead-end nagging.  But, because unlike religion, environmentalism does not create a sense of connection with the past, mothers should feel in no way compelled to accept the dogma pushed on family kitchens through the educational establishment.

My daughter’s kindergarten class were once  subject to a f propaganda barrage connected with the bag ban.  And now I read about a posh local elementary that was visited by representatives of a local environmentalist group, who, I gather, gave them a talk on pros and cons of the ban.  All students of this posh elementary are above grade level, and all parents are the low level California aristocracy.  Don’t tell them you don’t shop at Whole Foods.

The fifth-graders were so impressed by the talk, they spontaneously decided to write letters to the newspaper to argue pros and cons of the bag ban.  For some not at all obvious reason, the overwhelming majority of letters were in support of the law.  The minority opinion was mostly concerned with relative advantages of recycling various material (the online version of the paper didn’t include the minority student voice at all).  Either we are so far gone here that there is no hope for us, or the students know something that they hesitated to put on paper.  With their names attached to it.  For everyone to see.  Forever.  Or perhaps what I saw in the paper is only representative of the children of the aristocracy.  Black people don’t care much for environmentally correct practices, and Hispanics think that since the white people ruined the Earth, environmentalism is for the Caucasians.  Well, maybe not all Hispanics, just the ones at UC Berkeley.  Viva la Raza!

As far as I can tell, the fifth graders that weighed in on the ban are well on their way to Berkeley.  For instance, one eager soul writes:

Many people are against it, but I think it’s the best thing that has happened to the county for a while.

Ask your mama if the ban is better than the reelection of Barack Obama.  And check out this budding statist:

The bag ban is amazing — a perfect way to motivate us to use reusable bags. It’s a great way to make a cleaner and greener world. So keep the bag ban up and running.

I wonder if they discuss, in their “social studies” class, what the Founders would think of the government motivating we, the people, to transport our groceries in a specific manner.

We tell our kids that we expect them to learn math, reading and writing at school, and that everything else is just someone’s opinion.  I will take responsibility for introducing them to great literature, science and history.  I just hope their teacher doesn’t press them into a letter writing campaign.

March 6, 2013

War on Women: SF

In decades past San Francisco sent Nancy Pelosi to the Lower House and nurtured Dainne Feinstein.  The local electorate keeps dutifully reelecting Barbara Boxer, the other incumbent California Senator.  And yet the current political culture of this two-party (Democrat and Green) municipality smacks of misogyny.

Only 12 out of 31 elected office-holders are women.  No big deal, you say, perhaps the gals around here have better things to do with their time.  But against the background of Pelosi bragging about the number of Democratic women on the Hill, the low representation of women in politics in her hometown looks embarrassing.  And so the Democrat establishment of the City demanded that mayor Ed Lee appoint not merely an outwardly female double-X barer, but a mother to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors because, it turned out, there is not a single mother among the 11 board members.  Perhaps Mayor Lee could had done one better and appoint a transsexual “mother” who was once a father or something like that, but, I guess, he didn’t know any.  So he found a 29-year-old “girl” to be the 4th double exer on the Board.

That there are no mothers on the SF Board of Supervisors is only natural.  It’s not just that we, mothers, live on tight schedules; the City is notorious for its adult ambiance.  Parents and kids are fleeing to the suburbs, the Pacific North-West and just about anywhere else, really.  San Francisco can not remain both a party mecca and a family hub, and it seems to be committed to being a party mecca.  Although this situation says something about the City, I don’t view it as a problem: hipsters are people too, and they need a place to party.  One group that sees it as a problem are the teachers unions who see the family flight and anticipate lay-offs.  The politicians beholden to the union go out of their way to make the City family-friendly, but have little to show for their efforts.  It’s a topic for a different post.

I wonder if the Dems are feeling the pressure from the likes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.  I heard a rumor that they want to tap into the demographic of women getting a “second wind”, former stay at home moms with grown children.  That should be interesting.  Married women are generally a Republican demographic.  We are zealous about good economic outlook, worried about national security and understand the value of human life.  I’m not sure what liberal mommies are going to bring to the table besides their peculiar brand of environmentalist neurosis.

Mommie issues aside, the political culture and social life in the City by the Bay is not exactly pro-woman, and this is immediately obvious.  Walk down the streets of the Lower Mission, for instance, and watch “girls”, many of them potentially attractive, going out of their way to look ironic.  Those who partake in the prestigious hobby of biking in the hilly city streets often grow thighs.

If the “girls” get involved in grass roots politics, it’s usually through outfits like Code Pink or with that septuagenarian (what’s her face?) who can’t shut up about her reproductive organs.  Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers have a revealing picture of the former.  I hate to bring it to Code Pink, but they fall more than a little short of Inna Shevchenko.  Zombie documented some interesting vagina/abortion dances and an anti-rape rally attended by mayor Lee (and possibly the entire Board of Supervisors, though not sheriff Mirkarimi, more of which later).  This kind of assemblies are bound to repel anyone with a semblance of self-esteem, no matter how sympathetic they are to leftie causes.  And besides, grass root politics around here is a domain of dead end narcissists; it’s a lifestyle, not a way of getting ahead.

Some local women do get ahead.  A case in point is Kamala Harris, Bay Area’s most recent gift to state politics.  Kamala, a spinster in her late 40s who now occupies the office of Attorney General of California, launched her career by sleeping with then-Speaker of California State Assembly and later mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown.  In addition to appointing her to positions on several Committees, Speaker Brown bought Kamala a Mercedes.  Then he helped her launch her successful District Attorney bid.

In the nearby Alameda county, Nadiya Lockyer, the young wife of the State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, became County Supervisor in 2010.  She was considered one of the rising stars in California Democratic politics until she resigned last year after a scandal involving substance abuse and a sex tape.  Sleeping one’s way to the top hardly raises an eyebrow in the post-third wave feminist Bay Area.  We are very sophisticated here, and we don’t judge.  Still, it’s one of those things that are bound to give pause to a number of women with political ambitions, particularly those who are married and especially the ones with children.

Harris and her ex laugh

Look who else is active in San Francisco politics.  Why, the co-founder of the California Green Party Ross Mirkarimi.  In November 2011, Mirkarimi, who had no prior law enforcement experience, was elected San Francisco sheriff.  He started off 2012 with a bang, literally.  The sheriff’s wife ran off to a neighbor’s house, and the neighbor videotaped her sobbing and showing the bruises inflicted by her husband.  Unlike Lockyer, Mirkarimi managed to survive the ensuring political storm.  (The interesting thing about Mirkarimi is that, while virulently anti-2nd Amendment, the man owned three pistols.)

Don’t lose track of what matters: San Francisco sheriff Ross Mirkarimi gives away what appears to be washable grocery bags on the steps of the City Hall

There is a lot of feminist rah-rah in San Francisco, but the optics are gross.  The feminist rhetoric, sometimes goofy, sometimes over the top, covers up a culture of indifference to issues that are supposed to excite a feminist, issues like family violence or an opportunity to make an honest living.  Underlying it all is a culture alien to the women who are not single — or at least childless.  No wonder there are no mothers on San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

…And on the right we have the Tea Party, a successful grass roots organization driven to a large extent by women, many of whom are mothers, many of whom embarked on a career in electoral politics.

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