Thursday, September 24, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

The beginning of the fall festivals is upon us. But San Francisco's are a bit different from what most of you are used to. A little more colorful, shall we say. September 23 through 26 is the celebration of what used to be a one-day "event." It's called the Folsom Street Fair. Sounds pretty wholesome, doesn't it? Flowers, colorful outfits, people enjoying family picnics. Well, that ain't it. The parade on Saturday is a gay, lesbian, whatever, leather and bondage fest, accompanied by public sex acts. It wouldn't play in Peoria.

Note: San Francisco Examiner Gay Nightlife writer Marques Daniels is positively atwitter about the whole thing. "This will be one of the most action packed, entertaining, and naughty weekends to hit San Francisco, Folsom Fair Weekend!" He was sure to point out that most of the events have porn star themes, and will have porn stars in the house partying all night. Some of the scheduled events at the various (and many) gay bars include: Go Go Boys Malik's Birthday Bash, Brain Farts Trivia, HUMP, Booty Call, Mary-Go-Round, Homecoming and Drag Debutantes, Lez Ladies Night, Pop Goes the Zipper, Leather Clad Papi Dancers, Wet Jock Strap Contest, and my personal favorite, the Dildo Ring Toss. And those are just the church-sponsored events.

Most exciting of all, Mario Cruz, famed star of stage, video and back alleys will be appearing for the events, participating in the show off your butt activities. He was recently voted "top bottom star of the year." Which organization honored him with the title is lost on me, but I suspect it wasn't the Catholic League. So if you come to San Francisco, be sure to wear some leather on your arse. In the streets of San Francisco, gonna be a porn-in there. The Folsom Street Parade and Fair actually occur, oddly enough, on Folsom Street. I suggest you detour somewhere near Fresno and attend the garlic festival in Gilroy instead. The Folsom Street Fair is not for the faint-hearted. Several years back my son and his then-girlfriend (now wife) were coming to visit me. I had completely forgotten about the Fair, so he had to come past Folsom Street to get to my side of town. It took a couple of weeks for the color to seep back into their faces and get their jaws back into their normal position.

Note: In the Chronicle today there was an open letter to Glenn Beck from Pike Drummond, CEO and founder of the Tides Foundation (not to be mistaken for Chief Funder of the Foundation, George Soros and his assistant, pickle princess Teresa Heinz Kerry). He was sarcastically thanking Beck for bringing considerable attention to the connections between Soros, the Tides Foundation, ACORN and Barack Obama. He specifically referred to the large number of phone inquiries that he received about Beck's excerpts taken from the Tides Foundation-funded video entitled "The Story of Stuff." It's a left-wing, agitprop, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, green weenie piece of trash, slickly produced, which purports to teach children about responsible environmentalism. In its illustrations, it represents the government with a stylized military tank. Get it? The government is oppressing you.

It's impossible to describe the whole pathetic twenty-minute "instructional" tape. The narrator, Annie Leonard, says it's a story of "consumerism" which is destroying the planet, but she doesn't say that on the tape. Pike, of course, pooh-poohs the whole concept that the video is anything but the straight dope, professionally-presented, and completely fair--a proper educational piece. And there are plenty of dummies out there running schools who have taken his word for it. It's already been shown in over 22,000 schools nationwide. Drummond says Beck's exposure of the project has brought him over 25,000 calls inquiring about the tape. I'm not sure how many of those calls were favorable, but as he said "there's no such thing as bad publicity." I doubt he really means that, and I suspect there's a bit of bluster involved here.

But don't take Beck's (or my) word for it. If you want to see some of this propaganda that might show up in your kids' schools, go here: Story of Stuff. Be patient, it took me several times of getting "broken link" and "server not responding" before I got through. Or alternatively, just watch Beck's series on Fox News Channel. Drummond says it isn't true, but he comes up with nothing that Beck has said that he could point out as being untrue. I can tell you that it includes multiple citations of absolutely outrageous statistics that have zero basis is truth.

Note: Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared "soda is the new tobacco." Now that's supposed to mean that it's bad, or addictive, or something, and the gummint must immediately save us from it. What he really means is, "oh, boy, I've found another way to get tax money." Now Newsom's no dummy (he's nuts, but he's not a dummy). He knows he can't impose a direct tax on an individual product being sold in San Francisco without first getting a vote of the people. But where there's a tax-grabber, there's a way. He only needs the approval of the Board of Supervisors to impose a "fee" on retailers. And there's nothing they like more than a new tax, particularly when it's disguised as a fee. That way, when the price of a can of coke goes up to more than a can of caviar, the consumer will blame the retailer and not the city.

It's all part of his Shape Up San Francisco exercise program, which he intends to give the newfound money to. Now remember, San Francisco is skating on the thin edge of bankruptcy. When the City Attorney pointed out that the city would very likely be sued by every major retailer in town, Newsom responded: "But I really believe this is important to do." This latest move comes in the wake of a new UCLA study showing a link between soda and obesity. They needed to do a study to figure that out? I could have told them that, for free.

The "fee" will not apply in restaurants or fast food outlets. So instead of going to Safeway to get their drug, the little fatties will have to go to McDonald's or Burger King. Of course Newsom is trying to steal President Obama's thunder. One of the many ways proposed to pay for our fantastic universal health care is to tax soda nationwide, so we'll be a nation of razor-thin non-smokers (except for the guys who are going to get rich off the tobacco and soda black market). Even in San Francisco there is a growing sense of unease about the nanny state being created by Newsom and the Dwarves. In the past few years, the city has banned the sale of cigarettes in any store which has a pharmacy, added a city tax to the price of a pack of cigarettes, required chain restaurants to display calories and fat content on menus, and created a program to recognize restaurants that don't serve trans fats.

Most experts have said that the increase in the price of a single can of soda won't be sufficient to dissuade anyone from buying one, but is in reality just another way to raise money for worthless projects to make leftist politicians look like they're doing something important. Meanwhile, the violent crime rate is still throught the roof, the city's infrastructure is crumbling faster than Nancy Pelosi's makeup, and the streets are filthy. But hey, there will be fewer fat people, or so says hizzoner.

Note: Not to be outdone by San Francisco's efforts to tell you what's right, San Jose has just passed the strictest shopping bag ordinance in the nation. Plastic bags are now completely verboten in grocery stores. As for paper bags, they can only be used by the stores if they are at least 40 percent recycled materials, and they cannot be given out free with the groceries. The ordinance cannot go into effect until it has passed an environmental review and a legal analysis (I'll give you that, it's bloody unconstitutional). But considering these will be the same authorities who think delta smelt are worth more than human beings, I think I know the result in advance.

Note: The militant Islamists have found a friend. On Wednesday, a federal judge sitting in San Francisco (where else?) has allowed a defunct Islamic "charity" to sue the government for what it alleges was an illegal wiretap. The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was declared a terrorist organization in 2004. The jihadists have been searching since 2006 to find a judge anywhere in the Ninth Circuit who would allow the suit to go forward. I could have saved them the time. File the action in San Francisco, they love terrorists. The group was headquartered in Oregon, so they must have worked their way down the coast, stopping at federal courthouses on the way.

This is only the second time any judge anywhere in the nation has allowed such a suit to survive a demurrer (a formal motion to dismiss a case for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted). In the first case there was at least clear and convincing evidence that a tap had even been performed. As it subsequently developed, an in camera hearing (done away from the public for national security purposes) determined that the tap had been performed, but that it had been authorized by a FISA court. Case dismissed. In this case, the judge found similar clear and compelling evidence. Or so he says.

In fact, the only thing that was presented was an allegation of an internal memo indicating that Al-Haramain was receiving e-mails from Afghanistan and Pakistan from known terrorist strongholds. That memo was sent in error by a clerk at a federal agency to the "charity" organization's lawyer. But, and note this, there is no mention whatsoever of a wiretap, or even a pending wiretap. Determining by electronic surveillance that a foreign terrorist organization is sending communications to an individual or organization within the Unites States is a perfectly valid exercise under several old and new federal statutes. So what the judge is allowing the "charity" to do is turn a document demonstrating legal activity into a legal claim that the government was conducting an illegal wiretap. Sheesh. And in fact, the judge allowed a suit that really only alleges that "they were targeted for surveillance," not that they were actually the subjects of surveillance.

Now this may surprise you. The Bush Justice Department opposed the suit, and was successful. But then the terrorist organization made its way to San Francisco. Yet even the Obama Justice Department has argued, vigorously, that the suit is frivolous, and states no grounds for risking a national security breach. If the Obama/Holder Justice Department thinks the suit is a dangerous waste of time, imagine how weak it must actually be. But that will never stop a judge in San Francisco. The current Justice Department attorney on the case argued very logically that the whole suit is "based on mere speculation, is simply an inappropriate attempt to attack a program which has already been upheld at every level of appellate review, and would reveal information about intelligence sources and methods." It didn't bother Holder much in the CIA cases he's planning to pursue, but I'll take whatever I can get. The terrorists' attorney argued solely on the basis that Bush administration officials had said that a west coast Islamic organization had probably been tapped. But no serious offer of proof that the organization was Al-Haramain, or that the wire tap had not been preceded by a FISA warrant.

17 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I am very surprised that Story of Stuff has not recieved wider condemnation.

I am not surprised about the SF Judges. Remember, I used to live in the area.

Lately, I feel that I am being attacked on all sides.

As an off-topic question, what do you think of ACORN's suit against Breitbart and the kids that exposed them?

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - to start with, I openly and figuratively weep for you having to be there for the Folsom Street Fair. Gay or straight, public sex does not work for me. Can you imagine taking grandchildren out in such an environment?

Question? WTF kind of name is Pike Drummond. It sounds like some kind of porn film screen name. Why am I not surprised militant Islamics have found a friend on the bench is beautiful San Francisco? The scary part is that you could never possibly in your wildest dreams make all this stuff up.

CrisD said...

Law Hawk-
As to gay pride/Porn exhibits/parades: I am so sick of people who, instead of staring at their navel, like other vapid people, stare at their genitals!!! Like they just discovered how it all works!!! And like they are the first person!!! Get a frickin' life!!! When they are old they will have nothing to do as eventually it passes away with hair and eyesight.

News from Chapel Hill, NC:
Fed funds to be used to promote local tourism: that is Local GAY tourism!!! This has to be illegal. You cannot use Government money that discriminates against sexual orientation ( I mean straight orientation.)

Writer X said...

Only the San Francisco Examiner would have a Gay Nightlife writer! Too funny. And where is Mark Moford? Is he already at the fair?

I'm with TennJed on the name "Pike Drummond." That's definitely porn-worthy.

StanH said...

Just wow, Lawhawk! Folsom Street Fair is a truly grotesque display, and I might add cannot help gays with their attempt at achieving mainstream status, same sex marriage, etc.

“The Story of Stuff.” My response to these nit-wits, is you first.

The tax issues in many American cities is at the breaking point. Perhaps a tax revolt will be in the offing, nation wide.

Got a junk lawsuit get it to the 9th circuit.

AndrewPrice said...

Well said ChrisD.

Lawhawk, like the others I am sadly not surprised that the Examiner would have a gay nightlife column. I wonder what they would say though, if the Examiner had a straight nightlife column?

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: I am not familiar with the local statutes about taping conversations, but it sounds at best like a threat to prosecute solely to avoid the real issue. Breitbart doesn't seems to be the least bit worried. In fact, he seems overjoyed at the prospect of being able to subpena all those ACORN records for his defense case. Frankly, I think that ACORN is whistling in the dark, and will drop the lawsuits in the very near future when they realize how much damage it could do to them, with no corresponding damage to Breitbart.

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: One of the few good things about San Francisco is that the family people live almost entirely out in the Richmond, Sunset and a few other districts. They all know there are certain parts of town you just simply avoid if you have kids with you. Those who do not intend to go to the festival, but get caught accidentally while passing through are on the fringe of the activities, and kids wouldn't see much. Still, I know there are some sickos who actually take kids to these things, and anywhere else they'd be arrested for child endangerment.

I sort of thought that "Pike Drummond" sounded like the captain of a derelict space ship in a dysfunctional sci-fi novel. No Dirk Diggler he.

LawHawkSF said...

CrisD: The sad part is that a couple of years ago, a news photographer from one of the conservative blogs took pictures. He hesitantly put them up on the site, with huge warnings that they were graphic. I figured I knew what was coming. I was wrong. The sex was right out in the open, some becoming performances on adjacent balconies and roofs. But the real shocker was the presence of at least three uniformed San Francisco police officers who were there to do, what? They stood around and did absolutely nothing about the multiple illegal activities going on within a few feet of them.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: You missed Morford, and I think he's got to get back into form. He was always such a sure bet for one of my notes. This week he was on a minor rant about life not going the way you plan, and somehow morphed it into a sad tale about how many people are about to lose their homes because their first mammoth payments on their adjustable mortgages are coming due. Bad economics, but not up to his usual drug-induced hysteria. You'd have been disappointed.

As for Pike, after I decided sci-fi wasn't the right place for him, I started picturing him wandering around in dark and dangerous places in San Francisco, following in the wake of Sam Spade.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: Last year's big scandal about the Fair was their poster sponsored by Miller Beer. It was a gay/bondage/general perversion parody of Da Vinci's Last Supper. It actually made headlines, and Miller had to issue a public apology for sponsoring an event that one of their insiders had thought was a simple "gay rights" ad. They coulda looked first.

Andrew: A straight nightlife column, in San Francisco? LOL Actually, there is plenty of "events coverage" because San Francisco still likes to think it has a culture, of sorts. The Black and White Ball is treated like a presidential inauguration. HBO once had a comedy series years ago (the name of which escapes me). One of their vignettes was the coverage of "The Annual San Francisco Straight Pride Parade." Of course the cameras swept the locations, and there was nobody there.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--If ACORN can sue people who catch them on tape committing illegal acts why not Islamic terrorists suing the government for catching them? The Ninth Circuit is the perfect place to file a ridiculous suit, and San Francisco is the perfect place to hear it. But I did hear that the judge has so far only found that there are the basic grounds for the suit, not that it will get past the next stage, let alone go to trial.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: You heard right. This judge may just be trying to secure his place in the law books. Allowing the case to go forward was a very long stretch of the basic rules, but it is within his discretion. He may just be showing off his "broad-mindedness" by finding a basis which no previous judge had found, thus establishing his lefty credentials. But whether the case will survive the extensive rounds of motions to dismiss and constitutional challenges is another story entirely. I find it unlikely that the case will ever go to trial.

CrispyRice said...

You know it's bad when the "growing sense of unease about the nanny state" is being felt in San Fran!!

And I agree - I don't want to see anyone having sex in public, gay or straight. It's a sad world where nothing is private anymore.

LawHawkSF said...

CrispyRice: Imagine the shock when I saw the words "nanny state" used negatively in the San Francisco Chronicle. Maybe liberals are starting to realize if they can take away things they don't like, they might start taking away things they do like. "You can take my Coke Classic from my cold, dead hand."

If you saw some of the people who were having public sex, you'd be even more appalled. People that obnoxious can probably only get sex in public, with people just like them who are ordinarily hiding under rocks.

CalFederalist said...

LawhawkSF--All big cities have their weirdos and outcasts. But it seems to me that the percentage in San Francisco is much higher than most other cites, and far more influential. The press gives them regular columnists and featured articles. That's just weird.

LawHawkSF said...

CalFederalist: You're right on the money. And the elected officials are just as bad. Our latest entrant into the mayor's race is a Supervisor named (I'm not making this up) Bevan Dufty. He's the gay candidate this time around, and it's his supervisorial district where the Folsom Street Fair and most of the bar festivities afterwards occur.

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