Thursday, November 12, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

We've had some gloomy days and some rain, but the weather right now is picture-perfect. In fact, the Bridge today looks exactly like what you're seeing in the picture. When I first moved into town lo those many years ago, most of the tall buildings in town were white, and on days like this the town looked almost ethereal. On my side of Nob Hill, that's still true. Spectacular.

NOTE: The State of California is preparing to cut some major funding from BART because of a lighting contract BART awarded to some really bad characters. Passengers traveling from San Francisco into Oakland have been complaining for years about insufficient lighting in the dangerous Dowtown Oakland station. The station is a major hub for business passengers going into the downtown business district of Oakland. There have been multiple muggings, thefts and a couple of murders on or near the dark platforms.

In October, the BART Board of Directors voted unanimously to award a station lighting contract to Nedir Bey, despite loud objections from the staff. The contractor is Nedir Bey, an owner of the infamous Your Black Muslim Bakery which has been directly connected to a number of gangland-style murders, including the murder of an Oakland Tribune reporter who was about to publish an expose of the Bakery. Bey is an accused kidnapper and torturer, and is charged with swindling the City of Oakland out of more than a million dollars in public funds. None of this was sufficient to cause the state to withhold funds. It was the fact that Bey owns the new contracting company (called Solar Eclipse--now isn't that a great name for a lighting contractor?). And nobody within that company, including Bey himself, has a state contractor's license. Details, details. Murderer and swindler, OK. But if you don't pay for a state license, you're in trouble.

The state grant for the lighting project has strict deadlines attached, and one of the charges against Bey is taking public funds for public projects and failing to do the work. All of this was known to the BART directors. So the state threat was enough to get BART to require that Bey obtain licensing and bonding by November 12. So far, Bey has not done so, and the big question is why BART hasn't found another contractor and why the state hasn't withdrawn the funds. I find the answer easy. As we have found out so tragically in the last week, political correctness is killing us, and in the most recent case, literally killing us. Bey, the NAACP and several Muslim organizations are already threatening to sue for religious and racial discrimination if Bey is tossed off the project. God help us all.

NOTE: San Francisco State University, one of the crown jewels of the California State University system, is facing major funding cutbacks. It is happening throughout the system because of the state's miserable financial situation. The officers at SFSU are bemoaning the fact that it will become harder for "certain applicants to qualify." The application deadline was also set two weeks earlier for the fall semester, which is a major impediment for applicants who have trouble spelling their own names. Several wags have suggested that the entire shortfall could be covered by simply eliminating the landmark Black Studies program which produces not much more than new Black Studies professors, professional race-baiters, and Black Muslim Israel-bashers in league with the campus's radical Arab organizations.

The university has already raised student fees to $4827 per year, a 32% increase resulting from earlier budget cuts. By national standards, that is actually a bargain. The San Francisco campus has some world-class programs, and is in the forefront of the astronomy world, having discovered many of the earth-like planets in far-flung solar systems. But the university is more likely to cut the astronomy program than either Black Studies or Gender Studies. As I said above, political correctness is killing us.

Note: Hannity lied, people died (or something like that). SF Gate contributor Yobie Benjamin has the scoop of the day. On his Tuesday Fox News show, Sean Hannity purposely lied, cheated, obfuscated, committed mayhem and national destruction by inflating the number of the most recent Washington DC and Minnesota Tea Party demonstrators. Or at least that's the story the author is foisting on an unsuspecting San Francisco audience. Hannity showed a video of the DC rally, while nefariously discussing the "anti-health" rally organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). What a crime! As we all know, nobody actually went to either of those rallies.

You're gonna love this. Who were the author's news sources? To start with, Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, appropriately enough. Smirking and drooling, Stewart was able to completely debunk Hannity's crowd estimates by showing the video. And we all know that a video is proof positive of actual numbers, so Hannity's use of the wrong video automatically proves that Hannity's numbers are grossly inflated. Huh?

Now stop laughing. The author also cites two other "reliable" sources like MSNBC and the Washington Post. What the author doesn't mention is that both of those sources have consistently inflated numbers for leftist rallies and deflated numbers for spontaneous taxpayers' rallies, yet neither drew any concurrence between the mistaken video and the rally figures. That leaves Stewart as the sole source for the conflation of video and rally numbers.

To his credit, Hannity of course openly admitted on his Wednesday night show that the videos had gotten switched, and fessed up that the wrong video was shown. And to his further credit, he also pointed out that the video and the estimate of participants had absolutely nothing to do with each other. He refused to change his estimates. Today, Benjamin updated the article to say that "Hannity apologized to Stewart for the misleading video." I guess this author of dubious sex doesn't recognize tongue-in-cheek. God love you, Sean Hannity.

FLASH: Lawhawk goes native, agrees with Morford. Well, sort of. In his Wednesday SF Chronicle free-association group session, Morford deflates both Andre Agassi for his maudlin description of his meth addiction in his recently-published autobiography, and Katie Couric for her interview of Agassi during which she took the pompous high road, coming off a lot like the Church Lady gasping at sin, but forgiving the sinner because of his remorse. Isn't that special? Despite Morford's run-on sentences, weird phraseology, and occasional obscenities, the article was both very funny and very accurate. Here's the link to the article--enjoy: Snortin' meth with Andre Agassi.


Writer X said...

Like taking candy from a baby--that's what I'm reminded of when I read your piece about Bey and Bart. What's shocking is that they voted unanimously to award it to Bey? I fully expect to see the women of San Fran wearing burkhas any day now, LawHawk. And loving it.

The Agassi story has gotten nauseating. Unfortunately I think his publicist realized that no one would buy the book unless he played up the meth angle. I read pieces of the book recently. Total snore.

Thanks for the laughs, Lawhawk. The visual of you going native with Morford made me laugh out loud.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm sick of the Agassi story too. He was already off my radar screen, and I expected him to stay off.

StanH said...

Cronyism, is a byproduct of government, PC is a professed goal of government. You put the two together and, wa…la… instant cluster. It happens in every town, city, village in America. Municipalities are nothing more than jobs programs, for the “underprivileged,” where incompetency can be a bid enhancer, you are right my friend, God help us all!

SFSU, are like so many university systems in America, that have lost their way. When academics becomes secondary in academia, you know you’re in trouble as a society.

We are not behaving like we are supposed to, we meaning - - middle class America. Protesting is the purview of the malcontent, we’re just supposed to write the checks, and keep our mouths shut. No more, the Tea Party is only the beginning.

Agassi in no fool, become a victim sell books, ….again, …God help us all!

Tennessee Jed said...

Isn't there some kind of rainy season in the bay area, Hawk? Regardless, we all have to love those picture perfect days. We have had some beautiful days in East Tennessee recently. I get a beautiful view of the Unico range these days with some georgious sunrise and sunsets. These are the days I live for.

major news here today was arrest of three U.T. freshmen football players for attempted armed robbery. I don't know what these kids are thinking-- a shame really.

had a real problem getting into comments earlier. Was it just me?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, what kind of problem? I haven't run into any problems today.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I gotta tell ya, for the women outside the financial district, the burka would be an improvement.

I'm not surprised about the Agassi book. He was much more fun when he was flying high.

Yes, I see a true friendship with Mark developing--not.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I never like him anyway, so I had hoped he had finally gone away permanently.

Unknown said...

StanH: That's us. The perpetually overindulgent parents, giving the kids money we picked off the money tree to reward them for accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: We should already be into the rainy season. It was bitter cold for almost a week, with occasional rain, but today was just unbelievable. But the temperature is now dropping fast. There's not much colder than that cold, wet wind coming off the Bay.

I haven't encountered any problems with the comments today. Let us know if it happens again, and how the problem develops. Thanks.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--I loved the Yobie Wan Kenobie crowd analysis. As if Jon Stewart isn't an insufficient source for facts on pretty much anything, the followup "Hannity surrenders" was hilarious.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: It was beyond laughable. In case you wonder what I meant about Yobie's dubious sex, the picture that goes with his column reminds me of the "That's Pat" character on Saturday Night Live. Then it hit me he looks even more like the reporter in "Mars Attacks" who asked the president if "there are two sexes on Mars like here on earth." Nicholson's eye-roll was perfect, complete with his jaw dropping.

Yobie the Dobie is supposed to be an "entrepeneur" but his resume seems to include startup companies which live off government grants and loans, including his own "green" consulting firm.

Joel Farnham said...


Could it be that Moford is getting tired of the sanctimonious hypocrisy of the left? You're right it is funny. :-)

Unknown said...

Joel: I wouldn't count on it. I'm not sure he's even a genuine leftist so much as a tradition-hater. He's also slightly nuts. And despite myself, I actually was laughing out loud while I was reading the article.

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