Thursday, December 10, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journey Of An Exile

The picture is the Bay Bridge at sunset, taken from a hill on Yerba Buena Island,looking west towards The City. The island is an integral part of the bridge--two bridges, actually. The western span, built very much along the lines of the Golden Gate, has remained basically pristine since it was built. The eastern spans, which you can't see here, are the ones which have had all the problems. The tunnel through Yerba Buena Island is the third component of the famous bridge, connecting the two bridges.

NOTE: And now CalTrans (the California Department of Transportation), tells us that it has found a permanent fix for the crack in the eastern span bridge superstructure which has caused multiple bridge closings at some rather inconvenient and embarrassing times over the past few months. They also said that the check is in the mail, and they're from the government, and they're here to help us.

Now how's this for a brilliant solution which took months and dozens of highly-paid government engineers to solve? Close the lanes of the bridge closest to the brace/eyebar (that caused so much trouble and destruction) nightly for about three or four weeks. Then put a new eyebar over the one that keeps cracking and breaking. Why this will take multiple lane-closing over a period of several weeks is unclear. But it sounds to me like we will now have two potential eyebar failures instead of just one during the next high winds.

And now for the piece de resistance. This isn't the end of it. You see, this permanent fix is only temporary (are you following me?). Sometime in the unknown future (probably after the next failure), CalTrans says they'll have to do a major closure of the bridge to assess how well the permanent/temporary fix worked. By the fiteenth or sixteenth repair (with no deaths or serious injuries, we hope), the all new spans will be finished, and this troublesome portion of the bridge will be gone forever. The new "cable-stayed" bridge looks beautiful in the plans, and is supposed to be far more earthquake-resistant and esthetically pleasing than the former one. But since it's being built by the same people doing the current repairs to the old bridge, I think I'll keep taking the BART tube under the Bay for my trips to Berkeley.

Note: Some things are too much even for the San Francisco Chronicle, home of slanted news, incomprehensible editorials, non-existent investigative reporters, and Mark Morford. Responding to thousands of complaints about the degenerate public sex taking place at the Folsom Street Fair, "responsible S&M advocates" have proposed a compromise. Are you ready? Public sex tents! Now on Earth, that would be simply laughed off as a preposterous idea. But this ain't Earth. This is San Francisco. The proposal is being "taken under advisement" by Supervisor Bevan Dufty (I repeat, I did not make that name up). Says the Chronicle: "Public sex tents? Now there's an idea that should have been shot down the second it was announced from the mouth of a member of the 'leather community' in response to complaints about public sex at Folsom Street Fair and its smaller sibling fair, Up Your Alley."

And then, in an astounding moment of unequivocal clarity, the old Chron says: "Since our local leaders are having trouble speaking the obvious, we will: Public sex is not appropriate at Folsom Street Fair or anywhere else. Even in San Francisco. Public sex isn't just lewd, it's illegal under state law. Enough. This is a quality-of-life issue that should have been tackled years ago. Local leaders need to stop clowning around and insist that everyone obey the law." I'm still in shock with disbelief. The Chronicle has finally found a perversion that it doesn't think should be made a part of San Francisco's reputation for being cutting-edge.

NOTE: The Obama administration has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in San Francisco to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of violating the legal rights of a terrorist detainee. In case you don't remember that name, heres' a link to my July 18 article: Yoo. Yoo Who?.

Oddly, the banana republic vendetta of Obama and Eric Holder's Justice Department seems to have taken an unexpected detour on this one. Yoo was accused of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect. Yoo had merely written a legal opinion requested by President Bush. Yoo had no power of his own to authorize torture. He advised that under the circumstances, and given the foreign nature of the capture or its clear terrorist connections, the president was entitled to exercise his inherent war powers provided that he abide by proper legal, constitutional and treaty restraints. But to the persecutors in the Obama administration out to get their political enemies, it was a criminal act.

The motion before the court states that federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues. "Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose 'the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military's detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict.'" The Obama/Holder lawyers didn't have to work too hard on that wording, since it is almost exactly the same wording used by Yoo in his draft of his own defense.

The suit was filed by Jose Padilla. The memo didn't actually even apply to his case, since Padilla is a US citizen who was arrested in Chicago (appropriately enough) in 2002 and accused of plotting with al Qaeda to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb." But he was held in a Navy brig and intensively interrogated under new more stringent federal laws regarding terrorism. The suit tried to draw a very tenuous connection between Yoo's memo and Padilla's enhanced interrogation.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, a Bush II appointee, made a sharp turn at the RINO fork in the road, and made a series of decisions to allow suits on very shaky legal grounds. Often the cases were rejected by other judges in the Circuit before they got to him. So when the defense moved for dismissal on the pleadings (a way of saying there is no law to support this type of suit), White said Padilla had the right to sue the "alleged architect of the government policy" on enemy combatants." A lawsuit built on tissue paper.

It is now up to the judge to decide whether he should grant the dismissal after the Justice Department has requested a dismissal on the original grounds which White denied earlier. The Justice Department, however, has added some strong words to the original defense motion. It said in its new brief that Padilla is asking the courts to determine the legality of Yoo's advice, Bush's decision to detain Padilla, the conditions of his confinement and the methods of his interrogation, all "matters of war and national security that are beyond judicial authority."

I don't know what produced this dramatic turnaround, but my best guess is now that Obama has decided to pursue a surge in Afghanistan, he may need his troops and the CIA to add a little extra nudge to the questioning of detained terrorists, and he doesn't want a future administration coming after him for "war crimes." He's been in office too long for me to believe Obama or his pet lawyer Holder would do this because it's the right thing to do.

Note: All right, Mark Morford Fans. Nothing particularly political or of pure San Francisco interest this week. But I know we have loyalists who need a weekly fix, so I'm sending you to his current post anyway: Confused Naked Teens Click Here. Now that got your attention, didn't it? Do you suppose that Morford has any connection to Obama's new Kiddie Porn Czar?


StanH said...

Ye of little faith, …now Lawhawk you know they’re gonna fix that bridge.

Atlanta has the third largest gay community in the country, and I feel fortunate that from your postings SF got the loons, thanks Lawhawk. Now if we can send Pelosi home the circle of insanity will be complete. The “sex tents” refer back to a bucket of rocks with a Che shirt, LOL!

You can be certain that if Holder is backing off, there is some kind of self preservation taking place, Yoo was to nice a target for Barry and his goons.

Tennessee Jed said...

a very cool picture, Hawk. The purple somehow seems appropriate. I have always thought back to the times I have crossed that bridge (when I came to it, of course,) and afterwards thought to myself how glad I was that "the big one" didn't hit just as I was on it.

AndrewPrice said...

Public sex tents? Holy cow! What an insane place. If they tried that in Colorado, not only would they freeze to death, but I'm pretty sure the cops would shoot them.

Unknown said...

StanH: I have hope in the change (did I really say that?). But the more I look at the plans and the early construction on the new spans, I keep thinking "It looks like the rest of the City--beautiful, as long as you don't look too close." Of course on the other side of the coin, BART just had its first derailment in over twenty years. Can't a guy get a break here?

Oddly, the gay community in San Francisco is largely very sensible. They are frequently successful business people, and the second wealthiest demographic in town. But we did get the biggest group of cuckoos as well, and the Castro business people are as appalled by the leather/bondage people as most of the straight community. And as for the herd mentality, gays and straights in town are equally mesmerized by the siren call of socialism.

Holder knew that if he took Yoo on, he had a tiger by the tail. Yoo is brilliant and he had major support from every single conservative legal group imaginable. I volunteered my grunt legal and research help almost immediately so the big boys could concentrate on the big picture. There is no way in hell Holder could have won at the Supreme Court, and it's even likely he would have gotten thumped at the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: See, you guys from out of town are smarter than we locals are. Most of us figured that if everything else in town collapsed during the big one, the Bay Bridge would still be there. It just looked so damned solid compared to the wispy needle spires in town and the rather delicate looking Golden Gate. 1989 proved you were right and we were wrong.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I know, I know. I've never ceased to be amazed at the tolerance for the two leather/sex/bondage fairs, but I almost choked when Supervisor Bevan Dufty (I just love writing that name, Bevan Dufty, Bevan Dufty, Bevan Dufty) actually thought that putting the sex inside public tents would solve the problem. And as for cops shooting them, I think that would be the normal thing to do almost anywhere outside of the left coast. But I've actually seen videos proudly produced by the perverts themselves, online no less, where the sex was going on with a cop no more than five feet away (looking rather disgusted, I have to admit). But what's a cop to do when his politically-correct bosses have made it policy not to interfere with expressions of "love and affection by an oppressed minority?" Now I need a bottle of aspirins and some Pepto Bismol.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--It may not play in Peoria, but maybe sex tents is the road version of the next DC White House tent dinner. Obama wants to fundamentally transform America, after all. That would do it, wouldn't it?

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: Yeah, that would do it all right. And at the same time we could replace the current pervert as Porn Czar with our local pervert, Bevan Dufty (and yes you gave me another chance to write "Bevan Dufty." Thank you)

Writer X said...

Thanks for the laughs, LawHawk. As I freeze my way across the country (quite literally), these laughs come in handy. Mark Morford should come with a parental warning.

P.S. Anyone who believes in global warming should travel to the Midwest.

Unknown said...

WriterX: As a former Chicagoan, I know cold when I feel it. But don't think it's exactly warm here in Northern California. In the past two weeks, even in San Francisco, we've experience record low temperatures three times in the last two weeks, with near-record low temperatures for the entire time. And now we're adding our famous "sideways freezing rain with occasional hale" weather. That's normally saved for two or three days for the entire year.

And don't forget the famous quote from Mark Twain: "I spent the coldest winter of my life one summer night in San Francisco."


Unknown said...

There's record low temperatures nearly statewide in California. Now the beleaguered farmers in the Central Valley not only have to worry about having no water for their crops because of a damned fish, but they have to worry about winter freezes in the midst of global "warming." God will not abandon them, but the legions of the politically-correct in DC and Sacramento already have.

Unknown said...

CalFed: I'm not so sure that California isn't "god-forsaken." But the farmers sure didn't deserve it. I have to go put on some warmer clothes. The wind is blowing through my walls on the northside facing the Bay. And this isn't exactly a prairie log cabin built in the 1830s. Damn that warming!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Just amazing. I don't think things like that would even be considered in the rest of the country, much less allowed.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Remember that we San Franciscans have a standard reply to that: "(Sigh, shrug shoulders) Only in San Francisco." Frankly, I'm surprised Bevan Dufty's action produced any reaction at all. Yay! There, I got to say it again. "Bevan Dufty."

BevfromNYC said...

Not even in NYC are people so brazen. And actually, people here are getting more "conservative" about public sex issues.

BTW, what was that guy's name again? I just can't remember...Beven...something.

Unknown said...

Bev: Thank you so much. The name is Bevan Dufty, by God.

I know a few New York cops, and one of them became the head of security for one of my clients, Tourneau, Inc. One day he was visiting the SF store while I was standing outside their store in the Westfield Mall. There was a good SF cop I know well with us. At that point, right in front of us, a local thug did the hard "shoulder bump" to a senior citizen lady who was walking too slowly in front of him to suit him. The SF cop went over and asked him why he did that. The thug stepped forward, got to within an inch of him, and gave him a verbal ration of you-know-what. The cop couldn't do anything because of SF restraints on police actions. The cop then ran a make on the clown, and found out he was out on felony probation for assault, and, get this, was working nearby as a security guard at the Burger King. He was given a verbal warning and allowed to go.

When the SF cop came back to us, the NY guy said "why did you let him get away with that?" The SF cop told him. The NY cop said "at home, the moment he stepped forward, got into your face, and started shouting, my club would have come out and he would have been on the floor and under arrest for assaulting a police officer." The probation violation for a prior assault and battery would have been added to the charges.

That's why your situation is getting better, and ours continues to go downhill (thanks to politicians like, well, Bevan Dufty).

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