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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
July 28, 2013

80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey

WASHINGTON — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.


July 28, 2013

BART, unions continue talks to avert another strike

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area could soon see another nightmare commute if BART and its unions can't reach a contract deal.

Both sides talked Saturday inside the Caltrans office in Oakland. There was a morning and then an afternoon session. The transit agency says there's been progress, but the unions say it hasn't been as much as they'd hoped.

Some union negotiators arrived for talks wearing Hawaiian shirts, a dig at BART's chief negotiator Thomas Hock, who is on vacation. The unions are also claiming Hock has a conflict of interest.

While the lead negotiator is getting paid nearly $400,000 to represent the transit agency, he is also a vice president of Veolia Transportation. According to the unions, that company was paid nearly $30,000 to provide shuttle bus service during the recent strike. Because of this, the unions filed a formal complaint with the BART Board of Directors.


July 28, 2013

Marchers in Sanford demanding Angela Corey's resignation after George Zimmerman verdict

SANFORD — After a six-day march from Jacksonville, roughly 50 protesters spent Saturday in Sanford, calling attention to what they say is an unjust verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and a racially based criminal-justice system.

The diverse group of protesters came from across the South, upset with the July 13 not-guilty verdict in Zimmerman's trial and about the outcome of a different case in North Florida — a black woman in Jacksonville who was sent to prison for a shooting that injured no one.

State Attorney Angela Corey's Jacksonville-based office handled both cases.

Zimmerman, the Sanford Neighborhood Watch volunteer, was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teen from South Florida, a finding that set off protests across the country.


July 22, 2013

Scalia Suggests Activist Judges Led to the Holocaust

Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.

Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was approved by the Senate, 98-0. Such a result would be impossible in modern-day Washington, D.C., where a judicial nominee’s integrity and legal credentials take a back seat to his or her political leanings.

“I’m not happy about the intrusion of politics into the judicial-appointment process,” Scalia said. But the politicization of the judiciary is a natural outgrowth of the work that today’s judges are doing.

“If you’re in a system where the judges do the constitutional draftsman’s work, I think you have to accept the politicization of the appointment and confirmation process,” he said.

Scalia received a standing ovation.


July 21, 2013

Thanks To Better Sex Ed, California’s Teen Birth Rate Has Plummeted By 60 Percent

California’s teen birth rate has plummeted to the lowest level that it’s been in the past 20 years, according to new data from the state’s health department. The state’s rate now stands at 28 births for every 1,000 teenage girls — a 60 percent drop since 1991, when the rate peaked at 70.9 births for every 1,000 girls.

Public health experts directly attribute this success to state laws that require California’s public schools to offer comprehensive sex ed classes with scientifically accurate information about birth control. State officials also credited family planning programs that provide community-based resources to teens. “We do believe that our programs are behind these numbers,” Karen Ramstrom, the chief of the program standards branch at the California Department of Public Health’s maternal child and adolescent health division, told the Los Angeles Times.

That’s in line with national trends. As a whole, the United States’ teen pregnancy rate has been plummeting to record lows, largely because teens are gaining better access to contraceptive methods and opting to use birth control as soon as they become sexually active. And research suggests that community-based youth programs are one of the most effective strategies of instilling teens with healthy attitudes and safe approaches toward sexuality.

But progress in this area isn’t uniform across every area of the country. While states like California are making huge gains, the teen pregnancy rate remains stubbornly high in the South. Adolescents there tend to receive ineffective abstinence education, and they’re more likely to lack access to birth control resources.


July 21, 2013

Angela Corey lashes out at supporters of Marissa Alexander

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s overzealous prosecution of a battered woman who sought to defend herself is a gross miscarriage of justice, writes Kirsten Powers.

Angela Corey is angry. The Florida state attorney lashed out Tuesday at supporters of Marissa Alexander, who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for defending herself against her violent and abusive husband. Corey is the one who put her away.

No, it’s not Alexander’s abusive husband Rico Gray—who said in his deposition, “I got five baby mammas, and I [hit] every last one of them except for one”—that makes Corey see red. What really fries her bacon is the idea that anyone questions her overzealous prosecution of a battered woman acting in self-defense......

Angela Corey’s prosecution was based in part on the premise that, as she told the Huffington Post, “[Alexander] was not in fear” at the time she fired the gun. This is a ludicrous thing to say. It’s worth reviewing in detail exactly what Gray said in his 2010 deposition to fully appreciate how disturbing Corey’s claim is.


July 21, 2013

After Trayvon: Will There Be Justice for Florida's Other Stand Your Ground Victim?

In the backdraft of the Trayvon Martin debacle, Florida – and its bungling special prosecutor, Angela Corey – will be under fierce pressure to produce a conviction in the state's other major stand-your-ground case. Last Thanksgiving, as amply detailed in these pages, Jordan Davis, the black son of two Delta Airline lifers, was gunned down before dozens of panicked onlookers at a crowded Jacksonville retail plaza on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. His killer, a mountainous, hate-spewing loner named Michael David Dunn, calmly opened fire, at point-blank range, on the red SUV in which Jordan and three friends, all well-raised, luminous teens, were sitting and listening to Chief Keef. That, and that alone, was the impetus for Dunn to roll down his window and pick a fight. By the time Dunn stopped shooting and sped away down 95, Jordan, the prince of Samuel Wolfson High School, was bleeding out in the back seat of the Dodge Durango. His death, at 17, punched a hole in the community, and shattered the lives of his parents and the boys in that car.

On its face, at least, the case against Dunn is more compelling than the one the state brought against George Zimmerman. There are, besides the statements of multiple eyewitnesses, Dunn's incriminating remarks to his girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, who was in the car beside him and has agreed to testify for the state. Also, no weapon was recovered from the boys' car, though Dunn claimed days later that he saw the barrel of a shotgun leveled at him from their window. But because this is Florida, the birthplace of stand-your-ground and other gross corruptions of the Second Amendment, niggling details – like the facts, for instance – may not matter in the end. As the law is written, the case will come down to what Dunn believed he saw, not whether he had the basis to believe it. "In Florida courts, you don't need to be right; you just need to believe that you are," says John Phillips, the prominent Jacksonville attorney who's representing the family of Jordan Davis in its civil suit against Dunn. And though Dunn hasn't made a motion for a pre-trial hearing on a stand-your-ground defense, the law will weigh heavily on the hearts of jurors, as it did at the Zimmerman trial.

Jury selection will begin the last week of September; the trial itself should take about a fortnight. There's been a lot of posturing by Dunn's attorney, an anonymous traffic fixer named Corey Strolla, who forced the first judge, the well-respected Suzanne Bass, to recuse herself in May. A second judge stepped down just this past week, ducking the potential career suicide of an acquittal. The third, a county, not a Circuit Court judge, will take a big step up in class for this trial, an unusual and worrisome development. "If the state blows this one because of a ruling he makes, there's going to be hell to pay, and not just here," says Phillips.

Indeed, the trial will be a firebox of big emotions, and the attention brought to bear on it extreme. If Dunn, a 300-pound giant of a man with a loaded 9mm and an extra clip in his glovebox, can persuade a Jacksonville jury that his life was at risk from four middle-class boys who'd stopped to buy gum, then Ms. Corey and her statutes may be put to the torch by a populace that's finally had enough. In George Zimmerman, the state of Florida has created something obscene: a legally bulletproof coward with a license to kill. Wherever he goes now, semi-auto in holster, he will have every permission to read the minds of black kids and detect retaliation in their thoughts. The Twitterverse is crackling with threats against his life; marchers carried signs in dozens of cities saying, This ain't over or The 'hood will handle it. It won't matter whether any of those aggrieved young men make a move in Zimmerman's direction. All he'll have to say is that he thought they did, or that they meant to, before he opened fire.


July 21, 2013

“Dizzy and sick”: McDonald’s workers strike after enduring 110 degree heat

Workers at a Manhattan McDonald’s and a Chicago Dunkin’ Donuts mounted strikes today to protest alleged unsafe heat. The single-store strikes are the latest in a wave of fast food walkouts, and could represent an additional front in low-wage workers’ struggle against the mammoth industry.

“I felt dizzy and sick” working in the heat without air conditioning, McDonald’s employee Luisa Dilla told Salon in Spanish. “My co-workers were afraid, but I wasn’t,” because “I just wasn’t going to work that way.”

Dilla and three other workers walked out of their store around 10 AM, after they say a co-worker fainted from the heat and had to be wheeled to an ambulance by paramedics. Dilla alleged that that when the worker – who had repeatedly said she didn’t feel well – went downstairs to vomit in the bathroom, a manager followed her there to order her back to work. Dilla said that when she went to check on her co-worker, “She was laying down on some chairs and vomiting and then she fell and fainted. Her eyes were rolling back…That’s when we said, enough is enough.”

In an “Excessive Heat Warning” for Manhattan today, the National Weather Service stated that without “protective action,” there was a risk of “sunstroke… muscle cramps… and/or heat exhaustion or heat stroke” due to heat and humidity “expected to make it feel like it is 105 degrees or greater.” Reached while rallying with the striking workers, New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez noted that working in or around a fast food kitchen would be even hotter.


July 20, 2013

Virginia DUer's: Who do you really think is going to win.

In a sane time, Ken Cuccinelli would not have a snowball's chance in Hell, but we all know this is America. So what are the odds VA will elect that nutcase?

July 17, 2013

Is this workplace retaliation for jury duty?

A coworker of mine was out for jury duty today, which we all know is a legal obligation. However, last week, our boss warned her that all of her work better be done. So, to avoid getting written up, she has to work late into Friday night to get everything done. Does this constitute retaliation?

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
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Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 01:53 PM
Number of posts: 53,777

About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

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