So… The Olympics

Well, I did in fact tune into the Olympics to watch the Opening Ceremony. I did so with distinctly mixed feelings, given that I’m rather supportive of the idea of boycotting watching the games, since I think NBC has not adequately responded to concerns that their $800 million wall-to-wall broadcast is whitewashing the very serious human rights violations going on in Russia – particularly those affecting the gay and transgender community.

Though, with that being said, I did take some comfort in the fact that my decision to cut the cable with Comcast (NBC’s owner) means that they actually have no idea that I’m watching, since I’m using that sweet over-the-air, old-school broadcast system (and in HD that I’m quite sure is of a better quality than that throttled crap I used to get over the cable). Of course, Comcast is also my broadband provider, so my hands aren’t all that clean.

Anyhoo, the Opening Ceremonies were, for lack of a better word, dull. I actually wondered a bit about who the intended audience was – and I suspect it was actually the people of Russia rather than the rest of the world, here seeing live and in color the glories of what their leader has wrought. I don’t suggest that’s either a good or bad thing – though perhaps it’s different than what we’ve come to expect from these spectacles, which typically aim to wow the globe with the majesty, the grandeur of the host country. And this one? Not so much. It was really long and felt enervating; and perhaps it’s just a reflection of my innate American philistinism, but much of the subject matter was simply not engaging (though perhaps more people like ballet than I do – but it’s always acted on me like a powerful narcotic).

Of course, I didn’t really watch the festivities without my own preconceived agenda, namely that, even in spite of the deeply corrupt nature of the Olympics, this was an especially egregious example; and that it was being put on to glorify and entrench Vladimir Putin. Did it succeed? Well, to hear the fawning Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera breathlessly describing the goings-on, apparently so. But for me? Not so much. Plus, we’re still seeing bits like this:

Now, it’s pretty baller that a member of the U.S. bobsled team just stone-cold kicked his way out of the bathroom he got locked into – though the door made from corrugated cardboard is not exactly screaming high-end facilities.

At any rate, I really only posted about the Olympics as an excuse to post a couple of videos. First, a really spot-on show of support to the LGBT communities in Russia from a group of Swedes – singing the Russian national anthem (in Russian!). “Kind of insanely subervise,” as one of my good friends put it.

And then this. Not only because it’s fabulous – but because I think that, while mockery alone can’t bring down a tyrant, laughing at one can both diminish him and point out the absurdity of his views. Good luck gays, on Gay Mountain!

I ♥ NY

This is perfect. Yes, it’s funny – but also, in its way, rather moving. A great reminder that we are a nation of  immigrants – and that’s what makes New York and New Yorkers the best.

Yes, It’s Still About Race

unbalanced_scaleWhen I wake up in the morning, I turn on the local news, mainly for the weather forecast. The rest of the broadcast is predictably glib and annoying and focused largely on topics that are not newsworthy. And then at 7:00AM, the national morning programs come on – basically the same b.s. but with more polished newsreaders and higher production values. Why do I torment myself with this drivel?

This morning on CBS, they showed clips from Anderson Cooper’s interview with juror B37 from the George Zimmerman trial. This is the same gal who had inked a book deal within 36 hours of the conclusion of the trial. Granted, she backed out of the deal soon after, but I think this is a textbook example of my favorite Law & Order phrase – “you can’t unring the bell.”

One of the things that struck me in particular during the interview was her use of the passive voice when describing the case:

I feel sorry for Trayvon and the situation he was in.

The “situation” that Trayvon Martin was in was precipitated solely by George Zimmerman.  It didn’t “just happen” out of thin air – Mr. Zimmerman alone made a number of decisions and took actions that led directly to his confrontation with and subsequent shooting and killing of Mr. Martin.

And this:

It’s just hard. Thinking that somebody lost their life. And there’s nothing else that could be done about it.

This was just so bizarre to me. “Somebody lost their life.” No, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. That is a fact that has never been in question – yet this juror seems to view it as some sort of vague inevitability, something that could neither have been prevented nor for which the perpetrator could be held responsible. In fact, she doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that there is a perpetrator. It’s quite difficult to disagree with this TPM post stating that “juror B37 is not only ignorant but militantly ignorant.”

But what followed was even more distressing (I almost said “shocking” – though then I realized I’m about as shocked as Capt. Renault). The juror stated her view, in response to Mr. Cooper’s question, that she didn’t believe race played a role in what happened. This certainly seems in keeping with the juror’s narrow and insulated world view – but the part that I found so terrible was the news anchors’ grabbing onto this as evidence that this trial and the events leading up to it were not in fact about race. Rich white lady Norah O’Donnell seemed quite comfortable to close the whole racism chapter because one juror says it wasn’t about race. I mean, if one juror claims that the case wasn’t about race, well, then, I guess it can’t possibly be about race!

Now, I don’t think I have a particularly in-depth understanding of racism in America – I am white after all – but I feel quite confident in saying that when white people proclaim that the shooting and killing of an unarmed 17-year-old black youth is not about race, they don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.

Signs of the Times

It’s quite amazing to me how stark the difference is between protesters from the left and right – at least when it comes to signs. The lefties and progressives consistently come up with slogans that are both trenchant and hilarious (as opposed to misspelled). Who says you can’t love liberty AND have a sense of humor?

To wit, three of my favorites from a Restore the Fourth rally in NYC on July 4.



weird shit

All photos above by Jim Kiernan

And, just to prove my point, here is the best sign of all from outside the Supreme Court on the day DOMA was overturned.


Ken Mehlman: A Kinder, Gentler Roy Cohn

This bitch.
This bitch.

Disgusting shitbird Ken Mehlman, the formerly-closeted gay Republican strategist, was profiled in the NYT today – and all I can say is “feh!” This despicable quisling was a key player in W.’s 2004 election (N.B.: Let’s not forget that W was appointed to his first term, not elected) and used  opposition to same-sex marriage not just as a key plank in the Republican platform, but to whip up the conservative base and appeal to their rank homophobia. Thanks in large part to this strategy chosen and embraced by this amoral opportunist, 21 states have amended their constitutions to forbid same-sex marriage, enshrining discrimination against gay men and lesbians as the law of the land in these states. (And let’s not forget the over 4,000 U.S. and coalition troops and 130,000 civilians killed in Iraq. Or the near-destruction of the U.S. economy. Nice work, Kenny!)

 “This is not just any Republican — this is one of the single greatest successful strategists for Republicans,” Mr. [Chad] Griffin [president of the Human Rights Campaign] said of Mr. Mehlman. “And now he’s on our side.”

Well, you know what, Chad? I don’t want him on our side. And we don’t need him on our side. Same-sex marriage is now supported by a majority of Americans. It’s coming – maybe sooner, maybe later, but it’s coming. And I’d be happy to wait a bit longer rather than to embrace someone like Mehlman, who took the dicks out of his mouth just long enough to make sure that gay men and lesbians were vilified and despised – while lining his own pockets in the process

The article seems to imply that there is an even divide regarding Mehlman’s reputation, now that he’s “apologized” and is working as an advocate for same-sex marriage. But please read the comments – it’s pretty clear that most still see Ken Mehlman for what he is – a foul, immoral, selfish individual who is perfectly content to sacrifice principle for his own benefit. Truly a shonda to his people.

And New Yorkers? Please shun this terrible, terrible person. And gays? Don’t fuck him. Don’t have brunch with him.  Throw him major shade. Tell him to sashay away. He does not deserve to be a part of our community.

Fiscal Crisis? Solved!

taxesIn last Sunday’s NYTimes, there was a piece titled “Should We Tax People for Being Annoying?” Without even knowing the subject matter, the answer is, obviously, a resounding, “YES!”

The article itself was about Pigovian taxes – namely, taxes levied on “the things we do that affect others and that the market is unable to price.” A good example is congestion pricing in London, in which those who choose to drive private automobiles into the city must pay a fee to do so; or very high taxes on gasoline to ameliorate not just the negative effects of its use (pollution, congestion, etc.) but also to discourage its consumption in the first place.

Clearly, I would embrace such a system of taxes (particularly given that my primary modes of transportation are bicycle and public transit, resulting in a delightfully smug sense of self-satisfaction as I judge the destroyers of the planet in their cars. Of course, the benefits of not driving a car are more than wiped out by the many airline trips I take each year – not that this diminishes my self-righteousness by one whit. But I digress…). The article, however, reveals the mere tip of the iceberg – there is a potential windfall of tax income for the government available through Pigovian taxes. Here then is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of activities that shall henceforth be taxed.

  • Attempting to board a bus, train, subway, streetcar, metro, motor coach, jitney, shuttle, monorail, ferry, vaporetto, hydrofoil, elevator, funicular or other public conveyance before all alighting passengers have disembarked.
  • Wearing, rather than carrying, one’s backpack on any crowded public conveyance.
  • Being unduly tan.
  • Attempting to strike up a conversation or make eye contact with a stranger in any public place of which the primary purpose is not the serving of alcoholic beverages.
  • Stating, mentioning, implying or alluding to the fact that one wears size 28 jeans and/or a size 0 dress.
  • Using two-dollar words without understanding how to pronounce them properly. For example, oxymoron pronounced as “ox cimarron.” (Yes, that actually happened.)
  • Using “I” as an object instead of “me.”
  • Ordering a “gin martini.”
  • Reading 50 Shades of Grey.
  • Walking three or more abreast on a city sidewalk.
  • Walking in any city center in a manner that could be described as ambling, meandering or strolling.
  • Seeing that one has 3 or fewer seconds on the walk signal, running halfway across the intersection and then sauntering the remaining distance.
  • Putting more than one carry-on item in the overheard bin.
  • Using terms such as “socialism,” “communism” or “fascism” without being able to accurately define them.
  • Being, and therefore presumably driving like, a BMW owner.
  • Being a fan of the New York Yankees.
  • Wearing hats indoors unless one is a lady attending a wedding or a fancy luncheon. (N.B.: The term “lady” in this instance is not gender specific.)
  • Failing to répondez s’il vous plaît.
  • Honking one’s horn while sitting motionless in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  • Disliking cats.
  • Complaining about how all the people who’ve moved into one’s previously undiscovered, semi-sketchy but charming and reasonably-priced neighborhood have ruined it when one has actually only lived there for a year-and-a-half and is originally from Tustin.
  • Failing to respond to emails, texts or instant messages in a sufficiently timely manner. (N.B.: Timeliness shall be determined by the composer of the email, text or IM to which one is responding.)
  • Leaving voicemail messages (not applicable to persons age 60 or older).
  • Blogging.

House of Cards

First of all, if you haven’t already, watch the original BBC version of House of Cards (along with the two sequels), which follows the behind-the-scenes political scheming of deliciously amoral MP Francis Urqhart. It is marvelous (and available on Netflix streaming).

Secondly, here’s the just-released trailer for the American version, streaming on Netflix Feb 1, in one of their first serious forays into original programming. One never knows, but this preview leads me to believe it is going to be excellent. And, given the substantial structural differences between English and American politics (not to mention journalism), this remake will likely deliver plenty of twists and turns even for those of us already well-familiar the lead character’s career trajectory. Oh, and Kevin Spacey. Sure, sometimes he chews the scenery – but I think that may be exactly what we’ll want from this flick.

Romney and Ryan Explain Their Loss


Here’s what Mittens had to say regarding his recent drubbing in the Presidential election:

With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.

That Obama, he’s a tricky knave! I mean, of course all those sluts would vote for him after he gave them free contraceptives, so they could keep slutting it up like big slutty sluttersons! And stupid young people, falling for the shameless bribe of being permitted to have health care! Suckers.

And it had nothing to do with your insane right-wing agenda and that voters found you personally and politically objectionable. Or that you were out-organized. Or that you and your party give every impression of hating women, Latinos, blacks, immigrants, gays and pretty much anyone who isn’t (either literally or figuratively [I’m looking at you, Condoleezza Rice and Marco Rubio]) a rich old white guy. Nope, it was that slippery Obama, with his “gifts” to voters.

And then zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan had this to add:

[T]heir loss was a result of Mr. Obama’s strength in “urban areas,” an analysis that did not account for Mr. Obama’s victories in more rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire or the decrease in the number of votes for the president relative to 2008 in critical urban counties in Ohio.

What do you think he really means by “urban”? Do you think he’s referring to people who live in cities? I wonder – it’s a real puzzlement…

To be honest, it’s no surprise that these loathsome crybabies are incapable of even the merest hint of introspection, either as individuals or as the standard bearers of the out-of-touch and increasingly irrelevant Republican party. I think it is also further proof that neither Romney nor Ryan are remotely qualified to hold elected office – let alone to occupy the White House.  What a couple of grade-A douchebags/disgusting shit-birds.

from NYTimes

Dear Barack Obama…

What a great thing to post on Election Day! Ten-year-old Sophia Bailey Klugh has two dads, Jonathan Bailey and Triton Klugh, who shared her unprompted letter to President Obama.

And the President responds.

from Huffington Post

We Are All Sasha Fierce

Another reason I’m glad I’m a gay: we make the best signs.

Though I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this too. Because, for realz.

Oh, STFU, Ross.

Christ, what an asshole

In the ongoing competition to see which NYTimes columnist I can’t stand the most, the insufferable Ross Douthat once again grabs the lead from the always annoying David Brooks – though not by much.

In yesterday’s commentary, Douthat trotted out the Republican talking point, which compared Romney’s 47% comments to Obama’s “guns or religion” “gaffe” during the 2008 campaign. Frankly, the only thing the two commentaries have in common is that they were perceived as gaffes. But to portray them as similar in any way beyond that is intellectually dishonest. Douthat himself even seems to acknowledge this by linking to William Saletan’s excellent piece on Slate that points out the specific and glaring differences – namely, that Obama’s comments were part of a conversation in which he acknowledged not just the difficulty but also the necessity of appealing to blue collar, disaffected voters; Romney has simply written off half of the voting population as undeserving moochers – not to mention that his trope about them not paying taxes is a bald-faced lie, since he conveniently overlooks the payroll tax that all working people pay.

Even more enraging though is Douthat’s conclusion that “elite” Democrats AND Republicans hate the working classes, just for different reasons. According to him:

What does it say that rich Democrats can’t fathom why working class Americans might look askance at an elite that’s presided over a long slow social breakdown and often regards their fundamental religious convictions as obstacles to progress?

First of all, I don’t know what “long slow social breakdown” he’s referring to. If it includes things like higher divorce rates, increased infant mortality, teen pregnancies and the like, these are “red state” problems. That is, the states who claim to be most concerned about “social” issues and “family values” are the ones doing everything they can to prevent women from having access to family planning and birth control services; with the highest rates of divorce; who are willing to take to the streets in protest over the VERY IDEA that all people should have access to healthcare; who insist that “abstinence” is the only method of birth control that should be taught. So, it’s unclear to me how this “social breakdown” can be pinned on Democratic “elites.” (Also, nice use of the Republican-approved code-word “elite,” Ross…)

Or is he making a veiled comment about opposition to gay marriage? Or the teaching of creationism? Or climate change denial? Because these are but three of many, many examples I can point to where it’s a fact that the “fundamental religious convictions” are obstacles not only to progress, along with the practice of fact-based science, but to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are foundations of the American form of government. When there is a portion of the population that believes that their religious views trump the views of other religions or of the Constitution itself, then yes, they are demonstrably obstacles to progress in this country. Democrats don’t suggest that anyone shouldn’t follow the religion of their choice – all we ask is that the laws of this country remain secular. If you don’t support same-sex marriage, don’t get gay married! If you are opposed to abortion, don’t get one! But don’t use your religion to instruct the rest of us on how we can or cannot live our own lives within the boundaries of secular law in this country.

Of course, none of this is much of surprise from Douthat, given that his most recent book would steer us back to a Eisenhower-era of Christianity, when it was “a driver of assimilation and a guarantor of social peace, and its prophetic role, as a curb against our national excesses and a constant reminder of our national ideals.” To paraphrase my comments about that, “Oh brother.”

Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not giving David Brooks a pass either. I was actually somewhat impressed with his column, “Thurston Howell Romney”, if only for the title. And he goes on about how Romney’s remarks further drive home the fact that he is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the American population, portraying retirees, the poor, veterans and other members of the 47% as freeloading victims.

But Brooks can’t leave well enough alone and ends with this observation re. Romney: “Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater.”

Really? A man who is willing to say anything, to adopt any position, to pretend to be something he is not, all in service to getting himself elected to the presidency? That is not only unkind and indecent, it is craven, disgusting and un-American.


Christ, what an asshole (also, a liar)

I haven’t watched any of the Republican convention thus far – and I suspect this won’t change. It’s more than just the fact that I disagree with virtually every position staked out by this radical and intolerant party – it’s the gall, as they boldly stand before us spouting hatred and lies. LIES. Not the self-serving stretching of the truth or deliberate shading of facts to portray themselves in a flattering light (which, sadly, is part and parcel of what we expect of our political leaders regardless of party) but flat-out lies.

This piece by Charles P. Pierce over at Esquire is pretty goddamned amazing as far as calling out these lies and the craven, lying liar-heads who spew them.

It was an entire evening based on a demonstrable lie. It was an entire evening based on demonstrable lies told in service to the overriding demonstrable lie. And there was only one real story for actual journalists to tell at the end of it.

The Republicans simply don’t care.

They don’t care that they lie. They don’t care that their lies are obvious. They don’t care that their lies wouldn’t fool an underpaid substitute Social Studies teacher in a public middle school, who would then probably go out one night and get yelled at by Chris Christie. (“They believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers,” he said in his speech. Yeah, you just don’t believe in paying them.) They don’t care that their history is a lie and that, by spreading it, they devalue the actual history of the country, which is something that belongs to us.

If only the “mainstream” “liberal” media were as forceful in calling out these lies – though I suppose to some extent it doesn’t matter, since the idiots who vote Republican get their “news” from Fox, which is simply the PR division for the Republican party. Nevertheless, why can’t people other than Mr. Pierce and Rachel Maddow call this shit out? Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Scott Pelley should all be leading each night with “Republican Convention Speeches Comprised Entirely of Lies.” I can dream, can’t I..?

On RNC Opening Night, Republicans Dare to Build a Lie 

My Brush With Greatness…

I was absolutely delighted when I was notified on Friday that my post Bread(ed Chicken) and Circuses (in which I pontificated about the ridiculous brouhaha regarding Chick-fil-A and its gay-hating president Dan Cathy) had been selected to be featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed– their “best of” bloggers page. I was especially thrilled given that my headline alone is deserving of great praise, if I do say so myself. Seriously, it is excellent, isn’t it?


I should also add that I was rather pleasantly surprised at the tenor of the comments – some of them were odd, some of them were annoyingly non-secular – but there were no horrible episodes of name-calling. And, quite shockingly, there wasn’t a single mention of “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”

And while I stand by the hypothesis of my original post, my thinking has evolved somewhat. To a large degree, I think it remains ridiculous that people equate eating or not eating mediocre, unhealthy chicken sandwiches with making a political statement. However, the responses of many who share Mr. Cathy’s bigotry was shocking. This article by Jesse Bering on Slate was eye-opening to say the least – most notably the tweets he posted, most littered with references to “faggots.” Granted, I live in the liberal bubble of SF – but it’s nearly unbelievable to me that there are so many people who feel comfortable in expressing this type of hatred in a public forum such as Twitter. And that they apparently suffer no social consequences in their particular circles; that they are surrounded by people who are quite comfortable with sentiments along the lines of “kill fags.”

I thought David Sirota’s piece over at Salon was pretty good, too – even if perhaps some of his points (equating drought and homophobia) were perhaps a bit tenuous.

So, yes, perhaps this episode is a bit more than a tempest in a teapot. And frankly, at this point, I am quite comfortable labeling those who patronize Chick-fil-A as homophobes. It’s a pretty simple fact – CFA and Dan Cathy donate millions to anti-gay groups. And the source of those millions is people who buy those chicken sandwiches.

Anyway, to end on a lighter note, there’s this: a crowd of CFA customers singing a round of “God Bless America” while waiting to purchase more grease to cram down their maws. Yes, it really is genuinely tragic that these people equate purchasing fast food with civic engagement – though I’m not exactly unhappy  that their political “actions” will only hasten their deaths from diabetes, heart disease and morbid obesity. But it is also hilarious… especially given that it was written by Irving Berlin, a Russian Jewish immigrant to this country.

Bread(ed Chicken) and Circuses

Christ, what an asshole.

You know what I think about this whole Chick-fil-A brouhaha? Nothing – it’s a big “who cares?” At this point, everyone is well aware that the chicken sandwich purveyor’s CEO, Dan Cathy, is a homophobic god-botherer and that he and his company give money to groups opposed to civil rights for us gays.

And now that we all have this knowledge, we can do with it what we wish. I, for one, shall not patronize this establishment – though given the fact that the nearest Chick-fil-A to SF is in Walnut Creek and that I’m an insufferable food snob, this is unlikely to effect either my life or the bottom line of said poultry emporium. Meanwhile, the grease-craving among us – be they flaming flamers or fire-and-brimstone religious kooks or unemployed Alaskan grifters – are free to reach their own decision as to where they’ll purchase their next salt-laden, deep-fried slab of fowl. No one’s First Amendment rights are at risk or being trampled here. We’re all free to express our opinions however we see fit.

So, can we just fucking drop it already? All this time and energy wasted on a tempest in a teapot. Do you really want to piss off Miss Mr. Cathy? Then let’s finally make gay marriage legal at the federal level, with same-sex married couples entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples. And then watch the bigots squirm when they are forced to put their money where their mouths are. Oh, you don’t want to insure your gay employees’ spouses? Well, that’s illegal. Oh, OK – you’re going to stop offering insurance to all your employees’ spouses? Good luck with hiring!

I wrote earlier about my view that the bigots have already lost on this issue, because corporate America has concluded that same-sex marriage is good for business. There will always be out-liers like Chick-fil-A – but once same-sex marriage is the law of the land, they’ll have to comply with that law. Sure, they won’t like it – I’m certain there are still plenty of business owners who would happily refuse service to blacks or Jews or Latinos or some other segment of the population. But they can’t, because it’s illegal. Sure, they still hold on to their hateful bigotry in their personal views and opinions – but they can’t inflict them on the rest of us in violation of the law.

So, again, enough with the Chick-fil-A. It’s a time-wasting distraction from issues that actually make a difference in the lives of gay men and lesbians. Railing against the blithering of a fast-food magnate is not worth the effort. Making same-sex marriage legal, on the other hand, is absolutely worth the effort.


I love a good rant – and I love Fran Lebowitz.

The worst thing about being around these people,  these students, is overhearing their conversations.


from The Awl

Bicycles in the Netherlands

This is a fascinating overview of how the Netherlands transformed their transportation infrastructure for bicycling. One of the most interesting things to me is that it was partially in response to the oil crisis of the ’70s (which ushered in car-free Sundays in city centers).

I especially love this image of protesters occupying Amsterdam’s Museumplein – which is now closed to automobile traffic.

The other day, I took a different route to work, traveling via Market St. after taking The Wiggle (can I just say that I love the fact that SF has a well-known bike route called The Wiggle?) from the DMV. Market St. is probably the most heavily traveled bike route in SF, especially during the commute hours. And I must say, it was pretty great traveling in a pack of cyclists on the way to work (my usual route down Post St. is generally just me, cars and buses).

As a cyclist it made me feel safer and more visible – and frankly it just made the ride more fun. Of course, just as with automobiles, there were a couple of jerks on bikes, who felt the need to squeeze past me at a red light so they could be 4′ closer to their destination. And this pack of cyclists obeyed all traffic rules for the entire trip, stopping at red lights and yielding to pedestrians – which, despite all of those who will shout their anecdotal evidence to the contrary, is more typical than not.

I should also add that the traffic lights on Market St. are not timed for bikers, which seems ridiculous. And that on at least two occasions all 20 or so of those in my pack were forced to squeeze past double-parked cars dropping off a single passenger somewhere on Market St. Not only does this slow everyone down, it forces cyclists to interact too closely with buses and streetcars, as well as the treacherous tracks and grates in the transit lane. And this is all on top of the typical but no less dangerous potholes and half-assed repairs that make Market St. into an obstacle course for those on two-wheels.

The current Better Market Street planning seems to be headed in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what actually gets built – though I’m hoping that (finally) Market St. is closed to private automobile traffic, with dedicated transit and bike lanes and improved sidewalks for pedestrians. We shall see.

from SFist

Lies, Damn Lies and Anything Ed Lee Says

What, me worry?

Politicians lie. All of them, good and bad, Democrat and Republican. It’s part of the job – and cynic that I am, it barely registers anymore. So why then does SF Mayor Ed Lee make my blood boil? I was certainly not a particular fan of Willie Brown or Gavin Newsom – but I was sort of, “Eh, whatever. Not great, but not terrible. Typical SF politicians who are socially liberal but financially and politically in the pocket of big business.” Ed Lee is pretty much the same – yet I’d like to see him run out of office.

I suppose it’s because he lied his way into being appointed mayor to replace Newsom, when he was elected Lt. Governor. Lee stated unequivocally that he would not seek election the following November – which was key to getting the support of the Board of Supes to appoint him as the putative “interim” mayor. Within a couple of months he “changed his mind” and decided to run, and vaulted to the front of the crowded field of candidates. He won handily and totally cock-blocked the first chance in ages that SF would get a truly progressive mayor.

And now – ¡escandalo! – Lee is being accused of perjuring himself – twice! – in his testimony to the Ethics Commission during its investigation of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. And I’m channeling Capt. Renault insofar as I am shocked – shocked! – that Mayor Lee might have lied.

Frankly, I’ll be delighted if the charges stick and he’s drummed out of office. But seriously, what did anyone expect? He lied his way into office! He didn’t stretch the truth or massage the facts or artfully dissemble – he told a bald-faced lie that he would not seek election as mayor and then, virtually immediately upon being appointed, announced he would seek election. He is a craven, lying liar-head, beholden to loathsome power-brokers Rose Pak and Willie Brown, whose pockets are lined by wealthy developers and big business.

In other words, business as usual.

“There’s a land that I see…”

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” — Barack Obama

WELL! This is an amazing thing!

And, as an avowed cynic, it may surprise people to know that I’m not joining the critics on the left who are saying “Too little, too late” or that this was a calculated political move designed solely to (further) open up the pocketbooks of the gays. They may be right – but my eyes are open to the current political climate in this country.

There are millions who thump their bibles or shout about the sanctity of marriage or whatever other ridiculous and un-American arguments they can come up with to deny two people the right to enter into a legal contract together. I’m sorry, but no matter what excuse they come up with, the real reason they oppose same-sex marriage is because they hate gay people. That’s it. The only people who are affected by same-sex marriage are the two people who marry, no one else.

And some of these same bigots will be motivated to heave themselves off of the sofa on Election Day, specifically to vote against President Obama. And this worries me. It worries me enough that I’d’ve been OK with Obama’s continued “nudge-nudge-wink-wink” on this issue until after November. The specter of a President Romney (who supports amending the U.S. Constitution to make bigotry the law of the land) is frightening.

But the alea iacta est , the Rubicon crossed – so I’m just gonna say, “Thank you, Mr. President.” And get all misty-eyed as I listen to “Free to Be You and Me.”