EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Politics | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'Politics'

Batkid Vs. The “Supervisor”

Boys Batman WishPow! Zing! Bam! The Batkid managed to bring San Francisco together for the first time in a long time. Little Miles Scott did what no other fair or government sponsored event has done. He battled all the foes face to face except for one who hid behind his Twitter account — Eric Mar.

Oh dear. Maybe Eric was having a bad day or something, but seriously? Why the need to take a dump on a little kids day that moved the entire city? If you missed it and I doubt you did, Eric Mar posted a tweet that quickly turned viral and got everyone talking:

“Waiting for Miles the Batkid and wondering how many 1000s of SF kids living off SNAP/FoodStamps could have been fed from the $$.”

OK, at least he’s admitting to being there to grab a little bit of the spot light. He might even have been standing near Miles smiling as he sent the dastardly tweet out to all of his followers. Not so odd is that the tweet has been removed from his feed as if in these modern days of the internet anything you say won’t be archive and held against you at a later date [oh dear, did I really post that in 1994?] Here is an actually screen grab of said tweet:

Oops!

Uhm, did someone say open mouth and insert foot? Batkid’s day was provided to Miles and the City of San Francisco by a private foundation known as the Make-A-Wish foundation. Miles has leukemia which is remission which is awesome in my book and the fact that Make-A-Wish put something together for Miles that also benefitted the City by helping boost the morale of everyone is a great thing that was much sorely needed.

Last time I checked government didn’t have to power to tell a privately held company what it could and could not do or how to operate. If Eric Mar wants more money to go to SNAP then it would be nice if he would step up to the plate and donate his yearly salary to SNAP instead of telling some other company to do it.

Oh wait, Eric Mar agrees that he can’t tell a private corporation how to operate. I found this little bit about Eric Mar Vs. The Happy Meal from not too long ago:

Is there really enough room in your mouth for both of your feet? While I will agree with Eric Mar that families on food stamps/EBT/SNAP aren’t able to properly feed themselves and their kids, if that’s really such a big deal then you should have found another venue than to bring it up instead of stealing the day from a little kid with leukemia.

Miles is a great kid from what I can see and he’s a fighter to have gotten to where he is today and hopefully when he gets older because of youtube and vimeo he’ll have something to look back on and he can just smile and say, I did a good thing.

Cheers to Miles Scott and the Make-A-Wish foundation for giving the City something to get behind for once.

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Omar Khayyam’s

Omar Khayyam's Famous Spinach SaladYet another place that has gone away. I call it a place more than a restaurant because my Mother and Father used to talk about it all the time as a place you didn’t just go to eat, but you went to experience. There used to be more restaurants like that in San Francisco, but many of them have gone aways now.

Omar Khayyam’s was started by Armenian George Mardikian in 1947 in San Francisco [after he opened a restaurant of the same name in Fresno, CA]. While it was billed as an Armenian restaurant it really had a couple of Armenian dishes with Middle eastern and African mixed in after they were adapted for the American palate. When it opened there was a decent sized minority of Armenians in San Francisco, but the food was still pretty foreign to most people even in San Francisco at the time. You have to remember that back then spaghetti was considered ethnic food.

You can see on the menu I was able to find that there really wasn’t much special by today’s standards, but at the time George Mardikian was a restauranteur which for the time meant he wasn’t just a chef, but a showman as well. Mardikian started as a freedom fighter back when Armenia was having problems with the Ottoman Empire in 1903. His surname was that of the warriors being that Mardik meant warrior in Armenian. He work eventually led him to leave Armenia and come to the US around 1922. He went through Ellis Island and started life in the US in New York before moving west and ending up eventually in San Francisco.

The MenuHe was very influential here and when he opened Omar Khayyam’s downstairs at the corner of O’Farrell and Powell there were pictures of him circulating around that showed him breaking  bread with Dwight D. Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt alone with other notables in local politics. As you walked down the stairs upon entering you would be met by the Rubiyat Lounge with it’s velvet tablecloths. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to clean those if you think about it.

Mr. Mardikian also served as a food consultant to the U.S. Army which if you think about someone who served ethnic food to the public being hired to construct food for our armed forces then it must have been pretty good food. He introduced the public to flatbread, probably a form of pita that would last longer than your average loaf and still be tasty so I could see why he was asked for advice.

From the day it opened until it eventually burned down in the 80’s Omar Khayyam’s was a well known restaurant. It was the type of place that it didn’t matter if you could pay the bill, you still had to put a suit on to eat there. While I won’t get into that argument here there was a time when having to get dressed up for dinner was a part of the whole ritual of going out to eat.

Golden Gate Park Gone Wrong

While everyone seems to be focused on the West end of GGP nobody has noticed what they’ve done to the Eastern side. It turns out that they’ve moved the parking to where the bike lane is and the bike lane to where the parking is. This is bad for a couple of reasons.

First, the bike lane isn’t used that much so leaving it next to area where the cars drive makes sense. If a person on a bike is riding by and the driver of the car opens the door to get out without noticing the bike the rider can move a little to the left to get out of the way. Now with the bike lane blocked in by cars and the curb, if a passenger opens the door without noticing the bike you will have two injured people.

Also pushing the parked cars out makes driving more difficult. I find myself not being able to drive the speed limit in the Eastern part of the park now, because I now have to drive very close to the cars. So far this only affects JFK Drive East of Transverse Drive, but if they think of moving it to other parts of the park it will be a disaster.

I used to enjoy my drives through the park as they were always pretty peaceful, now even driving slow I have to be aware of hitting cars. As you can see from the picture in front of me [that I took after I came to a full stop next to the Rose Garden] The car in front of me is not centered in the lane and veering to the left, practically driving on the divider line to avoid hitting the parked cars on the right. I suspect we will be seeing more car accidents in the future along this part of the park because of the dumb idea they’ve put in place.

The other thing that is puzzling me is how packed with cars the park is now. I took the picture above in the middle of the week at somewhere around 2pm. Why are all those cars there or were they there before, but I just didn’t realize them because they were farther away from me? From Transverse Drive all the way up to the Conservatory of Flowers was completely packed with cars and I have no idea why.

Mitt Romney: Fortunate Son

Since it’s the weekend I decided to talk about Willard Mitt Romney. He’s the most likely GOP nominee for President to run against Barack Obama, but he’s also someone that very few people can relate to. He’s a Mormon which make up about 1.5% of the US population [roughly the same as Muslims]. He’s a multimillionaire with a net worth between $190-$250 million along with blind trusts in the children’s names worth $70-$100 million. Mitt is definitely in the 1% if not .5% of the nation. Few of us can relate to having that much money and he can’t really relate to people who don’t [remember his response, I don’t know anyone in NASCAR, but I know a lot of the team owners.]

On the good side being a Mormon means he doesn’t drink or smoke which means he won’t be showing up for any meetings drunk unlike my distant relative former President Ulysses S. Grant. He also did give President Obama the idea for Obamacare when he instituted Romneycare in Massachusetts when he was Governor, but I still can’t get behind a guy who can’t relate to the average American. I’m a somewhat progressive Democrat living in San Francisco, but I can still sit down with some of my die-hard Republican friends and have a beer [though I do prefer a good single malt scotch or small batch bourbon, but can’t get into wine even though I live in California]. Usually because we both share the same problems like, not having enough money.

This caused me to make a movie about Mitt. If you’re reading about this on your mobile device you won’t be able to see the movie because for some reason youtube is cool with you using other people’s music even though it’s considered copyright infringement they feel you shouldn’t show it on a mobile device. I have been in the process of getting in contact with John Fogerty to get something that gives me permission to be using his song Fortunate Son for the video. It was originally written supposedly about David Eisenhower who was married to Julie Nixon and because of his political connections between the Eisenhower and Nixon families they were completely shielded by the Vietnam War.

To me the song is appropriate because Mitt Romney is shielded by his family connections [his father was the former Governor of Michigan and also a multi-millionaire] and his families money that he can’t relate to the average person in America. Yes, it was a politically strategic move on President Obama’s part to pull over in Chinatown and run in to pick up some take out [pulling over in Chinatown pretty much means you just stop your car], but at least he made the effort.

So here is the video. I hope you like it and share it and maybe I’ll get my 15 minutes of fame and it’ll go viral and someone will ask me to be on their show. Doubtful, but I can dream. Oh and because I’m the kind of guy I am you can even watch it in HD.

The 17th Annual Sunset Community Festival

I got to go to the local Sunset Community Festival on Saturday which was actually called the Playland at the Beach Festival as well even though there was only a single sign up with info on the long defunct Playland. I have to admit that it was one of the better local gatherings I’ve seen. This is probably due to the fact that it was at the newly renovated West Sunset Playground which as I expected in the previous article on it, the mulch was being trashed by kids everywhere.

Because this is a community focused event that pulls political powers from around the city there were booths for just about every person running for Mayor of San Francisco. I got to meet with John Avalos [of course], Joanna Rees and Mayor Ed Lee, who I must say is much taller than he looks in pictures. Phil Ting was there, but had no booth and ran off shortly after I arrived. I was especially surprised to see that Carmen Chu, Fiona Ma and Leland Yee who tend to be all over the Sunset district had unmanned tables and were no shows. I would have liked to have a chance to bend Carmen’s ear for a few minutes to an hour to let her know what needed some attention in the Sunset District. Tony Hall has several older, conservative cronies out to push him as well, but he too was a no show which was odd considering his connection to the Sunset District. All in all I was surprised to hear John Avalos’ name mentioned by many of the people there. I think he may have a real shot at getting it since he’s staying away from the political infighting going on with other candidates for Mayor.

The day wasn’t all about politics though and I was glad to run into Tom Prete of Ocean Beach Bulletin and Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods group who had booths as well. I’ve included lots of pictures which you’ll see at the end in the slideshow and it was a fun, but crowded day. I do have to admit that the only downside I saw at the event was Bank of America’s booth that was handing out free stuff for spinning a wheel which had people lined up blocking the comcast and Run Ed Run booth so you couldn’t even get close since people wanted to win a frizbee, caramel corn or a few other things [like I said, they were lined up thick and I couldn’t really see.

The games arcade for the kids was packed to the gills with kids flying around in the multi-tiered bouncy houses they provided and there was also a flea market sort of set up near by where you could get anything from vintage vinyl to clothes to well, garage sale junk people wanted to get rid of. I was pleased to meet Pat and Virginia of the local NERT group that I’ll be writing about soon. If you need to know what to do in an emergency, NERT will teach you in 6 short, free classes. Other Avenues, the health food store that I’ve written about previously was there and I had to introduce myself so they had a face to put with the article I wrote.

There was also food from local places such as North Beach Pizza and oddly enough there was one booth selling deep fried oreo’s. I wanted to give it a shot, but I didn’t have any cash on me and apparently some of these booths haven’t heard of square that I’ve talked about before to allow them to take credit cards cheap.

For a community get together this was one that was done right. I was surprised that all I had to do for many of the booths there was mention  Baghdad By The Bay and they knew who I was immediately. I plan on visiting more of these local events in the future.

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An old joke in a new light

So there’s an old joke that I’m going to paraphrase to start this article that I heard years ago. It goes like this, I’ve written many books, but I’ve never been called an writer. I’ve sung many songs, but I’ve never been called a singer, I make one comment about a practice that’s destroying our oceans that a Chinese politician is in favor of and…. The original was funnier, but the end result is true.

Ever since I posted my articles on why the process of shark finning is bad for our ocean’s environment I have been called a racist by someone using Leland Yee’s twitter account, I have received telephone calls from his campaign managers and Saturday night, I start getting trolled once again on twitter by someone using the name @generic_ This person had a blog on Tumblr where they have passed themselves off as a straight, white, liberal, atheist. They even have a myspace page [really? myspace?] and have posted a picture of a, well, generic white guy. They also mentioned that they did the graphics for Necessary Conversations, a video blog or podcast that is hosted by Beth Spotswood and Melissa Griffin [who incidentally I was up against in the Best Local Politics Blog contest with SF Weekly]. When I look at the site I see that a Cameron Eng is listed as the being in charge of the graphics for the show.

NOTE: I have been informed by a reader that the person posting as @generic_ is not Cameron Eng and is indeed a male caucasian who is trying to win favor with Jim Stearns Group in order to get a job so he attacks anyone who says anything bad about a client of Stearns Consulting. My apologies to Cameron Eng for any possible inferences.  While I can’t say for sure that @generic_ is indeed Cameron Eng things at this point in time do seem to be pointing in that direction. I found out my information by dropping the URL into archive.org which is an interesting website for getting information on website histories. I still will be reserved on who the real identity of this person was, but I can say that I’ve never been called a racist by any person other than Leland Yee’s camp and @generic_ who from his posts seems to also be in favor of Leland Yee for Mayor, so I guess anyone who isn’t in favor of Leland Yee for mayor is a racist in @generic_‘s book. Which then means, Rose Pak can also ride in my racist boat along with Mayor Ed Lee and everyone else running for Mayor.

I would like to take this time to apologize to the citizen’s of California and San Francisco for my previous statements. I am sorry that only people of Chinese decent eat shark fin soup, but at the same time glad, because if the entire world consumed it our oceans would be in extreme danger. In the video I posted on Saturday, Gordon Ramsey noted that the shark fin collectors get $28/pound for the fins and $2/pound for the rest of the shark. There is only one dish made with shark fins and that is shark fin soup. Because it is expensive to purchase in a Chinese restaurant it makes it worth it to the fishermen to harvest only the fins and throw back the cheaper meat that no one wants. If you have a boat that could haul in a ton of sharks would you want to take the whole shark, or just the fins which would give you 14 times the value of the shark? You’d go for the fins.

I do agree with Leland Yee’s comment about AB376 that why not ban the entire shark and not just the fins? I believe they should ban fishing for sharks. The problem was that there are very few restaurants in California that have shark on the menu and very few places that you can even find shark meat for sale. Leland Yee’s camp and @generic_ sited the fallacy that you can buy shark meat at CostCo — You can’t. They haven’t sold it for over 10 years because no one was buying it. A trip to Lucky’s, Andronico’s, Whole foods and Safeway shows that there is no shark available in their fish departments. The people who authored the bill knew that and that is why they focused on the fins. Shark is even noted as a do not buy and unhealthy fish to eat by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

My comments have been focused on two things:

  1. 1. Shark finning is an outrageous practice that is causing serious damage to the oceans by depleting the top predator.
  2. 2. Shark meat in any form isn’t the healthiest meat to eat being high in methyl mercury due to ocean pollution. It is even recommended as a fish that you should not eat by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
This has nothing to do with Chinese people except for the fact that they are the only one’s that eat it. Other Asian cultures do don’t consume this dish. I am sorry if those of Chinese decent feel I am a racist for pointing out that the over harvesting of sharks is destroying our oceans as well as pointing out the fact that shark is not a healthy fish to eat.
The only thing good about all this is that @generic_‘s posting stopped at around 9:30pm last night. Most of them where attacks on me and one other attack on my fellow blogger Greg Dewar [also nominated in the same category as me for the SF Weekly web awards], but not once in Saturday’s stupidity did I once use the R word. As they say in poker, keep your cards close, know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Sometimes it’s best to not drop the race card too quickly.

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SF Weekly Web Awards

Ye Gods! My head is still pounding from Friday night. After working for years right across the street from 111 Minna I finally had an excuse to go in. I definitely would have to recommend the place for people to visit if you want to get the hipster vibe of San Francisco.

There is so much going around in my head that I want to cover I hope I get to all of it. First the hip vibe of the place. Two bars with a wide selection of liver degrading beverages to offer. On this night it was open bar on Blue Moon Beer and fair trade Quinoa produced vodka. I started with samples of the vodka and then their goji berry infused vodka. Pretty good stuff I have to say, but since I hadn’t eaten anything yet I definitely started to feel it quickly. Everyone in the place had a smartphone [usually an iPhone] in their hands the entire time.

I ran into Greg Dewar of the NJudah Chronicles and then the Blue Moon started to flow. Greg made me realize that there is a part of social media that we often leave out, that’s the part where you get away from your computer and go outside your house and actually meet the people you tweet/facebook/foursquare with. Greg knew just about every blogger of influence in San Francisco and he introduced me to them [if they were there and not home writing their blogs].

My first introduction was to the most fabulous [and tall] Beth Spotswood. I frequently read her blog at sfgate.com and I think I’ll focus more on checking it out after I’ve met her. She is bubbly and vivacious and when she walks into the room you know she’s there. You don’t have to look for her. I couldn’t even get a picture of her because she always had a crowd around her.

Then I got to meet Broke Ass Stuart. WOW, what can I say. I had never seen a picture of him but he was exactly what I expected him to look like. Rockin’ a suit and tie I had about 60 seconds before a wave of hotties crashed all over him and he was swept away. I didn’t even have a chance to remind him that I was featured as the broke ass of the week on his blog a few months ago when I was a broke ass, but he was definitely the pimp daddy of the evening. Ah I remember the days when I had that kind of mojo. I need to get out more and meet these people.

There was Tom Prete of Ocean Beach Bulletin and Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project who I’ve know for a while. I was a bit honored when Woody referred to me and the local bloggers of the Sunset as his media reps. These are two blogs that people with an interest in the Sunset District and the Old San Francisco should definitely check out. I was sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet Breanna Lambert of ScoutMob since we tweet back and forth with each other frequently, but it was probably an in/out for her since ScoutMob had their own party going on in the Haight.

Now let’s talk about the food. Inside there was The Heartbaker offering up some yummy desserts and luckily I got to them when it was early and I was their first customer. I tried one of their carmel brownies with sea salt. Now I’ve seen sea salt as an addition to chocolate, but I haven’t had a chance to try it. I have to say, it’s not weird. It’s great. I started to feel like one of the judges on Chopped while I was talking with them about how you’re first hit with the chocolate then the carmel slides onto your tongue adding sweetness to balance the tart of the dark chocolate followed by a salty burst at the end. Just as a side note, I have to say that seeing a group of pretty girls with lots of tattoos that could cook was a real treat. 15 years ago pretty girls with tattoos that I knew couldn’t make a cup of coffee.

Outside was where the real action was. The Bacon Bacon food truck was working the alley and they were a big attraction. Bacon, Bacon and more Bacon. Once again, they had Bacon dipped in chocolate, dredged in toffee. It was very, very good, but I could barely taste the bacon with all the great chocolate that was on it. Just so you all know Bacon should always be capitalized. That is not poor grammar on my part.

The only downside of the evening was the DJ. Not that the music was bad, but I decided to pull out my decibel meter to check and I can give the rating at Motorhead loud. It was definitely past 120db’s which isn’t very good for your hearing in the long term. Plus you pretty much had to scream to talk with anyone or go outside.

All in all it was a fun evening that warranted not just one photo, but a gallery all to itself. I would have taken more pics, but after I started meeting people I had to stop for a bit.

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