San Francisco in Upheaval

San Francisco is going through one of its evolutions. The last big one I was here for was was the late 90s tech boom, with all the growth and business revolution that followed.

Before then, the working class could afford to live here. Artists could afford to live here. San Francisco was the home to freaks and artists and those dancers-to-a-different-drum.

In a few short years, the art collectives were pushed out. Freaks drifted away. Seems like half the people of color were gentrified out of their homes.

And the next decade took care of the stragglers.

We’re in it again: in the midst of chaos and imbalance. This time, it’s the Tech Industry – that mighty, unassailable engine of ingenuity and economic prosperity, brought low by the simple realization that people prefer to work from their homes.

I think this one will will last as long as the last one. A decade of chaos and imbalance and heartbreak as the commercial real estate industry goes straight to hell (and hopefully takes every loathsome YIMBY asshole with it).

YIMBY in a nutshell

The loss of so much of the tax base will terribly hurt San Francisco now and for years to come. This ball is just getting rolling, too. I can’t imagine anything other than widespread gut-wrenching economic upheaval for businesses in the downtown area that depended on foot traffic. My dear friend Julie who opened Julie’s Kitchen, for example. What will happen to her?

What happens when it shakes out? What happens when the commercial buildings, empty for decades, are finally torn down and replaced with residential towers? Do the rents come way down? Do the artists come back? Do we see a return of the freaks? Will I still be alive to see it? Who the hell knows?

The answer won’t be found on twitter. The answer will not come from morally bankrupt YIMBYs using images of Black people on the street or fentanyl ODs to achieve their short-term political ends.

This makes my brain hurt

Here’s a quote from “Three Cheers for Socialism”

“Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. They know next to nothing as a rule about their own history, or the histories of other nations, or the histories of the various social movements that have risen and fallen in the past, and they certainly know little or nothing of the complexities and contradictions comprised within words like “socialism” and “capitalism.” Chiefly, what they have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions. This is at once the most comic and most tragic aspect of the excitable alarm that talk of social democracy or democratic socialism can elicit on these shores. An enormous number of Americans have been persuaded to believe that they are freer in the abstract than, say, Germans or Danes precisely because they possess far fewer freedoms in the concrete. They are far more vulnerable to medical and financial crisis, far more likely to receive inadequate health coverage, far more prone to irreparable insolvency, far more unprotected against predatory creditors, far more subject to income inequality, and so forth, while effectively paying more in tax (when one figures in federal, state, local, and sales taxes, and then compounds those by all the expenditures that in this country, as almost nowhere else, their taxes do not cover). One might think that a people who once rebelled against the mightiest empire on earth on the principle of no taxation without representation would not meekly accept taxation without adequate government services. But we accept what we have become used to, I suppose. Even so, one has to ask, what state apparatus in the “free” world could be more powerful and tyrannical than the one that taxes its citizens while providing no substantial civic benefits in return, solely in order to enrich a piratically overinflated military-industrial complex and to ease the tax burdens of the immensely wealthy?”

David Bentley, Three Cheers for Socialism

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, having run my own business for the past twenty years. But I also believe everything in this paragraph. The contradiction makes my brain hurt.

My latest Facebook ban

I come off my latest month-long Facebook ban this evening. I figured I should probably post about it here, where I can do so in relative safety.

I read this story about Facebook relaxing its rules on call for violence as long as those calls for violence are against Vladimir Putin. I was, like, good for Facebook. I don’t like calls for violence, but I can get behind ill-wishing towards that tiny, despotic cretin. If anybody deserves it, he does.

It then occurred to me that I had a mosaic photo of Putin comprised entirely of dick pics. I thought it might work well as a Facebook Cover Photo. So, that’s what I did.

Facebook’s robot immediately told me that it was not an appropriate photo and that it would be removed.

OK, I thought, that’s fine. I guess the restriction only applies to violent statements, not harmless humor. Fine, whatever, I’ll just post a dog photo for my cover photo, instead.

But, then, the next question asked by the user interface is if I agreed with the decision.

I shrugged. Sure, I guess. I mean, it’s their site. If they don’t want it on there, I won’t put it on there.

Click: Agree.

I went on to try to upload another cover photo, and got this message:

I know that popup very well. It means I’m banned. Again. For something the system immediately caught, asked me to take down, which I did, and then it banned me anyway. God dammit.

I clicked on the let us know link, which opened a popup, in which I posted a very brief appeal. And, then, when I hit Send, I get the error message that tells me I can’t appeal being banned while I’m banned:

Facebook can go to Hell. Seriously. Every time their stock drops, I rub my hands together and cackle with glee.

Unbelievable double standard at the New York Times

Delusional — NY Times has no “regrets” over Clinton email fiasco

Maintaining the New York Times’ strident, defensive stance of refusing to acknowledge any fault in the paper’s spectacularly failed 2016 campaign coverage, executive editor Dean Baquet last week insisted the paper made no mistakes covering Hillary Clinton’s historic run.

The denial comes as the press is faced with a stunning double standard used to cover Clinton and Trump and their handling of classified documents. In 2015 and 2016, the press, led by the Times, treated that topic and Clinton’s private emails as the defining issue of the day. Today, news that Trump smuggled boxes of top-secret documents out of the White House is treated as a minor event, by comparison.

“I don’t have regrets about the Hillary Clinton e-mail stories,” Baquet recently told The New Yorker. “It was a running news story. It was a serious F.B.I. investigation. The stories were accurate.”

The Times published hundreds of But Her Email articles and columns. Is Baquet vouching for all of them? Here’s one that was corrected twice and still contained a false claim.

Baquet suggests the paper dedicated so much time and attention to the emails because there was a “serious FBI investigation.” But the Times didn’t know the FBI was investigating until August 2015, five months after the paper began its relentless and hyperactive coverage.

It’s always startling to watch journalists who demand transparency from public officials refuse to provide it themselves.

If you’re not a Press Run subscriber, you should be.

Facebook’s account restrictions are super dumb

I got yet another 30-day Facebook ban. This time, it’s for spreading “false information about vaccines”.

This might come as a surprise to my friends, who know I am double-vaxxed with a booster, very pro-vaccine and very pro-mask, as well as the fact that I mercilessly mock and shame the unvaccinated and the maskless at every opportunity. (These are just from January alone.).

Here was the offending content that went against community guidelines:

This is talented pianist Mat Eisenstein, who takes recordings of angry anti-maskers and anti-vaxxer nutcases, and sets them to dramatic music. The rants are usually already funny (in a horrible sense) but with the music they are hilarious.

Here’s one I shared last week, which my friends really loved and laughed at and shared a bunch. For some reason, this one did NOT get me banned:

Obviously, this is stupid. Facebook’s reviewers can’t tell the difference between anti-vaxx nonsense and MOCKING anti-vaxx nonsense. It’s really infuriating. And I’m stuck in a ban for a month!

I went through the appeal process, which seems to be all of one click – selecting a radio-button that says “I disagree with the decision.”

And that’s all she wrote. What more can I do? It’s really very frustrating.

During a funereal repast

If you find yourself at a repast with nothing to do, wash their dishes.
During a repast, the bereaved are stumbling through the worst grief of their lives. In the midst of this, they are throwing a party. It’s hard to manage both. People do it, somehow, but it adds a lot of stress on top of a bad situation.

If there are dishes in the sink, wash them. After the dishes are dried and put away, organize the food. Put the plates and silverware in one spot, near where people start down the line. Put the light stuff first (salads), followed by casseroles and pasta dishes, followed by meats. Put them all along the edge of table, like you might see at a Home Town Buffet, so people can walk down and take a little from each dish. Remove covers from containers and put each cover right underneath its container.

If someone was smart enough to bring paper plates, then go get the kitchen trash can. Empty it. Put a new bag in. Then put the kitchen trash can by the food table. People will get the idea.

Do a very slow walk around the house. Grab up trash, dirty plates, cups, empty dishes. Then go wash some more dishes.

Anybody who notices you taking care of things will assume you’re supposed to be doing it (because, really, who would volunteer for this?).

You can probably wrap up everything I’ve listed in 45 minutes – an hour if there are a lotta lotta dishes. When you’re done, have a drink, since you’ve earned it. Or leave, because you’ve made your appearance.