Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't suffer fools...

And my buddy Joe knows it...

From: Joe
To: John Murphy


Date: 8/28/2009

Time: 8:55 PM

Remind me next time we meet to bring the emails I've been getting from XXXXX. I'd email them to you but you'd be unable to restrain yourself from responding. That fucker is drinking a lot of Hannity/Rush Kool-Aid. He's off his fucking rocker.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Charlie Warner regarding the Glenn Beck Boycott

I found an interesting quote from someone "defending" Glenn Beck and criticizing advertisers for pulling their ads from his show. Charlie Warner the "media curmudgeon" puts forth arguments of the following nature.

The pressure on marketers to cancel advertising on TV programs that an interest group finds objectionable brings back memories of the Reverend Donald Wildmon's protests in the late 1970s against television shows that he thought promoted immoral lifestyles. He spoke against such programs as "Three's Company," "M*A*S*H," and "Dallas" and urged his fundamentalist followers not to buy products from companies that advertised in the targeted programs.

His efforts failed miserably because consumers weren't going to stop buying Tide, Charmin, Prell, Colgate toothpaste, or Fords because Wildmon didn't like "M*A*S*H."

Contrast this to his later statement.

But it seems to me the larger question is about the ethics of urging advertisers to use their economic power to influence the agenda on the public debate.

Warner makes a critical self-inflicted error here comparing the two situations. In the first, he indicates that Wildmon's efforts failed because consumers would not alter their behavior. He indicated that Consumers have the power. Now he seems to think that Color of Change is urging the advertisers to stop advertising because the advertisers have the economic power. But like the 70's, it is still the consumers who wield the power. Color of Change is the messenger, but the consumers have the power and the advertisers are following suit.

I am quite amused by this ditty.

As much as I despise racist remarks, right-wing hate mongers such as Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter, and over-the-top liberal hate mongers such as Keith Olbermann, and as much as I feel these venomous snakes are poisoning the TV atmosphere and polluting the public debate and debasing the agenda on issues of public importance, I don't want to silence them. I don't want to restrict their freedom of speech.

Contrast "right-wing hate mongers" with "over-the-top liberal hate mongers". It's a tricky paragraph because the grammar is messed up - is he correlating racist remarks with right-wing hate mongers, or does he say that he hates (1) racist remarks, (2) right-wing hate mongers, and (3) over-the-top liberal hate mongers. I'm not giving him a pass. He's showing his right-wing bias.

The other laughable component in this paragraph is "restriction of free speech". No matter what Sean Hannity might think, the First Amendment doesn't say anything about guaranteeing any form of speech a spot on cable television. Warner tries to play on this one later...

Furthermore, the idea of free speech has two concepts embedded in it. Free in one sense means people should feel free to voice their opinions, whatever those views are. Free in another sense means that people should have access to information and opinion at no charge – that ideas should circulate freely in an open marketplace of ideas so that people can freely compare ideas and embrace the ones they like (that confirm their own biases).

Thus, for free speech to flourish and for the marketplace of ideas to be stocked with a plethora of competing ideas, we need Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, Talking Points Memo, the Huffington Post, and yes, even Rush Limbaugh.

Hey man, I think the Vuelta Espana should be broadcast live over the air. But I'm not willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the costs, so I'll scrape by with twitter feeds. Warner is being a "socialist of convenience" stating that Beck should have a platform for his views for the public good even if nobody is willing to subsidize that platform. And even if he gets ratings, he is subsidized. Everyone who buys a product from an advertiser is paying a small amount for every ad that said advertiser puts on television, and it is part of their right of free speech to say "I don't want to subsidize Glenn Beck getting a platform on National television, put him back on AM radio where he belongs".

If pressure groups try to get advertisers to use their economic power for reasons other than advertising effectiveness, then they unwittingly encourage Pandora to open her box of unintended consequences, especially the potential limitation of free speech.

Those pressure groups are called "the public". The public uses their economic power to veto all sorts of things. The Giants start losing, fans stop going, next thing you know, boom new manager. Was Felipe Alou's free speech destroyed? No. If people vote with their dollars - in the most effective way they can by threatening a boycott - that is capitalism at work and Glenn Beck still can exercise his First Amendment rights, maybe he can go yell at some town halls.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cyclists 1, Homeless Guys 0

Cyclists 1 homeless guys 0 on Twitpic

Twitpic - zero.

Anyway, they swept off the Cesar Chavez bike path. Thanks guys!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Bike Lane on Skyline in Millbrae

New bike lane on hillcrest in millbrae on Twitpic

This section of Skyline is critical for the SF<->Peninsula commute, it is a short stretch between the San Andreas Trail and Sawyer Camp Trail. Several sections of 280 are bike legal around here, allowing you to bypass the bike paths which are longer and winding with blind curves. The freeway is much faster - if that's what you need (as in - you are headed to work). But on this section of Skyline between Larkspur and Hillcrest you have to exit the freeway even if you are bypassing the trails.

Prior to painting this bike lane the drivers here would crowd cyclists to the right, the worst offenders believing the cyclists belong on that "bike path" a.k.a. sidewalk. The sidewalk isn't exactly great, I much prefer the road. With the striping and no parking signs it delineates that this portion of the road is for bikes. And for those worried that this will screw up traffic, rest assured that the motorists have a no-bikes section of 280 a mere 20 yards away.

Old La Honda Road Terrorist(s)?

This comment at Cyclelicious

Watch out for a bright red late model Ford F150 "Lightning" sport pick-up on Old La Honda Rd. It chased me today after speeding uphill and leaning out screaming that the road was for locals only, and I made the mistake of verbally flipping him the bird. When I called 911 and told them I was hiding in bushes after a truck made a violent u-turn to follow me (drove back and forth searching), the dispatcher asked, "How exactly did the driver threaten you?"

If someone walks by you on the sidewalk and you are minding your p's and q's and this person shouts that this sidewalk isn't for you, and you tell him to "F*** you!" and keep moving away. Doesn't the fact that this person starts chasing you imply a physical threat?

Road-rage in a car is assault with a deadly weapon!

From Bike Forums

I was struggling up Old La Honda...the Bay area hill that everyone knows their time up (27 min). As I was riding, a young woman pulled up to me in a red truck with oversized wheels. She pulled within 1 foot of me and squeezed me by the road. At first she politely told me that Old La Honda was a road for residents only and that I was breaking the law by riding it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fox News on pace for best year ever.

Associated Press via SF Gate .

The conservative network was already on pace for its best ratings year even before the health care debate sent viewership jumping during a traditionally slow month for news.

How emboldened is Fox? After President Barack Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs warned against "cable news" derailing health care plans, Bill O'Reilly assumed he was referring to Fox and seemed ready for a fight.

"Who's that going to help?" O'Reilly said. "Us, that's who. Our ratings are already soaring because we don't denigrate the protesters, the way a lot of other TV news organizations do. They're dying. We're on fire."

This despite Obama winning in a landslide...

Could it be... Liberals do crazy things like ride their bikes, play with their children, cook dinner, go out and have a beer and talk with their friends. Conservatives get some fast food from the drive through and watch TV?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Noe Valley BBQ - Approve!

Today walking the dog to the park I saw a BBQ going on in Noe Valley.

If it weren't for cars, we could BBQ in the parking spots all... on Twitpic

I stopped to take a photo because I so heartily approved of this use of a legal on street parking spot! Just think, if it weren't for the incessant need to park cars on the streets, neighborhood barbeques would be sprouting up all over the place!

I was so excited I rushed home to fire up our own grill. Pork loin in a glaze made from peach preserves made from our Healdsburg peaches, caprese salad using my basil plants, and grilled zucchini that we traded our backyard plums for from another Noe Valley Gardner. This on the heels of yesterdays crepes with Healdsburg Pear Compote, and last night's pasta with NV Basil, HBG tomatoes, and NV (trade) Zucchini.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One less plastic bag a day?

What about 3,000 less plastic bags a day! We already know that plastic bags are harmful to the environment. They’ve been around for about 50 years, so there is no firsthand evidence of their natural decomposition rate. However, scientists have been able to estimate that plastic bags can take up to 500 years to photo degrade!

NVIDIA’s decided to do something about this. Over the next week, we will stop using plastic bag liners in the cubicle trash containers. Our janitorial crew is well prepared to implement a successful “no plastic bag” program.

Effective immediately, we are asking all employees to take any wet and sticky waste to the Coffee Areas for disposal. Dry trash, mixed paper and other recyclables can be discarded in the bins in your cubicle.

I really like working at nVidia. Sweating the details. And knowing our CEO he's also thinking "Hey, that's $1.47 to the bottom line. Why throw money in the trash! LITERALLY IN THE TRASH!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ILL-INI - Deron Williams kicks Floyd's Butt.

Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz, and more importantly formerly of the University of Illinois, suited up to take on Floyd Landis in a time trial promoting the upcoming Tour of Utah.

Game Face! on Twitpic

Sounds like fun.

Deron is a smart guy. He decided to start his bike racing career in Utah. If he had started it in Champaign, he might have ended it there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pedestrian Body Count - August 11 2009.

Update: I missed this one via Streetsblog.

A pedestrian is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a hit-and-run collision yesterday. SFPD spokesperson Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said the collision occurred near California Street and Van Ness Avenue at 8:20 p.m. The driver was believed to be in a white pickup truck. A license plate number was not available.

Dateline San Francisco.

A Honda hybrid, it seems, "[c]lobbered a few pedestrians and stopped the N for a bit in both directions" this morning at 7th Avenue and Irving.

Per SFist.

Muni tells us that "service on the F Market Line has been disrupted due to an accident involving a pedestrian and an F Line streetcar at Market and 9th streets"

Per SF Appeal

Fortunately for these pedestrians, they were not subjected to an attack by a marauding horde of cyclists, for surely had they suffered this fate - they would have almost been hit!

Herb Borock - Palo Alto's own Rob Anderson

From the Mercury News on Palo Alto.

Herb Borock, a watchdog who is a fixture at city meetings, wrote to city officials on Friday after reading in a local newspaper that work on the plaza was scheduled to begin just a week after the city council first approved it. He pointed out that city code requires a second approval and a 30-day waiting period before substantial construction on any local park. The waiting period is intended to allow time for residents to mount a referendum campaign.

Very Anderson-esque. I don't know the specifics of the project though I am familiar with Lytton Plaza as I hang out there eating pizza and waiting for the Caltrain with some frequency, and once lived about 4 blocks away. It's very useful for cities to have open spaces in downtown areas and PA is no exception. Sure, random teenagers and even some panhandlers will utilize the space, but so do "regular non-threatening white folk".

The ordinance in question is 40 years old or so, and was probably put in for a reason. The city apparently dropped the ball, much like San Francisco did on the Bike Plan EIR. But if Borock was so concerned with process, why didn't he point it out to PA at a point other than the last hour? It's because he, like Anderson, is a gadfly obstructionist. He has poured over city code line by line, and knew quite well that PA was being sloppy the whole time. He didn't show up at the reading on Aug 3 and point out the flaw, he corresponded with the city the last day before construction, just like Anderson filed his appeal of the EIR on the last day possible.

What drives these gadflys? The attention? If they were so concerned about process, they would point things out as they happen. To spring up and show such concern at the 11th hour, consistently, is solely for the lulz and to obstruct using the political processes we've put in place to the detriment of the public.

Makes me wish we could do things the Chicago way

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Obligatory shout out to BeSpoke Cycles San Francisco

I had been having a problem with the rear derailler on the LeMond, my beat up commuter bike. I laid the bike down on some wet train tracks a ways back, bending the derailler, which I then shifted into the spokes, breaking about seven of them. The wrench down south where it happened rebuilt the wheel quite nicely but didn't do much for the bent hanger. The hanger was hitting some spokes when in the 27 and climbing steep grades, which happens daily going home up 23rd.

I was wandering down 24th so I went in to pick Stefan's brain at BeSpoke. I was thinking the problem was with the derailler which had definitely been beat up, but he suspected the hanger. I went by about an hour later with my rig, started to explain something then somehow the Serrota he was building disappeared off the rack, the LeMond was on, tools went flying, and voila - c'est parfait!

As Aaron the manager would say, "The best way to a mechanics heart is through his liver". I am well aware of this truism, and quickly delivered a cold sixer of Petaluma's finest .

Gracias Stefan!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stopping at stop signs is the LAW.

More comments today in SFGate on a ridiculous article by idiot savant CW Nevius. Nevius begins his article by discussing bike sharing, but then veers way off topic into the bike plan, Critical Mass, etc...

Of course the comments keep the party line that cyclist don't stop at stop signs. Cyclists would point out that at a 4 way stop with no traffic, the cyclist is using common sense and is not taking the right of way from someone, at a substantial personal benefit, and injecting very low risk onto others. A car that rolls a stop sign injects far more risk into the system for far less gain - getting a car back up to speed only requires a deft motion of ones right foot, while it uses more gas than blowing right through, this isn't nearly as taxing as bringing a bike back up to speed.

Of course the party line says "Don't care - it's the LAW". Which motorists are very picky about - and believe that cyclists should be ticketed for not following the law to the letter. Witness the crackdown in Woodside for example.

Meanwhile, over in Oakland, there is a bit of a problem. It seems that cars that stop to drop off passengers in a bus stop are being ticketed. Totally unfair! Pot, Kettle, Black. It's pretty established that a bus stop is not a private drop off zone - transit users have it bad enough without having to step around an idling car into traffic to board a bus in the middle of the street, not to mention the delays injected into the system. And if the drivers were able to claim that they are dropping off in the bus stop at a time there was no bus around to delay - how is that different than a cyclist slowing to sub 5 MPH but not putting a foot down at a four way stop with no other traffic around?

Update: Related information at Streetsblog

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 3:34:26 PM
Subject: Re: [potrero_neighbors] Theft and attempted theft - Pennsylvania Ave

As with our residential building's extensive security system; recorded images are only accessed when a resident advises Board members that criminal activity has occurred. It is then we look for the individual in order to provide best evidence to SFPD in order to hopefully catch the perpetrator.

To date, this evidence has resulted in a couple arrests and at least one plea bargain with jail time. We have also been able to document theft of resident's property by a MUNI worker (while driving a MUNI bus no less), as well as vandalism by a drunk building guest who was then held to answer by the resident who invited him

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SF Bicycle Plan EIR Certified by SF Board of Supervisors

After hours and hours of droning on about an addition to some place called the Drew School the San Francisco Bicycle Plan EIR finally came up before the Board of Supervisors. It was supposed to start at 4 PM, and was pushed back to 7:30 - heck, I could have gone - in large part because good old Chris Daly was trying to put a condition on the addition that the school relocate the 3 unit residential building they will be demolishing to add on to the school. Not "replace" the housing, he wanted them to move the actual building. Honestly this exchange was almost more worthwhile than watching the bike plan stuff. If Daly wanted to be constructive, there are more than a few vacant, eyesore, 3 unit buildings that could be rehabbed. Instead, this was obstructionist theater. But I digress...

Highlights from the Bike Plan stuff. There were 2 appellants. One was Rob Anderson's a.k.a. "The Media Dude" Citizens for Adequate Review, and one was some folks from Rincon Hill. The Rincon Hill folks were objecting to the work on 2nd St, which has been removed from the first cut of the plan already, rendering their appeal somewhat moot. So they got up there and pointed out their objections to something no longer in the plan, which amusingly cut into the time for Mary Miles, "The Media Dude"'s attack dog. I should have filed a frivolous appeal to chew up more of her time, to save us having to listen to her wandering incomprehensible babble which was punctuated by the spittle coming off whatever piece of candy she was sucking on.

The MTA/Planning had an answer for all of her random points, they were very prepared. Getting to public comments, one bike plan foe got up and basically complained that he was never notified about all this stuff, despite the fact it's been headline news for several years. Deep Jawa gave a succinct, very well reasoned public comment but was practically unnoticed because he had to follow Walter the guy who sings at the BOS meetings.

Miles gave her rebuttal, again sucking on a marble and spitting onto the dias, starting with saying that the people from planning should be sent to jail for the personal attacks on her.

The BOS then quickly, unanimously, approved the EIR. They moved on to the Bike Plan certification. Miles gave another rambling comment as did the "angry uninformed guy", and a couple of random ne'er do wells. The pro bike plan people pretty much stood path. The BOS unanimously certified the Bike Plan, and on we go to Judge Busch.

As "The Media Dude" would say - "See you assholes in court, dude!"

Policy Statement on cycling with headphones

You can do one of two things.

1) Draft my wheel
2) Wear headphones when you ride

I do not have a policy statement on helmets. If you do not wear a helmet it doesn't impact me - if there is a crash and a helmet would have helped you, it would not have helped me, but a helmet is not a crash avoidance tool.

Headphones, on the other hand, block your ears, which are a crash avoidance tool, especially in a paceline. If you choose to wear them and don't hear a car honking, that's your problem. If you choose to wear them and don't hear me shout out "SLOWING" and run your handlebars up my ass, that's my problem.

This lecture was applied this AM on the google ride when I found someone on my rear wheel. When we pulled up at a stoplight, he pulled up next to me, took out an earbud, and said "It's much easier behind you". I read him my policy statement. Amusingly he said "Well then I'll just have to drop back or go ahead". Which was fine by me. The SF2G route is an obstacle course, frankly - there are more crashes on that ride than on the Noon Ride which is run at a much higher pace by more aggressive riders. I'll attribute this to the bollards, potholes, bike paths, mini-ramps out of parking lots, bridges to nowhere, and other assorted visitors from a Japanese TV Game Show focused on contestants physically injuring themselves.

If you're on my wheel and you can't hear me, then I have to be extra vigilant in pointing out the potholes and the like with hand signals, and taking my hands off the bar may not be what I want to do in such situations.

Peace out.