Thursday, July 30, 2015

Deflategate Deflated: How Roger Goodell Suckered Punched Tom Brady and the Patriots

We think we know the basic story of Deflategate. New England Patriots employees deflate their game balls below NFL requirements because that’s how Tom wants his balls. The Indianapolis Colts complained to officials in a playoff game that they had intercepted a deflated ball. NFL officials then inspected the New England balls and found most of them deflated. The score was 17-7 Patriots at halftime. The Patriots then outscored Indianapolis 28-0 in the second half with properly inflated balls for a final score of 45-7. Brady started the second half 8 for 8 in passing. Quarterbacks with under or over inflated footballs are common in the NFL. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers says he likes his overinflated. The NFL unleashed an investigation by Ted Wells and his outside law firm. Millions were spent on cold air while hot air was blowing through the media. After millions spent, video footage micro-analyzed, suspected culprits and scientific experts interviewed, Ted Wells, the special prosecutor, issued a 243 page, mostly inconclusive, report. The Report had no definitive evidence or even smoking gun. He found that it was “more probable than not that New England personnel participated in violation of the playing rules ….” As to Tom Brady, the report concluded “It is also our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady … was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.” Not a definitive statement that the personnel did or did not, or that Brady knew or did not. Indeed, the evidence shows that Brady made sure the Patriots personnel inform the officials pre-game that Brady liked his balls deflated to the lowest permissible level. The cold weather could have then taken under the prescribed pressure setting. Tom Brady informed the investigators that he would not turn his phone over to them. It was his practice to destroy the old phones and sim cards when he bought a new phone. The NFL demanded from Tom Brady that he turn over his personal messages on his cell phone. The collective bargaining agreement between the players union and the NFL does not give the league that power. The union is not going to let the NFL seize a player’s cell phone. Tom Brady is a union man. The lawsuit filed by the NFL Players Association in 2011 against the NFL for their lockout had Tom Brady as the lead plaintiff, followed by Payton Manning and Drew Brees. Second, the assumption is that Tom Brady did not turn over the phone because he had something to hide, to wit, incriminating texts about deflating the footballs. Perhaps an alternative theory exists. He wished to preserve his privacy to the extent that any celebrity of his stature can preserve their privacy. There may have been personal matters about his family. Tom Brady provided the investigators with a seven month printout of his phone records. They could obtain the texts from the phones of McNally and Jastremski, The investigators had their phones. Roger Goodell responded that would be “impractical.” The NFL had the phones! The Commissioner’s decision was to suspend Tom Brady for 4 games, based on no precedence, fine the Patriots $1 million, and strip them of 2 draft picks. Robert Kraft decided not to appeal the team’s sanctions. The NFL Players Association appealed on behalf of Tom Brady. The NFL apparently offered to cut the suspension in half if Brady admitted guilt. He said No, whereupon Roger Goodell upheld the 4 game suspension. Roger Goodell explained Brady “engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.” The mortal sin in Goodell’s eyes was that Brady failed to cooperate because he destroyed his cellphone, plainly leaving the inference that Brady was covering up. It was a sucker pinch. The grounds for the initial suspension did not include the destruction of the phone. Perhaps the real problem is that Brady did not kowtow to Commissioner, who is no Pete Rozelle. Roger Goodell, the epitome of integrity and probity! The Commissioner - who followed the lead of the Baltimore Ravens owner in covering up and soft peddling Ray Rice’s domestic abuse case until the horrific elevator video was leaked. The NFL denied all knowledge of the video prior to Goodell’s two game suspension of Ray Rice eventhough the video was delivered to, and received by, the League. Goodell then issued an indefinite suspension to Ray Rice, which was overturned by the courts. The Commissioner is trying to redeem his reputation in the public eye. He tried suspending the Vikings Adrian Peterson for an indefinite period for disciplining his son with a switch. That too was overruled by the courts. Tom Brady is his latest foil. Commentators, especially in cities with NFL teams routinely losing to the Patriots, have risen to the bait. Bloggers now compare Tom Brady to that other Boston sports paragon of virtue, Roger Clemons. The Patriots are fighting mad. Robert Kraft, the normally gentle-mannered owner, was anything but. He was visibly angry. He apologized to the Patriots Nation for not appealing the League’s sanctions: “I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just….I truly believe that what I did in may … would make it much easier for the league to exonerate Tom Brady. Unfortunately I was wrong.” He added: “I was wrong to put my faith in the league.” Those are ominous words from one of the most respected NFL owners. He said he couldn’t understand why the “League continues to disparage one of its all-time great players….” It’s not inexplicable. It’s not about the NFL and integrity. Roger Goodell is an increasingly shrinking man trying to save his $35 million salary.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Is President Obama Presenting Jonathan Pollard to Israel as a Peace Offering?

President Obama is effectively giving the Bomb to Iran. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter flies to Israel to make peace. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter does not offer Israel any new arms. Some way of making peace! The Appendix III to the Iran agreement requires the parties to take all steps to prevent others from interfering with Iran. Secretary of State Kerry admitted in testimony to Congress that it will help protect Iran’s nuclear activities against nuclear threats and cyber warfare. The text covers more than that. The Administration is rumored to have threatened Israel in the past about attacking Iran. The Wall Street Journal reported today the rumors that the President will make a peace offering to Israel by releasing the convicted spy Jonathon Pollard. Jonathan Pollard was arrested for espionage in 1985 and is serving a life sentence. Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked for Pollard’s release from the beginning. Israel wants him. All he did was give some of the country’s top secrets to Israel. For money! He loves Israel, but sold his country out for money. He says he did it out of an affinity for Israel, but took the money. Some of the secrets may have reached the Soviet Union. America’s intelligence and military community vigorously oppose his release. President Obama is offering his release. A worn out spy to Israel in exchange for the Bomb to Iran. What a deal! Israel is facing an existential threat and Obama offers Israel a worn out spy. Such a deal! President Obama’s not offering Israel anything of substance. Jonathan Pollard is up for parole November 1, 2015 President Obama is not offering much of anything. Does the President think the Jewish Nation is that stupid? Senator Lindsay Graham is quoted in the Journal: It’s “nothing more than a pathetic attempt by a weak administration to curry favor with our Israeli allies who across the board reject this dangerous deal with Iran.” President Obama denies Israel the super bunker buster bombs, but is offering Jonathan Pollard.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Haggen is Flailing and Failing in Southern California

Haggen is Losing It in California What is Haggen? That’s what Southern Californian are asking. What is Haggen? The company claims “Higher quality products at low price.” What is Haggen? It’s high prices and poor sales in California. What is Haggen? Employee layoffs and reductions in hours from full time to part time. What is Haggen? Poor employee morale What is Haggen? Haggen is a failing experiment in Southern California supermarkets in only three months. Haggen agreed to acquire 146 Albertsons, Pavilion, Safeway, and Vons Supermarkets in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. The government allowed Albertsons and Safeway, two of the three largest supermarket chains in the United States, to merge. The two dominate the West. The condition was that the companies spin off overlapping stores. The last major consolidation in Southern California was Albertsons acquiring Lucky Stores in 1998. It had to sell off 117 stores in California. A strong regional competitor in Southern California, Stater brothers, acquired 43 of them, boosting its presence in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino County. Stater Brothers is the dominant chain in the “inland Empire,” Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. It doubled its presence in Orange County. The divestiture to Stater Brothers was a winner for Southern California consumers. This time Albertsons had to spin off 168 overlapping stores. This time Haggen, an unknown small chain in the Pacific Northwest, rolled the dice and agreed to acquire 146 stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona Haggen was rolling the dice and swinging for the fences Haggen had 18 stores at the time of the acquisition. It now has 164, including 83 in California. The bland, unattractive ads say “Hello Haggen Goodbye Hassle” Hassles are lacking because the stores are devoid of customers. The bland ads don’t offer specials on everyday products that will attract customers. Those who enter the stores encounter high prices. For that, customers are willing to go to Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Trader Joes. For lower prices, Stater Brothers remains the leader. Albertsons, and even Ralph’s, undercut Haggen. And then there’s Walmart, Target, and Costco. Haagen claims to be a premium grocer at low prices. It claims to offer fresh food and a large variety of organic food. It claims local sourcing, genuine service, and homemade quality. It offers high prices across the board. Haggen is not competitive in this market. It is uncompetitive at the high end. It is uncompetitive at the low end. It is uncompetitive in the middle. Haggen misjudged the market. Four decades ago a luxury department store opened its first store outside Washington and Oregon. The store was Nordstrom’s. The location was South Coast Plaza. We know it was a success. Nordstrom’s has expanded into affluent shopping centers. Haggen, aspiring to be upscale, has taken over stores generally appealing to the mass market, which it does not understand. The Albertson's and Vons customers are not used to paying Whole Food prices for mostly food staples. Haggen had even been flailing in recent years in the Pacific Northwest. The founding family sold a majority of its shares in 2011 to Comvest Group, a diversified Florida company with no experience in grocery retailing. Haggen closed almost half of its stores since the takeover: Everett, Tanasbourne, Murray Hill, Wenatchee, Tacoma, Lacey, Federal Way, Bellevue, Shoreline, Kent, Auburn, Yakima, Edmond, and Arlington. It had not entered Seattle because it felt unable to compete with Albertson's, QFC, and Safeway. Haggen acquired 146 inferior stores in California. Whenever there was an overlap resulting in the need to divest a store, Albertson's would always keep the best location for itself, looking to sales, posits, location, size, and age. Haggen acquired the hand-me-downs, some of which were excellent stores in good locations. Most, but not all, of the new Haggen stores were profitable under previous ownership. Haggen could have, should have taken the opportunity with a new start with a new name with a new owner to turn things around with these stores. They failed. The corporate successors to the Haggen Family are out of their league. Reality caught up to Haggen this past week. It is laying off workers at each store and converting others from full-time to part-time as it faces “unprecedented competition.” The company claims it is acting “to ensure we’re operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily cut back our staffing at our stores, with specific reductions varying by store.” The Union is livid, claiming these cuts violate the contract. He justifiably blames Haggen’s failure on a poor pricing strategy. The remaining employees are dispirited. Service is suffering. Haggen has only a short time left to turn it around.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez is the Sudden Jihad Syndrome

Why did he do it? What was his motive? What motivated him? How do you explain it? What did we do to cause it? The president knows. The FBI knows it. The media knows it. But none dare say the name. Sudden Jihad Syndrome! It is not Islamaphobia to speak out against radical Islamic terrorism. It is not anti-Muslim bias to call out virulent extreme Islam outside the mainstream of the Islamic Religion. The Sudden Jihadist believes he can solve his problems by serving Allah. He may be instigated by a radical Iman, other Muslims, or social media. He may be a recent convert or have recently rediscovered his Islamic religion. The Tsarnaev Brothers at the Boston Marathon suffered from the Sudden Jihad Syndrome. Major Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood shooter, suffered from the Sudden Jihad Syndrome, but the Obama Administration called it an act of workplace violence. Alton Alexander Nolan, a recent convert, beheaded a co-worker last September in Moore, Oklahoma and was attacking a second co-worker when an off duty police officer shot him. Nolan was unsuccessful in attempting to convert the two women to Islam. Another recent convert, Carlos Bledsoe, killed one soldier and wounded another at an Army recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas on June 1, 2009. Sulejman Taluvk came to America in 1998 from Bosnia. He shot up the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City on February 2, 2007, killing 5 and wounding four before the police fatally shot him. Mohammad Rezi Taheri-Azar drove into a crown on the University of North Carolina on March 5, 2006, injuring six. October 2002 witnessed John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, better known as The D.C. Sniper. Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian limo driver in Orange County, drove up to LAX on July 4, 2002 and started shooting up the El Al ticket counter. He killed two and wounded four. Palestinian Ali Hassan Abu Kamal shot up the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building on February 24, 1997, killing one tourist and wounding others. Rashid Baz shot at a van of Jewish students on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 1994, killing one and wounding three. Mir Aimal Kasi shot up CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on January 25, 1993, killing two and wounding three. It’s not limited to the United States. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot a Canadian soldier in the back on October 22, 2014 at the Canadian National War memorial in Ottawa. After killing the soldier, he proceeded into Parliament with the intent to kill others. Fortunately the Sergeant-at-Arms intercepted him and shot him before more homicides were committed. Alen Rizvanovic, a Bosnian refugee, rammed his car at 90MPH into a crowd in Graz, Austria a month ago, killing three and injuring 34. He got out of the car and started knifing bystanders. Sudden Jihad Syndrome. If you won’t even recognize it, then you will be unable to fight it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Munich Redux

Reflections on the Iran Agreement The triumph of delusion over reality Iran was in a weak bargaining position because of the sanctions. The United States was in a strong bargaining position. Therefore, the President and secretary of State bargained from a position of weakness. Secretary of State Kerry would propose. Iran would replay in the negative. The Secretary of State would concede The Munich Agreement excluded the most effected country, Czechoslovakia. The Vienna Accords between Iran, the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Germany and Russia excluded the country most at risk, Israel. The Jewish Democrats in Congress are on the horns of a dilemma: Side with the President for Party Loyalty or Side with Israel, which they realize is in mortal danger. President Obama has always been sympathetic to the Mullahs of Iran and hostile to Israel. The economic sanctions will be lifted by the end of the year, thereby removing any leverage over Iran over the next decade. Once lifted, the sanctions will not be reimposed. The other nations are salivating over restoring commercial relations with Iran The President sent his national security staff to talk to Congress. Susan Rice, with absolutely no background in national security, has proven herself to be incompetent. Her assistant Ben Rhodes is a political hack. They will sway no one on Capitol Hill. Ben Rhodes in April said a condition would be “anytime, anywhere” inspections. He denied that a few days ago Iran is a proven cheater. President Obama admires President Reagan, but forget the famous admonition: “Trust, but Verify.” Any quick inspection right will be to the “declared” sites; that is, the known ones. The problem is with the secret sites. Iran will dismantle no centrifuges or nuclear facilities, but can replace its old centrifuges with newer, more efficient ones. The devil is in the details of the 109 page agreement and five annexes. President Obama said “Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.” Sound familiar? If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor If you like your health insurer, you can keep your health insurer We have shovel ready jobs ready Iran will remain the center of state sponsored terrorism The Shi’a Iran will try even harder to exert its will over the Sunni Arab nations

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The $5.9 Million Eric Garner Settlement Does Not Solve the Underlying Problem of Bootlegged Cigarettes

The City of New York just settled with Eric Garner’s family for $5.9 million. The settlement was inevitable once the video arose of Eric Garner’s takedown by the NYPD a year ago. Each one of the eleven “I can’t breath” plaintive pleas by Eric Garner added to the damages. The only questions were how quickly and how much. The law can not bring a victim back to life. All it can do is provide monetary damages for the wrongful death. Eric died because he was selling loosies on Staten Island. A tip complained about loosie sales on the street. The order came from police headquarters to crack down. Eric Garner refused to cooperate with the responding police officers. It took a swarm of officers to subdue him, followed by a failure to provide emergency medical care by the police or paramedics as he was gasping for breathe. Al Sharpton is still claiming that Eric Garner’s tragedy shows the need to reform the NYPD. The family still wants a federal indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who either applied an illegal chokehold, or in his words, a legal maneauver called a “seat belt.” A Staten Island Grand Jury refused to indict Officer Pantaleo. Eric Garner’s death is not the prototypical case of white officers killing African American males. The Sergeant on the scene was an African American woman. The underlying problem is sending New York’s finest to enforce an excessive cigarette tax. Loosies are single cigarettes sold on the street. The figures aren’t clear in the coverage of Eric’s death the price of his loosies. The figure could be $.50, $75 or a dollar. One article said $.75. The problem for New York City is that most loosies are bootlegged cigarettes. Eric Garner was previously arrested with untaxed packs of cigarettes. The state imposes a tax of $4.35 on each pack of 20 cigarettes while the city adds an additional tax of $1.50. Thus, the City and State impose a tax of $4.85 on each pack of cigarettes, or $58.50 on a carton of cigarettes. The ostensible goal is to reduce smoking. The real goal is raising revenue. The practical effect is the smuggling of cigarettes into New York, presumably by organized crime The feds attach an additional tax of $1.01/pack. Retail prices for cartons of cigarettes exceed $100.00 The result is that almost 2/3 of the cigarettes sold in New York City are bootlegged from North Carolina and Virginia for resale on the street. Eric Garner was one of scores street sellers of cigarettes. The government loses tax revenue and the merchants sales. New York City needed to tax 3,933,333 and 1/3 packs to cover the settlement since presumably New York State is not kicking in. What a tragic loss of life and a stupid tax policy for 75 cent loosies!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Does Jeb Bush Have The Passion to be Elected President

Is Jeb Bush Passionate Enough to be Elected President? Jeb Bush ran for Governor of Florida and George W. Bush Governor of Texas in 1994. Jeb was the anointed one in the Bush family. He would be the next to run for President. Jeb lost by 2%, 63,940 votes, to the incumbent out of 4.2 million votes cast. George W. won the Texas election, thereby jumping ahead of his brother in seeking the White House. I’ve always been impressed by Jeb. He is cool, composed, articulate, well spoken, thoughtful, and cerebral. Governor Bush may be the best sited for President in terms of intelligence, expertise, judgment, and ability to work with others. Yet he has to first win the nomination and then the general election. He lacks passion. The electorate is angry. We know that President Obama is destroying American exceptionalism. We know the President has taken a wrecking ball to the economy. We recognize that the President is imposing a federal government Nanny State on the people. The electorate is looking to channel its anger. It’s looking for the right candidate. Donald Trump has tapped into a vein, but fortunately won’t win. Governor Huckabee, a minister, has passion. Senator Ted Cruz has passion, but he is the Lone ranger from Texas. Governor Chris Christy has passion, and was earlier the favorite, but Bridgeate set him back. He could still prevail as one of the best personal campaigners. I watched Governor Scott Walker’s speech yesterday. He comes across as “the common man,” with a record of accomplishment. Governor Bush has advantages in his campaign: the Bush name; the Bush connections and fundraising networking, and $114 million in the bank. He hopes to win by outlasting the other 15 Republicans. He has one other advantage. As the “moderate conservative” in the race he can hope the 15 dyed in the wool conservatives will split the vote, letting him rise above. A Bush-Clinton race will be a snoozer for the public. Governor Romney believed the vast anti-Obama hatred would propel him into the White House. Yet he wouldn’t respond to the negative campaign. The key to his defeat is not that he lost, but that he tallied 2 million fewer votes than Senator McCain four years earlier. The base did not turn out for the Governor. Senator McCain was also not trusted by the base, but at least he had Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. She excited the base. Governor Bush’s campaign is premised on surviving the primary season and then appealing to the independents in the general election. He said in a July 8, 2015 interview with Fox’s Bret Baier “I think you have to be respectful of conservatives.” That statement is damning! Conservatives do not want respect. They want faithful allies. They distrust the Governor on immigration and common core. They want a fighter. Governor Bush has a solid conservative record as Governor of Florida. Yet he is downplaying it. It does not speak for itself in this election against Governors Cristy, Kasich and Walker, who have more recent conservative governorship records. He has shown no passion to the base. He has not thrown “red meat” to the Red State. He has shown no passion in public. Governor Rick Perry lacked the fire in the belly four years ago. He may have it now. Governor Jeb Bush clearly has fire in his belly, but he may not have passion in his remarks. Neither Senator McCain nor Governor Romney were willing to fight as down as dirty as the Obama campaigns. They were passive. Hillary Clinton, if she wins the nomination, will run just as dirty a campaign. Both the base and the general electorate is looking for a fighter this election. Governor Jed Bush’s time has passed unless he kindles his conservative passion.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rank These Quotes by Insensitivity or Stupidy

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems …. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its peoples, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Presidential candidate Donald Trump “I bowled a 129. It was like the Special Olympics.” President Barack Obama “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced the …. And it’s not surprising then that they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or ant-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Senator Barack Obama “You cannot go into a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Senator Joe Biden A “light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Senator Harry Reid on Senator Obama “Seniors love getting junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world.” Senator Harry Reid “I don’t know if these people were all sprung from the head of Zeus, or maybe they’re all Native Americans, bless their hearts, but somebody came from somewhere.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi “We as black people, it’s time, it’s time for us to come together. It’s time for us to rebuild New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don’t care what people are saying uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.” New Orleans “will be a majority African-American city. It’s the way God wants it to be.” Mayor Ray Nagin “My fear is that the whole island {Guam} will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.” Congressman Hank Johnson

Thursday, July 9, 2015

San Francisco's Radical Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is as Responsible for Kathryn Steinle's Death as the City's Sanctuary Policy

The senseless killing of Kathryn Steinle by Francisco Sanchez has gone viral. San Francisco’s sanctuary policy has been roundly criticized as an illegal immigrant and felon, who should have been turned over to ICE, was instead released by the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, who did not honor a detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Francisco Sanchez is giving life to Donald Trump’s racist comments as Sanchez snuffed out Kathryn’s life. San Francisco’s sanctuary policy is decades old. It provides that city employees can’t help federal prosecutors with immigration inspections or arrests unless required by law or warrants. However, it does not preclude a heads up to ICE about the release of a illegal alien, one who has been deported 5 times and guilty of 7 felons - an illegal who is a living, walking risk to Americans and San Franciscans. As of April 2014 San Francisco saw a 96% drop in the detainees turned over to the Feds. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said the Sheriff’s Department had stopped honoring detainers from ICE. San Francisco was also the city that was sending its minor illegal immigrants who had committed crimes to group homes in San Bernardino County. Steimle was a tragedy waiting to happen. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is not your ordinary sheriff. He graduated from the Police Academy, but then went into politics. San Francisco is a progressive city. The Sheriff is to the left of the Progressives. He founded the San Francisco Green Party and co-founded the California Green Party. He managed the 2000 California campaign for Ralph Nader for President. He led campaigns for the Nuclear Free Zone initiative, public power, legalizing marijuana in the City, and banning plastic bags. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2005 to 2011, and ran for Sheriff when he was term limited off the Board. Sheriff Mirkarimi was charged with three felony counts on January13, 2012 for domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. He pled guilty to misdemeanor false arrest in March 2012. Mayor Ed Lee wanted the Board of Supervisors to remove him from office, but 9 of the 11 supervisors have to vote for removal. Only 7 voted in the affirmative. San Francisco Police Sergeant John B. Young was sitting at the counter behind a window at the Ingleside Police Station at 9:40PM on August 29, 1971 when three Black Panthers entered and blew him away with a shotgun, also injuring a clerk. Police arrested 8 in 2007 for the murder. They became known as the “San Francisco 8.” Supervisor Mirkarimi supported a resolution before the Board of Supervisors asking the charges be dropped. Most were dropped a year later due to lack of evidence, but a couple of the eight pled guilty. Ross Mirkarini is a domestic violence supporter of cop killers. Yet, he is also Sheriff of San Francisco. The reaction against the death of Kathryn Steinle has been a bipartisan rejection of the city’s policy. Senator Diane Feinstein, former Mayor of San Francisco, is outraged as is Senator Barbara Boxer. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says the city should comply with the law. Mayor Lee has distanced himself from the Sheriff. He stated the city’s policy was never intended to protect “repeat, serious, and violent felons.” He wants federal and local agencies to review what went wrong. The Sheriff’s response is that the policy “makes us safer.” Tell that to Kathryn Steinle, her father who witnessed the murder, and her family. The Sheriff is up for reelection in November. I trust the San Francisco voters to do the right thing in November. I also believe the City and Sheriff should be liable in a wrongful death suit brought by Kathryn Steinle’s family.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Whole Foods is Ripping Off New Yorkers. What's the Big Deal?

Whole Foods is accused of ripping off New Yorkers. That is an oxymoron. Whole Foods charges sky high prices to everyone. It does not discriminate. Whole Foods paid $800,000 in fines a year ago for overcharging customers in Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Monica. The company does not discriminate. It was ripping off the Golden State the same as the Big Apple. The problem arises with the prepackaged meats, dairy and bread products. These are individually wrapped, adding to the value added, high quality mystigue of Whole Foods. It shuns the mass produced, processed foods whenever possible. New Yorkers expect to be ripped off. They expect to be overcharged for poor, surly service. It’s part of a New Yorker’s DNA. Whole Foods fits right in with high prices and long lines. Go figure. New Yorkers keep Walmart out so they can pay more at Bloomingdale’s. They want to carry around the pretentious little brown bag, which screams: “I like to pay oh so much on the Upper East Side.” There’s more Starbucks than Chock Full o’Nuts in the Big Apple. Everything is high in New York. The average apartment sales price is up to $1.87 million, with a median price of $960,000. Price gouging, cheating is a way of life. Even the city and state gouge smokers on cigarette taxes. New Yorkers expect to pay more for less. They know they will be cheated. Movies, taxes, museums, parking are all excessive. Car rentals at the three airports are obscene. That’s New York. Whole Foods should blame the overcharges on the prepackaged foods on the dysfunctional educational system. Each prepackage is individually filled and weighed. Americans aren’t good with numbers. Arguably, the packager saw a weight of 5.75 ounces and rounded up to 7 ounces, and charged accordingly – an honest mistake by underpaid, undereducated workers, often at low cost suppliers. Whole Foods overcharged? Legally it is consumer fraud, but it's New York. The response of New Yorkers is a shrug of the shoulders. The two top execs of Whole Foods publicly apologized and said if it happens again then New Yorkers will get that item for free. Good enough, Except for the salivating class action attorneys, who often rip their “clients” off with excessive fees and costs.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Remember, The 4th of July is Independence Day

The 4th of July is a three day holiday, John Philip Sousa, fireworks, BBQ’s, and sales. We wear American flags, and salute the soldiers and veterans who served. Yet, we often don’t fully appreciate the 4th of July. The 4th of July is Independence Day. The Day when our Founding Fathers entered onto a revolutionary mission – a country of free and independent people, of individuals. A nation where the government answers to the people, and not the people to the government or to crowned heads. Indeed, our Constitution bars titles of nobility. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights freed the human spirit. The 13 original states became a beacon to the people of the world. America became, and remains, the beacon of freedom to the world, a chance to start anew. The freedom of the person. You can make it in America. The streets may not have been paved with gold, but the opportunity was there. It still is. Wave after wave of immigrants have formed this country. America is unique as a country, with the possible exception of Canada, our Northern neighbor. We have no common DNA, religion, ethnicity, or skin color. We are all Americans. we speak all languages, but English is the common denominator. Our names may end with a vowel or syllable, but we are Americans. The Irish followed the English and Scots. Then they all came. The Italians, Jews, Greeks, Portuguese, French Canadians, Scandinavians, Northern Europeans, Southern Europeans, Eastern Europeans. Blacks first came as slaves. They continue to come to America, from the Caribbean, from the Sudan. Asians have come. First the Chinese, and then the Japanese. More recently the Vietnamese. Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon. Pacific Islanders. The Subcontinent. They all come to America. They have all made it in America. They come by boat, by train, by land. They came, and they come. They assimilate into America as America grows with them. We may be hyphenated Americans, but we are Americans first. They come. They work as maids and day laborers, struggling as previous generations of immigrants so that their children will succeed and climb the ladder of upward mobility. Greece may be bankrupt, but Greek Americans prosper in America, Armenians were the victims of The Armenian Genocide a century ago, but 200,000 Armenian Americans are thriving in Los Angeles. Vietnamese boat people fled the Fall of Saigon, but are now an integral part of the Southern California professional class. The fall of the Shah sent Persians into exile. Half a million Persians, Muslim, Jewish and other religions but all Persians, have made it in Southern California. They are all now Americans. I say Southern California because the Southern California of today is as much a magnet for immigrants and a melting pot as New York, which continues to be a gateway for immigrants. Of course, California has always been a miniature United States, starting with the 49ers seeking gold in the Golden State. They have never stopped coming from Africa, Asia, the Mideast, Europe, and Latin America. They come for freedom. They come for opportunity. America welcomes the refugees fleeing oppression. The history of immigration, beginning with the Irish, is also one of discrimination, but the immigrants have overcome. America has an African American President, Indian American and Hispanic American Governors, African American and Hispanic American Senators, and Chinese mayors. America is for the individual who dreams and aspires, who works to achieve it. Maybe a small shop or bodega, maybe a mechanic, perhaps a Marine, sometimes Hollywood or Silicon Valley, always striving for a better life. But always freedom and independence.