Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jackie Greene on Conan O'Brien

This is for my beloved spouse Marianne, who is a big fan of Jackie Greene. We first encountered Greene during our years residing in the great biking town of Davis, California. He was making a name on the Sacramento music scene, and getting lots of attention in the local press. We finally had a chance to see him live in February 2005, performing a solo acoustic set at the Varsity Theatre in Davis. He absolutely lived up to the hype. We saw him again earlier this year at the Fillmore in San Francisco, with a band and considerably louder. He's great.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

49ers grab Rec and Park resources

Image of Monster Park in San FranciscoI never intended to turn this blog into a screed against the 49ers. However, as events progress, the cost the city of San Francisco pays to keep the NFL franchise in town grows more evident. As a letter writer to the San Francisco Examiner indicated this week (responding to an earlier letter), a significant share of the city's Recreation and Parks Department budget is consumed maintaining the 49ers ballpark.

My earlier posts on this topic have talked about what could be done with the space vacated by the Niners. But the city could also realize immediate benefits from not subsidizing a professional sports franchise.

And it was disappointing to read in yesterday's Chronicle that other areas of our beloved city might now be in the Battleship York's gunsights. It's also frustrating that the "missing the story" journalism rife in SF tries to frame the team's departure .) It's even more disappointing that the city's political leadership has so little vision for a better city.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Goodbye 49ers, call if you need help moving out

Aerial image of Monster Park in San FranciscoThe 49ers are leaving. Good riddance. Sadly, I've been disappointed by the silly response from Mayor Gavin Newsom, California's senior senator Diane Feinstein, and other in San Francisco's political class. I have to hope it's all just rhetorical posturing. I understand that Newsom doesn't want to be tagged as "the mayor who 'lost' the Niners," but he can't really want to keep this money grabbing, subsidy sucking, land wasting operation in San Francisco?

San Francisco can gain a lot by demolishing Monster Park and transforming this expanse of empty pavement and concrete--when it's not filled a mere 8-10 days a year with tailgating yuppies--into housing, offices, shops, and improved parkland (Crissy Field south).

Monster Park is a money losing blight for the city. A vibrant new neighborhood and park space would create lots of fulltime jobs, instead of a few dozen part-time seasonal work selling beer and hot dogs. And affordable housing opportunities instead of pavement. And lots of new tax revenues. There is at least one proposal out there that suggests San Francisco could realize $400 million from demolition of Monster Park and sale to developers.

So why is the Mayor posturing. And is there any politician who is a more shameless headline chaser than DiFi? Aren't there bigger priorities Senator, like, say, getting the heck out of Iraq?!? Do you represent California, which ostensibly includes Santa Clara, or just Bechtel, errr, San Francisco? Gawd I detest DiFi.

Image: Google Earth. Satelitte image of Monster Park and parking lots. Notice tire tracks from skidding racers. This space is largely vacant 350 days a year, and is an attractive destination for miscreants. A waste.

Just who does Pelosi represent, anyway?

Image of Nancy Pelosi and George W. BushI often wonder just what district Nancy Pelosi represents: anti-war, anti-Bush San Francisco; or some district in her native Maryland. I mean, really, has she ever even lived in California. Now that she's installed, she can get on with her agenda: blocking Bush's impeachment (going against her district) and continuing funding to the Iraq debacle.

Tim Redmond's editorial in this week's San Francisco Bay Guardian, "Pelosi is not one of us," pretty much sums up Pelosi's noxious career. "But if the right-wing talk show hosts are worried about San Francisco liberals like me, they can take it easy: Nancy Pelosi is not one of us."

Image: Web capture. Pelosi and Bush, partners in crime.

Pink Martini Swings San Francisco

Last night my wife and I enjoyed the Pink Martini concert at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. They included several new songs from their forthcoming third album, and also performed this favorite. An entertaining 12-member band.

Pink Martini 2nd Album: Hang on Little Tomato
Pink Martini 1st Album: Sympathique

Monday, November 13, 2006

49ers to leave SF? Good riddance!

Image of San Francisco's Monster ParkImagine all this pavement and concrete transformed into housing, offices, stores, parkland, schools, habitat... That was the theme of this letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. Let the 49ers leave, good riddance:

November 12, 2006

Letters to the Editor
San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission Street
San Francisco CA 94103

RE: 49ers Move to Santa Clara


The 49ers' departure provides a great opportunity to renew the Bayview and Hunter's Point neighborhoods. ("Lure of Burbs: Like families, franchises can't resist spreading out, starting over," San Francisco Chronicle, 11.12.06)

Instead of a football stadium offering a few weeks of low-paid seasonal employment and abundant beer-swilling motorists jamming neighborhood streets--with ugly expanses of empty parking lots for the rest of the year--we can create a vibrant community with much-needed residential, retail, and office space where Monster Park now resides.

In addition, we can extend the Bay Trail and expand and enhance Candlestick Point State Recreation Area into a "Crissy Field South," which will attract wildlife, bird-watchers, and tourist dollars to southeast San Francisco. Improved natural and urban areas will both provide permanent employment and economic opportunities for neighborhood residents and businesses.

San Franciscans shouldn't mourn the departure of a greedy NFL franchise, which seeks only to maximize its profits. The 49ers have manipulated and exploited the Bayview and Hunter's Point communities for decades. Let those few San Franciscans who actually attend 49ers games--a small minority of city residents--make the trip to Santa Clara.

It's time to recognize the great possibilities for a city without the blight of a football stadium.


Paul Dorn
San Francisco

See: "San Francisco Gains From 49ers Move to Santa Clara",, 11.14.06
Image: Telstar Logistics

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What would Jesus eat?

Image of Christian vegetarianVan seen parked near Green Festival in San Francisco.

For the record, not that anyone is asking, I am 1) a vegetarian; and 2) an atheist. I was once upon a time a leftist ready to concede the existence of Jesus as an actual historic person, not divine but instead a charismatic pacifist revolutionary. Kind of like a new age hippie.

However, I now since been persuaded that Jesus never existed at all. John Rose's article for the International Socialism Journal was effective. Most persuasive was Karl Kautsky's great examination, Foundations of Christianity. Another comprehensive expose is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming's great documentary The God Who Wasn't There.

Many became open to new conceptualizations of "Jesus" in the wake of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. The success of the book and film had the Catholic Church on the defensive for a period. But the Catholic Church (and Christianity in general) has survived Luther, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Einstein, Freud...and I'd guess, sadly, that it will continue to oppress and deceive for decades after Dan Brown.

Image: Paul Dorn.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Damp hike in Point Reyes

Image of Marianne Skoczek on hike in Point Reyes, CaliforniaThis soggy delight is my wife, Marianne Skoczek, during a rainy day hike in early November to Pierce Point Ranch at Point Reyes National Seashore. Approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is an incredible natural area, thankfully protected from development. There was some rain during our recent visit, but it didn't prevent us from enjoying the great hiking.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cops always have the best dope

Virginia sheriff, 12 employees indicted
"Prosecutors said that for the past eight years, cocaine, steroids, marijuana and other drugs that had been seized by the sheriff's department were resold to the public. A sergeant who agreed to cooperate with investigators was paid off by the ring to use his house for distributing drugs, authorities said."

Isn't it way, way past time to decriminalize drugs? Maybe do what other countries do, treat substance abuse as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Anyone agree that such a course might make our sad nation slightly better? Using cops to fight drug abuse is like using gravediggers to fight a fatal epidemic.

See: Drug Policy Alliance
See: Drug Reform Coordination Network