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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Millennial Problems: Going Viral

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 1:09 PM

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Last week, a millennial in Texas decided enough was enough after she witnessed a fellow millennial leave an elderly man to fend for himself against a closed door. With a smartphone and 2-plus minutes of her life, Alexis Bloomer made a video apologizing to “elders” for the behavior of her generation.

"Sorry, Elders," her apologia and tea culpa pinning any millennial's problem on olders, has since been viewed more than 40 million times on her Facebook page, which is open for public consumption.

A millennial TV reporter in Texas, Bloomer's viral video has made her even more famous. It’s received tens of thousands of comments on her FB page (we recommend skipping all of them), and inspired at least a few saucy responses from other millennials.

Fusion declared her rant “the most millennial thing to do” in such a situation. Cosmo advises affected millennials: Don’t let it bring you down, “[j]ust live your best, best life.” Meanwhile, she's appearing on Fox and Friends, a decidedly non-millennial move.

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Did We Lose Prince to Prescription Pills? (Probably)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:24 PM

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Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune confirmed via public records what TMZ reported last week in a blind, unsourced item: Prince overdosed on prescription opiates on his private plane while en route from what would be his final concert in Atlanta. The plane was diverted and landed in Illinois so paramedics could give the musician a shot of Narcan, the same opiate overdose antidote used to revive overindulging heroin users (and with which San Francisco police are currently equipped).

All this happened six days before Prince was found dead back at home at Paisley Park in Minnesota a week ago today, after being seen out and about over the preceding few days: going to a jazz club, buying music on Record Store Day, and — again, according to TMZ — visiting a Walgreen's, where he may have collected one of the 259 million prescriptions American doctors have written for legal opiates.

Though results from Prince's autopsy won't be known for weeks, multiple sources are reporting more pills were found at the home following his death. 

In the last seven days, tributes have been paid to Prince from presidents and nearly every important musical artist still alive. Thus far, absent from the elegies have been any calls to action. It may now be time. He may have been our generation's greatest musician — meaning, it looks awfully like we lost our greatest musician to our country's ongoing prescription pill addiction.

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Yesterday's Crimes: "Butt" Riley, King of the Hoodlums

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 11:24 AM

RANDY HEINITZ/FLICKR
  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr
James "Butt" Riley claimed he had "the hardest head in all Christendom," and proved it by battering down doors and people with his impervious dome.

Born in New York in 1848, Riley sailed to San Francisco in 1868 where he quickly established himself as the "King of the Hoodlums." Although he wasn't part of any gang, "there wasn't a band of rowdies in the city that wouldn't flock to his support when he called upon it," according to The Barbary Coast, Herbert Asbury's 1933 history of our city's seedy beginnings.

Riley was also reportedly so handsome that he sold nude photographs of himself to the city's prostitutes.

"The greatest pride of scores of San Francisco's most popular and prosperous courtesans was the signed photograph of the King of Hoodlums which hung above their beds," Asbury wrote.

Riley even roamed the red light district with a black satchel filled with images of himself in the buff, selling them to ladies of the evening for 50 cents a pop.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DA Charges Former Cop With Blocking Rape Investigation

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 3:39 PM

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  • Wikimedia Commons
A day after more racist texts exchanged between San Francisco police officers were revealed, this time between officers posted at Taraval Station — including one officer initially suspected of rape — District Attorney George Gascón has charged a former Taraval lieutenant with obstructing the investigation into the alleged rape.

Curtis Liu was a lieutenant at Taraval Station in the Sunset District until last summer, when he abruptly retired after Jason Lai, an officer  under his charge, was investigating for allegedly raping a woman twice at her Sunset District home. 

Lai is the officer who sent the racist texts which were unveiled by Public Defender Jeff Adachi yesterday.

After the woman went to police and Lai was named as a suspect in August, Liu then allegedly placed a phone call to alert Lai that his named was mentioned. According to the Chron, Liu told police he did so as a joke because he thought seeing Lai's name was a "coincidence" — but then retired from his $180,000-a-year job just in case. 

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California Lawmakers Like Free Tickets to SF Giants Games

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 11:10 AM

Our kind of Hardball. - PHIL TING/TWITTER
  • Phil Ting/Twitter
  • Our kind of Hardball.
If the gifts given to state lawmakers are any indication, the San Francisco Giants are much more popular than the Los Angeles Dodgers. But neither baseball team attracts the interests of politicians quite like a golf match.

The Los Angeles Times did the yeoman’s work
, sifting through 2015’s Form 700 disclosures among California’s elected officials and found that $3,690 in tickets were gifted to lawmakers for baseball games, mostly for the Giants and the team’s minor league affiliate the Sacramento River Cats (who conveniently play in the state capital). As the Times pointed out, only two lawmakers attended Dodgers games (it’s unclear if they arrived in the 3rd inning and left by the 7th inning).

Of that total, $1,833 were spent on Giants tickets and only $938 on Dodgers games.

The $3,690 was out of some $32,000 in gifts related to sporting events, with $16,551 tied directly to golf, according to the Times, “including green fees, travel to tournaments and golf balls.”

So who’s footing the bill for these perks?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Did Gurbaksh Chahal Buy a Posse (From a San Jose Sikh Temple)?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 2:22 PM

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  • Twitter/EvanSernoffsky

Beleaguered social media-friendly tech CEO Gurbaksh "G" Chahal was in court on Friday to answer charges that he violated the terms of his probation for a 2014 domestic violence charge a few months after it was imposed. (The alleged victim is overseas and is not returning to the United States to testify; an exhausted judge on Friday continued the hearing to May 17.)

He was not alone.

Joining his father and his bodyguards outside the Hall of Justice were about 15 members of the Sikh community from San Jose, where the main Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, has pledged its official support for Chahal, who has met District Attorney George Gascon's efforts to revoke his probation — and possibly put him in jail — with charges of racism and bias against Indian-Americans. Much of that line has been echoed by an apparently-astroturfed Facebook and Twitter campaign.

This is not sitting well with other Bay Area-based Sikhs, who are openly questioning why the committee of the Gurdwara is getting involved at all — and what Chahal or his family may have done to earn the support of a religious institution. 

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Content of Latest Racist SFPD Texts Revealed; Pattern is Not Good

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 10:07 AM

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The second batch of racist texts exchanged between San Francisco police officers are now public. The second batch — that we know of. 

One of the more troubling revelations to stem from this latest SFPD racist texting scandal — this one at Taraval Station — is the fact that in both cases the messages were discovered by accident. What does this say about the SFPD? 

Both Jeff Adachi, the public defender, and George Gascon, the district attorney, are right in suspecting — or flat-out knowing — that San Francisco’s police force has more racist and bigoted officers than police Chief Greg Suhr or Mayor Ed Lee will admit.

As Adachi told CNN, "What are the chances of two officers being arrested … and there's racists texts on [their phones]? I don't know what the odds would be in Vegas.”

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Tony Robbins is the Bay Area's Super Angel

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 12:06 PM

click image BRIAN SOLIS/FLICKR
  • Brian Solis/Flickr

In tech, angels are people with deep pockets who fund startups. In the real world, people who do actual good with their money often receive the same heavenly moniker.

With nothing more than a checkbook and a good heart, motivational speaker Tony Robbins — who made a name for himself, along with tens of millions of dollars, trying to help people better themselves — came to the aid last week of another Bay Area resident facing eviction.

This time it was Georgia Rothrock, an 85-year-old Burlingame resident. Last month it was two French nuns who run a soup kitchen to feed homeless people.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Uber Wins: Settles Suit, Dodges Trial, Drivers Remain Contractors

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM

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It seems San Francisco-based Uber has weaseled its way out of being a responsible capitalist yet again, even if CEO Travis Kalanick's $62 billion company might be pretending it just lost big. 

Late Thursday, the gig economy darling announced an $84 million settlement in class-action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts brought by drivers for the ride-hail app company. (Most reports say $100 million, but there’s a catch.) Drivers had sought to change their classification with Uber from independent contractors to full-fledged employees. Such a move would give them more employee protections, such as ensuring they receive at least minimum wage and that Uber would pay the employers’ share of Social Security.

It would also cost Uber a ton of money in new payroll taxes, which is why the company has fought it so hard.

Instead, the 385,000 drivers covered in the settlement stand to net $218 apiece (it could reach as much as $259 per person if Uber ever goes public). And they will be given more info about their driver rating, will not be deactivated as a driver without a thorough explanation, and “associations” representing drivers in California and Massachusetts (the two states where drivers sued) will be created at Uber’s expense. That last part sounds like a way to stem the flow of calls for unionization, which would really sting Uber.

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BART Uses Prince To Self-Promote; Called Out, Apologizes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 10:04 AM

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When you’re used to seeing headlines about yourself like this, it’s easy to get carried away and think you can do no wrong. That appeared to be BART’s affliction yesterday in the wake of the abrupt death of Prince.

Most of the world is devastated and sharing in the love for one of music’s biggest presences — millions of tweets so far prove it. So someone over at BART apparently decided to get in on the, well, online traffic it seems. We’re imagining the text messages went something like this:

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    Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System performed to a capacity crowd at the Annual 420 Gathering of The Tribe for a night of music and celebrating cannabis culture. Attendees included Steve DeAngelo (founder of Harborside Health Center), Ben Fong Torres (former Senior Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine), and famed poster artists Wes Wilson and Stanley Mouse, to name a few.

    Photographs by Jamie Soja.