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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Drayzilla Might Be World’s Scariest Movie Idea

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 12:11 PM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Whether it’s porn or a horror flick, let’s all hope Drayzilla never comes to fruition.

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green and crotches are getting a lot of attention these days. That can be expected when you’re suspended from the NBA Finals for accumulating too many flagrant fouls (two of which involved other players’ manhood) and then months later you’re offered a starring role in an adult film after you Snapchat a picture of your junk.

Vivid Entertainment, the porn company famous for its Kim Kardashian sex tape, thinks Draymond would be perfect for its next project, offering him $100,000 to be in Drayzilla. We’re not sure what exactly the story arc would be, or who would co-star with Draymond, but does that really matter when it comes to porn?

What does matter, at least if you share the court with Draymond, is killing this story fast. It’s doubtful Draymond needs advice on what to do here, but according to this celebrity gossip blog, teammates like Steph Curry are hoping the film never happens.

“Steph and the gang would never try to prevent Draymond from making his money, but doing porn before the 2017 season where the Warriors are the chosen ones to win the NBA finals, it’s not a good look,” a source tells, apparently with a straight face.

It gets better. The source, who’s obviously anonymous and might not even be real, went on to say that while Draymond probably has plenty in the bank because he’s a professional athlete, and a very talented one at that, “if he were really serious about doing that for money, Steph and the team would match that $100K to keep Draymond’s clothes on and keep him focused on basketball.”

Great idea, guys. However, this is likely to follow Draymond around for a while. He’s known as quite the trash-talker, which makes him a target, and his Olympics teammates are already getting in on the action.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Who Will Join Class Action Lawsuit Against Pokemon Go?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 3:41 PM

  • Jessica Christian

Pokemon Go is still in the news - like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going and going. This time, however, the news is a bit more serious than two California Senate candidates playing the game in the Mission District over the weekend.

A New Jersey man is suing the game makers - San Francisco-based Niantic, Nintendo, and The Pokemon Company - in San Francisco federal court for encouraging people to trespass on private property through the popular app-based game. And the kicker is he filed a class action lawsuit, which means he’s hoping others will join in his pursuit of justice over the tyranny of technology.

The class action part makes the entire thing much more interesting. It’s hard to miss the stories about Pokemon Go - even if they’re fake - but they’ve all been anecdotal at this point. Now that settlement money could be involved, the world might just find out the true level of annoying Pokemon Go has reached.

One of Pokemon Go’s most popular features is the sort of half-reality in which the game exists. As the Associated Press reported, “the location-aware game provides virtual rewards for players who visit real sites designated as ‘Pokestops’ in the game.” For Jeffrey Marder, the man behind the lawsuit, the problem is those Pokestops might include someone’s private property.

“Niantic blithely acknowledges its placement of Pokéstops on private property, advising users on the Pokémon Go website: ‘If you can’t get to the Pokéstop because it’s on private property, there will be more just around the corner, so don’t worry!’” according to Marder’s lawsuit.

That does sound rather intrusive, although we’re no judge or jury. But, as the AP noted, some prominent public places have encountered issues as well: “Several locations, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan and the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., have asked to be removed from ‘Pokemon Go.’”

Not surprisingly, all three companies behind Pokemon Go refused to comment on the lawsuit. But the AP reported last week that The Pokemon Company plans to update the game “so it remains fun for players but respects the real world.” That doesn’t sound like much fun. 
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Feds Want to Know Who’s Buying Luxury Property in SF

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 11:12 AM

  • Flickr/NickNormal

The federal government has been so successful this year rooting out the evil behind all-cash real estate purchases in New York City and Miami that it’s bringing the operation to another high-value yuppie paradise: California.

San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties join L.A. and San Diego as new targets of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department. This might sound like something for the MBA elites at Stanford, but it’s actually quite easy for laymen to understand. You see, properties of all sorts are mega-valuable out here in the Golden State. So anything over $2 million bought using a “shell company” - a corporation that has no other function than to facilitate business transactions - will be scrutinized by the government.

Will this suddenly make San Francisco affordable? Answer: a resounding no. Will it be interesting to know how many shady dealings are going down all around you? Answer: a resounding yes.

The New York Timeswhich is taking partial credit for inspiring the Treasury to create this program - reported last week some of the suspicious activity uncovered in NYC and Miami just since March, when the monitoring began. In one instance, someone withdrew $16 million in cash for a purchase. Another buyer was tied to check counterfeiting, and some $7 million moved around in different shell companies was linked to South America, according to the Times.

Sadly, the details are scant beyond that, leaving us to wonder about the various people behind these shell companies. However, in a July story, the Times reported on a shell company with ties to Malaysia’s embattled prime minister, Najib Razak. 

If you follow the Bay Area real estate market, you’ve seen the headlines about cooling this and cooling that. And although things seem to be trending down, the median home value in San Francisco remains above $1 million. Bloomberg, for instance, reported in June that San Francisco’s stock of luxury property - condos and houses valued at $2 million or more - was increasing fast compared to the year prior. But there are still office buildings and other commercial properties out there to be purchased in a less than legal way.

Some still feel the program is more show than substance. The Real Deal, a New York real estate news source, spoke with experts in the field who said the rules lacked impact and were more of a bother to comply with than a solution to a big problem.  
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Friday, July 29, 2016

Yesterday's Crimes: The SLA, FBI, and Assassination Attempts on Gerald Ford

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Shots ring out as President Gerald Ford emerges from the St. Francis Hotel. - GERALD R. FORD LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
  • Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum
  • Shots ring out as President Gerald Ford emerges from the St. Francis Hotel.

Manson acolyte Lynne "Squeaky" Fromme pulled a gun on President Gerald Ford on Sept. 5, 1975, but Ford was undeterred as he headed into an election year. He had been elected neither president nor vice president, ascending to both offices through Watergate. The 1976 presidential campaign held his one chance for electoral legitimacy, so he went on with his schedule of "contacting the American people as I travel from one state to another" as if nothing had happened.

Ford was back in California days later on Sept. 22, 1975 for a meeting with a labor organization at the St. Francis Hotel at Union Square. After the meeting, Ford emerged from the hotel's Post Street entrance, and paused to wave at the crowd of potential voters.

Oliver "Billy" Sipple had been waiting for three hours that day in the hopes of seeing the president. When Ford waved at the crowd, Sipple, an ex-Marine and Vietnam vet, saw a woman pointing a chrome-plated .38 right at the president.

"I screamed 'gun' as loud as I could, and grabbed her arm," Sipple told the Associated Press. "I seen a gun and dived for it. I don't even know what I felt."

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Millennial Problems: Sad Bernie Sanders

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:11 AM

  • Marc Nozell/Wikimedia Commons
It’s been a sad week for Bernie Sanders.

A darling of millennials the world over, the onetime presidential candidate first had to stomach the news that powerful people don’t want him in power anywhere. Then he was forced to tell his bros to relax because He’s with Her now. After that, he went up on stage days before you want to go up on stage at a political party convention. And through it all, Bernie has had one of those stiff-upper-lip smiles which make it obvious that the person smiling isn’t really happy.

Poor Bernie Sanders.

Maybe he got screwed, maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t really matter anymore. But at least the senator from Vermont can return to the Northeast knowing his supporters left it all on the convention floor, and probably elsewhere. And by that, we mean streams of salty love and admiration.

“Crying millennials DNC” is a fun word combo with which to search the social medias and wider internet right now. There are stories here, here, and definitely here. If you were watching Bernie’s speech Monday night, then you certainly know the camera operators at CNN found almost every weeping millennial in Convention Hall.

This wasn’t one tear here and there, eyes that were maybe a little misty and trying to hold it back. This crying was like holy-shit-I’m-5-years-old-and-I-just-hugged-my-pet-hamster-so-hard-it’s-not-breathing-anymore.

Except you’re not 5. You’re 20, maybe 24. You might even be 30. You went to college, loaded up on debt, and work some low-paying job with little vacation time or room for growth. You go out when you can, but between working and paying rent and all your other bills you basically only have time and money for Netflix and boiling packets of Top Ramen. You Instagram, but you hate yourself for it because you only post animal photos. You work 60 hours a week, and your employer keeps telling you the world is a place where you have to do more with less.

No wonder you’re crying; Bernie was going to make your life better. This happened instead:

  • George Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

What’s the alternative? Do you want to be a Bernie Bro like the folks Slate called “disappointed, angry, and downright despondent”? You want to chance a Donald Trump presidency? That’s gotta be worse than posting a selfie and getting fewer than 10 likes. Nah, you need to take a measured approach, like the folks The Atlantic found who “saw no particular problem in once loudly criticizing the status quo and now supporting an institutional candidate who very well may preserve it.”

It’s good to cry. It helps the healing process, and you always feel better once the tears dry. So maybe do a few more breakdowns, privately and quietly, until the week is over. But after that, give some serious thought to hashtagging #ImWithHer until November.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Reason to Despise Tech Money: Mortgage Perks

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  • MarkMoz12/Flickr
It might be harder to swallow than dry, unbuttered $4 toast, but all those tech elites sucking the soul out of San Francisco are such a coveted workforce that banks and lenders are willing to give them big perks when it comes to homeownership.

Folks in the tech industry whose income looks good on paper but not necessarily in liquidity are nevertheless the kind of workers whom Social Finance and San Francisco Federal Credit Union want to do business with. So much so, Bloomberg reports, that the latter is offering these people zero-down mortgages on homes selling for up to $2 million in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. First Republic Bank has even gone so far as to open branches inside the headquarters of Facebook and Twitter, while Social Finance — or the annoying shorthand SoFi — is allowed to court new hires at Google and other tech giants.

This is certainly going to piss off a lot of people, especially those who were priced out of San Francisco in recent years or who spend half their income on rent or mortgage payments. However, it really should come as no surprise that financial institutions want their customers to be wealthy (which lowers risk) and that tech has created a lot of new wealth in the Bay Area.

But a lot of that wealth is tied up in company shares, which means many people simply don’t have the $100,000 to $200,000 necessary for a down payment in a city where the median home price is more than $1 million, by far the highest in the country.

Tough shit, you might be saying. It’s tech’s fault things got this way to begin with. Well, life doesn’t work that way, especially when the housing market is ebbing and venture capital money is drying up. As Bloomberg pointed out, VC money dropped 20 percent in the second quarter of 2016 compared to the year before. And Paragon Real Estate reports that the median condo price in San Francisco went up less than 1 percent in that same time frame, far lower than the 18 percent gain a year ago. But here are perhaps the most important figures: The number of condos listed for $2 million or higher increased 44 percent while sales dropped 30 percent.

We’re living in a glut of expensive real estate. Some might say that’s reason enough to not offer these kinds of perks, except the homes are still there ready to be sold and banks still want to make money hand over fist.

“Lenders get so caught up trying to stay competitive and finding a market edge, they basically allow greed to overcome common sense,” Terry Wakefield, a mortgage consultant and online lending pioneer, told Bloomberg. “Easy money does fuel and accelerate the inevitable bubble.”

Of course, San Francisco Federal Credit Union knows what it’s doing, or at least says it does. It only accepts 60 percent of applicants, who must also have great credit scores. Others have similar approaches, which just means there are enough clients to go around.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of brokerage firm Redfin, put it best when he said the area is becoming “a no-fly zone for anyone outside technology,” especially when considering the credit standards imposed after the Great Recession, when we were made to believe that interest-free loans were the straw that broke the camel’s back. These perks “might be good for the borrower and good for the lender,” Kelman said, “but it’s not necessarily good for San Francisco.”
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

People More Open to Cannabis in States With Medical-Use Laws

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:40 PM

  • Eggrole/Flickr

In November, many states will have some sort of marijuana-related initiative on their ballots, with California once again attempting to legalize the drug. (Proposition 19 failed in 2010.) So what better time to gauge the nation’s attitude toward cannabis than in the months leading up to Election Day?

Well, in the case of a federal-government study, the data were collected years ago but only released today. The study addresses how marijuana is viewed and consumed in states where it’s legal for medical use, such as California — the results are interesting, if not surprising.

In places like Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma — all non-medical cannabis states — 29 to 36 percent of respondents believed there was a “great risk of harm” from marijuana use. And of the places where the percentage of use in the past month was highest, California had two of the top areas - including San Francisco, where 15.46 percent of respondents reported using cannabis in the last month, one of the highest numbers nationwide.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which compiled the study, is tasked with slowing the nation’s use of drugs like marijuana, so they say the data can “help public health officials and others better gauge the marijuana-related prevention and treatment needs in their communities and fine-tune their programs and services to best address them.”

But what the study probably proves most is that cannabis legalization, whether for adult use or for medical purposes, is likely to happen in more and more states this year. Marijuana is already the most widely used drug in the U.S., even more so than prescription drugs, and now fewer and fewer people view it as harmful, even if it is far from safe.

As the study pointed out, “research indicates that 1 in 11 marijuana users aged 15 or older become dependent on marijuana.” And, “marijuana use has resulted in approximately 4.2 million people meeting the diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence on marijuana, is a major cause for visits to emergency rooms, and is the second leading substance for which people receive drug treatment (behind alcohol).”

That might spell doom for Southern states (where the study found less acceptance for marijuana) like Missouri and Arkansas, which have medical-use initiatives on the November ballot, but probably won’t stop states like California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Maine from legalizing cannabis for adult use.
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

SF, Oakland, SJ Police Upset Over Mario Woods Day

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015. - MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015.
It stands to reason that San Francisco police are on the defensive right now, perhaps even a little more on edge than is normal for law enforcement.

Twice this week the department has received death threats - the first, for which a suspect was arrested, was against interim Chief Toney Chaplin and made on Twitter, and the second was an anonymous caller saying he would pay for the killing of an officer. There’s nothing OK about either incident, even if they never come to fruition.

However, it’s going to be hard to win sympathy and understanding from the people you’re employed to protect when your union, along with the ones representing Oakland and San Jose police, takes out a full-page ad in the Chronicle that’s basically a giant middle finger.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with the ad - especially if you’re unfamiliar with recent San Francisco history. It asks that people acknowledge the difficult and dangerous job public safety workers do every day. But if you look closer, there’s a serious hidden message: honor us, not the people we kill.

Today, July 22, 2016, is supposed to be the first ever Mario Woods Day, which was so decreed by the Board of Supervisors in January. Woods is the man who was supposedly using a knife to threaten a bunch of cops surrounding him with their guns drawn in the Bayview District in December before he was fatally shot by said cops. It stirred a lot of debates about a lot of different things, and those debates - along with an investigation into the incident - are ongoing.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association was mad about the board’s move back in February, and apparently it still is.

Police have every right to stand up for themselves and their peers, just as Woods’ family and supporters have every right to hold a day of remembrance. It’s too bad they can’t be mutually exclusive, as this action from the police unions will only serve to further polarize police-community relations in parts of San Francisco. It’s likely police would say the same thing about Mario Woods Day, so that just leaves everyone angry and on opposite sides.

It’s also a shame that stories like the Wichita barbecue between police and Black Lives Matter are the exception. And it’s too bad that when Oakland police tried to do something similar, the idea was rejected
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Millennial Problems: Anatomy of a Young Trump Voter

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Any one of these youths might be a Trump voter. - JOHN LOCHER/AP
  • John Locher/AP
  • Any one of these youths might be a Trump voter.
Now that Donald Trump is one of TWO major party candidates for president of the United States, it’s worth taking stock of his voter base — particularly the youngsters, who come November could be the difference between Melania being the first lady or just stealing the first lady’s ideas.

By and large, Trump is unpopular among millennial voters. But that doesn’t mean all millennial voters. For instance, in Mississippi, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, he exceeded or neared 50 percent of the youth vote on the GOP side, according to a voter analysis released by Tufts University in late June. And in New Hampshire, he had a larger percentage of the youth vote (38 percent) than the overall vote (35 percent). And now that millennial god Bernie Sanders is gone, could Trump court some of those youths since he’s also an anti-establishment candidate?

If you read this take on Sanders supporters, it will never happen. (There’s also a scary quote in there from a millennial who would have voted for Trump had he not picked Mike Pence as his running mate, and will now go for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. That’s a study in contrasts.)

So who are Trump’s young voters?

“They’re people such as Will Carter, 18, from Savannah, Ga.,” writes the Charlotte Observer. “He got the political bug early. When he was 8, George W. Bush traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a Group of Eight economic summit. Carter was so taken with the trip that for his birthday party, he had a G-8 theme, complete with a birthday cake with flags of the participating nations.”

Holy shit, we kinda like this kid. What a weirdo. He probably dresses as Vladimir Putin for Halloween.

But what else makes a young Trump voter? How about a love for reality TV. The Charlotte Observer found at least one millennial who grew up watching The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, Trump’s two shows, and has been “a fan ever since.” That was apparently enough to make him a Trump voter as well.

Anecdotes aside, the statistic often used to separate conservative and liberal voters, especially among youths, is a college education. That might seem like the dividing line for Trump millennials, but it didn’t really stack up that way in primaries in which the youth vote was tabulated. The Tufts study found that “young GOP primary voters were more likely to have a four-year college degree than the general population.” And the youngest of voters might not have a degree, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in college working toward that degree.

One thing’s for sure: Trump is hugely unpopular among young women and young non-white voters, according to the study.

The meat of Trump’s voter base, not surprisingly, comes from those GOP voters who are the most conservative in their views and most hostile toward immigrants and poor people — what the study called “Steadfast Conservatives.” The problem is that while “Steadfast Conservatives make up one of the two largest segments of Republicans and Republican-leaners over age 30, it is the smallest segment among young conservatives, and second-smallest among youth overall.”

It seems the anatomy of a young Trump voter is still up for debate. Studies and polls have their problems, and primary turnout is always different than general election turnout. The social media ground game might end up being the deciding factor, as it was for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Trump is hugely popular on Twitter. Plus, he has millennials doing some of that bidding as well.
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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"