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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Millennial Problems: Scary-Good

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Gotta fool 'em all - CARTELPRESS.COM
  • Gotta fool 'em all

As the saying goes: Fool the New York Post, shame on you, but fool The Atlantic, and now you’re famous.

The world’s scariest - or scary awesomest - millennial is a 26-year-old guy named Pablo Reyes who played the best trick of the week on a bunch of grownup children and journalists. We think his name is Pablo Reyes, but at this point the entire thing is open for debate.

It all started when some company released some video game for smartphones called Pokemon Go (we’d never heard of it either). Apparently it’s popular everywhere, including San Francisco. Eh, maybe popular isn’t the right word. It seems to be the biggest thing since sliced bread (that’s baby boomer humor). Think popular like the Super Bowl, early American Idol, or the pope. Pope popular. So the game is so popular that apparently people will believe anything having to do with the game.

“Pokemon Go: Major Highway Accident After Man Stops In Middle Of Highway To Catch Pikachu!”

“Pokemon GO: Teen Kills Younger Brother Because He Thought He Deleted His Pokemon”

“ISIS Is Taking Responsibility For “Pokemon Go”s Login Problems; Server Issues”

Those are some of the headlines on a fake news site called Cartel Press that apparently fit the narrative of Pokemon Go’s reception that reputable news organizations like the New York Post (hehehe) and Atlantic decided to run with them as if they were accurate. Pablo Reyes is the guy behind the guy who came up with them, according to this story from another reputable news source. (We’re so confused, we don’t know who to believe; maybe Pokemon isn’t even real?!)

Weirdly enough, Reyes claims the stories went viral by accident after he was testing some new platform for Cartel Press that pushed them to the top of the page. Whatever. The point is, many people just ate them up without the slightest pause, it seems. Just look at the photo of the “major highway accident.” It was clearly taken during winter.

“A lot of people go off the headline. They read the article. They find it funny. This is why it works. There are people who are very gullible out there,” Reyes told The Daily Beast. “I mean, if you actually read the article, you can tell the article is bogus.”

But no one seemed to care, which is nothing new. This story, for instance, does a good job of screwing with people, but it’s supposed to, like other social experiments.

Reyes is no stranger to screwing with gullible people. He’s also the guy who can predict the future with a few simple Facebook tricks.

Reyes’ stories were supposed to make people laugh, and instead the joke is wholly on them. He wins all the medals. 
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Millennial Problems: Solutions to Homelessness

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:45 PM


Wednesday marked a big day for local media. In a coordinated effort, nearly every organization that covers San Francisco in some form dedicated a lot to a little coverage of what it’s like to experience homelessness and what can be done about something that almost everyone, including Bernie Sanders, says is a problem here.

The results were mixed, and Gizmodo — which produces content that’s fairly easy for millennials to digest — compiled a greatest-hits list of the coverage so we didn’t have to. Going forward, people are still homeless and the solutions still range from obvious (build homes!) to complicated (addiction treatment) to insane (an algorithm for determining degrees of desperation).

One thing we didn’t see — admittedly, we did not look very hard — were millennials and their feelings on the matter. No one asked millennials what should be done, and that was really silly. Millennials are the now and the future, and their opinions are super-important. After all, they have college degrees.

Lucky for us, the good folks over at the Yik Yak app — you know, that gossip platform that was once big with college kids and is less big now — sent us some recent exchanges between Bay Area millennials on the very topic of homelessness. And while we here at Millennial Problems like to make jokes about young people, we are happy to report that they displayed a lot of empathy for those among us who struggle to survive. Sadly, their ideas feel very Gen X or baby boomer.

-A user named “imsoy” said companies should give homeless people jobs that involve menial tasks such as sorting recyclables or washing windows (the Hollywood version of being homeless) in exchange for lunch.

-An user in San Francisco suggested that the shower-bathroom trucks one can find at festivals would be useful to someone living on the streets. Not a bad idea, except not at all a new one. In fact, a little local outfit called Lava Mae has been doing that for a couple years now — using refurbished Muni buses to boot.

-A user named “markohyeah” offered the idea of the “Leftover Walk.” This would involve packing up the food you don’t want to eat, since you’re just drowning in food as a non-homeless person, and pass it around for whomever wants it. “Don’t like what I have? Maybe try what another person brought.” Good idea, ohyeah. I think this kinda thing happens already, and there are those soup kitchens and stuff.

-And another user, this one from Berkeley, pointed out that “the homeless population in SF is more sick mentally than those elsewhere,” and presumably something should be done about it. What exactly, this millennial did not say.

Homelessness is the last thing to laugh at of make light of, and it’s clear no one wants to do that. It’s just that no matter how clever or creative an idea you might have, there’s really only one proven way to get someone out of the homelessness experience: give them a home. The government used to do it, then it stopped. Maybe we should start by changing that.
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Monday, May 16, 2016

SF Chronicle Promises Solutions to Homelessness; Award Bait or Altruism?

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Hi, I'm with the media. I'm here to help. - THE WIRE
  • The Wire
  • Hi, I'm with the media. I'm here to help.
In its purest form, journalism is about collecting information and presenting it to the public in an objective manner. The general thinking goes that if journalists stray from this path — if they appear to favor one side over the other — all credibility is lost.

This brings us to the latest innovation in 21st century media: a one-day, all-hands-on-deck project to highlight and offer solutions to San Francisco’s long-standing struggle with homelessness. Under a plan formulated and organized by San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper — who came up with the idea after she and her six-month-old child were scandalized by witnessing two homeless people copulate in a tent three years ago — at least 30 Bay Area media outlets will cover homelessness like never before for one day only, on June 29.

But there’s a catch, at least on the Chronicle’s side: The coverage will not only highlight the problem, it will offer solutions, and hopefully new ones. 

It’s a bold stance by the Chronicle, and a bit of a minefield. What could go wrong? So many things. 

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Mayor Ed Lee: Mario Woods Shooting Was "Horrifying" "Firing Squad"

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 1:15 PM

I swear, I did not like what I saw. - SF EXAMINER/MIKE KOOZMIN
  • SF Examiner/Mike Koozmin
  • I swear, I did not like what I saw.

Mayor Ed Lee has received heat for the way his office handled the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods — from both the Black Lives Matter and Police Lives Matter sets.

It took Lee until Dec. 7, five days later, to issue a statement — at which point the vide of Woods being shot killed at least 20 times by five SFPD officers had circulated worldwide — that included the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and seemed to indicate that what happened to Woods was not all right.

That set off the city's easily-upset police union, the Police Officers Association, but it also annoyed sympathizers with Mario Woods's cause, for Lee appearing to let off police Chief Greg Suhr easy. (Suhr initially asserted that police seemed to have acted lawfully and within protocol.)

But now Lee appears to be throwing his lot in with the very Mario Woods protesters who have been hounding him at every public event for almost two months.

In an interview with the Sun Reporter, a longstanding black newspaper with offices in the Bayview, Lee referred to Woods's death as a "firing squad."

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Massive Super Bowl Ads Illegal, City Attorney Says

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 1:39 PM


Remember that large and rather ill-executed Verizon Super Bowl 50 ad draping the Embarcadero Center near the Ferry Building? And remember how San Francisco's ban on general advertising — which bans new billboards and ads of this exact kind — apparently didn't apply, because the Mayor's Office said so, and because the Super Bowl is a "civic celebration"?

City Attorney Dennis Herrera is evidently not as big a football fan as Mayor Ed Lee. Herrera on Tuesday sent a letter to the owner of the Embarcadero Center, declaring the ad illegal and ordering it removed by 5 p.m. Thursday, the San Francisco Examiner first reported.

A spokesman for the Super Bowl Host Committee told the Examiner that the ads would be taken down immediately — prompting, at least among some circles, a "real" civic celebration, but begging additional questions. Such as: why did Ed Lee say the ads were OK in the first place?

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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Atlantic's Silicon Valley Suicides Cover Story and the Risk of Copycat Suicides

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 12:23 PM


The Atlantic’s
December issue leads with “The Silicon Valley Suicides” by Hanna Rosin, a somber look at the suicide pandemic seizing Palo Alto’s high schools. In the 2014-2015 school year, three current and one graduated student took their own lives, echoing a similar rash of suicides in 2008-2009. The most common method was stepping in front of an oncoming Caltrain.

Rosin, who graduated from Stanford but no longer lives in California, had scarcely arrived back in town to report on the troubling phenomena before she encountered anxious opposition.

Not because she was coming to write about a painful issue that the community is keen to put behind it — although she acknowledges that was a factor. (Diana Kapp investigated the story for San Francisco magazine earlier this year.) 

“I know that the very fact that I’m writing about this and making them confront it again isn’t great for these people, no matter how sensitive I was,” Rosin told me yesterday by phone.

The concern was mostly because experts contend — frantically, frequently, and to whoever will listen — that the mere act of writing about a suicide cluster could incite more suicides. It’s a situation called suicide pathogen, or sometimes just copycat suicide.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Will Judge Judy Watchers Sink Proposition F?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 2:39 PM


If you've been anywhere near a television in the past several months, chances are you've been subjected to a No on Prop. F campaign ad. Airbnb's $8.3 million is paying for a lot of things, but the big ticket item is air time. 

Thanks to the good people at the Internet Archive Blogs, we now have a sense of just how far Airbnb's cash is going.

The Internet Archive used audio fingerprinting to analyze which ads were running when from August 25th to October 26th.  They found that the Yes on F campaign has aired one 30-second ad 32 times, for a total of 16 minutes of airtime. 

By contrast, No on Prop. F aired its advertisements 3852 times, adding up to 26 hours and 53 minutes. As the Internet Archive Blogs points out, that's a 100:1 ratio for which message voters are seeing. 

The Internet Archive also released the metadata from their analysis, which means that we got to dig through and see which networks and programs are getting hit the hardest by the No on F message. 

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

VIDEO: Batshit Old Man with TV Show Calls for Arrest of Supervisor Malia Cohen

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 12:17 PM

  • Flickr/Jennifer Low
San Francisco's politicians enjoy taking a swipe at right-wing Fox News every now and then. Witness Supervisor Scott Wiener's much-lauded assertion that "Fox News is not real news" when a cameraman dogged him in the corridors of City Hall over the summer. 

So when the Board reaffirmed its commitment to Sanctuary City policies on Tuesday, it didn't seem all that notable that District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen (who joined progressives in rejecting Mark Farrell's Kate Steinle-inspired resolution 6-5) called out the network for its anti-immigrant bashing:
We cannot allow one event to dictate 25 years — 25 years of our city's policies towards undocumented immigrants in our city. And more importantly, more importantly, we cannot allow hateful conservative news stations to drive how we respond to incidents in our city. I'm not afraid of Fox News and they don't influence how I make my policy decisions here in San Francisco. 
Fox New's resident racist Bill O'Reilly clapped back, with an unhinged segment calling for Cohen's arrest:

That woman is a disgrace, and if I were the attorney general of the United States, I would immediately place her under arrest. I might not win the case, but I would send a message to all subversive office holders in this country, that if you do not obey federal law, you yourself will be prosecuted.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Whose Fault Are Evictions?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 12:26 PM

  • Shutterstock
There's nothing the media loves more than a counter-intuitive argument (n.b. #SlatePitch), and the San Francisco Chronicle's J.K. Dineen came up with a doozy this weekend in an article titled, "Why S.F. evictions are on the rise," in which he argued that a new pro-tenant law is actually increasing evictions in San Francisco. 

Dineen points to a bump in the rate of evictions since a tenant protection law went into effect on March 7 to suggest that the law is actually incentivizing evictions for landlords:

Since March, the number of eviction notices filed per month with the San Francisco Rent Board is up 32 percent compared with the previous three years’ average, while owner move-in evictions are up 131 percent. During that period, the average number of evictions has climbed from 151 per month to more than 200, while the number of owner move-in evictions per month has jumped from 23.7 to 54.7.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Fallout Over Controversial Gawker Post Continues With Top Level Resignations

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:58 AM

  • Scott Beale/Flickr

Last week, Gawker published a story detailing Condé Nast CFO David Geithner’s alleged attempt to arrange a sexual assignation with a male escort. The story was widely and harshly condemned online, with journalist Glenn Greenwald calling it “reprehensible beyond belief” and Sabrina Siddiqui, a political reporter at the Guardian, labeling it “disgraceful" — to quote but two critics. Roughly 24 hours later, Gawker CEO Nick Denton ordered the post removed, an unprecedented editorial decision that Denton described as a “close call” among his staff.

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