San Francisco: Removal of the Embarcadero Freeway | Streetfilms…….

San Francisco also had an ugly, elevated highway running between downtown and the waterfront. After the 1989 earthquake dealt the Embarcadero Freeway a mortal blow, the citizens of the city bucked conventional wisdom and decided to tear down the structure and replace it with a grand boulevard. It wasn’t easy, but as this clip shows, the results were well worth the effort.

We Care A Lot…….


Good thing the bag fee was defeated.

I know what you are thinking.  Sure, all of those feral plastic bags, blowing down our streets may be a nuisance and eye sore, but what kind of harm can they really do?  Besides, The American Chemical Society told us we had to vote against the bag fee to protect the poor, who just can’t get it together and bring reusable bags to the store while shopping.

Well, here is a little harm for you, courtesy of  The Independent:

The scientists found that when plastics decompose in the ocean they release a range of chemicals, such as bisphenol A and substances known as polystyrene-based (PS) oligomers, which are not found naturally. Bisphenol A has been implicated in disrupting the hormonal system of animals.

A common form of plastic rubbish is styrofoam, which soon gets crushed into small pieces in the sea. However, it also releases substantial quantities of a toxic substances called styrene monomer, which is known to cause cancer, as well as styrene dimers and trimer, which are suspected of being carcinogenic. The trimer also breaks down into the toxic monomer form.


Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury…….


First, The American Chemistry Council spent almost $200,000 to force a referendum vote to reverse an ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council to charge a 20 cent fee for disposable bags, and–now that the election is almost upon us– this same group has coughed up another $1.4 million to finish the job.

It’s the best democracy money can buy.

Luckily, you can still do something about it.  If you live in Seattle, give The American Chemistry Council the finger and vote yes on Referendum 1.  If you can’t vote, click on over to the Green Bag Campaign and lend a hand.

The Villagers and Their Idiot Mobs…….


A few nights ago I watched The Fountainhead for the first time.  It was a real eye opener.

Not only was this my first Gary Cooper movie–yes, I was a virgin–but it gave me a weird sense of deja-vu, kind of like I had just spent an hour flipping between CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Sure, Howard Roark was a real stand-up guy, with all of that integrity, but the story line which really grabbed my attention had to do with The New York Banner, a scandal sheet with an enormous circulation and little honor.

The paper is run by the ruthless capitalist, Gail Wynand, a self-made man who traded his principals for cash.  Wynand cooks up scandals and then feeds them to the masses.  Whether these stories are true or not is of no concern, the value is measured by the hysteria it creates.

Even though Wynand peddles in trash, he values truth.  In his private life, Wynand is polished and educated.  In short, he feels he is much superior to his readers.  Therefore, since his audience are such simpletons, Wynand believes he can easily manipulate the mob and give them their marching orders.

And then there is the ideologue Ellsworth Toohey, the architecture critic for The Banner.  Toohey also believes the common people to be idiots, but instead of manipulating their feeble minds in order to amass a personal fortune, Toohey trades in personal power.

Unlike Wynand, Toohey doesn’t believe in truth or inherent value.  In fact, he believes it is dangerous–a threat to his quest for power predicated on the rise of mediocrity.  Toohey actually believes the bullshit he is peddling.  His only truth is the newest lie which will add to his power.

As The Fountainhead reaches its dramatic conclusion, there is a struggle between Wynand and Toohey as to who will controll The Banner and by extention the mob.

Who wins?  I’m not going to spoil it for you.  I will give you a hint, though.  Just turn on your television.

The Ringer…….


Turns out Sarah Palin knows a thing or two about “death boards” after all.  Seems Alaska had something similar when it came to providing caring for its elderly and handicapped citizens.  Take it away Anchorage Daily News.

The common thread in the suits is that seniors and disabled Alaskans aren’t getting the services they are entitled to, under the law, Davis said. In one big win, the state Supreme Court ruled last year that the state had improperly cut off or reduced services to more than 1,000 needy people.

How bad was it?

A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.

The programs at issue provide in-home help for thousands of Alaskans with the basics of life, from medication to meals. The goal is to help people stay in their own homes rather than go into nursing homes or other institutions.

To recap: Sarah Palin is not O.K. with third party health care providers deciding the fate of her handicaped child or elderly parents, but if those decisions happen to effect other people’s loved ones, well, that is an entirely different story.