Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

February 3, 2015

Growing up, you might have heard your mother or father saying something like that when you wanted some expensive toy. Maybe you listened to them and learned something about where money does come from. The progressives who are pushing for minimum wage increases do not seem to have listened to their parents. At least it doesn’t seem to occur to them that if the government creates an increase in the cost of business, such as raising taxes or requiring higher wages, the money to pay for the increased costs has to come from somewhere. Either a business must pass on the increased cost to its customers by increasing prices, adjust its practices to reduce impact of the higher costs, perhaps by employing fewer workers, or accept a reduction in profits. For many of the unthinking, the last option is the most desirable, since it is all too commonly believed that profits are somehow selfish and evil. They do not realize that a business’s profit is what the owners of that business get to meet their own expenses and is the repayment for the expenses and risks of starting and running the business. This is especially true for the small business person who is the sole owner of his business, but it is also true for the stock holders of a major corporation. It a business cannot make a profit it must eventually cease to operate and close its doors. It really doesn’t require a PhD in economics or business administration to understand all of this, only the ability to think things through, an ability sadly lacking in all too many. Consider this example, brought by ABC News, of a bookstore in San Francisco, closing due to an increase in the city’s minimum wage.

Independent bookstores have faced tough times for quite a while. In San Francisco, neighborhood businesses have been passionately protected, so it’s hard to believe that an initiative passed by voters to raise the minimum wage is driving a Mission District bookstore out of business.

San Francisco’s minimum wage is currently $11.05 an hour. By July of 2018, the minimum wage in San Francisco will be $15 an hour. That increase is forcing Borderlands Bookstore to write its last chapter now.

When actor Scott Cox took a job at Borderlands Books he didn’t do it for the money.

“I’ve been a longtime customer of the store,” he said. “I love the people, I love the books.”

The work let him squeak by while nourishing his passion for sci-fi and fantasy.

“Everyone who works here does this because they love books, they love stories, and they love being booksellers,” said book store owner Alan Beatts.

That’s why store owner Beatts found it so tough to post a sign in the front window that the store is closing. “We’re going to be closing by the end of March,” he said.

Borderlands was turning a small profit, about $3,000 last year. Then voters approved a hike in the minimum wage, a gradual rise from $10.75 up to $15 an hour.

“And by 2018 we’ll be losing about $25,000 a year,” he said.

Money doesn’t grow on trees. Alan Beatts cannot simply go to his money tree and shake off a few extra bills. He must come up with the money to pay the higher wages somehow. He cannot increase his prices. Small, independent book stores have long been squeezed by large chains such as Barnes & Nobles who are now being squeezed by Amazon, so any increase in prices will simply drive customers away. I doubt it his bookstore is so overstaffed that he can afford to let many employees go. He cannot continue to run his bookstore if it loses money, so the bookstore must close.

This doesn't really exist.

This doesn’t really exist.

The next part of this article is priceless.

It’s an unexpected plot twist for loyal customers.

“You know, I voted for the measure as well, the minimum wage measure,” customer Edward Vallecillo said. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses. I feel sad.”

I would say that Mr. Vallecillo wasn’t thinking at all, but then neither were the people in San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors when they decided to let people vote on increasing the minimum wage.

Though it’s caught a lot of people off guard, one group that wasn’t completely surprised was the Board of Supervisors. In fact, they say they debated this very topic before sending the minimum wage to the voters.

“I know that bookstores are in a tough position, and this did come up in the discussions on minimum wage,” San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener said.

Wiener knows a lot of merchants will pass the wage increases on to their customers, but not bookstores.

“I can’t increase the prices of my products because books, unlike many other things, have a price printed on them,”

Wiener says it’s the will of the voters. Seventy-seven percent of them voted for this latest wage hike.

“Borderlands Books is an phenomenal bookstore, I was just in it yesterday,” Wiener said. “I hope they don’t close. It’s an amazing resource.”

But Alan Beatts said he can’t see a way to avoid it.

Mr. Wiener should have thought of that before, unless they repeal the increase in the minimum wage, Borderlands Books will have to close. The voters voted for the increase. Now, they will have to deal with the consequences.

Business owners don't really have money bins.

Business owners don’t really have money bins.

 

Hail Caesar

November 30, 2013

Last week, Forbes ran an opinion piece which called for impeaching President Obama on the grounds that a president with such contempt for the constitution and the rule of law ought not to remain unpunished. As if to confirm the point, when President Obama traveled to San Fransisco recently, he was met by protesters who demanded that he stop abiding by the constitution and make laws by decree, or executive order. Zombie, the last sane person in San Fransisco, reported on this at PJMedia.

When Obama’s motorcade rocketed around San Francisco on Monday, very few locals even noticed his presence, and fewer still cared. The crowds awaiting him at each presidential fundraiser were by far the smallest I’d seen in over five years of covering his visits here. Ticket sales to at least one of the events were so sluggish that prices had to be lowered to fill the empty seats. Out in the street, rubberneckers and protesters had dwindled to the bare minimum. This is what happens when a hero disappoints: you don’t turn on him in anger, but rather just tune him out and move on to other interests.

Yet even with the small turnout, there was a theme amongst Obama’s protesters/supporters (supportesters?): They didn’t want him to change his political agenda — instead, they demanded that he assume dictatorial powers so that he could finally implement the radical plans with which they already agree. The message of the day was: Stop dilly-dallying around, Mr. President: Ignore the Constitution and just make The Revolution happen, as you promised!

That message would be disturbing enough all on its own, but it becomes much more disturbing when you suspect (as I do) that many of these pro-totalitarian protesters were astroturfed. In other words: Is the White House scripting/encouraging/guiding protesters on the left to beg him to become a dictator? So that later, he can explain, “I had no choice — the people demanded it!” Or is Obama simply telegraphing to his supporters that they should not be so disappointed when he throws in the towel and gives up even trying to achieve anything in his second term?

Zombie includes a video from BBC News of an apparently planted heckler and Obama’s response.

This reminds me of a scene at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. While the two conspirators, Brutus and Cassius discuss Caesar’s ambition and fret that he means to make himself king, they hear the crowds offstage cheering three times in the forum where Caesar is speaking. When Caesar is done he appears briefly on stage looking upset and the two men ask a Senator named Casca who had witnessed the event what had happened. Casca explains that Mark Antony had offered a crown to Caesar three times and Caesar had rejected it. Each time the crowds cheered louder and Caesar rejected the crown more reluctantly.

Apparently Julius Caesar had staged this show in order to show the Senators that he was not planning to make himself king, while hoping that the masses would demand his crowning. He could then be king, saying that he had to bow to the popular will. Is Obama playing a similar game? Zombie has two theories.

There are two ways to interpret these bizarre theatrical skits involving Obama and his supporters.

Innocent Theory #1 is that Obama is essentially announcing to his base via these symbolic heckling exchanges that he no longer has the political will to issue as many power-grabbing executive orders as he’s done up til now, and that The Revolution has been put back on hold. “Ram through the progressive wish list with brazen executive orders? Why, I couldn’t do that (any more, at least) — it’d be unconstitutional!” Theory #1, if true, would certainly be in response to plummeting poll numbers and the sobering reality that the Republicans are now almost certain to maintain control of the House of Representatives in 2014, meaning Obama is conceding that he has been effectively stymied, and is thus warning his supporters not to get their hopes up.

Sinister Theory #2 is that Obama is staging these repeated calls for him to assume dictatorial powers as a way to later justify his actions when he amps up and redoubles his unconstitutional executive orders. “I wanted to be a passive and humble president, I really did — but the public demanded that I seize power, so I had to obey the people!” Theory #2, if true, would be based on the fact that Obama is a lame duck president and thus immune from any need to remain “electable”: He could basically do whatever he wanted for the next three years, however extreme, and “get away with it” since he never has to run for office again and Congress obviously will never impeach him at this stage of the game.

I’d say that both theories are true. Perhaps Obama staged these events to show that he does not intend to rule as a dictator, and yet is hoping to rouse public pressure that he do just that. To be fair, Barack Obama is not the first president to chafe at the limitations of his office and to consider that his job would be a whole lot easier if he were a dictator. I recall that one of the Bushes, I think the elder, made such a comment once. But, no other president planted hecklers in a crowd to demand that he simply ignore those limitations. It sounds crazy to be writing this, but I have never had the sort of feeling about any other president, that if he could get away with it, he really would do away with the constitution in order to effect the radical change he believes this country needs.

And then there is this, from the Examiner.

The recent “surge purge,” by the Obama administration, of senior military officers is astounding.

This year nine generals and flag officers have been relieved of command. In the five years, Obama has been in office 197 officers have been removed.

It’s being reported that a veteran U.S. Army intelligence official has said about the “surge purge” that it’s part of creating a “compliant officer class.”

WND said the veteran Army intelligence official told them there is a major concern brewing in our military about the “compliant officer class.” He spoke to WND on the condition of anonymity and said the following:

“It’s becoming harder and harder to find senior officers with a pair of balls in there [the military] now that would say no to anything. Maybe at the rank of major or below, and possibly there are some in SOF (Special Operations Forces), but to make colonel and higher is all politics.”

The veteran Army intelligence official also said, “I didn’t read one piece of resistance to the DADT repeal, and I haven’t seen one peep about females in the infantry.” According to him, there wasn’t any real “public concern expressed by officers” about either of these polices.

What the intelligence official said mirrors what other retired generals have said about the “surge purge.” These generals have grave concerns about the “high rate of senior military officials dismissed” by the Obama administration.

It would appear that the Obama administration has almost accomplished the work of extinguishing the morale of our military. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady told WND the following: “There is no doubt he (Obama) is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him over such issues as “homosexuals, women in foxholes, and the Obama sequester.”

Gen. Brady is the winner of our military’s highest award, The Medal of Honor. Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin had the following to say about the “surge purge:”

“Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause. I believe there is a purging of the military, the problem is worse than we have ever seen. I talk to a lot of folks who don’t support where Obama is taking the military, but in the military they can’t say anything.”

When it comes to compliance with Obama’s new social order, the Army intelligence official told WND it would probably be accomplished by any means necessary. This includes the Army cheating to ensure at least one woman would pass through basic training.

It’s said the reason for creating the officer compliant class is so that our military will follow orders without question. The Policy and Issues Examiner Joe Newby reports the following:

“President Obama wants military leaders who will fire on U.S. citizens.” This was according to Dr. Jim Garrow, whom the Examiner had an exclusive interview with in Jan. of this year. Garrow is a renowned author and humanitarian who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

The Examiner also reported Garrow as saying, it’s part of the effort to weed out those who won’t swear loyalty to President Obama and obey orders to fire on American citizens who refuse to give up their guns.”

The new social order of Obama’s military also includes creating a compliant soldier. Last month, the Marine Corps Examiner reported the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was being used as a source to define extremism.

We also reported that soldiers at Fort Hood were told: “Evangelical Christians and tea party members are extremists and a threat to America.” Creating the compliant officer class seems to run hand in hand with how the Army has recently been training our soldiers.

It would appear indoctrinating our soldiers and using the SPLC as a reliable source is an effort to ensure our military will heed the orders from the Obama administration instead of the Constitution.

What is really going on here? Is Obama preparing for some kind of coup? It seems crazy to even ask the question, but somehow I can’t simply dismiss the possibility. Maybe, because it is not just President Obama. By himself he can do little. But there seems to be a certain number of my fellow Americans who are willing to give up their freedom in order to get certain policies enacted or even just to destroy the opposition. I wonder if we will still be a free country twenty years from now.

 

Unintended Consequences

August 24, 2012

 

There is a reason why good intentions are not sufficient. Often, things done with the very best of intentions nevertheless end up causing a great deal of pain for everybody with little, if any, actual benefits. One case that comes to mind is the attempt to persuade, and then conjole customers into using reusable shopping bags. As I read at Via Meadia.

One green pet cause du jour is the banning or taxing of disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other grocery stores. These measures, which are designed to encourage shoppers to use their own reusable tote bags, have been spreading widely in recent years, and have already gone into effect in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

This may make the world marginally safer for plants and animals, but a new study by the Property and Environment Research Center (h/t Sullivan) shows there may be a significant downside for human health. Researchers examined these reusable totes and found significant amounts of dangerous bacteria, including, among others, E-coli. And there seems to be a correlation between plastic bag bans and increased illness, as bacteria-related deaths spiked immediately after San Francisco’s bag measure began. The International Association for Food Protectionreports:

Reusable bags were collected at random from consumers as they entered grocery stores in California and Arizona. In interviews, it was found that reusable bags are seldom if ever washed and often used for multiple purposes. Large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half. Escherichia coli were identified in 8% of the bags, as well as a wide range of enteric bacteria, including several opportunistic pathogens. When meat juices were added to bags and stored in the trunks of cars for two hours, the number of bacteria increased 10-fold, indicating the potential for bacterial growth in the bags.

This green unicorn looks considerably less enchanting upon closer examination.

Oh well. The truth is that there are few things that are unreservedly good or bad and few choices we make that are clearly a matter of good versus evil. Often we must weigh the consequences and make a choice between the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods. The problem with a lot of Greens is that they just don’t see things that way. If some environmental regulations are good, than even more must be better, without stopping to consider the economic cost of increased regulation compared with the actual good to the environment. Something rather similar might be said about the Global Warming scare. Scientific uncertainty aside, even if all of the more overwrought predictions were true, the solutions they propose,

 

Happy Meal Ban Fail

December 4, 2011

Somehow I am glad to see this story. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, having nothing better to do, decided to ban Happy Meals in McDonald’s earlier this year. Well, not ban exactly, but they made it illegal for a restaurant to give away free toys with meals unless they complied with strict nutritional requirements, which even the school lunches didn’t measure up to. That ban went into effect on December 1. Now we will see a new generation of San Francisco children growing up happier and healthier thanks to the progressive San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Well, maybe not. You see the law bans giving away the toys. It says nothing about selling the toys. And that is just what McDonald’s is doing.

And yet it seems McDonald’s has turned lemons into lemonade — and is selling the sugary drink to San Francisco’s children. Local McDonald’s employees tell SF Weekly the company has devised a solution that appears to comply with San Francisco’s “Healthy Meal Incentive Ordinance” that could actually make the company more money — and necessitate toy-happy youngsters to buy more Happy Meals.

It turns out San Francisco has not entirely vanquished the Happy Meal as we know it. Come Dec. 1, you can still buy the Happy Meal. But it doesn’t come with a toy. For that, you’ll have to pay an extra 10 cents.

Huh. That hardly seems to have solved the problem (though adults and children purchasing unhealthy food can at least take solace that the 10 cents is going to Ronald McDonald House charities). But it actually gets worse from here. Thanks to Supervisor Eric Mar’s much-ballyhooed new law, parents browbeaten into supplementing their preteens’ Happy Meal toy collections are now mandated to buy the Happy Meals.

Today and tomorrow mark the last days that put-upon parents can satiate their youngsters by simply throwing down $2.18 for a Happy Meal toy. But, thanks to the new law taking effect on Dec. 1, this is no longer permitted. Now, in order to have the privilege of making a 10-cent charitable donation in exchange for the toy, you must buy the Happy Meal. Hilariously, it appears Mar et al., in their desire to keep McDonald’s from selling grease and fat to kids with the lure of a toy have now actually incentivized the purchase of that grease and fat — when, beforehand, a put-upon parent could get out cheaper and healthier with just the damn toy.

If I want a Happy Meal and McDonald’s is willing to sell it to me, why is that any business of the Board of Supervisors or the legislature or Congress, or anyone else? This whole business began when San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar discovered that his daughter had a pile of Happy Meal toys in her room.

As Mar later told reporters, he was shocked to discover a trove of toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals stashed in her room. Mar was the one taking his daughter to McDonald’s and buying the food — but he said that the “pester power” of a preteen was simply too much for him to withstand on his own. So he proposed that the city ban restaurants from including toys with meals of more than 600 calories that lack agreed-upon amounts of fruits and vegetables.

So, because he couldn’t control his daughter and be an actual parent, everybody in San Francisco has to suffer. Maybe they deserve it for living in San Francisco.If I lived in a city run by that kind of meddling nanny-staters, I would move out.

The other thing that occurs to me is that I really wish that politicians at every level of government would consider carefully the consequences of the legislation they propose. If they cannot anticipate the likely consequences, which would be almost every time, maybe they should leave the matter alone.

A Plea from Nancy Pelosi

September 27, 2011

I am still getting e-mail from prominent Democrats begging me to contribute.Evidently, in three days, they have to file with the FEC and they hope to get good numbers. This time I got an e-mail from none other than Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House.

Enough is enough.

For the third time in 10 months, House Republicans pushed our government to the brink of a shutdown to put their radical agenda ahead of the American people’s interests.

While Democrats worked to secure disaster relief funding, House Republicans insisted on holding these critical funds hostage in a cynical ploy to advance their agenda.

It’s never been clearer why we need a Democratic House Majority. We cannot afford another two years with a Republican Majority that recklessly brings us to the brink of a government shutdown unless their radical ideological demands are met.

Friday’s FEC filing deadline is only 72 hours away and we are still $171,984 away from our $1 Million grassroots goal. It is critical that we have a powerful showing of grassroots strength.

I am not sure that the representative from the Congressional district that includes most of San Francisco is in much of a position to say what is extreme or radical. They do seem to be increasingly desperate though. I wonder how their overall fundraising is going.

 

Bird Safe Buildings

September 21, 2011

From USA Today. It is nice to know that with all the problems in this country, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is working on what’s really important, making sure that birds don’t fly into buildings.

An ordinance approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors requires that new buildings in parts of the city use “bird-safe” standards that reduce the risk of winged creatures hitting panes of glass.

Advocates say that hundreds of millions of birds die each year after flying into glass windows or walls in the USA, and that San Francisco’s action will boost efforts to encourage bird-safe buildings nationally.

“It’s a global problem,” says Christine Sheppard, bird collisions campaign manager for the American Bird Conservancy. “Everywhere you find glass, you will find dead birds. One of the reasons that people don’t recognize it is a problem is that it is so widely distributed. There are some buildings that kill thousands of birds a year.”

Transparent and reflective glass both pose a threat to migratory and local birds, Sheppard says. Birds don’t see glass or recognize it as a barrier and think they are flying to vegetation they see through the window or in a reflection, she says.

Marking windows with dots or other designs, or shielding the glass with screens or other architectural devices, can reduce fatal accidents, Sheppard says.

Isn’t this something that evolution should take care of? I mean the birds that can’t see the glass will kill themselves while the birds that can will live on to reproduce and improve the various species. Natural selection and survival of the fittest in action.

Teachers’ Protest in San Francisco

June 10, 2011

If you are still sending your kids to “learn” in the public school system, then these pictures by Zombie at Pajamas Media will make you want to pull them right out. That is, unless you want them to be indoctrinated as Socialists. It is more than a little disgraceful to have these teachers drag their students out of class to use them as political props, not to mention demanding more money when the state of California is broke.

This sort of thing is part of the reason we homeschool.

The Circumcision Ban

June 3, 2011

I had thought that the proposed ban on circumcision in San Francisco was mostly a product of that city’s general left-wing wackiness and certain homosexuals’ obsession with their penises. There was an anti-semitic element but I thought it was relatively minor, given that the majority of circumcised males in this country are gentiles. It would appear that I was wrong and there is something more sinister at play here, judging from this from Pajamas Media. The images that Zombie provide are the most offensive I have seen in a long time. I suppose I ought to provide a sample but I would really rather not and it is no trouble to click on a link.

San Francisco to Consider Banning Circumcision

May 27, 2011

Jeff Jacoby writes about this in his column. Apparently, this fall voters in San Francisco will get to vote on whether to ban circumcision on infant males. If the measure passes, circumcising a baby boy will be an actual crime with a sentence of a fine up to $1000 and up to a year in jail.

Why? I didn’t think that this was a problem. I mean, with all the other problems that the state of California and the city of San Francisco are having, why are they even bothering with this. The majority of males in the United States are circumcised and I haven’t heard anyone complaining about it. And what about the Jews? Wouldn’t this law be kind of anti-Semitic?

Jeff Jacoby explains who is behind this:

The ballot campaign in San Francisco is being spearheaded by a group of self-described “intactivists,” political crusaders obsessed with the preservation of foreskins. Their mania might be laughable if not for two things: (1) they hijack terminology used to describe a dreadful type of violence against girls and women, and (2) they are attempting to criminalize a fundamental rite of Judaism.

Promoters of the San Fancisco initiative call it the “MGM bill.” The initials stand for “male genital mutilation,” a dishonest phrase meant to link the safe and medically unobjectionable procedure of male circumcision with the frightful cruelty of female genital mutilation.

The two are not remotely comparable. “Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits,” the World Health Organization and nine other international organizations stressed in a 2008 report on the scourge, which persists in much of Africa and the Middle East. “On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways.” It is painful and traumatic; it makes childbearing “significantly” more risky; and it leads to higher rates of post-partum hemorrhaging and infant death. Long-term consequences of female genital mutilation “include chronic pain, infections, decreased sexual enjoyment, and psychological consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Yes, the difference between male circumcision and female genital mutilation is that circumcision, in no way impairs the functioning of the male organ, while female genital mutilation is a deliberate attempt to prevent females from having any pleasure during intercourse.

 


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