Category Archive 'San Francisco Chronicle'

25 Nov 2007

SF Chronicle Indulges in Cryptodeletion

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Investigate the Media catches the Chronicle trying to fool its readers:

The San Francisco Chronicle has recently activated a devious system by which it deceives commenters on its website, Here’s how it works:

If you make a comment on an article posted at SFGate, and if the site moderators then subsequently delete your comment for whatever reason, it will only appear as deleted to the other readers. HOWEVER, your comment will NOT appear to be deleted if viewed from your own computer! The Chronicle’s goal is to trick deleted commenters into not knowing their comments were in fact deleted. I’ll give evidence below showing how they do this.

Why would SFGate do such a thing? Because ever since public input was first allowed at SFGate, many commenters who had their comments deleted would come back onto the comment thread and point out that they had been silenced for ideological reasons — i.e. they weren’t sufficiently “progressive” — or because they had pointed out ethical lapses at SFGate and the Chronicle. Or any number of other reasons that the Chronicle did not want known. So, to pacify these problematic commenters, the SFGate moderators came up with a very clever and underhanded coding trick to prevent deleted commenters from ever finding out that they had been silenced.

Read the whole thing.

29 Aug 2006

Jihadi Road Rage in San Francisco

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1 Dead, 15 injured

There has been another case of Islamic murder by motor vehicle. The SF Chronicle reports:

As many as 14 people were injured this afternoon by a motorist who drove around San Francisco deliberately running them down before being arrested by police, who believe the same driver struck and killed a man earlier today in Fremont.

At least one hit-and-run victim remained in critical condition this evening.

Reports of the incidents began pouring in at 12:47 p.m., police said.

Within a half-hour, San Francisco police had cornered and arrested 29-year-old Omeed Aziz Popal, who has addresses in Ceres (Stanislaus County) and Fremont.

Authorities suspect Popal was the same driver who ran over and killed a 54-year-old man in Fremont around noon….

Mayor Gavin Newsom visited five of the victims at San Francisco General Hospital.

“This was so senseless and inexplicable,” the mayor said afterward.

Note how the Chronicle, in the case of this kind of story, carefully overlooks parallels, and fails to discern any possible religious motivation.

Gateway Pundit has a link collection.


19 May 2006

Ask Google

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The SF Chronicle profiles an intriguing new Google feature:

Elmhurst, Ill., Loves Gay Porn. Which U.S. city seeks the most sex? Who wants to impeach Bush the most? Ask Google Trends…

the fact is, for all of last year, Elmhurst, Ill., population about 43,000, home of the Sunshine Biscuit Co. and former home of the largest Chevy dealer in the United States and pretty much quaint upscale yuppie Anytown, U.S.A., was the American city that looked up the term “sex” most frequently on Google.

Isn’t that cute? Isn’t that interesting? Sort of? I know this because Google just unveiled this nifty and somewhat baffling tool called Google Trends, wherein you simply enter your search term and choose a couple of parameters and hit Return and boom, you can see which regions (or countries or cities) in the world are looking up that term most actively for a given year (the data also shifts day to day), using Google’s massive search database, and it’s random, semipractical stuff like this that makes it difficult to hate Google for whoring out to China and for becoming the new Microsoft and for their billionaire geek teenager CEOs. But that’s another column.

Google Trends. It is utterly fascinating, at least for a while. It is cool and useful and at the same time enormously frustrating due to its obvious limitations, though I imagine it will spawn enormous amounts of titillating filler for countless PR firms and marketers and research papers and news reports that cite all sorts of vague data that seems to tell you something really important but when you stop and think about it doesn’t really tell you all that much at all. You know, just like religion.

Elmhurst, Illinois, is apparently way into sex. Or at least the idea of sex (googling that hugely broad term returns a decidedly unsexy array of sites, including those for “Sex and the City,” the Sex Pistols,, the National Sex Offender Registry and Sex Addicts Anonymous — not exactly a steaming cup o’ hot titillation).

But that’s not all. Elmhurst has darker, juicier secrets. Turns out Elmhurst is also, at least for 2006, the town most actively looking up “anal sex” (followed closely by Norfolk, Va., and, of course, San Antonio, Texas). And also “porn.” And also “gay porn” (just ahead of Las Vegas). And also “vibrator.” Do you sense a trend? I sense a trend. And also someplace I might need to get a summer home.

What does this say about Elmhurst? What does this say about small towns across the United States? What do you think it says? Because that’s pretty much what it says.

Google, thoughtfully, also includes any relevant news articles it can dig up to go alongside your search results to perhaps explain some of the interest. Does this help explain why Rockville, Md., looks up “Vishnu” more than any other city? Verily, I have no idea.

But still, it can get interesting. Who’s looking up “impeach Bush” most actively? Portland, Oregon. (San Francisco is third). “American Idol”? Honolulu, Hawaii — by a strangely huge margin. “Gas prices”? Minneapolis. “Dildo”? That would be Oslo, Norway. “Dildo,” among U.S. cities? Tampa, Fla. “Tom Cruise”? Cambridge, Mass. “Tom Cruise gay”? Irvine and New York. “Da Vinci Code”? Salt Lake City. “Gun control”? Cincinnati. And “Viagra,” for 2006? That’s Fort Worth, Texas. Go figure.

In fact, Google Trends is pretty much the biggest “go figure” tool you’re likely to see all year. You can speculate to your heart’s content about why the hell Phoenix would be looking up “Jenna Jameson” more than Las Vegas, or why Nashville is so heavily into Christ, or why they really love Ashlee Simpson in Newark, N.J., or why Philadelphia, for some unknowable reason, loves the fact that Britney Spears is pregnant whereas Santiago, Chile, really, really loves Pearl Jam, but you could only guess. One bit of historical news: Jesus has resurged and is once again more popular than the Beatles. Just FYI.

Hat tip to Stephen Frankel.

05 Apr 2006

Road to Serfdom, Pelosi-Style

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Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. in backseat of car with daughter Nancy and wife Nancy. Photo from 1948. Courtesy of the D’Alesandro family via the Baltimore Sun.

When the democrats retake the majority of the House of Representatives, San Francisco’s own Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker.

Last Sunday’s Chronicle‘s puff piece describes Nancy Pelosi’s carefully constructed network of political obligation, inadvertently revealing the essence of how it’s all supposed to work:

Pelosi’s prowess for building this type of political power stretches back to the dynasty built by her father at a time when political capital came in the form of favors, not campaign cash.

Her father, Tommy D’Alesandro Jr., was a New Deal Democrat who served five terms in Congress and three as mayor of Baltimore. He enlisted his seven children in building the “favor file” that served as the core of his political machine.

Neighbors who were short on food, out of work or otherwise down on their luck would knock on the door at all hours, and whoever’s turn it was to staff the front office would help them find food, work or whatever they needed.

“During the leaner years, we had in our back room the equivalent of a soup kitchen,” said Pelosi’s brother, Tommy D’Alesandro III, who also eventually served a term as Baltimore mayor. “It was dealing with human nature in the raw. Any kind of problem, we were there.”

Family members would note the name of the constituent and the services rendered on yellow legal paper to be transferred to the favor file, a box of index cards.

The cards were pulled into service when it was time to organize for the next election.

Recalled D’Alesandro: “We’d call people up and say, ‘Mrs. So-and-So, we did this favor for you and now my father is running for re-election. We’d like to borrow your car to get people out to vote’ or ‘you can come lick stamps’ or ‘you can organize a coffee klatch.’ ”

Fifty years later, Pelosi’s staff keeps her modern day equivalent of the favor file in a political data base program in the headquarters of the Democratic Congressional Committee. It’s a list of 29,432 loyal donors that Pelosi has built one personal contact at a time.

This is the democrat model for life in America. Nancy Pelosi lives in the grand mansion atop Pacific Heights, and the rest of us come, desperate and hat in hand, to the back door, begging for a job, a favor, or maybe for just a meal. Lady Bountiful Pelosi comes to the door, graciously dispenses to us our alms, and our names are duly recorded in the great card file. Now we owe our livelihood, our personal independence, our vote, unspecified other future services to be arranged, and possibly our immortal souls, to the party machine. Nancy Pelosi is royalty. The rest of us are serfs.

30 Jan 2006

Hard to Believe

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John Arquilla

Would anyone living outside America’s coastal enclaves of leftism actually believe that any major American newspaper would run an editorial arguing that we ought to be accepting Osama bin Laden’s recent truce offer? Remarkable, isn’t it?

But we can top that. Would you also believe that the editorialist, one John Arquilla (a man with these kinds of views) is employed by the Defense Department as a professor of Defense Analysis, no less (in his case, clearly: Surrender Analysis), at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Arquilla is additionally a senior consultant for the RAND Corporation, and an advisor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld(!).

It’s a wonder we’re not all speaking Arabic.

Arquilla writes:

Osama bin Laden’s offer of a truce has sunk from sight without leaving a ripple, but it should have made waves… bin Laden’s overture should be carefully weighed and thoughtfully debated. …the practical upside of giving peace a chance looks very attractive. Our ethical obligation to try in good faith to negotiate is even more compelling… Reconsidering the immediate dismissive response to his overture is the necessary next step. I pray we have the courage and compassion to take it.

How does anyone with this person’s philosophy and strategic acumen ever come to be hired to teach at a US military educational facility in the first place? Shouldn’t a personal philosophy of Utopian Pacifism be considered a disqualification for a defense analyst?

Mr. Arquilla somehow manages to overlook in his supine analysis the fact that Osama bin Laden and his confederates were responsible for the murder of more than 3000 innocent American civilians. There are no legitimate truces or negotiations after 9/11. The only conclusion to the current conflict acceptable to Americans ought to be the deaths of bin Laden and his terrorist associates.

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