Friday, December 02, 2016

FOIA for FBI Files on Lynchings of Blacks & the KKK

Does the Federal Bureau of Investigation have a central file on the lynchings of African Americans, since 1990? What about records on the Ku Klux Klan since 2000?

These questions have been on mind for a year and there's no time like the present to file a FOIA and see what the agency has to say, and what, if any responsive public records are released.

My mantra and default mode of activism under the Trump Administration is the same as it's been for decades: Follow the money. File a FOIA.

Do democracy a huge favor and make a public records request with a government agency. Do it today, please.

Here are the replies from the FBI regarding my requests made this week. More FOIAs to come.



SF Symphony to Perform Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics


Let's hope I control my urges to sing-along tomorrow night, December 3, at Davies Symphony Hall. Same goes for my hubby Mike.

The San Francisco Symphony is presenting a selection of clips from the film versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, as the orchestra plays the scores live.

Co-hosting the evening is conductor Todd Sperling, who'll be joined by singer Laura Osnes. In addition to the Saturday concert, there's also one tonight, December 2, to enjoy.

On the program are selections from "The King and I," "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma!"

In anticipation of what will be a divine night, I'm listening to the great works of Rodgers and Hammerstein on YouTube today. Always a pleasure hearing the fantastic voice of the late Marni Nixon dubbing for Deborah Kerr for the "Getting to Know You" number.

The symphony promises we'll be humming along - and without a doubt - yes, we will!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

SF Weekly: Poz Inmate Michael Johnson & HIV PrEP Costs

The practice among some HIV negative gay men willfully seeking to become infected, bug chasing, is getting renewed attention on this World AIDS Day.

Over at the SF Weekly, the relatively new managing editor Channing Joseph, who's black and gay, has a cover story about this queer sexual subculture.

He requested my thoughts related to my prison pen-pal Michael Johnson and separate from that, he quoted me criticizing HIV prevention advocates especially at AIDS Inc group failing to campaign for lower Truvada pricing from Gilead.

I'm pleased to see Michael receiving a bit of mainstream media attention today. I'll be mailing him a copy of the article so he read it and know that he is remembered. An excerpt from the article:

"San Francisco has not made a practice of criminalizing HIV infection, as has occurred in some other places. For instance, Missouri is at the other end of the spectrum.

"Last year, the state sentenced a former college wrestler, Michael Johnson, 23 at the time, to 30 years in prison for infecting one of his sexual partners and putting four others at risk.

"Michael Petrelis, a longtime San Francisco AIDS activist and advocate for the repeal of HIV criminalization laws, has been corresponding with Johnson in prison.

"Petrelis tells SF Weekly that he applauds the city’s efforts to promote awareness of PrEP but says the effort falls short when it comes to making the drug affordable.

"'PrEP is one vital tool of prevention but advocates … do not address the pricing of Truvada …' he says. 'Yes, let’s applaud the effective prevention capability of PrEP, but we can’t overlook how much all HIV … drugs cost.' (PrEP can run to between $1,300 and $2,000 a month without insurance.)"


Monday, November 28, 2016

Did the NY Times Hold Taped Meetings With Clinton?


The Gray Lady's lips are sealed. Read this exchange between the spokeswoman for the New York Times and myself.

Here's some unsolicited advice for the paper, especially for new deputy directors AG Sulzberger and his cousins Sam Dolnick and David Perpich.

Get transparent with your political endorsement meetings.

Assuming the paper's editorial board and reporters met with Hillary Clinton, at least once and perhaps twice, before endorsing her in the primaries and general election, inform us of what conditions were requested by the candidate.

We also need to learn what ground rules the paper agreed to. Shedding light on how the Gray Lady came to endorse Clinton would show a new less-opaque way of engaging with readers.

And if there were no sitdowns, just say so. Do you agree?

-----Original Message-----
From: Eileen Murphy
To: mpetrelis
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 3:27 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

When editorial board meetings are conducted off the record, and most are, we don't discuss them at all.


Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 28, 2016, at 6:16 PM, "mpetrelis@aol.com" <mpetrelis@aol.com> wrote:
Hi Eileen,

Thanks for this reply with general info. All of these details give me and my social media followers more clarity about the workings of The Times and why we trust it so much.

Some specific followup questions I ask you to address so I can write a comprehensive report for my blog.

Did The Times hold one or more editorial board meetings with Hillary Clinton?

If so, did the candidate request the sit-down be off the record and if she did ask this of The Times, was it agreed to by the editorial board?

Lemme know, please.

Best,
Michael

-----Original Message-----
From: Murphy, Eileen <eileen.murphy@nytimes.com>
To: Michael Petrelis <mpetrelis@aol.com>
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 12:45 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

As you will have read, this meeting with the President Elect was conducted as an on-the-record session with our reporters and editorial columnists, which is why there was a transcript and an audio recording. 

This differs greatly from our editorial board meetings, whether with Presidential candidates, or otherwise. In the case of candidates for office, these meetings are often done on an off-the-record basis, at the candidates’ request. Editorial Board meetings are not for the purpose of writing news articles. They are intended as informational sessions for the board that help inform editorials - or endorsements. 

Best,
Eileen
Eileen M. Murphy
SVP, Communications
The New York Times
t. 212-556-1982 / eileen.murphy@nytimes.com
Twitter: @NYTeileen

-----Original Message-----
From: mpetrelis <mpetrelis@aol.com>
To: eileen.murphy <eileen.murphy@nytimes.com>
Sent: Sat, Nov 26, 2016 1:26 pm
Subject: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions



Dear Eileen,

While reading the many tweets from your reporters at Donald Trump's extraordinary, and well-documented, recent meeting with The Times, which proved again the vital role the paper plays in American democracy, I wondered about any similar sit-downs with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Did The Times conduct interviews with Clinton before she was twice endorsed this year by the paper - during the primary and then general fall elections?

If so, what can be disclosed to me about what transpired? I'd also like to know what the ground rules were and if you advocated for an on-the-record conversation, one that could be shared in its entirety now.

In the interests of fairness, I'm asking The Times to be as transparent as possible about any editorial endorsement meetings with Clinton and hopefully readers will be given the chance to read a full transcript or listen to an audio recording of them.

Would appreciate a substantive response at your earliest convenience. Thanks.

Regards,
Michael Petrelis

Friday, November 25, 2016

Did you see the "Jeopardy" clue in the national print edition of today's New York Times's arts section?

It was this: "He won a Tony and later an Oscar for the same role & decades later, published a memoir called 'Master of Ceremonies."

The response, in the form of a question, of course, is "Who is Joel Grey?"

He's receiving the Oscar Hammerstein Award soon enough from the York Theater Company, according to their ad next to the clue!


Rust Belt Recount: NYT Omits Stein; WaPo Includes Greens

Talk about mainstream media bias favoring the two major political parties and ignoring third parties. Here's a prime piece of evidence from the New York Times that ran on Nov. 24.

Reporters Trip Gabriel and David E. Sanger, in a story headlined "Clinton Supporters, Citing Experts, Urge Her to Seek Recount in 3 Key States," note that many of Hillary supporters want her to endorse growing demands for a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The Times omitted mention of the successful crowdfunding drive spearheaded by Jill Stein and the Green Party, that as of the Times' deadline was on the way toward raising $2 million for the recounts.

How the hell can the Gray Lady run a lengthy piece, ran across six column print inches, on the recount call and fail to once report on Stein and the Greens? All the news fit to print, indeed.

As if to correct their journalistic cohort's omission, the Washington Post on Nov. 25 published an article by David Weigel with this headline: "Why People Are Giving Jill Stein Millions for an Election Recount."

Link to source.

Granted, the Times piece ran yesterday and the Washington Post waited a day to run it's story, it's still very telling that the former with all its resources and reporters completely ignored the Green Party moving forward on recounts.

Has the Times learned anything about its narrow vision when it comes to political organizing outside of the Democratic and Republican parties? Their article yesterday leads me to think not.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

San Francisco Districts Where Trump Did Best?

Before getting to the numbers, happy Thanksgiving wishes from Mike and I to all of you.

For all intents and purposes, the Department of Elections has concluded tallying ballots cast in November's races.

Let's go over the most interesting figures regarding Donald Trump's 37,688 votes, which equals 9.23% of the San Francisco vote.

Trump's top vote-getting districts are as follows, in descending order:

Sunset: 5,166
West of Twin Peaks: 4,133
Richmond: 3,720
Marina/Pacific Heights: 3,717
Excelsior: 2,871
Civic Center/Downtown: 1,969
South of Market: 1,491
Western Addition: 1,353
Chinatown: 1,349
Bayview/Hunters Point: 1,184
Lake Merced: 1,088
Portola: 1,022
Mission: 1,069
Ingelside: 983
Seacliff/Presidio Heights: 775
Vistacion Valley: 745
Laurel Heights/Anza Vista: 728
Noe Valley: 656
Potrero Hill: 636
North Embarcadero: 600
Upper Market/Castro: 522
Inner Sunset: 512
Diamond Heights: 431
South Bernal Heights: 425
Haight Ashbury: 403
North Bernal Heights: 275

Data gleaned from page 22 the Statement of the Vote from the San Francisco Department of Elections, which is of keen interest to policy and election wonks. Give it a look and crunch the numbers of all the campaigns.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mahler Tonite With the Berlin Philharmonic

Whether it's the best or worst of times, culture always redeems and soothes hurting souls or provides some exhilaration of being alive.

Any opportunity to hear the Berlin Philharmonic perform live is something to treasure.

I'm pleased to share the news that we have tickets to experience this orchestra at 8 pm tonight at Davies Hall, home of the San Francisco Symphony.

On the program is Mahler's 7th Symphony and needless to say, after hearing thrilling performances of other Mahler works this year by our symphony and most recently the Los Angeles Philharmonic, we're anticipating a fabulous night with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Donald & Ivanka Trump: $11,000 to Dems Harris & Newsom

Public elections finance disclosures at the California secretary of state's office reveal Donald Trump gave $6,000 to Kamala Harris's 2014 attorney general reelection campaign.

He also wrote a $2,500 check for Gavin Newsom unsuccessful bid for governor in 2009.

President-elect Trump's adviser and daughter Ivanka Trump also gave $2,000 to Harris and donated $500 to Newsom, in the same races.

Total Trump dollars that flowed to Harris: $8,000, to Newsom: $3,000. Combined Trump sum to these two California Democrats: $11,000.

I'm calling on United States Senator-elect Harris and Lt. Gov. Newsom to donate the amount they received from the Trumps to individual persons facing deportation in the California criminal justice system.

Under no circumstances should they return the money to the Trumps.

We need to drain the Democratic Party swamps - nationally, in Sacramento and here in San Francisco.



Monday, November 21, 2016

Green Voter Zealous Petrelis Breaks 10,000 Vote Ceiling!

The latest results for all races from the San Francisco Department of Elections were released this afternoon and yours truly has a new vote total: 10,143. That is 6.79% of ballots cast.

Yuge thanks to all who voted for Zealous Petrelis!

For a registered Green Party voter who spent less than $100 on his campaign, I'm damn proud of my DIY Democracy effort that put public health concerns over the 16th Street BART Plaza on the community agenda, and captured enough votes to smash the five-figure vote count ceiling.

About 14,000 ballots are still to be counted and the department expects to complete the vote counting by the close of business on Wednesday. Stay tuned to learn what my eventual total comes to.