Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mike and I had restful naps late this afternoon. When we awoke, Turner Classic Movies was about to start broadcasting Jacques Demy's classic musical "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

The guest programmer was "La La Land" director Damien Chazelle who shared his love of the French film with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and us, the viewing audience at home.

This was Mike's first time seeing "Umbrellas" and I'm pleased to report he enjoyed it. The only time I saw the film was back in the day at legendary Thalia Theatre on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Nice way to see it a second time. We love movie musicals!

Is There an FBI File on Carrie Fisher or George Michael?

Here's how to make a FOIA request to the FBI after anyone, famous or not, passes away.

Write your request, include the full obituary from a legitimate news outlet or other verifiable source and the URL, email everything to this addy:

I did exactly that after Carrie Fisher and George Michael died and yesterday I received via snail mail letters from the feds, stating they searched their Central Records System and found nothing on either of them.

Do American democracy a favor and file a FOIA request today with a federal agency or official.

Now, more than ever, government transparency is desperately needed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

While I had a good enough day with fewer cold-related aches, Mike is now experiencing chills and sweats. It's been quite chilly in our apartment, so we used the space heater in the TV room and oven in the kitchen to keep us warm. Both of us are drinking lots of water, taking our daily drug cocktails and napping. Here's hoping we continue to get the rest we need and maybe turn the corner by tomorrow, with our colds behind us.

Monday, January 16, 2017

SF Chronicle: Civic Leader Hopes '[Trump] Does Well'

I've never respected George Schultz, former adviser to President Reagan who served as his secretary of state in the 1980s. He's married to San Francisco's wealthy socialite and Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Schultz, and is frequently seen at City Hall soirees.

This power-couple often enjoys steno services from the SF Chronicle. Just yesterday, Sunday, January 15, the print edition of the paper asked George Schultz to weigh in on Donald Trump:

"Our economy has been slowed by a maze of intricate regulations. But a rearrangement of our tax system and regulatory changes, already in the works, will boost the economy. We’re also in a new era of renewable energy (wind, solar, electric) and, based on my involvement with MIT and Stanford, the problem of storing their intermittency will be reduced.

"As far as Trump is concerned, even though so many are rooting against him, I hope he does well. I’m always for the president, whoever he is. The better the president does, the better off our country will be."

I sure would like to know exactly what part of Trump's agenda is so attractive to Schultz. No, I don't agree that the better this pathological, narcissistic, thin-skinned liar the better America is.

FYI, there are at least seven pieces of public property named for one or both of the Schultz's including City Hall's grand staircase.
This is my third day of dealing with a cold. Grateful it's not the flu. Been taking life very easy.

Mike and I took a taxi out to the Legion of Honor on Sunday to catch the terrific Brother Le Nain exhibit. Otherwise, drinking lots of water, eating fruits and getting plenty of rest.

We're commemorating Martin Luther King Jr Day remembering the great man's work for peace and justice, and watching black-themed films on Turner Classic Movies.

What's happening in your world this weekend?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

CA Pols Wiener & McGuire Withhold TRUMP Act Emails

Did you know electeds in Sacramento have passed open government laws that exempt themselves as state legislators from being required to release public records?

I did and I still filed a public records request with state senator Mike McGuire for his emails related to his TRUMP (Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public) Act proposal that he and fellow senator Scott Wiener introduced in December.

The secretary of the senate informed me that records sought, which may or may not exist, cannot be released because of the exemption granting special status to members of the legislature. Isn't that special?

McGuire and Wiener racked up a fair amount of news clippings for their PR stunt, attempting to require Donald Trump and all presidential hopefuls to release their tax returns in order to get on the 2010 California ballot.

Sure, let's enact such a transparency requirement of POTUS wannabes, but let's also force California's state senators and assembly members to fall under the full purview of all open government laws.

How about it, McGuire and Wiener? Their sunshine philosophy currently is "transparency for thee, not for me" and that needs to change.

Friday, January 13, 2017

UCSF Reviewing Sup. Sheehy's Email Exchanges With City Hall

The University of California is subject to various open government statutes, a fact that needs repeating often since many folks don't know they can request a slew of public records from the various campuses.

Last week, I filed a request for copies of Jeff Sheehy's UCSF emails he exchanged with Mayor Ed Lee's staff and anyone at or any communication related to City Hall, from September 1 through the date of the request.

I also am seeking several years of his university financial disclosure forms, which are separate from the Form 700 he must fill out for the San Francisco Ethics Commission, now that he's a member of the Board of Supervisors.

Today, a public information officer for UCSF, Brenda Gee Peralta, sent me a letter stating my request is a work in process. Records have been gathered and are under review. Let's see how their process progresses next week when I'll ask for another status report.

American democracy, for me, equals being a citizen advocate year-round and recognizing voting on Election Day is a very minimal act of engagement.

Democracy demands we make our appointed officials as transparent as possible, and always remember Sheehy received a single vote, that of Mayor Lee, to assume the power he now possesses. There was no public vetting of Sheehy before he was chosen to be the supervisor for District 8.

Cory Booker's Pharma Donations as Mayor of Newark?

To follow the money from drug companies to the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is going to take a few sets of eyeballs.

Quickly perusing a small number of Booker's many filings with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission, I found one contribution for $500 from an employee of a drug firm, Astrea Zeneca of Delaware, made in 2012.

Unfortunately, all commission filings from Booker are PDFs requiring downloading and contributions and expenses are listed in the same reports. There is no easy way of searching Booker's donors during his mayoral campaigns, according to a commission staffer I spoke with today.

Booker ran four times for Newark mayor, each time setting up two committees and there are at least seventy PDF filings from his campaign. That's a lot of records to comb through.

If you are or know of pharma watchdogs with the resources to research how much Booker raked in from drug companies directly and their employees, they can begin their searching here.

And if they need verbal assistance from the commission, the watchdogs should call 609-292-8700.

We must not only hold Booker to account for pharma funds received as a U. S. Senator but also during his tenure as mayor of Newark.
(Photo credit: Rick Gerharter for the Bay Area Reporter.)

What's in Sup. Sheehy's Financial Disclosure Form?

Only one person vetted and voted for the new District 8 member of the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Ed Lee, who himself was installed without facing the voters. 

So much for San Francisco democracy allowing we, the people, to directly choose our leaders all of the times.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who is not my supervisor just as Trump is not my president, assumed office on January 8. 

According to Ethics Commission rules, Sheehy has to produce his Form 700 and disclose a bit of financial information for himself and his husband.

Would have been nice to have Sheehy's Form 700 available for public inspection before he was anointed supervisor. Sames goes for seeing Trump's tax returns before he won the presidency.

We'll simply have to wait for Sheehy to provide the commission with his filing and once that happens, it can be read here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

NYT's Friedman: 'I Am a Small Shareholder' of a Cybersecurity Firm

It was a passing financial disclosure and generated curiosity about other info that should be disclosed.

Thomas Friedman opined in his January 11 opinion column for the New York Times, "Online and Scared," that our lives are ruled digitally and everyone needs to be careful about all that we do and share online.

Here's what caught my news watchdog eye:

"Alan S. Cohen, chief commercial officer of the cybersecurity firm Illumio (I am a small shareholder), noted in an interview on that the reason this tipping point tipped now was because so many companies, governments, universities, political parties and individuals have concentrated a critical mass of their data in enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments."

Good of Friedman to make this shareholder disclosure and I'd like for him and all regular Times columnists to fully disclose every company in which they are invested. Not only if they're writing about such a company but complete financial disclosures permanently posted on their Times biography page.

Why not have such media transparency? We demand it of our elected leaders. Let's also require it of America's news personalities and pundits.

There is also the matter of how Friedman and his editors define small. Is it ten or 10,000 shares he owns of Illumio? More info, and transparency, very much needed.