Travel

Life on the dirtiest block in San Francisco

The heroin needles, the pile of excrement between parked cars, the yellow soup oozing out of a large plastic bag by the curb and the stained, faux Persian carpet dumped on the corner. It is a scene of detritus that might bring to mind any variety of developing-world squalor. But this is San Francisco, the capital of the nation’s technology industry, where a single span of Hyde Street hosts an open-air narcotics market by day and at night is occupied by the unsheltered and drug-addled slumped on the sidewalk. There are many other streets like it, but by one measure it is the dirtiest block in the city. Just a 15-minute walk away are the offices of Twitter and Uber, two companies that along with other nameplate technology giants have helped push the median price of a home in San Francisco well beyond a million dollars. This dichotomy of street crime and world-changing technology, of luxury condominiums and grinding, persistent homelessness, and the dehumanizing effects for those forced to live on the streets provoke outrage among the city’s residents. For many who live here it is difficult to reconcile San Francisco’s liberal politics with the misery that surrounds them. According to city statisticians, the 300 block of Hyde Street, a span about the length of a football field in the heart of the Tenderloin neighborhood, received 2,227 complaints about street and sidewalk cleanliness over the past decade, more than any other. It is an imperfect measurement — some blocks might be dirtier but have fewer calls — but residents on the 300 block say that they are not surprised by their ranking. The San Francisco bureau photographer, Jim Wilson, and I set out to measure the depth of deprivation on a single block. We returned a number of times, including a 12-hour visit, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on a recent weekday. Walking around the neighborhood we saw the desperation of the mentally ill, the drug dependent and homeless, and heard from embittered residents who say it will take much more than a broom to clean up the city, long considered one of the United States’ beacons of urban beauty. Human waste has become such a widespread problem in San Francisco that the city in September established a unit dedicated to removing it from the sidewalks. Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for the public works department, describes the new initiative as a “proactive human waste” unit. At 8 a.m. on a recent morning, as mothers shepherded their children to school, we ran into Yolanda Warren, a receptionist who works around the corner from Hyde Street. The sidewalk in front of her office was stained with feces. The street smelled like a latrine. “Some parts of the Tenderloin, you’re walking, and you smell it and you have to hold your breath,” Warren said. At she does every morning, she hosed down the urine outside her office. The city has installed five portable bathrooms for the hundreds of unsheltered people in the Tenderloin but that has not stopped people from urinating and defecating in the streets.

You get the idea..  And this is an article from the very liberal NY Times; not some conservative news media outlet.  San Fran is a poster child of what happens when years and years of extreme liberal politicians enact failed liberal policies in a major urban area for decades.  San Fran is a total disaster, and it’ll remain so until the residents decide that enough is enough and actually consider voting for politicians who aren’t the same liberal Democrats they’ve been electing for decades.  But, don’t hold your breath…or your nose.  For more, click on the text above.

How Air in the Pacific Northwest Became Dirtier Than Beijing

SPOKANE, Wash.—On a recent morning in this city bred on the great outdoors, the halls of Mt. Spokane High School were filled with some 600 football players throwing spirals, cross-country runners doing laps, and marching band members twirling batons. The air outside was too smoky to breathe. The Pacific Northwest, sandwiched between Canada’s smoldering British Columbia to the north and six fire-wracked Western U.S. states, is feeling the side effects of one of the worst fire seasons on record. For much of the past several weeks, clouds of choking smog have upended daily life and posed a health hazard for millions here. “It was like being at a campfire wherever you went,” said Paul Kautzman, Mt. Spokane’s athletic director, after a particularly noxious day. Flights have been delayed because of visibility problems, the Seattle Seahawks moved practice to an indoor facility, and people are showing up at hospitals and medical clinics with complaints of wheezing, shortness of breath and other ailments. Long-planned surgeries have been canceled because patients are too ill from the smoke. In Spokane last week, a thick, gray fog draped the sky, obscuring the view of Mt. Spokane and the fir trees that dot the skyline here. A YMCA camp had to shuttle 60 children from a park to its nearest indoor facility, a former Gold’s Gym, where they arrived wearing protective masks. This region has dealt with smoke pollution before, but this year has been significantly worse, residents and experts say. Aug. 20 was the worst day so far for Spokane, population 215,000. Its air was dirtier than that of any major city—outpacing typically smog-addled places like Beijing and Lahore, Pakistan, according to a global pollution survey by IQAir Group, a Swiss-based manufacturer of air-pollution equipment that has a data collection unit. Among 80 cities with populations of more than 300,000, Vancouver, British Columbia, had the worst air quality in the world that day, followed by Seattle, IQAir said. Under the Air Quality Index, a standard followed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 101 to 150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151 to 200 is unhealthy for everyone, and over 200 very unhealthy. Spokane reached a high of 226 last week. Vancouver hit 165. Eric Lewis, chief executive of Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash., on the Olympic Peninsula north of Seattle, said he has experienced a sore throat, raspy voice and difficulty breathing—even though he suffers from no respiratory illness and has forsaken his daily walks for more than two weeks. “It’s like suddenly becoming a smoker,” he said. Rain over the Spokane area cleared out the skies Sunday and Monday, but smoky conditions were expected to return later this week there and in other parts of the Pacific Northwest that got a reprieve. Experts say it is unclear when the smoke will lift for good. An unusually stubborn ridge of high pressure has blocked most of the cleansing onshore winds from the Pacific, said Ranil Dhammapala, an atmospheric scientist at the Washington State Department of Ecology. High-pressure systems and wildfires are frequent occurrences this time of year in the region, but the duration and extent of the pollution is unusual, said Mr. Dhammapala.

Crazy..  For more, click on the text above.

San Francisco introduces ‘Poop Patrol’ to clean up after its own crappy liberal policies

The city of San Francisco just can’t seem to do anything right. The city’s liberal policies designed to welcome the homeless and encourage illegal drug use is turning the city from a high-tech haven of beauty and cleanliness, to what UC Berkeley professor Lee Riley described as unsanitary conditions “much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India.” Congratulations lefties, the former crown jewel of the West Coast is now being compared to some of the dirtiest slums in the world. Since the beginning of 2018, the city has received over 14,000 calls to the 311 service about feces on the sidewalks and in the streets. It has gotten so bad the city has lost conventions because of the filth. It appears the city is tired of being the butt of national jokes and has decided to fight back. Local officials have announced yet another program to fix the problems the other programs caused in the first place. The “poop patrol” is expected to cost about $750,000 and employs six people with two trucks. No word if the trucks are hybrid. “What we are trying to do is be proactive,” said Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru. ”So we’ll have a crew that will roam around looking for locations. We actually have data for neighborhoods where we get frequent calls.” Nuru added that “what happens is we’re going to take one of those crews out and try to get ahead of those calls and look for these locations so that hopefully we can get less numbers of calls coming in.” Two things are disturbing about the city’s latest move. Judging from Nuru’s comments, it appears the city is more worried about having to answer phone calls, which is their job, than the actual danger posed by the feces. The second problem is the health danger the fecal matter poses. Pictures of workers cleaning up the problem seem to have one thing in common; they are wearing protective gear. This begs the question, where is the protective gear for the thousands of citizens walking on the streets every day? It may seem like a joke, and making fun of San Francisco is all the rage, but there is a real health threat to the people of the city. Ask anyone that was deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. As a former contractor with the State Department in Kabul, Afghanistan, I can attest to the danger dried airborne fecal matter poses. The “Kabul Crud” hits just about every westerner that goes to the country usually within two weeks of arrival. The air in Kabul is not only filthy with dust, but it is also contaminated with dried fecal matter. This is what happens when you have an open sewer system, as San Francisco now appears to have. Dr. Lee Riley has warned about the dangers the conditions in San Francisco are posing to the residents warning about rotavirus stating, “If you happen to inhale that, it can also go into your intestine.” The virus can be fatal. San Francisco officials need to quit coming up with programs to fix its previously flawed programs. The city needs to get to the root of the problem, and that is its policies that encourage illegal drug use, which in turn attracts homelessness and its horrendous building regulations that cause homelessness.

The author of this article, Printus LeBlanc knows of what he speaks.  I deployed to Afghanistan, myself, as a “field grade” Army Intelligence officer, and quickly got the infamous “Kabul Crud” which kept me down the first few days I was in “theater.”  I’ve never been so sick in my life.  San Francisco is the poster child of what happens when out-of-control, politically correct, extreme liberal policies area enacted by agenda-driven Democrats.  Those liberal policies have failed.  Period.  I remember Pier 39, and enjoying great seafood there, etc.  You couldn’t pay me to go there now.  For disgusting pics and videos, feel free to click on the text above.  Thanks to Printus for this eye-opening story, and exposing what’s going on in San Fran..

First space tourist flights could come in 2019

The two companies leading the pack in the pursuit of space tourism say they are just months away from their first out-of-this-world passenger flights — though neither has set a firm date. Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, and Blue Origin, by Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, are racing to be the first to finish their tests — with both companies using radically different technology. Neither Virgin nor Blue Origin’s passengers will find themselves orbiting the Earth: instead, their weightless experience will last just minutes. It’s an offering far different from the first space tourists, who paid tens of millions of dollars to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in the 2000s. Having paid for a much cheaper ticket — costing $250,000 with Virgin, as yet unknown with Blue Origin — the new round of space tourists will be propelled dozens of miles into the atmosphere, before coming back down to Earth. By comparison, the ISS is in orbit 250 miles (400 kilometers) from our planet. The goal is to approach or pass through the imaginary line marking where space begins — either the Karman line, at 100 kilometers or 62 miles, or the 50-mile boundary recognized by the US Air Force. At this altitude, the sky looks dark and the curvature of the earth can be seen clearly. Click here for more.

🙂

SF’s appalling street life repels residents — now it’s driven away a convention

In a move that is alarming San Francisco’s biggest industry, a major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city — saying its members no longer feel safe. “It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of S.F. Travel, the city’s convention bureau. D’Alessandro declined to name the medical association, saying the bureau still hopes to bring the group back in the future. As a rule, major conventions book their visits at least five years in advance. So when D’Alessandro and members of the hospitality industry hadn’t heard from the doctors about re-upping, they flew to the organization’s Chicago headquarters for a face-to-face meeting with its executive board. And with good reason: The group’s annual five-day trade show draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy. “They said that they are committed to this year and to 2023, but nothing in between or nothing thereafter,” D’Alessandro said. “After that, they told us they are planning to go elsewhere — I believe it’s Los Angeles.” The doctors group told the San Francisco delegation that while they loved the city, postconvention surveys showed their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets. It didn’t help that one board member had been assaulted near Moscone Center last year. “There was a time when the biggest obstacle to having a convention here was that it can be expensive, but now we have this new factor,” D’Alessandro said.

Indeed..  We’re seeing more and more stories like this out of San Francisco..  While disturbing and certainly unfortunate for it’s residents, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  San Fran is a city that has been under solid Democrat control for 50 years, with some of the most liberal policies and ordinances in the nation.  They have spectacularly high taxes, an out-of-control homeless problem, and streets filled with drug paraphernalia and human feces.  It’s common to see people urinate and defecate right in the open.  And, car break-ins and thefts are on the rise, as are assaults.  Going out to Pier 39 just isn’t worth it anymore.  No wonder this professional group is taking their business elsewhere.  As for the residents..  This is what they continue to vote for.  So, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

NASA awards Lockheed Skunk Works $247.5M supersonic X-plane

Supersonic commercial air travel may once again become a reality under a partnership between NASA and Lockheed Martin. The American space agency announced on Tuesday that it awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works to design, build and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD), an X-plane that will be used by NASA to find ways to bring supersonic jet travel back to the skies. The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract is valued at $247.5 million. Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works will build the full-scale experimental X-plane to be about as loud as a closing car door, addressing noise concerns. A preliminary design was crafted as part of NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) effort. The aircraft will travel at about 940 miles per hour and cruise at 55,000 feet. Current regulations ban commercial supersonic travel over land, something that contributed to the demise of the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde. That aircraft began commercial service in the 1970s and lasted until the early 2000s. “We look forward to applying the extensive work completed under QueSST to the design, build and flight test of the X-plane, providing NASA with a demonstrator to make supersonic commercial travel possible for passengers around the globe,” Peter Iosifidis, Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said in a statement on Tuesday. NASA said it will accept the aircraft from Lockheed in late 2021 and will fly it over select U.S. cities starting in mid-2022, collecting community responses to the flights. The data will be provided to U.S. and international regulators to use in considering new sound-based rules for supersonic flight over land. The contract comes a month after the Trump administration – which has been a proponent for NASA – requested full funding for the program in its fiscal year 2019 budget proposal. Lockheed’s Skunk Works has partnered with America’s space agency for years and was awarded a contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of the X-plane aircraft.

Very cool!!     🙂

Extreme vetting: State Dept. to demand tourists’ social media history

The State Department will publish new rules this week that would require most visitors and immigrants to the U.S. to turn over their recent social media histories, carrying out one of President Trump’s key security enhancements from his extreme vetting executive order. Travelers would also be asked to list previous phone numbers, email addresses and international travel during the previous five years, and to detail any immigration problems they’ve had, whether with the U.S. or elsewhere. They’ll also be asked about potential family connections to terrorism. And in a striking human rights move, would-be immigrants from countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent would be directed to a website ensuring they’re aware the practice — common in some African countries — is illegal in the U.S. The proposals are laid out in two new documents slated to be published Friday, kicking off a comment period before the government finalizes the policies. “This upgrade to visa vetting is long overdue, and it’s appropriate to apply it to everyone seeking entry, because terrorism is a worldwide problem. The aim is to try to weed out people with radical or dangerous views,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. She also called the effort to discourage female genital mutilation “innovative.” “The message needs to be sent that ‘we don’t do that here,’ ” she said. Security experts have demanded the government collect more information from visitors and immigrants for years, but civil liberties groups have been wary of the move. Homeland Security had floated plans to track social media of immigrant applicants, but the State Department’s new proposal would apply to tourists and others coming on temporary visas. Some 14 million people would be affected by the request for information, the department’s documents say. Don Crocetti, a former senior fraud investigator for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said it makes sense to collect the information — but said officers need to stay within privacy rules, too. He said in the immigration context, looking at social media can help an adjudicator assess whether the story the applicant is telling for applying for a benefit rings true — such as in the case of a marriage petition. But Mr. Crocetti said someone’s refusal to turn over the passwords or other non-public social media information can’t be used on its own to deny approval. “The use of social media is a wrench in their tool box. It’s not that you use that same wrench for everything you do, but it’s a wrench, it’s a different sized tool, and you have use that selectively,” he said. The State Department said it already collects limited information about travel history and family relations. The new information will go beyond that to include prior passport numbers, information about family members, and a longer history of past travel, employment and contact information. “Collecting this additional information from visa applicants will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity,” the department said. Ms. Vaughan said she wished the State Department had also requested information on the visitor application asking whether female travelers are intending to enter the U.S. for the purpose of having a child. She said that could cut down on what’s known as “birth tourism,” where women in the late stages of pregnancy visit the U.S. in order to give birth on American soil, which secures citizenship for the child.