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PufPuf23's Journal
PufPuf23's Journal
May 1, 2016

What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors

After racking up a historic N.B.A. season, the team’s owners
— most of them from Silicon Valley — think their
management style deserves some of the credit. Are they right?

MARCH 30, 2016

It was still dark one morning early this year when Joe Lacob, the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors, drove his Mercedes station wagon through the Stanford University campus. He parked near the business school, then walked down a sidewalk through a drizzle to meet a group of Silicon Valley executives. The ex-C.E.O. of OpenTable, now a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, was coming. So were a founder of the online-learning start-up Curious and a managing director of Vanguard Ventures. On another morning, they all might have met at a charity event or a TED Talk. But it was a Tuesday, and that meant basketball.

Lacob, who has worked in venture capital for three decades, has an open, expressive face and broad shoulders. He’s six feet tall but seems taller. The previous night, he watched his Warriors play a home game in Oakland, and now he looked tired. “The Tuesday mornings after we play Monday nights are the hardest,” he said. The basketball court, which is normally used by students and faculty members, has a tidy, corporate look: gleaming hardwood surrounded by plexiglass walls. In his Warriors T-shirt and shorts, Lacob pushed his hands against the glass and stretched his legs. “Honestly, this is my favorite time of the week,” he told me.

One by one, other players arrived. Most have known Lacob for years, since early in his career at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is when he helped start this pickup game. There was no reason for anyone to be deferential to him. But owning a basketball team has cachet, especially when that team has come to rank among the best in N.B.A. history. Nobody mentioned his own business affairs, but everyone was eager to talk about Lacob’s. “Joe, good to see Barnes back,” someone said, referring to Harrison Barnes, a Warriors player who had missed games with an injury.

Remainder of article at:


April 27, 2016

Sacramento Shakedown - Kevin Johnsonís crossover corruption

Back in the fall of 2014, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was unstoppable. He’d pushed through a $300 million city subsidy for a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings. He’d helped elbow out racist Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling, and grabbed a little of the spotlight for himself in the process. He’d been named president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

He and his wife, Michelle Rhee—once the brightest star in the corporate-backed “education reform” movement—showed up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. An adviser told Johnson’s hometown newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, that the couple was a “modern-day version of Bill and Hillary Clinton.” There was talk about a run for California governor or U.S. Senate.

At his peak, KJ was a figure to behold, an urban policy entrepreneur and brander-in-chief selling #Sacramento 3.0, a “world-class” city where kids would take Uber vehicles instead of buses to their charter schools, “never check out a library book,” and have “more smart devices than toothbrushes.”


Aside from the arena, Johnson’s other legacy is something I call KJ Inc. It’s a particular way of doing public business, and it’s also a political machine: a blended network of nonprofit auxiliary organizations, political cronies, and paid city staff, powered by unlimited donations from downtown developers and corporate benefactors.

Last year, Johnson sued me for filing public records requests for city emails, part of an ongoing project to better understand KJ’s mingling of public resources with his private nonprofits. The suit appears intended to economically damage the small alternative weekly I write for—the only media outlet in town to write critically about Johnson’s arena deal, or his educational reform campaign, or his use of city resources for his private agenda. We’re still in court.

more at: http://thebaffler.com/salvos/sacramento-shakedown

April 24, 2016

I do not like the thought that so many good people are considering leaving the Democratic Party.

I have been a registered and voting Democrat since 1972 when I aged into the vote. One exception was I registered GOP to vote John Anderson in the 1980 CA primary as a vote against Reagan. I was firmly politicized Democrat in 1968 age 15. I actually got to eat two family meals with Eugene McCarthy when he campaigned in San Francisco by fortuitous circumstance.

That said I have spent my life voting as a process of elimination. I was a supporter of Bill Clinton as POTUS to the degree I overlooked some items, particularly late in his service. By virtue of my education and professional experience, I should have been paying more attention; however, with hindsight, Bill Clinton was better than the GOP alternative.

I was a supporter of Governor Jerry Brown in 1976 and 1980 for POTUS. I support FDR's second Bill of Rights. I am firmly anti-war but not anti-self defense. I am against a military empire where we garrison troops and divvy out arms around the globe.

Post 9-11, I became disenchanted with Hillary Clinton during her time as Senator and SOS. I became aware of the difference between liberal and neo-liberal. In 2008, I was an any Democrat but Hillary Clinton Democrat and warmed to POTUS Obama to the degree that I cried and was the most glad of any election in my life. I felt that something was wrong and betrayed as soon as POTUS Obama began making appointments and selecting staff. So I have been critical but overall rate POTUS Obama's service as good despite that he is a neo-liberal. POTUS Obama inherited a mess things could have been way worse.

There is a fundamental split in the Democratic Party because of the FDR New Deal liberals and the DLC / Third Way / New Democrats / neo-liberals, a split that cannot be breached as the philosophies and methods are counter; albeit neo-liberals and liberals agree on many social and cultural issues with the stark exception of social justice. The neo-liberals are Machiavellian in their political methods.

In 1968 there were four splits in the Democratic Party, none of which were neo-liberal, the closest being the more conservative Yellow Dawgs. Socially liberal GOP from the 60-70s transferred alliance to the Democratic Party in the 1980s and adopted the neo-liberalism of Ronald Reagan in order to win national elections but moved the Party to the right. The neo-liberals are corporatists and liberals became the scapegoats for any failures; example Gore 2000. From education to war to healthcare to law to environment to just about any metric, recent Democratic Party policy and legislation favors corporations and the wealthy over the vast majority of citizens. Our only alternatives are the nightmare of the GOP or ineffectual third parties.

Hillary Clinton is a neo-liberal and a neo-conservative and has ran a dishonest Machiavellian campaign (as Clinton also did in 2008). The Democratic establishment and DNC fail to represent liberals in general and failed to provide an array of POTUS candidates in 2016 and fail many Democratic traditional interest groups: labor, women, minorities, youth, poor, etc. Sincere efforts and sincere people are mocked and mischaracterized, an artifact of the Democratic establishment in fact. I have long thought DU a useful focus group and site for opposition research but like DU and stay out of habit and much good.

The Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's actions as SOS regards to Syria, Honduras, and Libya are corrupt and repulsive, worthy of the worst of the GOP.

I do not want to leave the Democratic Party and still believe the Party the best route to improve the nation. The Party needs to be rid of the neo-liberals, most of which are either in denial or outright dishonest about who they are and what they support. The neo-liberals are why we are losing Party membership, likely they want for true liberals to leave a substantial American institution. The neo-liberals are why we have an unjust economic system. The neo-liberals are the same as neo-cons regards to war and empire. The neo-liberals will address the environment, health care, and most other issues by monetization and financialization. To disgorge the neo-liberals, requires many of us playing long and for the short term failure of the Democratic Party. The remaining Democratic Party liberals have every reason to withhold monies and support so the neo-liberals fail.

If Bernie Sanders fails in his quest, Hillary Clinton is the best alternative. Clinton may even get my vote in the general election. However, I will not support Clinton as POTUS nor anything Clinton proposes and will bide time waiting for the 2020 primary. Hillary Clinton is a smart and experienced person but is far lacking in political philosophy and even more so in character.

April 18, 2016

The DNC never gamed the primary system to favor a specific candidate - Hillary Clinton -

in 2004 or 2008 or other previous elections.

The Democratic Party use of super-delegates (and primaries or caucuses in all states) was not the protocol when I registered and began voting as a Democrat in 1972.

One could easily argue that the super-delegate rule is not democratic, is unfair, and fosters vote suppression because this is fact, some voters have more vote than others.

There were reasons and even good reasons for the super-delegate rule. The super-delegate rule served as a check and balance. It may still be working but that depends if the super-delegates reflect the will of the voters at large and respect momentum and other dynamic factors rather than preserving the status quo for no other reason than to preserve positions of influence. I am not saying that Sanders deserves to win but the political contest is much closer than anyone predicted and this fact is certainly uncomfortable for Hillary Clinton and Clinton supporters.

The Hillary Clinton campaigns has made mistakes; the repeat of mistakes from the 2008 POTUS primary campaign is hard to explain.

The DNC under DWS never favored a candidate much less began stacking the deck in favor of a specific candidate so early in the POTUS election cycle; in 2016 the timing and degree was such to dampen any real effort by any other potentially competitive candidate making an effort.

One could argue that Hillary Clinton played by the rules so should be justly awarded the Democratic POTUS nomination.

However, an error in judgment was made in that Hillary Clinton has an extremely high unfavorable rating for a politician of high national recognition, both among the nation and within the Democratic Party.

The problem is that Sanders ran for POTUS as a Democrat (in good faith) so as not to split the vote and enhance the chance that the next POTUS be GOP.

Sanders has spent his political career outside the Democratic Party but has been a dependent vote within Congress and has caucused and had committee assignments as a Democrat.

One could argue that Sanders in policy in Congress and during his political career has been truer to the traditional FDR "New Deal" policies than the neo-liberal "New Democrats" beginning with Bill Clinton.

Things regards the 2016 Democratic POTUS primary and nomination process are materially different because it is uncertain as to whether the super-delegate rule "works" and because the DNC seemingly put all its eggs in the Clinton basket before going through process.

I am irritated not at the super-delegate rule but how the system has been gamed where we may end up with a Democratic nominee that so many view with disrespect and who is not our most favorable candidate for a national election nor in my opinion a person of the character required to be POTUS.

Edit to add after reading thread:

My preference would be for closed primaries and no caucuses with each delegate able to vote their own conscious as of the second vote of the nominating convention should the initial vote not be a clear absolute majority (for example set some rule like a minimum of 53% of delegates selected by proportion in the state primaries). Rule should also be formulated and used such that the DNC and other Democratic Party structures provide a level playing field for all candidates. There should also be fixed and identical rules for voter registration with a flexible method and time (say within 30 days of election).

April 17, 2016

Oil import statistics and oil imports from Saudi Arabia

Oil imports by the month to USA


Oil Imports by Month from Saudi Arabia



Less than 12% of oil imports to USA come from Saudi Arabia (note this is imports only and does not included domestic production used domestically)

Less than 1/6 of oil imports to USA come from the Persian Gulf.

However, USA based (and NATO-based) trans-national oil corporations produce and market substantial amounts of Saudi and Persian Gulf oil by an order of magnitude over what we actually use, I know this and if interested anyone can do the research in minutes.

April 17, 2016

Sanders may well do better than Clinton regards to Trump or the GOP.

All the polls seem to indicate Sanders does better than Clinton.

Right now there are several OPs that have most recent favorability ratings of the various candidates and only Trump is worse than Clinton in negative public image:

-41 Trump
-24 Clinton
-23 Cruz
+9 Sanders (one could argue this has been dampened by negative campaigning within the Democratic Party)
+12 Kasich

Where I live in rural California, folks are for Trump or Sanders, and I know of no one nor locally have I seen a single campaign sign nor bumper sticker for Hillary Clinton.

Several days ago I spoke to a friend of 40 plus years and former roommate in youth. He is the Director of Public Health in an adjacent rural county and what I would call a legacy Democrat.

He moved to CA from MN in 1981 and grew up in Hibbing where his grandfather founded what was a major regional bank. His family in MN was very politically active and his grandparents and parents were long time personal friends and supporters of the Humphrey and Mondale families. He was the black sheep and studied environmental science and came to CA while his brothers earned law degrees and one went into banking in Duluth. Now all are in 60s and nearing retirement. I was more liberal but always listened to him.

When we spoke, he said he was troubled by Clinton but rather than Sanders, he supported Kasich. He bleeds Democrat. This blew me away but fortunately politics was only a brief mention in our conversation.

April 16, 2016

Many of the impacts of fracking to water, air, and underlying geology cannot be mitigated nor is

natural recovery in a human-scale amount of time.

Projects are permitted under NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and as such require a Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment, or an Environmental Impact Statement, with a Categorical Exclusion requiring the least study and mitigation and Environmental Impact Statement the most.

The shales that are fracked may lie under public or private lands, however, the federal government retains mineral rights to shales underlying most private lands and can put private tracts up for sale regardless of surface ownership and use.

Fracking projects are being approved under Categorical Exclusions, the weakest NEPA document and study. This is a bad faith application of NEPA but policies are implemented to avoid documenting the environmental impacts. Some fracking projects are approved without NEPA.

At the link is a pdf document by the Congressional Research Service about fracking in general and several specific projects where federal and state agencies and promoters argued that NEPA did not apply. This claim is ludicrous. I cannot copy from the pdf to DU.


April 16, 2016

Neocons and the Ukraine Coup


Exclusive: American neocons helped destabilize Ukraine and engineer the overthrow of its elected government, a “regime change” on Russia’s western border. But the coup and the neo-Nazi militias at the forefront also reveal divisions within the Obama administration, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

More than five years into his presidency, Barack Obama has failed to take full control over his foreign policy, allowing a bureaucracy shaped by long years of Republican control and spurred on by a neocon-dominated U.S. news media to frustrate many of his efforts to redirect America’s approach to the world in a more peaceful direction.

But Obama deserves a big dose of the blame for this predicament because he did little to neutralize the government holdovers and indeed played into their hands with his initial appointments to head the State and Defense departments, Hillary Clinton, a neocon-leaning Democrat, and Robert Gates, a Republican cold warrior, respectively.


Obama’s Strategy

As President, Obama has sought a more cooperative relationship with Russia’s Putin and, generally, a less belligerent approach toward adversarial countries. Obama has been supported by an inner circle at the White House with analytical assistance from some elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

But the neocon momentum at the State Department and from other parts of the U.S. government has continued in the direction set by George W. Bush’s neocon administration and by neocon-lite Democrats who surrounded Secretary of State Clinton during Obama’s first term.

more ...
April 15, 2016

The unsanitized story of Jackie Robinson

I liked this article.


Although born from good intentions, the idea of Jackie Robinson the saint is a convenient, unfortunate concoction. It is true enough that Robinson changed America, and in turn, America changed with him. His image and name rests on awards and on stamps, on highways and schools, and in his sport, no player on any team will ever wear his number 42 again, except during the one game later this week, when every player, coach and umpire in the majors wears it.

The simple language at the root of his legend -- Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier -- sounds good and permanent and important, uncomplicated both for grade schoolers and adults alike, and the triumphant tone is consistent with America's enduring need for hope.

[The Undefeated: 'Jackie Robinson' doc kills myths of legend

Ken Burns' four-hour, two-part documentary on Jackie Robinson alters the memory and mythology of the first black man to integrate baseball.]

Yet even that is a concoction. At best, it is a fantasy discouraging the deeper, more painful excavation of the barriers he couldn't break and why, the ones society did not lower but strengthened because of the threat of his presence. At worst, it is a simplistic and corrosive lie designed to keep America from itself, to keep it from what it is, which is a nation far more comfortable with always being the good guy, always preferring the fairy tale to the truth.

The real Robinson, whole and unsanitized, was constantly human, competitive, flawed and pained, honorably naïve but always in determined opposition to the obstacles that prevented him from fulfilling a quest still unrealized some 44 years after his death: full partnership in the American dream for African-Americans. The real Robinson lives beautifully and heroically, inside a confectionary lie that his sainthood was something given by a redeemed America rather than taken from a resistant one.

The concoction undermines his true, enduring significance: the enormous cost of the legend, its actual price in isolation and hurt. Robinson paid for remaining in the fight, even when overmatched, and was betrayed, sometimes by his supporters. The better story for a nation so woefully divided is the real one of the person willing to pay the cost and suffer the cracks and fallibilities that came with it.


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