Thoughts on Being Assaulted

This afternoon at 2:25 PM and for the third time in my life I was assaulted. What is striking about this attack on me compared to the other assaults I have suffered is how random it was. I was on the 26 Valencia bus line heading into the Mission District. I was reading as I nearly always do when I am on public transit. I didn't even notice when my assailant boarded and occupied the seat behind me. But as soon as he sat behind me he started muttering some incoherent nonsense laced with expletives. He then started to poke me in my right shoulder.

I whipped around and blurted out, "Stop touching me."

It was then I noticed he was drunk. I could smell the alcohol. And of course, he didn't stop his harassment. Instead, he poked me again muttering that he was going to follow me off the bus. The passenger in the seat in front of me then told me to inform the bus driver.

I got up and headed to the front of the bus where I told the bus driver about the harassment to which I was being subjected. She pulled over on the corner of 21st and Valencia looked back and asked me to point him out. I did. At which point, he leapt from his seat and charged down the aisle yelling god knows what. I braced but he stopped short and then threw two punches at me the second landing squarely on my jaw where I now have a bruise.

My assailant is a Hispanic male, five feet five, perhaps 270 pounds with short cropped hair. After landing his blows, he jumped off the bus and took off down 21st Street. The bus driver called the police and MUNI emergency services.

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Knee Deep in Kimchee

It is likely though not definitive that within the next two months I will be leaving the United States to teach overseas. If I told you where, you'd question my sanity and to be frank this one place I never thought I'd visit let alone live in. But there are jobs there and given my own current and disturbingly persistent underemployment the lure of income is appealing. But the deal isn't struck as yet so I won't divulge the details as yet.

Nonetheless, I am expecting a deal to materialize and thus I have begun to prepare to leave San Francisco, a city that I love, after 13 years. So tonight I went to the Wharf to indulge in an In-n-Out Burger, one the fringe benefits of life in California. Fisherman's Wharf is a part of the city few locals thread. There really isn't much there beyond tourist traps, mediocre restaurants and the aforementioned In-n-Out Burger. I needed to have a double-double animal-style before I left.

While the meal was a treat, I was also treated to listening in on the conversation of my neighboring table. Perhaps treat isn't the right word, more like suffer through the inanities of Southern conservatives on tour in San Francisco. I'm not good at pinning down accents but my guess that these three gentlemen, comfortably enjoying their golden years, hailed from Alabama or perhaps Georgia.

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Healthy San Francisco Clears Another Hurdle

Access to quality health care isn't something that affects us as individuals; it impacts us as families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  Health care is fundamental to the well-being of us as persons and equally fundamental to the well-being of communities, cities, states and the country.  It was with this understanding that the City and County of San Francisco undertook a bold and audacious effort to ensure that everyone in the City By The Bay has not just the promise of health care in the form of insurance, but actual, delivered health care.

The program, Healthy San Francisco, currently provides health care to over 27,000 uninsured San Franciscans, including an estimated 37% of the City's uninsured adults, and looks to triple in participation by the end of 2009.

The program is funded in part by a per employee health care tax, levied by the City upon local businesses, requiring them to spend a certain amount on employee's health care or to pay into a City fund if they spend less than the requirement.  By establishing a tax rather than creating a "mandate" for employers to provide health care to their, Healthy San Francisco avoids a federal law--the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known by the acronym ERISA--that prohibits states and localities from regulating or interfering with employer-based health insurance or pension benefits.

As with any innovative program, however, Healthy San Francisco faces some challenges to its continuation, one being the question of whether the program does actually escape running afoul of ERISA.  Yesterday, the entire federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appeals court that includes California) upheld the ruling of an earlier panel of the appellate court's judges, finding that Healthy San Francisco can continue without running into ERISA problems.

The case will now likely go before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The decision by the Supreme Court may have a major impact on the ability of states and cities to attempt health care reform absent Congressional action.

The case is Golden Gate Restaurant Association v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 07-17370 (9th Cir. Mar. 9, 2009).

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Is Obama an Enlightened Being?

I realize as a diary this sucks, but it is worth sharing a recent article at www.sfgate.com (the online SF Chronicle).  It speaks for itself.  My response?  I'm buying property in Canada.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg i?f=/g/a/2008/06/06/notes060608.DTL& hw=morford&sn=002&sc=665

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Son of Gay Marriage? Or Innovative and Long Overdue Program?

I don't know what to make of this. I'm both happy for San Franciscans, and anxious. San Francisco has been offering a program to insure low income people who often, cant afford health insurance, and now, its being challenged in Federal court. Not unlike the gay marriage debacle of two years back. The timing is also a bit suspicious. And, Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's center-rightish (for San Francisco-) Democratic mayor, is involved.

There is no denying that we, as a nation, desperately need a program to provide affordable healthcare for everybody, not just the working poor and struggling. Everybody.

I was happy until I read that there is a court case challenging this program on Federal grounds and that the hearing will be in 'early November'. Am I being overly paranoid? Does anyone know more about the court case and what grounds this program is being challenged on?


San Francisco to Offer Care for Uninsured Adults

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/14/us/14h ealth.html

This is just an excerpt from near the end of the story:

>A final financing mechanism has placed the program in legal jeopardy. To make sure the new safety net does not encourage businesses to drop their private insurance, the city in January will begin requiring employers with more than 20 workers to contribute a set amount to health care. The Healthy San Francisco program is one of several possible destinations for that money, with others being private insurance or health savings accounts.

>Late last year, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged that provision in federal court, arguing that it violates a law governing employer health benefits. A judge has scheduled a hearing for early November.

Mr. Newsom, a restaurateur and former member of the association, said the program would work only if accompanied by an employer mandate. But he said the city would have contingencies if it lost in court. "It may set us back," he said, "but it's not going to end this program."

What do people think? Is anyone from SF here who can give us some input as to how its working? What grounds is it being challenged on?

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