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From the Blogs

Stiglitz: The Dangers of Deficit Reduction

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By Joseph E. Stiglitz

Here is our monthly installment of Joseph E. Stiglitz's Unconventional Economic Wisdom column from the Project Syndicate news series. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics. His forthcoming book Freefall will be published this winter. Read more »

Protests demand more money for education

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Images from yesterday's protests by Charles Russo

Yesterday’s Day of Action to protest deep cuts in public education and other vital services was far larger – and occasionally more militant – than many had expected, sending a strong message to Sacramento that it’s time to pursue new revenue options instead of simply cutting the public sector to the bone.Read more »

Tying one on with Dave Attell

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Dave Attell had my dream job. In the Comedy Central series, Insomniac, from 2001-2004, Attell took the typical travel show concept and gave it a degenerate edge, showcasing the people and places that come alive in towns across the country after midnight. The show was a smash hit in its own right... but I think he's tired of talking about it now. So more importantly, he's a super sharp stand up comedian with a rather dead pan manner and a knack for making hecklers feel like fools. He rocks the USO circuit on the regular, but he's doing a civilian show on a stage near you shortly (Fri/12 & Sat/13, Cobb's Comedy Club). He asked me to let y'all know that he'll be performing new materials- so all the real comedy fans, come out and play.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: So we’re all really stoked you’re coming to San Francisco…

Dave Attell: I love SF. That’s where I started headlining. That’s probably where I’m going to end headlining, too. I have nothing but good thoughts about SF- even though now that it’s all fancy and PC it’s not as fun anymore, everyone knows that.

SFBG: How long have you been doing standup?

DA: Twenty years.

SFBG: Oh yeah, some change has gone down then. The thing I keep reading about you is that you’re a comedian’s comedian. What does that even mean?

DA: It means you can’t act. I can’t. I’m a horrible actor. I like jokes, I like writing jokes. But yeah, I don’t really know what that means. It’s a compliment, I hope.

SFBG: Has your comedy matured/grown over time? New themes?

DA: That’s a great question and the answer is no. Being in your mid forties and still talking about drinking and porn, I’d say the answer is no. I’m a good comic, not a great comic.

Read more »

"Cruising" -- Hunx and His Punx

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See video

It's hard to keep up with Justin Kelly's video endeavors -- he's got new clips for Harlem ("Gay Human Bones"), Alexis Penney (the sublime "Lonely Sea"), and a few from Hunx on the way. Read more »

Uproot: Little City Gardens gots to get paid

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By Robyn Johnson

In a manifesto of sorts released by Civil Eats, Brooke Budner of Little City Gardens, co-owned by Caitlyn Galloway, lays out the farm’s intention to create San Francisco’s first for-profit urban micro-farm in that generates a viable income for farmers, thus paving the way for more potential urban farmers follow suit:
       
"Our approach to growing the urban agriculture movement is based upon the premise that urban food production will not reach its full potential unless there are avenues in the local market economy for growers to make a living through the sales of their produce. Currently, San Francisco’s urban agriculture is largely anchored in the realms of education and non-profit work. While a substantial amount of food can be grown […] the quantity pales in comparison to what could be grown if farmers could earn a living wage through the cultivation and sales of food in the city." Read more »

Trash Lit: Grafton's craft in 'U is for Undertow'

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U is for Undertow
Sue Grafton
Putnam. 403 pages, $27.95

I love the Sue Grafton books. I bought A is for Alibi in 1983, when it came out, and I’ve read every one of them since. Unlike, say, Patricia Cornwell, whose characters age (and get crabbier) as time passes, Kinsey Milhone is eternal, always young, always living in a town called Santa Teresa that’s a lot like Santa Barbara, always living with her old (but never dying) landlord, Henry, always eating at the foul Hungarian restaurant down the street. Read more »

Noise Pop 2010: Loquat at BOTH; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Bimbo's

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Loquat at Bottom of the Hill

The San Francisco band started their set with a request for more blue lighting at the Bottom of the Hill Friday Feb. 27, half-joking and half-hoping to make things look “cooler” and more “ocean-like.” Loquat has been playing their brand of electro-pop in the Bay Area for almost a decade and therefore I was expecting some really sweet synth action as a precursor to headlining band, Memory Tapes. Instead, racing guitars and strong bass muddled all of my most favorite parts of Loquat’s soun: the subtle waving melodies and vocalist Kylee Swenson’s floating lyrics. Their newfound heavier sound translated into a rock version of L.A.'s Bitter:Sweet, with tons of energy that twinkled over the crowd like the venue’s vintage Christmas lights. Read more »

Police Commission shoots down Tasers

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The San Francisco Police Commission came to its senses last night, and -- after an immense amount of work by community activists and Commissioner Petra DeJesus -- voted 4-3 not to move forward with a plan for giving the cops Tasers.

A lot of the discussion revolved around the safety of the stun guns; zapping someone with 50,000 volts can cause injury and sometimes death. But there’s another issue here, and the pres coverage only touched on it.Read more »

Day of Action field reports

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We’re starting to get some field reports from today’s big Strike and Day of Action -- which culminates in a 5 p.m. rally in Civic Center Plaza -- from some Guardianistas who we have covering various marches. And it sounds like the turnout is big and lively.Read more »

Gamer: "Heavy Rain" review

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By Peter Galvin

Heavy Rain
(Quantic Dream)
PS3

A new game where you wiggle and waggle your controller in time with on-screen prompts? No, it’s not a new Wii game. Heavy Rain for the PS3 is a dark thriller from the people who brought you the sleeper hit Indigo Prophecy. With the technology developers have at their disposal these days, it’s become feasible in many ways for games to truly resemble the cinematic experience of a feature film. Heavy Rain takes that idea one step further by playing out much like an interactive movie.

Read more »

Five Questions: Sara talks, minus Tegan

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It’s been 12 years and the two adorable Canadian Twins are still making perfectly pleasant, political pop. Their latest album, Sainthood, is a stellar collection of matured, electronically hinged tracks that never fail to get stuck in your head. The sassy duo plays at the Fox in Oakland Friday and are sure to reign in a full crowd of Bay Area queer ladies.

It’s hard not to fall for Tegan and Sara, their cute haircuts, charming smirks, and songs that seem to nuzzle up to any mood. And these ladies put on an awesome show with mouthfuls of quirky conversation and honest, adorable blabbing about all sorts of intelligent topics.

Before setting up shop at venue in Austin, Sara took a few minutes to let me in a few tour secrets and proved that her hilariously eccentric stage presence isn’t an act in the slightest.
Read more »

Editorial: Where landlords, developers, and cars are king

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EDITORIAL Are cars more important than people? Is it OK to evict a tenant just to make space for a garage? Should new garages be designed to preserve on-street parking too? Seems like a no-brainer to us. But legislation by Sup. David Chiu that would put some limits on the expansion of garages — an increasing problem in Chinatown and North Beach — has infuriated some real estate interests, and it's possible that this eminently reasonable bill might fail.

It's a sad statement on San Francisco politics, and the implications go way beyond this one planning measure.Read more »

Obits for sale

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Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his recent columns.

Like most daily newspapers these days, the San Francisco Chronicle is hustling to increase declining profit margins.  But let me offer some advice to my former employer: Quit gouging grieving readers as part of your profit chasing. I mean those who pay the Chronicle for running their loved ones’ death notices on the paper’s obituary pages.

Sure, the paper’s not making anywhere near as much as it once did from other classified ads, but don’t try to make up for it by outrageously exploiting the saddened friends and families of the recently deceased.

The basic price for death notices is $16 per printed line per day – $112 per column inch (about seven lines of type).  Those 1x1½ inch photos that sit atop many obits cost about $135 more. If you also want the obit on the Chronicle’s website, that will be another $25, please. And if you want the obit to run for a longer period, for say a week, that can get quite pricey – as much as  $784 per inch. Read more »

Appetite: Hungry for Oscar coverage

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Food lovers can be film lovers, too. So in an unconventional "Appetite" this week, we go to the Oscars. Despite unworthy nominees and a slew of lackluster films, as a lifelong film fanatic, I still relish the event every year. There's fun in joining with like-minded film buffs and fashion hounds to rave and rant about all the missteps or underdogs who should have won. And I'll take any excuse to dress up.

This year I'm hoping the dynamic duo hosting team of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will add some spark to the hours' long telecast. I'm more skeptical about the first go-round of 10 Best Picture nominees, however. We may not be Hollywood, but SF still gets into the act with events to suit everyone: those who want to enjoy the Oscars in style and those who want to bash the hell out of them. Read more »

Appetite: Hungry for Oscar coverage

|
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Food lovers can be film lovers, too. So in an unconventional "Appetite" this week, we go to the Oscars. Despite unworthy nominees and a slew of lackluster films, as a lifelong film fanatic, I still relish the event every year. There's fun in joining with like-minded film buffs and fashion hounds to rave and rant about all the missteps or underdogs who should have won. And I'll take any excuse to dress up.

This year I'm hoping the dynamic duo hosting team of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will add some spark to the hours' long telecast. I'm more skeptical about the first go-round of 10 Best Picture nominees, however. We may not be Hollywood, but SF still gets into the act with events to suit everyone: those who want to enjoy the Oscars in style and those who want to bash the hell out of them. Read more »