Bruce Brugmann

Editorial: The next Gavin Newsom

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Will Newsom emerge as an embittered, angry, and ultimately unsuccessful mayor committed to punishing his enemies or a serious leader who can live up to his own hype?

EDITORIAL It's possible that Mayor Gavin Newsom took a long look at himself, his life, and his future last week and decided that politics — intense, 24/7/365 politics — wasn't what he wanted right now. Read more »

The man who drove the Chronicle nuts

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Stephen Barnett, prominent UC-Berkeley law professor and noted First Amendment and antitrust scholar and activist, 1935-2009

barnett.jpg
Photo by Jim Block

By Bruce B. Read more »

Meister: A warm day in Berlin

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Dick Meister describes the tense scene at the Berlin Wall shortly after it went up in 196l

By Dick Meister

It was 20 years ago this month that the Berlin Wall finally fell, one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. But though it's long gone, I and I'm sure many others, have not forgotten that Soviet-erected barrier which had stood for 28 years as a nearly impenetrable divider between the Soviet East and the West.

I especially remember the first time I saw the wall, just after it went up in 1961. Read more »

Akerlof and Stiglitz: Let A Hundred Theories Bloom

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George Akerlof, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University and winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize, served as Chairman of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. Read more »

Halloween 1951: Fast times in Rock Rapids, Iowa

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The tale of what really happened on Halloween Eve in 1951 in Rock Rapids, Iowa

By Bruce B. Brugmann

As I was preparing to update my annual Halloween blog, I checked the Guardian politics blog to see what the action looked like for tomorrow night on Halloween Eve.

Two years ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom shut down the Halloween celebration in the Castro, killing off one of San Francisco's most famous party events. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Obama's China policy

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CHINA POLICY

1.

So why did President Obama

Decline to meet the Dalai Lama?

It's said that he must curry favor

With Chiina. Yes, it has our waiver

To toss its people in the clink

For how they pray or what they think

And we've resolved that we won't fret

About the way it rules Tibet.

2.

For going along when China's rotten

It's hard to think of what we've gotten.

Calvin Trillin, The Nation, ll/9/09

Health insurers: eliminate antitrust exemption

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Unlocking Competition: The Need to Eliminate the Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurers

By David Balt , Stephanie Gross

(The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all.)

View the full memo (pdf)

Competition is the lodestar of the marketplace. Read more »

Jon Stewart: From here to net neutrality

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Josh Silver and the good people at the Free Press media reform group sent me a snapshot from Jon Stewart's Daily Show (l0/26/09) that skewered the politicians who fought net neutrality for the big media conglomerates.
A masterful job and worth a dozen mainstream editorials, which of course were not and will not be written on the subject. Read more »

Meister: A Halloween invasion from Mars!

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CBS radio on Halloween on Oct. 30, l938: "2X2L calling CQ, NewYork...Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone?"

By Dick Meister

“2X2L calling CQ … 2X2L calling CQ, New York …. Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone?

Millions of Americans – panic-stricken, many of them – waited anxiously for a response to the message, delivered over the CBS radio network in slow flat, mournful tones on a crisp Halloween eve. It was Oct. 30, 1938.

“Isn’t … there … anyone?”

There wasn’t. Read more »