LIT/FILM The folding travel toothbrush is a central element in every Jack Reacher novel. It's his only possession, the only thing the wandering ex-military cop takes with him when he throws away his old clothes and buys new ones, the only thing that ties him directly to his old life in the U.S. Army. It's part of the Reacher formula, one that consistently works through 17 books by Lee Child.
I keep asking. And every time the Offies come around, I find myself boggled yet again. Our awards for the very worst — the dumbest, the most tasteless, the most truly offensive acts of the year past — keep sinking lower and lower.Read more »
The last time the San Francisco supervisors elected a new board president, the progressives got a swift kick in the ass. David Chiu, who had been elected to the top slot two years earlier with the unanimous support of progressives, disappointed some of his allies and wasn't going to get their votes. But he wanted to keep his job, so he turned to the conservatives -- and with the support of the folks on the right, he won another term. The he turned around and put the center-right folks in charge of some key committees. Price of the deal.Read more »
My friend Johnny, who lives in Seattle, tells the story of the day years ago when he saw an older woman standing on a hillside near his house, watching while bulldozers knocked down trees and tore up part of the hill to put in a freeway extension. He was pretty new to town, so he asked the woman what was going on.
She shook her head, and with a bitter smile, said: "Progress."Read more »
At noon Dec. 19, a group of about 50 housing activists led by the Housing Rights Committee gathered at 18th and Castro, next to the giant Shopping Season Tree, to discuss the wave of evictions tenants are facing at the end of 2012. Tommi Avicolli Mecca held up a list of 26 buildings that are currently being clear of tenants under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict all their tenants and sell the property as a single-family home or tenancies in common. With him was a long line of tenants who are facing holiday homelessness thanks to landlord greed.Read more »
EDITORS NOTES The president promised "meaningful action," but did not mention guns once in his response to the unthinkable killing spree in Newtown, Connecticut. The gun nut lobby argued that if the teachers at the school had been armed, one of them might have shot the killer — suggesting that we ought to devolve into the worst parodies of the Old West (where, in truth, many towns, like Dodge City, banned handguns altogether).Read more »
We spent a trillion dollars and almost 5,000 American lives trying to root out non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We fret about Iran getting a WMD, and we worry that North Korea already has one. Nuclear nonproliferation has been a key part of US foreign policy since the end of World War II.Read more »
Nothing like a dog story to captivate a city that has so much else going on. And while there are (sadly) dogs euthanized in this city fairly often, mostly because they're unadoptable or found to be dangerous, the particulars of Charlie's story -- and the press attention it's gotten -- has turned this one incident into a world-wide campaign against the Canine Death Penalty.Read more »
There's enough oil (maybe) under Central California to make petro companies vastly rich, and to keep people driving around in their carbon-spewing private cars for many years to come. Only problem is you have to use hydrofracking to bust up the shale deposits to get at it. And that involves toxic chemicals and possible contamination of water supplies.Read more »