The website WikiLeaks posted tens of thousands of classified intelligence documents relating to the Afghanistan War on Sunday, July 25. Spanning the years 2004-09, the documents had been shared in advance with reporters from the New York Times, the British Guardian and the German Der Spiegel, all of which produced long pieces offering their interpretations of the documents.
In corporate U.S. media, the documents produced several narratives. For some, the WikiLeaks revelations were either not all that important, or certainly not as important as the leak of the Vietnam War-era Pentagon Papers. As a Washington Post story put it (7/27/10), "Unlike the Pentagon Papers, these documents--although they are closer to a real-time assessment and although they land in the superheated Internet era--do not reveal any strategy on the part of the government to mislead the public about the mission and its chances for success." The New York Times (7/26/10) noted that Read more »
An irascible ex-TV news anchor shoots a promo video for Winnebago in Iowa in the summer of 1988. It's hot out, the crew isn't giving him what he needs, and he swears. A lot. Fast forward 20 years, and the video that damn crew complied of his least flattering outtakes has garnered over 20 million hits on YouTube. Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer hired a detective to find out what happened to the star of his favorite viral video, and the ensuing film, Winnebago Man (which starts Fri/30), turns up some surprising conclusions about the notion of, as Steinbauer put it to me in our recent interview at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, “accidental notoriety.” Some people are calling the film an exploitation of the alternately crude and eloquent Jack Rebney, a new media naïf – but my half hour with the pair raised questions in my eyes of who was using who to tell what story.
Some of the most prominent lawyers in San Francisco, including two high-ranking judges, have launched a full-scale political campaign to protect Judge Richard Ulmer, a straight white former Republican and Schwarzenegger appointee, against a challenge by a gay Latino Democrat.
Among the Ulmer supporters, who have vowed to raise a substantial amount of money for the fall judicial election, are J. Anthony Kline, presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco and James McBride, presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. They’re joined by a surprising number of leading liberal lawyers, including James Brosnahan, senior partner at Morrison and Foerster, Joe Cotchett, the widely known trial lawyer, and Sid Wolinsky, a founder of Disability Rights Advocates and a lifelong public interest attorney.
And John Burton, the chair of the California Democratic Party, is contacting members of the San Francisco County Central Committee to try to get that panel to rescind its endorsement of Ulmer’s opponent, Michael Nava.
It is, by any standard, an astonishing amount of political firepower for a local judicial race – and it’s all being done in the name of avoiding politicizing the judiciary. Read more »
San Francisco is now one step closer to becoming the first American city to implement a congestion pricing plan as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority staff prepares to present their final study findings to the Board of Supervisors this fall.Read more »
Oh Bay Bombers, won't you stop in your roller derby tracks and tell us how you've been? San Francisco's famed co-ed blocking, pivoting, jamming squadron has been packing ever-increasing crowds into Kezar Pavilion, their historical home this year – and no wonder, they're killing it on track. To tell us by just how much, we wrangled a phone interview with general manager Jim Fitzpatrick, who we last checked in with shortly before his home opening match with league Lucifer Georgia Hase's Brooklyn Red Devils.
For every awesome reality show (Real Housewives of New Jersey), there are dozens that feel forced and pointless (keeping it within Bravo, the Housewives network, anyone else seen that Work of Art show? Can you explain the point, or the appeal?) Into the "I'm already famous" sub-genre of reality shows (as opposed to the "I'll do anything to be famous" sub-genre) tumbles Growing Up Twisted, a new seven-part series that debuted this week on A&E. It's unclear if we have the success of Gene Simmons Family Jewels (also an A&E production) to thank for this, or if this is some kind of attempt to reclaim the glory that once was MTV's The Osbournes. If it's the latter, the world needs to realize that there's only one Ozzy (and only one Sharon, for that matter), and there will never be another Osbournes. Read more »
Hypocrisy hung thickly in the air at City Hall today as Mayor Gavin Newsom refused to responsively address glaring contradictions on a pair of high-profile policy stances, pursuing naked self interest while cloaking himself in deceptive but high-minded rhetoric. Newsom used the city budget-signing ceremony to effusively praise the labor unions that he publicly shamed into giving back $250 million over two years to balance the budget without tax increases, a budget that cut services and increased various fees and fines.Read more »
Here's a statistic that's guaranteed to get anti-immigrant groups seeing majorly red: A CNN poll found the 81 percent of those questioned support a program that would allow undocumented workers who have already been living in the country for a number of years to remain legally if they had a job and paid taxes. Read more »
The New Mission Theater, a dilapidated landmark that sits on the 2500 block of Mission Street, has been vacant for years, but controversy surrounding its fate is alive as ever and will be discussed at this afternoon's July 29 City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees meeting. Read more »
The Board of Supervisors found itself in the humiliating position July 27 of having to ask for the approval of Lennar and the city's Redevelopment Agency before it could amend Lennar's massive redevelopment plan for Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard.
If that's not an argument for reforming how this city approaches redevelopment, I don't know what is. Especially since the Board's meeting illustrated only too well how thoroughly Lennar's local executives, who used to work for the city under Mayor Willie Brown, understand this game and how to outfoxed any resistance to their ongoing effort to eat San Francisco whole. Read more »
Say that this morning, as you swept aside your window-sash, eager to let in the “warm” summer breezes that are so characteristic of late July in San Francisco, you saw there on your sill a fuzzy little bumblebee – dead, but for all the world looking like the embodiment of the grassy field and sunflower days of your youth. Now. Have you the instinct to preserve the furry fella in, say a diorama also featuring a map of your childhood favorite municipal park and a cut out image of you at eight, perhaps attired in a swatch of that kitty cat dress you couldn't bear to be apart from at the time? (Just sayin'.) If that sounds apt, have the local horticulture-taxidermy enthusiasts down at Paxton Gate got a class for you!