SF Weekly mangles Mexican politics

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The SF Weekly, in its continuing effort to make everything the progressives in San Francisco do look stupid, just stepped in a major turd. A piece by Matt Smith seeks to trash the supes for passing a resolution supporting Mexican electricity workers against an effort by the Mexican government to privatize the nation's electricity system.

He notes:Read more »

Philosophy, get hip: "The Examined Life" comes to the Herbst

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In new documentary The Examined Life, eight of the most famous minds in contemporary philosophy -- Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Zizek -- seem almost unintimidating. Detached from the props of intellectual life and presented in public setting away from rapt crowds, miked podiums, and the protective custody of academia, these philosophers appear comfortingly average, for entire milliseconds. For instance, on a sunny afternoon, post-structuralist scholar Judith Butler could almost be any other leather-jacketed San Francisco Missionite with a cool haircut ambling down Clarion Alley, perhaps en route to Thrift Town for some more leather jackets. That is, until she begins to discuss, in a slow and deliberate manner with eyes fixed intently into the middle distance, the body's morphologies as experienced by the subject. Cover blown.

Examined Life director Astra Taylor will be appearing -- along with philosopher Judith Butler and activist-artist Sunaura Taylor (who appears with Butler during the segment filmed in Clarion Alley) -- at a screening of her film at the Herbst Theater on Thu/25, at 7:30 PM. The three women will participate in a discussion and Q&A session following the screening.

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Live Shots: Erykah Badu with Dave Chapelle and Goapele, Fox Theater, 02/19/2010

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It's 1998 and I'm on a trans-Pacific flight to Japan with my mom to visit my "Japanese grandma" Kiyo. I've just received my first mix tape from my super-cool older "sister" Leenie, with cuts on it that range from the Runaway Bride soundtrack to Sash!'s Encore Une Fois. And then there's one of the last tracks, "On and On" by Erykah Badu. I blast this tape on my walkman for almost the whole 17-hour flight and play it throughout the trip, from bullet train rides through lush fields of tea plants to visually overstimulating jaunts in the neon-saturated neighborhood of Shinjuku in Tokyo.

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¿De dónde viene mi taco?

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A carne asada here, a lengua there... some days, you can't throw a stick without hitting a purveyor of fine tacos here in the city. But although we pick them up on our neighborhood streets, rarely do we think about the road that the ingredients in each little tortilla nugget had to journey to hit our belly. Luckily, we have experts to do it for us. And they'll be sharing their findings on taco sourcing -- sustainable and not so much -- this week (Thur/25) at "Tacoshed," an evening sponsored by Rebar and landscape architect David Fletcher.

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Newsom's getting closer

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There are really only two obstacles to Newsom's jumping into the Lt. Gov.'s race. One is the possibility that he might lose, but he would be the instant front runner. The other is the supposed fear of leaving the city in the hands of whatever mayor the Board of Supervisors chose.Read more »

Clean money campaign launches in SF

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The campaign for Prop. 15, the California Fair Elections Act, kicks off in San Francisco this Sunday afternoon. It’s an appropriate city to launch this effort, given San Francisco’s leadership on electoral reform, from our pioneering ranked choice voting system to our low political contribution limits to the public financing available in the races for mayor and the Board of Supervisors.Read more »

Feeling Nice's analog Avatar chic

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See video

Just in time for spring (and a Primal Scream revival) comes the promo for local design collective Nice's spring 2010 "The Gathering" line -- complete with psychedelic military projections.

Berkeley's mayor pushes anti-PG&E protester

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At least, that's what Luke Thomas is reporting in Fog City Journal. He's got photos, too.Read more »

State by state, unions matter

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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.

Union members invariably have better pay and benefits than non-union workers. But, as a new study shows, the number of workers who’ve joined unions varies widely from state to state.

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Robert Skidelsky: The big bank fix

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If reformers are to win, they must be prepared to fight the world/s most powerful vested interest

By Robert Skidelsky 

Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords, is Professor emeritus of political economy at Warwick University, author of a prize-winning biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes, and a board member of the Moscow School of Political Studies.

LONDON – Two alternative approaches dominate current discussions about banking reform: break-up and regulation. The debate goes back to the early days of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” which pitted “trust-busters” against regulators. 

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Snap Sounds: The Bundles

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THE BUNDLES

The Bundles

(K, March 9 release)

“Don’t forget about your friends!” pleads Kimya Dawson from the thick of her new down-low supergroup of anti-folk pals and other rough ‘n’ ready types.

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Poll: Voters give $11 billion water bond thumbs down

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By Rebecca Bowe

There is very weak support across political and geographic boundaries in California for a proposed $11 billion water bond that will go on the November ballot, according to the results of a poll released yesterday.

Just 34 percent of respondents said they would vote yes on the proposed $11 billion bond, while 55 percent said they would vote no. A more detailed breakdown revealed that 32 percent of likely voters indicated that they would definitely vote no, while only 12 percent said they would definitely vote yes.

“This bond is in deep trouble,” said Ben Tulchin of Tulchin Research, the firm that conducted the poll. “No bond has ever won statewide that started with a majority against it. It faces a real uphill battle.” Tulchin Research conducted the poll at the request of groups opposing the bond. The poll surveyed 600 likely voters across California, asking respondents to share their opinions after reading them the title and summary. Read more »

The war on suburbs? Huh?

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Joel Kotkin, the author and urban scholar, was on KQED's Forum this morning talking about what he called "the war on the suburbs." He's got a new book out, called The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, and he's arguing, among other things, that the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts signals that the Democratic Party and progressives in America have lost touch with the suburbs and are being mean to the poor suburbanites.Read more »

Notes from the Sierra Club's gala dinner

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While I focused on Jerry Brown’s disappointing speech to the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter’s gala dinner on Wednesday night, there are a few more notable nuggets in my notebook worth posting here, starting with what appears to be the collapse of plans for a California Constitutional Convention.Read more »

This is embarassing

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Come on, folks.

Tiger woods just made international news with a 15-minute press conference in which he ... apologized to his wife. Oh dear me, I'm so bad, I've let the whole world down, won't you ever forgive me, I need more treatement, I need more therapy, please oh please I'm an awful human being but I'm trying to win back your respect ...Read more »