Taser proposal will move forward

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Following a hearing at the San Francisco Police Commission that stretched late into the night, the seven-member panel voted 6 to 1 to authorize the San Francisco Police Department to develop a proposal for implementing Tasers or other less-lethal weapons.

Representatives from immigrant advocacy groups, communities of color, queer and transgender communities, mental-health professional organizations, and civil-rights watchdog groups turned out en masse to voice opposition to the plan. Out of around 50 speakers, just one spoke in favor of adopting Tasers. Read more »

The truth about pensions

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David Cay Johnston, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning former New York Times reporter, has a brilliant piece on his blog about public-employee pensions. His basic point: the mainstream media, including his own former paper, have utterly missed the point about how pensions work:Read more »

5 Things: February 24, 2011

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Each day, SFBG staff pick five (or so) things that might interest you

>>1. BEARING JOY A little while ago, a Potrero Hill resident took the concept of neighborhood watch to new (artistic) heights when he came across some brazen red graffiti scrawled across the side of the Cor-o-van building on 17th street near Texas. “I just got sick of looking at it,” the impromptu artist said.

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Hot sexy events: February 23-March 1

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Perhaps you recall a few weeks ago when I espoused my love for Rihanna and slightly-less-intense love for the new music video for her song “S&M.” I'm saddened to report that the lovely RiRi is in a spot of trouble over the new reel – David LaChappelle is suing her for deriving the video's “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colours, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” from the fashion photog's work. Here's a helpful guide to the similarities between the video and LaChappelle's photos. 

But you know what, Violet Blue's going with RiRi and so am I. David LaChappelle, for the love of Perez Hilton on a leash  – is this video detracting from your personal worth as a pervy photog? Now you can say you made a Rihanna video and maybe people will believe you. Problem = solved! Now onto sex events. Dirty talk and sexy poetry readings, etc.

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Behind the Twitter tax break deal

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There's much political intrigue and anticipation swirling around the Central Market Payroll Tax Exclusion, aka the Twitter Tax Break, which the Board of Supervisors will consider next month. This has all the elements of a great story: backroom deals between political and corporate power brokers, the strange argument that Republican-style tax cuts will cure Mid-Market blight, the fact that Twitter executives have uttered nary a tweet about shaking down SF taxpayers, and the role that a pair of supposedly progressive supervisors have played in brokering the deal.

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Protest this weekend in support of Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco uprisings

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There’s a protest this weekend in San Francisco, in support of folks in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, and other Arab popular movements as they struggle against dictatorships and repressive governments.

Folks are invited to meet Saturday, February 26 at 1 p. m. at the U.N. Plaza at Market and 7th Street in San Francisco for a march that will feature 20 organizations, including Arab Resource and Organizing Center and American Friends Service Committee. [Update: Just got a call from ANSWER Coalition to say they did not approve the inclusion, by protest organizers, of their name as a feature organization at Saturday's protest, because they do not agree with some of the wording in the protest organizers' press release.]

“Across Arab nations popular movements for governmental, social, and economic change are arising daily since the start of 2011, with people going to the streets in the thousands and millions,” states a press release from march organizers. “ In many cases, these popular movements are being met by extreme use of force at the hands of governments and dictators whose repression has been supported by foreign assistance from the US.  The most horrific of this repression has been witnessed internationally through social media broadcasting from Libya and Bahrain, where hundreds of innocent protesters have been massacred.”,p. Read more »

Secret cajun kitchen discovered, evidence of gumbo

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Those who enjoy strolling amidst a certain vibrant stretch of  24th Street in the Mission might be under a common misguided belief that the world is flat and ends east of Potrero Avenue. But just as Christopher Columbus proved the world was round by sailing west, I confirmed this is false by sailing east -- one block east of Potrero, that is. What I found was Tasty’s Creole Cajun Kitchen, a new world filled with rare goods and spices. Among them, signature po’ boy sandwiches, southern brunch specialties, gumbo, red beans and rice, hush puppies, sweet tea, even French rolls flown in from Louisiana. What wonders the new world holds!

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Time to start building a cold frame

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No, I'm not talking about Democrats building shelters against the big chill that the Republicans are trying to bring down on public sector workers, and the impact of that push on folks engaged in pension reform debates in San Francisco. Instead, I'm looking at the possibility that snow could fall at sea level around San Francisco this weekend for the first time in 35 years--and wondering if gardeners need to start worrying about protecting crops and plants that don’t like icy climes. Read more »

Delta fish may not be “too far gone” after all

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The San Francisco Chronicle had this dire environmental pronouncement on its front page last week: “Delta fish may be too far gone to save, plan hints.”

Summarizing a report released by the Delta Stewardship Council, the article suggested that California’s salmon and Delta smelt -- a delicate creature that’s sort of an aquatic equivalent to a canary in a coal mine -- might be going the way of the dodo due to longterm environmental impacts. Even worse, it didn’t sound as if there was anything conservationists, state agencies, nor anyone else could do about it.

Aside from being downright depressing, that narrative sounded a little, er, fishy. No one disputes that the Delta has been dramatically impacted by environmental problems, and concerns about diminishing fish populations are well founded. Fights over pumping freshwater out of the Delta have been dragging on for years, pitting environmentalists and commercial fishermen against powerful water districts in arid regions.

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Rediscovery: The hypnotic appeal of Jeff Phelps' Magnetic Eyes

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"That album is something I've known about for a long time," Dâm Funk says of Magnetic Eyes, which was written, recorded and produced by Jeff Phelps in 1985. Thanks to the German label Tomlab, more people are finding out about Magnetic Eyes today. Along with the Tony Cook compilation produced by Dâm's cohort Peanut Butter Wolf and released on Stones Throw, Magnetic Eyes is a rediscovered jewel of '80s funk. But whereas the Cook album has roots in classic soul, Phelps' album is a cool, synth-powered collection that brings techno figurehead the Electrifying Mojo to mind. It's also blessed with peerless cover art and -- as you'll find out after the jump -- it inspired a fantastic music video. Read more »

Spa steals

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Hey pretty! We had so much Renew Issue we couldn't fit it all in the paper today. So below, please find assembled some of the best ways to spa yourself in SF on the cheap. Because it's easier to enjoy a nice steam without watching one's rent money go up in smoke.

 

Nob Hill Spa 

Located in the classy Huntington Hotel, the price of this spa's treatments are not for the thrifty-at-heart. Luckily, Nob Hill makes its facilities available to the average bear for the relatively humble cost of $35 a day, so that even without paying hundreds of dollars to be wrapped in seaweed like a man-sized maki roll, one can enjoy the use of an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, deck, work-out facility, tea service, and lounge mysteriously titled the “Zen Room.” Available Mon-Thurs, and on the weekends with a reservation.

1075 California, SF. (415) 345-2860, www.nobhillspa.com Read more »

Luminous "Rothko Chapel" comes to SF Symphony

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Ambient music is currently waging a sustained comeback (even the old '80s New Age label Windham Hill has been sending me emails lately!) But if you're looking for something that reaches for timelessness -- with a lot more philosophical underpinnings than Yanni has mock turtlenecks -- then the glowing symphonic sound sculpture that is Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel," coming to the SF Symphony Wed/23-Sat/26, is just what you're after.

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5 Things: February 23, 2011

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Each day, our editors pick five (or so) things that might interest you

>>1. LIBYA LIP Yep, someone in Egypt named their child "Facebook" in apparent appreciation of the epic timesuck/regime toppler. And over in Libya, both Shepard Fairey and Anonymous are paving revolutionary pop cultural inroads. But while we fretted over the delicate humanity of the brave protesters standing up to the threat of Gaddafi's hired mercenaries (and weird facial hair), one guy's sign really summed it all up for us:

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Live Review: Prince at the Oracle Arena

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At this point in his 35-year career, Prince is perhaps justified in expecting us humanoids to happily accept anything handed down to us from Mount Paisley Park. But at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Mon./21 — the first of three last-minute concerts planned for the Bay (Thursday’s show was announced Monday night, after more than 30,000 tickets were sold for the first two performances in less than 72 hours), the mood was a curious mixture of intense, polished skill tinged with unexpected insecurity: Prince, in full 52-years-young prodigy mode, broke from the action in one instance with a surprising, “Are y’all having fun?” And heated anticipation and adulation gave way to a brief outbreak of boos -- the audience pressed hard to get into the show, and was loathe to give up its ground after the first encore, hollering with displeasure when the house lights came up. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Forest Swords -- and the spirit of Aaliyah

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FOREST SWORDS
Dagger Paths E.P.
(No Pain in Pop/Olde English Spelling Bee)

High on the "Ideas I Wish I Had" list is Forest Swords' cover of Aaliyah's "If Your Girl Only Knew," a different (if equally idiosyncratic) take on R&B than that of fellow Olde English Spelling Bee act Autre Ne Veut. The group's M. Barnes taps into the recessive, almost ghostly shade-throwing of the original — one reason why Aaliyah was a unique pop phenomenon — and slows it down to near-Gothic stasis, while adding another twist to the lyric's romantic intrigue by flipping the gender of the vocalist. The spirit of Aaliyah haunted dubstep and its mutant kin in 2010, thanks to Forest Swords' "If Your Girl," and also James Blake's "CMYK," which sends the vocals of her best-known hit, "Are You That Somebody?," through a series of flying-floating transformations. Check out the originals and covers/updates, as well as some more ruminations about this phenom, after the jump.

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