American politics is a circus, no doubt of that. The trouble is, it’s a circus that never leaves town.
That’s bad for the country, but good for observers who are interested in becoming more intimately acquainted with the talent on display. Having watched several recent performances, I’d like to offer my opinion of some of the leading players in what is surely the greatest show on earth, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, and Buffalo Bill Cody himself notwithstanding.
(One caveat: Because the show never stops, there’s a regular turnover in personnel. I can’t guarantee that the same performers will be on hand when you next visit the big tent. But don’t worry about being short-changed on entertainment. The supply of people who want to be in this circus is limitless.) Read more »
Those who know me well are aware of my love of the Negroni. The perfect aperitif and a favorite since my first visit to Italy 11 years ago, I crave Campari’s bitter crispness balanced with gin. I concur with Victoria Moore who says in her book, How to Drink: “The negroni is a beautiful thing, garnet in color, sweet-astringent to taste, and decisively highbrow. Read more »
The Guardian is interviewing candidates for the fall elections, and to give everyone the broadest possible understanding of the issues and our endorsement process, we're posting the sound files of all the interviews on the Politics blog. Our endorsements will be coming out Oct. 6th. Click here to listen -- page will be updated as we publish more interviews.
After defending Pet Food Express, a chain that worries local independent pet stores, the Chron's C.W. Nevius has the latest rumor in the who-will-be-the-next-mayor game. Here's how it goes: Newsom becomes lieutenant gov, the supes pick Dennis Herrera as mayor, Herrera appoints David Chiu city attorney, and David Campos becomes board prez.Read more »
If Luke Thomas didn't have the pictures to prove it, I might never have believed this story, but there they are -- the former supervisor and progressive candidate for SF mayor, Matt Gonzalez, hanging out with his old (odd) BFF Tony Hall -- and libertarian Republican Ron Paul and John Dennis, a Republican running against Nancy Pelosi, at an "anti war and anti-incumbent" rally Sept. 4.Read more »
Today we talk about a different approach to politics: Why voters should think like junkies. Johnny's got a good argument here -- your typical junkie is a lot more cynical about people trying to sell him something than the typical voter who listens to Glenn Beck. Oh, and why is that preacher in Florida going to burn a stack of Korans? Any junkie could figure out that it's all about making a fast buck. You can hear the discussion after the jump. Read more »
Don't ask synthesizer inventor and electronic instrument designer Don Buchla (appearing Thu/9 as part of the 11th Annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival) for a CD of his music. He's more interested in following his curious muse — in this case, through the oft-uncharted territory of performance — than documenting his many experiments.Read more »
It's impossible for me to think of Big Freedia without exploding into happy feathers. As the fierce national face of New Orleans' bounce music movement (along with her drag daughter, Sissy Nobby), Freedia's been shoehorned into several media narratives that don't necessarily do her justice — popular performer who bridges a supposed gap between flamboyant gayness and macho rap, evidence that original regional roots music is still being generated in our monocultural-seeming musical world, post-Katrina beat-healer of ravished communities, anthropological curiosity. Read more »
EDITORIAL Smart meters are a dumb idea. That's what The Utility Reform Network says, noting that the high tech devices are expensive (California utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric Co., will be charging consumers $5.4 billion to install the meters), don't save energy or money, and can lead to privacy risks. PG&E bills have soared unexpectedly in places where the meters have been installed in the past year, forcing an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission, which concluded on Sept. 2 that the meters are okay, but PG&E's customer service isn't. Still, TURN and other experts say the report is inconclusive, and state Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) wants legislative hearings before any more meters are installed.
San Francisco hasn't faced the smart meter problem yet since the utility hasn't been installing them here — but that will start soon enough, now that the CPUC (never known as a harsh critic of PG&E) has given the green light. TURN is urging customers to boycott the meters, so the San Francisco supervisors should tell PG&E that the city doesn't want this flawed technology.
Since writing about this summer’s squash bee hunt, I’ve received a number of enquiries about how to view the 2011 North American bee calendar that was referenced in my article. The answer is fairly simple: visit the website for Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn's Great Sunflower Project or for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Read more »
Tony Kelly's been involved in land-use and development battles in the district for more than a decade -- and it shows. He talks about zoning, redevelopment, and urban finance with the ease of an expert. He complains that funding affordable housing just by asking developers to include a little bit in their market-rate units is "a sucker's game." He talks about the need for public-sector investment to handle the major influx of population projected for the district over the next 20 years. He's also thought a lot about city finance, and suggests, among other things, that San Francisco demand that the University of California pay some sort of fee in lieu of the $60 million the giant institution doesn't pay in local property taxes. Read more »