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@Large: Ai WeiWei on Alcatraz" highlights contemporary struggles for freedom of expression

This Week's Paper

feast coverFEAST: How to eat and drink your way through Rio, Paris, Italy, the California Coast, the exotic Outer Richmond, and more! Plus: Climate change protesters flood New York, and comedian Lakshminarayanan's 'Nerd Nation.' Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

American Idol: Well, at least that's over

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How long does it take to tell 10 contestants that they're in and 14 that they might have to go home? Particularly when there are no real surprises and pretty much everyone knows what's going to happen? Wait! I just did it! About 11 seconds!Read more »

SFBG Radio: protecting obnoxious speech

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In today's episode, Johnny Angel and Johnny Venom talk about the Supreme Court, free speech, the asshole Fred Phelps -- and why we have to stand up for the rights of people to be really, really obnoxious. Listen after the jump. Read more »

In Wisconsin, it's all about jobs--249,865 of them

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By Jess Brownell

(Jess Brownell is a freelance writer in Milwaukee who keeps a sharp eye on job-creating events in Madison, Wisconsin.)

  According to our new Governor, Scott Walker, his budget – which includes big tax breaks for the private sector and strips public employees and teachers of their collective bargaining rights – will engender a business climate that will soon produce 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin.  Right now the outcome remains uncertain.  The battle is on, and after the battle the war will continue.   Yet who can argue with the need for jobs?  And what state couldn’t use 250,000 new ones?  So in the interest of fairness, let us put aside our differences for a moment and peer into this rosy future . . .

(The Governor of Wisconsin and an aide are showing a prospective factory site to a manufacturer who is considering moving his production facility to Wisconsin.) Read more »

Divergent views on Chiu's challenge

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The political season is definitely upon us, and despite all the sunny statements coming from mayoral hopefuls, I predict is going to get ugly. One gauge was the split reactions to my stories on David Chiu getting into the mayor race and how his belief that “there's always common ground” to be attained on big issues will be tested this year.Read more »

Accusations against SFPD officers impact D.A.'s race

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The decision by San Francisco prosecutors to drop a drug case that involved four of six plainclothes officers currently under investigation for illegally raiding residential hotel rooms and then lying about the busts in police reports, came one day after the Public Defender’s Office released videos that contradicted police reports in two separate cases. And it’s thrown another curve ball into the D.A.’s race, which veered into weird and uncharted territory the minute former Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed the city’s top cop George Gascón as SF’s next D.A.Read more »

Newsom's fancy gift, trip to China

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The Chronicle's got a story today about how Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's personal investments and earnings, documented in an economic disclosure form released by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), make him a lot richer than his boss, Gov. Jerry Brown.

The form also discloses travel payments and gifts Newsom received in 2010, which makes for some interesting reading. For one, San Francisco's former mayor evidently received a very expensive pen (made by Louis Vuitton and valued at $398) last year from this guy. Read more »

5 Things: March 4, 2011

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Each day, our staff picks five (or so) things we think might interest you

>>MONKEY MAN We can count on one hand the email newsletters we get that are an actual thrill to see sitting unopened in our inbox, and Kirk Lombard's is one of them. Lombard knows every. Thing. There is to know about Bay Area fishes (he's a world champion monkeyface eel fisherman and runs urban angling classes outta ForageSF that are an absolute gas to attend): identifying them, catching them sustainably, eating them, respecting their majesty. He's got a dope blog, but his recent March newsletter clued us into these aquatic happenings: the spirinchus starski is jumpin', California halibut season is starting (rent a kayak, Lombard says, for optimal fishing of these guys), and a list of items you might not guess would make servicible monkeyface eel fishing poles: a paint-roller extender or golf course flag. Read more »

Soul with a "Q"

Queer monthly outdoor party Hard French returns with vinyl sunshine

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MUSIC How do you know spring is coming in San Francisco? Trusty Mission venue El Rio starts throbbing once a month to the sweet soul sounds of yesteryear, and a hot, youthful crowd of queer dancers (and friends) floods the spacious patio to capacity. Although there are many parties in the city that cater specifically to gay men, Hard French is one of a handful that has built a successful formula on welcoming everyone — lusty femmes, trans jocks, DIY freaks, fairy stoners, vinyl junkies — while staying true to its spirit of retro-tune vitality and lean toward old-school R&B.Read more »

The Mutaytor's latest album burns bright and deep

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A year ago, I got the opportunity to watch The Mutaytor record its latest album, "Unconditional Love: The Westerfeld Sessions," in the William Westerfeld House, a mansion on Alamo Square with a rich history. Read more »

The Performant: Pop up the jam

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Appear and disappear at Noise Pop with Nobunny and Battlehooch

There’s a pop-up explosion going on out there, and it’s insidiously cornering the market on all our fun. It’s become well nigh impossible to stumble down the street without coming across a pop-up "gallery boutique ramen restaurant poodle salon performance space" and even more impossible to not want to avail oneself immediately of its fleeting charms. It’s the precarious ephemerality of pop-up ventures that makes them so enticing—the knowledge that at any moment the ability to tap into this particular experience will be gone forever. Granted, if you examine any particular moment in time closely, you’ll come to a similar conclusion, but sometimes it’s best to just go with the spontaneous flow, even if it’s a little bit manufactured.

Read more »

Beth Ditto, "I Wrote the Book"

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See video

One of our favorite Katy Perry-shredders, Beth Ditto serves a "Justify My Love"-era Madonna look and the kind of sound Madonna lost touch with after her first album. Guardian Video Issue cover star Justin Kelly made a fab recent Gossip video, but this teaser from an upcoming solo EP hints that it might deliver the dancepop Rick Rubin didn't for Ditto's group.

5 Things: March 3, 2011

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Each day, our staff picks five (or so) things we think might interest you

>>1. SUSHI FROM SPACE "U. F. T Ume Fried Tai: fried red snapper in u.f.o shaped sushi served with balsamic raspberry sauce"

Read more »

A game of GOP chicken in Sacto

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Will any Republicans crack and allow a vote on taxes in June? That's what everyone in Sacramento is wondering, and the insiders I've talked to say they think it's an even bet. Without a couple of GOP votes, Gov. Brown and the Legislature won't have the two-thirds majority they need to put a measure before the voters that would stave of horrifying cuts.

But there's plenty of backroom intrigue: Calitics points out that Read more »

American Idol: The women struggled a bit

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Not as great a night for the women, I have to say. The guys pretty much blew everyone away, but I only saw one Idol-class performance from the women, and I saw a lot of pretty weak stuff. The good news: Pia Toscano. The last one on stage, after the final commercial, just when I was trying to hustle the kids off to bed, and we just had to sit down and shut up and listen. Read more »

The future of the San Francisco left

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That, at least, was the title of the Milk Club forum March 1. Quite a panel, too: Sups. Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Kim and Mar. Tim Paulson from the Labor Council. Former Milk Club Prez Jef Sheehy. Tiny from Poor Magazine. And me.Read more »