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How a high-minded countercultural experiment ended up on everyone's bucket list

This Week's Paper

week_coverOur special Careers + Education issue: Bay Area schools give women scientists the edge, tech companies go to the mat for foreign workers, and how you can sponsor your very own artist! Plus: Outside Lands photo love, Mr. Scruff gets to scratchin', and Alec Guinness' best films (sans Star Wars). Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

PG&E exec fails as a spy


You'd think California's largest utility company would know a thing or two about spying. From toxic groundwater plumes to deadly pipeline explosions, Pacific Gas & Electric Company has given plenty of Californians reason to mobilize against their practices, and countless campaigns have been launched against the monopolistic energy giant. Yet former SmartMeter program director William Devereaux revealed himself to be an amateur when he tried using an anonymous email address to infiltrate his activist opponents -- with an account that displays his real name. Read more »

Greenpeace and the Zuck


Greenpeace asked me to Facebook message Mark Zuckerberg today. Given the hullabaloo surrounding social networking and activism these days (and more specifically, Malcolm Gladwell's controversial New Yorker piece on the subject), I should have been in some sense prepared for the Rainbow Warriors to request I open to my Facebook home page. The two entities they represent have become, if on some levels superficially, intertwined. Read more »

Scenes from the Nov. 5 Oscar Grant rally


By Rebecca Bowe and Alex Emslie

Photos by Ramsey El-Qare

This week's Guardian features an in-depth account of the Nov. 5 rally and march held in response to the news that former BART cop Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. With credit for time served and good behavior, Mehserle could be out in less than a year.Read more »

Google to take uppercut to the face


Not that we're saying the sentiment is to be encouraged, but chances are there's a lot of San Franciscans who'd like to see a tech industry bloggerati-programmer-computer whiz punched in the face. And lest you start downloading the Silicon Valley version of Bum Fights, harken now to online TV show White Collar Brawler's incoming detonation of class warfare: The Tech Beat Up (Thu/11).

Read more »

Ranked-choice voting tally in SF doesn't change


Another preliminary run of ranked-choice ballots in the San Francisco supervisorial races this afternoon shows the same winners as Friday's run: Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener, Jane Kim, and Mark Farrell.Read more »

The "Democratic Machine" myth


Okay, I read the gloating from Randy Shaw about Jane Kim defeating the "Democratic Party Machine," which, as far as I can tell, seems to consist of the Democratic County Central Committee and the Bay Guardian. (As I've said before, if I were that powerful, things would change around this city ....)

It annoys me because machine politics were once a harsh reality in this town. But not these days.Read more »

Oakland mayor's race shows the power of coalitions in RCV elections


The Oakland mayor's race appears to be demonstrating the ability of political coalitions to use a ranked-choice voting strategy to topple an established frontrunner, overturning the conventional wisdom that the top finishers on election day will usually hold their leads through the tally of everyone else's second and third place votes.Read more »

Is pot worse than death?


So let's see if I have this American system of justice right:

You pull a gun and kill and unarmed man, under color of law, and you get two years in prison and wind up serving even less.

You grow a few pot plants and you get five years.

So marijuana is worse than murder. Hell of a system.

SFBG Radio: How ugly are the next two years?


In today's episode, we talk about how ugly the next two years are going to be -- and why Obama absolutely, positively must let the Bust tax cuts for the rich expire. Listen after the jump. Read more »

Wallpaper's pattern: party-ready indie singles


I guess it's time to move past the Bay Area party blowout that was last week and into, well hell, more parties – San Fran's no one-binge pony, after all.

Luckily, these post-World Series, pre-holiday days coincide nicely with the return of Wallpaper to the Bay Area. The indie-pop Oakland duo who made its name with the slo-mo champagne stumble-through video, “I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted” and its remix of Das Racist's “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” is playing The Independent tonight (Mon/8). Read more »

Slough Feg's Mike Scalzi talks metal, philosophy


(For a review of Slough Feg's latest, The Animal Spirits, go here. Read on for an interview with the band's guitarist-singer, Mike Scalzi.)

San Francisco Bay Guardian: I noticed a clear theological theme running through the album. Was that – the Reformation – an area of historical interest to you? I'm interested in that choice, of a less exciting historical topic than maybe a more violent event...

Mike Scalzi: It's not as metal, certainly. But in another way, Martin Luther was very metal, in that he was dedicated. Though he was Christian, in his dedication and his rebellion, he was metal. I was reading about all that stuff in an anthology of Western cultures. It was very general – I had to teach it. I'm a teacher. I started teaching Philosophy of Religion a year ago for the first time, and I'm not really that into teaching it, because its not my area of expertise, but I kinda had to. Read more »

Advocates say Steve Li is DREAM Act eligible


The Board of Supervisors plans to introduce a resolution at their Nov. 9 meeting denouncing the deportation of Shing Ma "Steve" Li, a  20-year-old DREAM Act student at City College of San Francisco, calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to grant him deferred action status, and urging Congress to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. Read more »

ABU to UCSF: adopt local hire plan or halt Mission Bay hospital construction


Aboriginal Blacks United (ABU) President James Richards has asked UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann to meet with the community before Nov. 15 about UCSF’s local hiring plan, or halt all work at its Mission Bay Hospital construction site. Read more »

Election over, what next?


Dick Meister is a San Francisco-based columnist who has covered political and labor issues for a half-century as a reporter, editor , author and commentator. Visit him at his website,

OK, the election is over and labor, Democrats and the other good guys came up a bit short. But what now? What next for the good guys?

 Well, for starters, organized labor and its Democratic Party allies must be ready to block Republican plans to try to enact legislation that would cut taxes for the very wealthy, slash Medicare funding, and possibly even privatize Social Security. I know that may sound alarmist and far-fetched. But that's what Republican leaders are actually talking about.

After all, the GOP's anti-labor corporate allies spent nearly a billion dollars on the election and they damn well want their money's worth.  Larry Cohen, president of the communications workers union, thinks it's getting like the way elections were 100 years ago when the big trusts and robber barons made sure their voices were the only ones heard during election campaigns. Read more »

Provisional ballots could be pivotal


With preliminary ranked choice results showing Mark Farrell ahead by a slim margin in D2 and Malia Cohen leading narrowly in D10, provisional ballots could prove to be of pivotal importance in these two races.

Or as Sharen Hewitt, executive director of the D10-based C.L.A.E.R. project, put it, “Never before has the weight of the provisional ballot counted so much.” Read more »