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

This Week's Paper

weekcoverGrover Norquist brings the Black Rock blues as Burning Man Jumps the Shark! Pro-Palestine protesters block the boat, fed-up teachers take strike vote, and crack cocaine sentences may soon get smoked. Plus: Myron & E lay down street soul at Noise Pop, Nick Monaco belts out his Mating Call, and Aubrey Plaza slays in Life After Beth. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

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 »

Cohen and Farrell come from behind in early ranked-choice tally


A preliminary run of the ranked-choice ballots in San Francisco Board of Supervisors races shows D10 candidate Malia Cohen and D2 candidate Mark Farrell winning come-from-behind victories in those races while Jane Kim in D6 and Scott Wiener in D8 maintain their current leads to win their races. Yet with about 50,000 ballots citywide remaining to be counted, Election Department head John Arntz warned those results aren't final.Read more »

Why Prop. 19 went up in smoke


Hopes of legalizing marijuana may have gone up in smoke after Prop. 19’s defeat by a slim margin, but proponents are far from giving up. Groups such as Drug Policy Alliance, Just Say Now, and Bay Area proponents are already looking forward to 2012 to score more voters and support. But to win, they’re going to have to find solutions to the challenges they faced in this election.Read more »

Mehserle gets two years, Oakland braces for reaction


***UPDATED with video***

Activists gathered in Oakland are reacting to the sentencing of former BART cop Johannes Mehserle, who has reportedly received a two-year prison sentence – the minimum possible of what could have been a 14-year sentence – for shooting Oscar Grant to death on a train platform early New Year's Day 2009.

“We will provide a place for people to express their emotion. Civil disobedience is absolutely called for. We will continue to organize and mobilize. The nation has said, 'No more!',” said Cat Brooks, an organizer with the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant. Read more »

Pelosi seeks to remain her party's leader


Nancy Pelosi has announced that she is running for House minority leader, citing the need to defend health care and Wall Street reforms and Social Security and Medicare. And my friend Donnie Fowler, a top national Democratic Party consultant, thinks that's a very good thing, even if I have a few doubts.Read more »

Hallelujah! Giants parade pics, part 2


World champions, baby! View part 1 here.

Hallelujah! Giants parade pics, part 1


Let it rain, let it rain -- compostable ticker tape, that is, as the Giants trundled up Market to the cheers of what must have been a million fans. This week rocked! 

Mayoral question perplexes the pundits


Today's post-election analysis session at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association featured the usual room full of smart political minds from across the ideological spectrum – including those of hosts Alex Clemens and David Latterman – but nobody had any real insights into the big question on everyone's minds: who will be the next mayor?Read more »

Election 2010: How the late absentees are breaking


Lots of votes still to count in San Francisco -- as of this morning, the Department of Elections said there were about 80,000 absentee and provisional ballots in the hopper. But some have been counted yesterday and today, and we can draw some conclusions.

Typically election-day absentees break fairly close to the way election-day votes break, and Kamala Harris is citing that -- and her campaign's own analysis -- to claim victory;Read more »

D10 crapshoot


Right now, D10 watchers are driving themselves crazy trying to predict the ranked choice math in a 22-candidate race. And so far it looks like it’s a toss-up between Tony Kelly, Lynette Sweet and Malia Cohen, with Steve Moss and Marlene Tran trailing in fourth and fifth place in a contest in which race, neighborhood and inter-campaign alliances will likely prove to be the decisive factors.Read more »

Here come the sidewalk sitters


As soon as it became clear on election night that Prop. L had passed, I wondered if opponents would organize some sort of mass sit-down or sleep-in as a response. Today, it appears that some San Franciscans are orchestrating just that. I've been alerted via Facebook to two different sidewalk sits in response to the passage of Prop. L. Read more »