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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

Newsom could be headed for victory

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Gavin Newsom seems poised to win his race for lieutenant governor, at least as indicated by his opponent Abel Maldonado's increasingly desperate campaign tactics and Newsom's string of newspaper endorsements, including the Spanish language La Opinion, which chose to pass over a moderate Latino that it has endorsed in the past. The only question now is voter turnout, and whether Newsom's negatives would be enough to drag him down if the Democratic base stays home in this lackluster election.Read more »

Labor's outreach

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Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his columns.

Never have the nation's younger workers been more in need of unionization. And never have the nation's unions been more in need of the membership growth that recruiting younger workers can bring them.

Here's how it looks, and it's not a pretty picture for labor: Last year, unions lost 10 percent of their members in private employment -  the biggest drop in more than 25 years.  That cut union membership by 834,000 workers, down to 15.7 million workers.

Which means that overall, counting public as well as private employment, unions now represent only a little more than 12 percent of the country's workers. Just 20 years ago, 20 percent of all workers were unionized.

So, how can organized labor add significantly to its numbers and thus add significantly to labor's political and economic strength. Read more »

SFBG Radio: No New Deal

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In today's episode, we discuss why Abama is not FDR, why he's refusing to do what has to be done to put Americans to work -- and why that's his real political liability. Listen after the jump. Read more »

Beat patrols: A case study

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If you want a case study that illustrates why San Francisco needs Proposition M, taken a look at Bernal Heights.

In 2008, two people were killed at the Alemany public housing project, topping off a disturbing increase in street crime. Neighborhood activists responded by working successfully with the captain of the Ingleside Station to a beat cop on Cortland Ave. Crime dropped.

But several weeks ago, Captain Louis Cassanego cut that foot patrol, citing the need to reallocate scarce SFPD manpower to more violent areas. Read more »

The myth of the overpaid public employee

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Lots of press -- as there should be  -- on the new UC Berkeley study that debunks the myth of the overpaid public employee. Read more »

Avalos initiates LOCAL SF

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Sups. John Avalos, Sophie Maxwell, David Campos and Board President David Chiu, plus community advocates, construction contractors, neighborhood leaders and union members rallied outside City Hall today to announce the launch of LOCAL SF, a campaign for local opportunities and hiring for San Francisco residents. 

And this afternoon, Avalos introduces the first measure of this campaign--legislation mandating local hiring on publicly funded construction projects. Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's look: Jodi, Fillmore and Sacramento Read more »

The Western is back! Final thoughts on TIFF '10

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When I interviewed director Kelly Reichardt at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival about her gut-wrenching masterpiece Wendy & Lucy (2008), she spoke of watching many old Westerns in preparation for her next project. She delivered the exquisite Meek's Cutoff at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. The film follows three families as they make their trek along the Oregon Trail circa 1845. As they follow their hired mountain man through the Cascade Mountains they start to question if their leader really knows where he is leading them. And when they come across a Cayuse American Indian, the emigrants are forced to question who to trust. While Wendy & Lucy seemed inspired by the Italian Neo-Realists Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini, Meek's Cutoff draws upon cinema's earliest documentaries, like Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1922).

Collaborator Jon Raymond, who also wrote Reichardt's Old Joy (2006) and Wendy & Lucy, uncovered the infamous story of Meek's Cutoff while doing local research in Oregon. The tale seems perfect for Reichardt's distinctive visual storytelling by exploring humble characters who are confronting everyday troubles while taking a journey outside of their natural habitat. The striking style strips down her character's actions and allows the viewer to feel the weight of each procedure. Since Reichardt emphasizes her camera over dialogue, the solitary result can culminate in a truly transcendental experience for a viewer, while for others (like at the press screening in Toronto) a long nap. Somehow the fact that a film can evoke such extreme yet internal reactions conjures up the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu and most recently, Claire Denis. Read more »

District 10 endorsement madness

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Both the Chronicle and Sophie Maxwell have now endorsed Lynette Sweet for supervisor, and I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Read more »

Exotic Erotic's 31st round

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Perhaps you've seen them around town. The neon pink fliers announcing that SF's most gloriously trashy tradition, the Exotic Erotic Ball and Expo, beckons saucily to you this weekend (Fri/22 and Sat/23). Were you curious about the providence of the posters' graphic design, this just in from founder-behatted cartoon character Perry Mann: “we're very aware that it's breast cancer month.”

Well that would explain all the boob examiners! 2010 marks Mann's 31st year of organized orgy, which nowadays draws in around 10,000 gawkers and pervs a year for onstage sex shows by world famous porn performers, elaborate fetish costuming, ribald entertainment (“we've got... orgasmic bingo? I don't know what that is,” Mann admits to me on the phone), and surprisingly serious musical guests. Sort of. This year is the Family Stone, minus Sly. “We reached out to Sly,” Mann tells me. “If he can get off his crack pipe, he'll show.” Read more »

Register to vote before midnight

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Did you know that you have until midnight today to register to vote? That you have until next Tuesday (Oct. 26) to request a vote-by-mail ballot?
And that you have until election night, which falls on November 2, Day of the Dead, to actually vote?

If you are not sure if you are eligible to vote, check the rules here. And then download a voter registration form here. Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's look: Elle, Dolores Park

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Live Shots: Gogol Bordello, Fox Theater, 10/14/10

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Eff Arizona's SB 1070! Maybe what this country needs is a little more immigrant punk to infuse some surly into the debate over who can hang with us in the land of the free and home of the brave. Gogol Bordello would be a good option: the gypsy rockers mainly hail from Eastern Europe, but their carnival of sound doesn't break for badges. SFBG shutterbug Charles Russo was on hand last week to capture their nomadic fanfare.

 

SFBG Radio: a WPA for musicians

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Today we talk about jobs, the economy -- and why Obama should create a WPA for musicians. Listen after the break. Read more »

Get angry and make 'em do it!

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After crashing the country's economy and turning the world against us, Republicans are clawing their way back into power by stoking voter anger at political and economic systems that are stacked against the common citizen, a tactic that progressives need to adopt if we ever hope to move our agenda forward.

“Anger, not hope, is the fuel of political and economic change,” Jamie Court, head of Consumer Watchdog, writes in his new book, The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell: How to win grassroots campaigns, pass ballot box laws, and get the change we voted for (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010).

Court writes that progressives are rightfully disappointed and disillusioned that after helping to elect President Barack Obama, he and Congressional Democrats turned around and gave Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and the health insurance companies everything they wanted, with Obama even caving in on requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance, something he opposed as a candidate.

Read more »