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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

Hands off social security!

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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 recent columns.

Republican leaders in Congress would have us believe that most Americans support cutting Social Security and Medicare payments as a way to cut the federal budget deficit. But don't you believe it.

As the AFL-CIO and other labor sources have discovered, that's at best a figment of the Republican imagination. Or, as is most likely, it's a bald-faced political lie.

The proof came in a poll marking the 75th anniversary of Social Security this year. It was conducted by a prominent research organization, Greenberg Quilan Rosner, and commissioned by the nation's leading public employee unions, the Service Employees International and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, joined by MoveOn.org and the Campaign for America's Future. Read more »

The Chamber of Commerce is clueless

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Check out the Chamber of Commerce and its vice president for public policy, Jim Lazarus, commenting on the state of the city's finances in the Chron:

The Chamber opposes forcing the mayor to appear at "question time,'' — "pure political theater,'' — and an increase in property transfer tax — "Why do we need it? The budget is balanced.''Read more »

Evaluating the criteria the city uses to classify folks as gang members

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I recently asked Deputy City Attorney Yvonne Mere about the criteria the city uses to determine if someone is a member of a criminal street gang.

More precisely, I wanted to know if any of the 41 young black men named in City Attorney Dennis Herrerra’s recently filed gang injunction in Visitacion Valley were named simply because they were seen affiliating with documented gang members and frequenting gang areas. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Rafael Mandelman

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Rafael Mandelman told us that "local government matters." He's talking about a more rational budget process, with the supervisors offering their own alternative instead of just responding to the mayor. He's in favor of raising new revenue -- hundreds of millions in new revenue -- to fund the critical priorities in the city, and he points out that there's enough wealth in San Francisco to pay for it. He also thinks that all city commissions should have split appointments, with the mayor naming some members and the supervisors naming others. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Margaret Brodkin

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Editors note: 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.Read more »

Endorsement interview: Jim Meko

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Editors note: 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.Read more »

Legislators behaving badly

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There's only one country in the world that allows children to be sentenced to life without parole. Only one place on Earth where a 16-year-old can be sent to prison for life, without any chance at redemption. Only one place that doesn't recognize that brain development, including judgment, isn't complete until a person reaches his or her 20s.

And that's the United States.Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Glendon "Anna Conda" Hyde

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Editors note: 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.

District 6 candidate Glendon “Anna Conda” Hyde is full of intriguing ideas for how San Francisco can bring greater dignity into people’s lives.Read more »

SFBG Radio: We fight over tolls

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In today's episode, Tim and Johnny battle over whether raising the bridge tolls to fight congestion is a fair and progressive idea. You can listen to the argument after the jump. Read more »

Herrera’s gang injunction becomes part of D. 10 dialogue

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As stated in this week’s article about City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s Viz Valley gang injunction, Herrera’s move gives D. 10 candidates an opportunity to show they are tracking all the issues in a district that is home to the city’s largest public housing site.

As C.L.A.E.R. Project director Sharen Hewitt put it at a debriefing session about the injunction, “D. 10 has been reduced to the Lennar issue, and that’s what’s criminal.”

And the injunction is becoming part of the dialogue in the D. 10 race, with eleven candidates in that race sounding off on the injunction, many of them critiquing Dennis Herrera's approach and/or advocating for legal representation for those named in the suit, and more services in this historically neglected district. Read more »

Show time

FALL ARTS: An alphabet of upcoming fall concerts

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Alps, Sept. 4, Cafe du Nord

Baths, Oct. 12, Bottom of the Hill

Best Coast (with Sonny and the Sunsets), Oct. 26, Great American Music Hall

Big Boi, Sept. 23, Regency Ballroom

Black Mountain, Nov. 26, Fillmore,

Blonde Redhead, Nov. 19, Warfield

Caribou (with Emeralds), Oct. 6, Regency Ballroom

Chapterhouse (with Ulrich Schnauss), Oct. 9, Mezzanine

CocoRosie, Oct. 5, Regency Ballroom

Cold Cave, Sept. 5, Great American Music Hall

Connie Francis, Oct. 16, Castro Theatre

Corin Tucker Band, Oct. 11, Great American Music HallRead more »

EPA moves to protect California coasts from sewage dumping

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Jared Blumenfeld told the Guardian that his son, who is in the sixth grade, was grossed out when he found out what his dad had been working on recently -- crafting a new rule that would ban ships from dumping sewage into California’s coastal waters. The youngster quite sensibly expressed disbelief that up until now, such a thing hadn’t been adequately dealt with. Read more »

alt.sex.column: New is as new does

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Dear Andrea:

We have been happily married five years and I think we're kind of out of ideas for new things to do. I think we're in a rut, and the weird thing is we're not talking about it. We usually talk about everything, but we're not talking about this! What are some new ideas for us, and how do I bring it up that I think we should try something new?

Love,

Almost Bored

Dear AB:Read more »

The "Roman Wild West": chatting with "Centurion" director Neil Marshall

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Genre junkies, rejoice! Neil Marshall — 2002 werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers, 2005 cave-monster chiller The Descent, and 2008 post-apocalyptic actioner Doomsday — has a brand-new film: Centurion. The latest from the man some call "the new John Carpenter" is getting a release with actual fanfare (however humble in comparision to, say, The Expendables or whatever), though you'd best hustle to the theater if you care to see Centurion, about a Roman soldier doing battle with tribal Picts in what's now Scotland, on the big screen. (It's also now available On Demand, but c'mon: the big screen is always better.) Evident in Marshall's films is the fact that he himself is a movie fan, which makes him all the more pleasurable to talk to. [Spoiler warning: there are some. Just so you know.]

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Centurion takes a documented event, the building of Hadrian's Wall, and creatively fills in some of the history surrounding it. Why did you write the story this way?

Neil Marshall: It was kind of a case of compacting a couple of dates, which weren't that far apart anyway. The myth of the Ninth Legion is based around 117 AD, which is when the film is set. That was when the entire Ninth Legion marched into Scotland and supposedly vanished without a trace. Historians have since been spoilsports and disproved that, and proved that they were attacked but they didn't get massacred, they were dispersed, and such like. But then, in 122 AD, Hadrian's Wall started being built. And I just thought, "Well, couldn't I tie the two in together somehow, that logically, what happened to the Ninth Legion could have been part of the reason for Hadrian to build the wall in the first place?" So, yeah, it was a question of kind of condensing that slightly. Read more »

Alioto-Pier vows to take D. 2 re-election bid to California Supreme Court

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Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier announced today that she will file an appeal with the California Supreme Court by the end of tomorrow (August 25), following today's California Court of Appeal ruling that found she was ineligible to seek another term.

Alioto-Pier's announcement came shortly after City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a press release, announcing that today's California Court of Appeals’ decision "strongly vindicates” his office.Read more »