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The new Vietnam

And now, Bush wants more troops
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EDITORIAL And now, President George W. Bush wants to commit another 20,000 troops.

Twenty thousand more US kids, going to fight a war that can't be won. Twenty thousand more lives in potential danger for no imaginable purpose. This isn't the "surge" Bush has invoked; it's an escalation, one reminiscent of the worst days of the Vietnam War, when Presidents Lyndon Johnston and then Richard Nixon sent more and more troops into a quagmire from which there was no good exit. Read more »

The governor's wimpy health plan

Good news: the governor's taking universal health care seriously. Bad news: his plan wimps out
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EDITORIAL The good news — and it's very good news indeed — is that the governor of California has followed the lead of the city of San Francisco and is talking seriously about a universal health care plan. This is the first time since the early days of the Clinton administration — before the insurance companies destroyed even a modest hope of national reform — that we can sense real momentum toward the creation of a new policy to address one of the most pressing issues in the country.

But let's be clear: the governor's proposal falls far short of real reform. Read more »

Where are the chicks?

A half dozen California quail -- all males -- are all that remain in the once-teeming Presidio. What does the plight of the official state bird say about wildlife management in San Francisco?
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amanda@sfbg.com

It's a warm, blue-sky day in late November, and about 35 people are gathered outside one of the National Park Service buildings in the Presidio, trading tales of where and when they last saw California quail. Point Reyes is named most frequently. The Marin Headlands get a few nods from the bird enthusiasts. Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park raises a minor cheer. Read more »

Burning brand

A lawsuit by a Burning Man cofounder could expose the event and its icons to commercial exploitation
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steve@sfbg.com

Larry Harvey started Burning Man on Baker Beach in 1986, but it was John Law, Michael Mikel, and their Cacophony Society cohorts who in 1990 brought the countercultural gathering and its iconic central symbol out to Nevada's Black Rock Desert, where it grew into a beloved and unique event that last year was attended by 40,000 people.

Law hasn't wanted anything to do with Burning Man since he left the event in 1996 — until last week, when he filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court seeking money for his share of the Burning Man brand. Read more »

Town snooze

Free-range chicken: Listen to the feathers fly at Newsom's lame Saturday afternoon "town hall meeting"
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By Steven T. Jones

Listen to a wav file of the Mayor's January 13 "town hall meeting" here.

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Newsom, with another new chick

I didn't have high expectations of Mayor Gavin Newsom's "town hall meeting" in the Richmond this morning -- and I was still disappointed. Read more »

iPhones! SmartCars! He'Brew! Pakistani trannies!

The Pixel Vision Blog is blowin' up, Guardian-style
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Careers and Ed: Look Ma, no grants

How one independent filmmaker scored alternative arts funding
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culture@sfbg.com

Starving is overrated. No matter how romantic your notions of the long-suffering, misunderstood artiste, it's hard to get around the fact that you'll never get that big one-person show if the rain reduces your paintings to gesso mush because you don't have a roof to put over them.

Enter the grant provider. Read more »

Careers and Ed: Hard on the job

Getting ahead in the Bay Area's burgeoning adult-content industry
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culture@sfbg.com

Just a short walk northeast from the Hall of Justice in SoMa lies an internationally renowned palace of forbidden pleasure.

The nondescript four-story stone building is the headquarters for Kink, an online enterprise specializing in the production of short, sexy, streaming BDSM videos, available for a monthly subscription fee. Read more »

Careers and Ed: Nurturing the drive

Two computer science programs at Mills College aim to build second-career confidence
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culture@sfbg.com

Sheri Wetherby was working at a casino in Tahoe when she decided to become a computer programmer. So she left Tahoe and came to the Bay Area to study. A few years later, she had a job at Microsoft.

Wetherby had hardly a lick of programming background before she got her MA in computer science at Mills College. Her undergraduate degree was in German and French. She'd taken some graduate courses at the University of New Hampshire, including a computer science course that inspired her to envision a second career in the field. Read more »

Careers and Ed: Bio the people, fuel the people

Tank yourself: Local biodiesel advocates guide newbies through the brewing process
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culture@sfbg.com

Cars suck. I have stickers that say so and a venerable beater of a bicycle that underscores the point. But for every one of the approximately 40,000 bicycle commuters in San Francisco, there are more than 10 registered car owners, and just wishing they didn't exist won't make it so. But I'm no hater. I'm sure glad my plumber drives a van, for instance, and my gardener roommate wouldn't get very far without a pickup truck to haul all that gravel and mulch. Read more »