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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

It's criminal what Congress has done to the working poor

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OPINION Congress's Republican leaders belong in prison. They have openly violated one of our most basic laws, the 68-year-old Fair Labor Standards Act. It requires Congress to set the minimum wage high enough to guarantee a standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being.
The current rate of $5.15 an hour comes nowhere near to doing that. Even those who manage to work full-time make only $10,700 a year - $206 a week or about $900 a month, minus taxes and other deductions. Read more »

Fun with AOL data

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annalee@techsploitation.com
TECHSPLOITATION Last week AOL did another stupid thing, but at least it was in the name of science. The giant Web portal released a data chunk containing three months’ worth of queries to its search engine taken from roughly half a million users. Gathered during the months of March, April, and May, the data shows queries, their date and time, and which Web sites the user ultimately visited. The idea was that this information might be of some use to researchers.
To protect user privacy, AOL replaced the log-in names of searchers with numbers. Read more »

Milkbone

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andrea@altsexcolumn.com
Dear Andrea:
Do you think lactation is sexy? My sister just had a baby, and her husband finds the breast-feeding all very erotic, and I told her there was something wrong with him. I said she should tell him to see a shrink, but she told me it didn't really bother her. I'm worried he is brainwashing her. Do you know of any books I can give her? What should I say to keep her safe? Should I call child services if she doesn't snap out of it?
Love,
Fretting Sis
Dear Sis:
Yikes! Are you serious? If anyone's going to do any snapping out of anything, it had better be you. Read more »

Vote to impeach

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EDITORIAL Mainstream media reporters and pundits, as well as our cynical colleagues at the SF Weekly and the rest of their corporate alt-weekly chain, love to bash the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the city councils of other Bay Area cities for passing resolutions on big questions like war, human rights, or impeachment.
We don't share that view. Read more »

Can Werbach reform Wal-Mart?

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EDITORIAL Those with power rarely use it to help the powerless: workers, foreigners, or the planet. That's why we're fascinated by the green noises that we're starting to hear from übercorporation Wal-Mart and with its decision to hire our hometown environmental heavy hitter Adam Werbach, a move that reporter Amanda Witherell explores in this week's cover story (see "An Unbelievable Truth," page 15).
We're skeptical of Wal-Mart's motives and commitment to putting the planet before profits, so we truly hope that Werbach hasn't been co-opted into a greenwashing effort. Read more »

EDITOR'S NOTES

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lynn@sfbg.com
There was no better place than the Castro Theatre to watch Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which kicked off the 70mm Series on Aug. 11. Read more »

The case against the JROTC

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OPINION Make no bones about it: the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a program of the US Department of Defense. Its purpose is clear: to recruit high school students into the military. Two years ago, 59 percent of San Franciscans demonstrated their disapproval of that sort of recruiting by supporting Proposition I. It's time for the Board of Education to follow the wishes of those voters and phase out the JROTC in favor of a nonmilitary program.
On Aug. 22, it's very likely that the San Francisco school board will do just that. Read more »

Shackling the tax man

How the Bay Area's wealthiest benefit from Republican control of the IRS
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gwschulz@sfbg.com
Late last month, David Cay Johnston of the New York Times managed to get a story about IRS layoffs picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle and placed on page three. That's no small challenge, even in one of the most politically charged cities in the nation. Read more »

Topping the hoop

Instructor Christabel Zamor takes hoop dancing to the next level
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culture@sfbg.com
"Wowza, how'd you get that gnarly bruise?" wide-eyed oglers at the office, in line at the taquería, or on my MySpace blog would ask with awe after peeping the five-inch-long trophy wound on my hip.
"Oh, this old thing," I'd sniff. "No big deal. Just picked it up in hula hoop dance class."
"Hula hoop dance class?" my friends back home would reply incredulously, their tiny brains atrophied by played-out calorie burners like hiking and cycling. "You got that from hula hooping? Read more »

Get your herb on

Careers and Education: Berkeley's EcoHouse demonstrates the fragrant power of sustainable living
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culture@sfbg.com
"There are few things in the world as pleasurable as taking a nap on a chamomile patch," says herbalist Joshua Muscat. "It's an herb that doesn't get a lot of respect. It smells good. It looks good. The flower is cute."
It's a hot Sunday morning in west Berkeley, and Muscat is leading a workshop called Local Medicinal Herbs and Your Health. This session is one of the classes offered by the EcoHouse, a unique residence designed to demonstrate sustainable building and gardening techniques. Read more »