Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homeland Security Keeping Tabs on Occupy

by John C. Osborn
Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Brace yourselves! This news may be shocking. The Department of Homeland Security has its eye on Occupy.

As part of the recent Wikileaks email dump, a rather benign-sounding newsletter from October 2011 from the department, entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street,” explores the movement that has proliferated across the country at an astonishing rate. It recognizes that the “leaderless resistance movement” had managed to create an elaborate communications infrastructure, mainly thanks to social media and online communities, that have allowed the original Occupy Wall Street camp to spread its message, organize events, and sustain its operations.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Former Cal Quarterback Joe Ayoob Sets New Guinness Record for Paper Airplane Flight

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Here's some good news for the Bears: Former quarterback Joe Ayoob, who grew up in San Rafael and played for City College of San Francisco before transferring to Cal in 2005, just set a new Guinness Record for the world's longest paper airplane flight — a whopping 226 feet, 10 inches. The plane, designed by John Collins, was made of "100gsm, A4 paper and a very small piece of sticky tape," The Telegraph reports. Apparently, Ayoob has a lot of training in the field, since he grew up flying paper airplanes. It's certainly conceivable that the hobby taught him precision and aim, skills which he ultimately parlayed to football. Here's footage of his new career milestone:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CBS's 48 Hours and Dr. Phil Spotlight 'Honeytrapper' Chris Butler

by Kathleen Richards
Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

In case you missed it, the national media revisited the Chris Butler story in the last few days, including a segment on CBS's 48 Hours on Saturday, as well as the Dr. Phil show on Friday. Butler, as you'll recall, was the Concord PI and former police officer who's now at the center of major police corruption scandal. Prior, he was the subject of a feature-length profile in the Express back in 2007. The segments don't break any news, but 48 Hours does have an exclusive interview with Norman Wielsch, commander of the state Department of Justice's Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, who is facing federal charges of stealing and selling drugs from his department, among other charges.

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Oakland Scientist at Center of Latest Climate Change Scandal

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Last Tuesday, a series of leaked documents outlining the rather brazen strategies of Chicago-based libertarian think-tank The Heartland Institute to discount evidence of global warming first appeared on the Internet. By yesterday the leak was an international story. Speculation on the documents' source and veracity ran rampant, until yesterday evening when research scientist Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, admitted in an article in the Huffington Post to having obtained the documents through the use of a false identity.

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Oakland Has a New Sheriff

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Oakland, like other cities, is supposed to only have one mayor at a time, but for as along as anyone can remember, it’s had as many as eight or nine. The reason is that Oakland City Councilmembers have sometimes acted as de facto mayors of their individual districts, directing city staff and resources to their own pet projects. Although such actions are often illegal under Oakland’s City Charter, no one has done anything about it. Previous mayors and city administrators have either been disinterested in what councilmembers were doing, or too afraid of what would happen if they tried to stop them. But that appears to finally be changing.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

A's Get Manny Ramirez in Crafty Minor League Deal

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Lest you have any doubts about Billy Beane's ability to wheel and deal, he just acquired disgraced all-star Manny Ramirez on-the cheap — meaning at a $500 K price tag, the Associated Press reports. Granted, that comes with the stipulation that Manny complete an unpaid 50 game suspension as punishment for juicing (specifically, the fertility drug hCG), and then earn placement on the major league roster. If all goes according to plan, though, he'll be batting for the A's as early as June. Ramirez, who has gained fame alternately for his all-star record, his more than 500 career homeruns, and his surly temperament, is slated to report to spring training next week. Team owner Lew Wolff told ESPN that both he and general manager Billy Beane are beside themselves. With all that said, Chron columnist John Shea was critical, calling it a typical "Moneyball" deal and placing Ramirez in a lineage of "past-their-prime" sluggers who can be sought at low risk. In this case, it could be a combination of age and ill-repute.

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UC Berkeley Mistakenly Sells Million-Dollar Artwork for $150

by Kathleen Richards
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 3:56 PM

A 22-foot-long carved wood panel by African-American sculptor Sargent Johnson, valued at an estimated $1 million, was mistakenly sold by UC Berkeley for a paltry $150 (plus tax), reports The New York Times. According to the article, the redwood relief was initially designed to cover organ pipes at the old California School for the Deaf and Blind. When the school closed in 1980, it was transferred to a university storage place, but when it reopened three years later, it never made it back to the building (another panel, however, was returned). Then, in 2009, the university cleared out its storage and transferred the artwork to its surplus store, where it was sold to an individual for $150 plus tax. Eventually, it made its way to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, Calif., where it will now be displayed. Although the work was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and thus under federal jurisdiction, there was apparently a loophole: the federal government does not retain ownership of WPA-commissioned art affixed to non-federal buildings.

Harvey Smith, president of the National New Deal Preservation Association, described UC Berkeley's handling of the situation as “amazing incompetence.”

A sculpture (Chester) by artist Sargent Johnson.
  • A sculpture ("Chester") by artist Sargent Johnson.

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