Saturday, May 23, 2009

Video of the Week 2: Colbert on Yoo

by Robert Gammon
Sat, May 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert's take on the Philadelphia Inquirer hiring UC Berkeley law school professor John Yoo, author of the Torture Memos, as a regular columnist:

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Video of the Week 1: Conservative Gets Waterboarded

by Robert Gammon
Sat, May 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM

See what happens when right-wing radio talk show host Eric Mancow voluntarily undergoes waterboarding to prove it's not a big deal:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cerrito Speakeasy Theater Closed Until Further Notice

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, May 22, 2009 at 1:37 PM

After a series of public announcements over the last eight days -- including Speakeasy Theaters' offer to pull out of the Cerrito Theater and aid in the search for a new operator, followed by an El Cerrito City Council meeting earlier this week designed to give members of the public an opportunity to weigh in on the theater's future -- the worst has happened. Well, almost. But it doesn't look good. Following the city council meeting, theater owners Kyle and Catherine Fischer announced via email that the Cerrito would be temporarily closing from May 20-28. But here we are on the 22nd, and that plan seems to have already been scrapped. The Cerrito Speakeasy Theater website now reads: "Dear Speakeasy Patrons: The Cerrito Theater is Closed Until Further Notice." As far as we can tell, Speakeasy Theaters looks to be done in the East Bay. Let's just hope another operator (or two) steps up to save both the Parkway and the Cerrito -- and hopefully retain some of the business practices that made the Parkway such a beloved Oakland institution.

Ex-East Bayite's New Novel Twists History

by Anneli Rufus
Fri, May 22, 2009 at 12:32 PM

In the early pages of Glen David Gold's new novel Sunnyside, Charlie Chaplin is sighted in more than 800 places at the same time on November 12, 1916.

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Oakland Gets New Schools Supe

by Robert Gammon
Fri, May 22, 2009 at 6:53 AM

The Oakland school board selected Tony Smith, a top administrator in San Francisco public schools and an advocate of small schools and charter schools, to be the district's new permanent superintendent. According to the Trib, the board's vote was unanimous. Smith, an Oakland resident whose child will attend Crocker Highlands Elementary, a public school, beat out two other finalists. He also is a former superintendent of the tiny Emeryville public schools district and once worked for the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools, a primary backer of the small schools movement. According to the Trib, Smith also said at Wednesday night's town hall meeting that he was "a pretty big backer of the charter movement."

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Cops Nab Two East Bay Snipers

by Robert Gammon
Fri, May 22, 2009 at 6:33 AM

The California Highway Patrol has arrested two 21-year-olds for a series of shootings along Interstate 680 in Fremont, according to the Chron. The CHP says the young men, Shawn Philip Wagner of Mariposa and Rojelio Samuel Gomez of Fremont, shot at more than forty cars over the past year with a BB gun. The cops booked both men on 42 counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon and 43 counts of felony vandalism, along with one misdemeanor count of willfully discharging a BB gun in a grossly negligent manner. No one was injured in the shootings. Let's hope the CHP got this right. The last time the East Bay was terrorized by a sniper or snipers in 2004, the CHP arrested the wrong guy, and no charges were ever filed.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kraut, Kvass, Bones Are Big Deals at Berkeley Coop Kitchen

by Anneli Rufus
Thu, May 21, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Following the directives of early 20th century holistic dentist Weston A. Price -- who asserted after examining the teeth of native communities worldwide that fat-and-meat-focused traditional cuisines are the key to good health -- a cooperative kitchen has opened in Berkeley where, every Wednesday and Thursday, customers pick up jars of bone broth, kraut, kombucha, kvass, pork rillettes, egg pies, and other locally sourced dishes rich in butter, whole milk, tropical oils, lard, grass-fed meat, and probiotic cultures.

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Chron Picks New Oakland/Berkeley Reporter

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 21, 2009 at 1:38 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle has chosen Matthai Kuruvila, the paper's religion reporter, to be its new East Bay reporter, covering both Oakland and Berkeley city halls. I've known Kuruvila for a long time, and he's an outstanding reporter, and a great choice by Chron management. Besides covering religion, Kuruvila has reported on numerous topics for the paper and produced some of the best early coverage of the Chauncey Bailey murder case and Your Black Muslim Bakery. Before joining the Chronicle, he worked for many years in the San Jose Mercury News' Fremont bureau, covering everything from criminal justice to Fremont City Hall.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Death of Free Online News

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:53 AM

MediaNews, owner of the Oakland Tribune, the Contra Costa Times, and the San Jose Mercury News, plans to start charging for online content in the coming months, in a move that could ultimately spell the death of free Internet news. MediaNews top officials Dean Singleton and Jody Lodovic announced their plans in a letter to employees earlier this month. Hearst Corporation, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, is also seriously exploring the idea of charging for content on its news websites. And Rupert Murdoch, owner of an array of newspapers around the world, said recently that his company would begin charging sometime in the next year.

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