Berkeley police located and shot a mountain lion in a Walnut Street front yard early this morning.
And what a week it's been! After Glenn Beck's MIllion-Fat-White-Christian-March in D.C., and news that mysterious schmucks torched and shot bullets at a mosque under construction in Tennessee, we get word that over the last two Sundays, someone has repeatedly shattered the windows of the Hayward office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Trib reports that this may be stupid kid stuff; on August 22, the day of the first incident, someone also randomly fired pellets through other storefront windows nearby. On the other hand, Hayward NAACP employees claim that they've also been getting angry phone calls "regarding everything from the Tea Party to gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana." Still, if guys like the charmer in this pic can't even spell Mauritania, how dangerous can they be?
All kneel before the great UC Berkeley sock-folding robot! Gasp in wonder as it performs an essential household chore! Murmur awestruck praise as it incidentally polishes a dowel! Marvel at its grace and aplomb! Think of an appropriate name and post it in the comments section! (hat tip: Discoblog)
Yes, you know you want one. The Daily Cal reports that two UC Berkeley researchers have created a line of robots that will sort and fold your socks. This comes on the, um, heels of their earlier accomplishment: robots that fold towels. Researchers Pieter Abbeel and Trevor Darrell created the project, dubbed "Sockification," as part of a contest to win $5,000 from the robotics company Willow Garage. "Of course, the ultimate goal, Abbeel said, is to make the robot be able to perform useful tasks," reports Claire Perlman. We couldn't agree more.
The endless battle between health care union leader Sal Rosselli and the Service Employees International Union moves to Kaiser Permanente next month, when 44,000 hospital workers are scheduled to vote whether to stay in SEIU or jump over to the new union Rosselli has formed, the National Union of Healthcare Workers. This fight has been going on for years, and while the details are more complicated than you probably want to know, the gist is this: Rosselli, who ran a Bay Area local, repeatedly claimed that SEIU leaders were so desperate to expand the union's membership into nursing homes that they agreed to work rules banning nursing home employees from reporting patient abuses to government officials. As the rhetoric between Rosselli and the national group grew more heated, then-SEIU national leader Andy Stern ousted Rosselli and placed the local into a trusteeship. Rosselli and his colleagues promptly formed a rival union, and the SEIU sued him, claiming that he was laying the groundwork for such a union while still drawing a paycheck from the national group. The Chronicle reports that starting in September, workers at Kaiser will start voting on which group they want representing them in future contract negotiations.
"Man's body wrapped in rug, dumped in Oakland," courtesy of the Associated Press. Police have arrested Cherie Worthen and Jerry Robertson Jr. on suspicion of stabbing the man, who has been identified as 64-year-old Hayward resident Jose Ogo.
Yes, it's true — Meg Whitman was called in for jury duty in Redwood City yesterday. The Merc's Ken McLaughlin was on the scene. "A judge asked the woman ... whether there was anything he should know about her that would have an impact on a trial," he wrote. "Yes, the woman replied: she was currently running for governor." Whitman has yet to be dismissed, but if she knows what's good for her, she'll do everything she can to stay for the trial. After all, this story is the best press she's gotten in weeks.
Perhaps you've heard of the seven child care centers that the Oakland school district will have to close thanks to state budget cuts. Now, district officials have managed to find enough money to keep five of them open until December, so there's that at least. As for the remaining two, which closed for good on Friday, the Chron reports that the local activist group By Any Means Necessary tried to storm the facilities and reopen them Monday morning, but the cops gave them the boot. For those who haven't followed By Any Means Necessary over the years, it's a front group for the Detroit-based Revolutionary Workers League, a bizarro Trotskyist cult whose members secretly conspire to lure young idealists in and turn them into commie zombies. I suppose they think they're "heightening the contradictions" when they indulge in these pointless theatrics, but they mostly just waste city money on police overtime and make the rest of us wish they'd take up needlepoint or something.
What does you do when it's your 47th birthday, and a marathon just doesn't seem to thrill like it used to? Try riding a unicycle to the top of Mount Diablo. That's what Orinda physical therapist Steve Meagher did this weekend, pedaling his one wheel for twelve uphill miles. According to the Contra Costa Times, Meagher bought a unicycle three years ago on a lark and played around with it, but it was only when his birthday rolled around again that he began to take the project seriously. Meagher's daughter Bridget was waiting for him at the top.
Nothing could be more depressing than a piece in today's Chron, in which the state leaders, frankly, aren't even trying to resolve the $19 billion budget deficit. In years past, such as the annis horribilis that was 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislature's leaders at least met in person and tried to figure out a compromise. But this year, the governor has called a meeting of the "Big Five" only once, and that lasted less than an hour. That's as the budget enters its 61st day overdue. Wyatt Buchanan reports that neither the governor nor the Democratic and Republican leaders have any leverage over one another anymore, and each side is simply going to present a competing budget for a vote, which will obviously lose, since neither side has a two-thirds majority. As the state prepares to issue IOUs again, Sacramento leaders seem to have simply given up.