Sumo Grub — which might actually be Berkeley's most subversive hotspot, with its tempura-fried pizza, tempura-fried mac-and-cheese, tempura-fried Kit-Kats, and tempura-fried darn near everything else — has been basking in a media blitz this week.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. In a major victory for gay rights, the Obama Administration reversed its position yesterday on the federal anti-gay-marriage law, calling it unconstitutional. Attorney General Eric Holder said the administration would no longer defend the law in court, adding that it would be up to members of Congress to do so. Obama has opposed the anti-gay-marriage law but has said that his administration was obliged to defend it. The White House said that the president’s position on gay marriage is evolving. Obama’s announcement also could prove problematic for Republicans, because some libertarian Tea Party members support equal rights for gays.
2. The administration’s announcement also could boost the effort to overturn Prop 8, California’s anti-gay-marriage law, the Chron reports. Attorney Ted Olson, who represents gay couples attempting to overturn Prop 8 in federal court, immediately seized on the Obama’s administration’s announcement, noting that the Justice Department had concluded that the federal law, which is similar to California’s, cannot survive the constitution’s “heightened scrutiny” standard.
Big news today: apparently, the T Rex — long thought to be something of a Rambo of the prehistoric world, hunting down prey with reckless abandon and zero mercy — was a bit more mild-mannered, according to a big new census of fossils in Montana.
A spate of violent incidents — including a hostage crisis — led Cal-OSHA (the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health) to fine Children's Hospital Oakland for not adequately protecting its employees, SFist reports. In July, a 49-year-old man crept into the building and held a registered nurse and ward clerk at gunpoint. Police came before he had the chance to hurt anyone, but the episode still caused a lot of apprehension in the hospital, which is located near a fairly rough part of North Oakland (just blocks away from the apartment complex where a man was caught shooting at police officers two weeks ago). Tensions mounted in October, when nurses had to treat a gunshot victim who was dropped off in front of the hospital. That happened shortly after registered nurses ended a three-day strike over health care cuts in their contracts, according to today's Chron . While hospital staff still debate over whether these two incidents constitute a veritable trend, it's clear that Children's Hospital is highly affected by gun violence in the surrounding area. Seventy-seven out of the 156,289 emergency room patients treated in the last three years were victims of gunshot wounds, the Chron reports. Cal-OSHA certainly sees cause for consternation. It fined the hospital $10,350 for a whole list of citations.
Ha! Trick question! There is no feature! Or rather, there are a whole bunch: This week, you get a whopping 22 feature stories for the price of one, because that's the kind of people we are. Welcome to the Insider's Guide, in which people who are paid to know about cool things dispense with said knowledge about the East Bay's various shopping, nightlife, dining, and cultural riches, as well as point out a handful of up-and-coming neighborhoods and mini-neighborhoods. Read it, save it, share it with someone you love.
Louis Freedberg at California Watch has a fascinating story today about the way the University of California system is changing as the balance between state and federal funding for higher ed shifts. The wheaty recap: in the six-plus years since Birgeneau took office, the biggest chunk of his funding came from the state, followed by federal research grants and then student tuition and fees and finally, philanthropy. But as the state has repeatedly and drastically cut funding for higher ed, those proportions have changed dramatically: federal funding's increased, as have student fees, while state funding's dropped off precipitously. All of this raises some pretty heavy questions for the university, which has always operated as an arm of the state, responsible to the citizens of California. But with all that changing, does the school's responsibility also change? Anyway, it's a good read.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones affects human brain functions, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health, the Chron reports. However, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, stops short of concluding that cellphones are hazardous to your health. Nonetheless, the results are expected to prompt more research on cellphones and electromagnetic radiation and fuel more debate over their possible health effects.
Oakland fancies itself a green town, but there's always room to grow — even if only to upstage pesky Berkeley. In recent years, US cities from New York to San Francisco have embraced greening measures geared toward reducing energy consumption in downtown business districts. Now Oakland's getting in on the act. Oakland Shines, launched by Mayor Jean Quan earlier this month, will offer technical assistance and cash rebates to downtown businesses over the next two years in order to promote energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration products as well as HVAC improvements.
If you've been following the Parkway saga, you know how it's been: confusion, miscommunication, frustration. And that's just in the last few months. J. Moses Ceaser, the Oakland entrepreneur who's become a bit of a local hero for his tireless efforts to reopen the Parkway Theater since late last year, told us last week that his working relationship with theater owner Yan Cheng had yet to improve. In fact, at this point it seems to have all but ended — before it ever really had a chance to begin.
As the Golden State Warriors take a break for this weekend’s All Star festivities, it’s an easy time to pick at the negatives. It’d be easy to note that at 26-29 and 11th place in the West, the team isn’t in prime position to make the playoffs. It’d be easy to reason that the team lacks a strong interior presence, even after signing David Lee to a six-year, $80 million contract. And it’d be easy to complain that Monta Ellis, the league’s fifth leading scorer, was completely snubbed from Sunday’s All Star Game. (Actually, that last one is pretty tempting. )