Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Berkeley Women Thronged by Male Mobs, Groped

Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 7:11 AM

In two separate incidents in less than a week, women in Berkeley have been surrounded and sexually groped by large groups of men, in one case as many as fourteen men, according to the University of California Police Department.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Slap Hitter: What's an A gotta do to get some respect around here?

Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 1:25 PM

The first place Oakland A's head down to Anaheim this week for some hot leader on leader action. The Angels continue their blessed existence by having a road trip to Boston and Detroit eased with convenient injuries to their opponent's pitching staffs the moment that the haunted Halos came to town. But the already injury racked A's should be immune to the voodoo doll that Angel skipper Mike Scioscia carries in his skoal can having stuck ourselves in the wrist, rotator cuff and forearm for the better part of two years. The kind of obscure slingers the Red Sox and Tigers threw at the Angelenos? That's our actual rotation!

The Swingin A's have the best record in the American League, which according to mlb.com makes us the um, fourth best team in the league. Disrespect? ESPN's Baseball Tonight had a small featurette Sunday with uncomfortably not-the-same Peter Gammons riffing on the A's, while the studio host, who as far as I know hadn't spent a year sidelined with a brain aneurism, blithely tossed back the "fact" that the A's were doing real well for a team under .500.

Remember the Bugs Bunny episode where he is befuddled to find that no matter how much damage he does or how dangerous he seems, he can't get the price on his head high enough to interest anyone? That's Oakland right now. So we don't fear a jinx on a starting pitching staff when the A's voluntarily start a series with Gaudin, Smith and Eveland. Think they can fuck with the Athletics by making us fill the outfield with retreads? The D.H spot with .180 hitters? Lead off with our catcher while hitting fewer home runs as a team than the right side of the Phillies infield? Or put the hoodoo on a running game that's stolen fewer bases than the Twins' Carlos Gomez? We're Typhoid Mary of the American League; all sorts of bad stats carried around in our warm-up jackets and walking around healthy as can be.

The A's have weathered Japan, Cleveland and Travis Buck Bobblehead night, I'm thinking it unlikely they're going to let a Rally Monkey spoil their fun.— Kibby Kleiman

Chabon Wins Nebula Award

Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Berkeley's Michael Chabon can add another trophy to that shelf where he keeps his Pulitzer. On Saturday night in Austin, Texas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. gave a coveted Nebula Award to The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Chabon's fantasy/murder mystery in which Europe's post-Holocaust Jews settled in Sitka, not Israel.

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The East Bay Today: April 28, 2008

Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Today's Top Event: House of No at Blankspace Gallery.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: "The MacArthur Maze Collapse and the I-5 Undercrossing Inferno: Investigation of the Effects of Fire on Concrete." Lecture by Kent Sasaki and others at 502 Davis Hall, UC Berkeley.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Bui in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra is celebrating Johannes Brahms' 175th birthday at the Freight and Salvage.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out that "Smell Yo D***" video.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Wall Street Journal Takes Up Chevron's Cause

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 8:28 AM

We all take comfort in the rhythms and eternal truths of the universe. Gnats breed lice. Maggots crawl out of corpses. And the Wall Street Journal editorial page will always flak for Chevron, even when they get busted dumping billions of gallons of petrochemical waste in the Amazon. Just after the Goldman Environmental Prize was awared to a lawyer and an Ecuadorian community activist seeking compensation for indigenous tribes living in the poisoned region, the Journal published in editorial, in which editors called Ecuador a "banana republic," tried to undermine the credibility of the court's expert witness with no evidence whatsoever, argued that the Ecuadorian government promised never to sue Chevron over the issue, and dismissed the massive toxic catastrophe as just another opportunity for Hollywood liberals to feel good about themselves.

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More Fallout From UC Berkeley Top Cop Payout

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 7:45 AM

News that UC Berkeley gave its police chief $2.1 million so she wouldn't leave for a better job has prompted a stern little editorial in Sunday's Sacramento Bee. Although top cop Victoria Harrison could be right when she claims that she just cashed out her retirement and benefit plans, the Bee suspects that UC gave her a lot more than her pension in a lump sum. The editorial adds that if this is the kind of deal UC considers appropriate, then it's time to reconsider the pension deals struck by public employees around the state. And here is where we beg to differ. We agree with the Bee that the pensions and retirement rules for police and firefighters are outrageous, and that they're bankrupting cities around California (Wassup, Vallejo?). Cops and Firemen used the dot com boom years to muscle through a retirement payoff that no city could possibly afford, and it's time for them to come back to Earth. But othere public employees don't get nearly the same kind of benefits, and the pension funds ideally pay for themselves by playing the stock market. Let's not go nuts just because Cal administrators thought they could play fast and loose with the public's cash.

Facebook Spam on its Way to Your Laptop

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 7:17 AM

Spammer scum are beginning to crack the firewalls of Facebook and other social networking sites, the Chron reports. Over the last month, users have begun complaining about receiving penis-enhancement messages from their friends, and the sites' security teams are scrambling to beef up their defenses. We don't see what the problem is; we just want to spread the good word about Cialis...

Oakland Scraperbike Phenom Hits the Trib

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 7:05 AM

The Trib has a nifty story about the Oakland "scraperbike" phenomenon, in which kids rig their bikes up in candy colors and make the scene at community events and rap videos. Of course, there's this little thing called a "news hook" that would have been nice, but since the scraperbike affair is generating some Internet buzz, it's still an interesting piece.

Gratuitous Don Perata Recall Story in Chron

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 6:47 AM

The San Francisco Chronicle published a detailed piece about Perata's effort to recall Jeff Denham this morning, but it seemed bizarrely out of place. For one thing, the Chron has covered the race in drips and drabs already, and the editorial page has already weighed in on the issue, denouncing the recall campaign and Perata's role in it. We know there's a firewall between news and editorial, and the two operations don't coordinate their work, but it still seems as if this story should have run a few weeks ago, especially since anyone following the action already knows the gist of it. Still, reporter John Wildermuth does snag some juicy tidbits: the recall campaign is almost entirely financed by the Perata-controlled Voter Education and Registration Fund; and Sandi Polka, the mysterious consultant who draws hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from Perata-controlled campaign groups, is running the campaign. Nice to have that on the record.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Berkeley Daily Planet Shrinks, Gets Bigger, More Eco-Conscious

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 3:07 PM

In an apparent cost-cutting measure (touted as more environmentally conscious) the twice-weekly Berkeley Daily Planet will become a weekly starting on May 1. The announcement noted that while the print edition is scaling back, the news organization itself will actually be "bigger, faster, and stronger" with expanded columnists and coverage in print, while the web site (to be redesigned over the next few months) will be updated daily with breaking news.

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