Friday, May 29, 2009

Parkway Pow-Wow This Sunday Afternoon

by Nate Seltenrich
Fri, May 29, 2009 at 5:20 PM

A community meeting addressing the future of Oakland's Parkway Speakeasy Theater (provided, of course, there is a future -- at the moment, it's looking likely) will take place this Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m. at nearby Rooz Cafe (1918 Park Blvd.). Hosted by advocacy group I Like the Parkway, the meeting will likely center on recent news that a Midwest-based group of investors has submitted a proposal to assume operatorship of the theater. In a post on her Oaklander Online blog, Patsy Eagan details what's going down. Here are the juicy bits: Organizers, business owners and Oakland residents will gather at 3 p.m. to take input from the community on what it wants in a new venue. Even if the deal with Motion Picture Heritage doesn't work out, the group is moving forward with an investor package that will distill the desires of future patrons…and will help Peter Prato and the I Like the Parkway volunteers determine whether to endorse investor proposals. For serious Parkway fans, it sounds like something worth attending.

Slap Hitter: A's Go Big or Go Fishing

Fri, May 29, 2009 at 3:05 PM

It's the critical weekend of the season for the Oakland A's. Four for Texas starting with a doubleheader this afternoon. The Green and Gold take on the first place Rangers in a ballpark that serves as the A's own haunted house during the best of seasons. Called "The Ballpark in Arlington", its cursed quality begins with that bizarre moniker and continues as a place where 7-0 leads go to die. The A's are eight games out and can't fall any further back without becoming completely irrelevant by summer. And the Ranger's pad chews up pitchers like they're going out of style (and we don't have very stylish pitchers to begin with).

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Heir to the Parkway?

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, May 28, 2009 at 12:06 PM

A group of investors based in the Midwest has submitted an offer to take over Oakland's Parkway Speakeasy Theater, reported the Chronicle this morning. Motion Picture Heritage, the Indiana-based umbrella group to which the new investors belong, is dedicated to preserving independent community movie houses, at this point primarily in the Midwest. "The hopes and aspirations of Americana are not found in multiplexes," Motion Picture Heritage manager Bill Dever told the Chron. "It's found in places like the Parkway." The connection between the Parkway and MPH was sparked by longtime Parkway programmer Will Viharo and fostered by Oakland City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. "We're all wanting the same thing here - to reopen the theater," she said. "So now we're down to talking brass tacks." The biggest impediment to the Parkway becoming the MPH's first West Coast theater? A long list of necessary repairs, including plumbing and electrical overhauls -- and neither the current landlords nor the new investors are flush with funds to throw in that direction. If the deal goes through, only one question remains: will they still sell pizza and beer?

Berkeley Couple, Bush Lawyer Team Up Against Prop. 8

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM

A lesbian couple from Berkeley has teamed up with Ted Olson, who was US solicitor general under the Bush administration and was one of George W. Bush's top lawyers in Bush v. Gore, in an attempt to overturn Prop. 8 in the federal courts. Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley also are working with attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore and squared off against Olson in the 2000 election fight. Olson and Boies believe that Prop. 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative upheld by the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, violates the federal constitution's ban on discrimination. As a staunch conservative, Olson's involvement in the case is somewhat surprising, but he said that he has believed for some time that not allowing gays to marry is wrong. Olson and Boies explained their views last night on CNN.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Slap Hitter: Everyone to the Ballpark!

Wed, May 27, 2009 at 4:27 PM

The A's refusing to accept prosperity blew their last best chance to escape last place this afternoon, getting whupped by the plummeting Seattle Mariners today at the Coliseum in front of 30,012 fans.

30,012? The Athletics haven't drawn flies all spring and today of all days everyone shows up. Kind of makes me sad they're leaving for a road trip right now.

Was it the thought of seeing Trevor Cahill not blow a lead, because he would never get one? The unlikely prospect that Rajai Davis could hit a ball hard enough that it might sneak into the stands as a foul ball? To see some guy buy the limit of 10 hot dogs at a time and then wait behind him in shock and awe while he dressed them in ten different ways?

Nothing the A's have done thus far has worked to boost attendance. The old standbys have been stood up. Bobbleheads didn't get 20K. Fireworks? Barely that. Jason Giambi? Not so much. Interleague play? It is to laugh. Even the dollar Wednesday thing saw 40,000 plus empty seats a month ago against Texas. So why was today different from all other days?

Maybe the rattly signal from the A's radio station enjoyed a static free day. Maybe all the schools suffering budget cuts figured the kids could eat cheaper at the Coliseum than in the school cafeteria. Maybe a three-game winning streak turned the East Bay giddy. Regardless, it must have been nice to have thirty large worth of butts in the seats. For whatever reason: "The weather's great!" Or "I got laid off--what else am I going to do with my time!" Or "Isn't this the exit to the airport?!" today was a day the A's finally came close to a full house. Too bad, that like so much of the 2009 season, the A's didn't give them a helluva lot to cheer about.— Kibby Kleiman

Who's Killing Plug-in Hybrids, Part II

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM

The California Air Resources Board is scheduled to again take up the issue of regulating hybrids today, May 28, in Sacramento. As we reported earlier, the air board told its staff to go back to the drawing board after small businesses that convert Toyota Priuses to plug-in hybrids said that proposed regulations would put them out of business. However, the staff's new proposed regulations would still effectively bankrupt small companies.

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A Real Interrogator Takes on Yoo and Cheney

Torture at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib was the No. 1 recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Former American military interrogator in Iraq says torture backfired big-time:

More Fallout in the Oakland Cop Killings

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Five top-ranking police officials are under investigation for their roles in the ill-advised raid that left two cops dead in March, according to the Trib. Citing anonymous sources, the paper says that OPD commanders made a series of mistakes, including the failure to set up a command post before storming an apartment, looking for murder suspect Lovelle Mixon. Mixon, who had fatally shot two other Oakland cops during a routine traffic stop a few hours earlier, then opened fire on the SWAT team and killed two of them. Those under investigation include Deputy Police Chief Dave Kozicki. The timing of the news is not good for Kozicki, because is in the running to become the next police chief at UC Berkeley.

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Perata Beats the Rap

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 11:18 AM

The US Attorney's Office in Sacramento has decided not to pursue public corruption charges against former state Senator Don Perata of Oakland. In a statement released Wednesday, acting US Attorney Lawrence Brown said: "Prosecutors from both this office and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice have reviewed the matter involving Senator Don Perata and have determined not to pursue criminal charges. This office and the Criminal Division in Washington, D.C. worked collaboratively in undertaking this review. Each office reached its decision independently based on our respective analyses of the facts and the law. Beyond that, in accordance with departmental policy, we cannot disclose our deliberative process."

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