• The ancient city of Bam, Iran, captured and published in a new book by Judy Iranyi.  Photo by Judy Iranyi.
  • Ed Lee schwag handed out at the Democratic Party Convention in Anaheim. Photo by Adriel Hampton.
  • Women gathered for a photo to express their support for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
  • Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin announced Monday his second candidacy for District 3 Supervisor.  Photos by Luke Thomas.
  • Merriment and celebration on St. Patrick's Day.  Photo by Luke Thomas.
  • MMR-vaccine

OccupySF: The Week That Was, Or Wasn’t

OccupySF: The Week That Was, Or Wasn’t

December 06, 2011 | No Comments

It is in moments like these, and probably ONLY in moments like these, that experience with police riots comes in handy. The secret is to focus on small goals and try not to get hurt. I somehow inserted myself to the center of the struggling knot of humanity at the barrier, and I positioned myself at Hacker-Camper’s ear: “You can’t get arrested until you return my phone!” Hacker-Camper releases the barricade, hands me the phone, we trade the briefest of warm smiles, and he then dives headfirst back into the fray. I look down at my phone… he had somehow installed Ustream and I was recording live!

Posted in Opinion, Politics

SF Bicycle Coalition Celebrates 40 Years, Sells Humans for Good Cause

SF Bicycle Coalition Celebrates 40 Years,
Sells Humans for Good Cause

December 05, 2011 | No Comments

A crowd favorite was the live auction of a bike ride and lunch date with District 11 Supervisor John Avalos. Making the sound of a sheep, Supervisor Avalos announced his “BAAA” legislation: the Bike Access and Anti-theft Act, to be introduced in January. This Act will require commercial buildings to either provide space for parking bikes or to allow tenants to provide such space. The intent is to keep the sidewalks clear of bikes, and to keep bikes secure for their owners. (And, yes, there is a bike room in City Hall.)

Posted in Events, News

SFSU Students Protest Fee Increases, Commence OccupySFSU Encampment

SFSU Students Protest Fee Increases,
Commence OccupySFSU Encampment

December 02, 2011 | 1 Comment

The OccupySFSU students proclaimed solidarity with Occupy movements everywhere. In turn, several OccupySF activists participated in the students’ demonstration and helped set up the encampment at Malcolm X Plaza, which started its first night after the rally and march. Among the speakers was Sean Semans, who has been an OccupySF resident for weeks. He carries an 18-unit course load at SFSU. He explained that he cannot afford to miss any more school especially given the high cost of his education, so he is helping to set up the encampment at SFSU and will participate in the OccupySFSU General Assembly. Semans warned students there is a hidden cost associated with the fee increases: increases to the interest rate on unsubsidized student loans.

Posted in News, Politics

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Is the American Psychiatric Association
in Bed with Big Pharma?

November 29, 2011 | 12 Comments

While I am sure research in mental disorders account for some of this increase, I cannot help but believe that there is a certain amount of disease-peddling going on. That is, instead of promoting drugs to treat diseases, diseases are promoted to fit the drugs. For example, shyness as a psychiatric illness made its debut as “social phobia” in DSM-III in 1980, but was said to be rare. By 1994, when DSM-IV was published, it had become “social anxiety disorder,” now said to be extremely common, thus, boosting sales of antidepressants. Now, social anxiety disorder is “a severe medical condition.” In 1999, the FDA approved a drug for social anxiety disorder. After a successful marketing campaign, the sales of Paxil soared.

Posted in Opinion

Mic Check

Mic Check

November 28, 2011 | 9 Comments

We aren’t the folks with the guns. We aren’t criminalizing anyone or taking away their rights. We haven’t put thousands upon thousands of families out of their homes. We don’t evade our responsibility to care for seniors, veterans, disabled and sick people. We’ve never used the vast reaches of mainstream media to fan the flames of fear and hate.

Posted in Opinion, Politics

Lives of Milk, Moscone Celebrated on 33rd Anniversary of Assassinations

Lives of Milk, Moscone Celebrated
on 33rd Anniversary of Assassinations

November 28, 2011 | No Comments

Former Supervisor Dan White, a Catholic conservative, gunned down Milk and Moscone in cold blood at City Hall when White learned he would not be reappointed to his seat following his resignation.

At his trial, an all-white jury was reportedly swayed by White’s taped confession and what became known as White’s “Twinkie defense.” The jury found White guilty of 2nd degree murder, a lesser charge that touched off a night of rioting dubbed the “White Night” riots following a serene candlelit vigil and march from The Castro to City Hall.

Posted in News, Politics

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Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners Needs Our Help

November 23, 2011 | No Comments

This amazing act of charity started with one person 37 years ago. Perry Spink was a bartender and drag queen performer in the Tenderloin. In 1974, someone gave Perry a bunch of turkeys and he decided to share them with his neediest neighbors. He donned his “Tessie” costume and played hostess along with several of his not-so-sober bar buddies and made Thanksgiving memorable for many down-and-out elderly in the Tenderloin. Tessie also started giving gift bags along with the meals, a tradition that lives on today. These bags contain donated items such as toiletries, socks, gloves and an assortment of non-perishable food.

Posted in Human Interest

Occupy: The Movement We’ve Been Waiting For

Occupy: The Movement We’ve Been Waiting For

November 22, 2011 | 4 Comments

This movement is larger than a single voice, a single message – or even a single person. It is larger than you or me. The mantra, “We are the 99 percent,” attempts to speak for (almost) everyone. The movement’s largest criticism is that it cannot provide a clear, focused demand. What began as a movement about economic injustice has evolved into a movement of all sorts including police brutality, the right to peaceful assembly, opposition to budget cuts and tuition hikes, labor rights, homelessness, unemployment and even Utopian ideals for a better world.

Posted in Opinion, Politics

RCVBallotSample

RCV is Electing Winners with Stronger Mandates than December Runoffs

November 22, 2011 | 11 Comments

The ultimate irony is that Sean Elsbernd himself is the poster child for what’s wrong with the old December runoffs and what’s right with RCV. Look at the results above for District 7: Supervisor Elsbernd won in 2004 in an “instant” runoff race with nearly 50% more votes than his predecessor Tony Hall had in 2000 in a delayed December runoff, 13,834 votes versus 9333 (in comparable turnout years). And Elsbernd had 43.7% of the “whole contest” vote total compared to 30.9% for Hall. No matter how you want to count it, more District 7 voters were able to have a say in who their supervisor is because Sup. Elsbernd was elected with ranked choice voting in a much higher turnout November election.

Posted in Opinion, Politics

OccupySF Offered Alternative Location and What’s Up With OccupyOakland?

OccupySF Offered Alternative Location
and What’s Up With OccupyOakland?

November 21, 2011 | 2 Comments

As we were leaving, we spotted some commotion around a sidewalk tree on the edge of the Plaza. We encountered “Robin,” a young man in his 20s, who is currently dwelling in a three-level tree platform which has been labeled “Ohlone Land.” Robin shouted down to us that “we are not coming down until Jean Quan agrees to let people camp at the Plaza again.” He explained that the platforms were built by Running Wolf and Black Foot, who wanted to have a presence in the Occupy Movement on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and their rights; to make a point that the City Hall complex is on stolen lands. Robin also pointed out that eco-justice issues need to have a more prominent place in the Occupy Movement.

Posted in News, Politics

Occupy Wall Street: Too Big to Fail

Occupy Wall Street: Too Big to Fail

November 21, 2011 | 1 Comment

Federal, state and local officials plan budget cuts instead of help. Human deprivation isn’t discussed in high places, only ways to grab more wealth and power. In plain sight, America’s no longer fit to live in. Neither are other Western countries, depriving the many for the few.

Posted in News, Politics

OccupySF Prepares for Police Raid on Federal Reserve Encampment

OccupySF Prepares for Police Raid
on Federal Reserve Encampment

November 18, 2011 | 4 Comments

When I first arrived, a pow-wow of participants were engaged in introductions of the many organizations that were represented (Labor Council, ILWU, UHW, Coalition on Homelessness, etc). Individuals were invited to identify as newly visiting or having been with OccupySF for a while. The congenial crowd then did a run-through of linking arms and creating a human chain in anticipation of protecting the tents in front of the Federal Reserve.

Posted in News, Politics

Student-School Assignment Measure Fails

Student-School Assignment Measure Fails

November 17, 2011 | 3 Comments

According to final results published today by the San Francisco Department of Elections, Prop H failed to pass by 115 votes. The measure was previously leading with a small margin but failed after all ballots, including provisional ballots, were processed.

Posted in News, Politics

Nuru Issues Final Notice to Federal Reserve Occupy Campers

Nuru Issues Final Notice
to Federal Reserve Occupy Campers

November 17, 2011 | 10 Comments

Citing health and safety issues, Nuru states, “The occupants of the tents and encampment on Market Street and Main Street, near the Federal Reserve, are hereby notified that they are in violation of City and County of San Francisco codes and must take down all tents and structures and vacate immediately.”

Posted in News, Politics

Police in riot gear watch as Occupy Wall Street protesters march past City Hall  in New York, Nov. 15, 2011. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

What Next for Occupy Wall Street
Following Adverse Court Ruling?

November 17, 2011 | No Comments

Sometime after OWS occupied Zuccotti Park, Brookfield promulgated rules, prohibiting, among other things, camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures; lying down on the ground, or lying down on benches; the placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property; and storage or placement of personal property on the ground, benches, sitting areas or walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of such areas by others. These rules were clearly aimed at OWS.

Posted in News