Crosscurrents

Monday-Thursday at 5pm

Crosscurrents is the award-winning daily news magazine from KALW Public Radio. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the divides in our community - economic, social, and cultural.

Subscribe to our podcast:

  • on iTunes
  • or choose another app, and copy-paste this link into it: http://kalw.org/podcasts/628/rss.xml

Got a comment, tip, or a story we should cover? Email news@kalw.org or give us a call at (415) 264-7106.

A peer review group is advising lawmakers to turn down billions of dollars in bond funding for California’s high speed rail project. The group, commissioned by Proposition 1A, is voicing a host of concerns, though they mainly question whether there will be adequate funding for the project in the future...

You Can Lead A Kid To Water

Jan 4, 2012
Brett Myers/Youth Radio

State and federal governments are implementing new policies requiring schools to provide free drinking water in cafeterias at lunchtime, to promote health and fight obesity. Ideally, schools install “hydration stations” where students fill up reusable bottles with chilled, filtered water.

In the past few months, many Americans dealing with the difficult economy have taken part in some of the largest domestic protest movements in recent history: what began as Occupy Wall Street spread from coast to coast. Demonstrators protested economic inequality and injustice, foreclosures, and bank bailouts. It could all be summed up in one rallying cry: “We are the 99%.”

But if Occupy had a slogan, it doesn’t necessarily have a moment – one image to define it in people’s minds. And that’s something that separates it from other big movements in our past.

It’s a new year, and time for a new legislative session – and that means a new debate over how to address California’s budget problems. When they reconvene this week, lawmakers will try out solutions involving everything from legalizing online poker to scuttling high-speed rail. Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state can eliminate redevelopment agencies.

Some of the new developments in California's budgetary thinking; Alexander Monsanto is taking his job search to the San Francisco streets; a conversation with 1968 bronze-medallist John Carlos; and local singer Garrin Benfield.

Tajah Jones/Youth Radio

Alexander Monsanto has achieved a lot of firsts. He’s a first-generation American, the first in his family to graduate high school, and the first to get a college degree. All eyes are on him to succeed, but it’s been 10 months since he got his accounting degree from Florida Atlantic University, and still no job.

“There are times where I would question what I was doing,” said Monsanto. “I studied accounting for four years. If it’s going to be this difficult to get a job, is this really the field I want to be in?”

Garrin Benfield

Jan 3, 2012

San Francisco guitar innovator Garrin Benfield is known for a complex, loop-driven solo show – but he’s not doing that on his new album. Now he’s concentrating on singing and playing a finger-style electric guitar. 

Benfield says his current sound might best be accompanied by candlelight and a bottle of Pinot Noir. They don’t offer either at the Dolores Park Café in San Francisco, but that’s where you can hear Benfield this Friday, January 6, starting about 7:30pm. All ages are welcome.

Opponents of the proposed redistricting lines that would be used in the 2012 California Senate elections will get to make their case before the California Supreme Court on January 10th. Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR) submitted over 711,000 signatures along with a referendum challenging the new district maps. FAIR feels the new maps violate state Constitution by failing to respect existing city and county borders…

WILL DURST: Hey guys, Will Durst here with my 8th annual top ten comedic news stories of the year.  Now please be warned this list is not to be confused with the top ten legitimate news stories of the year... no no no. They are as different as three bean chili and paisley bow ties. Like strip-mining slag heaps and little Rubber Duckies, wide haired dwarf goats and plastic dinnerware.  Now these are the events from the year of our Lord 2011 that most lent themselves to mocking and scoffing and taunting, in ample amounts.

Strict building codes in the East Bay, the fate of post-Cristmas Christmas trees, intense memories stirred up by home cooking, the top 10 comedic news stories of 2011, and local musician The Hooks.

Photo by Callie Shanafelt

[Audio available after 5pm PST]

The Hooks

Jan 2, 2012
courtesy of www.myspace.com/thehooks

The music you’re hearing is by The Hooks. They live in San Francisco now, having moved from Sligo, Ireland. You can hear their more melodic form of punk, along with their untraditional versions of Irish traditional music on Saturday (01.07) at Bottom of the Hill in The City. Music starts about 9pm.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/qthomasbower/3640362081/

A new nature preserve and wildlife habitat is being created out of a decades-old dumping ground in Marin County. Aramburu Island, which was created in the 1950s from human debris, will be renamed the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary. The project is being bankrolled by a number of entities, including the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin...

Photo by Denise Tejada for Youth Radio

In East Oakland, the street economy ranges from selling CDs out of your car to braiding hair at bus stops. But the underground marketplace can be a slippery slope to illegal activity, like selling guns, drugs, and sex.

Photo courtesy of Youth Radio

Child prostitution goes on in America every day and every night ­– despite the efforts of federal, state and local authorities. For more than a year now, Youth Radio has been investigating child sex trafficking in Oakland. It's a system of exploitation that's ensnaring girls across America.

The FBI estimates 100,000 to 300,000 children and youth per year are forced into prostitution. But missing from these types of reports are perspectives from the girls themselves, who are caught up in what's known as "the game.”

An estimated 30 million people or more live as slaves today – working against their will for someone else. And every year, some 17,500 are trafficked into the United States. Many of these people don’t have allies, but here in the Bay Area, there’s one non-profit that’s standing with them.

Student Commentaries: Fighting for an education

Dec 28, 2011

This October, Governor Jerry Brown attracted national attention when he signed the California DREAM

In the University of California system, officials are considering raising fees as much as 16% a year through

In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drug users public enemy number one. Young, white, middle-class kids were openly using recreational drugs, and long-held stigmas about drug use were shrinking, especially in the Bay Area. Public perception typically connected drugs with protest culture and the social rebellion of the '60s and '70s. To then-president Richard Nixon, and many others, it was a sign of society coming apart at the seams.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: We must wage total war on what I have called public enemy number one: the problem of dangerous drugs.

Recently, KALW’s Jon Atkinson headed out to Dolores Park to ask the resident young adults there about marriage. He mostly heard the words “outdated,” and “unnecessary” (save for the words of one hopeful park-goer). And those who follow marriage trends wouldn’t be surprised. People like local author Ethan Watters says young people are consciously prolonging the time between graduating from college and starting a family. In the meantime, they form networks of support that sustain them: groups of friends, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, and classmates who form a kind of family.

Photo courtesy of the SF Arts Commission

Over the past few months, we’ve been taking you back to San Francisco’s Mid-Market – all the way back to when this busy stretch of street was a hub of activity and entertainment. We started in the ‘20s at the Warfield Theater, and then turned back the clock on Hibernia Bank to the late nineteenth century.

Awhile back, we took you deep into outer space:

CHRISTOPHER HEDGE: You’re always going to have a whoosh sound when you go through something in a planetarium, so I was thinking, “Well what if those whooshes were made with the real signatures of what you’re going through?”

Flickr photo by moonjazz. http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonjazz/122391/

If you go deep in the basement of the Oakland Museum of California you might hear something extraordinary. It’s the archives of the California Library of Natural Sounds. What started with some crickets and a couple of frogs has expanded into a sound collection that's hard to contain inside the gallery walls. Reporter Julie Caine takes us inside the Library for this report from the KALW News archives.

CARSON BELL: I listen to a lot of wild things in here.

Photo courtesy the Hayward Area Historical Society

Head to the East Bay city of Hayward, and you’ll find a museum with a little bit of class. There, the city’s historical society puts on exhibits about the way we used to live. But were Bay Area citizens of the past really so different than us?

KALW’s Hana Baba wanted to know more, so she stopped by the museum for a lesson in what many people consider a lost art: formal etiquette.

Photo by Jen Dessinger

Space exploration – it’s something we’ve made a national priority since NASA’s inception, over 50 years ago.

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.

But last week, NASA launched its last space shuttle mission – officially retiring the almost 30-year-old spacecraft.

For many artists, creating works of art is a deeply personal process –not a lucrative one. But for others, it’s an opportunity to make money. A lot of money. Take today’s pop music artists – you can hear commercially promoted music by tuning into America’s Top 40. But if you want to find emerging artists and diverse sub-genres from the Bay Area and around the world, you should check out All Day Play from Oakland’s Youth Radio. The station DJs follow the latest trends from hip hop to soul to electronica, rock, and house.

Art can be extraordinary. It can convey beauty ... imagination  ... and wonder. For some artists, it can literally communicate what their words cannot.

In Oakland, artists with developmental disabilities find a place to express themselves at the Creative Growth Art Center. But budget cuts to county and state social service programs are making it harder for them to pursue their artistic visions.

KALW’s Nicole Jones reports.

TOM DI MARIA: That’s a big painting, Barry. What color are you painting right now?

BARRY REAGAN: Blue.

Learning to eat well in the land of plenty

Dec 20, 2011
Photo by Shuka Kalantari

For most of us, thinking about our healthy eating habits happens maybe once a year at New Years, or right before swimsuit season. But for refugee kids, learning how to eat healthy in America is an entirely new challenge. In another story by reporter Shuka Kalantari, 15-year-old Ja Tu Marip, a foster child from Myanmar, didn’t have a lot of access to junk food like candy and soda. In this story by Shuka Kalantari, Ja Tu’s older sister Seng Raw talks about her adjustment to the American diet.

SENG RAW MARIP: Basically the food in Burma is rice.

Food reeducation as a refugee

Dec 20, 2011
Photo by Shuka Kalantari

Many refugees are children who come to this country without their parents. And many have little to no understanding of how to eat well in their new home. Ja Tu Marip is one of those refugees. He used to live with his family in a labor camp in Kachin, a northern state in Myanmar. But when he came to the United States, he encountered a remarkable culture shock.

Shuka Kalantari reports.

JA TU MARIP: Kit Kat snack size. Oh yeah, right here. Gummi berries. I like these a lot when I get here. And gummi worms…

Counting calories at McDonalds

Dec 20, 2011
http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices.html

Hungry? You might be craving that one restaurant in your neighborhood – you know the one. Whichever restaurant you’re thinking of, there’s one popular eatery that you can find in more than 100 countries nowadays for a good old-fashioned American meal.

MCDONALDS COMMERCIAL: Start off your day, everyday, with breakfast  variety at McDonalds! We love to see you smile!

Pages