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.

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

Email Crosscurrents' beat reporters directly at economy@kalw.org, education@kalw.org, energy@kalw.orgenvironment@kalw.org, health@kalw.org, housing@kalw.org, justice@kalw.org, transportation@kalw.org

Photo by Julie Caine

Occupy protesters marched on ports from Anchorage to San Diego Monday in a coordinated action designed to shut down operations.

Jen Chien

Josephine Tolbert’s house is locked. It has a “No Trespassing” sign posted on the front door, but through the small lace-curtained windows at the front of the house, she can still see her daycare business.

“We have a little table where the kids draw, and play little games. There's a radio in the back that plays kiddie music, and they do their little kiddie dance. And its a wonderful daycare, I love it and the kids love it … It is beautiful, I wish you could get in there,” she describes.

Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park is set to become Hellman Meadow if the Recreation & Park Department approves the plan unanimously passed last week by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. The name change would honor Warren Hellman, the financial and spiritual force behind the three-day free music fest known as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. But festival neighbors see this motion as being out of tune with their concerns.

Newly-elected mayor Ed Lee wants to eliminate homelessness in San Francisco, and he says the magic number to do it is three million -- dollars, that is. $500,000 of those dollars come from a Dave Matthews Band fundraising concert in 2005...

65% of California adults support Governor Jerry Brown's  plan to raise sales and income taxes on people that earn over $250,000 a year...

What's brewing in San Francisco

Dec 12, 2011
photo by Brian Pelletier

Brewing beer is a complete sensory experience. I can feel the heat on the stove top as the grains and water are boiled to make the wort, the smell of hops fills the kitchen. Later, I can hear yeast feasting on the freshly brewed wort and see the release of the gaseous bubbles that result.

Making beer is like learning a fine art – one that’s been nourished here in the Bay Area for more than 200 years. And as a San Francisco-based homebrewer, I wanted to find out more about our fermenting forebears.

San Francisco’s brewing history

Under CC license from S_falkow. http://www.flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation/5929769873/

It’s been a significant year for criminal justice in the Bay Area, but many of the challenges have come late in the year.

“Crosscurrents” goes live for December MAPP

Dec 8, 2011

The KALW news team and guests took the stage at the Polish Club SF on December 3rd for an evening of multimedia storytelling as part of the Mission Arts and Performance Project (MAPP). The theme of the night was “Beginnings and Endings.” Performers included Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington, John Reichmuth of the comedy troupe Kasper Hauser, StoryCorps, and New York Times and Pop-Up Magazine contributor Jon Mooallem. KALW’s own reporters told ghost stories, love stories and stories about the end of the world.

Early this morning police took down San Francisco’s Occupy encampment – the last large Occupy camp in the Bay Area. Seventy people were arrested, a few on felony charges of assaulting an officer…

The Berkeley theater company Shotgun Players started performing twenty years ago in the basement of a Berkeley pizzeria. Now it’s got its own building, but the company has stuck with its founding principles: taking on little-known or brand new plays and working hard to create theater for the community.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the company is presenting an entire season of world premieres: five brand new plays.

Under CC license, Flickr user 401K

That 52-inch flat-screen TV you just bought your loved one (or yourself) for the holidays should be arriving any day now. And what a deal – nice picture, good price, delivered right to your door. And since you made the purchase online, you weren’t charged California sales tax for that shiny new piece of technology.

Here’s the thing though: there’s a good chance you owe the California government some money. And the state needs it. You know it and Governor Jerry Brown knows it.

In an attempt to prevent deeper cuts to schools and other public services, Governor Jerry Brown has filed a ballot measure that would increase the sales tax by half a cent and income taxes by one or two percent, depending on annual salary. People who earn less than $250,000 will not see any change in their income tax rate. A number of outside groups have filed alternative tax measures as well, so tax hikes in California may be inevitable...

While BART managers are trying to bring the Bay Area’s rail system into the future, state officials are trying to bring a new train system into existence. High-speed rail is supposed to whisk passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just two and a half hours. It’s a controversial project, though, and over the past few months it’s gotten even more controversial. KALW’s transportation reporter Julie Caine has more.

HOLLY KERNAN: Julie, we know the price tag for high-speed rail has now gone up to an estimated $100 billion. What is happening?

Photo courtesy of Dave Wong

In San Francisco, you don’t have to go to a stuffy night club or a formal classroom to learn how to swing dance. If you want to learn the Lindy Hop, you can learn in the great outdoors.

KALW’s Carolina Hidalgo, who is originally from Chile, found the group called Lindy in the Park, dancing in full daylight on one of her walks in Golden Gate Park. She brings us this profile for the next installment of Meet Your Neighbors.

Technology has done great things for medicine: Machines can help keep hearts beating and lungs breathing. Electronic medical records help doctors keep track of their patients’ treatment and prevent mistakes. But all that technology needs a lot of monitoring – and that can be frustrating for nurses who want to be tending people, not machines.

To combat this problem, healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente is implementing a new program to help nurses relax a bit, and shift their focus back to what’s really important.  KALW’S Christopher Connelly has more on what they’re doing.

Under CC license from Lukasz Lech. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gibffe/2497417145/

Tonight, a show called "Weed Wars" is premiering on the Discovery Channel, and it’s entirely based on the Bay Area medical marijuana trade. The premiere has interesting timing: Yesterday, a U.S. District judge in Oakland rejected a request from dispensaries to keep federal prosecutors from filing charges against them. It’s the latest in a series of events that have been challenging California marijuana advocates, kicked off by Melinda Haag, the U.S.

The education of young people is increasingly, if not exclusively, coming from the internet. And a big part of it is from the website Wikipedia. The English-language version alone has more than three million entries. It’s consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites in the world, after Facebook and before Twitter. And in the last few years, Wikipedia has started spreading to college classrooms, but not without its share of controversies and concerns.

California is home to more than 55,000 foster kids - the largest population in the country. And, the one place in the state where most of those kids come together is in public school. Jetaine Hart, a former foster youth and current educational mentor in Alameda County, argues that’s where we should be putting resources to help foster kids – kids who often shuffle from school to school and have unstable home lives.

The psychology of what makes teens thankful

Nov 29, 2011

Teenagers often feel misunderstood. It’s a hard time of life – somewhere between childhood and adulthood, not quite one or the other – with a future that is at once uncertain, exciting, and overwhelming. It’s no wonder that they can seem ungrateful for what’s going on in the present – and that’s something researchers have found repeatedly. Youth Radio’s Rayana Godfrey decided to take that presumption on in this report on the science of.

RAYANA GODFREY: My mom would kill me if I ever acted like the kid in this popular YouTube video:

Join KALW for its final 70th anniversary event, in conjunction with the Mission Arts and Performance Project!

This special evening will feature oral storytellers, radio producers, and musicians performing on the theme of "Beginnings and Endings." We'll also be bringing you an episode of KALW's "Crosscurrents" LIVE, with audience participation! 

Cost: FREE!

Venue: The Polish Club (3040 22nd Street, San Francisco)

Date and Time: Saturday, December 3rd from 6-9pm

Performers include:

Marilyn Pittman is one of San Francisco's first openly gay comics, rising to fame during the AIDS crisis, and known for bringing hilarity through her blunt, "tell it like it is" comedy.

But in 1997, tragedy struck, when her father murdered her mother, and then committed suicide. After that, Pittman went through her mother's journals, and her father's love letters, seeking answers as to why it happened. She asked questions like "did they really love each other?” and "could we see this coming?”

Get inside the mind of an amateur comic

Nov 24, 2011

It makes sense why comedy flourishes in the Bay Area. To a lot of people, the region itself is a kind of joke. On the right, we’ve got  Bill O'Reilly calling us a modern day Gomorrah –

BILL O’REILLY: As we reported, the far left is emboldened now that Barack Obama has been elected president, and nowhere is the far left government more on display than in the city of San Francisco. Once a working class town blessed with natural beauty, San Francisco has embraced a secular liberal culture that is now dominant in city government.

Who would have thought that Borders, the corporate bookselling behemoth that had stores in practically every mini mall across America, would now be shutting its doors? Some blame the Borders breakdown on the end of books as we know them. The cause? Technology.

Back in the ‘50s, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” challenged how people thought a poem should sound. Recently, e-books challenged how we think a book should feel. And now, the Twitter Novel is challenging how a novel should be written.

The true art of storytelling is in bringing stories to life, either as comedy, a compelling radio piece, or a movie. But what happens when what you want to bring to life is a piece of art in itself? Like making a movie about a poem?

Compared with the rest of the nation, the Bay Area is an easy place to go green – many restaurants will give you take-out with biodegradable containers and silverware, trash cans have a section for recyclables, and San Francisco, along with other Bay Area cities, even offers compost collection

San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood is the focus of a lot of attention these days. The long rundown area has become a canvas of urban planning: local art and mural projects fill the sidewalks, and big businesses like Twitter have decided to locate there because of generous civic tax breaks.

Smartphones bring us streaming audio, directions to where we're going, instant connections with our friends and family. But an increasing number of experts are sounding an alarm that smartphones may as well be called spyphones.

As many San Franciscans know, dropped calls are such a common problem with cell phones that in 2002, Verizon Wireless launched a commercial empire based on that now-famous tagline:

If your kid comes up to you on Thanksgiving and asks you, "What should I be thankful for? I can't think of anything!" you should say to that child, "Boy (or girl), do I have the book for you!" (especially if you are a character in a commercial). In the book I See Kindness Everywhere, by Lafayette mom Shelley Frost, a little girl says, "When I put on my socks, I see the kindness of people who cut and sewed the material. Thank you, sock makers!" I don't want to ruin the ending, but there's a spiderweb. Hint: Webs of kindness.

Early this morning at UC Berkeley, police clearned an Occupy Cal encampment which had been set up for a second time Tuesday night on Sproul Plaza. Almost all campers left voluntarily, except for two who were arrested.

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