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

Most of us have experienced job burnout – when we get bored with our work or sick of our colleagues, for example. But what happens when your work is all about other people? If you’re a doctor, or a nurse, or a teacher? This is what Berkeley PhD student Eve Ekman calls “empathy burnout.” Holly Kernan spoke with Ekman about her research.

Photo courtesy of Hadley Robinson

With gold continuing to sell at historically high prices, the hunt for the shiny mineral is alive and well. Mostly.

In 2009, California outlawed a technique known as suction dredge mining, which makes finding gold a bit easier than shaking a pan. Officials wanted to study potential damage to the Klamath River, an area where there was lots of dredging. KALW’S Hadley Robinson has the story about a struggle for power along the river.

The HeavyThin

Jan 9, 2012

It’s important to stand out in the music world. That’s why The Heavy Thin – who you’re hearing now – is described as “the Bay Area’s only almost all-photojournalist rock band.” Most members work as photographers for their day jobs. They’re on the program Friday the 13th (01.13) at The Stork Club in Oakland, along with five other bands!

Will Cities Be Heard in Campaign 2012?

Jan 9, 2012
Urban policy has—not surprisingly—not been a hot topic at presidential debates this year. But like every president since FDR, the next occupant of the White House will have an impact on America's cities.

Shortly after lunchtime on the day of the 2004 New Hampshire primary, Joe Lieberman's bus pulled up to an elementary school on the east side of Manchester. Waiting there for him were three men who clearly had been sleeping on the street before they, briefly, became part of the Connecticut senator's campaign. On a cue from a campaign staffer, as Lieberman descended from his coach with the assembled media watching, the three men began waving signs and energetically shouting, "Go Joe! Go Joe! … Joe-mentum!

Nobody mistakes California for some mythical Library Land of fully staffed facilities with budgets that reach up to the clouds. In fact, Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year would eliminate all state funding to California library programs. Still, some library systems are somehow, someway continuing to upgrade – like San Francisco. 22 branches have been refurbished or opened in San Francisco through a Neighborhood Library Campaign that began over a decade ago on a budget that has grown to $188.9 million as of February of last year.

BAY AREA BOOK WORLD BREAKING NEWS

Hey, so, just wondering, why did the love of your life break up with you? Actually, it’s not just me who’s wondering. David Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, would like to know as well. So if you could post your break up tale here, that would be great.

Budget cuts to municipal transportation agencies, trusting children to take their education seriously, the Occupy movement and protest songs, and local musicians Clangin' and Bangin'.

The sound of the Occupy movement, from Wall Street to the West Coast, has been captured in angry chants. But give a listen to protests of the past, and you’ll find musicians making themselves heard in many different ways. KALW’s Martina Castro spoke with Latin jazz percussionist John Santos about the role of music in social protest and the Occupy movement.

Rosa Say/Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, commuters of all kinds came to terms with one fact: getting somewhere, anywhere, is harder than it used to be. Here in the Bay Area, drivers faced higher gas prices and bridge tolls. AC Transit riders dealt with fewer bus lines and increased fares. San Francisco Muni riders faced changing routes as well. All in all, 2011 meant more cost, and oftentimes more waiting, for drivers and riders. And it might not get better this year.

Dan4th Nicholas

As with much conventional wisdom on crime and punishment, popular notions of what actually causes recidivism--people cycling repeatedly in and out of prison--don't hold up when you look at the statistics. California's latest report analyzing its notoriously high (currently 65 percent) recidivism rate contains an array of numerical nuggets that shed new light on the cycle of crime. A sampling:

On a typical day at Brightworks, a private school in San Francisco’s Mission District, students are welding, listening to indie music, and writing novels. The school opened its doors last September with a simple goal: trust your kids more.

The total enrollment for Brightworks is 30 students. They range in age from six to 12 years old. Mackenzie Rose-Price is a teacher at Brightworks, but they don’t call her that at the school. Instead, she’s a “collaborator.”

I just received a press release with this subject heading:

News Advisory - Doomsday Clock - Major Announcement to be Made Tuesday by Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

That'll get your attention, won't it? So I read the email. Turns out after "year-long deliberations" a collection of scientists will determine whether or not the end of the world is more nigh than it was at the beginning of 2011.

Natural Gas Jazz Band

Jan 5, 2012

The Natural Gas Jazz Band will be playing traditional jazz at the 19 Broadway club in Fairfax on Sunday, January 8. Music starts about 4pm.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darthpedrius/6144362998/

After a series of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio last week, some observers are pointing to an unusual culprit. Yesterday seismologist John Armbruster told NPR that he thinks the quakes were related to an oil and gas extraction process called fracking.

Crosscurrents: January 4, 2012

Jan 4, 2012

Fracking; the water pipes of San Francisco high schools; remembering Sanjiv Handa; and East Bay's The Secret Identities.

Joe Mud

Yesterday, officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation travelled to Chowchilla in the Central Valley to talk to locals about the pending conversion of Valley State Prison for Women into a men’s facility. Chowchilla, the closest town to two of the state’s three women’s prisons, has resisted the conversion, worried about the impact of bringing in thousands of male prisoners.

Oakland City Hall. Flickr photo by mcjohnnyz. www.flickr.com/photos/mcjohnnyz

In the last week of 2011, a man named Sanjiv Handa passed away. KALW’s Rina Palta tweeted, “Oakland City Council meetings will be a lot less interesting.” It was a sentiment shared by many people. Handa, who was 55, spoke at nearly every meeting of the Oakland city council for two decades. He went to subcommittee meetings, and commission meetings. He researched legislation, and he dogged city officials over every rule violation.

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.

Crosscurrents: January 3, 2012

Jan 3, 2012

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...

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