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

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.

Earlier this week, two Caltrans workers were fired for allegedly falsifying test results on various projects around the state, and neglecting proper testing procedures of the new span on the Bay Bridge. 

Julie Caine

The Bay Area’s first real freeway was the 880. Completed in 1957, it connects the Port of Oakland with San Jose. Today it’s a major trucking route, and the most direct way to get to the Oakland Airport, or to a Raiders game.

Tired of potholes? The residents who live along Lichau sure are. Road Warrior, a Sonoma County transportation blog, holds a poll each year for the worst of the roads. This year’s winner? Yep, Lichau.  We sent KALW’s Lindsey Lee Keel for a drive.

Stephen T! Millhouse (no, that exclamation point is not a typo), is on a 1,460 mile march to call attention to homelessness and hunger. Millhouse, a veteran, has been homeless himself, in both California and Montana, and relied on social services and veterans assistance to survive. Now, he’s repaying the favor, raising money by walking from his current home of Missoula to his former home of Los Angeles, by way of the Bay Area.

Police in riot gear dismantled the Occupy Cal tents on the UC Berkeley campus early this morning. Two protesters were arrested, but it was otherwise calm and orderly....

In Episode #26, Gena Castro Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Youth Justice Institute, discusses the unique needs of girls in the juvenile justice system, using her direct service experience to inform policy debates, partnering effectively with probation departments, using data to improve programming, and more.

Gena Castro Rodriguez Interview Highlights

Castro Rodriguez on Building Trust with Youth:

Economic unrest is at the heart of social movements taking place around the country. But in San Francisco, that wasn’t enough to shake up the political establishment. When voters went to the polls last week, political incumbents carried the day, with George Gascon taking the race for district attorney, and appointed Mayor Ed Lee winning four more years in office.

If you grew up in the US, you’re probably well-acquainted with fairytales in which real animals behave like people; whether it’s pigs, wolves, rabbits or turtles. But in India, children grow up hearing about half-monkey gods and 10-headed demon kings.

Bringing down the banks

Nov 16, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protests have started a national conversation about how capitalism should work – or if it can work at all. But for all the talk about the problems with our financial system, it seems like few workable solutions have emerged. After several large bank bailouts, many people feel powerless. But others are taking action to get that power back.

In this web exclusive interview, San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos reflects on his runner-up showing in the San Francisco mayor’s race. He also discusses how ranked-choice voting worked out in last week’s election, and describes his efforts to bring more lower-income and middle-class values to City Hall. Avalos also speaks about issues of the Occupy movement.

“Genius” is a pretty loaded title. But the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation began bestowing that honor on American luminaries who shine in a variety of respective fields. They no longer call the recipients “geniuses,” but they do still award half-a-million dollars to 20 or so every year to support their work. No strings attached.

Occupy Oakland made a peaceful return to Frank Ogawa Plaza last night following a march by several hundred from the Public Library on 14th and Madison to City Hall. Despite holding a packed General Assembly in the amphitheater, dozens of Oakland Police positioned throughout the plaza and the surrounding streets deterred any attempts to set up tents or permanently retake the plaza.

Photo courtesy of NAM

When it comes to poverty in California, it boils down to some pretty startling numbers: Last year, six million people in the state were officially living below the poverty line, two million of them children. And more than half of the state’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. This data comes from Kidsdata.org, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for children’s health.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement unfolds in the Bay Area, KALW is trying something new. We’re using the sound-sharing platform SoundCloud to collect perspectives on the movement from Bay Area residents. Tell us what’s happening in your city and what you think about it. Share it with us using your Android, iPhone, or iPad and the SoundCloud App.

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