Category Archives: San Francisco

Restaurant review: Maverick, in the Mission

Maverick is a small American-cuisine restaurant on 17th just west of Mission in San Francisco. The place is cozy, dimly lit, not real noisy, and the decor is kind of, well, American; we had a fragmented, backlit road map of the US on the wall next to our table. We had the large table in front, with a view into the kitchen.

The menu was limited but diverse; I had the Maverick salad, which was very good, while others praised the oysters. My main course was the trout, which was excellent. My companions enjoyed the chicken, pork and pasta. The wine list is short and distinctly “small-winery” oriented; don’t expect the usual suspects. The friendly and knowledgeable staff bailed me out by bringing samples of several wines.

I highly recommend Maverick, though I think the smaller tables may be somewhat more cramped and noisy. Expect to pay $70-90 depending on your wine selection.

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Lead testing shows MANY toys may be toxic; check the list.

Americans need protection, not crazy counter-productive bankrupting wars.


….interest was high at the square where, adjacent to the Christmas tree, the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the Center for Environmental Health tested toys that people brought with them – some of them a dozen or more, others with only one.

“It’s a huge discussion among parents,” said Lasden, a San Francisco public school teacher on a sabbatical. “My father e-mails me every other day, telling me to get rid of this or that.”

The toy examination – testers are looking for lead, arsenic, cadmium or other toxic compounds – will be repeated Tuesday and next Thursday at the Department of the Environment, 11 Grove St., from 10 a.m. to noon.

As the free testing was under way at Union Square, a Michigan nonprofit group, the Ecology Center, announced that it, along with other groups around the country, had tested 1,268 toys and found that 35 percent contain lead, which can lead to irreversible damage to the developmental and nervous systems in children.

The results and more information are posted on a Web site,, which was overwhelmed by visitors on Wednesday.

“The government is not testing for toxic chemicals in toys, and too many manufacturers are not self-regulating, so we created the nation’s first toy database to help inform and empower consumers,” said Tracey Easthope, director of the center’s Environmental Health Project, in Ann Arbor.

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Filed under China: "junk" is not just a boat, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, San Francisco, science: not a very Republican thing to do

Googling Google: the kingmakers

NY Times:

 This election cycle, Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., has become a favorite destination.

Hillary Rodham Clinton made the pilgrimage in February. Then came John McCain, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel and most recently, Barack Obama.

In terms of theatrical symbolism, the trip to Google is similar to the G.M. plant visit. In both cases, the visits gave the candidate the chance for a photo opportunity at the most technologically advanced edge of the economy, “signaling identification with the future,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Republicans don’t seem to like the venue; I wonder why:

The politicians visiting auto plants could control what was said during the event. Today, candidates must place themselves at the tender mercies of the audience. Those who go to Google sit exposed on the stage, without the protective lectern provided in a debate, answering questions for 45 to 60 minutes. But without the escape hatch of a timekeeper’s buzzer, and as the only speaker, the candidate cannot evade uncomfortable questions. Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chairman and chief executive, for example, asked Senator Obama for his views on Iran, Pakistan, and Guantánamo — and that was a single question.

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Stanford dorm rooms to go co-ed; yes, I said “rooms.”


The movement builds on Stanford’s decision in September to expand its non-discrimination policies to protect students who are biologically one gender, but psychologically identify with the other.

Although students have pressed for coed rooms for years, they say the new language grants them the right to live with whatever gender they best relate to – platonically or otherwise.

Throughout much of Stanford’s history, students mingled mostly at mixers. But in recent years, the sexes have grown more chummy. First came coed dormitories in 1966. Next came coed floors, even unisex bathrooms. Bedrooms are the final frontier.

Other schools do it

If Stanford housing officials adopt a “gender-blind” option for all students, the campus would join a small but growing number of colleges that are modifying policies to accommodate male and female students who want to live together. It is already available at about 30 schools, including California Institute of Technology, University of California-Riverside, Dartmouth, New York University and Swarthmore. “It’s not that radical,” Roubos said.

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Googling Google: what are they up to now?

Those wild and crazy nerds in Mountain View are just bustin out all over; they’ve been Over the Line for a long time, yet OTLS! has not been giving them a damn bit of coverage. Meanwhile, we have been covering the insane Rapture Index guy. That’s all about to change. Rapture Guy may have humor value, but let’s face, how many ways can you ridicule madness? Google, on the other hand, has a certain geekness which will offer a myriad of opportunities for mirth. Not to mention stock tips.

This week, they announced that even as they seek to conquer the mobile-phone market and uphold their Internet dominance, they are going to try to solve the world’s energy problems.

Google calls it the Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal project.

Beginning with about two dozen clean-tech staff engineers, and investments in the “tens of millions” from the company’s philanthropic arm,, the founders said they hope to produce low-cost clean energy – and do it soon.

“We really want to rapidly push forward, and our goal is really to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that’s cheaper than coal economically,” Page said on a conference call Tuesday.

A gigawatt is enough to power San Francisco.

First of all how geeky is

Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal;

I mean, is the acronym RETCH? [update: Tom Friedman clues me in: it’s RE < C; how opaque] Power San Francisco? More like power the peninsula or the South Bay; you know, Google already provides supposed internet to the entire city of Mountain View, and they have a little iGoogle homepage for anyone who enters. Except that the signal is so weak you have to walk up and down the streets trying to find even a “warm spot.” So you Google Guys, don’t scrimp on the RETCH megawatts, okay?


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Al Gore moves into Silicon Valley

well, I guess he’s still gonna live in Tennessee….but…

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore announced Monday he’s joining Silicon Valley’s most prestigious venture capital firm to guide investments that help combat global warming. Gore joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as it and dozens of other venture firms headquartered in Silicon Valley expand beyond software, computer hardware, the Internet and biotechnology to so-called “clean-tech” investments worldwide. Gore is expected to be a high-profile, active partner at Kleiner Perkins. He’s already a senior adviser to Google Inc. and a member of the board at Apple Inc. Alliance for Climate Protection, the advocacy group he co-founded, is based in Palo Alto.

Reportedly, Gore will donate his share of any profits to Alliance for Climate Protection.

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Coast Guard fiddles, stonewalls, whitewashes, impedes volunteeers

Once again, if it doesn’t involve terrorism, the US is not interested in dealing with disasters. Sen. Feinstein decided to get in front of the cameras, just to act indignant. The feeble Coast Guard response to the San Francisco Bay oil spill is typical. The beaches have zero workers from the government, which is also trying to keep volunteers from doing what they can. As a result, the oil slick is going to disrupt the ecosystem for years to come. And our federal government gives not a shit.

What is so hard about figuring out that we will have oil spills, and having a federal response team available? like the smoke jumpers? geez….

And Sen. Feinstein, thanks for the talk…., why don’t you DO something? Oh, I forgot, your pal Bush has our National Guard over in Iraq….

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Filed under China: "junk" is not just a boat, FEMA/Homeland Security, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, San Francisco

Dianne Feinstein: Bush’s new best pal

I wrote a letter to Sen. Feinstein yesterday, asking her to justify her support of torture and Judge Mukasey. Today, Glenn Greenwald rips into Feinstein for representing not her constituents, but rather looking out for her husband’s financial interests, and being Bush’s best pal in the Senate recently. She is starting to make Steny Hoyer look like Jesse Jackson.

Sen. Feinstein has a lot of explaining to do.

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Filed under Congress, Dianne Feinstein betrays the voters trust, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, public corruption, San Francisco

Stanford disposes of USC, says “bring on global warming, cancer, AIDS, the common cold…..”

The Stanford University football team, a forty point underdog, polished off the nationally number two ranked USC team yesterday in Los Angeles, 24-23. After the game, Stanford president Hennessy stated, “We were just fulfilling the terms of a grant proposal.”

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Mike McConnell: caught again trying to deceive Congress


….DNI Michael McConnell? I understand that spooks, by nature and profession, are liars, but this fellow is not supposed to be political, and we are ostensibly in a democracy in which government employees — all government employees — work for the people. They are not allowed to lie to the people’s representatives, even if they think it’s for our own good.

McConnell’s position is supposed to be non-partisan and apolitical. And yet he is known to have consciously misled the congress, threatened them with “being responsible for American deaths” if they don’t do what he says and, it’s quite clear, strategized the FISA bill abortion last August with the White house, which is a big no-no. It’s a bad idea to trust anyone with the kind of power this man wields without strenuous oversight. It’s political malpractice to trust a man this manipulative and dishonest. He is a problem.

Here’s the latest example of his blatant (and disturbingly sloppy, which explains why our intelligence agencies can’t find water if they fall out of a boat) misleading of the congress:

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told Congress last week that a May wiretap that targeted Iraqi insurgents was delayed for 12 hours by attempts to comply with onerous surveillance laws, which slowed an effort to locate three U.S. soldiers who had been captured south of Baghdad.

But new details released this week portray a more complicated picture of the delay, which actually lasted about 9 1/2 hours and was caused primarily by legal wrangling between the Justice Department and intelligence officials over whether authorities had probable cause to begin the surveillance.

This is why all this “trust us, we’re keeping the boogeyman rom killing you in your bed” is so dangerous. Michael McConnell has repeatedly lied to congress. You can’t trust liars. If they needed this power for legitimate reasons they would have no reason to make up scenarios to justify it. They can always go behind closed doors and share classified information with the people’s representatives who are authorized to receive it. Indeed, we expect them to o it. The only conclusion you can come to is that they are using this power for nefarious reasons.

Michael McConnell has given interviews that call his judgment into question. He is a proven liar. He has shown himself to be a tool of the Bush Administration. What in the world is this man doing in charge of some of the most delicate intelligence functions in the government? He had a reputation for rectitude before took the job. but he either became tainted by the Cheney/Addington paranoid vision or he was highly overrated. Either way, the congress should never take his word for anything. There’s something very wrong with him.

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