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Center Column Archives
Following the unauthorized release of information by Edward Snowden on June 7, the NSA has faced an unprecedented wave of public scrutiny. On July 23, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) "apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged" a billboard in San Francisco, one day before a U.S. House of Representatives vote that would have curtailed the NSA's surveillance inside the United States. On July 24th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for the agency’s vast phone data collection. The amendment was narrowly defeated by a margin of 205 to 217
Interrupting the normalization of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions, Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) and Street Cred continue to alter the latest anti-Islamic ads posted by Pamela Geller's "American Freedom Defense Initiative" on San Francisco MUNI buses. In these remakes, Geller acknowledges that her struggle (jihad) is overcoming her virulent Islamophobia and racism. Geller's original ad was modified to read: "I'm Pamela Geller and I spread Islamophobia. I don't know why, but it's a struggle for me not to."
On a small hill next to Deer Hill Road in the City of Lafayette, over 6,000 crosses have been erected and displayed as an on-going tribute, and to memorialize the soldiers, who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The hillside has been marked with controversy, and has sparked anger and even attracted counter protests to its existence.
According to Anna Bakalis from SEIU 1021, the management at the de Young museum is intimidating and using “anti-worker tactics” to make cuts to the salaries of the “least paid workers” employed there. On Friday, September 7th, members from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 blocked the entrance to the de Young art museum in San Francisco. Nineteen people were arrested, and the attendees at the museum's “Friday Nights at the Museum” event were greeted with loud chants, singing, and civil disobedience.
On August 10th, Thomas Matzat and supporters appeared before the Yolo County District Court for a pre-trial hearing. Thomas is being charged with five counts of felony vandalism, fourteen counts of misdemeanor vandalism, and one misdemeanor charge for “possessing a marking substance with the intent to commit vandalism”. At the hearing, Thomas’ pro bono legal team provided evidence that police lied about security footage used to identify him.
On August 4th, a roving dance party with a large banner that read “Fuck The Permits, F.T.P., Fuck The Police” marched in solidarity with the vendors of Art Murmur. On July 6th, uniformed security officers had informed Art Murmur vendors that anyone without a permit would be ticketed, starting in August. Many vendors and artists ignored the threat of being ticketed, and set their tables in illegal spaces.
The third annual Festival del Nopal took place in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday July 22. The festival featured many local food vendors using nopal, or prickly pear cactus, in a variety of cuisine such as pupusas, huraches, salad, tlayudas, baked potatoes, fries, and tacos. The event, founded and coordinated by City Councilmember Tony Madrigal, celebrates the significance of the nopal in Mexican cuisine and showcases the plant's versatility and healing properties.