(04-02) 10:04 PDT Oakland — Federal agents swooped in Monday morning to search Oaksterdam University in Oakland, the state’s first cannabis industry training school.

Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division are searching the school at the corner of 16th Street and Broadway, in the heart of the city’s widely recognized downtown cannabis-oriented district, authorities said.

The school has been cordoned off by yellow caution tape.

Arlette Lee, an IRS spokeswoman, said she could not say why the agents were there other than to confirm that they were serving a federal search warrant.

“Everything’s under seal,” Lee said, referring to the search warrant and documents relating to the investigation. “We’re not able to comment as far as the nature of this ongoing investigation.”

The federal agencies are conducting a joint investigation, she said.

The raid comes fewer than three weeks after Oakland city officials issued preliminary approvals for four new medical marijuana dispensaries, even as federal prosecutors exerted increased pressure on medical cannabis dispensaries, forcing hundreds to close.

Federal officials say they are concerned about dispensaries that are getting too big or too close to parks or schools. They have long asserted that federal law trumps the state’s 1996 voter-approved law legalizing medical cannabis.

Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Twitter: @henryklee. hlee@sfchronicle.com


Posted: April 2, 2012 in Oakland, CA
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APPLE Ashton Kutcher to Play Steve Jobs in Upcoming Movie, Claims Variety

By Jamie Condliffe, gizmodo.com Apr 2, 2012 4:31 AM

Since Steve Jobs’ death, there’s been some speculation as to who might play him in the inevitable string of biopics. Here’s the first: according to Variety, Ashton Kutcher is set to play the role of Jobs in a new indie movie.

Over the weekend, Jeff Sneider wrote for Variety that Kutcher will appear in an indie flick directed by Joshua Michael Stern from a script by Matt Whiteley. Apparently, the movie already has funding and filming will commence in May.

Cynics—including me—might point out that it’s likely an April Fools joke, but Snieder is on record as saying that Variety considered “holding it until Monday for fear of readers dismissing it as a joke, but felt it was too big a scoop to risk losing”. So it looks like it could well be true.

Of course, this won’t be the only Steve Jobs biopic—we already know that Sony Pictures is developing its own based on the best-selling book by Walter Isaacson. [Variety]


Image  —  Posted: April 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Around Danville: Climb San Francisco stairs to fight lung disease

By Georgia Lambert Columnist Posted: 03/27/2012 10:08:38 AM PDT Updated: 03/27/2012 10:08:38 AM PDT

Back before best friends forever were called BFFs, my best friend was Joanne Dimmett.

We met on the bus on the first day of junior high school when we were 11, and from then on we were inseparable. We did homework together, had sleepovers every week, wrote letters to each other pretending to be actresses or heiresses and spent long hours on the phone (to the chagrin of my family members who might be expecting a call back in the days before call-waiting or cell phones). When I got married, Joanne was my maid of honor, and we stayed in touch over the years and decades, through raising our children, divorces and deaths.

Joanne had been short of breath, so I flew to San Diego and was with her when the doctor told her that her lung cancer was too advanced and there was nothing more they could do. It felt surreal, like we were in a scene from one of our fictional letters of yesteryear. Less than a year later, she passed away at age 53.

According to Jenny Bard of the American Lung Association in California, lung disease is the third leading cause of death in America and is the nation’s leading cause of cancer death. Ninety percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air, contributing to breathing problems for the nearly 5 million citizens afflicted with asthma in our state.

To raise funds and awareness for healthy lungs and air, the American Lung Association in California is hosting its Sixth Annual Fight for Air Climb

on Saturday at San Francisco’s old Bank of America building, 555 California St. Cheri Eplin, of Danville, will climb the 1,197 stairs for the third year in a row in memory of her mother, Sue Eplin, also of Danville, who died at age 69 from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on Jan. 8, 2010. Cheri, a fifth-grade teacher at Greenbrook Elementary School in Danville, has lived in Danville for seven years. She has two children: Blake, 16, a sophomore at San Ramon Valley High School, and Jonathan, age 9.

“If my mom had known at 21 how she would die, I wonder if she would have quit smoking. She had such an amazing spirit,” Cheri said. “She never complained, but her decline was pretty rapid.”

On the day of the climb, Cheri’s dad, Tom, will turn 74. He and Sue were married 52 years.

“On my first climb, I panicked at floor 3 and couldn’t believe I had 49 more flights to climb,” Cheri said. “It took me 30 minutes that first year, and I improved to 22 minutes last year. This year I’m going for at least 20.” Each year she’s been joined in the climb by her niece, Morgan Eplin, 22, and Angela Bullard, of Danville, a close family friend. Team Eplin will have 14 or 15 participants in the 2012 climb, she said, including various family members and friends.

Bullard is a cardiopulmonary nurse at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek and was a room mother for Cheri when her mom was first diagnosed with COPD. She served as Sue’s nurse during a couple of hospital visits and remained in constant contact with the Eplin family throughout Sue’s ordeal. “Angela was instrumental in getting our family through it,” said Cheri. “She was an absolute saving grace, a true angel, and she’s still there for my family.”

Event on-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. For more information about the event, contact Carrie Nash at 510-638-5864 or visit http://www.fightforairclimb.org. To donate via Nash’s team, go to http://action.lung.org/site/TR/Climb/ALACA_California?team_id=39820&;pg=team&fr_id=4620.

Celebrity poker fundraiser: In support of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation of Danville, a variety of sports legends — including Jerry Rice — are participating in the Champions Party Celebrity Fundraiser and Poker Tournament on April 10 at the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley. Lazarex helps fund expenses associated with late-stage cancer patients’ participation in FDA-approved clinical trials.

The gala reception and card competition is hosted by the 2012 TPC Stonebrae Championship and the Northern California chapter of the NFL Alumni and includes PGA Tour legends Steve Elkington and Scott McCarron. For a $500 buy-in, guests take a seat at the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and are eligible for the evening’s grand prize — entry in the World’s Largest Poker Tournament in Las Vegas. Rebuys are permitted, and casino games and the Champion’s Party are included.

For $100, guests can watch the poker tournament, enjoy the party and play casino games. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the poker tournament begins at 8 p.m. In addition to the poker tournament, guests will dance to the sounds of The Sun Kings, a renowned Beatles cover band. For tickets or information, visit http://www.lazarex.org/events/poker-tournament .

Posted: March 31, 2012 in San Francisco
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The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $540 million, and people across America are dying to score the lucky ticket. According to lottery officials, the odds of winning the massive prize are about 1 in 176 million. Despite the excitement, those odds are not good. In fact, there are many other things—good and bad—that are much more likely to happen to a person than winning that money. From landing dream jobs to unfortunate demises, The Daily Beast lists much more likely occurrences.

Death by Vending Machine

Odds: 1 in 112 million

On average, two people in the U.S. are crushed to death underneath vending machines each year. Please snack responsibly.

Dying in an Airline-Related Terrorist Attack

Odds: 1 in 25 million

No one has died in an airplane-related terrorist attack since 9/11. The pat-downs of elderly people and toddlers are really paying off.

Having Identical Quadruplets

Odds: 1 in 15 million

Identical quadruplets would be adorable, but you wouldn’t be able to support them because you probably won’t win the lottery…

Becoming President

Odds: 1 in 10 million

Mitt Romney has seen these odds and he likes them.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Dying From Bee, Hornet, or Wasp Stings

Odds: 1 in 6.1 million

Who knew bees were so scary? Then again, bees may not be as much of an issue this year.

Dying From Being Left-Handed

Odds: 1 in 4.4 million

It’s a right-handed world. Apparently, a fair number of left-handed people die each year from using right-handed products incorrectly.

Becoming a Movie Star

Odds: 1 in 1,505,000

There’s more than one way to make money in this world, and movie stardom is a better bet than playing the lottery.

Dying in a Plane Crash

Odds: 1 in 1 million

If you are too scared to board a plane, why did you just buy a lottery ticket?

Death by Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Odds: 1 in 1 million

Not as rare as one would hope, but there are worse ways to die. Maybe.

Getting Struck by Lightning

Odds: 1 in 1 million.

A lightning strike is probably still preferable to flesh-eating bacteria.

Dying in a Bathtub

Odds: 1 in 840,000

These odds are not an excuse to stop bathing.

Dying in an On-the-Job Accident

Odds: 1 in 48,000

If this applies to you, you may want to take a risk and buy that lottery ticket.


Odds: 1 in 18,000

Hopefully it won’t be over a lottery ticket, but if it is, at least your murderer probably won’t win either!

Dying in an Asteroid Apocalypse

Odds: 1 in 12,500

The good news is that this will probably never happen. That is, until the year 2040, when it’s totally going to happen!

Dying in a Car Accident

Odds: 1 in 6,700

Good luck driving to the store to buy that lottery ticket. From the daily beast

This Building’s Balconies Are Actually Swimming Pools

By Jesus Diaz, Mar 30, 2012 7:00 PM gizmodo.com

Witness this architectural nightmare and deadly accident waiting to happen: a 37-story, twin tower apartment building that has apartments with swimming pools instead of balconies. Or balconies that are really swimming pools enclosed in glass. Or… whatever. No matter what you want to call this, I would call it crazy.

The building has been designed by James Law for real estate company Wadhwa Group in Mumbai, India. The complex has 200 apartments. Each of them has three sides which, according to the company, allows for cross-ventilation.

If you win the Megamillions lottery today, remember: don’t buy this shit. [My Modern Met]


Posted: March 31, 2012 in Tech
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Posted: March 30, 2012 in others
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