Where There's Smoke
Talk about smoke screens. Brown & Williamson, America's third-largest tobacco company, will be in Superior Court May 25 trying to force UCSF to surrender what could be a legal smoking gun: a cache of internal Brown & Williamson documents suggesting that B&W knew for more than three decades about the addictiveness of nicotine, but suppressed the information.
The university snagged the documents a year ago when Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and authority on smoking and health, received a pile of photocopies in an unsolicited package with no return address. Glantz forwarded the papers to the UCSF library archives; Brown & Williamson retaliated by hiring private eyes to watch and intimidate people who checked out the materials, according to a UCSF court memorandum. (When the school threatened to call campus cops, the dicks departed.)
B&W officials say the papers were stolen by a former employee of the company's law firm; they say the documents include trade secrets, among other things, that they own. Last month, the Kentucky giant agreed to allow more than a third of the papers to remain at UCSF for public view; the remainder is what it's still trying to snuff. Guess it doesn't want to get burned.
Love Is All You Need
Feeling really warm and happy about UN50? Well, the Goethe Institut has just the thing to help you celebrate: a rave. For its part in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, the Goethe Institut, a German cultural center, will import 12 top German techno DJs from Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and other cities for a rave at club DV8.
“It's the German contribution to the UN50 celebration by the German Consulate,” explains the Institut's Martina Muller. “These techno DJs should function as ambassadors and bring a little bit of the techno spirit to the U.S.”
And why a rave, exactly?
“It's like a youth scene. They call it the techno revolution. They listen to this very special kind of music and they celebrate and they have these very special celebrations,” Muller explains. “In Germany it's really big. People get into very special moods when they hear the music.”
“Of course,” she adds, “lots of people are pretty much on drugs when they listen to the music.”
And in the general spirit of dŽtente that seems to hover over the UN50 affair, the Goethe Institut made sure to deal the San Francisco rave scene in on the party plans. Originally slated as the Teutonic Techno Temple, the rave's name has been changed to “SF House Meets Teutonic Techno Temple,” so nobody will feel left out.
Catfight in Cyberspace
San Francisco Chronicle Executive Editor Matthew Wilson and his Examiner counterpart, Handsome Phil Bronstein, are trading boasts in the World Wide Web site shared by the two JOA papers (http://www.sfgate.com). When a reader griped about the Chronicle's coverage of the recent Chronicle Publishing Co. boardroom squabbles in the “Media” conference area, modest Phil Bronstein jumped in to announce that his paper is all over the story. Matt Wilson returned volley, writing, “The Chronicle broke the story about the board room action of its corporate parent” and instructed readers to point their Web browsers in the direction of the first Chronicle story on the family dispute. Manly Phil got the last word, trumping Wilson with four (count 'em, four) hypertext links through which readers could see how the Ex had beaten the Chron on the story.
By Amy Linn, Ellen McGarrahan, Jack Shafer