Not long after the 3:51 a.m. earthquake on Saturday morning, which was centered in Berkeley, a couple of water mains broke in the urban East Bay. Caused by the earthquake, or coincidence? East Bay Municipal District workers at both sites said it was just old cast iron pipe, but the timing suggested that ground movement might have been a factor in the breaks. -more-
Press Release: Amidst Pressure, CDCR Enters Negotiation with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers
Mediators, Advocates: “Battle is Still Uphill, Health Still Deteriorating”
Oakland—With the Pelican Bay prison hunger strike entering its third week, mediators reported Thursday that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has responded to pressure from strikers and outside supporters, beginning initial negotiations with strike leaders in the prison’s Security Housing Unit, along with an outside mediation team. Advocates working on behalf of the strikers continue to rail against the CDCR’s slow movement over the past two weeks in addressing the prisoners’ demands, expressing grave concerns about the strikers’ rapidly deteriorating health. Hundreds of prisoners at Pelican Bay remain on strike, with thousands more participating in prisons throughout California's 33 prisons. -more-
A 3.4-magnitude earthquake shook Alameda County this morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The tremor, at 3:51 a.m, centered on an area described by the USGS as two miles southeast of Berkeley and three miles northeast of Emeryville, which placed it in Berkeley's Southside neighborhood, adjacent to U.C.'s Clark Kerr Campus and close to the Hayward fault, which runs through Memorial Stadium, now under construction.
The quake had a depth of 4 miles, according to the USGS.
View Larger Map -more-
A homeless artist has created this installation on Solano Avenue. -more-
Oakland, CA – Despite a strong mobilization of students across the state against further tuition hikes, the UC Regents approved an additional 10.5% increase to tuition this morning. The total tuition increase for 2011-2012 will be nearly 19%. Only four Regents voted against this increase—Student Regent Mireles, Regent Marcus, Regent Island and Lieutenant Governor Newsom. -more-
Officials at the University of California, Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office are looking to a July 23 memorial service for the hundreds of servicemen and civilians killed and hurt in the largest homeland disaster during World War II to aid the office’s search for first-hand accounts of the accident that helped desegregate the U.S. military. -more-
A contribution from the Chilean government has boosted the reward for information leading to the killer of Adolfo Ignacio Celedon Bravo to $20,000, according to Berkeley police. -more-
Contention at Berkeley's Landmarks Commission over Historic Garden and Southside Victorian Landmark Houses
A lengthy and involved meeting of the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday, July 7, included discussion of two projects proposed at landmark homes where neighbors have been at odds with owners, as well as the announcement that the level of staffing for the Commission will be reduced due to City budget cutbacks. -more-
The University of California tonight will hold the first of six public meetings to get input on potential sites for a proposed second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which the university manages. -more-
Police are asking for the public's help in finding a man who fired shots at a passing SUV outside a Berkeley liquor store on Friday afternoon. -more-
Oakland - In a plea agreement, on June 22, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Claudia Wilken, wealthy Tiburon resident, criminal defendant Richard Earl Singer, pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation to commit arson at Oakland's low-income residential Menlo Hotel, and was remanded back into custody of the U.S. Marshal. -more-
Reading S. Brian Willson’s Blood on the Tracks brought back a flood of memories for this reviewer. The day Willson had his fateful encounter with a speeding locomotive, I was in San Francisco, interviewing the Danny Sheehan, the charismatic head of Christic Institute. Sheehan was in town to speak about the “Secret Team,” a group of CIA assets that the Christic Institute charged were working under Col. Oliver North to run the illegal “Contra” war against Nicaragua. (To the surprise of everyone involved, the San Francisco Chronicle actually published the resulting article.) -more-
If you really want to know about it, this chicken-shit story began at my neighborhood meat counter. Some readers say my stories are chicken-shit anyway. -more-
Preserve the Bartlett Houses; Phone Hacking Scandal; Chartres Cathedral; Oil Prices Up; How to Improve the Economy -more-
Tuesday’s Council meeting had its YouTube moments. None was more telling than Mayor Bate’s framing and passage of Consent Calendar Item #14. It was a new low in his long-running show of contempt for the public and his council colleagues. I speak of a man who has proven himself politically dexterous enough to go limbo-low in both categories. -more-
Oakland, CA – This Thursday, the UC Regents are set to vote on a 9.6% overall increase to mandatory student fees and a 10.5% increase to tuition specifically. This increase is on top of the 8% increase already approved for 2011-2012, which means a roughly 19% total tuition increase. Such a large increase in a single year will have a devastating impact on access and affordability and the UC Student Association is strongly opposed. -more-
For those like me weary of the Chron's relentless record under two right-wing corporate ownerships of promoting conservative mayoral candidates (usually successfully), it's still a shock to see how blatantly they wield their power. And that's in the news sections, not the editorial. Regardless of where you stand on the question of just how progressive interim SF mayor Ed Lee may or may not be, they're at it again. So I put forth the following question: -more-
The American vision grew dimmer this past week. In Berkeley last Tuesday, Theodore “Ted” Roszak –the author of 20 books, including that rare combination of bestsellers in both fiction and nonfiction– succumbed to a long and enervating illness at age 77. And Monday’s press conference with President Obama was less than reassuring that Ted Roszak’s vision of an older and wiser future will not become pixilated like a scratched DVD and fall apart in the minutiae of Democratic giveaways. -more-
While I was trying to get last week’s issue out from an undisclosed location in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the midst of techno-hell caused by ATT’s simultaneously failing voice and data lines, I got a call from a reporter who was doing a story for another publication, asking me if I had any position on a move to create a special Berkeley City Council district just for students. I told him, somewhat peremptorily, that I had no opinion on the topic, which I didn’t at the time, being busy with other problems.
Afterwards, though, I wondered what was up, and when I got back to what passes for civilization I checked the Daily Cal.
Reading a comprehensive story by student reporter Anjuli Sastry, this is what I learned: -more-
Walls tell you a lot about a country’s history. Since their purpose is to keep people out who want to get in, they generally mean trouble. In the case of this stunning ruin of a city southeast of Naples, back in the 6th century BC the Greeks were trying to keep out the Etruscans who didn’t cotton to a colony plunked down in their midst.
Italy has lots of walls, particularly in the north and center where towns and cities cluster on the high ground. The Italians did not build on mountain tops for the view. What is picturesque now was safe haven from the barbarians back then.
Except, the barbarians are back, only this time they are not tribes with scary names like Goths, Huns and Lombards. Today the brutes have bland sounding labels like the International Monetary Fund IMF), the European Union (EU) and Moody’s. And some of the worst are homegrown: Silvio Berlusconi and Giullo Tremonti. -more-
The United States national debt exceeds $14.2 trillion and climbing. About 14 million Americans are unemployed. Public health, education, social services, and police and fire departments are facing cutbacks. Yet, the bill for U.S. participation in the NATO-led Libya mission is projected to reach at least $844 million by September with the U.S. funding about three quarters of the military spending by all NATO countries. This expenditure is on top of $1.2 trillion and counting, we are spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Clearly, we cannot continue these enormous war expenditures ad infinitum, especially with our faltering economy. This money could be better spent elsewhere.
Here are some of the important events in the NATO-led Libya mission. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader)
"I had a romantic idea of the earth religions. I felt they took us back to the beginning. . . I thought they had a kind of beauty. But the past here (in Nigeria) is still lived . . . The dark abyss of paganism.
"A Lagos city councillor said to me, 'Muslims and Christians practice forgiveness and cannot harm you. In the pagan religion there is no forgiveness . . .there are rules you have to follow very strictly, and if you go against them you either die or go mad.'"
V.S. Naipaul The Mask of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief (2010)
I once shared Naipaul's romantic idea of the “beauty” of pagan religion. Then I did some research for a play I wrote about Gauguin in Tahiti. I learned that the word TABU, used throughout the world, came from the Tahitian language, because so many things on Tahiti were TABU: like women walking on the same paths as men, or touching anything men ate, or even riding in a canoe. (The only authentic scenes in those romantic south sea island movies were those of girls swimming out to meet ships from Europe. It was “sink or swim” getting to those ships whose crews were so much kinder to them than Tahitian men.) -more-
If you have to get scooped, it might as well be by David Perlman. -more-
The American Version of Health Care for All is the title of a forty-two page OWL publication that senior citizens and boomers should know about and read carefully.
OWL is a membership organization located in Washington, D.C. at 1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, #701, D.C. 20036, with state and local chapters throughout the U.S., including Ohlone/East Bay, Sacramento, San Diego, Placer County and San Francisco, all with websites. In recent years “Older Women’s League” has become a bit of a misnomer on two very positive counts—(1) OWL is The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and (2) much of what OWL reports and engages in affects positively both women and men. -more-
I can not overstate the intensity of suffering that goes along with being schizophrenic and having a full-blown psychotic episode. Part of it comes from imagined events that are perceived as completely real, and these imagined events are often horrific, awful, and terrifying. Part of the suffering is from the fact that the brain is malfunctioning in a considerable way. Because of the brain lacking its normal regulatory mechanisms, the suffering that is felt could be as much as tenfold what a non-afflicted person can feel. And thirdly, additional suffering is created by real events; caused by the outcomes of the disorganized and sometimes dangerous behavior of a person having a psychotic episode. -more-
Arts & Events
Southside Berkeley's beloved Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat), a French cafe complete with title from
Baudelaire Rimbaud*, offers unique entertainment along with its usual good food on Wednesday evenings. The next two programs are especially lively. This week, there's an evening of swing jazz with a touch of Dixieland, and next week it's opera favorites from the Dazzling Divas.
The San Francisco Mime Troupe's 2011 summer show opened as usual in Dolores Park over the July 4th weekend, played its first Berkeley engagement at Cedar Rose Park in Berkeley last weekend, and now has added a Berkeley show on Saturday at Willard Park (aka Ho Chi Minh to old lefties). The new date is Berkeley's gain and Southern California's loss, because a planned run down south fell victim to a construction delay in the scheduled venue. -more-
It’s a good sign when the testimonials on the back of a 440-page autobiography include the likes of Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner and Martin Sheen. But that only hints at the praise directed at S. Brian Willson’s long-awaited memoir. The testimonials continue on the inside — for another seven pages — and include plaudits from Cindy Sheehan, William Blum, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Solomon, Peter Dale Scott, Cynthia McKinney and Country Joe McDonald. -more-
Around & About Theater & Music: La Traviata at Festival Opera; Woman's Will Midsummer Night's Dream at Live Oak Park; Oliver! at Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland
La Traviata at Festival Opera: Festival Opera, with Michael Morgan as artistic and music director, stages opera in a way that the original meaning of the word becomes apparent. Each artistic element of the production has its own place, accompanies the rest on an equal footing: singing, orchestration, acting, set, spectacle. And with this production of Traviata, dance reassumes its importance in operatic spectacle as well. Mark Foehringer, who has excellently stage directed the show, is a splendid ballet choreographer; the dancers from his Mark Foehringer Dance Project in San Francisco tear up Flora's party in Act II with wonderful gypsy and toreador numbers. And a brief, masked Carnival rout outside the window of the dying Violetta--with an early winter morning Paris dimly glowing--shows the influence of the director's years in Sao Paulo. -more-
A quarter century ago Bonnie Hughes was perhaps best known in Berkeley as the proprietor of Augusta’s, a well regarded restaurant on Telegraph Avenue just north of Ashby. -more-
This year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival starts off with a premiere of sorts. Last year a stash of rare American silent films, many long though lost, were repatriated back to the United States for restoration and preservation. Upstream, one of the gems of the collection and the first to be restored, will screen Thursday, July 14, as the opening film of the annual festival that takes over the Castro Theater through Sunday night. -more-
Karen McLellan and archiving consultant Lincoln Cushing have announced the posting of the first 1,322 of the 24,500 posters in Michael Rossman’s unparalleled collection of political posters. The initial selection is part of the Oakland Museum of California's exhibition of Rossman's "All Of Us Or None Archive." -more-
Berkeley-rooted author Edie Meidav’s new novel “Lola, California” comes out July 5th with Farrar Straus to extraordinary praise. -more-
You're ready to take the plunge--or you already have. Keeping chickens and ducks is easier than you think, but it takes planning and some upfront expense. Longtime chicken wrangler Linnea Due offers advice on feed, housing, breeds, and more, and outlines common assumptions that can lead to trouble. In a Q&A format, she'll address hatcheries, Marek's vaccines, composting with manure, and how to get those all-important eggs. The class is free but limited to twenty, so sign up now. Please specify when registering if ASL interpretation is requested, (at least 10 working days in advance). -more-