Surrounded by city leaders, law enforcement officials and local clergy, state Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner today unveiled legislation that would regulate ammunition sales in California in the same way that gun sales are regulated. -more-
Twas the night before X-Mass and up and down Telegraph, few creatures stirred, except the occasional mouse. -more-
Editor's note: As this issue is published, we're delighted to learn that on Monday a new bill for the California legislature which does exactly what we've asked in yesterday's editorial will be introduced, as described in the following press release:
OAKLAND, CA – To curb gun violence, mass shootings and the stockpiling of ammunition, State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and supporters will unveil legislation, AB 48, to establish oversight of California’s ammunition marketplace.
“When will deadly ammunition be viewed as a risk to public safety?” Skinner said. “If common cold medicines, alcohol and tobacco are regulated for their risk to public health and safety, why isn’t ammunition? Assembly Bill 48 will place boundaries on the bullets that have ravaged our communities.”
Assemblymember Skinner and supporters will announce legislation, AB 48, to regulate and tighten ammunition sales in California and ban high-capacity magazines. -more-
The gang rape of the unnamed victim in Delhi has focused much needed attention into the epidemic of sexual violence. According to the Indian National Crime Registry, one woman is raped every 20 minutes. The actual numbers may be significantly higher as most victims are too humiliated and fearful to report the crimes. Out of the 24,206 rape cases reported in 2011, three-fourth of the perpetrators have not been arrested and the conviction rate is a pitiful 26%. Many cases linger on indefinitely which underscores ineptness and rampant corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary emblematic of the general malaise gripping Indian society. Currently, there are 100,000 pending cases. Delhi has now become the rape capital of the country exceeding the combined rape in all other cities. According to the London Guardian 260 men have been appointed to political office despite serious charges of crimes against women. Women activists were incensed with the careless, insensitive comments of the President’s son, who is also member of the ruling Congress Party. He mocked the demonstrators as ‘painted women who should not be taken seriously’. -more-
The inappropriate use of guns, compounded by the senseless killing of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has resulted in an intense public debate. -more-
In November 2012, fifth graders from Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley, California won four of the top ten prizes in a regional math contest with over 90 participants, including the top prize.
An anonymous commenter—we’ll call him “Aperson,” and also call him “him”—wondered why, when 44% of the school’s students are African-American or Latino, were none of the members of the winning team African-American, and only one Latino? Haven’t we had five decades of affirmative action?
Aperson ignores the question of sex, despite the fact that only one of the top ten prizes went to a girl, and cuts to the race. -more-
Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.
You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.
Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-
Jane Powell’s website was wittily entitled “Jane Powell—the Author, not the Actress!,” but I think she has a connection in more than surname with another author out of the Midwest, Dawn Powell (The Golden Spur, My Home is Far Away). Like Jane reaching the Bay area by way of Detroit (her birthplace), Indiana, and Medford, Dawn Powell fled rural Ohio for Manhattan and never looked back. The other Powell—Dawn—is enjoying a revival thanks to the ministrations of fans like Gore Vidal and Tim Page, her biographer. Hopefully, Jane Powell’s classic writings on everything bungalow in particular and preservation (and older homes) in general will never go out of fashion nor be forgotten. -more-
The history of the discussion about gun violence in the United States is that it peaks from time to time after each fresh horror story, but then the media goes on to more appealing topics. I’ve deliberately waited until the new year to talk about this perennial disgrace, but this week the media-pumped phony “fiscal-cliff” drama has moved into the hold cycle for a couple of months and other matters have some room for consideration.
Okay, now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Or, more colloquially, it’s time to cut the crap and do something about the guns that kill people in these United States.
Yes, I said guns kill people, though the National Rifle Association would try to persuade you otherwise. Of course people fire those guns, but without the kinds of death-dealing weapons Americans are uniquely able to acquire, the murderous impulse which afflicts many human beings from time to time is much harder to satisfy. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
The La Jolla Light reports on Berkeley's efforts to save our post office, including the Feinstein-Blum connection in detail. -more-
Thomas Lord, who's been banned from commenting on berkeleyside.com, where he posted under the pseudonym of Bruce Love, has started his own site, on which he's posted this caustic comment on a recent Berkeleyside story about an anonymous reader's letter about how homeless people are being treated in downtown Berkeley. -more-
Friday, January 25 will be the anniversary of the birth in 1882 of Virginia Woolf, the English writer whose stream-of-consciousness technique was an important contribution to the modern novel. And yet, she wrote “I sometimes think only autobiography is literature… If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” -more-
Every year Dispatches From The edge gives awards to news stories and newsmakers that fall under the category of “Are you serious?” Here are the awards for 2012. -more-
People with major mental illnesses often do not look forward to a happy and comfortable old age. Long term effects of medication, the illnesses, abuse of street drugs if applicable, and unfortunate life circumstances, often generate bleak or no prospects. I have seen a number of my acquaintances in the mental health treatment system deteriorate when they get older, or die of various causes before getting older. -more-
Arts & Events
Press Release: A Tribute to Lyricist & Human Rights Activist Yip Harburg: the Man Who Put the Rainbow in “The Wizard of Oz”
Lehrhaus Judaica and The Berkeley Jewish Music Festival are co-sponsoring a tribute and exhibit honoring lyricist and human rights activist Yip Harburg. It takes place at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, auditorium, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkley on Sunday, Jan. 27th from 2::00 to 4:00 p.m. Information and tickets ($10 to $15) 1-800-838-300 or http://catalog.lehrhaus.org/course/2013/winter/A350-JMF/ or http://www.jewishmusicfestival.org/events/yip_tribute.
Harburg penned the words to the Oscar-winning song the American Film Institute ranked number 1 of its 100 Greatest Film Songs: “Over the Rainbow” as well as the lyrics for the entire score of “The Wizard of Oz”. He also wrote the lyrics, and co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical “Finian’s Rainbow”, the ballads “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “April in Paris”, and the Depression era anthem “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” -more-