A fire at a Berkeley home on Sunday afternoon that caused about $85,000 in damage was sparked by a discarded cigarette, a fire official said. -more-
A Marinwood third-grader returned to class in good health today after she was struck by a arrow while on a field trip to Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science Tuesday.
The arrow pierced the leg of 8-year-old Nadine Hairston, a student at San Rafael's Mary E. Silveira Elementary School, around 10:10 a.m. while she was climbing on a sculpture of a whale outside the science center, located at 1 Centennial Drive on the University of California at Berkeley campus.
She was taken to a hospital where the arrow was surgically removed. She was released midday Wednesday, school principal Will Anderson said today. -more-
Julia Morgan (1872-1957), California’s first licensed woman architect has more than 700 buildings to her credit, designed and built over a professional career spanning over four decades . A fellow UC Berkeley alumna, this gracious and immensely talented architect has intrigued and inspired me in immeasurable ways. Her legacy is relevant today for her vernacular approach to sustainable architecture and fearless endeavors to advance in a profession that reluctantly opened its doors to women in the early 20th century. -more-
Until recently, you could have lived your entire life in the United States and never have bumped into any Jewish Orthodox Hasidim, who live in scattered communities, mostly in the New York’s borough of Brooklyn. -more-
Most graffiti are ephemeral. All graffiti are anarchic and adventitious. They can crop up anywhere -- not only on walls, but on dumpsters, bridges, curbs and sidewalks. Some graffiti only survives a day or two but, once in a while, someone leaves behind a graffito that is built to last. -more-
On Valentine’s Day this year I flew to Tallahassee, a place I’d never expected to visit, to attend the wedding of my first cousin once removed. Mine is the kind of family, with some vaguely southern roots, that keeps track of relationships like this.
The father of the bride, my first cousin Peter, is closer in age to my children than he is to me. My two St. Louis aunts had the large Catholic families which were the norm in the fifties in some circles, six and seven kids like stair-steps, and this cousin was at the tail end of his nuclear family. I had 18 first cousins altogether (one died young), and I know the older ones who are closer to my age better. But Peter visited the Bay Area when his older daughter was a Science Fair contestant here, and we got to know the bride, Laura, his younger daughter, when she and a friend visited Berkeley one summer while they were students.
The wedding became the catalyst for a family reunion of sorts. Her father’s four surviving siblings (plus a sizable representation of spouses, offspring and grandkids) showed up in Tallahassee. The older ones I remembered fondly from childhood, before our families moved away from St. Louis, and I enjoyed getting to know the younger ones and their descendants better. I was pleased to discover that they’re very nice people, all of them, good politics, sense of humor, smart, the whole nine yards of how you might hope distant relatives would turn out to be.
The ceremony was low-key but elegant, in the family garden, with a buffet for about 100 guests in the house afterwards. In the best contemporary tradition, the officiant was a friend of the family and the service was eclectic, readings drawn from a variety of sources, music by an Irish wedding band.
Oh, and did I mention that this was a two-bride wedding? The second bride was the other young woman who’d visited us in Berkeley a few years ago with our cousin who had now become her partner. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
The search for a Berkeley Unified School District superintendent begins, as reported: -more-
[I sent this letter in reply to the" East Bay Express" which they will not print.]
You can't make it up. The promoters of "smart growth", who claim to be the environmentalists, are now calling for the undoing of the California Environmental Quality Act through their reliable mouthpiece, Robert Gammon at the East Bay Express. How much more evidence does one need of the corporate takeover or the "neo" environmental movement? Funny how a lot of banker, developer enriching ideas are taking hold since they told us about global warming. -more-
The redistricting of Berkeley’s eight voting districts, which is currently underway, is in response to population changes evident from the 2010 Census. Groups and individuals have been solicited by the City to submit proposals ( see http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/redistricting/ f or information). District maps are constrained by ordinance to have nearly equal numbers, and current Council members may not be drawn out of their districts. -more-
On February 28, 2013, two young Afghan boys were killed during a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan. What made this incident unusual was that the world learned their names.
Two brothers, 11-year-old Toor Jan and 12-year-old Andul Wodood, were walking behind their donkeys and collecting firewood in the Shahid-e Hasas district of Uruzgan Province when they were killed by weapons fired from a NATO helicopter. NATO explained the children were targeted because they were mistaken for insurgents. NATO killed their animals, too — perhaps under the mistaken suspicion they were "insurgent" donkeys.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, offered his "personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed." Dunford said the coalition took "full responsibility" for the deaths. This appears to have been an empty promise. -more-
March 8th is a celebration for a worldwide Women’s History Month. It is an appreciation for women’s contribution to society’s progress. For instance, American women were struggling to pursue a higher education as society believed that they were incompatible in developing their intellectual skills.
It was not until 1972 in which Title IX of the Education Codes of the Higher Education Act Amendments prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded institution. Seeing it as a door to opportunity, women began to become involved in an advanced education.
For Muslim women, we are fortunate that we didn’t have to wait until 1972 for our status, rights and role to be recognized because Islam already set systematic guidelines as mentioned in the Quran and through the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). -more-
As a fairly devout and dedicated Catholic for the past several years, attending services at Berkeley's Newman Hall, I'm distressed by the many articles we see denigrating our church, both in this country and abroad.
But I take comfort in St. Francis of Assisi's lovely prayer, portions of which I quote below:
"Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand, to be loved, as to love, for it is in giving that we received, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." -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-
On March 1st, the State Department issued a report raising no objection to the construction of the Canadian-US Keystone XL pipeline. There will be a 45-day period for public comments and then President Obama will decide whether or not to approve the 875-mile pipeline. His decision will hinge on three critical considerations. -more-
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. In this case, Jane Roe, a pseudonym for Norma Leah McCorvey (née Nelson), brought a class action suit challenging the constitutionality of a Texas criminal abortion laws, which forbids procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother's life. The Supreme Court stated that state criminal abortion laws "that except from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother's behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman's qualified right to terminate her pregnancy." -more-
Persons with chronic mental illness often become gleeful when successfully employed. Employment seems like a reason for liking oneself and a way to have more self-esteem. Most "normal" people, regardless of their demographic or what country they are from, put a lot of value on having an education and having employment or entrepreneurship. Most Americans, mentally ill or not, receive a blow to self-esteem when unemployed. -more-