Hundreds of students from the University of California at Berkeley and Berkeley High School are marching toward Oakland this afternoon against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. -more-
About a thousand protesters are out marching in the rain in Oakland against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. -more-
Many people across Berkeley and this country have expressed deep concern over the new administration’s agenda. As Mayor of Berkeley – a diverse city with a long history of political activism – I reiterate my strong commitment that Berkeley will continue to be a beacon of light during dark times. We will remain a sanctuary city, and we will protect the rights of our residents. -more-
As the elected leaders of one of the world's great small cities, you are confronted by a rush of awesome and rapidly evolving challenges.
Sometimes, as the actions taken by Council wend their way through the complex machinery of the City government and make their way out into the greater society, the weight of their effect grows. Your choices may acquire such profound human significance that every now and then it must take great courage for you to act decisively and quickly.
Or so one hopes. It is only appropriate, then, that sometimes your decisive hand should be stayed. There are times when contemplation should displace action. On certain problems, you must step back and try to see a bigger picture, and to seek out the the counsel of others who can help you find that greater perspective.
The human tragedies and the civic disruptions associated with homelessness are large, urgent problems. Even as urgent as the problems are, they are also persistent: Berkeley has had a significant homeless population for decades. You must feel under intense pressure to take bold steps quickly. Nevertheless, my counsel to you is to slow down and reconsider the "Step up housing" Initiative: -more-
As veterans and historians of the Free Speech Movement, we are writing to comment on the forthcoming visit to Berkeley of Milo Yiannopoulos.
Yiannopoulos is a bigot who comes to campus spouting vitriol so as to attract attention to himself. His modus operandi is to bait students of color, transgender students and anyone to the left of Donald Trump in the hopes of sparking a speaking ban or physical altercation so he can pose as a free speech martyr. His campus events are one long publicity stunt designed to present himself as a kind of hip, far right, youth folk hero — sort of Hitler Youth with cool sunglasses. “Look at me, I’m so rad, the PC police won’t let me speak on campus.” That’s his whole shtick in a nutshell, along with bigotry.
Banning him just plays into his hands politically, which is one reason why we were glad to see the UC administration refuse to adopt such a ban. True to form, however, Yiannopoulos and his Berkeley College Republican sponsors nonetheless put on their phony free speech martyrdom routine when the administration asked them to pay for security needed to ensure that the incendiary bigotry of their event does not end in bloodshed. -more-
The New York Times is not only an informative newspaper. It is also an establishment newspaper. Accordingly, we are fed with a mix of truth and fiction. In a recent article on the front page of the business section, the NY Times reports "Recovery Finally Yields Big Gains for Average Worker's Pay. The article concludes that the "tighter labor market forces employers to pay more to hire and retain workers. But in reality, the gains of last year of 2.9% were paltry. For when the inflation rate of 1.7% is subtracted, the real wage increase was only 1.2%. That is by no means a major improvement. -more-
Trump’s ongoing infatuation with Vladimir Putin is extremely troubling. His stubborn refusal to release his tax returns has cast a dark shadow on his presidency and may well explain why he dismissed the findings of his intelligence agencies who blame the Kremlin for hacking DNC’s emails which tilted the presidency in his favor. -more-
A few hundred House and Senate Republican politicians are holding areas of the U.S. government and Supreme Court hostage with their extremest and negative agenda. It's beyond comprehension that the media, business community, Justice Department, Americans, and Democrat's can do nothing to stop the out of control Republican Party from turning the Constitution and it's checks and balances upside down. -more-
Let’s start off with Paul Krugman’s summary of the inauguration, tweeted this morning:
“Takeover by a popular vote loser who squeaked through thanks to foreign intervention and blatant malpractice by the FBI. The system worked!”
That said, what can be done? Is there a way the system can be made to work better?
This week I was lucky enough to join a small group of supporters of newly re-elected Congressmember Ami Bera for a bit of “where do we go from here” discussion. He’s from the Sacramento area, from one of the state’s few potential swing districts. He noted wryly that it was not like ours, which has been represented for many years now by the indomitable and unbeatable Barbara Lee.
He told us he hoped someday to be in a race that was decided on election night, instead of having to suffer through weeks of tortuous counting before being declared the winner. He’s been in three races for this seat now—he lost the first one, won the second one after the district boundaries were redrawn, and this last time he actually tripled his victory margin, he said triumphantly: from about 2,000 votes to about 6,000. This is still mighty close.
In the last few weeks, my friends around the country report that they’ve been in standing-room-only meetings of their local progressive interest groups, packed with people who hope to figure out how we’re going to survive the “President” Drumpf regime. Pundits and public intellectuals of all stripes, including some erstwhile conservatives, have been wondering the same thing online and in print. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
If we didn't have enough to annoy us today, the East Bay Express reports, via the Cal Alumni Magazine, that the managing editor of the San Francisco Comical has banned, by fiat, participation by her
slaves employees in the Women's March on Saturday. Huh? Does anyone really think that the likes of Leah Garchik or Caille Milner are impartial about this inauguration? I certainly hope and believe that they're not on the fence. Read all about it here:
SF Chronicle Editor Bans Newsroom Staff From Attending Saturday's Women's March
On January 18, 2017, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum elected three new members to the Hall of Fame. Notably absent were home-run king Barry Bonds and star pitcher Roger "Rocket" Clements. -more-
Psychiatric medications often lessen symptoms of a mental illness, but usually do not eliminate the problems completely. A person with a psychotic disorder often must use a number of additional strategies to remain on an even keel. -more-
Troubled times are coming. Berkeley’s own Robert Reich has sounded the alarm in a recent column listing 15 warning signs that a tyrant is taking over.
People are frightened. For us old folks who have lived through so much, the feelings are familiar. I will never forget December 13, 2000, the night that Al Gore lost the election by fiat of the Supreme Court. Pulling into the driveway, I heard his concession speech on the radio, and I wept. I just knew that the presidency of George W. Bush would be a disaster, and it was.
Through those miserable eight years, through terrorist attacks, the Iraq War, and the financial implosion, I began to wind down a long career in public education. A bit pooped, I pensioned out at age 65 in 2008.
But the election of Barack Obama gave me the psychological boost to teach a reduced load for five more years. The Presidency touches individual Americans on an emotional level, and so many of us Californians are worried about Trump. In such times, we need to hold on to our values and each other. A whole lot of hugging is going on. -more-
Arts & Events
In a well-planned concert series devoted to early works by Gustav Mahler, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony performed over the weekend of January 13-15 the symphonic movement entitled Blumine, the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and Das klagende Lied. Two of these three works are rarely heard, so this program offered an enticing element of curiosity. Of the three works, however, only the best-known Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfaring Journeyman) lived up to what we have come to expect and cherish in Mahler. Beautifully sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, these songs of lament over a lost love were intensely moving, full of longing and bitterness. Cooke’s vocalism was unerring, her voice richly colored. My only note of qualification is that no matter how great a performance is given by a mezzo-soprano (such as Janet Baker, Brigitte Fassbaender, or Sasha Cooke), these songs were written for a baritone; and to my mind the greatest rendition of them is still the one by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on a recording with Raphael Kubelik conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. -more-