Extra

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday August 16, 2019 - 02:41:00 PM

Bucket Brigades to Save People's Park!

Ace Backwords was one of the first to notice.
"What is up with the People's Park lawn?" he asked. "They've always had lush, green grass. But now all the grass is scorched and dying. Let me guess: The University won't let anyone water the lawn."

On August 8, Lisa Teague, with the People's Park Committee, confirmed these suspicions: "UC hasn't been watering the lawn in People's Park." Not to worry. There's no way the people are going to let the park wither away, Teague reports. A frisky band of park rangers quickly purchased a long hose and a sprinkler after which Teague happily reported spending "a couple of hours watering with Russell Bates yesterday, overjoyed, because we're gonna have green grass again." -more-



Public Comment

Moscow Mitch

Jagjit Singh
Friday August 09, 2019 - 03:58:00 PM

Finally, the media has penetrated the poker face Mitch McConnell by labelling him “Moscow Mitch”, a description he richly deserves. By his inaction he has left the nation unprotected from Russian interference. -more-


The "Equity" Cloak for Marijuana

Carol Denney
Friday August 09, 2019 - 04:01:00 PM

Marijuana promoter High Times' effort to use Cesar Chavez Park as a "designated location" for marijuana events was so strongly opposed in the spring of this year by grassroots park protectors and public health advocates that Mayor Jesse Arreguin reassured at least one advocate that there are "no immediate plans to revisit the marijuana events issue, and if we do I agree it should go to multiple commissions including the Health Commission, Parks Commission and Marijuana Commission, because this policy could have multiple impacts on our city."

That word apparently didn't travel far. The "Health, Life Enrichment, Equity and Community Committee" took it up on Monday, July 8th, 2019 at 10:00 am on the sixth floor of City Hall where it took another beating by community voices opposed to using any parks for marijuana promotions, especially Cesar Chavez Park. Councilmember Ben Bartlett quickly withdrew his proposal after public comment. -more-


Can Gun Control Work?

Harry Brill
Friday August 09, 2019 - 02:57:00 PM

That the overwhelming majority of the public supports background checks as a condition for obtaining a gun is not surprising. But perhaps you did not know that in contrast to the perspective of the National Rifle Association (NRA) most gun owners agree that serious background checks are necessary. According to a national public policy polling survey, over 80 percent of gun owners support background checks, and two thirds are likely to vote for political candidates who have a similar view. -more-


Marijuana Smoke Pollutes

Marcia Poole
Monday August 12, 2019 - 01:30:00 PM

I read Carol Denney's Public Comment piece on The "Equity" Cloak for Marijuana in the latest edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet. I totally agree with her and really appreciate her giving voice to the problem of public spaces being taken over by marijuana smoke. I am asthmatic and have gone through a particularly bad period this last year. It still effects me and the strength, or lack thereof, of my voice and lungs. Every time I walk by or am exposed to marijuana smoke, it triggers my asthma. Cigarettes do the same thing. I start coughing, can't breathe well and reach for my inhaler. -more-


New: Housing: the Economics of the Absurd

Steve Martinot
Friday August 16, 2019 - 02:44:00 PM

There are two crises facing the Bay Area. Supposedly. One is a crisis of homelessness, which is the economic production (through inflation and rent increases) of people who cannot afford housing, because they are priced out and are left to sleep on sidewalks and parks. The other is a crisis of affordable housing, which is politically produced by developers, landlords, and city governments that displace people from their homes in an economic environment in which they cannot find housing they can afford. They are either forced to move out of town, or become homeless, sleeping on the streets. It looks like one crisis to me. It is the failure of government to treat them as one that makes them two. -more-


Editorial

Impeachment Has Started, Softly But Surely

Becky O'Malley
Monday August 12, 2019 - 12:46:00 PM

When the toney restaurants I seldom frequent are in puberty, conceived and birthed but not yet debuted, they often have what the full-gush foodie press calls a “soft opening”. There’s no publicity, perhaps not even a sign, but those in the know are aware that they can get a pretty darn good meal if they stop by during the soft opening period, which may last days, weeks, or even months.

That’s where we are now with the pending impeachment of the country’s scandalous president which has progressives already salivating. It’s a soft start to a major conclusion.

House Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler is admitting as much, as quoted on CNN, MSNBC and in the Washington Post, to name a few. The phrase he’s used is “formal impeachment proceedings.” Not, yet, exactly, “articles of impeachment”, but mighty close. -more-


Columns

THE PUBLIC EYE:How Did We Get Here?

Bob Burnett
Friday August 09, 2019 - 01:37:00 PM

As we reflect on the horrific El Paso and Dayton shootings, it's clear that we've reached an inflection point in our society. We're teetering on the edge of civil war. Let's take a couple of steps back and consider how we got here. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Government Unfairly Targets Mentally Ill in Response to Gun Violence

Jack Bragen
Friday August 09, 2019 - 01:39:00 PM

The Trump Administration is benefiting in two or more ways from the recent outbreaks in gun violence. Trump is using this issue to divert public attention away from Russian interference in U.S. elections. Secondly, since the Trump modus operandi is largely to target minority groups as scapegoats, Trump is able to pick on yet another segment of American population, mentally ill people. Mentally ill people, historically and to this day, find it more difficult to speak up for ourselves and assert our rights in comparison to other minority groups. Leave it to Trump to attack those who are the most defenseless.

Other segments of U.S. Government are also picking on mentally ill people and on people with a history of being traumatized. I saw on television news, a government official described people who are suspect. The profile he gave puts Yours Truly in the crosshairs of people whom this official said should be reported. This is uncomfortable. -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Escalating domestic terrorism**

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 09, 2019 - 03:53:00 PM

I am saddened and outraged by the latest mass shootings. That’s three in eight days. On July 28, a 19-year-old shooter killed 3 — including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — and wounded 12 others at the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival; then on on August 3, another gunman killed 22 and wounded 24 others at a Walmart store in El Paso,Texas; and then on August 4, another gunman killed nine and wounded several others in Dayton, Ohio. An assault-type weapon was used in the first two shootings. -more-


SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday August 09, 2019 - 03:42:00 PM

Note to CBS: Woodstock Was a Blast—But Not That Kind

On August 15, in the summer of 1969, an historic festival was organized to celebrate "three days of peace and music." On August 4, 2019 CBS Evening News debuted a 12-minute feature to commemorate the event. They titled it: "Woodstock at 50: A return to 'ground zero for peace and love.'"

Ground Zero?

When did radiating love become the equivalent of radioactive leftovers?

You might say this kind of militaristic expropriation "puts the BS in CBS."

Clammy Comic Calamities

The #MeToon movement continues to rack up examples of cartoon-strip misogyny and, once again, the winner and all-time champ is . . . The Fusco Brothers. -more-


Arts & Events

American Bach Soloists Perform Pergolesi’s STABAT MATER

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday August 12, 2019 - 12:59:00 PM

Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736) enjoyed a brief, mercurial career, dying at age 26. His most famous works were composed in Naples, where he drew upon local dialect to write comic operas or intermezzi, the most well-known of which is La Serva padrona (The Maid-Mistress). Pergolesi set his dramatic works in Naples and dealt with ordinary characters in everyday situations. With his mercurial musical style, Pergolesi vividly brought his characters to life. He did likewise in his sacred work, the Stabat Mater, which he composed in his last days. Here too, as in his works for the stage, Pergolesi strove to emphasise affect, or the emotions.

In the second concert of their 2019 Summer Festival, American Bach Soloists performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater on Friday, August 2, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For the second half of the program, ABS presented George Frideric Handel”s “Utrecht” Te Deum & Jubilate (1713). This concert was dubbed “Treasures from Lyon” because the scores for both works were discovered in the library of the venerable Concert de Lyon, France. Soloists for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater were ABS stalwarts soprano Mary Wilson and baritone William Sharp. Jeffrey Thomas conducted the period instrument orchestra and the American Bach Choir. -more-


All Dressed Up and No Place to Go: Bach’s B-Minor Mass

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday August 12, 2019 - 01:25:00 PM

In 1749, at the end of his long, creative life, Johann Sebastian Bach assembled bits and pieces of music he’d written many years earlier, added a few new bits, and, voilà, there was his Mass in B-Minor. Bach seems not to have written this setting of the Latin Mass for any commission or performance. Indeed, the B-Minor Mass was not performed in the remaining months of Bach’s life. So why did he, a devout Lutheran, compose this Catholic mass? The answer seems to be that Bach, who revered his musical heritage, knew the traditional importance attached to settings of the Latin mass, and decided he too ought to show he could excel in this time-honoured genre. And excel he did! Today, Bach’s B-Minor Mass is considered a lasting testament to his art. -more-


Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, August 11-18

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 10, 2019 - 09:39:00 AM

Worth Noting:

City Council is on summer recess until September 9th and most of the Boards and Commissions also take a summer break, some in July and some in August.

Wildfire Evacuation Drills for high risk fire areas

  • August 11 from 9am – 10 am, neighborhood Wildcat Canyon to the east, The Alameda to the West, Berkeley-Contra Costa border to the north, Codornices Park to the south,
  • August 25 from 9am – 10 am, neighborhood Berkeley-Contra costa to the east, Spruce to the west, Codornices Park to the north and UC Berkeley to south.
For more details on Wildfire Evacuation Drills and to sign up go to link https://www.cityofberkeley.info/City_Manager/Press_Releases/2019/2019-07-23_Sign_up_for_City-led_wildfire_evacuation_drills_in_August.aspx -more-


Back Stories

Opinion

Editorials

Impeachment Has Started, Softly But Surely 08-12-2019

Public Comment

Moscow Mitch Jagjit Singh 08-09-2019

The "Equity" Cloak for Marijuana Carol Denney 08-09-2019

Can Gun Control Work? Harry Brill 08-09-2019

Marijuana Smoke Pollutes Marcia Poole 08-12-2019

New: Housing: the Economics of the Absurd Steve Martinot 08-16-2019

News

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 08-16-2019

Columns

THE PUBLIC EYE:How Did We Get Here? Bob Burnett 08-09-2019

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Government Unfairly Targets Mentally Ill in Response to Gun Violence Jack Bragen 08-09-2019

ECLECTIC RANT: Escalating domestic terrorism** Ralph E. Stone 08-09-2019

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 08-09-2019

Arts & Events

American Bach Soloists Perform Pergolesi’s STABAT MATER Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 08-12-2019

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go: Bach’s B-Minor Mass Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 08-12-2019

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, August 11-18 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 08-10-2019