The Week




Where Do We Go From Here?

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 23, 2019 - 04:48:00 PM

We are in the dog days, the end of summer period where Sirius, the Dog Star, is in ascendancy, and not much happens because it’s too darn hot. The U.S. Congress is kicking back at home in their districts, despite pleas that they “do something” about gun violence. New outrageous things nonetheless continue to happen, on what used to be a daily basis but now on an hourly basis.

The media, print and online, is full of dire references to the mental state of the nation’s ruler, as he likes to think of himself. Shrinks from both Harvard and Yale have been enlisted to medicalize the analysis with scientific diagnostic terminology, but that’s grossly unfair to all those people conscientiously struggling to tackle their own normal mental illness with professional help.

It seems more appropriate to use colorful ordinary language to describe Trump. Take your pick: crazy, nuts, loony, insane, and the favorite of the historically inclined literati, mad, which is associated with King George III, ruler of the colonies at the time of the revolution. George III’s reputation has had its ups and downs, but for significant periods of his life he’s acknowledged to have been, well, nutty. Many now see America’s Donald I in the same way.

Mistah Trump, he nuts.

Nevertheless, some of us are still trying, against all odds, to construct rational explanations for his aberrations. There must be a reason for what he does, right? -more-

Public Comment

Drug Deaths: Who Is Overdosing Who?

Harry Brill
Friday August 23, 2019 - 02:48:00 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that deaths in San Francisco from taking fentanyl, which is a popular synthetic drug, increased from 2017 to 2018 by 150 percent. In fact, the increase in drug related deaths in the United States to over 70,000 annually is mainly due to the growing use of fentanyl. This drug was developed to relieve severe pain. Among those who benefit are terminally ill patients and those who experience serious pain after surgery. But its advantage, unfortunately, is for many recipients a disadvantage as well. The drug is very potent. Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more than heroin. But many who take the drug cannot physically tolerate such high doses. -more-

Israel’s War Crimes

Jagjit Singh
Friday August 23, 2019 - 04:41:00 PM

Jane Ferguson, one of the most courageous and trusted reporters in the world, was on assignment in Gaza for the PBS Newshour and filed a most disturbing report.

For the past several months Palestinians in Gaza have protested their appalling conditions along the border fence with Israel. For the most part the protests have been peaceful but international observers have reported devastating injuries inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli sniper fire. Many have suffered broken legs which appear to be a deliberate effort to inflict maximum pain and injury.

A staggering seven thousand have been shot by the Israeli army while taking part in protests in the last 15 months. Dozens have lost a limb. -more-

Trump’s Mountain of Lies

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday August 23, 2019 - 05:08:00 PM

Donald Trump has achieved one record that few can ever match. Disdain for the truth. With a wink and nod to his “very fine people” racists and anti-Semites, Trump responded to multiple mass shootings, saying “sinister ideologies” of racism, bigotry and white supremacy” have no place here.” Leading the charge to pierce Trump’s obvious hypocrisy, Senator Bernie Sanders thundered – “we have a president who, tragically, is a racist, xenophobe, and a religious bigot." -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Effects of Stress on Fragile People

Jack Bragen
Friday August 23, 2019 - 02:46:00 PM

As a human being with more than the typical vulnerabilities, I know that in several ways, I'm not very strong. When life becomes excessively demanding, or when events occur in my life that I find traumatic, the repercussions that follow include an increase in the symptoms of my psychiatric condition. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Was SF Opera’s Cancellation Of Plácido Domingo Concert Too Hasty?

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 23, 2019 - 02:40:00 PM

The San Francisco Opera canceled the Plácido Domingo concert scheduled for Oct. 6. The company issued a press release saying the move to cancel the show comes in the wake of news of multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Domingo. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday August 24, 2019 - 11:37:00 AM

The Shady Ladies of Alcatraz

When one of our window shades popped a pin, the question was: Repair or replace? When we took our lame shade to a shop on University, we were waved away by a proprietor who had neither time nor interest in solving our low-budget problem. So we pointed the car down Shattuck Ave and headed south to Berkeley's Alcatraz Shade—whose motto is: "Making you smile since 1954."

We came away with smiles. The women who run the shop quickly sprang forth to rescue our sickly shade. A replacement pin was located, implanted in the roller, and we were quickly sent on our way. Less than five minutes; less than five bucks. They even tested the curtain for us in their backroom lab. -more-

Arts & Events

The 2019 Merola Singers Strut Their Stuff in the Grand Finale

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 23, 2019 - 02:54:00 PM

Every year the Grand Finale offers a new crop of Merola singers the opportunity to strut their stuff on the grand stage of the War Memorial Opera House. For the young artists this is a thrill. For audiences, too, it is often a thrill to discover the opera stars of tomorrow. Indeed, on Saturday evening, August 17, the 2019 Grand Finale offered the chance to hear quite a few opera stars of tomorrow. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar: August 25-September 1

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 24, 2019 - 11:17:00 AM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

The last Berkeley evacuation fire drill is Sunday.

City Council is still officially on vacation, however, the Agenda Committee meets Monday to plan the September 10 City Council meeting. The agenda is packed as you see below.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

High Risk Fire Area - Wildfire Evacuation Drill, 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 -more-