The Week



Thousands Protest Ann Coulter in Berkele

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 10:51:00 PM

Protesters surrounded a University of California at Berkeley auditorium on Wednesday evening in an attempt to disrupt a speaking engagement by conservative author Ann Coulter. -more-

At Least 7 Arrested at Ann Coulter Speaking Event

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 10:46:00 PM

At least seven people were arrested as hundreds of protesters gathered on the University of California at Berkeley campus Wednesday evening to protest a speaking appearance by conservative author Ann Coulter. University spokesperson Dan Mogulof said as of about 10 p.m. that he did not know what the protesters were arrested for. One of the protesters was arrested inside the event. -more-



Superheros Come to the Capital

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 15, 2019 - 08:36:00 AM

On Thursday morning I woke up to listen to an obviously intelligent man speaking on my bedside radio in full sentences using occasional big words and teaching me a lot I didn’t know about what we used to call “The Ukraine”. That would be the modern struggling nation of Ukraine, whose capital, now Kyiv, is what we used to transliterate as Kiev. And Trump’s henchmen, Rudy, Lev and Igor, had recently been detected hanging out there.

There was a time, when I was taking the Russian History course and/or reading Russian literature, that I fancied I knew something about Kiev. All I’ve been able to remember recently, fifty years or so down the line, was the origin story about how Orthodox Christianity came to what we called Russia.

The star of that story was Prince (or Saint) Vladimir of Kiev, who round about the end of the first millennium decided that his “pagan” people needed to take up one of the Abrahamic desert religions to keep up with the modern world. He did the grand tour of Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Legend has it that he settled on the last of these because when he visited the gorgeous golden-domed Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople (previously Byzantium, now Istanbul) and heard the sumptuous Greek liturgy “he didn’t know if he was in heaven or in earth.”

I’m not sure if I learned this in my history or my language/literature classes, and even that much I had to look up on Wikipedia to remember the names.

From my radio lecturer I learned a whole lot of new things, notably the recent history of the post-Soviet independent Ukraine, now separated from Russia, even though Prince Vladimir in his day ruled most of Russia. I turned on the computer to livestream what turned out to be the impeachment hearings, and learned a whole lot more.

Based on how George P. Kent explained his understanding of what’s happened lately regarding relations between the United States and Ukraine, at a guess I’d say he’s Clark’s younger brother. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see him step into a phone booth, remove his trademark bow tie and three piece suit, and leap into the air clad in spandex. I wasn’t at all surprised to see that he’d studied Russian history and literature some thirty years later that I did. Smart, articulate, well-educated, humane—in other words, the anti-Trump. In the movie, he’d be played by Jimmy Stewart, if he wasn’t dead. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Wellstone Club State Endorsements on the Consent Calendar for Thursday

Monday November 18, 2019 - 09:36:00 PM

Here’s an interesting development. It’s almost a year until the next general election, and even the primary isn’t until March, but the officers of the powerful and occasionally leftish Wellstone Democratic Club seem to be holding an endorsement meeting this week. Endorsements at Wellstone have traditionally required candidate speeches, and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks was bitterly opposed within the club in her first primary, but not any more evidently.

The names of incumbents were placed on the organization’s no-contest consent calendar for the Tuesday meeting, and placed way down the bottom of their email meeting agenda. But if you do scroll waaaay down, here’s what you see:

Wellstone Club Meeting

Endorsements Meeting

Vote on local, state, federal, and party endorsements

You must be a member to vote, though non-members are welcome to attend.

Not sure if you're a member? Email us at

Thursday, November 21

Humanist Hall; 390 27th St; Oakland

potluck at 6PM, meeting at 6:45PM


Consent Agenda for Endorsement

13th Congressional District: Congresswoman Barbara Lee

5th Supervisorial District: Supervisor Keith Carson

9th State Senate District: Senator Nancy Skinner

15th Assembly District: Assemblymember Buffy Wicks

18th Assembly District: Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Those of us who can bear to watch local politics when the national news is so hot might know that there’s a good bit of dissatisfaction with Wicks and Skinner because of their full-throated participation in Sacramento’s increasingly successful attempt to wrest control of land use away from cities and counties. A floor fight at Thursday’s meeting can be expected. -more-

Public Comment

Bulldozers Threaten National Butterfly Project on Texas Border

Name Withheld
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:32:00 AM

It has just come to our attention that The National Butterfly Center needs your help. Please call your Representatives TODAY and ask them to investigate potentially illegal behavior by We Build The Wall, Inc, (Steve Bannon + Brian Kolfage) on the property immediately adjacent to the Center.

The National Butterfly Center is a privately owned 100-acre magical butterfly preserve along the Rio Grande River near Mission TX. A former onion field, it has been lovingly turned into an oasis of birdsong, native bees and butterflies. Lots of butterflies. But now Trump’s Wall threatens to take away a sizeable chunk of the property. You may have heard about their struggle in earlier news reports by CNN (video), The Washington Post (video), NPR, National Georaphic, and The Texas Observer.

If built The Wall will push 70%, or 70 acres, of the Center’s private property behind the barrier. Access to the river, an important source of drinking water for the region, could be cut off. Border Patrol will have the option of completing clearing all land between the river and the wall, installing bright security lights that shine 24/7, wreaking havoc on all the nature and animals that call that area home. Some may be pushed to extinction, like the ocelot which is already threatened.

Today the National Butterfly Center reposted to their Facebook page a video originally posted by “We Build the Wall”. (Scroll down to see the video.) It shows them bulldozing vegetation and clearing a road right down to the river’s edge on the 6,000 acre property immediately to the east of the Center. In the video the group states that they are taking matters into their own hands and will build the wall themselves. It is heartbreaking to witness the backhoe tearing up huge chunks of grasses at the river’s edge, destroying all life in its path. -more-

Nikki Haley

Jagjit Singh
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:23:00 AM

By vigorously defending President Trump as a “truthful person”, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has lost all credibility. She has abandoned her rich Sikh heritage in pursuit of financial and political goals. The core belief in Sikhism is speaking truth to power and of even of greater importance, - “truthful living”. She has failed on both accounts.

President Trump is the antithesis of the basic tenets of Sikhism and Christianity. His transgressions are truly staggering.

The current count of his lies is in excess of 12,000.

It’s puzzling why Ms. Haley, married with 2 children, ignores the terrifying experience endured by 25 women, including several credible accusations of rape by Mr. Trump.

Perhaps, Ms. Haley is comfortable with her former boss depicting immigrants as “rapists and criminals’ or his racist comments referring to Haiti and African nations as 's-hole' countries.

Then again, it appears Ms. Haley has conveniently ignored or forgotten Mr. Trump’s lewd comments denigrating women and boasting about his sexual exploits targeting young girls on the “Access Hollywood” tape.

Determined to remain on Mr. Trump’s good graces, she refused to criticize Mr. Trump when he told four Democratic congresswomen, three of them born in the United States, to “go back” to their home countries! In a further effort to pledge her fealty and devotion to Trump, Ms. Haley has betrayed her former colleagues in a crass effort to increase sales of her new memoir, “With All Due Respect”. She literally destroyed the reputation of real patriots , former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, who had voiced concern Mr. Trump’s “harebrained policies” which they deemed to be a major threat to the country.

Ms. Haley’s nonchalant response to the impeachment inquiry -“do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed”. This is akin to an assassin firing a loaded gun at his target but being declared innocent because the gun misfired.

Ms. Haley’ convoluted logic is truly breathtaking. She admits the president may have tried to subvert national security for his own political end, but he failed, so where’s the harm? . -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Ranking the Democratic Candidates

Bob Burnett
Friday November 15, 2019 - 08:32:00 AM

While the impeachment inquiry continues to command most of the attention of the mainstream media, in the background the Democratic presidential candidates continue their slog towards the February 3rd Iowa caucuses. Here's the BB perspective on how these candidates are doing. And a prediction as to what the race will look like coming out of "Super Tuesday," March 3rd. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Political Campaign Finance Law After Citizens United

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:29:00 AM

According to campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets, the final cost for the 2016 election was $6.5 billion for the presidential and congressional elections combined. The cost of the presidential race, including campaign committee and outside spending, was $2.4 billion. Congressional races totaling more than $4 billion.

President Donald Trump’s campaign cost almost $398 million, whereas candidate Hillary Clinton’s’s was more than $768 million. But as Trump was a constant focus of media attention, from July 2015 through October 2016, Trump received free media worth more than $5.9 billion. Clinton received less than half that figure, a little under $2.8 billion.

To curb these obscene campaign costs, in 2002, the bipartisan Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“McCain-Feingold Act”) was passed to regulate the financing of political campaigns by prohibiting soft money contributions to national political parties, and limited campaign financing to hard money. Soft money is unlimited funding collected by political parties intended for party strengthening, while hard money is donations directly made to a candidate’s campaign. In addition, political parties could no longer directly fund election campaign advertisements with soft money contributions; they had to be paid for with hard money. The law also called for candidates to “stand by their ad.” This means a candidate, at the end of a campaign ad, must approve the message. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Damage from Environments

Jack Bragen
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:38:00 AM

In the past twenty years, I've had numerous setbacks. Yet, these have been less severe than the setbacks of the preceding twenty years. The more recent ones did not include the need to be an inpatient at a psychiatric ward. My most recent inpatient stay (which was due to going off medication and becoming acutely psychotic) was in April of 1996. Additionally, most of the more recent setbacks have been caused by the actions and speech of other people. I haven't sabotaged myself very much in a very long time. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:16:00 AM

Can Smogburgers Save the Planet?

Sometimes (especially in wildfire season) the air pollution is so bad you can almost choke on it. But science is about to make this a good thing.

A new generation of food physicists has unveiled a novel process—call it a seeming near-miracle—that literally pulls food out of thin air.

Well, perhaps it's more correct to say "thick air" because we're talking about air that's stuffed with an excess of CO2.

The breakthrough relies on hydrogenotrophs that can be coaxed (or withdrawn) from smog banks and transformed into a protean powder that be used to create a smorgasbord of protein-based foods.

Plant-based burgers already have led the way in the transition to eco-friendly meat-free foods but turning our smoky air into a food source seems almost too good to be true. Perhaps we can start cooling the planet by scarfing coal-plant-based burgers and munching cow-burp enchiladas. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About--Music: 17 Piece Electric Squeezebox Orchestra with Special Guest Vocalist Kalil Wilson, 5:30 this Sunday (11/24) at the California Jazz Academy in Downtown Berkeley

Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 10:38:00 PM

Led by trumpeter/arranger Erik Jekabson, the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra plays music written by its members. -more-

FREE Screening of Frontline/Pro Publica Documentary 'Documenting Hate: New American Nazis,' 7:30 This Friday, 11/22, at the East Bay Media Center in Observance of Bay

Ken Bullock
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 10:02:00 PM

FREE Screening of Frontline/Pro Publica Documentary 'Documenting Hate: New American Nazis,' 7:30 this Friday (11/22) at the East Bay Media Center, 1939 Addison (between Milvia & MLK) in Downtown Berkeley in Observance of Bay Area-Wide United Against Hate Week. Limited Seating. Info: or (510) 843-3699 -more-

Danish String Quartet’s Stylish Program at Hertz Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 09:50:00 PM

On Sunday afternoon, November 10, the Danish String Quartet presented a well-planned concert at Hertz Hall under the auspices of Cal Performances. The program consisted of works chosen for their interrelatedness. First heard was Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue No. 24 in B minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier. This was followed by Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130, with the Grosse Fugue finale, which borrows music from Bach’s B minor fugue. After intermission, the Danish String Quartet performed Alfred Schnittke’s String Quartet No. 3, which offers reminiscences of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue. -more-

Jeannette Sorrell Leads Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in Mozart

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 09:48:00 PM

Over the weekend of November 13-17, early music conductor Jeannette Sorrell led Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a series of Bay Area concerts featuring Mozart’s music. I attended the Saturday, November 16, concert at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. San Francisco native Jeannette Sorrell studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam and studied conducting under Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. Sorrell first achieved international recognition in 1991 when she won both First Prize and Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from all over the world. Then, in 1992, at age 26, Jeannette Sorrell founded in Cleveland the early music ensemble Apollo’s Fire, which over the years has built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, November 17-24

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 08:44:00 AM

Worth Noting:

Thanksgiving is November 28 and everything seems to be scheduled for the week of November 17 – 24 - City Council, Boards and Commissions, protest rallies, another Presidential Debate, and Impeachment Hearings.


Sunday Nov 17 – Berkeley ½ Marathon, 5K, 10K – check street closures

Dredging the Bay for Crude Oil Tankers

Dredging the Bay information was updated after the November 13 Public Meeting. Letters are still accepted.

Petition in opposition to Dredging the Bay, Signatures still accepted


Holiday Food Drive – November 1 – 29, daily from 8:30 a – 6 p, for more information

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Berkeley Half Marathon – start 7:30 am – expected finish 12 pm, check link for street closures

Monday, November 18, 2019 -more-

Protest Against Toyota Having an Impact

Rob Wrenn
Wednesday November 20, 2019 - 10:10:00 PM

Protest against Toyota’s teaming up with Trump to oppose California’s vehicle emissions standards is having an impact. The State of California has announced that it won’t buy cars from GM or Toyota because of their alliance with Trump over the standards. It’s important to keep the heat on Toyota. Join the protest outside Toyota of Berkeley this Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. Spread the Word. Call, write or e-mail Toyota. If you own a Toyota vehicle, make sure you mention that fact. -more-