Watching the Watchdogs: It’s Everyone’s Job

By Becky O’Malley
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:54:00 PM

Those of us who voted for President-elect Barack Obama (possibly 95 percent of the readers of this paper) are waiting for his arrival with the same eagerness that our children and grandchildren are waiting for Santa Claus. But like the children of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the anticipation we feel is tempered by a bit of anxiety: Perhaps instead of sugarplums we might get Ashes and Switches or lumps of coal in our stockings. -more-


This Space for Sale

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday December 18, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

Recessionary Snowman

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday December 18, 2008 - 11:11:00 AM

Browsing the Addison Street Gallery

By Justin DeFreitas
Thursday December 18, 2008 - 11:15:00 AM

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:54:00 PM


Berkeley High School Deserves the Best

By Jessica Quindel and Amy Burke
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:59:00 PM

Across our country, millions of Americans embraced President-elect Obama’s message of change. They embraced this idea because they knew America could do better. Today, Berkeley High School is also ready for change. We support the Berkeley High School Redesign Plan because it will improve academic achievement for all students by providing personalization through a student advisory program, increasing time on task in academic and elective classes, providing greater student support services, and improving teacher quality through increased opportunities for professional development. Moving to a block schedule is a fundamental component of this plan. -more-

RFID and Nuclear Weapons: Continuing Misrepresentations

By Peter Warfield
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:59:00 PM

The Berkeley Public Library is continuing its unfortunate tradition of seriously misrepresenting the facts about radio frequency identification (RFID) as it seeks a waiver of the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act from the Peace and Justice Commission (P&J), and eventually from the City Council. -more-

Address the Real Problems at Berkeley

By Yehuda HaKohen
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:00:00 PM

As director of the Zionist Freedom Alliance and one of the organizers of Israel Liberation Week at UC Berkeley last month, I was disturbed to learn some of the things being said about the ZFA not only by the “Students for Justice in Palestine” and their supporters, but also by the Bay Area’s organized Jewish leadership. For readers unaware of recent events at Berkeley, the ZFA hosted Israel Liberation Week on campus from Nov. 10-14. On the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 13, we brought Jewish, black and Mexican performers together for a concert advocating Jewish national rights. A series of unnecessary events that began with a disruption of the concert by the SJP and ended in a violent confrontation between Arabs and Jews has since become the focus of media attention. -more-

The Electoral College Has Gotta Go

By Bruce Joffe
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:00:00 PM

With the final vote count now certified, we can be very thankful that the victor’s margin was more than 8,500,000 votes. Had it been a closer election, with, say, a 500,000 vote margin, the wrong candidate—the one with fewer votes—might have been elected, once again. We know the terrible costs of this flaw in our electoral system: more than 4,000 American soldiers dead, 60,000 severely wounded, and three trillion dollars wasted on a war brought on by hubris and deception. This, plus 4 million Iraqi people displaced from their homes and over a hundred thousand killed. Now, in the twilight of this disastrous presidency, we are suffering an economic recession, a flat-out theft, of so many billions of dollars that one’s sense of outrage is numbly anesthetized. -more-

In Support of Windows Gallery Decision

By Patrick Hayashi
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:01:00 PM

I agree with the judgment of the curator of the Addison Street Window Gallery and am glad that the Arts Commission supported her decision. When I first saw Jos Sances’ poster, I had an immediate, visceral, negative reaction. I tried to figure out why I had reacted so strongly. I thought about the Eddie Adams’ photograph upon which the poster was based. I remembered the pain on Nguyen Van Lem’s face as the bullet fired by Nguyen Ngoc Loan ripped through his skull. That photograph affected me deeply as it did so may others because it caused me to wonder about how the Vietnam War had destroyed the humanity of both men. Adams’ photograph, in turn, caused me to think about Nick Út’s photograph of 9-year-old Phan Th Kim Phúc running naked on the street after being severely burned on her back by an American napalm bomb. I thought that Út’s photograph was powerful precisely because it showed how individuals were being brutally victimized by American actions. I wondered if the pilots of the planes, after they saw the photo, reflected on the unspeakable pain they were inflicting on innocent people. -more-

Minority Rights for ‘Those People’

By Russ Tilleman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:01:00 PM

Charles Siegel’s Dec. 11 commentary “The Anti-Transit Crowd Is at it Again” takes aim at a local minority group, using the tired old language of discrimination. He correctly points out that only a minority of Berkeley citizens voted for Measure KK, but he seems to have forgotten that legitimate democracies protect the rights of minority groups whenever possible. -more-

Bus Rapid Transit Proponents at it Again

By Jim Bullock
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:02:00 PM

Charles Siegel’s entire Dec. 11commentary (“The Anti-Transit Crowd Is at it Again”) is based on a fallacy. In it, Mr. Siegel equated, as he has on many occasions, opposition to AC Transit’s current BRT proposal with being “anti-transit.” No one that I know who is anti-BRT is anti-transit. It is, in fact, just the opposite. Those of us who oppose the current BRT proposal oppose it because we are pro-transit. We want to see taxpayer dollars spent for real improvements in public transportation in the East Bay. The current BRT proposal is not projected to provide any benefit which would justify its enormous cost. -more-

A Few More Thoughts on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

By Lawrence Jarach
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:59:00 PM

Don Santina is apparently incapable of discerning between disputing the lopsided writing of history and “historical revisionism.” Neither can he acknowledge that criticizing Communist Party politics do not make the critic a “McCarthyite.” Historical revisionism, in the lexicon of neutral historians, denotes questioning the dominant interpretation of past events. I would be honored to accept the label if Santina were using it descriptively instead of as an insulting conversation-stopper. The main Revisionist issue is Holocaust Denial, a predominately right-wing position, and Santina’s clear intent is to paint me with that brush, along with the other right-wing phenomenon he mentions: paranoid American anti-Communism. As an anarchist, my distrust of Leninists and Stalinists is directly tied to the often homicidal interactions (initiated by them) between the partisans of our respective movements, and has absolutely nothing to do with the frenzied Cold War hunt for secret Communist sympathizers and agents. I have no connection to Rush Limbaugh either—another of Santina’s absurd attempt at guilt-by-association, made in conscious bad faith. -more-