The Week

UC Berkeley gained a pair of new treesitters Monday morning in one of two acacias at People's Park designated for the ax by university officials.
By Richard Brenneman
UC Berkeley gained a pair of new treesitters Monday morning in one of two acacias at People's Park designated for the ax by university officials.
 

News

Sink Hole Closes Tunnel Road

Wednesday January 07, 2009 - 10:38:00 AM

 Tunnel Road westbound will be closed from Highway 13, as will the intersection of Vicente and Tunnel Road, this morning and afternoon due to a large sink hole caused by a water main break, according to Berkeley police. -more-


Treesitting Pair Occupies Acacia at People's Park

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 06, 2009 - 04:51:00 PM

The treesitters are back on UC Berkeley’s turf, this time occupying the branches of an acacia at People’s Park. -more-


Burning Body Found Near Berkeley Shore

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday December 30, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

Berkeley police and firefighters rushed to the shoreline early Tuesday morning, where they discovered a body burning inside a container. -more-


Post-Christmas Fire Claims Berkeley Cats

By Richard Brenneman
Monday December 29, 2008 - 04:42:00 PM

Two cats died on Friday from smoke inhalation in a slow-burning fire in a rented home at 1367 La Loma Ave. -more-


Buried Body in Wall Identified by Police

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 09:57:00 AM
A crime scene cleanup technician finishes donning his protective gear as he prepares to work on the Ashby Avenue room where police found a body buried behind a wall.

The dramatic suicide of a Berkeley man last week led police to a second gruesome discovery two days later, a badly decomposed male corpse walled up inside the first floor laundry room. -more-


Fire Forces Evacuation of Regent Street Apartments

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

A second-floor bedroom fire led Berkeley Police to evacuate a large three-story apartment building on Regent Street on Monday morning as firefighters fought to contain the flames. -more-


People’s Park Tree-Sit Ends With Holiday Reprieve

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM
The threatened acacia trees are fenced off at People’s Park.

Berkeley’s latest tree-sit ended the same day it began last week when campus police signed a Christmas truce that spares—for the moment—two acacias in People’s Park. -more-


Round and About

By Jerry Cote
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:19:00 AM

Virginia Bakery… Virginia Cleaners… Virginia Street—it’s all right there on two short blocks in a small north Berkeley neighborhood. As I jog past the bakery’s storefront, the scent of warm bread and joy from inside drifts out into the street deliciously. -more-


Finding Berkeley’s Center

By Ted Friedman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:06:00 AM

In 1950s Springfield, Illinois, we often settled arguments with the absurd challenge: “If you’re right, I’ll kiss your hiney [although we pronounced it differently and spelled it with only three letters] at Fifth and Monroe.” Why there? It was the center of town, at least to us. -more-


Remembering Rose

By Joanne Kowalski
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:05:00 AM
Rose Eve Patterson, July 20, 1942-Dec. 17, 2007.

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home...[in] the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world. -more-


Louise and George, Helen and Lloyd

By Andrea Carney
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Recently sitting in our backyard, Louise knitting, me browsing through a collection of political essays called The Power to say No, the sun slowly starting its descent, Louise looked up thoughtfully and said, “You know, George, this house is awfully large for the two of us now that the children are grown.” -more-


Wine Tasting Class

By Ray Saturno
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:50:00 AM

Here are the results of a recent wine tasting class held at the El Cerrito Recreation Department. This was a “blind tasting” of four California Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. Each member of the class had a score card with four categories; color, odor, taste and after taste. Each category had maximum of two points. With this system, a top score would be eight points. The class was led by Ray Saturno who has worked in the wine industry for 10 years and has been teaching wine tasting classes for 30 years. -more-


Poem

By Iris Crider
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:07:00 AM

Mountain cold steaming -more-


Jolly Folly: Why an Atheist Keeps Christmas

By Sonja Fitz
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:41:00 AM

Local (San Jose) boy-turned-preacher Rick Warren recently made the rounds of morning talk shows to promote his latest book, The Purpose of Christmas (released in November, naturally—just in time for holiday shopping!). (Christmas too commercial, you moan? Please, that’s so last year. We’re in an economic crisis: it’s our duty to shop.) It set me thinking yet again about my giddy love for this holiday. Me, a devoted atheist and card-carrying secularist, one of the annoying holly-festooned carolers sending out handmade Christmas cards in an era of eCards and text greetings. -more-


Holiday Bikes for Kids

Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:02:00 AM

Claudia Medina of the Alameda County Office of Education smiles Monday as she looks over the bikes her agency arranged as holiday gifts for youths at Berkeley’s Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency family shelter on Harrison Street. -more-


Murky Waters Run Deep in the Reservoir of Memory

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:23:00 AM

We were something like a family for five years, 1926-1931. In a memory-snapshot of the three of us standing at the foot of my father’s little bed in his little room, in front of the closet that was so small the hangers hung flat against the wall on hooks. I have trailed my parents in there and am observing. They are arguing. He takes down a gray cardboard carton, and heaves it onto the foot of the bed. The throw causes it to bounce, and the lid comes off. Inside is a new doll, Betty, a Christmas gift and the second of my three dolls. -more-


Stolpersteine

By Laura Bushman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

The Joys of Life on Two Wheels

By Laura McCamy
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:26:00 AM

The Jack Kerouac of this generation would write a very different version of On the Road. Stalled freeways and clogged cities don’t provide the adventure he went in search of. Today’s seeker might find the freedom of the road in a different mode: on a bicycle. As I glide past stuck cars on city streets or match the speed of the freeway on the bike path that parallels I-80, I feel liberated and exhilarated—a little bit of a modern-day Kerouac. -more-


25 Below

By Sandra J. Whittaker
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

Blazing sun dogs rise ... -more-


Family Tree

By Roopa Ramamoorthi
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:27:00 AM

Few weeks ago I spent two days in Mendocino -more-


The Poor Wee Birdies (spoken in Scottish brogue)

By Sandra J. Whittaker
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:09:00 AM

Oh, I would na’ be a birdie -more-


Christmas Story

By Richard Cormack
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:35:00 AM

There is a homeless man whose daily station is a bench in front of an espresso shop near the UC Berkeley campus. He’s a gray shell of a man now, crippled and aged, but his life once mattered. In his younger years he sat in a comfortable office and made decisions that affected people. -more-


December

By Annie Kassof
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

A few years ago I drove to OSH so my kids, at their request, could get me my Christmas present. I remember this as an especially poignant moment—sitting in my car watching the two of them walk through the crowded parking lot. I was already pretty sure what they were getting me. I’m not materialistic, but as on other holidays I’d cobbled together a list anyhow. Though far from glamorous, first on the list was a new toilet seat; something we could use at the time. -more-


The Timid Ones

By Lowell Moorcroft
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:36:00 AM

The Timid Ones -more-


Seeing

By Marcia Craddock
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

The L.A. night was sullen. Low clouds reflected the hundreds, thousands, millions of neon lights and produced an angry red glare in the compressed sky. The air was still and the traffic noises muffled, almost muted. -more-


In Search of French: From Tahiti to Nice

By Tony and Laura Bushman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:36:00 AM

Where can you learn French in the winter where it is warm? In Tahiti. So we set off for French Tahiti. The weather in Tahiti was sticky and hot, but the water was perfect. The yellow and red hibiscus plants were captivating and the azure ocean was stunning. We lay on the beaches, swam among the coral and admired double-breasted white-throated warblers. With all this beauty surrounding us, it was clear we would not be learning much French in Tahiti. Two weeks were up before we got fully acclimated in our search for French lessons. France seemed the better place to learn French. The trip from Tahiti to France was a three-day nightmare, which left us dizzy from lack of sleep. We were met at the airport in Nice by Christian, our host, with a very warm welcome. -more-


Sunday

By Jerry Cote
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:51:00 AM

sunday -more-


Up a Tree Without a Ladder

By Mary Spivey
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:12:00 AM

Christmas is, generationally, stressful. My parents’ mantra was “...in my day we were happy to get an orange and an apple in a stocking...” My comments “... seems like it should be practical and meaningful.” Watching television ads now seems like light years away from a Christmas culture I recognize. -more-


Last Licks

By Linda Rose
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:37:00 AM

I kissed my beloved canine companion on the lips yesterday and let her tongue lick all over me. Something I would never let her do if I had lipstick on. -more-


The Little Engine That Wanted To

By Kathy Horn
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:12:00 AM
The Little Engine

1955. Little Girl dreams Roller Coaster lives outside her bedroom window. -more-


The Ache of Christmas

By Dorothy V. Benson
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:37:00 AM

Do I remember turkey and all the trimmings -more-


The Little Christmas Tree That Almost Didn’t Get to Celebrate Christmas

By James K. Sayre
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM

Once, not long ago, there was a small Douglas Fir tree named Sarah that grew up on a Christmas tree farm near Woodland, Washington. When she was 5 years old, she was already almost six feet tall, so the owners of the Christmas Tree Farm decided to have Sarah and all her identically-genetically-cloned brothers and sisters cut down and shipped to California in early December. -more-


Come Walk With Me

By Kay Y. Wehner
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:38:00 AM

Come walk with me, -more-


Flamenco Puro

By Ruth Guthartz
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:14:00 AM

Because the seasons changed early that year, I chose an early spring cleaning. Armed with large plastic bags, a brown cardboard carton and a dust cloth, I tackled my bedroom closet. Determined to be sensible and unsentimental, I started by tossing away much of the footwear. -more-


Bikini

By Esther Stone
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:38:00 AM

I confess. Guilty as charged. I’m an inveterate and unrepentant pack rat. -more-


Winter Clouds Over Berkeley Marina

Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:03:00 AM

Brisk, cold winter winds kept the San Francisco Bay waters choppy off the Berkeley Marina, just north of one of the two sites proposed for a ferry terminal. -more-


Mrs. Perle

By Dana Chernack
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:39:00 AM

Mrs. Perle, my sixth-grade teacher, was an unnatural woman given to transports. Her transports had teeth, rather fangs. She was certainly venomous. Mrs. Perle tapped into something twisted within us all. Are we not all sadists and masochists in various degrees at various times? Yet, we hold ourselves back; we are self-aware, or aware of God. Mrs. Perle is mostly likely in hell now, that part reserved for petty tyrants, the ones without a saleable ideology. -more-


Season of Hope

By Mary Wheeler
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:16:00 AM

Christmas, for me, is the season of hope, as I believe it is for many people. Historically, it started with the Solstice, when people celebrated the return of longer days and more sunlight. Bonfires were lit to represent hope of new light and warmth. With Christianity came the hope of a new birth: shepherds and wisemen following a star in hopes of greeting a new king. Now, for children, there is Santa Claus. What child does not await Christmas morning with hope and excitement that the long-wished for toy is lying wrapped under the tree? -more-


A Box of Hope Tied with a Ribbon of Patience

By Pamela McNab
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:42:00 AM

I told my husband I wanted to skip Christmas that year; all I wanted was a box of hope tied with a ribbon of patience. -more-


Vanguard City

By Dana Chernack
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:16:00 AM

We moved to Vanguard City, Calif., in June of 1973. Brooklyn had turned toxic. We came to V.C., as we referred to it back then, to be with the other dope smokin’ Godless Commies. We came to have a great time and build a just society. -more-


Election Haiku Diary

By Judy Wells
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:42:00 AM

Feb. 1 -more-


In Their Pace ... In The Closet

By Garrett Murphy
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:17:00 AM

The majority in times past -more-


My 2009 Resolutions — for Other People

By Scott Badler
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:43:00 AM

Normally, I make New Year’s resolutions for myself. It hasn’t worked. For example, last year’s resolutions to “avoid the social ramble,” eat more gefilte fish and try to like people fell by the wayside shortly after President’s Day (oddly, Washington and Lincoln are two of my least-favorite presidents). -more-


Wildlife in My House

By Sherry Bridgman
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:17:00 AM

Boys between the ages of seven and nine have a great affection for reptiles. They catch’em, cage’em and talk constantly about them. Could a boa constrictor swallow a VW car, Mom? -more-


Regarding the Spanish Civil War

By Peter Loubal
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM

Civil wars are extremely uncivilized, their political aftermath even filthier. To put a human face on The Planet’s recent Lincoln “Brigade”—Spanish Civil War (Bermack /Jarach) debate, the story of my aunt. -more-


Hope Is Never Silent

By Tracie De Angelis Salim
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:43:00 AM

“This is my identification,” he said, clutching a hand painted picture of ancient olive trees, pointing at it, exclaiming “This is it! Without this, I lose hope!” -more-


Craven

By Joseph Stubbs
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:49:00 AM

Craven was a frog upon my bog -more-


Listen

By Cherrie Williams
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:51:00 AM
Winter Frost, 2003

From the tree watch, listen! -more-


Richmond Plans Threaten Point Isabel

By Rosemary Loubal
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM

Richmond’s Planning Commission voted to rezone Point Isabel to accommodate a Kohl’s department store with 400 parking spaces. Local developer Oliver, who owns the land, has already vacated the existing stores and offices on the corner of Central Avenue and Rydin Road. There is constant traffic from Costco and USPS trucks. The dog-park lots are often full. Hundreds of people daily use the area for hiking, cycling, dog walking, bird watching. Thousands at weekends. Ever more traffic and pollution will further worsen already major traffic and access issues for park visitors and trail users, and damage the bird habitat and the vegetation of this world-class shoreline, a major segment of the Bay Trail, s fantastic regional asset that is to eventually completely circle the bay. -more-


Bookstore Blues

By Roopa Ramamoorthi
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:43:00 AM

I looked at my watch. My husband had just dropped me off at the Berkeley BART station. I had 15 minutes to catch the train to San Francisco to meet Bernadette. We were to join some of our classmates for a beach barbecue reunion of our “Human Factors and Team Dynamics” class. -more-


Giving Love for Christmas

By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:50:00 AM

Christmas is coming and along with the joy most of us experience the stress of not having finished our buying. This year most of us are also suffering through the pangs of not having enough money to buy the gifts that would we would normally give. -more-


Night at the Musée d’Orsay

By Judy Wells
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:44:00 AM

If the curators knew -more-


I’d Like to Live in Paris

By Judy Wells
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:44:00 AM

I’d like to walk along the Seine -more-


Crackpot Rules

By Don Anderson
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:20:00 AM

Having visited Berkeley many times since 1939, I thought it would be a good retirement colony. So I hired a 26-foot moving van, engaged my daughter and stepdaughter and drove north from Idyllwild on Nov. 2. -more-


Call Center

By Roopa Ramamoorthi
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:45:00 AM

“Hello, this is Sandy speaking, how can I help you?” I pushed the words up my nose, tried to manufacture the twang we are encouraged to have, to make us sound more American. It could have been Sally. But doesn’t Sandy sound closer to my name Sandhya? -more-


Backyard Photo

Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:21:00 AM

A squirrel eating a fig. -more-


On Passing

By Randy Fingland
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:23:00 AM

past the window & doors that mask the offal smells from -more-


Going to and from Work in Downtown Berkeley on a Friday of the First Rain

By Mike Palmer
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:46:00 AM

My alarm is the morning news at 6:30; -more-


Paulina

By Dana Chernack
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:46:00 AM

The air hangs heavy this particular April afternoon as Paulina Rabinovich parks her orange Volvo on Bonita Street. -more-


Three Poems

By (s.b.r) Soul-1990
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:48:00 AM

Dissent -more-


People’s Park Treesit Ends With a Reprieve

By Richard Brenneman
Friday December 19, 2008 - 11:18:00 AM

Berkeley’s latest treesit ended Thursday, the same day it began, when campus police signed a Christmas truce that spares—for the moment—two acacias in People’s Park. -more-


Berkeley Man’s Suicide Leads to Discovery of Body Buried Behind Wall

By Richard Brenneman
Friday December 19, 2008 - 03:02:00 PM
A private crime scene cleanup technician finishes donning his protective gear Thursday afternoon as he prepares to work on the Ashby Avenue room where police found a body buried behind a wall.

The dramatic suicide of a Berkeley man late Monday afternoon led police to a second gruesome discovery two days later, a badly decomposed male corpse walled up inside the a first floor laundry room. -more-


Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List

By Kristin McFarland
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:13:00 PM

Last week’s USA Today report that placed three Berkeley schools in the first percentile of schools with bad air quality has activists, community members and school directors in an uproar. -more-


Neighbors Win One, Lose One in Legal Actions Against Pacific Steel

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:14:00 PM

Neighborhood opponents of West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel Casting went one-for-two in Alameda County Superior Court legal decisions on Friday, with one judge overturning a previous Berkeley Small Claims Court ruling in favor of several PSC neighbors and, in a separate action, a second judge ruling that a class-action lawsuit against the steel foundry can go forward. -more-


Church Burial Rights Gain Support in Berkeley

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:15:00 PM

Forget all that stuff about “godless Berkeley.” -more-


Council Fails to Act on Cell Phone Antenna Applications

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:17:00 PM

Berkeley City Council stumbled (again) on Tuesday over the vexing issue of expanding cell-phone tower facilities in the city, failing to decide on a Verizon Wireless application for 1540 Shattuck Ave. and failing for the third straight meeting to either grant a hearing or dismiss a similar appeal for ZAB approval of a T-Mobile facility at 1725 University Ave. -more-


Conference Calls for Strategies To End America’s Prison Cycle

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:15:00 PM
Nation of Islam Minister Christopher Muhammad of San Francisco speaks at Saturday’s Stanley “Tookie” Williams Legacy Summit while Bill Ayers looks on.

More than 300 ’60s and ’70s era radicals and students not born until the ’80s gathered at Oakland’s Merritt College on Saturday to honor a man executed by the State of California three years ago and to hear strategies to end the cycle of criminalization of American communities and the country’s re-volving prison door and the death penalty. -more-


Hillside School Neighbors Seek to Purchase Playground

By Kristin McFarland
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:44:00 PM

Hillside Elementary School, a local and national historic landmark, stands on the brink of yet another reinvention. -more-


Zoning Board Approves Shattuck Offices, Delays Action on Kashani Condos

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:45:00 PM

Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board delayed approval of developer Ali Kashani’s five-story condo project at the corner of Ashby and San Pablo avenues last week. -more-


Two Marina Sites Emerge for Ferry Terminal

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:47:00 PM

Sprawling parking lots proposed at either of the two Berkeley Marina sites picked as potential locations for a new transbay ferry service have sparked concerns among the city’s planning commissioners. -more-


Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:49:00 PM

Boat blaze -more-


Police Search for Three Men Involved in Pharmacy Burglary

Bay City News
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:50:00 PM

Berkeley police are searching for three men responsible for the burglary of more than $10,000 worth of prescription drugs from Elephant Pharmacy around 1 a.m. on Dec. 9. -more-


Shopping with Old Friends: A Day on Piedmont Avenue

By Anna Mindess Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:04:00 PM
A mud pie from Fenton’s.

The charm of Piedmont Avenue in North Oakland is its mix of newness and nostalgia; like a big family, where young and old live side by side. -more-


School Acknowleged for Closing Achievement Gap

By Kristin McFarland
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:45:00 PM

Berkeley’s Malcolm X Arts and Academics Magnet, an elementary school that integrates art and academics, has been awarded the Title One Academic Achievement award for 2008-2009. -more-


Prime West Berkeley Property Headed for the Marketplace

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:47:00 PM

Berkeley’s largest private development site—8.2 acres adjacent to Aquatic Park—is coming on the market, and the owners want the city to ease the rules. -more-


Commission Votes to End Downtown’s Fast Food Moratorium

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:46:00 PM

The man who residents of downtown Berkeley elected to represent their district on the City Council came to the Planning Commission last week to make a request. -more-


UC Santa Cruz’s Redwood Grove Felled

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:48:00 PM

The last UC Santa Cruz tree sitter surrendered to campus police Saturday, moments before a chainsaw-wielding crew began to level the redwood grove they had occupied for 402 days. -more-


Window-Smashing Burglar Sought by Berkeley Police

Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:48:00 PM

Berkeley police said that they have a person of interest and a vehicle of interest in connection with seven daytime “window-smash” burglaries, and one attempted burglary, at homes in northwest and north central Berkeley in the last two weeks. -more-


Opinion

Editorials

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-


Cartoons

Lighting Up The Neighborhood

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday December 24, 2008 - 09:46:00 AM

Insects in the Grill

By Justin DeFreitas
Wednesday December 24, 2008 - 09:45:00 AM

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

Monday January 05, 2009 - 07:20:00 PM

Editors, Daily Planet: -more-


Letters to the Editor

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

NEW SECRETARY OF ENERGY -more-


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-


Columns

First Person: Academic Journey—Two Crashes

By Marvin Chachere
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:51:00 PM

One Friday in early March of 1965 I received in the mail two job offers: mathematics instructor at Diablo Valley College and Extension specialist at the University of California, Berkeley. -more-


Dispatches From The Edge: Angels and Demons in Mumbai

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:52:00 PM

Two things emerge from last month’s horrendous attack on Mumbai: one is how interconnected South Asia is with the rest of the world. The other is how the Carter Administration’s ill-conceived strategy in Afghanistan more than 30 years ago still reverberates throughout the region. Decades of subversion, terrorism and invasion have created what historian Vijay Prashad calls a “cauldron” from which has emerged avenging angels and dark demons in equal measure. -more-


Undercurrents: A Beginning Analysis of the Dellums Administration

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:53:00 PM

I have long believed that in the first term of a two-term, four-year administration, the second year is the one to watch if you’re trying to figure out where the administration is going. The first year can be spent getting oriented, hiring staff, learning the situation, and beginning the first policy initiatives. Unless the mistakes are spectacularly bad, there is plenty of time left in the term to make up for first-year mistakes. The fourth year is an election year, and the administrator—president, governor, or mayor—is either deeply involved in running for re-election or have decided to settle for one term. The record upon which a four-year administration is running for re-election, therefore, must be firmly established by the third year. Because most government policies take a long time to actually bear fruit, things which an administration wants to make manifest in the third year must have already been planted at least a year in advance. Thus, it’s at the end of the second year that you can start making judgments of possible success or failure. -more-


Wild Neighbors: A Wren in the Room

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:13:00 PM

I walked into my living room last Saturday morning and found a Bewick’s wren perched on the back of the armchair. -more-


About the House: Slavery Lite

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:12:00 PM

I recently received a letter from a reader (Let’s call him PR) about his experiences with a local contractor and his illegal help. His concern, which is to be commended, is in regards to the pay and working conditions afforded his helper, whom he pseudonymously called Gem (presumably his feelings about the worker, which he effused copiously in a letter which is too long to include herein). -more-


Arts & Events

Arts Calendar

Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

TUESDAY, DEC. 23 -more-


Chabon, Carroll Meet to Benefit Park Day

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM
Michael Chabon

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Berkeley resident Michael Chabon will join San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, “an East Bay local,” for an evening of conversation to benefit the academic and financial aid programs at Park Day School in North Oakland, 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 5 at Berkeley Rep. -more-


Book Review: A People’s History of Australia

By Estelle Jelinek
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:22:00 AM

Don’t waste your money on the romantic-epic film Australia, but rush out and buy Berkeley writer Celeste Lipow MacLeod’s Multiethnic Australia. Conn Hallinan has written in these pages of the country’s increasing cooperation with the United States, from sending troops to Iraq, allowing the U.S. to build a military base on Australia’s west coast, and agreeing to let the country become the world’s nuclear waste dump with its reward: joining a nuclear-technology information clearing house. -more-


Reflections on Holiday Music

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

Holiday music, usually canned, has become the audible public hallmark of the season, with all the homogenized commercialism this time of year. -more-


Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:27:00 AM
A house on the 1300 block of Ashby Avenue is decked out for the holidays.

Community Calendar

Tuesday December 23, 2008 - 10:11:00 AM

TUESDAY, DEC. 23 -more-


Arts Calendar

Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:04:00 PM

THURSDAY, DEC. 18 -more-


An Endangered People and Their Art

By Dorothy Bryant Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:02:00 PM
Margot Schevill, curator of the exhibit of Mayan textiles at the Hearst Musuem, stands in front of the display of a white and red Mayan ceremonial blouse from the 1930s.

More than two years ago (April 25, 2006) the Daily Planet published my profile of Margot Blum Schevill. In that piece I emphasized Margot’s successful, even smooth, transition from one creative phase to another. A well-known singer when I first knew her over thirty years ago, Margot had completed a degree in anthropology and had become an authority on the Maya textiles of Guatemala, both as art and as history of a culture. -more-


‘Mz. Dee’s Medicine Show,’ Live on BETV

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:07:00 PM

Mz. Dee’s Medicine Show, a new musical variety TV series, hosted by lifelong local jazz and R&B singer Mz. Dee, will be cable- and web-cast live on BETV Channel 28 and BETV.org, 2 p.m., this Saturday, from the Berkeley Community Media studio. -more-


Teen Playreaders Present ‘Bizarre Shorts’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:08:00 PM

Teen Playreaders, which meets weekly at the Berkeley Public Library to read aloud from plays and monologues, have invited the whole community to their free show of Bizarre Shorts, featuring short plays, musical numbers and monologues (some original), “something for everybody, from Shakespeare to Sondheim to Stoppard,” 7:30 p.m., this Saturday at the Willard Middle School Metal Shop Theater, 2425 Stuart St. (off Telegraph). -more-


Hansberry Theater Stages ‘Black Nativity’ in SF

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:10:00 PM

From the staged, stylized Gospel story of the door-to-door search for shelter and the adoration of the wise men in a stable in Bethlehem to the full-out testifying, choral singing and social pageantry of the African-American church, Lorraine Hansberry theater company’s Black Nativity: A Gospel Celebration of Christmas, now in its 10th year (and Hansberry’s 28th), is playing through Dec. 28 at San Francisco’s PG&E Auditorium. -more-


Thornton Wilder on the South Side of Our Town

By Phil McArdle Special to the Planet
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:11:00 PM
Thornton wilder and Gertrude Stein in 1937 at her country home at Bilignin, in the Rhone Valley.

Thornton Wilder created a substantial body of work but there seems little doubt that his lasting fame depends on Our Town. Since its opening on Broadway 70 years ago this extraordinary play has never really been off the stage. New productions of it open somewhere in the world almost every month. -more-


About the House: Slavery Lite

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 07:12:00 PM

I recently received a letter from a reader (Let’s call him PR) about his experiences with a local contractor and his illegal help. His concern, which is to be commended, is in regards to the pay and working conditions afforded his helper, whom he pseudonymously called Gem (presumably his feelings about the worker, which he effused copiously in a letter which is too long to include herein). -more-


Community Calendar

Wednesday December 17, 2008 - 06:51:00 PM

THURSDAY, DEC. 18 -more-