Berkeley police will dish out service and smiles to customers at Skate's on the Bay restaurant at the Berkeley Marina today as part of the annual Tip-a-Cop fundraiser benefiting the Special Olympics of Northern California. -more-
The Richmond Plunge—one of the East Bay’s historic indoor swimming facilities—was formally reopened Saturday, August 14, 2010 with speeches by dignitaries and community leaders and eager enthusiasm from a large crowd that had come both to celebrate and to swim. -more-
The University of California at Berkeley has been forced, by the California Department of Public Health, to abandon significant portions of its “Bring Your Genes to Cal” orientation program for incoming freshmen. The Department of Health informed UC Berkeley that major aspects of the orientation program – described as an “experiment” by the university – are unlawful. Today the university announced significant changes to the program to comply with the state’s demands – although questions remain concerning the program. -more-
Schizophrenia is a widespread illness that has been around a long time. There are those who believe it is a biologically based condition requiring medication, and there are others of the opinion that the brain can recover on its own. There is a sometimes-fiery debate between these groups. -more-
Poetry is Berkeley's newest addition to the generally prosaic realm of the Candidate Statement. Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington's 2010 re-election statement consists entirely of a poem. -more-
What Christians Know about Islam; Some Questions about the Fall School Bond Measure; Gay Marriage; Eyesore On Telegraph; Correcting My Mistake;Dorothy Bryant’s Letter on Mental Health -more-
Dear Mr. President:
Your Press Secretary has recently been quoted as strongly criticizing those of us Democratic Party activists who feel that you have failed in some of the most important promises you made, stated or implied, during your campaign and that you are not steering our country in the right direction. He dismisses us as the “professional left” as if we were the ones making a living from politics. We worked very hard for your election as we do for all candidates who seem able and willing to work for progressive social change, and to make a better life for our citizens and for the world. Your rhetoric often suggests that you share this goal, but your actions frequently prove otherwise. We do not simply disagree with you on a single small issue. Unfortunately our unhappiness and disappointment has a broad scope. To name a few examples: -more-
A particularly onerous obstacle to any lowering levels of atmospheric pollution CO2, CO, methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs, aerosols and black soot into the air leading to any reduction of effects on climate intensity, avoidance of sea level rise, ecological flora and fauna protection and saving habitat for humans is the use of the term “jobs.” -more-
Westwood, a 17-campus system based in Denver, allegedly deceived prospective students by employing admissions representatives whom it puts forth as academic counselors but who are actually hired for their sales skills. At for-profit colleges, nearly two-thirds of borrowers couldn't pay back their student loans. At the University of Phoenix alone, that amounts to $2.8-billion in federal student loan debt that isn't being paid down -more-
“Carthago delenda est.” Carthage must be destroyed. Generations of students of Latin used to learn that phrase as the example of the passive periphrastic construction, used to indicated that an action is an obligation. It’s attributed to a Roman senator,Cato, who is supposed to have used it as a tag line in all of his speeches before the 3rd Punic War, a century and a half B.C.E. (Before the Common Era.) -more-
Today’s theme: The latest on Prop. 8 and pointers to sources to help you keep up on the legal proceedings. -more-
The US is stuck in an economic quagmire featuring near ten percent unemployment. As politicians argue about the solution – massive tax cuts or increases in Federal spending – what’s missing is a succinct analysis of the problem. Why has America lost 8 million jobs? -more-
Old-timer is a noun used informally to refer to (a) an elderly person, and (b) a person with considerable tenure or experience in a given place or activity. Recently I met with two senior citizens who have retired from positions of leadership and responsibility at City and County levels. Suzanne Ryan, former Director of the North Berkeley Senior Center (NBSC), retired early at age 60 in 2007. Louis Labat, Program Financial Specialist of the Alameda County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), retired at age 62 in 2003. -more-
The bat should not have come as a surprise, given that the old house in Sonoma County had been uninhabited for a couple of decades. Some bats like to hang out in old houses. Still, we were startled when it bolted from its roost on the upper landing and flew a couple of circuits of the ceiling. It was a good-sized specimen of bathood, larger in the body than a mouse, with overall grayish fur, paler on the belly, and enormous ears. Eventually it took cover, but we found it tucked behind a beam with just its head and ears showing. We decided not to startle it again with the camera flash. -more-
Arts & Events
Haven't we seen enough of Hugh Hefner in his smoking robe and pajamas? Hasn't it been a couple of decades since we'd seen enough? Well, perhaps we can take one last look. His heyday may be long gone, his image and impact reduced by self-caricature and the sort of privilege that allows the wealthy to drift into irrevelance and senility with all their illusions intact; but whatever your take on the man, his mission and his achievements, Hefner has had a significant impact on American culture. -more-
Four good choices of films on DVD: -more-
Gary Graves has written a masterful 70-minute duet and duel between Lorenzo de’ Medici and Niccolò Machiavelli. You should grab a ticket quick to this Central Works production since it closes its run at Berkeley City Club this weekend. -more-
Everywhere I looked, this was a week for superstars.
The History Channel has a new program called “Stan Lee’s Superhumans” which may add to your perspective of the Darwinian stipulation regarding mutation.
Next, ten-year-old Jackie Evancho of Pittsburgh PA stopped the show and jaws dropped around the nation when she sang “O Mio Babbino” on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” (Yes, you too will think it’s lip-synching, but it’s not; find a link to this video clip at the bottom of the review---don’t get distracted, just keep reading).
Then, upon the recommendation of a Critic’s Circle colleague, we went to the cabaret performance of Leanne Borghesi’s “DIVALICIOUS” at the New Conservatory Theatre CENTER in San Francisco. NCTC has become the leading Gay Theatre in San Francisco, and Cabaret singing in San Francisco is the domain of gay culture. Think Judy, think Barbara, think Liza, think Bette and her beginnings with accompanist Barry Manilow entertaining in gay bathhouses. -more-