SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Police arrested at least 30 to 40 demonstrators during protests that originated at the Civic Center BART station and then led police back and forth through downtown San Francisco, drawing traffic to a standstill and closing two BART stations at several points throughout the evening. -more-
One of the Bay Area’s best known family-owned specialty supermarkets today announced it is in discussions with a private investor group to preserve jobs for 400 employees and to ensure its historic markets continue to serve future generations of shoppers. -more-
With the threat of another disruptive protest looming, BART officials issued a letter to BART customers Saturday defending BART's decision to interrupt cellphone service to prevent a protest on Aug. 11, and announcing that the issue would be discussed at a board meeting Wednesday. -more-
An estimated 30,000 students and supporters of the University of California at Berkeley are expected to attend Caltopia IX, one of the nation's largest experiential college lifestyle festivals, starting this morning. -more-
Two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran on espionage charges for two years were sentenced to 8 years in prison, according to their supporters' website. -more-
The respected indie director John Sayles (Return of the Secaucus 7, Brother from Another Planet, Matewan, Lone Star) has written and directed a potent and poetic film about the personal struggles of people trapped on both sides of the all-but-forgotten Philippine-American war. -more-
Perhaps no armed conflict in the modern era has received less cinematic treatment than the Philippine-American War. When one thinks of the number of movies inspired by individual American gunslingers or gangsters- Jesse James, Billy the Kid, John Dillinger, for example, have graced the screen dozens of times- this dearth seems hard to explain. The Fil-Am war ran ‘officially’ from 1899 to 1902 (though armed hostilities continued at least till the beginning of WWI) and at least a million Filipinos died violently or through related starvation and disease during its course. When the history of Philippine-American relations is examined, however, this cinematic silence becomes more understandable. -more-
AMIGOis set in a very specific time and place- northern Luzon (the largest island in the Philippines) in the year 1900. The situation we find in the movie is the result of a series of events: -more-
When I activated my EDD debit card I choose to have the money automatically deposited in my Wells Fargo checking account. B of A deposits the money in my checking account, end of transaction. Please correct your article and inform readers how easy it is to bypass B of A.
-- letter from Planet reader Kevin Clarke
Acting on Planet reader Kevin Clarke’s email, we headed out to the nearest Berkeley Bank of America branch on Shattuck near Vine.
The bank reps insisted that they were unable to set up a transfer deposit to my existing account (at a local Credit Union). I was told that I would have to arrange a direct deposit by contacting the EDD directly. When I pulled out a copy of Kevin Clarke's note, I was informed that Clarke’s transfer must have happened because Mr. Clarke “was already a Bank of America customer." -more-
In a letter dated August 9, California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) announced it was discontinuing the practice of mailing unemployment claim checks to EDD recipients. Instead, the letter explained, the EDD was introducing “electronic benefit payments” that could be tapped via an EDD Debit Card. -more-
It wasn't so very long ago when people with mental illnesses were generally stigmatized by society and subjected to all sorts of tortures in the name of treatment. People who were powerless, the poor and people of color were particularly victimized by the mental health system. Eventually they revolted. In 1985 they formed the Coalition for Alternatives in Mental Health, also known as the Berkeley Drop-in Center in west Berkeley. Originally on Oregon street they are now located at 3234 Adeline street near Alcatraz. -more-
In a press conference yesterday, BART spokesman Linton Johnson again defended the agency's decision to halt cellphone service in several San Francisco BART stations for several hours Thursday. -more-
I was in People's Park Saturday, researching a piece on informal Berkeley street communities, when a teenager named Hilton told me her aunt had driven her all the way to Berkeley from Southern California to "dump" her in People's Park.
Okay, so Berkeley is a Hilton to Homeless street tramps and other vagabonds. (Planet: Jul 20, 2011). But what if you were dumped in People's Park--lobby to the Hilton--and wanted to work your way out. How good is Berkeley at that? -more-
When I was in Minneapolis in June, I was fortunate enough to attend the kick-off event for this summer's "Speakout for Good Jobs Now" tour, sponsored by the Progressive Congress Action Fund, wherein various members of the progressive caucus of the U.S. Congress spoke to their constituents regarding the desperate need for creating more jobs in America. At this first event, Rep. Alan Grayson and Rep. Raul Grijalva fired us all up.
And so when the Speakout tour arrived in Oakland this week, I really wanted to go to this event too. And Reps. Grijalva, Mike Honda and Barbara Lee would be speaking this time. Doesn't get much better than that. -more-
When driving along Telegraph Avenue on your way to downtown Oakland, you've undoubtedly passed St. Augustine's church at 19th Street dozens of times. With its tall, narrow steeple and brilliant rust color, it's been called "Oakland's Little Red Church" and has been a place of worship since 1893. It is the second oldest Episcopal church in continued use in Oakland. -more-
Anyone who’s in doubt about the role and the value of governmental regulation should have been at last week’s meeting of the California Coastal Commission in Watsonville last week. -more-
Approaching Anniversary; Perry Exposed; Foggy Day; Immigration -more-
I think the public is unaware that the City of Berkeley is profiting by issuing amplified outdoor music permits for large annual private parties in R1 residential areas, even if the neighbors in closest proximity object. -more-
The crisis that KPFA faced in the fall of 2010 was insolvency.
Between 2001 and 2006, there was a dramatic increase in listener support due to the expanding economy and interest in the Iraq-Afghan War. KPFA added many paid staff during this same period; however, between 2007 and 2010 listener support declined dramatically as the whole economy crashed. -more-
Editor’s Note: These opinion essays were written as a class assignment in U.C. Berkeley’s City Planning 110, taught by Ricardo G. Huerta Nino, a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy. They are published as submitted to the Planet by the authors, who are undergraduates at UCB. -more-
It is frustrating to watch President Obama floundering in office, when he could be taking some simple steps to make his presidency a better one; in the process it would also make life better for most people. Obama went into office with the promise of hope. Do you remember the T-shirt logo of his profile with the word “hope” underneath? -more-
These are hard times. The weather’s bad and the economy awful. Obama has lost his mojo and 14 million Americans are unemployed. Many Liberals are discouraged and fearful about the 2012 election. But there’s plenty of time to reenergize, so long as Liberals remember who we are and what we are fighting for. -more-
For decades the U.S. military has waged clandestine war on virtually every continent on the globe, but, for the first time, high-ranking Special Operations Forces (SOF) officers are moving out of the shadows and into the command mainstream. Their emergence suggests the U.S. is embarking on a military sea change that will replace massive deployments, like Iraq and Afghanistan, with stealthy night raids, secret assassinations, and death-dealing drones. Its implications for civilian control of foreign policy promises to be profound. -more-
In 1999, we visited Syria as well as Jordan, Israel, and Baalbeck in Lebanon. We arrived in Syria on the eve of the Israeli elections. The majority of Arabs and Israelis probably agreed that the prospects for peace in the region improved immeasurably with the election of Ehud Barak as Israel's prime minister. Even our Syrian guide was cautiously optimistic. Our guide did note that Barak was a highly decorated war hero with the decorations earned at the expense of the Arabs. The deep animosities, however, were palpable. Looking back, peace was not to be. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader).
“According to Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, who seems to have an unusual gift for handling autistic children, the cause of ‘autism’ is that the child is convinced . . . that its parents wish it did not exist.”
—copied from A Certain World (1970) the commonplace book of W. H. Auden (1907-1973), famed poet
Mention Bettelheim’s name now, and, at most, you might hear a vague reference to his Freudian (plagiarized) book about fairy tales (that and his other dozen or so other books are no longer to be found at the Berkeley Public Library). No mention of his numberless articles and syndicated newspaper columns advising mothers on how to undo brain damage they had inflicted on their children by unconscious rejection. Certainly, the University of Chicago would not welcome questions about his “Orthogenic” boarding school based there, claiming “cures” for mental disorders that continue to mystify medical/psychiatric authorities. Nor would prestigious foundations want to publish the total in dollars of the many grants they awarded to him. And, please, don’t bother Woody Allen with questions about the cameo appearance of Bettelheim as emblematic psychiatrist in Zelig (1983). -more-
Ever-reliable Princeton University Press, which may have one of the best natural-history publishing program in academia, has a new and somewhat different product out: The Atlas of Birds: Diversity, Behavior, and Conservation by Mike Unwin (press.princeton.edu/titles/9416.html.) Not an identification guide, the Atlas is a handsomely packaged compendium of information about birds, from their prehistoric origins to their mixed prospects in the modern world. -more-
Japan provides some examples of positive ageism. There’s a national holiday called Respect for the Aged Day… Keirō no hi … celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens. Some social scientists have said that Japan has a gerontocracy in which the elders rule by virtue of their age. This is an exaggeration, but the leaders in business, education, religion, and other institutions do tend to be older. Including elected government officials. -more-
Despite what people might think, persons with mental illness are often more sensitive than the average person, and are more affected by adverse circumstances. This does not mean that we lack bravery. It just means that if there is a “hump” to get over, the emotional stress of this can sometimes trigger acute symptoms of our illnesses. For example, a person with a mental illness may have an “episode” triggered by the death of a family member. A breakup of a relationship can also sometimes trigger an episode, if the person with mental illness was exceedingly attached. (This does not address the aspect of how healthy or how mutual the relationship was or wasn’t.) -more-
Arts & Events
Gene Abravaya has written, directed, and even plays a minor role in a play about the last days on camera of a famous soap opera star. THE FINAL SCENE, now playing at Thick House in SF, starts with a serious monologue played with easy realism by one of my favorites, Michael Ray Wisely. It then builds with good natured quips, the kind of banter that in good comedies builds to some big laugh lines. Those big laugh lines never materialize, and after a while the audience grows less responsive. The actors start out with believable behavioral acting, but even that starts to slip late in the first act, when they begin to push as the material grows thin. There is some physical comedy—one of those farcical chase scenes with mayhem in mind—that is staged so lamely as to pop the bubble of credulity and make you want to look away. The climax of the first act—a punch—is phony, and everything sags after that. Into the second act, the tone grows bickeringly contentious, resolves into recriminations, then wanes into a soliloquy of maudlin reverie. -more-
"My name is Anita, and I am an executive secretary. Hi everybody!" Jan Zvaifler opens Central Works' collaborative premiere of Patricia Milton's Reduction in Force, with Anita's avowal of her devotion to her career in the personal financials industry--and though she agrees the system is corrupt, she "could never join" critics of it "in any actionable way.' But the crunch is on in the world of finance--and the fun, at least for us spectators, is just beginning ... -more-
Jane Fonda, 73, always was "bigger than Jesus" to her fans and now that she's big with Jesus, she's bigger—than ever. Fonda "converted" to Christianity in 2002. Fonda followers speculate this conversion led to her divorce from Ted Turner.
Fonda Breezes (she copped a '74 Oscar for Bree Daniels in Klute) into Berkeley Wednesday evening to plug her new book, Prime Time, at the 1st Congregational Church in the heart of South side's Jesus Jungle, a neighborhood of two blocks and five block-hogging churches bounded on the North by Bancroft Way and on the South by Haste Street—West of Telegraph Avenue.
Fonda will be sermonizing on aging, exercise, and self-reflection. Her last book promo at Cody's, Telegraph, five years ago, although standing-room-only, was less churchly. But it was free. At First Congregational—sponsored by KPFA—it is $15, for those even fortunate enough to get in. -more-
Earlier this year I saw BattleStache Studio perform truly witty sketch comedy interwoven with very polished short films. Their madness is inspired, and when they perform, I’m there. -more-
Around & About: Poetry ... Benefit for S. Clay Wilson with poets Luis Garcia, Richard Krech, Clive Matson & A. D. Winans at Art House gallery
Poets Luis Garcia, Richard Krech, Clive Matson and A. D. Winans will read from their poetry at a benefit for underground comic book artist and writer S. Clay Wilson, a familiar presence on the Bay Area scene since the 60s, who suffered severe brain damage from a catastrophic fall—this Sunday, 7-10 p. m., at Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck. Donations requested. Signed copies of S. Clay Wilson's art available. 472-3170, berkeleyarthouse.wordpress.com & sclaywilsontrust.com -more-
Jovelyn Richards, storyteller extraordinaire, who first brought her original style of performance with live music to the East Bay with Come Home, her tale of of African-American World War II vets and their families in Arkansas a couple years back, will be staging Mrs. Pat's House, her story about a black bordello in the Midwest during the Depression, the women it housed and how they made their way to it, its patrons and hangers-on who sought refuge of different sorts, the conversations and encounters that went on there and the community around it helped by the madam and her ladies, at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley Thursday through Sunday nights this weekend. -more-