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Solano Stroll marchers honor the centennial of women's suffrage in California.
Andy Liu
Solano Stroll marchers honor the centennial of women's suffrage in California.


WikiCable: Did ‘creepy’ Russian put the arm on Cal?

By Richard Brenneman
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:43:00 AM

When we ran the name “Berkeley”through Cable Search, the nifty web tool that lets users troll through the WikiLeaked State Department cables, we came up with a grand total of 142 hits, many of them referring to Cal grads who’d gone on to bigger and better things. 

But one cable really caught our eye, a CONFIDENTIAL 5 February 2007 dispatch from Ambassador William J. Burns in Moscow, reporting on the strange behavior of a powerful Russian official who tried to put the arm on a representative of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

The focus of the firestorm was Russia’s leading management school, described thusly on its website


The Graduate School of Management (GSOM) is a part of St. Petersburg University, the oldest institution of higher education in Russia. GSOM was created in alliance with the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley in 1993.
(And as a possibly relevant aside, UC Berkeley plutocratic professor David J. Teece , who directs the Center for Global Strategy and Governance at Cal’s Haas School of Business, also chairs of the St. Petersburg business school’s International Academic Council.) 


The Burns document is posted online here. It’s short enough that we’ll dispense with the usual extract. 


C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000468 VZCZCXYZ0000 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHMO #0468 0360642 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 050642Z FEB 07 FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7154 C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000468 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2017 TAGS: PINR PGOV RS SUBJECT: BIO NOTE: YURI MOLCHANOV, ST. PETERSBURG VICE GOVERNOR FOR PROPERTY AND LAND ISSUES, INVESTMENTS, STRATEGIC PROJEC... 1. (SBU) The following message was drafted by St. Petersburg CG Mary Kruger. Begin text: 2. (C) During the November 2006 inauguration of the newly-opened premises of the St. Petersburg State University School of Management, an American academic long associated with the school told CG about Vice Governor Yuri Molchanov's “sinister” presence in their dealings. 

3. (C) The Haas School of Management at U.C. Berkeley has nurtured the development of a new St. Petersburg School of Management since 1993. In addition to academic exchanges and curriculum development, representatives of the Haas school led a unique fund-raising campaign which collected $6.5 million in private U.S. and Russian funds to entirely renovate a dilapidated building for classroom use. As steward of the funds, which included a whopping $1 million from U.S. citizen Arthur B. Schultz, the Haas School kept close tabs on all expenditures. At one point in the early 1990s, when lenders were sought to renovate the old building, Vice Governor Molchanov's private construction firm placed a bid. As the only local bidder and as a close associate of the now Dean of the School of Management, Molchanov apparently expected to win the tender. He did not. This provoked an angry response in which he demanded compensation from the Haas School representatives for the costs of preparing his bid. While the Haas School did not comply with his demand, they did find a way to mollify the Vice Governor, who “was always present at all our discussions”, according to the American source. “He gave me the creeps.” Although the source did not describe any specific intimidation, it was clear that the Americans experienced some degree of fear - a not unreasonable reaction in 1990s Russia. 

4. (C) Vice Governor Molchanov is widely rumored to be corrupt, enjoying a convenient intersection of interests between his construction company and his position in the city government. He played a very visible role in the School of Management inauguration alongside Governor Valentina Matviyenko and President Putin. BURNS 



Just what the school did to mollify Molchanov remains an open question. The only mention of him on the Russian university’s website is as one of seven judges in a 23 November 2000 student business plan competition. His name doesn’t appear in a search of UC Berkeley’s website.

State Department Following Reports that Iran May Free Berkeley Hikers

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday September 13, 2011 - 10:37:00 PM

The U.S. State Department is closely following reports that the Iranian government may soon release two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years. 

Spokesman Noel Clay said the State Department is "encouraged" by what the Iranian government is saying about the possible release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29. 

According to a transcript of an interview with NBC's "Today Show," Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the network that he thinks Bauer and Fattal "will be freed in a couple of days." 

"They will be free," he said. 

Bauer, Fattal, and a third UC Berkeley graduate, Sarah Shourd, were arrested on July 31, 2009, after embarking on a hike in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iranian border. 

Iran has accused them of espionage, but the hikers and their families say they aren't spies but instead were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran. 

Iran released Shourd, 32, who is engaged to Bauer, last September because she was in poor health. Shourd announced in May that she would not return to Iran for a trial because she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Ahmadinejad told the "Today Show" that the three hikers "illegally crossed our borders and they were arrested by the border guards." 

"We tried last year to free one of the three persons and we are also trying to make arrangements for their freedom, for the freedom of the other two," Ahmadinejad said, according to the transcript. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters today that "we have followed this very closely," according to a transcript provided by her office.  

"We are encouraged by what the Iranian government has said today, but I am not going to comment further than that," Clinton said. 

"We obviously hope that we will see a positive outcome from what appears to be a decision by the government," she said. 

Clay said the State Department hasn't had any direct confirmation from Iran about the fate of Bauer and Fattal because the U.S. doesn't have direct diplomatic ties with the country. 

He said the Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran and is acting as an intermediary.

Press Release: Citizens Create a Grant Fund for South and West Berkeley from Library Lawsuit Settlement

From Susan Brandt-Hawley and Dr. Judith Epstein
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:04:00 AM

The Concerned Library Users group settled its lawsuit against the City of Berkeley over the demolitions of the South and West Berkeley Branch Libraries after the City Council agreed to CLU’s proposal to create a $100,000 grant fund benefiting South and West Berkeley neighborhoods.  

The fund is to be administered by the local office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will be limited to “bricks and mortar” – actual physical improvements to historic resources. This can mean new roofs, utilities, paint, etc., to help residents, businesses, and non-profits maintain their community resources. The program is modeled on a successful $100,000 grant program administered by the Trust in southern California. 

CLU will request that the grant fund be named in memory of preservationist and neighborhood activist Laurie Bright, a longtime West Berkeley resident. “The Bright Grants will make a modest but very real difference to historic neighborhoods in South and West Berkeley,” said CLU spokesperson Dr. Judith Epstein. “If the program is successful, we hope to find other grantors to keep it funded, as has happened in the Los Angeles program.” 

The public interest group sued the City last summer regarding proposed demolitions of the South and West Branch Libraries using bond money specifically allocated only for the rehabilitation, improvement, and expansion of those historic buildings. The suit had two parts: an allegation that the City neglected to prepare an Environmental Impact Report before passing a broad Zoning Ordinance amendment to facilitate library demolitions and an allegation that Measure FF bond funds could not be used for the demolitions of the historic branch libraries. 

In December, 2010, the City agreed to rescind the amendment and to reconsider it only after preparing an EIR, just as requested by the lawsuit, essentially conceding its legal error. Then, while the bond challenge was still pending in court, CLU and the City agreed to put the case on hold while the EIR process proceeded. In the meantime, CLU members became aware of the Trust’s successful $100,000 program in southern California, issuing small grants in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 for local projects to preserve historic resources. The Trust agreed to set up a similar program in Berkeley, funded by the City and administered by their bay area office. 

Another reason the case settled was that in May the City certified an EIR considering alternatives to demolition of the South and West Branch Libraries and passed an improved zoning ordinance amendment. During that process, CLU engaged a Berkeley preservation architect to prepare alternate plans to rehabilitate the two branches and meet all program requirements. However, the City decreed the plans too expensive, and therefore infeasible. While CLU believed, and still believes, that the alternative plans are economically feasible, the City ultimately approved the demolition projects. CLU did not challenge those approvals under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), because the City’s discretion had been properly exercised. 

The case settlement also provides for payment to CLU of $15,000 for court fees and costs, most of which will reimburse CLU members for architectural fees. It also reflects the City’s agreement that no demolition of either the South or West library branches will occur until sufficient, verified funding for reconstruction is in hand. 

New Women's Vote Exhibit Opens This Sunday

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 12:26:00 PM
Photos: costumed volunteers complete with a replica of a 1911 banner and signs with 1911 suffrage slogans marched this past Sunday in the Solano Stroll, winning second place among the parade contingents.
Andy Liu
Photos: costumed volunteers complete with a replica of a 1911 banner and signs with 1911 suffrage slogans marched this past Sunday in the Solano Stroll, winning second place among the parade contingents.
Andy Liu

The local story of the successful statewide campaign to win women the right to vote in California one hundred years ago will be unveiled this Sunday, September 18, 2011, at the Berkeley Historical Center. 

A 3:00 pm program and reception, free and open to the public, opens the new “Berkeley Women Vote: Celebrating California Suffrage 1911-2011” exhibit at the headquarters of the Berkeley Historical Society in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1931 Center Street, in Downtown Berkeley. 

Robert P.J. Cooney, Jr., author of Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement will be the keynote speaker, against a backdrop of the exhibit that was organized by a team of local volunteers led by Phyllis Gale and Nancy Bickel. 

The coalition of organizers included the Berkeley Historical Society, League of Women Voters, Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, American Association of University Women, Berkeley Branch, and the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. 

The exhibit tells the story of the involved and ultimately successful effort in Berkeley in 1911 to convince male voters to approve votes for women. Berkeley voted with the winning side, while San Franciscan male voters turned down suffrage. California was the sixth state to grant women equal voting rights, and the adoption of suffrage here was pivotal in the decades-long national campaign for women’s rights. 

Aspects of the local campaign include the role of Hester Harland, a widow who lived about where Lower Sproul Plaza is now, and devoted most of a year to heading up the Berkeley effort from a Bancroft Way headquarters, as well as the participation of noted suffrage leaders such as attorney Mary McHenry Keith.  

The exhibit organizers have uncovered materials including a 1911 photo of a suffrage rally in front of Sather Gate, and Hester Harland’s papers in the Bancroft Library. 

A “Pink Tea” and refreshments will follow the keynote talk. While the organizers of the exhibit will be serving pink lemonade, in 1911 the term “Pink Tea” was a code word for a suffrage organizing meeting. Women who went whose husbands didn’t approve of votes for women could legitimately tell their family that they had been to a “tea”, and the name was also seen as creating imagery that would discourage men from desiring to attend. 

Suffrage postcards, and $1 replicas of 1911 “Votes for Women” buttons will be available for purchase. 

The exhibit will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1-4 PM, and will run through the end of March 2011. A number of other local exhibits and events are planned to commemorate the Centennial, including an October 9-10 celebration at the State Capitol in Sacramento. October 10 is the exact anniversary of the 1911 election. 

(Steven Finacom is the President of the Berkeley Historical Society, and previously wrote about the women’s suffrage centennial in the Planet here: and here 

Party Shuts Down Telegraph for Two Hours Sunday

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 12:18:00 PM
"Telegraph Community Improvement District" shutting down Telegraph Sunday morning. Red Ribbon is a barricade.
Ted Friedman
"Telegraph Community Improvement District" shutting down Telegraph Sunday morning. Red Ribbon is a barricade.
The entertainment, as partiers shut down Telegraph Sunday morning.
Ted Friedman
The entertainment, as partiers shut down Telegraph Sunday morning.

Calling themselves the "Telegraph Community Improvement District"--a riff on the Telegraph Avenue Business Improvement District--seventy-five neighborhood partiers shut down a block of Telegraph Sunday morning for two hours as four police squad cars joined the peaceful scene. 

No arrests were made. The police were taking a hands-off attitude, although they wouldn't admit it to this reporter. 

A pre-publicity, poster not much larger than a postage stamp, called for fun and games, food, and music on the Avenue beginning at 10 p.m Saturday--an ersatz block party. The postage stamp announced that the group planned to shut down the street from Bancroft to Dwight without city permission. 

But by 10:30 p.m., a group sitting and lying in front of Cody's was ready to throw in the towel, and I left , after having walked the four-blocks that were to be shut down, looking for anyone who looked like they might shut down anything. 

It's not that the gathering in front of Cody's--and I've attended some recently--wasn't fun. One early reveler noted that you needn't have a party to party. "You could be the party, yourself," he noted. I said that if you didn't like the party you could astral-project yourself to anywhere in the universe. "Yeah," a celebrant agreed. 

In fact, I continued, everything is filtered through us--life is a vast social construct. 

Reluctantly, I left the party-of-the-mind, believing the event was a hoax. 

I returned at 11:30 a.m. to find a spirited one-block party underway. Although on a modest scale, the celebratory affair managed to deliver on some of its advertised promises. 

Music was provided by two solo singers with a mike and a discreet amplifier. Food left over from a church function was dropped off earlier to the party-of-the mind at Cody's, and stayed around until the event finally began. Games were paddle-ball, and catch. Hey, what do you want--the Olympics? 

Berkeley and university police were restrained, but un-approving. At one point police cut the symbolic ribbon closing off the block. That was as violent as it got on Teley this time. 

The rest of the event was an opportunity for activists, representing various community factions to network and chat each other up. Myself and another reporter were occasionally heckled, but were in there schmoozing with the folk. A good time was had by all. 

The event provides a preview of things to come when, and if, Telegraph property owners get permission for a 24-hour business zone. The Caffe Mediterraneum was recently granted city-approval for such a zone. 

The revelers proved you don't need permission in Berkeley for a 24-hour business zone, even if they only used two hours. 

Besides, the mind is its own 24 hour zone, business or party-wise. 


Ted Friedman sometimes trips out with his usual South side sources. Urban Strider contributed. 


Battle for People's Park Heats Up at Telegraph Property Owners Meeting

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 10:31:00 AM
Russell Bates, a street vendor, declares war on Telegraph Avenue property owners.
Ted Friedman
Russell Bates, a street vendor, declares war on Telegraph Avenue property owners.

The battle of words over the future of People's Park heated up at the monthly meeting of Telegraph property owners Tuesday morning at the Henry Durant Hotel. 

In a meet with the street, members of the Telegraph Business Improvement District got an earful its president had been itching for. 

Perhaps exceeding his own free speech philosophy, the owner of Caffe Mediterraneum , Craig Becker, newly-elected president of TBID had gone out of his way to invite street radicals to the group's monthly meeting. The Med claims to be the "birthplace" of the 60's Free Speech Movement. Many of the radicals had to turn down his "too early" invite. 

But the three who showed up (one was no radical) to the public meeting did not disappoint. One, Mary-Ann Uribe (billing herself as a retired attorney and "Mother" to youngsters in the Park) came close to threatening to sue the owners, while Russell Bates, a long-time street vendor of radical bumper stickers declared war. 

Roland Peterson, official spokesman for the property owners had gotten his own earful earlier in e-mails and voice mails spiced with multi-expletives in response to reports characterizing TBID's "proposal", which the angry responders regarded as a crackdown in the park. The proposal, which Becker, its chief author, later re-named a "resolution" contained some harsh changes for the park. 

The resolution calls for stepped-up enforcement of park rules and a major shift in the park's user population to favor students, who surround and vastly outnumber the present demographic. Most students avoid the park. 

Ed Denton, the U.C. Berkeley vice-chancellor to whom the resolution was addressed, refers to TBID's resolution as "a letter". According to a university spokesperson, Denton found the letter "interesting, and thoughtful." 

What does he really think, though, the Planet asked. "I have no idea," said the spokesperson. 

Most critics think the university neglects the park despite the school's expenditures forregular landscaping, regular restroom maintenance, and a site-co-ordinator operating out of an office in the park. We asked whether the cash-strapped university could afford any of the proposals cited in TBID's letter. "If the university felt the need for additional park expenditures, they can always find a way to fund it," the spokesperson said. 

Although the university's current long range planning report (effective until 2020) lists no plans for the park, plans could develop at any time, according to the spokesperson. 

Paul -Kealoha Blake, co-owner, of the East-Bay Media Center in Berkeley, the third guest to comment, noted that in the downtown arts district, which is home to the media center, "we work collectively" (rather than unilaterally). He was not the first to urge collective effort on the property owners. 

Russell Bates likened the face-off between TBID and the street to "a war" in which "we will oppose it (the resolution). "It's time to stop now and work with the community." 

Blake told of better days in the park when he would take his young daughter for walks in the park "but not anymore." 

Mary Ann Uribe, who arrived last month in Berkeley in her car, which was impounded by Berkeley police for lapsed registration, and who is presently homeless, claimed that the property owners might find themselves the subjects of a lawsuit over their resolution. 

Citing the recent back injuries to "Amy Blue," who plunged 20 feet from a platform during a tree-sit in the park, Uribe claimed that "you could be liable for Amy's injuries under the eggshell plaintiff" rule. 

"You could be held accountable by law, because Amy's cohort, 'Moon Shadow' told T.V. reporters he (and later) Amy were in the tree to protest your letter," she said. 

Uribe warned the owners they "needed to be careful to not rid the park of people with nowhere to go. You are powerful and need to be aware of the position you put yourself in," she said. 

Doris Moskowitz, a former TBID president told Becker, "we have a public relations crisis as a result of your letter." 


Becker later wondered if inviting radicals to the meeting had been a good idea. 

He announced that a sit-lie proposal-in-progress was just "sitting around." 

Ted Friedman reports for the Planet on the South side. 





Who Felled People's Park Fallen Angel?

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 10:44:00 AM
Amy Blue, her latest name,joined Moon Shadow Friday in a "love tree" at the North east corner of People's Park near a crowded Haste St. walkway. The two met a year ago, while fellow "travelers" on the road. The attractive pair have put a new face on a tired tree-sit which ran out of steam and died in January when the previous tree-sitter, Matt Dodt, 53, was charged with attempted murder. Those charges were reduced and later dropped.
Ted Friedman
Amy Blue, her latest name,joined Moon Shadow Friday in a "love tree" at the North east corner of People's Park near a crowded Haste St. walkway. The two met a year ago, while fellow "travelers" on the road. The attractive pair have put a new face on a tired tree-sit which ran out of steam and died in January when the previous tree-sitter, Matt Dodt, 53, was charged with attempted murder. Those charges were reduced and later dropped.
Before the fall. The new tree-sit philosophy.
Ted Friedman
Before the fall. The new tree-sit philosophy.

In the aftermath of "Amy Blue's" back-breaking twenty-foot plunge from a majestic tree in the latest tree-sit protest in People's Park last week, park regulars are attempting to affix blame; the usual suspects (cops and university) may include some unlikely suspects as well. Her fall abruptly ended an eight day protest that had been growing. 

One of the unlikely suspects could be this reporter. I was on the scene moments after she fell previously (before breaking her back) and was caught in the arms of a friend who was singing, dancing and carrying-on at the base of the tree. 

Amy seemed jovial and re-dedicated after the accident. Later, I joked about the dangers of tree-sitting with a university policeman and went so far as to make light of the situation by writing a fictional warning sign to be posted in the tree. All the time, I knew that she was at risk, but wouldn't tell the police for fear of snitching--or, perhaps I should say, being caught at it. 

Running Wolf, the protest organizer, said, that if I reported "Amy's" first fall, the police would shut down the sit as unsafe. At that time I did not know that "Moon Shadow" had slipped off a limb and fallen before "Amy" joined him in the tree the next day. He was not injured. 

If Running Wolf was right that reporting the falls would lead to a take-down, then I might have prevented Amy's injurious fall by either publicizing these falls or notifying the police. 

But there's blame to share. Take Running Wolf. 

Running Wolf at first resorted to his usual beef with the university. "If they returned the park to its rightful owners (Indians), this would not have happened." But isn't Running Wolf, an elder in the Blackfeet tribe, and the de-facto owner of "Camp Protest," an Indian property on a pricey lot at the North East corner of the park? 

The usual rumor-mongers in the park blame the police. Rumor claims the police "tortured" the tree-sitters with their flashlights (as lights were used at Abu Ghraib) to disorient the park tree-sitters into falling. This despite the fact that halogen-strength searchlights were nightly trained on twenty-one tree-sitters at the two-and-a-half year tree-sit at Memorial stadium. No one fell 

Hoping to shift the blame from me to the People's Park tree-sit organizer, I asked RW, "then why did you let them go up?" 

"I felt it was important to gain the element of surprise," he said. "And it worked. I think it was a success." 

I tried again. "But "Amy" was seriously injured, I noted. 

"I feel bad about that," said RW. "In fact I confessed my guilt to my inner circle." 

This wouldn't happen again, he promised. "I'll be more careful next time." 

"I was also distracted by the Bart Demo," Running Wolf continued. (Aug. 22; he was arrested on the late-night (T.V.) news. Running Wolf went on to explain that, although he had re-rigged the tree-sit gear in the tree after "Amy's" first fall, he'd been out of touch. 

While Running Wolf was out of touch, I watched the protest continue with its own goals, such as making People's Park a place of love, harmony, and celebration. A celebration was in progress at the base of the tree the afternoon "Amy" first fell from the tree into the arms of a celebrant below. 

Running Wolf attempted to give me a crash-course in tree-sit rigging, which I barely understood. I can't even tie a square knot. The gist of RW's explanation was that he'd told the sitters, all in their mid-twenties, and with no tree-sitting experience, to tie themselves in at night. That was the practice at the Oak Grove protest, in which there were no serious accidents, even under more hazardous circumstances. 

Running Wolf pointed out that although Moon Shadow, and he had bonded, Moon Shadow was resistant to any authority (in fact, he left the tree to just "walk around town"). 

"Matt (Dodt) was older and more committed. He was part of the support team at Oak Grove. He knew the rules," Running Wolf pointed out. 

"In the final analysis," RW concluded, "I'm to blame. I accept full responsibility." 

That lets me off the hook, but not the police. They talked a great deal to the tree-sitters and might have noticed the difference between them and more seasoned tree-sitters. They might have asked about the rigging or noticed that the platform was too small. ("We couldn't afford more wood", Running Wolf had said). 

Perhaps this stretches the point. Still, there's plenty of blame to go around. 

Who felled "Amy Blue?" Maybe she did. From failing to tie herself in. Maybes abound. 



Ted Friedman reports to the Planet from People's Park.

Flags and Cranes Memorialize 9-11 at UC Berkeley

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:37:00 AM
9-11, symbolizing the Pentagon and two towers, was made of United States flags planted in
              Memorial Glade on September 11, 2011.
Steven Finacom
9-11, symbolizing the Pentagon and two towers, was made of United States flags planted in Memorial Glade on September 11, 2011.
Hanging cranes in Sproul Plaza comprised a different 911 memorial on the UC campus.
Steven Finacom
Hanging cranes in Sproul Plaza comprised a different 911 memorial on the UC campus.
Yellow ribbons were tied around many trees and poles on the Berkeley campus.
Steven Finacom
Yellow ribbons were tied around many trees and poles on the Berkeley campus.
In the Memorial Glade construction, the hyphen in 9-11 was shaped in the form of a jet plane
              flying into one of the World Trade Center towers.
Steven Finacom
In the Memorial Glade construction, the hyphen in 9-11 was shaped in the form of a jet plane flying into one of the World Trade Center towers.

Walking through the UC Berkeley campus late in the day on Sunday, September 11, 2011 I came across two small, temporary, memorials to “9-11” that were both thought provoking and, when viewed in comparison and contrast, expressed quite different reactions to the tragedy a decade ago. 

The first was in Memorial Glade where I had taken a campus visitor to see the East Asian Library. There, on a slope of the lawn, was “9-11” spelled out in hundreds of tiny American flags.  

There was a lot of embedded symbolism. The top of the “9”, rather than being rounded, was in the shape of a pentagon. The two “1’s” were simple vertical bars (although one was shorter than the other). And the hyphen was formed, also out of tiny flags, in the shape of an airplane flying towards the two towers—the “1’s”. 

There was no sign or other display that I could find identifying the creators of this memorial but a woman standing nearby said it had been put up by the Berkeley College Republicans. When I checked later they had nothing on their website regarding this year’s memorial, but they did have a picture of an earlier (2010) display on Memorial Glade in similar form. Further searching revealed that this sort of campus memorial is a favorite of Republican student associations around the country, and had also been done at Berkeley in 2007. 

Several minutes later we walked through Sproul Plaza and noticed the second temporary memorial. Hanging from the London Plane trees lining the plaza were strings of carefully folded multi-colored origami cranes. The cranes were clustered a dozen or so to a vertical string, and grouped in strings of three.  

At the bottom of each group was a small hanging card that read, “These cranes have been hung by the Nikkei Student Union, the Muslim Student Association, and friends in remembrance of the attacks on September 11th, 2001, and with the hope that the United States would never promote an atmosphere of alienation, suspicion, and fear through institutionalized discrimination, racial profiling, and violation of civil rights.” (“Special thanks to the Cal Origami Club, the Multicultural and Community Center, and Alpha Phi Omega.”). 

Elsewhere on campus—and in Memorial Glade and Sproul Plaza as well—numerous trees and light poles had been tied with yellow ribbons. It wasn’t clear if they were associated with one or the other of the memorials, or a third effort entirely. 

There were very few people around either memorial when I went by. Perhaps a dozen in Memorial Glade (some napping on the lawn) and a couple of score in Sproul Plaza, most apparently either casual Sunday strollers or students heading to the library or labs. 

Some of them—those who did the flags on Memorial Glade—appear to have decided on this tenth anniversary to wave the bloody shirt. The Memorial Glade monument with its evocation of destruction strikes me as a modern “Remember the Maine!” It’s an echo of the Roman envoy promising to wash his stained toga in the blood of the mocking Tarentines or the British resolving to eliminate the humiliation of their First Afghan War. 

The others—those who did the cranes—seem to have been trying to frame the anniversary as an opportunity for reflection and a challenge not to fear people in categories because some of one ethnicity or religion did something vicious and horrible. 

Given the fact that nearly 70 years ago a sizeable number of Cal students were taken from school by their own government and imprisoned because they had Japanese ancestry, I suppose I would sympathize more with the background message of the crane-makers and less with the flag-setters. 

But what was of more interest was simply the fact that the two memorials showed remarkably different reactions to the 9-11 attacks. Remember that most of the students who put together these memorials—of either type—would have been pre-teens on September 11, 2001. Their young adult identity evolved in the endless evocation of war and retribution in the decade since then, but they have arrived at substantially different places as a result.

Solano Stroll Crowds in Evidence Sunday

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:35:00 AM
Solano Stroll marchers honor the centennial of women's suffrage in California.
Andy Liu
Solano Stroll marchers honor the centennial of women's suffrage in California.
Andy Liu
Andy Liu
Andy Liu
Andy Liu
Steven Finacom
Steven Finacom
Andy Liu
Andy Liu
Andy Liu
Steven Finacom
Steven Finacom

The Solano Stroll this year was threatened by symbolic and actual storm clouds. Some were unhappy with a decision of the Stroll organizers not to pay invited musicians, and a late summer storm cast gray over the morning. A sprinkling of rain fell nearby in portions of Berkeley and north Oakland, but by the afternoon the skies had cleared and the throngs came out.  

The Stroll, falling on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, had a theme of "unsung heros" and the imagery was out in force, from cartoon superheros to a large, period-costumed, contingent organized by the Berkeley Historical Society, local League of Women Voter's chapter, and American Association of University Women celebrating the centennial of the 1911 achievement of women's voting rights in California. 

Carnival dancers, cheerleaders, and Jewish folk dancers swept along the street, bands played, Taiko drums boomed, and fencers parried. There were Morris dancers and ballet mice.  

Modern and historic fire engines led the Parade, and the Berkeley Fire Department later put on a demonstration of opening up a car with the "Jaws of Life", while a Ferris wheel whirled at the top of the Avenue.

In Memory of Eva S. Goodwin

By Leah Goodwin
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 12:31:00 PM
Eva S. Goodwin
Eva S. Goodwin

Eva Goodwin of Santa Rosa, California passed peacefully after a long battle with a variety of illnesses on April 7, 2011 at the age of 81. She was born in Vienna, Austria, the onlychild of Erwin and Piri Stanton. They moved to New York in October of 1938, after the invasion of Austria. 

Eva graduated, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in History and Fine Arts from Oberlin College in 1951. She loved Oberlin and supported them throughout her life. She then went to the University of Chicago Law School and received her Juris Doctorate in 1954. 

Eva married Jim Goodwin in 1959 they lived in Berkeley until 2007 when they moved to Santa Rosa to reside at Friends House, a Quaker Retirement Community. 

She served as a staff attorney for the Oregon Legislative Counsel, and then moved to Berkeley to take a position as judicial staff attorney for the California Court of Appeal where she worked until her retirement in 1988. She spent the summer of 1979 as a Legal Fellow at Harvard Law School, under the auspice of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Eva wrote the first training manual for Judicial Staff Attorneys. She mastered the technique of legal writing and research and was a mentor to many women who were entering the field of law. She was often asked to serve as a Small Claims Judge on the Berkeley-Albany Municipal Court. 

Eva was an active participant and advocate for consumers, affirmative action and women’s affairs. She was one of the principal founders of the Judicial Attorneys of California, a professional organization that represented attorneys at all levels in both State and Federal courts. She served on the Prison Committee of the American Friends Service Committee, and the Board of the Berkeley Co-op. She was president and co-founder of TURN (Toward Utility Rate Normalization), and a member of the Friends of the Marin Fountain and the Northern California Association to Save Bodega Head and Harbor. Eva was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Sr. to the State Consumer Advisory Committee. In 1977, she filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Affirmative Action Officers in Bakke v. Regents of the University of Californiarepresenting minorities and women. 

When Eva retired from law she went back to her first love which was painting with watercolors, and became a successful commissioned artist exhibiting and selling works with the Richmond Art Center, the French Laundry Group and others. She always took her sketch books and her paints and brushes on vacations and weekend trips to her beloved cabin in Inverness. She also enjoyed reading, theater, opera, early music concerts, traveling, cooking, gardening and swimming. She loved to put on large dinner parties and cookie bakes for children during the holidays. 

Eva is survived by her husband James Goodwin; son, David Goodwin of San Mateo; daughter, Leah Goodwin of San Diego; four grandchildren, Adrianna Farmer of Vista; Azaleah Ashmore of San Diego; Midori Greenwood-Goodwin of Palo Alto; and Amaal Greenwood-Goodwin of San Mateo. Two great-grandsons, Christopher Farmer and Thomas Ashmore, and a great-granddaughter, Lealani Ashmore, also survive her. 



Tough Talk from President Obama is Too Little Too Late

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:50:00 AM

The headline on The Economist’s story a couple of weeks ago said it all:
The administration hands a victory to America’s polluters.” 

For those of us who are only too painfully aware that we’ll have absolutely no choice in the next election, only 14 months away now, the Obama administration’s decision to axe the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations which would have saved many lives by limiting ozone emissions was the last straw. 

The world is going to hell in a handcart, to coin a phrase, and the president seems only too willing to be the driver. The excuse for this latest move is that his minions claim to believe that regulations make it hard for businesses to create jobs, or something like that, some pat phrase from the playbook of the New Republicans. (For an unsparing look at who these people are and what they’re up to, be sure to read Old Republican Michael Lofgren’s remarkable recent piece on the Truthout website.) 

Meanwhile, as the environment continues to be destroyed for profit, and climate change proceeds apace, the economy is also collapsing. The administration continues to ignore the advice of the clear-eyed economists who know better, notably Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz.  

But wait, you say. Didn’t Obama just deliver a landmark address about what he called the “American Jobs Act”? Well, yes, he did. 

Not only that, his speech gets an A for Attitude. “Pass…This…Bill” he intoned again and again, in case anyone doubts what he wants.  

The TV newsies applauded. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, he of the appalling facial hair and intriguing comb-over, seemed thrilled that long Latinate words were avoided, those big words the ordinary voter might not understand, e.g. “stimulus” and “infrastructure”.  

“Money” and “bridges” are much easier to understand, aren’t they?  

Yes, that Obama’s really ready to get tough now, isn’t he? Talks like a Real Tough Guy. 

But unfortunately we’d have to award a C for our lack of Confidence that what he’s asking for will actually happen, given the intransigent opposition he faces from the other party, which seems to be going quietly (or not so quietly) barking mad, as our British friends would say.  

And even if the president got all of what he says he wants, how would that affect the big picture? 

Everyone, sensible economists included, endorses the “Jobs” mantra, though the word is just a palatable euphemism for what’s really needed to get the economy going: putting some spending power in the hands of the majority of citizens by whatever means necessary. What seems to be considered emphatically un-American is just handing out cash to the unemployed and other needy citizens, however. 

But what Jobs could be more American than the big construction projects touted again and again in last week’s speech? Those are Real Jobs, Guy Jobs. When I said as much, cynically, while watching the speech, the Guy in the room pointed out, correctly, that unemployment is currently higher among men, so perhaps it’s an unfair criticism.  

And to be scrupulously fair, the promises Obama made weren’t all for Bob the Builder. Some of them were aimed at Teresa the Teacher too, and not only that, she might get a nice new school building into the bargain. Unfortunately, all too often, government spending lubricated by bond issues and special allocations pays for buildings but not for staffing, as several recent stories about new schools which lack teachers in Contra Costa County show. 

There’s no question that lots of things already in existence, including schools, need fixing. But unnecessary construction projects like the 4th Bore of the Caldecott tunnel make a long-term negative contribution to the really serious problem of global warming (or climate change, if you prefer). The President’s passing allusion in his big speech to China’s building projects, in a “we’ve got to compete” vein, was particularly unfortunate, given recent disasters in that country’s coal mines, its high-speed train crashes and other environmental catastrophes there.  

Even supposedly “green” building projects are often problematic. I’ve been watching the construction of a big plug-ugly building visible from Highway 880 south of here for a few months, thinking no good could come of it, and sure enough, it’s the Solyndra boondoggle, billed as a very special way of producing solar panels, which has now collapsed. 

An academic environmentalist of my acquaintance has been predicting this all along.  

It was pretty clear to both of us that the big bucks in the Solyndra venture were going into the pockets of capitalists who were only too happy to funnel the money into pointless construction. And the architecture wasn’t even “green” by the usual standards. Now the FBI seems to have locked down the building site in order to look for evidence of shady financial stuff: another instance of locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. 

We’ve seen the same thing in Berkeley, as salvageable branch libraries which could have been restored in an environmentally sustainable way, employing more people along the way, are now slated for destruction and reconstruction instead. This paradigm produces bigger profits for the building industry and for bond salesmen, but fewer jobs. 

And we have many traditionally Gal Jobs that still need to be funded. Not, of course, that “soft” jobs are only Gal Jobs these days, since plenty of men do them too. New construction, however, has a well-funded lobbying apparatus supported by both Big Capital and Big Labor, so a lot of the American Jobs Obama’s Act would fund if it passed would be in that industry. 

First and foremost need is better health care, and that’s not just paying high-profile docs at big research institutions with spiffy new digs in Mission Bay. Money to pay home health care aides for disabled people, for example, is being slashed, when it should be increased to provide jobs for currently unemployed workers as well as care for those who need it.  

This topic is currently high on my list of concerns, since I’ve just spent the better part of a week working on family health care needs. I’ve discovered that there’s a whole lot of craziness in what Medicare does and doesn’t pay for, just for starters. The needs are out there, all right, it’s just the will and the funding that are lacking. 

It will get worse. Even though the American Jobs Act is inadequate in a bunch of ways, it would be better than nothing, but nothing is what we’ll get, regardless. And people like us, people like the majority of our readers, at least the practically minded ones, will vote again for Obama, because there’s no real alternative.  

One final postscript: many of the people I’ve been talking to about the current situation agree that a major component of the mess we’re in is common and garden racism among white southern Republicans. The flap over the timing of Obama’s speech was inexcusable and unnecessary, and had nothing more underlying it than disrespect for both the man and the office. The Mitch McConnells of this world want to sink President Obama, and they don’t seem to care if the country goes down with him. 


The Editor's Back Fence

New: Opposition to MOCHA Ban on Palestinian Kids' Art Grows

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:16:00 PM

Is it possible that the baddies have finally gone too far? Since today's issue was published we've received several urgent communications expressing disgust at the action of the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland pulling an exhibit of work by Palestinian kids who are victims of the violence which has been inflicted on their country. We've added them to the issue. I was especially gratified to see among the national signers of the letter opposing this horrendous mistake the names of a number of old allies from the civil rights and anti-war movements of years gone by. They will overcome.


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE

Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:39:00 AM


Dan O'Neill



Joseph Young


Public Comment


Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 12:36:00 PM

Good Story; Dear MOCHA; Homeless 

Good Story 

Thank you Daily Planet editorial staff and writer Ted Friedman for his story "Causes and Consequences: Returning Cal Students Attract Sex Perps." 

The story was told in a non-hysterical manner that brought important information to all of us. The issue is often under reported, or over reported, as a hysterical diatribe that either marginalizes the victims or focuses on lurid characterizations of the perps. 

Friedman provides both support for the accosted as well as a valuable and realistic picture of perps and their presence in our community. 

Articles like these bring a better understanding of the human ecology of Berkeley, and in turn helps make our experiences on the streets a little less threatening. 

Stride on. 

UrbanStrider, Paul Kealoha-Blake 

* * * 

Dear MOCHA, 

Please reconsider your decision to cancel the "A Child's View from Gaza" exhibit. The excuse you give on your website is embarrassingly thin. 

If you are not willing to stand up to the pressure to censor children's art, what is next? 

Our community has been much too willing to let community expression be muzzled by a group that apparently feels children's art about the war in Gaza might weaken them politically. 

Please. The Board of Directors should step down, so that a fresh group of leaders can restore your organization's priorities. 

Carol Denney 

* * * 


Homelessness is not a new phenomenon in California. What is new—and alarming—is that more and more of the homeless are families that once believed they were secure members of the middle class. The growing trend is a sign that the nationwide economic slump is that a feared second recession could push the poor there over the edge and make a solid recovery even harder. 

More than two years into the economic recovery, there isn’t yet a light at the end of the tunnel for California’s economy and stubborn unemployment. The number of job losses in the state is still much higher than the worst moments of the 2001 and 1990 recessions. The state’s jobless rate hit 12% last month, the second worst in the nation The world today has over 1200 billionaires, perhaps 24 million millionaires, and 120 million homeless. It has half a billion [500,000,000] who eat too much, and an equal number who eat scarcely enough to stay alive....Equity of income distribution is worse today than at any time since records have been kept. At present the U.S. has more homeless than any other industrialised country on Earth! 

Ted Rudow III, MA

New: Sign National Letter to Protest Closing of Gaza Children's Art Exhibition in Oakland

Forwarded by Lorie Brillinger
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:43:00 PM

Dear Friend,

You may be aware of a controversy related to the recent decision of the Museum of Children's Art (Oakland, CA) to cancel an exhibition of art by children in Gaza. (Relevant links are are pasted at the end of this message.) The open letter to MOCHA that follows is being circulated for signatures by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. We are inviting signers to provide name and city to demonstrate that the museum’s action has drawn condemnation across the US and internationally. Feel free to forward this letter to others.  

Replies will be accepted through Tuesday, September 13 at midnight CST. The letter will be sent by FedEx as hardcopy to the two MOCHA recipients and issued electronically through available channels on Wednesday, September 14.

To be added as a signatory, send a message to martha@martinreese.com.

Hilmon Sorey, Board President
Masako Kalbach, Interim Executive Director

We are writing to request an explanation of MOCHA's decision to cancel the forthcoming exhibition, "A Child's View of Gaza."

We commend you for having seen--at least initially--the importance, relevance, and immediacy of such an exhibition. The show's concept is brilliant: art as a window into the minds of children and, simultaneously, a geopolitical issue. The exhibition, which would have displayed children's varied artistic responses to life experience--some of it traumatic--was sure to inspire the viewer that museum art is a vibrant, living form of expression. Art like this touches our lives and underscores our common humanity within the global family of man.

Why, then, the cancellation?

We would hope that MOCHA's decision is not designed to avoid either controversy or controversial art. Surely, there are well-funded institutions whose purpose is to promote a positive view of Israel. Those same parties, unfortunately, see the marginalizing and demonization of Palestinians as an essential corollary to their advocacy for Israel. They work to silence voices that raise essential, appropriate questions about the human impact of Israeli policy. The individuals who fund and direct these institutions possess, in many cases, a worldview based on limited contact with actual Palestinian individuals or the lives they lead: subjects of military occupation, minority members of a nation in which they are relegated to perennial outsider status, exiles who have been dispossessed so that another people might find a place.

Evidently, some of these narrow-minded individuals with influence and access to decision-makers find it threatening that a direct, uncensored Palestinian perspective might be given a temporary space in American cultural life. Is MOCHA's decision to cancel the exhibit a capitulation to the demands of such persons--individuals whose ignorance, prejudice, and empathy deficit have taken the form of a narrow, intolerant political agenda? Are we to be denied access to the art of all children living with political violence--or are only Palestinian children to be denied a place?

We Americans do not suffer from an overexposure to Palestinian perspectives; on the contrary, our limited exposure is a critical factor in perpetuating dangerous and damaging misapprehensions. Those working most assiduously to eliminate expressions of the rich and complex Palestinian experience are the very people who would benefit most from encountering it in an honest, uncensored form. The best remedy for ignorance, prejudice, and lack of empathy is exposure to life through the eyes of another. That was to be the profoundly hopeful, transformative possibility of "A Child's View of Gaza."

We request an explanation of MOCHA's cancellation of the exhibition, an action that, to us, reflects a serious error in judgment.


Avigail Abarbanel, Inverness, Ireland
Tarif Abboushi, Houston, TX
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, Berkeley, CA
Paula Abrams-Hourani, Vienna, Austria
Sheriff Abuzahra, Cambridge, MA
Dina Afek, Tucson, AZ
Paul Afek
Sherri Agganis, Atlanta, GA
Andrea Urqueta Alfaro, Berkeley, CA
Mary AlKhaja, Lompoc, California
Barbara Anderson
Alan Arnold, Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Nancy Arvold, Redwood City, CA
Sue Azizi, Chandler, AZ
Aruna Aiyana Baker, Edinburgh, Scotland
Daphne Banai, Tel Aviv, Israel
Donna Baranski-Walker, San Mateo, CA
Marta Barbosa, Los Angeles, CA
Carolyn Barrani
Gerard Barron, New Ross, Wexford, Ireland
Duncan Baruch, Portland, OR
Steven Bell
Anna Berg, New York, NY
Allen Bergson, New York, NY
Deirdre Bergson, New York, NY
Robin Berson, New York, NY
Shari Bierly, Mount Vernon, NY
Jennifer Bing, Oak Park, IL
Scott Bird
Elliott Blass, Amherst, MA
Beverlee Bolton, Alexandria, VA
Peter Bolton, Alexandria, VA
Lynette Bondarchuk, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Sallye Steiner Bowyer
Andy Brady, Angelica, NY
Julia Bridges, Kankakee, IL
Bonnie Britt, Berkeley, CA
Marilyn Brunger, Claremont, CA
Rob Buchanan, New York, NY
Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius, Tucson, AZ
Sr. Elizabeth Carpentier, OSU, Alton, IL
Susan Chandler, Ann Arbor, MI
Mohamed Chettouh, Houston, TX
Karen Clarke, Charleston, SC
Seán Clinton, Limerick, Ireland
Jim Clune, Binghamton, NY
Basil Clunie, Evanston, IL
Rev. Ernest W. Cockrell, Saratoga, CA
Joan Cocks, Hatfield, MA
Pauline Coffman, Oak Park, IL
Chuck Connell
Jean Converse, Ann Arbor, MI
Peter Converse, Marion, MA
Geoffrey Cook, Berkeley, CA
Caroline Cracraft, Chicago, IL
Gretchen Craig, Brooklyn, NY
Ana Cleja
Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Victoria, BC, Canada
Virginia Daniel, Vero Beach, FL
Dr. Raymond Deane, Dublin, Ireland
Richard DiMatteo, San Diego, CA
Diane Donato, Columbus, OH
Barry Dryden, San Jose, CA
Anna Durrans, New York, NY
Carole Edelsky, Tucson, AZ
Amanda Eicher, San Francisco, CA
Bea Eichten, Little Falls, MN
Mahjoub ElGhorfi, Northampton, MA
Fatima Elkabti, Berkeley, CA
Marvin Engel, Dedham, MA
Jean Entine, Boston, MA
Hedy Epstein, St. Louis, MO
Barbara Erickson, Berkeley, CA
Riadh Fakhoury
Marek Falk, Seattle, WA
John Farbarik, Silverdale, WA
Kathy Felgran, Watertown, MA
Moira Ferguson, London, UK
Sylvia Finzi
Rebecca Foote, London, UK
Noushin Darya Framke, New York, NY
Racheli Gai, Tucson, AZ
Bernadette Garcia, Albuquerque, NM
Ellen Garvey, Brooklyn, NY
Samuel Goldman, Bronx, NY
Julius Gordon, Tucson, AZ
Arifa Beryl Goodman, San Cristobal, NM
Tarez Samra Graban, Bloomington, IN
Barbara Gravesen, Lady Lake, FL
Brayton Gray, Chicago, IL
Dr. Sarah Gundle, New York, NY
Stanley Habib, Montague, MA
Sue Halligan, Woodbury, MN
Gloria J. Harb, Ann Arbor, MI
Vince J. Hardt, Warrenville, IL
Amy Harlib, New York, NY
Wendy Hartley, Nevada County, CA
Alan Harwood, Cambridge, MA
Iman Heijstek, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Joanne Heisel, Howard County, MD
Peter Henry, Edmonds, WA
Roger Higginson, London, UK
Nadia Hijab, Washington, DC
Norbert Hirschhorn, MD, London, England
Tikva Honig-Paenass, Jerusalem, Israel
Ethel Hopkins, Cupertino, CA
Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, Gainesville, FL
Alma Abdul Hadi Jadallah, Fairfax, VA
Peter Haidu, Brooklyn, NY
Mary Heffron, Traverse City, MI
Cynthia Hoffman, Fremont, CA
Sally Howland, Lisle, IL
Robert Jacobson, Brooklyn, NY
Todd Jailer, Berkeley, CA
Selma James
Susan Janelle, Walla Walla, WA
Nancy Kanwisher, Cambridge, MA
Elizabeth Karan, Oakland, CA
Lilyan Kay, Seattle, WA
Afifee Kayaleh
David Kaylor, Black Mountain, NC
Ben Kenagy, Albany, OR
Dave Kinane, Dublin, Ireland
Alice Diane Kisch, Emeryville, CA
Ellen Khalifa, Oakland, CA
Alisa Klein, Leeds, MA
James Koss, MD, Alameda, CA
Steve Kowit, San Diego, CA
Michèle Krauthamer
Margaret Leicester, Albuquerque, NM
Michael Levin, Berwyn, IL
Rebekah Levin, Oak Park, IL
Joseph Levine, Leverett, MA
Caren Levy Van Slyke, Oak Park, IL
Laura Liben, New York, NY
Wanda Katja Liebermann, Cambridge, MA
Kathy Lique, Nahant, MA
Jack Litewka, Berkeley, CA
Marilyn Sutton Loos, Haverford, PA
Nancy S. Lovejoy, Wilbraham, MA
Maryam Lowen, New York, NY
Lora A. Lucero, Albuquerque, NM
Marlou MacIver, West Chester, PA
Jo Margolis, PA
Daniel Marlin, Berkeley, CA
Marjorie McCarthy, San Jose, CA
Sharron McCuistion-Lewis, Vista, CA
Alex McDonald
Rev. Loren McGrail, Chicago, IL
Bill McGrath, Northfield, MN
Tammy Mclane, New Port Richey, FL
Shirley M. Meckley, Kerrville, Texas
Sol Metz
Susan Miller, Philadelphia, PA
Susette Min, Oakland, CA
Yehia Y. Mishriki, MD
Elizabeth Moody, Mill Valley, CA
Donald Moore, S.J., Bronx, NY
Sabra Morton, Conway, NH
Liz Mulford
Morton Nadler
Rev. Diane Nancekivell
Donna Nassor, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Joan Nestle
David Neunuebel, Santa Barbara, CA
Judy Neunuebel, Santa Barbara, CA
Donna Nevel, New York, NY
Rael Nidess, MD, Marshall, TX
Gretchen Nielsen, Tucson, AZ
Paula Orloff
Janet L. Owen
Sonja L. Page, Ann Arbor, MI
Léa C. Park, San Francisco, CA
Susan Pelican, Nevada City, CA
Francine Perlman, New York, NY
Karen Platt, Albany, CA
Pat Price-Tomes, London, UK
Moneta S. Prince, Austin, TX
Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, Tucson, AZ
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Bethlehem, Palestine
Michael Rakowitz, Evanston, IL
Rudy Ramp, Arcata, CA
Doris Rausch, Columbia, MD
Anne Remley, Ann Arbor, MI
Martha Reese, River Forest, IL
Mara Rivera, San Francisco, CA
Eugene Robbins, Ashland, OR
Anne Roberts, Washington, DC
William Roberts, Redwood City, CA
Marion Rojas, Oakland, CA
Barbara Rose, Tucson, AZ
Naomi Rosenthal, Berkeley, CA
Lori Helene Rudolph, Las Vegas, NM
Bryan Saario, DDS, MD, Seattle, WA
Grace Said, Chevy Chase, MD
Carol Sanders, Berkeley, CA
Marlena Santoyo, Philadelphia, PA
María Sause, Newport, OR
Daniel Scarlett, Santa Rosa, CA
Mary Scarlett, Santa Rosa, CA
Skip Schiel, Cambridge, MA
Richard Schlobohm, Mill Valley, CA
Ron Schmidt, San Francisco, CA
Susan Schuurman, Albuquerque, NM
Peter Scott, Knox, IN
Evalyn F. Segal, Walnut Creek, CA
Suhail Shafi, Ozark, AL
Cindy Shamban, Berkeley, CA
Robin Share, Los Angeles, CA
Lansing Shepard, Minneapolis, MN
Jeanie Shaterian, Berkeley, CA
Sharon Shohfi, Chapel Hill, NC
Ted Shohfi, Chapel Hill, NC
Phyllis Shulman
Bobbi Siegelbaum, Bronx, NY
Steve Siegelbaum, Bronx, NY
Melinda Smith, Albuquerque, NM
Stephen Soldz, Brookline, MA
Roderick Stackelberg, Spokane, WA
Michael J. Stephen, Elmwood Park, IL
Laura Stokes, Corrales, NM
Nancy E. Stoller, San Francisco, CA
Robert A. Stone, MD, Frisco, CO
Shirley Stone, Frisco, CO
Jerilyn Tabor, New York, NY
William Tamblyn, Medford, NJ
Shoshanna Tenn, Oakland, CA
Trisha Terwilliger, Brattleboro, VT
Will Thomas, Auburn, NH
Melinda Thompson, Silver Spring, MD
Rev. Richard K. Toll, Portland, OR
Joel S. Trupin, Marshfield, VT
Joan Valor, Aptos, CA
Eric Wachspress, Chicago, IL
Nabil Wahbeh
Ellen Schwarz Wasfi, Dover, DE
Phil Weintraub, Oakland, CA
Janet H. Whitcomb, Chicago, IL
Debra J. White, Tempe, AZ
Louis Williams, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
John Williamsom
Iris R. Winogrond, Oakland, CA
Kenneth M. Winston, Sonoma, CA
Noga Wizansky, Oakland, CA
Matt Woolery
Dr. Barry M. Wright, Gilroy, CA
Nicolas Wyatt, Edinburgh, Scotland
Elise Young, Northampton, MA
Carl W. Zaisser
Dorothy M. Zellner, New York, NY
Charlotte Zietlow, Bloomington, IN
Harriet Ziskin, San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth Zoob, Boston, MA
Marilyn Zuckerman, Seattle, WA
Andrew Zweifler, MD, Ann Arbor, MI
Ruth Zweifler, Ann Arbor, MI

1) http://www.mecaforpeace. org/news/media-advisory- oakland-museum-childrens-art- shuts-down-palestinian- children%E2%80%99s-exhibit
2) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/ 09/10/BA921L2H5J.DTL
3) http://www.muzzlewatch.com/ 2011/09/10/oakland-childrens- museum-cancels-palestinian- childrens-art-exhibit-under- pressure-from-local -jewish-groups/

New: Oakland Children's Art Museum's Ban on Palestinian Works is Futile

By Joanna Graham
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:29:00 PM

In summer 2005, Berkeley resident John Gertz confirmed to a Daily Planet reporter the rumors that he had indeed packed the Peace and Justice Commission with persons who could be depended on not to criticize Israel.“What I have observed is that a lot of people were sick of the commission being run by the lunatic left and some brave people came forward to put a stop to it,” he said.

Although I was at the time aware of widespread censorship activities by the Jewish lobby, I was naively shocked to learn that the same processes were at work in liberal Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement, a city where people frequently and publicly debate each other over everything possibly debatable. 

As a result of my shock and upset, I wrote an op-ed to the Berkeley Daily Planet, one which proved to be the first of several I would write over the ensuing years. Because I saw the Planet as a local paper focusing on local issues, in none of these did I ever address the Israel/Palestine conflict directly nor U.S. foreign policy with respect to it. Rather, I wrote only about what I had written about that first time: local actions of the Jewish lobby to control what might or might not be said about these issues. My concern was that people might have the freedom to learn, think, speak, and take action about Israel as about anything else and I saw my commentaries as a contribution towards exposing a national, in fact international, operation to prevent this. 

As all Daily Planet readers know, three men—John Gertz, Dan Spitzer, and Jim Sinkinson—took it upon themselves to destroy the paper because it was providing in its open editorial page policy a rarely available platform for dialogue about Israel. It’s hard for me to describe the frustration and hopelessness I felt while watching them go about their business of intimidation so systematically and relentlessly, especially because I knew that their efforts were being duplicated—and similarly succeeding—in hundreds, even thousands of localities, wherever anyone, no matter how out-of-the-way, unimportant, or inadvertent, either suggested alternatives to the official Israeli narrative or provided space for someone else to do so. 

In those years in which the Planet struggle was going on, the conflict which had generated it also felt intractable. I grew used to hearing many different speakers— Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians; Jews and non-Jews; academicians, politicians, artists, soldiers, and activists—end their talks by saying “I see no way out,” expressing the same gloomy conclusion which I myself had reached. Eventually, however, I came to believe that although at that time the situation was intractable, eventually it would not be, on the grounds that in general nothing ever stays the same, and that Israel (in particular) is an inherently unstable project, based as it is on preservation of a Jewish majority, addition of land to its (undefined) territory, maintenance of regional hegemony through a combination of alliances with unpopular leaders and military threat, and reliance on unquestioning U.S. support—none of which is likely to last forever. 

This past Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the cancellation—due to unspecified “pressure from the community”—by the Oakland Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) of an exhibition of children’s art from Gaza which had been brought here by the Middle East Children’s Alliance and which was due to open in two weeks. 

This is the sort of thing that not long ago would have raised my blood pressure and even possibly generated still another letter to the Planet editor. Now, although I called the museum to protest and will do whatever else I can to urge them to reverse their decision, I found myself remarkably not upset. I felt as if whoever is behind the “community pressure" might as well not bother to stick their fingers in the dyke because the water is already pouring through. My response is a measure of all the remarkable changes that have happened during the past six-year period of (apparent) hopeless immobility. I here list five. 

(1) Israel’s own aggressions, particularly the summer 2006 attack on Lebanon, the January 2009 attack on Gaza, and the 2010 attack on the Gaza flotilla. While Israel may have had internal reasons for these undertakings, it failed to take into consideration a changed world—among other things linked together by the Internet and no longer dependent on big media—in which its justifications proved ineffectual. It should be mentioned also that Israel lost the Lebanon “war,” its first loss ever, representing an incalculable shift in power relations in the region. 

(2) The emergence of a dynamic new generation of leadership in Palestine (including many women) who are smart, media savvy, internationalist in outlook, focused on clear goals, pragmatic, and inventive. Israel is having difficulty mustering the same old outrage and disdain against nonviolent protestors marching to the wall in “Avatar” costumes, for example, or against an international college- and church-based coalition using the classic nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions that it mustered successfully against Arafat in his military uniform, keffiyeh, and scraggly beard. 

(3) The battles now raging in the American Jewish community where the longtime repression of dissent re Israel has collapsed. News of this development has yet to reach Washington, from which, for example, 81 congressmembers, 1/3 of the freshmen class, visited Israel this summer because they could not afford not to. Nevertheless, this accelerating breakdown of solidarity among American Jews will, I believe, eventually release the government from its Israel commitment, from which it already would clearly love to be released. 

(4) The suddenly emergent and ongoing struggle of Arab people across the Middle East and North Africa for control of their own lives. 

(5) The rapid and stunning decline of the U.S. as a world force, economically, militarily, and morally, and the tentative emergence of other power centers. 

Thus, as the PLO plans to go forward with its bid for state recognition in the U.N. next week, the effort to keep children’s art out of a children’s art museum in Oakland looks, in context, rather more futile than similar actions undertaken a mere six years ago. 

I still can see absolutely no good way out of the impasse that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, at least not one that is even imaginably politically feasible, and I cannot exclude many terrible possible futures, up to and including the employment of a paranoid Israel’s nuclear arsenal. 

All I can say is that in the summer of 2005 I could not have imagined writing what I have just written now. As Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a-changing,” and as Zhou Enlai supposedly remarked about the French Revolution, “It’s too soon to tell.” 




Finally, a Liberal Hawk Repents

By Ruth Rosen
Monday September 12, 2011 - 05:52:00 PM

Bill Keller was just beginning his "new life" in the opinion section of the New York Times when the catastrophic events of 9/11 altered his life. Once, he had been skeptical about the use of American military force. Now, for reasons he still doesn't seem to fully understand, he joined, "an imaginary association of pundits of the I-Can't Believe-I'm a Hawk Club, made up of liberals for whom 9/11 had stirred a fresh willingness to employ American might." He supported the war in Iraq. 

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 Keller looks back in the NYT magazine and with a certain amount of honesty, he tries to understand why he supported a war in Iraq. He disarmingly notes that he was not alone and that a whole coterie of well-known male pundits held the same views, including "Thomas Friedman of the Times; Fareed Zakaria, of Newsweek; George Packer and Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker; Richard Cohen of the Washington Post; the blogger Andrew Sullivan; Paul Berman of Dissent; Christopher Hitchens of just about everywhere; and Kenneth Pollack, the former C.I.A analyst whose book, "The Threatening Storm" became the liberal manual on the Iraqi threat." 

Good for Bill Keller for noting the elite male nature of this imaginary association. "Yes," he writes, it is surely relevant that this is exclusively a boys' club." 

I knew and even liked some of these men but I only had contempt for their uncharacteristic stupidity. Like Keller, I was also working in the opinion section of a newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle, and while they kept up a drum beat for the Iraq war, I kept writing a steady series of columns exposing lies of mass deception. But I failed; they and the Bush administration won. 

How, I wondered could they not see the Big Lie, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Once that lie was successfully planted in Americans' minds, it was easy to argue that these villains also had weapons of mass destruction that they intended to use on the United States. Everyone seemed to forget that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. 

How, I wondered could they not see that the need to create a lie to invade Iraq had everything to do with oil and strategic bases in the Mideast, but nothing to do with preventing a terrorist attack against this country? How could Thomas Friedman be so silly as to assume that President Bush would fight the war Friedman wanted, as opposed to the chaotic and catastrophic destruction Bush brought to the Iraqi people? Sure, Hussein was a monster, but he had not ordered the attacks against the U.S. Did they really not listen to all the reports of those in the international community who searched for, but found no nuclear weapons? Did they really not notice the ten million people who marched around the globe before the war began? 

Why, in other words, were they so uncharacteristically irrational? To his credit, Keller writes "We were a little too pleased with ourselves for defying the caricature of liberals as, to borrow a phrase from those days, brie-eating surrender monkeys." Also to his credit is his admission that that these men apparently still needed to earn their military creds, and that they should have listened to Samantha Power, "who literally wrote the book on humanitarian intervention (the Pulitzer-winning "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age Of Genocide")." 

With their arm-chair machismo, they supported the war. Maybe it made these liberal hawks feel better about themselves, but it undermined the anti-war movement, and they became, as he admits, what historian Tony Judtt called "Bush's Useful Idiots." Many of them will never know the contempt and disgust anti-war activists felt towards them. 

And so, they wrapped themselves in the flag. No, they weren't going to be wimps, not these powerful male intellectuals. And, as he concedes, [we] "were still a little drugged by testosterone. No comment. 

Good for Bill Keller. I have waited a long time for such repentance. Those of us who exposed the lies and deceptions never had a chance. If anyone listened, they dismissed us as unpatriotic, or as women, or as men who had been emasculated because they, too, were equally convince an invasion of Iraw was a serious mistake. But I digress; the gender politics of that moment is another story, deserving much greater detail. 


Ruth Rosen, a Professor Emerita of History, was a former columnist at The Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her most book is "The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America." This piece first appeared in Talking Points Memo.

Obama's Proposal: Mainly Smoke and Mirrors

By Harry Brill
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:22:00 AM

There are some excellent recommendations in President Obama's speech on the economy. He proposed a one year extension on unemployment insurance, closing business tax loopholes, and raising taxes on the rich. He was as right as right can be to complain that the billionaire Warren Buffet paid less on federal taxes than his secretary. 

But the major thrust of his $ 447 billion dollar program for the economy is full of potholes. Wholly aside from the merits and demerits of his recommendations, the amount of money being proposed is paltry. It is only 56 percent of the 2009 stimulus program legislated in 2009. You might recall that the Obama administration then had expected unemployment to fall to 8.2 percent. But it has never since dipped below 9 percent. Since the economy is now rapidly moving toward a double dip recession, there is no reason to expect very good results with not much more than half being recommended. 

When we carefully look at both the specifics of the program and the fiscal policies of the federal government, the prognosis for the economy is gloomy. Instead of increasing spending on public programs, massive reductions in public spending are being planned instead. Congress with Obama's blessing has already agreed to shave $1 trillion from federal spending over the next ten years, and it has also agreed to reduce the federal budget by an additional $1.5 trillion Obama advised that additional cuts be made to offset the costs of his package. States and local communities are also making horrendous cuts. Look at what has occurred so far. Since June 2009, which is the month in which establishment economists claimed that the recession was over, the federal, state, and local governments have discarded almost 600,000 jobs. Since the cutbacks at all levels of government far exceed the aggregate spending for what Obama calls The American Jobs Act, the economic crisis will certainly deepen. 

Taking a brief look at the American Jobs Act, we learn that tax cuts and credits would make up over 50 percent of the allocations, but their impact on creating jobs would at best be marginal or none at all. For example, extending special deductions for business equipment and machinery is a tax giveaway to business and not a means to create jobs. Nor would tax credits to encourage hiring long term unemployed create jobs. As the New York Times reported (9/10/11), employers themselves do not believe that any particular tax break would provide an incentive to hire. Rather, they tend to hire more workers when the economy is improving and there is business demand. As past experience has clearly demonstrated, employers will be receiving substantial tax credits for hiring even though their business required that they hire new employees anyhow. In short, another giveaway. 

Particularly alarming is the substantial cuts in social security payroll taxes for both employees and employers. The assumption is that this will stimulate increased spending, which in turn will increase jobs. Although these cuts will produce some positive impact, it would be a small one. Part of the increase in disposable income will serve to retire personal debts. Also, with our economy on the brink consumers are increasingly cautious about spending.  

Nor should we ignore the risk that the Obama administration is imposing on the social security trust fund. We know from experience that temporary tax reductions are often permanent ones. In fact, we have known for a long while that with the extension of the horrendous Bush tax cuts, the powers that be would feel compelled to go after both Social Security and Medicare to make up for some of the shortfall. Depriving social security of $240 billion, which will probably continue yearly, cannot be beneficial to working people. 

Although the infrastructure and employment projects are certainly welcome, allocating less than $200 billion will barely make a dent on providing full time jobs, particularly since Obama assured congress that cuts will be made elsewhere to pay for the American Jobs Act. The federal government would have to reverse course by not only spending appreciably more. It is critical is how that money is spent. As more and more jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries, and as business is committed to doing all it can to reduce labor costs, we economy will not be rescued by the business community. Nothing less than a massive WPA style approach in which the public sector is the employer would work. Any other alternative will yield only massive unemployment and massive poverty.  



Dispatches From The Edge: The New Scramble for Africa

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:54:00 AM

Is current U.S. foreign policy in Africa following a blueprint drawn up almost eight years ago by the rightwing Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative think tanks in the world? While it seems odd that a Democratic administration would have anything in common with the extremists at Heritage, the convergence in policy and practice between the two is disturbing. 

Heritage, with help from Joseph Coors and the Scaife Foundations, was founded in 1973 by the late Paul Weyrich, one of the most conservative thinkers in the U.S. and a co-founder of the Moral Majority. While the Moral Majority whipped up the culture wars against abortion and gays, Heritage lobbied for an aggressive foreign policy and American military supremacy. 

In October 2003, James Carafano and Nile Gardiner, two Heritage Foundation heavyweights, proposed a major shift in U.S. military policy vis-à-vis the African continent. Carafano is a West Point graduate who heads up the Foundation’s foreign policy section, and Gardiner is the director of Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. 

In a “Backgrounder” article entitled “U.S. Military Assistance for Africa: A Better Solution,” the two called for the creation of a military command for the continent, a focus on fighting “terrorism,” and direct military intervention using air power and naval forces if “vital U.S. interests are at stake.” Such interventions should avoid using ground troops, the authors argue, and should include the participation of other allies. 

Almost every element of that proposal has come together over the past year, though some pieces, like African Command (Africom) and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, were in place before the Obama administration took office. 

The Libya war seems almost straight off of Heritage’s drawing board. While the U.S. appeared to take a back seat to its allies, NATO would not have been able to carry out the war without massive amounts of U.S. military help. It was the U.S. who took out the Libyan anti-air craft systems, blockaded the coast, collected the electronic intelligence, fueled the warplanes, and supplied munitions when NATO ran low. 

While the UN resolution forbade using ground troops, U.S. special forces and CIA teams, along with special units from Britain, France, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates organized the rebels, coordinated air strikes, and eventually pulled off an amphibious operation that sealed Tripoli’s fate. 

The Heritage scholars were also clear what they meant by vital U.S. interests: “With its vast natural and mineral resources, Africa remains strategically important to the West, as it has been for hundreds of years, and its geostrategic significance is likely to rise in the 21st century. According to the National Intelligence Council, the United States is likely to draw 25 percent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf.” 

It was a sentiment shared by the Bush Administration. “West Africa’s oil has become a national strategic interest,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Walter Kansteiner in 2002. 

The UN tasked NATO with protecting civilians in Libya, but France, Britain, the U.S. and their Gulf allies focused on regime change. Indeed, when leaders of the African Union (AU) pushed for negotiations aimed at a political settlement, NATO and the rebels brusquely dismissed them. 

The NATO bombing “really undermined the AU’s initiates and effort to deal with the matter in Libya,” complained South African President Jacob Zuma. More than 200 prominent Africans released a letter Aug. 24 condemning the “misuse of the United Nations Security Council to engage in militarized diplomacy to effect regime change in Libya,” as well as the “marginalization of the African Union.” 

The suspicion that the Libya war had more to do with oil and gas than protecting civilians is why the AU has balked at recognizing the rebel Transitional National Council. For much of Africa, the Libya war was a “shot heard ‘round the continent,” and there is a growing unease at the West’s “militarized diplomacy.” 

Though the Defense Department’s African Contingency Operation Training and Assistance Program, the U.S. is actively engaged in training the militaries of Mali, Chad, Niger, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Mozambique, Ghana and Malawi, and Mauretania. 

In June 2006, NATO troops stormed ashore on Sao Vicente island in the Cape Verde archipelago in operation “Steadfast Jaguar” (an odd choice of monikers, since jaguars are natives of the New World, not Africa). The exercise, which brought together a host of nations, including France, Germany, Spain, Greece, the U.S. and Poland, was aimed at “protecting energy supplies” in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea. 

Major oil producers in the region include Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Mauritania. 

Protecting energy supplies from whom? 

In the case of the Niger Delta, it means protecting oil companies and the Nigerian government from local people fed up with the pollution that is killing them, and corruption that denies them any benefits from their resources. Under the umbrella of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), locals are waging a low-key guerilla war that at one point reduced oil supplies by 20 percent. 

MEND is certainly suspicious of American motives in the region. “Of course, it is evident that oil is the key concern of the U.S. in establishing African Command,” says the organization’s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo. 

The Nigerian government labels a number of restive groups in Nigeria as “terrorist” and links them to al-Qaeda, including Boko Haram in the country’s north. 

But labeling opponents “terrorists” or raising the al-Qaeda specter is an easy way to dismiss what may be real local grievances. For instance, Boko Haram’s growing penchant for violence is more likely a response to the heavy handedness of the Nigerian Army than an al-Qaeda inspired campaign. 

Terrorism and the protection of civilians may be the public rationale for intervention, but the bottom line looks suspiciously like business. Before the guns go silent in Libya, one British business leader complained to The Independent that Britain was behind the curve on securing opportunities. “It‘s all politics, no commercial stuff. I think that is a mistake. We need to be getting down there as soon as possible,” 

The Spanish oil company Reposal and the Italian company Eni are already gearing up for production. “Eni will play a No.1 role in the future,” says Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. Almost 70 percent of Libya’s oil goes to four countries, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. Qatar, which is already handing oil sales in Eastern Libya, will also be on the ground floor as production ramps up. 

A major loser in the war—and some would argue, not by accident—is China. Beijing had some 75 companies working in Libya and 36,000 personnel, and accounted for about 11 percent of Libya’s pre-war exports. But because China complained that NATO had unilaterally changed the UN resolution from protecting civilians to regime change, Beijing is likely to suffer. Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager of the rebel oil firm AGOCO told Reuters that China, Brazil and Russia would be frozen out of contracts. 

Braziland Russia also supported negotiations and complained about NATO’s interpretation of the UN resolution on Libya. 

For Heritage, keeping China out of Africa is what it is all about. Peter Brookes, the former principal Republican advisor for East Asia on the House Committee on International Relations, warned that China was hell-bent on challenging the U.S. and becoming a global power, and key to that is expanding its interests in Africa. “In a throwback to the Maoist revolutionary days of the 1960s and 1970s and the Cold War, Beijing has once again identified the African continent as an area of strategic interest,” he told a Heritage Foundation audience in a talk entitled “Into Africa: China’s Grab for Influence and Oil.” 

Beijinggets about one third of its oil from Africa—Angola and Sudan are its major suppliers—plus important materials like platinum, copper, timber and iron ore. 

Africais rife with problems, but terrorism is not high on that list. A severe drought has blistered much of East Africa, and, with food prices rising, malnutrition is spreading continent-wide. The “war on terrorism” has generated 800,000 refugees from Somalia. African civilians do, indeed, need help, but not the kind you get from fighter-bombers, drone strikes, or Tomahawk cruise missiles dispatched at the urging of right-wing think tanks or international energy companies. 

ConnHallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com

The Public Eye: Will Obama Control the Jobs Message?

By Bob Burnett
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:08:00 AM

Watching President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, Americans were reminded of his oratorical prowess. That’s never been his problem. In the two years 230 days plus of his Presidency Obama has given many powerful speeches but not followed up – lost control of the message. On September 8th he laid out a strong jobs plan; now he has to push it through Congress. 

In the comic strip Peanuts there was an annual situation. Each fall Lucy would hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick and then, at the last minute, drop it. That parallels the recent relationship between Obama and Democrats. The President promises to hold the ball and then drops it before Dems can kick it. 

Thursday night Obama laid out a comprehensive jobs plan. But Americans know that it will meet dogmatic resistance from congressional Republicans. The question is whether the President can battle with them over a protracted period and prevail. So far, his record has not been encouraging. Writing in THE NEW YORK REVIEW, Yale Professor David Bromwich observed, “Obama has always preferred the symbolic authority of the grand utterance to the actual authority of a directed policy… protracted moods of extreme abstraction seem to alternate with spasmodic engagement.” On the stimulus package, healthcare reform, Afghanistan, global climate change, the annual budget, the debt ceiling, and other critical items, the President started out strong and then got soft. 

Obama’s plan, the American Jobs Act would cost $447 billion. Of this amount, tax cuts comprise more than half. $175 billion would result from cutting employee payroll taxes in half in 2012: “Rather than having 6.2 percent of their wages deducted in Social Security taxes, workers will pay only 3.1 percent next year.” This tax cut would affect 160 million workers and typically result in $1500 tax savings per household. 

$65 billion in tax cuts would result from cutting employer payroll taxes in half in 2012. “The President‘s plan would provide tax cuts for all firms, with focused relief on the 98 percent with less than $5 million in payroll.” 

It’s unlikely that the $245 billion in tax cuts will meet sustained congressional resistance, although Obama was vague about how these cuts would ultimately be paid for – he promised to provide more specifics in ten days. The battle will be joined over the President’s plans for job creation. 

Of the remaining $202 billion, slightly less than half -- $99 billion, goes for two items: infrastructure and Unemployment Insurance. Obama proposed $50 billion for “immediate investments in infrastructure.” “In order to jumpstart critical infrastructure projects and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, the President‘s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highway, highway safety, transit, passenger rail, and aviation activities.” (The President proposed $140 billion for “putting workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America.” After infrastructure the next largest amount, $35 billion, would be spent to rehire teachers and first responders – public servants who otherwise would be out of a job. Interestingly, another $15 billion would go to Project Rebuild: “: The bursting of the housing bubble and the Great Recession that followed has left communities across the country with large numbers of foreclosed homes and businesses, which is weighing down property values, increasing blight and crime, and standing in the way of economic recovery. In these same communities there are also large numbers of people looking for work, especially in the construction industry, where more than 1.9 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The President is proposing Project Rebuild to help address both of these problems by connecting Americans looking for work in distressed communities with the work needed to repair and repurpose residential and commercial properties.”) 

After infrastructure, the next largest amount, $49 billion, is allocated to “reform our Unemployment Insurance system to provide greater flexibility, while ensuring 6 million people do not lose benefits.” “In these times, the federal emergency unemployment system must offer not just a weekly check, but also an aggressive strategy to connect the unemployed to work – through reforms ranging from rigorous assessment and job-search assistance to flexible work-based uses of federal UI to smart strategies to prevent layoffs in the first place.” ($13 billion would also be spent to coax employers to hire the long-term unemployed.) 

On September 8th the President presented a strong jobs plan. It’s a strategy that will stimulate a stagnant economy and reduce America’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Now Obama has to fight for it. Not for a week or two, with a few town-hall meetings, but for months with speech after speech, and sustained congressional arm twisting. 

If Barack Obama is going to control the jobs message, he has to cast off the mantle of Jimmy Carter and take on the persona of Lyndon Baines Johnson. No more mister nice guy, Barack; Democrats need you to be their son-of-a-bitch. 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. He can be reached at bobburnett@comcast.net

Senior Power … ’goin to the dogs

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:36:00 AM

Animals affect human emotions and physiology. Studies have shown that owning and handling animals benefit health significantly. The relevance of pets in the lives of senior citizens is no longer big news. Everyone knows that pets may help elderly owners live longer, more enjoyable lives. It has been demonstrated that independently-living seniors who have pets tend to be more active, cope better with stress, and have better overall health. (May 1999 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society) Another study showed that elderly pet owners had significantly lower blood pressure than their contemporaries without pets. 

Constant companionship is the best part of seniors’ owning a cat or dog. A Purina survey also revealed pet ownership may contribute to a more mobile lifestyle: 45 percent say they became more active after adopting a pet, and 26 percent of the female respondents said they lost weight. 

I’m a pushover for a book with a photograph of a dog on the cover. I grabbed two on the library’s new books shelves. Katie; Up and Down the Hall; The true story of how one dog turned five neighbors into a family. Alas, author Glenn Plaskin resisted doing right by poor Katie, who lived painfully long. Fortunately, Pukka; The pup after Merle, by Ted Kerasote, was on the shelf. Merle was Pukka’s predecessor. Read Merle’s Door; Lessons from a freethinking dog.  


Question: If having a pet is so great, how come so many senior citizens who are able to live independently (a phrase frequently encountered in the housing quest) and who love dogs, cats, birds, etc., or they “always used to have one,” don’t have a pet now? How come? Or, put it this way… which senior citizens do have pets

One consideration is policy. Mainly, the landlord’s and the senior center’s pet policies. Recently, when I inquired about a senior center’s pet policy, the phone-answerer was stumped. After I put my inquiry into basic basic, he asked others, not bothering to cover the phone, and got back to me with “Service dogs we allow but no other pets.” Click. 

Senior centers are having pet fairs and pet shows. The Plum [Pennsylvania] Senior Center Pet Show and Parade in June was held as a renovation project benefit. 

I recall a disabled senior who brought her companion, a small dog, to the senior center and parked him in a carrier outside by the front door. She was able to get a Section 8 studio in a senior/disabled housing project. She and her companion are long gone, but considerable verbiage has been inserted into the House Rules that all tenants must sign. Pets are not allowed in the building unless the resident has signed a copy of the Pet Policy. No pets of guests or others are allowed into the building or on the common areas. If you are found keeping a pet without permission, it will be grounds for removal of the pet and/or termination of tenancy. All pet agreements, registration cards, health certificates, and pet deposits must be completed before the pet is allowed in the building. Pet sitting is not allowed. Residents are financially responsible for all damages and personal injuries related to his/her pet. If management determines that the pet is an annoyance or nuisance, the owner may be given written notice to have the pet removed form the premises.  

“Pets are allowed” at Strawberry Creek Lodge (Berkeley, California). A Lodger friend has three cats.  

The Dog Law web site, at DogLaw.HugPug.com, is helpful. Also check the Nolo (formerly known as Nolo Press) website, especially its Every Dog’s Legal Guide.  

Tenants in federally assisted housing for the elderly or handicapped are allowed by law to own pets. This rule applies even if the federal government does not own the rental housing. Owners and managers may place reasonable regulations on pets, after consulting with tenants. The agency can charge pet deposits or fees, and can, for example, restrict the size, weight, or number of pets. Contact a local HUD office or your county or community Housing Authority to find out if a particular rental is covered. 

Several states have also taken action. In most states, only government-subsidized housing is subject to special rules allowing pets. But in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, and New Jersey, elderly or disabled tenants have rights to keep pets in either public or private housing.  

There may also be breed restrictions. Bottom line seems to be if the management makes reasonable accommodations and the pet still creates problems, the tenant may be evicted.  

Many elderly people would not move to better housing if it meant giving up their pets. Researchers talked to 2,300 older people in Evanston (a North Shore suburb of Chicago, median income $56,140.). Nearly one-third owned pets. Of the pet owners, 86% said pet ownership dictated where they lived.  

“Pet friendly” seems to mean that pets are a consideration when renting. Pets in Need lists pet-friendly rental housing in San Mateo County and Palo Alto, California. "Pet security deposits" are in addition to the basic security deposit. Some apartments also charge "pet rent" which tacks an additional amount onto the basic rent. There are lists of retirement mobile home parks and housing for senior citizens that are said to be pet friendly. “Cat or dog under 40 pounds OK Resident must be able to care for pet $25 extra monthly rent” and “Cat or lap-size dog OK Executive Director must meet the pet $500 security deposit Resident must be able to care for pet” are typical.  


Another consideration for pet owners is The Loss of a Pet, the title of a book by Wallacem Sife. Dr. Sife recognizes the special responsibility involved with pets and seniors. “Single senior citizens as pet owners tend to be extremely affectionate, even doting on the animal. A pet shares the senior’s loneliness and the changes taking place in her or his ability to do things. A person’s health and mobility may have deteriorated, but pets love and depend on their owners as much as before. As hearing, sight and general tone diminish, so may one’s motivation to savor life. Eventually, when the pet as well shows signs of aging or health deterioration, the owner’s dependency is increased. This owner now must become even more of a provider and caretaker. Then death comes to the pet, [which] can lead to depression and deterioration in the older person, unless there is some other loving and stabilizing influence in that person’s life.”  


“Ensure lifetime care for your pet” urges the California charity 2nd Chance 4 Pets (2ndchance4pets.org). This membership 501(c)3 organization, based in Los Gatos, California, instructs people how to provide for their pet's care after they are gone. There’s a “Donate Now” button.  


Cost is a factor for many senior citizens in getting and maintaining a pet. The era of a visit to an animal shelter (“the pound”) where one selected, rather than paid for, a cat or dog headed for euthanasia is pretty much a thing of the past. The City of Berkeley’s Animal Care Services’ adoption fees range upwards from $10. (rodents) to $100. (dogs); cats are $75.00. All cats and dogs adopted from this shelter will be neutered or spayed before going home as one’s new pet. In most cases, once the adoption papers have been completed, the new cat or dog will be transported to a vet by the Animal Shelter, where s/he can be picked up. The cost for this procedure is included in the adoption price. The BACS 60/6/60 Plan: If you are 60+ and youadopt an animal who is 6+, you can get a 60% discount on the adoption fee. For information about low-cost veterinary clinics and BACS’ Low Cost Spay & Neuter Voucher Program: 510-981-6600. 

In honor of National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat-Month, sixty-eight year old Joy Behar hosted the Fee-Waived Cat Adoption Drive at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan in June. This event encouraged New York City residents to adopt free of charge. The adoption fee was waived for cats over one year old. The ASPCA “Free Over Three” cat adoption policy remains in effect all year long, allowing free adoption of any feline over the age of three. 

The Seattle Humane Society provides services to keep people and pets together in King County, Washington state. Low-income senior citizens can receive a supplemental supply of pet food. The Sacramento, California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalswaives adoption fees for seniors age 60+ who adopt an animal age five and over. 

An all-volunteer nonprofit that helps low-income seniors in the Dallas, Texas area hang onto their pets is Seniors' Pet Assistance Network. (seniorspets.org) SPAN's goal is to keep the human-pet bond intact by working with veterinarians or donating food. In 2009, it added a pet food pantry. "We're not a rescue, we don't find homes for pets, we don't offer spay and neuter. We help with basic veterinary care. Shots, flea and heartworm meds, and clients can apply for the food delivery route." One local veterinarian gives AARP members a 10 percent discount. Small groups such as SPAN carry much of the load around the country. 

Banfield Charitable Trust (banfieldcharitabletrust.org, 503-922-5801), a Portland, Oregon nonprofit, helps keep vulnerable populations united with their pets by funding grants for other pet charities that focus on programs that keep seniors and pets together. Banfield CEO McGill believes that “seniors go without food or other necessities to pay for the care of their pets. It's not so much surrendering the pets that's a problem, it's seniors going without that's the larger problem." Read “Finding ways to help elderly keep their pets at home,” by William Hageman. Chicago Tribune, August 10, 2011. 

Studies have consistently shown the health benefits of pet ownership. Purina's Pets for Seniors program reports working with animal welfare organizations nationwide to offer free pet adoption to qualified seniors over 60. More information is at petsforpeople.com. 

So… which senior citizens are able to have pets and do have pets? It would seem that the amount of personal income influences most considerations.  




Berkeley Paratransit Services is moving to the Aging Services Division. (Contact is North Berkeley Senior Center.) Taxi scrip is provided to income-qualified Berkeley residents age 70+ and to those with disabilities. The Berkeley City Council has voted to allow taxi fare increases. Taxi scrip will be worth less than its current value. Contact your Councilmember. Urge that taxi scrip value be increased accordingly.  

Alameda County Library and Contra Costa Library systems are making available to their patrons free and discounted passes to many Bay Area Museums. For details, visit discover.aclibrary.org or discover & gopasses@ ccclib.org. Or inquire about Discover & Go the next time you’re in the Albany branch of the AC Library; bring your library card. Berkeley Public Library is not a part of the Alameda County Library system; they are, however, interested in the Discovery program. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September and October 2011. Call to confirm, date, time and place. Readers are welcome to share news of events that may interest boomers and seniors. Daytime, free, and Bay Area events preferred. pen136@dslextreme.com 

Wednesday. Sept. 14. 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. Also Sept. 21 and 28. 

Wednesday, Sept. 14. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. John Kapusta, voice; Nicholas Mathew, piano.
Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14 - 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center Cultural Events class includes 2 Berkeley Repertory Theatre performances. Minimum enrollment of 15 required. To reserve a seat, visit the Office or call 510-747-7506. 

Wednesdy, Sept. 14 . 6:30 P.M. – 8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshops. Free. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720. 

Thursdays, beginning Sept. 15, 10 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center 1155 

Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Computer Basic Skills class. Nancy D’Amico, Volunteer 

Instructor. Sign up in advance.  

Thursday, Sept. 15. 7 P.M. El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Av. Join award-winning, local cookbook author, Marie Simmons for a talk and tasting. Her latest book is Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes that Make a Meal. 510-526-7512. 

Thursday, Sept. 15. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library, West branch. 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Sept. 22. 

Friday, Sept. 16, 12 Noon – 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. UC,B 125 Morrison Hall. Musicians and dancers will demonstrate their art and speak about their experience. Moderated by Prof. Tamara Roberts. Co-sponsored with the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. Free admission. 

Friday, Sept. 16, 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. 14th Annual Senior Resource Fair. Presented by San Leandro Senior Services. San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14 St. 510-577-3462. 

Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 A.M. Landlord /Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. 

Saturday, Sept. 17, 1:30 P.M. music; 2 P.M. show. SF Mime Troupe's 2010: The Musical. Willard Park, Berkeley, CA. Outdoors. Free. 415-285-1717. Also Sept 18. 

Tuesday, Sept. 20. 12:30P.M. San Francisco Gray Panthers General Meeting: "Mass Incarceration, The New Jim Crow." Fireside Room, Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin St. at Geary. # 38 bus.  

Wednesday, Sept. 21. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Music Dept., Hertz Concert Hall. Faculty Recital: Michael Orland, piano.
Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1 P.M. Gray Panthers meeting. North Berkeley Senior Center, 

2001 Hearst, corner MLK. 510-548-9696 and 486-8010.  

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging meets in a senior center, probably North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, corner MLK. #25 AC bus stops at the NBSC. Phone to confirm location. 510-981-5190. 510-981-5200. 

Thursday, Sept. 22. 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. Albany Senior Center Open House. Food, entertainment. 846 Masonic Av. 510-524-9122.  

Friday, Sept. 23 Final day to vote for North Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council members. 1901 Hearst, corner MLK. 510-981-5190. 

Friday, Sept. 23. 11 A.M. – 12 Noon California Telephone Access Program Deaf & Disabled Telecommunications program. South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. 510-981-5170. 

Saturday, Sept. 24. 10 A.M. OWL San Francisco General Meeting: Issues on the November SF ballot. Meeting co-sponsored by Senior Action Network and AAUW. 870 Market St. between 4th & 5th Sts. Market St. buses and Powell St. BART. 415-989-4422 info@owlsf.org 

Sunday, Sept. 25. 1:30 P.M. Book Into Film: The Last Station. Central Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge. Registration required: 510-981-6236.  

Monday, Sept. 26. 7 P.M. Kensington Library, 61 ArlingtonAve. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with brief discussion following. New members welcome. 510-524-3043.  

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 P.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Av., Alameda. “Getting the Most From Your Doctor’s Visit.” Lecture by Patient Advocate Linda Garvin, RN, MSN. Register in the Mastick Office or call 510-747-7506.  

Tuesday, Sept 27, 3 P.M. Tea & Cookies Book Club. Central Berkeley Public Library. 

Tea and Cookies. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. 

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 – 8 P.M. El Cerrito Library book discussion group. 6510 Stockton. Come to one or all discussions. Let the Great World Spin, novel by Colum McMcCann. 510-526-7512. 

Tuesday, Sept. 27. 7 P.M. Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls, talking about her upcoming book. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St. at Taylor, # 1. 27 buses.  

Wednesday, Sept. 28. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Symphony Orchestra - David Milnes, conductor. Ligeti: Lontano. Korngold: Violin Concerto, Ernest Yen, soloist. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Morrison's Song of Solomon. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16. 



Monday, Oct. 3. 6 P.M. Evening Computer Class. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 17 and 24. 

Wednesday, Oct. 5. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Felicia Chen, soprano; Daniel Alley, piano. Jason Yu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Oct. 5. 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center. 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. Balance Your Walk with the Alexander Technique. Lenka Fejt, certified teacher. This six-part workshop on the Alexander Technique has begun. Prepaid registration fee of $60. required. 510-747-7506. Also Oct. 12. 

Wednesday, Oct. 5 - 12 Noon. Playreaders. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.. Also Oct. 12 and 19. 

Wednesday, Oct. 5. 6 P.M. – 8 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Ave. Lawyer in the Library. Free 15 minute consultation with an attorney. Sign up in person at the Reference desk or call 510-526-3720 ext. 5 during library hours. 

Thursday, Oct. 6. 10 A.M. – 1 P.M. Lavender Seniors of the East Bay’s 5th Annual Aging in Place, Symposium and Resource Fair for Older Adults. Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro. Refreshments, entertainment by Stagebridge Senior Theater Company. Free. Dan Ashbrook at 510-667-9655 Ext 1 or email dan@lavenderseniors.org. 

Thursday, Oct. 6. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library South branch. 1901 Russell. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 13. 

Wednesday, Oct. 12. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Andrea Wu, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Oct. 12. 6:30 P.M. – 8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshops. Free. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. 510-526-3720. 

Thursday, Oct. 13. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Oct. 20 and 27. 

Saturday, Oct. 15. 11 A.M. Landlord/Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Public Library. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510- 981-6100. 

Tuesday, Oct. 18. 12:30 P.M. San Francisco Gray Panthers General Meeting: Program to be announced. Location: Fireside Room, Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin St. at Geary, # 38 bus. 415-552-8800. graypanther-sf@sbcglobal.net, http://graypantherssf.igc.org/ 

Wednesday, Oct. 19. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. University Gospel Chorus - Another Day's Journey. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Oct. 19. 1:30 P.M. At the San Lorenzo branch of the Alameda County Library, 395 Paseo Grande 510-670-6283. Social Security Administration Public Affairs Specialist Mariaelena Lemus will address questions and present information specifically for older adults. This program repeats at the other branches through December. No Reservations Required. Free. For more information call Library Older Adult Services at 510-745-1491. 

Thursday, Oct. 20. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library West branch. 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Oct. 27. 

Tuesday, Oct. 25. 3 - 4 P.M. Tea and Cookies. Central Berkeley Public Library. A book club for people who want to share the books they have read. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. (510) 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. 

Wednesday, Oct. 26. 12:15 P.M. – 1 P.M. Noon Concert Series Performing Arts - UC,B Hertz Concert Hall. Tony Lin, piano. Tickets not required. 510-642-4864. 

Wednesday, Oct. 26. 1:30-2:30 P.M. Alameda County Library, Albany branch. 1247 Marin Av. Great Books Discussion Group. Roman Fever, Edith Wharton’s short story. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Books are available at the Library. Parking! 510-526-3720 x 16. 

Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 26/Sacramentoand 27/South San Francisco, 2011 . "Dementia Care Without Drugs - A Better Approach for Long-term Care Facilities" symposia about misuse of psychotropic drugs as treatment for dementia, difficulty in managing dementia treatment, and non-pharmacological approaches to care. CANHR staff attorney Tony Chicotel presentation, "Stop Drugging Our Elders!" California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform http://www.canhr.org. 415-974-5171. Fax 415-777-2904.  


Eclectic Rant: Corporate Personhood

By Ralph E. Stone
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:32:00 AM

Last year, the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission invalidated the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, a federal law which prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate. (2 U.S.C. §441b).  

The Supreme Court ruled that the "government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity." According to the Supreme Court, its ruling is a logical extension of a long line of decisions affording First Amendment rights to corporations, but is clearly a set back for campaign finance law.  

What is assumed in the Citizens United decision is that corporations are natural persons within the meaning of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution and have, therefore, First Amendment rights. Ironically, the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to overturn that portion of the Dred Scott Decision, which ruled that blacks were not and could not become citizens of the United States or enjoy any of the privileges and immunities of citizenship. I cannot imagine the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment would find corporate personhood therein.  

The Fourteenth Amendment states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." 

The corporate personhood legal concept has been codified: "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise -- the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals." (1 U.S.C. §1) 

How did a corporation become a natural person? Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Corporate status enabled shareholders to profit and gave limited liability to directors, officers, and shareholders for the corporation's debts and obligations. For over 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight control over corporate chartering. 

Then came the controversial 1886 Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Although the Supreme Court supposedly did not make a direct ruling on the question of "corporate personhood," the misleading notes of a clerk finding corporate personhood were incorporated in the Court's decision. Whether this is myth or reality doesn't matter at this point. The Supreme Court has often cited this case for the proposition that a corporation is a "natural person." Thus, a precedent was set. 

The Santa Clara County case became the basis for a long line of court cases giving a corporation personhood. It is now firmly embedded in the law and neither the Supreme Court nor Congress is likely to overturn 123 years of precedent. The corporate personhood debate now centers on what subset of rights of natural persons should also be afforded to corporations. Proponents of corporate personhood have argued successfully over the years that corporations, as representatives of their shareholders, should have the same rights as natural persons, as for example, the First Amendment rights determined by the Supreme Court in Citizens United. 

Amending the U.S. Constitution via the first part of Article V is probably the most manageable means to eliminate corporate personhood. The first part of Article V states: "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, . . ." This was done to pass the Eleventh, Sixteen, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. 

There is a movement -- MovetoAmend.org -- that proposes to amend the Constitution to "establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights." Perhaps, all those appalled by the concept of corporate personhood should support this movement. 

What would change if corporations did not have personhood? After corporate personhood is abolished, new legislation will be possible. Here are a few examples: If “corporate persons” no longer had a First Amendment right of free speech, we could prohibit all corporate political activity, such as lobbying, and the billions of dollars in contributions to political candidates and parties. If “corporate persons” were not protected against search without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment, then corporate managers could not turn OSHA and the EPA inspectors away if they make surprise, unscheduled searches. If “corporate persons” were not protected against discrimination under the 14th Amendment, corporations like Wal-Mart could not force themselves into communities that do not want them.  

The Supreme Court created a legal fiction and now the fiction is ruling us. Imagine how different the economic and political landscape of the United States would be without the Santa Clara County decision and its progeny.

Wild Neighbors: The Hummingbird Dive Chirp Revisited

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 10:03:00 AM
Male Allen's hummingbird: a one-man band.
Steve Berardi (Wikimedia Commons)
Male Allen's hummingbird: a one-man band.

Three years ago, UC Berkeley students Chris Clark and Teresa Feo cracked the mystery of the dive chirp of the Anna’s hummingbird. The noise, produced at the nadir of a courting male’s vertical plummet, was thought by some ornithologists—included the late Luis Baptista of the California Academy of Sciences—to be vocal in origin, in part because its frequency was similar to that of the bird’s call. 

However, Clark and Feo used high-speed videorecordings and wind-tunnel tests to establish that the dive chirp was actually caused by the passage of rushing air through the hummingbird’s tail feathers. They staked out female hummingbirds at the Albany Bulb to attract males and captured a 60-millisecond spreading of the displaying males’ tail feathers coincident with the chirp. Males with customized tails displayed but did not chirp. In the wind tunnel tests at the Hopkins Marine Station, the sound was reproduced when the inner vein of a male’s outer tail feather fluttered at a frequency of 3.3 to 4.7 kiloherz, four octaves above middle C. The feathers essentially act like the reed of a clarinet. 

Clark went on to Yale, where he subjected more hummingbird species to flight recording and wind tunnel analysis with a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer. His new article, coauthored with Damian Elias and Richard Prum, has just been published in the prestigious journal Science (inaccessible to nonsubscribers, but the gist is on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPaVjhUsdAw; thanks to Rusty Scalf for the link.) He and his colleagues studied 14 “bee” hummingbirds, including the Anna’s, the Allen’s, the black-chinned, and some tropical forms. All have aerial courtship displays culminating in a loud noise, and most of the noises result from tail feather vibration. 

At a wind speed of 7 to 20 meters per second, the range of the hummers’ normal dive velocities, the tail feathers started to ripple rhythmically like the infamous Tacoma Narrows Bridge and emit piercing noises. Some effects involved multiple feathers: the middle tail feathers of a male Anna’s hummingbird amplify the vibration of the outer feathers. The Allen’s hummer has two sets of tail feathers that generate separate notes, and also makes a trilling sound with its wing feathers. “All the feathers I’ve tested…every single feather has made a sound,” says Clark. The species-specific sound depends on how the frequencies of individual feathers blend. Neighboring feathers can be 12 decibels louder than if they were vibrating separately. 

Although the feature may be unusually widespread in the hummingbird family, they’re not unique in using feather-generated noises in courtship and other social interactions. The “winnowing” of snipe is a well-known phenomenon, again involving the aerolastic fluttering of tail feathers. The mechanism was only elucidated last year: a male snipe’s outer tail feather has a weakened hinge region in the rear vane that flutters like a flag to produce the noise when the bird dives. Differences in the structure and sound of the other tail feathers have been used to support classifying the common snipe of Eurasia and the Wilson’s snipe of North America as separate species. 

Other birds, including northern lapwings, American woodcocks, and common nighthawks have noise-making wing feathers. A tropical songbird called the club-winged manakin produces a trilling sound by rubbing a curved secondary wing feather against an adjacent ridged feather, not unlike a zydeco musician playing a washboard. 

For some years I was convinced that the alarming sounds made by a courting male great-tailed grackle, including the part that sounds like crackling twigs, were mechanical in origin. Not so: the whole performance is vocal. 

Why are such sounds attractive to female hummingbirds, snipe, and others? Clark suggests two hypotheses. The volume of the dive chirp may be a proxy for fitness, a signal that the male has good genes. (And his genes are all that count: male hummers don’t take part in nest construction or parental care.) If females selectively mate with the loudest males, classic Darwinian sexual selection would drive the evolution of feathers better adapated to produce louder chirps. Alternatively, the dive noise could be what Richard Dawkins calls a boring by-product of some other trait, coupled to it by genetic linkage. We may have to wait until someone sequences the hummingbird genome to answer that one. 


On Mental Illness: Episodes of Fear and Anger

By Jack Bragen
Monday September 12, 2011 - 11:28:00 AM

I periodically have phases of a lot of anger. During those times, I am not very pleasant to be around; I raise my voice, behave stubbornly or walk out of a room to the bafflement of whoever is with me; usually my wife. There is never an excuse for physical violence, and I don’t do that. However, my mere anger, expressed in facial expressions and tone of voice, apparently is enough scariness to be unpleasant to others. 

Different people with schizophrenia or bipolar have been given diverse levels of anger. The presence of a lot of anger could be attributable to the illness. Some of it could come from posttraumatic stress. I believe that it is very common for people with schizophrenia or bipolar to also have posttraumatic stress disorder. We tend to have a history of mishaps either due to the illness affecting life circumstances, or outside of that. A troubled history can leave a person with a lot of anger. 

Sometimes the anger is turned inward. If a person seems excessively nice while perhaps being unkind to him or her self, it could be a case of that. Anger turned inward could come from a history of being bullied in which it wasn’t safe to express the anger. They may express it with passive aggression, or may even attempt self destructive acts including possibly suicide. (The high school scapegoat often does not succeed in life after high school. Such a person may have ongoing problems. The same goes for someone whose parents used them as a punching bag.) It is important for gentle people to have their anger directed outward. This allows the energy to leave the person’s system and not build up. 

To alleviate my anger without turning it inward or suppressing it, I practice meditation. If I have several good instances of meditation directed toward eliminating the anger, I can tone down the anger for periods of months. Meditation may not work for everyone. A type of meditation that works well for one person may not work for another. Taking a class in yoga or Zen would be a way to get introduced to meditation for those who don’t have much experience with it. 

It is important to “get the anger out” before trying to take the step of eliminating anger. If you try prematurely to get above anger, so that you become an even sweeter person, it will cause grave illness and will not make you a holier person. Anger that isn’t being dealt with can come out in strange ways. To direct one’s anger outward instead of at oneself can take years of work on oneself, and is not done in a month. The person’s ego must also be structurally sound enough to deal with intense painful emotions. Someone who has not dealt with their anger can be like a ticking time bomb. 

I am not suggesting that a person try to vent their anger in a situation of jeopardy. Let the tough guys go on being the manly men who they are. If you in your own mind acknowledge that you’re angry, it is good enough, and it is none of anyone’s business. Nor am I suggesting that you become the bullying person like the one who caused you to get sickened. The world has enough aggressors without adding another one. 

When the step is taken of redirecting anger outward, it can create a rude person, unless a number of strategies are used to vent the anger without becoming an ogre. When angered or upset, I give myself a time out. I also try to refrain from speaking except perhaps to communicate that I am going in another room. During the time out, I allow myself to calm down and get over the anger. Then my thoughts become clearer and less polarized. At this point, I try to stop blaming anyone for being the cause of my anger. Other people do not create your anger—you do it to yourself. Blaming another person for your emotions is dysfunctional. 

When I tried to quit Zyprexa and replace it with another medication, a few years back, it nearly made my wife move out. My behavior was rude and disagreeable, and I lost the insight that would have told me how I was acting and how others were reacting. Despite the side effects of Zyprexa which include metabolic syndrome, (a serious health risk), I am stuck taking that medication; for now the usefulness of it is irreplaceable for me. I try to compensate by watching what I eat. Unfortunately, most atypical antipsychotic medications have the same deleterious side effect. One hopes that the drug companies will come out with something better. 

I get stressed out sometimes by situations that would not affect most people. I have learned to simply let my wife do many things on her own, and leave me out of them. She doesn’t always like this. Yet the alternative is to put me in situations I wasn’t built for. Grocery shopping is one of my problem areas. I experienced a very traumatic event when I worked at a grocery store at age nineteen. That might be the reason why I can’t tolerate grocery stores, or there is some other factor that I am unaware of. We get some of our food at a drugstore rather than at a supermarket, and this is a help. 

If a person at all times acts nice and sweet, it does not necessarily indicate that anger isn’t present. That person might be trying to live up to a religious or philosophical ethic that values non aggression. Or, that person could have been severely punished for acting angry, and is terrified to express such an emotion. It is not a reasonable guideline to expect oneself or another person never to be angry. It is an emotion given to us by evolution for the purpose of self-protection. Fear is another emotion that helped our ancestors survive and bring us into existence. These emotions are deeply ingrained. I would be suspicious of anyone who claims they are without these emotions. 

It takes work to know if a person’s anger is due to issues or if it is due to the presence of a chemical imbalance. If someone’s anger seems excessive and not in proportion to the issue that it is about, it might indicate that medication, if not present, should be used. If the person is already on medication, and the anger seems excessive, the medication may need to be bumped up a bit. Yet, the mere presence of anger need not be attributed to there being something “wrong” with a person; it is a normal human emotion. 

The goal, then, is to direct the fear and anger toward positive acts that benefit us all. One doesn’t need to bully others in the name of expressing feelings. With practice, bottled up feelings can be vented without needing to victimize anyone in the process. And if someone’s anger seems out of proportion and out of control, it could be a medical issue.

Arts & Events

Theater Review: Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance at the Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 10:27:00 AM

"I find most astonishing ... the belief that I may, very easily, as they say, lose my mind one day."

In an upper middle class Connecticut home, circa 1960-something, Agnes, very much in control, gives vent to her carefully delineated fantasy. 

And her husband Tobias, mixing the evening's drinks--an ongoing ritual--at the personal bar upstage, genially (and diplomatically) replies, "We will all go mad before you." 

Before the act is out, in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, now playing at the Aurora (and extended for a week, through the two performances now scheduled for October 16), that surety will be sorely tested, and tested again and again through the rest of the play.  

The first big test comes when the moderately uneasy domestic threesome of Agnes, Tobias and Agnes' sharp, hard drinking sister Claire--who engages in one of Albee's great hairsplitting speeches, about leaving A. A,, as if testifying before a Congressional subcommittee.: "I never was, and never would be, a alcoholic. Or an. Not even ... What I didn't have in common with them. They were alcoholics. I am a drunk."--are joined by Tobias and Agnes' oft-declared best friends Harry and Edna, who have glimpsed "the terror" while at home, alone together, and move in on their friends without warning ... 

Just as they await the arrival of Julia, Agnes and Tobias' thirty-something daughter, into the wind-up (or the swing) of her third or fourth divorce by rushing home to her somewhat jaded family. 

The conundrums, situational and verbal, continue to tangle up and unravel, while Albee's barbed dialogue chimes in like clockwork: "We become allegorical as we become older, but we hold our individuality so dear"--or: ""We must coexist. This is what we mean by friendship, is it not?" Or: "When the daylight comes and the pressure's on, all the insight won't mean a damn." 

(Maybe most fitting: "There's no place to rest the weary head, or whatever ... ") 

Directed by Aurora artistic director Tom Ross, the cast is a particularly fitting one for this first production of the Berkeley company's 20th season: Kimberly King, the company's original leading lady (in Shaw's Candida) as the seemingly unflappable and commanding Agnes, and King's husband (they were married at the Berkeley City Club in 1993, when the Aurora occupied the room where Central Works now performs) company co-founder Ken Grantham as Tobias, diplomat, go-between (if sometimes behind Agnes' back) and mix--if not toast--master at the family hearth. The other players include Charles Dean as best friend Harry, Anne Darragh as his wife Edna, Carrie Paff as daughter Julia--all three familiar to Aurora Theatre-goers--and Jamie Jones as waspish sister Claire.  

And the cast is unusually good; they suit their respective roles and each other very well, important for a dramaturgically tight play with ricocheting dialogue. 

Opening night proved a great start for Aurora's anniversary season, the actors playing with sensitivity and elan for an audience which included the author, who'd just flown in from New York. 

There's a missing ingredient to the production, however, one the actors try to dub in sometimes, as in Ken Grantham's great "aria" (as a director friend called it), Tobias' effusion to Harry (and the rest, who crowd in towards the end) on friendship and hospitality--theatricality, in the formal sense, a little bit of stylization. The play follows the domestic rites, the liturgy, of the bourgeosie, not their discreet charm, as those solemnities, those vivacious or pro-forma formulas come close to upset, with the threat of emptiness from within, or mutual responsibility and genuine display of affection among each other ...  

More tension that can become free-floating, metaphysical, the atmosphere of a contagion gripping the community, as they keep bringing up the metaphor of the plague. And which could sharpen the satire. There may be--among others--a touch of T. S. Eliot's mordant humor here. (For a different reading of the play, see the 1971 American Film Theatre version, available on Netflix, Tony Richardson directing Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Kate Reid, Lee Remick, Joseph Cotten and Betsy Blair.) 

Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, near Shattuck. $10-$48; discounts available. 843-4822; auroratheatre.org

Around and About Music: Toledo, Morris, Philharmonia

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 09:12:00 AM

--Martha Toledo, singer from Juchitan on Mexico's Tehauantepec Peninsula, will return to La Pena Sunday at 7:30--after a free in-store appearance at Down Home Music in El Cerrito at 2--with guitarist Jose Roberto. Toledo, who is working on her third CD, is "a luminous presence," performing popular and original songs in Juchitan regalia (popularized by Frida Kahlo--Toledo performed at SF MoMA's Kahlo retrospective several years back). Berkeley filmmaker Maureen Gosling, who first met Toledo while working on her award-winning documentaries on Juchitan and its unusual women's culture, has brought Toledo, now resident of Oaxaca, to Berkeley twice before. 

The Planet published an article about Toledo, in 2008. There's a music video on YouTube. Gosling's Juchitan films--A Skirt Full of Butterflies; Sketches of Juchitan and Blossoms of Fire--are available through Intrepidas productions at: maureengosling.com Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito (525-2129).; La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shatuuck Ave. Berkeley (849-2568) lapena.org $16-$18. 

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale (led by Bruce Lamott) and Mark Morris Dance Company perform Purcell's Dido & Aeneas (circa 1688)--conducted and with choreography by Mark Morris (Bay Area conducting debut), with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and baritone Philip Cutlip, September 16-17 (8 p. m.) and 18 (3 p. m.), Zellerbach Auditorium, UC campus, presented by Cal Performances. $30-$110. 642-9988, calperformances.org

Around & About Theater--Golden Thread Productions' Latest Middle Eastern Play; James Keller's Poor Players ...

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:54:00 AM

Golden Thread Productions, the Bay Area's Middle Eastern play company, whose ReOrient festival of short plays has graced Berkeley stages, will present their world premiere of Adriana Sevahn's Night Over Erzinga, September 15-October 9, at the Southside Theater, Magic Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, San Francisco--a story of those who escaped to America from the Armenian Genocide, haunted by the past, yet the survivors reunited with their ancestors, from Armenia 1913 to 1930s Massachusetts to New York in the 60s. Directed by Hafiz Karmali, who directed Island of Animals for Golden Thread and the Afghan Alliance a few years ago, with original music by Penka Kounava. Previews, Thursday (September 15) at 8:30, Friday-Saturday at 8: $20 advance or pay-what-you-can at the door. Opening night, Sunday at 5, $100 with gala reception following. 8:30 Thursdays, 8 on Friday, Sunday at 2: $28; Saturdays at 8: $36. (415) 345-7575; goldenthread.org (In November, Golden Thread presents Hafiz Karmali's Rumi X 7 with the Islamic Cultural Center in Downtown Oakland: seven stories from the great Persian poet and founder of the whirling dervishes, onstage in the ICCNC's Moorish Revival hall, dating from 1908. 

Four Plays for Actresses, written and directed by East Bay playwright James Keller, long associated with the old Magic Theater, is the too-brief offering of Poor Players, running just two days--Friday at 8, Saturday at 2--at the Unitarian Fellowship, Cedar & Bonita, Berkeley. Keller's plays explore a range of themes with wit and sensitivity: The Waitress Who Read Proust, That's My Chair, A Lifetime in Madrid, All At Sea ... running just over an hour and a half, all told, featuring Ann Hallinan, Kate Jopson, Janice Leone and Martha Luhrman--Berkeley theatergoers will know one or the other. A handmade, tiny company that produces sterling work indeed. $20. poorplayers.org