The film "Farmageddon" is screening at SF's Roxie Theatre and the Rafael Theatre in San Rafael--see review below in "Arts & Events".
The film "Farmageddon" is screening at SF's Roxie Theatre and the Rafael Theatre in San Rafael--see review below in "Arts & Events".

Page One

UC Berkeley Graduates Detained in Iran Expected to Return to U.S. Today

By Bay City News
Sunday September 25, 2011 - 11:13:00 AM

Two University of California at Berkeley graduates who were detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years are expected to return to the United States today, after spending three days in Oman following their release from Iran. -more-

Public Comment

Join "Tax the Rich" Demonstration in Berkeley on Monday Evening

By Julia Ross
Sunday September 25, 2011 - 10:56:00 AM

One Monday, September 26, at 6:00 pm, there will be another gathering in Berkeley in front of the closed Oaks Theater on Solano Ave. to demonstrate to Tax The Rich. Please join us. Bring a "Tax The Rich" sign if you can. Our numbers are growing, as are the thousands that are camped out on Wall Street in New York City. -more-

Response to "Laura's Law in A Nutshell"

By Jack Bragen
Sunday September 25, 2011 - 11:05:00 AM

Court-ordered, intensive, outpatient treatment. What would this look like in practice? Well, a couple of beefy guys would restrain a psychiatric patient, and a nurse would shoot antipsychotic medication into the person’s ass. It would not be a pretty sight. The side effects of the medication come later. Will the workers have the time to remain on site for the next twelve hours to monitor side effects? Doubtful. If the person is having muscle spasms or rigidity, or perhaps neuroleptic malignant syndrome, who do they call for help? Who will answer when they call? -more-


What's the News Today, and Why?

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday September 21, 2011 - 02:26:00 PM

The eternal paradox about what is commonly called journalism is why so many people who commit it manage not to see what’s going on before their eyes, even as a reasonable number of others, in and out of journalism, do.

Ever wonder about what’s happening in the global economy? Well, here it is, a summary which could fit on the back of an envelope, and it’s even perversely funny:

“Quarterly GDP data don’t, on the whole, tend to make the person studying them laugh out loud. The most recent set, however, are an exception, despite the fact that the general picture is of unrelieved and spreading economic gloom. Instead of the surge of rebounding growth which historically accompanies successful exit from a recession, we have the UK’s disappointing 0.2 per cent growth, the US’s anaemic 0.3 per cent and the glum eurozone average figure of 0.2 per cent. That number includes the surprising and alarming German 0.1 per cent, the desperately poor French 0 per cent and then, wait for it, the agreeably frisky Belgian 0.7 per cent. Why is that, if you’ve been following the story, laugh-aloud funny? Because Belgium doesn’t have a government. Thanks to political stalemate in Brussels, it hasn’t had one for 15 months. No government means none of the stuff all the other governments are doing: no cuts and no ‘austerity’ packages. In the absence of anyone with a mandate to slash and burn, Belgian public sector spending is puttering along much as it always was; hence the continuing growth of their economy. It turns out that from the economic point of view, in the current crisis, no government is better than any government – any existing government.”

(From an opinion article by John Lanchester in a recent London Review of Books.)

That paragraph alone is worth column inch after column inch of sententious pieces in the American press attempting to convey what the hell the U.S. Congress is up to—yes, even in the New York Times, most of whose staffers appear not to read what Professor Paul Krugman writes on their own op-ed page. We’d be better off without this current Congress, wouldn’t we, so why not just say so? This is not an endorsement, by the way, of the Tea Party anti-government ideology, just a glum statement of observable fact. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Yet Another Schedule Update

Sunday September 25, 2011 - 12:21:00 PM

Some days not much happens, so we've decided only to publish "new issues" when there's a critical mass of new stories. That won't necessarily be every day, especially on weekends. This current issue covers both Saturday and Sunday, for example, though it has Saturday's date, September 24.

And there are now four (4) ways to check for what you've missed: scrolling back day by day with the "Previous Issue" button at the top left of the page; getting a list of stories with lede paragraphs by using "The Week" button; getting complete stories in a list with the "Full Text" button; and using the links on the lower righthand side of the home page. -more-

Speak Out on Issues for Tuesday's Berkeley City Council Meeting

By Becky O'Malley
Saturday September 24, 2011 - 04:23:00 PM

As a resident of District 8, I received the following (slightly abridged) communication from my councilmember, Gordon Wozniak:

At its Sept 27th meeting the Berkeley City Council will consider a number of important issues. For residents who are unable to attend the Council meeting, but wish to provide input to the Council, Councilmember Wozniak has posted five agenda issues on the Open Town Hall website.:

Should the Berkeley City Council adopt a Resolution authorizing dollar amounts for the following relocation payments referenced in Section 13.84.070 of the revised ordinance: 1) per diem payments of $120 for a single person household, $135 for a two-person household and $166 per day for a household of three or more persons; 2) dislocation allowance of $400; 3) fixed payment for moving costs of $300; 4) fixed payment for storage costs of $200; and 5) reimbursement for pet boarding costs up to a maximum of $50 per day for dogs and $20 per day for cats?

Should the City Council refer to the City Manager consideration of establishing an ordinance like LA's to limit harassment?

Should the City Council refer to the City Manager consideration of the establishment of a DUI ordinance similar to one in Oakley, CA where those convicted of a DUI must pay for all city expenses due to their DUI crime?

Should the City Council Support the United Farm Workers Petition to End the Secure Communities Program?

Should the City Council refer to the Planning Commission a Zoning Ordinance amendment to allow automobile dealers to become a legal conforming use on South Shattuck Ave, including the ability to lease or purchase additional property if necessary?

If you have anything to say on any of these issues, you're invited to send your signed opinions of any length to -more-


Setting Limits With Obama

By Bob Burnett
Saturday September 24, 2011 - 04:03:00 PM

Barack Obama has been a disappointment but in 2012 Americans will either vote for him or a Republican Neanderthal. To stay in the White House Obama will need our support. That’s an opportunity to set limits, to make specific demands. Here are four suggestions.

Jobs: In the most recent New York times/CBS News poll 59 percent of respondents were most concerned about the economy and jobs. President Obama must focus on his jobs plan because every American who wants to work should be able to find a decent job with a living wage. -more-

Arts & Events

Farmageddon: America's War Against Small Farmers

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Sunday September 25, 2011 - 11:55:00 AM

Farmageddon is screening at SF's Roxie Theatre and the Rafael Theatre in San Rafael

The first-person stories related in Kristin Canty's new documentary, Farmageddon, may sound like people recounting the post-trauma shock of a drug-raid but these "perps" are not pot-growers or drug-smugglers, they are family farmers and members of organic produce buying clubs. -more-

Back Stories



What's the News Today, and Why? 09-21-2011

The Editor's Back Fence

Yet Another Schedule Update 09-25-2011

Speak Out on Issues for Tuesday's Berkeley City Council Meeting 09-24-2011

New Feature: "The Week" Button 09-23-2011

About the New Schedule 09-22-2011

It's a New Schedule for the Planet 09-21-2011

Keep Those Comments Coming under the Planet's New Schedule 09-20-2011

A New Schedule: PLEASE READ 09-19-2011


Cartoon Page: Odd Bodkins, BOUNCE 09-21-2011

Public Comment

Join "Tax the Rich" Demonstration in Berkeley on Monday Evening By Julia Ross 09-25-2011

Response to "Laura's Law in A Nutshell" By Jack Bragen 09-25-2011

New: Letters 09-22-2011

Death Panel Machine By Bruce Joffe 09-21-2011

City Stalls Its Response to Report about Unfunded Liabilities By James Fousekis 09-21-2011

Is Arreguin's "Vacancy Registration Fee" a Solution to Downtown Berkeley Problems? By Thomas Lord 09-20-2011

A New Paradigm for Downtown Berkeley's Retail Spaces? By Thomas Lord 09-20-2011

Letters 09-18-2011

An Explanation of My Withdrawal from Cal Ruby Pipes 09-19-2011

Communicating with BART By Thomas Lord 09-18-2011


UC Berkeley Graduates Detained in Iran Expected to Return to U.S. Today By Bay City News 09-25-2011

Nurses at Alta Bates in Berkeley and Other Hospitals Told to Stay Away Until Thursday By Sara Gaiser (BCN) 09-23-2011

Two Arrested During Protests on UC Berkeley Campus By Patricia Decker (BCN) 09-23-2011

Fall Budget and Fee Protests Begin at UC Berkeley By Steven Finacom 09-23-2011

9/11 in the Comics By Gar Smith 09-23-2011

New: Protesters in Berkeley March against Tuition Hikes, Occupy Classrooms By Scott Morris (BCN) 09-22-2011

Press Release: Bayer Biotech Workers in Berkeley Send Company a Stinging Rebuke From Craig Merrilees, ILWU 09-22-2011

New: "Unofficial Mayor" of Telegraph Busted for "Interfering" with a Cop As Medheads Get Front-Row Seats By Ted Friedman 09-22-2011

Updated: California Nurses Strike at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley and Elsewhere By Laura Dixon, Bay City News Service 09-22-2011

Nurses Strike Throughout California By Bay City News Service 09-22-2011

Just Another Berkeley South Side Crime Story: Who Killed People's Park Activist Gina Sasso? by Ted Friedman 09-22-2011

Mark Coyote By John Curl 09-22-2011

Updated: Families Say Release of Hikers is "Best Day of Our Lives" By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) 09-21-2011

Flash: Two UC Berkeley Graduates Released in Iran By Bay City News 09-21-2011

Berkeley's Public Housing Units May Be Bought by Billionaire (Analysis) By Lynda Carson 09-21-2011

Press Release: Negotiations at Bayer’s bio-tech plant in Berkeley break down: Company refuses to protect jobs after taking taxpayer subsidies From Craig Merrilees, ILWU 09-19-2011

New Thousand Oaks Urns Dedicated By Steven Finacom 09-19-2011


Setting Limits With Obama By Bob Burnett 09-24-2011

New: Dispatches From The Edge: Arms, China & the Obama Administration By Conn Hallinan 09-22-2011

New: Laura's Law in a Nutshell By Ralph E. Stone 09-22-2011

Senior Power… The Only Disease By Helen Rippier Wheeler 09-22-2011

My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.) By Dorothy Bryant 09-22-2011

New: On Mental Illness: Something for Nothing By Jack Bragen 09-22-2011

Wild Neighbors: Post-Communist Birds By Joe Eaton 09-21-2011

The Public Eye: Job Wars: Republicans Strike Back By Bob Burnett 09-19-2011

Senior Power… Where's the Lavender Soap? By Helen Rippier Wheeler 09-19-2011

Arts & Events

Farmageddon: America's War Against Small Farmers Reviewed by Gar Smith 09-25-2011

Architecture, Dance, Music in Berkeley This Weekend By Steven Finacom 09-23-2011

Theater Review: Golden Thread Premieres Night Over Erzinga By Ken Bullock 09-21-2011

Theater Review: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup at Berkeley Rep By Ken Bullock 09-21-2011

Theater Review: Remember the Ladies: Poor Players at Unitarian Fellowship and Live Oak Theater By Ken Bullock 09-21-2011

Around & About Music: Fall Free For All; Inga Swearingen's Swedish Farm Jazz By Ken Bullock 09-21-2011

Theatre Review: Eye from the Aisle: A DELICATE BALANCE by Edward Albee--if your hair is gray, do not hesitate to get a ticket while they last. by John A. McMullen II 09-19-2011

Don't Miss This By Dorothy Snodgrass 09-19-2011

Architecture Review: Flashy Architecture and Bad Urbanism at the Berkeley Art Museum By Charles Siegel 09-18-2011