The Week

Morrie Turner: 1926-2014
Joseph Young
Morrie Turner: 1926-2014


Get Active, for Pete’s Sake (2011)
(a poem for Pete Seeger)

By Gar Smith
Tuesday January 28, 2014 - 11:03:00 AM


If you’re humming in your hammock on a sunny summer day

And you hear some gears a-groaning on a hill across the way,

It just might be a feller-buncher tearing down some trees

So grab a rope and climb a limb and tell the loggers: “Freeze!”

New: Betty Medsger's The Burglary: They Broke the Law to Preserve It

By Carol Polsgrove
Monday January 27, 2014 - 09:39:00 AM

I have known for years that Betty Medsger, a former colleague and friend when we both lived in the Bay area, was working on the book that became The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI.

And now, it is here, and I see that one reason it took a long time arriving is that it is a very big book: not only the story of a group of eight anti-war activists who stole FBI files from an office in Media, Pennsylvania, but also the story of the world they unlocked the door to: J. Edgar Hoover's secret FBI.

That FBI story has been told before, but framed by the Media burglars' story it takes on a special meaning. Through Betty's telling, we can see how dramatically their brave act that March night in 1971 ripped back the curtain to reveal America's own demonic Wizard of Oz.

The sins of Hoover's FBI were legion, and The Burglary offers an array of them. Berkeley readers will especially be interested in the FBI's collusion in the firing of University of California President Clark Kerr, but there are worse cases—for instance the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton and the framing of a man imprisoned for his murder. -more-

New: The Threat From the Right -- and What to Do About It

By Lewis Dolinsky
Saturday January 25, 2014 - 09:40:00 AM

Andrew Schmookler, author, political commentator and candidate for Congress in Virginia in 2012, will speak about the danger from the right in America -- and how to combat it

Schmookler will appear at the Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29.

Schmookler's message:

"A destructive and dishonest force has arisen on the political right, unlike anything ever seen at center stage of American politics. The response from liberal America has been woefully inadequate.

"This combination of right-wing destructiveness and liberal weakness has caused tremendous damage. It's a dynamic that must be changed." -more-

Press Release: Survey Shows Students Opting Out of Buying Textbooks:
Students Demand Lower Cost Alternatives

Monday January 27, 2014 - 11:30:00 AM

Today, a survey released by CALPIRG Students at UC Berkeley shows that 65% of student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price, and nearly half say that textbook costs can dictate whether they take a course. -more-

Alter Theater Offers Great Plays in Rep in San Rafael Store-Front

By John A. McMullen II
Friday January 24, 2014 - 01:13:00 PM

Just across the Richmond Bridge, up in San Rafael, there is theater on the main drag in a storefront. But not always the same store-front . ALTER THEATER, run by Jeanette Harrison, is a little peripatetic and portable. But she draws some of the best established and emerging actors in the Bay Area, and runs her plays in repertory, i.e, more than one play running on alternate evenings.

It’s rough theatre: sometimes you can hear people vacuuming in the apartment upstairs, but it all seems to fit together. It works, and supplies Marin County with cutting edge theatre.

Right now, they are playing at 1344 Fourth Street which is the main drag of San Rafael.

Morrie Turner: 1926-2014

Wednesday January 29, 2014 - 10:45:00 AM

Betty Hannah Hoffman

Monday January 27, 2014 - 10:18:00 PM
Betty Hannah Hoffman: 1918-2014

Betty Hannah Hoffman, a retired executive editor of Cosmopolitan, and the only authorized biographer of Lucille Ball, died Friday at her home in Pacific Grove, CA. She was 96.

Ms. Hoffman, a pioneering journalist, was a 1939 cum laude graduate of Smith College in sociology. She edited the Smith yearbook and literary magazine, and Betty Friedan was on her staff. Following graduation, she served as a guest managing editor of Mademoiselle's first college issue. Ms. Hoffman then joined the Ladies Home Journal, where she rose to become associate editor. She wrote a series of articles on Joan and Ted Kennedy, and traveled with them on the campaign trail. The magazine enjoyed a circulation of 7 million, and she wrote two of the Journal's most popular long running columns, "Can This Marriage be Saved" and “How America Lives." Ms. Hoffman covered a wide swath of American life, from a coal mining family in Harlan County, Kentucky to the opulent Vanderbilt family estate. After working at the Ladies Home Journal, she served as the executive editor of Cosmopolitan under Helen Gurley Brown, and was head of press relations for the University of California system. She lived in Berkeley for about 20 years, between 1965 and 1985. -more-

Press Release: Congressman George Miller Endorses Tony Thurmond for Assembly

From the Tony Thurmond Campaign
Thursday January 23, 2014 - 04:00:00 PM

Richmond, CA – Congressman George Miller, one of California's most respected members of Congress and a recognized leader on education, labor and the environment, announced today his endorsement of Tony Thurmond for State Assembly, District 15. Miller represents Congressional District 11, which includes Richmond, San Pablo, Walnut Creek, Concord and Orinda. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Re-Districting Referendum Qualifies for Ballot

Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:20:00 PM

A statement from Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, posted tonight on the Berkeley Citizens Action Facebook page, announces that a referendum on the Berkeley City Council majority's redistricting plan has qualified for the ballot:

"Victory! We submitted over 7,500 signatures to stop the City Council majority's unfair gerrymandering of Berkeley! Once again the community has spoken and stood up to big power politics! Let's hope the Council listens to the people and adopts a fair and inclusive map."

The council now must choose between rescinding the redistricting scheme they've adopted and putting it on the ballot for a vote by citizens. -more-

Embedded in The Square: Inside Egypt's Revolution

By Gar Smith
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 03:52:00 PM

The Square is a powerhouse of a film that plunges you smack into the middle of a people's rebellion – Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011, where the Arab Spring sprang to rambunctious life. Jehane Noujaim's audacious filmmaking dives headlong into the emotions, the debates, the daring occupations of public space and the bloody repercussions that toppled the 30-year rule of the US-backed Egyptian strongman, Hosni Mubarak. The Square delivers 104 minutes of hope, heroism and heartbreak. The Square has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. -more-

Finest Kind –Freight & Salvage Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

By Carol Denney
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:18:00 PM
Finest Kind –Freight & Salvage Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

It’s like listening to pure gold.

Ian Robb, Shelley Posen, and Ann Downey of Ottawa’s Finest Kind started singing together after accidentally sitting close together at a singing circle. The sound that their three voices produced naturally was so arresting they couldn’t help but look at each other and wonder if they shouldn’t explore working together.

That was decades ago. Besides being internationally acknowledged as the finest vocal blend in music, Finest Kind has established itself as the pinnacle of musical arrangers, demonstrating their “we vote on every note” methods at workshops and festivals all over the world.

And they are so funny. Their Freight and Salvage show on Sunday, Feb. 2, will be rocking with laughter and sing-alongs – get your tickets early. -more-

Jerome Carlin

Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:50:00 PM

Jerome Carlin, a vibrant force in art, law and social justice in the Bay Area, died on January 7 at his home in Berkeley. Born in Chicago in 1927, he attended the Francis W. Parker School from kindergarten through 12th grade. Its liberal, progressive values had a great influence on him and it was there he formed many lifetime friends. He was graduated from Harvard University where he majored in Social Relations and was the student chairman of the Henry Wallace for President Campaign. He received his Master's and then Ph. D. degrees in Sociology at the University of Chicago. He also received his LL.B from Yale Law School. He wrote two books about the legal profession, LAWYERS ON THEIR OWN, a study of individual practitioners in Chicago, and LAWYERS' ETHICS, a survey of the New York City Bar, while at Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research. Both are considered seminal works in their field. He was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from The Social Science Research Council.

In 1964 he moved to Berkeley to teach and do research at The Center for the Study of Law and Society. In 1966 he left the University when his proposal to provide, for the first time, major city-wide free legal services to those who could not afford them was accepted by the Johnson Administration and he was chosen to be its director. This was the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, providing storefront law offices in five low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.

In 1970, as the money from Lyndon Johnson's poverty program was drying up, and his activities became more and more administrative, he decided to give in to his lifetime passion to paint. For the past 40 years Jerry was a full time painter with work in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Oakland Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in many private collections. His work has been shown in San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago and New York.

But he also continued his social activism. He swiftly opposed the War in Vietnam before it was popular to do so; helped create Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts that has grown to be a very effective and more encompassing organization now called California Lawyers For The Arts. He was active in creating the Bay Area Artists for Nuclear Sanity, supported the Ploughshares Fund, the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, worked with the Berkeley Fire Department to get a new firehouse built after the Oakland fire, and many other civic and peaceful causes.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Joy Carlin, two sons, Nicholas, a San Francisco lawyer and cellist, Alexander, a rock musician, and daughter Nancy, an actor and director and four granddaughters, Celeste, Miranda, Sofia and Allegra. -more-



The Crazies Go After a Berkeley Family

By Becky O'Malley
Friday January 24, 2014 - 11:26:00 AM

Well, wimp that I am, I initially decided not to write anything about the bizarre flyer that appeared on my doorstep on Tuesday morning tucked under my newspapers. Unlike many of the crackpot publications that I’ve received since I undertook this enterprise, it was neatly printed with correct spelling and punctuation. It seemed to have been written by an educated person (sentences, paragraphs, vocabulary) but it was apparent that the author is someone who resides at the intersection of Literacy and Lunacy.

The cover was a great big Google Maps screenshot of a house on the other side of Ashby from our house, with the address clearly visible. Superimposed on the picture in big type were these words:

Anthony Levandowski is building an unconscionable world of surveillance, control and automation. He is also your neighbor.”

The text accused Anthony, the guy who lives there, a pleasant, mild-mannered father of two little boys, of being the techo-equivalent of Satan Incarnate. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Berkeley Sirens? Police on Their Way to a Funeral.

Wednesday January 29, 2014 - 08:16:00 AM

Did you wonder why a whole lot of police cars and motorcycles with lights blazing and sirens shrieking roared up Ashby during rush hour traffic at 8 a.m. this morning? The dispatcher at the Berkeley Police Department thought they might just be on their way to the funeral of the BART detective who was killed by a colleague. If so, that's very inappropriate. It does nothing to memorialize the victim of what we hope was an unfortunate error to endanger those in the path of the speeding officers. -more-

Amazing Bedfellows Endorse Berkeley Referendum
Signature Drive Ends Tuesday

Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:38:00 PM

From the Berkeley Tenant's Union Newsletter:

"The Redistricting Referendum is now supported by BTU and The Council of Neighborhood Associations, SEIU Local 1021, East Bay COPE, former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, the Alameda Green Party, the Cal Dems, and former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean."

Who would ever expected to see all these people on the same page? Must be something going on!

Tuesday is the last day to sign the petition to put it on the ballot. -more-


Odd Bodkins: The Little Heroes (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday January 29, 2014 - 10:41:00 AM

Odd Bodkins: Borrowed Vengeance (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday January 29, 2014 - 10:35:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Blessings from Pete Seeger

By James Patterson
Wednesday January 29, 2014 - 12:06:00 PM

It was a cold night in Manhattan November 30 as I made my way to Carnegie Hall for what would be the last annual Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger holiday show. Seeger, 94, died January 26. The show was a family tradition that outlasted most of my family, save for my son and me. -more-

New: Help Save Berkeley Post Office Tonight at City Council

By Margot Smith
Tuesday January 28, 2014 - 02:44:00 PM

Fill the Council Chambers at Old City Hall tonight (Tuesday) at 6:30.

Convince the Council to vote YES. Let’s make this the law.

MUSIC! RALLY! on the steps!

The Zoning Overlay Ordinance on Berkeley’s Historic Civic Center District which includes our historic Post Office has gained national attention. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the Ordinance features to the City Council. Tuesday, January 28th the Council will vote on the Overlay. Again we must fill the room to overfull! -more-

New: Building Power

By Harry Brill
Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:24:00 PM

There are still many who believe that we lack the money to fund and improve our vital social and economic programs. But consider the following -- Social Security benefits can be substantially increased by raising the taxable limit of $117,000. Why should executives who earn, say $500,000, pay no more social security taxes than someone who earns substantially less. How about supporting a viable and expanding food stamp program for the growing number of poor Americans by at least in part reducing if not abolishing the tax deduction for executives who dine their clients and others in expensive restaurants. And generally speaking, how about assuring that the rich pay at least the same rate of income tax as the average worker? In fact, it is commonly known that some corporations that earn billions of dollars pay no taxes at all. What a major difference these changes would make to appreciably improve our quality of life. -more-

Setting the Record Straight on the Oakland Zoo Expansion Plan

by Laura Baker, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:24:00 PM

In last week's Oakland Tribune (1/9/14) Joel Parrott called for unity to launch the Oakland Zoo's disastrous expansion plan in Knowland Park, a plan reminiscent of many grandiose projects that appeal to a seductive illusion. Parrott lashed out at park proponents who aren't buying that destroying park land to create an illusory experience is better than holding on to the real deal. The California Trails project would fence, grade, and destroy 56 acres of prime park land in an effort to transport visitors back in time to pre-1850 California and charge them for the experience. To sell the deal, zoo execs have resorted to using secrecy and truth twisting to make some of the more problematic aspects of the project go away. -more-

A Muslim American Reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By Khalida Jamilah
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:05:00 PM

On January 20th, Americans will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr, Day—a day to commemorate his achievements and to end racial segregation particularly for the African-Americans in the United States. Although I am not an African-American, King is one of my inspirations. He inspires me to be perseverant and courageous no matter how harshly people oppose you. And I am even more grateful because in one part of his classic “I Have a Dream” speech, I can make a connection to the Islamic teaching on equality for all humankind. This part, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is parallel to the farewell sermon of the founder of Islam. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him) said, “All of you are equal. All men, whatever nation or tribe they belong to, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal…….an Arab possesses no superiority over the non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab over an Arab.” -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: It’s Class Warfare, Stupid!

By Bob Burnett
Friday January 24, 2014 - 12:24:00 PM

Republicans have begun their campaign to regain the Senate in the 2014-midterm elections. So far, they’ve emphasized negative ads about Obamacare. If this tactic falters, the GOP will fall back on the same lies they used in the 2012 presidential election: “Obama’s policies have hurt the economy.” Republicans talk as if they are job creators but they’re actually job destroyers, engaged in class warfare. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Delusions and Recovery

By Jack Bragen
Friday January 24, 2014 - 12:22:00 PM

Aside from moans about the evil mental health treatment system (which sometimes it is) it is obvious to anyone who can think that the life of a person with a major mental illness, at least some of the time, is pure hell. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: 2014 Democratic Agenda: Protecting the 47 Percent

By Bob Burnett
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:03:00 PM

Politicians occasionally tell the truth. That happened in September of 2012, when Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney lambasted the “47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what [because they] are dependent upon government [and] believe they are victims.” Romney spoke for the Republican Party, which has decided to turn its back on the least fortunate Americans. The 2014 Democratic Agenda must respond to the cold-hearted Republican stance. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Crisis in the California Courts

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:49:00 PM

Last year, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi made statements on the importance of adequate funding for the California courts.

Why? Because the California state court system -- the largest in the world - is in crisis. In the last five years, the judicial branch has been cut $1 billion and over the same time, General Fund support of the court system has been reduced by almost 65 percent and an additional $1.7 billion has been borrowed or redirected from court construction costs. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Tragic Shooting in North Carolina

By Jack Bragen
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:11:00 PM

An eighteen year old man afflicted with schizophrenia was shot and killed by a policeman in North Carolina. He hadn't commited a crime, but was exhibiting symptoms of mental illness which may have included agitation and/ or, being assaultive. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Memoirs, Memories

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Thursday January 16, 2014 - 04:08:00 PM

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about memoirs. All these references to memoirs and memoir-writing and writing about one’s own memories. If you Google memoir-writing, you’ll get ‘how to’ do your own thing as well as eager ghost-writers galore! And there are senior center and library classes on memoir-writing. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why Hasn’t Obama Reined in NSA?

By Bob Burnett
Friday January 10, 2014 - 04:34:00 PM

After the 2008 election, Barack Obama supporters had high expectations for his national-security policy. We thought he’d end US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and open talks with Iran. We expected he would close down Guantanamo and end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic surveillance program that collects Americans’ phone and e-mail data. He’s accomplished some of these objectives but he hasn’t reined in the NSA. Why not? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Contagious Delusions

By Jack Bragen
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:13:00 PM

Delusions can become perniciously contagious when more than one person not in treatment associate together and enable one another, especially if they are away from outside contact. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Ben Kreith Trio: Rosenak/Josheff/Kreith
At Berkeley Arts on Friday

Monday January 27, 2014 - 11:36:00 AM

Alban Berg's trio arrangement of the Adagio from his Chamber Concerto will be played alongside music by Darius Milhaud and Peter Josheff. Also a performance of Galina Ustvolskaya's austere and uncompromising 1949 Clarinet Trio. Her controversial music has been described as "a phenomenon" (Dmitri Shostakovich), "to be approached with caution" (Alex Ross) and "kind of ugly" (Roy Harris). Here's a chance to hear for yourself! -more-

Press Release: Expressions Gallery invites you to the Grand Opening of the Homelessness Art Show:
Saturday, January 25, from 6-8 PM

From Marcia Poole, Renna Flohr, Alejandro Soto-Vigil
Friday January 24, 2014 - 12:27:00 PM

The City of Berkeley co-sponsored the Homelessness Art show and contributed funds that covered the costs of art supplies from the homeless artists. Their art, as well as that of community artists, show the many aspects of homelessness. Please come and join us in the presentation of this important exhibition to the public. -more-

Around & About Theater: Jovelyn Richards & Luisah Teish--Ín the House of the Mothers,'Sunday at La Pena

By Ken Bullock
Friday January 24, 2014 - 12:19:00 PM

African-American storyteller Jovelyn Richards, a kind of vaudevillean, & her band will be joined by Luisah Teish for "än interactive version of Mz. Pat & the Voudou Queen ... who comes to visit with a bundle of herbs & charms in her pocket." Mz. Pat's Jovelyn's ongoing alter-ego, a 30s brothel madam whose house offers sanctuary & escape from the world outside, "where love & healing are experienced through ritual theater." A rare collaboration by two original performers. One night only, this Sunday at 7, La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck (near Ashby BART). $15 -more-

Around & About The Movies: Noir City Film Noir Fest #12

By Ken Bullock
Friday January 24, 2014 - 12:18:00 PM

Noir City, the brainchild of Eddie Muller of Alameda, is back for its twelfth time around, from Friday night until a week from Sunday afternoon, with evening shows & weekend matinees (at the bargain price of $10 per double or triple feature program) on the glorious big screen at the Castro Theatre. -more-

JUDI IRANYI PHOTOGRAPHY Site Launched (First Person)

By Judi Iranyi
Friday January 24, 2014 - 01:05:00 PM

I recently launched my website -- JUDI IRANYI PHOTOGRAPHY. I hope everyone will enjoy looking at it; I encourage everyone to share the link with your friends who are interested in photography. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Shadowlight's Poro Oyna,' Myth of the Aynu

By Ken Bullock
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:16:00 PM

The Aynu (or Ainu), indigenous people of Hokkaido, Northern Japan, and of Easternh Russia, whose culture dates back 2200 years, were only recognized as such by the Japanese Diet in 2008. Fewer than 15 native speakers of their language are alive. -more-