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Press Release: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Unveils the Shirley Chisholm Forever® Stamp-- U.S. Postal Service Stamp Unveiled at Women’s Economic Agenda Forum

From the Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:40:00 PM

Oakland-- Congresswoman Barbara Lee will join Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey to unveil the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever® stamp. The event will be held 10:00 am at the Mills College’s Rothwell Center located at 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA. -more-


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

By Carol Polsgrove
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:35:00 PM

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-

Public Comment

February Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday February 01, 2014 - 06:27:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-

Israel - the Peace Process

By Jagjit Singh
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:00:00 PM

In a significant development, Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid stressed the urgent need to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He warned that failure to do so could lead to a European boycott of the Jewish state seriously impacting exports, the loss of thousands of jobs, soaring inflation and internal unrest. The Institute of National Security, a Tel Aviv think tank, warned that “Israel’s economy is much more vulnerable than its national security.” EU foreign ministers dangled a large juicy carrot pledging “an unprecedented European political, economic and security support package” to both Israelis and Palestinians “in the context of a final status agreement.” This would be an unprecedented win-win for both sides of the conflict. The EU cautioned Israel that further settlement construction could jeopardize the EU offer. Mr. Lapid warned that failure to heed the EU strictures could isolate Israel from the EU and other trading partners - much like former apartheid South Africa. -more-


Three Berkeley Stories Which Might Be Happening

By Becky O'Malley
Friday January 31, 2014 - 03:27:00 PM

Readers keep calling and writing to tell me about things they know are going wrong in Berkeley, as if I could do something about it. I wish.

They hope that I still command the services of crack reporters who will dig deep into stories of evil intent and actual wrongdoing, and that when the news is out the people will put a stop to it, whatever it might be. Again, I wish.

I originally became a journalist because I thought that if you told people the truth, the truth would make them free. This came after a period of working in politics, managing campaigns and marching for causes. We were telling the truth there, too, but seldom was anyone paying attention, though we had our successes as well as a lot of failures.

So I shifted to journalism and adopted a new slogan: let people know what’s coming down before it lands on them. The idea was that even if you couldn’t persuade, you could at least warn, and then folks would be on their own to take the appropriate action. That strategy also produced some good results, but not as many as you might have thought it would.

It turns out that almost nobody wants to hear the bad news. Readers are happy to learn that a new and better pizzeria has opened in their neighborhood, but they don’t want to hear that the one that’s already there has gone under in the recession. And many aspire to be journalists, but competent reporters who can produce consistent results without dissolving into hissy fits when they miss a story are rare.

Now we can no longer pay reporters of any sort. I myself am too old, or maybe just too tired, to do the kind of big investigative pieces I did in my youth, with or without being paid. And yet, with no reporters, competent or otherwise, at my beck and call, I continue to be deluged with plausible-sounding tips from the still-numerous Planet audience. What should I do with them?

Here’s an experiment. I’m going to outline three might-be-true stories which are now circulating in the local gossip mill, and offer them to anyone who wants to pick them up and confirm or disprove the rumors. I would be happy if someone produced a story about any of these for another publication, and would also be happy to publish any results that seemed correct on this site. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Obama Comes Out Fighting

By Bob Burnett
Friday January 31, 2014 - 03:44:00 PM

Many Democrats were nervous about President Obama’s 2014 State-of-the-Union Address. For the past three months – since the end of the government shutdown – the President made a series of mistakes and the odds of Democratic 2014 mid-term-election victories diminished. But Obama came out fighting and established seven themes that should help the Democratic cause. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Keeping Firearms From the Mentally Ill

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:05:00 PM

The Obama administration announced January 3, 2014 executive actions intended to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing a rule whereby states can submit information on such people to the National Criminal Background Check System (NICS). -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Burning Bridges vs. Building Them

By Jack Bragen
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:01:00 PM

When someone receives a diagnosis that they are mentally ill, often they lose a number of their friends. Many people, it seems, do not want to associate with someone who has a mental illness. If the illness has caused someone to behave in ways that people can't accept, that person could lose more friends. -more-

Odd Bodkins: Yesterday (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday February 01, 2014 - 06:23:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Football (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday February 01, 2014 - 06:20:00 PM

Arts & Events

AROUND & ABOUT THEATER: 'Ubu' at Cuttting Ball

By Ken Bullock
Friday January 31, 2014 - 03:53:00 PM

"Äfter us, the Savage God." Young W. B. Yeats' melancholy pronouncement, the morning after one of the notable theater riots that took place periodically in Paris, from the heyday of Victor Hugo in the 1830s through 'Rite of Spring' & Picabia & Satie's 'Mercure', well into the 20th century, was handwringing over the implications of what 'Ubu Roi,' which opened & closed December 10, 1893, seemingly a mad farce by a 23-year old Alfred Jarry, pumped up from a scatologically-spoken schoolboy puppet show he & his friends put on in lycee to gig an unpopular teacher. (Yeats mentions the actors playing leapfrog onstage.) -more-

AROUND & ABOUT THEATER: A Note on Jovelyn Richards & Luisah Teich at la Pena

By Ken Bullock
Friday January 31, 2014 - 03:50:00 PM

Jovelyn Richards, an original kind of solo artist (backed up by her band & chorus), one who makes a new kind of cabaret or vaudeville from the African-american tradition of storytelling, did something unusual by combining forces with Luisah Teich for an encounter between one of Jovelyn's alter egos, Mz. Pat, brothel madam who helps heal the community around her, & Teich's Voudou Queen, modeled after Marie laval, visiting Mz. a moment of tension over discrimination & murder in Cleveland, 'In the House of the Mothers,' staged one night at La Pena last week. -more-

The PORNOGRAPHER’ DAUGHTER is entertaining and The Real McCoy

By John A. McMullen II
Friday January 31, 2014 - 04:36:00 PM

The PORNOGRAPHER’ DAUGHTER at lives up to its name. Liberty Bradford Mitchell is the real thing: daughter of Artie Mitchell, who with his brother won the Cannes Film Festival Award for the ground-breaking “Behind the Green Door,” and who ran the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Street theatre that earned a “must see” in Playboy Magazine back in the day. -more-