A candlelit vigil in memory of the homeless woman whose body was found in the yard of a building on Martin Luther King Way in Berkeley, located very close to Berkeley High School and the headquarters of the Berkeley Police, was held on the steps of Berkeley City Hall tonight. During the observance, participants were notified that the police had identified the woman as Laura Jadwin, 55. -more-
Estragon: "The best thing would be to kill me, like the other."
Vladimir: "What other? (Pause) What other?"
Estragon: "Like billions of others."
I was talking with playwright James Keller not long ago, who casually said that the two great—or was it most influential?—plays of last century were Pirandello's 'Six Characters in Search of an Author' and Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot,' the first a sensation in Paris before World War II by an established Italian dramatist and fiction writer, and the second coming in with the War's aftermath, seemingly out of nowhere, a surprise hit in Paris, then elsewhere around the globe, by an obscure Irish expat poet, novelist and translator, written in French.
'Six Characters' isn't produced so much anymore (Paris' Théâtre de la Ville staged it—and very well—on tour here a few years ago for Cal Performances), though its influence still makes itself felt in elegant, mostly indirect ways. But 'Godot' (as well as its shy genius Beckett) has proven itself a keeper in theaters any and everywhere, as well as being taught in classrooms—and becoming a catchphrase, waiting pointlessly for someone or something that never shows ...
'Godot's' notoriously difficult to put on, despite a simple premise and set-up just as simple: two tramps wait in a barren landscape, graced only by a bare tree (which has put out leaves in the second of two acts) for the ever-absent Mr. Godot, who they seem to expect help from, but are given the message he won't be there today—apparently ad infinitum. Meanwhile, while waiting for their presumptive benefactor, they witness a kind of profane epiphany: the strange appearance, in this no particular place, of a roaming master with a whip and his exhausted manservant.
Most productions, even some that basically stick to the letter, inevitably gild the lily somehow, or (maybe more a fault of the past) try to discover some symbolism as key to it all—or chalk it all up to Existentialism—when it's like a theatrical poem, to be acted out literally and taken in whole by the audience—a recital. Somewhere along the line (and it's happened with Chekhov, too, and other modern playwrights), the realization set in that 'Godot' has much humor—Gogo & Didi (Estragon and Vladimir's nicknames for each other, all they're addressed by onstage) are old troupers, vaudevillians right out of Music Hall with their sad andeager jokes and occasional slapstick—and inevitably it's staged as a sketch or kind of stylized, heavy situation comedy, with no situation at all.
I don't know if I've ever seen a purely satisfying staging of it, just more or less interesting and enjoyable renditions. This new version, though, a collaboration between Oakland's Ubuntu Theater Project and Berkeley's Inferno Theatre, seems to be the closest yet, more and more interesting as it unfolds—and more and more enjoyable. -more-
A man police believe killed one woman and wounded another in two separate knife attacks in Berkeley earlier this month was arraigned on four felony charges in Alameda County Superior Court today. -more-
It’s been over two months since the devastating presidential election; time enough for liberals to ask each other, "What lessons did we learn?" Four come to mind. -more-
When European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg this past September, he told them the organization was facing an “existential crisis” and “national governments so weakened by the forces of populism and paralyzed by the risk of defeat in the next election.”
Indeed it has been a bad year for the huge trading group: -more-
University of California President Janet Napolitano has been hospitalized due to side effects from ongoing cancer treatments, university officials said today. -more-
Police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning in Berkeley. -more-
A property owner in Berkeley called police after finding a body at the property Saturday morning, according to police.
"First They Came for the Homeless" has asked community members to gather for a memorial for the woman, as yet not identified by the police, on Tuesday at 5 on the steps of Berkeley City Hall at 2180 Milvia. -more-
Just as I was sitting down to my favorite espresso at Caffe Trieste, I glanced toward the window and to my utter surprise, sitting alone at a table was my old friend Simple. I hadn’t seen him in years. His real name was Jesse B. Semple, but everybody called him Simple.
“Jesse, how’ve you been?” I pulled a chair up to his table.
“Getting by, as always. You know what I mean. How about yourself?”
“I’m a survivor too, you know. Are you living around here these days or just passing through.”
“As they say, we’re all just passing through. You look a little down. Anything wrong?”
“Wrong? Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated in five days.”
“Is that all you’re worried about?”
“Isn’t that enough?”
“Trump’s not going to be president. That little weasel what’s-his-name is going to be president.”
“Where have you been? It’s all over the news.”
“I must have missed it.”
“That’s because it hasn’t all happened yet.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know those Moscow tapes that they got on Trump?”
“I heard something about them.” -more-
From the photo caption on Berkeleyside.com: "The Pacific School of Religion and an Illinois-based nonprofit builder have nixed their plans to build 265 apartments for seniors on Holy Hill, citing Berkeley’s new development climate.“
Correct translation: PSR and an Illinois corporation have dropped their plans for expensive sort-of-kind-of-condo units with high monthly ”maintenance” fees, proposed in a dense and massive multi-story facility which would have obliterated a large part of Berkeley’s Holy Hill neighborhood.
Comment: No doubt the losers in Berkeley’s recent city elections will try to spin the PSR retrenchment as a loss of more “housing" but it’s not. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with an up-scale continuing care facility, it definitely is not what is being described in the news. And it’s definitely not a development which would help relieve the housing problems of Berkeley, especially for the neediest among students and low income. -more-
In an online letter, David Vásquez-Levy,President of Berkeley’s Pacific School of Religion announced that the school has terminated its partnership with senior housing developer Mather Lifeways to build a very large project on its North Berkeley campus. The proposed building, one of the largest ever planned for Berkeley, would have replaced a number of historic buildings and apartments. The project encountered significant opposition from neighbors and others. Berkeley's newly elected mayor and councilmembers appear to be less friendly to market rate development than their predecessors, which might have something to do with the decision.
The school is seeking further projects for the site, however. The letter said: -more-
2017 is already shaping up as a year in which local control of development will come under unprecedented assault in California and in the Bay Area in particular.
We have rookie State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35, submitted only a few hours after Wiener was sworn in to office on December 5. Still in placeholder form, the measure would put legal teeth into the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation and force cities to “meet” the allocation allotted to them by the state. This radical proposal—as Tim Redmond has observed, it could set off a housing war—did not appear on Wiener’s campaign website, nor, to my knowledge, did he ever he mention it on the campaign trail.
And now a new, Bay Area-centric attack on local control is on the way, via the Association of Bay Area Governments’ proposal to have the U.S. Economic Development Administration certify our region as a federal Economic Development District (EDD). Planning for this initiative began in June 2015, when ABAG staff broached the idea to the agency’s Executive Board and Regional Planning Committee. -more-
Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.
Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history. He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry. He called women ‘pigs’, stoked Islamophobia, and attacked a Gold Star family. He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts. I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance.
After the election, many hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. Instead he has shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities. -more-
Following a world-wide trend, India elected a populist politician, Narendra Modi, in May 2014. Since his election, India has shifted dangerously to the right. -more-
" And for a cool $2,247/month, you can live at 77 Bluxome inside this 240-square-foot residence."
Spend your entire paycheck on this 240-foot SoMa apartment: The micro apartment trend shows no signs of shrinking—especially in South of Market.
--Micro Week article by Brock Keeling ,Sep 21, 2016
So much for the fallacy that micro-units create affordability or end homelessness.
The Berkeley City Council should refuse to be party to developer Patrick Kennedy's effort to paint his "stacked coffins" micro-units housing, rejected by San Francisco, as a solution to homelessness. This is a cynical effort to continue to capitalize on, rather than honestly addressing, the decades-old need for low-income, affordable housing much of which was destroyed by Patrick Kennedy and a handful of other developers over the thirty years of the Bates majority. -more-
FBI's director James Comey's scam on Hillary Clinton, with no evidence, and only 11 days left in the presidential campaign is inexcusable. You didn't see long time Republican Comey pulling the same stunt on Donald Trump. The FBI's participation in politics seems like an oxymoron. -more-
The recent phenomenon of fake news, along with people (namely Trump) falsely claiming that certain items are fake news, is the scariest thing I have so far seen. I've been in the habit of automatically assuming factual accuracy in news reports, and up until now, it had never occurred to me that some news stories could just be made up. Now, I can no longer count on that. -more-
It’s a big week, this last week of the Obama presidency, ominously starting today with Friday the 13th, including the anxious celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, and followed even more ominously by the inauguration of “President” Donald Trump.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: As suggested by Charles Blow in the New York Times, this publication’s style sheet will now recommend the use of scare quotes around the fraudulent title of the man who will be installed in the henceforth-tainted office of “President” of the United States of America.]
It’s finally time to take a last look at the presidency of Barack Obama, so dry those tears, put away the handkerchief, and let’s see where we’ve been and where we’re going.
First of all, I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve had eight years of my life where I’ve never, not once, not for one minute, been ashamed of the President of the United States or his family. I’m glad that my mother lived to see the Obamas installed in the White House, especially Michelle Obama, whom she deeply loved and admired. I’m happy that my granddaughters, now between 15 and 21, lived their formative years with a first family they could be proud of, including similar-aged daughters who set a good example of how to be in the world as a young person. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
For your convenience, here's a guide to the working relationships that will guide the Trump presidency:
1.Donald Trump, Supreme Leader. Although Trump gets the lion's share of press attention -- what else would you would expect from a flaming narcissist -- once he gets into office, Trump will likely retreat into the background and become a "figurehead" President following the model of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He'll be active on Twitter and make appearances on Fox News and political rallies. But don't expect Trump to be accessible to the press, in general; he hates the mainstream media. He'll rely upon his subordinates, particularly Kellyanne Conway, to deal with tough questions.
Trump will be a typical Republican President who likes the idea of being bloviator-in-chief but doesn't actually want to do the day-to-day heavy lifting Americans expect of their supreme leader. Trump will delegate most of daily grunt work to his subordinates and members of his family.
To get elected, Trump made a deal with ultra-right-wing power brokers Robert and Rebekah Mercer. (The deal that brought Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon onto the Trump team.) The terms of the Faustian bargain were that the Mercers, and other GOP oligarchs such as Sheldon Adelson and Charles and David Koch, would use their resources to get Trump into the oval office; in return, Trump would adopt their extreme right-wing agenda. For example, on the campaign trail, Trump never advocated privatizing Social Security; that's part of the Mercer agenda currently being pushed in Congress.
Trump will glory in the day-to-day pomp and circumstance of being president while, behind the scenes, his subordinates will push extreme changes to domestic and foreign policy. -more-
Albert Einstein: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
The above quote is transferrable to a number of situations.
Anosognosia is the term psychiatrists and others use to describe people with schizophrenia who do not have insight into their problems. However, in some instances, this very same insight is blocked by overmedicating. -more-
After the election, Kentucky, Missouri, and New Hampshire are now under unified Republican control and legislators in these states are set on passing Right-to-Work laws, which lessens union power by allowing workers in unionized workplaces to withhold union fees used to organize and advocate on their behalf. And with a Trump presidency and a Republican-controlled Congress, there is a real danger of passage of a federal right-to-work law. -more-
Arts & Events
Áround & About--Theater: Last Weekend for Indra's Net's 'Darwin in Malibu;' Ubuntu & Inferno Theatre Collaborate on "Waiting for Godot,' Opening Monday
The East Bay chapters of Health Care for All – California are screening the new documentary on single payer health care Now Is The Time at the Main Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St. (at Shattuck) on Sunday, Jan. 22, from 1pm – 4pm. Admission is free. Following the movie there will be a presentation and discussion about California’s new single payer legislation and how to get involved in the campaign to pass the bill. -more-