Flash: Homeless Eviction from BART Property in Berkeley Stopped

Tuesday October 24, 2017 - 08:53:00 PM

Judge William Alsup has issued a temporary restraining order today staying eviction of the homeless campers on the BART property adjacent to Adeline Street on the Berkeley-Oakland border. Campers were represented by EmilyRose Johns, aided by Osha Neumann from the East Bay Community Law Center. The order will be in effect at least one week. -more-

Flash: Prominent Berkeley Homeless Camp Given Eviction Notice for Tuesday

Scott Morris (BCN)
Monday October 23, 2017 - 11:20:00 PM

A prominent homeless camp in Berkeley that has been at its current location for most of this year was given an eviction notice over the weekend, but activists are rallying to keep it there.

The large camp has been at the iconic "Here" and "There" signs marking the Berkeley-Oakland border since mid-January, according to homelessness activist J.P. Massar. The camp is very visible to traffic entering Berkeley from Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Adeline Streets. -more-

Open Letter to BART Board Member Re BART's Threat to Evict Homeless Campers on Tuesday

Steve Martinot
Monday October 23, 2017 - 03:07:00 PM

Dear BART Boardmember Lateefah Simon, -more-

Page One

New: Arrest in Rainbow Flag Burning in Berkeley

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Tuesday October 24, 2017 - 12:06:00 PM

Someone set fire to a rainbow flag and punched a volunteer outside the Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley Friday, possibly a sign of political changes in the U.S., the center's executive director said Monday. -more-

Woman Foils Attempted Rape on Fire Trails

Janis Mara (BCN)
Saturday October 21, 2017 - 04:11:00 PM

A student jogging on the fire trails above the University of California at Berkeley Thursday fought off a man who sneaked up behind her and tackled her to the ground, campus police said today. -more-

Public Comment

A Bloated Disgrace

Bruce Joffe
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:50:00 PM

The fake-news president needs to learn to keep his mouth-trap shut. Every time he opens his small face-hole, out come lies, misinformation, lies, and insults. When he should be consoling the families of soldiers killed defending our country, he pities himself for having to make the phone calls. When he should be offering to help victims of natural disasters, he blames them and gives himself an A+ for his effort. -more-

Fake News

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:47:00 PM

While we point an accusing finger at “big bad wolf” Russia for hacking our 2016 election and spreading fake news with internet trolls and paid political ads, we conveniently ignore our own mass propaganda efforts during the Cold, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars and many more too numerous to mention.

During the Cold War, the CIA orchestrated a relentless media blitz to shape American views of Russia. “Radio Free Europe” was created to wage a subversive campaign to weaken Communist satellite governments.

The crusade blasted anything from the “other side” as fake news, tactics that Trump has embraced on his twitter feed. As a former K.G.B. officer, Mr. Putin must have relished his own meddling as a long awaited payback. -more-

The Iran Deal

Jagjit Singh
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:44:00 PM

Following his failed promises to repeal and replace the ACA, revise the tax plan, build his “beautiful” wall, Trump took aim at scuttling the Iran deal.

Ignoring the statements of his cabinet, who stated that Iran was in full compliance and unable to comprehend the complexities of the deal, Trump punted its fate to Congress.

Perhaps Trump is unaware of our dark history with Iran, beginning with the overthrow of the democratically elected government in 1953 with the covert coup by the CIA and the British agency, MI6, which resulted in the theft of Iraq’s oil and the establishment of British Petroleum. The government was replaced by the US puppet, the Shah of Iran, who unleashed his secret police, the Savak, who rounded up and tortured tens of thousands of Iranians.

During the Iraq- Iran war, the CIA covertly provided massive shipments of arms including chemical weapons, to our former Iraqi ally, Saddam Hussein.

If the nuclear deal falters the US and Israel will be the losers. The US will remain isolated; there will be no appetite for further sanctions because most Western countries have already begun trading with Iran and establishing embassies. US companies will be excluded from such trading privileges. Iran will likely accelerate its nuclear bomb making capabilities and intensify their hostility towards Israel. They still recall Israel’s role in assassinating many of their nuclear scientists. If you're a supporter of the deal, contact your congressional representative before it’s too late. -more-


Setting All Kinds of Limits

Becky O'Malley
Saturday October 21, 2017 - 12:43:00 PM

Seeing how users of social media quickly come to resemble lemmings leaping off a cliff is disheartening, to say the least. One might decide to test the water, and thousands follow, right or wrong. Sadly, the righteous indignation over sexual harassment is being exploited by some as a vehicle for complaining about real or imagined personal grievances that have nothing to do with sex.

Now, outing producer Harvey Weinstein as the most prominent practitioner of Standing Operating Procedure in the entertainment industry is long overdue. As someone who went to high school in the Los Angeles area sixty years ago, I can to this day tell you the girls—friends of friends—who encountered what we used to call the casting couch, and which of them succumbed in order to get trivial parts in B-pictures. I can even name the moderately successful starlet we knew about who had a child after, shall we say, ultimately non-consensual relations with a famous leading man. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Conjecture: Why do people with head injuries often function better than those with a mental illness?

Jack Bragen
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:34:00 PM

It would seem that if mental illness is a brain illness, mentally ill people would at least do better than someone who has had a mechanically caused brain issue, such as a tumor, an aneurism, a stroke, or a bad blow to the head. All of the latter things can be assessed accurately with medical equipment. -more-


Ralph E. Stone
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:38:00 PM

We should be able to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt that his statements are true until facts suggest otherwise. We can no longer give this president that benefit. -more-

SQUEAKY WHEEL: The Vietnam War

Toni Mester
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:30:00 PM

In Judaism, the period between the New Year and the Day of Atonement is known as the days of awe, when the observant delve into deep spirituality. It so happened that PBS broadcast the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War during the days of awe, so I watched it religiously. -more-

Arts & Events

New: L’État de siège by Albert Camus in Berkeley

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 24, 2017 - 12:04:00 PM

Written in 1948 during Franco’s Fascist regime in Spain, Albert Camus’s L’État de siège (State of Siege) may have gained a new relevancy in Trump’s America. Brought to our shores by Théàtre de la Ville-Paris, State of Siege was performed October 21-2 under the auspices of Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall. Director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota calls State of Siege “a grand allegory,” one that may help us face “the horrific perils such as we are now experiencing.” Though this play has clear albeit oblique references to both Fascist Spain and Nazi Germany, Camus’s State of Siege has eerie resonance in today’s world of Trump’s megalomania. Though nominally set in Cadiz, Spain, State of Siege offers a Kafkaesque view of totalitarian government everywhere it rears its ugly head. In some ways, this play reminded me of George Orwell’s 1984, for here too the meanings of words are turned on their heads. When a vote is scheduled in this play, one totalitarian functionary explains to another that the electorate is free. If they vote for the existing totalitarian government, he says, it proves they are free. If they vote against the oppressive regime, he says, it proves they are misled by sentimentality and are therefore not free. Such is the logic of dictators. I can imagine Trump saying this. -more-

Joshua Roman Excels in Dvorák’s Cello Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday October 22, 2017 - 10:03:00 PM

Substituting for Sol Gabetta, who recently gave birth to her first child, cellist Joshua Roman gave a finely honed rendition of Antonin Dvorák’s great Cello Concerto in B minor. In a series of San Francisco Symphony concerts at Davies Hall, October 19-21, Joshua Roman teamed up nicely with conductor Krzysztof Urbanski, avoiding the mismatched difficulties that plagued the team of Urbanski and violinist Augustin Hadelich ten days or so ago in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Though I laid most of the blame on Hadelich for that highly unsatisfactory rendition of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, conductor Urbanski must shoulder some responsibility, for, ultimately, it is up to the conductor to bring in line a recalcitrant soloist. Happily, with Joshua Roman as soloist in Dvorák’s Cello Concerto, there was no need for Urbanski to right the ship, for Roman and Urbanski seemed to be on the same course from the outset. -more-

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Plays Brahms’ 2nd & 3rd Symphonies

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday October 22, 2017 - 10:02:00 PM

To cap off their weeklong residency at UC Berkeley, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major and his Symphony No. 3 in F Major on Sunday afternoon, October 15, at Zellerbach Hall. Having heard Riccardo Muti conduct the CSO’s Friday evening concert, which featured a superb performance of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E flat Major, “Romantic,” I couldn’t resist taking advantage of an opportunity to hear this great orchestra once again, even if Sunday’s all-Brahms program was, to my mind, the least interesting of the CSO’s three concert programs here. -more-

AROUND & ABOUT --Theater: Théâtre de la Ville's Staging of Camus' 'State of Siege' at Zellerbach Hall

Ken Bullock
Friday October 20, 2017 - 12:28:00 PM

Théâtre de la Ville of Paris has staged creative productions here before--an impressive version of Ionesco's 'Rhinoceros' with something like virtual automata for the beasts, and more recently a fine version of a truly great play, Pirandello's 'Six Characters in Search of an Author's in 2014.

Now Cal Performances has brought them back this weekend with their production of Albert Camus' fourth play, 'State of Siege,' 1948 ('État de siège,' The original meaning closer to 'State of Emergency'), about a Spanish city--Cadiz--reduced to silence under authoritarian rule when a comet is seen overhead, and a citywide gag rule is declared concerning the omen, with a chorus parroting: "Nothing's happening, nothing will happen!" -more-