The Week



BART Fares Up Again

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:31:00 PM

Fares are going up for BART riders in the new year, with everyone paying 2.7 percent more than in 2017, according to the transit agency.

The minimum fare will rise to $2 for adults, $1 for youth between 5 and 18 years old, and 75 cents for senior or disabled Clipper card users. -more-

Berkeley Marijuana Dealers See New Year's Day Rush

Janis Mara (BCN)
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:25:00 PM

Customers crowded into marijuana dispensaries that opened early in the East Bay today, the first day recreational marijuana became legal in California.

Some dispensaries in Berkeley and Oakland opened as early as 6 a.m. after being licensed in California and their respective cities for recreational sales following the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.

Underscoring the new legal status of the herb, a personage no less impressive than the mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Berkeley Patients Group on San Pablo Avenue.

"It's an exciting moment. We worked really hard in the fall to be sure BPG was ready to open," said Arreguin, who cut a green ribbon to officially open the dispensary to recreational sales. -more-



Happy New Year, just like the Old Years

Becky O'Malley
Monday January 01, 2018 - 01:47:00 PM

Looking through a box of old sewing patterns inherited from her grandmother, my daughter found a clipping of a column written by satirical columnist Art Buchwald, probably in early 1974. It’s a parody, a purported message from Richard Nixon’s winter White House in, yes, Florida.

Here’s Buchwald's introduction: “It is wrong to think that President Nixon’s political future rests on what evidence is produced by the Watergate hearings or whether the Supreme Court decides he has to give up the White House tapes.” Sound familiar?

Art’s gimmick was that it was a very cold winter, and Nixon was blaming the problem on Congress. His parody depicts the president claiming the usual bugaboos beloved of traditional Republicans: taxes (“I still believe a vast majority of Americans feel as I do, that it’s better to shiver than pay higher taxes’), the media (“The responsibility lies not only with Congress but with a press and TV media that for the past four months has been devoting endless space and time to weather reports that show the United States is a cold nation. … there are great parts of the United States that aren’t cold. Florida isn’t cold. Texas isn’t cold…All we ever see or read about is New England and Minnesota…), big government encouraging the lazy poor (“we’re not going to give a blank check to those able-bodied people who are capable of finding ways of keeping warm without government assistance…).

My daughter was amazed when she read it. The column was written at least 45 years ago, and yet today’s Republicans are still singing the same stale old tunes, except that now what was parody is presented with a straight face by the current president.

As we say all too often: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Except that things aren’t the same thing anymore in this surreal age. Congress is now populated by fools who actually believe such foolish dogmas, aided and abetted by an executive branch that is both ignorant (in a way that Nixon never was) and corrupt (as he certainly was). -more-

Public Comment

Guam's Military Perspective: Let The Public Be Damned

Harry Brill
Monday January 01, 2018 - 02:59:00 PM

Guam, which is a possession of the United States, has been making the news in response to military threats by North Korea. North Korea's warning was triggered by military threats from President Trump. It is probably unlikely that either nation will attack the other. On the other hand, Trump does not need the approval of Congress to launch an assault even with the deployment of nuclear weapons. Although North Korea and Guam are about 2100 miles apart, their missiles can reach each other in only 14 minutes. Neither side would have much time to prepare for a catastrophe. In any case, the battle rhetoric has certainly increased world tensions. -more-

Judicial Appointments

Jagjit Singh
Monday January 01, 2018 - 04:18:00 PM

In contrast with Trump’s much hyped appointment of supreme court justice, Neil Gorsuch, appellate appointments have received scant media attention. What is even more disturbing are appointments to the lower courts which have the most impact on American life.

For example, last year the 13 circuit courts, rendered 60,000 opinions compared to the Supreme Court’s 62. Trial courts write several hundred thousand opinions per year. -more-

January Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Sunday December 31, 2017 - 06:14:00 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.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Extraterrestrials

Jack Bragen
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:01:00 PM

Recently, mainstream sources have begun to legitimize the belief that we are being visited. I have seen two stories about this on, one of which sources the New York Times, Senator Harry Reid, and a high-ranking military official.

We are not close to having a flying saucer land in Times Square. Even if we were to believe that some UFO's are extraterrestrial, and that they are studying us, no human is ready to have them over for coffee or tea.

The human nervous system is probably not equipped to deal with intelligences that are millions of years more advanced than we are. They would have to be ahead of us by that much, if they are able to travel from other star systems to Earth.

But, you might ask, what does this have to do with mental illness? A simple answer in three parts: much of the delusional content I've had relates to extraterrestrials. A second part of this; people who believe in ET's have been branded 'crazy' for decades. Thirdly, people other than me who've been psychotic could have also had delusions about ET's. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: 2018 and Trump is still president

Ralph E. Stone
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:19:00 PM

It is 2018 and I remain as angry, frustrated and embarrassed as anyone that Donald J. Trump continues to be the president of the United States and represents this country to the world. As Tom Engelhardt put it, "Beyond himself, his businesses, and possibly (just possibly) his family, Trump clearly couldn’t give less of a damn about us or, for that matter, what happens to anyone after he departs this planet." -more-

Arts & Events

Young Beethoven in Concert

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday January 01, 2018 - 01:48:00 PM

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, led by Music Director Ben Simon, offered three Bay Area concerts, December 29-31, focusing on Beethoven’s early works. I caught the Saturday, December 30 concert at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. Opening the program was a true chamber work, Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat Major, Opus 20, a work from 1799-1800. In this piece, Beethoven’s choice of instrumentation was innovative. An ensemble of clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, viola, cello, and double bass was anything but traditional. Further, the prominence given to the clarinet as an equal to the violin was new. This joyful work was beautifully dispatched by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Weekly Calendar

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:18:00 PM

Happy New Year, hope you have been enjoying being on holiday too. The first week in January is off to a slow start at least here in Berkeley. There are only a few meetings while the City catches up from reduced scheduling and time off. City Council is on winter break until January 23, 2018. -more-