The Week



Climate note #2: "The carbon budget"

Thomas Lord
Tuesday February 12, 2019 - 11:32:00 AM

In climate note #1, we noted this global consensus:

If humans are to avoid a massive die-off - and even steer well clear of possible human extinction - then within a single single human lifetime, net global carbon emissions from human activity must reach 0, and then go below 0.

To better understand what is required, scientists have asked this question:

How much CO2 can we add to the atmosphere before we have locked in temperatures beyond our best-hope 1.5°C limit?

Today we are adding carbon to the atmosphere very quickly. Each year, human activity adds about 42 billion metric tonnes of CO2 (aka "42 GtCO2") to the atmosphere.[1]

The consensus understanding today is that we will have a slightly better than a 50-50 chance of staying below the 1.5°C limit if we add not more than an additional 580 GtCO2. This is probably an optimistic estimate. -more-

What is Missing-Middle Housing for Teachers? A Dialogue

Charles Siegel, Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday February 12, 2019 - 11:02:00 AM

Charles Siegel: There is an obvious error in the article about Lori Droste's push for missing-middle housing.

The article says: "In 2018 ... the 120% AMI for a household of four was $125,300. As of January 31, 2019, the average public school teacher salary in Berkeley was $66,918 .... Ergo, what’s missing from Droste’s missing-middle housing is housing that most Berkeley public school teachers, especially if they have kids, could afford."

Notice that the article compares 120% of average median HOUSEHOLD income with ONE TEACHER'S SALARY (not with teachers' household income). -more-

A Jewish Response to Congress

Marc Sapir
Tuesday February 12, 2019 - 11:11:00 AM

I stand with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar; and with Angela Davis; and with Michelle Alexander and with President Jimmy Carter and all the other wonderful principled people who dare to speak out against Israel’s racism, apartheid, occupation and terror under which millions of Palestinians suffer. -more-

Press Release: New Opera to Premiere in San Francisco: Howards End, America

Tuesday February 12, 2019 - 10:59:00 AM

In its first-ever adaptation for opera, Howards End has found an American voice. Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens, creators of the acclaimed Middlemarch in Spring, now bring you the premiere of a bold new opera Howards End, America. The unforgettable characters of the book and Oscar-winning film take on new life, transported to our own shores. Can the lovely, generous Margaret forgive her husband Henry for his sordid relationship with club singer Jacky? Will Charles get away with manslaughter? And what will become of Leonard, a young black poet who courts disaster in a love affair with rich society girl Helen? In a gripping tale of illicit love, racial conflict and real estate set in Boston of the 1950’s, this is a story about us! -more-



Can Virginia Recover from Its Past?

Becky O'Malley
Saturday February 09, 2019 - 10:26:00 AM

When I think about the mess they’ve gotten themselves into in Virginia, a lot of words starting with “re-“ come to mind. It’s a Latinate prefix, roughly meaning “again” or “back”, and all of these words refer to the heartfelt desire of most if not all of the affected parties for a do-over in a series of regrettable occurrences.

Let’s just list a few of them in no particular order: remorse, reconciliation, reparations, rehabilitation, reform, revenge, retaliation, restore …the list could go on for a long time.

The last time I looked, there were at least three Virginia officials who have reason to regret the past.

At the top of the list is the governor, who might or might not be pictured in his medical school yearbook in either blackface or a KuKluxKlan costume. He thought he remembered being in that picture, then he remembered that he wasn’t, but he did remember another time when he did wear blackface.

Third down on the list is the attorney general, who also remembers wearing blackface for a costume party when he was only 19, but he brought it up himself and he apologized.

Number two, the lieutenant governor, seems to be in even more trouble, with a second woman now claiming that he raped her in the past.

But really, it’s the whole state of Virginia that’s in trouble.

So let’s assume, shall we, that all three charges are somewhat true. What’s to be done now? -more-

Public Comment

Lori Droste’s fanciful push for “missing-middle housing”

Zelda Bronstein
Friday February 08, 2019 - 10:39:00 AM

On the evening of Feburary 6, Berkeleyside tweeted a photo of Berkeley Councilmember Lori Droste and her son at the Berkeley School Board meeting. The tweet read: -more-

Only Way To Address Our State’s Drinking Water Crisis Is The Safe And Affordable Drinking Water Fund

Nicole Masaki
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:17:00 PM

The last time you had water to drink, were you able to get it directly from your tap? If you answered yes, you are one of the lucky Californians that have easy access to safe and affordable drinking water. Many communities throughout the state do not have share this privilege. -more-

A Single Use City Council

Steve Martinot
Friday February 08, 2019 - 10:50:00 AM

We all know the drill. We go to City Council session with specific issues, and sit and wait. When the mayor calls our agenda item, we line up in the aisle for a chance to speak. Its called “public comment.” Fortunately, it is not called “public participation,” nor “democracy in action,” because that would not be truthful. It is more like people lining up to buy tickets at a multiplex movie theater, a structure designed to admit (to a domain) rather than include in a process. Ideas that should play in a multi-dimensional space of dialogue find themselves relegated to a disorganized linearity (aka "commenting"). Our contributions become like cartoon balloons, each with its own monologue firmly encircled. -more-

Modi’s Woes

Jagjit Singh
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:19:00 PM

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India was swept to power five years ago he promised to create millions of jobs to lift India out of poverty. -more-

Election Suggestions

Joanna Graham
Friday February 08, 2019 - 10:51:00 AM

Just a few weeks ago, when the new year was still fresh and dewy, I woke up to the horrid realization that the 2020 presidential election season was already up and running. Twenty-two long miserable months to go. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:State of the Union 2019: Two Visions

Bob Burnett
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:04:00 PM

If you just arrived in the United States and wanted to understand the difference between the Republican and Democratic vision for America, a good place to start would have been Donald Trump's State of the Union address followed by Stacey Abrams' Democratic rejoinder.

Donald Trump is a 72-year-old privileged New York white man who made a fortune in real-estate and reality television. His near-record-length SOTU address -- 82 minutes -- was framed in military images: Trump noted that June 6th marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day when the allies invaded the European mainland. He said, "Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure." He continued with the most controversial remarks in his speech, "An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous, partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace in legislation, there cannot be war and investigation." -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Social Expectations

Jack Bragen
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:14:00 PM

Social expectations aren't intrinsically good or bad, despite what many people might think. Social expectations are simply the things that people currently expect of others. For example: in the past, African American people in the U.S. were expected to be obedient and subservient. And in Germany under the Nazi's, it was the social norm for children to report their parents, if the parents were disloyal. These were two of the social norms in the past. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:11:00 PM

Democracy v. Gopocrisy

Enemy of Democracy Mitch McConnell says a bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday is a nothing more than a "power grab" on the part of devious Democrats. I guess that means Mitch doesn't think elections should be accessible to the working class.

Bernie Sanders, for one, thinks it's a good idea. If you agree, you can check out Bernie's website and read his "Democracy Day" bill.

Reich On! -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Hands-Off Venezuela

Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 08, 2019 - 12:07:00 PM

It is difficult to reconcile our outrage over Russia’s interference in our elections with our present interference in Venezuela’s affairs. I’m sure everyone would agree that Venezuelans deserve a better government. But let’s face it, the late Hugo Chávez's vision of a modern day "Bolivarian revolution” — a Latin American political block with a socialist bent as an alternative to U.S. hegemony. — has descended into repression and economic decline. -more-

Arts & Events

Emanuel Ax with Oakland Symphony in a Beethoven Concert

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday February 09, 2019 - 10:20:00 AM

Oakland Symphony presented “An Evening with Emanuel Ax” on Friday, February 8 at the Paramount Theatre. Renowned pianist Emanuel Ax was certainly the centerpiece of this concert, but this might have just as suitably been dubbed “An Evening with Beethoven,” for all five works on the program were by Ludwig von Beethoven. We heard, in the following order, the Egmont Overture, Op. 84, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15, the Coriolanus Overture, Op. 62, the Prisoners’ Chorus from Act I of Fidelio, and the Choral Fantasy in C Major, Op. 80. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Feb. 10-17

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday February 09, 2019 - 10:17:00 AM

Sunday, February 10, 2019 -more-