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National HIV/AIDS discussion Sunday in Berkeley

The next National HIV/AIDS Community Discussion will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 1 in the Little Theater at Berkeley High School, 1980 Allston Way, according to the White House.

These discussions, hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), offer the public a chance to provide input as the White House works to fulfill the President’s pledge to develop a National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

That strategy – in light of more than 56,000 new HIV infections happening in the United States each year – will aim to reduce infections, increase access to care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Alameda County since 1998 has declared an official state of emergency due to the high HIV infection rate among African Americans.

Among those scheduled to participate Sunday are ONAP director Jeffrey Crowley; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; California Office of AIDS chief Dr. Michelle Roland; the Rev. Elouise Oliver, pastor of the East Bay Church of Religious Science; and Dr. Lisha Wilson, Medical Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Magic Johnson Oakland and San Francisco clinics.

Sunday’s event is open to the public, but an RSVP is required; click here to register.

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
Under: Barbara Lee, Berkeley | 1 Comment »

Berkeley, Oakland urge oil money transparency

Berkeley City Council last night approved a resolution urging the U.S. Senate to approve S.1700, the “Energy Security Through Transparency Act” by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., which would urge the Obama Administration to require that companies disclose payments to foreign governments for oil, gas and mineral rights. Oakland City Council passed a similar resolution last week.

“Good governance in extractive industries contribute to a better domestic investment climate for U.S. businesses, increase the reliability of commodity supplies, promote greater U.S. energy security and thereby strengthen our national security,” says the summary on Lugar’s Web site.

San Francisco-based Justice in Nigeria Now hails the cities’ actions as a moral victory.

“I was tortured and imprisoned by the Nigerian military for my peaceful protests against Shell Oil’s destruction of our land,” Suanu Kingston Bere, a Nigerian activist who spoke at the Berkeley City Council meeting, said in JINN’s news release. “I believe the City’s support sends a strong message that communities in the U.S are concerned about the human rights abuses and environmental damage associated with oil extraction. I do not want to see my people continue to go through what I went through.”

Berkeley’s resolution also calls on the State Department to support third-party peace talks in the Delta to address environmental destruction and lack of investment in the oil producing region. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jesse Arreguin, Darryl Moore and Max Anderson and was introduced to the council through the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, which worked with JINN to draft it.

JINN says 50 years of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta has produced over $700 billion in oil revenues shared between the Nigerian government and oil giants like San Ramon-based Chevron as well as Exxon Mobil and Shell. More than 40 percent of Nigeria’s oil is exported to the U.S. Yet despite the corporate oil wealth, local residents’ quality of life has deteriorated – their drinking polluted, their food fisheries poisoned, their access to education, health care and even electricity limited.

“Oil companies in Nigeria have had long a relationship with the notoriously corrupt and historically brutal Nigerian government where rampant corruption, fraudulent elections and violent suppression of peaceful protests are the norm in the Delta,” Nigerian writer and activist Omoyele Sowore said in JINN’s news release. “The proposed ESTT Act in the Senate is an important step toward holding oil companies accountable for their collusion with the Nigerian government, which protects their profits while killing and injuring innocent local people and destroying the Delta’s fragile environment.”

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: Berkeley, General, International politics, Oakland | 2 Comments »

A few upcoming political events

Saturday, April 25 – The Northern California chapter of American Political Items Collectors will host a political memorabilia show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Finnish Brotherhood Hall, 1970 Chestnut St. in Berkeley. Aside from lots of dealers, there’ll be free appraisals, a special display of Obama campaign collectibles and a live mini-auction at noon. Admission is $4, but free for kids or students with valid ID.

Sunday, April 26 – Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian physician whose three daughters and niece were killed January 16 by Israeli shelling in Gaza, will speak about the reasons for his unwavering hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians at 7 p.m. in Kehilla Community Synagogue, at 1300 Grand Ave. in Piedmont. The longtime peace advocate’s loss gained an international spotlight when he called into an Israeli television show during the attack. The event is co-sponsored by Kehilla, Americans for Peace Now, and the Bay Area chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. The suggested donation is $10 to $20, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Thursday, April 30 — American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero will speak on “The Urgency of Action in the Age of Obama” at 6 p.m., preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception, at the Commonwealth Club of California’s office on the second floor of 595 Market St. (at Second) in San Francisco. Romero says that while the first months of Obama’s presidency have been marked by considerable change, if the threats to civil liberties are not addressed, America’s future may be more imperiled than previously believed. Tickets cost $12 for club members, $18 for nonmembers and $7 for students with valid identification, and are available online.

Thursday, May 7 – Former Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will give his annual critique of state and national political trends at 6 p.m., preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception, in the Commonwealth Club of California’s office on the second floor of 595 Market St. (at Second) in San Francisco. This event is open only to club members at $12 per ticket, each of whom can bring one guest at $18 per ticket; tickets are available online.

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
Under: Berkeley, Calendar, General, Political events | No Comments »

Cal prof has joined DOJ Antitrust Division

Tony West isn’t the only East Bay person taking a high-ranking post in the Obama Administration’s Justice Department.

Carl Shapiro has taken a leave of absence from his post as Transamerica Professor of Business Strategy in the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to become deputy assistant attorney general for economic analysis in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

Shapiro brings to the job “a wealth of experience on issues, including patents, intellectual property and licensing, network economics, and unilateral effects in mergers,” according to Justice’s news release.

Since arriving at Haas in 1990, Shapiro served as the Antitrust Division’s Economics Deputy from August 1995 to June 1996, providing economic analysis on antitrust cases including Microsoft, NASDAQ and several mergers. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master’s in mathematics from Cal and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and economics from MIT.

And, look: here he is testifying before Congress yesterday about my industry’s apparent death-spiral! Hooray!

Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Under: Berkeley | No Comments »

California law students nab D.C. internships

Law students from the University of California, Berkeley and UCLA are beltway-bound in a new full-semester academic internship program.

“UCDC Law” will place second- and third-year law students in congressional offices, the Justice Department, regulatory agencies and elsewhere around the nation’s capital; UC-Irvine students eventually will take part, too. Only a handful of U.S. law schools have academic programs in Washington, D.C.

“This is a direct and powerful way to expose students to aspects of lawyering in Washington and thereby broaden their thinking about professional paths available to them,” says Berkeley Law Dean Chris Edley Jr., who recently advised President Barack Obama’s transition team. “Our new classroom technology will also enable us to connect our students and experts in Washington with law students on campus, combining resources for dynamic interactive instruction.”

The first batch of interns, including seven from Berkeley, already has settled into Washington. Second-year Berkeley student Dyanna Quizon, placed in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the level of responsibility they’ve been given “is amazing.”

“I’ve been asked to help lead a substantive training session for federal employees on making programs more accessible to non-English speaking communities,” she said. “A law student telling government officials what to do in important situations? Pretty incredible.”

More, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Under: Barbara Boxer, Berkeley, education, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

CodePINK’s solidarity with the shoe-thrower

There’s never a wrong time for street theater against the war, as far as CodePINK is concerned, and so the activists who blockaded and protested downtown Berkeley’s U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station for all that time will be back outside the station at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 17, in a show of ow solidarity with Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference Sunday in Baghdad.

(Didja see how fast Bush ducked? Not bad for a 62-year-old who’s used to having a room full of trained professionals throw themselves in front of him at the first sign of trouble. And, by the way, I can understand how al-Zaidi could have a chance to launch the first loafer, but shouldn’t someone have gotten to him before the second?)

ANYway, CodePINK activists are calling for his immediate release without charges; they even want Bush to intervene on his behalf. (Yes, good luck with that, let me know how it goes.) They’ll march around the recruiting station at 64 Shattuck Square holding their shoes aloft, then line them up for a dramatic tableau; it’s meant not only to show support for al-Zaidi’s act of civil disobedience, but also to represent Iraqis killed, tortured, maimed and U.S. soldiers who’ve died in Iraq, the news release says.

“It’s outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis,” said CodePINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes.”

Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Under: Berkeley, Iraq, President Bush | No Comments »

The ‘World’ Has Not Had Enough

No, it’s not meant as a Bond reference, but rather to mean that when a protest group outlives that which it was formed to oppose, you can bet it’ll pivot smoothly to the next target.

In this case, “World Can’t Wait — Drive Out the Bush Regime” shows no sign of slowing down now that the Bush Regime is being Driven Out. The Bay Area chapter will hold a “No Endless Wars” march from 3 to 5 p.m. today, Monday, Nov. 10, starting in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park (at Allston and MLK Jr. Way) and wend its way through downtown to target the military plans of… wait for it… president-elect Barack Obama.

“Despite people’s hope for change after eight years of the Bush Regime’s crimes — the changes Barack Obama will deliver will not be at all what the people want,” organizer Giovanni Jackson said in a news release, which also said:

World Can’t Wait points to Obama’s positions on widening the war to send 10,000 more troops into an illegal, unjust war in Afghanistan (calling this a “good war”) – his plans to keep 50,000-80,000 more troops in Iraq, not including private mercenary forces like Blackwater – his call to increase the U.S. military by 92,000 more troops (more military recruiting in inner city schools) – his promise for more pre-emptive attacks on the (sovereign country of) Pakistan, and naked threats of war against Iran.

Jackson stated further: “Obama voted for illegal government spying under the new FISA, and he voted for the Patriot Act. As for torture – Obama refused to filibuster the Military Commissions Act which legalized torture, and he has already said no war criminals responsible for the torture will face prosecution during his first term.”

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2008
Under: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Berkeley, General, Iran, Iraq | No Comments »

Bay Area econ experts advise Obama today

President-elect Barack Obama meets today in Chicago with his Transition Economic Advisory Board, tasked with helping the incoming Administration develop policies to respond to the economic crisis. At the table will be three Bay Area figures:

    former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, now a professor the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley;

Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Berkeley | No Comments »

Cal prof in contention for Obama economic post?

As Cal’s Boalt Hall School of Law Dean Christopher Edley advises president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, at least one other East Bay figure could be in contention for an Obama Administration post.

The New York Times reports today that Laura D’Andrea Tyson is among names “being circulated for top economic posts in the Obama administration.” Tyson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, was chairwoman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors during the Clinton Administration.

I sent her an e-mail a short while ago inviting her to speculate on the speculation; her assistant just sent a reply saying that “(u)nfortunately, Prof. Tyson’s schedule doesn’t allow for any interviews at this time.”

Meanwhile, if we’re indulging in speculation, why not go all the way: Politico.com last week said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, might be in contention for appointment as U.S. Secretary of Education…

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Berkeley, George Miller | No Comments »

Cal law dean to advise Obama transition team

University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law Dean Christopher F. Edley Jr. — who was among Barack Obama’s Harvard Law professors between his stints in the Carter and Clinton administrations, and who had advised this year’s campaign — is among a dozen people named today as an advisory board to president-elect Obama’s transition team.

“I’ve done two tours of duty in the White House and this is my third transition effort,” Edley told me moments ago. “My joyfulness about the election is tempered by a very deep appreciation of how extraordinarily difficult the president’s to-do list will be. The team has been working for a couple of months, but this will still be the most complex transition in our lifetime. The sleeves are already rolled up and the adrenaline is already at flood levels.”

Posted on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Berkeley | 2 Comments »