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.


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!


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…
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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.”


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.”


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;