Oakland, City of Dopes
So fitting for the absurdity that is the city of Oakland. Perhaps they can get Michael Vick as the Director of Animal Services. If Mark Geragos ever actually wins a case and gets Scott Peterson sprung on appeal, he can head Family Services. When it comes to municipal laughingstocks, no place does it better than Dopeland.
Manuel De Piedra, Castro Valley
Athlete Safety Not Their Concern
Opposition to the training center by the city of Berkeley, etc., has increased the amount of time hundreds of athletes must remain in seismically unsafe Memorial Stadium. The University has proven the proposed structure does not reside on the fault (within fifty feet) which is the only substantive claim made by opponents of the facility. Ongoing court litigation regards the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) with opponents attempting to force a rewrite and attempting to claim the proposed facility is an addition to Memorial, not a separate structure. Opponents hope this baseless claim sticks because it will cause the seismic retrofitting of Memorial (which can only be up to 50 percent of the value of the structure) [to be] much more difficult as the price of the training center will be included. It must be clearly understood by the public the safety of the university's student athletes is not the concern of the city, homeowners above the stadium, and tree people. The court actions cannot stop the university from building this structure, only delay it. Should an earthquake hit and the hundreds of men and women who otherwise would have been ensconced in seismically safe facilities be harmed, their blood will be on the heads of Tom Bates, the Berkeley city council, Panoramic Hill Association members, and those living in the oak grove adjacent to the stadium.
Kevin Reimers, Oakland
I'm an Oakland A's fan and enjoyed this article very much. However, I would like to point out an error. The injury to Mike Piazza was not "rolling over his wrist." Mike Lowell, third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, fell onto Piazza's shoulder as Piazza was sliding into third base and Lowell was trying to tag him out. Piazza's shoulder was severely separated and he missed about two months of the season.
Eyleen Nadolny, Kensington
The reader is right. We were wrong. Nice catch.
Just a Slur
Historically, the term "fascism" has denoted a cult of the state, a glorification of action for action's sake, an intense opposition to communism, and extreme forms of nationalism. David Horowitz and the Berkeley College Republicans fail to explain how any of this is related to Islam. The term "Islamo-fascism" is nothing but a crude slur, and those who promote it are indeed anti-Muslim.
Tom Pessah, Berkeley
Withstand the Reactionary Offensive
The article: "Battleground Sproul" completely misses the point. Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a serious, heavily funded, reactionary offensive scheduled to hit campuses the week of October 22-26 and must be taken on and politically defeated.
"Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" brands all Muslims as religious fundamentalists, and calls for "sit-ins" in Women's Studies Departments for supposedly ignoring the oppression of women under Islamic regimes. Contrary to its propaganda, IFAW has nothing to do with "academic freedom" nor is it about opposing oppression of women under Islam. Simply looking at the scheduled IFAW speakers clears up this overt hypocrisy: take Ann Coulter (who has said that it's her "personal fantasy" that women have their right to vote taken away) and former Senator Rick Santorum (who has equated homosexuality with bestiality and believes that birth control is "harmful to society"). The real aims of IFAW are to demonize Muslims, clamp down on critical thinking in the universities, and whip up support for the Bush regime's expanding "War on Terror," including a possibly imminent attack on Iran.
Horowitz is a self-described "battering ram" against any thinking in academia that challenges a whole range of horrors this system has perpetrated. He is a vitriolic defender of everything from the extermination of the Native Americans and the enslavement of black people, to the savage and criminal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and the torture of those whom this regime deems to be "terrorists." He has organized the falsely named "Students for Academic Freedom," which takes notes on lectures and rips material out of context in an attempt to harass and fire professors who do not sufficiently bow down to the Bush agenda. The modern-day Nazi-type student groups inspired by Horowitz organize so-called "games" like "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" on campus. In short, Horowitz defends every crime that this system has ever committed and is now preparing to justify even more, and to intimidate and silence any who would question or resist this ... all in the name of "academic freedom."
The question that everyone needs to be struggling with is: What effect will "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" have if it is not confronted, exposed, and politically defeated? College campuses are still one of the last places in 21st-century America where people are actually encouraged to engage in critical thinking in opposition to official narratives. This is the reason there is a movement of right-wing political forces and Christian fascists working to put an end to critical thinking and real academic freedom. Far from requesting a "balance" in academia, these forces aim to transform the universities into uncontested zones of right-wing indoctrination, in alignment with the conservative forces sitting in the highest positions of power and moving this country down a horrific path of war, torture, spying, and repression.
This assault has deadly implications. As our government fights a war for empire in the Middle East, it must also fight a war for public opinion at home. How much ground have the powers-that-be gained in this struggle? Let's look at the campuses. Ward Churchill (tenured professor) and Norman Finkelstein (staunch critic of Israel) fired before the school year even began, reactionary students organized and mobilized on campuses nationwide, the naming and slandering of progressive professors by right-wing talk shows and blogs leading to mass e-mail harassment and vigilante death threats, the teaching of "intelligent design" in public schools, and the list goes on. Where once the fires of resistance and political action roared, are we now to find professors afraid of being "controversial" and students feeling powerless?
Wrapped up in IFAW's dangerous potential to confound this situation further, lies the potential for a whole different dynamic to arise on college campuses: students involved in debate over where the world is headed, why, and what WE can do to effect it. Horowitz' project has to be opposed and taken as an opportunity to raise awareness of the growing danger of U.S. fascism and the reality of the fascist direction and measures being taken by those in the highest reaches of power.
Lou Carver, Berkeley
Your reviewer convinced us to try 900 Grayson. In return, we got bad treatment from the owner/manager/greeter (or whoever he is) and rude and indifferent service. No food is good enough to be worth being treated badly. You are not doing your readers a service by recommending this place.
Max Kincora, Berkeley
Please provide your full name, address, and daytime phone number, although we'll only print your name, city, and affiliation. Send letters to Letters@EastBayExpress.com or Letters, East Bay Express, 1335 Stanford Ave., Emeryville, CA 94608. Letters are edited for length and clarity.
Cal practice facility|Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week|900 Grayson|Mike Piazza|Oakland
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