"Bill Moyers talks to Richard Wolff

on Curing Capitalism

Richard Wolff's smart, blunt talk about the crisis of capitalism on his first Moyers & Company appearance was so compelling and provocative, we asked him to return. This time, the economics expert answers questions sent in by our viewers, diving further into economic inequality, the limitations of industry regulation, and the widening gap between a booming stock market and a population that increasingly lives in poverty.

'We ought to have much more democratic enterprise,' Wolff tells Bill, in response to a question from a viewer in Oklahoma. 'We ought to have stores, factories and offices in which all the people who have to live with the results of what happens to that enterprise participate in deciding how it works.'

Addressing a question about capitalism and climate change, Wolff says, 'Capitalism is a system geared up to doing three things on the part of business: get more profits, grow your company and get a larger market share If along the way they have to sacrifice either the well-being of their workers or the well-being of the planet or the environmental conditions, they may feel very bad about it - and I know plenty who do - but they have no choice.'

Wolff taught economics for 35 years at the University of Massachusetts and is now visiting professor at The New School University in New York City. His books include Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism and Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.
Join Richard Wolff for a Live Chat on March 26 here at BillMoyers.com."


Wolff offers two examples of successful worker-owner enterprises. One is the Spanish collective, Mondragon. A 100,000 strong largely manufacturing group that has survived and prospered during the current Spanish economic crisis. The other, our own Arizmendi Bakeries and Pizzerias. This Bay Area collective known for its designer pizza currently has six locations. The nearest to us is in Emeryville at 4301 San Pablo.

Wolff's presentation is appealing, filled with common sense it is simple, direct, clear, and easily understandable. Our Marsha W, an office worker with roots in working class East Hartford Conn. , said during the program "Finally somebody is saying what I feel!"

What Wolff lacks is the understanding that currently the U. S. does not embrace a culture accepting of collective ownership. My sense is that the economic crisis here would have to become much more severe before this country, almost by default, would accept a socialist-like alternaitve.


Then again consider 'Capitalism Hits the Fan': A Lecture by Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown.

"Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Lecture by Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown?

With breathtaking clarity, renowned UMass Economics Professor Richard Wolff breaks down the root causes of today's economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic and systemic failures within American-style capitalism as a whole. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s, when wages began to stagnate and American workers were forced into a dysfunctional spiral of borrowing and debt that ultimately exploded in the mortgage meltdown. By placing the crisis within this larger historical and systemic frame, Wolff argues convincingly that both the government "bailouts" and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis - in the end suggesting that more fundamental changes will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes. Richly illustrated with graphics and charts, this is a superb introduction that allows ordinary citizens to comprehend, and react to, the unraveling crisis."

But historically, it is these very crisis that capitalism has used to reinvent itself and prosper. Only time will tell. But my sense is the Maker Movement* may offer a growing, creative alternative. But that's another discussion, though Wolff hints at this toward the end of his 'Capitalism Hits the Fan'.

*The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively.



If you find all this is disturbing, calm yourself with with a look through rose-colored-glasses at the Milwaukee Road, a successful railroad of the 19th and 20th centuries-- "A Railroad at Work" Milwaukee Road 1946.

I dig it for the great train shots!







"Building a better trash can" Cathy Cockrell, Cal NewsCenter.

"What does it take to create a trash can? Ask Theron Klos. He's Berkeley's central-campus grounds manager, the guy beaming like a proud parent as dozens of large, hexagon-shaped black receptacles ­ with color-coded and distinctly shaped openings for different waste streams ­ debut on Sproul Plaza, along with a new, one-of-a-kind electric trash-collection vehicle.

Designed largely by campus students and staff; bankrolled by Workers' Compensation, Risk Services, and students' Green Initiative Fund; fabricated locally ­ the new refuse-collection system is in every sense homegrown."





















early Spring sunset over the Bay

from Potter Creek



"Wine auction to benefit French school in Berkeley" Berkeley Voice.

"A wine auction at the Claremont Hotel is set for May 4 to benefit Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, a French immersion school for pre-schoolers through eighth grade, with proceeds going for tuition assistance, technology purchases and teacher training.

The Wine Auction Soiree of the East Bay includes rare bottles of wine and wine-themed food and travel packages. The two featured merchants, among others, are Silver Oak and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.

The event will have a silent auction during a two-hour cocktail party followed by a live auction during a gourmet dinner with wine pairings.

Tickets to the event and wine purchases at the auctions are tax deductible. Before April 1 tickets cost $150 per person; after April 1 they are $175. A table for 10 with free valet parking for five cars costs $1,500."

"Rich Block, Poor Block: How Do Neighborhoods In Berkeley Compare? "at berkeleypatch.com.

"What are the annual median household incomes in different parts of town?

Drive through Berkeley and you might notice that some neighborhoods are more affluent than others. But just how wide is the disparity between different parts of town?

A new data-based website, Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks provides some answers to that question. The site uses U.S. census information compiled from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey to show median household income and monthly rents by census tract."




"Traditional Tunes to Berkeley on Thursday" at berkeleypatch.com.

"Scotland's Battlefield Band will perform at Frieght & Salvage Coffeehouse on March 28. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $22.50 in advance and $24.50 at the door.

Scotland's Battlefield Band brings an inspired mix of ancient and modern traditional music and song to Berkeley on Thursday, March 28.

The group, founded in 1969 and named after the "Battlefield" area of Glasgow, will perform at the Frieght & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley's home of traditional music, at 2020 Addisson St."














Penny Notes

When in Boston some years ago, I was talking to a jazz piano player who said coldly "Oscar Peterson plays penny notes." Meaning simply that he uses lots of them and that lessens their relative value.

Over the years, the idea stuck with me.

But I've wondered who then plays ten dollar notes? I've become satisfied that the Duke Ellington/ Billy Strayhorn arrangements are made up of ten dollar, maybe even, hundred dollar ones.

And I believe something like this applies to writing, with poets creating thousand dollar words.











"Girl, 8, shot with arrow in Berkeley" Henry K. Lee at sfgate.com.

"An 8-year-old girl visiting the Lawrence Hall of Science in the hills above UC Berkeley was shot in the leg by an arrow Tuesday, police said.
The girl was sitting on a life-sized model of a fin whale on the plaza outside the public science center at 1 Centennial Drive when she was hit in her left thigh by an arrow about 10 a.m., said UC Berkeley police Capt. Steve Roderick.

The girl suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Children's Hospital Oakland with the arrow still lodged in her leg, authorities said. Her name has not been released.

The arrow did not appear to be a toy, and it wasn't immediately known whether the shooter hit the girl accidentally or on purpose, Roderick said."




















"Berkeley is going bonkers for beer" by Doug Oakley at contracostatimes.com is classic, What goes round, comes round!

"Berkeley beer drinkers rejoice: Four new venues slated to open.

Craft beer fans will have four new establishments, two micro breweries and two beer bars, to visit by the end of the year, including a Sierra Nevada Brewing tasting room planned for Fourth Street near University Avenue.

The Sierra Nevada bar is the first outside its Chico production facility. Three others will join it: a 'sour beer' brewery called the Rare Barrel is set to open on Carleton Street by the end of the year; a craft beer bar called Moxy is opening on Sacramento Street next month; and a brewery and beer bar called Hoi Polloi Brew Pub is aiming to open next fall on Alcatraz Avenue."

Seems, when Da Boz was in Sacramento he introduced and passed the bill legalizing home brewing.




"UC Berkeley Students Build 3D Printing Vending Machine"  at kqed.org.  


"The first fully automated 3D printing vending machine is open for business at UC Berkeley's Etcheverry Hall. In the background, Richard Berwick, Dreambox co-founder and chief technology officer, makes some adjustments to "Dolly," the prototype's nickname. 

Combining 3D printing technology with the convenience and accessibility of the DVD-dispensing Redbox service, student entrepreneurs at UC Berkeley have built a vending machine with a seemingly infinite selection of products.

The Dreambox, which now lives in the campus's Etcheverry Hall, is the first fully automated 3D-printing vending machine, representing a step forward in the democratization of the still-young technology."










Wim Wenders on Pina is a video conversation with Charlie Rose about his 3D film tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch, called 'Pina.' "

Wenders believes 3D allows dance to by fully captured on film for the first time.























CalSol, the UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team

is a student-run organization that designs and builds solar cars capable of racing at highway speeds






This Solar-Powered Plane Is Driving Amazing Technological Breakthroughs

The Solar Impulse is getting ready for a promotional cross-country flight before embarking on a trip around the world. But the tech that has gone into it is already having an influence across a wide range of industries.


"A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe is preparing to fly across North America" at nydailynews.com.

"The Swiss creators of the Solar Impulse are announcing Thursday which U.S. cities the experimental plane will visit during its 'Across America' 'tour that kicks off in May.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will display the aircraft and discuss the cross-country trip at a news conference at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View."












"Tata Air Car Powered Entirely by Compressed Air. Blow Me Down!" at the Australian themotorreport.com.

"Tata Motors, once derided as the company with a name that sounds like it ought to be spread on a Fillet-o-Fish, has been making some serious forward movement in the past year or two.

Now, hot on the heels of its recent acquisition of Land Rover and Jaguar, and news of the impending assault on the European market with the Tata Nano, the Indian company is set to release a car powered entirely by air. But is it all hot air? (You see what I did there.)

Turns out it's very much a legitimate prospect. Sure, it looks bloody ordinary, but let's look beyond the styling for the moment. The MiniCAT (Compressed Air Technology), invented by French madman and ex-F1 engineer Guy Negre and his company Motor Development International (MDI), is a lightweight fibreglass urban car built around a tubular chassis which is glued together rather than welded. More importantly than that, and as you've no doubt gathered, it's powered entirely by compressed air."


An older report "Air Car by Guy Negre on The Science Channel" can be viewed on youtube.


Pete Hurney says "Think of it as a steam engine."


One of Wareham's new tenants is involved in the "new compressed air/energy technology."












"Coffee house plans at Berkeley project raise neighborhood concerns" Judith Scherr at contracostatimes.com.

"No official announcement has been made about a Starbucks opening in Telegraph Gardens, a mixed-use project on Telegraph Avenue near a locally owned coffee shop, but southside residents are already organizing to make their concerns heard."



"Pollan Launches $10K Food Journalism Fellowships at UC Berkeley" by Tejal Rao Tue at villagevoise.com.

"Excellent news for food journalism: UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism is now offering five $10,000 fellowships a year, for early and mid-career journalists to travel and report longform stories on a range of food subjects, from nutritional policy and food science, to technology, culture, and urban farming. "

































from our log

3/24/13--7:25 AM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator. 8:35 AM--similar. 9:09 AM--burning gas odor. 9:03 PM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes. Similar off-and-on all PM.

3/25/13--5:30 PM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter. 7:45 PM--similar. 8:50 PM--similar.

3/26/13--12:32 AM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter. 2:30 PM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter. 5:09 PM--similar. 6:29 PM--similar. 7:13 PM--similar, "melting plastic" odor.10:55 PM--similar.

3/27/13--2:21 AM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator. 5:58 AM--similar. 7:41 PM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator.

3/28/13--11:50 AM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation, overrides HEPA filter, itchy dry skin, coughing.

3/30/13-- Off-and on all day--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation overrides HEPA filter, watery eyes, itchy dry skin, coughing, wear respirator. Marsha same.






eternally useful links


You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.



Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.




Best gas prices in 94710, as well as all of US and Canada, are here at gasbuddy.com

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com

Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.



All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Our Area Coordinator, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore, City Councilman dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us

AND check out BPD feature "Who are these Suspects."






The original owner of all posted material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate.