Column: Dispatches From the Edge: Anatomy of a Massacre

By Conn Hallinan
Friday February 16, 2007

As the fables about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and clandestine ties with al-Qaeda began to unravel following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the flagship of U.S. news reporting, the New York Times, took itself to task for its failure to challenge its news sources. In May, 2004, the Times wrote: “Information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged … Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.” -more-

Column: Undercurrents: The Last Word on the Dellums’ Paramount Incident

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday February 16, 2007

This being the third (and final) column on the subject of the disruption at the City of Oakland’s Paramount Theater Inaugural last month, some readers may be wondering with all of the other issues to talk about, why so much time is being spent on this. -more-

About the House: Secondary Drains and the Very Scary Porch

By Matt Cantor
Friday February 16, 2007

I met a very nice fellow today. A composer. Funny how homeowners end up being something other than just … homeowners. Neat guy, writes music for films, TV, industrials (corporate film) and the like. He also had the composure of musician, smooth and philosophical. Good thing for all those involved in selling him this house because let me tell you, he had some pain and it would be very easy to acrimonious with this particular type. -more-

Molly Ivins Tribute: Of Swimming Pools and Levees

By Eleanor S. Hudson
Tuesday February 13, 2007

Molly Ivins would just love this story: her fellow Texan and journalist, PBS’ Jim Lehrer, reported on the NewsHour that billions are missing in funds allocated for Iraq reconstruction. According to inspector general Stuart Bowen, one item among the rabbit holes this money fell into was one leading straight to—get this—an Olympic-sized swimming pool in Baghdad. I can’t figure out if Baghdad is the Emerald City, Wonderland, or a WETA creation. -more-

Column: Finding Yourself at 55

By Susan Parker
Tuesday February 13, 2007

After Ralph died, I went to Scottsdale, Manhattan, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas (twice). I painted walls and furniture in my house, cleaned closets, and returned the downstairs furniture upstairs and the upstairs furniture to its rightful place downstairs. I perused farmers markets and street fairs, attended readings and spoken-word events. I took my niece and nephew to parks, museums, and Berkeley’s Iceland. I watched them perform wobbly somersaults at Head Over Heels and throw themselves, joyfully, into the plastic ball pit at the Emeryville Public Market. -more-

Towhee Duets: The Private Life of a Plain Brown Bird

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday February 13, 2007

Talk about your misperceptions: for years, I thought the California towhees in my yard were having boundary issues. Two towhees would fly toward each other, one or both uttering a loud squealing call that was nothing like their normal “chip” or “tsip.” It sure sounded like fighting words. The towhees would appear to confront each other with fluffed-out feathers. Then they’d break off and go back to scuffling through the leaf litter for bugs. -more-