Funny Business: Snatched from the Jaws of Victory

by Richard Hylton
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 02:36:00 PM

Financial reform is on the way.And Wall Street is breathing a sigh of relief.Puzzled?You’re not alone.Many of us who watched in horror as the casino spirit that pervades our mega-banks and hedge funds nearly destroyed the world’s financial system and crippled the U.S. economy have been waiting for the Hanging Judge to come out of his chambers to dispense rough justice.But instead, the bills that have emerged from the House and the Senate and that will now be reconciled into a single piece of legislation mete out a few ankle bracelets, some fines, and a stern warning that the sheriff will be watching carefully once the felons go back to work. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge: Of Drone Wars & Buffalo Urine

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday May 27, 2010 - 09:22:00 AM

Has the drone war in Pakistan’s rugged frontier finally come home? Was Faisal Shahzad, the bumbling Times Square bomb maker a blowback from the Obama Administration’s increased use of killer robots? David Sanger of the New York Times asks the question, and the New York Post says an “anonymous law enforcement” source claims Shahzad was driven to his act after witnessing drone attacks in Pakistan. -more-

Blogbeat: Midnight Swimming in Berkeley

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 02:49:00 PM

News from the web-o-rama blogosphere... Summary of today's items: -more-

Iran, Brazil, Turkey & the Ghost of Lord Palmerston

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday May 27, 2010 - 09:24:00 AM

Lord Palmerston—twice England’s prime minister during the middle 1800s—once commented, “England has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” Watching the fallout over Brazil’s and Turkey’s recent diplomatic breakthrough on Iran brings Palmerston’s observation to mind: while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hailing our “friends” support for tough sanctions aimed at Teheran, much of her supporting cast were busy hedging their bets and deciding that their interests just might lay elsewhere. -more-

The Public Eye: Forecasting the 2010 Midterm Elections

By Bob Burnett
Sunday May 30, 2010 - 02:56:00 PM

Less than six months out from the November 2nd US midterm elections, pundits continue to predict that Republicans will reduce Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, perhaps take control of the House. Seven factors will determine the final outcome. -more-

Senior Power: “Old age is not a disease”

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Sunday May 30, 2010 - 03:03:00 PM

“Old age is not a disease -- it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.” Margaret Eliza Kuhn (1905-1995) -more-

First Person: Politics--Why Bother?

by Harry Brill
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 11:43:00 AM

I love music. I play the saxophone, and recently I have been teaching myself how to play the clarinet. Despite some similarities, I find learning the clarinet somewhat difficult. Among my problems is making a smooth transition from lower to higher notes. This has taken a considerable amount of time, concentration, and very repetitive practice Leaping from below middle C to high C without screeching is a challenge. But it is very important to me to play gracefully and musically. -more-

Wild Neighbors: The Wild Turkey: Threat or Menace?

Joe Eaton
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 03:04:00 PM

I’ve avoided wild turkeys as a subject since that unpleasant business with the Sierra Club a couple of years ago, when I caught hell for writing that the environmental impact of these introduced birds had not yet been documented. Now, finally, there’s a study, published last year in the journal Western Birds, entitled “Food Habits of the Wild Turkeys in National Forests of Northern California and Central Oregon.”Does it shed badly needed light on the controversy? Well, sort of. -more-

Berkeley Butterfly Walk

by Steven Finacom
Tuesday June 01, 2010 - 06:52:00 PM
The hike led to the crest of Panoramic Hill.

About a dozen people joined eminent UC entomologist Jerry Powell on Saturday, May 29, 2010 for a leisurely butterfly-watching walk along trails at the top of Berkeley’s Panoramic Hill. -more-

Restoration Comedy:Trial by Modification

By Jane Powell
Sunday May 30, 2010 - 02:54:00 PM

I'm ba-aack! And I've finally come up with an actual title for my column, which pretty much describes my life as well. I'll still mostly be writing about stuff related to old houses, though it may cross into real estate, land use, historic preservation, and whatever else the editor allows me to rant about. But I consider the comedy part of the title to be as important as the restoration part. -more-