DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Irish Elections & Unification

Conn Hallinan
Saturday February 15, 2020 - 02:28:00 PM

The victory by Ireland’s leftwing Sinn Fein Party in the Republic’s recent election has not only overturned some 90 years of domination by the island’s two center-right parties, it suddenly puts the issue of Irish reunification on the agenda. While the campaign was fought over bread and butter issues like housing, the collapsing health care system, and homelessness, a united Ireland has long been Sinn Fein’s raison d’être. In the aftermath, Party leaders called for a border referendum on the subject. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Evaluating the Democratic Candidates

Bob Burnett
Saturday February 15, 2020 - 02:22:00 PM

We're heading towards March 3rd, "Super Tuesday," and the race for the Democratic presidential nomination remains competitive. A field of 29 candidates has been winnowed to eight: Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Peter Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren. Here's my evaluation of the Democratic survivors. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: A Dilemma: Miss an Essential Appointment or Drive Impaired

Jack Bragen
Saturday February 15, 2020 - 02:10:00 PM

As adults living in a developed country, most of us have had to drive in an emergency. It might mean taking a sick person to a doctor, taking a sick beloved pet to a veterinary clinic, or even evacuating when under the threat of a hurricane or a fire. -more-


Ralph E. Stone
Saturday February 15, 2020 - 02:43:00 PM

“Brexit” is a shorthand word combining two words — ”Britain” and “exit” —for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

The Brexit vote was conducted in 2013, when then United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron was looking ahead to his re-election. He did not want to lose too many voters to an anti-European Union political party. So he promised, if re-elected, to hold a referendum on whether Britain would stay in the European Union (EU) or not. He said that the referendum would have just have two options — in or out and that it would be binding.

When Cameron made that promise, he and his advisers believed it would be a relatively low-risk ploy to deal with a short-term political problem. It turned out to be a gross miscalculation. The June 23, 2016 referendum to leave won 51.89%. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday February 15, 2020 - 02:25:00 PM

Stamp Out Breast Cancer

During a visit to Berkeley's Main Post Office this week, I overheard the following exchange between a young USPS clerk and an older male customer.

He: "I'd like some stamps."

She: "Here's our selection."

He (pointing to the "Fund the Fight; Find a Cure" stamps in her right hand): "I'd like those, please."

She: "So you want breast cancer?"

He: "Whoa! Nobody wants breast cancer!"

She (shocked): "What? You don't support breast cancer?!"

He: "No, but I do support finding a cure for breast cancer…."

Tension defused.

Those Political Ads

Forget the John Kerry rumors, I'm starting to wonder if Barack Obama is being considered as a late-minute replacement for would-be president Joe Biden? It's no surprise that Barack Obama is invoked in Biden's ads but that's not where Barackomania ends. With increasing frequency, Obama keeps popping up in TV ads for other members of the current batch of Democratic contenders—Mike Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard (and their less-well-known rivals, Deval Patrick and Eric Jaye). -more-