Column: Summer Reading Suggestions

By Susan Parker
Tuesday May 23, 2006

I read in the paper a review of a new book entitled My Mother’s Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes. Justine Picardie, former features editor of British Vogue, has penned a memoir on “how clothes express our personality and style, and also provide a view of how we live and what has passed.” -more-

Commentary: English-Only Laws Don’t Work, and Bush Knows It

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media
Tuesday May 23, 2006

In September 1999, then-Texas Gov. George Bush told an audience during the New Hampshire presidential primary, “English-only would mean to people, ‘Me, not you.’” The few times during his White House tenure Bush has seen moves to restrict the use of non-English languages by government agencies, the president didn’t budge from that position. -more-

The Sometimes-Mellower Gopher Snake: A Great Pretender?

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday May 23, 2006

Although I’m a Southerner by birth and upbringing, I’ve never handled a snake in a religious context. Our church didn’t even use tambourines. All I know of the spiritual side of snake-handling comes from books like Dennis Covington’s memoir Salvation on Sand Mountain and Weston LaBarre’s more scholarly They Shall Take up Serpents. -more-

Column: The Public Eye: Could 2006 Be Another Year of the Woman?

By Bob Burnett
Friday May 19, 2006

It’s been 14 years since four Democratic women were elected to the Senate in the so-called “year of the woman.” 2006 is shaping up as another historic year for women, as Democrats are poised to take back the House of Representatives and make Nancy Pelosi the first-ever female speaker of the House. At least, that was the prevailing opinion at the annual Emily’s List gathering May 11 and 12 ( -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Why Oakland School Lands Are Being Sold Off

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday May 19, 2006

The seizure of the Oakland Unified School District by the State of California stands as one of the greatest public scandals in Oakland’s history, perhaps surpassed, only by the waterfront land-grab scheme through which the City of Oakland came into being. It is certainly greater, by far, than the Oakland Raiders scandal that has assumed so much of our attention in the past decades. The Raider deal, after all, only took our money. The OUSD seizure took our schools, and in its wake of confusion, has severely jeopardized the future of our children. -more-

Travel Through Time at Black Diamond Mines

By Marta Yamamoto
Friday May 19, 2006

Atop Rose Hill Cemetery, I gaze out at the undulant hillsides and narrow canyon of Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. I share this peak with two hundred former 19th century residents—coal miners, their wives and children. Little remains as testament to their settlement, but their voices stir the trees. Sojourn at Black Diamond Mines to revisit past glories and relish present verdant splendor. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Peralta Park Grew in the Shade of Giants

By Daniella Thompson
Friday May 19, 2006

Lying northwest of Hopkins Street between Gilman and Colusa, the Peralta Park tract straddles Berkeley and Albany across Codornices Creek. Built up in the 1920s, the neighborhood presents to the eye a sea of low stucco bungalows among which one can pick out a handful of Victorians. -more-

About the House: On The Mortality of Water Heaters and Furnaces

By Matt Cantor
Friday May 19, 2006

Everything ages and everything dies. It’s sad but it’s certainly true and no less for water heaters than for people, cats and presidential administrations. The funny thing about water heaters and electrical panels is that we don’t tend to think of them as getting old in the same way that we think about Aunt Martha. We see her getting older and increasingly forgetful, despite her being so adorable, even as she searches for her car keys (should she still be driving?) -more-

Garden Variety: Necessary Gardening Gagets: A Felco and a Hori-Hori

By Ron Sullivan
Friday May 19, 2006

Gardening is like fishing in some ways. You can do it for dinner, or just for the halibut; you can do it for purely recreational or aesthetic reasons, or both. It can give you peace and relaxation, or vein-popping frustration. It helps a lot to know the natural history of the place and of your target. You can do it for very little money, or you can go broke buying fascinating tools and gadgets. -more-