Column: Dispatches From the Edge: Madness and Insanity: Deciphering Words in the Desert

By Conn Hallinan
Friday December 08, 2006

Somewhere between 465 and 406 BC, the Greek tragic poet and playwright Euripides coined a phrase which still captures the particular toxic combination of hubris and illusion that seizes many of those in power: “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.” -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Brown Leaves Oakland With Legacy of Improper Planning

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylo
Friday December 08, 2006

Folks generally think about city planning in the same way that we think about central plumbing. It’s noticed only when it fails, and even then our attention is mostly on how to clean up the resultant mess, not on fixing the internal structures that originally caused the problem. -more-

About the House: Taking Action With Photovoltaic Solar Power

By Matt Cantor
Friday December 08, 2006

The death toll in Iraq this last month was the highest so far in a war that shows no end in sight. There is little doubt that the oil in the region has played a significant role in our willingness to participate in a “War on Terror” some sources now believe has resulted in nearly 700,000 deaths in Iraq, not to mention an outright civil war. -more-

Garden Variety: Mrs. Dalloway’s is Not Just A Garden Bookstore

By Ron Sullivan
Friday December 08, 2006

I can’t resist Mrs. Dalloway’s—well, I can rarely resist any bookstore, though lately I know I’m guaranteed a headache when I venture into one without my reading specs. Since I rarely remember to carry those around with me and so end up craning and squinting my way through the shelves, browsing bookstores has become a bit of an S&M exercise. No matter. Mrs. D’s pulls me in just by the lovely (and amazingly persistent) vegetal scent of its woven-grass carpet. So I’m already biased in the place’s favor; let me get that disclaimer out right here at the start. -more-

You Write the Daily Planet

Friday December 08, 2006

It’s time to submit your essays, poems, stories and photographs for the Planet’s annual holiday reader contribution issue, which will be published on Dec. 29. Send your submissions, up to 1,000 words, to Deadline is 5 p.m. on Dec. 20. -more-

Quake Tip: The Valves Are Coming! The Valves Are Coming!

By Larry Guillot
Friday December 08, 2006

You may have noticed that Contra Costa County has passed an ordinance requiring houses that are being sold to have an automatic gas shut-off valve. This will apply to all areas that are unincorporated, which means a lot of homes. -more-

Barn Owls: House Hunting in Berkeley

By Penny Bartlett, Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 05, 2006

Editor’s note: The following article was submitted to Joe Eaton in response to his call for readers’ stories about barn owls. His column will return the Tuesday after next. -more-