Column: Dispatches from the Edge: Israeli Settlements and a Scramble for the Arctic

By Conn Hallinan
Friday September 07, 2007

Did Israel know that its settlement policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza were illegal? Yes, according to a senior legal official who warned the Labor government of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in September 1967, “that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” -more-

Undercurrents: The Long Arm of the Sideshow Vehicle Tow Bill

By By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday September 07, 2007

State Sen. Don Perata’s SB67 sideshow vehicle tow bill passed in the Senate this week with no dissenting votes, not surprisingly, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for consideration. It will not be surprising if Mr. Schwarzenegger signs it and thus propels it back into law, but it will be sad if he does. Fluidly, easily, without so much as a whimper of complaint from the usual civil liberties lobbies, California lops off a branch of the tree of Constitutional protections—the right of a citizen to due process before the seizure of property. But since the sideshows are so unpopular and the sideshow participants voiceless and unrepresented, we hardly think it matters, and wonder why this columnist—alone amongst all other sources—continues to make a fuss about it. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Simone Marengo Gave Berkeley Macaroni

By Daniella Thompson
Friday September 07, 2007

A hundred years ago, a sizable population of refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire made the East Bay its permanent home. Among the new arrivals were many Italian families, a good number of whom settled in West Berkeley. -more-

The Pot Party Continues: Drinking and Thriving, Part I

By Ron Sullivan
Friday September 07, 2007

Watering plants in containers is both easier and harder than it seems. Everyone has a vice about this, generally a tendency to either overwater or underwater. (If your tendency either way is impossible to reform, you might consider underwater plants. Go on over to Albany Aquarium on San Pablo Avenue just north of Solano and have a look at some nicely planted tanks first.) -more-

About the House: Through a Glass Sharply

By Matt Cantor
Friday September 07, 2007

Everybody has a little internal list of least favorite ways to die. Some of these are rational, but mostly they’re derived from some fantasy, childhood experience or errant datum we’ve chanced upon. Perhaps we were children and heard an awful story. Maybe we encountered saw someone killed in a movie—lots of those, aren’t there?! Perhaps it was simply a story related by a friend. Regardless of the source we all have these. -more-

Column: Dispatches from the Edge: Iraq and Vietnam

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday September 04, 2007

Since the invasion of Iraq, in March of 2003, George W. Bush’s rationale for the occupation has continually shifted. On Aug. 22, the White House once again changed its criterion for success. As disturbing as this is, what’s more disturbing is the new justification: keep Iraq from becoming another Vietnam. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Reptilian Diet Secrets: Starving Snakes for Science

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday September 04, 2007

Although you wouldn’t expect a book about metabolic ecology to be a page-turner, I found John Whitfield’s recent In the Beat of a Heart: Life, Energy, and the Unity of Nature engrossing. Whitfield, a British science journalist, explains how metabolism relates to size, volume, and surface area. Along the way, he looks at why bats outlive mice, whether humans are allotted a fixed number of heartbeats in their lifetime (astronaut Neil Armstrong said that if that was true, he was damned if he was going to waste any of his jogging), and the tragic fate of Tusko the elephant. -more-