Column: The Public Eye: Steroid America

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday January 08, 2008

Throughout 2007 Americans were warned of a looming steroid scandal in major league baseball. Nonetheless, many fans were surprised when Barry Bonds and 88 other players were identified as steroid users in the Mitchell Report. Sadly, indications are this is only the tip of the drug iceberg, as steroids are said to be an issue at all levels of American sports. Recent estimates suggest two to three percent of high school athletes use steroids, a number in the tens of thousands. -more-

Green Neighbors: Going Medieval on the Streets of Berkeley

By Ron Sullivan
Tuesday January 08, 2008

I was at that footsore stage where one’s mind settles fixedly on the goal—getting home and barefoot—but the shrub by the sidewalk stopped me anyway. It looked apple-ish but different; its leaves were longer and larger, and it was bearing fruit I didn’t recognize. It was obviously something in the rose family, but half the fruit-bearing trees I meet are roses: not much of a distinction. -more-

Column: Threat of Eminent Domain Gets Writer Writing Again

By Susan Parker
Friday January 04, 2008

I haven’t written a column for a long while because I’ve been adjusting to this widowhood thing. Over the past 15 months I’ve spent time renewing old friendships that were lost after Ralph’s accident, fixing up my house, looking for and finding a job. It took some weeks for the people who lived with me and helped with Ralph’s care to relocate. Since then several folks have moved in and out, and moved in again. -more-

Column: Dispatches from the Edge: Dispatch Awards for The Year That Was

By Conn Hallinan
Friday January 04, 2008

The following are Dispatches’ annual “I Don’t Believe I Am Actually Reading This” Awards. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: A Religious and Spiritual Test for Candidates

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday January 04, 2008

The issue of religion and candidates’ faith has been raised in the presidential race. Not for the first time, in such races. Almost certainly, not for the last. It raises the question whose answer is assumed but which is rarely tackled head-on by progressives: should there be a religious test for American presidential candidates? -more-

First Person: What Would Buddha Buy?

By Martha Dickey
Friday January 04, 2008

Today I am spending most of the daylight hours looking for a parking space. In the latter days of December, people in Berkeley are still trying to be polite, but I can see that it is becoming forced. Their necks tighten as they mentally calculate the size of each space versus the size of their SUV. They troll slowly, but I can’t pass them because a) I can’t predict their next move, and b) I can’t ignore even a slight possibility that they might pull a gun on me as I pull into a parking space that they believe to be rightly theirs. -more-

About the House: Getting the Real Dirt on Dirt

By Matt Cantor
Friday January 04, 2008

I have preferred over the years to confine my writing to subjects outside of my actual day-to-day vocation, but sometimes a discussion of my work helps a bit to illustrate a point. It’s not very glamorous but I spend a lot of my life in crawlspaces. The cats look at me funny, wondering what I’m doing in their bathroom. People often say, as I suit up to get sub-domestic, “Well, here’s where you earn your money!” It’s really not true, but the comment reveals how unpleasant the average person perceives this to be. -more-