Column: Dispatches FromThe Edge: The Story Behind the Battle for Basra

By Conn Hallinan
Friday April 11, 2008

When the Battle of Basra opened on March 25, President Bush described it as a “defining mo-ment” for the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Within days, however, the White House was scrambling to distance itself from the shellacking the Iraqi Army took at the hands of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. -more-

Column: Culture Wars in Oakland

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday April 11, 2008

Since the division of the Oakland Police Department into three geographical districts late last year—a move that is key to Mayor Ron Dellums’ goal of moving OPD into a community policing model—the mayor has begun quietly going around to meetings of the city’s various Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils, trying to get a community assessment of how the new police realignment is working. -more-

Garden Variety: Too Mulch of a Good Thing

By Ron Sullivan
Friday April 11, 2008

I’ve been the Mulch Queen, or at least her Majesty’s faithful herald, for years. The sight of our locally predominant clay soil lying naked to the elements upsets me. I know what happens when it gets walked on and rained on—yes, rain does compress soil over time if that soil doesn’t have nearly perfect drainage or spongelike absorption—and dried to dust by the sun. -more-

First Person: Having a Disability Is More Than a Job

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday April 08, 2008

In my young adulthood, I fought valiantly against the notion that I would be disabled, unable to work, and dependent on the medical establishment and on public benefits. I tried exceedingly hard to work at jobs, at first by quitting prescribed medication against medical advice, and then tried to work while taking these medications which I had little choice but to take. -more-

Oakland Plans Reception Honoring Actor-Singer-Activist Paul Robeson

by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday April 08, 2008

The City of Oakland will honor the legacy of Paul Robeson—one of the giant figures in American history—with an April 9 City Hall reception on the 110th anniversary of his birth. -more-

Zoning Board Considers Expansion Of Jupiter Restaurant

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday April 08, 2008

The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) will consider an expansion permit for Jupiter Restaurant on Thursday. -more-

Green Neighbors: Endangered in Its Home, Enthusiastic in Gardens: Malva Rosa

By Ron Sullivan
Tuesday April 08, 2008
Leaf and blossom of Lavatera assurgentifolia, malva rosa, island bush mallow.

Joe and I spent the other afternoon moving dirt and reshaping the malva rosa by the garage, to allow some sun on the pile we were making. This isn’t the first time we’ve radically reshaped the thing, and it won’t be the last. Except for the fact that it’s so inherently bewildering, I’d call this plant the ideal first thing to learn pruning with: it’s woody but soft; it puts out lots and lots of branches to choose from, and it can take a severe pruning and recover. -more-